Archive for category We’re Doomed
Cynical though I may appear, I can’t stand defeatist and vacuous arguments of the form, “Z is inevitable owing to a variety of causes, so there’s no reason to eliminate known cause Y.”
I shared an apartment with six other people my junior year of college, two women and four men. This story is not going anywhere close to where you assholes think it is. We five menfolk were collectively intemperate at times when it came to dousing our minds with liquid and botanical intoxicants, and we were also basically kids. So the downstairs was usually somewhere between messy and post-apocalyptic.
I, the neatnik of the bunch (hey, even Trump has staff members someone somewhere thinks of as bright), was one of the two residents who regularly tried cleaning up the place. (The women were not slobs, but they also never stayed downstairs when they were home, so the indoor landfill may as well have been in a different apartment.) One day, three of my roommates walked in just after I’d spent an hour getting the dishes, beer cans and bottles, plates, boxes, discarded newspapers, and dead rodents (OK, it wasn’t that bad) out of the house or into their proper places. The first thing my roommate Brian did when he noticed was zing a bottle cap across the room with an expert flick of his thumb and forefinger. It landed behind a couch I’d just dug out.
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Is calling someone “Pocahontas” an ethnic slur? Assume that it’s not. Why are the people insulted that Trump is being accused of racism for his remarks in Hawaii yesterday even bothering? When you defend someone who doesn’t even hide his own fondness for racial discord against allegations of a racial slur, you only add to the barrage of reasons a lot of people you encounter probably think you’re an idiot. Alternatively, you could be deflecting, like this asshole.
Imagine someone who’s been bragging for two decades that his daddy cheats on his income taxes every year bristling at the very suggestion that his dad went through a highway tollbooth this morning without paying.
But it’s worse than this, of course, because I’ve never seen Trump sound more drunk or mentally disabled than he did during that soliloquy, and identifying anything as such is akin to saying you know for sure which Bazooka Joe comic strip is the least funny. I’ve concluded that a startling number of people, in addition to those who simply like the tumult, genuinely do not know that Trump invariably sounds like someone trying to say the words to “Yellow Submarine” backward while failing to remember all but seven of them. When they say that he sounds like an intelligent speaker, they mean it. This has me once again aching for either the immediate construction and grand opening of the U.S.A. DumberDome (inside joke, sort of) or an intense, nationwide campaign of forced sterilization (hyperbole, maybe).
I liken the current crop of Americans — everyone born since, say, the end of WWII — to several generations of mindless trust-fund kids. We act as if we worked to achieve something great, when from an objective perspective this is complete horseshit; all we’ve done is fortuitously “choose” our shared place of birth, with our forebears having done all the work to get us to where we are.
Make no mistake, I feel incredibly lucky to have been born here and to live here. With almost no exceptions, I feel physically comfortable and safe every moment of every day, have never wanted for food or shelter even in lean times, and have never been under the direct threat of harm from the government or any other organized entity.
At the same time, we’re basically like the one kid in the privileged family who, instead of using his station and what he was given to propel himself further forward, still manages to act like a leering moron most of the time. Yeah, he’s got a degree from a good school and makes good money and has a circle of friends, but most people who meet him recognize that he’s a bumbling, spiteful frat-boy with a silver spoon hanging out of his ass and becoming more tarnished by the day.
There is nothing inherently wonderful, wise, or progressive about Americans as a whole. No country similar to the U.S. socioeconomically has a sizable fraction of people eager to embrace incredibly stupid concepts and practices. You won’t find any prosperous nations besides this one where an astonishing percentage of the population believes in, among various other forms of obvious horseshit, biblical creationism. I’m not sure how we rate versus other countries in the areas of anti-vaccination loons, anti-ESCR, and related solecisms, but I’m guessing we’re not far in front of the puttering sag wagon in those races either.
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Consider this idea that KKKers and white supremacists apparently maintain: they are genetically or otherwise superior to Jewish people. This aspect of their belief system is often ignored because they’re so preoccupied with hating black people.
I don’t know about all of your experiences, but I know quite a few Jewish people for someone who doesn’t get out any more than he needs to. I was actually shocked to learn in my mid-twenties that only about 2 percent of the U.S. population is Jewish, given how many Jews I had hung around with, studied under, and lived with by that point.
