Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Things shared on Dec. 31sts

Dear people bent out of shape about Santa Claus and penguins together: If you had a flying sleigh, wouldn't you hang out with some penguins?


"Public-private partnership" is what we used to call "graft." --Mark Brian Wise


My New Year's Resolution is to stop making New Year's Resolutions.

Well, that didn't last long, did it?


Boycotting a publisher is the coward's way. Brave people write devastating reviews, as Dorothy Parker knew.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Things shared on Dec. 28ths

Why hasn't the angry left noticed that the most successful US leftists—Debs, King, Malcolm X, Bernie Sanders—have balanced passion with civility? #RhetoricalQuestion


If criticism of your politics makes you angry, your politics are a secular religion.


Younger folks, one of my gen's stupider ideas was adding the other's last name when marrying. No one needs a longer name. Stop that, okay?


I wish Facebook's list of reasons that we can check for why we don't want to see certain kinds of ads included "It's too capitalist."


“Forgive yourself for not knowing what you didn’t know before you learned it.” —Maya Angelou

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Things shared on Dec. 25ths

"Blessed is the working class, for they shall inherit the earth." Matthew 5:5 (The word often translated as "meek" also means "poor".)


Inspiring messages from very rich people at Christmas time make me wish Christmas tree ornaments included tumbrils and guillotines.


"Most educated group" is a euphemism for "richest group". The rich always buy the best education they can.


No photo description available.

Monday, December 23, 2019

The line from the Nation of Islam through Critical Race Theory to Intersectional Feminism

This is slight rewrite of today's Twitter rant:

I'm tempted to stop talking about identitarianism and just refer to left-racism and left-sexism. There is a straight line from the Nation of Islam's Yakub theory (which Malcolm X called racist) through Derrick Bell's Critical Race Theory to Kimberle Crenshaw's intersectionality.

The Nation of Islam believes a black scientist named Yakub created white people, who are responsible for all the world's evils.

Derrick Bell, called the father of Critical Race Theory, never praised a socialist, but he did praise Louis Farrakhan as "perhaps the best living example of a black man."

Kimberle Crenshaw, who coined "intersectionality" was Bell's disciple. She may have given Critical Race Theory its name—Bell originally called it racial realism. Some race reductionists try to connect Kimberle Crenshaw to the Combahee River Collective instead of the problematic Derrick Bell, but that appears to be an act of retconning.

Critical Race Theorists became colloquially known as antiracists, a term that was rarely used before neoliberal Ivy Leaguers like Bell and Crenshaw developed a theory of privilege that was originally restricted to sex and race.

A founding belief of antiracism is that all white people are racist. The idea that all people of any race are alike in any way should be an obviously racist idea, but racists always insist they are not racist. For what it's worth, implicit association tests refute their belief—a large minority of white people reveal a preference for dark folks, and a smaller minority have no discernible preference.

After leaving the Nation of Islam, Malcolm X said, "I totally reject Elijah Muhammad's racist philosophy, which he has labeled 'Islam' only to fool and misuse gullible people," and "I have made sweeping indictments of all white people. I will never be guilty of that again."

Sadly, today's antiracists prefer the Malcolm X who was a minister of the Nation of Islam to the man he became, El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, who said, "I believe in recognizing every human being as a human being, neither white, black, brown nor red."

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Things shared on Dec 21sts

How American meritocracy works: luck in the form of birth or circumstance gets you in, ability and luck together let you rise.


I like Santa Claus, but he’s a snob: he gives more to rich children than poor ones.



Luke 3:11 John answered, "Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same."


The rich claim institutions are meritocracies if merit is rewarded once you're in and overlook the fact that it's easier to get in if you're rich.


If you want a meritocracy, you have to end poverty. In our current race to the top, many of the runners aren’t starting on the track—they’re starting in the swamp.


I would have more respect for conservatives if they were honest: they want a class system in which the children of the rich are given riches and the children of the poor are given little or nothing.

