Heebie's take: They really are good - short videos on various topics, usually 5-10 minutes long. I've watched three, and in each of them there was at least one or two insights that I hadn't put my finger on before.
First I watched CO-VIDs: adventure games about jesus, about how the video games Dropsy and Alum are Christian in very different ways. Given that I haven't played a video game since I played Myst with my brother, (and one other computer game of that era with an anti-hero who gambled a lot and was very silly? what was that?) I am not exactly an expert, so maybe it's not hard to say things that sound intelligent to me on this topic. But still, I enjoyed it a lot.
Second I watched the one that Eggie links above, the Alt-Right playbook, which is an introduction to a whole lot of videos unpacking the alt-right. The introduction was made in 2017, which makes it a little dated in light of how warpspeed the world is changing. I feel like I don't even hear the word alt-right as much anymore, and there's ten alt-right groups that didn't exist back then. But his insights are still pretty sound, I think, although in 2017 the dangers were more about doxxing than showing up to a peaceful protest armed to the gills with assault rifles.
Finally I watched this one, on Dr. Horrible's Sing-a-long, which I watched in the mid-Aughts and had only the vaguest memory of. This one was also really good - about how the incel mentality creeps in to this ostensibly left-compatible kitchsy nerd romp.
I understand the push to reopen schools; I understand that we're forcing people to go back to work because we can't imagine propping them up until it's safe, and they need somewhere to park their kids. But why are all the basketball camps and clinics that my son used to attend now full? The rubric of personal choice and "choosing the best for your child" (which smuggles in all sorts of rich asshole assumptions as it is) is being used to whitewash a refusal to sacrifice that undermines public health. I guess if I wanted communitarians for neighbors, I shouldn't have chosen to live in the suburbs.
(There are some very nice people here, but I could live in this town--we moved here because my mom is here--for twenty years and not make a friend. In one of these basketball clinic emails, one of the dads made a joke combining college sports rivalry with a "would you like fries with that" putdown that had me wanting to burn my own house down.)
I love the NBA.
I'm sad about Justin Townes Earle.
This change in testing guidelines by the CDC upsets me so much:
The new guidance -- introduced this week, without any announcement, on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website -- replaces advice that everyone who has been in close contact with an infected person should get tested to find out whether they had contracted the virus. Instead, the guidance says those without symptoms "do not necessarily need a test."
I mean, what could be more negligent.
If they stop tracking hurricanes there will be no hurricanes.— Michael Ian Black (@michaelianblack) August 26, 2020
1. People misinterpret hurricane projections. (Not you. They're probabilistic, like you already thought.) The end of the graphic-story is:
The cone graphic is deceptively simple. That becomes a liability if people believe they're out of harm's way when they aren't. As with many charts, it's risky to assume we can interpret a hurricane map correctly with just a glance. Graphics like these need to be read closely and carefully. Only then can we grasp what they're really saying.
OR. Graphics like these need to be retired in favor of ones that communicate the information better, hmm?
2. So, suppose Biden funded a massive WPA jobs program. I'm imagining childcare, schools, healthcare would be obvious places to start.
Of pre-covid industries, back in relatively high employment days, which ones do you think should yield workers? Which industries should be scaled back, in terms of the scope of employees that they harness?
Maybe this isn't even a meaningful question? Obviously workers would come hodge-podge from wherever they felt lacked opportunity. They probably wouldn't come from hedge-fund managers, anyway. But even if they did, there aren't enough hedge-fund managers to double the staffing in k-12 schools and open universal daycare anyway.
Does it ideally come from retail? Walmarts? Which industries would we like to see shrink, if we were willing to pay enough to fully fund well-staffed social programs?
2. you'll be shocked to hear that Abby Johnson just makes shit up opportunistically.
3. As always, the more important stories are the ones that I have the least to say about - ie Jacob Blake, protests, violence erupting from counter-protesters. (Can I assume they were in the ballpark of white supremacists? Has that been reported?) Everything seems so horrendous and self-evident.
