Measured Against Reality

Monday, August 04, 2008

Sexual Harasser acted "gallantly", gotta love Russia

This is priceless:

A Russian advertising executive who sued her boss for sexual harassment lost her case after a judge ruled that employers were obliged to make passes at female staff to ensure the survival of the human race.

The judge said he threw out the case not through lack of evidence but because the employer had acted gallantly rather than criminally.

"If we had no sexual harassment we would have no children," the judge ruled.

That's pretty unbelievable. Imagine the furor if that happened in this country. Although, if we had a declining population, who knows what madness would ensue.

The Banality of Evil

Read this. It's about the motivation for keeping the spying program alive and detainees in prison despite their almost certain uselessness and innocence (respectively). I'll wait.

All done? Noam's comment:

I mean, it's just fricking grotesque. You're tempted to call it Bond villain-esque, except in this case Cheney's evil seems more banal than Bond-ian.

reminded me of Philip Zimbardo's The Lucifer Effect. One of the key takeaways from that book was the notion of "the banality of evil", that normal people placed in terrible conditions can do terrible, evil things despite being utterly mundane, completely boring, and banal. We think that it takes some great evil power to do great evil, but in reality it just takes a bunch of normal guys in an absurd situation.

Although in this case it was self-made. I'm currently reading The Dark Side by Jane Mayer, (buy it, buy it now), and I just finished the part about how the paranoia and fear infected the administration after 9/11, and how a few guys hijacked the national security agenda and made it into a tool for torture, just because they were convinced it was Necessary. It's all so bureaucratic, so inane, so banal, that it's infuriating. It's like watching Generation Kill (which, by the way, you should also be doing), at times it makes you gasp with horror, and it makes your blood boil. But knowing the whole infuriating story is absolutely essential, lest we repeat