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 A Corrierino Awareness Thread 
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crumbsroom wrote:
As for my talk about how long until he be 'forgiven', I wasn't aiming that towards you. I pretty much know your stance here. It was me questioning myself, more than anything. As said, I'm not sure how this works. Being a person who lived with a criminal defense attorney for years I got some seriously ugly glimpses of the judicial belly of the beast for so long that over time I came to (even more) staunchly believe that those who commit something as abominable as murder, that once they have served their time, deserve the ability to begin their lives again without having to drag the baggage of their sins everywhere. Clearly I believe in second chances for even many of the worst of us. But since CK wasn't sentenced to time, and since he absolutely is guilty of what he was accused of (which while being quite shy of murder, is still undoubtedly terrible), how far in the future does that place his second chance? It's an unsettled matter that leaves me kind of annoyed at the two most loudly proclaimed sides of this argument, these being those who wave their hands and declare with certainty that he's already suffered enough, or those who declare that he should be perpetually booed off of every stage he steps on. I think both of these groups are wrong. But I have no idea where the correct median is here. One thing I know though is taking responsibility for those sins that got one into this position is an absolute must before we start considering those second chances, and this is a step there seems to be little proof that CK has taken.

To me, strangely, the grossest part of his act was when he was ripping on his youngest daughter, who was telling him that stand-up comedy was stupid, and he responded with "literally the only interesting thing about you is that your father is a stand-up comedian". Now that would have been gold, like, three years ago, sure. But. It's hard to avoid the inevitable implication that the truth today is closer to "the only interesting thing about you is that your father happens to be that stand-up comedian who liked to jack off on unwitting women". In other words, it sounds more like, maybe, his daughter was more passively-aggressively suggesting that he stop using them as props in his act, and to continue doing so may not be in their best interest.


Wed Jan 02, 2019 1:02 am
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Melvin Butterworth wrote:
From what I've seen of the IDW crowd, they're mostly left-leaning folks who had a WTF moment when they were attacked by their own tribe (e.g., Weinstein, Haidt, and Peterson). I'll gladly listen to a long-form discussion between Weinstein and Shapiro over 95% of what one will find on CNN or Fox.

People like thee Turning Point folks (Shapiro, Kirk, Owens) were never liberals, and some liberals (Rubin, Kilstein) may have been less than sincere. Rubin, in particular, is not a martyr who failed to be liberal enough, he's gone 180 on a number of positions. Plus, he's stupid.

Melvin Butterworth wrote:
Rogan is more of a platform/conduit for counter-culture content than anything else. I am not surprised that he was not aware of being implicated in it by association. Rogan is kind of a meat head, but he's a decent interviewer...

Rogan's brighter than he's given credit for, and a lot of this is due to his image as a UFC bro. He's a lot smarter than, say, Dave Rubin or Candice Owens (to note two of his more effortless recent interviews). But the point is that he got roped into the IDW because he happens to have the largest platform of all of them, and welcomes people on his show that other podcasts, outside of their own insulated networks, will not. It ignores that he frequently has to assert his actual positions on most topics because he's frequently being squeezed into more of an alt-right mold. There are a number of clips of his show, from sites other than his own, which frame him as unambiguously alt-right in his positions. At worst, he does have a bad tendency to let his guests, for the most part, get away with saying some questionable things without calling their hand. Whether that's politeness or his ignorance on those issues is an open question.

Melvin Butterworth wrote:
Just the sort thing that can get one involuntarily signed up for that dark web of wrong-think in the web-o-sphere.

I doubt Pakman would accept the invitation. He seems to have a pretty consistent ideology that is incompatible with IDW. That it's also incompatible with some of the more brittle "SJW" positions isn't likely to shift that balance.


Wed Jan 02, 2019 1:22 am
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Macrology wrote:
I'm listening to the leaked Louis CK audio, and I'm not really getting the extent of the outrage. I'm only halfway through so far, but most of the material is funny and relatively harmless, with a few misfires. The trans stuff is tired and unfunny, for instance. But otherwise it seems pretty par for the course based on his older material.

