Sentence to Ponder and Ponder and Ponder

by on June 24, 2014 at 12:07 pm in Economics, Law, Philosophy, Political Science, Religion | Permalink

Does any sentence better illustrate the human condition in all its political, social and biological complexities than this sentence?

New York state lawmakers have passed a bill banning residents from taking “tiger selfies” — a rising trend on dating websites in which single men post photos of themselves posing with the ferocious felines in hopes of impressing potential mates.

Dissertations are waiting to be written.

1 anon June 24, 2014 at 12:15 pm

“Does any sentence better illustrate the human condition in all its political, social and biological complexities than this sentence?”

… yes?

2 ummm June 24, 2014 at 12:37 pm

the challenge is on to find the sentence

3 JWatts June 24, 2014 at 1:44 pm

I’m going with this as better capturing all of those complexities:
“That’s what she said.”

4 dead serious June 24, 2014 at 1:42 pm

“How good a climate change solution do we need?”

5 Ricardo June 24, 2014 at 1:59 pm

The sentence was self-referential.

6 Larry Siegel June 26, 2014 at 1:18 am

It mostly illustrates the need for lawmakers to have full-time jobs doing something besides making laws.

7 prior_approval June 24, 2014 at 12:23 pm

Well, I would have thought that GMU’s director of the Center for Study of Public Choice would have better ideas for dissertations than what was posted on this web site.

Not to mention the Bartley J. Madden Chair in Economics at the Mercatus Center. Though for different reasons, admittedly.

8 Jeff June 24, 2014 at 12:55 pm

Seriously, p_a don’t you have anything better to do? Aren’t you bored of this game yet? We are.

9 Baphomet June 24, 2014 at 1:27 pm

I am not sure what the game is, actually. It seems more like some kind of odd compulsion.

10 JWatts June 24, 2014 at 1:45 pm

It’s definitely compulsive behavior.

11 msgkings June 24, 2014 at 2:02 pm

+1, and fairly narcissistic too

12 derek June 24, 2014 at 3:50 pm

It is a bot. If you watch long enough it repeats itself.

13 Mark Thorson June 24, 2014 at 10:26 pm

It could be a hobby. Some people collect stamps. Some people watch birds. Some people make eccentric comments on blog postings. Some people reply in a serious way to eccentric comments on blog postings.

14 Naj June 24, 2014 at 4:51 pm

I feel better about myself when I demolish weird people with weird comments on a website that talks about tiger pic regulations.

15 v June 24, 2014 at 6:17 pm


16 Eric June 24, 2014 at 12:30 pm

It’s a common touristy thing to do in Thailand.

17 LAmd of Smiles...except for Eric. June 26, 2014 at 9:19 am

I live in Thailand and now taking selfies with the Army is surpassing taking selfies with Tourists.

Omly tourists take selfies with tigers in Thailand…

Oh…that was…maybe…your point.

18 LAmd of Smiles...except for Eric. June 26, 2014 at 9:20 am

…And I typoed Land of Smiles.. *sigh*

19 b June 24, 2014 at 12:34 pm

Isn’t the illustrative part that there is interest in banning the selfies?

20 The Other Jim June 24, 2014 at 12:39 pm

… and that the bar for dissertation topics is at its lowest point in human history?

21 Jim June 24, 2014 at 12:57 pm

Also the ban was proposed by a woman.

22 Alexei Sadeski June 24, 2014 at 3:01 pm

Aren’t they all, really?

23 Marie June 25, 2014 at 8:40 am

I have to say that’s really funny.

24 dsgntd_plyr June 24, 2014 at 12:44 pm

How about these sentences from Prof. Cowen:

“Tyler Cowen, economics professor at George Mason University, guards against demanding that every piece of work is paid. It can be ‘corrupting if you get into the mindset that you only do things for money,’ he says.”

25 Dan June 24, 2014 at 1:10 pm

isn’t there a free speech issue?

26 Sean June 24, 2014 at 1:34 pm

Oh, it’s a doozy all right. Evolutionary Psychology is without question the single best predictor of human behaviour. But also, look at the divide between the state and the individual – I think Ev.Psych. tells us everything about econ. and politics too.

27 Ricardo June 24, 2014 at 2:01 pm

Evo-psych predicts nothing. It is a series of just-so stories.

28 So Much for Subtlety June 24, 2014 at 6:25 pm

So is the rest of evolution. It is still the single most powerful tool for understanding the biological world.

Unless, you know, you believe in Intelligent Design or something?

29 Gombono June 24, 2014 at 11:21 pm

Do you have faith in human ability to differentiate between evolution by natural selection and neutral evolution?

30 Larry Siegel June 25, 2014 at 4:50 am

Evolution is just a bunch of just-so stories? Ask a population geneticist or evolutionary biologist to explain what he or she does, and you’ll see that evolutionary biology is based in theory, experimentation, and evidence just like any other investigative science.

The jury is still out on evo-psych but I think it will turn out to be a serious area of inquiry.

31 Tom West June 25, 2014 at 8:48 am

I’ll believe in evo-psych when there’s a human behaviour is *can’t* explain. Until that point, it’s utterly unfalsifiable.

(Sorry, but too many times I’ve simply seen E-P used to plausibly explain a micro-study that found behaviour A,and then used to plausibly explain a different micro-study that found behaviour not-A.

Its become clear that E-P satisfies our need for a good narrative – it *feels* right. But it does so because it’s *so* fuzzy and has thousands of interfering variables, which allows us to build an explanation for everything.

32 Clay B June 24, 2014 at 1:48 pm

When I saw the preview, I thought the first sentence was referring to itself recursively.

