Much Like Julian Assange, Roseanne Barr is Not Your Friend

So I still read witty lawyer Ken White ( @popehat ) in spite of his unfortunate tendency to RT the oldskool conservative soi-disant “intelligentsia” like @Allahpundit (who once gleefully RTd “gorilla arms” tweets about Michelle Obama).  Personally I don’t see any big diff between Allahpundit and Gatewaypundit but I guess Allahpundit gets a pass from Ken because of professional courtesy– he’s a lawyer.

I wrote about Julian Assange here— but I do not get why Ken would ponder about Roseanne’s loon aspect being exposed– she really did vote Trump IRL– she is an Israeli-nazi.  Roseanne won’t talk about Greater Israel on her sitcom– she will talk about jobs and the economy.  Ever since Roseanne has had a twitter account she has been passionately pro-Israel.

Roseanne is just as stealthy as Ricky Vaughn or Spotted Toad— she isn’t going to tell you her real reason for secretly supporting Trump– it’s because Trump whole-heartedly supports the ethnic cleansing of muslim/Palestinians in Israeli claimed territory.  Huffpo on Vaughn:

But his desire ― or need ― to be all things to all racists no longer worked. The opportunism that gave him mass appeal when the far-right was unified during the Trump campaign and for several months after the election also spelled his doom after last summer’s Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. The deadly rally was a disaster for the alt-right. The infighting began soon after. And Ricky Vaughn was a target.

“That same strategy of one foot in the mainstream camp and one foot in the white nationalist camp didn’t hold up after Charlottesville,” Hankes from the SPLC said. “You saw him getting attacked pretty viciously by the hard right in the post-Charlottesville moment where a large part of the alt-right was black-pilled (i.e. soured) on Trump. That mainstream strategy kind of crumbled and ruined his credibility.”

He was too soft, many other white nationalists said. Too much of a sellout. Many denounced him. But Ricky Vaughn kept fighting for relevance. A month ago, in the debut of his own “Ricky Vaughncast” podcast, he described his new approach, which was softer even still. He felt the alt-right should move away from trying to publicly convert people to white nationalism with brute-force propaganda and instead seduce them secretly in private.

lol– caveat emptor.

Roseanne is going to feed Trump’s base the same MAGA/jobs/BS that Trump fed them…but her covert agenda is Greater Israel.

I guess its true, we always become what we most despise.  Roseanne has become a nazi.


Still Looking for Mr. Goodbar

“A New Prophet” lol– posing for the part.

I just don’t get why Scott Alexander is so ummm… “respected” by the twitterati… the guy seems profoundly clueless and incredibly dense.  eg, if you make a safe space for racist and/or misogynist and/or homophobic and/or xenophobic speech obviously the racists, misogynists, homophobes and xenophobes will only become MOAR openly phobic and entrenched in their views.  Alexander is basically removing the social capital penalty for those kinds of anti-social behaviors enforced by the cultural evolution of US society.  So Alexander (much like his fellow traveler David Brooks) is not offering any kind of solution to our current socio-cultural woes.  “Respecting” the redtribe won’t increase their permeability to reason and science.  This seems like such a failure to grasp basic social physics and biology of belief research that I find it difficult to believe Alexander is as credentialed as he claims to be.  I too wanted to understand the schism between red and blue so I made a doomed effort to comment at the Cult of SSC for a couple of months.  My conclusion is that the red/grey tribe is neither understandable or persuadable– we are simply not the same.

So that’s why I find Alexander’s latest enraptured embrace of Jordan Petersen so hilarious, in a comedie noir semi-tragic fashion, of course.   Petersen reminds me of a slick scientology proselytizer more than anything ( without the Xenu), but Alexander is apparently head over heels about him, comparing him favorably to CS Lewis.

Twelve Rules isn’t another such thinkpiece. The thinkpieces are people pointing out a gap. Twelve Rules is an attempt to fill it. This isn’t unprecedented – there are always a handful of cult leaders and ideologues making vague promises. But if you join the cult leaders you become a cultist, and if you join the ideologues you become the kind of person Eric Hoffer warned you about. Twelve Rules is something that could, in theory, work for intact human beings. It’s really impressive.

And so learning that Jordan Peterson, who in his off-hours injects pharmaceutical-grade meaning into thousands of disillusioned young people men (ed. correction– there is no indication that Peterson appeals to young women in any sort of numbers)– learning that even he doesn’t have much he can do except listen and try to help people organize their narrative – is really calming and helpful.

