Nick S. writes: Timothy Burke has an interesting essay today expressing his frustration with the way that leftist critiques can turn into an argument for pessimism and inaction (to the extent that action seems helpless). There is an element of caricature to his summary, inevitably, but the fact that he both attempts to outline the problem and offer some thoughts about how to escape from that pessimism is valuable.
I find the sometimes-simultaneity of #2 [the whole system is bad] and #3 [It's not fair to ask people how to get from here to a totalizing transformation of the systems we live under] the most frustrating of all the positions I see taken up by left intellectuals. I can see #2 (depressing as it is) and I can see #3 (even when it's used to defend a really bad specific tactical or strategic move made by some group of leftists) but #2 and #3 combined are a form of turtling up against any possibility of being criticized while also reserving the right to criticize everything that anyone else is doing.
. . .
If you flip the combination of #2 and #3 on their head so that it's a positive rather than negative assertion, that we need systematic change and that individual initiatives are valid, then it's an enabling rather than disabling combination. It reminds progressives to look for underlying reasons and commitments that connect struggles and ideals, but it also appreciates the least spreading motion of a rhizome as something worth undertaking.
If you reverse #4, maybe that could allow left intellectuals to work towards a more modest and forgiving sense of their own responsibilities, and a more appreciative understanding of the myriad ways that other people seek pleasure and possibility. That not everything around us is a fallen world, and that not every waking minute of every waking day needs to be judged in terms of whether it moves towards salvation.
We can't keep saying that everything is so terrible that people have got to do something urgently, right now, but also that it's always been terrible and that we have always failed to do something urgently, or that the urgent things we have done never amount to anything of importance. . . .
Heebie's take: I enjoyed it!
Maybe Donald Trump really is the greatest living American.
During a 2005 appearance on the [Howard Stern] show, Trump said that he planned to have kids with his new wife, but "I mean, I won't do anything to take care of them. I'll supply funds and she'll take care of the kids. It's not like I'm going to be walking the kids down Central Park."
The couple's son, Barron, was born the following year.
Buzzfeed had previously released other segments from Trump's interviews with Stern. In one of those tapes, he talked about how the risk of getting a sexually transmitted disease "is my personal Vietnam. I feel like a great and very brave solider."
If that doesn't make you want to vote for him just a little bit....
The link is autoplay video. The original Buzzfeed piece is pretty funny too, for how he seems to be believe that his then-girlfriend, now-wife doesn't need to shit. But then he goes and calls Ed Koch a "major cocksucker," and there's the old "Pig-Blood" Trump we've come to know in 2016.
Omarosa will be the veep pick.
More seriously, to continue on the topic, check out the reaction to this (from July).
The punditocracy is one big grift.
Confession time: Until today I thought Evelyn Waugh was a woman, because his name is "Evelyn" and that is typically a woman's name.— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) February 25, 2016
Obviously one should never miss an opportunity for snobbery and cheap snark, but as sins of ignorance go, not knowing about Waugh is surely venial. I've never read a word he wrote, but I do know the banana story, which makes me think I might like his books.
This image disturbs me so much pic.twitter.com/avDi6PJGcq— Al Ramirez (@mirezez) February 20, 2016
Me: [to no one in particular] I'm not very strong, but I take great notes! (meaning I record how much I lift and keep track of it.)
Xfit owner: Did you take good notes in school?
Me: ...yes. (?)
Xfit owner: Did you read in school?
Xfit owner: Do you read now?
Xfit owner rambles on about how important reading is, while I contemplate how weird a question it was. It wouldn't have seemed weird if he'd asked, "Do you read a lot?" but just asking if someone reads at all seems deprived.
I'm curious how Trump will pivot in the general. So far, his message has been: 1) racism, 2) "tell it like it is", and 3) WINNING (and voters wanting to hitch their vote to the winning candidate). If he doesn't change anything, he will start to disintegrate against Clinton, because (1) will alienate half the electorate and (3) will not be what the polls show, after the conventions. He'll have to get a lot smarter about (2) once he's debating someone who isn't a shrieking Republican.
My guess is that (2) will tack more progressive and anti-1%, and that (1) will show up at the rallies but not at the debates. I think Clinton will win the general by a safe margin - more than 5%.
First argument I've ever seen that made me at least think twice about my fervent belief that we should kill every last mosquito on earth.
Science writer David Quammen has argued that mosquitoes have limited the destructive impact of humanity on nature. "Mosquitoes make tropical rainforests, for humans, virtually uninhabitable," he said.
Rainforests, home to a large share of our total plant and animal species, are under serious threat from man-made destruction. "Nothing has done more to delay this catastrophe over the past 10,000 years, than the mosquito," Quammen said.