33 Al June 24, 2014 at 2:49 pm

These two sentences also appear in the linked news article:

“They can still pose with bears and monkeys,” the assemblywoman said. “They just have to take big cats off their list.”

34 Chris S June 24, 2014 at 3:09 pm

First they came for the Big Cat selfies, and I remained silent – I only wanted a monkey selfie.

35 Al June 24, 2014 at 5:33 pm


Yeah, I mean, as long as they don’t ban Elephaselfies …

36 jtf June 24, 2014 at 3:10 pm

A friend has had great success parodying this trend by posing with a Maine Coon.

37 Justin June 24, 2014 at 3:13 pm

“Does any sentence better illustrate the difference between a Tabarrok post and a Cowen post?”


38 T. Shaw June 24, 2014 at 3:34 pm

In about 50% of these cases, the dude would be better off being eaten by the tiger . . .

39 derek June 24, 2014 at 3:53 pm

Ignorant creationists strike again.

40 Sigivald June 24, 2014 at 4:04 pm

Waiting for the first First Amendment challenge, I guess.

It’s plainly expressive speech, inane and pointless as it is, and the “compelling interest” in stopping such photographs is unclear; mere ‘safety’, as the alleged concern is, is untenable, given that the same speaker equally said bears are okay to pose with and touch.

(And of course, only “fairs and circuses” are covered. So wildlife parks or zoos? Or a private exotic animal being rented out? That’s all different. Because “safety”.)

What I see here is that the New York Assembly is, unsurprisingly, more concerned To Be Seen To Be Doing Something than anything else.

41 Jeff June 24, 2014 at 5:20 pm

“inane and pointless as it is”

Well, there’s your dissertation topic right there: comparing the response rate for men on dating websites using tiger selfie profile pics vs those with regular selfies. I predict a modest but still measurable positive effect.

42 dbp June 24, 2014 at 4:28 pm

Busybodies got to busybody.

43 ben June 24, 2014 at 4:52 pm

the penalty is a $500 fine. will this increase or decrease the use of these pictures on dating sites.

44 andrew' June 24, 2014 at 5:13 pm

I think the tiger should get to eat 1/100 of them to improve signal content.

45 FC June 24, 2014 at 5:19 pm

“Think of it as evolution in action.” – Larry Niven

46 JWatts June 24, 2014 at 7:54 pm

Nobody survives a selfie with a Kzin.

47 So Much for Subtlety June 24, 2014 at 11:41 pm

No but they will hang your skin up in a museum if you try really hard.

Which considering the fate of many tigers seems only fair.

48 Affe June 24, 2014 at 5:34 pm

This raises equal protection issues if it also doesn’t prohibit tigers from taking selfies with GMU’s director of the Center for Study of Public Choice and the Bartley J. Madden Chair in Economics at the Mercatus Center.

49 Doug M June 24, 2014 at 5:37 pm

You can’t use a tiger to bait a cougar?

50 karl June 24, 2014 at 8:11 pm

Only if she’s wearing tiger mom jeans.

51 Alan June 24, 2014 at 11:12 pm

You can’t use a tiger to bait a cougar? = winner!

52 So Much for Subtlety June 24, 2014 at 7:58 pm

Tigers? Pah! I want to pick up biologists like Bernadette. So I take selfies next to Clostridium botulinum

Tigers are for wimps!

53 andrew' June 24, 2014 at 8:20 pm

Why would men agree to compete in this way? Posing with tiger: cool. Handling rattlesnake: uncool.

54 Cyrus June 24, 2014 at 10:22 pm

Well then, I guess the cat cafés will have to move to Jersey.

55 Jon June 24, 2014 at 10:28 pm

The bill is aimed not at selfies, but the reckless practice of some animal exhibitors of having people interact or pose with the big cats in a very dangerous way. A long time ago I was bothered to see a theme park have children pose around a large tiger. Just ask Roy Horn what a tiger might suddenly do.

Consult the site below where the author of the bill states that she found out about Tiger selfies only after getting the bill passed.

Also Alex:–do your homework rather than rush to post your next silly thing to prove your thesis that anything government does must be stupid.

56 So Much for Subtlety June 24, 2014 at 11:47 pm

Roy Horn was born in 1944? He was bitten in 2003?

So let’s say he was training tigers for 40 years. Let’s also assume a 40 hour week for 250 days a year. So 40,000 hours spent in the company of tigers. Plural. Armed with a whip and a chair.

He got bitten once.

I think we can agree that any one selfie is probably safe based on Roy’s life.

57 New kid on the block June 25, 2014 at 5:02 am

I agree – I think the title is misleading and attention grabbing. I have to ask though, how does posing with bears seem any safer?

58 Krigl June 26, 2014 at 10:24 am

Seems much safer to me, just wear a condom if you take it beyond posing.

59 gavinf June 24, 2014 at 10:47 pm

Deplorable practice (Vladimir Putin has much to answer for) but a vast improvement on shooting tigers and/or consuming their penii.

60 honkie please June 24, 2014 at 11:54 pm

Sounds like somebody has never tasted tiger penis.

61 So Much for Subtlety June 25, 2014 at 12:18 am

Well there’s a comment you don’t expect to see on MR. But I have to ask – was it Chinese cuisine or exotic sexual practices?

62 gavinf June 25, 2014 at 12:13 am

Not while the tiger lives, I confess.

63 Law Schools Lie June 25, 2014 at 12:35 am

“In one moment, he had both the lady and the tiger.”

64 andrew' June 25, 2014 at 5:36 am

Moves to posing with a 16 ounce soda?

65 Brian Donohue June 25, 2014 at 11:01 am


66 andrew' June 25, 2014 at 5:38 am

Alex, can you change the “submit” button to something else, or at leasy mine? Maybe “conquer” “slay” or “gig ’em”?

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