I agree with Nathan Robinson here.

Jordan Peterson’s popularity is the sign of a deeply impoverished political and intellectual landscape… if you want to appear very profound and convince people to take you seriously, but have nothing of value to say, there is a tried and tested method. First, take some extremely obvious platitude or truism. Make sure it actually does contain some insight, though it can be rather vague. Something like “if you’re too conciliatory, you will sometimes get taken advantage of” or “many moral values are similar across human societies.” Then, try to restate your platitude using as many words as possible, as unintelligibly as possible, while never repeating yourself exactly. Use highly technical language drawn from many different academic disciplines, so that no one person will ever have adequate training to fully evaluate your work. Construct elaborate theories with many parts. Draw diagrams. Use italics liberally to indicate that you are using words in a highly specific and idiosyncratic sense. Never say anything too specific, and if you do, qualify it heavily so that you can always insist you meant the opposite. Then evangelize: speak as confidently as possible, as if you are sharing God’s own truth. Accept no criticisms: insist that any skeptic has either misinterpreted you or has actually already admitted that you are correct. Talk as much as possible and listen as little as possible. Follow these steps, and your success will be assured. (It does help if you are male and Caucasian.)

I wrote about this here when someone suggested Ann Coulter as an exemplar of a new public intellectual of the red/grey tribe– the right is engaged in a desperate search for appealing spokesmen and leadership– the old guard of conservative intellectuals have all left the building.

Alexander is still metaphorically looking for Mr. Goodbar.  Looking for Mr. Goodbar is a 20th century novel–  a psychological thriller about a young woman’s obsessive search for the agent of her own death.  Now I’m not saying embracing Petersen as a champion of the red/grey axis would cause Scott Alexander’s actual death…just the metaphorical death of the GOP.  And I would argue that the GOP has already found its Mr. Goodbar in Donald Trump, the overwhelming choice of the base.  I just cant wait for the slasher finale, where Trump grinds the red tribe /grey tribe coalition into lamb patties.  I don’t think Petersen’s infinite series of platitudes and cliches is going to hold much value in the post-Trump apocalyptic landscape of the future.

Scott Alexander and Murderism

I must admit I’m feeling a little shadenfruedish over the SSC/Critical Affairs dust-up.  I was a commenter at SSC when Alexander wrote Against Murderism— and I completely didn’t understand it.  It made no sense.  It was explained to me by another commenter as “Scott trying to make the blue tribe be nicer to the red tribe.”  I think that’s accurrate.   So seeing Alexander revealed as a delicate snowflake pleading for a return to his previous relative obscurity is just delicious poetic justice.

3. Nobody is under any obligation to comply with this, but if you want to encourage this blog to continue to exist, I request not to be cited in major national newspapers. I realize it’s meant well, and I appreciate the honor, but I’ve gotten a few more real-life threats than I’m entirely comfortable with, and I would prefer decreased publicity for now.

Of course the twitterati are going are to point and laugh when Scott defends Ann Coulter followers while confessing he has never actually read Ann Coulter.

I have lived a sufficiently blessed life never to have actually heard or read Ann Coulter.

Really.  Perhaps Scott should read some Coulter.  It has been suggested to me that since conservative public intellectuals have left the party over Trump, that Coulter is one of the new “intellectuals”  leading conservative thought.  And then Scott aligns himself with David Brooks , one of the biggest punchlines in contemporary punditry.

The biggest problem I have with Alexander and his tribe of soi-disant “rationalists” is that they arent.  Are not rational, that is. They are rationalizers, like Dr. Church says in this Edge interview.

I don’t know if you’ve read The Righteous Mind, but Jon Haidt makes the point that even people who consider themselves very rational are not using a rational argument when making decisions. They’re making decisions and then using the rational argument to rationalize. A lot of what he says sounds obvious once you restate it, but I found the way he says it and backs it up with social science research very illuminating, if not compelling.

The elephant, as he refers to it, the thing that’s making your decisions in your life, is deciding that this person is telling you that you’re responsible for something you don’t feel responsible for. It’s telling you that you have to sacrifice many things that you don’t want to sacrifice. From your viewpoint, that person is inconvenient, incorrect, and you’re going to ignore them. The more they insult you and your way of life, the less you’re going to listen to them, and then you’re going to make a bunch of rationalizations about that. This is why we have problems.

I have a good friend who is a self-declared conservative, he’s a brilliant guy, respected in his field and community.  But when I asked him what he wanted from liberals, he said (and I quote), “We want you to respect us, even when we are wrong.”  I pointed out that I cannot respect someone that denies science and reality– because that is how we get fake news.

