The Supernatural Pass of 2008, Eminem for President, Superhuman Intellect, “In Real Time”, “Russian Roulette”, Million-Dollar Charlatans

[I would like to continue our conversation from Monday, wherein you described your commitment to “older” political literature. Might it behoove you to, in greater detail, explain this recent interest of yours?]

Well, if I’m gonna clarify, then you’re gonna have to be more specific, too: what part of this project would you like me to address?

[In our previous discussion, you said that you did not, for the moment, wish to read any political literature written within the last ten years—meaning, from 2008 to the present day. This implies a fault or deficiency about “recent” literature, yes?]

First, we should define “political literature”. In this instance, we’re referring to books written about political issues. It does not necessarily refer to political tracts, like The Communist Manifesto, the modern counterpart to which I cannot name. In fact, it probably doesn’t refer to much specifically, at all: we might include a book like The Smartest Guys in the Room, even though the Enron scandal is not strictly or exclusively political.

Continue reading “The Supernatural Pass of 2008, Eminem for President, Superhuman Intellect, “In Real Time”, “Russian Roulette”, Million-Dollar Charlatans”

Bad Weather, Quantitative Reasoning, the Trumpish Age, Nixon, Mental Illness

The rain is beating against the windows, as it has been since late last night, long before I climbed out of bed this morning. My associate insists that this has nothing to do with the hurricane that ripped apart the Florida Panhandle a few days ago, but I wonder if they have might have some connection. This is one controversy I cannot resolve; meteorology has never been of especial interest to me, and more generally, science is something I have never wrapped my head around. I don’t think I’ve ever even entered into a scientific debate, except to argue with religious fundamentalists about the theory of evolution.

[Do you do this often, debate Darwinian theories with armchair theologians?]

No, I gave up that fight a long time ago. I’ve realized that I’m really not the one to be speaking on behalf of biologists, or on behalf of any scientists, really. I haven’t studied science since my second year of college, and while I didn’t flunk any of my classes, I can’t say that I ever learned anything. Kind-of like French.

[Or quantitative reasoning?]

No, I think I held on to some of that knowledge. Every once in a while, I think about reaching out to that professor and asking what textbook we used in that class. I’d like to review it, to see how many of those equations I can still follow through.

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The Anti-Blogger

[Before we move on, I wanted to revisit something you said in the introduction, something about the present political climate being inundated by people who speak, but who really ought to listen. If this is true, then aren’t you contributing to this infestation of opinion by establishing this blog among countless others?]

First, we have to furnish a better definition of “the problem”, as we understand it. Are we talking about commentary, or are we talking about opinion?

[The difference being?]

The difference is the same as that between observation and argument. In a commentary piece, the author may be, but is not necessarily, making any kind of declarative statement; he may simply be observing, or writing without any intention to advocate for something. An opinion piece, needless to say, is a very different matter: in an opinion piece, the author is trying to argue for something, or against something. In an opinion piece, there is always some kind of practical application to be made, whereas this feature is not a constant in a commentary piece.

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The Resurrection

This is the excerpt for your very first post.

[Hello, Dack.]

Who are you?

[I am the Editor-in-Chief. I am the recipient of every word you write, of all ideas you think of putting into print. I review all of your content, and I determine that which shall be retained, and that which shall not.]

Well, as long as we’re gonna talk about the writing you’ve accepted and the writing you’ve rejected, I would say your balance is pretty deep in the red, wouldn’t you?

[How do you mean?]

If you’re really privy to everything I’ve ever even thought about writing, then you should know that well over ninety-nine percent of what I’ve proposed has been rejected out ofhand. Most of the time, I don’t even get to put a word in before I’m questioning everything, and by that point, it’s too late to go any further. It’s already been compromised, and I have to find some other project to commence and then immediately abandon.

[In other words, you blame me for your failure to write.]

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