So, this endless summer may be coming to an end. And the long, lazy days of G&T in the sun will be over - and blogging resumes. A friend of mine really liked Yuval Harari's Sapiens, while I found the first part (all I could manage) disappointing, and that Harari cherry picks debatable features of theories and twists them into fitting his own view. My thought in general was Man merkt die Absicht und ist verstimmt. Now, there is this more or less soporific interview, but also this snarky review. I fell that Mr. Harari is becoming part of the entertainment industry and not the knowledge industry. But sellable, no doubt.
Nobody "Votes Against Their Interests" this blog post says. I guess whatever has been written about an Sich and für Sich and so forth can hereby be dismissed? Not. But interesting to see how far from a European mindset and framing those Muricans are. Gramsci does not go away because you say that his view did not work, you know. Also, how bad can a piece about soccer and France be if it is written by a Murican not familair with either? Bad, it appears..
I used to read The Atlantic and thought it was vaguely liberal. I guess it is - but in that strange Murican way. Here they write about the resurgent democratic socialism, and go directly to the Gulags. Nice one. American "progressives" never let you down. Anti-communism as bad faith is a good antidote. As it says:
I’m old enough to remember anti-communists in the 70s and 80s. Which means I remember just how much crass bad faith and hypocrisy they contained. Some of this bad faith was clear at the time, some is more evident with hindsight. Here are seven examples of what I mean:"
Do read these seven points and see if you can spot them in the wild (The Atlantic article is number two.)
LA's Awesome History Of Weird, Food-Shaped Restaurants has nice and strange photos, as does The winners of the 2018 iPhone Photography Awards (How far we have come.) Photographer Niall McDiarmid travels from town to town to capture the essence of Britain and create stunning and beautiful photography. A curiosity: 35mm footage of London's King's Road in the late 1960s that cannot but make you smile.
Oh my pet peeve: Death to the Open Floor Plan. Long Live Separate Rooms - and, hopefully, open floor plan offices. Yikes.
We must do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a living. We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to Malthusian-Darwinian theory, he must justify his right to exist. So we have inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors. The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living.
A cabinet of noses. Yes, noses. And here in Denmark. You can also explore the sound of islands that never existed. Italian Chefs watch in horror as YouTube ruins Spaghetti Carbonara - and, indeed, young Jamie Oliver is in there. No wonder his"Italian" restaurants ended up in trouble. Meanwhile and more seriously, see what a democratic socialist's win means for immigration and some more about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s win and the energy on the left.. And if you need to feel the chill in this heatwave, look into this introduction to Ivan Ilyin, the Philosopher Behind the authoritarianism of Putin's Russia & Western far right movements.
Scarfolk is a town in North West England that did not progress beyond 1979. Instead, the entire decade of the 1970s loops ad infinitum. Here in Scarfolk, pagan rituals blend seamlessly with science; hauntology is a compulsory subject at school, and everyone must be in bed by 8pm because they are perpetually running a slight fever. "Visit Scarfolk today. Our number one priority is keeping rabies at bay."
Living six months undercover in low-wage Britain was an eye-opening experience, perhaps because 8 years of austerity have turned the UK into a bleak Victorian dystopia, where pensioners without electricity die from fires ignited by their candles. We should not forget - in the midst of our avocado fixation - that food is a class issue. Socialism may not be a lost cause in the US of A, although inexplicably poor people in America are so patriotic. Instead of fixating on flags and stuff, perharps they should ponder that private equity bosses took $200m out of Toys R Us and crashed the company, lifetime employees got $0 in severance. And even when we have jobs, they may well be soul-draining bullshit jobs. Do states have the right to exclude immigrants? seems to be a provocative question and you can only imagine that people do not agree on what the answer is. Finally, "leftism" is parting ways with "liberalism" and it may mean something (in the American context).
In case you are male, probably single, and probably horny, chances are that you dig Jordan Peterson. However, his thoughts - such as they are - are heavily criticzed, and his 12 rules for life ridiculed. In several places. Even his old mentor chimes in: “I was Jordan Peterson’s strongest supporter. Now I think he’s dangerous”.
