0871: "Charity"

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georgenh16
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Re: 0871: "Charity"

Postby georgenh16 » Fri Mar 11, 2011 1:50 pm UTC

If Rachel Carson and the hippies hadn't made such a stigma around DDT, millions of lives could have been saved. Instead we're trying nets.... ?

joebarsteward
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Re: 0871: "Charity"

Postby joebarsteward » Fri Mar 11, 2011 1:56 pm UTC

I think it means:

If you say "I'm buying this £10 game and I'm going to give £10 to charity" people can say "Why don't you just give the £20 to charity?"
But If you just say "I'm buying this £20 game." then nobody thinks twice about it.

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Re: 0871: "Charity"

Postby jeff.kaufman » Fri Mar 11, 2011 2:05 pm UTC

DanielLC wrote:If you really cared, you'd dedicate your life to earning as much money as you can, and do as much as you can to find the right charity.


This isn't that far out there: I try to do this.

It's not about whether you "really care". It's about recognizing how lucky you are, how much worse off some other people are, and trying to do the right thing.

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Maxpm
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Re: 0871: "Charity"

Postby Maxpm » Fri Mar 11, 2011 2:07 pm UTC

This comic was almost a "Randall, get out of my head!" moment for me. My school recently had an event of sorts to promote school spirit, and several people said I should go because it was for a good cause. I'm tired of that argument, though; if I want to support the cause, I will donate to the cause! I don't need some silly event as an excuse!

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Re: 0871: "Charity"

Postby jules.LT » Fri Mar 11, 2011 2:09 pm UTC

edit: never mind
Last edited by jules.LT on Fri Mar 11, 2011 2:52 pm UTC, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: 0871: "Charity"

Postby Andrusi » Fri Mar 11, 2011 2:17 pm UTC

"If you really cared, you'd donate $10 yourself instead of trying to get me to do it for you."
Not named Dennis Miller.

Maximus_Light
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Re: 0871: "Charity"

Postby Maximus_Light » Fri Mar 11, 2011 2:46 pm UTC

Well, this just goes to show you can't quntifiy actually caring about others. Giving out a sense of obligation just don't cut it.

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Re: 0871: "Charity"

Postby jdb-44 » Fri Mar 11, 2011 3:26 pm UTC

Magnanimous wrote:
Eternal Density wrote:Also; people don't speak with semicolons like that!
They do. "Cool, which ones?" is technically a comma splice; it's just not a terribly intrusive one.

Actually, it's not a comma splice. It would be a comma splice if the comma were separating two independent clauses, as in:

I think that's cool, you're the neatest person ever.

Cool is used as an interjection here. So, as we all learned in Schoolhouse Rock:

Interjections show excitement or emotion
They're generally set apart from a sentence by an exclamation point
Or by a comma when the feeling's not as strong

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BioTube
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Re: 0871: "Charity"

Postby BioTube » Fri Mar 11, 2011 3:35 pm UTC

"If you really cared, you'd give that money to kids whose employers just got shut down"


But who wants to think about economics?
Frédéric Bastiat wrote:Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.

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Re: 0871: "Charity"

Postby philsov » Fri Mar 11, 2011 4:25 pm UTC

Maxpm wrote:This comic was almost a "Randall, get out of my head!" moment for me.


Pretty much, though my experience springs from an Ash Wednesday/Lent discussion. If you give up something you enjoy (let's say weekly trips for sushi dinner @ $~20 after drink and tip and everything), go for the cheaper alternative (home cooked meal for $~3), and then donate the difference ($100) it's ideally a net win all around. So why do this only for six weeks out of the year?

Because eating rice and fish is awesome, duh.
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Maxpm
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Re: 0871: "Charity"

Postby Maxpm » Fri Mar 11, 2011 4:37 pm UTC

philsov wrote:So why do this only for six weeks out of the year?


Quite. It's like how everyone acts like they're amazing when they give money to homeless people on Christmas.

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Re: 0871: "Charity"

Postby 1055 » Fri Mar 11, 2011 4:55 pm UTC

jalanb wrote:What's a "zero internet argument"?


