Alarming News: I like Morgan Freeberg. A lot.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: We were following a trackback and thinking "hmmm... this is a bloody excellent post!", and then we realized that it was just part III of, well, three...Damn. I wish I'd written those.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: ...I just remembered that I found a new blog a short while ago, House of Eratosthenes, that I really like. I like his common sense approach and his curiosity when it comes to why people believe what they believe rather than just what they believe.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is an intriguing guy...[he] asks great questions and answers others with style, flair, reason and wit. On the blogroll he goes. Make him a part of your regular blogospheric reading. I certainly will.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is brilliant.
Common Sense Junction: Misha @ Anti-Idiotarian never ceases to amaze me. He keeps finding other good blogs. I went over to A.I. this morning for my daily Misha fix and he had found this guy named Morgan Freeberg in Fair Oaks, California, that has a blog, House of Eratosthenes. Freeberg says its "The Blog That Nobody Reads" but it may now become the blog that everybody reads.
Jaded Haven: Good God, Morgan, you cover a topic from front to back with a screwy thoroughness I find mind boggling. I'm in awe of your thought proccesses, my friend, you're an exceptional talent. You start by throwing in the kitchen sink, tie in someone's syphilitic uncle, bend around a rip tide of brilliance and bring it all home in a neat, diamond dripping package of an exceptionally readable moment of damn fine wordsmithing. I love reading you.
Mein Blogovault: Make "the Blog that No One Reads" one of your daily reads.
Philmon: When Morgan meanders, stick with him - he's got a point and it'll be worth it in the end. He's not a hit-and-run snarky quip kind of guy. The pieces all fall into place like tumblers in a lock and bang! He's opened a cognative door for you.
Rightlinx: Morgan at House of Eratosthenes is one of the best writers out there. I read him nearly every day because he manages to provide an interesting perspective, even though I don't always agree.
Poetic Justice: Cletus! Ah gots a laiv one fer yew...
Gutfeld says, “We are the cleanup crew.”
“And so when a liberal asks you, ‘Why are you a conservative?'; simply say, ‘So that you can be a liberal.'”
That part sums it up nicely. It isn’t the first time someone’s noticed, liberals depend on the conservative way of life being practiced by someone else, somewhere, whom they can then proceed to regulate and tax. Conservatives, on the other hand, could do quite well without liberals.
Except for the Internet! Those conservatives put their ideas out there on the Internet, which we wouldn’t have if it were not for those wonderful liberals and their wonderful Big Government solutions. Right? It must be true, President Obama said so. Erm, there’s another side to all that…
According to a book about Xerox PARC, “Dealers of Lightning” (by Michael Hiltzik), its top researchers realized they couldn’t wait for the government to connect different networks, so would have to do it themselves. “We have a more immediate problem than they do,” Robert Metcalfe told his colleague John Shoch in 1973. “We have more networks than they do.”
Before returning to the video clip above, permit me a quick bunny-trail on this whole Internet thing. I do not understand this zeal, be it bona-fide, cloaked and saturated in oily deception, anywhere in between, to give the credit for apparently all significant human achievement to this shapeless, functionally anonymous leviathan which is the government. What would be the point? That in order to accomplish really meaningful things, we must leave the matters up to politicians? Politicians are just representatives of the rest of us. At BEST.
The zeal does not look like a drive or determination to make things better. It looks like a manic phobia against success, or at least, success credited to identifiable individuals. That’s the only perception of it that makes it understandable, to me: Success can be acknowledged, achievement can be acknowledged, as long as there isn’t an actual name attached. Unless it’s a really big name, a huge name, like Oprah Winfrey, Bill Clinton or Barack Obama. Someone safe, someone whom ordinary people won’t know on a first-name basis.
Someone not likely to say “If I can do it, you can too.” Or…”What’s your excuse?”
With the attitude toward risk: Everything Gutfeld says there is true, too, but in four minutes the video can’t delve into all the applicable nuances. Liberals are more welcoming of risk in this context over here; conservatives are more welcoming in that context over there. There certainly is a measurable difference in personal reckoning with the risk; Barack Obama doesn’t really plan to grapple in any personal way with the consequences of the Iran deal, and I don’t see His followers welcoming refuges into their own homes. Liberals are forever tinkering with the framework of policies, statues and rules, in an endless pursuit of the perfect law-cocktail, to be applied to someone else. These classes of someone-else people are sometimes revered by the liberal, sometimes loathed. Think of: Minority beneficiaries of racial preferences, and gun owners, respectively.
Kinda like the girl you dated in high school who finally figured out she was out of your league, and giving you The Speech: “Someday, you’re going to make a wonderful husband for somebody…(else).” Except the snobby girl at least had the guts to try a bit before moving on to greener pastures. When it comes to assessing risk, our friends the liberals are aware of and maintain the difference between the “us” and the “them” all the way, stem to stern, epidermis to marrow of bone, beginning to end. The odd thing about it is that their rhetoric is all about everybody living together, all things being equal for everyone. They don’t mean it.
They do seem sincere with their ballyhoo about climate change; is there not something going on there, with liberals being risk-averse, and conservatives avoiding the issue? Again, no. It’s another front in the propaganda war in which liberals have won without firing a shot; the common understanding meshes with the statements in liberal talking points, word for word, but it doesn’t match with reality. Supposedly, the conservative viewpoint denies there is any such thing as — any of it, right down to the greenhouse gas effect. It doesn’t work because conservatives are actually the ones who get out and do things, and when you get out and do things you often have the greenhouse gas effect looking you right in the eye. Some conservatives work in real greenhouses, believe it or not!
“Risk averse” means, to assess the risk. This requires definition. The closest liberals come to actually assessing the risk involved in climate change, is something like “If nothing is done then by the year 2100 the mean global climate will rise by [insert number here] degrees — Celcius!” In assessing risk, conservatives don’t stop at rhetoric that might come in handy for agitating the masses. They want to actually see what the risk is. I know, crazy talk right?
Quoting me again:
What exactly does conservatism seek to conserve? Civilization, the blessings that come from having it, and the definitions that make civilization possible. From what does liberalism seek to liberate us? Those things — starting with the definitions.
It bears a casual relationship to that earlier observation about identifiable individuals, as opposed to super-individuals the average person will never meet, or “government,” achieving noteworthy things. Liberals are not merely opposed to defining things; with regard to the definitions that have been established already, they have an enduring passion against allowing those to stand. And it has not escaped my notice that this passion becomes particularly inflamed in the case of definitions that have weathered earlier storms, that have visibly made other human accomplishments possible.
Other definitions have yet to be made, and if they were made, would help the liberal cause. Starting with: How, exactly, does it make things better for our society, or humanity as a whole, to move all this money around the way liberals want us to move it, out of concern for this “climate change” problem? The whole issue has become uncomfortable now because the question is being asked more and more frequently, centrists want to know the answer to it too, and liberals still balk at it. They continue to escape into their protective-bubble comfort zones, repeating homilies about how conservatives “deny” there is any such thing as carbon, or something. After a few minutes of thumb-sucking, they re-emerge to wonder aloud why those outside the bubble haven’t moved the money around the way they want, and they bleat some more. Make some speeches, fund some studies with other peoples’ money…fly around in some jets. Then the cycle is repeated again.
It would take many more paragraphs to fully explore the difference in attitudes toward risk. I haven’t done it. The clip doesn’t do it. But Gutfeld is definitely on to something there.
Somewhere along the line, liberals and conservatives start talking past each other, each side expressing thoughts that are doomed, well before launch, from ever being received as intended. And these days I see it happens fairly early in any given exchange. We’ve got quite a few people walking around among us who say “Nothing ever comes of it, no minds are changed, don’t even start because it just pisses everyone off.” The command ends with a dangling preposition, but there may be something to it anyway.
But of course, we have President Obama, the end result of chanting “hope!” and “change!” — and not discussing anything. So I think it’s fair to say we’ve given don’t-discuss-it a good, fair try, and that doesn’t yield success either.
Anyway, it seems to me from all I’ve been hearing and reading that the point where liberals and conservatives no longer understand each other, has something to do with truth. As in, investigations (video auto-plays) (hat tip to William Teach at Pirate’s Cove):
[House Minority Leader Nancy] Pelosi told CNN’s Jake Tapper in an interview that aired Sunday on “State of the Union” that she did not accept that the videos — which have rocked the social conservative movement this summer — were accurate. She said she was concerned by the undercover filming by the Center for Medical Progress, which produced the edited clips.
“I think they should be investigated as to how they obtained those and doctored those and had them be accepted as something that was an indictment against Planned Parenthood. Because that’s not true,” she said.
I think of “investigation” the way Nancy Pelosi wants me to think of it, as an effort to get to the truth; but it is clear, from these remarks, that she does not think of it that way because she already knows what truth is. “Investigation,” therefore, has to mean something in her world that is a lot closer to the meaning our political leadership generally has in mind: Theater. Far from any sort of effort to get to anything at all, it has more to do with talking than listening.
Here and there I’ve opined about the divisions between people who work according to process, versus those who place weight on the outcome of an effort; like here, here and here. The distinction has lately begun to consume me, perhaps because over the last few years I’ve been forced to evaluate it from all sides. It’s hardly a liberal/conservative thing, doesn’t start out that way anyhow. Some people go all day long, then all year long, never really learning anything, never being forced to have their minds changed about anything. And so they turn their whole lives into a sort of choreography, which is what I see the Congresswoman doing here. It’s really quite amazing when you think about it — here she is in mid-sentence talking about finding out what the truth is, and she already “knows.”
We saw the same thing with “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot.” There are many other such examples. And yes, it does seem to settle into the split between conservatives and liberals. I see it in the behavior. Liberals say to conservatives, “That’s not true” and the conservative, quite visibly, loses momentum. As if to say “It’s not? Maybe it’s not. Where did you hear it’s not? What is the truth of the matter?” And this has been observed, understood, morphed into a new strategy. I’ve caught a few of them doing it. They’ll say “That’s not true!” and sometimes I will make a point of questioning the questioning, without losing any momentum. This is enlightening. Very often, it turns out they have no basis whatsoever for saying the earlier statement was not true.
It is as if someone herded them into a big auditorium, and told them “Look, no matter what it is, just tell the conservatives it isn’t true. It’s like hitting a shark on the nose; it works if you do it right, and hey, it’s your only shot.” And this defines the whole fragile relationship between liberals and truth: It is a fair-weather friendship, always contaminated, and that’s at best. This sentiment of “Let’s just see if we can get away with it” is always lingering, in there, somewhere.
Conservatives telling liberals something is not true, on the other hand, usually is not like that. And the liberal reaction is different too. As a strategy, “just say it isn’t true and see what happens” wouldn’t work with liberals. They don’t care. Their reaction is “You’re a conservative, who are you to say what’s true?” This gets back into John Hawkins’ observed feedback loop:
Liberalism creates a feedback loop. It is usually impossible for a non-liberal to change a liberal’s mind about political issues because liberalism works like so: only liberals are credible sources of information. How do you know someone’s liberal? He espouses liberal doctrine. So, no matter how plausible what you say may be, it will be ignored if you’re not a liberal and if you are a liberal, of course, you probably agree with liberal views. This sort of close-mindedness makes liberals nearly impervious to any information that might undermine their beliefs.
I haven’t got what it takes to be a liberal recruit, let alone a full-fledged one prowling the pages of Facebook, trying to spread the anti-gospels. I would be required to believe that liberalism is a pursuit of goodness and human progress, it is in mid-stride trying to eradicate war, hunger, poverty, illiteracy, blight, et al. Also, trying to achieve total equality. It’s at the “Come A Long Way, We’re Not There Yet” stage with all of those. So far, so good; I have a lot of projects like that. But also, I would be charged with the duty of deflecting and ignoring all undertones of uncertainty, from outside as well as within. It doesn’t work for me, because if I’m not done with applying a method, and have no results to show, then how do I know the method is working?
Thus it is proven: Liberals do not think, at least, not the way normal people think. Here I have to once again ponder an unsavory thought, that their ideas are different because their notions of truth are different, and their notions of truth are different because they’ve simply never had to reckon with what truth is. They are the little kids who never got busted for telling a lie, all…uh…up of which grown.
Phil and Severian were kind enough to copy me on a lengthy e-mail exchange about dialectics and sophists. It’s a “lengthy” exchange only in the sense that it isn’t really long in terms of number of messages back-and-forth, but rather in the size of each. I didn’t realize how much fresh meat there was until Saturday morning when I loaded them into a text editor, and took the time over a cup of copy to read them word for word. Fascinating stuff. Hope they “go public” with it sometime soon.
The bottom line is, sophistry — boiled down to its crude essentials — is winning the argument, period. Not quite so much at the expense of the winning argument being a useful one, but more like, with complete apathy toward that. An example would be…well, we can go back to the last time I blogged about something. A dead lawn looking cool — there isn’t much truth involved in that, since dead lawns look like shit. But the statement has a good shot at being the winning argument, if the value embraced has something to do with laziness. No need to water a dead lawn; no need to cut one either. A dead lawn is the lawn of a do-nothing. It is also the lawn of a sophist. You get to look cool (even if your lawn doesn’t), and act smug.
It is the contrast between the Architects and the Medicators, the former of whom think about things the way one must think about them, when one sets about the task of trying to build things that will actually work. And, to the latter of whom, the point of life is to be happy. The former demands thought, the latter involves feeling.
Now that election season is in full swing — and I’m viciously opposed to that, this early in the game, but whaddya gonna do? — I’m recognizing once again how cleanly the American Left and Right slip into this. There must be a way to exploit this to make things easier for people; like, for example, the visitors from abroad who will occasionally be heard to inquire, What’s the difference? Poor brave souls, you can hear it in their voices they’ve already figured out it’s a contentious issue, and the answer they get back & the conversation that ensues vary greatly with whom they ask.
With same-sex marriage, it is only just lately that The Left has discovered the broad and intense appeal of leaving people alone. It’s almost cute. Of course they don’t really mean it. I was referring to this, indirectly, when I noticed how easy it is to tell the Left and Right apart when you imagine a specimen of one of those, or the other, intoning “Because fuck you, that’s why!” Now — what could that person be doing? And I came up with some examples of each. And in each example, a person from The Left saying that, was interfering with someone else; and a person from The Right, was…not. Such clean distinctions often depart from the plane of reality. But this one doesn’t. The Left tells people to go fuck themselves when it’s interfering; The Right says the same thing, more in the spirit of “If you have a problem with me doing it, it must say more about you than it does about me, because this really has no effect on you.” The three examples I found for that were, eating meat, heading to the gun range with hardware that holds more than ten rounds, and wandering out to one’s own patio in one’s underwear for a cold bottle of beer.
As of the time of my scribbling that, I may have been engaged in 33% of those.
