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    idiotsavon @replies

    First off, Happy New Year everyone! 🙂

    Ooh, well-played, I did not see that coming. There was even a bit when O offered to show Graham the doctor’s files, when I thought he must he a wrong ‘un. But by the time he was chasing after the plane I’d forgotten all about that and was rooting for him. Ha ha, trust no-one 🙂

    Enjoyed, enjoyed, enjoyed a lot.

    Anyway, is there something wrong with my computer? Where are all the posts from new members who signed up to complain about diverse casting?


    idiotsavon @replies

    All sounds incredibly positive and exciting @pedant @bluesqueakpip

    @thane16 Thanks for asking, and I hope you and yours are all ok. Savon Manor is looking rather unkempt. This is partly because we haven’t looked after it in the cold weather, and partly because we barely look after it anyway.
    What is more, the groundsman (aka Mr Savon) has an awful habit of disappearing off to do “paid work.” It’s all most unsatisfactory.

    Meanwhile Savon Jr, who has largely spared us the “terrible twos” (and instilled in us an unwarranted confidence in our parenting) now appears set to become the world’s most obstinate threenager. We seem to be in frequent and fraught disagreement about everything from what socks to wear to how much “Paw Patrol” should be watched in one sitting, to whether or not divebombing off the table is a safe activity. He has also picked up some quite unsavory language, goodness knows where from *whistles innocently* and delights in dropping the F-bomb at inopportune moments.

    The dog, who is a huge 7-year-old overgrown puppy, loves Jr’s new “boisterous” side, and any time indoors is spent trying to prevent them both egging each other on. (We’ve been going out a lot.)

    It’s all good fun!

    @mudlark I can’t believe I’m asking this, but… Is Oliver Letwin the hero we were hankering after? It just seems so – well, wrong.

    idiotsavon @replies


    Hilarious, and bang on. She reminds me of Kathy Bates in Misery.

    And it seems she’s survived yet again. Perhaps she’s handcuffed herself to the radiator?


    I cringe thinking about the UK’s international reputation at this point.

    Although I’m a passionate Remainer, I cling steadfastly to my belief that Remainers and Leavers and Inbetweeners should all try to treat each other as reasonable people and find areas of understanding and common ground.

    But at this stage in the game, all of that is irrelevant. It’s obvious that the referendum was corrupt. Democracy was in tatters before the votes were even counted.

    And now we’re in complete crisis, and still no-one with any influence will dare question the legitimacy of the result.

    I’m reminded of the old adage “Cometh the hour, cometh the man.” (When a hero is needed, one will appear.)

    And I’m looking at the potential “heroes” on offer and feeling rather underwhelmed.


    idiotsavon @replies

    Ah, David Lidington. The man who insisted in Parliament (when he was Minister for Europe) that there would be no need for a double majority – or indeed any kind of threshold – because the referendum was “advisory.”

    And who now, in spite of clear evidence that the whole thing was riddled with fraud, continues to treat the marginal outcome as an unambiguous and inevitable mandate.

    I can’t say I’m David Lidington’s biggest fan.

    Good luck to him though. He’s got quite a mess on his hands.

    That’s if May goes of course. I wouldn’t put it past her to cling on.

    idiotsavon @replies

    @thane16 Thanks for the little @ragnarok. It did make me laugh. 🙂

    @mudlark and @scaryb (amazing to see you back, by the way.)

    We got our turkey from a really great local butcher. It was massive and got its own oven. (We’ve got a tiny kitchen, but 50% of it is one of those “range” things with two ovens.)

    Mr Savon is the chef in our house, and rightly so. He’s an excellent cook. And he was looking forward to the challenge of Christmas dinner for our extended family.

    He had a really good rummage around the defrosted turkey for giblets, but found none. Unfortunately, the turkey was so massive that there were plenty of crevices where a shy bag of giblets might hide.

    By the time the turkey was cooked, the plastic (from the plastic bag full of giblets) had melted a bit, evaporated a bit, and the plastic taste had infused itself throughout the entire turkey.

    Personally, I never liked turkey and couldn’t care less – but the look on Mr Savon’s face when he realised all his careful cooking and seasoning and basting and googling was for nought?

    Needless to say, we’re still working through the trauma 🙂

    idiotsavon @replies

    Happy New Year one and all, and I hope your festivities have been thoroughly brilliant.

    We had a few hiccups here at the Manor. A heavy Christmas cold, a “kerthunk” in the car chassis at the exact least convenient time a chassis could possibly kerthunk, and – worst of all – giblets undetected in the turkey!

    Still, a good time was had by all. The lack of a car freed us up for New Year drinking, and the dog has been feasting rather grandly on the aforementioned turkey.

    I hope to have time to catch up with the threads later, but in the meantime, I thought I’d chuck in a bonkers prediction for this evening’s episode…

    The theme of imprisonment, and/or release or escape, has been strong this series. The penultimate episode was steeped in Nordic folklore, and the title of the finale was clearly meant to be evocative of Scandiwegian – which I think could be a clue we’ll be returning to Norway tonight. We’ve also had the troll Ribbons, and a somewhat oddly-worded bit in the finale where the Doctor talks of “lashing together the best elements of everyone.”

    So on this rather flimsy basis, I’m predicting that tonight’s episode will reference Ragnarök, and particularly Fenrir – the creature who twice escaped his chains, and was eventually bound with ribbons made from a combination of impossible elements. (His ribbons are meant to keep him constrained until Ragnarök…)
    Failing a fully Ragnarök-themed special, I think we should at least see a villain who escapes imprisonment, and a couple of Vikings for good measure 🙂

    In the highly likely event I’m wrong, let us never speak of this again…

    idiotsavon @replies

    Thank you @craig (and @jimthefish.) Running and modding this site must take a considerable amount of time and energy, especially recently!

    I absolutely love this forum because it’s open to all while maintaining standards of civility and intellectual rigour, and a genuine sense of community.

