Thursday, October 08, 2015

Tom Gresham of Gun Talk Shreds John Hockenberry on NPR's The Takeaway

   Wow. This was one of the weirdest exchanges I've ever heard on NPR. I just happened to catch Piers Morgan doing a really cringeworthy anti-firearms song and dance on the same show the other day. I've actually seen that Morgan guy be a perfectly respectable journalist at times, and have never had the contempt for him that many seem to have. I only caught about 15 minutes of the program, but boy was it fluff. And Hockenberry made very little effort to control his anti-firearm position. I do understand why people feel passionately about it...but the show was really cringe-inducing. And the exchange with Gresham was even more so. I'm not familiar with Gresham or his show, and expected him to be a kook--but if he is, it didn't come across in this segment. He was calm, reasonable and well-informed...and Hockenberry basically lost it. His questions barely concealed his agenda and his anger, and Gresham actually called him on it at one point. Hockenberry then began denying that he was trying to advance a position, and insisted that he was "just asking questions," which was patently false. I got home before the interview was over, and had one of those NPR "driveway moments" they like to go on about...but not in a good way. I have a lower and lower opinion of NPR as time goes on, but this may have been the nadir.
   Props to Hockenberry for letting that interview see the light of day. I'm afraid I'd have gone right in and erased the tape if I were him...

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

UK Campus "Diversity Officer" With History of Racism/Sexism Against Males and Whites Charged With Sending Threatening Communication

   Well, this woman is crazy...
...and a racist and sexist...
...and sending a threat is definitely worthy of prosecution...
   But I'm not so wild about the other charge: "sending a grossly offensive communication." I'd be happy to hear arguments about it...but it's not obvious to me that that sort of thing should be illegal...     The UK is kinda kooky about such stuff, of course...
   Be interesting to see how this plays out.

(via Reddit)

Doctors Without Borders Calls U.S. Bombing Of Hospital A "War Crime"

Is it just me or is this crazy?

Monday, October 05, 2015

"Privilege" Aplenty!: "Nuclear Family Privilege"

   The thing I love about Salon is that they publish this stuff with, as it were, a completely straight face. It makes McSweeny's look like The Congressional Record. Embarrassingly, it took me a long time to catch on. I thought Salon was merely a cesspool of trendy, muddle-headed, liberal-ish lower-middle-brow clickbait...when, in fact, they're clearly pretending to be a cesspool of trendy, muddle-headed, liberal-ish lower-middle-brow clickbait in order to "perform" (as the elitterati might say) a kind of complex commentary on that sort of thing...
   Incidentally, this does seem like an occasion for raising an issue that we obviously need to deal with at some point. I write, of course, about not-being-driven-to-distraction-by-moronic-cultural-fads-like-"privilege"-mongering privilege. Think of all the time, attention and energy people like us waste being annoyed by idiotic nonsense like this, when other people pass by it with nothing more than a fleeting feeling of revulsion... And they are oblivious to their privilege in this regard! What good is our pain if others cannot be made to feel guilt for not feeling it??? To what end do we...oh...hold on...dammit... I've got to get ready for class. Which reminds me that I also need to write sometime about having-prepared-your-lecture-over-the-weekend-when-you-were-supposed-to-instead-of-putting-it-off-until-Monday-morning privilege... Not to mention having-remembered-to-buy-orange-juice-privilege...that being something I particularly want to emphasize this morning, and something I sincerely hope you'll feel guilty about. Every time someone forgets to buy orange juice, those of you who didn't forget benefit...

Friday, October 02, 2015

Umpqua Community College (OR) Shooter Targeted Christians

What the hell does one even say about this?
   We have to figure out how to keep firearms out of the hands of people who are crazy and/or evil. This is madness.
   Apparently this lunatic was spouting off on 4chan very recently. Nobody took him seriously, of course, so, as is their wont, faux egged him on as a way of making fun of him. That will obviously be misinterpreted/spun by the media as actually egging him on. 
   I've sometimes conjectured that one difference between people who grew up with the internet and people who didn't is that most of the latter think that words matter, whereas at least some significant chunk of the former think something like: words don't matter. Or, I don't know, maybe it's just that words on the internet don't matter... This would explain why so many young whippersnappers think that it's absurd for people to get upset by things said on the web. I don't know. But I do know that a lot of time and panic will be expended on Wolf Blitzer & co. breathlessly talking about the mysterious hacker 4chan urging the murderer to murder. Incidentally, there's also that case going on about a kid's gf urging him to commit suicide...though she seemed more serious...though perhaps not totally serious...  Actually, of course, words do matter. Though working out the details of that point isn't all that easy.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Two Monks Inventing Paintings

(via Reddit)

Oxford Student Union Bans Free Speech Magazine...