An acquaintance wandered into view to disrupt the flow of thought (on Facebook, thank goodness, not on my patio), merely for the purpose of disrupting it evidently; she offered rebuttal but without foundation. It’s a thought that has been regurgitated before in settings such as this, and perhaps it should be distilled into a single word: LeftAndRightExactlyTheSame. What an odd time in which to be asserting such a thing. The Left, today, has precisely one example to offer of their own saying “Fuck You” in the context of leaving people alone, and that’s same sex marriage. Except their position is that the Kentucky County Clerk should be sent to jail for defying their will, and they clearly expect to impose similar penalties on others who pose such a problem, so it doesn’t hold. The Left knows about as much about leaving people alone as your dumbest childhood pet knew about trigonometry.
This is a feeling, not a thought; and you can tell it is one, because when it goes out dressed up as a thought, the costuming is bad. It doesn’t act like a thought; doesn’t stay still long enough to be tested. LeftAndRightExactlyTheSame is a chestnut bandied about by leftists, and as leftists, they have found reasons to be leftists. Good luck persuading them to stop being leftists, for even a fraction of a second. So no, they’re not acting like it’s true, and their argument that it’s true, with all the bovine fecal matter stripped away from it, comes down to being a prohibition against anyone within earshot or line-of-sight doubting it or hesitating to accept it. Other than this proposed taboo and the penalties that would come with it, they offer no reason for this idea to win out over its opposition, none. It’s pure sophistry.
A feeling dressed up as a thought, won’t stay in one place when challenged. Like the jello being nailed to the tree, it jiggles, wriggles, loses composition, regains it again at its own convenience. It’s the difference between the static and the dynamic. LeftAndRightExactlyTheSame…until it’s time to show what a good person I am, by siding with the spotted owl against the loggers, or pushing same-sex marriage, or prattling away with the latest spin about climate change. And then they’re as different as night and day.
I have long been spooked by this sort of attitude, this casual approach to truth, this non-dialectic. “I think X simply because it makes me happy to think X — and, what, shouldn’t that be enough?” I suppose the answer to that is up to the person thinking it. As an upholding of the importance of feeling over the importance of thought, it wouldn’t work for me because any triumph in the upholding of feeling would be defeated by the lingering discomfort: But how do I know that is true? I haven’t done anything to test it, and the contradictions are so glaring if I merely open my eyes to the fact that they’re there. The one about LeftAndRightExactlyTheSame, but, the left is so much better in so many ways — that one, just by way of example, is resplendent. So much so, it occurs to me that there must be considerable difficulty involved in ignoring it. It impresses me as the sort of lie that honest people can only get into the habit of telling, after they’ve had a lot of practice lying to themselves about it first.
So I had been running it through my mind a few times exactly how I was going to get myself & my wife to Chico, and when the time came to execute…well, I would have to say I flubbed it. It ended up being one of those “For Future Reference” kinda things. We waited what seemed like a dog’s age for the very first stop light, just yards from our front door, and after a few minutes of that took a strange and meandering route to the freeway. Then, headed straight into the “Across The Top” project, which annoys me terribly. But not terribly enough for my distracted brain to actually plan around it, evidently.
Now that I’ve demonstrated my ability to take time-consuming side-routes in my driving, allow me to indulge the same in my writing: Sacramento is Seattle’s retarded little brother when it comes to managing traffic. It has recently upgraded itself, to its credit, from “We’re vastly inferior and we have no clue” to “We’re vastly inferior and let’s start doing something about it.” Having shrugged off the burden of Dunning Kruger, its first move out of the chute is to make things much worse. There is a thin ribbon, with no lane changes possible, stretching…I don’t know how many miles. I’m always so aggravated, I make a point of clocking it, then I forget. No lane changes means a stationary parkng lot where a moving avenue should be. Not sure why, it just does. Someone who designs freeways has yet to realize this, but I have no room to come off all cocky about it if I keep forgetting that I should not be going there.
And then I had my brilliant flash of insight.
I’ll get to that in a moment. But first, congratulations to Sacramento for finally figuring out that just because there are high occupancy lanes, doesn’t mean the traffic is being managed well. It doesn’t even mean you’re burning less fuel or being kind to the environment — it can mean the opposite. There has to be a whole system in place, with a quality design involving interrelated parts. I guess there were enough civil engineers going on trips, following my footsteps, driving cars on the freeways in Seattle and then Sacramento, learning what I learned, finally figuring out Something Had To Be Done. Now, progress is being made; but progress made, without a proper sense of direction, might not be a good thing. Just because you’re moving “forward” doesn’t mean you’re headed to a better place. With some learning, we’ll eventually get there. Another thirty years or so.
The flash of insight was crystallized, a bit here and a bit there, in the days that rolled on by afterwards. What did it for me was the dead, shit-colored lawns. Such comments from me, I understand, can cause offense; the new neighbor who lives across the street, still won’t talk to me or make eye contact with me. I learned the awkward way that he’s part of the shit-colored-lawn brigade, guess I spoke my mind a bit too casually. In my defense, I should point out our neighborly conversation began in the first place because he was admiring my lawn and wanted to know what I put on it, so I can easily recall why I assumed he wasn’t part of the shit-colored-lawn brigade — it did seem reasonable and safe at the time. And the passion behind my dislike of this “Golden Brown Lawn” publicity spree, is such that it is difficult to maintain a cover over the geyser.
There is so much feeding into it. Starting with, What ever happened to that idea that…if you want to take your family someplace special, maybe save up some cash for a rainy day fund, or get some elective surgery, whatever…you work hard at your job and show how valuable you are? What ever became of that? Winning prizes by having the shittiest-looking shit-colored lawn? A thousand bucks? How about, a thousand dollar bonus for being really good at the work you do? Did that somehow get eliminated as a possibility? What is all this crap…win with your lottery ticket here, win that contest there. Are we kids, or grown-ups? Can’t we save money anymore?
And don’t hand me that line of bull about conserving. I mean, yeah I get it, small numbers adding up into big numbers. Lots of gallons of water going into each lawn-watering, lots of lawns, hey, let’s just tell the sheeple that it’s cool to have a dead lawn, think of all those gallons that will be saved. Who’d a-thought, right? The cool thing now is to make your house look like the local shopping mall for crystal meth, yippee! Just like Billy Madison convincing all those kids that pissing your pants is the cool thing to do — in fact, exactly like that, just lacking in that adorable but unhygienic nobility. I’m sure the math does back up that there’s some conservation going on here, but let’s be honest. Conservation is not the goal, the goal is laziness. “I’m doing my part! And oh look…I don’t have to get up to cut the grass. Well cool. There’s a Friends marathon on teevee this afternoon anyway.” Yeah, don’t hurt yourselves sacrificing too much, sheeple.
I still owe you an explanation for my brilliant flash of insight, don’t I? It’s coming.
Had an errand to run sometime this week, which means after the debacle with this single-lane Across The Top thing, since that was last weekend. It was after work. Car radio was off, so the gears in my brain were churning away furiously…I took the backroads to a shopping mall, to miss the commute traffic, and ended up going through a tiny knot of suburbia. There it is again, a whole square mile, or more, of dead lawns. Rolling by my car windows as I make my way through the neighborhood…drug dealer’s house, drug dealer’s house, another drug dealer’s house, another another another. Looks like shit, it’s disgusting. And then — the local park. Lush, green, immaculate, trimmed.
While this is all happening, there are these knock-down drag-out discussions with the big-government types on social media, meandering along the tired talking-point of “Without government, who would build the roads?” Ugh, always with those damn roads. Yeah, yeah, roads, sidewalks, park benches, police and fire departments. So bizarre. We start talking about “taxing the rich” and, is it really hiking way out on a limb, to suppose that the cause of the disagreement has something to do with the federal level? Seems kind of self-evident, to me. It’s really about control. Isn’t it? We talk about public spending versus private spending, what we’re really talking about is diverting resources. We’re talking about influence being channeled, away from the people who are closest in proximity to whatever problem is supposed to be solved, toward people who are much further away. Not as likely to solve the problem, but they’re “our leaders” or something.
How come these justifications for continued & greater government spending, are municipal? Seems like avoiding the real issue.
I should have pulled over, parked, and snapped a picture. It captures the psychological malady quite nicely. It’s no different from the fatty on a diet intoning, only half-jokingly, “These calories don’t count because” …it’s a special occasion, her husband isn’t seeing her, she’s not recording it in her app…whatever. This is no different, and it makes no more sense. This money, this carbon, this water, is not really being spent because it’s being spent publicly.
That is the craziness that has lately started to consume us: Not only are our infinitely wise village elders infinitely wise, but it makes sense for us to turn over our resources for them to spend on our behalf, because when they spend the resources the resources aren’t really spent. If I am to upsize my 4-cylinder into a V-8 — provided I can find one nowadays — that is just an appalling offense. But our public officials can fly to faraway places on enormous jets, for no higher goal than a publicity stunt, to rename a mountain, whatever…even, irony of ironies, to give speeches about how we all need to drive smaller cars. Not only is there nothing wrong with that, but there’s something wrong with you if you notice it.
We’re really no better than that fat cow playing her game of “calories don’t count if.” Watering the lawn at City Hall, or the State Capitol building, doesn’t take any water. Doesn’t count.
Kim Davis, the county clerk from someplace in Kentucky who refused to hand out gay marriage licenses, got out of jail the other day, which is a bit bizarre to me because it seems like nothing’s settled. Does her ass belong in jail, or doesn’t it? Now that she’s out, and very likely headed back in again, the thought occurs to me that you can make all the arguments you want to support one answer, or the other, and at the end of it you’ll have done nothing to defend what’s being done — it’s cocked up no matter how you slice it. Those who say she got what she deserved for “not doing her job” are entirely failing to see the issue from the perspective of their opposition — not that that’s going to bother them too much, they like failing at this. The more estranged they are from the thoughts and feelings of their opposition, the happier they are, not that that will intimidate them in any way from having their opinions. That’s what it’s like when you’re punch-drunk on winning arguments, and don’t care about anything but winning the arguments. Somewhere along the line, solving problems just sort of falls off the radar. Ahab has to hunt his whale.
And what an easy problem this was. Drive to the next county and get your fucking license.
What really scares me about it is, not quite so much the so-called “jailable offense” of not recognizing gay marriage, or “not doing her job” as county clerk. What I find truly frightening is we’re dealing with genuine irrationality. The writhing beast that lusts for this sense of vengeance, wants to see Kim Davis in jail, wants to imbibe more and more of the elixir of winning-arguments, does it? Clearly doesn’t care about anything else. Think on this: Imagine the argument-winning power of driving to that other county, getting the license, driving back and waving it in Douglas’ face with a big fat smirk on yours. Just imagine.
She would be reduced, and instantly, to lasting irrelevance. You could write an article for Slate, or Huffington Post, about how this serves her right and then we’d all move on to the next thing. As it is, the writhing, irrational beast sent her to jail, and in doing so made her something of a martyr. There are three possibilities: One, the writhing, irrational beast has become so irrational, it cannot follow even the simplest of strategies to accomplish its goals. Two, the writhing beast is not so irrational, but has goals that are concealed from view — I am misunderstanding what those goals are. Three, the writhing beast, being an aggregate of many individuals, is a composite made up of different people, with different goals.
And this is where it all comes together. All these examples; the local road “improvement” that works so well that it brings freeway traffic to a complete stop; the water conservation movement that pretends to be about sacrifice but really just celebrates laziness; the settling of the gay marriage dustup, ONCE AND FOR ALL, that doesn’t even try to settle it, once, or for all, or anything of the like.
No, it isn’t a conspiracy. What it is, is a very perverse motivation acting upon the elites, to pigeonhole the rest of us into large, growing, all-encompassing groups of people, united into such defined class with as thin a common cause as might possibly be defined, so that the groups can swell to a membership status close to universal…and then, start fucking with us.
The County Clerk thing, that’s supposed to be about freedom and equality. What is that, really, though? It’s targeting someone, ostensibly for “failing to uphold the law” or “not doing her job,” but separating her from other officials objecting conscientiously in similar ways. And then throwing her butt in jail. Equality. Freedom. Mission accomplished?
The road thing is a measurable failure. Zero miles an hour is a measurement, and it’s rather hard to form an argument against it.
Only the water conservation thing holds any merit, since when the water is not being used for a lawn it most certainly is being conserved. But here too, we see a situation in which those among us who are empowered to dictate our directional approach to addressing a problem, are picking a direction quite out of harmony with finding an actual solution to the problem. A golden lawn is the New Cool? Well, you guys go first. Why is there green grass around City Hall?
A week ago I was writing about how the masses who are asses fuck with us, when you get right down to it, destroying things because they’re bored and haven’t got anything better to do. Those are commoners; these are elites. Both enticed, and often, and relatively recently, to habitually fuck with the rest of us. These two forces combine, to bring pressures upon those of us who seek to live life productively, responsibly, and respectfully toward others around us. My “bottom line” point to all this? Something is different; something has changed. The change is not good.
The energy we have to burn to confront these two pressures acting upon us — I wonder if it could be contributing to climate change? — is no longer a tangential expense. Somewhere along the line, and perhaps it is a shift going back years and years, moving along at a glacial pace, that rocket-fire-burn we have to do, to prevail against the fuck-with-you from above & below, has moved into the center, into the limelight. It has become the biggest challenge involved in being an adult, living out one’s adulthood, whereas in our parents’ and grandparents’ time, it was the smallest.
What’s changed? Simplest explanation is the best. People didn’t fuck with our grandparents so much, because there wasn’t much point to it and there wasn’t any available time. People had to be productive in what they did. But also, if you were a public servant there were alternative options available to you to engage in graft. Today, if you want to engage in graft, it seems this has become the first step: Define a large, nearly-universal group of people, then start applying an inconvenience, an agitation, an annoyance, to the group. Start fucking with the people in the group. It can be an annoyance large, or small, but it has to be a frequent one.
If the inconvenience is not applied to a very large number of people, and it isn’t applied easily, and it isn’t applied frequently, graft is harder. If we really are all being treated with respect, and equally, graft is much harder.
So this is the repair job I made last weekend…
…and, here is the additional wreckage that I shall be fixing this weekend.
I’m afraid it is exactly what it looks like, which is a pissing contest between two alpha-dog-males. Is it sexist of me to presume the vandal is a male? If so, it’s not the only poorly-advised thing I’m doing here…how does that old saying go, “never get into an argument with a fool, he’ll drag you down to his level and beat you with experience” or something. Well, we know how this is going to go. It’ll rock back and forth, weekend to weekend, until one of us relocates or else concludes that it just isn’t worth the hassle anymore. Repair, destruction, repair, destruction. Lather, rinse, repeat.
It’s a dialogue. Me: “Stop wrecking my fence, for I will never stop rebuilding it.” He: “Stop rebuilding, you have located it in a terrain outside of your control, and I’ll remind you of this without end.”
It’s a contest between order and chaos, and this was the inspiration behind that observation I made so many years ago, about Architects and Medicators, formerly Yin and Yang — two halves of humanity that actually should not be coming into contact with each other. Most of our problems in society, I maintain, result from such contact being made. This is just the kind of thing that reinforces that view.
