Search Results for “Absurd”

March 12, 2014

Surgeon Simulator

Surgeon Simulator

Surgeon Simulator 2013, a humorous medical sim, was initially created in a 48-hour period for the 2013 ‘Global Game Jam’ (the four developers spent an additional 48 days building the commercial version). The game is played in first-person perspective. A mouse is used to control the surgeon’s hand (holding the right button rotates the hand; the left button grabs items). Gameplay consists of various surgical procedures, for example a heart transplant. Extra modes are available after completion of the early operations, such as performing an operation in a moving ambulance with surgical instruments bouncing around at random, and operating in outer space where instruments float. 

Reception for the game has been positive, with critics stating that although the game was hard to control, this difficulty was ‘part of the appeal.’ Ars Technica commented upon the narrator’s voice over, saying that it ‘belies the ridiculousness that unfolds as he flops and flails his way through surgery.’ ‘Rock, Paper, Shotgun, praised the game’s humor and fun, and said ”Surgeon Simulator 2013′ is not a brilliant game. But it is a brilliant joke. In the form of a game. It’s an idea that is a clean magnitude of awesome above 90% of what will be released this year because it is so absurd.’

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February 19, 2014

John Swartzwelder

John Swartzwelder

John Swartzwelder (b. 1950) is an American comedy writer and novelist, best known for his work on the animated television series ‘The Simpsons,’ as well as a number of novels. He is credited with writing the largest number of ‘Simpsons’ episodes by a large margin (59 full episodes, with contributions to several others). Swartzwelder was one of several writers recruited to show from the pages of George Meyer’s ‘Army Man’ magazine (a short-lived comedy periodical published in the late 1980s; Meyer would also go on to become an acclaimed ‘Simpsons’ writer).

Swartzwelder has been animated in the background of several episodes of ‘The Simpsons.’ His animated likeness closely resembles musician David Crosby, which prompted Matt Groening to state that anytime that David Crosby appears in a scene for no apparent reason, it is really John Swartzwelder. Additionally, Matt Groening has stated that the recurring character ‘Herman Hermann’ (the owner of Herman’s Military Antiques) was originally physically based on Swartzwelder–with the exception of his one arm.

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October 16, 2013

The Will to Believe

The Will to Believe‘ is a lecture by American philosopher and psychologist William James, first published in 1896, which defends, in certain cases, the adoption of a belief without prior evidence of its truth. In particular, James is concerned in this lecture about defending the rationality of religious faith even lacking sufficient evidence of religious truth.

James’ argument hinges on the idea that access to the evidence for whether or not certain beliefs are true depends crucially upon first adopting those beliefs without evidence. For example, it can be rational to have unsupported faith in one’s own ability to accomplish tasks that require confidence. Importantly, James points out that this is the case even for pursuing scientific inquiry. James then argues that like belief in one’s own ability to accomplish a difficult task, religious faith can also be rational even if one at the time lacks evidence for the truth of one’s religious belief.

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October 4, 2013

George Grosz

Swamp Flowers of Capitalism 1919 by George Grosz

George Grosz [grohs] (1893 – 1959) was a German artist known especially for his caricatural drawings of Berlin life in the 1920s. He was a prominent member of the Berlin Dada and New Objectivity group during the Weimar Republic before he emigrated to the United States in 1933.

According to art critic Robert Hughes: ‘In Grosz’s Germany, everything and everybody is for sale. All human transactions, except for the class solidarity of the workers, are poisoned. The world is owned by four breeds of pig: the capitalist, the officer, the priest and the hooker, whose other form is the sociable wife. He was one of the hanging judges of art.’

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September 20, 2013

Parody Religion

pastafarian

A parody religion or mock religion is an imitation belief system that challenges spiritual convictions of others, often through humor, satire, and/or burlesque (literary ridicule). They are frequently created to address specific religions, sects, gurus, cults, and or new religious movements, but may also be a parody of no particular religion, instead parodying the concept of religious belief itself. In some parody religions, emphasis is on making fun and being a convenient excuse for pleasant social interaction among like-minded, e.g. the Church of the SubGenius. Other parody religions target a specific religion, sect, cult, or new religious movement.

Several religions that are classified as parody religions have a number of relatively serious followers who embrace the perceived absurdity of these religions as spiritually significant, a decidedly postmodern approach to religion. For instance, in Discordianism (begun in 1965), it may be hard to tell if even these ‘serious’ followers are not just taking part in an even bigger joke. This joke, in turn, may be part of a greater path to enlightenment, and so on ad infinitum.

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July 25, 2013

Relativism

Relativism [rel-uh-tuh-viz-uhm] is the concept that points of view have no absolute truth or validity, having only relative, subjective value according to differences in perception and consideration. The term is often used to refer to the context of moral principle, where in a relativistic mode of thought, principles and ethics are regarded as applicable in only limited context.

