The BBS Lounge

Well it’s Jonathan Nolan so it’s not like we actually know whether he’s dead or not :slight_smile:

I am having way too much fun in the Sandwich topic.

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gah, how did I miss that topic until now, there’s so much win in there. :smiley:


Not enough flagging for obscenity?


Not any more.

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I’m uncertain whether Terry Pratchett’s “Elves are bad” speech fits better as a reply to this comment or this topic.

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I don’t see it as saying that “elves are bad”, more a reminder that “words have many meanings”. Ironically, it is often descriptivists who insist upon lexical populism rather than lexical pluralism.

I really should focus on taking more photos of our beautiful garden, or our cats, or maybe lunch, or chores, but I’m utterly deflated by the idea that a whole bunch of us are going to struggle on without health coverage, and a sizable fraction of us will die unnecessarily.

What should I do?

  • Photos of garden
  • Photos of cats
  • Recipes
  • Sewing/Quilting/Knitting projects
  • Aquaponics project(s)
  • Die to increase profitabiliity for our corporate overlords
  • Other (please be specific)

0 voters

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Which one don’t you see as saying “Elves are bad?”

If you mean the Pratchett quote, it literally ends with “Elves are bad.”


It kinda does, @popobawa4u. Also, that’s the premise of the book in which the speech appears


Self-care sounds in order, for you, for me, for all the thinking people who are demoralized today.

I want to call my congressperson’s office and tell the kid on the phone that said congressperson should go fuck himself, but I don’t think that would be helpful in the long run.


Yes, but since I have always been painfully aware that the universe (apart from one’s subjective frame of reference) is essentially value-neutral, I don’t find “X is good/bad” to be a meaningful statement. Indeed, what does “bad” even mean in this context? My next questions tend to be “Bad for whom, in what way?” So I can appreciate what they are saying from a lexical and semantic perspective, even if their thesis is not meaningful to me. I respect the methodology by which they got there.

When somebody states their personal judgements as being objective facts, I tend to gloss over it as being an absurdity.

That speech is from a book. A fictional novel, actually, where the author goes to great pains to explain in that novel why the elves are bad.

The speech is basically just saying, “Elves can honestly be described by all of these words. All of these words have positive connotations in today’s speech. That doesn’t mean, though, that the elves are good, as the original connotations of those words were often neutral or negative. In fact, if you are led by those words to think that elves are good, you’re mistaken, because elves are bad.”

“Elves are bad” isn’t the thesis. “None of the above descriptors mean ‘Elves are good’” is the thesis. “Elves are bad” is placed immediately after for contrast.


I can understand that intention while knowing that judgements such as good and bad have no meaning beyond the subjective - as applied to a word, species, or anything else. Words being good or bad in and of themselves, based upon assumed/internalized context, could be seen as a rather stark failure of critical thinking.

So from a non-judgemental perspective, one can see this as a celebration of ambivalence, multivalence, the plurality of language. Since they have no universal meaning, the good/bad of any descriptor says more about the frame of reference of the describer than whatever they claim to be describing.

Knowing that “context is everything” is I think crucial to functional communication. But the trickiest areas I find are where contexts are assumed to be shared for rhetorical purposes which may or not even be conscious, simply because it seems easier. Being willing to deal only with those who can be assumed to share one’s own personal or group context is precisely (for better or worse) the mechanism by which bigotry operates. But even those with egalitarian intentions often lack the patience or faith to unpack the content of those assumptions, and to what extent they may or not be truly shared.


I’m delighted to know this about you, in the context of your having attempted to apply your rule to a Discworld novel. This will save me lots of time in the future, I’m sure.


How is that? I have never read that novel, I am parsing a decontextualized quote. Doesn’t each person who reads the novel also use their own rules of grammar and syntax to parse it for themselves? Or do its intent and meanings somehow bypass reader’s critical faculties and appear reflected fully-formed in their minds?

Run for office. Preferably your local school board, that’s​ the long game.

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I award you a gold cluster on your pedant pendant. Well done!

But I’m depressed now because no more Pratchett. I think I’ll go read that last one I’ve been saving up.


So it comes down to the last game of the season.

If Carlisle United beat Exeter City, we go into the promotion play offs, and play two more games against Exeter City. We’ve only beaten Exeter away four times in 26 matches since 1958, so no pressure there.

If Carlisle United draw, we need to hope that none or only one of Blackpool, Stevenage, Cambridge, Colchester and Wycombe win. Blackpool are playing against Leyton Orient who are lucky to still exist, never mind have a reasonable chance of winning.

If Carlisle United lose, it’s the same as if they draw, except Mansfield Town also have a chance of overtaking us.

Worst case, we finish 11th, about where Carlisle were predicted to finish at the start of the season

Kick off is at 5:30pm BST, because Sky wanted to fuck around with the time of their televised match and the FA wanted all the matches to kick off at the same time.

I haven’t felt this stressed about a football match since May 8th 1999.

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