Intersectionality or bust

Just scanning along on a quiet Sunday afternoon … blah blah blah … Tolkein … Kalamazoo…

Hmm, some connection there? Scan more slowly…

“…wrote this at a roundtable for Homonationalisms at Kalamazoo last year…”

So I missed it. The roundtable for Homonationalisms has come and gone, without me. And it was in Kalamazoo! I might have taken the train, and heard the conductor cry “Kalamazoo! Winnetka!”

Maybe next year it’ll be in Cucamonga.


Seems apropos somehow

“Suppose that a great commotion arises in the street about something, let us say a lamp-post, which many influential persons desire to pull down. A grey-clad monk, who is the spirit of the Middle Ages, is approached upon the matter, and begins to say, in the arid manner of the Schoolmen, “Let us first of all consider, my brethren, the value of Light. If Light be in itself good–” At this point he is somewhat excusably knocked down. All the people make a rush for the lamp-post, the lamp-post is down in ten minutes, and they go about congratulating each other on their unmediaeval practicality. But as things go on they do not work out so easily. Some people have pulled the lamp-post down because they wanted the electric light; some because they wanted old iron; some because they wanted darkness, because their deeds were evil. Some thought it not enough of a lamp-post, some too much; some acted because they wanted to smash municipal machinery; some because they wanted to smash something. And there is war in the night, no man knowing whom he strikes. So, gradually and inevitably, to-day, to-morrow, or the next day, there comes back the conviction that the monk was right after all, and that all depends on what is the philosophy of Light. Only what we might have discussed under the gas-lamp, we now must discuss in the dark.” — Heretics, by G.K. Chesterton

Is Jahi McMath Alive? | National Review — Head Noises

Winkfield sued, but after an independent medical examination, the judge ruled that Jahi was deceased and allowed a death certificate to be issued. He also played Solomon, and worked out a settlement whereby Children’s Hospital transferred Jahi to her relatives while still on life support. We now know, she was moved to New Jersey, where she […]

via Is Jahi McMath Alive? | National Review — Head Noises


It’s surprising that Scott Alexander of Slate Star Codex and Father Dwight Longenecker reach related conclusions: The Catholic Priest in When the Benedict Option Is the Only Option; The practicing psychiatrist Neutral vs. Conservative: The Eternal Struggle.

Or maybe their conclusions aren’t all that similar. Anyway, it’s interesting to read one after the other and consider both.

I think there is a big divide in society between people who use reason and argument to find out what is true, and people who use the trappings of reason to win arguments. These two men are on the same side of that divide.

UPDATE: I took the time to read Stanley Fish’s Why Can’t We All Just Get Along, and Joseph Moore’s blog post about Fish’s article. It was time well spent.

Flying, United and others

The last time we flew on United, one of their employees at the gate was absolutely obnoxious; another was polite and helpful, which is really the least any employee should be. The flight was miserable, largely because the flight attendants seemed to be deliberately acting to make it so. At two o’clock in the morning, nobody wants the lights on, nobody wants coffee, and nobody wants the attendants running up and down the aisle asking if you want anything. The attendants know this, because they were not doing any of that in first class, where the lights were out and everyone asleep. I suspect United has policies to make coach miserable, to incentivize customers to buy an upgrade.

Other airlines we’ve flown on over the last year have been less unpleasant. American was okay; Virgin and Southwest were very nearly good.

The TSA at one end was obnoxious; at the other end they were not obnoxious, which is as close to good as they ever get. There’s little to be done about that.

Often I consider buying from a business that has just sustained a big customer-service black eye, on the theory that they’ll be exerting themselves to do well, and their prices will be a little lower as customers chose their competitors. In the case of United, I won’t be doing that. Their obnoxious employee at the gate, the (I think deliberately bad) service on the last flight, and other incidents like this make me think that this is their business model, and will remain so until they come up with another model — no easy task. Also, the president of United gives the impression of being a lying weasel who can’t figure out what lie to tell. It’s hard to imagine him fixing things. So I won’t be flying United, and their CEO’s apology tour isn’t going to change that.

Arma virumque cano

Now, a reminiscence. In the early eighties I went to an Army recruiting station to enlist. I’d called the recruiter first, and he seemed quite keen for me to come in. When I got to the office, the recruiting sergeant said to a young man who was sitting there being recruited, “Get up and let Mister _____ sit down.” Welcome to the Army, kid. He got up, and I sat down, initially thinking this looked like a pretty sweet deal. On later reflection, I suspected what was done for me today would be done to me tomorrow, and I was right.

The most important news story this week

And it’s not good news. Scientists created a part-human, part-pig embryo.

That’s evil,and insane. God did mankind a favor at Babel.

“The LORD came down to see the city and the tower that the people had built. Then the LORD said: If now, while they are one people and all have the same language, they have started to do this, nothing they presume to do will be out of their reach. Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that no one will understand the speech of another. So the LORD scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. — Genesis 11, New American Bible

UPDATE 30 January 2017: Summary of chimera research.

Vicarious wisdom

General Patton said, “No sane man is unafraid in battle, but discipline produces in him a form of vicarious courage.” Similarly, the rules of a traditional society make possible a kind of vicarious wisdom among the unwise. These rules restrain the capable, so removing them lets the intelligent, the prudent, and the creative do better, at the cost of the not-so-capable doing worse, but having plenty to eat.