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pitchman

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Re: Legal Reasoning
« Reply #500 on: September 07, 2011, 01:36:52 AM »
Friedrich Nietzsche called the State a cold monster. What would he have called the hideous beast in the garb of modern dictatorship? Not that government had ever allowed much scope to the individual; but the champions of the new State ideology do not grant even that much. "The individual is nothing," they declare, "it is the collectivity which counts." Nothing less than the complete surrender of the individual will satisfy the insatiable appetite of the new deity. Strangely enough, the loudest advocates of this new gospel are to be found among the British and American intelligentsia. Just now they are enamored with the "dictatorship of the proletariat." In theory only, to be sure. In practice, they still prefer the few liberties in their own respective countries. They go to Russia for a short visit or as salesmen of the "revolution," but they feel safer and more comfortable at home.

Perhaps it is not only lack of courage which keeps these good Britishers and Americans in their native lands rather than in the millennium come. Subconsciously there may lurk the feeling that individuality remains the most fundamental fact of all human association, suppressed and persecuted yet never defeated, and in the long run the victor. The "genius of man," which is but another name for personality and individuality, bores its way through all the caverns of dogma, through the thick walls of tradition and custom, defying all taboos, setting authority at naught, facing contumely and the scaffold -- ultimately to be blessed as prophet and martyr by succeeding generations. But for the "genius of man," that inherent, persistent quality of individuality, we would be still roaming the primeval forests.

Man's true liberation, individual and collective, lies in his emancipation from authority and from the belief in it. All human evolution has been a struggle in that direction and for that object. It is not invention and mechanics which constitute development. The ability to travel at the rate of 100 miles an hour is no evidence of being civilized. True civilization is to be measured by the individual, the unit of all social life; by his individuality and the extent to which it is free to have its being to grow and expand unhindered by invasive and coercive authority. Socially speaking, the criterion of civilization and culture is the degree of liberty and economic opportunity which the individual enjoys; of social and international unity and co-operation unrestricted by man-made laws and other artificial obstacles; by the absence of privileged castes and by the reality of liberty and human dignity; in short, by the true emancipation of the individual.

pitchman

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Re: Legal Reasoning
« Reply #501 on: September 07, 2011, 01:42:12 AM »
The long process of history has taught man that division and strife mean death, and that unity and cooperation advance his cause, multiply his strength and further his welfare. The spirit of government has always worked against the social application of this vital lesson, except where it served the State and aided its own particular interests. It is this anti-progressive and anti-social spirit of the State and of the privileged castes back of it which has been responsible for the bitter struggle between man and man. The individual and ever larger groups of individuals are beginning to see beneath the surface of the established order of things. No longer are they so blinded as in the past by the glare and tinsel of the State idea, and of the ''blessings'' of ''rugged individualism." Man is reaching out for the wider scope of human relations which liberty alone can give. For true liberty is not a mere scrap of paper called ''constitution,'' "legal right'' or "law." It is not an abstraction derived from the non-reality known as "the State." It is not the negative thing of being free from something, because with such freedom you may starve to death. Real freedom, true liberty is positive: it is freedom to something; it is the liberty to be, to do; in short, the liberty of actual and active opportunity. That sort of liberty is not a gift: it is the natural right of man, of every human being. It cannot be given: it cannot be conferred by any law or government. The need of it, the longing for it, is inherent in the individual. Disobedience to every form of coercion is the instinctive expression of it. Rebellion and revolution are the more or less conscious attempt to achieve it. Those manifestations, individual and social, are fundamentally expressions of the values of man. That those values may be nurtured, the community must realize that its greatest and most lasting asset is the unit - the individual.

No intelligent student will deny the importance of the economic factor in the social growth and development of mankind. But only narrow and wilful dogmatism can persist in remaining blind to the important role played by an idea as conceived by the imagination and aspirations of the individual. It were vain and unprofitable to attempt to balance one factor as against another in human experience. No one single factor in the complex of individual or social behavior can be designated as the factor of decisive quality. We know too little, and may never know enough, of human psychology to weigh and measure the relative values of this or that factor in determining man's conduct. To form such dogmas in their social connotation is nothing short of bigotry; yet, perhaps, it has its uses, for the very attempt to do so proved the persistence of the human will and confutes the Marxists. Fortunately even some Marxists are beginning to see that all is not well with the Marxian creed. After all, Marx was but human - all too human - hence by no means infallible. The practical application of economic determinism in Russia is helping to clear the minds of the more intelligent Marxists. This can be seen in the transvaluation of Marxian values going on in Socialist and even Communist ranks in some European countries. They are slowly realising that their theory has overlooked the human element, den Menschen, as a Socialist paper put it. Important as the economic factor is, it is not enough. The rejuvenation of mankind needs the inspiration and energising force of an ideal.