I think he means that internet arguments are a bad place to discuss this issue (or maybe any issue) because they give people too much opportunity to be judgmental and overly-confrontational. (See comic #438.) However, I think this forum has done a good job of avoiding both of those things and having a level-headed discussion. I hope my interpretation is correct, because the phrase "zero internet argument" really made my day.

Gullible Jones
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Re: 0871: "Charity"

Postby Gullible Jones » Fri Mar 11, 2011 5:04 pm UTC

Just a thought: if you really cared, you would dedicate your entire life to eradicating human suffering. Every hour and every cent would either go into your own survival or someone else's. You would live on as little as you could, to support as many people as you could.

That's how much suffering there is in the world. The number of people starving to death at this moment is estimated at one billion. Just think about that. Every single cent that you spend on something frivolous is someone else's lifeblood draining away.

Living anything approaching a normal life, I think, may require a certain degree of sociopathy in this age. And I'm not excluding myself from that picture. I'm as sociopathic as anyone else.

hordriss
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Re: 0871: "Charity"

Postby hordriss » Fri Mar 11, 2011 5:19 pm UTC

Never mind nets, this is the future:
http://www.ted.com/talks/nathan_myhrvol ... laria.html
Set up a perimeter around important buildings or even towns using low power electronics. Plus it's awesome!

What bugs me (pun intended) is that people in Europe/US tend to focus on AIDS/Cancer/etc because those diseases also affect them. Malaria is a far more common problem, so it doesn't make headlines. It's also annoying that heart disease is a far more common cause of death than cancer in the UK, yet you never hear about it.

[/my two cents]

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ImTestingSleeping
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Re: 0871: "Charity"

Postby ImTestingSleeping » Fri Mar 11, 2011 5:27 pm UTC

Gullible Jones wrote:Just a thought: if you really cared, you would dedicate your entire life to eradicating human suffering. Every hour and every cent would either go into your own survival or someone else's. You would live on as little as you could, to support as many people as you could.

That's how much suffering there is in the world. The number of people starving to death at this moment is estimated at one billion. Just think about that. Every single cent that you spend on something frivolous is someone else's lifeblood draining away.

Living anything approaching a normal life, I think, may require a certain degree of sociopathy in this age. And I'm not excluding myself from that picture. I'm as sociopathic as anyone else.


It isn't that we're sociopaths, it is just that we can't fathom the pain of those in other parts of the world who are in great need. We're just oblivious and it isn't our fault. We don't see that type of pain on a daily basis and we lack the empathy. It also doesn't help that we're extremely quick to forget. You see a commercial about donating 5 cents a day to sponsor an African child in need and you really feel for those kids, but then the football game gets back on and you forget about it almost instantly. We're too caught up in our own lives to see anyone elses, especially people in other parts of the world.

There are surveys which have shown that when you can see the pain of someone, you are MUCH more likely to help. This is because you have experienced pain yourself to some level and can empathize. We don't see them though, so we forget it is happening.

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Re: 0871: "Charity"

Postby dexeron » Fri Mar 11, 2011 5:41 pm UTC

I blame the Monkeysphere.

Seriously.
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Re: 0871: "Charity"

Postby MrConor » Fri Mar 11, 2011 6:15 pm UTC

DanielLC wrote:If you really cared, you'd dedicate your life to earning as much money as you can, and do as much as you can to find the right charity.


You mean like this guy?

Wikipedia wrote:Before his death on 11 August 1919, Mr. Carnegie had donated $350,695,654 for various causes. The 'Andrew Carnegie Dictum' illustrates Carnegie's generous nature:
To spend the first third of one's life getting all the education one can.
To spend the next third making all the money one can.
To spend the last third giving it all away for worthwhile causes.

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jules.LT
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Re: 0871: "Charity"

Postby jules.LT » Fri Mar 11, 2011 6:30 pm UTC

Gullible Jones wrote:Living anything approaching a normal life, I think, may require a certain degree of sociopathy in this age. And I'm not excluding myself from that picture. I'm as sociopathic as anyone else.