It’s the kind of thing that inspired my very first thoughts about it:
The guy who’s never held a job, gets drunk all day, doesn’t pay child support, thinks he’s doing everything just right. He’s got problems, of course; but he figures his problems are caused by the cop that busted him for loitering, the district attorney who learned about the child support delinquency and decided to go after him, and the judge who sentenced him. You know, in his own world, he’s right. Where he comes from, people don’t take responsibility. They push it off somewhere else. So the problem comes not from his refusal to accept responsibility — they come from the expectation of others that he should do so. He has is own expectations: His ex-wife should marry some hard-working lunchbox carrying guy, who will cheerfully take on the responsibility of raising another man’s kids. This would free him up to be left alone to smoke grass and drink hooch all day, since, after all, that’s what he’s used to. That’s the way it’s supposed to work: Responsibility for those who accept it, and not for those who don’t. Purely optional.
Who cares where we would all be, if we all coped with life the way he does? How does that matter? Who ever said we should all do everything the same way, anyway?
Maybe that’s the answer.
Of course, how it matters is easily answered: When he doesn’t pay child support, his kids get hurt. That makes sense. But it makes sense in our world, which is the point. In the miscreant’s world it doesn’t make as much sense. Because nothing does; nothing matters except feeling good, and all of the time. The conflict is between immediate gratification, and delayed.
Because of that, there arises another conflict between the limited universe, and the unlimited. Example: A few months ago I, the creator/preserver/repairer/homeowner, chanced across a brand of mulch and grass seed that actually caused me some excitement. Over the past few days or weeks I have made the discovery that the stuff has an unfortunate tendency to spawn grubs, and the grubs attract what we think are skunks. Earlier this summer I thought I was living in a universe that didn’t have skunks in it. Since my desire is to create, preserve and repair, the way I look at it now is that I was living in a universe that has skunks in it, I just didn’t know it at the time. So there is reality, and then there is my perception of it — two different things.
This helps to explain the Medicator mindset, with regard to fences destroyed that someone has to rebuild, and child support not paid that someone else has to produce. Would the Medicator acknowledge that someone has been harmed? And the answer is no. The limited universe. There is a periphery around it, and all the people hurt by his lust for immediate gratification, and his sloth, and the thrill he feels from lobbing bricks through windows, are outside the periphery. They’re in “Here Be Dragons” territory. You aren’t supposed to be talking about this stuff. Might make him feel bad. And the whole point to life is to not feel bad.
“Point to life”; see, there is another clear, crisp, primal definition of the difference. There is a conflict between those who worry about the impact they’re having about the world as they pass through it, and those who worry about the impact the world has upon them. It seems at times like neither side can ever hope to even begin to understand the other. Over on this side of the wall, for example, doesn’t it just necessarily follow that “the point to life” has got to be entirely invested on what we’re doing to the things around us, rather than the other way around? And it is often outside our way of understanding things, when we are confronted by the true answer: No, not for everybody it doesn’t. There are people who think we’re all here to be entertained. And not just a few people either.
They are not harmless. They wreck things, and they wreck them because of the Morgan Freeberg Charismatic Wrecking Ball Theory. It is, near as I can figure, a process of elimination. Nobody really wants to just sit and do nothing, for any length of time, anymore than anybody can really “lie in bed all day” on a weekend. Sooner or later you have to get something to eat, shit shower & shave, make things happen. If you want to make things happen, you can build, preserve or destroy, just those three things, nothing else. Building demands coping with the delayed gratification; preservation, as I shall demonstrate in a few hours as I attend to my fence repair chores, ditto. That leaves one thing left — and that’s why I have a fence I have to fix.
And every fucking weekend for the foreseeable future, it would seem. What a foolish errand of mine this is! And yet…it is a perfect microcosm of our society as a whole. Is it not? The fence is torn asunder, repeatedly, ritually, like the gizzard of Prometheus torn from his gut ever day, because it sits on the boundary of these two worlds. All of the trouble takes place on that boundary, while the champions of each side labor tirelessly to reach across, and teach that other side how it’s gonna be. It’s an endless drain on the resources, but both sides keep doing it because neither side has a choice. And of course, only one side is worried about resources.
Thought I’d go ahead and blog about it. Why not? I can put in zero hours, let the vandal win; put in one hour, “win the argument” for this weekend, and move on to the next thing; I can put in two hours, implement the repairs and then blog about the situation. I’m opting to go full tilt, “in for a penny, in for a pound.” Because that conflict we have on the create/preserve/repair side of society’s “fence,” is also worth some pondering. Probably more worthwhile than anything else involved, for you see, if this is really a battle of wills between the two sides, it doesn’t do any good over the long run to try to win at that battle, and then keep quiet about it. Sooner or later, the Medicators/Destroyers have the potential to find a voice, make their own P.R. department if you will, and prevail in the court of public opinion. And so those of us on this side, have to find that second hour, come up with the resources to spend on that, too. While we’re actually working for a living, building things that actually work, or at least trying to, or learning what we need to do differently to make them work.
In this way, we’re being double-taxed. Makes one wonder what the net cost is, dealing with the conflict every day and every year. We don’t often bother to tally it, because we haven’t got any choice. But, I’m sure some reading this post will think, among many other things, “Morgan you really should take stock of how much time, materials and supplies you’re putting into this.” Which is absolutely correct. The same is true of all of us; just because we have no choice but to continue in the conflict, burning away time that might be spent on other things if the conflict was not there, and we can’t see a way right now to make the conflict go away — doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be adding, calculating, computing, assessing. We’ve shown ourselves, as a society, to be quite gifted at this “tolerance” thing, we’ve been tolerating an awful lot. Figuring up the cost of the tolerance, that’s one place where we could stand to show some improvement. There’s little point to it the way things are now, but perhaps the better-comprehended numbers would motivate us to explore some options, and some of those explored options might provide the point.
Speaking of which, this is my favorite theory for the time being to explain it all: The point. An appreciation for delayed gratification, is something you learn early on, when there is a point. We’re dealing with the glassy-eyed nihilists, I think, who failed to see the point to developing such a thing, as they teetered on the brink of majority age. And so their situation is a confusing and sad one: They delight in the thrill of breaking windows, wrecking fences, et al, but they’re also trapped in a world in which that’s about all there is to do. Now there’s no way they can grow any further, except by way of losing arguments to fence-repairer Architect types like me — which is not something that’s going to happen, certainly not with any frequency. The current battle does not favor my side. Spock said it best: “As a matter of cosmic history, it has always been easier to destroy than to create.”
From Geeks Are Sexy.
Chris Cillizza writes in the WaPo about the unprecedented shift in Donald Trump’s favorable/unfavorable polling in Iowa, from 27/63 back in May to 61/35 now. Did I say “shift”? More like “reversal”:
Numbers just don’t reverse themselves like that in the space of a few months (or ever). Especially when the politician in question is totally known by the electorate. Once you are both totally known and broadly disliked — as Trump was in May both in Iowa and everywhere else — you are doomed. One hundred times out of one hundred.
That’s why I was SO certain of Trump’s inability to matter at all in the 2016 race when he, somewhat stunningly, decided to enter it 70-odd days ago. In the almost 20 years — gulp — I have spent following politics closer than close, I’ve never seen anything like the total reversal in how Trump is perceived by Republican voters. It is, quite literally, unprecedented.
After toying around with a few other theories that might explain, by themselves or cumulatively, she offers up this one:
The public has not only gotten used to Trump as candidate, and gotten used to seeing that he can stand his ground, but people have also become accustomed to the ideas he expresses, thoughts that initially may have seemed far out of the mainstream because they hadn’t been commonly voiced by politicians. An end to birthright citizenship for the children of illegals is the sort of issue only talked about previously by Senator Vitter (and relatively obscure bloggers like me), and how many people had ever heard of it before Trump, or knew the arguments pro or con? Trump dragged the idea out into the sunlight to be discussed and dissected, and many people who heard him decided, once they became familiar with the discussion, that the idea had some merit. Over time, the shock value of Trump’s positions generally has been diluted.
From the comments:
Those in the media who tell Trump supporters they’re stupid don’t seems to take into consideration that a lot of these same people have been treated like rubes by the GOP for years. The GOP claims to be the “big tent” party but then distance themselves from anything too conservative, especially social issues, where they lecture their base that they must “evolve.” This despite watching Obama break laws to encourage mass illegal immigration, and the Left using social issues such as same-sex marriage and HHS’s birth control mandate to needlessly harass religious institutions and private citizens of faith.
So who is stupid, the guy who keeps getting suckered into voting for GOP candidates with conservative stances that only surface in an election year, or the guy who has not always been conservative but is passionate enough about current issues to boldly voice his opinion and not back down now? It’s a gamble, but is it any more of a gamble than voting for the anointed candidate Jeb, who is fairly in line with the Left on key issues like immigration, and who can’t seem to display that he has any fight in him?
Most comments I’ve seen about Trump support what he’s dong as a candidate more than the idea of him actually winning. Apparently our pundits can’t differentiate between the two. But we’re the stupid ones, huh?
I suppose I didn’t realize it at the time, even though I was contributing to it, but there must have been a baby boom going on two decades ago give-or-take. Today, a lot of the households I know are coping with coming-of-age stuff. Stepping out, first “room of my own,” graduation, enlistment, et al. At the same time, the nation as a whole is trying to figure out, When did it become acceptable for an open and avowed socialist to run for President of the United States? And why has our society become so fractured, and contentious? When did that happen?
And a thought occurs to me: I tend to get into trouble when I point out things that everybody else already knows, but have made some silent, collective decision not to discuss openly. I have noticed this gets people all HowDareYou-ey, no matter who’s breaking the silence, as if the guy who broke the silence was actually around when “everyone” took a pledge to remain silent and is now breaking that pledge. When, of course, that is not the case and could not have been the case. Well…here I go again, I suppose…
Before reading further, one has to face an unpleasant truth, since we’re talking about people. People, a lot of the time, make no damn sense. And people, a lot of the time, really hate reading or listening to ideas that have to do with the fact that our species often makes no damn sense. Oh sure, we have no problem acknowledging that about the other guy. But, we seem to have this ego-alarm that reminds us, even when we don’t want to admit it, that “people” means everybody, a real everybody, not just the everybody-of-convenience we like to define moment to moment, as in “everybody is making a big mess” or “everybody needs to work harder and do their part.” And the idea here has to do with what “everybody” does when they’re at this age. Which seems to sound the alarm — “Hey, I was once that age, that asshole’s talking about me!”
Well…yeah. So with that said, let’s plunge into the darkness. The big idea is that people, when they are teetering on the brink of adulthood, are somehow compelled to approach life with a challenge, as if it were ever their place to do so. I’m not sure why this is. Possibly, this is the age at which life starts to challenge them, and they figure if they can turn the tables on it then that will sort of make everything good & right. But “they” means, of course, “we” — best I can figure, everyone’s done this, whether they realize it or not. It’s as common as a heartbeat.
The challenge goes like this. “Okay life, I’ll give you six months to a year for you to tell me what you’re all about. After that, you’ve had your shot and I’ll just make a decision without you.” Life, then, like Linus during a Charlie Brown Christmas Special, is supposed to drop what it’s doing, explain itself, and intone “There, person, that’s what I’m all about.”
Which it isn’t gonna do, because it’s got bigger fish to fry. There’s a lot more wrong with this than a preposition at the end of a sentence. Nevertheless, we do it. And whatever answer we get back at that age, we tend to keep around for a very long time. “Life,” meanwhile, has a tendency to speak to us much more loudly at the later stages. The challenge then becomes one of shedding this leaving-the-nest answer we think we got previously, in whole or in part, and replacing it with the answer we get later that’s better informed. We, as a species, aren’t too good at doing this. The impression we get at the close of the teenage years, we tend to keep for awhile; default tendency it to lug it around, all the way, into the coffin.
At age eighteen or so, if the answer life gives back is “live to the end of this war, and see to it your buddies do likewise” — then, that is how that person is going to see life. If the answer is “get these crops harvested in the fall so that we all don’t starve to death,” then that is how that person sees life. If the answer is “bullshit people so that they do what you want,” then ditto. Soldier, farmer, politician.
It really makes no sense at all, when you think about it. But it’s in our wiring, in our DNA: Eighteen years, plus a few months, at the very latest and that’s when we’re supposed to jab a finger in the air and declare Ah ha! Now I have it all figured out! Again, ending a sentence with a preposition is not the most-wrong thing about this; there are many others. Ah, the ego. “My evaluation is complete! How could it not be? I’ve seen everything!”
These days, without some clear and forceful reason why they should not be headed elsewhere, the default presumption is that they should all go into college. And then become liberals, since all the professors are engaged in a grand conspiracy of sorts to make them that way. Well you know, perhaps the professors really are; but allow me to stand up and offer a defense on their behalf, since no such conspiracy is needed. And if there’s a point to this Big Idea, that, surely, is it — we could harvest a whole generation of these lefty-leaning millennials, even if our colleges campuses were all solid-red Republican. There are other factors at work.
Parenthood has a way of setting one’s priorities. Get nothing else done, see to it at least that your kids have what they need. It’s an easy trap for us, a lot of parents fall into it. It’s hard to break out of it. But if we don’t, then after that leaving-nest-span, eighteen years, seventeen, sixteen, or twenty — there we are. Kid’s bellowing into the wind, demanding life explain to him what it’s all about, and life is remaining silent because the kid has always had everything he needed. So now, after life’s continued to remain silent after this little grace period he’s offered it, he has to do that highly irrational thing we all seem to be doing, and crystallize his “educated” finding, his decision.
Liberals are winning, right now, because they own a lot of “real estate” here. They own the man-child teetering on the brink of adulthood, who has concluded: “It isn’t about anything, it’s all futile.” That’s today’s liberal. The liberal who reached majority age yesterday, concluded: “It’s about avoiding this pooling-up of luxuries, so that very few of us have all the wealth, while everyone else starves…equality, man.” And with some, it has been: “Burn this bitch to the ground, no justice no peace.” Before that, it was: “Peace, make love, not war.” And before that — oh, yeah. Live long enough to go home. Or, avenge Pearl Harbor, if that’s your drift. At any rate, there’s a generational split for you.
So we wonder why the kids are starting to lean left. Or, lean nowhere, become smug little nihilists. We should be wondering why we’re wondering. You’ve heard that saying, “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey”? So have I. I loathe it. But, there’s a truth to it; there is a reason we tend to keep saying it. Show me the journey a man takes, and I will show you the man. The journey has that sort of impact on people, the destination does not. What journeys do our children take, right before they become grown-ups? What ones are they compelled to take? What ones must they take? Answer that, and you’ve answered the more pressing question of what they will become. Even if the answer to that is a nullity; that, then, is what they will become.
But of course, it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s really up to the person to decide if he wants to become a something, or remain a nothing. And he can decide that anytime he wants. The fact that so few people manage to do it in adulthood, means absolutely nothing. The options are open all the way.
Image from Liberal Logic 101
Big-time Illinois Lottery winners aren’t getting the largesse. They’re getting left out.
