2004-06-18 22:42

The craft of insult

I was listening to the radio today, and there were a group of "intellectuals" discussing why on a football match, some of the most common insults involve:

  1. Doubting the other fans exclusive dedication to heterosexuality
  2. Declaring that the other fans come from one of our fine neighbouring countries.

Well, they went around the subject, and brought forward stuff like ritual ahem of prisoners of war in ancient eras, and xenophobia, and homophobia, and racism, and insecurity about their own sexual inclinations, and how the anonimity of the mass changes behaviour, and many, many, many other things.

Well, of course, they are stupid morons who shouldn't be allowed to breath near a micropohone, unless they are reading stuff written by someone who is actually thinking.

Those insults are used because they work in their intended context.

What you call someone else, assuming you are willing to say anything doesn't depend on the insulter. It depends on the insulted.

If I think someone will think offense of being called a wooden wind instrument, or a bunch of twigs, and I relly intend to hurt him, well, that insult will work (no, I don't usually do this).

If I think the other guy is a racist and will be deadly offended by suggesting his ancestors sailed fom Norway, well, calling him a Norseman would be effective.

Since the members of a holigan band are pretty much like the members of the other, this means they don't actually believe the other guy is gay, or Icelandic, or whathaveyou, but just that they expect the other guy to get angry, so a nice fight with cycle chains can take place (no, I don't do those things).

In fact, it doesn't even mean that they would get very offended, it's just a bunch of codewords: "they called us tree-fornicators (no, that's not a real insult), let's go bash their faces". It's a ritual.

How can five people babbling for two hours not see those obvious points, I have no idea.

If you want to see if society evolves about race or sex, it's not a matter of noone calling the others by racist or sexist words, it's about those words not hurting.

And that, dear reader, is why political correctness doesn't work worth a damn.

2004-06-18 13:55

Life imitates art. Not too good art, though.

Imagine the most ridiculously over-the-top cliche movie about sports. Here are some of the ingredients, and how last night´s match between Boca and River compares in a 1/10 scale.

  • A bitter rivalry

    9 This is a century-old rivalry, between teams from the same city, who happen to be the most successful and popular teams in the country.

    Trust me, this is serious stuff. So serious, that for security reasons, it was the first time ever in argentine football history that the visiting team´s fans were forbidden from attending the match.

  • It must be an important match

    9 It was a do-or-die affair, it being eliminatory home-and-away, but it was only the semifinal of the most important club tournament possible for them, the Libertadores Cup (S.Am. equivalent of the Champions League).

    It would have been better for this to be the final, but there has never been a same-country final in this tournament (that I know), so this was as good as it gets.

  • A clear favourite

    5 The first match (at Boca´s home) was won by Boca 1-0, but River could have won 2-1 or so, had they been even slightly lucky (Boca´s coach is recognized as the luckiest man on earth by some).

    River had kicked Boca´s butt all over the field a few weeks ago, playing ten times better, but...

    Boca has River´s number, and has had it for ten years or so. Boca has won close, and has won clear, has won at home and away, has won in local, international and friendly matches, has won deservingly and has won by sheer luck. But they have won almost everything for 5 or 6 years, including three of these cups, and two Intercontinental cups against the Champions League winner, so... noone was going to say River was a clear favourite. At all.

  • A hostile environment

    9 The largest hostile crowd in argentine football history. 66000 chanting, bloodthirsty River fans. And in the middle of it, about 20 Boca players, coaches and assistants. Scary stuff.

    It wasn´t Brazil-Uruguay in 1950, but then again, there has never been anything like Brazil-Uruguay in 1950 (and never could be again).

  • Ridiculous suspense.

    9 Boca came 1-0 ahead. River scored, evening the aggregate.

    Boca player ejected. Things look grim for them.

    Then River lost two players in the same play (one ejected, one injured, no replacements available).

    In the 89th minute, Boca scores. They are now ahead.

    In the 94th minute(!) River scores, all even. Penalties.

    The first 8 penalties are scored. It comes down to the last penalty for each team. The river player misses! It all is now in the hands of a single player, and a single kick. Which brings us to...

  • The unlikely hero

    9 The guy is 21. He is not even a regular substitute, but all the regular penalty shooters are for some reason unable to take them, they have been ejected, or replaced, or injured.

    So, he takes it, he scores, Boca wins, and 66000 looks as if someone has played a evil trick with their guts.

Man, I love this game.

2004-06-17 14:57

Would a sock suck if a sock could suck?

Clee: it's really quite simple, IMVHO.

If the goal of planetkde is to syndicate blogs about KDE, then you should only aggregate feeds that are about KDE. The goddess knows mine isn't, except occasinally (you should use this one instead (it is boring and empty, though).

However, if the goal of planetkde is to syndicate the blogs of kde-related people, then you just aggregate them (with the agreement of the blogger) and that's that.

If someone posts something strange or sad or whatever, the others can post replies, encouragements, whatever, and life goes on.

Since it's your site, you are the one that chooses. I would prefer the second approach, though.

2004-06-16 11:21

Very hacked-up qmail

I have been installing qmail servers for a while.

I started by using Buruce Guenter's untroubled qmail+patches RPM set, which was good, but he seems to have abandoned them.

In the last year or so, I have kept working on them, and now they are somewhat more heavily patched.

