Tuesday Colloquium

Destruction by Thomas Cole

Richard Fernandez writes of our current civilization…

The new variability is overwhelming the old political elite. As the World Wars and the Black Death demonstrated upheaval can produce wild mood swings in a populace. “The tremendous emotional shock [of the Black Death] … created a state of … depression and sometimes even panic” which turned people to fanaticism as others sought scapegoats for their troubles or lost themselves in a debauchery made famous by Poe’s Masque of the Red Death and the wild abandon of Weimar.

The underlying disruption is creating a similar volatility today.  Currently we are obsessed with 71 genders but a nuclear or biological disaster can can flip decades of political correctness and deference to technology into their opposite. Considering all the freedoms and privacy the West has already given up to preserve the status quo the mantra “we can’t let it change us” is mockingly ironic.  It is change, not changelessness which is characteristic of the present.

Perhaps the world is living through history’s first information epidemic and like the medievals who fell to unseen pathogens we can scarcely understand the catastrophe befalling us.  Many are at a loss to explain entropy and anomie on a scale never seen before.  But we cannot respond effectively to chaos without realizing the threat is not merely physical but an information corruption challenge.

and this,

Human sanity was long anchored in reality. Religions might have been flawed but they usually tried to explain things in the light of contemporary knowledge. Common people spent the greater part of their day in contact with society and family in a smartphone-free world that seems to be lost forever.  They were innoculated against much craziness. That world had a self-centering property that is now missing.

Today we have live in an environment where whole populations are immersed in an ocean of deliberate lies. People can believe anything — and often do.  The Narrative is malware corroding our sense of humanity and reality.  Instead of increasing privacy so data miners cannot engage in the targeted lying which makes “fake news” so effective we decrease it the better to help the manipulators.  We’ve reached the point where having real human networks instead of social ones is slightly suspicious.  “Fear the man,” we are told when pondering Steven Paddock, “with no digital footprint.”

Lee Smith writes of the state of the American body politic…

A friend reminds me that there was a period when Miramax bought the rights to every big story published in magazines throughout the city. Why mess with Weinstein when that big new female star you’re trying to wrangle for the June cover is headlining a Miramax release? Do you think that glossy magazine editor who threw the swankiest Oscar party in Hollywood was trying to “nail down” the Weinstein story? Right, just like the hundreds of journalists who were ferried across the river for the big party at the Statue of Liberty to celebrate the premiere of Talk—they were all there sipping champagne and sniffing coke with models in order to “nail down” the story about how their host was a rapist.

That’s why the story about Harvey Weinstein finally broke now. It’s because the media industry that once protected him has collapsed. The magazines that used to publish the stories Miramax optioned can’t afford to pay for the kind of reporting and storytelling that translates into screenplays. They’re broke because Facebook and Google have swallowed all the digital advertising money that was supposed to save the press as print advertising continued to tank.

Look at Vanity Fair, basically the in-house Miramax organ that Tina failed to make Talk: Condé Nast demanded massive staff cuts from Graydon Carter and he quit. He knows they’re going to turn his aspirational bible into a blog, a fate likely shared by most (if not all) of the Condé Nast books.

Si Newhouse, magazine publishing’s last Medici, died last week, and who knows what will happen to Condé now. There are no more journalists; there are just bloggers scrounging for the crumbs Silicon Valley leaves them. Who’s going to make a movie out of a Vox column? So what does anyone in today’s media ecosystem owe Harvey Weinstein? And besides, it’s good story, right? “Downfall of a media Mogul.” Maybe there’s even a movie in it.

Read both of these men, two of the most perceptive and bright thinkers in America.  Though the subjects appear unrelated, they are fundamentally homologous in describing collapsing foundations in the informational age.

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70 thoughts on “Tuesday Colloquium

  1. This is GUARANTEED to be destructive to the USA. Absolutely no good for us can come from it; past performance is highly indicative of future results.

    HEADLINE: Jimmy Carter offers to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un

    Former President Jimmy Carter (D) reportedly offered to meet with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un in an attempt at peace talks.

    A University of Georgia professor detailed Carter’s offer to Korea JoongAng Daily, a South Korean newspaper.

    “Carter wants to meet with the North Korean leader and play a constructive role for peace on the Korean Peninsula as he did in 1994,” Park Han-shi told the newspaper.

  2. Hillary is probably being quiet because to denounce a sexual predator hits a little too close to home…can you imagine the rebound questions she’ll have to answer if she opens her mouth on this?? It may be less dangerous to keep her mouth shut and deal with that fallout.

