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Pulled Pork

By Al Schumann on Saturday June 19, 2010 06:22 AM

John Stuart Mill is famous for having expanded Bentham’s utilitarianism to incorporate ‘higher’ and ‘lower’ pleasures. Nowhere is this better exemplified than in the dictum “better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied.” In this paper I argue that this dictum is inconsistent with utilitarianism’s own conception of the ‘good’. My argument shall proceed through several stages: In section one I present and defend a form of ‘hedonic calculus’, the use of which will be essential if we are to quantify happiness (as utilitarianism aims to do.) The calculus I suggest will be based on considerations as to how we might compare a human being’s happiness with that of a lower animal. I present some arguments as to why I think a utilitarian should accept this calculus. In section two I examine Mill’s conception of the ‘good’, and analyze his famous quotation in the light of this. I argue that, by this very criterion, it is not necessarily better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied. In section three I examine how best to extricate ourselves from this situation, and I put forward the suggestion that if we want to maintain the belief that it is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied (a belief which, intuitively, we probably do wish to maintain), it cannot be based on utilitarian considerations.

The rest, sort of via Monsieur IOZ.

In one of those ghastly academic ironies, the author has recapitulated the worst possible method of creating pulled pork. The meat must never be steamed. One might legitimately argue that it's hard to ruin factory farmed pork, and who really cares what happens to it anyway? thus dismissing the whole discussion, but as the Deontological Chef noted on NPR last week: it's not the meat, it's the motion. As long as the recipe is semi-plausibly followed, the outcome is going to be better than anything a wingnut could concoct. Procedure is everything! Failing that, the appearance of procedure and complete sentence-like verbal program activities will do.

Comments (17)


This young woman's poetry is just as sublime as her philosophy.

Blogfather IOZ is my secret love. Too bad I'm too old, too short, too beefy to appeal to him. That, and 300 miles away. And I'ver never met him personally. But hey, if Blogfather Smith can hanker for KvdH, I can lust for IOZ...


if we must lust
i'll snitch instead

given our gal deficit
closet pork pulling
is the major activity of most SMBIVA's

super Al and father smiff excepted

err and maybe bethune
but who knows about that hoser
he may visit the local steam bath
like i in my vigorous days
visited the local ...errr....fold


sorry to disappoint you but I just like to bait some of the homophobic elements around here


Who is the 'Deontological Chef noted on NPR last week', please?
I don't get NPR, in any meaning of 'get'.

Al Schumann:

The Deontological Chef is a spur of the moment generic term for any Democratic Party apologist. I kept giggling over the "philosophy" and thinking of cannibalism—understandably, I'm sure you'll agree—when I saw Bentham and Mill subjected to an Lyceum exegesis. It's not that they don't deserve it. They do, and there's aesthetic justice in the treatment they receive.

I picked on NPR, which I too do not get or get, because it's the most likely venue for orotund pork pulling.

While I'm on the topic, I've had very good carnitas and Szechuan shredded pork, which are to pulled pork as malt whisky is to blended.

All allusions to masturbation can justly be blamed on the Lyceum, where pork is factory farmed, fecklessly pulled, steamed and otherwise rendered repugnant.


I strongly approve of any crushes that may develop on M. IOZ. He should be so sought-after that he's fighting off admirers with a riding crop.

I don't actually read many blogs, but I read his, and like it a lot. His authorial persona is extravagantly engaging.


now let's face there are pig fuckers
as well as my own abandoned vice
sheep fucking

now a pig fucker is likely not from the merit class
if he's listening to npr its because
"well son
my sow
seems to like it "


full article (film review):

"We don’t know that for certain. What common sense tells us is that a man as well connected as Harlan was had to know in 1940 something like the full meaning of Nazism. What we do know is that by 1950 Harlan was directing again; he made no less than nine movies in the following 12 years, perhaps not knowing that “Jud Süss” was then—and later—circulating widely in the Middle East, continuing to do its evil work among Muslim audiences at least as receptive to its message as the Nazis had been."

interesting judgement:
"....Muslim audiences at least as receptive to its message as the Nazis had been."

evidence for judgement: Richard Schickel's imagination.

CF Oxtrot:

IOZ is probably the funniest blogger I've read. I don't always agree with him but I almost always appreciate the varieties of wryness, disgust, disdain and mockery spread throughout his posts. I don't even get the Big Lebowski secret handshake society he has cooking there, don't understand it... yet still I find him pretty freakin' funny. More than the Big Lebowski, I seem to be frequently reminded of a particular line from Pulp Fiction:

"Look at the big brain on Brad"

...when I read IOZ.

His comment threads are usually pretty high-caliber too.

And I agree with Al's comment about procedure being everything. I call those stooges who harp on procedure "Process Mavens." They'd rather discuss details of process and completely avoid the thing that is being processed. They remind me of the sad realization I had about 25 years ago, that "environmental law" is about administrative process and not about protecting the environment. Of course it is! It was invented by Process Mavens!

Bullseye, Al!


How come anytime I post something here, that poses the slightest challenge to Michael's argument, my comment gets deleted?



All I said was that Jeremy Scahill does investigative reporting at the Nation.

Really, Michael, are you that insecure in your point of view that you can't respond to what I said? You made an assertion to which I provided contrary evidence.

Why delete my comment instead of responding?


@ Aaron: I just read a comment with your handle in the thread just below this one, the one with Joe Friday's picture. Is that the one Smith 'deleted'?


I haven't deleted anybody's comments. The blog software has its own notions of what should be posted and what shouldn't, some of which I've tried to explain in the tedious verbal cruft here on the comments page.

As for insecurity -- hah! I'm so secure I make Jabba the Hutt look like Woody Allen.

But I'll go digging in the database and see if I can find these missing comments, so tragically lost to the world.


Comments update: there are no comments awaiting "moderation" -- hah! -- nor any junk comments that aren't obvious Nigeriagra spam. Aaron must have pushed the wrong button, or misspelled the SecState's name, or something.


Jeremy Scahill ohhh ya !!!!!
2 three a thousand many jeremey scahills
katrina please

the "Puffin Foundation Writing Fellows "
are a Nation-al treasure

CF Oxtrot:

to Aaron --

Aaron, I have criticized Monsignor Paine frequently, Father Smith occasionally, and I think Brother Bethune at least once. My snide jabs at op have always been the type that I would imagine would be deleted, if anything were to be so... and yet, they remain.

Never had a single comment altered or deleted. Never.

I think it fair to say that SMBIVA is not involved in editorializing, redacting or deleting posts of commenters, and I commend them on that. It's far too easy to be the editor and ultimate arbiter of commentary at one's blog, and the folks here don't ever seem to have done that, not in my experience anyway.

In my experience, if your comment doesn't appear, it's one of two things at fault:

1) What Boink noted above... wrong thread, pal!

2) You forgot to type in Hillary Clinton's first name.

Al Schumann:

"Process," he murmured as they approached the display. "It keeps things under control."

"Nose to tail!"

"I can't hear you!"


That's when I knew he was fucking them.

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Note also that comments with three or more links may be held for "moderation" -- a strange term to apply to the ghost in this blog's machine. Seems to be a hard-coded limitation of the blog software, unfortunately.


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