Susan Sontag’s principal gifts to our civilization were not that easily packaged, but were a brilliant, non-stop commentary on contemporary art practices and their effects on our emotions. She did get off one sound bite in an interview on television, which was to me a stunning sermon in and of itself. She was asked what she had learned from the Holocaust, and she said that 10 percent of any population is cruel, no matter what, and that 10 percent is merciful, no matter what, and that the remaining 80 percent could be moved in either direction.
-Kurt Vonnegut

Human, Artist, Fool.
Ynys Mon, UK.
And I’m writing it because I need the therapy and I lust for world domination.

44 Responses to “About Ten Percent”

  1. John B Dick says:

    I don’t know anything about Susan Sontag, except that she was some kind of singer, and maybe popular during the Veitnam war. She was wrong: it isn’t 10%, it’s 37%. Google “Stanley Milgram”

  2. RickB says:

    ha, ahem. Ah yes Milgram, well actually that result is only the final shock level, the adamant refusers only began at the 300 volt level so the percentage is arguable. In Sontag’s case she was talking in the context of society not the narrow terms of the Milgram study and I find it a fairly good approximation that explains the actual course of human history. Unfortunately.

  3. frolix22 says:

    Interesting and worthwhile stuff here. I’ve added Ten Percent to my blogroll. Keep up the good work.


  4. RickB says:

    Thanks frolix22, I’ll do likewise.

  5. nodehopper says:

    Hold forth on the Fool aspect sometime, please. We need more of a certain kind; not too many though, or it could get cacophonous.

  6. RickB says:

    Everyday tells me I am a fool, for I continue living.

  7. homeyra says:

    Hi, thanks for the link. I also added your fine blog to the roll :)

  8. RickB says:

    Hey homeyra, I was most remiss in not having read you before, anyway that is now rectified and thanks for the link!

  9. Monte says:

    Hey Rick, found you through naj – I’ll be subscribing and reading along! Good stuff – thanks!

  10. RickB says:

    Hey Monte, thanks for the props (I see we share a wp theme! And anyone who quotes KV is a compadre) I know you from your contributions to Stop The Second Holocaust, but I’ll add your wp now too.

  11. Harpymarx says:

    “And I’m writing it because I need the therapy and I lust for world domination.”

    And blogging is soooooh much cheaper than therapy. Oh, and don’t we all when it comes to world domination. Aim high, comrade, aim high….

  12. RickB says:

    Hey Harpy,
    Can’t be any worse than cost/benefit standardised CBT!

    Don’t worry, when my Empire bestrides the Earth like a Colossus I shall be merciful unto those who have good blogs (also free Jaffa Cakes).
    *strokes cat and laughs evilly*

  13. harpymarx says:

    *strokes cat and laughs evilly*

    Ah, comrade Blofeld, we meet again. Here is a year’s supply of Jaffa Cakes along with some Jammie Dodgers thrown in for good measure.

    Indeed it can’t be any worse than CBT or even DBT (shudders at memories)

  14. RickB says:

    Redistribution of biscuits shall be my first priority comrade!

    Eek! I am deeply suspicious of all the behavioural stuff, seems a bit like slapping the side of a tv and if it works thinking you fixed it. It treats people as behaviours to be corrected not as complex humans. Works for some, not me.

  15. harpymarx says:

    “It treats people as behaviours to be corrected not as complex humans. Works for some, not me.”

    I agree with that.

  16. RickB says:

    And you’re cool on the biscuit front too, yeah?

  17. Harpymarx says:

    Thanks Rick…
    Yeah, jaffa cakes and jammie dodgers.

  18. Monte says:

    Just realized, from a card at People’s Geography, that you must be an Anglesey dweller. My son and I visited that beautiful isle – to see Beaumaris – three years ago. B. was our favorite of all the castles in NW Wales. We zoomed around on tiny roads in a coach, diving into drives when oncoming traffic appeared.
    Such a memorable visit – sort of stirs me up to find a connection to it!

  19. RickB says:

    Hey Monte, yes indeed, the isle of Anglesey is where my secure undisclosed location resides! That’s really nice to hear, your description sounds pretty accurate , especially the narrow roads and yes Beaumaris is lovely. Weirdly that’s where we took a Canadian friend some time ago. I’m glad it made a good impression and if you ever are in the area again please let me know I shall treat you to some tea & cakes!
    & Viva People’s Geography!

  20. Maria says:


    My name is Maria and I am a DREAM Act beneficiary. I arrived in this country at the young age of 12, with my parents, from Peru. I am now 21 years old and undocumented. I have grown up in the United States and consider this country my only home. If sent back to Peru, I would be banned from the U.S. for 10 years and the chances of coming back are slim to none. I graduated from high school in 2004 and since then, it has been difficult for me to continue my education as a result of my status. The DREAM Act would help me, and students in my situation, realize our dreams of becoming active members of society by allowing us to attend school or join the military.