Without a state budget agreement two months into the new fiscal year, there’s no authority for the state comptroller to cut checks over $25,000. That means smaller winnings can be paid out, but not the larger lottery wins.
Susan Rick, who lives in Oglesby, Illinois, planned home fix-ups and a visit to her daughter after her boyfriend won $250,000 last month. But they were told to wait.
Rick tells the Chicago Tribune that if the situation were reversed, the state would “come take it, and they don’t care whether we have a roof over our head.”
Lottery spokesman Steve Rossi says state lottery, like every other state agency, is “affected by the budget situation.”
A crisis! And you should never let one go to waste. Guess Illinois had better elect some more democrats, who can then screw things up even further.
The boyfriend, Danny Chasteen, told CNBC:
“For the first time, we were finally gonna get a break,” Rick said. “And now the Illinois Lottery has kind of messed everything up.”
Under state law, checks for such winnings must be cut by the state comptroller’s office and, since lawmakers have yet to approve a budget, the office cannot release those funds, the newspaper said.
From the comments:
The Illinois lottery is setup similar to the New Deal’s Social Security Fund which is also broke. Lottery funds collected are made available to the state government.
A quick check will reveal that the Illinois state government has more debt than income. Therefore lottery funds collected are spent before they are received. The same situation exists with the federal government. The difference is that the federal government can raise the debt ceiling, borrow money needed for todays expenses and defer payment to children and grandchildren. Illinois can not print currency and put it in circulation.
Every Quantative Easing dollar printed takes buying power from the dollars in your pocket and savings.
The Illinois version of Quanitative Easing is an IOU from the state. Which takes buying power away from lottery winners.
From Bad Words:
What is Mara’s job like? Her sales figures are monitored…by the microsecond. By hidden cameras and mics. They listen to her every word; they capture her every movement; that track and stalk her as if she were an animal; or a prisoner; or both. She’s jacked into a headset that literally barks algorithmic, programmed “orders” at her, parroting her own “performance” back to her, telling her how she compares with quotas calculated…down to the second…It’s as if the NSA was following you around…and it was stuck in your head…telling you what an inadequate failure you were…psychologically waterboarding you…all day long…every day for the rest of your life.
Note what all the technology and bureaucracy that wonderful, noble company has invested hundreds of millions in doesn’t ask her to do. Learn. Think. Reflect. Teach. Inspire. Lead. Connect. Imagine. Create. Grow. Dream. Actually…serve customers.
The economy doesn’t make stuff anymore. That much you know. So what does it make?
It makes assholes.
The Great Enterprise of this age is the Asshole Industry.
And that’s not just a tragedy. It is something approaching the moral equivalent of a crime. For it demolishes human potential in precisely the same way as locking someone innocent up, and throwing away the key.
Consider Mara again. Who in Christ’s name would design such an inhuman system? Whose sick joke of an idea is a “store” like that? What do you even call it? Because it’s surely not a “store”.
Yes, I have noticed this lately on a subconscious level; when I move my purchases away from one source, toward another one, it seems to be less and less often over some issue involving quality, and more and more often over an issue far simpler. Like a lot of old farts, seems somewhere along the line I have embarked on a new mission to figure out who doesn’t want to do business with me, weeding out who is only pretending to want to do business. And there are more than a few vendors who only go through the motions of it.
Who would design such an inhuman system? I think I may be in a position to say: It is a conflict, as so many things are these days, between process and outcome. The writer errs in the presumption that the outcome must be the fulfillment of a design. I submit that you don’t get here by way of design, you get here by way of a great big jumble of smaller, incremental movements, enacted by a great and vast community of manipulators, which isn’t a community at all because they’re never meeting each other — all driving toward this final nightmare, with not a single one of them laboring away with that image in mind.
So then what were they trying to do? Ah, that answer is even simpler: They were hoping to find one anemic carrot in a thistle-patch full of sticks. “Great idea Barbara, wireless headsets, that’s the ticket.” “Never would have thought of that Steve, sales quotas in real time.” Trying to build up a little tiny bit of credit in their accounts, before the next beat-down.
Column concludes with a bit of welcome wisdom:
We’re obedient constructivists. Pragmatists. Rationalists. So you probably want to know: what can we do about it?
It’s pretty simple.
Don’t be an asshole. Remember the Asshole Factories? Here’s a secret: they’re churning out assholes by the millions. And so should you bravely decide to be an asshole, what you’ll really be is just another interchangeable, forgettable, rapidly depreciating commodity.
So who should you be?
Be yourself. The person you were meant to be. Whether you believe in heaven or the inferno, freedom or fate, the simple fact is: each and every one of us was put here to be something greater than Just Another Asshole stealing pennies from his neighbors to pay off Even Bigger Assholes.
Hat tip to Gerard at American Digest.
[Mozilla CEO Chris] Beard said the remarks indicated a discomfort with diversity that he would not tolerate…”If that’s not actually hate speech, it’s pretty damn close…We are not going to walk that line as Mozilla. So if and when we identify who this person is, if they are an employee, they will be fired. And regardless, either way, they are not welcome to continue to participate in the Mozilla project. It is not who we are.”
The comment that got under the boss’ skin was…
Frankly everyone was glad to see the back of Christie Koehler. She was batshit insane and permanently offended at everything.
When she and the rest of her blue-haired nose-pierced asshole feminists are gone, the tech industry will breathe a sigh of relief.
To which he said,
When I talk about crossing the line from criticism to hate speech, I’m talking about when you start saying “someone’s kind doesn’t belong here, and we’ll all be happy when they’re gone.”
Another Reddit user had some fun, toying with the irony:
He added that such kind of people don’t belong at Mozilla and if they’re an employee he’ll be happy when they’re gone.
I’m so old, I remember when the venerable and respected part of a so-called inclusive culture had something to do with the emulsification of it. Strong leadership, wise leadership, team-building…whatever ya gotta do, to get the pagan goth kids working together with the Promise Keepers, the vegan millennials and the Iraq War vets who go shooting on the weekends…cool kids and nerds…the organization as a whole took a bow, because everyone grew a little bit, and the leadership was thought to have executed a whole series of wise decisions to make it happen.
Something has changed. It’s different now. Seems to be something like “We’re going to ostracize and ostracize, until ‘inclusive’ people are the only ones we have left.” I’m not sure what is the bigger problem: The constant hunt for the next chunk of flesh, just like sharks circling a lifeboat, or the seemingly complete ignorance of the irony.
Kristen Soltis Anderson has penned a bright and optimistic book called The Selfie Vote urging Republican leadership to understand millennial voters, of which she is one. A pollster with Echelon Insights, Anderson shows that millennial voters may be socially liberal when it comes to same-sex marriage, but that they are not uniformly progressive, and that their interests occasionally collide with legacy institutions built by the left in the 20th century.
It makes intuitive sense that young people ought to be entrepreneurial, since they are unchastened by failure, and unburdened by immediate and growing families. The young investor should have confidence in the future, particularly the long term. Instead millennials are the most risk-averse investors, many of them having witnessed their parents go through agonies of 401(k) meltdowns and foreclosures at the same time. Their model of investment isn’t managing an aggressive account from their phone — it’s closer to burying cash in a refrigerator, then burying the refrigerator in their parent’s backyard. Indeed they are as worried about their parents’ portfolios as they are of their own.
Some demographic reports predict that once the economy has fully turned around, millennials will reach a tipping point and actually prove to be a more stable generation, with a higher percentage of their own children growing up in two-parent homes than they themselves did. But their marriage rates seem unlikely to ever catch up. As summarized by Time magazine, the Pew Report shows that millennial men aren’t even attaining to what have traditionally been the prerequisites of marriage: a stable job.
Hat tip to Bird Dog at Maggie’s Farm.
Ex-IRS official Lois Lerner used a second personal email account under the name of “Toby Miles” to conduct official business during the time of the conservative group targeting scandal.
While it remains unclear who is “Toby Miles”–Lerner is married to a Michael Miles–the IRS said that it has concluded that the address represents “a personal email account used by Lerner.”
“It is simply astonishing that years after this scandal erupted we are learning about an account Lois Lerner used that evidently hadn’t been searched,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said, accusing the IRS of concealing information from Lerner that could inform the targeting controversy.
Hat tip to Neo-Neocon, who adds: “Not all that astounding, actually. But interesting.”
Her use of the mysterious account has prompted speculation into the source of the name. “Toby Miles,” according to a former Lerner colleague, is the name of Lerner’s dog: Toby is the dog’s name, and Miles is the surname of Lerner’s husband, Michael Miles.
You’re judged on how you express yourself, not on what you believe, or what you do. Take Swarmgate, the media fury over British PM David Cameron’s use of the word ‘swarm’ to refer to those few thousand migrants in Calais who long to come to Britain. When Cameron was talking about sending soldiers and barbed wire and dogs to keep these aspirant Brits out of Britain, the self-styled guardians of public decency — the Twitterati, liberal editorialists, Labourites — said little, except perhaps that he should do it more quickly. Yet as soon as he referred to the migrants as a “swarm of people”, these Good People became pained: they banged their fists on tables, spilt their tea, went on the telly.
Ladies and gentlemen, behold the inhumanity of political correctness, which bats not one eyelid when 5,000 human beings are reduced to the level of animals, yet which becomes wide-eyed with anger when their animal-like status is mentioned in polite society. “Treat them like shit, just don’t use shitty language while you do it” — that’s the glorious motto of the PC.
Had to do a lot of driving yesterday, with no sound or music. Makes you think.
I’m running into an old problem: There are these complex problems being thrown at me that demand answers. This is my livelihood. Lately, however, it has become an implicit part of the job to not make people feel stupid, and my efforts avoiding this have met with mixed results. It’s because of the designs, which are about as complicated as the problems they solve. Here and there, there are opportunities for an exception to this — you can solve a complicated problem with a simple solution, you know, it’s possible. But, it’s important to maintain moderation in this. The most spectacular examples of complex problems being solved with simple solutions, have to do with wrecking things.
The solution should be capable. A contested quote from Einstein about the “perfect formula” says, “simple as possible but not simpler.” Good rule.
After several minutes of introspection, I realized an ugly truth: Repeated admonishments about “Don’t make X feel stupid but solve the problem” stir up impulses in me, due to a marriage long-dead. I guess I spoiled myself with long stretches of time spent staying away from people like that, the “don’t want to see anyone doing anything I can’t do” people. That is not to say I’ve been making a point interacting only with people with an I.Q. of 125 or greater. But, I’ve had my filter working. It’s not a “stupid person” thing, it’s a “people who want to put you in a box” thing. Stay away from the shadow-people. Things work much better, for everyone, with a wedge between us. Like Michael and Fredo, “You see our mother, I want to know a day in advance so I won’t be there.” They come in, I go out. Wasted too much of my one life on them already.
Know what it’s like to be married to a woman who launches into a tirade if you use any “big words” — but you have no idea what makes a word big? Or a woman who wants you clean-shaven, because women can’t grow facial hair? Harrison Bergeron knew. I’m not him, and his world is not for me.
Then again, it’s a difficult complaint to entirely dismiss because sometimes, in some situations, it is legitimate. It’s easy to recognize from the outside. If you’re the third party, watching one person approached with a problem, by another, and you’ve already formed the answer in your mind; when you see the designated problem-solver come up with something two or three times as complicated, it’s aggravating. Yes, I completely get it.
But then again, I can envision how a diesel generator works, a thing of simplicity and beauty. Once it’s actually working, it’s no longer a thing of simplicity — wires, cables, hoses everywhere, and every single one of them has a reason for being. Space shuttle rocket engine, ditto. The design is even simpler, the implementation even more complicated. By the time things are actually implemented, if they’re still functional they’re more complicated. That’s just how it is. It is what’s required. Measurement devices have to be connected, systems have to be cooled. Inlets have to be routed so you can poor the good new oil into them.
The problem is how to distinguish the problem-solver from the guy who really is just out to make headaches. How to make sure you’re not that guy. And I came up with an answer, that works, that really IS simple.
If your challenge to me is one of: “Give me a math equation, whose answer is 4, but don’t make me feel stupid” there are lots of ways to answer that. “Two plus two” is the most obvious; “two times two” works as well. “Two to the power of two” has a certain feeling of useless protest about it, and if my final answer is “What is the cube root of 64,” well then we know I’m just being a dick. Right?
But. If your challenge goes the other way: “Tell me what two plus two is, and don’t make me feel stupid” — it is the asker of the question, not its answerer, who is being the dick. Part of the reason we know that to be true is, there’s only one answer. Oh sure, you can criticize the delivery. That’s always safe. We can argue all day long about whether the answer was delivered in such a way as to make you feel stupid…it’ll probably end in a stalemate, at which time you can take the coward’s way out and “win” with some intonation of “Well, my feelings are what really matter, and I’m the one who gets to say what they are.”
But if we don’t want to live like Bergeron, we have to recognize the Handicapper General. She’s all around us these days, isn’t she?
It has to do with needlessness. The criticism that you are needlessly making the other person feel like an idiot, stands, if the solution you have presented is needlessly complex. But who gets to say that this is the case? Cooling the generator requires a lot of valves, pumps and hoses. Are they needed? Should we ask the guy who hasn’t ever built, fixed, or maintained a generator? The people who never seem to get anything done that helps anybody, certainly do want to be asked. “Burn this bitch down!” and so forth.
When Mrs. Freeberg and I catch ourselves committing little sins of momentary financial incompetence, our favorite way of ‘fessing up is “We know we’ve arrived.” We’ve arrived, because I accidentally left a tee shirt in the wrong bag and paid a king’s ransom to have it professionally cleaned and pressed. And she left a $20 bill in a wad of spare $1 bills, and didn’t miss it. Well…we know our society has “arrived,” because when people do help each other, we think it’s a problem, even bigger than the one that just got solved, that the helper exercised a greater share of influence over the situation — even temporarily — than the person who required the help. It is somehow worthy of our dread and our outrage that the guy who was teetering on the edge of the cliff, was momentarily at the mercy of the guy who reached out and pulled him to safety.
This, somehow, creates a second-crisis, that is worthy of our time. A leading contender for the White House is on record, complaining about too many available choices in the deodorant and sneaker markets.
Diana Moon Glampers, call your office.
A movement to outlaw all jobs that pay less than $15 an hour, would never attract enough support to survive. A movement to destroy the work ethic in children by awarding participation trophies, would suffer the same problem; it would eventually wither away and die. A movement to spare women from any and all responsibility, and help them blame men for all their problems in life, grant them legal authority to kill their unborn children no questions asked, ditto. All of these “movements” would need — have needed — a hook. A way to reel in those who care more about moral posturing than about politics, the ones who don’t pay attention, the ones who can be easily deceived.
It’s got to be about raising workers’ wages, building childrens’ self-esteem, empowering womens’ choices and demanding equal pay. Those “hooks” sell. Sure they are dishonest as expressions of the ultimate objective, but they’re being expressed to people who don’t have time or inclination to assess their sincerity, or lack thereof. So they have their hooking power. The clumsy-moderate sees the advertising, believes it if only on a tentative basis, starts to make an ego investment in it. That’s the hook. Once the ego is invested, good luck talking them out of it.