Yes, that includes liberals too. They just want the poor to have a bit more than conservatives do.


In politics, is anything funnier than Clintonites saying the person the Millennials supported is not the future of the Democratic party?


One of the most privileged human beings in the world shows how easy it is for meritocrats to lie to themselves:

“I loved working on Wall Street. I loved the meritocracy of it and the camaraderie of the trading floor.” —Chelsea Clinton


“Those who are able to climb up the ladder will find ways to pull it up after them, or selectively lower it down to allow their friends, allies, and kin to scramble up. In other words: 'Who says meritocracy says oligarchy.'” —Chris Hayes


Pity and fear the people who don’t realize that “meritocracy” only means “people who went to a small number of schools for a very expensive indoctrination.” They are the vanity class.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Things shared on Dec 18ths

Fascism (n): Authoritarian capitalism.


When people say “Ending poverty won’t end racism or sexism,” they are admitting they don’t want to end poverty.



Wikileaks: Never wrong.

CIA: Who can count all the lies and mistakes?


Instead of talking vaguely about the "popular" vote, let's be precise: we can either have the Electoral College or we can have democracy.


I want to move to the feminist universe where only men are pompous bores.


The internet is the best way ever to shout at clouds.


When you talk of the founders' intent, remember they intended this to be a nation of free people and slaves.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Things shared on Dec 17ths

The rich call the poor "takers", even though the rich are rich because they take the lion's share of society's wealth for themselves.


Under-appreciated Bible verse:

Matthew 14:13 When Jesus heard of it, he departed thence by ship into a desert place apart

Sometimes you just have to get away from everyone.


When neoliberals complain about “BernieBros” who voted for Trump, they are complaining about the fact Clinton was less popular with the general public than Sanders.


Harvard’s top faculty members earn more than $600,000 a year. No wonder Ivy League academics teach students to think about privilege in terms of social identity instead of class.


A system that favors capitalists is a capitalist system. Talking about mixed economies Is like talking about mixed politics: democracy and tyranny don’t mix. Neither do socialism and capitalism. Either capitalists have most of the wealth or they don’t.


The internet speaks in hyperbole. Mine is justified. Yours is evil.


I keep wondering what would've happened to people like Mark Fisher and Freddie deBoer if identitarians believed in kindness and respectful disagreement.


People who want social justice do not want socialism. If they did, they would say they wanted socialism.

Ever since social justice began as a religious concept in the 1840s, its supporters have said they oppose socialism.


“Aristotle said that some people were only fit to be slaves. I do not contradict him. But I reject slavery because I see no men fit to be masters.“ —C. S. Lewis


Conservatives: Nazis were socialists! Look at their name--National Socialists!

Also conservatives: Nazis weren't nationalists! They just called themselves nationalists to appeal to the masses!


Most annoying ppl online: those who suggest you're dishonest if you fail to be convinced by them. Wish they'd say upfront they're cultists.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Things shared on Dec 16ths

Today's peeve:

The term "mixed economy" is a gift to the far right who insist robber baron capitalism is the One True Form of capitalism. Capitalism and socialism don't mix. If capitalists are rich and the working class works for them, the country is not mixed. It's capitalist.


Today's peeve, take 2:

There is no such thing as a mixed economy. There are different kinds of capitalism and socialism. An economy that preserves or expands the wealth gap by letting capitalists grow richer due to what they own instead of what they do is a capitalist society.


When Emma and I went to see Richard Thompson, I learned two things:

1. I can still dance like a kid at a concert.
2. I pay for that for days now.


Dear conservatives who say Venezuela is a socialist country:

In socialist countries, big businesses are nationalized. In Venezuela, they were not. Where capitalists have most of the capital—as they do in Venezuela—the country is capitalist.

Yr. socialist pal,


Every hierarchy claims to be a meritocracy. Examples: Divine right of kings, social Darwinism. Rulers need to feel that they deserve to be superior.


It's easy for the rich to explain why they deserve to give money to their kids. It's impossible to explain why their kids deserve the money.


