Friday, August 27, 2010

CombatWords! August 27, 2010: Hypocrisy

CombatWords! August 27, 2010: Hypocrisy

The September 2010 edition of National Geographic had a photo of a pair of lemur heads floating in a bowl of soup. After my outrage settled into sorrow, I considered a quote from the article: “But some people here don't know or care. The Malagasy who don't live near tourist areas think that lemurs are just for the vatzaha [white people]—they don't see the benefits.” James Fenimore Cooper wrote about a long extinct America—filled with enormous flocks of birds; Europe used to be a gigantic tangle of forest roots and Japan was a rainforest: it seems rather hypocritical to judge the devastation the Malagasy inflict on Madagascar's forests and wildlife given how rich countries are the end-consumers of the looting. I'm sure I've accidentally bought rainforest wood. So I'm willing to admit my hypocrisy in judging those who deforest the island; but what of their hypocrisy? Do our two positions negate each other? “Why should I do anything? You should stop first!” Hypocrisy is everywhere; in fact, it's wedded to the human condition. Given the way the world's jerks force the rest of us into collusion with them, who can really claim to be free of hypocrisy? And yet, does that prevent you from making a moral or ethical judgment? Does hypocrisy negate your own position? And if we accept there are gradients of hypocrisy, then how are we to measure them... and is that a waste of time? Hypocrisy is the point at which belief conflicts with action. You can take this in a moral/ethical direction, or you can celebrate hypocrisy as just another human trait.

Combat Expiration: August 30, 2010; 12am PST

Critique Expiration: August 31, 2010; 12am PST

Bonuses: +1/hour before August 28, 2010; 12am PST. Max Bonus +5.

The Rules:

Also, there's a magazine called which is basically doing the same thing we are. Their deadline is August 28, 12pm, PST and I urge combatants to submit their finished compositions. This is their inaugural edition and several of you should be able to easily make it in there (if they have any sense of decent literary standards). So consider this your own reward for a good combat. Now Fight!

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