This doesn't count as linking the NYT, right?
NYTimes buried this today but this is huge pic.twitter.com/JSef9kH2c0— b (@nicetryofficer) January 22, 2021
Anyway, I agree that that is a really big dea.
Old Ways The Best
"I'm unsubscribing from the NY Times" is the "I don't even have a TV" social marker of the 2020s, but no, I unsubscribed long ago, and given the Peloton and Rolex stories this week (it continues to be shocking, even when you know it's coming), that seems insufficient. I want to do more. I want to poop on the New York Times. And of course I'm using New York Times as a metonym for the people of the New York Times. And, to further clarify, I don't intend this pooping to be a jocular, communal activity done for yucks, so to speak; I want to poop on, not with, the people of the New York Times.
Apparently Celestial Seasonings has a bizarro cult origin story:
The Urantia Book, a 4.3-pound, 2,097-page tome, published first in 1955, is a modified Seventh-Day Adventist text supposedly communicated to an anonymous man in a trance by aliens. In reality, it was likely authored in the early 1900s by a psychiatrist named William Sadler who used it as a vessel for his racist ideas. (You can download the entire thing for free: Because the Urantia Foundation asserts that its authorship is superhuman, an Arizona court ruled in 1995 that it's not protected by copyright and is, thus, in the public domain.)
The book also purports that there have been many, many sons of God like Jesus on many different planets, because there are a billion worlds. When evolution is complete, each of these worlds will have 100,000 local universes with 10 million inhabited planets. Our earth is called Urantia, and it's number 606 in a planetary group named Satania, the headquarters of which is called Jerusem. When we die, we're reincarnated from planet-to-planet, then finally to Paradise, where the Deity lives. There is a little piece of the Deity in each of us, called a Thought Adjuster.
There are plenty of links in that excerpt that I was too lazy to include, but feel free to click through. (Unfortunately, the original article has been taken down and the link above goes through the Wayback Machine.)
Also "Thought Adjuster" is a nice turn of phrase. It reminds me vaguely of the Status Quo Solidifier from this book.
Siegel, who is now the current president of the Urantia Foundation and hosts a weekly study group at his house, discovered The Urantia Book in 1969, the same year he started hiking up the Rockies for herbs. In fact, the text was a major reason he decided to found Celestial Seasonings.
"After studying the teachings in The Urantia Book, I knew that it would feel selfish and wasteful to simply focus on material success," he said. "So, as a young man, when I began thinking of what I could do to make a living, I immediately turned to the health food industry...The ideas [in The Urantia Book] were the inspiration for the uplifting quotes we print on the side of our tea boxes and on our teabag tags!"
"Mo and John used it as a guiding principal and continually quoted from The Urantia Book," Caroline MacDougall, the company's fifth employee and the current founder and CEO of Teecino told Van Winkle's. At staff meetings they would even use quotes to bolster their arguments. "It was a guide for making sure of the moral values that underlay the company at that time," she added.
Unfortunately those views are insanely racist and include large scale genocide, so take your tea with a grain of salt.
No, I do not feel like berning.
Can we all link our favorite Bernie With Mittens? It's just the best.
In hindsight, the shift for me began in a significant way when the media companies all muzzled Trump, and I was no longer reading headlines about his tweets and rants. (And in fact:
Online misinformation about election fraud plunged 73 percent after several social media sites suspended President Trump and key allies last week, research firm Zignal Labs has found, underscoring the power of tech companies to limit the falsehoods poisoning public debate when they act aggressively.
so.) I like to imagine him squawking and ranting, miniaturized and trapped inside a heavy bell jar or snow globe. Red faced and alternately pounding the walls, his chest, and the ground, but nothing audible besides the faintest mouse taps. Let's put you up on this shelf, or in this trash can.
Guest Post - Day One
CharleyCarp writes: So, what should Biden do on his first day? (In addition to a vaccine plan, and telling Congress to send him an aid bill). There's a ton of good stuff to do. I've read that he's going to cancel the Keystone pipeline. I'm sure there's a zilling things folks can think of. Let's have a bed of nails. Good nails.
I've been saying that it's smart to put the VP on cleaning out the stables. Looking at the list, though, I see that there are 12 district court vacancies in California. OK, this is patronage that belongs to her replacement, but I bet she could rattle off a dozen quality names with no more than 5 minutes thought. (None of them are N.D. which is kind of odd. Does Sen. F's reach not extend any further?)