"Hereditary succession has no claim. For all men being originally equals, no one by birth could have the right to set up his own family in perpetual preference to all others for ever, and tho' himself might deserve some decent degree of honours of his contemporaries, yet his descendants might be far too unworthy to inherit them." —Thomas Paine


When I was a kid, it was "communism vs democracy." No one said, "actually, the US is a republic, not a democracy."

Though I learned as an adult that the US was not a democracy, anti-democratic Americans seem like traitors.


The Liberal's Dictionary

Classism (n): Snobbery.

The word implies that the class system is good, but it is bad to reveal that you know you are better than the people whose poverty you do not alleviate.


Dear people who think spoiling a story is fine: it is called spoiling because most people disagree with you.


Free State of Jones: Not perfect but great. Deserves many awards and should be required when teaching about race, class, or US Civil War.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

The contradictions of the "intersectional socialist" — a rant from Twitter

"Intersectional socialist" is a contradiction in terms. Kimberle Crenshaw was a neoliberal who coined "intersectionality" so the race reductionists of Critical Race Theory and the gender reductionists of third-wave feminism could work together.

Crenshaw's original "intersectionality" was only about race and gender. When intersectionalists realized they had to talk about class, they shoehorned it in by focusing on social class instead of economic class—they opposed classism while supporting the class system.

Like feudalists who promoted noblesse oblige, intersectionalists believe in treating the poor with respect and doing small things to alleviate their suffering. Intersectionalism is not a form of socialism. It is a form of neoliberalism.

Intersectionalists and free-marketers have one thing in common: they both believe there's an ideal form of capitalism that will result in a fair economic hierarchy.

That "intersectionality" began in the Ivy League should make any socialist suspicious of it. Yes, some bourgeois folk are class traitors (insert reference to Marx and Engels), but theories promoted by the upper class are usually intended to preserve their class privilege.

David Harvey wrote about the compatibility of neoliberalism and identity politics in A Brief History of Neoliberalism:
Neoliberal rhetoric, with its foundational emphasis upon individual freedoms, has the power to split off libertarianism, identity politics, multi-culturalism, and eventually narcissistic consumerism from the social forces ranged in pursuit of social justice through the conquest of state power. It has long proved extremely difficult within the US left, for example, to forge the collective discipline required for political action to achieve social justice without offending the desire of political actors for individual freedom and for full recognition and expression of particular identities. Neoliberalism did not create these distinctions, but it could easily exploit, if not foment, them.
The basic problem with intersectionality, and the reason it's loved by identitarians, is it treats different forms of oppression as unique things that only sometimes intersect. For socialists, they are intertwined. This is especially true of racism, which was born of slavery.


In the comments, a couple of people pointed out that Crenshaw mentioned class in her 1989 essay. However, she was usually referring to the classes of women and black people. She mentioned class in a broader sense in a few asides, but there she used the word in the vague way that Americans do when they say almost everyone is middle class. Her focus was race and gender, as noted in Intersectionality, explained: "The paper centers on three legal cases that dealt with the issues of both racial discrimination and sex discrimination: DeGraffenreid v. General Motors, Moore v. Hughes Helicopter, Inc., and Payne v. Travenol."

If you think I'm not being fair to Crenshaw, read her original paper, Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics.

Things shared on Dec 15ths, including a bit about spoilers

The difference between bad consequences from bad intentions and bad consequences from good intentions is the difference between being an opportunist and being a fool.


I'm bored. What's the best outrage today?

Dear religious people outraged by "Happy Holidays!", that's literally "Happy Holy Days." If anyone should be outraged, it's atheists.

I am outraged that the internet is boring. I'm boycotting it by going offline for an hour or two now.


Spoilers are a form of theft: they steal our chance to have the first experience of the art that its maker intended.

There’s no time limit on spoilers. If you have not experienced something, it is new to you.

An ethical reviewer describes the experience, not the story. The only thing we want to know about the plot is whether it pleased or annoyed you.

