19 Jan 2022
January 19, 1807 — October 12, 1870.
“As distinguished for felicitous execution as for science and daring.”
–Gen. Winfield Scott, 1847.
“I cannot in justice omit to notice the valuable services of Captain Lee of the engineer corps, whose distinguished merit and gallantry deserves the highest praise”
— Gen. Gideon Pillow, 1847.
“He was a foe without hate; a friend without treachery; a soldier without cruelty; a victor without oppression, and a victim without murmuring. He was a public officer without vices; a private citizen without wrong; a neighbour without reproach; a Christian without hypocrisy, and a man without guile. He was a Caesar, without his ambition; Frederick, without his tyranny; Napoleon, without his selfishness, and Washington, without his reward.”
–Benjamin Harvey Hill (former Confederate Senator from Georgia), 1874.
“He had a calm and collected air about him, his voice was kind and tender, and his eye was as gentle as a dove’s. His whole make-up of form and person, looks and manner had a kind of gentle and soothing magnetism about it that drew every one to him and made them love, respect, and honor him.”
–Samuel R. Watkins, veteran of 1st Tennessee Regiment, 1881.
“He possessed my unqualified confidence, both as a soldier and a patriot.”
–Jefferson Davis, 1881
“There is as much instruction both in strategy and in tactics to be gleaned from General Lee’s operations of 1862 as there is to be found in Napoleon’s campaigns of 1796.”
–General Garnet Wolseley, date unknown.
18 Jan 2022
Commentary’s Christine Rosen finds puzzling the Atlantic’s current obsessive dooming-and-glooming. Why is the American Establishment wallowing in self pity all the time?
The Atlantic is one of the most prestigious magazines in the nation—and almost certainly its most lavishly funded. When Laurene Powell Jobs (whose net worth is approximately $22 billion) bought former owner David Bradley’s stake in the magazine in 2017, she ushered in an era of almost unimaginable expansion for a publication created before the Civil War. Under its editor, Jeffrey Goldberg, the Atlantic has added 100 new staff jobs. The once-staid monthly is now a round-the-clock Web content provider that releases dozens of new items a day.
The Atlantic’s prominence and seriousness—and the bottomless pockets of its multibillionaire owner—have made it a dream come true for literally hundreds of liberal American journalists who spent most of the past 20 years in a panic about the financial viability of their chosen profession. So why is the Atlantic an emotional train wreck of a publication? If the New Yorker’s annual cover model, the monocle-bearing dandy Eustace Tilley, is supposedly its personification, the Atlantic’s should be Munch’s Scream. …
The Atlantic reader who visits the website rather than simply journeying there through social-media links is turned into a doom-scroller, confronted time and again as she journeys down the homepage with headlines like this one: “America Is Running Out of Time.” Note how the title lacks specificity; it doesn’t need specificity, because this is what nearly every article in the Atlantic is about. (A recent feature in the January/February print issue of the magazine was titled, simply, “Are We Doomed?”)
“Bring Back the Nervous Breakdown,” urged a 2021 article. And so Goldberg’s Atlantic has. An astonishingly large number of stories in both the print and online versions of the magazine now focus on the irrational feelings of a very particular and privileged class of people—elite, left-of-center, educated people who ironically believe themselves too sophisticated to be emotionally manipulated like the unwashed Fox-viewing masses they abhor.
Pieces like Ian Bogost’s essay “I’m Starting to Give Up on Post-Pandemic Life” typify the Atlantic’s panic porn—the titillating personal account of a distorted negative emotional experience described lubriciously with no observable larger social purpose. “Even if this strain is less bad than it might have been,” he writes of the Omicron variant, “only dumb luck will have made it so. That’s neither victory nor a sign that the emergency is over.” He then spirals into despair: “The coronavirus was once ‘novel’ because it was new. Now it feels both ancient and eternal. Having endured the emergence of two major strains even since the rollout of vaccines, a difficult thought is planted in my head: What if the pandemic never ends?”
