Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Gosh, how'd they do that?

I will be disconnected from Your Intertubes for a few days, probably until Sunday unless I happen to stumble across a portal to the placeless space.

Meanwhile, all I got is that while Your Intertubes really are pretty magical, after a long day of thinking too hard about stuff you really don't care about, while trying to expend an hour or so of unneeded consciousness I got caught watching a TV show which purported to be finding the greatest magician. I watched out of the fascination associated with a train wreck. The competitors consisted of uncharismatic performers doing the stupidest, crappiest tricks I have ever seen in my life. I wouldn't put up with that degree of idiocy at a third grade birthday party.

Here's one of the amaaaaaazzzzing illusions. The magician asks his assistant what kind of a sweet she would like. She says a chocolate chip cookie. He has her reach into the bag which has been sitting open in front of her on a table for the past five minutes and -- TA DA! -- it's a chocolate chip cookie. Are people really stupid enough that they're sitting there baffled?

But then I remembered how we got into Iraq. Dick Cheney would tell the New York Times that Saddam Hussein had Weapons of Mass Destruction™; the New York Times would print on its front page that according to anonymous senior administration officials, Saddam Hussein had Weapons of Mass Destruction™; Dick Cheney would go on TV and say, "See, you don't have to believe me if you don't want to, it's in the New York Times!" Then all of the members of Congress, the talking heads, and your Uncle Fred started screaming and yelling, "Saddam Hussein has Weapons of Mass Destruction™! You don't have to believe the Bush administration if you don't want to -- it's in the New York Times!"

So the magic trick is we're supposed to believe that the magician's assistant isn't working for the magician. Why would anybody believe that? Maybe because they want to be bamboozled.

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