There aren’t a whole lot of things about the Jewish people I know that qualify as inferior by even the most outlandish measures. My landlord is a retired dentist who at 70 has a second home on a another continent, surfs, rides his bike around like a maniac, and pretty much dominates Match dot com. One of my best friends is a successful runner and accountant who owns a home in Boulder. My supervisor, a woman from Israel, is a math genius but only on the side because of the other things she’s involved in. This sampling barely scratches the surface; I am just talking here about people with whom I interact almost every day. I often forget that they are Jewish because they never mention it and are all approximately as devout as I am, although I may have to fire up an interfaith prayer group for the locals just for kicks.
Contrast this with a typical cross-section of a Klan meeting, as I understand such gatherings from television and the Web. I am going to offer the tentative opinion that these folks are doing a sterling job of keeping under wraps whatever aspects of themselves they believe to be supreme in either relative or absolute terms. Many are struggling with weight and employment issues, and are not among the most well-spoken, even-tempered men of the citizenry. Collectively, they seem to take perverse pride in saying and doing the most misguided things imaginable while cameras are rolling or the screen-shot police are deployed. They seem wondrously oblivious to operating in accordance with pre-Korean War societal norms. A startling number of their vocal churchgoers wind up embroiled in apocalyptically embarrassing sex scandals.
Now I could be accused of selection bias here, and like I said, there aren’t that many Jewish people in all of the United States — around six million. But when was the last time you read about a cadre of drunken Jews getting caught trying to steal the ATM out of a Waffle House with a pickup and a winch? Or observed a potential member of U.S. Congress named Solomon Goldberg rambling on about how evolution is bullshit and the gay agenda is ruining schools? Alternatively, how many fellows named Cletus Jessup or Homer Gantry do you know who are completing neurosurgery residencies or publishing papers in theoretical physics journals?
I mean, it’s one thing to be jealous, if that’s what this is all about. But come on, trying to dress it all up as smugness and superiority? Time for a new strategy.
- People would be using computers to videoconference in real time
- The notion of “writing letters” would be a quaint memory for most
- Most entertainment (music, movies) would not be stored on the physical media of the day, but retained digitally in remote places or on tiny devices
- The Red Sox would win three or more World Series
- I would run a marathon at 5:30 pace
- I would settle in Colorado
- The U.S. President would be both deranged, stupid, and proudly immoral
- A lot of people would be happy that the POTUS was deranged, stupid, and proudly immoral
- That POTUS would be Donald Trump
According to another depressing poll from the Pew Research Center, churches and banks earn more trust from Americans than colleges and the media. Not surprisingly, Republicans and right-leaning people are more openly hostile toward reality and more eager to embrace horseshit and ruinous influences than others.
Say what you will about the media and higher education, but lying to people for the purpose of parting them from their money is almost the sole intent of the people running churches and banks. Read the rest of this entry »
Donald Trump walks into a hotel room. Vladimir Putin is standing at the foot of the bed with his pants around his ankles, clasping his rigid phallus, which Trump enviously notes is nearly four inches long. Ivanka lies naked on the bed, arms and legs akimbo, a pool of yuck betwixt her meticulously groomed thighs, and even more vacant look than usual on her kewpie-doll features.
“Did you just fuck my daughter?” Trump asks incredulously (and again, with no small amount of envy).
“Of course not,” declares Putin, nonchalantly tucking his rapidly deflating meat-whistle into his goofy pants. “We were just discussing policy.”
“Great!” booms Trump, his familiar ugly rictus of a “smile” quickly polluting his features. “We’re done here — but would you consider naming some good folks to my new U.S. Anti-Extramarital Affairs Council? Send me your best.”
Donald Trump remains a bloated old shitbag who looks so openly irate and stressed and confused while performing the most basic of tasks, like signing his own name, that it’s impossible to not feel a modicum of pity at the sight of him in addition to the frustration and despair any decent or sane person has to experience when confronted with the fact that we Americans live in a country that elected such a worthless human being president, and therefore live in a country with numerous people whose major function as citizens is taking up space unnecessarily until they blessedly expire and rot into forgotten irrelevance, as Trump himself will do one day erelong.
I’d love to tell him all of this to his face, but the real impact of this executive order, like so many of his preceding ones, is probably minimal. He’s basically telling preachers of the swamp-dwelling Elmer Gantry type that they can officially tell parishioners whom to vote for, which is like giving a teenage boy permission to masturbate vigorously and often. Read the rest of this entry »
I grew up in a nonreligious household in what was even then a notably irreligious part of the country (an hour north of Boston in New Hampshire). Dad had gone to Catholic school in the Midwest but never bought the scheme; Mom had gone to some nondenominational Protestant church as a matter of social course and was told little more than “Don’t wear make-up and short skirts.” There was no Internet, all of my churchgoing friends were Catholic, and discussions of theology among friends and family members were just not a part of my life. I did understand that atheists were a much-tsk-tsked bunch of people, but this was mostly an abstraction. Read the rest of this entry »
Psychological projection is a potent force, and smart people are at least as susceptible to its wiles as anyone else — maybe more so. Even continually and accurately pointing out examples of projection in other people won’t immunize you; only cold, uncomfortable reality can break its spell.
