251 thoughts on “Voting Tree

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  • Suhayl Saadi

    Thanks, Angrysoba. Much appreciated indeed. And how are the students, faculty, etc.? What are the people like? How do the interactions differ from those in Britain? I’m just trying to get a flavour, an essence, of the reality of it. A vignette…

  • glenn

    Soba: I think you go further than this. If the official conspiracy theory is X and someone (myself, perhaps) says, “I don’t believe it”, you’ll then say, “Ah! So you’re a conspiracy theorist!” What usually follows is a demand to know what exactly happened instead, so you can set about rubbishing it, as if the default position is always to believe the official version, unless a watertight alternative position can be found – in which case it would become the Official Position.

    Strange to call someone a Conspiracy Theorist and _then_ demand to know what their theory is.

    There’s also the process attempt to portray anyone failing to believe an official story as a “loon”, with all manner of attempts to ridicule that individual. The practice of doing this appears to have become your modus operandi. I wonder why you devote so much energy to it. That fat Nazi David Aaronovitch will delight you in the way that he, establishment stooge that he is, does just this throughout his latest book. Not sure what it’s called, something like “I believe everything the establishment says”.

  • angrysoba

    “If the official conspiracy theory is X and someone (myself, perhaps) says, “I don’t believe it”, you’ll then say, “Ah! So you’re a conspiracy theorist!””

    Well, no. I might say, why don’t you believe it? And you could choose to tell me or you could call me an “establishment stooge”. You usually choose the latter so it seems to be you who is guilty of what you accuse me of doing.

    “What usually follows is a demand to know what exactly happened instead, so you can set about rubbishing it, as if the default position is always to believe the official version, unless a watertight alternative position can be found – in which case it would become the Official Position.”

    No. I don’t think the whole story of 9/11 is known. I don’t believe, for example, that the towers were brought down by controlled demolition, I don’t think the failure of the US air force to intercept the hijacked airliners was sinister and I do believe that those the US authorities say were responsible were responsible. Every argument and piece of evidence that I’ve ever seen to the contrary is weak, non-existent or based on misunderstandings of the very term “evidence”. The reason I have spent so much energy on this is not because I am shilling for the authorities as your strawman has it but because I originally wondered if there was truth to the Truthers claims. Having looked at every argument I can find I have discovered some of the shoddiest, flimsiest and down-right deceitful arguments I have ever seen and I am gobsmacked that so many otherwise intelligent people have swallowed them.

    Besides, it is you who demands for himself the luxury of not having to commit to a position while sitting back and rubbishing the position I have found to be the most tenable. So it seems like more projection on your part.

    “Strange to call someone a Conspiracy Theorist and _then_ demand to know what their theory is.”

    You called your theory the “Magic Arab” theory which is bizarre and seems to trade on offensive stereotypes. You have asked me for evidence that the hijackers could fly and I have always provided you with it. And when I do the work for you you don’t even acknowledge it but pout about how I am so mean.

    “There’s also the process attempt to portray anyone failing to believe an official story as a “loon”, with all manner of attempts to ridicule that individual. The practice of doing this appears to have become your modus operandi.”

    So you think it is not acceptable to call people names?

    “That fat Nazi David Aaronovitch”

    Oh, apparently it is okay sometimes.

    Glenn you’ve just displayed a whole array of accusations in which you hold a complete double standard.

    Criticising your position is wrong, but criticising mine is fine. You don’t need evidence but when I provide it it is unfair. You can call people names for their beliefs but I can’t.

    Also, I am damned if I do and damned if I don’t. You don’t like the idea that I have looked into all these claims and expended too much energy doing so. But according to Vronsky who thinks I haven’t looked at them I am incurious.

    What am I supposed to do? What is the only acceptable position for you?

    Throw me a frikkin bone here!

  • angrysoba

    Suhayl, the students are very good and eager to study which makes them a pleasure to teach. They receive plenty of English grammar/translation in their other classes so I try to concentrate on improving their fluency. Last year one of my students made it to Tokyo University which is Japan’s equivalent of Cambridge. I’d like to take the credit but he was the one who put in all the hard work and I only taught him once a week at most.

    British schools can be very different according to the reports I hear from my sister who teaches French in a comprehensive in Nottingham. Having said that, I do teach in a private school and people I know who teach in state schools here do have their horror stories too – one story that sticks in my mind is the one about the school bunny rabbit being decapitated by some kids who had stolen the Home Ec. knives.