This Eeyore-meets-Nietzsche tone now dominates much of the magazine’s coverage.
17 Jan 2022
Feeling nerdy and intellectually arrogant? Need a job?
You can win a prize of between $5000 and $50,000 and a job offer from Alignment Research Center if you can slog your way through some of the worst prose ever written in English, that buries you in an avalanche of pretentious nerdspeak buzz words, heaps and piles of “gradient descents” and “Bayes nets.”
Reading this horrible stuff is in itself a formidable, mind-stupefying task. Personally, I think a better contest challenge would have consisted of asking people to edit this incredible meandering confused textual Odyssey into concise, intelligible standard English, but that’s just me.
As far as I can make out, you are supposed to imagine that we’ve got an AI responsible for guarding a diamond, the AI has a variety of defenses, there’s a burglar after the diamond, and cameras doing surveillance of the site, and you are supposed to figure out how to incentivize that AI to tell the truth about whether or not the burglar got past its defenses and got the diamond.
The nerdocracy frames the contest in terms of rewarding the AI more for telling the truth and rewarding the AI less (why reward it at all in this case?) for lying.
What’s going on here is referred to as an exercise in “eliciting latent knowledge (ELK).”
Astral Codex Ten brought this ?intriguing? contest to my attention.
Alignment Research Center (ARC)’s contest rap (in prose Georg Wilhelm Friederich Hegel might envy) is here. (Note that it’s somehow connected to Supernerd and undoubted genius Eliezer Yudkowsky!) If you can read this stuff without references to matters Bayesian causing you to reach for your revolver, you’re a better man than I am, Gungha Din!
Some effort at elucidation (and encouragement) can be found at the Effective Altruism Forum.
17 Jan 2022
Vince Everett Ellison demonstrates that not all African Americans buy into the MLK myth.
After finding evidence that the “man of God” and “moral conscience of our nation,” the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., participated in the rape of a parishioner, engaged in numerous sex orgies, received cash payments from known communists, and admitted that he was a Marxist, King biographer and Pulitzer Prize-winning author David Garrow wrote of King, “There is no question that a profoundly painful reckoning and reconsideration inescapably awaits.”
Black Democrats and White liberals rail about the gains derived from the Civil Rights Movement. I ask, “What gains?” If murder, poverty, and mass incarceration are gains, you may have a point. In an attempt to make him untouchable, liberals have protected King’s counterfeit legacy by sealing his FBI files until 2027. Nevertheless, his reckoning is here.
But that reckoning shouldn’t occur exclusively because of King’s immoral behavior. It shouldn’t happen because the “Good Reverend’s” best friend, Ralph Abernathy, in his book And the Walls Came Tumbling Down, described King beating a woman and sleeping with two others at the Lorrain Motel the night before his death. Or because Arthur Schlesinger recorded Jackie Kennedy saying he was “terrible, phony, and tricky.” Or that Black Major League Baseball player Don Newcombe reported to the FBI that King was a “drunk” and had an illegitimate child by a woman married to a sterile Los Angeles dentist. Or because King allowed the dirty world of politics to turn the Black church into a puppet of the atheist and racist Democrat party.
No. This reckoning should happen because Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement have failed Black people. They managed only to elect many Black Americans into office, with most of them belonging to the same evil Democrat party that had necessitated the Civil Rights Movement by enslaving, raping, castrating, and oppressing Black Americans for over one hundred and fifty years.
After fifty years of following King’s failed ideology, consider these results. On June 4, 2020, the Washington Post reported “no decrease in Black and White citizens’ wealth gap since 1968.” The Brookings Institution reported that in 1965, only 24% of Black children were born out of wedlock. In 2020, it was 69.4 (approximately a 300% increase). Between 2019 and 2020, Blacks made up 11% of the population but 50% of all murders. In May 2019, Penn State and UCLA reported that school segregation is getting worse.
This is King’s legacy. Why are we celebrating it?