If you’ve been telling yourself, in spite of what mounds of polling data and other metrics of public opinion reveal every day, that “no one” or “hardly anyone” really thinks that a wall along the Mexican border is not only worth the expense but sure to be effective, you are wrong. If you tell yourself that “no one who’s paying any attention” really thinks that Trump plans to repeal the ACA and immediately replace it with a better plan, you are wrong. And it’s not just complete backwoods tunnel-vision ninnies who believe such things, although it’s safe to say virtually all such people believe them. I have spent some time in less urbanized, less economically flourishing parts of the state recently, and it has been an eye-opening, even jarring experience in terms of the dearth of cognition that occurs in an abundance of people between hearing something on the news and ejecting it from the primary hole in their faces. Read the rest of this entry »
A lot of us are familiar with sort of belligerent online ranters who aren’t afraid to “speak their minds,” “stir the pot,” “put it out there,” and so on — as long as they can control the conversation, that is. On their blogs and social-media profiles, these people grow comfortable talking either into a void or to a (typically small) cadre of equally mindless followers. It is usually evident that their toxic views and flights of ideas are fueled by some combination of glaring intelligence deficits or legitimate mental illness. Their output is blatantly dishonest, repetitive, self-contradictory, and in violation of countless rules of grammar and style.
I’ve mentioned before that I have more than a few friends who voted for our ever-more-embattled C-i-C, and that they not only don’t take umbrage at the stuff I write about various pertinent goings-on, but also chuckle at a lot of it.
But not everyone has such accommodating people in their online lives. If you have friends or “friends” who disagree with your politics or religious beliefs in a manner you find toxic, don’t worry, you don’t need to take action — soon enough, they will.
This is how it goes: Read the rest of this entry »
It’s interesting to imagine what will happen when President Trump first achieves what he honestly believes to be a genuine political victory, and what even some objective observers might view as one. (Insert old metaphor about stopped clocks and twice-a-day correctness.)
Trump will be eager to take full credit for whatever this turns out to be — say, a surge in employment in a given sector or the capturing of an Islamic terrorist on U.S. soil. This is nothing new, since he regularly assigns himself credit for things he had nothing to do with or aren’t even going well, bullshit that the media has been happy to call him on.
Trump is used to being disparaged and mocked in the press, but I suspect that there is a part of him that thinks that he can turn this around by perpetrating some grand or merely grandiose act of presidential shazam. When this doesn’t materialize — and as I think we can all agree, it won’t, as the media is going to keep taunting and baiting him and exploiting his personality disorders for a whole array of good reasons — I think he will be deeply disturbed.
In other words, Trump can take the potshots he’s getting now — not with any amount of grace or equanimity, but without literally collapsing or doing something so egregiously fucked up that some authority greater than him has to intervene. But I don’t think he’ll be able handle the continued jeers and taunts and insults and criticism when he truly believes he’s being a good president and no one seems to notice or care. Because if there is one thing a narcissist despises more than his poor qualities being maligned, it’s his supposedly good ones being ignored.
I need to un-train my mind in certain ways.
I see this sort of thing and continue to think, “How the hell is it that so many people can rally behind anyone, let alone a U.S. president, who both rages away at phantom enemies (and legitimate criticism) like this and is functionally illiterate to boot?”
Then I recall the output of the most vocal Trump fans I’ve crossed online paths with recently, and remind myself of the obvious: People who like Trump unconditionally aren’t disregarding the fact that he thinks and writes like a preteen with severe lead poisoning; they actually don’t even notice this. If anything, they probably assume that Trump is turning out Shakespeare-caliber prose and thundering away perfectly on-point every time he ejaculates this sort of unintelligible, raving nonsense. They can no more appreciate how his words look to normal people than I can follow the logic of someone doing tensor calculus in his head or merely speaking Russian.
Not exactly, but isn’t it fun to think that way? Doesn’t that get your liberal heart beating with real force?
