The Streisand Effect and the Intellectual Black List

Confession: The whole Sam Harris / Jordan Peterson thing was largely a boat I missed until the woketernet started galvanizing against them. Before the two had really become lightning rods, I remember listening to one or two really long Sam Harris discussions because a friend recommended the specific conversations. It was the kind of thing I listened to and thought: “Some nice zingers in there!” But I didn’t come back to it.

Hermitix: Name it then fight it

Ideological purity is seductive, but so is heroin: they both end badly. Back in the 90s when young people actually read comic books, one way or another people tended to pick a side between the big two: Marvel comics and D.C. Even today, someone who reminisces on reading comic books back then is likely to revert back to this either/or’ism. They’ll say something like, “I really only read Marvel.” There was a certain logic to this, because each publishing company was effectively one giant standalone story, but there was a larger illogic to it because, you know, if you like an art form explore the whole space.

Trueanon: The Veiled Prophet

I mean… They say it’s better to overdress than underdress, right? If I told you that this is a photo of the enactment of a regional myth in St. Louis, designed to intimidate working people and unify the old money families, would you even believe that something this crazy would ever be mainstream anywhere in this country? I mean, this isn’t an artsy photo from Burning Man. This is from 1938 in the now-Rust-Belt Midwest.

The Portal: Stormwater fees illustrate Pareto and Kaldor-Hicks Improvements well

Rainwater pollutes rivers. Well, OK, in fact rainwater has a way of picking up pollution in urban areas (like oil and trash) and moving it into waterways. Because of the speed at which large amounts of it moves over manmade surfaces (like concrete and asphalt), rain also tends to wash a lot more dirt into rivers than it would under natural conditions, and this is also bad for the water.

The Portal: The Greys are gonna run someone for President in 2024

Someone asked Bobby Kennedy if they should run for some office once. Bobby’s only question: “Do you know you can win?” The person said he wasn’t sure. In that case, Bobby said, he shouldn’t run. Kennedys, it seems, only ran when they knew they could win. It must be nice to be a Kennedy. This is an account I remember from a really good book that was sadly out of print the last time I checked, but I always recommend that people who like political campaigns read it.

Red Scare: Hopeless Left Aesthetics

So there was a Presidential election my sophomore year of college and I was part of the College Democrats for it. We put in a lot of work to get the Democrat elected and we went into election night pretty sure he would win. You know what? He totally did. So that was gratifying. And then on election night we had a little party in the basement of a bar. I don’t remember too much about it, but I do remember that one of the College Republicans showed up.

What I think about aliens

The universe is big. Really, really big. That seems like all a person really needs to know. But maybe it’s smaller than it seems? I think the universe is teeming with life. Any other view seems crazy to me. Why? Mainly because there’s just too much planet out there. How could life only turn up once? This can’t be the only giant rock that scum started growing on. There, I said it.

Too real: a horror story

There’s a dreadful moment in every man’s life where he shows up at a bar that he liked to go to a for a long time, where he used to have a good time, but then he looks around and he says to himself: “Damn, I’m too old to be in here.” The self-reflective man has a subsequent moment, though, and that one is worse. That moment is the one where he asks himself, “Did I notice that I’m too old to be here first or had everyone else noticed that a long time ago?

Blogging Makes People Smarter

The great philosopher John Locke believed that knowledge is the relationship between two ideas. IDEA: The man is very large. IDEA: The man is looking at me angrily. KNOWLEDGE: I should get the hell out of here. See how that works? And so: Blogging is a shortcut to expertise on almost any topic because it allows writers to physically instantiate relationships between ideas. In other words: Writing links is the crux of blogging.

Waking up from occulted dreams

Kantbot and his friend gave me permission to quit caring about the occult. On the most recent episode of the Pseudodoxology podcast, Kantbot has the painter Owen Cyclops on and the two of them discussed the occult. The conversation ran for two hours, and it is theoretically grounded in Cyclops’ story of how he went from being an occult adherent and enthusiast to becoming a more basic Christian with a spiritual bent.