    Currently, there is an active project on CHANGE.ORG, a website that will present the top 10 ideas that it generates to the Obama administration upon its inauguration. has presented the idea “Pass the DREAM Act Now” ( and it has gathered enough support to make it to the second round.

    YOUR BLOG is the most invaluable tool you have in order to help us,
    Starting January 5th, the voting polls will re-open for the second round. We will ONLY have 10 days to gather as many votes and support as possible in order to become one of the top 10 ideas that will be presented to the Obama administration. There will be a widget that you can post on your website to allow readers to vote for our cause, as well as tell their friends to do so as well. Also consider voting for the other immigration ideas that made it to the second round, as they also need your support. This project is of extreme importance and your prompt participation is greatly appreciated.

    Also, DreamACTivist and the United We DREAM Coalition will be launching a website on January 21 ( that will become a 65,000 petition drive for the DREAM Act, signifying the 65,000 undocumented students that would benefit from this act each year. Please visit for more information and consider joining our efforts to make the DREAM Act a reality in 2009.

    Please, don’t hesitate to contact me with further questions at

    In solidarity,

    Maria M.
    Co-Founder of

  21. Thorne says:

    Hey Rick! What’s this about world domination?? I, the most High and Holy Empress of the Universe, (known and unknown) shall bestow upon you the title of “Dominator of Worlds”, if only you’ll update me on your blogroll at my new (and permanent, I promise) home:
    Yes, it’s true. I fell so in love with wordpress I had to go self hosted. I’ve found my feet (and heart) again and am blogging our journey to a sustainable lifestyle off the grid out here in the desert, a bit of my art and gardening, paganism and magick and of course avian rescue. I miss you! Stop by sometime!

  22. Thorne says:

    Oh!! I’m also the official “Trash Thursday” blogger at http://www.blogonsmog/trash-thursday where I write about precycling, recycling, reusing and upcycling!! I turn trash into treasure and junk into art!! Come see me sometime, handsome. *wink

  23. Monte says:

    How’s that “world domination” coming, by the way?

  24. Mike says:

    I hate to be picky…


    you seem to be about 30px to wide for a 1024px screen display. A little bit of you is being cut off unless I scroll left and right all the time.

    (Are you going to smash a bottle of champagne over your computer on launch day?)

  25. RickB says:

    Hey Mike! Welcome to the new place. Thanks for that feedback it is exactly what I need and in fact was going to mention in the first post here. Ok, have now shaved off a few pixels, let me know if this solves it.

  26. Mike says:

    Not yet, Rick. It still needs to be about another 20px narrower. It’s usually around 980px overall width that works on 1024 resolution to allow for margins etc.

  27. Mike says:

    Scrub the previous comment. I should have reloaded the screen first. After I hit the submit button it is now displaying OK (no more horizontal scroll bar), except if I am really picky the margin on the right is probably about 5px less than the left margin is.

  28. RickB says:

    you mean the margin outside the faint line, outside of post and two sidebars space?

  29. Mike says:

    That’s right. I have about 10px from that line to the edge of the screen on the left but on the right there is only about 2px before the scroll bar on the right-side. It’s hardly worth bothering about unless your super picky.

  30. RickB says:

    Aha, yes I see, shows up a bit in firefox for me. I will make a note and when the further tweaking that will take place in a few months will see what gives. Basically the theme allows a lot of tweaking plus I have fiddled with the odd bit of code (tampered might better reflect my abilities) once the width of the blog is set it will widen with just a white margin to any width, and it appears is slightly biased on one side when the width is very narrow/just a bit bigger than the blog width, that goes as you get wider or indeed you just can’t tell when the margins are quite big. I’m glad you are doing this road testing! I figured to make it suitable for 1024 and above so it is actually slightly smaller now set to 992, I could put it dead on 1024 and if you could let me know how that looks?

  31. Mike says:

    If you set a blog width of 1024 for a 1024 screen you invariably get a horizontal scroll bar, at least I always do on Blogger. I usually end up setting the overall blog width to 980px so it displays OK allowing for a margin of error in browsers and software etc.

    Most of the new laptops, and even netbooks, are running on 1024 minimum these days apart from a few really cheap ones that may still be on 800px width.

    If you want to stick it to 1024 go ahead and try it, I’m using Chrome (browser) at the moment. If it looks too iffy I will do a screengrab and email it to you so you can see for yourself what it looks like.

  32. RickB says:

    OK, will try 1024 and yes please let me know how that looks.

  33. Mike says:

    Just sent you an email with three screengrabs attached. See what you make of them.

  34. RickB says:

    Thanks, got them!

  35. Mike says:

    Sent another ‘grab but it’s about 2px to wide still.

  36. Mike says:

    Looks like you’ve gone back to 992px . No scroll bar now.

  37. RickB says:

    Yes back to 992!

  38. BristleKRS says:

    Bloody hell, only just noticed you migrated!

    Nice in here, mind :)

  39. RickB says:

    Better late than never, thanks!

Leave a Reply