What I’m actually considering here is a doppelganger of sorts of that argument — the persistence of the “liberals want to live on government handouts” myth. It’s an interesting political phenomenon in that no one internal to the idea actually believes it. Read the rest of this entry »
Building on an observation I made yesterday: When people who are clearly mentally unbalanced are at least coherent enough to form political opinions, in any contest they observe between a candidate who goes about things comparatively quietly and one whose chief strategy is inexhaustible high-volume raving about Stuff That Needs Fixing, they invariably go for the shrieking demagogue. Read the rest of this entry »
I continue to be intrigued by people who self-identify as conservative in spite of having been supported by some combination of the government and other people’s charity for literally their entire lives. I ponder the underlying psychology and then conclude there’s actually nothing unusual about this seeming contradiction: If you can’t or won’t make your own way in life to an even marginal extent, it eases your internal conflict to symbolically align yourself with those who can and do.
I’m trying to come up with the liberal answer to this kind of person. Maybe a closet racist or closeted gay person who wishes to shed such biases because it’s “right” and who therefore superficially adopts anti-bigotry political stances?
I have been a beneficiary of the Affordable Care Act since the first open enrollment in January 2014. As a freelancer of long standing, I hadn’t had health insurance in almost ten years. When I filled out the online application at the Colorado Connect site (a technical Hindenburg, then and now) and told them I was essentially a self-employed business owner who expected to earn X that year, I was surprised to get a card in the mail just a few days later that includes a very decent plan. They asked for no verification of any of the info I’d supplied them, and have renewed my coverage twice now with no help from me.
So, I have no personal complaints. But I am sanguine enough to acknowledge that this says nothing about the experience of other people, and I am close with a few of them who have less than glowing things to say about the bureaucracy managing the ACA show here in Colorado. Moreover, the healthcare system in this country remains a nightmare for many. And while it makes no sense to blame President Obama personally or declare the program an on-balance failure — clearly, some people will thrive under the system at the expense of others, and I don’t think anyone in the know suggested this wouldn’t be the case — it is very easy to do this, because a large segment of the population is sufficiently bitter and blinkered to draw a direct line of causality between America having black Democratic president and their persistent case of anal warts.
I’ve just described the perfect storm for right-wing bloggers are pseudo-journalists, many of whom seem to prefer writing dishonestly to experiencing orgasms, to embark on a prolonged and gleeful misinformation spree. You’ve got angry right-wingers, lots of polls about health insurance, plausible debate over the overall effectiveness of the ACA in doing what it was intended to do (there are far more articles echoing this and this than stories offering opposing ideas in major media outlets, but we all know what the Yosemite Sam Brigade has to say about the mainstream media). That adds up to carte blanche for conservative “reporters” to throw meat scraps at the starving low-information piranhas just looking for one more reason to bitch about socialism, liberals, and (in the right company) blacks. Never mind that the meat is actually Tofurky or some such vegan impostor; stoking the fury of the pig-ignorant masses is critical. If you can do this by attaching a whole ton of deceitful shit to a central kernel of truth or even faint legitimacy, you’ve done your job and your site’s hit count will rise.
I found a great example yesterday Read the rest of this entry »
The greatest thing about unintentional irony is that its power to amuse is immune to the sands of time.
We live, of course, in an era in which every slack-minded crusader with Internet access seems to think that his frantic and delusional ideas about politics, religion and life in general merit a personal blog. This has boosted the number of people publicly expressing thoughts that are not only profoundly stupid but also magnificently oblivious to levels no observer could have predicted even twenty years ago. Nevertheless, every new addition to the canon of “Look at the pile of chocolate it looks like I stepped in! Why does it stink?” is just as entertaining as the ones preceding it. If nothing else, these actors are largely insulated from uncomfortable emotions such as shame and embarrassment, because they lack the intellectual candlepower to see how badly off the mark their shots invariably fall.
Since you visit the Internet, you’re surely aware that it features a colossal army of jabbering fools whose self-appointed role is to tirelessly clutter the Web with a staggering amount of fact-starved and barely decipherable material every day.
One of the many silver linings of this inexhaustible supply of really, really dumb bloggers is that morons offer excellent examples of the phenomenon of cognitive bias. We all indulge in this practice, but unsophisticated thinkers cannot see their own cognitive biases (hello, Dunning! Meet Kruger!) so they have no motivation to conceal them and probably couldn’t even if they tried.
My one-stop shop for what the dumbest right-wingers in America are thinking, Granite Grok, is biased against atheism, gay- and transgender-friendly legislation, immigrants, minorities, global warming, taxation, and educated people. Not because they have evaluated any of these things objectively on their merits — such a task would be too Herculean for them to even ponder — but because they believe that as “conservatives” they are supposed to automatically categorically reject a well-defined array of issues and concepts. Read the rest of this entry »