November 27, 2021

Sunrise — 7:14.


Nothing like the drama of yesterday's sunrise — even though on both days the cloud cover was reported to be 50%. 

Talk about anything you like in the comments. And think of doing your shopping through the Althouse portal to Amazon, which is always right there in the sidebar. 

Joe Rogan and Jocko Willink on "Peng Shuai and China's Anti-American Propaganda."

"You can bet on almost anything today. Elections. Literary prizes. If you have a feeling that, say, Lapuan Virkiä is going to beat Porin Pesakarhut in the women’s Superpesis..."

"... the top professional pesäpallo league in Finland, you can put your money where your mouth is. During the pandemic, as casinos and racetracks closed, you could wager on the evening’s forecast in real time, or on the upcoming winter snowfall.... In 2018, the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, opening the door to online sports betting across 21 states.... Total gambling revenues in the U.S. are set to break the $44 billion mark this year, approaching the size of the market for movies, books, and music combined.... Gambling relies on addiction for its business model to function.... Gambling is an entertainment of uncertainty, a way of turning instability into play, of pretending that the structures of life don’t apply to you, that you are exempt from statistics. It’s also a way of avoiding reality, avoiding the future. When the wheel is still spinning, the fall hasn’t come. Gambling is a symptom, almost an allegory, of American decay.... Gambling is fun because it makes money seem like a game, a trifle. But fiscal silliness has been spreading more broadly recently. Crypto, with a market size that recently exceeded $2 trillion, has caused a widespread questioning of the very nature of money. Since 2008, the Fed has made quantitative easing—printing more cash—a part of its regularly scheduled programming. The U.S. money supply grew by $5.5 trillion, a 35.7 percent increase, from December 2019 to August 2021. Inflation is now rising faster than it has in 20 years. The number in your bank account does not mean today what it meant a month ago. Is currency itself now just the house money of the biggest house in the world? Who isn’t gambling now?"

From "America’s Gambling Addiction Is Metastasizing/When life feels this precarious, it’s only natural to roll the dice on just about everything" (The Atlantic).

If you ever find yourself wondering, Am I the only one who..., the answer is no you are not. There is always someone else.

That's what Meade asserts — and I presume he's not the only one who asserts that. If he could say it, someone else has also said it. You're never the only one.

The specific occasion for the assertion of this immense generality was a discussion of yard signs on view in our neighborhood as we were driving home from the sunrise run this morning. We noted that the Black Lives Matter signs are nearly all gone, for whatever reason. The only persistent signs are anti-gerrymandering, perhaps because there's serious hope of affecting legislation, with help from Tony Evers. (Evers, the governor, is a Democrat, but both houses of the Wisconsin legislature are run by the GOP.)

I mention Evers, and I have to add, "Say it, say it!" which I do to escape the very mild fake annoyance I would experience if Meade said what he always says — or used to always say — which is: "Tony is the little man who lives inside my mouth and tells me what to do." I added, "Do you think you're the only one who whenever he hears the name Tony Evers says 'Tony is the little man who lives in my mouth and tells me what to do'?"

"Plans are afoot to turn Notre Dame cathedral, once it’s restored, into what some have called a 'politically correct Disneyland'...."

"The plans, yet to be rubber-stamped, will turn the cathedral into an ‘experimental showroom,' with confessional boxes, altars and classical sculptures replaced with modern art murals. New sound and light effects will be introduced to create ‘emotional spaces.' Themed chapels on a ‘discovery trail’, with an emphasis on Africa and Asia, will pop up. And Bible quotations will be projected onto chapel walls in various languages, including Mandarin. The last chapel on the new trail will have an environmental emphasis. Defenders of the new plan are bound to say that Notre Dame, before the heart-breaking fire of 2019, was already an artifice. The sublime cathedral, begun in 1163, was heavily adapted in a Gothic Revival style in the late nineteenth century.... With exceptional buildings, close to the public’s heart, like Notre Dame... architects can’t get away with doing the hideous things that go down well at the club. Well, they can’t on the outside of buildings, anyway.... And so radical changes for the exterior were vetoed.... Because people aren’t quite so familiar with the inside of Notre Dame, there is greater wriggle room for the anti-history brigade to prevail...."

From "Don’t turn Notre Dame into a 'politically correct Disneyland'" by Harry Mount (The Spectator).

I agree with Mount, but I just want to descend into the mundane language issue: Is "wriggle room" the British version of "wiggle room," and, if so, are there subtle, interesting difference between wriggling and wiggling that we ought to take into account? 

The OED does not have anything about "wriggle room," but it does have a definition for "wiggle room," though it's a "draft addition": 

Another U.S. expression the OED notes is "get a wiggle on" (which means to hurry). English has so many words. Do we need both "wriggle" and "wiggle"? And we also have "squirm" and "writhe," to name 2 more. "Squirm" has the advantage of rhyming with "worm," but worms really seem more to wriggle... or is it wiggle? "Wiggle" is the official Bob Dylan choice.

I'm not that worked up about the Disneyfication of the interior of Notre Dame. The contents of those alcoves along the perimeter are transitory — they'll live out their little lives and pass away.

UPDATE: This post made me remember a song that I don't think I have thought of in over half a century:

This song, from 1959, is by the stunningly unattractive men who called themselves The Playmates. Their hit that you're more likely to remember is "Beep Beep."

Skipping Xi and going straight to Omicron — I'd have made the same decision if it were up to me.

I'm reading "WHO skips two letters in Greek alphabet in naming Omicron COVID variant" (NY Post).
The World Health Organization appeared to skip two letters in the Greek alphabet when it announced Friday the name for the latest coronavirus variant.... Nu and Xi were apparently the next letters in the Greek alphabet that have yet to be used for a variant....

Internet pundits and politicians speculated that the group skipped Nu to avoid confusion with the word “new” and passed on Xi because of its written similarity to the name of Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) retweeted a Telegraph editor who cited a WHO source saying Xi was skipped to “avoid stigmatizing a region.” “If the WHO is this scared of the Chinese Communist Party, how can they be trusted to call them out next time they’re trying to cover up a catastrophic global pandemic?”....

Wall Street Journal language columnist Ben Zimmer had a different take. “Kudos to the WHO for skipping over the potentially confusing Nu and Xi names and going straight to Omicron”....

If you think not using "Xi" was about undue deference to Xi Jinping, I challenge you to pronounce "Xi," not the Chinese leader's name, but the Greek letter. After you get that right, imagine audio reports about the virus that use that bizarre sound and millions of people trying to understand what they are hearing. 

If you get that far and still think WHO should have proceeded through the Greek alphabet in order, imagine all the reports of the "Nu virus" and assert with a straight face that that would have worked out well. 

Now, good for you, you've achieved peak Cruzosity!

November 26, 2021

The most beautiful sunrise of this fall continues.

