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Friday!

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 10.25.19

1. Mossy Character sends in this article about Susan Sontag. (Apparently) it's widely known that she helped her ex-husband Philip Rieff write "Freud: The Mind of the Moralist". But apparently, she actually wrote the whole damn thing, and then he blackmailed her into handing over authorship in a custody battle to keep her kid, when they divorced.

Sontag's diaries record how, in August 1957, she "continued to sort Freud materials, made notes, worked on some rough passages in Ch. 2".
Moser quotes a letter Sontag wrote to her mother, in which she says that she is "in third gear now on the book - working about 10 hours a day on it at least". And, in a letter to the author from her friend Jacob Taubes in 1958, he asks: "Did you, by the way, relinquish all rights on the Freud? It would be a crime." When she says that she has, he replies: "I am without consolation ... You cannot give your intellectual contribution to another person ... It could be the ruin of Philip if he dared to come out shamelessly without your signature."

(I only have the vaguest notion who these people are, but I will act as though they are common knowledge for everyone else. I say this because I was about to post when I noticed I said that Benjamin Moser was the ex-husband who took credit for writing the Freud book, instead of the 2019 author who has written a biography of Sontag.)

2. Chris Y. writes: Wait till they get in the traffic around here.

Heebie's take: well aren't they just the cutest Ralph S. Mice!

My strong suspicion is that this is an undergraduate interdisciplinary research project between engineering students and biology students, and therefore this:

Dr Lambert told AFP news agency that the findings could prove useful for future research into treatments for different psychiatric conditions.
"There's no cure for schizophrenia or depression, and we need to catch up," she said.

is basically absurd, and surely the journalist just kept pushing for broader implications and then took Lambert's words out of context. I bet the working title of the student proposal was literally, "Can a rat drive a car?"


 

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Guest Post - Less harmful than politics, I guess

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 10.24.19

Nworbie writes: There's a long and thoughtful piece on video game addiction in the NYT magazine. There is a huge generational gap involved, which makes it difficult for olds to take in the scale of the industry

Globally, more than two billion people play video games, including 150 million Americans (nearly half the country's population), 60 percent of whom game daily ... Game Informer has the fifth-highest circulation of any American magazine, surpassed only by AARP's Magazine and Bulletin, Costco Connection and Better Homes & Gardens. When Grand Theft Auto V was released in September 2013, it generated $1 billion of revenue within three days. No single entertainment product has ever made so much money in so little time.

I do know at one remove a fortnite player whose YouTube channel makes $80k a month in advertising revenue. For anyone who works with words, that is a depressing figure. But that's not the point.

What I think is admirable about this piece is the effort it puts into contextualising the problem: not seeing it as one of brain chemistry, or individual moral weakness, but as a maladaptive response to real stresses - one which the industry of course is happy to gratify.

As a group, gamers are now more diverse than ever, comprising a wide range of ages and increasingly equal numbers of men and women. Yet as evidenced by both scientific studies and the experiences of clinical psychiatrists, self-identified video-game addicts are overwhelmingly male. To be more specific, they are typically single young adult men -- the very segment of the population that may be most prone to social detachment. In the course of my conversations with dozens of compulsive gamers, a familiar narrative began to emerge: A young man repeatedly suffered some form of rejection from his peers; hurt, he turned to video games to soothe and distract himself; the games gave him a pretense of the kinship and achievement he never knew in the real world; when he left home for college or moved into his own place -- and the familial checks on his day-to-day activities were lifted -- his fixation on games intensified until it consumed him.

I spent a little time as a barman in my youth, and the memory of the customers' faces when the place was packed stays with me as a revelation of naked greed. Whatever they thought they wanted, in the way of sociability, what they were shouting for was alcohol. Yet only one of the regulars was an alcoholic. It all depends on what's going on in the rest of your life.

Nor is it realistic or sensible to demand that people not have escapes, even when these can become obsessional. Maybe the test for health is whether our chosen escapes from reality actually make us better able to cope with the real thing when we return.


Heebie's take
:
1. I don't necessarily agree with the last sentence, but I 100% agree with "It all depends on what's going on in the rest of your life." I'd rephrase the last sentence as:

"Our chosen escapes from reality are a form of self-medication. If you're self-medicating so hard that it causes problems in your real life, then you need to seek help for the underlying problems in your real life that you've been avoiding."