I do not think “respecting” the red tribe is going to solve school shootings or racism.  It isnt solving anything in Congress.  Racism is a pushback against cultural and demographic evolution in the contemporary US, and rejecting racism is part of the destruction of the norms and taboos that glue our society together.  “Respecting” racists won’t solve any problems– its just rejecting the norm that racism is Bad.

The Gone World

So, I read it in five hours– it reads like a screenplay and I literally couldn’t put it down. Its fantastic.  I totally forgave the artist’s liberties taken with q-physics– the application of closed-form timecurves and quantum foam are radically different from anything I learned in class.  But here’s the Goodreads synopsis.

I have to admit one of the things I’m most excited about is the eventual movie and the fact that Neil Blomkamp is in charge.   Usually the movie can never be better than the book.  I mean, I love Stranger Things (there is no book) but the unassailable fact that Netflix brutally butchered Altered Carbon initially filled me with trepidation, when I first read about the Netflix/Fox involvement.

I truly can’t wait to see Esperance modelled in the Unity engine.  Maybe we are entering a new era when the theatrical production can actually be better than the book?  And the crowd-funded effort for Firebase — Vietnam era scifi is as timely and relevent as District 9 was to apartheid South Africa.

Not everything is horrible.  I know I sound like that some of the time– but Blomkamp and Oates Studio are a wonderful beautiful shaping event in cultural and technological evolution– the leading edge of the waveform.


A Clapback at Christopher LeBron and Boston Review

I loved LeBron’s classy clapback at Laura Ingraham and FOX.  Hashtag “WeWillNotShutUpandDribble”.  So when one of my mentors used this Boston Review hit piece to validate his reluctance to see Marvel’s Black Panther movie, which I view as a shaping event in cultural evolution, I thought I’d write a small clapback of my own on why the BP film is so important.  To begin with, the title– “Black Panther is Not the Movie We Deserve”– lol, what entitlement– “We” don’t “deserve” anything.

the Boston Review piece–

The change that the movie supposedly heralds is black empowerment to effectively challenge racist narratives.

???? WTH? where is that coming from?  Maybe I’m compromised because I have read and cherished the comix from the Ta-Nehisi Coates reboot, but one of the (many) major themes is terrorism.  Killmonger is a terrorist.  Chris Lebron moaning about how Killmonger isnt Loki is just spectacularly irrelevant.

From 2016: TNC’s own words about the reboot.

WIRED: What’s your take on the politics of Wakanda?

TNC: Wakanda is the most advanced nation on earth—in certain renditions of Black Panther, these guys came up with a cure for cancer—and yet it has the most primitive form of governance on the planet: absolute monarchy. The one case an absolute monarch can make is “I keep the people safe.” What happens in a country where that’s no longer true? How do the people feel about that? That’s the story we’re telling.

Black Panther and Cultural Evolution

I have all the Black Panther comix from the start of the reboot when Ta Nehisi Coates began writing the storyline.  Its just tremendously good. Textured and layered with meaning and subtlety.  Like all his work.  The first thing I ever read by Coates was this Atlantic essay— and I have this line graved in my memory like the first line from Finnegan’s Wake or the beginning of Rebecca– I cant forget it.

But in this deeper home of mine, from the aspect of the slave, a Road is a star-ship, a tesseract from half-man to man.

I was heartbroken when TNC was driven from twitter by alt-right trolls.  But worse than the Spencer style frognazi troll attacks was the immediate betrayal of the rightist public intellectuals.

I dont read conservative tendency public intellectuals or twitter pundits.  I only get exposed to RW tendency when i read Steve Hsu or SlateStarCodex .  I was particularly saddened by this Steve Hsu post.  And this Steve Hsu post.  Hoo booy, hopping right back on the old HBD hobby horse of black racial inferiority.

I think conservative tendency must have a phenotypic basis.  That’s why its not possible to persuade individuals with red brain biochemisty.  Its why the GOP base can be manipulated by carny barker Trump and his freakshow administration into doing the bidding of the one percent.  Its because red brains are less intelligent than blue brains on average.  Thats what the HDB guys say on racial IQ, on average.

The cool thing about this is we are likely going to be able to prove this with Big Data, GWAS, and cognitive genomics.  Would it be good to prove this?  Probably not– its a pretty big basilisk (something we would be better off not knowing) — might actually start a new civil war.