It’s the same with “protecting the environment.” Haven’t you noticed, things that get in the way of our work, make it harder for us to start businesses, build products and services to help each other, are never bad for the environment. Higher taxes are not harmful to the environment; never called out as such by those who busy themselves with defending this environment, anyhow. But in a sane world we should be hearing that, and a lot. The beef is supposed to be that “human activity” is a detriment to the environment, and if higher taxes mean anything at all, they mean that you have to engage more of whatever work you’re doing. You have to do that in order to reach the same status you’d be able to reach with lower taxes, and less of this activity. So if increased activity is to be avoided, logic should tell us that higher taxes also are to be avoided.
I don’t mean for that to be come as some big, earth-shattering epiphany. It isn’t one. It’s simply common sense, what ought to be at the very front of our minds as we discuss issues like this. The problem is, it doesn’t even rate afterthought-status. A lot of people don’t think of themselves as “liberals” but they make the same decisions liberals make, and they make them the same way, by thinking too much about rhetoric and self-appearance. Not enough about cause-and-effect, or consequences.
Another thing fitting this pattern: Taking money, power and speech away from “corporations.” People forget that corporations are simply government-recognized organizations. The attack that is being mobilized, is against business, and people who do the business of making products and services other people need. Again, the rhetoric is making use of perceptions and ideas that are antiquated, have lost whatever fastening to reality they might have once had, or never had any such fastening in the first place. “Corporations” versus “workers” is the paradigm, but that doesn’t fit anymore. A “corporation” could be a diner your parents have been running to supplement their retirement income, changing status to attract more investors. A “worker” very often is someone who works at trying to find a job, who hasn’t managed to find one in over a year. Or, an illegal alien who isn’t even supposed to be here, who’s been trucked in, equipped and protected by a left-wing political effort to depress the wages of the unskilled, to make people more desperate and more likely to vote for democrats. None of that has anything to do with “work,” except, once again, to make it harder for people to do.
Some people buy into this because they think “corporation” has something to do with a business’ size. They aren’t backing what they think they’re backing. They appreciate capitalism and all it does for us, but they long for the days of yesteryear when people had ideas, built stuff, attracted investers, and presto now you have another business. They live in fear of a future in which AT&T, Sony, Apple and Time-Warner make everything. I have that fear too, actually. They’re doing the wrong thing about it. Their bedfellows do not appreciate free markets the way they do; their bedfellows seek to destroy capitalism, replace it with collectivism. But again, good luck explaining that. Because they’re “hooked.”
How about gun control? My experience with arguing the issue with those on the other side, tells me not quite. They’re not just clumsily slipping past the salient point that, if you take guns away from people who follow the law, outlaws are the only ones who will have any guns. They’re actively doubting this. From all I’ve found out about them, they really do think if we have more stringent gun laws, we’ll eventually get to that utopia where no one has any guns and the violence will stop. So it works as an additional example in which you have deceivers, who want one thing, and the deceived, who want something entirely different. Because with gun control, the deceivers want a disarmed, helpless and desperate populace; for those deceived, this is but a means to an end, which is the cessation of gun violence. With the other examples, these are alliances that shouldn’t even exist because what the deceivers want and what the deceived want are entirely opposite things.
Throughout it all though — if you were to plot it all out on a chart, two columns wide, row by row — the deceivers who actually come up with these plans, and come up with these “hooks” to get them sold to decent, albeit overly-ego-invested people, want the same thing. It is a plan of destruction, and in all the examples you’ll notice they have targeted the same thing. And that’s human capability. Working at a job that doesn’t demand any skill, until the day the so-called “worker” has come up with a skill he can use to land a better job. Leaving the playing-field without a trophy in hand fake or real, time after time after time, until the practicing is done and the player has what’s needed to earn a real trophy. A woman making her own choices, and in so doing, learning from her mistakes and getting better at making wise decisions (and, everybody else being allowed to talk freely about whatever room she has for improvement). You see the common theme? People make mistakes in Year N, or fall short somehow, but learn; demonstrate the real value of the human species by way of self-improvement, trying harder, keeping past lessons in mind, and making failure into success in Year N+1.
The Left cannot tolerate that. They are at war with humanity, because they crave stasis. No living thing, human or not, can give it to them. Humans get better all the time. That’s what we’re built to do, what we’re supposed to do.
Why does The Left lie so much? Part of it is, if they were more honest, they’d never be able to sell what they want to sell. They have to have their hooks. Another part of it is, when people value what The Left values, those people tend to have a much easier time lying about even entirely inconsequential things.
When [President] Obama told us that his grandfather liberated Auschwitz, that was a gratuitous fabrication — he could have honestly stated that his grandfather was part of the army that helped liberate concentration camps in western Germany…when Mrs. William Jefferson Clinton told America that she was named “Hillary” in honor of Sir Edmond Hillary climbing Mt. Everest, even though that happened years after Mrs. Clinton was born, that also was an effortless deception…
We see in leftism this casual prevarication over and over again. Lois Lerner tells us – and expects us to believe – that her emails were erased with no intent to cover up wrongdoing, just as Mrs. Clinton tells us that the vast number of government records (State Department emails) were destroyed because all the records destroyed had to do with personal matters…
Perhaps, when leftist politiicans engage these deceptions that don’t even benefit them in any definable way, they’re making a statement about who’s in charge, much like a dog pissing on the living room rug to mark his territory. Perhaps it is their way of saying to the hoi polloi: You think you’re in charge, but you’re really not. Who cares what you think? What does it matter what we tell you, what anyone tells you? Silly, dumb voters.
Raising the minimum wage means one thing: If you don’t have the skills you need to land a more demanding job this year, you shouldn’t have those skills next year or the year after. And, you shouldn’t even be able to sell your time until then. Just sit on that bench, use society’s safety-net as a hammock, vote democrat. Stay uncomfortable, stay incapable, and most of all, stay desperate.
The real tragedy is that the deceived-people, many of whom aren’t even in the targeted class, actually think this stuff is “empowering.” Well, it is; the problem is with which groups of people it empowers. It’s not the people who have been identified as needing this sort of help. It’s the deceivers who are selling it all. The human-vultures. Parasites. Destroyers. For the rest of us, it’s the opposite that is the truth. We are being de-fanged, deprived of the tools we need to make it in a world that offers even the simplest challenges — just like a wild animal, if you were to de-fang him, and then release him back into the wild.
How’s that for an inflammatory headline? I can hear it now, “ZOMG! And this guy’s married?? His poor wife, she has a husband who thinks marriage is a burden!” Well, I was going to go even further and say “On Enlistment, Citizenship, Marriage and Other Pains-in-the-Ass,” but that looks wrong. Looks like it should be “pain-in-the-asses.” Let’s settle the tiny things first, irrelevant though they may be: “Pains-in-the-ass” is more correct. But I rejected both of those, not just one. It’s a writing thing. If the reader is distracted, the damage is already done.
So these are to be described as burdens. Although yes, they are pains-in-the-ass too.
Proceeding to the things that actually matter: You’ll notice I never said, “don’t enlist,” “don’t get married” or “don’t become a citizen.” There are quite a few people running around out there, not the quiet type by any means, who will lunge toward the idea that this is my point. And in truth, they are the point. They illustrate the damage. A burden means a heavy load. Our society has become infantilized, because we’ve got this idea meandering throughout that “this is heavy” is somehow equivalent to “don’t lift it.” Wasn’t so long ago, before our pasta got overcooked and the crisp became formless and soggy, that “this is heavy” meant — was axiomatically presumed to mean — “every pound I carry is a pound someone else is spared.” Isn’t that refreshing?
Notice the quaint idea: Someone has to do this. What primitives we had back then! Where did they get such an idea? As is often the case, the simplest answer is the correct one: This used to make sense. Enlisting in the armed forces to fight Hitler and the Axis Powers, you see, was not a “lifestyle choice.” It was something that simply had to be done.
Remember that? Remember things that had to be done?
The cogs in my noggin finally got enmeshed when I was reading Ann Coulter’s comments about citizenship, the Fourteenth Amendment, how Justice William Brennan’s “crayon scratchings on the Constitution” perverted the whole idea, and Fox News’ many mistakes about it. Although that, by itself, didn’t get the job done. I work in a military environment, although I’m not military myself, and some of the uniformed guys & us soft-bellied contractors were having a bit of a discussion about the Ashley Madison thing. There were anecdotes. Heartbreaking ones, like about some guy taking a whole day or more to hop from plane to plane to get back to his own house, to find some guy living in it.
Suddenly, it’s sort of hit me sudden-like, like a bag of fishing lures swinging by the natural centrifugal force, into the right temple: The burden is gone, and from everything. This is not a good thing. All of our positions of responsibility, have morphed into privilege. No — not just privilege. Status.
Becoming a wife doesn’t mean “When he signs stuff, that becomes my headache” or “I’m never going to sleep with anybody else for the rest of my life.” It means you get to, like some little kid playing a game, wear certain things. Citizenship, likewise, doesn’t mean duty. It means you’re entitled to some stuff. Back when the Fourteenth Amendment was written, that was something of an afterthought. It doesn’t seem so now, when you read what they were writing back then, because they were obsessed with slavery. But not the same way we are now. They had reason to be obsessed with it: Just a handful of years, or months, or weeks previous, slavery was a thing. That is not true of us. Our situation is that we’re punch-drunk on “I get to do this and no one can stop me,” and we are distant strangers to the concept of “I must do this” or “I cannot do that.” We’re heap-big on entitlement, not so good on responsibility.
People did not think, just decades ago, about pains-in-the-ass, even though ass-pain was a situation that literally surrounded them. In fact, relatively speaking, we today don’t know anything about it. But it just wasn’t on their minds. They thought about contributing. We think about enjoying. That’s what I mean by the word “infantilized,” it is exactly what has happened. And I cannot go on record as stating a belief that destroying a civilization was the primary intent. But I can say, if I were ever somehow tasked to accomplish such a thing, this would be one of my preferred methods, on a short list, if not the single most-favored method. To destroy a society utterly, infantilize its populace; get that one thing done, on a cultural level, the rest is just a matter of time. And not too much time.
Pasta that has been cooked? I approve of the analogy more and more, every time I think on it. It’s perfect. The ingredients have not changed, even in the slightest, all that is different is the heat, humidity and pressure. And the resulting form is entirely different. A cooked noodle cannot break, but it cannot push, cannot impose any sort of will or force on anything; other than being consumed, it is entirely useless. And that is what we have become. For the time being.
Once upon a time, a few months ago, I defined conservatism in this way:
What exactly does conservatism seek to conserve? Civilization, the blessings that come from having it, and the definitions that make civilization possible. From what does liberalism seek to liberate us? Those things — starting with the definitions.
And this is as good an example as any other. “Civilization” can withstand a lot of things. But it cannot withstand a populace that has failed, en masse, to reach maturity; an entire generation sitting on its laurels, like second-graders sitting “Indian style” in a huge auditorium (can I still say that?), waiting for something to gratify them, with their heads crammed full of expectation for entertainment, all notions of responsibility or duty crowded out of the limited space in the cranium.
One of our nation’s prior presidents had this to say about it:
[A]sk not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.
Immediate gratification versus delayed gratification. Your problem is in there, somewhere. Everything — everything — that used to entail some acceptance of new responsibility…marriage, job promotion, citizenship, election, appointment…nowadays, you see, has a lot more to do with “get to.” I get to do this. I get to park in this spot. I get to wear a tiara. All privilege, no burden. You’ll notice most of the problems we have today that we find truly vexing, can be traced back to that. They are not unsolvable. We can depart from the juvenile mindset any time we put our minds to it, as long as we’re sincere about it. Anytime we’re ready to act and think like adults, the nightmare is over.
Update: To be filed under “How To Say the Same Thing, in a Lot Fewer Words.” It’s like this:
Modify this one slightly to: “Every position of responsibility, including marriage, elected office, being the parent of a ‘learning-disabled’ child, and all the rest of it, involves a pain-in-the-ass. And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s
probably almost certainly you.”
An exchange, which I’m afraid lately has become the cement that binds all of the building blocks of our so-called “civilization” together…
Somewhat Untamed/Uncouth/Uncultured Male: Something.
Matronly Female (indignantly): WHAT?!?
Male: …Nothing…(slinks out of sight, wishes the world would swallow him where he stands)
Slightly more complicated exchange, which has lately taken the place of the above…
Uncouth Male: Something.
Matronly Perpetually-Offended Female: WHAT?!?
Uncouth Male: Chill bitch, there’s nothing wrong with that.
Couth Male: How DARE you!!
Uncouth Male: Alright, I can see I’m not gonna win at this…(slinks off, exit stage left)
Couth Male, to Perpetually-Offended Female: Looks like you owe me some sex!! (smile)
Perpetually Offended Female: Okay. Go fuck yourself.
We have, as a “civilization,” unfortunately become rather hooked on this. And by “rather” what I mean is “completely.” The perceived front-runner of next year’s presidential election, offers repeats of exactly this exchange as an incentive for people to vote for her. Hasn’t anybody else noticed? She offers nothing else. Nothing. Just repeat after repeat of “WHAT?!?” followed by a scurrilous feral-creature male backing down from some previous position. She’s offered the electorate no reason whatsoever to put her in any position of actual authority, or trust — nowhere except prison.
Females refusing to do this, refusing to stop doing that, being offended, being aggravated; spineless males acquiescing, and helping to scold others who don’t get with the program. It’s an invasion. This used to be an annoying incursion into the national discussion. Somewhere along the line, I nodded off and now I wake up and see this is the national discussion, all of it, and about everything. I’m afraid the time has come to ask seriously: Do we stand for anything else anymore? Do we know any other way of arguing, counter-arguing, inspecting, proving, refuting — interacting? Selling? Buying? It all seems to come back to that, the power of female approval/disapproval. Like moths to a flame. Or like flies back to a turd.
I was notified, at work, that this weird phenomenon of human interaction I was noticing was called White Knight Syndrome. Ah, yes. I have heard of this before. I have been afflicted with it. Most guys my age have.
But, I’m not that worried about White Knight. White Knight only afflicts stupid, “nice” guys. Guys with tin ears, guy who are out-of-step and lack the street-smarts to get with it & figure out what’s really going on, without the benefit of a great deal of experience that is still ahead of them. Stupid men. Guys like me, some 20 to 25 years ago. It is a large, and perhaps swelling, demographic. But it is by no means universal.
What is universal, or shows signs of being universal, or at least on the way, is a more complicated strain of the germ. It doesn’t afflict stupid young men in their mid-twenties; that would be relatively harmless. It afflicts just about everybody. It lies dormant until things get a little bit heated, like last week during this Trump/Kelly conflict. And then it turns normally sane, normally clear-thinking grownups into these idiot-gelding “white knights.”
