Monthly Archives: huhtikuu 2015

It Ain’t Over Until the Fat Lady Tweets


Viikko 18


Motion: THB that obesity is a curable disease that is currently being treated with the wrong set of remedies
Role: Chair (opp.)
Date: Apr 3rd, 2013

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen, the Assemblage and Chair,
on behalf of the opposition, I’d like to speak against the motion of the govt. Namely, I believe that obesity is:
– a buffer/margin against the threat of a famine <raise one finger, not the middle one>
– a gift from God to appreciate and accentuate our natural differánce <raise another finger>
– a reflection of one’s true personality <raise a third finger>

Obese people are pyknic according to the famous characterization of Ernst Kretschmer, an Austrian Nazi-era psychiatrist. They represent joviality, gregariousness, willingness to break bread or share a sud with other people. Obese folk have a natural capacity to enjoy life and others. Therefore, they should be endorsed and fetéd as part of the ”fabric” of social ”tissue”.

Obese people can be treated with a slew of cures today. The most success- and painful option is to have gastric bypass surgery, which means the reduction of the size of the total volume of the stomach (bag). By eating less under duress, the obese people quickly lose several (dozens of) pounds of overweight. Other options:
# – carbohydrate-poor diets
# – diets that are considered ”crash diets”
# – exercise
# – motivational partners
# – nutritional counselling
# – weightwatchers

Evolution made obese people obese. It could be that the juncture was when people as a race turned to agriculture for food. It was maybe then that the first flabby fat tissues began to emerge around the muscles in the human body on a permanent basis. Maybe the invention of alcohol accentuated this development, as we know it to be fattening and such by turning quickly into fat in unexercising people. But this is not the point. The obese got an evolutionary advantage out of being fat in times of extreme famine, extinction and depredation. Excess fat has BEEN the saving grace of the human race. As Richard Wrangham famously put it in his book, cooking food and brain size have gone hand in hand, and fat people have been at the forefront of this nutritional (r)evolution. We need to value their contribution to the evolution of the human success story. Fat people are the reserve of human endurance, so that’s why they should have a place on the pedestal and a position of importance in society at large.

If and when it is abundantly clear that circumstances favour slim people, people will/would lose weight automatically. Moreover, they will pass genes causing or ensuring that down to their children. Right now, slim people are churning out fat children, so there is something in the air that favours this ”reverse” genetic development. Maybe those who are obese portend or presage the coming of hard times (of famine and turmoil)? Wouldn’t you want to be fat in times of hunger and want?

Thank you.

Kesto: 5 min 5 sek
Arvio: * * * *. Tein tämän puheen siinä 15 minuutissa, joka on allokoitu tähän, suorituksena siis hyvä. Tässä käydään aiheeseen sitä kautta, että koko asia olisi turhaa, eikä käydä niinkään väittelemään keinoista (siihen, mikä katsotaan muutenkin turhaksi.) Seuraavat puhujat voivat sen sijaan vääntää kättä keinoista ja kyseenalaistaa ne. Näin käydään luonnollinen kaari makrotematiikasta mikrotematiikkaan, mitä usein peräänkuulutetaan.


The Kingdom of Silent Wisdom


Viikko 17


MotionTHB that elder employees should pass on their (so-called) ”silent knowledge”
Role: Chair (opp.)
Date: June 3rd, 2013

The Problems in Passing on Silent Knowledge

Every now and then some well-meaning ”idiot” comes forward with the argument that different ages (have to) mix at work, so that the accumulated wisdom that earlier generations have acquired can be passed on to the younger ones. This is BS, and I’m going to prove to you why.

What little wisdom the elders may have, they do not want to pass on. They guard it like hawks, for if there was a problem of the let’s-sack-and-get-rid-of-somebody kind in the workplace, they would like to stash their knowledge as a way of setting themselves up for protection against the assets of the young. The latters’ assets are a more up-to-date education and strength in bearing stress and getting (new) things done. Senior employees have to have something of their own, and its is exactly this concealed, a posteriori experience. They think that they do not want to divulge it, lest they be kicked out in the very next breath. It’s a safeguard. (They may tell what they know about two weeks prior to their retirement.)