I am impressed by the passion of those who defend spoilers. But people tend to defend what they like to do.

Liking spoilers gives you no more right to spoil than liking bondage gives you a right to tie people up.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Things shared on Dec 14ths

To support the death penalty you have to believe the American justice system never makes mistakes or that it's okay to kill some innocent people in order to kill guilty ones.


Procrastination: The fine art of doing things at the worst possible moment.


When you become a socialist, some questions asked by fans of capitalism seem bizarre. They make me imagine fans of feudalism asking, "But if we have capitalism, could I still force my serfs to work for free? Will my children be able to inherit my titles? Can I wear my crown in public?"


If you complain about people using language sloppily, you will soon use language sloppily.

Related: complaining about typos.


The problem with calling neoliberals moderates or centrists is they’re neither. They’re the status quo, corporatists, Wall Streeters, 1%ers, the bourgeoisie, capitalists, The Man, the rich, plutocrats, oligarchs, the ruling class, or the exploiters.

Better to call neoliberals Pharisees or Lizard People than adopt the pretence that politics exist on a line and they are the moderate center between two extremes. Neoliberalism is an extreme. it’s Wall Street’s extreme.


Dear God, let me never again be one of the idiots who comments on a link without reading what it links to. Amen.


A simple guide to the US class system: who gets fired for saying rude things about who.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Things shared on Dec 13ths

"The movement for racial justice has shifted its focus from inequality to “disparity,” while neatly evading any critique of the structures that produce inequality." —Adolph Reed Jr.


You can't convince people to treat others with respect by treating them with disrespect.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Things shared on Dec 12ths

“there is a gap between the black middle and the black lower classes as wide as that between the black and white races.” —Henry Louis Gates in 1998

The gap between rich and poor has only grown greater since then.


Centrism is misnamed for many reasons, not the least of which is that it is not about uniting the right and left. It's about attacking them.


“Institutional racism” is how liberals discuss the way that capitalism’s limited class mobility creates generational poverty for people of color—and how they ignore generational poverty affecting white people.


A change in my lifetime: conservatives are moving to a class-first position while liberals move toward identity-first. What’s striking is the conservatives see the shift and the left-identitarians don’t.


The failure of religion as a force for good can be seen where religious groups meet: rich groups have highly paid leaders and expensive meeting places; poor groups have poorly-paid leaders and cheap meeting places.


Me vs. traditional Marxists: Some say writers are not working class because we own our tools and what we create. But even if we self-publish, we depend on printers and distributors. I think all freelancers are working class: we own the tools of creation, but not the means of production.

We now live in a time when people can be both working class and owning class: people who are rich from their jobs invest in stocks and bonds, thereby working for someone else while joining the owners of the system.


For the record, Emma and I got our yellow vests at Ikea a long time ago. We’re ready.


On social media, the problems revealed are less depressing than the solutions offered.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Things shared on Nov 11ths

Insults are like gifts. If you don't accept them, they belong to the person who offers them.


Tyrants think the truth is treason.


Old justice: Trial by combat

New justice: Trial by social media


#EasyDeliciousSandwich Mix 1 can tuna with spicy guacamole, put on favorite bread. (Today, a toasted ciabatta roll.) Devour.


The easiest way to recognize classist Democrats: Do they sympathize with poor people who voted for Trump in the hope he would help them after neoliberal Democrats had helped Wall Street instead?


Shoveling snow #ThingIForgetIEnjoyUntilIDoIt


Why nonviolent protest succeeds:

"this was totally confusing for the racist rulers of the South. If they allowed us to march, they destroyed their myth that the black man was content. If they shot us down or brutalized us, they told the world that they were inhumane brutes." -Martin Luther King


"If the soul is left in darkness, sins will be committed. The guilty one is not he who commits the sin but he who causes the darkness." —Victor Hugo

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Things shared on Dec 10ths

Gossip shows how editing works: characters are merged, explanations are cut, and drama is heightened.