This was how it looked at 7:01 — 4 minutes before the official sunrise time:


I like that vertical beam. And that white strip — that was the most unusual feature of today's broiler. (I call it a broiler because it looks like a broiler you might cook meat under. It looks burning hot, but it was pretty cold. Wind chill 7.)

And here you see it shockingly faded, at 7:18: 


Anyway, that's all for sunrise pictures today. Feel free to talk about anything you want in the comments. And please think of supporting this blog by doing your shopping through the Althouse portal to Amazon, which is always right there in the sidebar. 

"Stephen Sondheim, one of Broadway history’s songwriting titans, whose music and lyrics raised and reset the artistic standard for the American stage musical, died early Friday at his home in Roxbury, Conn. He was 91."

The NYT reports.

A true giant has passed.

A little music for tonight:

Sunrise — 6:58, 6:59.



"I feel strongly that the essence of Charlie Brown is premature existential despair and world weariness..."

"... and both this song and the holiday special give you an inaccurate idea of the Charlie Brown ratio of despair to maudlin moments of transcendence. Then again, there’s a sort of evocative melancholy in this song that’s making me regret placing it here, scores of slots below 'Dominick the Donkey.' Eh, it’s probably fine."

Writes Alexandra Petri, explaining her placement of "Christmas Time Is Here" at #80 on "A ranking of 100 — yes, 100 — Christmas songs" (WaPo). 

I found her reasoning very amusing, throughout. Maybe you don't have access to WaPo, but — if you have Spotify — here's the whole list:

Sunrise, 6:55.


"What's worse — talking about CRT or talking about the dog. It's the Scylla and Charybdis of conversation."

That's my response when Meade texts me these 2 items:

Thanksgiving with Weird Al.

"There was a time I loved riding the Hudson River Bikeway, but the metal bollards dotting the path made me phobic."

"If you’re wondering when this dark terror took root, I can tell you exactly: The moment I slammed my bike into a metal barrier, shattering my wrist in five places. Some time after that — and after a collision with a cement Jersey barrier — I reluctantly gave up the Hudson River Bikeway. My once-relaxing path had become an obstacle course.... The great thing about New York, of course, is that there is no phobia for which you cannot find a therapist. My first was an instructor called Lance (really), who built me a set of Styrofoam bollards. I had absolutely no fear of hitting Styrofoam. Unfortunately, after the first lesson, Lance became unavailable.... An online search turned up someone promising, but her fee, for a 90-minute lesson, was a stupefying $475. I quickly moved on to Andrée Sanders, who bills herself as the Bike Whisperer.... She’s never had a client with a fear as specific as mine.... Her fee is $200..."

From "I Was Afraid of the Bike Path. So I Hired a Bike Coach. A nasty crash instilled a phobia of bollards. I called the Bike Whisperer" by Joyce Wadler (NYT).

Then a "food delivery guy" yells the piece of advice that I think most cyclists know: 

"I just hope and pray that maybe Ms. Sebold will come forward and say, 'Hey, I made a grave mistake,' and give me an apology. I sympathize with her. But she was wrong."

Said Anthony J. Broadwater, quoted in "Man Is Exonerated in Rape Case Described in Alice Sebold’s Memoir/Anthony J. Broadwater was convicted of the 1981 attack in Syracuse, N.Y., in a case the district attorney and a state judge agreed was flawed" (NYT). 

Sebold is the author of the novel "The Lovely Bones," and the memoir is "Lucky." 

The exoneration came about because there was to be a film of “Lucky,” and the executive producer, Timothy Mucciante, noticed problems with the story of the conviction of Broadwater.
Mr. Mucciante said that he ended up leaving the production in June because of his skepticism about the case and how it was being portrayed. He hired a private investigator, Dan Myers... to look into the evidence against Mr. Broadwater, and became convinced of Mr. Broadwater’s innocence. Mr. Myers suggested they bring the evidence they gathered to a lawyer and recommended [David] Hammond, who reviewed the investigation and agreed there was a strong case. Around the same time, Mr. Broadwater decided to hire Mr. Hammond based on the recommendation of another local lawyer. Mr. Broadwater, who was released in 1998, had been scrimping and saving to hire lawyer after lawyer to try and prove his innocence.

Mucciante sounds like something of a hero in this story, but you can see how practical considerations would have been adequate motivation. Imagine if this movie, based on Sebold's telling of her story, had come out and the whole world suddenly took a hard look and considered things from Broadwater's point of view. Broadwater would have come forward, and the movie would have been destroyed. I question how the movie idea even got as far as it did. And how did the book sit out there for so long without a serious challenge? Broadwater has been "scrimping" for 20 years trying to get some attention to his ordeal, which goes back 40 years?!

Me, at the secondary vantage point, at 6:53 a.m.


What I saw: 


Temperature: 17°.

"When is a racial hate crime not a racial hate crime? When it doesn’t advance the left’s, and the Democrats’, narrative."

"When white teenager Kyle Rittenhouse shot three white men who were violently assaulting him, it somehow got treated by the press and politicians as a racial hate crime. President Joe Biden (falsely) called Rittenhouse a white supremacist, and the discussion of his case was so focused on racial issues that many Americans mistakenly thought that the three men Rittenhouse shot were black. But when a black man, Darrell Brooks, with a long history of posting hateful anti-white rhetoric on social media drove a car into a mostly white Christmas parade, killing six people and injuring dozens, the press was eager to wish the story away. (The New York Times buried it on page A22.) Even when a Black Lives Matter activist connected it to the Rittenhouse verdict, observing 'it sounds like the revolution has started,' the media generally downplayed it." 

The spectacular Thanksgiving.

November 25, 2021

"All holidays are sins, according to Jehovah’s Witnesses’ strict doctrine. Each one is a different tactic of the devil attempting to distract and tempt..."

"... faithful servants of Jehovah. Thanksgiving, Witnesses explain, is rooted in a harvest festival to pagan gods, and those pagan gods corrupt even the contemporary celebration. The holiday revels in gluttony and excess.... ​ When I was 20, I was excommunicated and completely cut off from my family.... The part of me that was broken when my family of origin rejected me gets a little closer to being whole each time I celebrate holidays with my chosen family.... The value of our polyam family isn’t in its stability, but rather that we choose each other even when we change, relationships change, feelings change. The power is in the choosing. There’s no obligation. I can only offer invitation and acceptance.... My husband’s girlfriend may prioritize another partner or her family... For me, the beauty is in making space for us to gather and also making space for each person to make their own choices.... We open ourselves, share love, swim in pleasure, sometimes get hurt.... Now, my community reminds me that the scarcity mind-set that tells us we can only have one love, that we must compete for our lover’s attention, is a lie."

"During a Q&A session, one student stepped to the mic and called Chappelle a 'bigot,' adding, 'I’m 16 and I think you’re childish, you handled it like a child'...."