I will say this: it's a small but deep relief to have the original victim live through it, although there was a line in the NYT that he doesn't yet know he's the subject of nationwide protests. Especially I think of his kids and just want him to pull through. I sometimes think about the actual person George Floyd or Breona Taylor, and how they might be moved, if they knew they were the subject of so much activism, but how surely they'd prefer more to just still be alive.
Looking back over this collection of links, it's very weird to contrast 1 and 3.
1. Does anyone here have the stomach to watch the RNC convention? I would never, but I don't mind reading about it in bite-size pieces pre-packaged with withering condescension.
2. I was hearing that $300 unemployment checks were on their way, and I couldn't understand how Trump's mandate was translated into action, but apparently it was routed through FEMA:
Trump's order created a "lost wages assistance" program that will use $44 billion in funding from FEMA to provide eligible workers with the enhanced $300 federal benefit.
3. So is the Republican playbook to delay a second stimulus package until the timing coincides with the immediate election? Is everyone going to get a $1200 check on October 18th?
4. Boy, that Falwell.
(This is intended to be our system for checking in on imaginary friends, so that we know whether or not to be concerned if you go offline for a while.)
Clearly I cannot keep this simple thing together. Maybe I'll just aim to keep one on the front page at all times.
There was that Harpers open letter on 'free speech' a few weeks ago, that was largely the usual gang of right wing idiots complaining about people 'silencing' them by not agreeing with them and openly expressing their disagreement. And I have firmly been considering that crew to be a bunch of pointless whiners who are inventing imaginary grievances for about twenty years, and I don't see any reason to change that estimation. But there were a fair number of non-right-wing-non-idiot signatories: Dahlia Lithwick, David Blight, some others who weren't the usual crowd of jerks, and even though the actual text of the letter was so vague as to be pointless, I reacted to it by thinking that until a couple of years ago I would have thought it was all whining, and even though the letter itself was between pointless and counterproductive, in the last few years I have for the first time noticed enough interactions of a kind I am unhappy with that I think maybe there is something systematically less than ideal going on.
Deep in a Crooked Timber comment thread on the letter (look, I get nostalgic for 2006 every so often), someone linked an essay by Natalie Wynn, some YouTube personality I don't know on cancel culture, which seemed smart to me and seemed to be very clearly addressing the thing I was thinking of, which is very much not the right wing 'free speech' whining. It's fuzzier than that and more likely to be in some sense intra-left. I've been thinking of it as a set of manners that makes it hard to question a negative judgment about someone or something in a way that people within the discourse community will recognize as polite or valid, which makes it possible for fairly weakly based negative judgments to get taken very seriously.
The current story that springs to mind is the Alex Morse mess, where a young gay man running for office, who had been an adjunct at a college a few years before was accused of acting in ways constituting an abuse of power toward students by the College Democrats club, and was asked not to show up to their events again in future. In one sense it's a weak example, because it seems to have gotten solidly debunked -- the closest thing to misconduct seems to have been that while he was in his twenties living in a college town he dated (broadly defined) some undergrads he didn't teach, and communications have come out showing that it was an intentional ratfucking rather than a misunderstanding -- and my whole point is that this set of norms makes it really hard to pin things down enough to debunk them. But the tone of the conversations I saw about it before the debunking happened seemed to me to be the sort of thing that bothers me: once the accusation had been made, a lot of assumption that inquiry into the exact particulars of the wrongdoing was by definition in bad faith.
I don't really know what I think should be done about this, or if it's even a significant problem at all (and compared to all the worse problems in the world like police violence or this pandemic we have going on, of course it's not significant.) And I don't know if I've described it clearly enough to identify what I'm talking about to anyone else (although the Natalie Wynn essay was, I think, illuminating if you had time to read the whole thing). And maybe I've just gotten old and cranky. But until a few years ago I was dismissing complaints like these out of hand, and now I think I see evidence of something I'd call an actual problem.