Yes, we’re still unimpressed

Paul Shirley is also more than a little underwhelmed:

As I grew older, I was confused by everyone’s reverence for The Beatles. Curious, I listened, read and researched. Eventually, I had to admit that the band was important and influential. But that didn’t make their music any better. It was predictable, fairly dull and seemed elementary. Because I thought Achtung Baby was better, I listened to Achtung Baby….

I understand that The Beatles are culturally significant and important in the historical progression of rock music. And I understand that they’re talented. But unless you were locked in a time capsule like Brendan Fraser in “Blast From the Past,” they cannot be your favorite band. If you’re younger than 50 and you do make such a claim, you’re either (A) trying to impress someone with what you think will be received as good taste, or (B) woefully behind in your consumption of music.

Shirley obviously thinks a bit more of them than I do. But not much more. Meanwhile, over at the OC’s Friday Challenge, Henry mistakes my contempt for the Baby Boomers for the usual intergenerational irritation, but nevertheless raises an interesting idea about them:

The rap on the Boomers is that we never grew up, never learned that the world didn’t revolve around us. I’ll go ahead and admit that there is some truth to that. I know members of my generation who haven’t ever learned what it means to be a grown up. But I’m also believe no previous generation was quite like the Boomers.

I could go on about all the things in this world that are not the fault of the Boomers, but that is mostly beside the point. The thing that was truly unique about the Boomer generation is that they were far more likely than previous generations to survive into adulthood. There was no major war being fought as they grew up nor the worst depression ever seen by the industrial world. Through out the Boomer’s lives, the country’s wealth was increasing at such a pace that people we now consider poor are living a lifestyle that would have been considered middle class in the 1970s.

Put bluntly, more irresponsible and idiotic Boomers survived to adulthood that any generation before it.

I suspect it has more to do with the mass media myself. But the point is that I don’t despise the Boomers because they are my parent’s generation. I’m completely fine with the idea that tastes change and so forth. What I find annoying is the way the Baby Boomers are the first generation to completely fail to understand that as adults. As I pointed out previously, there is no chance that any Generation X writer is going to be writing headlines about Duran Duran still being cool in 2027.

But if a Baby Boomer survives that long, who can doubt that he’ll still be insisting that The Beatles are the best music that the human race ever managed to produce and Woodstock changed the world. And he’ll be doing it even if the human race is living in underground bunkers hiding from the AI gods ruling over a planet full of psychotic killer robots.

Henry, we’ll make you all a deal. We’ll stop ranting about your generation as soon as your generation will STFU about itself.

Why men lie

Dr. Helen figures it is usually mere self-preservation:

I think that often men lie because they will get a very severe response from women if they tell the truth. For example, if a woman says, “What’s wrong?” and rather than reply, “I’m fine,” the man says, “You are driving me crazy and I need some time away from you,” there is a good chance the woman will make him pay dearly for the remark. I don’t know about you, rather than lies, I think many of these quips are more like self-preservation.

Based on my observations, this is a correct conclusion. Men not only learn to lie readily about their thoughts and feelings, they’re so accustomed to seeing the truth provoke insane rage from women that most of them have developed an instinctual reaction to back up the lies of other men even when they have no idea what is going on.

It’s pretty simple rule that actually applies to both sexes. If you genuinely want the truth, then you can’t react with fury whenever someone gives it to you. And once you’ve taught someone that you really don’t want to hear the truth, you’re not likely to hear it very often. I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong in not wanting to know the truth at all times, so if you suspect that you don’t want to hear it, just leave the matter alone.

A new history

It appears that Sam Harris isn’t the only one attempting to revise history regarding Stalin’s mass murders:

A government-backed drive is promoting textbooks which say his reign of terror was entirely rational and necessary to make Russia great. We visited a school in Volgograd – formerly Stalingrad – and found patriotism and pride for Russia and its pivotal role in the Second World War are still strong. During a history lesson pupils learned about Joseph Stalin the hero – not the villain….

A new law in Russia means that anyone who falsifies the Kremlin’s version of history, for example comparing Stalin with Hitler, may be prosecuted.

So much for Harris’s notion that there is no rational justification for committing mass murder. I wonder if anyone would like to bet that those behind these new laws proclaiming Stalin a rational hero are devout Christians? The astonishing thing is that many of today’s atheists are still so desperate to deny any possible connection between a historical atheist mass murderer and his atheism even as other atheists are actively slaughtering large quantities of religious people for their religious beliefs… despite the fact that this connection has no bearing whatsoever on the existence or nonexistence of God.

Now, as I pointed out in The Irrational Atheist, atheism alone cannot possibly be responsible for turning an individual into a mass slaughterer. The overwhelming majority of atheists will never kill anyone for any reason. But, the disproportional tendency of atheists who find themselves in positions of sufficient power to commit mass slaughter that subsequently engage in it cannot be dismissed as a mere coincidence or irrelevant correlation either. Because atheists practice a morality of one, both logic and history dictate that there always be some who redefine good and evil in a manner that directly contradicts the way it is defined by Christians and more conventionally moral atheists alike.

Mao is a prime example of such an atheist, as he explicitly declared that conventional morality did not apply to him; by his logic, the desire for absolute power was in itself license to exercise it in any manner he saw fit. He concocted a rationalization for his lethal actions long before he committed them in his commentary on Friedrich Paulsen’s A System of Ethics:

“I do not agree with the view that to be moral, the motive of one’s actions has to be benefiting others. Morality does not have to be defined in relation to others. . . . [People like me want to] satisfy our hearts to the full and in doing so we automatically have the most valuable moral codes. Of course there are people and objects in the world, but they are all there only for me. . . . I have my desire and act on it. I am responsible to no one.”
Mao: The Unknown Story p. 15

“I am responsible to no one.” That, right there, explains the intrinsic danger of atheism. The perception of freedom from the invisible shackles of religion that many atheists celebrate is precisely the source of the problem. While this is relatively harmless in the average atheist, it is absolutely lethal in those extraordinary individuals who possess ruthless personalities, exceptional ambitions and utopian visions. And it is telling, too, that like Richard Dawkins and other atheist champions, Mao claimed he not only possessed a moral code, but a moral code that was superior to conventional religious moralities.