Society exists for man, not man for society. The sole legitimate purpose of society is to serve the needs and advance the aspiration of the individual. Only by doing so can it justify its existence and be an aid to progress and culture. The political parties and men savagely scrambling for power will scorn me you as hopelessly out of tune with our time. Admit the charge. Find comfort in the assurance that their hysteria lacks enduring quality. Their hosanna is but of the hour. Man's yearning for liberation from all authority and power will never be soothed by their cracked song. Man's quest for freedom from every shackle is eternal. It must and will go on.

Hamilton

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Re: Legal Reasoning
« Reply #502 on: September 07, 2011, 08:45:38 AM »
Wasn't he a forward for the Edmonton Oilers back in the day?

Friedrich Nietzsche called the State a cold monster.

schoo

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Environmental Determinism: Marxism
« Reply #503 on: October 07, 2011, 08:22:22 PM »

[...] We know too little, and may never know enough, of human psychology to weigh and measure the relative values of this or that factor in determining man's conduct. To form such dogmas in their social connotation is nothing short of bigotry; yet, perhaps, it has its uses, for the very attempt to do so proved the persistence of the human will and confutes the Marxists. Fortunately even some Marxists are beginning to see that all is not well with the Marxian creed. After all, Marx was but human - all too human - hence by no means infallible. The practical application of economic determinism in Russia is helping to clear the minds of the more intelligent Marxists. This can be seen in the transvaluation of Marxian values going on in Socialist and even Communist ranks in some European countries. They are slowly realizing that their theory has overlooked the human element, den Menschen, as a Socialist paper put it. Important as the economic factor is, it is not enough. The rejuvenation of mankind needs the inspiration and energizing force of an ideal.


Karl Marx is a prominent example of a socialist committed to environmental determinism. He called his perspective "scientific socialism," because he believed that his analysis was based on immutable economic and social laws. He was convinced that social institutions and even human nature itself were shaped by economic forces. If economic conditions changed, human nature would change accordingly. In Marx's view private property was the source of all the evils in human society, especially the oppression of the urban workers by the bourgeois capitalists. Private property thus spawned a class struggle in every age. Religion, morality, law, political structures, and other institutions and cultural factors were merely tools of the propertied classes to oppress the unpropertied masses.

Marx's primary motivation was not establishing human equality, though his socialist philosophy did militate toward greater equality. Rather Marx's primary concern was liberating humanity from oppression and tyranny. This is a laudable goal, and anyone who has read Marx's "Capital" or Friedrich Engels' "Condition of the Working Class" in 1844 should recognize that Marx had legitimate grounds for complaint. Many factory workers, not to mention the unemployed, lived in squalor and misery. Marx rightly criticized the dehumanizing effects of the Industrial Revolution. Nonetheless, when we examine the practices of Marxist regimes in the twentieth century, we see incredible oppression and tyranny. The quest for freedom was turned on its head. Why?

Largely because of Marx's faulty view of human nature. Neither Lenin nor Stalin nor Mao nor Pol Pot nor Castro nor any other Marxist leader could alter human nature by ridding their society of private property. Changing the economy could not bring about utopia, because human behavior is not determined solely by the economy. Marxist philosophy failed because it denied to humanity its spiritual character, its free will, and also the Christian insistence on original sin. Alexander Solzhenitsyn clearly depicted the Soviet problem with altering human nature in his novel, "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich." In this novel the prisoners in the Soviet labor camp, who are supposedly being reeducated to become good Soviet citizens, continue to act as capitalists in any way they can, even while incarcerated. The protagonist expressed at one point that the Soviet regime simply could not change his nature.

schoo

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Enviromental Determinism - "Scientific" Study of Society
« Reply #504 on: October 07, 2011, 08:31:51 PM »
Often modern thinkers have masked the dehumanizing impact of their ideas by calling their philosophy "humanism" of one form or another, implying that their views exalt humanity. However, most attempts at exalting humanity have ironically resulted in diminishing humanity, demonstrating the biblical truth: "He who exalts himself will be abased."