Also, there is resistance at the receiving end. Some young people are so cocksure of themselves (in particular the boys) that they do not ”want to know”. They think that they already know best, and #uc# the rest, which time will test. Young people are not naturally attentive, alert, curious, compassionate, interested or nostalgic, something a successful transfer of silent knowledge would most likely require. They expect to gain something from merely listening out. It’s only in one’s late thirties that these kinds of qualities begin to emerge without the requirement of an immediate payback. Namely, ”gold-diggers” want nuggets of wisdom rather right now, but ”life-time prospectors” are happy just to do the rounds on the river and breath in the fresh morning air and relish the beauty of it all.

The third problem is aging and getting too weak, in the end. In a nutshell, when workers are still sharp enough to give information, they are sly enough not to give it away for free (see §1, or 2nd paragraph). When their inhibitions loosen up later on in retirement and on pension, it often so happens that @ that point they would already be so ravaged by Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, dementia, memory loss, sedatives and sleeping pills that they no longer can relate or relay anything of significance or interest to the young listener. Nursing homes and kindred places are filled with mindless chatter, out-of-date gossip, bad reminiscence, weather talk or anything else that does not interest one, frankly speaking.

In conclusion, do not hold up the card of ”pass on silent knowledge”. That has not happened on a large scale ever, and that won’t happen either in the future, or in the present. It seems that each generation have to take to their grave what they learnt during life. Deal with it. Cope with it. Be aware of it. Thank you.

Puheen kesto: 4 min 40 sek
Arvio: * * * * ½. Tässä on oikea yhdistelmä (m)oraalista närkästystä, terävää argumentointia ja riittävän keveä aihe. Tarkoittaen sitä, ettei puhe nostata liian paljon intohimoja toisin kuin immigraatio, homous tai muut identiteettiaiheet. Pitkästä aikaa pisteet kotiin.

Femme Fatales


Viikko 16


MotionTHB that this country would need more feminism and feminists
Role: Chair (opp.)

Anna-Mari Sipilä wrote as the editorial writer in Helsingin Sanomat that the motion’s contents is true for women in Finland, and the whole of Scandinavia for that matter. Being in the opposition, we’d beg to differ to a great extent.

First of all, if Ms. Sipilä and her ilk spent even half of their energy on enterprise and building up companies from scratch, they would already be at least time-wise if not achievement-wise where they wished to be — at the top of the career and expense-account ladder. They’d like to jetset from place A to place B all around the world. If they busted their asses for real, building something instead of stalking like foxes on the sidelines or slaving away on the payrolls, they would find out whether they really are their worth in gold or not in the real, hard world. They might find out that it’s really men who make successes happen and provide the real start-ups with money as well as ideas and skills. What in that instance, Cinderella? Did you lose your shoes last night?

Second, let’s assume that the woman in question will get the dream job with the dreamy salary after whining that she should get it. What awaits that woman (in power) these days is the wages of Capitalism: the ungrateful task of handing in the pink slip to thousands of workers with spouses and families and children, as power goes hand in hand with creating ”creative destruction” in search of the elusive profit (that pays for the dream salaries). Only childless cold-hearted ones like Ms. Sipilä would probably actually enjoy that duty. Leadership today is very much about operating in a volatile and aggressive bear market. It takes an ounce of sadistic or masochistic tendencies to be able to work there. 80 % of British women are ”traditional women” according to a study, probably in part because of facts and trends like these.

Third, there are already avenues for women with aspirations, where womanhood is not an obstacle to anything. On the contrary, education, didactics and care are already some of the arenas that have virtually been reserved ”for females only”, complete with principals, rectors, deans and chancellors in the top posts. In that world, it’s routine to read about how a high-ranking female educator has sacked a male underling because of poor performance or strange behaviour. In that world, femininity is king. Besides, what about problems in that world? Schools are not problem-free but problem-ridden, partly because women have not made them into mirror images ”of themselves”, i.e. perfect, idyllic, pastoral, beautiful, just, observant shrines to learning and wisdom… Women hardly care about the development of schools, even if their word is the absolute law over there. Maybe women and their input or contribution is not that golden in the end?

I’d like to conclude by saying that equality is nigh on completely reached in Western Europe and if women want their version of equality to be passed on to the less fortunate peoples and races, they CAN do it on their own!

