Thus revealed, the creature buried its nose in the tire-tilled soil...
June 25, 2022
I BOW TO YOU, LORD GENIUS. plz like me?????
Category: Current Events … Serious

A question I've been asking myself a lot lately: why are so many online commenters so embarrassingly sycophantic? I've always viewed comments sections as a place to attempt to say something that somehow adds something to the discussion. That needn't always be serious -- though in some instances it probably should be -- but it should go beyond what simply liking a post conveys. There's no need for shallow "I agree with this!" and "Thank God for you, poster!" -type remarks. I mean, I guess they might make the OP feel even better, and probably the folks posting them are motivated by some hope of being "seen" by either the OP or others. And on occasion I'm guilty of these motives as well; I've definitely made empty approval noises on Sirena content and squee'd a little when one of the Sirens gave them emotional reacts. But when they're commenting on the posts of celebrities and popular figures and comments number in the hundreds and thousands -- and when they're not saying anything -- it seems unlikely that their comments will attract any attention whatsoever. So why? But I guess it doesn't take much effort to write, "This was masterful. SO MUCH TRUTH!" so it's not like they're wasting much time shooting their shot for a lil' pat on the head. (more...)

-posted by Wes | 1:56 am | Comments (1)
June 21, 2019
Brief thoughts on the Kashuv controversy
Category: Current Events … Linkage … Serious

So I'd linked the Vox article and included the accompanying text in a couple of places on social media, but I wanted to make sure I had a record of it here in my own space as well. (While I don't expect I have any regular readers these days who'd be inclined to weigh in, feel free to comment if you come across this whenever and have thoughts!) So here's the link to the Vox piece, and here's a Huffington Post article containing screencaps of the comments that have landed him in hot water. My post intended to initiate discussion and/or opinion sharing is below:

I'm curious to hear folks' thoughts on the Kyle Kashuv controversy. (I've included the Vox link because it gives a fairly comprehensive overview of the situation and includes abundant links to further information and assessments, not because of the particular viewpoint expressed here -- though I am in agreement with the author's sentiments about identity politics.)

For my part, I don't have a strong opinion about Harvard's decision -- I wouldn't have been outraged had Kashuv retained his admission, nor am I pleased that his admission was rescinded. Still, I acknowledge the difficult position in which the university was placed and I can imagine why rejecting Kashuv ultimately seemed like the better option. (Among other things -- and barring some demonstrated growth and insight that I haven't gleaned from reading several months of the kid's Twitter feed -- I don't know how favorably his peers would have responded to him on campus. I imagine at best he would have been a decidedly polarizing figure, and I'm not sure a student like that is a positive addition to a campus community.)

In any case, I'm sure Kashuv will be fine in the long run, and I hope that his stated contention to do better wasn't contingent upon the Harvard situation's resolving in his favor.

-posted by Wes | 6:04 am | Comments (0)
June 12, 2019
Turning off Bill Maher

So, not a novel gripe, but I continue to be annoyed with people who decry the rise of "identity politics" when they really mean that they're frustrated at being made to consider issues involving people who are not them.

Another not-novel sentiment: I'm really sick of Bill Maher. I admit that I used to kinda like the dude, and in any case I found his show worthwhile -- I mostly could've done without the "comedy" bits (some did land), but his New Rules weren't entirely lacking in insight and the panel discussions were generally informative exchanges. What I especially liked about Maher there, though, is that he often seemed aware that he was the least informed participant in those conversations and therefore served less as an active interlocutor than a moderator whose goal was to prevent the content from getting too esoteric. He'd say something like, "Whoa, this is a comedy show! A little context for the viewers at home," and then the panel members would explain what they were talking about so that the conversation was more accessible to someone who wasn't a policy wonk or a political insider. Since I was really watching the show for those exchanges -- and since during those moments I sometimes found myself confused (and I generally try to keep abreast of political news) -- I appreciated Maher's input there all the more. (more...)

-posted by Wes | 4:32 pm | Comments (0)
January 9, 2019
The president needs better speechwriters.
Category: Current Events … Serious

So... any thoughts on Trump's address last night? For my part, I found it highly discouraging -- not just because Trump is Trump, but also because he apparently doesn't have competent writers behind him. I honestly wish I'd had a chance to look it over and better organize and support his talking points; I feel like I could've helped him make a more compelling case for his wall without the faulty sensational appeals and the needless and sometimes false attacks on Democrats. Like, insofar as border patrol agents really are convinced a wall would aid their efforts, that's a great point -- I'd probably have stressed that more heavily. Honestly, insofar as it's true (in which case Trump should put more effort into convincing us that it is), it's arguably the only point Trump really needs to build an effective argument for his wall. (more...)

-posted by Wes | 2:52 pm | Comments (0)
October 10, 2018
Y Kant Trump Read
Category: Current Events … Serious

So, today Trump has an editorial up on the USA Today website. It's worth reading -- if only because it's a thing the President "wrote" and highlights the divided nature of politics today -- and especially clicking through to the articles linked to support his assertions. I imagine that the links were provided by USA Today staff; I can't imagine that Trump or (loyal) WH staffers would have included them.

Frex, Trump asserts that health insurance premiums are decreasing, and there's a UPI.com article linked to that statement. But while the article does begin with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar's assertion that premium costs will fall 2% in 2019, it also includes compelling statements from two other authorities that premiums would have decreased even further -- and would not have risen this year -- if not for Trump's policies. So the article really doesn't really help Trump's case at all.

I only found out about the USA Today editorial because Trump tweeted a link to it, but I'm skeptical that he actually read it (despite supposedly having written it) and it's clear he didn't read the linked articles. That's kinda... sad.

-posted by Wes | 6:24 pm | Comments (0)