After the waning of Romanticism in mid-nineteenth century Europe, many intellectuals embraced science as the sole arbiter of knowledge, including knowledge about humanity and society. The renowned, but quirky, French thinker Auguste Comte gained many disciples for his philosophy of positivism, which rejected any knowledge not obtained through empirical, scientific investigation (except, of course, this epistemological claim itself is not subject to empirical demonstration, so it seems to me that his epistemology is self-defeating). Comte hoped to initiate the scientific study of society, coining the term sociology for this endeavor. He was optimistic that a scientific study of humanity would lead humans to practice altruism, another term he coined. Though Comte considered all metaphysics, including religion, unknowable, he wanted to create a religion of humanity which would place humans on the highest pedestal. Most of Comte's disciples, such as John Stuart Mill, embraced his positivist epistemology but rejected his religion of humanity, especially in the ludicrous form he presented in his later writings (which involved many specific religious practices, including praying to a female that one admires).

Though not as prominent as positivism in the nineteenth century, materialism also increased in influence in the mid-nineteenth century. Though positivism rejected all metaphysical claims, including materialist ones, it shared many common features with materialism nonetheless. Both materialists and positivists idolized science as the only path to knowledge. By extending scientific investigation to humanity itself, however, they made assumptions about human nature that were not subject to scientific investigation. Effectively they dismissed body-soul dualism, thus reducing humanity to matter in motion. Also, their insistence that the scientific method could provide knowledge about all features of human life led them to embrace determinism. By the late 19th century some prominent thinkers were rebelling against reductionism and determinism, but in the 19th century, these views gained currency to such as extent that Francis Galton, the cousin of Darwin and the founder of the eugenics movement, coined the phrase, "nature versus nurture" to frame the intellectual debate over humanity. Galton's phrase is still commonly invoked in intellectual discourse about human behavior.

Galton and many of his contemporaries rejected free will, claiming with circular logic that science had disproved this supposedly antiquated religious conception. (This was circular reasoning because they defined science to exclude free will, and then claimed that science disproved free will). Their insistence on determinism effectively ostracized religious or spiritual conceptions of human nature. The new fields of psychology, sociology, and anthropology, which only became institutionalized in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, generally embraced this deterministic view of human behavior. By rejecting free will and embracing determinism, Galton and his contemporaries were left with three main options: humans were either the product of their biological makeup, or they were the product of their environment, or they were the product of some combination of heredity and environment. Either form of determinism (or hybrids thereof) reduces humans to inputs, either from internal or external influences. They deny independent human agency and thus strip humanity of any moral responsibility.

In the mid-nineteenth century environmental determinism was more prominent than biological determinism. The philosopher Maurice Mandelbaum argues that one of the ideas dominating 19-century philosophy was the "malleability of man," i.e., the idea that human nature is shaped largely by external forces, such as culture, education, and training. The father of John Stuart Mill exemplified this perspective, rigorously educating his son from an early age. Mill became a leading voice in Europe touting the power of education and training in shaping human intellect and behavior

schoo

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Biological Determinism
« Reply #505 on: October 07, 2011, 08:37:49 PM »
In the late nineteenth century, especially by the 1890s, the pendulum swung away from environmental determinism, and biological determinism increased its influence among European thinkers. Galton was a pivotal figure in this development, publishing his seminal work, "Hereditary Genius," in 1869. Galton's influence was profound, especially since he convinced his cousin Charles Darwin that heredity was more important than environmental influences in shaping human intellect and behavior. Many Darwinists in the late 19th and early 20th centuries came to believe -- as Galton and Darwin also did -- that many human character traits, such as loyalty, thrift, and diligence (or on the negative side -- deceit and laziness), were biologically innate, not malleable moral traits, as most Europeans had previously thought.

