Sunday, 23 December 2007

And the Winner Is

The "unofficial" CiF commenters' poll has now closed, with Waltz a clear winner, receiving almost exactly a third of the vote. ExArmy just pipped MsWoman into second place. The result confirms the trend in the abortive official poll, which was scrapped prematurely after concerns about multiple voting and organised lobbying. Hardly a scandal of the dimension of Richard and Judy's You Say We Pay fiasco, but serious enough for CiF supremo Georgina Henry to spoil the fun.

(If you haven't the foggiest about what I'm on about, check out the Guardian's Comment Is Free website, an important and influential forum for intellectual debate, or a playground of mud-slinging prima donnas, according to taste.)

AllyF: 15%
Berchmans: 9%
Exarmy: 21%
Mswoman: 19%
Waltz: 33%

I didn't detect any incontrovertible evidence of multiple voting here - Heresy Corner recorded far more Guardian-referred visits than there were votes cast - but if anyone did manage to subvert the system I'm not going to lose any sleep about it. I prefer to regard multiple voting as an expression of enthusiasm. In any case, people who made the effort to click their way over to this by-way are likely to be those who pay closer than average attention to CiF debates, so I think, all things considered, Waltz can be well-and-truly crowned Queen of the CiF jungle. Please feel free to add your comments below.

Many congratulations to her, and to the other nominees, CiF stalwarts all who made it through a crowded and competitive field. A worthy winner, I think. Others may have been more prolific, more verbose, or angrier. Waltz, however, has stood out with her gift for pithy put-downs, well-reasoned and sparklingly-written opinions, and large dashes of unpredictablity and wit.

Just a few of her "best bits":

On religious hypocrisy:

Many newspapers contain unpleasant cartoons. But a robust religion shouldn't be too troubled by them.

From If you can't stand the hate, started by Inayat Bunglawala

On religion and environmentalism

Will these planet-saving Abrahamic cults be the same ones whose holy handbooks state things like this:

And God blessed them, and God said unto them, "Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth." (Bible, Genesis 1:28)

Because I can't help thinking that it's this attitude - in which the earth is constituted as something to be "subdued", and mankind as having "dominion" - that has played a very big part in creating the current mess.

From Mark Vernon, Saving Souls and the Planet

On misanthropy

Of course. It's perfectly possible to like individual humans while disliking humanity en masse. Groupings of humans are very often capable of heinous behaviours that most individuals would not be capable of outside the group. That's why unpleasant, totalitarian societies are so intent upon crushing individuality and enforcing group conformity. Then there's the "psychology of the crowd" and all that.

It's also possible to look at the world and conclude that while individual humans can be good people, humanity as a whole is incorrigibly destructive, hugely damaging of itself, of other species, and of the planet.

From, Teen Dramas

And, a personal favourite,

Just to announce my own invention of the last half-hour: the fife.

The fife is designed to complement the knork. Before long, most meals will be eaten with a fife in one hand and a knork in the other. This shall be known as "eating with a fife and knork".

From, Kathryn Hughes, The Joy of the Knork