Saturday: Hili dialogue

June 12, 2021 • 6:30 am

Welcome to Saturday, June 12, 2021: National Peanut Butter Cookie Day. It’s also World Gin Day, National Rosé Day (the wine), National Jerky Day, Loving Day (celebrating the 1967 Supreme Court decision of Loving v. Virginia, striking down laws against interracial marriage), World Day Against Child Labour, Superman Day (celebrating the release of the 2013 movie), and Red Rose Day (the flower). 

News of the Day:

First, the results of yesterday’s poll about whether Wokeism will hurt the Democrats in the mid-term elections of in 2024. The overwhelming majority (84%) said “yes it will”, a result that surprised me:

The news is pretty boring, but perhaps, after the drama of the last year, that’s not a bad thing. Biden is in England meeting with Boris, but he also had dinner with the Queen and is having tea with her at Windsor Castle before heading on to the Big Summit with Putin. Merrick Garland is doubling the number of investigators in the Justice Department’s “voting rights” unit, trying to ensure that the spate of new state laws restricting voting doesn’t violate any federal law.

A piece in the NYT by environmental writer Emma Marris, “The case against zoos,” happens to be a piece I largely agree with. I think their educational function is minimal (people go to gawk, not to learn) as is their conservation function (almost no animals are bred for release, and what we learn about them from captivity is almost nil). It’s cruel to animals to isolate them in jails where they can’t exercise the behaviors and desires instilled by their genes. We’ve all seen animals behaving neurotically in zoos, pacing back and forth and doing repetitive movements—a sure sign of captivity-induced distress.  Maybe we could have zoos for some animals, like insects, that probably don’t suffer much in a decent captivity, but people go to zoos to see tigers and bears, not insects. This also goes for aquaria, especially those that display mammals like beluga whales and dolphins.  Marris makes a convincing case. Education and conservation can, I suspect, be done equally well through lectures and videos, and no animal gets neurotic or traumatized.

An article in City Journal by Abigail Shrier, When the State Comes for your Kids”, paints a scary picture of how youngish teenagers can leave their homes and go to shelters where they receive “gender affirmation” if they have feelings of being transsexual. And it’s damn hard to get your kid back, even if you’re legally entitled to. The laws that allow children to do this are pretty lax and take effect when the kids are pretty young, especially in California, Oregin, and Washington.  (h/t: Luana)

Meanwhile, over at HuffPost the clicking is deafening:

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 599,510, an increase of 413 deaths over yesterday’s figure. We will pass 600,000 deaths this weekend. The reported world death toll is now 3,801,848, an increase of about 12,200 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on June 12 includes:

  • 1240 – At the instigation of Louis IX of France, an inter-faith debate, known as the Disputation of Paris, starts between a Christian monk and four rabbis.
  • 1776 – The Virginia Declaration of Rights is adopted.
  • 1817 – The earliest form of bicycle, the dandy horse, is driven by Karl von Drais.

Here’s a “drasine” (the other name for a dandy horse), which was ridden by pushing yourself along with your feet. I guess it’s marginally more efficient than walking. As expected, however, the craze for these things didn’t last long. The chain-driven model wasn’t devised until 1885.

Here’s a trailer for that horror film:

  • 1939 – The Baseball Hall of Fame opens in Cooperstown, New York.
  • 1942 – Anne Frank receives a diary for her thirteenth birthday.

Here’s the outside of her diary, and two pages; it’s in the possession of the Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam:

Evers was murdered by a white supremacist who wasn’t convicted until nearly 30 years after the murder. Here’s his grave; he died at 37. Note the stones on top; a sign of remembrance. Because he was a veteran, he’s buried in Arlington National Cemetery.


Here’s Mandela’s cell at Robben Island Prison, where he spent nearly all his 27 years in captivity. Note that he slept on the floor.

credit: Jeff Overs/BBC News & Current Affairs via Getty Images

Here’s the rollout and takeoff of the Gossamer Albatross:

Here’s Reagan’s famous demand:

  • 1991 – Russians first democratically elected Boris Yeltsin as the President of Russia.
  • 1994 – Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman are murdered outside Simpson’s home in Los Angeles. Her estranged husband, O.J. Simpson is later charged with the murders, but is acquitted by a jury.
  • 2016 – Forty-nine civilians are killed and 58 others injured in an attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida; the gunman, Omar Mateen, is killed in a gunfight with police.
  • 2017 – American student Otto Warmbier returns home in a coma after spending 17 months in a North Korean prison and dies a week later.