    It’s sad but no surprise that occasionally commenters show up who show no regard for site etiquette. As mods you’re well-placed to know what shuts them down. Not only that, when we add fuel to the fire I’m very conscious that it creates unnecessary and unpleasant work for you.

    And on that basis, @all, even though I know “it’s a very flat team structure” which is brilliant, I absolutely think we should defer to Craig on this and not engage – since he’s the person dealing with the excrement we sometimes inadvertently stir up when we do.

    idiotsavon @replies

    @mudlark I’ve enjoyed learning from our discussion and it would be nice if I could find some point of disagreement just to carry it on! But I think we see eye to eye and I just got a bit fixated on the common ancestor idea. 🙂


    Ha ha, from my perspective, Middle English is a good example of what I’m talking about because it entailed such a prolonged and thorough butchering of Old English! I suspect we broadly agree but are arguing semantics.

    Given your last post, it might help if we pin down that word convergence, because it’s another slippery one that’s got a very specific meaning in linguistics. Initially I sidestepped it since I know not everyone delights in language geekery…

    When two or more language communities have prolonged contact, possible outcomes might be:
    1) A creole evolves – if there’s a language barrier
    2) A”mixed” or “fusion” language evolves – if it’s a fully bilingual community
    3) Each language undergoes structural changes under the influence of the other, but both languages continue to be spoken independently from each other.

    This third process is (rather unhelpfully for our discussion) referred to as “convergence.”
    I’ve been ignoring this particular bit of slipperiness and assumed you mean “converge” in its common-usage sense of “merge” or “unify.” Perhaps this is where we misunderstand each other, I don’t know.
    Languages “converge” in a technical sense, but they don’t merge like rivers or starlings in flight.

    It goes without saying that the above processes happen because people need to communicate. But I think if you use that as a basis for saying something like “Language really wants to converge” you move beyond the idea of people needing to communicate and say something about the nature of language – and that’s where my issue lies.

    My point is this: languages don’t lend themselves to blending or merging. They are self-contained systems and when they come together, they clash. It takes infants at the language acquisition stage to kind of instinctively dismantle/deconstruct the contact languages and engineer something new from the wreckage.

    If in your view, children’s instinct for extreme linguistic re-engineering counts as “language wanting to converge” then I’ll take your point. It’s just I wouldn’t put it in quite the same way. To me it sounds a bit like “My fist converged with his face” 🙂

    Unless loan words are systematic and part of a wider transformation, I don’t think they’re strong evidence of convergence in any sense of the word. Black is now a French word; omnishambles is now an English word. We wouldn’t cite “omnishambles” as evidence that English “really wants to converge with BBC satire.”

    They’re both just words that worked their way into the mainstream because there was a niche for them.

    idiotsavon @replies

    @pedant I see what you’re saying. I think we’re probably on the same page but maybe the problem is my understanding of the word convergence.

    My take is this: If you put two different groups of people together, speaking different languages, the people will want and need to communicate, as you say.
    So the first generation will establish a very basic pidgin containing elements of both languages, but completely lacking the depth and sophistication of either.*
    The second generation will instinctively develop the pidgin of the first generation into a fully-fledged, gramatically complex creole. The creole isn’t an amalgam of two languages; it’s a whole other language built from the crude raw materials of a pidgin.
    I don’t see this as convergence. On the contrary, I think the crudeness of the pidgin and the individuality of the creole are byproducts of the fact that languages don’t easily converge.

    But they do change. Old words become obsolete; new words are incorporated; grammar rules fall out of use, and so it goes on. This isn’t necessarily a consequence of isolation. I think it’s largely down to a changing world and the linguistic creativity of teenagers.

    I don’t see borrowing as a “mechanism of convergence.” English might pinch a French word here and there, but that’s window dressing. If I take a few apples from next door’s tree, that doesn’t mean our gardens want to converge.

    For two languages to converge in any meaningful sense, surely their syntax and grammar would have to dovetail somehow – which is impossible.

    Accents are a different kettle of fish.

    * Clearly I’m talking here about true pidgins. A number of creole languages are called “pidgin” but are not technically pidgins.

    idiotsavon @replies

    Thanks for that @craig, yes that’s really interesting. I was convinced the Scottish vote made a big difference just because I’d heard it said so many times. I would add that I was joking and I don’t believe for a second there should be any onus on Scottish voters to take the English into consideration at the ballot box. In fact I think the idea is preposterous and rather takes the mickey, and I’m surprised anyone would have the brass neck to put it forward as a serious argument.

    I suppose I also thought that, with a couple of prominent exceptions, the bulk of Scottish Labour MPs would be from a more Old-Labour, left-wing tradition and a thorn in the side of the Blairites. It was a comforting thought and I’m sad to learn it’s not the case.

    In terms of the day-to-day democracy in parliamentary debates and scrutiny committees and the rest, I think the SNP voice (and there are some fantastic speakers) massively enriches parliament. If (*puts 50p in swear box*) Brexit is the catalyst for Scotland’s departure, Westminster will be the poorer for it in my opinion – even if as a nation we’re not entirely doomed to constant Tory rule.

    Btw, I began reading your script, and while I’m not learned enough in the craft to say anything clever, I can say I’m thoroughly enjoying reading. I’m gripped to the point where, spoilers be damned, I want to finish your version before I check out the BBC’s effort. So please accept this doff of my cap. *Doffs cap.*

    idiotsavon @replies

    @mudlark It’s a fascinating topic. Apologies, I misunderstood your original point about the German-ness (or not) of the Grimm tales. And thank you for your response. You have me curious about those ancient Irish tales 🙂

    I take your point (and agree) that the similarities between myths can be explained in terms of the cross-fertilisation that you describe, without recourse to a “common ancestor” theory. But I don’t think the two theories are mutually exclusive – far from it.