I say "hmm, good point" to that as a member of the destructive human race, but as a member of the global north, mostly out of reach of the worst of mosquitoes' depredations, I have to think twice about thinking twice. Kill them all.
I see you Whitey McWhitersons haven't even mentioned Ansari's Master of None. It's very good. The acting is uneven, and not every piece works, but there's so much that's right on the mark in a low-key, funny way. Highly recommended.
Is it wrong to find this song sort of deep and profound?
I like to post songs that I feel like listening to on repeat.
Univision's efforts in the 2016 election do not stop at Mr. Ramos's on-camera activities or the network's extracurricular voter mobilization work. Its news division is sponsoring a Democratic debate on March 9 and, on July 14, a general election forum with the eventual Republican and Democratic nominees. It is planning a series of swing-state polls on the candidates and issues. And it has its largest political team yet -- 16 reporters, 20 producers and dozens of digital journalists -- assigned to Destino 2016, the network's election coverage.
This sounds great.
E. Messily writes:
It's the old slippery slope argument. "If we let two broke ass cripples get married, then why not let a man marry a giraffe?"
I secretly really love slippery slope arguments, and also accusing other people of making slippery slope arguments in bad faith. I assume this stems from my days in high school debate. I have very vague memories of that time, mostly involving (a) so many office supplies (b) shrieking "slippery slope" all the time and (c) a lot of hours of practice doing tricks with pens, to impress the other team/judges during rebuttals.
Anyway, I'm in the beginning stages of applying for disability, and the government is getting me down. I personally would still be able to get married, because the rules for SSDI are different than the rules for SSI, but the whole thing is just as bureacratastic as you could imagine, and then some.
And here is another disheartening aspect of access/lack thereof.
(Doctors' offices generally are among the least accessible places ever, in my quite prolific experience. I guess because in medical school they teach you that you can only have one thing wrong with you at a time, so as long as you're permanently disabled you're safe from germs.)
Heebie's take: I was never on debate team. I worry that once you're on debate team, the next thing you know, you're Ted Cruz shutting down the government, so it's better not to go there.
On the Ke$ha case, I assume that the Unfogged Legal Council will point out that since she hasn't established any of her allegations legally, the court can't take it into account when deciding whether or not to let her out of her contract. However, given the super high cost and barriers to establishing guilt of sexual assault, it seems like there should be some third path available to let someone get out their legal contract that potentially puts them in a dangerous situation.
Also this line:
Attorneys for Gottwald argued that the producer had invested $60m in Kesha's career and had agreed to allow her to record without his involvement. Kornreich said her instinct was the "do the commercially reasonable thing" and noted that Sony had agreed to let Kesha record without Gottwald's participation - an agreement Kesha's lawyers said would set up the singer for failure since Sony's interests lie in promoting Gottwald.
indicates to me that I really have no idea what the debate was.
We're about halfway through bootcamp, and had a big, eight-hour test yesterday to see if we're allowed to continue (results in a week or so). And today I came across this tweet, which could be the guiding document for the curriculum.
Important tech skills:— Jim Gray (@grayj_) February 17, 2016
1. Interpreting vague docs
2. Looking up errors
3. Not making coworkers want to stab you
4. Algorithms, I guess?
The second half of the course is building web apps from scratch in groups, but the first half was mostly two-day pair-programming "sprints." We started with some fundamentals: implement various data structures, solve n-queens, etc. Since then it's been building or fixing things with various technologies: make an app with backbone (then angular), write the backend for this app and convert it to use mongoDB, add authentication to your app, etc etc. It feels like being repeatedly thrown in the deep end, with only (often shockingly poorly written) docs, vague instructions, and a tight deadline. Definitely not "learn this really well" as much as "get used to making things work that you barely understand." It's been...uncomfortable, but I'm looking forward to the second half.
WTF even is this? The about page is no help, except in that it helps make me really angry, though one can't help but enjoy a "new place for people who love music" that doesn't even tell you what the program is (though it does suggest that its avant-garde (of a hundred years ago) will somehow involve Satie). The video on the right can't decide what its audience is: at times it seems as if the audience is the younger crowd the symphony is obviously eager to court, but then it also includes praise from the New Yorker, no less, with its keen understanding of the ways of youth, for successfully attracting a young audience, which seems like the kind of thing you'd leave out of something aimed at that audience. The main page description of "Transcend" (ugh) merely makes one wonder what, other than the emetic prose and number of choristers, differentiates the event from a performance by the (actually wonderful) Cornelius Cardew Choir.
It's all so tawdry and obvious and desperate and the worst part is that it seems to be working; apparently their last thing sold out.