"Chappelle responded... 'My friend, with all due respect, I don’t believe you could make one of the decisions I have to make on a given day.' That peeved some students who were hoping for an apology or some semblance of one from Chappelle.... [A]nother student in the audience shouted at him, 'Your comedy kills,' and Chappelle shot back, 'N------ are killed every day.' He then asked, 'The media’s not here, right?'... The two students we spoke to declined to go on the record out of fear of retribution from the school. The father of one of the students, who also declined to speak publicly to protect the identity of his daughter, said, 'As a parent, I have to say I have a real problem. … He was being dead serious and using the n-word on the record. What kind of judgment is the school showing to allow that?'... [T]he Chappelle spokesperson, responded: 'They are complaining that he talked and said the n-word. If anything, Dave is putting the school on the map.'... [The spokesperson] said Chappelle was expecting forgiveness from students.... 'He said these kids deserve an F for forgiveness.... Give them some space to grow. They are going to say things that are immature.'"

From "POLITICO Playbook: A Dave Chappelle Thanksgiving special." Chappelle made a surprise appearance at his alma mater the Duke Ellington School of the Arts.

I note that a student called him "childish" and his spokesperson called the students "immature."

Photographing Thanksgiving litter at sunrise.



"A growing movement questions the practice of requiring defendants to post monetary bail to ensure that they appear at their court hearings...."

"Many of those jurisdictions now use risk assessments to decide whether to detain defendants or release them without a monetary requirement. Those tools, which consider previous offenses and the defendant’s likelihood of being a flight risk, are themselves controversial: Some advocates have expressed concern that racial and socioeconomic biases are baked into them. Bail-change advocates argue that court systems should err on the side of releasing defendants, who are presumed innocent. [Alexa Van Brunt, director of the MacArthur Justice Center Clinic at Northwestern University] said pretrial detention increases a person’s likelihood of committing another crime by stripping them of jobs, educational opportunities or custody of their children. Defendants who are held are more likely to plead guilty, even if they did not commit the offense, Van Brunt said, because they want to get out of jail."

From "The Wisconsin parade suspect was accused of a car attack weeks ago. Here’s why he was out on bail" (WaPo).

ADDED: I'm reading the comments over there. There's this — which begins with a quote from the article — from Gibbering:
He was also convicted of a sex crime in Nevada after impregnating a minor, officials say.

That’s called rape, WaPo. Thanks for demonstrating this whole problem. Crimes against women don’t count. Rape them, hit them with cars, neglect support payments, strangle them, abuse them, rob them, whatever. Doesn’t matter. It almost never matters.

AND: Here's the NYT approach to the same material: "Waukesha Suspect’s Previous Release Agitates Efforts to Overhaul Bail/Darrell Brooks, accused of plowing his S.U.V. through a Wisconsin parade, had been freed on $1,000 bail for a different charge in Milwaukee County, where there is a backlog of cases":

"I’m not sure that having more police officers or more materials on the French shore will help to stop these crossings because we have 200 or 300 kilometers [120 or 180 miles] of shore to monitor 24/7."

"It only takes 5 to 10 minutes to take a boat and put it at sea filled with migrants, so I’m not sure it is only a question of money and question about the number of men."

Said Pierre-Henri Dumont, a French legislator, quoted in "France and Britain spar over illegal migration, after at least 27 drown in English Channel" (WaPo). 

He also rejected the offer of help from Britain, because it's a "question of sovereignty — I’m not sure the British people would accept it the other way round, with the French army patrolling the British shore." 

"Sweden on Wednesday confirmed Magdalena Andersson as its first female leader.... Hours after assuming office, Andersson resigned from the post..."

"... when a member of the ruling coalition, the center-left Swedish Green party, quit the government in protest after lawmakers passed a budget bill backed by three right-wing parties. Andersson’s Social Democratic Party had put forward an alternative budget proposal that failed to pass. Andersson said she hopes to form a single-party ruling government. Andersson had briefly joined the ranks of around two dozen current female heads of state and government.... Around half of those women head European countries."

I had trouble understanding that. The article is much more concerned about generic female achievement than explaining what happened in Sweden. The top-rated comment supplies what I think is the actual news:

"I’ve done 43 Thanksgivings, and the best one was probably in 1997, when I was 19 and getting sober at Hazelden in Center City, Minnesota."

"I’m here to tell you Thanksgiving is terrible, and if you at least spend the time trying to deprogram your niece, you won’t be bored or depressed (though you might be enraged that Fox News or Infowars has convinced her Trump can 'save America' from Joe Biden’s radical agenda of giving people hearing aids and free pre-K). Maybe it won’t work. Maybe you’ll leave Thanksgiving dinner as divided as you were when you sat down at the table five hours and 4,000 calories ago. Or maybe you’ll plant the seed, sow just a little doubt about whatever Tucker Carlson is saying now. Maybe you’ll even change a heart or a mind. Maybe you’ll bring the temperature down just a tiny bit. Or maybe you’ll need to report a relative to the FBI! Either way, it’s something to do besides just eat."

Writes Molly Jong-Fast in "Deprogram your relatives this Thanksgiving/Maybe you’ll change a heart or a mind. Or not! Either way, it’s something to do besides just eat" (The Atlantic).

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone, by the way. I'm only putting this up because it represents a form of writing on the occasion of Thanksgiving that I've seen every year I've blogged — and I've blogged 18 Thanksgivings — but I've noticed there's way less of this theme this year. Maybe something about the lockdown and finally getting out of it convinced editors that hating one's family isn't really where it's at. Not this year anyway. 

So good for Molly Jong-Fast, keeping the stupid old tradition alive. Somebody had to do it, just like somebody has to make turducken.

Speaking of family, not only is her mother Erica Jong, her grandfather is Howard Fast, the author of "Spartacus." Picture them at Thanksgiving, would you? What offensive things might they say? Not passing along bullshit from Fox News, but something else. I'd prefer if Ms. Jong-Fast would dish on her own family, not what's happening at the table of imagined deplorables.

"If the enemy can separate Kimye, there’s going to be millions of families that feel like that separation is ok… but when God brings Kimye together..."

"... there’s going to be millions of families that are going to be influenced to see that they can overcome the work of the separation, of trauma the devil has used to capitalize to keep people in misery while people step over homeless people to go to the Gucci store." 

"The narrative God wants is to see that we can be redeemed in all these relationships. We’ve made mistakes. I’ve made mistakes. I’ve publicly done things that were not acceptable as a husband, but right now today, for whatever reason — I didn’t know I was going to be in front of this mic — but I’m here to change the narrative.... I’m not letting E! write the narrative of my family. I’m not letting Hulu write the narrative of my family.… I am the priest of my home.... I have to be next to my children as much as possible. So, when I’m out the house, I’ve got a house right next to the house. I’m doing everything to be right next to the situation.... I’m trying to express this in the most sane way, the most calm way possible, but I need to be back home."