    As for proving it, I’m guessing that, absent a Tardis, we’d be hard-pressed to definitively “prove” anything much about ancient pre-literate cultures, but that there are certain things we can deduce with a degree of confidence.
    So re: the common-origin theory, l suppose it depends on your feelings about the strength of the hypothesis: the reliability of the methodology and so on. With that in mind, I’ve located and pasted a link to the study. I hope to come back to it when I’ve a bit more time, because there is so much technical language that I find most of it completely impenetrable!
    I note that for a number of tales, but by no means all, the research concludes that they were more likely descended vertically from a single ancestor-myth than disseminated horizontally among contemporary populations. But it’s a matter of establishing likelihood, not proof.

    One area I feel I can comment on with some degree of knowledge is language/linguistics, and I do think there are some linguistic elements that support the common-ancestor idea. An example might be the relationship between the Greek god Zeus and the Norse(?) god Tiw/Tyr. Linguistically those names are related. But according to Grimm’s law neither of them could have given rise to the other (Zs don’t turn into Ts.) So there had to be a parent word, along the lines of “Deus” – that could have become Zeus in one language and Tyr in the other, consistent with what we know about the pattern of consonant changes that occurred as the original proto-Indo-European language diverged. And if there was an original name “Deus” then there would have been an original proto-Indo-European god, called Deus, whose story, I would suggest, took different paths but continued to be told even as the consonants in his name shifted and the language used to tell his tale evolved.
    So it’s the linguistic elements that I understand best, and that incline me towards the common-ancestor idea, although not independent of the cultural churn that you describe.

    And on a linguistic note again: @pedant I think French people often say “black” because there isn’t an equivalent neutral everyday word in French. “Noir(e)” is too loaded. English people say “sushi” because it’s more concise, and sounds fancier, than “that raw fish like they do in Japan.” I think it’s just linguistic borrowing for the sake of economy, not evidence of a will to converge. And I don’t think languages do want converge. I think they want to change, constantly, and go off in their own direction. Institutions like the Académie Française hold languages back from changing – but not from converging. In fact, I’m not sure two different languages can converge in any meaningful sense.

    You also seem to be suggesting that very similar tales and myths occurred spontaneously in isolation from each other. But that would be an awful lot of coincidences, everywhere you look.

    And on snow: Never mind the eskimos… 🙂

    idiotsavon @replies

    @mudlark That’s fascinating. I always thought the Grimm tales were regional folklore.

    I was introduced at uni to the enormous contribution that Jacob Grimm made to linguistics and philology. His work was on Indo-European languages (similarities in vocab and predictable, systematic differences in phonology.) He helped cement the hypothesis that the Indo-European language family derives from a single common ancestor.

    I wouldn’t stake my life on it, but I’m sure he also believed that the similarities between Indo-European myths, like the similarities in language, could be explained in terms of a single prehistoric society that spread throughout Europe, taking its oral tradition in different directions – both figuratively and quite literally.

    So that might explain why the Grimm brothers didn’t confine themselves to purely German tales: they didn’t see folk tales as existing in geographical isolation.

    My own theory, based on no research, is that what began as a Proto-Indo-European prehistoric religion was supplanted by other religions over time, but lived on via the oral tradition as myth, legend and folklore.

    If such a “family resemblance” did exist, it can only have been compounded by the movement of people that you describe.

    Reading around the topic yesterday, I stumbled across a BBC article. It said that modern scholars of linguistics and mythology have, through comparative analysis, managed to date some of our folk tales back to the bronze age.

    idiotsavon @replies

    This episode for me is the gift that keeps giving, it’s so rich with allusions.

    Thanks @nerys for your post. 🙂

    @cathannabel I absolutely love Gide, The Vatican Cellars and The Counterfeiters being among my all-time favourite books. Haven’t read Theseus though, so that’s really fascinating thank you.

    I totally see your point and agree, @mudlark, about the Minotaur’s labyrinth being markedly different from the troll caves. That said, I also think the cultural overlaps are impossible to ignore. Scandinavia is rich with labyrinth legends, generally with a virgin maiden at the centre guarded by a troll. So we don’t need Theseus to interpret the caves as labyrinthine and Trine as the maiden. And we don’t need Ariadne for the string to have mythical significance, since there’s at least one Nordic/Germanic tale about a hero guided to his fair maid by a thread. So, you really can take your pick between exclusively Nordic/Germanic folklore or classical allusion. However, the Minotaur is perhaps the most obvious connection. And interestingly, both Trine and Ariadne are names that translate as “pure” – albeit with different connotations.

    I’ve become a bit intrigued by the word “umbilical” to refer to the string. I know Ribbons uses some odd words anyway, but umbilical? Not sure if there might be a birth metaphor in the Solitract myth, but I definitely think there could be a broader parent/child analogy, in which the Solitract symbolises the orphaned/abandoned child (c.f. Ryan and Hanne.)

    The moment the Doctor first sticks her head through the mirror struck me as similar in both visuals and sound to the moment Frodo first wears the ring in LOTR. The Tolkienesque elements are numerous for obvious reasons, but I wonder what examples there might be of Jacksonesque cinematography, too.

    And @craig It’s an honour to share in your memories. Hope you feel ok today.

    idiotsavon @replies

    @craig She sounds incredible. 🙂

    @kevinwho Thank you for sharing those bittersweet and beautiful words. I really like your take on Doctor Who aswell.

    idiotsavon @replies

    @pedant I suspect your keyboard has a delete key and so I deduce that Finger The @cumquat is precisely as obscene as you intended. 🙂

    Sounds like a good game, let’s play.

    *dons Poirot moustache* ‘Ello mah leetuhl Ehngleesh chuhms…

    No hang on, that’s Eurotrash.

    I have a couple of suspects in mind, but how do we know the culprit would come clean when fin… sorry Eurotrash again. I mean own up when identified?

    idiotsavon @replies

    Seconded @kevinwho. Well said.

    Welcome, @bluffme. 🙂

    idiotsavon @replies

    @craig @cathannabel @kevinwho

    I’m so sorry. I can’t imagine how it must feel to lose a partner or parent. I wish I knew the right words to say. Language is rubbish sometimes.

    “if it seems we’ve wandered too far afield from the episode”… or maybe right to the heart of it?