Notables born on this day include:

Part of a self-portrait of Schiele I took in Vienna in 2012:

  • 1892 – Djuna Barnes, American novelist, journalist, and playwright (d. 1982)
  • 1899 – Weegee, Ukrainian-American photographer and journalist (d. 1968)

Weegee specialized in photos of the seamier side of New York. But many of his most famous photos were staged, like this, perhaps his most famous photo. Caption from Wikipedia: “Marie Muller Kavanaugh, Elizabeth Wharton Drexel, and an unnamed observer, photographed by Weegee at the old Metropolitan Opera House on November 22, 1943. Photo: Weegee/Courtesy of International Center of Photography.”

  • 1924 – George H. W. Bush, American lieutenant and politician, 41st President of the United States (d. 2018)
  • 1929 – Anne Frank, German-Dutch diarist; victim of the Holocaust (d. 1945)
  • 1933 – Eddie Adams, American photographer and journalist (d. 2004)

Here’s Eddie Adams’s most famous photo, of the execution of a Viet Cong prisoner, a photo that won the Pulitzer Prize:

Adams’ photograph of Nguyễn Ngọc Loan executing Nguyễn Văn Lém on February 1, 1968
  • 1941 – Chick Corea, American pianist and composer (d. 2021)
  • 1962 – Jordan Peterson, Canadian psychologist, professor and cultural critic

Those whose life drew to an end on June 12 include:

  • 1957 – Jimmy Dorsey, American saxophonist, composer, and bandleader (The Dorsey Brothers and The California Ramblers) (b. 1904)
  • 1963 – Medgar Evers, American soldier and activist (b. 1925)
  • 1972 – Edmund Wilson, American critic, essayist, and editor (b. 1895)

Here’s Wilson, a fantastic critic and writer, and one of my literary heroes. Here’s a tidbit from Wikipedia:

Throughout his career, Wilson often answered fan mail and outside requests for his time with this form postcard:

“Edmund Wilson regrets that it is impossible for him to: Read manuscripts, write books and articles to order, write forewords or introductions, make statements for publicity purposes, do any kind of editorial work, judge literary contests, give interviews, conduct educational courses, deliver lectures, give talks or make speeches, broadcast or appear on television, take part in writers’ congresses, answer questionnaires, contribute to or take part in symposiums or ‘panels’ of any kind, contribute manuscripts for sales, donate copies of his books to libraries, autograph books for strangers, allow his name to be used on letterheads, supply personal information about himself, supply photographs of himself, supply opinions on literary or other subjects”.

  • 2003 – Gregory Peck, American actor and political activist (b. 1916)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn: Hili and Szaron inform Andrzej and Malgorzata that they can’t use the chairs on the porch today.

Hili: You can sit on the steps.
Szaron: It’s the only solution.
In Polish:
Hili: Możecie usiąść na schodach.
Szaron: To jest jedyne rozwiązanie.

Posted by Seth Andrews. Should be called “Regrets nobody has.”

With apologies to my colleague Neil Shubin, one of the discoverers of Tiktaalik:

From Fat Cat Art, captioned, “You know what I need.”:

From Titania, directed at a person—Charlotte Clymer—who thinks that Iran is gay-friendly. LOL; it’s not: gender-changing surgeries are subsidized so that gay people (who are committing capital crimes in Iran) can officially change their sex and thus are no longer engaging in illegal sexual activity with someone of the same sex. This is “trans-affirming” medical care only to ignorant westerners. And it’s the only way that gay people can legally have sex.

A tweet from Ginger K. Like Ibram Kendi, Robin DiAngelo tries to avoid debating her views at all costs—even if that cost is to deprive poor kids of aid:

From Simon. E. O. Wilson turned 92 two days ago. Here’s a great quote from him that I hadn’t heard. Clearly he’s referring to the wrong species being humans, but the “right ones” presumably the social insects, most probably ants.

Tweets from Matthew. First, a potted cat:

These aren’t real French trams; they’re video creations of Ia Padgham, and very good ones!

Crikey, I didn’t know that crocodiles could walk so. . . .upright!