Thanks to the Electoral College, you can't blame anyone in a blue state for Trump. Bonus: you can blame everyone in a red state.


If we talked about the race of the poor, would identitarians oppose the race of the rich?


Capitalists say communism is responsible for the worst things done by Mao and Stalin, then give themselves a pass for things done by Pinochet, Hitler, Franco, and Mussolini—all of whom were supported and praised by capitalists.


"every white person is a little bit negro and every negro is a little bit white. Our language, our music, our material prosperity and even our food are an amalgam of black and white, so there can be no separate black path to power and fulfillment that does not intersect white routes" —Martin Luther King


Article 19, Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Monday, December 9, 2019

Things shared on Dec 9ths

"You're not funny" may mean "We have different senses of humor" but usually means "I'm a humorless prig."


"If I wasn't studying psychopaths in prison, I'd do it at the stock exchange" -Robert Hare


If we have to have capitalism, can we at least nationalize Patreon?

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Things shared on Dec 8ths

Why Americans talk constantly about race and gender, and rarely about class:

"The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum ...That gives people the sense that there’s free thinking going on." —Noam Chomsky


I don't understand people who only share things they completely agree with. Validation is boring.


"Lived experience" is usually claimed by people with surprisingly little lived experience.


Am I training Facebook what to select or is Facebook training me?

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Things shared on Dec 7ths

People in District 1 love thinking the problem with District 12 is racism and sexism.


Interviewer: What happens to people of independent mind?
Noam Chomsky: They become taxi drivers.


My friending policy: I friend anyone who makes a request who doesn’t look like a spammer. I don’t friend anyone who is suggested because I already can’t keep up with my FB friends, so I‘d feel funny asking more people to give me a chance to neglect them.


A thing I hate about #Patreon reward structures: those who can only give a little get less in return, even if they're giving the larger percentage of what they have.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Martin Luther King never supported reparations—his "check" referred to job programs and universal basic income

Identitarians claim Martin Luther King supported reparations and quote him saying, "We are coming to get our check." But when they do, they erase the context. The full quote is "Now, when we come to Washington in this campaign, we are coming to get our check." The campaign was the Poor People's Campaign, and the check was for all poor people.

King was a democratic socialist. He wanted to help all of the poor. He first supported guaranteed jobs, and then moved on to universal basic income.

In 1964, in Why We Can't Wait, he argued for a Bill for the Disadvantaged that would guarantee jobs to help all poor people. He explained, "Many poor whites...were the derivative victims of slavery. As long as labor was cheapened by the involuntary servitude of the black man, the freedom of white labor, especially in the South, was little more than a myth. ... It is a simple matter of justice that America, in dealing creatively with the task of raising the Negro from backwardness, should also be rescuing a large stratum of the forgotten white poor.”

In 1967, in Where Do We Go From Here?, he argued for basic income: “In the treatment of poverty nationally, one fact stands out: there are twice as many white poor as Negro poor in the United States. Therefore I will not dwell on the experiences of poverty that derive from racial discrimination, but will discuss the poverty that affects white and Negro alike. ... I am now convinced that the simplest approach will prove to be the most effective — the solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by a now widely discussed measure: the guaranteed income.”

The idea that King would support solutions that leave out the Hispanic, Asian, Native American, and white poor, thereby ignoring three-fourths of the poor, should immediately seem silly to anyone who knows anything about King. If you doubt that he was a democratic socialist, have two quotes:

“Call it democracy, or call it democratic socialism, but there must be a better distribution of wealth within this country for all of God’s children.” -Martin Luther King

“If America does not use her vast resources of wealth to end poverty and make it possible for all of God’s children to have the basic necessities of life, she too will go to hell.” —Martin Luther King

Things shared on Dec 6ths

If your solution hurts innocent people, it is a bad solution. #ThingsThatShouldBeObvious


Why modern feminism’s “Believe the victim” slogan seems so juvenile: Believing women never lie or are mistaken and men do not deserve the presumption of innocence is the next step from believing girls are made of sugar and spice, but boys are made of puppydog tails.


