Monday, 25 March 2013

Hole In My Shoe

Two videos today, plus a number of other conceptual videos there just wasn't time to upload - and i've lost a subscriber, probably from the Other Channel:

Music: 'Move Forward' by Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

Click to tweet:

Since it's Easter and it's snowing, i thought i'd make a snow Easter Bunny, so here it is!

Then there's this:

 Click to tweet: . I would define political correctness as language and other behavioural and cultural practices which seek to minimise offence to ostensibly oppressed or repressed identities, perhaps to an excessive degree, and in a sense as a form of politeness.  It's a near synonym to the terms right on, ideologically sound and looney left.  I'll defend it, then attack it.

First, to defend it, it is essentially a liberating enterprise and in a sense left wing.  It's therefore not surprising that those whose dominance is threatened by these practices refer to it pejoratively and turn it into a straw man.  Language and culture can be seen as determining our world views - the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis - so the preparation of an environment where we are able to divide the world differently may be a positive thing.  Iain M Banks uses this idea in the Culture universe, where he posits the existence of the ultimately politically correct language, Marain.  In this language it's impossible to express gender or possession because the language cannot be structured in that way.

However, this very idea has been used by George Orwell in '1984' with his Newspeak and the Thought Police.  This can also be seen as a measure which prevents free thought.

I personally see the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis as flawed.  For instance, Islamic societies have sharply defined gender roles which is reflected in Arabic grammar.  This has feminine and masculine grammatical categories which are moreover more pervasive than those in most Indoeuropean languages because they extend even to verbal forms in the second person (although this does also occur in Indian languages).  This seems to corroborate the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis.  However, there are a number of Islamic societies where the vernacular completely lacks grammatical gender, for instance the languages Indonesian, Malay and Persian have no grammatical gender at all whereas Swahili has something similar in noun classes but they don't separate different biological sexes.  Nonetheless these societies have strongly defined gender roles.  The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis fails to account for this.  I would say the reason is that sexism is so ingrained in those societies that nobody would even imagine a doctor was female, for example, and so language doesn't even need to have gender - the political incorrectness of those societies is reinforced so strongly elsewhere that doing it linguistically is redundant.

Political correctness can also be seen as a substitute for action.  Just as empty worship, prayer, petition-signing and protest can be a substitute for action, so can playing about with the minutiae of language or other behaviour.  It's a comforting form of slactivism rather than actually doing any good.  There's also an assumption that the view is correct, implying that one group of people have a monopoly on rationality, that rationality is achievable and desirable, that they are objective and that they have the justified true beliefs while others lack them.

Political correctness is partly about counteracting prejudice, for instance racism, sexism and homophobia, and as such is opposed to erroneous or fallacious conclusions reached as a result of inductive reasoning.  However, fallacious though inductive reasoning may be, it nevertheless enables us to reach true conclusions.

The whole phenomenon of political correctness is something on which i can't make up my mind.  It reminds me of  W. C. Sellar's and R. J. Yeatman's description of the Cavaliers and Roundheads in '1066 And All That' (copyright 1930 by Methuen & Co) as respectively Wrong but Wromantic and Right and Repulsive.  I have no idea what the answer is.

This second video is Part I of a two-part video, so that's one i've committed myself to making.  I also want to respond to Hypergraffiti on an evolutionary approach to the Fall, and there's possibly the most boring video ever made coming up, which will be about concrete, cement and limestone in accordance with the content of the GCSE chemistry syllabus, which frankly sounds so boring that it'll probably lose me subs unless i do it "stupidly".  So that's three videos just for tomorrow.

The first video is also the first time i've messed with timing or used a music track.  It was done on a whim, basically, insofar as setting anything up like that and then editing it can be described in those terms.

Now for more general points.  I'm having a bit of a problem with the whole channel now.  Right now, it seems to me that i can throw as much work as i like into it and it goes nowhere.  I get a few views, mainly from Facebook, then it dies a death after a couple of days.  I also get the impression that even on FB, people just look at the thumbnail and make a few general comments rather than actually watching the videos on the whole.  This is not to blame them, but i'm wondering what i'm doing wrong.  This is the perennial problem of not getting feedback - everything i do is completely in the dark and i have no idea whether that's just the result of a profile needing to be raised or people being too polite to criticise my work.  If it's the latter, my constant requests for criticism are apparently falling on deaf ears, perhaps because people stop watching after the first few seconds.  I'm aware that this is quite likely because the mean viewing time is about 20% of the video.

I am now strongly tempted to do a series of videos on religious themes but think it'll drive people away.  This is presumably why Hypergraffiti started her second channel.  In fact, i'm fully aware that my channel is too diverse and that probably a strength of the other one is its strong focus on a single theme.

Right:  Drink And Think looms.