On the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Marx, some ponder the possibility of Marxism without revolution while others remember the lost promise of market socialism. But we live in the age of neoliberalism and, yes, it is a thing. It involves dismantling the welfare state and taking us for a race to the bottom. All the same, is has been decried that Finland’s universal basic income program was a failure - but did you really expect it to work on such a limited scale, time- and otherwise?
A very long interview with a very thoughtful (and reflective) Lanier. For example, about social media:
There’s one that’s a little complicated, which is the last one. Because I have the one about politics, and I have the one about economics. That it’s ruining politics, it’s empowering the most obnoxious people to be the most powerful inherently, and that’s destroying the world. I have the one about economics, how it’s centralizing wealth even while it seems to be democratizing it. I have the one about how it makes you feel sad; I have all these different ones.
But at the end, I have one that’s a spiritual one. The argument is that social media hates your soul. And it suggests that there’s a whole spiritual, religious belief system along with social media like Facebook that I think people don’t like. And it’s also fucking phony and false. It suggests that life is some kind of optimization, like you’re supposed to be struggling to get more followers and friends. Zuckerberg even talked about how the new goal of Facebook would be to give everybody a meaningful life, as if something about Facebook is where the meaning of life is.
Somehow related to the above.
According to theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli, time is an illusion: our naive perception of its flow doesn’t correspond to physical reality. Indeed, as Rovelli argues in The Order of Time, much more is illusory, including Isaac Newton’s picture of a universally ticking clock. Even Albert Einstein’s relativistic space-time — an elastic manifold that contorts so that local times differ depending on one’s relative speed or proximity to a mass — is just an effective simplification.
"On the myth of a 'real' America". Including:
The quiz delivers, yet again, the message that the 80 percent of us who live in urban areas are not America, treats non-Protestant (including the quarter of this country that is Catholic) and non-white people as not America, treats many kinds of underpaid working people (salespeople, service workers, farmworkers) who are not male industrial workers as not America. More Americans work in museums than work in coal, but coalminers are treated as sacred beings owed huge subsidies and the sacrifice of the climate, and museum workers—well, no one is talking about their jobs as a totem of our national identity.
My erstwhile American coworker grew up in the Fifties, and talked about living in fear of the mushroom cloud. And today?
And it doesn’t even make us safe! All that money, all that knowledge, all that power put into the designing and displaying of weapons of mass destruction and we remain remarkably vulnerable as a nation. After all, in schools, homes, offices, neighborhoods across the country, we are being killed by our kids, our friends, our lovers, our police officers, our crumbling roads and bridges, our derailing trains. And then, of course, there are all those guns. Guns meant to destroy. Guns beyond counting.
Yes, that is indeed a blogroll. So quaint. I put it there yesterday.
You know: ever since I started blogging sometime in 2001, the demise of the independent, personal blog has been projected and the Golden Age of blogging deemed to be over already. I mean: in 2001, I should clearly have been around in 1995. Oh, man: that was blogging. The cool kids have moved on.
But judging from the length of that blogroll, they actually haven't. Not all of them. Other people notice, too, for example Kottke who has been at this longer than I and with much more consistency.
Only a short while ago, people left their blogs behind and claimed that their digital nourishment would henceforth be partaken of in places such as Facebook and Twitter. I, personally, have never really gotten into Twitter, and Facebook? Well: Facebook ...
Is this the return of the independent, personal blog? Perhaps not at the (relative) scale it once had, also because the 'net itself is so much larger today. And not all blogs are that independent and personal. We are swamped by all the celebs and semi-celebs that have blogs on various blogging platforms that are -- in reality -- all about non-disclosed affiliate deals and straight-up false advertising. And probably ghostwritten, too.
Medium? I dunno. The layout is bothersome. And it is not exactly focused and curated so you find a little bit of everything. The good. And the really bad.
So, onwards we go. Keeping up with good, independent content is more importand now than it ever was.
Our time as victims is over
We will no longer ask for justice
Instead we will take our retribution
Kamasi Washington, Fists of Fury