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But What’s Upstream from Culture?

2017/07/21

Andrew Breitbart noted – with urgency – that politics was downstream from culture.  John Adams, aware of this from his own reflection on history, wrote that Liberty can only be enjoyed by a virtuous and moral people.

Today Glenn Reynolds notes unhappy developments in the culture of the academy – serious grade inflation.

Grade inflation bears a striking resemblance to theft:  Redistributing the honor of those who deserve and diluting their ranks with the unworthy.  Alas, theft is never a victimless crime.  If the swelling ranks of A-graders causes no resentment amongst the true earners and no shame amongst those who grade and those who “benefit” unfairly, then the culture is decaying.  So too is the absolute value of having earned A’s.

Let’s note here that Culture is an aggregate effect.  It is the aggregate of individuals’ values and behaviors that create the culture.  Our schools have long abandoned Wisdom and her consorts Honor and Justice.  We should note too that these always and everywhere pertain to the individual. Without them, and individual’s values and behaviors default to surrounding tribal, collective norms.

Shabbat shalom,

Yos

FWIW: Fox Butterfield, is that you?

2016/12/25

Chris Fountain chimes in on Pinky Sulzberger’s Daily Rag:  Fox Butterfield, is that you?

Quoth Chris:  “President Obama will be remembered as a thoughtful and dignified president who led a scrupulously honest administration [sic]  that achieved major changes.”  [Sic indeed!]

“People argue over whether his impatience with politicians and Republican intransigence denied him bigger accomplishments, but that argument is beside the point: He rescued an economy in crisis and passed the recovery program, pulled America back from its military overreach, passed the Affordable Care Act and committed the nation to addressing climate change. To be truly transformative in the way he wanted, however, his success had to translate into electoral gains for those who shared his vision and wanted to reform government. On that count, Mr. Obama failed.

“His legacy regrettably includes the more than 1,000 Democrats who lost their elections during his two terms. Republicans now have total control in half of America’s states.”

Alas.  The Won didn’t rescue an economy in crisis but rather added more to the debt, saw half of households on “assistance” and 95 million citizens off the work rolls. If President Obama pulled us back from military over-reach, it came at the cost of destabilizing the entire planet and at a shockingly high toll in American lives. The ACA, passed via parliamentary trickery has proven to not be, in fact, “affordable” and neither are Mr. Obama’s fatuous, crony missteps at addressing AGW. As one wag put it, Jack Kennedy put a man on the moon, Barack Obama put men in girls’ bathrooms. (There is a joke in there somewhere about golfing and putts.)

“Thoughtful and dignified”? As in, “My Administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks!”? Such noblesse! Such gravitas!

“Scrupulously honest”?  President Obama’s entire Presidency was a farce a la Cage aux Folles, and the Grey Lady has paid heavily for it’s part in his dishonesty and his failures with lost revenues, tanking subscriptions and a completely vanquished reputation.

Neither will be missed.

“This is the Internet! We can fact-check your…”

2016/08/18

servers.

One wonders whether anything can ever be private from the very moment of pressing a keyboard.  When even the NSA can be compromised, “security” is less a fact than a wish.

Now Time magazine has the question “Why we’re losing the internet to the culture of hate” on its cover.  (“Culture” of “hate”?  Losing the internet?  We won’t bother to link Time, one of the original trolls of print).  “Hate” is Time’s epithet for “free speech”.  They never did appreciate (never mind survive) robust competition, so this is no great surprise.

Danger Will Robinson! Irony alert!

On top of this, the US will hand over the keys to the intertubes in a few month’s time, and along with them, the new controllers’ access to censorship of badthink.

Taken as dots or as a pattern, what is the outlook for freedom of speech via the digital ether?

“Code” is just “dog whistle” for…

2016/08/07

… “I haven’t had an original thought in my entire sorry life, and I’m running out of other people’s ideas.

(D) with a by-line.

Sorry Cokie, try again. – Ed.

Wherein Fox’ Owners Do-In the Brand

2016/07/19

This from Ace.  Et tu, Megyn?  Really?

Apparently the Murdochs would off Roger Ailes “for cause.”  Have they considered the damage to the brand?

There are no major Libertarian or Conservative media channels to compete with Fox, who’s editorial viewpoint is rather a mix of Libertarian, Conservative, Squishy and Liberal perspectives.  This, one may assume, is the intent of Ailes – who at the very least had the foresight to understand that libertarians and conservatives watch commercials too.

One wonders whether the vacuum of his departure will be filled by yet another squish or liberal at the helm in the mold of CNNABCCBSNBCMSDNC?  Should that sad fate arise, Fox will be competing with CNN in the race to red ink.

Yours truly doesn’t watch television at home, and for the record, there is precious little on Fox’ channels to watch while on the road. (No, not Megyn. Ever.) Still, it had been the only channel worth the bother.

I suppose all things must pass.  I will miss Roger Ailes’ Fox.

– Yos.

UPDATE: Roger has loyal friends at Fox.  Who knew?

More than we thought!

“ZAHA HADID, GROUNDBREAKING ARCHITECT, DIES…”

2016/03/31

The sad news comes via Ed Driscoll.

Sad, because the only real ground breaking she’d ever accomplish will be for her casket, her litany of finished projects notwithstanding.  In our school there were a handful of famous brand-name architects that were highly influential amongst the “intellectual” students and professors.  Hadid of course; Koolhaas and Tschumi had status as design gods.

A few of us that felt strongly that Architecture had gone off into the twilight zone.  We had Sterling and the PoMo crowd making cartoons and visual puns, we had Hadid and her ilk rabidly avoiding aesthetic merit and any sense of scalar dialogue, and we had brutal mediocrities like Philip Johnson desperately trying to play catch-up whilst hogging the magazines.  (Don’t get me started on Moshe Safdie.)  This crowd could talk a great design, but in the end they were like the clowns writing an “artist’s statement” or the chef waxing elegant about his anchovy swirl parfait.

The better design students (we knew who they were) were rather more attuned to Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier, Alvar Aalto, Eero Saarinen, and to marvelous contemporary artists such as Frank Gehry.  Yours truly’s heroes?…  Saarinen, Peter Behrens and Christopher Wren. (And you, Gus Da Roza!)

Beauty is where one finds it.

Yos

Dear Mark R. Levin, Talk Show Host: You’ve Lost a Customer.

2016/03/27

Mr. Levin,

Over the years you have repeatedly shamed the Conservative movement and your listeners with your ugly behavior towards call-in guests.  On Friday March 25th, you treated a perfectly polite and intelligent caller – #3, Dennis (~32:25) – with contempt and utter rudeness.  You continually talked over him, put words into his mouth and then referred to him as “stupid” after having hung-up on him.

Sir, I’ve had it with your attitude and with your show.  You could learn a great deal about professionalism from the gentlemanly attitude of many of the “backbenchers” to whom you regularly condescend.

A talk show is not a free-for-all blog comment section.  When you shame and embarrass a good man on your show, you do so in public before millions.

You have competition.  I shall tune in there.  It is particularly sad, because as an observer of the political scene, you are one of the very sharpest. Unfortunately as a man, you fail the grade.

With sincere regret,

Yos