His stream of consciousness is interesting and revealing, but it's hard not to think he — not Satan, not the "Keeping Up With The Kardashians" script writers — created his predicament and that he's got no special access to God. 

The priest of my home... a house right next to the house... Interesting, but pathetic.

ADDED: His theory seems to be that God will intervene in the events of his life with Kim Kardashian because God knows what influencers they are. If they get back together, the little people will — on their own power — work to get their lives together. God is efficient that way, you see. 

"The English expression 'the social fabric' was coined in the 1790s, the age of the machine loom, when observers worried..."

"... that the growth of factories and cities, and the movement from farms and towns, was leaving people isolated and alone. Over the next century, all sorts of thinkers, from the Romantics, De Tocqueville and Marx to Hegel and the utopian socialists, agreed that something called 'society' was coming apart.... In a 1953 book called The Quest for Community, the American sociologist Robert Nisbet lamented the modern state’s 'successive penetrations of man’s economic, religious, kinship and local allegiances.'... Nisbet, the man who quested for community, was something of a misanthrope. At home, he liked to watch Gunsmoke on the family’s black-and-white television, play croquet with his kids and potter in his rose garden. He went to church only at his wife’s insistence. He did not enjoy society. 'I very much like individuals,' he’d say, adapting a quote from Linus Van Pelt in a 1959 issue of the Charles Schulz comic strip Peanuts. 'It’s people I can’t stand!' There is no such thing as society, Thatcher would say later. There are only individuals. Thatcherism, in the end, came from Charlie Brown. Conservatives had long placed their faith not in society, but in the free market. But the gap between liberalism and conservatism closed in the 1950s, when liberal intellectuals, terrified at the prospect of a collapse of liberal democracies into totalitarianism, lost faith in the idea of society and abandoned their commitment to social democracy.... Instead, they strove to protect the individual, and the individual’s ability to make choices, as if the act of choosing, and the market-driven rhetoric of choice, could inoculate the masses against becoming a mass...."

Lots more at the link. If the part I've quoted seems sketchy, there's much more connective material at the link.

November 24, 2021

"The jury has found Travis McMichael, the man who shot Ahmaud Arbery, guilty on all nine counts, including malice murder and felony murder."

 The NYT reports.
The jury has found Gregory McMichael, Travis McMichael's father, not guilty of malice murder, but guilty of all other counts he faces, including felony murder. 
On the first count of the indictment, malice murder, the jury has found William Bryan, who filmed the fatal encounter with Ahmaud Arbery, not guilty. Here are the other counts he faces and the jury's verdict on each: Felony murder, count one -- not guilty/Felony murder, count two -- guilty/Felony murder, count three -- guilty/Felony murder, count four -- guilty/Aggravated assault, count one -- not guilty/Aggravated assault, count two -- guilty/False imprisonment -- guilty/Criminal attempt to commit a felony -- guilty

"Last year’s protests often devolved into naked criminality, to which many progressives, including those in the news media, closed their eyes..."

"... notoriously including those 'fiery but mostly peaceful protests' in Kenosha, Wis. Opportunities for thoughtful police and justice-system reform were squandered in the rush to defame, defund, diminish or abolish. It may be that serious urban leaders like incoming mayor Eric Adams of New York can reverse the trend.... But progressive misgovernance has now tattooed the words 'soft on crime' on Democratic necks, and the country has noticed. It will take years to erase. And who has been helped the most by all this, politically speaking? Donald Trump and his mini-mes. The country won’t be safe from them until a more serious Democratic Party can set itself free from ideas that embarrass it and endanger us all."

From "Can Liberals Survive Progressivism?" by Bret Stephens (NYT).

"Even with the numbing cream, it's painful, it's extremely painful."

Sunrise — 6:53, 6:55.



"It was very scary. People with no morals, no sense for other people’s safety. I feel helpless. It’s disturbing."

Said one person who works at the mall described in "Smash-and-Grab Thieves Target Hayward Mall; Lululemon Store Robbed in San Jose’s Santana Row" (CBS SF)("Witnesses described some 40 to 50 looters wielding hammers and other tools looted Sam’s Jewelers, breaking glass cases and quickly fleeing").

ADDED: "Why some US cities are facing a spree of 'smash-and-grab' crimes" (CNN): "'There's no political will to prosecute the people in this climate. Why should a police officer waste time getting into an altercation when the person is not going to jail because it's overcrowded and a prosecutor is not going to prosecute that case because it's not high on the priority list?'... The decriminalization of low-level offenses in some states has created opportunities for criminals to manipulate the system.... 'It is incredibly easy to sell stolen merchandise online through e-commerce platforms....'"

The NYT reveals its shortlist of 25 books, one of which will be named "the best book of the past 125 years," and "Gone With The Wind" is on the list.

Isn't that weird?

I read that book when I was about 16, and I thought: This is the best book I have ever read, and I don't think I will ever read a better book, because how can any book be better than this? 

There's a lot in the book that's not in the movie, as I was disappointed to see when I finally got a chance to see the famous flick. I was 16 in 1965, and back then, you could only see an old movie if it showed on TV or played in a theater. "Gone with the Wind" never played on TV, not until 1976, but it did have a theatrical rerelease in 1967, which I missed, and another in 1971, which is when I did finally see it.

What I remember loving in the book and missing in the movie was all the detail in Scarlett O'Hara's experience of other women — her mother, Melanie, (the prostitute) Belle Watling, etc. Scarlett was always on the lookout to see what made a woman great, wanted to see herself as a great woman, and she kept needing to recognize that other women were great.

Anyway, that made a big impression on me, more than half a century ago, but I'm surprised to see something so out of step with the times making the NYT shortlist. I haven't delved into what the NYT is saying it means to be "the best book of the past 125 years," but I wonder if what is "best" is to be judged by the standards of our point in time or whether we are somehow counting what the book meant to people at the time it was published and what it has meant to people over the course of time.

Here's the whole shortlist:

The Grammys nominated Louis CK!

 The Week reports:

The nominations were unveiled on Tuesday, and C.K. earned a nod in the category of Best Comedy Album for Sincerely Louis CK. This was the comedian's first stand-up special since his career was derailed in 2017 after multiple women came forward to accuse him of sexual misconduct. He admitted at the time that stories of him masturbating in front of women or asking to do so "are true."
The nomination prompted me to look for the album on Spotify, and it's there, not canceled, completely accessible. I listened to the whole thing right after I saw the nomination. It was great! 

And he talks about the "stories," at least some aspects of the stories. He doesn't concede that everything they're saying about him is true. Is there anything about the problem of a man using his power within the entertainment industry to gain consent from women who don't really want the sex he's offering but might be hoping for other advantages? Not overtly, but he does say that he knows that a woman may give consent and then, without saying so become unconsenting, so you have to keep "checking in." At least.  In the end, he says that if you ask a woman if you can masturbate in front of them — which everyone knows is his thing — and she says yes, ask again, and then don't do it. 