For that reason, I call it: Poached Egg White Knight Syndrome. Yes, things are left clear and fluid and in their natural state, until there is heat. Then everyone has to turn white-knight. The only way the analogy fails is: A cooked, floppy white poached egg, actually has a purpose. These “White Knights From Heat,” on the other hand, are like tits on fish. As far as brain capacity, the analogy works. Poached Egg White Knights, have about the same useful I.Q. as an actual poached egg. As far as the brainwave activity that can be channeled into action that can make some situation better, they’re about on par with an actual poached egg.
And they turn white under heat, like a real poached egg.
It is not honest. We know this. The poached-egg-white-knight might make a good show out of coolly, methodically evaluating whether “bleeding out of her wherever” is a direct reference to a journalist’s menstrual cycle, but it’s obvious he doesn’t really give a shit. It’s just the Gamma Male’s way of getting laid.
It is not sane. We know this, because it often doesn’t work, and when it doesn’t work they keep doing it. They don’t even get a lot of that coveted female approval, either, but they continue to go after that, like a blind baby animal continuing to suckle away at a teat that has run dry.
It is not sane on the other side either. Chicks get as addicted to the intoxicating elixir of this tedious play-script as anybody else — they withhold approval, and by withholding approval they gain male deference. Sometimes that, too, doesn’t work. And when that happens they just double down on on the play-script. They end up making this big show out of withholding female approval from someone who has already shown, repeatedly, that he doesn’t need it and doesn’t even want it.
It is like watching an unskilled, poorly equipped artisan struggling to complete a slightly involved task, with only a single tool in his bag. I guess that’s the situation. You have to actually do some arguing to win arguments, and we have a few too many people walking around among us who want to skip forward, past all that business with present, prove, refute, question stuff. Want to skip ahead, to the fun part. Where they win.
It is a sexual drive, a sort of mating dance, among those who have no need for such a thing. Those whom the forces of evolution are about to select out of the gene pool, Darwin’s detritus. If we could line up all of the sex acts according to what might have some useful purpose, masturbation would take a front seat to this. Because this is just annoying, in addition to which it is a fountainhead of bad ideas, pursued with great confidence by those who wouldn’t know an idea from a hole in the ground. Ideas that ultimately hurt people.
I’ve been thinking lately about assholes. Not a lot, but more than I’d like. Partly it’s because of stuff like this:
What a bunch of assholes, right? But then again, the guy who finally broke the blockade had a little bit of asshole in him, too. That’s right too, isn’t it? You can produce a favorable outcome and still be an asshole. Last I checked. I suppose that means being an asshole can have positive aspects to it.
Certainly, there have been people who’ve done positive things, who left others in their wake, calling them assholes. And meaning it. Well you know what Churchill said. But I can’t use dirty words in my headlines; that would be discourteous to my readers. So I rely on this euphemism cooked up originally by, I think, Neal Boortz. Although it could have been George Washington.
If you think this is going toward a defense of Donald Trump, you’re wrong. Although, actually, that got me thinking too…I’ve long had this rule about assholes, that being an asshole might be a subjective thing, left up to the opinions of others, immeasurable, right up until someone works at being an asshole. At that point, the debating has to stop. That would make Donald Trump an asshole, no doubt, because he certainly does work at it.
I mean, think on it. How many people do you know who’ve worked hard at being assholes, and failed?
So that certainly works. But the definition is too narrow. We don’t even have to break a sweat before we can find quite a few specimens outside of it, who certainly should qualify as assholes. Wikipedia says what we’re talking about is “people who are viewed as stupid, incompetent, unpleasant, or detestable.” That certainly does work better. But, as one who has heard and used the word more than occasionally, I have the viewpoint that the idea-hat being hung on the word-peg, has more substance to it. There is an effort, consistently upheld throughout all these usages, to communicate something that goes beyond.
Assholes generally fall into two categories: Those who are dismissed far more easily than they might have thought they could be dismissed (“I booted that little asshole out of my office and he won’t be back”), and those who build up a desire to dismiss them, because of a lingering inability to do so (“One of these days I’d like to tell that asshole to take this job and shove it”). That is the super-simple Dewey Decimal System of assholes, the ones who don’t expect you to dismiss them, and the ones you’d like to dismiss but can’t. The pervasive theme is dismissal. That’s where the “stupid, incompetent, unpleasant or detestable” part of it comes in. The reason it’s important to point out the dismissal aspect, is it does a better job of capturing the true meaning. Some people have really stupid dogs that they’d like to keep around forever, if only they could. Stupid creatures are assholes only if you want them out of your sight, so stupid is not the litmus test. The desire to dismiss is the litmus test.
These two overly-broad categories of asshole — the ones you can dismiss and the ones you can’t — can be thought-of as the ones who are beneath your level of authority, and the ones who are above it. Subordinate and superior assholes.
The takeaway from all this? Not sure there is one. But, given how many times per week we call each other assholes, or are at least tempted to do so, it might be good to keep in mind why the impulse beckons. Once the question is opened, it shouldn’t take too much soul-searching to resolve it.
Some among us might make the unpleasant discovery that they want to call others assholes, because they’ve been outperformed, outclassed, outmaneuvered, out-earned, outgunned. They might make the discovery that it’s nothing more than raw jealousy. Which might not mean a lot…but if they’re conscious of that, and still cave in to the temptation of thinking of their betters as assholes, and announcing it to all within earshot…
Well, that would make them assholes. The very worst kind, in fact. Am I right?
…and neither do you. So by now you’ve seen this, I’m sure:
And this bit at the end, where Trump gets his little digs in on Ms. Kelly, has exploded. The primer detonation was after the whole exchange, by which time the watchers and those interested were firmly divided into a pro-Trump and pro-Kelly camp. It was the second half of this Trump formula, where you poke the critic, or asker of unwelcome question, in the nose in a playful way first to sort of let ‘em know what’s coming. Then you go off somewhere else where they can’t defend themselves and say something like…
“@timjcam: @megynkelly @FrankLuntz @realDonaldTrump Fox viewers give low marks to bimbo @MegynKelly will consider other programs!”
I knew it was going to be a big crowd because I get big crowds. I get ratings…So she gets out and starts asking me all types of ridiculous questions, and you know, you could see there was blood coming out of her eyes — blood coming out of her, wherever.
My opinion? Well, let’s review what is really going on here. It’s a “good” disagreement, in the sense that their boxcars are both on the same track. Megyn Kelly’s point, and it is certainly not a bad one by any means, is that we could very well end up with a Trump-vs.-Clinton contest here…
Memo to people who feel like they sort of nodded off a few years ago, and woke up suddenly in these times and are scrambling to adjust. That means, people like me. “Clinton,” in the here & now, refers to a chick. Her Hillary-ness. Cankles. The mean angry middle-age woman whose appeal is, inexplicably, that she’s a mean angry middle-age woman. Yeah, I know right?
The point behind Kelly’s question is that Trump’s well known penchant for coloring outside the lines, could make him a liability in such a contest. I don’t agree with The Donald that this was an unfair question. The problem with it, is that it — like Trump’s many responses — bases its worthiness on the anticipation of what total strangers think, and/or will be thinking.
And as distasteful as I find that to be, it too is not a problem. The problem is 1) Trump is doing the same thing, and 2) from all we can see, from the audience’s reactions, he’s right and Megyn Kelly is wrong. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then you didn’t watch the clip. Her question was not a reflection on the public’s delicate sensibilities and/or offense, it was an attempt to manufacture these. I really like Megyn Kelly, but here, she wasted everybody’s time. It was not a good question. It wasn’t an unfair question, but it was a bad one. She ended up with egg on her face and that’s what should have happened.
Now things get crazy. With the open forum ended, Megyn Kelly’s sympathizers want a “rematch,” of sorts. They want to see how their own tweets play out, what their own Facebook posts can get launched. One of my blogger friends from way back, speaks for a great many when he says,
I’m not a woman… but I’m married to one, I have sisters, I have nieces, I have a mother and I know plenty of women who would rightly take umbrage with Trump over his treatment of women. As a man who cares deeply about these women, I stand with them.
To which I reply,
Why do you conflate your sisters/mother/nieces with this woman who asked an inappropriate question? …since she was bullying a bully on live television, let us agree it was a foolish question. A question undeserving of respect.
I know lots of women who wouldn’t do that. Why should I see an insult against one, as an insult against all of them, just because they’re women?
And here, we confront our mass delusions that stretch backward in time by a great many years, that have set us down this errant path. And they’ve paved the way for a Trump candidacy in the first place. These misguided notions about classifications of people; that some of them are so incredibly weak, that if ever there is a dispute in a public forum that involves an instance of those classes the rest of us are ALL honor-bound to come out of the woodwork and lower the beatdown on their opponent.
For our sisters! Or something.
I remember something about this. I recall making a disparaging remark on the social media, during a rather frustrating bout of Christmas shopping, about the un-wisdom of burying children entirely under big piles of video games, specifically children with highly questionable learning disabilities. My point was, when the electronic-game-playing habit slips way out of control and you just feed it during birthdays and holidays buying the varmint a bunch of electronic gadgets and games and won’t even consider anything else, you can’t turn around and say “He doesn’t listen to me and has trouble with schoolwork, it must be LD.”
Up comes the husband of one of my exes, with some comment — in writing, it came off as exactly the same demeanor as Megyn Kelly’s question, this “offended yard duty teacher” posturing — “We both know who you’re talking about.” I ignored this completely, because that’s one of the first things a manly man does. One of the last things a manly man does, and this is my point, is to wade into social media fighting his wife’s fights for her.
A couple of my female friends, with varying levels of knowledge about the prior personal events, made that point to him. Fighting your wife’s Facebook fights for her, doesn’t make you look manly. It makes you look the opposite. That’s a good point.
It applies here. Megyn Kelly went up against Donald Trump and tried to win a judgment in the court of public opinion. She lost, end of case. That should be the end of it, but we’ve been conditioned to think in these things we somehow owe it to women to dehumanize them, to make sure we don’t see them as individuals, that we’re supposed to see them as part of this big, tender, highly sensitized class. An offense against one is an offense against all!
That’s bullshit. The big problem with women in this situation, as is the case in most other situations, is 1) it turns out they’re human and 2) humans make mistakes. That is all this is. I don’t owe Megyn Kelly a single thing and neither do you. She asked a foolish question and ended up looking foolish…something that happens to males in her industry, hundreds of times a year.
And, to be “fair and balanced” about it, I don’t owe Donald Trump anything either. But this is not about politeness versus rudeness as opposed to political correctness. It still IS about political correctness. And this is not anybody else’s fight. Megyn Kelly tried to stir something up, she failed — end of story. Oh and as further icing on the cake, Ms. Kelly is fully aware of this. She is an established player in her industry. It has hazards. I’d love to live in a house as big as her swimming pool, and you would too.
If we’re truly concerned about it, the solution to the problem is, as always, to do a better job defining things that have been left undefined. Or to restore a definition that someone dismantled. In this case, it would be: The proper role of a moderator in a presidential debate. We need to spend some time repairing that particular fence on our ranch. Seriously. There’s some heap big wreckage there.
The Gamma‘s, or maybe we’re talking about the Epsilon’s, way of doing it:
1. Light the grill
2. Assume the position, tongs in hand
3. Immediately feel guilty; recoil in horror from the machismo
4. Wallow in your feelings of guilt, since that’s what makes you a good person and stuff
5. Write an article for Slate or sometthing
6. Reach up and flip your bangs to one side of your head, again
7. Somewhere along the line, do something that has to do with getting the meat cooked
8. Or, don’t, instead just go wherever your wife sends you, to get a pizza
9. Clean up your mess exactly the way she tells you to, and be quick about it
10. Stay out of the way
My way of doing it:
1. Grill that fucker, with dry rub, sauce, or just by itself
2. Eat it
I like my way better. Way better. It has to do with grilling tasty meat, whereas the gelding’s whiny treatise gets all bogged down in “less inclusive eras” and such. I like my way better because it has nothing to do with eras. It’s era-neutral. Come to think of it, a lot of other people besides me find appeal in that, it isn’t just era-neutrality, it’s million-years-neutrality. Make meat edible and tasty by putting heat underneath it; mankind could’ve done — did do — that anytime.
Miss C.J. lowers the beatdown on snowflake:
You mean an era when men took responsibility and women let them take on their God-given roles as protectors and providers because studies show that when guys have responsibilities and commitments to others, they actually excel and achieve and actually DO something with their lives? Those same roles that liberal feminism has selfishly taken away from men because of some made-up crap about oppression and victimization that they STILL won’t shut up about?
This just bulls-eyes the problem. Rather than doing something with your life, go all “activist”-y — get exactly what you and your movement want, and still not shut up about it. Isn’t it completely obvious what’s happening here?
I’ll go ahead and say it: Men like the grill, because like the characters in The Godfather, it reflects real life. In real life, you can maintain and gather your tools, expose yourself to flame and danger, and get something done…which will have an immediate reward involved, for yourself and for others. Or, you can just talk about it all day. Pretend that you’re all ready for the challenge, when it’s really the furthest thing away from your enfeebled hipster mind, and that the only hitch in the giddy-up is that the challenge isn’t ready for you. Or, it’s not quite right in some way. Emits too much carbon. Isn’t gluten free. One way or another, you’re not getting anythig done, but you’ve got this fantastic excuse.
And I find this most telling:
Paging through photographs of my years in grad school recently, I came across one in which two colleagues and I stand in a semicircle around a kettle grill. Though my eyes are downcast in the image, I’m not sad. Instead, I’m studying the burgers in front of me, and I’m happy…This picture captures so much of what delights me about grilling and so much of what embarrasses me about that delight…Gathered around the coals with beers slung low, we’re all but enacting a myth of the American man, telling a story in postures and poses. No longer mere Ph.D. students, we have become bros…It’s not that I think we’re doing anything consciously sexist. Friends who were there that day remind me that we were actively making light of cookout customs even as we were participating in them. I suspect that everyone in the photograph identifies as a feminist. Yet the three of us look suspiciously like characters in a commercial, one where masculinity itself seems to be for sale.
He calls it a “myth,” yet friends remind him “that we were actively making light of cookout customs even as we were participating in them.”
This is when you know you’ve been educated beyond your hat size. When you start to use mockery to reject the reality nature has made available to you, and replace it with your own.
Men are men, women are women. Flame is hot, and meat is tasty. And as part of a trend that endures and will continue, until we’re all gone and long afterward: Work is done better, more efficiently, more decisively — more often — by those who operate within reality, accept it for what it is, define it, recognize it.
And those who play these games of pretend, tend to get that done but not a whole lot else.
The ones that do have jobs, usually have jobs that don’t produce anything. The exceptions to this, produce things that other people don’t actually need or want, at least not enough to willingly spend their own money to get it. These are very rudimentary tests to apply; it was only a short time ago, that just about everybody passed them, made products and services other people would willingly give up their hard-earned money to buy. But you can’t operate in that circle without recognizing an improperly supported girder as improperly supported, or an incorrectly tied knot as an incorrectly tied knot. Or, a man as a man, a woman as a woman, cooked meat as cooked meat.