  3. 6 TT

    …being quiet because to denounce a sexual predator hits a little too close to home…

    See the Lee Smith column in the OC header.

  4. 52 degrees and breezy this morning out here. The officer shooting at Texas Tech is disturbing, and while I normally have an opinion on just about everything, I’m having trouble wrapping my arms around this one. A 19 years old kid, freaked out on drugs, shoots an officer dead in the police station and runs away. You wonder, what was he thinking, and then you remember that he was on drugs. Now that will probably be his defense against the death penalty – he was on drugs and didn’t know what he was doing. Too bad, so sad as they strap him to the gurney and get the IV flowing….

  5. Incredible…Larry David’s film crew saved a man from being convicted of murder.

    Just how easy it is to be framed for murder and spend the rest of your life in jail or end up on Death Row.

    After five months of sitting in jail awaiting trial, Catalan finally left and was reunited with his family.

    “I felt like the weight of the world [was] off my shoulders. I broke down,” Catalan said.

    In 2007, Catalan received a $320,000 settlement in his civil lawsuit against the LAPD and the city of Los Angeles for false imprisonment, misconduct and defamation.

    Catalan has also become a big fan of the show.

    “That show is hilarious,” he said. “‘The Carpool Lane’ is obviously my favorite episode.”

  6. From last night’s discussion of electric cars/charging stations, I found the links.

    Thanks, interesting reading. This is apparently the article which was referenced:


    Unfortunately, however, that would seem to be the practical limit of how fast we’re going to be able to recharge these electrical behemoths. Indeed, The 350kW rechargers required for those promised 20-minute refueling is, according to the experts I spoke with, likely the upper limit of the equipment we humans will ever be allowed to handle. In fact, these 350kW rechargers generate so much heat, their amperage is so incredibly high, that the cables carrying all that current need to be liquid cooled.

    This is what I was having such a hard time wrapping my head around when I read that 30 Megawatt per charging site figure. It’s a staggering amount of power and, by extension, a staggering amount of current.

  7. Robert Iger, head of Disney, is considering a run for POTUS in 2020.
    This paragraph from CBS News jumped out at me for its horrible structure. Prof JP Morgan would have immediately given an F to the paper after reading that paragraph; she would have read no further.

    The LA Times reported that around of the company’s 70 employees were in Las Vegas at the time of the shooting, with many attending the very concert targeted. One was killed.

    How about like this:

    The LA Times reported that around 70 or so of the company’s employees were in . . . . .

    That kind of crappy prose would not have passed Jr. High School English, yet there it is?!?

  8. It’s cool enough that a lot of low tire pressure warnings are going off in some people’s cars, (including mine) according to my tire guy.
    And I had to turn off the AC in the truck.

    Wind is howling up here.

  9. The Deep State is on the ball 24/7/365 looking out for suspicious ingredients in phil’s granola.

    The Food and Drug Administration sent a letter to Massachusetts company Nashoba Brook Bakery on Sept. 22, rebuking them for, amongst other things, including “love” on the ingredient list for the company’s granola.

    “Your Nashoba Granola label lists ingredient ‘Love,'” the FDA pointed out in its letter to the bakery. “Ingredients required to be declared on the label or labeling of food must be listed by their common or usual name [21 CFR 101.4(a)(1). ‘Love’ is not a common or usual name of an ingredient, and is considered to be intervening material because it is not part of the common or usual name of the ingredient.”

  10. Ferris B SpyDuckus
    had some granola
    turned right around
    and stuck it up his a-hole-a

    He then pulled it out
    with a twist and a pout
    and found a mayo stained Russian
    to put in his slush bin

    He shouted thou shalt not
    put love in granola
    so pay me my hoax fee
    in fizzed out coca cola

    and millions of dollars
    to soak the taxpayer
    for he is the Deep State’s
    fabricating soothsayer

  11. Good afternoon Hamsters. Spent quality time visiting Mariposa this morning telling her she will come home soon, just don’t know when exactly.

    Front is marching forward here under overcast skies, and the temp went down for a while late this morning before getting stuck on 72. Nice. Just wish it would hang around longer than a day.

  12. When Sears sold the Craftsman brand of tools and the Kenmore line of appliances, it was only a matter of time before they fold.

  13. Sears has been selling assets for years in an effort to stay afloat. They sold Allstate Insurance years ago, then they sold off Discover Card. One of Sears’ claims back when was that their real estate holdings vastly exceeded the carrying value on their financial presentation and that there was a lot of hidden value there. Well, I think most of that hidden value has been exposed, sold, and wasted away. They were Americans number 1 retailer back in the 1960’s and before they went the way of the American automobile manufacturers, steel mills, and most other manufacturing.

