Monthly Archives: June 2009

Pride is strange

I do feel angry about things, happy about things, annoyed about things, sad about things. Pride, however, is not natural for me.  It is not that there is nothing I could point at and express pride about.  I can conceive that someone might feel pride if their hard work is fruitful. I can also conceive that someone could feel pride in someone else’s accomplishment to some extent.  I mean insofar as one can be instrumental in someone else’s success.  I can conceive of these kinds of pride even if I don’t usually feel pride. But some kinds of pride just plain seem silly.

“I am the proud owner of [brand name gizmo].”

Say what now? You walked into a store and bought your gizmo. Is this some sort of achievement to feel proud of? Are you also proud of being able to walk without drooling all over yourself? How about “I am the proud owner of a banana.”

“I am proud to be [ethnic group or nationality].”

Bravo! Luck made it so that you were born with that ethnicity and nationality. Now, if you want to feel even more pride, grab a coin, flip it, and scream to everybody nearby that you are proud that you got head or tail. For more variety, grab a die instead of a coin and wear some sexy lace.

Sometimes national pride is expressed as:

“I am proud to be [nationality] because [my nation] did [something awesome].”

Now the funny thing is that the same person who asserts the above won’t usually want to admit “I feel ashamed to be [nationality] because [my nation] did [something terrible].” In this case, pride is axiomatic. It has been drilled into the individual from a young age. No amount of disconfirming evidence is able to overturn this pride. It is especially bizarre when the “something awesome” part of the formula consists of some event which happened before the prideful person was even born. Pride for something you contributed to? Ok. Pride for something you cannot possibly have been contributing to? Say what? You might as well feel pride for your neighbor’s doings then.  Or you might as well feel pride for the imaginary achievements of imaginary persons: “I’m proud that Luke Skywalker was able to blow up the Death Star.”

Dear Cessna: Correlation is not Causation

Cessna has put out a piece of propaganda containing this gem:

Study after study shows companies operating business aircraft outperform competitors that don’t.

The implication is: buy a business aircraft for your company and you’ll outperform your competitors. Dear Cessna, is this really the logic you want to espouse? Has it occurred to you that maybe causality runs opposite to what you imply? Could it be that companies which are successful due to other factors are enough money to spend it on planes and on frivolous purchases? Does this seem possible? Maybe?

Yeaaahhh, I thought so.