Creampuff doesn’t seem to get it. “Grilling makes me feel like a real man, and that makes me uncomfortable” comes across as a bug, and not a feature. That’s what it is, a bug. And not exactly an accidental one. This is the sort of bug that is “coded” by a “developer” who, in the moment, is feeling pretty smug and smart about making the bug. This is not a rarity. Among the newbies, it’s a common mistake to make bugs this way.
Yeah, my wife’s cooler than your…wife…my wife’s cooler than yours…
My wife’s cooler ’cause she bought me a…uh…you know, a wine cooler for my birthday…
My wife’s cooler than yours!
But this post is not about that addition to the family. By sheer coincidence, this morning was the morning I popped in to work bright and early, office still mostly deserted, but I saw there was a dude-conversation going on involving one of our senior programmers, who was sharing the details of his weekend. His first weekend with the new dog.
Which his wife…well, this has been a pet peeve of mine for a long time…heh heh, yeah, a “pet” peeve. Yep, he was informed Friday that he had a dog. Informed. I came up with a classy way of commenting on it, after really racking my brain about it, because I’ve met his wife and she’s a nice lady. My classy comment was: I’m glad for you, glad for the new dog, glad you’re her husband. Isn’t that a nice way of saying it?
I’m glad he’s her husband, because over in the corner of the universe I call home — that’s just a way of petitioning for a divorce. And a mighty peculiar one. No, chicks don’t inform dudes that they have a new dog. That just means the house is not a home. For him, at least. That IS a demand for a divorce, isn’t it? How could it not be one? A message to your husband that “our house is not a home, for you” must be a divorce decree, am I right?
So we discussed this in some detail. There had been, in his case, a previous attempt to engage these sorts of shenanigans. “Shenanigans,” yeah that’s right, the other fellow had been deployed to Iraq and he said, DO NOT pull that crap while I’m in Iraq. He was very clear on this, the wife & kids pulled it anyway, and that time it worked. The new cat’s name was “Shenanigans.” So both these guys were one-for-two on this shit; in both cases the wife tried it twice, got away with it 50% of the time.
I’ve got no place to brag about this stuff, though. These guys weren’t fooled. They feel like they were, but they weren’t; their wives just took advantage of their absences as they were preoccupied. With providing a livelihood for the households. Which the wives then contaminated. Genesis 3:1, remember that? The wife got a bright idea, from outside the household, and then told the hubby how it was gonna be. The result: Nothing good. Yes, in that fable there is wisdom.
Which leads me to my question. The response sorta creeped me out a little bit: Does ANYBODY know of any situation, directly or indirectly, in which it went the other way? The chick was off somewhere, on a trip or off at work, and the dude “informed” her that they now had a dog or a cat. Anybody ever hear of that happening? Anybody at all?
The answer, as of the moment in which I’m writing this, is nada. This seems to be purely a chick thing: Get a four-legged varmint, tell the stud how it’s gonna be. Repeat The Fall.
So I guess the thing to do, is to open up the question for the comment section. Let my readers contribute their experiences, see if there is an interruption in the pattern.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Freeberg and I don’t have so much as a goldfish. Instead, we got a wine cooler. Awesome!
I’ve been accused every now and then from failing to separate politics from other things. I know I’m guilty of the charge, but then I’m also left wondering whose reckoning with reality is correct, and who has one that is in need of repair. It is all connected, isn’t it? Maybe we’re all trying not to notice it so we can do a better job of getting along with each other. That’s a noble goal. Perhaps there are better ways to go about that than making sure we don’t notice things. For my own purposes, I find it works much better to keep in mind that people can disagree with me, and that doesn’t make them my enemy.
Seems other people don’t like to keep that in mind. Which brings me to some observations I’ve been making.
From watching the political circus that is next year’s election take form, and comparing it to the actions I see engaged by people in my “real” everyday life, I notice there are two ways to go about accumulating experiences. This is meaningful. Everything we know, outside of what we “learned” before leaving the womb, is based on the accumulation of experience. It must affect everything that has anything to do with what makes us what we are. It has to do this.
It is a binary, mutually-exclusive thing. It comes up whenever reality poses problems for theories, which is often. You can see to it that reality wins out over the theory, or you can make sure the theory wins out over reality. Theory yielding to reality is the proper way, of course. And it does not mean a complete defeat, it simply means reform. The theory is something like a metal knife blade yielding to a sharpening stone. It becomes better honed, more precise, more capable — more useful. This is how the scientific method is supposed to work. Out here in the layperson’s world, we call it “learning.” But within and outside of science, we’ve got an awful lot of people walking around thinking they’re doing this, when they’re not. The most demanding test comes when what was expected with great confidence, overlaps with what was desired with great passion — and reality doesn’t deliver.
Example: You expected President Barack Obama to lead us into a new era of racial harmony and you really, really, really wanted to see it happen. He’s delivered the exact opposite, and even more distressingly, has been repeatedly caught working hard to deliver the exact opposite. Question: Can you process the information? A lot of people can’t. They don’t see reality as any sort of sharpening stone for the knife blade that is their theory. They see it more like a block of wood they want to make into a statue or something. So they use the theory, along with lots and lots of cheap mockery, to get rid of anything on the block of wood that does not look like the statue.
Another observation: There are two ways to present arguments about the things you have learned. By that, I mean two broad categories, within which there are other categories. What is an argument? To think on that, we have to think on their purpose. You may co-own a decision with somebody, or perhaps they own the decision all by themselves and you want to give them some advice they don’t want to take. An argument ensues, and you both argue. How do you argue? Well, there is some sort of objective on which you agree, and then there is some series of prerequisite objectives leading up to that on which you do not agree. Or, you agree on all of the objectives, the prerequisites as well as the ultimate, and you have disagreements on which strategies are likely to culminate in success. Or, their costs. Anyway, you can erect statements, and challenges, and rebuttals, about all these things in order to prevail on the other person’s shared desire for this common ultimate goal.
Or, you can act like a character in any one of the made-for-cable-teevee dramas about English royal families from hundreds of years ago, minus the rolling R’s and sensationalized accent: boast to the other person about what’s going to happen, how they are going to be gutterballed, their desires aren’t going to matter at all, perhaps don’t matter already, and YOU. WILL. PREVAIL. I am not yet done with this second observation: Part of it is that the people who argue by bullying, with this me-strong-you-weak stuff, seem quite committed to it. They do it all the time. You can practically set a clock by it. I think maybe they don’t ever bother with the more mutually-respectful way of arguing, where you try to convince your opposition, because they just don’t know how. Example for this one: Well, let’s be fair and balanced. Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump thrives on this. I suspect the reporters are making a sport out of asking him questions about his critics, to which his answer is, invariably I notice, something starting with a variation of “Yeah well, who cares what HE says.” The man seems to be a complete stranger to the concept of grappling with the content of an idea, so consumed is he with the identity of the idea’s source.
But let us be doubly-fair. It isn’t just Trump.
My third observation is that there seems to be a linkage between the other two. People who demand that reality yields to their pet theories, when it doesn’t, seem to be the same ones who don’t know how to argue, except to say something like “I will emerge victorious and you will be nothing but debris” or “I will hunt you to the ends of the Earth.”
Example for that one: The previously-mentioned President Obama, and His Secretary of State’s Iran deal. Just listen to the White House try to defend it, you haven’t got long to wait at all before they’re telling you what will happen, with all of the certainty — even more, I’m afraid — of a man recalling something well-established, that took place in an easily-recalled past. It’s like they’re the celebrated Merlin of Camelot, experiencing time backwards. Except, their prophesies don’t have much track record of success. One cannot help but wonder what sort of percentage-score they would give themselves on this. And after they’re done with that, like clockwork, they head straight to the “It doesn’t matter, we shall prevail” thing. Back to the pen and the phone, Obama Will Veto (warning, site video ad auto-plays).
As much consternation as it creates to contemplate having a President so grossly addicted to these unproductive paradigms, of theory-over-reality and I-win-because-I-say-so, we have to be fair once again. It isn’t just President Obama.
Excellent stuff. One E. M. Cadwaladr, whom I intend to research & follow now, writes at American Thinker:
The representative model is now defunct, destroyed in somewhat different ways by the two political parties. We will start with the inappropriately named Democrats.
The Democratic party of today is not a representative party, but a top-down political machine organized around a reformulation of traditional socialist ideology. They are not a party of the popular will, but a party of a particular set of ideas. The people who adapt these ideas to current needs are not the Democratic base, but a small group of intellectuals drawn almost exclusively from a handful of elite universities. Trusting the public will is a laughable proposition for academics, who consider themselves a superior breed — like the philosopher kings of Plato’s Republic. They may adapt their rhetoric as required for the sake of harvesting votes from the lowly herd, but the core concept of public sovereignty was dropped from leftist thought long ago — about the time it passed from the hard hands of embittered revolutionaries into the soft hands of tenured professors.
The Republican Party…is a different sort of animal from its dingy, pseudo-leftist counterpart, but not really a more attractive or more encouraging one. It has become painfully obvious in the last few election cycles that the Republican establishment despises its conservative base. Most of us have grown tired of watching the GOP bluster and promise to stop ObamaCare, executive amnesty, etc. — only to fold for no apparent reason after a few weeks or months, vowing “this isn’t over!” once again. The truth is that it was over before it started. At the risk of being called racist, the Republican Party seems to function more or less as the nameless team that plays against the Harlem Globetrotters. They provide the illusion of a contest to events that have been carefully choreographed in advance. Their current strategy, assuming for the sake of argument that they are even interested in electoral success, appears to be to trade their traditional base for those lost souls in the political center — those people who only engaged in politics by tottering into a voting booth once every four years…New Republican voters ought to take note of how dismissive the party has been toward the old ones. Most Republican politicians, in short, have come to represent no one but themselves.
It’s refreshingly honest. And he closes with a real zinger:
If the core principle of representative democracy is not restored soon, by whatever methods are required, all of the awareness-raising efforts of forums like this one will count for nothing…No amount of outrage, or satisfyingly rational arguments, will let us vote our way out of an oligarchy.
I have problems with one of those parties more than with the other one, but those problems are ideological in nature, and stacked on top of these problems with the system itself, which are non-ideological. The system is being slowly transformed in this new modern era of the Wanna-conomy, in which products and services, as well as the transactions that involve them, are tailored to fulfill the desires of the producers, while the consumers — in this case, the constituents — are made entirely inconsequential, ignored at every turn.
It is all a natural consequence of our recent societal handicap, an inability to listen to each other. Empire-building has become the order of the day. Everyone likes power and control, but education about the moods and needs of fellow countrymen, cause & effect, and anything else that would be needed to wield that power effectively, is not quite so captivating, not quite so much fun. Technology has given the power-seekers a way to choose the one without bothering with the other. It’s not a development that’s truly beneficial, for anyone, over the long term.
Hot trend in America: It’s becoming toddler nation. The bald eagle is being replaced by a Teletubby.
Remember when it was considered an insult to call Adam Sandler movies “adolescent”? If he is 15 forever mentally, at least he’s got about 10 developmental years on Allison Williams and Bee Shaffer when they snuggled up in their PJs on Instagram.
No wonder Sandler’s career has faded — his shtick isn’t absurd anymore. If they made “Billy Madison 2″ or “Grown-Ups 3″ today, they’d have to be documentaries.
A decade or so ago I noticed something about well-shod young women in Manhattan: They were weirdly concerned with this thing called “birthday parties,” which I vaguely remembered from the “Mork and Mindy” era. “Birthday parties” seemed a strange activity for an adult to participate in. You’re going to solicit presents from your friends while punishing outcasts by denying them invitations? Odd, distinctly odd.
Equally odd were the Hello Kitty backpacks you started to see on (grown-up) girls around town, while Carrie Bradshaw was prancing around in fairy-princess wear. At the time I was a book review editor, and I loved to peek at what people were reading on trains. Whenever I saw someone with a fat hardcover book, my heart leapt — books are alive! But it was always Harry Potter. Then it was “Twilight,” then “The Hunger Games.”
Men, it had been noticed for years, were taking the opportunity — post-draft and post-sexual revolution — to stop trying to prove themselves worthy of women in any way except “being cool,” and so they lapsed into a universe of Barcaloungers, video games, and T-shirts and sneakers as the official uniform for all things. Sitcom after sitcom played off mature, sensible women rolling their eyes at the man-child antics of their boyfriends and husbands.
What’s the difference between now, and the age of “rugged fellas”? The most obvious two things are: Natural predators, and the discernible need for stuff getting built that had not yet been built. Thinking like a builder has a lot to do with thinking like a Real Man, and now, the shit’s all been built, there are no obvious natural dangers, in fact the few dangers we can define are located well outside our sphere of control. The very few daily pressures with which people have to contend, are mostly concerned with proving one’s worthiness for maintaining membership in the InCrowdtm. Which is the everyday pastime of the three-to-twenty-year-old set; the kids. Adulthood is on indefinite leave, because reasons to act like an adult are on indefinite leave.
But that is not all of it. That is only the ignition point; there is a self-accelerating and self-perpetuating quality to this vicious cycle, as it feeds off its own energy to hang around, and grow some more. There is the female-male dynamic. Societies are always going to mold themselves around a shape defined by: What do the women want in their men? Well, ask them. They’re not going to, in any large numbers, say something like “He can fix things” or “He knows how to drive all sorts of trucks” or “He can open jars and kill spiders.” The predominant answer you’ll get back is “He makes me laugh!” and this is sincere. Two generations of convincing kids, their parents, teachers, and everyone else who is around kids that boys are just flawed copies of the girl-prototype, that all men are potential rapists and that might as well make ‘em rapists, and women can do everything men can do — that has put us here. I’m not even getting into the “sitcoms playing off mature, sensible women rolling their eyes at the man-child antics” thing, and that’s true too.
Why do we have men? Nobody seems to know.
So women, when & where they still look for men, look for clowns. They don’t know how to look for, nor are they encouraged by society to look for, anything else. Men respond by being clowns. Fathers abandon their children, the moms look for a replacement-stepdad, and they find some guy who has the room to take on the whole brood because he got divorced — and his kids are being raised by some other dude.
Then there are the politics. The politicians. Someone was writing a couple years ago, “Mitt Romney lost the election because he said ‘I’ll put the country back to work!’ and 52% of the voters said ‘Well, fuck that!'” Sadly, there’s a lot of truth in that. What should the politicians promise us? The right to work without joining a union, cheaper gas we can use to get to work, more likely employment prospects and a friendlier business climate — more and more every year, these seem to be things people wanted back when our parents and grandparents were voting. The democrat party has become the “Fuck you, I want my num nums” party; the other parties don’t seem that far behind. We can only get so far in debt, so someone has to work to create, preserve, safeguard and embiggen the assets so that something of value is being generated somewhere. But, why be that guy? And why be the candidate running for public office, who seeks to appeal to that guy, when his population is dwindling and the “Fuck you I want my num nums” party is going to ruin you, both professionally and personally?