  14. I was a Monkey Ward man myself excerpt for Craftsman tools. I even owned a Monkey Ward motorcycle and a tri-hull boat.

  15. I haven’t been in a Sears in a few years, but last time I was I remember thinking what a mess the place was. It reminds me of Radio Shack: a formerly decent place with a business model gone to crap and staffed by people who don’t know or care much about what they’re selling. It’s a shame really, because they were both decent stores back in the day.

  16. #31 Squawks
    I love that! Yes, it’s bizarre. Yes, it’s silly!

    No, I can’t do that myself, don’t even suggest that I try it.

  17. #35 Hammy
    If you mean Shepherd at 43rd, yep, t’will be a shame. I haven’t shopped inside that Sears in years, but it will mean the loss of the optical shop and excellent optometrist I’ve been using for a long time. He’ll relocate somewhere but prolly not as handy.

  18. Whatever happened to the Vegas story? The FIB solved it already?

    Already swept under the rug hoping short attention span America will forget it?

    Narrative not going the way the DSM wanted it to go?

    The DS is too busy busting those dastardly granola bar makers?

  19. #32 Hamous

    Mariposa is a sweet and faithful white cat with beautiful blue eyes, ~ 8.5-9 pounds and 9 years old.

    Contessa was born chestnut but is now a white Arabian mare 25.5 years old.

    Her companion Maggie was born chestnut and is now a white with freckles Arabian mare age 17.

    Spouse it outnumbered in our household.

  20. I heard a political ad, didn’t catch all of it but it sounded like another Bush, George P Bush is running for something and wants to save and refurbish the Alamo.

    Too bad his dad, his Uncle Dizzy Bush and Granpa New World Order Bush did everything they could to give Texas and the southwest to Mexico and probably still work behind the scenes to achieve that goal.

    So I guess my question is…what would Davy Crockett say?

  21. Rush read a proclamation (well, letter) from the NFL Commissioner today stating that players will stand for the playing of the National Anthem as has been previously codified as the appropriate pose. Rush was having great pleasure in reading it.

    It seems the NFL Commissioner has finally figured out who pays the bills and buys the merchandise. Further, he’s determined that they are a majority who do not like to see the flag, the anthem, nor the military dissed and intend to keep on showing their displeasure by staying away. Nothing so concentrates the mind as the sound of a purse snapping shut unless it is tens of thousands of purses snapping shut. In unison.

  22. My purse strings are staying shut for good.

    If I feel the need to watch some pro ball I just watch this.

    The NFL back when men were men and Dandy Don was the Man!

    Besides it has a rare clip of Pete Gent catching a pass and his novel North Dallas Forty is a classic.

  23. Boss is still moving along with getting our new shop built, 70 x 140, eight bays with a crane. He’s been having to be his own GC due to costs and it’s slow going. Still building up the pad for the slab at this point and navigating the permitting process but he has made lots of progress with drainage and such.

    We were going to lose a significant portion of the land to a required retention pond, and to build it was going to be mega bucks. He found out about a permeable paving system which allows the entire property, minus the building footprint itself, to be a drainage field, eliminating the need for the retention pond. The county just approved it today, this is good news. This is the link to the system –

    Basically, you excavate 10-12 inches and lay in rock or gravel, install the forms and fill them with gravel. You can put in grass as well but for our needs we will be putting in I think 3/4 rock. I’d rather have concrete but to have the use of the entire property trumps that big time.

  24. In the fall of 1966 I, as a member of the Rice Owl football team, was getting dressed to make my debut in big time college football against Mike the Tiger and the LSU football team. We were all a bunch of small town guys and had never been a part of something like this with 75,000 drunk coonazzez in the stands and a highly ranked opponent out there waiting on us. My friend and fellow lineman dressing right beside me said something to the effect that there was nothing to worry about – those guys put their pants on one leg at a time just like we do. He then proceeded to pull up both his feet and put them into his pants at the same time. I guess he made his point. BTW, we won that night.

  25. Great memories ELG. Much better than Katfish and Shannon’s running down I10 in a Dodge Dart doing seventy!

  26. 1966 I was either eyeing the cute little blond named Caroline in the front row in the first grade or contemplating such for the next year.