I don't see anything pathological about it: we care for those closest to us, is all.
It would be great if we all cared enough that we'd spend all of our energy raising those who are worse off to our level of comfort, but I think that a measure of ruthlessness is part of what made us so powerful and comfortable, so the limits to empathy are only to be expected.

But here are the good news: each and every individual can choose to do better than that!
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Richard Feynman & many others wrote:Keep an open mind – but not so open that your brain falls out

jeff.kaufman
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Re: 0871: "Charity"

Postby jeff.kaufman » Fri Mar 11, 2011 7:10 pm UTC

Gullible Jones wrote:Every single cent that you spend on something frivolous is someone else's lifeblood draining away.


I think this is a "perfect is the enemy of good" problem. Just because it would be incredibly painful to *really* give all you can shouldn't keep us from giving. I spend less on food so that I can give away more. But once I'm down to (in boston) $100/month, further cuts would make me much more unhappy than earlier ones.

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Re: 0871: "Charity"

Postby Turing Machine » Fri Mar 11, 2011 7:11 pm UTC

SpudTater wrote:
Turing Machine wrote:So the British taxpayer is donating to charity on his behalf.

No, we're paying for him, as well as millions of other [effectively] incomeless individuals, to live relatively safe, healthy lives because we are not assholes.
If his only motivation to earn money is to give it away to charity, then more power to him.


It seems positively rude, even if not quite asshole behavior, to rob Peter to pay Paul, but all right, moral-high-horseman.

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Re: 0871: "Charity"

Postby Turing Machine » Fri Mar 11, 2011 7:15 pm UTC

Gullible Jones wrote:Just a thought: if you really cared, you would dedicate your entire life to eradicating human suffering. Every hour and every cent would either go into your own survival or someone else's. You would live on as little as you could, to support as many people as you could.

That's how much suffering there is in the world. The number of people starving to death at this moment is estimated at one billion. Just think about that. Every single cent that you spend on something frivolous is someone else's lifeblood draining away.

Living anything approaching a normal life, I think, may require a certain degree of sociopathy in this age. And I'm not excluding myself from that picture. I'm as sociopathic as anyone else.


The zero sum fallacy is calling.

It says "Good work!"

georgenh16 wrote:If Rachel Carson and the hippies hadn't made such a stigma around DDT, millions of lives could have been saved. Instead we're trying nets.... ?


Of course. Millions in Africa are human sacrifices before the altar of Western environmentalism. I had students in Environmental Ethics actually suggest that, given the problem of overpopulation, it would be better for us to manage the deaths of the world's poor by banning DDT anyway. Eugenics from the Left, I suppose.

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Re: 0871: "Charity"

Postby dmm » Fri Mar 11, 2011 7:26 pm UTC

I think one thing holding people back is the "Law of Unintended Consequences." For example, in one country, mosquito nets are (purposely) being misused by the poor villagers as fishing nets and as "fly nets" to protect drying fish. The children aren't being protected from malaria. Worse, the fine mesh of the mosquito nets is trapping juvenile fish, which never get the chance to breed, thereby destroying the fish stocks and whatever future hope the villagers might have had. Why are they doing this? Because antimalarial drugs are also free. When the children get malaria, now they usually get cured, unlike the past when many would have died. This has caused a population boom, necessitating a larger fish catch. The logical response, which is to reduce the number of children one has, goes against their culture and is not considered an option by most villagers.
Therefore, limiting one's charity is not necessarily selfish. It may give the aided persons the time necessary to change their attitudes, cultural mores, and accepted practices, in order to deal with life as it has been changed by modern medicine/agriculture/manufacturing/etc.
Also, play is apparently a human need. Desperately poor people still spend precious time, money, and energy on recreation. It is our nature.
Having said all that, I must still admit that most people I know are extremely selfish. (Not me though.)

