Culture & Entertainment

Why two spaces after a period isn’t wrong (or, the lies typographers tell about history) – Heraclitean River

The author, Farhad Manjoo, is astounded to find so many educated and ignorant people who apparently believe that two spaces are okay. He even polls people over Thanksgiving dinner, just so he can tell them how wrong they are! The

Posted in Internet, Meta, Miscellany, Noted & Quoted

Hollywood’s Protests Are Getting to Trump – Vulture

“This Meryl Streep speech is why Trump won,” warned Meghan McCain. “And if people in Hollywood don’t start recognizing why and how — you will help him get reelected.” No sale. The argument that Trump voters flocked to a TV

Posted in Culture & Entertainment, Noted & Quoted, Operation American Greatness Tagged with: , ,

“Human nature only really exists in an achieved community of minds.” – Hegel

Just wanted to note the line, from the Preface to The Phenomenology of Spirit (§69), for later use and overuse. I’m quite fond of the larger passage: Since the man of common sense makes his appeal to feeling, to an

Posted in Internet, Philosophy, Political Philosophy

Bryan Menegus: Why Trolls Won in 2016 – Gizmodo

The tech industry’s 10-year plan to sweep the problems of harassment, abuse, and misinformation under the rug was only a prelude to the industry’s soon-to-be cozy relationship with the incoming administration: Paypal creator and early Facebook investor Peter Thiel being

Posted in Internet, Noted & Quoted, Operation American Greatness

Postscript to future historians from Xmas 2016 (OAG #8)

We would be compelled to conclude that something must have been (and very likely remains) profoundly wrong with a political culture or political media – of which Matthew Yglesias and Vox are, of course, typical parts – that could be dominated by an issue to be judged intrinsically trivial, and dominated to the point of determining eventual collective decisions of undoubted significance.

Posted in Internet, notes, Operation American Greatness

Francis Fukuyama: The emergence of a post-fact world – The Strategist

The inability to agree on the most basic of facts is the direct product of an across-the-board assault on democratic institutions—in the US, in Britain, and throughout the world. And this is where the democracies are headed for real trouble.

Posted in Internet, Noted & Quoted, Operation American Greatness, Politics

‘Unpresidented’: Donald Trump invents the Guardian’s word of the year – The Guardian

unpresidented Feeling of loss when a president who has neither the temperament nor the knowledge to actually be president is elected president, causing one to wonder who will actually be running the country and triggering feelings of malaise and dread…

Posted in Books, Noted & Quoted, Operation American Greatness, Politics

Patti Smith Sings “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” at Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize Ceremony

I saw a room full of men with their hammers a-bleedin’/
I saw a white ladder all covered with water/
I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken/
I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children…

Posted in Music Tagged with: ,

No One Can Say: Before Us (OAG #5)

We might say that it will likely be many years before we can reasonably pronounce the American project truly over, but the main reason we cannot say so is not that the evidence has still to be accumulated, the 10,000 simultaneous simulations run, and a probability estimate produced.

Posted in Internet, Operation American Greatness, Politics Tagged with:

Commenter Ignore Button Preview Video

With this #WordPress Plugin I bestow upon humankind the greatest gift that has ever been given it so far…

Posted in Internet, Videos, WordPress Plug-Ins

From the Featured Archives

Noted & Quoted

(1)

TV pundits and op-ed writers of every major newspaper epitomize how the Democratic establishment has already reached a consensus: the 2020 nominee must be a centrist, a Joe Biden, Cory Booker or Kamala Harris–type, preferably. They say that Joe Biden should "run because [his] populist image fits the Democrats’ most successful political strategy of the past generation" (David Leonhardt, New York Times), and though Biden "would be far from an ideal president," he "looks most like the person who could beat Trump" (David Ignatius, Washington Post). Likewise, the same elite pundit class is working overtime to torpedo left-Democratic candidates like Sanders.

For someone who was not acquainted with Piketty's paper, the argument for a centrist Democrat might sound compelling. If the country has tilted to the right, should we elect a candidate closer to the middle than the fringe? If the electorate resembles a left-to-right line, and each voter has a bracketed range of acceptability in which they vote, this would make perfect sense. The only problem is that it doesn't work like that, as Piketty shows.

The reason is that nominating centrist Democrats who don't speak to class issues will result in a great swathe of voters simply not voting. Conversely, right-wing candidates who speak to class issues, but who do so by harnessing a false consciousness — i.e. blaming immigrants and minorities for capitalism's ills, rather than capitalists — will win those same voters who would have voted for a more class-conscious left candidate. Piketty calls this a "bifurcated" voting situation, meaning many voters will connect either with far-right xenophobic nationalists or left-egalitarian internationalists, but perhaps nothing in-between.

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(5)

Understanding Trump’s charisma offers important clues to understanding the problems that the Democrats need to address. Most important, the Democratic candidate must convey a sense that he or she will fulfil the promise of 2008: not piecemeal reform but a genuine, full-scale change in America’s way of thinking. It’s also crucial to recognise that, like Britain, America is at a turning point and must go in one direction or another. Finally, the candidate must speak to Americans’ sense of self-respect linked to social justice and inclusion. While Weber’s analysis of charisma arose from the German situation, it has special relevance to the United States of America, the first mass democracy, whose Constitution invented the institution of the presidency as a recognition of the indispensable role that unique individuals play in history.

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(0)

[E]ven Fox didn’t tout Bartiromo’s big scoops on Trump’s legislative agenda, because 10 months into the Trump presidency, nobody is so foolish as to believe that him saying, “We’re doing a big infrastructure bill,” means that the Trump administration is, in fact, doing a big infrastructure bill. The president just mouths off at turns ignorantly and dishonestly, and nobody pays much attention to it unless he says something unusually inflammatory.On some level, it’s a little bit funny. On another level, Puerto Rico is still languishing in the dark without power (and in many cases without safe drinking water) with no end in sight. Trump is less popular at this point in his administration than any previous president despite a generally benign economic climate, and shows no sign of changing course. Perhaps it will all work out for the best, and someday we’ll look back and chuckle about the time when we had a president who didn’t know anything about anything that was happening and could never be counted on to make coherent, factual statements on any subject. But traditionally, we haven’t elected presidents like that — for what have always seemed like pretty good reasons — and the risks of compounding disaster are still very much out there.

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