Here's something completely different, indeed positively philosophical, that made me laugh out loud. There's an issue rumbling away amongst the feminists and the luvvies concerning whether a lady called Kesha - apparently a famous singer - is entitled to walk away from a recording contract she's been under for, errrr, more than 10 years with a chap called Dr Luke. He's allegedly been molesting her for, errrr, 10 years. Now at last she'd like to Leave. (A bit like the referendum then? - Ed)
Anyhow, she's been to court. Not, as you might imagine, the criminal court, but in a civil action. She's been rebuffed, to general outrage.
Citing lack of medical evidence such as hospital records to corroborate the assault allegations, [judge Shirley] Kornreich said: “I don’t understand why I have to take an extraordinary measure of granting an injunction” ... Kesha reportedly sobbed as the verdict was announced ... Dozens of Kesha fans gathered outside the New York City courthouse in support of the #FreeKesha movement and outrage spread over social media.And all over the Brit awards too, it seems.
So far, so what? But here's the thing. Writing in the Grauniad Jennifer Gerson Uffalussy, 'one of the founding editors of Jezebel.com and the founding fashion editor at RalphLauren.co', says: "What bolder attack could there be on women’s freedom?" The judge was telling Kesha "that her words and thoughts and own understanding of truth on her terms weren’t enough".
Well. We all have our own understandings of truth on our own terms. But that is never enough: how could it be? As single beings seeking to conduct our lives in a social context we are not, each of us, solo arbiters of 'truth': we must accept our own potential fallibility of reasoning and judgement, and allow that the concurrence of others is required in matters of fact - at least whenever other people are involved in any way. In cases of dispute - which is exactly when all this philosphical stuff matters - the seasoned reasoners of the legal system are available to give their neutral judgement on the matter. (Though less likely, they can be wrong, too; and we have appeals systems etc to minimise and mitigate this second-order problem.)
So, Ms Uffalussy, it is precisely the job of the judge to rule on whether Kesha's (and anyone else's) 'own understanding of truth on her terms' is good enough, in cases brought before her. Maybe Kesha's understanding is good, maybe it ain't. That's being a mere mortal for you, here on Planet Rule-of-Law.