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Re: 0871: "Charity"

Postby Steve the Pocket » Fri Mar 11, 2011 7:27 pm UTC

Turing Machine wrote:It seems positively rude, even if not quite asshole behavior, to rob Peter to pay Paul, but all right, moral-high-horseman.
He works for a government-funded institution; thus by definition his income comes from taxpayers. Are you really suggesting everyone who works for government-funded institutions is an asshole? That includes all of his colleagues, and every professor at any other state university in the world, and all public school teachers, and the government itself... According to you, society requires a certain quota of assholes. Unless I'm seriously misreading your comment.
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Re: 0871: "Charity"

Postby RabbitWho » Fri Mar 11, 2011 8:07 pm UTC

Kiva solves this problem, you give to charity but the people have to give it back again after a while so you don't end up feeling like a hypocrite.

http://www.kiva.org/


Also, it's perfectly reasonable to only care a little.

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Re: 0871: "Charity"

Postby SpringLoaded12 » Fri Mar 11, 2011 9:35 pm UTC

It's important here to realize that the comic is most likely implying that the girl's reaction to the guy is wrong. At least, that's what I thought when I read it; I say "most likely" because I can't say for sure that I am right.

To break down the idea to a more basic level, the girl's reaction is the equivalent of saying "It's not the best it could possibly be, therefore it isn't good at all." Such a statement, while not unheard of, is downright preposterous in my opinion.
The other message the comic presents, specifically in the third panel, is that had the guy not even mentioned the idea of donating some of his money to charity, he wouldn't have been guilt tripped by someone else about not donating all of it.

This strip reminds me of the one from a while back in which Beret Guy is picking out a car, and others have a snobbish reaction to his choice of car regardless of the mindset the car implies.

In both strips, someone has a rude and condescending reaction to something that the character of focus does, despite the genuine intentions of the character.

So, the moral of both stories is, don't be a dick.
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Re: 0871: "Charity"

Postby SirMustapha » Fri Mar 11, 2011 9:51 pm UTC

SpringLoaded12 wrote:It's important here to realize that the comic is most likely implying that the girl's reaction to the guy is wrong. At least, that's what I thought when I read it; I say "most likely" because I can't say for sure that I am right.


That's the most sensible reading of the comic, I believe, but what about that alt text? It seems to bash the very idea of altruism, as if all charity is bullshit and nobody ever has a good reason for doing it, or something. It's both contradictory to the supposed message of the strip, and pretty much disconnected from reality.

Either that, or the strip actually wants to say that charity is bullshit and nobody has a good reason to do it. Either way, it's bizarre.

By the way, I just realised that Randall still doesn't understand what the "Protip" meme actually means: he misuses it twice in the site header.

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Re: 0871: "Charity"

Postby AlexTG » Fri Mar 11, 2011 10:48 pm UTC

SirMustapha wrote:That's the most sensible reading of the comic, I believe, but what about that alt text? It seems to bash the very idea of altruism, as if all charity is bullshit and nobody ever has a good reason for doing it, or something. It's both contradictory to the supposed message of the strip, and pretty much disconnected from reality.

He's criticising himself for thinking like that: when someone else does something good he trys to make himself feel better by devaluing their act in his mind. He's making an observation about the human condition, because he's you know, a comedian?

The second line I think refers to the alternative of just performing a good act yourself, ie instead of complaining about $10 spent on the game, just give $10 to charity yourself(and not going onto an internet forum to argue about it). This is made all the more meaningful by the fact that he has actually gone ahead and performed a good act by placing a link to a charity on the comic.

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Re: 0871: "Charity"

Postby Fixblor » Fri Mar 11, 2011 11:42 pm UTC

Re: alt-text
Where's the love? Internet arguments can be fun.

Has anyone else noticed the growing level of acceptance to troll-haters (people who hate trolls) online?
I'm donating all your money to SAVE-THE-TROLLS.org ... not registered, eyt.

