Inverse Proportionality

I think I first learned the word inverse from Calvin and Hobbes, and in particular the strip in which Calvin ruefully notes, “There’s an inverse relationship between how good something is for you, and how much fun it is” (1 May 1986). The examples leading up to this punchline — he must eat the “slimy asparagus,” he cannot watch the movie Killer Prom Queen — make it clear that “inverse relationship” means that more fun means less good-for-you.

Now, consider what the journalist Johann Hari reports Dinesh D’Souza said on an ocean cruise organized by the National Review.

The nautical counter-revolution has docked in the perfectly-yellow sands of Puerto Vallarta in Mexico, and the Reviewers are clambering overboard into the Latino world they want to wall off behind a thousand-mile fence. They carry notebooks from the scribblings they made during the seminar teaching them “How To Shop in Mexico”. Over breakfast, I forgot myself and said I was considering setting out to find a local street kid who would show me round the barrios — the real Mexico. They gaped. “Do you want to die?” one asked.

The Reviewers confine their Mexican jaunt to covered markets and walled-off private fortresses like the private Nikki Beach. Here, as ever, they want Mexico to be a dispenser of cheap consumer goods and lush sands — not a place populated by (uck) Mexicans. Dinesh D’Souza announced as we entered Mexican seas what he calls “D’Souza’s law of immigration”: “The quality of an immigrant is inversely proportional to the distance travelled to get to the United States.”

Taking D’Souza’s remark at face value, we can translate it into Orwellian sheep-speak as, “Mexicans good, Northern Europeans bad!” Indeed, seeing that D’Souza was born in Bombay, one must consider his “law of immigration” a statement of becoming modesty on his part.

By reasonable extrapolation, people who were born in the United States to families which have lived in the United States for generations are absolutely worthless.

(Tip o’ the G.R.O.S.S. chapeau to PZ Myers.)

5 thoughts on “Inverse Proportionality”

  1. Guess that means Canadians suck too, right?

    Blake, are you going to be assimilated? Seems that you’re right for ScienceBlogs.

    Keep up the good work!

  2. A Canadian nurse am I…Yes, a hop, skip, and jump over the border, and here I find myself, 14 yrs later, still a “legal alien”… treated like crap by the fabulous Homeland Security Office when renewing my green card, and contributing to a Social Security system every paycheck that I can never collect on. I’ve bought 3 houses and 4 cars since I first moved here, as well as contributing thousands of dollars to a state university (yes, I got a degree…Magna Cum Laude, by the way). I guess my point is, that I AM CANADIAN! (I’ve always wanted to say that)… This country needed me…. I HAVE contributed to this society (aka I’m a “quality immigrant”)… This society has for the most part treated me as the “other” (try crossing the border with a green card)…AND, Mr. D’Souza, in case you haven’t noticed, Canada borders the U.S., so I didn’t have to travel very far to get to here. So, can I just put it out there that in your case it seems that the proportion is not inverse at all?

  3. Jeb, FCD:

    ScienceBlogs doesn’t have equation support. I couldn’t talk about actual math, which would drastically cut into my ability to discuss actual physics — and that would make me sad.

    I don’t think they pay enough money to make up for the lack of LaTeX.

  4. Puerto Vallarta, “the real Mexico”? Nah. Only people (and not all people: Vallarta has a big American community) and downtown buildings are Mexican. Even in the neighborhoods. If these folks want to see the REAL Mexico, they must go to Michoacán. And they can actually be killed there.

    This D’Souza law of immigration is just plain stupid. Are Baja Californians, who live a few miles from U. S. and have assimilated American culture and values far more than, I don’t know, 19th century Polish immigrants, worst inmigrants than Amerindian peasants from Southern Mexico with no contact with U. S. society? Or is Mr. D’Souza more sympathetic of Nicaraguans? He does know that Nicaragua is farther than Mexico, right?

  5. I think some of the commenters here missed the point! D’Souza said INVERSELY proportional. That means the MORE the QUALITY the LESS the DISTANCE. Or the LESS the Quality the MORE the DISTANCE. I don’t think that is what he meant to say, but what he said means he thinks the immigrants from Northern Mexico or Canada are the most quality ones.

    In regards to the simplistic point by the writer – I want to see the “real” Mexico. How culturally imperialistic. Obviously tourist workers aren’t real Mexicans eh? Only people who live in crap are real Mexicans – good oh. That is classic Euro imperlialism. Similar but even more insidious than the US kind.

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