Archive for July, 2009

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K-hole Kapers

July 30, 2009

I was watching an American crime show* a few days ago which briefly featured two characters discussing a woman who had been drugged with ketamine. Sure enough, as soon as ketamine was mentioned, one of the characters added “Ketamine is normally used as a horse tranquilizer.”

It’s the inevitable default way to refer to the drug. You always hear the phrase “horse tranquilizer” follow from any mention of ketamine on TV or in newspapers. In fact, ketamine is pretty much a general anesthetic used in both human and veterinary medicine (albeit more widely used in the latter). During my brief, part-time hospital job (as a cleaner), I recall the nurses telling me about a young boy being treated with ketamine and tripping his balls off, much to their amusement. A cursory bit of research will throw up a lot of pharmacological jargon indicating that “Special K” will indeed get you off your tits, hence why it is being used as a recreational drug. I can only guess that the repeated use of the term “horse tranquilizer” is some kind of media meme to try to explain and simultaneously over-sensationalize the substance. It is perhaps analogous to the way in which swans are forever associated with breaking human arms with their powerful wings. “Careful now, they can break your arm!” Ever met anyone who has had their arm broken by a swan? Why only the arm? Do they home in on the arms and neglect to attack your ribs, neck, collar bones?

Sufficient data may be lacking, but ketamine could now be more widely used by club scene fucktards than administered to anxious horses. It is time for a media-wide moratorium on the use of the term “horse tranquilizer” whenever ketamine is mentioned. By my count, it has been nearly 15 years in which we’ve heard this silly description repeatedly regurgitated. An update is long overdue. The only thing I’ve managed to come up with so far is – “Ketamine. It’s a drug popular with queers.” However, it is far from certain that this suggestion will find its way on to primetime TV in the states anytime soon.

(*Oh, all right, it was Criminal Minds. )

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Beggar’s belief

July 17, 2009

Further to my previous post below, it seems that Oliver Kamm has followed up his initial “Pedant” column with a piece on the misuse of the term “begging the question”.

To “beg the question” does not mean to raise or prompt the question. It means to assume in your premises the truth of your conclusion.

Some of you may feel this is an awesome and pleasant coincidence, especially as it was Kamm’s column that inspired me to write my piece on the very same subject. In fact, I have come to the conclusion that Oliver Kamm is ripping me off. Notice the date on his article is July 16th, a full day (and more given UK to Korea time difference) after my own blog entry. I note with some satisfaction that he must be reading this blog every day in order to have caught my piece and taken the idea for his column the very next day. In turn, I shall be keeping a close eye on the writing of this nefarious pilferer, lest I find him knocking out whimsical articles on the Korean sex industry or Terminator movies.

I shall be dispatching a strongly-worded letter, accompanied by a slimy turd in a shoebox, to the offices of The Times newspaper forthwith. Although I have to admit that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

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Begging your pardon

July 15, 2009

Oliver Kamm recently started a new column for The Times called “The Pedant” that takes an unapologetic and proud stance on pedantry and the correct use of language.  Although not nearly as adept with the English language as Oliver Kamm, I nonetheless often gleefully partake in moments of pedantry myself. One widespread error I particularly enjoy bringing to attention is the misuse of the term “to beg the question/begging the question”. I received my initial instruction on the use of this term, and its erroneous misuse, at the hands of the brilliant Paul Brownsey, one of my lecturers at university on the subject of moral philosphy.

“Begging the question” is a logical fallacy in which the premises of an argument contain the claim or the assumption that the conclusion is true. The assumption that the conclusion is true does not serve as evidence that it is so.

Some useful examples can be found at The Skeptic’s Dictionary, as given below. Read the rest of this entry ?

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K-Pop Korner: Lollipop

July 3, 2009

Lollipop is the name of a song by Big Bang and their YG Entertainment label mates 2NE1. It was a big hit a few months ago.

Whilst the song marked the unofficial debut of 2NE1 (marketed as a “female Big Bang“), it was conceived as primarily an ad-jingle to sell a new handset for the LG Group‘s Cyon mobile phones. “Lollipop” was the name of the new handset. It would be easy to dismiss such a spectacle as a shameless example of corporate whoredom by all involved but there is a sense here, in Korea, of it being quite acceptable and guiltless to participate in the pervasive cultural dominance of the huge conglomerates. You can be a wanton shill of electronic goods and still be cool. That said, the only people I have to gauge the public opinion of such activities are a bunch of young teenagers. I should explore this theory further and cast the net of inquiry wide.

Here is the video for “Lollipop”. You know my opinion of Big Bang. This is another abominable piece of shit.

Interestingly you can also view the original commercial that marked the first appearance of the song here. Notice how it is the same as the standard music video except that Big Bang and 2NE1 have had phones put in their hands to wave around in some shots.