There is a perception in all this that there are sensible advantages here, that fun is important and adults don’t know how to have fun. That, too, has a ring of truth to it; fun is important. But lots of other things are just as important, in fact even more. With all that stuff requiring attention and maintenance, and only the “vital fun” actually getting it, an ugly truth emerges.
Besides, I’m old enough to remember when fun was earned. You start off with this lengthy and expansive list of things you have to do today, and you make a big enough dent by 4 or 5 in the afternoon that you can take a breather. That’s why a house involved in some level of luxury would have a “wet bar,” but this led to an associated stigma of alcoholism. Now the wet bar is something you see in a really old movie, maybe a Twilight Zone episode from the first couple seasons, because we’ve gotten rid of alcoholism and replaced it with addiction to marijuana, crack, meth and illegally-acquired prescription drugs, along with the legal stuff to do something about our made-up “learning disabilities.” The casualty in all this is not the addictive lifestyle, what we’ve gotten rid of is the idea that you start with the work, and finish with the leisure which is predicated on the work actually getting done. That’s been consigned to the ash heap of history, at least within this romper room stately pleasure dome we’ve constructed for ourselves.
Within which, so few people can be preoccupied with anything that actually matters, because it requires two hands and that’s hard to manage when you’re carrying around a giant lollipop.
I’ve been noticing something about these two things Emperor “Can I Live?” is known far & wide for doing this week: The swinging open of the jail cell doors for the drug dealers, and the Iran deal. Something has changed. I guess you have to be a certain age, and willing to recall past events, to be able to see it.
I’m so old I can remember when the Political Left was willing to threaten. Not just the way they do, as in for-reals, to move their agenda forward, like “Donate to Rainbow-Push or I’ll smear your corporation as racist” and things like that. But in their gusty rhetoric. “If we don’t take steps to end global warming,” as in, give leftist organizations lots of money, “the climate will reach a ‘tipping point’ after which it will be completely out of control” or some such.
I’m guessing they’re not too pleased with the results of that. The rebuttal from the opposition, supposedly anti-science, was easy: “What is this ‘control’ of which you speak?” At any rate, here we are. The “If we don’t” thing seems to be on a permanent vacation.
In the business world, it’s important. You put it in your project charter, or whatever document it is that defines where the resources are going to be going, should the project be green-lit, that you show to the people who would make the decision about green-lighting. There has to be a section called “cost of non-implementation” or “ramifications of doing nothing” or “consequences of inaction” or some such. It’s what you want to know, as a homeowner, when a contractor comes up to you and says “I’m afraid I can’t do the [blank] because there is [blank] in the [blank], and what you’ve really got to do, is [blank].” The executives want to know what you’d want to know: What do you mean by “got to”?
In all the sections that are expected to be present in the project charter, this one — call it what you will — looms large in importance. The “go” call hinges on this. Anyone who’s been in the position of the homeowner, understands why.
America’s First Holy Emperor, and His supporters, are going awfully light on that sort of talk lately. The air is cackling with the words from His Eminence, which fly thick and fast and inform all who may be concerned, about the futility involved in opposing His will. “The world would not support an effort to permanently sanction Iran into submission”…”I will veto any legislation that prevents the successful implementation of this deal.” Ah yes, the pen and the phone.
But, that does not answer the question. Ditto with the commutation of the 46 drug offenders. “I believe that at its heart, America is a nation of second chances, and I believe these folks deserve their second chance…” Glad You believe that, I’m sure the people who are being placed in real danger find that reassuring. But to them, and all the rest of America’s citizens who never got into this sort of trouble because they didn’t do anything wrong, what’s the difference between doing this and not doing this? Why are we doing this?
What if You were to treat this as Kate Steinle’s funeral, and simply not participate?
In both of those, I’m still fuzzy on that.
In the most controversial move ever made by President Obama’s predecessor, say what you will about the man and what you think of his real motives, but he was extremely clear on this sort of thing.
A common tactic employed by leftists is to accuse their enemies of being on “the wrong side of history.”…In so many words, if we don’t enthusiastically embrace the left’s agenda, then people like us will be reviled for all eternity.
Will we? The arrogant leftist notion that the arc of the universe bends towards justice (i.e. what they want) is predicated on the belief that Western liberalism will remain hegemonic. However, I suspect that this dominant liberal narrative will erode as China and other Asian nations continue to rise. We already know that Asian countries have no use for the kind of bizarre identity politics running amok in the West.
Future Asian historians will be nonplussed upon learning that Americans placed a higher premium on transsexual rights than nationalism or a strong economy. They will also shake their heads and chuckle when reading about how historical white figureheads such as Joe Biden celebrated the impending minority status of their own people. They’ll wonder why the most dominant group in human history threw it all away in the name of quixotic ideals.
They will, with amusement and contempt, consign the Western left to the wrong side of history.
From the comments:
I don’t think the West will die.(it is undeniably in decline but I think there will be a resurgence after economic collapse and excision of the Leftists)
I don’t think the Russian Asians will get along with the Chinese Asians for very long, they both want to be #1 and they are both ruthless.
And I agree with that. The West became great for a reason, and the thing that made the West great is timeless. People like to be paid for the work they do.
The unanswered questions about the common condemnation reveal a double ignorance among our friends, the liberals: Ignorance about objectivity vs. subjectivity, and ignorance about the passage of time. The two questions could be condensed to “who?” and “when?” History according to whom? And when does this assessment take place?
Example: Same-sex marriage never looked more right, than just before the Supreme Court decided in favor of it last month. It is already, today, on the wrong side of history, as is the election of Barack Obama. Both are embarrassing to watch, even for people like me who never thought either one was a good idea. There’s so much division where there was supposed to be some new sense of unity and unification. Train wrecks.
But, both had their moments, their gilded ages in which each one was an easy sell. The salad days came and went. Both were sold with this “You don’t want to be on the wrong side of history, do you?” thing, and now history has decided against them.
The “wrong side of history” really means the “wrong side of my opinion.” That’s the problem. A liberal, perceiving that his opinion has created an irreconcilable conflict with reality, will adjudicate against reality. If they had what it took to go the other way, they wouldn’t be liberals.
People are often skeptical that a Superman movie can be good because stories need conflict, and conflict seems pretty hard to come by when your hero is a person who always does the right thing and can’t be hurt. That, however, is a reductive way of looking at the character, and the secret to why Superman stories are so great: They’re never really about him. They’re about us.
This is something Snyder and his team almost get, but they come at it from an angle that totally misses the point of Superman. They treat him as a god among mortals, our greatest fear or our great salvation. The problem with this, though, is that it strips the character of his humanity, and makes him downright unapproachable.
Superman isn’t good or special because he’s an alien who crashes on Earth and ends up being incredibly powerful. He’s special because after all that he becomes someone who always does the right thing because he was raised by a couple of decent people from Kansas. That’s it.
He is someone with the power to be the most selfish being in all of existence, and decides to be selfless because he was raised by a couple of kindly farmers. And the beautiful idea behind him is that we don’t need to be bulletproof to be that way — we just have to be decent people.
I don’t think the author means to say all Superman stories have been great. Some of them were inarguably terrible. But it is equally inarguable that the trademark has something going for it, no? And it’s certainly something greater than being some precursor to Spider Man, with his bromide about “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility.” It’s the difference between “What should I do?” and “What should that guy, over there, the one with all the super-powers I don’t have, do?”
It’s the difference between conservatives and liberals. Quoting Robert Mitchell again,
The real difference between conservatives and liberals, today:
Liberal: Someone should take care of this! Or, We need a program to take care of this!
Conservative: ++sigh++ It looks like it’s up to me to take care of this…
This one’s quick, I haven’t got time to elaborate much on it.
In the middle of the night I came across a PM from a friend over on the Hello Kitty of Blogging, providing a link and asking for my opinion on the contents behind it.
I don’t talk about race with White people because I have so often seen it go nowhere. When I was younger, I thought it was because all white people are racist. Recently, I’ve begun to understand that it’s more nuanced than that.
To understand, you have to know that Black people think in terms of Black people. We don’t see a shooting of an innocent Black child in another state as something separate from us because we know viscerally that it could be our child, our parent, or us, that is shot.
Martin Luther King did not end racism. Racism is a cop severing the spine of an innocent man. It is a 12 year old child being shot for playing with a toy gun in a state where it is legal to openly carry firearms.
But racism is even more subtle than that. It’s more nuanced. Racism is the fact that “White” means “normal” and that anything else is different. Racism is our acceptance of an all white Lord of the Rings cast because of “historical accuracy,” ignoring the fact that this is a world with an entirely fictionalized history.
Even when we make shit up, we want it to be white.
And racism is the fact that we all accept that it is white. Benedict Cumberbatch playing Khan in Star Trek. Khan, who is from India. Is there anyone Whiter than Benedict fucking Cumberbatch? What? They needed a “less racial” cast because they already had the Black Uhura character?
That is racism. Once you let yourself see it, it’s there all the time.
That last line I’ve excerpted speaks volumes. It provides an iron-clad answer to the question that naturally arises, “Could it be that the person who is doing this noticing, is the problem?” Rather impossible to deny.
My response was:
It’s defeatist twaddle. Author has no vision for success, except for what he expects others to do. And for all the descriptive energy he puts into the problem, it ends up being just a meandering passive-voice complaint because he doesn’t identify who exactly is do[ing] this bad-thinking, apart from “white people.” Therefore he isn’t ready to isolate the problem, therefore he isn’t ready to do anything about it.
I’d compare it to how silly feminists treat men — the treatment matches his complaints about how black people are treated, letter for letter. My solution to that, is very close to his “I don’t discuss it with white people,” except I practice a more complete brand of isolation: I don’t spend any time around silly feminists at all. I’ve given them too large a portion of my one life already. And so I think of their shortcomings in active-voice, maintaining a working knowledge of who has these problems, distancing myself from them, effectively marginalizing them. Like white racists, they’re marginal people already.
Regarding these cultural challenges black people face, I wrote about that already this morning: Think about that stuff after you’ve accomplished something, not before. Think about your handicaps after you accomplish something that could reasonably have been expected to be harder because you have the handicaps, the outcome of that can only be positive. If you wallow in them before accomplishing anything, it comes off as whining and excuse-making, because that’s really all it can be.
“This morning” means, of course, yesterday morning, and that reference is to this.
Yesterday, the Clinton-Hollings flag was removed from the State Capitol in South Carolina.
More video here.
As you can tell from the reaction of the crowd, it was thought by many to be some sort of an amazing accomplishment. And therein lies the real problem: Nothing was accomplished here, at all, except for a relatively mundane dismantling of a piece of ornamental building equipment. There really shouldn’t have been a ceremony.
The powers-that-be decide there is too much flag flap, can’t take the heat? Alright then, make the call. But an “Everyone But Chewbacca Gets a Medal” ceremony? Wrong, and on so many levels. No need for it, abjectly pointless…and yes, I know, it’s all about the messaging. Well guess what, that sucked too. Nobody gets to leave an actual mark on our evolving culture, except sociopath racist dicks who shoot up churches? Law-abiding, tax-paying, hard-working citizens are just supposed to toil away from womb to tomb, it’s the homicidal maniac’s world the rest of us just live in it? Nothing good can come from that.
This should have been a routine construction work order. Reminds me of the “[blank] reasons I should quit and become a goat farmer” text file I got started on the on-call laptop at work, several years ago. You know…after you work in the goat’s stable, the goat doesn’t blame you for every little thing that goes wrong after that…goats are naturally Y2K compliant…I came up with twenty reasons, by the time the laptop came back to me there were nearly a hundred. It caught on — it ever became general knowledge that I was the one who got it all started, and I guess that was good. One day, after it grew to over 200 reasons why we should stop being network engineers and think about becoming goat farmers, someone printed it out and taped it up where everyone could see it.
It was hilarious. Right up to manager level…not to director level though. Oops.
The point is, the lengthy printout was very quietly retired. That’s how a collective of people behaves when they’re really ashamed of something, or desiring to (or being bullied into) changing course. At least, if they’re being honest about it. Why?
Because this is not an accomplishment. Remember way back when we worried about accomplishing things? Or, at the very least, maintained an understanding of the difference between accomplishing something and not accomplishing anything?
Which brings me to this, from BuzzFeed:
You may have heard there’s a whole show getting started about this, how easy white people have it, and “what they’ve done in America.”
As the makers of this video might easily imagine, I have a beef with this — but, they couldn’t tell you why. Sure they can come up with their ideas why, but they’re of The Left, and you should never rely on The Left to tell you what motivates their opposition. There is no ignorance on the planet more eminent, more self-perpetuating, than the ignorance liberals have about what motivates their opposition.
So here’s my deal: They’re right. People who are not members of minority groups, are not handicapped, enjoyed inspiring childhoods, have advantages. And people who do not have these things, have handicaps. Here’s the thing though: Until you accomplish something, who cares? What’s it matter?
Don’t we all have some handicaps, if we think on it hard enough? Don’t we all have advantages, even if we need someone else to remind us they’re there?
After you get something done that has a positive effect on other people, and requires real effort and sacrifice out of you, and it entails some level of difficulty that determines that everyone who wants to do it wouldn’t necessarily be able to get it done, like you did — then, there there could be some purpose to all this. “And I earned that degree in spite of the fact that I belong to a minority group” — subjective, and tragically, it always will be that way. The Affirmative Action babies have been robbed forever. They may not like it when someone says “Actually, that made it a lot easier for you, not harder.” It could very well be that critic is wrong! But, with reverse-discrimination in place, the possibility will always linger. The achievement will always have a footnote, and so will the garnish upon it, the “and I did it even though I’m not white.”
Still and all, it is something, because the accomplishment would have been done — the degree would have been earned. And then there are objective statements like this: “I completed that marathon even though I had crippling pneumonia when I was a baby and have lost half my lung tissue.” There’s no reverse-discrimination for that, thus no troubling footnote. And again, such an accomplishment would be real. The marathon would have been run.
Which would say something, or at least, suggest something: I did this in spite of my identifiable handicap. That must mean I have something inside me counterbalancing it, since I did accomplish this thing. Some positive compensating factor. That’s what is worth some extra thought, some discussion. You have to do something with that. The Affirmative Action beneficiary with the degree, that maybe was harder in some ways, maybe easier in other ways? Doubly so: “I did it, you can too.” These people know they should sit down with the next generation, and have a few serious talks, especially if that next-generation is experiencing motivation troubles. Only good things can come from that.
But — to wallow in this stuff when you haven’t done anything yet? That’s a completely different thing. It’s just like the “flag removal ceremony.” Devoid of purpose, no reason to have it…
Unless, in this case, you’re looking for excuses for failure before you’ve even started trying.
I’m so old, I remember when it wasn’t necessary for some blogger who blogs at The Blog That Nobody Reads, to point out this stuff. I remember when it was normal and expected for people to understand the difference between accomplishing something, and not accomplishing anything. It seems we’re quite a distance past the close of that chapter, sadly. Maybe we can open another one like it. I’m pretty sure things will be better for everyone, if we can make that happen. Accomplishment is good, and it does have meaning.