URLs du Jour


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Our Amazon product du jour is a book by Symone D. Sanders, who "currently serves as senior advisor for former Vice President Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign." Our future, in other words.

  • Speaking of which, the online alumni magazine emitted by the University Near Here features a recent "webinar" by Kate Slater. Kate is identified as:

    Associate Director, Institute for Recruitment of Teachers
    Lecturer, “Teaching Race”, University of New Hampshire
    White Anti-Racist Scholar and Educator

    There's a picture of Kate at the link, but I guess it's a thing now to explicitly mention your racial self-identification up front. Just so there's no doubt. There's also a quote from Angela Y. Davis. Really? (I recommend David Harsany's recent article if you need reminders of Davis's awfulness.)

    Kate's webinar was "4 Steps to Begin An Anti-Racist Education". And, sorry, you missed it. But there's a link to an article she wrote that appears on the website of "Today", NBC's morning network TV show: 5 ways to support your black colleagues right now. (Kate apparently goes for enumerating things.) I'll just snip the title headings for each:

    1. Do not make it about your own feelings.
    2. Recognize when you’re "virtue signaling."
    3. Listen.
    4. Reschedule meetings and calls and only keep what is absolutely essential on the calendar.
    5. Take the time to educate yourself.

    Allow me to annotate/translate:

    1. Shut up about your feelings.
    2. Shut up about how good you think you are.
    3. Seriously, just shut up.
    4. Don't expect black people to attend your stupid Zoom meetings.
    5. And educate your own damn self.

    And yes, Kate recommends Robin DiAngelo's White Fragility, which Matt Taibbi speculated "might be the dumbest book ever written. It makes The Art of the Deal read like Anna Karenina."

    But that's what UNH is pushing these days.

  • Mark J. Perry has The best sentence [he] read today….. It's from an essay at the Persuasion website by Emily Yoffe, A Taxonomy of Fear:

    Institutions that are supposed to be guardians of free expression—academia and journalism in particular—are becoming enforcers of conformity.

    Yes. See item above. Mark's comment:

    I’ve pointed out many times that while academia pledges a theoretical commitment to “diversity, equity and inclusion” they frequently practice in reality the exact opposite — “uniformity, inequity, and exclusion,” e.g., when they require “diversity statements” that are in fact “uniformity statements.”

    It would take a pretty brave person to speak in dissent from that orthodoxy.

  • An interesting take from Kevin D. Williamson in the NYPost: For left-wing purists, moderates are the true enemy. Specifically, Bari Weiss, late of the New York Times:

    Weiss was employed at the Times as a politically independent and curious editor, not as a conservative commentator. You can be a pretty happy conservative in the Times’ splendid conservative ghetto — a conservative under quarantine, gently offering the conservative take of the day, wearing a sandwich board reading “Danger: conservative.”

    What made Weiss indigestible to the Times wasn’t vicious right-wingery but the fact that she was not there as a member of the Times’ stable of house conservatives. Nobody is shocked to see animals at the zoo, as long as they stay in their cages.

    Maybe Bari could be replaced by Matt Taibbi…

  • On the continuing (sometimes literal) dumpster fire in Portland, Oregon, Jacob Sullum takes the anti-Trump side at Reason: Trump Deploys Lawlessness Against Lawlessness.

    Donald Trump, whose 2016 presidential campaign was consciously modeled after Richard Nixon's 1968 run, seems to think he can win re-election by emulating his predecessor's appeal to a "silent majority" disgusted by raucous anti-war protests. Trump is offering voters a choice between his firm hand and the pusillanimity of "liberal Democrats" who let "violent anarchists" run wild in the streets.

    Notwithstanding Trump's pose as "your president of law and order," his heavy-handed reaction to the protests triggered by George Floyd's death represents neither. In response to largely peaceful demonstrations against police brutality that have been punctuated by criminal behavior, he has deployed his own brand of lawlessness, including arbitrary arrests and the disproportionate, indiscriminate use of force.

    Fine, I get that. But for the other side…

  • Let's go to David Harsanyi at National Review, who points out (accurately) that Mayors Who Surrender Their Cities to ‘Protesters’ Are Endorsing Lawlessness.