In explaining how to recognize a false prophet, Jesus said, “A tree is known by the fruit it bears.” He said you cannot get bad fruit from a good tree. The fruits of the Black community, almost unanimously, are rotten to the core.
What good has come from Martin Luther King’s movement for Black America? The American Black community is at the bottom of nearly every socio-economic statistic. The Black family is weaker. The Black church is more apostate. The Black economy is nonexistent. Black government is corrupt. Black education is terrible. Are we celebrating failure, or was this their intention?
16 Jan 2022
Gerard van der Leun deserves profound thanks for laboriously copying and pasting this valuable, but enormously long series, of tweets posted fragment after fragment by someone styling himself “Hazard Harrington” on Twitter (not surprisingly since deleted — dead link) and publishing them complete.
“Make your peace with whatever comes after fancy tech. It probably involves something with a firing pin and an extractor.” — Klahn
I work in Big Tech. A name you would know and have probably used before.
Wanted to give a rundown of what it’s like from the inside right now. Obviously insanely radically leftwing. BLM/LGBTQ. Trans flags hanging in the office. Pronouns are stated before meetings. Special affiliation groups for everyone but white men. All that you’d expect.
But COVID/WorkFromHome (WFH) has totally broken people.
They are fundamentally weak, often with no social support outside of work.
They’re the people with no children, no spouse. Only a dog or cat for emotional support.
There’s constant talk, even now, about how hard things are for everyone. Often meetings start with going around the room to ask “How is everyone feeling?”
Literally, everyone else went on sad rants about their lives. “I’m so MAD a white supremacist shot 3 black men in Kenosha!”
It’s toxic. When it got to me, I said “Good.” and then a (((lady engineer))) literally proposed that we should not be allowed to answer the question positively. I shit you not.
I think it hurt her that I wasn’t as miserable as her.
She made some arguments about “vulnerability”. These people not only want you weak, they want you to expose your vulnerabilities to them so they can exploit them.
They may not intend this explicitly, but whatever twisted ideology they worship ends with this result. Read the rest of this entry »
16 Jan 2022
The millennial girl’s bête noir: the needy, exploitative “Soft-Boy” type was apparently first explicitly defined defined in 2016 by Amelia Nierenberg in the Oldest College Daily.
The term “soft-boy” has been floating around the feminist corner of the internet for a while. … For a loose definition, the “soft-boy” is not necessarily a romantic interest, but rather a boy who exhibits his sensitivity as a social tool, transforming his awkward emotionality into a likeable characteristic.
Still confused? Let me paint a picture for you. The soft-boy doesn’t care about body hair on his woman partners, but wants to make sure that everyone knows that he’s very chill about it. It’s the boy who speaks pretty openly about going to see a therapist, but then speaks pretty openly about his friend going to see a therapist, too, and she didn’t OK that as public knowledge. It’s the boy who jokes about his own fragile masculinity, but then gets really testy about the fact that he was picked last for the high school badminton tournament. Think messenger bag. Think Michael Cera. Think an indulgent (and spurious) use of the word “problematic.” He wants you to know how many feelings he has.
Although he’s not overtly a keg-standing, never-crying, hard-grilling misogynist, the Yale soft-boy is a different presentation of an equally pernicious masculinity because he slips under the radar. Appearing emotionally intelligent excuses him from criticism because he disguises his emotional neediness as the hard-earned vulnerability of a close friendship. The soft-boy is a weight, opening up to lure caring women to his side. If it sounds like I’m using predatory language to describe these vultures of fourth-wave feminism, good read. I am. Soft-boys of Yale are a social epidemic, invisibly soliciting unreciprocated emotional labor from their woman friends. …
But the soft-boy is not a “friend” to the web of women he has spun to entertain him when he is lonely, coax him through break-ups when he is sad and help him out when he is feeling low. Instead, he’s bartered openness for a time commitment, demanding an inordinate amount of this emotional buttressing from his women friends. And he doesn’t see why that’s a problem — he thinks he’s entitled to the time his women friends spend caring for his emotional well-being, and notices neither the toll it takes on them nor the fact that he rarely reciprocates the devotion. It’s a corruption of an empathy that should be freely given, rather than demanded. And frankly, it’s exhausting.