It reminds me vaguely of those rat addiction studies, where they basically show that miserable rats get addicted really easily to alcohol or drugs, and happy rats are much less inclined to become sloppy drunks or druggies, and that if you make put unhappy rats into a happier cage, their addictions often go away.

Obviously there's also a biological component to drugs and alcohol addition.

2. I have a student who seems completely normal, socially, and said a lot of the games keep track of how many hours you play. He said he can easily game 40-80 hours a week, and that his highest total is over two years in hours, for a game he got when he was 12 or so.


 

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Guest Post - Pancakes, Waffles

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 10.23.19

CharleyCarp writes: I read this and have a few thoughts filling up different little waffle squares. There's obvious validity to the premise that men, especially older men, are irredeemable assholes who must be either murdered or managed. I'm not sure that all of the techniques for managing men being offered here are actually effective -- the whole not facing men directly thing sounds alien (or, rather, primate) but maybe I've just been effectively managed in this way. Do you suppose there's any money in putting on a seminar for men that's basically 'It's the 21st century, act like a fucking grown-up, even around women in your workplace'? How about 'Don't be an asshole'? 'You'll probably make more money if you treat the women working for/with you fairly.' 'To be Taken Seriously and Treated Fairly: the Mystery of What Women Want is Finally Revealed.' OK, obviously not qualified to put that one on.

Heebie's take: Holy crap.

Women's brains absorb information like pancakes soak up syrup so it's hard for them to focus, the attendees were told. Men's brains are more like waffles. They're better able to focus because the information collects in each little waffle square.

I'm more like a pancake in that I'm batter, and I spread out and ooze into a circle when poured on a hot griddle, and plus, I'm flat. But also, lack of focus.


 

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Last minute Boston meet-up!

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 10.22.19

Chopper writes: Boston Mineshaft: late notice , but I will be in town tomorrow through Friday afternoon. I anticipate my only free evening is tomorrow (Wednesday). Anybody want to catch a drink after 6 or so? I am staying in the Seaport district and have no sense of convenience to places like Lord Hobo or Backbar, but am willing to take a cab anyplace in a 10 mile radius.

Update & bump: Choppie says, "BG and I have settled on Brick and Mortar (567 Mass Ave Cambridge) at 6:25-6:30. Lurkers welcome. I am a burlyish, graying bearded gent wearing a blue denim shirt and mustard/tan pants. The traditional greeting is "Who wants to sex Mtombo?""

Have fun, you crazy kids!


 

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The Magical Ukrainian Server

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 10.22.19

Have we talked here about the actual dirt that Trump was/is trying to dig up on Hunter Biden? I'm sure everyone's read about it, I just don't know if we've discussed the fever-dreams about this magical server that will exonerate Russian meddling in 2016, thus legitimizing Trump's BIG WIN, and also houses Clinton's missing emails, and also little elves that repair shoes at night live in this server.

We probably haven't discussed it much because there's so little to say. There's a pipeline of conspiracy theorists and grifters who say any old shit they please, and Trump believes anything that he thinks would make him look good. The end.


 

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Lolsob

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 10.21.19
President Donald Trump has appointed an author of self-styled "Illuminati" self-help and financial advice books to a position on a federal education board.

I don't know which sentence is the best/worst. This guy's pen name is "Magus Incognito".

Mentz's author page on Amazon suggests that he is a prolific writer, with more than 60 titles to his name. That includes works with titles like "The Law of Attraction & Prosperity Bible - The Illuminati Wealth Manifesto & Codex" and "The Illuminati Handbook - The Path of Illumination and Ascension."
In a 2013 book by "Magus Incognito" called "Rosicrucian and Masonic Spirituality & Secrets - The Handbook," Mentz tells readers the book's teachings "can propel the initiate into the 4th dimension of existence on this Earth."

- To be fair, I also think we are existing in four dimensions.
- To be fair, this guy is just another standard Republican grifter, with a slightly funnier veneer than others.
- To be fair, Reagan consulted an astrologist and later was just plain senile.


 

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London meet-up thread!

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 10.20.19

DQ writes: Dairy Queen & better half will be there November 11-18, with exception of a dash to Amsterdam for a concert on the 13th. We're staying in Spitalfields, but without work-commute constraints so can be reasonably flexible.

Ajay has a preference for a not-work-night, so perhaps Friday 15th or Saturday 16th?

Heebie's take: plan away!



 

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