Of course, you have to listen to how he says it. He's a comedian. To write out the "ideas" as I've done is to drain out the comedy. His comedy depends a lot on shifting from cruelty to sensitivity, and he's brilliant drawing the audience into cruelty and then turning on them. To see what I mean, listen to the track "Wheelchairs and Legs and Retarded People":

November 23, 2021

Sunrise — 6:53, 7:01.



Write about anything you want in the comments.

"New York City lawmakers are poised to allow more than 800,000 New Yorkers who are green card holders or have the legal right to work in the United States to vote in municipal elections..."

"... and for local ballot initiatives.... The legislation, expected to be approved by the City Council on Dec. 9 by a veto-proof margin.... In spite of having a veto-proof majority of 34 out of 51 City Council members and the public advocate co-sponsoring the bill, the legislation has not moved forward until now partly because of concerns about its legality. Mayor Bill de Blasio has contended that the change 'has to be decided at state level, according to state law'... Eric Adams, the mayor-elect, has said he supports the legislation and believes that green card holders should have the right to participate in local elections.... At the polls, those voters would fill out a ballot that only has New York City offices on it...."

The NYT reports.

"Trump’s shadow campaign... recently polled Trump-Biden matchups in the five states, all of which were decided in 2020 by fewer than 3 percentage points."

"According to the poll, a memo of which was obtained by POLITICO, the former president led Biden in Arizona by 8 percentage points, Georgia by 3 points, Michigan by 12 points, Pennsylvania by 6 points and Wisconsin by 10 points.... On 10 different issues ranging from immigration to gun control to the economy, Trump bests Biden in the swing states, often by double digits, according to the poll...."

"Jurors on Tuesday found the main organizers of the deadly right-wing rally in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017 liable under state law for injuries to counterprotesters..."

"... awarding more than $25 million in damages. But the jury deadlocked on federal conspiracy charges. The case in U.S. District Court in Charlottesville was brought by nine plaintiffs, four men and five women, including four people injured in the same car attack that killed one counterprotester, 32-year-old Heather Heyer.... They said... they hoped to deter hate groups from mounting similar toxic spectacles in the future."

The NYT reports.

"Ian Fishback, an Army whistle-blower whose allegations that fellow members of the 82nd Airborne Division in Iraq routinely beat and abused prisoners prompted the Senate..."

"... to approve anti-torture legislation in 2005, died on Nov. 19 in Bangor, Mich. He was 42. His family, which announced the death in a statement, said the cause had not been determined. In the climax to a distinguished but abbreviated career that the family said had begun to unravel as a result of neurological damage or post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, he died in an adult foster care facility where he had been admitted following court-ordered treatment with anti-psychotic drugs after he became delusional and created public disturbances.... He began receiving psychotropic drugs and was involuntarily committed in September, when his behavior became erratic, resulting in an arrest at a football game."

The NYT reports.

"I'm very dismayed about what's happening to the United States... I mean, dude, we cannot let this go. You cannot let democracy slide off the table."

Said the filmmaker Ridley Scott, in Episode 1281 of Marc Maron's "WTF" podcast (at 50:27).

Click in then click on the green dots to listen to the radio stations of the world.

Incredibly cool!

"You get to post bail after driving your SUV over your child's mother??? What about the deterrent of keeping a crazy man in jail pending trial? It couldn't have made the woman he ran over feel safer knowing this crazy man was out o[n] bail. A thousand dollars? Life is cheap in Wisconsin."

That's the top-rated comment at "Suspect’s bail draws questions as investigations begin into Wisconsin parade tragedy" (WaPo). 

From the article: 
Michele LaVigne, a former director of the Public Defender Project at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, told The Post that setting Brooks’s cash bail at $1,000 is not necessarily unusual and that bail amounts can vary between jurisdictions and courtrooms. 
When Brooks was arrested earlier this month, she said, officials weighing what bail to request probably considered the seriousness of the charges and the fact that he was already out on bail in the earlier case and had continued showing up for court appearances. 
Deterring further crime is “not the purpose of cash bail,” LaVigne said. “Cash bail is really, ‘Are you going to show up [to court], or are you not?’ ”
ADDED: I'm just noticing that bail is a subject Kamala Harris went out of her way to bring up during the Vice Presidential debate last fall: "We need reform of our policing in America and our criminal justice system... We will require a national registry for police officers who break the law, we will – on the issue of criminal justice reform – get rid of private prisons and cash bail and we will decriminalize marijuana...."

"Diversity is what Texas has over many cities in the Midwest or the West — places like Madison or Colorado Springs or Portland."

"Nearly all of Texas’ recent growth has been in populations of color, and its growth areas are as racially diverse as many places in California. Growth cities in Texas are not just racially diverse but also politically diverse, if you’re into that sort of thing. In Plano, a thriving suburb of Dallas, about 60 percent of voters are Democrats; in Menlo Park, a thriving suburb south of San Francisco, about 80 percent are — the difference between living among political allies and living in an echo chamber. Then there are Texas’ climate risks. Houston will not do well on a warming planet — it is economically dependent on the oil and gas industry and is threatened by hurricanes and a surge in sea levels. But other big cities, including Dallas and Fort Worth, face more moderate risks, especially compared to many cities in California. Yes, Texas is very hot and likely to get hotter; but if a lot of other American cities also begin to get very hot, Texas cities might not feel as overheated by comparison. In addition to the risk of heat stress, Texas also faces the possibility of water shortages, but that will be true across much of the West, including California’s population centers.... The poor services and reactionary state politics bother me greatly, but I can see how, for a lot of people, low taxes and more living space could be inducement enough to overlook Texas’ apparent downsides."

From "Everyone’s Moving to Texas. /Here’s Why" by Farhad Manjoo (with Gus Wezerek and Yaryna Serkez)(NYT)(excellent illustration by Jon Han).

So... did you understand why "everyone" is moving to Texas? 

The top-rated comment over there: "This is like finding a life partner by algorithm; there's no emotion there. On a political level, I could never live in Texas and the only people I know moved there because of taxes. It's the same with Florida. Wealthy NYers move to these states because of taxes but still keep a place in NY because they can get away from heat and republicans. The minute the husband dies, the wives move back to NY for the children, the grandchildren and the cultural life. Until Texas becomes a state that women can have reproductive freedom, no thanks."

I love the way Madison is dangled for 2 seconds as a possible choice then dropped. 

"Do you know this guy?"/"Absolutely not."

A minky morning.


Caught him clearly there. He was in and out of the rocks and I have many photos that I believe should show the mink, but I'm challenged to find him — for example:


Side issue: Mink or otter? Do you know the difference? I know a difference — pointy vs. round snout — and that's what made me say mink.