“When truth is replaced by silence, the silence is a lie.” - Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Russian-Soviet poet


The rich do not become philanthropists to ease an unjust system. They become philanthropists to keep it going.


The best-paying job for mediocre writers: confirming other people's biases.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

On the earliest date for comics' Atomic Age, which falls between its Golden and Silver Ages

Caring about comic book continuity is crazy, but I was a hardcore fan for decades, so I know it's my kind of crazy.

On one hand, I believe every writer in a shared universe creates a new alternate universe because any writer's version of a character has unique traits. Which means there are more comic book universes than there are comic book writers since many writers have written characters in different continuities.

On the other hand, it's convenient to talk about broad periods of superhero time. The superhero craze of the late '30s and early '40s and the successful superhero revival of the '60s are the obvious ones. DC institutionalized them with Earth 1 and Earth 2, and fans talked about the Golden Age of superheroes and the Silver Age.

But what do we do with superheroes who were published between those time periods? I like the suggestion they're part of the Atomic Age, named for the development of atomic energy. The Atomic Age heroes are characterized by their writers' love of pulp science fiction—the characters of the '50s often traveled through time, fought robots, and visited distant worlds. While they sometimes interacted, they never had a reason to create a team like the Justice Society.

The comic book ages have to have fuzzy beginnings and endings to make any semblance of continuity. For me, the Atomic Age begins with the invention of Superboy at the end of 1944—that's the character who grows up to become the Superman of the Atomic Age.

Things shared on Dec 5ths

I want a Basic Income that will cover our needs and a Job Guarantee that will cover our wants.


If you have to explain why what you're doing isn't censorship, it's probably censorship.

When people do something that looks like censorship and try to explain why it’s not, they’re admitting it's censorship and trying to explain why they should be allowed to silence the rest of us.

I have never met anyone who thought he should be fired, banned, boycotted, or mobbed for saying what he thought. #censors #hypocrites

If your ideas require censoring others, they are bad ideas.


If you support the Electoral College, you also support the right of the Electors to choose who they please. (first pointed out by Douglas Lain)

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Things shared on Dec 4ths

Why you should never mention your diploma when you're in an argument:

A diploma is what the Scarecrow got to make up for having no brain.


Why do some women assume most men must know who the abusers are? Do women tell each other about creepy and illegal things they do?


I won't be adopting the term "non-reformist reform", but I will think about a simpler way to express the idea that we should support reforms that get us closer to our goals.


'"Donald Trump" is an anagram of "old rant-dump".' —Simon Kongshøj


Dear internet, when someone disagrees with you, consider the possibility they're right.

Haha! #FunniestThingIEverSaid


The only thing harder than knowing yourself is knowing someone else.


Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Things shared on Dec 3rds

People who don't know their belief system has a name are like goldfish who don't know they're swimming in a glass tank.


Tell me not to derail, and I will do my best to blow up the tracks. People who want to control the discourse are not taking part in a discussion; they are seeking submission or validation.


Trickle-down economics aren’t about wealth trickling down to the poor. They’re about wealth trickling down to the children and grandchildren of the rich.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Things shared on Dec 1sts

"perhaps we give a little to the poor
If the generosity should seize us
But if any one of us should interfere
In the business of why they are poor
They get the same as the rebel Jesus"
—Jackson Browne, "The Rebel Jesus"


Hollywood, stop making stories where strange things happen and then the characters realize they’re in purgatory or hell. No one older than thirteen should use that shtick. Ambrose Bierce was the last to do it well.

I am a leftist who believes interim steps matter. This puts me at odds with leftists who focus on the goal and are willing to let working people suffer in the interim.


The best rich people tell their children to treat servants with respect. They do not tell them there should be no masters and no servants.


Democrats support political censorship too: Hillary Clinton co-sponsored bill to jail flag burners in 2005 - AOL News