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Re: 0871: "Charity"

Postby BioTube » Fri Mar 11, 2011 11:50 pm UTC

Steve the Pocket wrote:
Turing Machine wrote:It seems positively rude, even if not quite asshole behavior, to rob Peter to pay Paul, but all right, moral-high-horseman.
He works for a government-funded institution; thus by definition his income comes from taxpayers. Are you really suggesting everyone who works for government-funded institutions is an asshole? That includes all of his colleagues, and every professor at any other state university in the world, and all public school teachers, and the government itself... According to you, society requires a certain quota of assholes. Unless I'm seriously misreading your comment.
The way I read it, he was saying that helping people with tax revenues doesn't make you less of an asshole than not helping at all since your aid is with expropriated funds(if we want to make it as obvious as possible, imagine that, because you took the funds to help somebody, you destroyed the job that was almost created that he could have filled).
Frédéric Bastiat wrote:Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.

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Re: 0871: "Charity"

Postby jules.LT » Sat Mar 12, 2011 1:49 am UTC

"robbing"? "expropriation"?
Do governments have no legitimity whatsoever, in your mind??

In any case, the guy earns his money. Just because he's employed by the state doesn't make it theft.
Also, it's unsure whether he's a net contributor or recipient of public health and co.

Edit to answer the post below:
Yeah, sorry, that was mostly directed at TM. My point is precisely that equating tax money with robbed money is ludicrous.
If you don't like your country's tax system, move elsewhere with no infrastructure, security, solidarity, etc.
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Re: 0871: "Charity"

Postby BioTube » Sat Mar 12, 2011 2:04 am UTC

jules.lt wrote:"robbing"? "expropriation"?
Do governments have no legitimity whatsoever, in your mind??
It doesn't matter; I was explaining the impression I got from Turing Machine's post.
In any case, the guy earns his money. Just because he's employed by the state doesn't make it theft.
TM seemed to be zeroing in on the source of his income, not the guy himself(replace him with an accountant for the mob and see what you think).
Frédéric Bastiat wrote:Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.

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Re: 0871: "Charity"

Postby ohki » Sat Mar 12, 2011 3:04 am UTC

Financial donations are an ineffective way to measure care.

Exercise: Think about the thing you care the most about. Now realize that it is impossible for you to care as much about that as Steve Jobs potentially could.
But it raining and me peeing on your foot are NOT mutually exclusive.
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Re: 0871: "Charity"

Postby im3w1l » Sat Mar 12, 2011 3:50 am UTC

ohki wrote:Financial donations are an ineffective way to measure care.

Exercise: Think about the thing you care the most about. Now realize that it is impossible for you to care as much about that as Steve Jobs potentially could.


So thats why the appstore is so locked down...

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Re: 0871: "Charity"

Postby Gullible Jones » Sat Mar 12, 2011 4:19 am UTC

jeff.kaufman wrote:I think this is a "perfect is the enemy of good" problem. Just because it would be incredibly painful to *really* give all you can shouldn't keep us from giving. I spend less on food so that I can give away more. But once I'm down to (in boston) $100/month, further cuts would make me much more unhappy than earlier ones.


A bit of clarification: I'm not saying that people shouldn't be giving. It does help. I just feel like it takes a bit of fucked-up-ness for people, including me, to be content doing anything less than the absolute best for everyone else. We're not angels, but we should be.

But I'm weird. You can probably tell.

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Re: 0871: "Charity"

Postby Fixblor » Sat Mar 12, 2011 5:33 am UTC

Please, we need your help.

Everytime you ignore a troll, they aren't vindicated for their ... yes, I'm not afraid to say ... for their trolling.
It's only a bad word if you let it be.

Please, don't ignore the trolls any longer.
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Re: 0871: "Charity"

Postby quantheory » Sat Mar 12, 2011 6:29 am UTC

This reminds me of contributing to a charity, or doing activist work, and being told that there are more important things to be doing, or much more important charities. It's sort of a silly objection, because raising that objective is a way of penalizing and alienating someone who actually bothered to act out of altruism, while giving the impression that someone who just doesn't give a damn would get off the hook completely. Unless you're talking to the sort of unusual person who actually can be guilt-tripped that easily, there's no benefit to shaming them for being charitable in the "wrong" way.