  • glenn

    AS: Actually, _yours_ is the Magic Arab theory. I’m surprised that you have become so confused. I don’t believe in Magic Arabs at all, which is why I don’t believe in your establishment-approved conspiracy theory.

    Just because I can’t explain – to your satisfaction, I’ll admit in advance – _what_ gravity is and why it behaves as it does, or electricity for that matter, it does not mean it doesn’t exist.

    Just to clarify – there’s a whole lot that we respectively do/don’t believe in – but how does you position differ from that of the Official Version, exactly?

    I called that fat Nazi Aaronovitch just that because (iirc) Mr. Murray had referred to the bastard in precisely those terms on this very blog, and I considered it a very fair description.

    If you recall all our conversations, I’ve never called you a loon, an idiot, or anything else which calls your intelligence into question. I have pondered your motivation for shilling for the establishment, which is another question altogether. By contrast, you may recall some eagerness to pull me – personally – into very unattractive positions so that I might be dismissed as a “loon”, ably assisted by your friend Larry.

    I wonder why you want anyone not sharing your establishment position to be considered completely insane, and try to associate them with positions you know are decidedly whacked out – such as the much discredited Protocols, Lizzard people and so on.

    Have you ever disagreed with your side-kick Larry when he’s disparaged others on such matters? Answer – no.

    You want an acceptable position? Let me offer one – be honest about these subjects, instead of sitting on the sidelines on one half of this “debate”, and viciously attacking on the other, then pretending to be impartial!

  • angrysoba

    Well, I don’t see anything substantial enough to reply to there Glenn, except your claim that THERE ARE crazy ideas such as the Protocols and lizards etc…

    Again, you feel that you know where you can draw the line and tell people who believe in those things that they are loons but tell me that I cannot call people loons for their beliefs.

    It’s another double standard Glenn.

    “I called that fat Nazi Aaronovitch just that because (iirc) Mr. Murray had referred to the bastard in precisely those terms on this very blog, and I considered it a very fair description.”

    Oh yes, so he did:

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/david_aaronovitch/article3227701.ece

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Thanks, Angrysoba. That’s fascinating about the schools. My in-laws used to live in Nottingham. I once experinced the sort of ‘Clockwork Orange’ mentality from youths in a middle class suburban area of Nottingham – Wollaton – when I came across the victim of a road traffic crash on a dual carriageway there. Their behaviour was disgraceful. But of course, as you say, it’s something common to many cities nowadays, sadly.

    My colleague, the writer, Michael Gardiner used to teach English Literature at the University of Tokyo – he’s now at Warwick University, I think. Some of the stories in his book, ‘Escalator’ were set in Japan. You might enjoy them!

    http://www.birlinn.co.uk/author/details/Michael-Gardiner-710/

  • angrysoba

    Thanks for the recommendation. I’ll look out for his book (the title somehow sounds familiar).

    If you’re looking for Japanese novelists then I recommend the Kafka-esque Kobo Abe (“Woman in the Dunes”) or Shusaku Endo (“Silence”). If you want to read something very dark and bleak you could try Osamu Dazai (“No Longer Human”). Actually, all three authors are pretty dark.

    For commentary on Japan, my favourite authors are Ian Buruma and the travel writer Alan Booth. Unfortunately most of their books are a bit dated now (especially Booth’s as he died more than twenty years ago) but they both cover a lot of ground in an entertaining way.

  • angrysoba

    Glenn: “You want an acceptable position? Let me offer one – be honest about these subjects, instead of sitting on the sidelines on one half of this “debate”, and viciously attacking on the other, then pretending to be impartial!”

    Glenn, I’m not sure I understand what that position is.

    On the thread that shall not be named I think I made it clear what my position was rather than pretending to be impartial. I made one of the first posts on there explaining what I believed and why. I don’t know what I could say that was more reasonable than that.

  • glenn

    AS: I thought your position was to be in total agreement with the establishment view? If not, my apologies, but you certainly give that impression.

    My crazy, whacked-out “loon” conspiracy theory is that I don’t know what happened. I’ve heard plenty of theories, all of which sound rather implausible and lack the required proof, sounding rather too convenient and serving the agenda of those promoting the explanation. A proper inquiry, impartially and openly conducted would be the best way forward, rather than in secret by establishment stooges.

    Why you get so ticked off at someone holding that position is not that clear.

    Best to leave it at that (on this thread at least) with your permission… I fear we are drifting way off topic.

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