    When a few hundred angry Tiki-Torch Nazis marched in Charlottesville, you would have thought the RNC had deployed the Wehrmacht. Those who led the riot were even asked to opine on CNN. On the other hand, left-wing rioters — the people Chris Cuomo and other journalists compared to GIs landing on Normandy — are immediately transformed into apolitical actors, rogue “anarchists,” as soon as any violence starts.

    Who knows? Perhaps the majority of citizens and businesses in Portland, Seattle, and Denver want their elected officials to let Antifa act with impunity. Or maybe some of those citizens and businesses will begin fleeing those cities. Whatever the case, it’s a local concern.

    So to summarize: the MSM is garbage, the "peaceful protestors" are in fact lawless rioters, the local politicans are spineless, and Trump's urge to "do something" is making things worse.

  • I haven't done an LFOD Google News alert for awhile. Because of masks. It seems that every opinion writer or LTE crank invokes LFOD either in favor or against.

    But Bob Joseph Jr.'s recent LTE to the Laconia Daily Sun kind of takes the cake: Refusing to wear a face mask is akin to attempted murder.

    Governor Sununu needs to stop advocating this business of "Live Free or Die," as current conditions warrant our using the face masks. Face masks ensure our freedoms, but those who either refuse to wear them lead our path to die. Many immune compromised individuals, such as this writer with multiple myeloma, can have decent quality of life. Sununu's actions or lack of, is both irresponsible and reprehensible; which in turn exposes all of us to the virus in the long run.

    It is important to that [sic] those who continue refusing to wear these masks need to understand, these actions are akin to being "attempted murder" because that is just what it is. This is a lack of respect for all of us who are trying to mitigate this medical crisis. It is not socialism, but it is a social responsibility to wear them.

    Let's just shoot those attempted murderers! Totally justifiable homicide!

    For the record [as I type], Belknap County NH has had 97 total cases [1 out of 632 residents] and 4 deaths [1 out of 15,326 residents]. Which makes it slightly safer than my own county (Strafford NH): 1 case per 426 residents, 1 death per 10,049 residents. I think Bob is overly worried, and I hope he doesn't freak out further and start shootin'.

Last Modified 2024-01-23 5:07 AM EDT


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Operating theory: Neal Stephenson has access to a time machine where he can zap back to past centuries to observe little details that make the world described in Quicksilver (et. al.) seem so authentically rendered.

Or maybe he just reads and travels a lot.

It's big. Let me get that out of the way. 916 pages of main text. And it's not easy going, took me 32 days to get through it, and I skimmed. I was reminded of what the late great William Goldman did with S. Morganstern's novel The Princess Bride: brought out a "good parts" version, omitting all the Florinese political commentary.

I'm not sure what you could leave out of Quicksilver, though.

It begins in 1713 Massachusetts, where Enoch Root has traveled to fetch old Daniel Waterhouse from his position at the "Massachusetts Bay Colony Institute of Technologickal Arts". He needs to travel back across the Atlantic to try to mend the calculus feud between Newton and Leibniz. Pirates interfere.

Most of the book is set decades earlier. In addition to Daniel's story, we're also introduced to Jack Shaftoe. Jack starts out as a London street rat, but graduates to the life of vagabond and mercenary. While looting a war-torn Vienna, he rescues fair Eliza (a native of the fictional but picturesque isle of Qwghlm) from a Turkish harem. That's a meet-cute, isn't it? Ah, but true love never runs smooth, as Eliza eventually gets pissed enough at Jack to fling a harpoon at him.

Well, piles of stuff happens. And this is only the first book of three.

If you've read Cryptonomicon, you'll recognize Jack and Daniel as the ancestors of the 20th-century characters there. (You'll also recognize Enoch Root, who appears to be somewhat immortal.)

The book is also set against actual historical events: the Great Plague, the London Fire, the Glorious Revolution, and more. And actual historical figures, too. In addition to Newton and Leibniz: Locke, Pepys, Hooke, Bacon, Boyle,… And a lot of royalty and nobility.

Last Modified 2024-01-23 2:06 PM EDT