URLs du Jour

2019-08-07

[Amazon Link]

  • Jack Miller and I are in the same intersectional pigeonhole. And I am in broad concurrence with his thesis at the Daily Wire: We Old White Men Are Not The Source Of Every Societal Ill.

    Last week, 2020 Democratic Party presidential candidate Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) said she wanted to explain “white privilege” to suburban white women. I would be happy to sit in on the lecture (assuming men are allowed) because, apparently, nobody is more privileged — nor more disliked for it — than old white men. Like me.

    In fact, I recently did a quick Google search (yes, I know how to do that) for “old white men,” which turned up a horrifying list of angry screeds against people like me. There’s “No Country for Old White Men and Good Riddance,” a T-shirt that tells everyone you’ve “heard enough from old white men,” and The New York Times wondering whether “a white man be the face of the Democratic party in 2020?” — which, for the Times, is an improvement over hiring editorial board members who tweet about “how much joy I get out of being cruel to old white men.”

    This barrage of vitriol speaks to the recent cultural milieu in which, at best, there is something suspect about the decisions, the motives, and even the very existence of old white men. At worst, there is a presumption that we are malevolent, parasitic oppressors of those who are not like us.

    Well, speaking as an old, white man — I beg to differ.

    Our Amazon Product du Jour is Jack's second example. It is the perfect storm of ageism, racism, and sexism. Unfortunately missing: "heterosexual", "cisgender", etc. But you can only fit so much on a t-shirt.

    Excercise: How fast would a product be taken down if it featured some other combination of groupings, singling out people that current theology considers to be victimized and oppressed?

    But, yeah, I have heard enough from some old white men. Named Donald, Bernie, Joe,…


  • How can the FDA save lives? At the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Michelle Minton has a suggestion for that: FDA Can Save Lives by Rejecting Scott Gottlieb's Lies. Rejecting all of them would be nice, but Michelle will settle for…

    E-cigarettes have proven effective at helping people quit smoking, a massive potential public health gain, considering nearly half a million people die every year from smoking-related illnesses. The big question is: How can we help smokers quit and at the same time discourage young people from taking up either smoking or vaping?

    Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has paid some lip service to “preserv[ing] e-cigarettes as a tool to help adult smokers while snuffing out the teen smoking epidemic,” but it’s difficult to believe Gottlieb or the FDA when they’ve been lying to us so far.

    Teen smoking remains a concern, but let’s be honest about the size and scope of the problem: There is no teen smoking epidemic.

    When the current moral megapanic about guns abates, as I hope it will, there will still be numerous residual moral panicoids about people who, for one reason or another, prefer to go through the day with an occasional nicotine buzz.


  • The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) notes and comments on a recent (paywalled) WSJ op-ed by Christian Schneider: Bias teams welcome the Class of 1984. The topic is so-called "bias reporting systems".

    While defenders of bias reporting systems often point to their supposedly non-punitive nature, both FIRE and Schneider warned of the chilling effect they can have on student speech. As FIRE wrote in 2017, “Bias Response Teams create—indeed, they are intended to create—a chilling effect on campus expression. Even if a Bias Response Team does not have the power to take punitive action, the prospect of an official investigation may make students and faculty more cautious about what opinions they dare to express.” Schneider expresses similar concerns, adding that “Complaints go down in permanent, often public, records, which can affect future employment prospects. Most bias-response systems don’t offer any process by which the accused can clear their names.”

    The University Near Here contributes to the general panopticon with its reportit! system. Which may be used by anyone who is subject to, or witnesses, the varieties of bad behavior described in the relevant sections of the USNH policy manual.

    Could someone be reported for wearing our Amazon Product du Jour? Sure.

    The USNH manual assures that "all members of the University of New Hampshire community have the right to hold and vigorously defend and promote their opinions." Would that be enough to allow you to escape the Star Chamber?

    Reader, you may be missing the point. You don't want to go into the Star Chamber at all. So leave the shirt at home, in the drawer.


  • At National Review, Kevin D. Williamson has literature in mind, specifically the Faust legend: Faust Government & Political Power -- Infernal Art of the Deal.

    You know the legend of Faust. He was a man of great learning who wanted to be a man of great power, who made a deal with the devil, exchanging his soul for perfect worldly knowledge and the commanding position that goes with it. The story has been treated most famously by Marlowe and Goethe, but also has held the imagination of everyone from Paul Valéry to Václav Havel.

    It should be performed weekly in Washington, because what Faust ultimately sought was not only knowledge and magical abilities but political power — the ultimate end to which he meant to put his ill-gotten capacities. Faust envisioned a new kind of government, above and separate from the vanities and schemes of mere kings and emperors, one that would be universal and based on science, which at the time was so closely related to magic as to be nearly indistinguishable in the popular mind.

    Kevin knows his stuff, literature-wise, and is unafraid to apply it to our present situation.


  • [Amazon Link]
    And, finally, a Boing Boing amusement from Cory Doctorow: Author hid funny messages on the copyright page of his book.

    When my first couple novels came out, I lobbied to add some kind of notation about "fair use" and "limitations and exceptions to copyright" on the copyright notice page and was told not even to try because legal would never allow even the slightest variance from the boilerplate; apparently Steve Stack is better connected than I am, because his book 21st Century Dodos, has a copyright notice that is full of whimsy and gags, as Rebecca discovered and documented.

    I won't reproduce it here. Click through, or (hey!) buy the book! Link over there on your right!


Last Modified 2019-08-07 4:38 PM EDT