    Such a beautiful photo, Craig. I hope you get your dream tonight.

    Hugs to you all. Xxx


    idiotsavon @replies


    “this propensity to civility and this use of reason in the development of an argument”

    Oh come on now that’s a bit strong. Did it never occur to you that some of us on here might not be the polite, reasonable people you take us for? Maybe we’re just really, really incompetent trolls.

    I come on here with every intention of trolling. It just never comes out right. I find myself inadvertently thinking about things, it’s incredibly frustrating. And frankly it hurts to be tarred with the “intelligent” brush.

    May I suggest that you post some kind of tutorial for the failing trolls amongst us?… Actually, I’d love to read that. Maybe you could call it C.U.M-F.A.Q.s 🙂

    idiotsavon @replies

    Just back from holiday and caught up with episode 9, and what a corker it was. I loved this. Taking the fairy tale right back to its grizzly folkloric roots. (I really enjoyed your post detailing the fairy tale elements @bluesqueakpip.)

    I can’t believe how quickly my reservations about this series have melted.

    Hanne: from the Hebrew Channah, which means Grace 🙂

    The Doctor’s previous nod to Norse mythology saw him bring a dead Ashildr back to life and make her immortal. This episode’s somewhat similar nod is the polar opposite (or mirror image?) of the last. This time it is heartbreakingly clear that the real Grace cannot come back.

    I think there might be a similar parallel with the Pandorica story. Like the Solitract, the Pandorica is a fairy tale that turns out to be real. It’s also a trap drawn from a companion’s memories/desires, and involving the simulation of that companion’s lost spouse. And in the Pandorica storyline we have another character (Rory) returned from oblivion like Ashildr. Again, death-as-temporary-obstacle (Rory/Ashildr) can be contrasted with death-as-permanent-and-irreversible-loss (Grace).

    I hope I’m not finding connections where there are none. I feel like these choices are deliberate recalls (the Germanic myth/fairy-tale to recall Ashildr, and the fairy-tale/trap/lure/fake-revived-spouse to recall the Pandorica.) I feel like Chibnall is making a point of signposting times when Moffat has un-deaded characters. And I suspect the point is that on his watch there will be no un-deading. No fantastical alien repair kit; no miracles; no elaborate cheats or life lived between heartbeats. Chibnall will honour the simple, inevitable and painfully real truth of death: It Takes You Away.

    I realise I haven’t yet watched the finale. And I realise if Grace has already come back in that, then I have already smeared figurative egg all over my stupid face 🙂

    One fairy tale motif that I don’t think has been mentioned so far is the string. As you said @ardaraith, the string functions as a way to get home, like Hansel and Gretel’s breadcrumbs. It’s also an allusion to the tale of the magic spindle, I think. (Briefly: a peasant spinner gets her prince by sending out an enchanted thread, which he follows to reach her.) Wrong part of the world but I think it evokes the Ariadne/Theseus myth aswell.

    Agree with your concerns @tardigrade and @ichabod about the Doctor’s motives at the end. Staying with the Solitract would mean abandoning the others to fend for themselves in the Antizone, and I just can’t see the Doctor being prepared to do that. But the alternative (that she is manipulating the Solitract with an insincere promise) doesn’t seem very Doctory either.

    @whisht A nod of appreciation for your “The Actor Kevin Eldon” footnote. Made me chuckle 🙂

    There was a nice (ahem) symmetry between the speaker wire in our universe, which Ryan follows to discover one deception, and the string in the Antizone, which Hanne follows to discover another.

    The Doctor, Graham and Yas are powerless to help as Ribbons is devoured by the moths: another situation in which Team Tardis have no choice but to stand by and let bad things happen.

    I was rather teary-eyed when Graham and Ryan finally had their lovely “Grandad” moment. I hope Ryan will continue to leave Graham hanging when he goes in for a fist bump though. I’m a big fan of the unreciprocated fist bump.

    idiotsavon @replies

    @blenkinsopthebrave @whisht Ha ha thanks for the props. Idiot Heights would be far more apposite but what’s the point of the internet if you can’t dress yourself up with a bit of fictional grandeur? How about Whishtminster Palace? 🙂

    @mudlark A bit late, but I just want to add my voice to those wishing you well. Hope your nose is causing no discomfort or worry, and that the problem will be quickly and easily sorted.

    Good to see you back on the threads, Puro @thane16

    I did notice the Capaldi/Smith/Jodie disparity, but if I’m honest I didn’t really question it. It felt quite natural. I might have gone along with it if it hadn’t been challenged by others. That’s conditioning for you I suppose.

    The first name/surname thing is really quite interesting.

    There are a good number of female performers who have made a conscious decision to go by their first name only. Madonna, Sia, Shakira, Adele, Rihanna, Enya, Beyoncé – all known professionally by their first name, I believe all by choice. Cheryl Tweedy/Cole/Fernandez-Versini is now simply Cheryl. I’m not sure whether Kylie Minogue and/or Oprah Winfrey originally had their surnames confiscated by the tabloids, but these days both women often use just their first name in marketing and promotions.

    I can’t think of many male equivalents at all. *googles it* Drake, Seal, Usher (I didn’t know any of them were real names) ermm Jazzy Jeff? Dr Phil?

    When shows are named after their stars, on the female side we get quite a few first names (e.g. Miranda, Roseanne, Ellen and harking back, I think “I Love Lucy” counts.) But on the male side we get only surnames (Seinfeld, Hancock’s Half Hour) or full names (The Larry Sanders Show.) I can’t think of any male-first-name shows or any female-surname-shows off the top of my head.

    Is there a sense in which women’s identity is tied up more in the first name, since we do not tend to keep the same surname throughout our lives? Is dropping the surname in fact arguably a feminist move? (“Please, from now on just call me Germaine. Grier is so horribly patriarchal.”)