I have added:

  • quota (bounce over-quota immediately)
  • realrcptto (bounce immediately unexistant addresses)
  • tarpitting (add delays over n recipients)
  • errno patch (to make it build on RH 9 or later)
  • smtp auth+tls (well, smtp auth and TLS ;-)

And miscelaneous changes to the default config so that, for example smtpsuth simply works by default.

I think this is probably the easiest way to install a traditional multi-UID qmail on Red Hat-like systems.

It has been a little (not too much) work, because when you pile patch over patch over patch, usually the third one doesn't apply, and this patchset has 22 patches in it.

But... the qmail source is pretty clean for C!

I think I am going to put it on sf.net or somesuch.

2004-06-15 00:07

From Quicksilver

For no particular purpose, except that it made me laugh loudly on a train:

`[he] tried to mask [the smell] with all the spices and aromatic gums of the East. The place was all a-dangle with small charms, cleverly made in the shape of trees, impregnated with rare perfumes.`

One of the themes of the book is that everything started in the 17th century, you know :-)

2004-06-13 22:59

Lost in Translation, Duplex, Something's gotta give

I saw these three movies in the last 48 hours or so.

Duplex: it's dumb, dark, and the end cheats.

Something's gotta give: If I were Diane Keaton, I would have taken Keanu. If I were Jack Nicholson, I wouldn't have dumped the daughter. However, the concept is cool, and Diane looks damn good.

Now, the sight of Jack Nicholson's butt was completely unnecessary. Now I am so self-conscious I am going to buy a robe. I never imagined anyone could look so bad, and I need to make a habit of hiding my body before it all falls down.

Lost in translation: I want to marry Scarlet Johansson's character. I doubt Mrs. Johansson herself would be half as much fun, although she is obviously just as pretty.

On the other hand, I want to say, make it Suntory time. Now, to the right, with intensity. More Roger Moore!

If you have not seen it, the above paragraph makes no sense. If you did: I want to be him, too. Only younger. And married to her.

I quite liked the movie, even if my date didn't (she says, and she is right, nothing happens in it). Had the movie had a plot, it would be amazing. What is there is good enough it even survives the plotlessness as good.

I suggest Jerry Bruckheimer hires Sofia Coppola. Although he has the worst imaginable taste in directors (the wrong Scott brother! Michael Bay!), he requires all his movies to have a beginning, a middle, and an ending, and that the ending be different from the beginning.

So, if Jerry wants to become a Weinstein-like fellow, and he keeps those requirements, eases up on the explosions, and forces Sofia to hire a writer (if at all possible, the one who wrote "Action!" with Jay Mohr?), man, that is going to be an actual movie, instead of just 2 hours of film.

Oh, you may say, Roberto is crazy! Sofia Coppola is artsy! Bruckheimer is crass!. There is such a thing as too artsy, and definitely, there is such a thing as too crass, but, surprise! There is such a thing as not artsy enough, and, worse of all, not crass enough.

Nowadays, movies fall either on one side or the other, except for some films, very few, vanishingly few. I propose exogamy, because the inbreeding of the artsy and the crass tribes is killing them.

Coming soon (not really): why Kiarostami should direct a Tarantino script.

2004-06-13 04:32


I am a fast reader. Not that I read specially fast, but I read hours and hours, and that way books pile around my bed, under the bathroom's sink, into closets, and on tables, and I have read them.

I hve read the Dune series in a week. The whole works of Heinlein in 20 days. The Lord Of the Rings (and The Hobbit) in a long weekend.

I have been reading Quicksilver for a week now. I am not even 30% done.

Quicksilver is almost 1000 pages long. And they are not the easiest pages, either. I feel like I'm drowning in it, I am being slapped by it, my mind is being raped by a book.

I like it.

My university experience was studying maths, so I am more likely to enjoy this book than most, though.

When you are surrounded by science, if you have even a little of historic sense, you have to wonder: how can it be that I, a reasonably intelligent 20th century guy, have been getting an education for 20 years, and still am quite ignorant, even though I am concentrating on a single field?

Well, after that, if you ever try to do any original scientific work, you have to imagine that those who created modern science were much better than you. Their lifes were shorter, uglier, and they didn't have the books, yet they figured out a huge amount of stuff.

Usually, there's a mitigating factor in that the science they made is simpler than the science to be made now. That doesn't work for one guy. Maybe two.

That one guy is, of course, Newton. And the other is Leibnitz.

If someone invented Leibnitz for a novel, it would be silly. Inventing Newton would be preposterous. So, how come almost noone bothered making them into fictional characters before?

In taking that step, Stephenson shows genius.

I would write all this book brings to mind, but this blog is too small to contain it.

2004-06-12 06:29

Brand new kitten

Yup. A friend of mine just gave me a new one a couple of days ago.

His name is Gandalf (actually, I call it Gan).

What colour is he?

2004-06-08 11:47

Planet KDE suggestion

Boudewijn Rempt's blog is at the link, it has a RSS feed, and he's hacking Krita.

Where can one mail suggestions for planetkde blogs?

2004-06-07 21:17

Clee, why not check bartleblog?

It works, the code is only 50% evil, and supports several blogging interfaces via XMLRPC.

I haven't done anything with it for a while, because I use PyDS's web interface (handier to use remotely), but with some loving, it could become a semi-real app pretty soon ;-)

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