I’ve seen this photo before, and always wondered what happened to the cat:

36 thoughts on “Saturday: Hili dialogue

  1. No wonder Robin DiAngelo won’t debate Ayaan Hirsi Ali – she doesn’t get out of bed for chump change like $22,712!

    1. It would also be too embarrassing for Robin DiAngelo if her ideas about systemic racsims turned out to be pipe dreams in an open debate with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, whom I consider far more self-confident and intelligent. The empress would be naked.

    2. Moreover, it’s for a charity, not herself.
      I would not like to be shredded (which is in all probability how it would end, Ayaan shredding Robin) for $ 22.000, either for myself or for charity, either.
      I can understand why DiAngelo will not engage Hirsi Ali. It is not all about the Benjamin, at least not directly. (indirectly it is, of course: DiAngelo risks losing hundreds of thousands after being shredded, it might destroy her racket).

    3. I wouldn’t do something like that on principle. It’s extortion.

      Imagine if a creationist organisation raised some money that they said they would give to charity if Jerry were to debate Ken Ham in public. Would we be criticising Jerry for not accepting the invitation?

      It’s a blatant cheap trick.

  2. “1987 – Cold War: At the Brandenburg Gate, U.S. President Ronald Reagan publicly challenges Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall.” At least he didn’t declare he was a doughnut (although he was reputedly 50% Twinkie bar, if I recall correctly).

  3. The “wrong species” referred to in the E. O. Wilson quote is actually Homo sapiens. He was commenting on the fact that communism may sound wonderful in the abstract, but leads to mass death, tyranny and oppression whenever it’s put into practice.

  4. 1. I think the alligator is walking like that because (1) the pavement is very hot (2) its foot cushioning is very thick (3) its belly is relatively sensitive.

    2. Zoos : It is a very sad scenario. I can admit to enjoying the fantasy of a safari in the convenience of part of one afternoon well-ensconced in the comforts of daily life. I am convinced the zoos exist because of parents that need to bring kids out in the world to see things – and pay for it. For all the great things to come from that day – because that is what it is, a day’s experience at most – what about the remaining 364 days? It is unreasonable to hold animals for that one family to visit that one day out of the year – while the zoo is the last thing on the family’s minds the rest of it. I guarantee that family will find other things to do, and will not be deprived of an important life-changing experience they cannot find any other way. Perhaps an ultra-humane zoo could be designed. Or a reduced capacity zoo – but I do not see it happening. The cash flow I think forces them to go bigger and bigger. There are great programs where trained personnel bring animals to events to share them – nice, small, reasonable animals – it gives families arguably a better experience with less upkeep – more efficient. It appears to me that aquariums are less inhumane. I suppose it is the tree of life telling me that.

    3. There needs to be a better word for the -ism which is “woke” – The Elect is still viable I think, but … it seems a reduction of identity and victimhood/special treatment. The term “woke” itself I need to look up – it sounds like a careless, hip term to use making the music over drinks at a gathering.

  5. Didn’t read the original article, but aren’t zoos also just… fun? That factor should be weighed too I feel. The educational value may be minimal but it’s still there. I don’t really believe in the conservation thing either but in most zoos the animals seem well cared for and relatively happy.

      1. Yes, a nile crocodile, which could be seen from it’s snout, even without the geographical reference.
        Note, crocodilians can outrun you with their ‘high walk’ , but not over long distances. The Indian mugger crocs are reputed for their ‘high walk;’

    1. If Martians were to observe a prison, they would conclude that the “animals” in their cages “seem well cared for and relatively happy”.

      If they’re so happy, why do you see so many neurotic behaviors in zoos? I’ve seen it all my life.

      1. There are zoos and zoos. I think that eg Frans de Waal made some great study of chimpanzees in Burgers zoo in Arnhem. There is this trend among zoos to become more interested in preservation and study, as opposed to be a kind of large collection. A good development I’d say.
        In some zoos it is the public that walks through a ‘tunnel-cage. There are zoos that are basically catering for animals rescued from dreadful imprisonment too, ‘sanctuary zoos’.
        I’m not sure, but the real animal, especially if seen close, is not an experience that does not affect children, at least it did this one.

      2. Yeah, I remember seeing the famous polar bear in Central Park Zoo just swimming back and forth endlessly, obviously just bored out of his mind and confined to a tiny environment. It was an eye-opening moment. It was just like a human walking back and forth in a jail cell–which I have seen in person. It’s a shame, because I did always tend to go to zoos hoping to learn things (which I did) as a kid, and later, but there are other ways to learn and it’s obviously maddening for the animals.