    It’s not necessarily malicious to use first names. Reeves and Mortimer are affectionately known as Vic and Bob; Morcambe and Wise similarly were Eric and Ernie. Corbyn fans often refer to him as Jezza. Boris Johnson is often referred to not unkindly as Boris and I believe Margaret Thatcher was often called Maggie by journalists who supported her.
    But I suppose, affectionate or not, the use of the first name can undermine the dignity of an individual. There’s a sense that this is not someone you need to take seriously. That’s completely fine for comedians like Boris, but not so great for politicians like Thatcher or Corbyn, or indeed serious actors like Whittaker.


    idiotsavon @replies

    Things are a bit stupidly chaotic here in Savon Manor. If I had time to spare, I’d be able to explain why I started out fearing I might hate this new series, but have now really started to get into it.
    In bullet points…

    • The new music has grown on me.
    •  None of the companion characters wear their heart on their sleeve à la Moffat. But there’s a lot of nuance and understatement that I’m growing to appreciate.
    • The Doctor’s uncertainty about who she is works for me. I don’t have a companion surrogate who can say “This isn’t the Doctor I know” because the companions are all new. So the fact that the Doctor is questioning herself, wondering who she is now and what she’s about, makes her a better surrogate than the companions in a lot of ways.
    • Bradley Walsh.
    • I cried at Rosa
    • I cried at Demons of the Punjab
    • I laughed a lot too
    • OK no Bonkers so far, but Themes, Themes, Themes. Excellent and complex Themes.
    • Bradley Walsh


    @pedant… didn’t @whisht say 5 days about two weeks ago? 😉

    idiotsavon @replies

    @pedant Jeez! I see what you mean about the oncoming traffic. That first grey car did well to avoid you. It does look scary. Lucky there was a decent-sized verge too. Round our way the country roads are helpfully flanked by ditches.

    It would be outrageous even by insurance company standards to try and dispute liability for this. In the other lad’s shoes I’d consider myself lucky not to be in court on a reckless driving charge, frankly. It’s good that they’re not trying it on though and it does make things a lot easier.

    Headrest height is definitely worth a good ponder.

    How are the aches and pains?

    idiotsavon @replies


    Just checking in. Straight after a big jolt, you might feel ok but the next 24 hours can really take a toll. Hope you’re still ok.


    idiotsavon @replies

    @pedant Yeah, good news about glucose levels. But what a way to find out. Sounds nasty. I hope the other driver was duly mortified.

    idiotsavon @replies

    @pedant What a nightmare. Makes you wonder how some people ever got a licence. How are you? Hope not hurt or shaken.

    idiotsavon @replies

    Please do send your assignment to me, I’d love to read it. But that’s just for fun. Obviously there are others here that can really guide (@bluesqueakpip) and challenge (@pedant)

    But I’m enjoying learning about philosophy, and I can help you out with criteria from a boring, generic teacher viewpoint for what it’s worth. So please don’t hesitate.

    I hope your visit is rewarding. Sounds quite incredible and massively humbling actually, from @blenkinsopthebrave‘s description.


    idiotsavon @replies


    Here you go. You mentioned Brisbane so I assume this is your study programme? If so I think it will be extremely helpful for future topics.

    If you download the syllabus, you’ll find your question word-for-word under topic 6, along with suggested content. Criteria for judging standards across all topics are thoroughly explained at the bottom of the document. Note that Plantinga, “morally invested” or not, is one of the suggested philosophers!


    idiotsavon @replies

    @thane16 Good, I’m glad it was helpful. I’ll be interested to find out how you get on, and what your teacher has to say.

    I’ve really enjoyed reading this discussion and finding more out for myself. I had thoughts circling about the appropriateness of rational argument and the limitations of lanugage, but they never quite crystallised into a coherent paragraph.

    I hope you’ll post other topics from philosophy class up for discussion!

    I think an effective teacher needs to help students to understand what the criteria are by which their work is to be assessed. I was never allowed give students a B, say, on the basis that “I liked it but I didn’t love it.” I gave them a B because their work demonstrably met the criteria for a B, as outlined by the exam board or Department for Education. An important part of my job was to ensure that students were familiar with the criteria and understood what they meant in concrete terms. Ideally students themselves need to be able to grade their own work with reference to the criteria – and understand what they need to do differently (or extra) to achieve the next grade up. They should be in a position to challenge me about their grades.
    They shouldn’t be grasping in the dark.

    You say you’re not sure whether you’ll get a basic pass or a distinction, so I suspect (although I may be wrong) that your teacher isn’t explicitly sharing the grading criteria with you in such a way that you can make use of them.

    If this is the case, here is my advice:
    You first need to know who is setting the syllabus, grading criteria etc. (Is it a government department or an exam board? What’s the name of the govt deparment or exam board?) The organisation in question should have a great deal of very helpful information available on their website. In the UK, nearly all the published guidance that is available for teachers is freely accessible online – sometimes alongside plain-language guides for students and parents. This information includes the syllabus, past papers, grading criteria, and exemplar answers that achieved an A or C, say, and an accompanying explanation of why the work achieved the grade it did, with reference to the grading criteria.

    I don’t know what info will be accessible to you online, but I do know it will be an awful lot better than nothing.

    If this is of interest, and you can use a hand searching for the info you need, do give me a nudge.

    idiotsavon @replies


    I found this article which, to my untrained eye, seems to cover the arguments and philosophers you are writing about. Although it doesn’t answer your precise question (can we establish…) the author does evaluate philosophy’s “success” if you like, in answering the God question. So I thought it might be an interesting read.

    The author is a philosopher at MIT and has made a lot of his writing available on a range of topics, so given your lack of an obvious teacher, I thought this list might be a handy resource for you at some point, even if not now.

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    @pedant I’d like it if the “nudges” theme became a thing: the message that, however unremarkable we think we are, we each have tremendous power to change and shape the world. But that one bad choice, one little nudge in the wrong direction could be catastrophic.

    Thinking about it, wasn’t there a convo somewhere on the Rosa thread about Thirteen’s warning to Team Tardis? She’d told them to be careful not to change history, whereas Ten and Twelve were both explicitly cavalier about treading on butterflies.