(h/t S. rex)

Is It Becoming More Common For Liberals To Advocate Open Borders?

   I've long contended that much of what liberals say about immigration is on a trajectory toward advocacy of open borders. I quit reading Crooked Timber years go, when it--or so it seemed to me--became a liberal echo chamber. You can still find interesting stuff on there sometimes, and a better person than myself would be better at panning for gold amid the ostentatiously scramble metaphors...
   I do think that there's a decent moral case to be made for open borders. But I also think that the position is nutty. To my shame, I've never thought about it in much detail. Who knows which way I'll swing if I ever do think hard about it...  One vague concern I have is that open borders arguments typically sound to me like arguments that also entail that we should all have what we might call open doors. That is, roughly, they sound like arguments that would also lead to the conclusion that we cannot justify excluding others who are less-well-off than ourselves from our private property. And arguments that nations are roughly tribal seem to me to be applicable to families. Such arguments do make a certain amount of sense. But my gut says that you don't have to go very far down that trajectory before things become insane... Again, that's a gut-reaction to a set of arguments I have not thought about with any care.
   At any rate, I once conceded in an argument around here that I had been wrong to suggest that many liberals were tacitly committed to an open-borders position. I can't shake the impression, however, that I was wrong to concede that. There still does seem to me to be a tendency on the far-ish left to see border control as inherently unjust.

NRO: Obama Submits To Dominant Males

   Is it just me or is there an awful lot of this kind of thing over on the right? I don't mean just the ODS / frantic spinning out of any anti-Obama tall tale they can imagine... And I don't mean the ad hoc pseudo-scientism (in this case anthropologism)... I mean the weird stories about dominance and submission among dudes in the context of foreign policy...especially when Putin is involved. In the link above, we see two fever-swamp themes come together: Democrats as submissive wimps and Putin as "alpha male." I don't think I know anybody who thinks or talks like this about humans in real life, though I do see such stuff on the interwebs. Do folks over on the right really tend to think like this? Or is it just more feverish, opportunistic anti-Obama nonsense? The latter is weird but familiar...the former is downright bizarre and grotesque. The conservatives' man crush on Putin was weird enough before this latest turn...
   Another weird thing about all of this seems pretty consistent on the right: the view that macho posturing is a sign of strength, while a calm, cool disinterest in any of that stuff is a sign of weakness. Which is exactly the opposite of the truth in my experience. Is there some deep psychological difference between conservatives and others on this score? I'd say that the simplest explanation is that it's all just bullshitting aimed at denigrating Obama. But it wouldn't be astonishing if it were something more than that.
   Of course the NRO is typically a pretty nutty place, so one expects frequent nutty--and occasionally very nutty--stories. But for my money one of the creepiest things is the consistent wingnuttery in the comments. Here's a patently cracked article, and I find no comments pointing that out. Nobody? Really? That's some unusually groupy group-think right there...

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

It's National Blasphemy Day...

link Jesus can eat my shorts.

(via Inside Carolina)

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Flying Hellfish Were Onto Something; Or, The Return of the Tontine?

Benghazi BENGHAZI BBEENNGGHHAAZZII!!!!!!!: Now WORSE THAN WATERGATE!!!!!!11 (But Not Worse Than Whitewatergate)

[rubs temples in ostentatious indication of disgust]
[provides link without comment]
[moves on and tries to think happy thoughts]

Birthers Blame HRC For Birtherism

Ah, birthers... sigh 
   I really don't think the U.S. gets nearly enough credit for running a credible democracy despite the fact that so many of us are flat-out batshit crazy. I actually consider it quite an accomplishment.

   Anyhoo...  Turns out that the birthers are now claiming that Hillary kicked off birtherism... Which is funny given that this would make her kind of a hero by birther lights... Personally, I would have gone for Adam Weishaupt...but that's just me...
  Anyway: no.