Sunday, July 02, 2017


So I was just tying to clean up a bit because our endless renovation nightmare has made our house look like something from Fallout I think hey, I haven't seen CNN squawk about things in a long time...wonder whether they're still squawking about that twitter wrestling thing...
   So, yeah, I turned it on. This dude Boris Sanchez (who I don't remember ever having seen before) is talking to Jeffrey Lord, and I think this other guy's name is Brian Stetler, and a woman with an Armenian name and this nondescript Republican dude. The question on the table is, basically: was the video a threat? They just happen to throw in that the video first appeared before Reddit, and that the user who made it is a "racist troll." Which...he absolutely could be...because there are plenty of such people on Reddit. In addition to, of course, lots of just about every other kind of person there is... So maybe also he isn't, because calling people racists is now almost just a verbal tick on the left. So who knows?

   Anyway, first off, Sanchez asks Lord what he thinks...and...Lord of course starts spinning out his usual bullsh......wha??? No!...he actually makes perfect sense. Jeffrey Lord!!  No bullshit, not absurd nothing. This is seriously, like, a sign of the apocalypse...  But, of course, his side is right about's absolutely no reason to bullshit. So it really isn't a surprise...except that I don't believe I've ever seen/heard that guy not bullshitting before. Imagine my surprise...
   Then Sanchez gives the nod to the woman with the Armenian name...who...honestly, no kidding, says the following (not a quote):
Well, our right to free expression ends when we start swinging our fists. And the problem is that video isn't just expression because Trump is shown swinging his fists.
   Yes. No kidding. Her argument was that free expression is cool...but not physical, since this bit of expression represented physical violence...
   Jesus Christ, somebody shoot me.
   Un. Freaking. Believable.
   Then they went to clips of Sean Spicer saying several times that Trump's words should be taken seriously and literally and that they're official presidential statements. CNN didn't say what this was supposed to mean...but they didn't have to: the implication was clear: we've been told to take Trump's tweets literally...therefore this tweet is literally a threat of physical violence against CNN.
   Actually, however, it's a video, and I'm not sure we can take images literally...but...if we means that Trump, at some point in the past, beat up a guy who had a CNN logo for a head.
   Then some other really stupid stuff was said, but I forget.
   Oh, all this happened after there was a panel on which one person was going on about how Trump was in terrible shape and that this was going to be a problem when he encountered the super-macho Vladimir Putin.
   I now think that the mistake I've made all along is thinking that CNN was a news organization.
   That was a really stupid mistake to make.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

And, of course, CNN's reaction has virtually guaranteed that Trump-heads-attacking-CNN-logo-heads memes will be flooding the internet for who knows how long.

10:26 PM  
Blogger Pete Mack said...

I don't think that's a problem with CNN per se. It's a structural problem with 24/7 cable news that there's just no time or place for editorial input. Any outfit running on that schedule will have a certain fraction of utter crap.

1:10 AM  
Blogger The Mystic said...

You know, this is the kind of crap that happens when both sides of a dispute have legitimate ends despite being largely incapable of developing valid means.

Trump can do outlandishly moronic things, but because they're related to the actual fact that the media does suck, his supporters remain behind him; they undervalue the fact that he's a puerile, utterly-unfit-for-office loser since he's still got the appeal of being a prominent individual gesturing, regardless of how incompetently and wildly, at the truth.

And on the left, because Trump does in fact suck, supporters undervalue their prominent speakers' consistent and brazen mischaracterizations of Trump's failures as conclusive evidence of [insert-progressive-pet-project-here: racism, misogyny, UNSAFE-MAKING-SPEECH-VIOLENCEZ0R].

We've got two sides with legitimate failures screaming incompetently about those legitimate failures while simultaneously expressing them.

I am afraid it may take a genuine disaster which has severe and concrete adverse effects for everyone to cause people to actually pull together and return to some semblance of a rational, disinterested pursuit of making things right.

