Showing posts from December, 2013

2013 in review

Not a lot to review, honestly, but the picture's not a reflection of the kind of year I've had. It's just the closest to a Christmas picture that I have. I've just finished putting the children's presents around the tree and now I have to just sneak into their room with their stockings before going to bed myself and hope they don't wake up as I do so.

Each year I think that, as I delicately place a stocking at the foot of a bed, the lights will suddenly come on and I will find myself staring at my wide awake children, trying hastily to think of a reason why it's me and not Santa putting the presents out.

One year they may set up tripwire alarms for that very purpose. My wife wonders why I don't buy them electronic spy-kit sets, but that's just me thinking ahead. Might be a good idea to pass on the My-Little-Waterboarding set too, in case they get a bit too sophisticated with their interrogations...

Anyway, 2013 has had its usual share of ups and do…

It's all Rousseau's fault

I wrote about violence in fiction in my last post, where I briefly made the case for campaigners who believe that the fictional depiction of violence causes or worsens violence in real life.

Do I need to point out that violence is perfectly natural? Apparently so. Many people believe that movies and video games cause violence. There are even some who believe that atheist godlessness causes violence, and there are others who believe that rapacious capitalism causes violence. And there are some who believe that it's The Patriarchy and the insiduous influence of masculine culture that causes and perpetuates violence, for which (according to one book) we all need counselling.

If only we could be women, then all the world would be nice. Or so it goes.

It's natural to fear violence and to want to keep it at arm's length. To start with, it hurts. It can also kill you, and survival instincts are natural too.

But the idea that violence is some sort of inhuman disease, that it inva…