Bullet points for a Monday morning

  • You think you’re most valuable as a programmer. But somehow you keep getting dragged back into crap work like figuring out how migrate data in and out of an accounting application. I don’t even have the luxury of pretending I’m bad at this crap.
  • I’ve blogged so little in the last few years I’m largely unfamiliar with this new WordPress interface. I certainly don’t find it very user friendly. Is there a “list” block I can use? (It turns out having the visual editor turned on is helpful here, and also yes, there is a list block).
  • Trudeau in brownface is kind of what I expected, I guess? I’ve never been a fan of this kind of dredge, unless it’s obvious that the figure in question is still a latent racist (and let’s be honest, there’s not no evidence of that with Trudeau). I look forward to all the folks who said it was no big deal for their guy to now say it’s no big deal for the other folk’s guy. Just locker room brownface, etc. (I fully expect zero non-hypocrites here.) Or hey, maybe this will end up being a real power move, really appealing to the sensibilities of boomers like who really seem to love racist (often orange) shitheads.
  • There’s a lot of folks in my life whose opinions I don’t really take very seriously. I’m not perfect, sometimes it’s just because I don’t like them. But usually it’s when they’ve shown a constant disregard for even attempting to find some kind of truth. So, if you’ve constantly gobbled down every dumb moral panic (P&G are satanists, Saturday morning cartoons are teaching New Age stuff, rampant sexual abuse in daycares), which could be at least excused for being pre-internet hoaxes, but if you’re into blaming cancer on epigenetics, or antivaxx, or global warming denier, or any of those class of mental defects, you’ll have to pardon me if I don’t take your stance on anything too seriously. In this day and age there’s no excuse to be ignorant.
  • We live in the postmodern era, like it or not. Everything is perspective. The internet enables a sort of fragmenting of consensus. It might just be the case that wide societal consensus is no longer even possible, and was only ever possible because of the stabilizing (read: repressive) race and gender based power structures, and the real physical inability of folks of different persuasions to find eachother, especially outside of cities. Public intellectuals who we can consider anti-postmodern (or conservative, or regressive), largely intuit that if we want to roll back perspectivism (and inclusion, and tolerance, and other interpolations), we should rebuild those power structures. This makes sense of why in the postmodern state, Jordan Peterson and white supremacists and incels sound largely alike. They’re just concentric circles around the same idea. Whether it’s that there are a certain number of genders (because science says so, lobster lobster), or white folk are genetically superior (because science, and don’t forget James Watson, the co-discoverer of DNA with Crick, was a huge racist who believed stuff like this), or that women exist simply to be used (or any of the other… wide varieties of incel delusion), they’re all trying to do the same thing. And that same thing looks a lot like the 1940s and 1950s.
  • It’s not hard to see why JP/nazis/incels/Trump would appeal to Evangelicals especially. Evangelicals are (only technically these days, but still, it’s in the air) all about Biblical authority in a very expansive (read: impossible) way. The idea of language as a tool to interpolate different, contrasting, valid perspectives is brushed aside, since we have everything we need to know in the Bible. It just so happens that the “good old days” of the Evangelical imagination coincide with the good old days of the Petersons and Nazis of the world. Birds of a feather, where the feather is longing for a time that no longer exists and only ever did for a small slice of people.
  • It’s an odd marriage: Peterson in is trying (badly) to articulate gender roles in terms of a foundation (the science of lobsters) that disputes the Evangelical foundation of gender roles (the Bible). Note that Peterson find the Bible a source of useful myths but is not himself a Christian. I’d actually find it hilarious if what finally caused the downfall of creationism wasn’t the literal mountains of evidence to the contrary but a desire to keep genders “like they always were”. It’s important to remember that just because two different groups are looking for some kind of rational foundation upon which to build their constructs is not the same thing as having aligned goals. It’s possible to be smothered by your bedfellows. The church and state are a great (tangential) example: the state is always poison. The state church is a poisoned church. The Evangelical church is a poisoned church.
  • Of course the ability to look at the “truth” of the 1940s/50s/60s from other perspectives is actually a huge gift. We start to see that for a large swath of marginalized folk, those “good old days” are in fact anything but. They are (or at least can be) generators of intergenerational socio-political effects. We can, as a society attempt to address these effects with collective action.
  • But addressing these effects is of course a tacit admission that the traditional white male perspective isn’t the only one worth considering. Which is how the white male traditionalists manage to see fairly benign policies such as affirmative action and even immigration into tools of oppression. If you see yourself ideally embedded in a society that elevates your group, anything that threatens that feels like persecution. This despite white male traditionalist hegemony being largely intact in the West, only fraying slightly at the edges. The histrionics around minority representation are bonkers, at least from this angle; at this rate dismantling the patriarchy and posthumanity are going to happen at the same time.
  • I think this sketches out a framework for understanding why Evangelicals, Petersons, Nazis, incels, and their ilk all want to glom together. They can smell the same goals. But this is what makes Trump such a weird idol for them all (and they tend to looooove Trump). He’s probably the nadir of post-foundational truthiness. He makes vague promises about returning America to some former glory (which, as we can see above, is absolutely a dogwhistle), and spends his time persecuting widows, orphans, and foreigners, and a bunch more beside, but for all that is just virtue signalling. He hasn’t done what they all want because he can’t do what they all want. The cat is out of the bag.
  • This hasn’t been a very good Bullet Points. I’m sorry. But I need to go to work now, so…

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