The second half gets worse. None of the material about "retards", "Asian women" or more teasingly the "thrill" of bathroom sex (you don't say, Louie!) would land well even without the post-scandal scrutiny. And, as has been pointed out, it largely seems to be punching down, quite apart from his self-deprecating "I'm such an asshole for pushing this envelope". The macro-theme is targeting the kind of political correctness that has gotten him into trouble, this young generation's aversion to "fun", etc. This also happens to be the macro-theme of a lot of Jordan Peterson's bootstrap sermons about these PC kids today.

Consider his apology ("I'm sorry for being admired"), where he said at the end that he was lucky to have gotten away with saying whatever he wanted. He was acknowledging his privilege and entitlement, implying his abuse of such. As a corrective, he said he would listen. Now, in this set, he's saying "I don't give a shit, I'm going to say what I want."


Wed Jan 02, 2019 1:38 am
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sanchez wrote:
I called it a canard because that's what I think it is, natch.

And that is why I said that “you appear to buy into it,” Sanchez. Alas, we are both poor dupes.

For me to have fallen for the equality of outcomes as a “canard” implies that there is no serious discussion to be had. It is not simply that when we argue in good faith about “X” we will find that the one side of the debate is substantially weaker; it’s not just wrong, but something which was never in danger of being right. The term implies possible intentional misdirection, a failure to see what is obvious, an incompetence or negligence.

That you lead with this characterization in your second paragraph is casually dismissive. It is a claim to be demonstrated, true (indeed, I take it to be the proposition about which our present discussion centers). You protest that you demonstrated your claim in what followed. As you say, you “explained why.” Attitudinally, however, the claim is framed as an obviously forgone conclusion via the characterization. It signals a lack of openness to listen and reason. That you call it a “canard” shows that you’re not really interacting with ideas, but defending against infection. Indeed, your link to “Two ways of responding to Conservatives” is rife with fears of infection and the spread of Peterson’s dark magic (“Don’t say he’s powerful when you criticize him, that makes him powerful!”). The intellectual disposition reflected in the very titles of such pieces (left and right) is closed-off and defensive. “Let’s not listen to each other and have an exchange of ideas—rather, let’s defend our side.”

Finally, that this is how you framed your claim raises your burden of proof. It is your job not only to prove that this is wrong, but woefully wrong. You must not only prove it is wrong, but unworthy of serious consideration amongst clear-minded “grown-ups.”

sanchez wrote:
it looks like we'll be brushing aside whole swathes of debate regarding free will and ethics (because these are suddenly subjects or red herrings or whatever), I guess we'll all have to bear it.

Dismissing it out of hand is a mistake. Just brushing it aside as an alleged fallacy reveals what is mistaken about your self-assured casualness. Agency stands at the core of the controversy. What does it mean, for example, to have a “real” opportunity?

Consider your own linked source on this question. Robinson loathes Peterson’s assertions about “hierarchies of competency” because he feels the losers in our society were never given a fair shake. Robinson quotes Levin, who states,
Levin as cited in Robinson in your link wrote:
“hierarchies of competence” do not fully explain the disparate market incomes of the one percent and middle class, in a nation where beloved public school teachers live on the edge of poverty,

If his concerns stopped here, if it were simply about too much inequity in the starting positions of players in society, we could keep ultimate questions of agency and determinism in the background. We could focus on balancing initial conditions under the assumption that given some minimal threshold, matters are fair enough for people to be considered to have an equal opportunity at “the pursuit of.”

But Robinson does not stop there. He wants to drill down and diagnose what is “really” wrong with all this equalitarian talk in the first place, and it is here that we are right back in the same territory of Sandel’s discussion of Rawls. Specifically, Robinson states,

Robinson wrote:
since “opportunity” will always favor those who have won the lottery of parents (whether financially or genetically) it’s impossible to avoid also adjusting outcome if you do believe in trying to equalize opportunities to the extent possible.