    At the beginning of World Enough and Time, Twelve seemed incredibly complacent, sitting with his feet up on the Tardis console eating crisps. And in the end, that single bad decision, that small delay in getting himself out of the Tardis, was what got Bill killed.
    Hence, perhaps, Thirteen’s change of heart and new-found caution.

    Actually, there was a certain nonchalance and showmanship about the Doctor as played by Tennant, Smith and Capaldi that I don’t think is there with Whittaker. Whittaker’s Doctor seems more anxious somehow. Maybe she’s feeling the pressure: don’t make a wrong move, no matter how small; don’t nudge things the wrong way. (Again.)

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    Posting this in the pub, as it has nought to do with Arachnids…

    @lionheart564 @miapatrick

    True story: In my 20’s I spent a couple of years living in Cameroon near the Chad border. Overwhelmingly, anybody there who wasn’t from Cameroon or Chad would either be white European/American/Canadian, or Chinese.
    I am stereotypically white European in appearance, but was regularly asked by Cameroonian strangers whether I was Chinese. They genuinely couldn’t tell.
    Conversely, my Cameroonian colleagues and neighbours had no trouble discerning on sight whether a bypasser was Chadian, Cameroonian, or perhaps had mixed ancestry. Apparently there is a marked difference in facial characteristics, but I could never see it.

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    @kevinwho Ooh, if the Doctor that we think is the current Doctor turns out to be a pretend Doctor, and then we meet the real and completely different Doctor, then that would be egg on everyone’s face who ever had any kind of strong opinion about the new Doctor, or whether “Jodi” was even any good.  Because that wasn’t even the new Doctor you morons. 🙂

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    @kevinwho Now we’re talking!

    Something that did occur to me but I hope it’s not true is that “ghost Grace” is actually “past Grace” nipping into the future to help Graham through the grieving process.

    But that would obviously be pretty terrible if it were true.

    But maybe it’s true in a way which turns out to be cooler than it sounds.

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    So basically, this episode didn’t grab me. Nothing wrong with it. Maybe not my cup of tea or maybe I just spent too long pondering Brexit and the nature of God 🙂

    Or maybe there’s such a lot of chat lately about whether “inclusivity” equals compromise that I’ve genuinely lost the will to live.

    OR… Maybe what I’m missing is the Bonkers.

    I mean, I know Chibnall isn’t Moffatt. But seriously, what percentage of Bonkerising ever came true, even in those salad days?

    So here’s my starter for ten

    1 The entire series is going to be about “little nudges.” History and the future became and will become what they are, not because of great acts of heroism and destruction, but because of the unremarkable actions of seemingly unremarkable people.

    2 Therefore, Karl and the SkyHigh Company will come back. Carl’s cry of “I AM important!” will take on new significance because, as it turns out, he is important…

    3 …Because Karl’s little “dick move” (was that your term @pedant?) kickstarts a train of events that lead to the poisoning of the dead planet in Ghost Monument, and…

    4… influence and inspire the hateful views of a child who later becomes Not Donald Trump. (Definitely your term @cathannabel.)

    5. Yas is a Stenza double agent.

    6. There’s something sinister in those custard creams…


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    @lisa Thanks so much for that. For a woman whose days are devoted to a toddler and massive looney-tunes dog, I’ve done a LOT of reading. So it’s nice to know I am finally approaching a sincere understanding.

    There’s more to say, but right now I’m playing Trains 🙂


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    @thane16 Just to point you to my links up top. I got your handle wrong so you won’t have had a notification. X

    idiotsavon @replies

    @janetteb I think I can identify with your 5 star hotel experience. I once worked for a year on the phones at a company that touts itself as a “global concierge service” for “high-net-worth individuals.” (Translation: If you’re massively rich and you want it and it’s not entirely illegal, our minions will find a way.)

    How the other half live 🙂

    I still spat out my tea at “gold filings in the soup” though…

    idiotsavon @replies

    Thanks @thane 16, much appreciated. Full disclosure: I have -ahem- “borrowed” somewhat from Bickerton. Here it is if you’re interested.


    In your shoes I would definitely give some thought to the angle that “rational argument is inappropriate” but that’s just my preference. I’m a linguist, so naturally I’m all over the language aspect.

    You could have a quick gist read of this article and see whether it floats your boat. If the German quotations are a hindrance I can help you out but the author tends to rephrase in English anyway.

    ‘Philosophy to the glory of God’. Wittgenstein on God, religion and theology




    idiotsavon @replies

    This issue has caused serious tensions and rifts in my own family, and maybe for that reason, I feel the need to put my soapbox away and at least try to understand and respect the Leave argument, and to find points of agreement. That’s hard within my family at the moment, because – well, families. So I’m very appreciative of the explanations given by @lisa and @bluesqueakpip, and their willingness to debate kindly, without antagonism.

    Sooo… sovereignty. Point by point.

    Different histories when it comes to the formation of nations. Agreed and understood. I think.
    Different legal systems. My immediate thought is “common law vs civil/Roman” law. Am I thinking along the right lines here?
    Economics is on a rather different basis aswell. Economics not my strong point. Are we talking about the kind of business we do and who we do it with? Or government economic/monetary/fiscal policy? Or something else?
    Being born free vs. being allowed freedoms. I don’t understand how or why that’s the case, but I’ve heard it said before and I take that point.

    I’m really struggling here, because desperately want concrete examples – something I can put my finger on and say “There. That’s something that happened that demonstrates why the UK isn’t sovereign while it’s in the EU.”

    While reading around what you said, I stumbled across Chris Bickerton and because there was a lot of concrete stuff in there, so I was drawn to it. So here’s my attempt to understand and find points of agreement with the “sovereignty” argument, via Bickerton.

