Sunday, April 16, 2006

Darwin Awards discussions

The flame war over the Darwin Awards has cooled down, and I've gotten into some interesting discussions about the qualifications for adding information to a Wikipedia article.

I've also determined that I have to write a critique of the Darwin Awards. Thanks to a Wikipedia contributor, I now know of one other person who has publicly criticized the Darwin Awards. Unfortunately the person posted under initials. I might do some detective work to try to discover the identity of the critic, but I do think the critique, and the author's responses to critics are a little weak, and I think I might write a better critique. But it's good to know that at least somebody has thought through the Darwin Awards enough to understand the essential dehumanization inherent in the concept.

I'm currently reading Hannah Arendt's Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil in preparation for writing the critique. Not that I think that the Darwin Awards are the equivalent of Nazi atrocities. Rather, I plan to make the case that Nazi atrocities are an example of the simmering banality of evil that exists in human populations brought to a boil for political expediency and that the Darwin Awards is evidence of the banality of evil in the most banal of circumstances.

The Arendt book is utterly fascinating so far. I'll post a book review later.