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Jul. 16th, 2004 @ 09:15 am (no subject)
Bobby Fischer has been found.

This guy is one of those moral questions in my life. In high school I was on the varsity chess team and regularly studied Bobby Fischer's matches. The guy was a genius at chess. But all other aspects of his life make me wonder if he was crazy or just an idiot savant. He was a recluse, an anti-semite, and an outlaw, and from hiding he praised the terrorists in the 9/11 attacks. It's one of those things where I love his chess games but hate the man.

It makes me think of the moral questions the world medical community had after world war two. The Germans and Japanese did horrable medical experiments that yealded a wealth of knowledge. After WWII the world medical community, disgusted by what had happened, had to decide if it was acceptable to use the information that was gainned such awful ways. In the end they did use the knowledge and it has possibly saved or helps millions of other lives since. Do the millions of live saved off set the lived lost in such horrid means? That is something philosphers still debated today.

As I look at my collection of chess books, including my much loved "Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess," do I disregard these thing and dispose of them because of this person's many negative aspects? Or do I try to benifit from this persons one positive aspect?
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Ceci n'est pas une personne.
Date:July 16th, 2004 04:44 pm (UTC)
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Is using his chess book in any way encouraging his bullshit? I guess buying it helps fund his BS, but it's already bought.

I do worry more about the medical stuff, but the stakes are higher, both coming and going. Bobby Fischer sounds more like a jerk than a real danger.

I will say that I've read that most of Mengele's experiments were really just sadism and yielded no valuable medical knowledge. I can't really speak for any of the other medical atrocities performed by other Germans or the Japanese.
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Date:July 16th, 2004 04:56 pm (UTC)
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I'm going off of vague memories (as usual), so I mentioned both the German and Japanese experiements. But I think it was mostly Japanese that had useful data from infecting people with diseases, I think looking both for bio-weapons and cures. But, like I said, these are very vague memories.

And Bobby Fischers chess books are purely chess, not ideology.
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Date:July 16th, 2004 05:28 pm (UTC)


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I think he was referring more to the fact that if Fischer is gaining any money by you buying his books, you are contributing to supporting him financially... but considering he has millions from winning at chess, he probably doesn't need your 15 cent royalty to survive.

I look at it kinda like I look at everything else. You can appreciate what is good in a person and disassociate yourself from the rest, or you can condemn the whole person.. but either way, it is you and not the other person who is affected. If you can learn from him, do so. As long as you don't go the road of "great chess player, so jews must suck". Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater, but you don't gotta swallow the worm in the tequila, either. knowhatimean?
Date:July 16th, 2004 07:16 pm (UTC)
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I would be a little concerned about supporting him financially through the purchase of his books.

But even then, he's a lone kook, not a real threat of any kind.