Next regular posting scheduled for 16th August
CONTEMPORARY ISSUES DECONSTRUCTED CID4U
This examination is scheduled to last ten (10) minutes
Read each question carefully before answering and then write your answer on both sides of the paper provided. Cheating is permitted but must be cleared with the supervising examiner in advance
1. Is the increased proportion of testosterone allegedly discovered in the metabolic system of western men by comparison with forty years ago the result of changes in diet, changes in the visual environment on screen and off, of doping to accompany ‘sporting’ activity, or of input self-administered by males afflicted by self-doubt after listening to preposterous lies told by male work colleagues?
2. Cui bono? This was the favourite question of Cicero (ancient Rome’s answer, 2,000 years in advance, to Jeremy Corbyn, except that he wrote much better Latin). Strangely this phrase is completely ambiguous. One of its meanings is “What’s the point?” but the other one, which Cicero claimed was what he meant when he ued it is considered more respectable, and quotable, and is equivalent to “Who got the benefit from it?” when discussing mysterious unpleasant events such as political murders where there was no eye witness (or no one with any intention of coming forward as such). Caruana Galizia’s explosive exit in Malta is only one of several prominent cases in recent times where this question might be put to work.
3. Question for Tony Blair (to receive if you ever find him at a public meeting where he is bold enough to take questions): ‘On your travels do you ever get the chance to visit the families of British soldiers killed in Iraq?’
4. If we conclude that quantum mechanics shows that assertions which are fiercely counter-intuitive (e.g. cats being simultaneously both alive and dead) are correct, might we not reasonably conclude that there is a high level of fallibility about the mental processes by which human beings reach conclusions ?
[p.s. surely any Ph.D student in physics could cope with that premiss by just assuming an extra dimension or two]
5. Given (a) the great predominance (or should that be ‘predomination’) of the male gender in those holding positions from which appointments to lucrative, fashionable, or prestigious jobs are made (e.g. M.P., broadcasting bigwig, CEO, theatrical panjandrum, or director of think tank) and (b) the surge of agreement across ‘developed’ nations that gender inequality should be ‘tackled’, there is likely to be (a) a substantial increase in the number of new female appointments to lucrative etc jobs, and (b) a high chance that those appointments will be of attractive young women. Is this likely to result in increasing the disadvantage of older, less attractive women who may well need the job more? (Answer: ‘Yes’)
6. How long does a family have to live in a country before they cease to be immigrants? Twenty years? Fifty years? A hundred and fifty years? And does the length of time depend on any factors other than their length of residence, such as complexion or how much money they have? (Answer: ‘YES, and YES!’)
7. It is claimed that an important aspect of human intelligence is the ability to learn things from just two or three encounters. Are there any public-spirited psychologists or sociologists researching into ways to develop a human ability to dis-learn, from ideally just six or seven, or anyway as few encounters as possible (with particular reference to the tendency to invade foreign countries, especially but not exclusively in the Middle East? (Oh, and Afghanistan.) And if not, why not?
8. Can you place the following government responses in the standard chronological order of appearance after a disaster inescapably and obviously caused largely by government incompetence or dishonesty or both combined?
(1) Blaming the victims (2) Congratulating the survivors on their resilience (3) Promising that the government will take all necessary measures to ensure that such a disaster never happens again (4) Announcing the launch of an enquiry (to report back ‘early next year’) (5) Assuring that their thoughts and hearts and profound sympathy go out to those affected and their families (6) Showing how it resulted directly from the policies of the previous government (7) Guaranteeing that survivors will receive prompt and adequate compensation, where appropriate (on presentation to the committee to be set up in Newcastle upon Tyne to review claims of the evidence of harm or loss, provided that they submit such evidence within six weeks, and can attach satisfactory proof confirmed by a solicitor or barrister that they were at the relevant time properly registered inhabitants of the locality so sadly stricken).
9. How long will it be after the first robot newsreader delivers her initial news presentation (because she will certainly be female) on a public news channel, before some inadequate gets himself 15 minutes of attention in the twittersphere by announcing that he has tweeted ‘her’ a proposal of marriage?
10. Simon (the one who said the fuss over colour of UK passports should be solved now that the UK is supposed to be a diverse society, whatever that means, by making them every colour of the rainbow plus brown, black and white) asks why windmills which have their blades vertically aligned only have them on one side of the structure holding them up. If he’s right about that, why is it? Wouldn’t you get twice the power if there were blades on each side?
11. You wouldn’t ask barefoot passers-by for advice on how to make shoes. Then why expect government to pay any attention to an oppressed underclass (variously known as ‘the poor’, ‘Labour voters outside London’, ‘the oiks’, or ‘the bottom 30%) on how to run the country? (Sorry Kropotkin!)
12. Which tends to come first, domination over other nations and identifiable minorities, or callous barbarity?