      3. Aquariums too. I once noted to a volunteer that the faces of some rock fish looked messed up, they replied that the fish swim into the glass head first and break their jaws frequently. Which is, indeed, messed up. Even supposed ‘good zoos’ are problematic, in my opinion. With summer concert series and the like – how is that not stressful to the poor inhabitants?

      1. Many years ago, on a visit to Sea World in San Diego, I stepped over a cord that read “authorized personnel only” and visited the Orca pool by myself after the last “show”. One of the Orcas swam right over, and commenced swimming alongside me as I walked around the pool, periodically rearing up out of the water to flash a great, 3-foot toothy grin and direct a series of clicks and whistles at me.

        After 10 or 15 minutes of this colloquy, I purchased some herring (meant for feeding to seals) from a vending machine nearby and tossed it to my new, large friend. Being unfamiliar with Whale, I never understood the Orca’s conversation, but I suspect it was saying that our new friendship was so intense that it would just like to eat me, as if I were a seal on an ice floe.

        1. I suspect the Orca was saying, “You know I could eat you right now, don’t you? Perhaps you should buy me some herring.” Luckily, you’re intuition saved the day. 😉

    1. Section 13 is what you are referring to, I guess. Pretty unkind to the professional army, I;d say. I think that the SC should indeed consider this when going over the 2nd amendment. Heller vs DC is a travesty,

  6. Wonderful photos, especially the diary given to Anne Frank. One of the most important books I read as an early teen, seeing the physical book was a jolt. Makes me regret not visiting the museum when I was last in Amsterdam.

    A conflict over the zoos – I agree that they are detrimental to animals but the grandkids sure enjoy it. Overall I don’t think the thrill it gives children is worth the animals having to give up their natural habitats.

    And I agree with the survey results! Whether a person is black, trans, queer, or boomer ugly, we all need to eat and breathe decent air. Infrastructure and poverty reduction (I was an Andrew Yang supporter and support Universal Basic Income although that is probably a too “woke” concept) need to be the focus of Democrats.

  7. It sounds good that US AG Merrick Garland is doubling the staff devoted to looking at states’ new voter suppression laws but, AFAIK, they can only go after those laws that clash with federal law. Since voting is pretty much left up to the states, notwithstanding the Biden admin being able to pass HR 1 or other federal level voting laws, is there really much they can do? It seems like an empty gesture, though perhaps it has a small amount of symbolic value.

    1. If you just start with a look at the 15th amendment and follow on with the civil rights bill of 64 I think, it kind of provides most of what you need to go after all the crap these states are doing. It would have been much easier if the racist supreme court had not taken part of the voter’s rights away a few years back.

      1. I’m pretty sure the GOP wrote their new voting laws without explicitly mentioning any group of voters covered by these laws. Can their admissions on true intent revealed on open mics be used in court cases against them? Probably not effectively. If SCOTUS can decide that racism in voting is no longer a problem, do we really have a chance here?

  8. Anne Frank died in February or March, 1945,
    in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp,
    definitely not on her birthday in June,
    by which time the concentration camps had
    been liberated.

  9. Re Zoos. In the 80’s I visited Omaha’s Henry Doorley(sp) Zoo. They had a number of large cats. While standing outside the marked area two women climbed over the barrier supposedly to see the cats better. These cats were tigers. They got close to the wire enclosure and acted as you can imagine. MS. Tiger did not appreciate that.. She turned around and sprayed them. Needlessly to say the women were all sorts of complainers.

    Re communism. When in high school Joe McCarthy scared me witless with his everybody’s a communist. So when I went to nursing school, old term I know, I went to St. Anthony’s in Rockford. While in class the nun teacher told us that nuns were communists, in the best of ways of course. Shook me up a bit.

  10. Here’s [Edmund] Wilson, a fantastic critic and writer, and one of my literary heroes.

    Wilson had a famous feud with his erstwhile buddy Vladimir Nabokov over the former’s criticism of the latter’s English translation of Pushkin’s book-length poem “Eugene Onegin,”

    They ain’t makin’ literary feuds like they used to. Heck, they ain’t makin’ literary figures like they used to. Gone are the days when serious novelists and critics were as well-known in their way as ballplayers. Everyone’s too busy tweeting and posting of Facebook, I suppose.

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