There’s no book quite like the autobiography, since they are usually biographies with some poor ghost writer having to make an illiterate celebrity (sportsperson) sound interesting. Odd that I’d decide to read an actual autobiography.
Just so we’re clear, this is a book by David Mitchell the comedian, not David Mitchell the award winning author. David Mitchell is a particularly funny comedian from the UK, one part of the Mitchell and Webb team, and Back Story is his tale of growing up and “getting on the tele”. Listening to the audiobook had the added benefit of David telling his story and giving his various rants and jokes the life they deserved.
That’s right, this book is funny from start to finish. Many comedic efforts fail to do this, either trying to squeeze too much out of a one joke premise, failing to be consistent, or having the jokes become tired – more of the same – somewhere in the middle of the book. Ostensibly told as David walks to work one morning, and recounting his life thus far, he manages to pack in a lot of commentary about schooling, university drama societies (Footlights), and the oddities of making shows for TV. And in true David Mitchell style there are plenty of witty insights, comedic rants, and down the barrel jokes to tell the tales.
I generally think that celebrity biographies are symptomatic of what is wrong with publishing and book stores. Someone has gone to a lot of effort to convince the reading public that these celebrities actually wrote the book (because they have heaps of spare time, and are well known for their writing prowess) and that they have something interesting to tell you that the tabloids haven’t already used as filler around those telephoto swimsuit shots. They’ve even managed to convince people that this is what you buy people as gifts, especially Xmas gifts for your dad. I don’t know if this was a big campaign or just one of those things that happened, but it would be great if people could stop pretending that sports people are interesting, are literate, and are actually writing a tell-all-book.
It is probably because David Mitchell is clearly the writer of this book, that the humour and the story told are entertaining yet honest, that I’ve enjoyed this autobiography. Too often in the past I’ve been disappointed with biographies and comedy books, so this was not just a good read, it was refreshingly good.
I recently watched a debate between Ben Goldacre and Peter Fischer on homeopathy. During the course of the debate, an audience member asked, “If water has a memory, how come you’re not sick every time you drink water out of the tap?.
A homeopathic practitioner answered (paraphrased) that boiling the water resets the memory and that homeopathic remedies are only effective when using boiled water. He makes another comment implying that if a remedy were prepared with tap water, it wouldn’t be effective.
I realize the above related question (“Does water have a memory…?”) is nearly identical. I’m trying to ask it another way as it’s possible to persist with the water memory concept despite the other question’s answer. One could simply say (my hypothetical response),
“Well, we don’t know how it works and perhaps it isn’t by the known mechanism of how water behaves… but trials indicate that it works, nonetheless and that’s all I need.”
Since the audience member in the video indicated tangible predictions, I’m interested if they’ve ever been put to the test. Thus, my question is:
Has a trial ever been conducted in which homeopathic remedies prepared from both unboiled and boiled water were compared against one another in terms of patient response?
If there is another way to answer this question please go for it.
It really doesn’t make any difference if the water is boiled or not, homeopathy doesn’t work.
The Minimum Dose and Avagadro’s Number The second and most controversial tenet in homeopathy is that remedies retain biological activity if they are diluted in a series (usually in a 1:10 or 1:100 diluent–volume ratio) and agitated or shaken between each dilution. Hahnemann began this process to reduce toxicity, but later he claimed that this “potenization” process extracted the “vital” or “spirit-like” nature of these substances (2). The limit of molecular dilution (Avagadro’s number) was not discovered until the later part of Hahnemann’s life; by then homeopaths all over the world were reporting that even very high potencies (dilutions lower than Avagadro’s number) produced clinical effects. The implausibility of such claims has led many to dismiss any evidence of homeopathy’s effectiveness as artifact or delusion (3). http://www.annals.org/content/138/5/393.full
But lets pretend for a moment that water does have memory. The aspect of boiling has not been researched. A search of Google Scholar nets no results for boiling and homeopathy. When referring to “how-to” guides of preparations it becomes obvious that homeopaths are merely after clean or unpolluted water to make their preparations in.
Ingredients … 1/2 or 1 litre of boiled water (distilled water may be bought at pharmacies in some countries, if you want that, and bottled, rinsed water is commonly sold in groceries too)
Preparing your own bottle: Boil the glass bottle and dropper in filtered water for 15 min. and let it cool completely. Fill it just to the neck with filtered or distilled water.
So clearly the idea that boiling is the only way to reset the water is not backed up by the practices employed by homeopaths themselves. This combined with the fraudulent claim that water retains memory shows that this is another misdirection to allow justification.
Earlier this week comedian Stephen Colbert was able to make a tragic event funny, touching and uplifting, all in the same monologue. For that moment the world was a little brighter. Then I accidentally clicked on a Steven Crowder Youtube video and I immediately despaired for humanity that this man could call himself a comedian. He is to comedians what Norman Bates is to hotel/motel owners. In the interests of the interwebz, I’m compiling a list of “comedians” whose performances may cause lasting damage to your sense of humour.
His only funny moment was when he tried to pretend he didn’t pick a fight with a union rep at a rally.
I’ll be fair to Dane, he has turned in some halfway decent acting performances (E.g. Mr Brooks). Pity he can’t act like a comedian. Even his Twitter feed ‘jokes’ make you question why he isn’t limited to less than 140 characters.
I’ll admit it, I have a copy of one of his comedy CDs. Of course, jokes about peeing your pants and lunch ladies have an expiry date of seconds after the joke is told.
Ranggers already have a tough time in this world, Carrot Top made it worse.
The funniest thing about Dave Hughes is that he has managed to forge a career as a comedian in Australia.
Poop in their pants.
It could be argued that adults are not obliged to deny their desire to poop their pants, but generally that person will be shunned rather than have gooey faces made at them.
Cry to get attention.
Look at how lame we think Glen Beck is for doing this.
Only do the basics of life: eat, shit, sleep.
Hard to sleep when you are hungry. Hard to shit when you haven’t eaten. Hard to eat without earning money. Hard to earn money if all you do is lie around doing the basics of life.
Urinate on someone and laugh.
Well, I suppose we could do that, but I’m pretty sure that a fight would arise.
Suck on boobies in public.
It really would make for a better society if we could.
Be noisy and disruptive during movies, plane flights, in grocery stores and have people blame your parents.
Why am I the jerk for taking a call during the new James Bond film?
Be showered with gifts for just showing up.
Baby gifts are like the participation award at school, except with cooler prizes.
Like everyone else with a pulse, I’m a Monty Python fan. Whether it be a killer white rabbit or a very naughty boy, there is nothing quite like the laughs that a Python sketch can illicit. I recently found this lecture that John Cleese gave on creativity. It is quite interesting the ground he covers and the conditions that are needed to be cultivated in order to be creative. Hope everyone gets as much out of this as I did.