    With EU membership comes an inevitable shift in authority toward the Cabinet and away from the Commons. MPs are disenfranchised because any policy/legislation decided on a European level is agreed in Brussels by the relevant cabinet minister, and merely brought back to Parliament for rubber-stamping.
    Now, my instinctive response to this is “Good.” Because so often, EU directives and regs concern such pressing issues as what information to include on a packet of baby milk, or how much deterioration is acceptable on a banana skin. I’m very happy that this kind of thing is being decided centrally in Brussels and not taking up time and money in Westminster. It makes sense to me.
    But then, there are the more controversial regulations, such as opening public services up to the market. I understand, of course, that “open up to the market” does not mean “relinquish any and all state ownership and involvement forever” and that for at least 20 years successive UK governments have been quite happily mortgaging off public assets not because of Europe, but because they wanted to.
    BUT in principle, I’m not sure I’m comfortable with the fact that a cabinet minister can swan off to Brussels and come back with a policy package that fundamentally affects our government’s right, and the right of future governments, to open or restrict market access to the public sector in whatever way they (and more importantly their electorate) see fit.

    Us ordinary people are still empowered. We can and do petition parliament, write to our MPs and get things done, and laws made or changed. That grassroots, ground-up mechanism for change is still alive and well. BUT it’s not as healthy as it could/should be, because our cabinet ministers are looking in a different direction, toward Brussels. Their time and attention is taken up by the EU and to some extent, their authority is derived from their position on the Council of Ministers, and so no longer flows from their democratic mandate.

    Another thing Bickerton mentions, which was news to me, is that the Syriza/EU negotiations went badly for Syriza because of what he calls a “failure of etiquette” on the part of Yanis Varoufakis. Basically, to paraphrase in my own crude terms (and no doubt get it wrong in the process,) the normal etiquette would be to sit around the table and behave like a group of like-minded colleagues working together objectively to solve a problem. Varoufakis, on the other hand, saw it as his duty above all to represent the will of the Greek people. Therefore, from the outset, he assumed an attitude of conflict, making demands and doing battle. And the response was, effectively, “That’s not the way we do things here.”
    What does that mean for the UK? I suppose it means we have to accept that when our executive sit on the Council, they do so not as tenacious defenders of the national interest, giving voice to the will of the people, but merely as equal council members, setting nationalism aside in the spirit of cooperation.
    That’s not a bad thing. There is a lot wisdom in it, I think. However, it seems to me that it is in direct opposition to the democratic notion that politicians have a duty to represent and advocate for their electorate. And that’s a problem.

    So @bluesqueakpip, @lisa Am I even a fraction of the way toward understanding where you are coming from on any of this?


    idiotsavon @replies

    @thane16 Thinking about it, and re-reading your post, I’m not sure what you’re being asked to do. Is it a case of exploring the rational arguments both for and against God’s existence? Or is it more a discussion of whether rational argument is even appropriate when you’re dealing with an omnipotent God who, almost by definition, transcends logic?

    I haven’t forgotten about Brexit. Distracted by a toddler though!

    idiotsavon @replies

    @thane16 I’m with @kevinwho about definitions. In particular, how are we defining God? Might be worth looking up Spinoza and pantheism. I’m massively oversimplifying but basically if we define God as the universe and everything in it, then you can establish God’s existence by simply pointing at a thing and saying “There you go.”

    idiotsavon @replies

    Oh, I’m so slow at this. I formulated some thoughts in my mind that applied more than two hours ago, and now I sit down to write and there’s loads more to read. And it’s bedtime!

    I do really want to respond to @thane16 just to say I really appreciated your comment, and I’m really glad to know this discussion has sparked an interest for you. I’m reminded of a comment you made recently where you said that, like the Doctor, you’re “still cooking,” or something, Great self awareness, perhaps. But that in no way makes your opinions and feelings less valid than mine. And I for one would be really interested to hear your take on matters, if at any point you feel like joining in.

    And @mudlark I found your last post really beautiful to read. So thank you.



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    @craig @jimthefish Blimey. That’s absolutely crazy.

    I don’t even know where I got my wrong opinions from. Sorry.


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    @craig Really?? I’ve been hearing that one so long I never thought to check. Surely a combination of Scottish Labour and SNP put a nice spanner in the works though?

    idiotsavon @replies

    Just to point out I wrote that at 8-ish then got distracted. I missed what followed.

    idiotsavon @replies

    Thanks @lisa for your comments. No big response from me just now. I’m mulljng it all over though.

    @craig Basically everything you said I agree with. (Except Scottish Independence. If that happens I’ll never see anything but a Tory majority again in my lifetime. Please think it through!) But it’s really refreshing and kind of nice to get an alternative take from people patient enough to explain where they’re coming from. In my own family we can go about 15 mins before everyone climbs onto their high horse and starts repeating stuff loudly.

    @bluesqueakpip It’s an interesting point that we may be using the same word to talk about two different things. I’m still mulling that one over…

    I looked up Charles de Gaulle’s veto speech to try and get a grasp of what you were saying, and it was quite illuminating. I need things to be pretty concrete in order to feel confident I’ve really understood and not just wrongly interpreted what I’ve heard/read – and de Gaulle gave many concrete reasons why the UK’s economic activities rendered it incompatible with the Common Market at that time. So that was really interesting and helpful.

    I think I can agree with you to a large extent about European expansion (Hungary springs to mind more readily than the Greece/euro debacle) and it’s interesting that de Gaulle was wary of it. However, reading his speech, it seems he did envisage the Common Market growing and transforming – he just didn’t believe it was the right time. So on that basis, do you think there’s merit in the argument that the Common Market *did* grow ; *did* transform, and that Europe and the UK (and indeed the world) have changed so much since 1963 that de Gaulle’s reasoning no longer applies?

    Maybe I need to think a bit more to make the link between CDG’s speech and what you said about this other kind of sovereignty. But I’m not seeing it right now. At the moment “sovereignty” in the Leave sense feels kind of ethereal.