People need incentives to get things done. For personal, one-on-one altruism, that comes from actually seeing the benefit of what you do to a real person. For more abstract causes, that may come from feeling good about yourself, feeling good about a group of which you are a member, identifying strongly with one particular situation/cause, or even something that seems silly, like buying a game every time you make a donation, and trying to condition yourself to enjoy it that way.

We have this tendency to see "true" altruism as pure self-sacrifice, as being harmed in the course of helping others, with no personal benefit whatsoever. But what it really means to be altruistic is to be motivated towards helping others, which means that of course you usually get something out of it, even if it's something as intangible as personal self-satisfaction or the warm fuzzies of thinking about someone being made happier.

I also think there's an unreasonable standard where if you're not perfect, if you're not giving the maximum possible resources to the maximum utility cause, that's being deficient. I think that a better (though perhaps not perfect) standard would be to take pure disinterest in others as a standard, and anything above that is a positive quality. Or, maybe, we only use relative standards (it's better to be X than Y, with no one type of behavior being the "zero" of altruism in terms of moral approval/disapproval). But what utility is there in adopting a standard that condemns everyone with no hope of escape? (*bites tongue about traditional Christianity*)

I also think it's kind of irrelevant why someone ultimately donates to charity. I don't think it's intrinsically better, for example, to give to charity out of an old habit versus out of religious reasons versus out of personal investment in a cause versus to look good versus to feel good about yourself. Although actually bragging about donating to charity can be insufferable, the act itself doesn't do any more or less good based on why you're performing it, as long as you perform it equally well in each case. So if someone is donating to charity for cynical reasons, who gives a shit? Being cynical doesn't un-prevent people from getting malaria.

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Re: 0871: "Charity"

Postby meatyochre » Sat Mar 12, 2011 3:10 pm UTC

I've been guilty of doing this in the past, and I'm not proud of it. If someone's collecting bikes for tykes (or whatever) there is always a charity that I think would be more deserving. But that doesn't mean those tykes wouldn't still love those bikes, damn it.

Now if I see someone talking about a charity, I don't say anything unless it's something positive, and I intend to donate to it.
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Re: 0871: "Charity"

Postby project2051 » Sat Mar 12, 2011 4:35 pm UTC

jozwa wrote:
teelo wrote:Annnnnnnnnd go!

Hmm, so the spider only hunts female mosquitoes that have already fed on human blood. Sounds effective. Let's breed a bazillion spiders and watch mosquito reproduction plummet.


And when the mosquitoes are gone and the spiders are hungry...

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udqbpn
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Re: 0871: "Charity"

Postby udqbpn » Sat Mar 12, 2011 4:39 pm UTC

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=onsIdBan ... r_embedded
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SpringLoaded12
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Re: 0871: "Charity"

Postby SpringLoaded12 » Sat Mar 12, 2011 4:45 pm UTC

SirMustapha wrote: but what about that alt text? It seems to bash the very idea of altruism, as if all charity is bullshit and nobody ever has a good reason for doing it, or something. It's both contradictory to the supposed message of the strip, and pretty much disconnected from reality.

Either that, or the strip actually wants to say that charity is bullshit and nobody has a good reason to do it. Either way, it's bizarre.

By the way, I just realised that Randall still doesn't understand what the "Protip" meme actually means: he misuses it twice in the site header.

There are times when the alt-text elaborates on the humor of the strip, there are times when the alt text is not humorous and only loosely related to the strip, and there are in-between times. I think this is of the third variety.
I seriously doubt the strip's intended message is that charity is pointless, as it could have easily been more direct in that regard.

As for the Protip meme: http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/protip
That article says the meme (I wasn't aware it was a meme until now) is usually used in a mocking way to introduce tips that are extremely obvious, however it can be used to introduce genuinely helpful tips, though that is less common.
I think Randall was either implementing that less common usage, or he is not aware that it is a meme. Either way, the intent is essentially the same.
I think the two tips work just as well without the "Protip:" prefix, but whatever floats his boat I guess.
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