"Money is seen as dirty and secret. Money is awkward to talk about. Money is wrapped up in guilt, shame, and fear."

"There is a perception that money can immunise you against mental-health problems when actually, I believe that wealth can make you – and the people closest to you – much more susceptible to them.... Too many of my clients want to indulge their children so 'they never have to suffer what I had to suffer' while growing up.... An over-indulged child develops into an entitled adult who has low self-confidence, low self-esteem, and a complete lack of grit.... There are few people in the world to whom they can actually relate, which of course leads to a lack of empathy.... When one leads a life without consequences (for being rude to a waiter or cruel to a sibling, for example) there really is no reason to not do these things. After a while, it becomes normalised and accepted. Living a life without rules isn’t good for anyone.... I was raised in a small town in rural Kentucky, solidly in the middle class. And it can be very difficult to watch these individuals struggle with the toxicity of excess, isolation and deep mistrust. Succession is a dramatised version of the world they operate in – it is made for television and part of its purpose is to give audiences the pleasure of watching the wealthy struggle. But for someone who has worked with them, I know that their challenges are real and profound."

Writes Clay Cockrell, in "I’m a therapist to the super-rich: they are as miserable as Succession makes out" (The Guardian).

I don't watch "Succession," and I don't think I would, even if I still had HBO, but I looked at a trailer for Season 3. Rich people and their problems. It's fiction, so of course the characters have problems. You invent characters and you load them with problems. 

But what I read between the lines at The Guardian is: Go ahead. Tax the hell out of the rich. You'll be doing them a favor.

"I’m not a racist person. I support the BLM movement. I support peacefully demonstrating. I believe there needs to be change."

"I believe there’s a lot of prosecutorial misconduct, not just in my case but in other cases. It’s just amazing to see how much a prosecutor can take advantage of someone."

ADDED: Here's the full transcript for the interview (which goes beyond what's in that clip). Excerpts:

"Art handlers packed up an 884-pound statue of Jefferson in a wooden crate Monday after a mayoral commission voted to banish the likeness of the nation’s third president from City Hall where its resided for nearly two centuries..."

"Keri Butler, executive director of the Public Design Commission that voted to banish the statue, at first tried to block the press from witnessing its removal. Butler relented after members of the mayor’s office and City Council intervened. The commission also attempted to vote on the statue’s removal without a public hearing on the controversial move until The Post revealed the plan. 'Removing a monument without a public conversation about why it’s happening is useless.... The original bronze statue, by sculptor Pierre-Jean David, is still on display in the Capitol Rotunda in Washington, DC. The plaster replica was gifted to City Hall by naval officer and Jefferson admirer Uriah Phillips Levy in 1834."

I'm giving this my "destruction of art" tag because I don't like tag proliferation and it's close enough, like when I used my "San Francisco" tag yesterday for a post about Walnut Creek. The Jefferson statue isn't going to be destroyed. It's not even leaving public display. It will stand in the lobby and reading room of the New York Historical Society. 

And is that even the Jefferson statue anyway? It's a plaster cast, painted to look like the bronze of the original. The original statue remains in the ultimate place of honor, the U.S. Capitol Rotunda. Is New York City taunting Congress, daring it to go after Jefferson? That doesn't really help the Democratic Party, and that's something I like. It might be something approaching principle. The fact is, Jefferson owned slaves, so why should government endorse him as a symbol of freedom? 

The worst part of what New York did was to act in darkness and shame — having a commission decide with no public hearing and attempting to ban press coverage of the removal. It was all about symbolism, so they ought to be proud of their choice and eager to proclaim the principle that drove them to break the long tradition of the plaster Jefferson in City Hall.

November 22, 2021

On a 0% cloud cover morning, the most interesting thing about the sunrise was how it shone through the state capitol building.


I know it doesn't show too clearly, but it's the best I could do. 

The time was 7:04. 

Write about anything you want in the comments.

"Perhaps – and I’m just throwing this out there – the best way to prove your movement isn’t a threat to women is to stop stalking, harassing and threatening us."

Tweeted JK Rowling, quoted in "JK Rowling’s address posted on Twitter by trans activists" (London Times). 
“Over the last few years I’ve watched, appalled, as women like Allison Bailey, Raquel Sanchez, Marion Miller, Rosie Duffield, Joanna Cherry, Julie Bindel, Rosa Freedman, Kathleen Stock and many, many others, including women who have no public profile but who’ve contacted me to relate their experiences, have been subject to campaigns of intimidation which range from being hounded on social media, the targeting of their 
employers, all the way up to doxing and direct threats of violence, including rape. None of these women are protected in the way I am. They and their families have been put into a state of fear and distress for no other reason than that they refuse to uncritically accept that the socio-political concept of gender identity should replace that of sex."

The government — in failing to maintain order in Kenosha — deserves blame for the Kyle Rittenhouse incident.

Here's something you may have missed. I missed it until today, when I was listening to the new episode of the NYT podcast "The Daily": "The Acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse/How a jury came to find the teenager, who shot and killed two people in Kenosha, Wis., not guilty on the five charges he faced."

The episode covered the entire trial. What jumped out at me wasn't the show's focus, but it mattered to me because I care about what government can do to protect citizens from each other.

None of the shootings by Kyle Rittenhouse would have occurred if Joseph Rosenbaum hadn't behaved in a deranged manner. Presumably, Rosenbaum would have done better if he had taken his medication, but he couldn't get his prescriptions filled because the pharmacy was boarded up — closed, because of the riots.

I'm reading more about his condition — here, in The Washington Post — and I see that the plastic bag he threw at Rittenhouse was a small collection of items — deodorant, underwear, socks — that the hospital had given him when he was discharged after a suicide attempt. That's what he had (and lamely threw at Rittenhouse). What he lacked was his drugs: "Hours after he was released from the hospital, Rosenbaum stopped by a pharmacy in Kenosha to pick up medication for his bipolar disorder, only to discover that it had closed early because of the unrest." 

They released a mentally ill man into a chaotic city with a prescription for medication that he could not fill. A suicidal man proceeded to get himself killed at the hands of Rittenhouse and to unleash the ill-fated rush to stop Rittenhouse. There are immense and unknowable costs to letting a city decline into chaos. 

Rittenhouse and every other individual — except a truly deranged person, such as, perhaps, Rosenbaum — are responsible for his own actions. We tend to focus on the actions of other human beings, and the trial was a spectacle commanding us to focus on Rittenhouse. The government puts on that show, and that show distracts us from the failings of government. 

"Why Didn’t [Wisconsin Governor] Tony Evers Prevent the Carnage in Kenosha?" John McCormack asked (in National Review, while the jury was deliberating):
On the afternoon of Sunday, August 23 — three months after the murder of George Floyd and the riots it sparked — a Kenosha police officer shot African American Jacob Blake. The shooting was far more complicated than initial reports indicated: Blake had a knife, resisted arrest after being tasered, and was reaching into his car when he was shot.... But the video of the incident almost guaranteed that riots would occur without decisive action....

