One is that it’s very hard to acknowledge that things can get better without being good. It’s a common problem. It is, for instance, almost certainly true that the UK is much less racist and sexist than it used to be. But it’s also clearly true that there are real problems that continue to exist. It is extremely hard to say “the UK has become better with regards to racism and sexism” without people hearing “the UK is not racist or sexist”.
Yarvin’s description of the cathedral is on point. There is little cost to any given mandarin for being wrong and enormous benefits for toeing the party line. The elites who make up the cathedral’s priesthood understand at some level that their prestige and benefits accrue not from independent thinking or the rigorous pursuit of open inquiry. Groupthink pays in both money and access. [Curtis Yarvin: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly]
Here is the fundamental seductiveness of the conspiracy theory—any conspiracy theory. It is, ironically, a product of our modern, enlightened, post-superstition approach to knowledge. It’s grounded in the notion that reason and logic—even truth—are out there somewhere, accessible to any mind that’s smart enough and dispassionate enough. It appeals to libertarians, to Real Men of Genius who refuse to acquiesce to the consensus of other men without seeing their work. It is a reasonable, self-confident skepticism that easily deteriorates into hubris: Hey, we’re just asking questions here… He who controls the past controls the present. Who controls the past?… Open your eyes, sheeple… To such men, it never occurs that their critiques could be conditioned or motivated or manipulated, too.
Statistics from the most complete database of police shootings (compiled by The Washington Post) indicate that, over the last five years, police have fatally shot 39 percent more unarmed whites than blacks. Because there are roughly six times as many white Americans as black Americans, that figure should be closer to 600 percent, BLM activists (and their allies in legacy media) insist. The fact that it’s not—that there’s more than a 500-percentage point gap between reality and expectation—is, they say, evidence of the bias of police departments across the United States.
A previous employee remembered Musk saying that Tesla’s goal was to save the world. “He would get really emotional,” this person told me—and that’s why he sometimes seemed callous, “because what’s one person’s feelings compared to the fate of billions? Elon cares a lot about humanity, but he doesn’t really care about individual people all that much.” (A Tesla spokesperson said Musk “very much cares about individual people.”).
After the death of George Floyd, Black Lives Matter protests, and panicked corporate statements responding to social unrest, Valdary had a revelation: “All of a sudden, companies were in search of trainings that could help them have conversations about race, but DEI programs take an approach that is oftentimes hostile, oftentimes lacking in empathy, and oftentimes perpetuating stereotypes about both black and white people alike.”
Neil Young and Joni Mitchell once dwelled in the pop culture niche now inhabited by Joe Rogan. I wonder how they would have reacted had Bing Crosby and other top crooners of the previous generation tried to get their record labels to throw them off because he believed they were a bad influence on society. Well, they have become hypothetical Bing Crosby. I don’t care if younger musicians love or hate Joe Rogan, but I do hope that they don’t follow these crotchety, censorious Canadians’ lead in using strategic self-cancellation as a new weapon in the culture war. This will not end well for any of us.
I also try to rehabilitate a lot of words and qualities that might have pejorative sense about them. I’ve got a new series of essays coming out in the fall, called Consolations: The Solace, Nourishment, and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words. There must be a place for everything in the human soul, including fear, jealously and regret.
That last question is easier to answer, in the sense that people are looking for alternatives to programs that make them feel worthless. And this is important to point out because of the connection between insecurity and a supremacist superiority complex.
But when Ms. Bash implies that what he did — a consensual relationship between two divorced adults — isn’t a crime, there’s an underlying sentiment I agree with, which is that inappropriate workplace romances often happen not because people are evil or abusive, but because they’re human.
We disagree with the protesters’ cause, but they have a right to be noisy and even disruptive. Protests are a necessary form of expression in a democratic society, particularly for those whose opinions do not command broad popular support. Governments have a responsibility to prevent violence by protesters, but they must be willing to accept some degree of disruption by those seeking to be heard.
These symptoms of a culture that is forgetting the value of beauty, weirdness and coolness. Of people who are brave. Of people who are very good at something that matters. Of feeling like something inside you is waking up. A culture that is so risk-averse it has stupefied itself.
From left or right, the politics of history is the province of scoundrels. Worse than that, it can become a death cult. We are pitted against each other by those who return, time and again, to the original wound that they cannot or will not allow to heal. Not that we can deny the past. But we ask ourselves who owns truth? Who decides when or how truth is told? All nations have stains on their history.
The notion that expecting one’s children “to form and express opinions” and “questions elders” is a definitionally white parenting style, while expecting children to “show respect by quiet listening” is a “color group” one, is a racial caricature. As is the broader idea that white families prize individualism over communal obligation. Positing fundamental cultural distinctions between people with different pigmentations — not different class, regional, national, or religious backgrounds, but merely different concentrations of melanin — is a task better left to white supremacists than equity coaches.
Even now, I catch myself believing that the world belongs to the victors and the powerful. The church, like nearly everyone else, tends to want to be more like the comfortable, the successful, and the powerful — more like Augustus Caesar — than the one who became weak, helpless, and despised. We often look for God more in the abundance of gifts under the tree or the happiness of our days than in the helplessness of a baby, the worry lines of the poor, or the lonely agony of a dying man on a cross. But again this year, this story asks to shock us anew and to yet again turn the world upside down.
The assumption the rest of us tend to make in order to justify attacking the eccentrics in our midst is that they don’t know how they come across. Certainly, that’s how Schulman portrays Strong — unaware that there’s a joke and that he’s the brunt of it. Perhaps that’s not the case, though. Strong, Dorland, and Pellegrino each seem to have some idea of how they’re being perceived, and to choose, despite the risk of increased mockery and pain, to continue being themselves, at their most extra and obnoxious.
Making this choice is a rite of passage for many of us — for the theater, kids hamming it up, the fangirls shrieking too loudly at concerts, the excited nerds geeking out about obscure subjects, and on and on. The choice to embrace effusive displays of sincere feeling will always bring the risk of vilification. Perhaps when the next viral profile drops, we might push past the knee-jerk mockery, recognize the capacity for eccentricity in ourselves, and extend a little kindness
At no point does Don’t Look Up’s script demonstrate an interest in why these people do these things, or what causes these online phenomena. Despite this being a central aspect of his story, McKay doesn’t seem to think it worthy of consideration. There’s a word for that: contempt.
It doesn’t matter what Groucho or Elvis or Britney or any other one-name performer does or did… the critics won’t be placated. Changing your act to make them happy is a fool’s game.
It’s not magical. It’s simply an engine of convenience. Those who can tune that engine well — who solve basic human problems with greater speed and simplicity than those who came before — will profit immensely. Those who lose sight of basic human needs — who want to give people the next great idea — will have problems. “We often think of the internet enables you to do new things,”
Williams said. “But people just want to do the same things they’ve always done.”
Knowing when you’ve messed up, and apologising swiftly, is an unspoken rule in this corner of the internet, too. “I am a human person and make mistakes all the time,” says Danya Ruttenberg, a rabbi from Chicago. If she tweets something ill-informed, offensive or wrong, Ruttenberg simply deletes it and apologises if necessary. “It doesn’t have to be a big deal,” Ruttenberg says. “It doesn’t have to be so heavy. You’re not a terrible person if you make a mistake
“Genetic differences between us matter for our lives. They cause differences in things we care about. Building a commitment to egalitarianism on our genetic uniformity is building a house on sand.”