URLs du Jour — 2014-10-03

  • I find myself strangely intrigued by the recent revelations that Neil deGrasse Tyson makes up quotes and yarns to more easily illustrate the essential yahooism of his inferiors. I looked at some of that yesterday. Let me also refer you to a new broadside from Ace of Spades HQ:

    But now I've seen the real Neil DeGrasse Tyson, and I see him for the intellectually-insecure can't-be-wrong juvenile man-child asshole he is, the typical professor type who can't gracefully admit an error because their whole fascade [sic] of authority might collapse around them.

    Which is one way to look at it. But at National Review, Charles C. W. Cooke has a significantly more sympathetic look at NdGT, also worth your while. Whatever Tyson's (increasingly manifest) sins, his fanboy cult-followers are much worse.

    That cult, by the furious and devastated manner in which it has reacted to each and every quibble that Tyson’s critics have expressed, has proved my point beautifully of late. To be among the staunchest of deGrasse Tyson’s fans, it seems, one has to be both a know-nothing and a zealot, one has to live in the desperate and pathetic hope that another person’s intelligence and eloquence will somehow rub off on oneself, and one has to make a highly public show of positioning oneself in relation to others so that strangers will know where to place one within the nation’s moral and intellectual hierarchy. If you want to see some examples of how these traits play out in the real world, read any of the hilarious reactions to Sean Davis, to Rich Lowry, to Jonathan Adler, or to myself; or, for that matter, to anyone else who has exhibited the temerity to write about the man in a less than reverent manner.

    (The last link above goes to Mr. Cooke's NR cover story from earlier this year, "Smarter than Thou", an examination of "politics pretending to be science". And you should check that out too.)

    Also weighing in perceptively: Ed Driscoll. "Back off man, I’m an intellectual."

  • Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has portrayed herself as a dedicated class warrior, fighting the fatcats on behalf of the little people (You mean the leprechauns?). At Reason, Shikha Dalmia points out how that shtick is as phony as her Native American heritage: "Elizabeth Warren Sells Out to Her Corporate Masters". She's now an ardent supporter of keeping alive that poster child of corporate welfare, the Export-Import Bank. Read the whole thing if you need to remind yourself how dreadful Ex-Im is. But even worse:

    Why is Warren so sweet on the bank? It's not like Massachusetts companies receive disproportionate export aid. It's because, as former Democratic Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank told the Huffington Post, Democrats have made a tactical decision to close ranks and dump their previous opposition to Ex-Im because they want to wrest Corporate America—and presumably its campaign contributions—from the GOP.

    Ms Dalmia advises that you "don't stand on one foot" waiting for Senator Warren to adhere to her stated principles. Pun Salad agrees, and also points out that the only truly reliable "Progressive" principle is to increase the power of the political sector at the expense of the private. Ex-Im is just one example.

  • Speaking of which: one of my must-watch TV shows, Jeopardy! had a "Mrs. Warren’s Profession" category earlier this week, containing "answers" revolving around the Senator. Not to be outdone, Prof Jacobsen of Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion provides (more amusing) alternates. Sample:

    1. In connection with breast implant litigation for which Warren claimed during the 2012 Senate campaign to have fought for women, Warren actually represented this company which was trying to avoid liability.

    Answer: What is Dow Chemical.

    Heh. Indeed!

  • Coming soon to a campus near you… Scott Johnson of PowerLine shares an e-mail sent by upper administrators at Middlebury College to the campus community. Begins:

    We are writing to share exciting news with you regarding the college’s new preferred name and gender pronoun procedure, an option for identifying oneself in BannerWeb. This initiative was born from a proposal presented to the Administration in 2011 that highlighted recommendations for developing a process for those seeking to identify their preferred name and gender pronoun within Middlebury’s internal data systems.

    So (for example) Mr. Steven Reeves doesn't have to go through the hassle of a legal name change to appear as "Miss Stephanie Reeves" on class rosters and e-mail.

    I've had a long-time ambition to be known as "Captain Megazone" myself. Depending on how far the University Near Here lags behind what is obviously a trend, that might happen before I retire.