  27. I was trying to decide if I liked Roberta Wells or Marcia Wicker the best. Then Roberta’s big brother married my first cousin (once removed) which made us sort of related so I went with Marcia. Unfortunately Marcia didn’t go for me.

  28. 37 mharper42

    If you mean Shepherd at 43rd, yep, t’will be a shame. I haven’t shopped inside that Sears in years…

    The old Oak Forest Sears store. Some of my earliest memories are from that store and the Oak Forest theater on North Shepherd. Shannon and I used to spend Saturday mornings there watching newsreels and cartoons and some old western movies.

  29. and navigating the permitting process

    He should hire Tedtam as a consultant.

    $350 an hour sounds about right.

  30. 50 GJT

    I may have been doing more than 70 when I fell asleep at the wheel on I-10 that Sunday morning. The off duty trooper who stopped to help didn’t really say.

  31. In ’66 I was 11.
    My favorite one (among several) was Patricia. Her father was a longtime judge.
    She liked walks in the woods. And sitting on a log near Rummel Creek.

    Me, too.

  32. Dad worked for Sears for most of his adult life. The first job I remember him having was in the Service Station at the downtown Sears. Before I was born he had a job putting up chain link fence along a new highway being built, so he dropped a suggestion into the suggestion box that Sears sell fencing and was rewarded with a bonus and a job in Sales in the Lawn and Garden selling fencing. There was a time when dang near avery house in the city had a Sears fence around it. Dad would sell the fence by day and in the evenings and on weekends he and a buddy would install it. In the winter he ran the Christmas and Toy department.

    About the time fence sales started to drop off (because every house in the city had a Sears fence around it), Sears started selling lawn tractors. Dad became the highest selling lawn tractor salesman on the East Coast. It was also aboutn that time that they built a big new Sears store in the new fangled “Shopping Mall” out on the old Derry Pike in Bedford. They offered him the job of managing Lawn and Garden, but he turned them down, asking for a job in a catalog store instead. he told me that it was obvious to him that Sears wasn’t going to be hiring any true salesmen anymore—-guys like him that researched the competition and knew everything there was to know about his product and thiers and he didn’t want to work with pimply faced kids who didn’t know what they were selling.

    After a couple years at the Exeter, NH catalog store (a town about the size of Brenham) he became the highest selling kitchen appliance salesman on the Eastern Seacoast. His good buddy Dick Gedney was Assitant Manager at that store and when he was promoted to Manager and sent to run the Catalog Store in Rutland, VT he asked if Dad could come with him, knowing how good Dad would make him look.

    He told me that it was only a matter of time before Sears went out of business. He said the move to the Malls and hiring of minimum wage attendants rather than sales people on commission would eventually drive people away.

  33. Texpat says:
    OCTOBER 10, 2017 AT 8:51 PM
    59 Sarge

    American 20th Century history in a nutshell.

    Dad wanted to be a Forest Ranger, not a salesman but an early family ended his college education.

    Nevertheless, he was proud of the job he did, always did his best, and always shot straight—except once.

    He told me the biggest regret about his salesman days, the one thing he wished he hadn’t done, was when the fambly needed some money to make ends meet and he was working straight Commission.

    He put a sign on his most expensive lawn tractors that said “Last Time At This Price!” and sold every one of them. He also knew that Sears was going to put them on sale in two weeks as the model was being discontinued. He said he knew it wasn’t a lie that he told, it WAS the last time at THAT price, but he also knew that it wasn’t really straight shooting. The family survived the crisis, and Dad never had to resort to that kind of salesmanship again.

  34. Interesting personal inside story on Sears, Sarge. I know I was very unimpressed by the “attendants” inside the Shepherd St Sears the last couple of big purchases I made there. I was especially annoyed when I was shopping for a new Kenmore fridge. I knew exactly what features I wanted, but they didn’t have the model I wanted actually in the store. The doltish salesman was determined to get me to buy a model that they did have right there, about the same size as the one I wanted, but it had a wine rack inserted into the middle of the shelves. When I told him I didn’t want a wine rack, he said then all I had to do was take it out and throw it away. As though I was going to be thrilled to have a fridge that had a big bare area right in the middle of it.

  35. Great story, Sarge.

    The Auto Service at the Sears Memorial City had some ripoff artists running it for a few years and everyone within 20 miles knew it. How that thing stayed open I’ll never know.

  36. KHOU has been going through alligator withdrawals.

    So they just did a story on some alligator in Mobile, Alabama.

  37. Breaking news.

    Now, Alabama alligators aren’t enough for KHOU.

    They just did a story on a snake scaring people in some other state.

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