Monthly Archive for February, 2009

Stanford Prison Experiment (What do you add to the script?)

Everyone was acting out a part and playing a role: prisoners, guards, staff … everyone was acting out a part. It’s when you start contributing to the script. That’s you, and thus you should take responsibility …

Prisoner 416, of the Stanford Prison Experiment*

From wikipedia:

The Stanford prison experiment was a study of the psychological effects of becoming a prisoner or prison guard. The experiment was conducted in 1971 by a team of researchers led by Psychology Professor Philip Zimbardo at Stanford University. Twenty-four undergraduates were selected out of 70 to play the roles of both guards and prisoners and live in a mock prison in the basement of the Stanford psychology building.

From the Professor Zimbardo’s website about the experiment:

What happens when you put good people in an evil place? Does humanity win over evil, or does evil triumph? These are some of the questions we posed in this dramatic simulation of prison life conducted in the summer of 1971 at Stanford University.

* Debates on “free will” aside, I do believe in subjective free will, and always holding people accountable for their actions. Prisoner 416’s statement sums it up perfectly for me.

A hostal Torrente would be proud of

Looking for cheap accommodation in Madrid, I came upon the webpage for Hostal Tijcal, which informs us IN ALL CAPS that “FROM THE HOSTEL YO CAN VISIT ALL THE CENTER” and that it is close to “TYPICAL BARS TO GO ON TAPAS”. This useful webpage has a photo gallery which shows us that upon entering the magisterial interior of Hostal Tijcal, we will be bombarded with heroic displays of Spanish nationalism. There is also a clock at the bottom of the page which informs us of the time to the second, and that it is the year 109.

Hero or Criminal?*

Micheal Phelps is the world champion swimmer who wiped out the rest of the mere mortals at last summer’s Olympics in Beijing, garnering eight gold medals. He was recently photographed at a private party taking a hit off of a bong. A righteous flurry of anti-marijuana hysteria ensued and he was subsequently dropped from his multi-million dollar contract with Kellogg’s, despite the fact that he had previously been arrested on a drunk driving charge. They seem to think being drunk and driving is ok, but taking a bong rip is not. He has mended his drunken ways and has gone on to be the champion of the world.

Therefore, he is a HERO. Give the dude a fucking break already. He was relaxing with a harmless plant. And he is the best swimmer in the world. And stoned. Top that.


* Much to the disappointment of copy editor, blogger, and left-wing extremist Tom at the thebadrash, I will continue to call this series Hero or Criminal for the sake of consistency — even though “villain” is the antonym I ought to be using.

Banksters’ Paradise

Banker + gangster = bankster. An article by Harold Evans on the origins of this newly-relevant Americanism from the 30s:

It was coined, as far as I can deduce, by an American immigrant, a fiery Sicilian-born lawyer by the name of Ferdinand Pecora. He was the chief counsel to the US Senate Committee on Banking set up in the early 30s to probe the origins of the Crash of 1929.

He exposed quite a lot of the Wall Street practices that Harvard’s Professor William Z Ripley had condemned in 1928. The believable Ripley called them – get ready for these Americanisms – “prestidigitation, double-shuffling, honey-fugling, hornswoggling and skullduggery”.

Also, a brief recap on the truly honorable origins of the Bank of America. Man, oh man, how times have changed. It’s not that people have changed, it’s just that for the last 30 years the creeps of the world have had the intellectual justication to do whatever they wanted. You know, “Let the free market rip! “, and the like. To paraphrase a reader comment cited in the article, people are one step away from pulling a Bastille on their gilded high-rise offices.