Thursday, January 25, 2007
This has been debated elsewhere on various blogs, most recently in a piece in the Telegraph that was then debated here: http://timworstall.typepad.com/timworstall/2007/01/drunkeness_and_.html#comments.
I find it difficult to express how much I disapprove of the analogy drawn there between a woman who, whilst drunk, "consents" to sex and a women who, whilst drunk, gets into a car and drives or commits an assault. The two things, as I believe some of the comments make clear, are entirely different. And the very fact that comparisons are being made between the active commission of a wrongful act and the passive commission of a non-wrongful act just makes me realise how far down the barrel some of these barrel scrapers are scraping.
I tried to draw what was, in my opinion, a more accurate analogy that was, I thought gender neutral, so as to try to get these (male) commenters into the shoes of the hypothetical drunk woman. The analogy I drew was as follows:
"Here's an alternative scenario to all the "doing bad things when drunk" comparisons - if a person who was drunk went to a doctor and said "doctor, perform this operation on me please", and the doctor did so - would that request be considered to be adeqaute consent to prevent the doctor from being done for assault? What about if the doctor went up to the drunk person and said "may I perform this operation on you please?" and the drunk person said yes, would that be considered consent?"
This was immediately (and, I believe, disingenously) misinterpreted as referring to the stitching of a wound after a drunken accident or emergency surgery carried out on an unconscious person. Again alas, I draw a heavy sigh and attempt to correct what I thought was a perfectly obvious comparison. No, I was not referring to anything necessary or medically beneficial and to think that I was is either a wilful or stupid misinterpretation.
So let me say again, how would you, dear (imaginary) reader feel if you woke up and discovered that a doctor had performed an entirely unnecessary and invasive operation upon you that you couldn't remember. Imagine further if the doctor told you that you had, in your drunkenness, enthusiastically endorsed such an operation, nay, had begged for it. Imagine even further then that you were told by the law and society that you were entirely responsible for your own misfortune and the doctor was entirely blameless. And were then told that your were scurrilously attempting to smear the doctor and should be ashamed of yourself.
Does that sound just and fair?
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
View on the EU
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
Another presidential death
Now, President Niyazov was in the grand old style of ex-Soviet leaders - i.e. utterly nuts and homocidal. In basic model power-hungry-dictator mode he had statues erected to himself. But that was just for starters:
- He published, in 2001 and 2004, parts one and two of the Ruhnama, his own personal religious text book, which he proceeded to press on everything and everyone. Among other things, you needed to know passages of it in order to pass exams, enter state employment and obtain a driving licence.
- In 2001, ballet and opera were banned. The playing of recorded music on television, at public events and at weddings were also banned.
- In 2002, he renamed the months of the year after himself and his mother.
- In 2004, young men were banned from wearing beards or long hair.
- 2004 being a good year for madness of all kinds, he ordered the construction of an ice palace in the desert.
- 2004 still going strong, news readers were banned from wearing makeup.
- In 2005, all rural libraries were closed, on the basis that ordinary Turkmen don't read. Turkwomen, apparently, do not even exist.
- He followed that in the same year with the closure of all hospitals outside the capital. Not only are ordinary Turkmen now illiterate (slightly better than non-existent I suppose), they are now probably dead. But as long as they read their Ruhnama three times, they'll go to heaven, according to the man himself.
- The Turkmen word for bread was replaced with his dead mother's name. No really.
Yes, the man was a fruitloop.
Unfortunately, he also held the fates of 5 million people in his hands. Five million people who should have been rich and prosperous, since their country possesses the fifth largest reserves of natural gas. Of course, they are instead as poor as pigshit, since (in case I haven't made this clear) their leader was a loon.
In addition (but of course) he controlled all the the media, dispensed with elections altogether, oh, and had a nasty habit of "disappearing" his political opponents. While he was at it, he knackered the political infrastructures of the country so much so that his own successor, according to the constitution, was him.
It would be nice to think, would it not, that his death would finally allow Turkmenistan to reinstate some kind of, erm, sanity in their government? But so far, it looks like business as usual. Although presidential elections aren't until February 11, everyone already knows who is going to win. It would also be nice to think that the UK government or the western media could summon up the energy to give a shit, but clearly they won't.
So, here's to the next president of Turkmenistan, Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov. Please don't be as bonkers as your predecessor.