Puheen kesto: 4 min 5 sek
Arvio: * * *. Puhe on tehokas ja ankara, eikä anna paljon löysiä kuulijalleen, oli hän sitten naispuolinen tai vain hallituksen jäsen. Ongelmana onkin lähinnä se, että se ei osoita vastapuolelle oikein mitään paikkaa olla, viihtyä ja nauttia olostaan vaan yrittää maalata vastapuolen nurkkaan, josta ei ole ulospääsyä. Tämä voi olla hauskaa, mutta se ei ole rakentavaa. Siksi pisteet tippuivat.

Prose Over Substance


Viikko 15


Motion: THB that children should be civilised by subscribing to a quality weekly in a family (aided by tax breaks)
Role: Chair (opp.)
Date: Aug 14th, 2013

As the chair of the opposition, I would want to talk against the motion of the govt. and, in order to do that, more specifically, about the Finnish ”quality” weekly, Suomen Kuvalehti. In English, it would be called ”Finland’s Picture Magazine”, but to spare us difficult referencing, let’s call it by its initials of ”SK”.

SK has self-appointed itself Finland’s ”thinking man’s weekly” following the lead of such foreign staple publications as Newsweek, National Geographic, Time, the Economist and so on. ”Critical thinking”, ”in-depth analysis”, ”multilayered journalism” among other things would allegedly be on offer for anyone to consume. Also, ”top interviews”, ”a critical eye to powers that be” & ”analyses of what is really happening behind the scenes” are to be had. Can it really be this good?

It can’t. Since Finland is weak when it comes to quality journalism, one weekly can stake a claim to all the attributes that the whole of the field of quality weeklies normally possess out in the wider world. Because the magazine is one of its kind, it tries to co-opt all the praiseworthy credentials of its family tree. It’s not entirely true, though, that there wouldn’t be any other quality periodicals in Finland. There are, but instead of weeklies they are bimonthlies, monthlies and quarterlies etc., or they are women’s magazines not aimed to menfolk.

I am not saying that SK would be an untalented, no-good magazine, but the funny thing is that its merits are somewhere else than advertised. What is SK good at? Sometimes it’s a good column one of its staff writers has written, even though even then it’s more a question of hard-nosed opinion than hard facts. Sometimes, the magazine has bought an article from a free-lancing dark horse that turns out to be extraordinarily revealing, insightful or just plain well written. Sometimes it’s news from abroad or foreign correspondents who moonlight for SK that come up with the goods, breaking news or opinions. This, however, is a far cry from the center-of-thinking role the magazine claims. Only our brains can hold such status or such a distinct position. No magazine could possibly guide or lead us to think straight or right. Namely, we need so much other information besides the written word to formulate our convictions that only our brains can handle that. Therefore, SK is only one of many sources that contributes (a) little each and every time it is read.

Sometimes it feels that maybe SK is a magazine, which is what is is, so that it can fulfill its secret, truer mission: to be the magazine that brings together most members of the so-called right-wing parties in Finland: Christian Democrats, the Coalition Party, the Centre Party and the Swedish People’s Party. This leaves out Social Democrats, the Left Alliance, the Green League and True Finns. Sometimes the magazine’s matter-of-fact, stuffy, rigid approach smacks of pandering to the ”rightest” common denominator, which means that it steers clear of e.g. religion-criticism not to offend certain quarters.

If the U.S. had an equivalent periodical, I would say that it toed the G.O.P. line and platform, without, perhaps, resorting to disinformation of the right-wing TV kind of mass communication. Liberal newspapers are the other, not entirely problem-free alternative, on the other hand.

By way of conclusion, I’d like to state that because quality weeklies are not unproblematic, families should not be bothered with subscribing to them for the children. There are more important things. Thanks.

Puheen kesto: 4 min 50 sek
Arvio: * * * ½. On vaikeaa puhua lehdistöä vastaan, mutta tässä tapauksessa puhe onnistuu suhteellisen hyvin ja jäntevästi. Puheessa ei toistella roskaa ja itsestäänselvyyksiä kuten mainoslauseissa tai poliittisessa jargonissa. Pituus on sopiva, ja loppu on napakka.