    There’s a bit in the De Gaulle speech that feels so relevant to the whole Brexit debate, and the passion on both sides, it’s almost as if no time had passed. I can’t resist the urge to quote it…

    “In this very great affair of the European Economic Community… it is the facts that must first be considered. Feelings, favourable though they might be and are, these feelings cannot be invoked against the real facts of the problem. What are these facts?”


    idiotsavon @replies

    @lisa I think we’ve misunderstood each other. I invented Fictional California precisely in order to point out that it is, to borrow your term, a false equivalency. I did this because I thought you were the one equating California with the UK. So my apologies for that.

    Anyway, no matter. We can both agree that it’s truly great what you’re doing in California, but the situation in the UK is not comparable.

    I do have responses to your comments about future trade deals, quality standards, membership contributions, etc. But really I like to go point-by point, and the point that you made that’s really pivotal for me was about UK sovereignty. If I truly believed EU membership was threatening UK sovereignty – and thus undermining our democracy, I think I would absolutely support Brexit. But I just don’t recognise that picture.

    Like I’ve said before, I don’t pretend to be an expert. I really don’t understand why you say the UK is behaving like a subject state rather than a sovereign country. This was a prominent argument put forward by Leave campaigners, but I never felt they offered any evidence or examples that stood up to scrutiny – so it just felt like empty rhetoric, really. What precisely are you thinking of when you say the UK is not behaving like a sovereign country?

    Finally, it’s trivial, but I just want to pick up on that phrase “in spite of what you might think of them.” Initially I took that a bit personally, but on reflection I can understand why you might assume I have a low opinion of Brexiters as a blanket group. So I just want to clarify that “They” include my sister, my uncle, my close family friends and personal friends. They are highly intelligent, compassionate individuals whose intellect and values I respect and admire. I just happen not to agree with them.

    And thinking about it, largely my disagreements with them boil down to this notion of sovereignty, so maybe that’s why I’m particularly interested to know your reasons for thinking the UK is not acting like a sovereign state.

    idiotsavon @replies

    @janetteb The local council in my home town was (and I suspect still is) extremely corrupt, too. A big part of the problem was/is that there is a generations-old tradition of voting for the colour of the rosette, not the calibre of the candidate.

    And gold filings?? My jaw dropped when I read that!

    idiotsavon @replies

    @lisa I really admire the fact that you’re actively campaigning for what you believe in, and Trump genuinely scares me, so hats off to you.

    I agree with @janetteb that there are corrupt individuals at all levels of government, as well as some truly noble people who reach the upper echelons. However, I also agree with you in principle that the centralisation of power carries risks – not least of them the scope for corruption.

    That said, I have to take issue with your characterisation of the EU as “supersized government” lumped in with the Feds, Russia and China. I think you’re comparing apples with oranges.

    Similarly, I don’t think California’s resistance to federal interference is comparable with the UK’s exit from the EU.

    A more apt comparison might be as follows:

    Imagine for a moment a parallel universe in which California has its own sovereign currency, its own independent central bank, monarchy, army, navy, air force, welfare system, healthcare system, education system, transport system, police and other emergency services, etc. etc. all largely free from federal interference and paid for by a taxation system designed and administered exclusively by the State of California. Imagine California is recognised in international law as a sovereign state…

    Imagine California is a member of “the USA,” subject to certain rules of membership, including a so-called “membership fee” but also profiting from advantageous trade arrangements, collaboration on diverse global issues, and a number of federal schemes (funding programmes for academic research, cultural exchange and business start-ups, for example, and regeneration schemes in run-down areas of California.)

    Not everybody likes being a member of the USA. Certain newspapers regularly print stories about all the horrible things Washington is “making us do.” These generally turn out to be massively overblown if not simply untrue.
    The same newspapers have a big downer on Texans. They print headlines about how Texans are “swarming” to California, and blame society’s ills on “uncontrolled immigration” from other states, especially Texas. These claims don’t stand up under scrutiny, but they do a good job of creating ill feeling toward the Whitehouse (and Texans.)

    In this parallel world, Washington has its share of corruption, but then California’s own parliament is particularly rotten. And the things that Washington is “making us do” include rights for workers, protections for the environment, food standards, safety standards, caps on bankers’ bonuses, a crackdown on money laundering… It’s not clear that the current Californian government is especially keen on any of this.

    And then one day, the Prime Minister of California (let’s call him Dave) decides to have a referendum asking whether you want to “Leave the USA” without any clear idea of what “leaving the USA” would even mean in practice.

    Under those circumstances, how might you vote?

    Yes, big government carries the risk of big corruption. I have massive issues with the EU, believe me. But smaller government does not automatically mean better government. Perhaps you underestimate the level of self-interest in Westminster. Have you taken a look at some of the people who are actually driving the Brexit train?

    idiotsavon @replies


    OK. Back for Part Two!

    You make the point that UK influence will be diminished due to Brexit. I agree, and I believe that’s a very good reason not to leave.

    I agree with you that the world is “under the influence of capitol markets, trade and corporations.” I’m not sure I agree that this influence “was the only thing that kept the world together” partly because I’m not sure, in concrete terms, what you mean by that. Similarly I can’t say whether I agree that it’s coming apart.
    Was any of the above in response to anything that I said, or are you making new, separate points here?

    You say you don’t believe that good government can ever be based on trading blocs. I think I can sympathise with your view. However, I’m not sure whether I’ve correctly understood you. Let me give you my take and you can tell me whether I’m hot or cold…
    There is an argument that, because of the EU Stability and Growth Pact (which, not unreasonably, places limitations/conditions on government borrowing for member states) New Labour under Tony Blair were prevented from borrowing in the straightforward sense to fund their infrastructure programme. Instead they relied heavily on joint ventures with the private sector, and these were far more costly, and offered far fewer (if any) long-term returns to the Treasury, than traditional borrowing would have done.
    Is this a good example of what you mean by trading blocs being incompatible with good government? Do you maybe have better examples to illustrate what you mean? I have counterpoints, but unless I’ve understood you correctly there’s no point going into those as I’d just be arguing with myself! 🙂

    And as for “bearish times” etc. I’m ashamed to say I’m really, really not qualified to comment. Never even heard of an Elliott wave : -/


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