14 Jan 2022
Victor E. Viking, the mascot of Western Washington University.
The College Fix reports:
Western Washington University may scrap its Viking mascot and is currently conducting an investigation to help make a final decision on the issue.
The effort was spawned in part from requests asking the public university to remove the names of four buildings on campus due to racism concerns: Huxley College of the Environment, Mathes Hall, Haggard Hall, and the Viking Union.
In December, trustees announced that T.H. Huxley’s name would be removed, citing the scientist’s “white supremacist values that dehumanize and harm many members of the Western community.” The Haggard and Mathes names were spared.
But the verdict is out on the Vikings. A “strong majority” of the university’s Legacy Review Taskforce recommended to trustees to remove “Viking” from the Viking Union.
“The Task Force was concerned about the harm caused by asking all members of the Western community to identify with a figure that is potentially exclusive on the basis of both ethnicity and gender,” the taskforce stated in its report.
“Furthermore, the Task Force found names idolizing conquest as out of line with the university’s contemporary values around honoring local Indigenous communities. Task Force members who did not recommend renaming in this report proposed the building name be evaluated alongside the mascot by a separate committee.”
Trustees directed the university “to conduct a more thorough assessment of the Viking name in the broader context of the University mascot,” the December news release states.
The media and communications team at Western Washington University did not respond to requests from The College Fix seeking comment. …
This is not the first time that a mascot change at WWU has been raised. In 2015, an effort to get it scrapped claimed the Viking mascot is “hyper-masculine” and “aggressive.”
However, the area is steeped in Scandinavian roots. In 1910, 30 percent of the foreign-born population had Scandinavian blood. The National Nordic Museum is also located in Seattle, Washington.
Despite the heritage, the Viking as a mascot, in general, may still be on its way out.
During the current Washington Football Team name scandal, many people looked for other teams that may change their alleged problematic names. The Minnesota Vikings is a major team considered.
A change.org petition argued the NFL mascot is “highly distasteful.” It argued the Vikings thought “they were entitled to anything they want and not living in harmony with groups of people with differing ideologies.”
Robert Spencer, at PJM, notes that the rationale for cancellation is completely flexible. Indian mascots are allegedly demeaning, but white male mascots are complimentary and that too is bad.
[I]t’s hard not to notice that the entire mascot brouhaha, from beginning to end, is not only stupid; it’s incoherent. The Redskins and Indians were forbidden because the use of Native Americans as mascots was supposedly degrading and dehumanizing. The names had to go because they were demeaning and insulting. All over the country, teams at all levels dropped their Indian-related names in order to show their respect and regard for American Indians.
At the same time, however, teams all over the country have dropped their Crusader nickname because they don’t want to seem to be glorifying the Crusaders, which in modern myth (and not remotely in reality) were rapacious, imperialist, unprovoked attacks upon peaceful, wise, indigenous Muslim people. The schools that bore the Crusader name didn’t want to appear to be supporting such actions by white supremacists against innocent people of color, so the Crusaders had to go. And now it’s a similar situation at WWU with the Vikings: Western Washington University doesn’t want to appear to be “idolizing conquest.”
But wait a minute. If the Washington Redskins and Cleveland Indians degraded Native Americans, why do teams named Crusaders or Vikings glorify racism and white supremacy? If what Leftists have been telling us about nicknames and mascots for the last few years were even close to true, woke WWU should proudly retain its Viking name and declare that they’re doing so in order to demean and insult Vikings and white people in general. After all, if team names actually glorified the group that inspired them, then the Redskins and Indians had no reason to change their name, right?
Related: Woke Mob Puts Out Hit on Notre Dame’s Leprechaun
But the Leftists don’t have to worry about consistency. They know that the establishment media will never call them out on their contradictions. No “journalist” today will ever ask why some team names can be seen as glorifying the group in question, while other team names are degrading.
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