Why a simple approach to parenting will never be attempted outside the home

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Image credit: montage by the author

As many parents learn (but sadly, many more do not), consequences are essential for behavior modification. Clueless parents modify their children’s behavior by accident, for example by yielding to screamed entreaties like “I wanna wanna wanna wanna ice-cream NOW!!!”

Even a very dull-witted child will quickly learn it can get what it wants by pressuring its hapless parent unit in this way.

Equally, if a child is told in advance that a certain behavior will result in a consequence that is meaningful and unwanted by the child, there’s a chance the child will eventually learn to moderate its displays of that particular behavior — but only if the parent actually follows through, every single time, to impose the aforementioned consequence. …


Why the Democratic Party’s attempt to impeach and convict Trump undermines the USA’s most fundamental values

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Good people marching to preserve US values. Image credit: KTLA

Thanks to its majority in the House of Representatives, the US Democratic Party was able to pass a motion earlier this week to impeach Donald Trump for a historic second time. By so doing, the dangerous and radical Democratic Party is seeking to undermine everything the USA has stood for over the last two hundred years.

Naturally, Republican politicians are mostly furious at this shabby attempt to divide the nation — a nation which until the impeachment vote was clearly united under god and ready for everyone to all just get along peacefully. …


How our artifacts say so much about us

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Image credit: DriveWrite Automotive

In 1973 my family and I arrived in Britain. Though my parents were British, I’d spent most of my life up to that point elsewhere, almost exclusively in what were then called third-world countries that nevertheless had the great benefits of warmth and sunshine. Aside from the perpetually dreary gloomy British weather, there didn’t seem to be much difference between the Britain of that time and the other places I’d lived. …


How the differences between US and British humor reveal much about the two nations

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Image credit: Silentology

Due to the fact that people in the USA and people in the UK speak similar languages and for the most part can understand each other tolerably well, there’s a certain amount of cross-cultural interaction that occurs in the realm of popular entertainments. Nowhere is this more true than in the area of comedy: most British people are familiar with at least a few US comic performers and most US citizens are familiar with at least a few British comedy programs.

The question therefore tends to arise: what’s the difference between US and British humor?

One difference arises from those who produce content. British comedy has historically been dominated by graduates from Oxford and Cambridge and therefore aimed solidly at the middle-class. Working-class (blue collar) viewers had to content themselves with Benny Hill, the nearest thing the British have ever produced that resembles generic lowbrow US comedy. In the USA, Hollywood producers and writers aim squarely at the mass market, which means simple formulae and a great deal of very obvious and very labored business. Laugh tracks were pioneered in the USA to ensure that the good folks at home would know when to join in the merriment — they couldn’t be trusted to work it out for themselves. To their eternal shame the British then imported this appalling innovation, which is why so many British productions of the 1970s and 1980s have grating laughter interrupting the humor on an annoyingly regular basis. …


What really “saved” US democracy on 6th January 2021

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Image credit: Dawn

There’s nothing better than a nice juicy sensation to attract people’s limited attention and thereby generate wholesome ad revenues. Sure, SARS-COV2 is the gift that keeps on giving, but even a misinformed and terrified populace can grow tired of the same old scare stories day after day, week after week, month after month. And it’s tiring for journalists to keep looking for ever-more-unlikely edge cases with which to frighten small children and their screen-addicted parents.

So the events of January 6th 2021 were most welcome. We got to stare at a different kind of sensation as mindless Trumpists waddled and pushed their way into the Capitol building while clueless security forces sometimes aided and sometimes attempted to oppose the drooling howling mob. Best of all, the purposeless temporary invasion didn’t actually change anything, so there was all the joy of spectacle without any of the pain of consequences. …


The USA’s orange flim-flam salesman talks to the press before eating more junk food aboard Airforce One

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Image credit: ClickOnDetroit

The question? What? What do we think of…?

I’ve been saying for years, decades, you can read my, they’re the most analyzed, journalists have, I saw it on TV myself, we have the best ratings, people are very angry. It’s a huge mistake, very dividing the country, I’ve been telling people for years we need to look into the tech companies, they have too much power. I’ve always said, where was their conscience when the other guy, you know who we’re talking about, was supporting terrorists? Did they talk about blocking when Adrian Lincoln divided our great nation? Did they block Jim Washinghood because of all the fighting? …


How modern technologies make it easy to become Supreme Leader

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Image credit: NY Daily News

Smartphones. The Internet. Information flowing freely, accessible to all. What’s not to love?

I mean, not that long ago, if you wanted to become Dictator For Life and Supreme Leader of All You Survey, you’d need to get a significant number of heavily-armed people behind you, buy or start your own newspaper, radio show, and TV channel, and frankly be something of an organizational genius. You’d need to be ruthless and have a loyal inner circle ready to do your bidding at a moment’s notice.

No wonder so few people bothered to take over their countries! Such a hassle!

Fortunately today things are a lot easier thanks to all those lovely technologies mentioned above. Now practically anybody can become Supreme Leader if they want to! This is truly democracy in action! …


Condemning the events of 6th January in Washington DC

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Image credit: Politico

Hello, good evening, and welcome.

First let me say how shocked we all were to see the awful events that occurred last week in the capital of our greatest ally, a nation with whom we’ve had a close and special relationship since before my nanny fed me my first slice of hot buttered toast.

I know the events we all saw on television have shocked the good people of the United Kingdom, especially as for the past four years the British government has had a firm policy of toadying to President Trump and refusing to criticize him in any way. …


The right way to heal our great nation

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Image credit: BBC News

First of all I want to say how disappointed I am in our great nation. Fine people were peacefully protesting against a stolen election and suddenly the left-wing socialist media pretends there’s a riot and of course blames it all on the greatest President this nation has ever had.

It’s shameful.

Everyone knows all those protesters were really antifa dressed up in MAGA hats. The left-wing media just wants to silence the voices of truth and patriotism. …


Doing my part to contribute to the advancement of knowledge…

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Image credit: CNN.com

When it comes to great reference books, a few names stand head and shoulders above others (even though, strictly speaking, names have neither feet nor heads nor shoulders, and thus we must admit the rhetorical flourish is rather strained). Diderot and Samuel Johnson are the pre-eminent names that come to mind; William Chester Minor is perhaps less well-known but was a prolific contributor to the very first Oxford English Dictionary — a work which ultimately became the arbiter ne plus ultra of the English language.

Today the OED comprises over 171,000 words, each with its guide to pronunciation, definitions, and illustrations of usage. But even the most ardent enthusiast of the OED, among whom I certainly count myself, must admit that age hath alas somewhat withered it and custom rather staled its infinite variety. Like a geriatric spinster desperate to remain “relevant” the OED each year announces with great fanfare its most recent incorporation of trendy words (clusterfuck and omnishambles both being perfect synonyms for that other recent neologism Brexit). Yet the addition of a few transiently flickering verbal sequins on the hem of an old Edwardian literary gown do little, in truth, to help sustain the OED as we stumble and squirm through today’s curious world. …

About

Allan Milne Lees

Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.

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