I've long thought that the general challenge of self-cultivation is to basically govern oneself as nature would have oneself governed in absence of its more direct and immediate oversight. One must rigorously establish and impose a mindful constraint on oneself in place of the harsh punishments of nature of which we engineer our environment to deprive us. People in an advanced and civilized society can rely ever more greatly on that society to pull them from the various pitfalls into which they plummet for whatever reason.

For a while, on account of this observation, I thought such engineering ought to be avoided (so I advocated a sort of anarchist primitivism, eschewing machinery and the progress of civilization out of fear of this removal of consequences), but as that gradually became clear to me to make no sense, I was left with the conclusion that we have a great and weighty responsibility of self-governance which most people cannot meet.

And this caused me to entertain more seriously the idea that alien civilizations aren't around because they destroy themselves. It seems we may have significant evidence that rational entities, en masse, cannot achieve the level of self-governance required to face the world of tremendous opportunity and danger offered by a technologically advancing civilization.

I hope we're not boned, but I worry that the only factor to look to for our chance of being boned is some sort of luck: if the severe and adverse consequence we await for a return to reason is sufficiently disastrous, we will be destroyed. If it is more temperate and can be overcome, there is hope that we will do so, but in my estimation, the degree of disaster expected from such an event increases dramatically as our own power to shape the world increases. I don't know how far we can expect humanity to evolve morally and intellectually in order to avoid such a combination of moral and intellectual apathy and an epic cataclysm brought about by such misuse of our growing abilities.

I don't know what value this has beyond a general description of a theory of a high-level pattern here, but that's what's on my mind about it.

9:07 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

I agree with a lot of this.

Both sides are right about some stuff, and both sides are wrong about some stuff...and both sides think that the other side is wrong about just about everything, and drastic measures are needed.

Also, I've guessed for awhile now that SETI can't find anybody else because *something* bad tends to happen to societies soon after they develop radio... But what? I've always thought: something technological. But maybe you're right. Maybe that's the point at which animals suited to get to the top of the food chain and develop technology tend to hit the wall. Who knows? Maybe it's radio itself--mass media--that does it...

Also, I agree that we've reached a state of comfort and safety that allows us be irresponsible--and one of the ways in which we're irresponsible is: intellectually. And an instance of this: politically.

If we were locked in mortal combat, or on a ship in a storm, depending on each other for survival, you wouldn't see this bullshit.

Seems to me that this was what the Gingrich revolution and the rise of Limbaugh did: we're sailing along on our ship, mostly cooperating in the way we have to, when one faction comes to realize that, by burning some of the less-essential parts of the ship, they can have big bonfires that rally their supporters. They can gain political advantage by burning stuff that maaaay...but might not! required for our survival. Outside of the analogy I mean: the good will and mutual respect required to make a democracy more English and less French... (Funny that the conservatives used to pride themselves on being the Anglophiles, and deride the left as Francophiles...) But fuck it: let's get our base to hate the other guys. All we need to do is get 51% of the population to hate 49%!

Now we have the left deciding to make up a craaaaazy religion to gain their own advantage. This superstition requires us to pretend that north is sometimes south, that using the compass is sinful on Tuesdays, that most of the crew (on each side) is inherently evil...and that disagreeing with the religion is a form of physical violence.

Yeah, good fucking luck making it back to port you assholes...

9:25 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

But also:
There are at least formal mechanisms for constraining Trump. There are no formal constraints on the media--not that I think there should be. But damn.

12:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So regarding media (and really political polarization), I would strongly recommend these two pieces by Scott Alexander (who is an amazing writer generally, so another plug there).

1. Against Murderism. A pretty good take on how toxic PC anti-racism is to sociopolitics.

2. Neutral Vs. Conservative. A really good take on why conservative media developed and the inevitable dynamics that make it a ghetto.

They are really long, but really do read them. Definitely worth it.

2:43 PM  

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