That evening, instead of deploying the National Guard to Kenosha, Evers sent out an inflammatory tweet suggesting that police may have behaved “mercilessly” in their encounter with Blake. “Tonight, Jacob Blake was shot in the back multiple times, in broad daylight, in Kenosha, Wisconsin... While we do not have all of the details yet, what we know for certain is that he is not the first Black man or person to have been shot or injured or mercilessly killed at the hands of individuals in law enforcement in our state or our country.” 
A few hours later, 100 cars were torched in Kenosha.

It wasn’t until the next morning, August 24, that Evers called out the National Guard — and even then he sent only 125 guardsmen to Kenosha, which has a population of just under 100,000. That night, arsonists set fire to dozens of buildings in the city. On Tuesday, August 25, Evers sent another 125 members of the National Guard. But that evening, the Washington Post reported, law-enforcement agents were “overwhelmed” by rioters and “the only visible law enforcement presence was around the Kenosha County Courthouse, where an 8-foot-high fence was erected around the building, with about 1,000 protesters gathered outside the barrier.” 
Evers had turned down an offer of federal support earlier that day. “I have no regrets because the only thing I said no to was Homeland Security and I knew that would not work out because of what I saw in Portland,” Evers said after the fact. Evers has defended his minimal deployment of guardsmen by saying, “We have fulfilled every request that the leadership in Kenosha have asked for.”....

Evers is at fault and so is the leadership of Kenosha. 

ALSO: More government responsibility for chaos in Wisconsin: "Milwaukee County DA admits it was a mistake to grant $1,000 bail to SUV-driving felon days before he smashed into Xmas parade: Darrell Brooks was freed after running over mother of his child and is now charged with homicide after killing five" (Daily Mail).

"Robert Bly, Poet Who Gave Rise to a Men’s Movement, Dies at 94/His most famous, and most controversial, work was 'Iron John: A Book About Men'..."

That's the headline for the NYT obituary.
[The 1990 book "Iron John: A Book About Men"] drew on myths, legends, poetry and science of a sort to make the case that American men had grown soft and feminized and needed to rediscover their primitive virtues of ferocity and audacity and thus regain the self-confidence to be nurturing fathers and mentors.... He held men-only seminars and weekend retreats, gatherings often in the woods with men around campfires thumping drums, making masks, hugging, dancing and reading poetry aloud.

He said his “mythopoetic men’s movement” was not intended to turn men against women. But many women called it a put-down, an atavistic reaction to the feminist movement. Cartoonists and talk-show hosts ridiculed it, dismissing it as tree-hugging self-indulgence by middle-class baby boomers. Mr. Bly, a shambling white-haired guru who strummed a bouzouki and wore colorful vests, was easily mocked as Iron John himself, a hairy wild man who, in the German myth, helped aimless princes in their quests....

Click my "Robert Bly" tag. I've written about him quite a few times, most recently 3 weeks ago, with "This is, perhaps, the freakiest coincidence in all my years of blogging." 

And I wrote about him in my second year of blogging, 2005: "Remember the men's movement?" 

There's this from a post in 2010: "And what are the burdens of manliness? Ironically — ironjohnically — men are made to feel unmanly for developing their set of grievances and whining and moaning about the unfairness of it."

"When a 38-year-old man fell from his bed during a violent seizure, his wife found him shaking and 'speaking gibberish' on their bedroom floor at 4 a.m."

"After he arrived at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, the man, who was reported to be in good health and had no history of related symptoms, suffered another seizure. Doctors were stumped... until a CT scan of his head... finding three brain lesions, doctors diagnosed the man with neurocysticercosis after they concluded that larval cysts from a tapeworm had migrated to his head 20 years ago and embedded into parts of his brain.... 'This gentleman was a little atypical, but not amazingly rare, in that his parasites were dead and calcified and there was no living parasite in his brain for one or two decades... The infection was long gone, but part of his brain was scarred — and that scarred area was leading to the seizures.'"

From "His sudden seizures were a mystery. Then doctors saw a tapeworm in his brain from 20 years ago" (WaPo).

I was relieved to understand that the worm wasn't alive for 20 years. But then I start thinking about this: "Did you know that only one in ten of the cells in your body is actually human? That's right. A whopping 90 percent of your cells are bacterial, viral, or parasitic in nature" (Huffpo).

Do you ever worry that the part of you that is really you is not much of anything at all?! 

ADDED: I say "I was relieved to understand that the worm wasn't alive for 20 years," but why would I have thought that? Because the caption under the photograph at the top of the page says, "Doctors found that a tapeworm had been living in a 38-year-old man's brain for 20 years"!

"I don’t think many on the left are actually super enthusiastic about these diversity trainings, but the general sense is also that only a bitter crank would actually complain about them."

"But there is real evidence that they are at least sometimes making things worse, which strikes me as a big deal. For example, Michelle Duguid and Melissa Thomas-Hunt find that when you tell people that stereotyping is widespread, they stereotype more. This suggests to me that a very underrated step toward progress would be to eliminate the judicial and legal standards that suggest diversity training has litigation-protective effects...."

From "How to be an anti-racist/Diversity training doesn't work — here's some stuff that does" by Matt Yglesias (Slow Boring).

"Every month or so, while conversing with sources at Fox News, I express surprise that Jonah Goldberg and Stephen Hayes are still employed by the network. After all, the two men are reality-based conservative thinkers..."

".... who refuse to capitulate to Donald Trump. Unfortunately, Fox viewers rarely get to hear from them. They are booked by the network's producers so rarely that their contracts could be likened to golden handcuffs. Now they are ditching the cuffs."

I'm trying to read "Jonah Goldberg and Stephen Hayes resign from Fox News, protesting 'irresponsible' voices like Tucker Carlson" by Brian Stelter (CNN Business).

If you're not on any shows, you can make a show out of the spectacle of leaving. And Brian Stelter tries to boost the visibility of this Jonah-and-Stephen-never-capitulate show.

As for "reality-based" — it made me think of Alvy Singer reacting to Duane Hall:

"Well, I have to go now... because I'm due back on the Planet Earth."

As for "golden handcuffs" — this expression implies that they were paid a lot of money to go on Fox News exclusively, essentially paid to remain silent. But was that the deal? And how much money were they paid? Stelter doesn't say.

It's noble, I suppose, to walk away from money — depending on how much money it was and how ignoble it was to take it in the first place. But we're not told!

Here's the Goldberg + Hayes statement. It doesn't say how much money they got from Fox.  Maybe they only walked away from the erstwhile honor of being affiliated with Fox. Now, they judge that association to be detrimental to their stature, and they break it off. If that's the case, there never were any "golden handcuffs," and there's nothing grand about the gesture of walking away.