Darwinists in various fields -- especially in biology, medicine, psychiatry, and anthropology -- were in the forefront promoting biological determinism. Cesare Lombroso, the famous Italian psychiatrist who founded criminal anthropology, built his ideology on Darwinism. He argued that criminals were atavistic creatures, throwbacks to ancestors in the evolutionary process. He was most famous for promoting the idea that criminality was hereditary, not formed through environmental influence. One of the most prominent man that popularized of Darwinism in Germany, the famous materialist Ludwig Büchner, published "The Power of Heredity" and "Its Influence on the Moral and Mental Progress of Humanity" in 1882. In the midst of his extended argument for biological determinism of mental and moral traits, Büchner showed where his vision of humanity led. He stated, "In the flow [of time] the individual is nothing, the species is everything; and history, just as nature, marks each of its steps forward, even the smallest, with innumerable piles of corpses."

By the 1890s and especially in the early twentieth century, the eugenics movement gained popularity, especially in medical circles, in Europe and the United States. Eugenics was driven in part by fears that modern institutions had set aside the beneficial aspects of natural selection. Eugenicists continually played on the specter of weak and sickly humans beings preserved through modern medicine, hygiene, and charitable institutions, while the more intelligent and supposedly better human beings were beginning to voluntarily restrict their reproduction. This was producing biological degeneration, according to many eugenicists. Their solution? Introduce artificial selection by restricting the reproduction of the so-called "inferior" and encouraging the "superior" to procreate. Biological determinism permeated the eugenics movement, which pressed for marriage restrictions, compulsory sterilization, and sometimes even involuntary euthanasia for the disabled, because they were deemed biologically inferior.

Another prominent feature of the biological determinism of the early 20th century was its stress on racial inequality. In Europe racist ideologies proliferated in the 1890s and early 1900s, partly under the influence of Darwinism and biological determinism. Many biologists, anthropologists, and physicians considered black Africans or American Indians less evolved than Europeans. As Europeans colonized vast stretches of the globe, many scientists proclaimed that non-Europeans were culturally inferior to Europeans. Further, they believed that these cultural differences were manifestations of biological inferiority.

By reducing humanity to their biological makeup, these Darwinian-inspired biological determinists contributed to the dehumanization process. Many nineteenth-century Darwinists emphasized the continuities between humans and animals, with Darwin himself arguing that all the differences between humans and animals were quantitative, not qualitative. Darwin even explained the origin of morality as the product of completely naturalistic evolutionary processes. The idea that humans were "created from animals," to use a famous phrase from Darwin, rather than created in the image of God, gained greater currency in the nineteenth century.

Just as one form of environmental determinism -- Marxism -- produced unfathomable misery for millions of humans, so did biological determinism. Hitler's National Socialism was based on a biological determinist vision of humanity that stressed racial inequality. Nazism endorsed discrimination -- and ultimately even death -- for those with allegedly inferior biological traits. On the other hand, it hoped to promote evolutionary advance for the human species by fostering higher reproductive levels of those considered superior biologically. Hitler's regime ended up killing about 200,000 disabled Germans, 6 million Jews, and hundreds of thousands of Gypsies in their effort to improve the human race.

justanothersucker

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Re: Legal Reasoning
« Reply #506 on: October 08, 2011, 05:49:49 PM »
way too long of posts for LSD. Save it for exams guys.  ::)

man made

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Human Freedom
« Reply #507 on: October 24, 2011, 07:25:00 PM »

[...]

Galton and many of his contemporaries rejected free will, claiming with circular logic that science had disproved this supposedly antiquated religious conception. (This was circular reasoning because they defined science to exclude free will, and then claimed that science disproved free will). Their insistence on determinism effectively ostracized religious or spiritual conceptions of human nature. The new fields of psychology, sociology, and anthropology, which only became institutionalized in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, generally embraced this deterministic view of human behavior. By rejecting free will and embracing determinism, Galton and his contemporaries were left with three main options: humans were either the product of their biological makeup, or they were the product of their environment, or they were the product of some combination of heredity and environment. Either form of determinism (or hybrids thereof) reduces humans to inputs, either from internal or external influences. They deny independent human agency and thus strip humanity of any moral responsibility.

