Thursday, June 23, 2011

Living in a Dream World

All around maniac John Derbyshire reads of two marines being mugged and uses Heinlein's Starship Troopers as evidence that the military today is filled with sissies-boys or overly lawyered-up. Conservatives, it seems, are unable to find re-world examples for their desires and, consequently, rely on fantasies and dreamworlds, which explains their tax, job, military, and other policies.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Oh For Dumb

From here, I learned that the NYT published a pile of crap on Anthony Weiner's handwriting. How absurdly stupid, bad, and just plain wrong is the article? Read this and weep:

Lynn, a handwriting expert who spoke on the condition that she be identified only by her middle name because she wanted to protect her identity in the small community of handwriting analysts, said that Mr. Weiner’s large signature represented “a person who might be a bit flamboyant.”
Yes, that's right. The NYT gave anonymity to a "handwriting expert" who feared for her cred should her small community of grifters and frauds know that she thinks Weiner is "flamboyant." And people wonder how Republican maniacs win elections.


People's actions in the past create the present. This seems to me to be axiomatic. However, there are those whose interest are best served by eliding agency. So, for example, Neo-liberals like to use "market forces" or some other obscurantist language to make the hideous appear inevitable. I was, mistakenly it seems, under the impression that people on the left were aware of this linguistic slight of hand. From Eric Loomis I learned that
even a lot of progressives seem to talk of globalization as this unstoppable trend with a self-powering propulsion engine pushing it forward ever faster.
I thought that this had to be wrong; however,  I read this in which a "progressive" admits to thinking that she once thought globalization was "evolutionary" rather than actively pursued in the interest of profit maximization.

Shortly thereafter I was reading an older James Fallows essay on the fundamental errors of the media, in his specific case how the journalists' intellectual laziness and ignorance buttress the lure of talking "horse races" instead of issues. It's undoubtedly true. What do these two things have in common?, you ask. Consider Yglesias' intellectual development. He went from an uniformed dimbulb urging war to a uniformed dimbulb using partially digested economic language to urge passivity in the face of inevitability of "market forces."

It's simply bizarre the extent to which masking reality is a fundamentally necessary skill for succeeding in the media business.