"Eighty looters ransacked a Nordstrom store in California's Bay Area on Saturday night, injuring at least three employees in a raid that lasted less than a minute."

"The large group,wearing ski masks and carrying crowbars, rushed the Walnut Creek store, stole an undetermined amount of merchandise and fled in their vehicles. During the theft, two Nordstrom workers were punched and kicked, while another was sprayed with pepper spray. All three individuals were treated for their injuries on scene.... The brazen robbery comes as Bay Area businesses reduce their hours due to a spate of brazen shoplifting incidents. Locals are also slamming woke San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin over his failure to prosecute thefts. San Francisco has also seen an uptick in property theft since a local law downgraded the theft of property less than $950 in value from a felony charge to a misdemeanor in 2014. Store staff and security now tend not to pursue or stop thieves who have taken anything worth less than $1,000.... Although most of the raiders managed to flee, police managed to arrest at least two of the suspected looters...." 

The Daily Mail reports. 

ADDED: Jeff Bezos looks on warily....

"Protesters upset over the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse marched in Kenosha on Sunday — in the presence of a Second Amendment-supporting father-daughter duo armed with AR-15s they said were to protect the demonstrators."

The NY Post reports, with lots of photos of Erick Jordan, 50, and his 16-year-old daughter Jade.

Jordan said he’d been training Jade to use firearms since she was 4 but only let her touch a weapon once she was 14. He said they were protecting a restaurant and two parking lots in the area on the night Rittenhouse shot three people, including two fatally, amid protests over police conduct.

As for the Rittenhouse verdict, Mr. Jordan said: "It is what it is. The jury did their job, and this is America."

ADDED: Did Erick and Jade Jordan smoke out any hypocrites? 

"Redistricting in this way — drawing districts so contrived as to be ludicrous, to shore up power that is clearly fading — reads like a balding man trying to fool the world with an embarrassing combover."

Says state senator Michelle Au, quoted in "As Georgia grows more Democratic, its members of Congress will not" (NPR).

ADDED: To extend the analogy, I'd like to ask Au if she'd agree to solve the "embarrassing combover" problem by adopting the equivalent of a buzzcut. And then Democrats and Republicans have to go on with the buzzcut. No going back to a combover. 

But the question is: What would a gerrymander buzzcut look like? Can we leave it to a computer that is programmed with information that does not include anything about race, ethnicity, past voting patterns, or political affiliation? 

Would Au agree to that?

"After the parade carried on for a few minutes, emergency vehicles sped by, sirens and lights blaring, as a group of children dancing with snowflake props tried to carry on with their performance."

From "5 dead, more than 40 injured after SUV plows into crowd at Christmas parade in Wisconsin" (WaPo).
Kaylee Staral, an intern at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel newspaper, attended the parade with her family, who took their spots next to parents and children with candy bags and blankets. “It was supposed to be an exciting event.... A bunch of little kids were there. People were there to get in the holiday season.” Minutes later, the SUV shot past Staral and her family, and they watched as it rammed into participants....

"If something can be destroyed by truth, it should be" — Part 2.

Yesterday, I blogged:

I was surprised to run across this aphorism on Facebook the other day: "That Which Can Be Destroyed By the Truth Should Be." There were lots of comments celebrating this abstraction. I considered delivering truth that would destroy their bullshit celebration of a principle I doubt they believe.

Today, I must destroy my own statements with truth. I'm going to give this post my rarely used "I was wrong" tag!

I wasn't wrong about running across the aphorism on Facebook the other day, but I was wrong to remember "lots of comments celebrating" it. I merely imagined that other people would read it and celebrate it. My son John had reposted something he'd originally posted 8 years ago that passed along a post from Humans of New York. The Humans of New York post had a photograph of a young man with a purple notebook and this conversation between the photographer and the man:

"If you could give one piece of advice to a large group of people, what would it be?"
"If something can be destroyed by truth, it should be."
"I like that. Where'd it come from?"
"I'm not sure exactly. But it's really just another way of stating the scientific method. We shouldn't be clinging to hypotheses that are contradicted by observation.

John quoted "If something can be destroyed by truth, it should be" and he added it to a Facebook "album" of his that he calls "Intellectual Honesty." I'd say John is expressing some admiration for the adage. I have some admiration for it myself, but when you talk about destruction, don't you know that you can count me out in the abstract, I get suspicious.

There were 2 comments on John's repost. The first one, "Topical quote," is slightly celebratory, possibly satirical, possibly partisan. The second one "R'amen" is a joke that I get: It's "amen" for believers in The Flying Spaghetti Monster

So, clearly, truth has destroyed "There were lots of comments celebrating this abstraction."

November 21, 2021

Sunrise — 6:53.


Write about whatever you want in the comments.

"Asked"?! That's putting it mildly.

I'm reading "Here’s a Fact: We’re Routinely Asked to Use Leftist Fictions" by John McWhorter (in the NYT).

"[W]e think of it as ordinary to not give voice to our questions about things that clearly merit them, terrified by the response that objectors often receive. History teaches us that this is never a good thing."

McWhorter is underplaying the problem. We don't just think it's ordinary to refrain from saying certain things (such as, to name the example he stresses, the existence of race-preferences in higher education admissions). We think it's abnormal to the point of toxicity not to refrain.

We (as a culture) are deeply engaged in teaching young people that they must lie. The "white lie" is no longer merely permissible. It's required.  I wonder if young people have retained any of the old-fashioned commitment to truth. It's obviously not the highest value anymore.

I was surprised to run across this aphorism on Facebook the other day: "That Which Can Be Destroyed By the Truth Should Be." There were lots of comments celebrating this abstraction. I considered delivering truth that would destroy their bullshit celebration of a principle I doubt they believe. 

But I refrained. I consider my reputation as a nice (enough) person on Facebook to be worth preserving. But I didn't believe the aphorism. I just had a mischievous urge to show them their admiration of it was itself a lie. But such urges are better confined to this blog, where no one runs into me by accident. 

Anyway, whose aphorism is that? Quote Investigator has done the research, here. The answer is not Carl Sagan.

"Baby kissing is a practice in which politicians and candidates campaigning for office kiss babies in order to garner public support."

So begins the Wikipedia article "Baby kissing," which I'm reading this morning after getting this viral tweet:

Is Biden a "creepy ghoul" there? I see a responsive tweet that says "I blame the mother for putting her child in this situation. Why do these people always b[r]ing their children around this creep?" 

But mothers have been holding their babies up to politicians, expecting not just light petting, but outright kissing for as long as I can remember. It's been a synonym for campaigning. That's why there's a Wikipedia article "Baby kissing." 

Look how lovely our most charismatic President looked doing it (and he's even crotch-grabbing!):

Of course, some babies don't like it, and they don't know or care that the stranger handling them is the President. Some Presidents manage to make the baby's rejection work as a charming photo op:

From the Wikipedia article: