Strange But True 43


This comment appeared beneath the Guardian leader on Ned Kelly:

The defrocked ambassador to Uzbekistan , Craig Murray , had an earlier career as a barman in Aviemore. His party piece was somewhat bizarre. He would take a used cardboard box , cut out Ned Kelly style eye and mouth holes in it and then stand on the bar at drinking up time singing “Time to go Home” a la Andy Pandy

He was defrocked from that job too

All true. Strangely, while the Guardian moderators delete a great many references to me, they did not delete this one. In truth, I did not look nearly as ridiculous with a cardboard box on my head as Alan Rusbridger does with that wig on his.


43 thoughts on “Strange But True

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  • KingofWelshNoir

    Jon
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    No disrespect to you, but why do people revere Occam’s Razor so?
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    Is it just because they’ve heard it’s a good thing and never bother to inquire further?
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    It always gets trotted out whenever the subject of conspiracy theory comes up but surely Occam’s principle of seeking the simplest explanation is meaningless when confronted with the smoke and mirrors world of intelligence agencies and their servants? In a world of multi-layered, compartmentalised deep back psyops, I would suggest that 14th Century Friar, William of Occam, is no help at all.
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    Doesn’t Occam’s Razor acquit MacBeth?
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  • Suhayl Saadi

    Did Occam shave?
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    People like Craig are almost certainly deliberately blacklisted. The rest of us are kept in our little niches by the multiple filters of ‘the system’, as I explained earlier.

  • KingofWelshNoir

    Actually, I spoke to William of Occam at a seance recently and he tells me he is a Troofer.

  • vronsky

    “I think you’re of the view that I am discrediting conspiracy theories generally, but I am not”

    Sort of – I felt you were tending towards lazy dismissal of an idea by hanging labels on it. Suhayl, I’m aware of Chomsky’s thesis. I’m sure it’s true in so far as it describes a phenomenon which actually occurs, but that does not preclude the possibility that planning and intent (i.e. conspiracy) also occur – Chomksy seems somehow averse to this idea, I have no idea why. And KOWN is right about Occam’s Razor – too often it’s another lazy exit from debate. There’s an interesting discussion here which makes the important points better than I could:

    http://www.weburbia.com/physics/occam.html

    Extract:

    “The law of parsimony is no substitute for insight, logic and the scientific method. It should never be relied upon to make or defend a conclusion. As arbiters of correctness only logical consistency and empirical evidence are absolute.”

  • MR Bill

    @ Tom Welsh: sadly the quote is from “The Peter Principle” (1969), p. 69, by Laurence F. Peter and Raymond Hull. Peter attributes the quote to a student of his named Innocente.
    The “putting us on” part was the tipoff..

    And the fellow in the bad rug makes me wonder if it’s not a demonic hairpiece from Hell Toupee..

  • Suhayl Saadi

    “Chomsky seems somehow averse to this idea, I have no idea why” Vronsky.
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    Because Chomsky, of MIT, also has his limitations, his boundaries, and has been criticised for these.

  • Vronsky

    “a conspiracy (which by definition are not widespread)”
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    I don’t want to bore on about this too much (I’m sure you all know where I’m coming from) but I’m certainly not aware of any definition of ‘conspiracy’ that entails rarity of the phenomenon – history suggests that in politics at least they are commonplace, to the point of being the norm – a conspiracy is simply an undisclosed plan.
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    If something is not a conspiracy (no one planned it) then it’s just an accident. We need the moral angle, though – to be more complete: a conspiracy is a covert plan to do harm (9/11, whoever you regard as responsible) or an overt plan to do harm cloaked by spurious justifications (Libya). Such things are rare? Wishful thinking.

  • KingofWelshNoir

    It’s amazing how an automatic knee-jerk hostility to conspiracy theory has become the badge of intellectual distinction in the media. ‘I’m not going to indulge in conspiracy theory’ they say with the word conspiracy intoned in the same tone of voice as for paedophile or holocaust denier.
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    ‘Deployed in public discourse to discredit and silence those who express suspicions of elite criminality, the label [Conspiracy Theory] functions, rhetorically, to shield political elites from public interrogation.’
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    Lance deHaven Smith, American Behavioural Scientist Volume 53, no. 6
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    Amen.

  • vronsky

    “an automatic knee-jerk hostility to conspiracy theory has become the badge of intellectual distinction in the media.”
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    Precisely. It’s an attempt to make disinterested observation inadmissable as evidence. The Emperor’s New Clothes is one of the wisest stories ever told – let’s do our best to make sure that that sort of folly is confined to the media and doesn’t appear here.

  • Jon

    > Sort of – I felt you were tending towards lazy dismissal of an idea by hanging labels on it.
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    I saw that coming a mile off, which is why I denied it earlier. I agree with deHaven Smith’s quote completely, as it happens. I used the word in its pure meaning, but you carried out the same misreading you don’t like in others. Eek!

  • Jon

    Occam at a seance, now that would be a thing. It reminds me of a Mark Thomas’ stand-up piece, in which he recounts the tale of Winston Churchill being summoned by a medium in Paddington Police Station – to ascertain the details necessary to hold a demonstration. As Eddie Izzard would say: true story! (Really, it is!)

  • OldMark

    ‘Deployed in public discourse to discredit and silence those who express suspicions of elite criminality, the label [Conspiracy Theory] functions, rhetorically, to shield political elites from public interrogation.’

    Tony Blair, unsurprisingly, gave a textbook example of this gambit when he dismissed Dennis Skinner as a ‘conspiracy theorist’ at a PMQ session in early 2003, just prior to the Iraq invasion.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-155149/Labour-MPs-heckle-Blair-Iraq.html

  • vronsky

    “you carried out the same misreading you don’t like in others. Eek!”
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    I lived for a long time in the town of Dumbarton. We had ‘worthies’ back then, eccentrics who embroidered the backcloth of our community. Such embarrassments were soon mopped up by various social policies, some enlightened, some less so. We had a wee chap called Eek McNeil – nicknamed from the only word he could say. He liked to use his walking stick as a sword and would jump out and confront people, loudly and aggressively declaiming ‘Eek!’ We knew he was harmless, but sometimes a stranger would make a complaint and as you know the police must always act on a complaint. One day Eek was arrested to appear in the sheriff court, charged with a description of his actions on the previous day. The local newspaper reported in its court column (with quite untypical accuracy) that ‘when cautioned, the accused said “Eek!”
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    A bit like this:
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    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTQfGd3G6dg

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