There are many forms of relativism which vary in their degree of controversy. The term often refers to ‘truth relativism,’ which is the doctrine that there are no absolute truths, i.e., that truth is always relative to some particular frame of reference, such as a language or a culture (cultural relativism). Another widespread and contentious form is moral relativism (which argues that morality is context-bound, not objective).

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June 7, 2013

David Lynch

blue velvet

David Lynch (b. 1946) is an American filmmaker known for his surrealist films. He has developed his own unique cinematic style, which has been dubbed ‘Lynchian,’ characterized by dream imagery and meticulous sound design. The surreal, and in many cases, violent, elements contained within his films have been known to ‘disturb, offend or mystify’ audiences.

His work often exposes dark undercurrents in seemingly mundane people and places: ‘My childhood was elegant homes, tree-lined streets, the milkman, building backyard forts, droning airplanes, blue skies, picket fences, green grass, cherry trees. Middle America as it’s supposed to be. But on the cherry tree there’s this pitch oozing out – some black, some yellow, and millions of red ants crawling all over it. I discovered that if one looks a little closer at this beautiful world, there are always red ants underneath. Because I grew up in a perfect world, other things were a contrast.’

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May 31, 2013

Howler

howler is a glaring blunder, typically an amusing one. Eric Partridge’s ‘A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English’ (1951) defined it in part as: ‘… A glaring (and amusing) blunder: from before 1890; … also, a tremendous lie … Literally something that howls or cries for notice, or perhaps … by way of contracting howling blunder.’ Another common interpretation of this usage is that a howler is a mistake fit to make one howl with laughter.

All over the world, probably in all natural languages, there are many informal terms for blunders; the English term ‘howler’ occurs in many translating dictionaries. There are other colloquial English words for howler, in particular the mainly United States and Canadian slang term ‘boner’ which has various interpretations, including that of blunder. Like howler, boner can be used in any sense to mean an ignominious and usually laughable blunder, and also like howler, it has been used in the titles of published collections of largely schoolboy blunders since at least the 1930s.

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May 21, 2013

Brandon Bird

Brandon Bird (b. 1980) is an artist. He attended University of California, Santa Cruz and was an artist-in-residence from 2004-2006 at Risley Residential College at Cornell University.

His most common medium is oil paints on canvas, but works in a number of genres, including pen and ink and digital mediums. He has a significant cult following for his tendency to paint figures from history and popular culture such as Christopher Walken, Chuck Norris, and Abraham Lincoln, in absurd situations. He is a regular contributor to ‘The Believer’ (an American literary magazine that also covers other arts and general culture). He has also done work for ‘Las Vegas Weekly’ and rock band, The Aquabats.

May 14, 2013

The Constitution is not a suicide pact

The Constitution is not a suicide pact‘ is a phrase in American political and legal discourse which expresses the belief that constitutional restrictions on governmental power must be balanced against the need for survival of the state and its people. It is most often attributed to Abraham Lincoln, as a response to charges that he was violating the United States Constitution by suspending habeas corpus (the right of detainees to contest their imprisonment) during the American Civil War.

Although the phrase echoes statements made by Lincoln, and although versions of the sentiment have been advanced at various times in American history, the precise phrase ‘suicide pact’ was first used by Justice Robert H. Jackson in his dissenting opinion in ‘Terminiello v. Chicago,’ a 1949 free speech case. The phrase also appears in the same context in ‘Kennedy v. Mendoza-Martinez,’ a 1963 U.S. Supreme Court decision written by Justice Arthur Goldberg.

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May 8, 2013

Colorless green ideas sleep furiously

Colorless green ideas sleep furiously‘ is a sentence composed by linguist Noam Chomsky in his 1957 book ‘Syntactic Structures’ as an example of a sentence that is grammatically correct, but semantically nonsensical. The term was originally used in his 1955 thesis ‘Logical Structures of Linguistic Theory.’

Although the sentence is grammatically correct, no obvious understandable meaning can be derived from it, and thus it demonstrates the distinction between syntax (linguistic rules) and semantics (symbolic meaning). As an example of a category mistake (a property is ascribed to a thing that could not possibly have that property), it was used to show inadequacy of the then-popular probabilistic models of grammar, and the need for more structured models.

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April 26, 2013

The Art of Being Right

The Art of Being Right: 38 Ways to Win an Argument’ (1831) is an acidulous (biting) treatise written by the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer in sarcastic deadpan. He examines a total of thirty-eight methods of showing up one’s opponent in a debate. Schopenhauer introduces his essay with the idea that philosophers have concentrated in ample measure on the rules of logic, but have not (especially since the time of Immanuel Kant) engaged with the darker art of the dialectic, of controversy.

Whereas the purpose of logic is classically said to be a method of arriving at the truth, dialectic, says Schopenhauer, ‘…on the other hand, would treat of the intercourse between two rational beings who, because they are rational, ought to think in common, but who, as soon as they cease to agree like two clocks keeping exactly the same time, create a disputation, or intellectual contest.’

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