In the mid-nineteenth century environmental determinism was more prominent than biological determinism. The philosopher Maurice Mandelbaum argues that one of the ideas dominating 19-century philosophy was the "malleability of man," i.e., the idea that human nature is shaped largely by external forces, such as culture, education, and training. The father of John Stuart Mill exemplified this perspective, rigorously educating his son from an early age. Mill became a leading voice in Europe touting the power of education and training in shaping human intellect and behavior.

In the late nineteenth century, especially by the 1890s, the pendulum swung away from environmental determinism, and biological determinism increased its influence among European thinkers. Galton was a pivotal figure in this development, publishing his seminal work, "Hereditary Genius," in 1869. Galton's influence was profound, especially since he convinced his cousin Charles Darwin that heredity was more important than environmental influences in shaping human intellect and behavior. Many Darwinists in the late 19th and early 20th centuries came to believe -- as Galton and Darwin also did -- that many human character traits, such as loyalty, thrift, and diligence (or on the negative side -- deceit and laziness), were biologically innate, not malleable moral traits, as most Europeans had previously thought.

Darwinists in various fields -- especially in biology, medicine, psychiatry, and anthropology -- were in the forefront promoting biological determinism. Cesare Lombroso, the famous Italian psychiatrist who founded criminal anthropology, built his ideology on Darwinism. He argued that criminals were atavistic creatures, throwbacks to ancestors in the evolutionary process. He was most famous for promoting the idea that criminality was hereditary, not formed through environmental influence. One of the most prominent man that popularized of Darwinism in Germany, the famous materialist Ludwig Büchner, published "The Power of Heredity" and "Its Influence on the Moral and Mental Progress of Humanity" in 1882. In the midst of his extended argument for biological determinism of mental and moral traits, Büchner showed where his vision of humanity led. He stated, "In the flow [of time] the individual is nothing, the species is everything; and history, just as nature, marks each of its steps forward, even the smallest, with innumerable piles of corpses."


And there Fromm @ # ! * i n g goes! Fromm's theory is a rather unique blend of Freud and Marx. Freud, of course, emphasized the unconscious, biological drives, repression, and so on. In other words, Freud postulated that our characters were determined by biology. Marx, on the other hand, saw people as determined by their society, and most especially by their economic systems. Fromm added to this mix of two deterministic systems something quite foreign to them: the idea of freedom. He allows people to transcend the determinisms that Freud and Marx attribute to them. In fact, Fromm makes freedom the central characteristic of human nature!

There are, Fromm points out, examples where determinism alone operates. A good example of nearly pure biological determinism, ala Freud, is animals (at least simple ones). Animals don't worry about freedom - their instincts take care of everything. Woodchucks, for example, don't need career counseling to decide what they are going to be when they grow up: they are going to be woodchucks! A good example of socioeconomic determinism, ala Marx, is the traditional society of the Middle Ages. Just like woodchucks, few people in the Middle Ages needed career counseling: they had fate, the Great Chain of Being, to tell them what to do. Basically, if your father was a peasant, you'd be a peasant. If your father was a king, that's what you'd become. And if you were a woman, well, there was only one role for women.

Historically speaking, this simple, if hard, life began to get shaken up with the Renaissance. In the Renaissance, people started to see humanity as the center of the universe, instead of God. In other words, we didn't just look to the church (and other traditional establishments) for the path we were to take. Then came the Reformation, which introduced the idea of each of us being individually responsible for our own soul's salvation. And then came democratic revolutions such as the American and the French revolutions. Now all of a sudden we were supposed to govern ourselves! And then came the industrial revolution, and instead of tilling the soil or making things with our hands, we had to sell our labor in exchange for money. All of a sudden, we became employees and consumers! Then came socialist revolutions such as the Russian and the Chinese, which introduced the idea of participatory economics. You were no longer responsible only for your own well-being, but for fellow workers as well!