If we think of society as a large pond, we can envision culture events as stones tossed into the pond spreading ripples…school shootings seem to be small pebbles with little ripples.  But the Black Panther movie is a boulder.  Millions of humans will see the movie.  The propagation of the wave forms from Black Panther will have massive and lasting effect.

My nephew is in high school in an affluent North Carolina suburb– he’s 16 and he’s read two books by TNC in his African Studies class.  Women’s rights, minority rights, gender rights, all part of the culture pond he and his friends swim in.  TNC’s movie even has a warning about wall building spliced into the credits.  He and his friends think Trump is a ludicrous old creeper.  Now Steve Hsu and Glenn Loury may think TNC is not a “deep thinker”–

Loury (@19min): “He’s a good writer but not a deep thinker, and he’s being taken seriously as if he was a deep thinker… he’s talented I mean there’s not any doubt about that but the actual analytical content of the argument, there are gaping holes in it…”

–but TNC’s thoughts are shaping culture and society in a multi-media way theirs are not.  And never will.

TNC is shaping the culture of the future.


Scott Alexander and the Nexus of Wrong

The SSC commentariat read the wrong article again.  Shouldn’t be reading Rauch and Wittes on how Trump and the GOP are dangerous to the Rule of Law– they aren’t.  Trump/GOP loves laws, and is working diligently to make many more pro-redtribe laws– on restricting immigration, restricting voter rights, gimme tax cuts for the 1%, etc.  No, what Trump and the GOP are doing is destroying democratic norms in the pursuit of Constitutional Hardball.

Here is a game theoretic analysis of what is happening– Constitutional Hardball and the Calculus of Selfishness.   Like the article suggests, the only way to fight our way back to normative behavior is to model forebearance and tolerance.   But given that the liberals will probably be more inclined to retaliation I doubt that will happen.  Refusal to consider Garland, killing blue slips, evidence of the destruction of normative behavior, and when liberals get control of the house, retaliation strategies will rule– the rise of TFT on the blue side of the isle.

Rauch and Wittes are actually implementing the strategy Tushnet suggests here:

Not surprisingly I was pleased to see that my idea of constitutional hardball plays a role in Levitsky and Ziblatt’s book on How Democracies Die (op ed here). Here I want to reflect on strategies once the game has started and you want to get it to stop. Levitsky and Ziblatt’s book has the obvious prescription for Republicans — the remnants of the “establishment” should do what they can to change the players on their side. For Democrats, though, their strategies involve policy prescriptions, not “moves” in the immediate game. What can Democrats do on a day-by-day basis in the game of constitutional hardball when their ultimate goal is to reinstitute the norms that Levitsky and Ziblatt treat as essential to sustaining a democracy?

Tushnet has been developing his theory of constitutional hardball for quite a while– since at least 2003.  Politics, history, philosophy, humanities– all things I was spectacularly uninterested in and should have paid more attention to– I only ever chose coursework in science and math.  I expect I’m not alone in this.  Now I have to pay attention.   We all have to pay attention.   That is what Trump is good for, really.  A call to attention for the slow frog-boiling death of democratic norms.

I do however, adore game theory– especially complex adaptive games and the Cooperation/Competition Paradigm.  Its my hypothesis that constitutional hardball evolved as a strategy on the Right because of cultural and demographic evolution.  How exactly is the Right supposed to respond to cultural and demographic disenfranchisement?  We aren’t going to see the invasion of cooperative strategies like Pavlov or Snowdrift IMHO.  John McClain, much like John the Baptist, is a lone voice crying in the wildneress.  The conservative public intellectuals that could have tried to lead that movement have left the party.  I think we are going to see a collapse.  Whether the collapse emerges as a civil war or a putsch, or in some even more exotic form, remains to be determined.  It seems somewhat unfair that the liberals are now expected to rescue the system by modelling forebearance and tolerance, those stellar virtues– indeed the Left’s base may revolt.  But if liberals embrace an AllD strategy like the GOP has, its Game Over isnt it?

I was so completely mistaken about the purpose and content of SSC– I initially thought it would be a good place to develop empathy for the Right, à la Arlie Hoschild.  But its not a place for discourse or discussion.  Its more like a game preserve or a zoo with Scott’s niceness/kindness protocols allowing for the perpetuation of Rightwing eumemes and doomed archaic conservative ideology.  I really failed…I came away wholly despising the SSC commentariat.

Eventually white people will be a minority…and if the US is still a democracy, they absolutely will lose power.

But then again…maybe the US will be something else.