Heebie's take: Let's have a bed of nails. Good nails.
Oh man, this is a dazzling premise. Flood the country with so many lefty progressive things that none of them can gather any outrage. The answer isn't to sell and market your ideas to the country - if you try to sell Obamacare, you wind up with the noise machine having a field day with death panels. But if you just straight up socialize healthcare, reform immigration, pass the Green New Deal, make college free, and pass a UBI all on Thursday, none of them will have enough oxygen to raise much of a squawk.
Those aren't serious answers to Charley's prompt, of course. I'm just noting that as a strategy, it hadn't occurred to me that "go for broke" generates a lot less outrage than "carefully explain and defend your well-researched thoughtful proposal and give everyone time to reflect."
Check Ins, Reassurances, and Concerns, 1/21
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. There is no way it could function as that sentence implies, but it's still nice to have a thread.
Conversations about Race
The transcript of this episode of the podcast On Being has some good lines in it:
Claudia Rankine: I spend a lot of time thinking about, how can I say this so that we can stay in this car together, and yet explore the things that I want to explore with you?
Ms. Tippett: I just think that line --
Ms. Rankine: How can I say this so we can stay in this car together?
Ms. Tippett: That should be a national motto for us.
I was on a plane, and there was this white guy, and he was nice, and he asked me, "What kind of music do you like?" I said, "I like 'Night Shift' by The Commodores." And he's like, "I love 'Night Shift.'"
So -- you know that song? How does it go? Somebody, sing. [sings] "On the night shift...what you doin' now" -- anyway, it's a great song. We sang that song -- on the plane, two strangers -- we sang "Night Shift," even though I can't do it now. I had him to push me along, and so the words came back. And he's the kind of person who, had I met him in my real life, we probably would be friends. And then he said to me, "I don't see color." And it was like, whoa. [laughs]
But the amazing thing that happened was, somehow, I said -- I don't even know how I did it, but I said to him, "Ah, that's not such a good thing to say." And he said, "Why?" And I said, "Because I'm a black woman, and you're a white man. And I want you to see that. If you don't see color, you're not seeing me. And if you can't see me, you can't see racism. And I want you to be able to see those things." And he said -- and this is the moment that I loved. He said to me, "Did I say anything else?" And I said, "No, that was it."
Then we got back on our conversation, just like that.
I am nervous-curious to ask black friends or other not-white friends who I've known for a long time if I ever said some callous stuff that stuck with them and counted against me. Mostly I grew up being taught that mentioning race was taboo, so it's entirely possible I never said anything disruptive one way or another. Now I am so woke that it would knock your socks off. So get ready to not hear me say anything that will count against me.
Guest Post - Wikipedia is 20!
Mo Char writes: Key Takeaways [...] Wikipedia largely works: intentionally distorting Wikipedia is very difficult. Lest we forget how vast a triumph, despite it all, the internet is.
Heebie's take: I definitely remember someone explaining to me what Wikipedia was and why it was so cool for the first time, I think in probably in fall of 2001.
To hear k-12 teachers tell it, wikipedia is the least acceptable place ever to dare learn about something, how dare you, clearly you need to have real sources. My conclusion is that we do a really bad job teaching students about good sources and bad sources, largely because the teachers are constrained by two things:
1. A hopelessly pure notion of what constitutes a good source: a thing purchased by the school, affiliated with a university or academia, or the government. (I suppose they count newspapers, too.) Let's all agree that K-12 students largely cannot read an academic paper, so the effect is that students are quickly constrained to things published by Pearson or whoever has the school contract in order to get something written at an age-appropriate level.
2. A desire to teach students about healthy skepticism of websites, without wading into politics and telling students that their parents are MAGA goobers. (Or possibly a MAGA teacher who doesn't want to tell students that their parents are NPR snowflakes.)
So Wikipedia is the scapegoat, the universal site they can all agree on to hammer home the message that you absolutely can't trust what you read on the web. (My colleagues at the university level seem to have a message of "Start with Wikipedia, then follow the sources at the bottom to get to your sources," which seems a little more nuanced.)
I honestly think k-12 teachers are just overwhelmed by the complexity of how to teach trustworthy sources in age-appropriate ways and the professional development on such things haven't been updated since, oh, fall 2001. (Or the professional development is run by Pearson.)