So, over a mere 500 years, the idea of the individual, with individual thoughts, feelings, moral conscience, freedom, and responsibility, came into being. But with individuality came isolation, alienation, and bewilderment. Freedom is a difficult thing to have, and when we can we tend to flee from it.
Do you think that when they asked George Washington for ID he just whipped out a quarter?

man made

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Flight From Freedom
« Reply #508 on: October 24, 2011, 07:40:05 PM »
Fromm describes three ways in which we escape from freedom:

1. Authoritarianism. We seek to avoid freedom by fusing ourselves with others, by becoming a part of an authoritarian system like the society of the Middle Ages. There are two ways to approach this. One is to submit to the power of others, becoming passive and compliant. The other is to become an authority yourself, a person who applies structure to others. Either way, you escape your separate identity. Fromm referred to the extreme version of authoritarianism as sadomasochism, and points out that both feel compelled to play their separate roles, so that even the sadist, with all his apparent power over the masochist, is not free to choose his actions. But milder versions of authoritarianism are everywhere. In many classes, for example, there is an implicit contract between students and professors: students demand structure, and the professor sticks to his notes. It seems innocuous and even natural, but this way the students avoid taking any responsibility for their learning, and the professor can avoid taking on the real issues of his field.

2. Destructiveness. Authoritarians respond to a painful existence by, in a sense, eliminating themselves: If there is no me, how can anything hurt me? But others respond to pain by striking out against the world: if I destroy the world, how can it hurt me? It is this escape from freedom that accounts for much of the indiscriminate nastiness of life -- brutality, vandalism, humiliation, vandalism, crime, terrorism ... Fromm adds that, if a person's desire to destroy is blocked by circumstances, he or she may redirect it inward. The most obvious kind of self-destructiveness is, of course, suicide. But we can also include many illnesses, drug addiction, alcoholism, even the joys of passive entertainment. He turns Freud's death instinct upside down: self-destructiveness is frustrated destructiveness, not the other way around.

3. Automaton conformity. Authoritarians escape by hiding within an authoritarian hierarchy. But our society emphasizes equality! There is less hierarchy to hide in (though plenty remains for anyone who wants it, and some who don't). When we need to hide, we hide in our mass culture instead. When I get dressed in the morning, there are so many decisions! But I only need to look at what you are wearing, and my frustrations disappear. Or I can look at the television, which, like a horoscope, will tell me quickly and effectively what to do. If I look like, talk like, think like, feel like ... everyone else in my society, then I disappear into the crowd, and I don't need to acknowledge my freedom or take responsibility. It is the horizontal counterpart to authoritarianism. The person who uses automaton conformity is like a social chameleon: he takes on the coloring of his surroundings. Since he looks like a million other people, he no longer feels alone. He isn't alone, perhaps, but he's not himself either. The automaton conformist experiences a split between his genuine feelings and the colors he shows the world.
Do you think that when they asked George Washington for ID he just whipped out a quarter?

Vilma

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Re: Legal Reasoning
« Reply #509 on: November 17, 2011, 09:41:37 PM »

''Ph'' is always pronounced as ''f'', and ...you don't sound...the ''g.''
- Then why are they putting the ''g'', please?


Very funny indeed ... Here it is the entire thing here:

- Phlegm. ''Ph'' is always pronounced as ''f'', and ...you don't sound...the ''g.''
- Then why are they putting the ''g'', please?
- That's a very good question, but ... it's rather difficult to explain.
- Try, Brian.
- lt's just there.
- So, Mr. Professor, you do not know?
- No.
- Then l'm sorry, l cannot help you.


Natalia is so funny throughout the entire movie - here it is another one:

Sally: I saw a film the other day about syphilis. Ugh! It was too awful. I couldn't let a man touch me for a week. Is it true you can get it from kissing?
Fritz: Oh, yes. And your king, Henry VIII, got it from Cardinal Wolsey whispering in his ear.
Natalia: That is not, I believe, founded in fact. But from kissing, most decidedly; and from towels, and from cups.
Sally: And of course screwing.
Natalia: Screw-ing, please?
Sally: Oh, uh...
[thinking]
Sally: fornication.
Natalia: For-ni-ca-tion?
Sally: Oh, uh, Bri, darling, what is the German word?
Brian Roberts: I don't remember.
Sally: [thinking] Oh... um... oh yes!
Brian Roberts: Oh, no...
Sally: Bumsen!
Natalia: [appalled] Oh.
Brian Roberts: That would be the one German word you pronounce perfectly.
Sally: Well, I ought to. I spent the entire afternoon bumsening like mad with this ghastly old producer who promised to get me a contract.
[pause]
Sally: Gin, Miss Landauer?