Thus, any advantage is an unfair advantage. “Advantages” are causal determinants that give people unearned “privilege points.” No matter how you got it (environment or genes) you didn’t earn it and don’t deserve it. Thus, we should do as much as we can, with only ineliminable contingencies being accepted as impeding our social progress, to flatten out the horizon of opportunity for all. Only perfect opportunity is truly fair! And this leaves us, at a conceptual level, with a never-ending social project of leveling people who have risen (the very fact that you have risen above is proof that you’re getting away with something). Even Rawls doesn’t go this far. Rawls allows for inequity as an instrumental good. Rawls recognizes the benefits of a certain amount of inequality (e.g., allowing those who are excellent to shine, motivating hard work) and this why he does not call for getting rid of it as much as possible. Rather, he proposes for having inequality engineered in a manner that forces us to make sure that the least advantaged in society benefit from it.

Robinson, however, has seen to the bottom of it all and declares us to be passive receptacles of deterministic forces, indicating that all our achievements and flaws are not really our own. You either won the life lottery or you didn’t. Not content to leave the stone of “opportunity” unturned, he has flipped it over and shown the deterministic bugs on the bottom. This nukes the category (and this is why it is important that people start to learn what compatibilism really means) of “opportunity” in light of hidden determinism and is why he can only think to engage in a perpetual levelling project only limited by our contingent inability to progress on the problem. This is “rotten with perfection” (in Kenneth Burke's terms) and gives credence to Rand’s ravings that,

Rand wrote:
You fear the man who has a dollar less than you, that dollar is rightfully his, he makes you feel like a moral defrauder. You hate the man who has a dollar more than you, that dollar is rightfully yours, he makes you feel that you are morally defrauded.

If we cash out for Robinson’s dissolution of agency, Rand actually has a point. And at the point that Rand actually has a point against you, this should be a warning sign that perhaps you have gone too far.

And again, the IDW set is largely left-leaning. Haidt and the Weinsteins like social programs. They don’t like compelled speech, which is spreading beyond college campuses and is now a matter being legislated by tech companies. YouTube is demonetizing willy-nilly. Those who have tried to bypass with Patreon have had their accounts shut down, apparently under pressure from Master Card. Thank God people like Sam Harris and Jordan Peterson have spoken out against this and are at least trying to create an alternative.


Wed Jan 02, 2019 2:02 am
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Jinnistan wrote:
People like thee Turning Point folks (Shapiro, Kirk, Owens) were never liberals, and some liberals (Rubin, Kilstein) may have been less than sincere.


I don't really think of Owens as anything but a stooge who fills blocks of time in Fox news segments. I don't know Kirk. And Shapriro fits in rather awkwardly with the IDW set. What's great, however, is that Shapiro can have a two-hour conversation with Eric Weinstein on YouTube and the two can disagree profoundly while still having an engaging conversation. That ain't bad.

Jinnistan wrote:
Rogan's brighter than he's given credit for, and a lot of this is due to his image as a UFC bro. He's a lot smarter than, say, Dave Rubin or Candice Owens (to note two of his more effortless recent interviews).


With Rogan, it depends. If it is something in his wheelhouse, he can be pretty sharp. When he interviews guys like Roger Penrose, however, you can tell he is out his depth. But he is great because he introduces UFC fans to Roger Penrose and physics geeks to sport hunting, and fitness fanatics to emerging research on the gut biome, pyschotropics, and so on.

Jinnistan wrote:
But the point is that he got roped into the IDW because he happens to have the largest platform of all of them, and welcomes people on his show that other podcasts, outside of their own insulated networks, will not. It ignores that he frequently has to assert his actual positions on most topics because he's frequently being squeezed into more of an alt-right mold. There are a number of clips of his show, from sites other than his own, which frame him as unambiguously alt-right in his positions. At worst, he does have a bad tendency to let his guests, for the most part, get away with saying some questionable things without calling their hand. Whether that's politeness or his ignorance on those issues is an open question.


In part, it is being a good host. There are plenty of hostile interviewers out there who upend conversations before they can even begin. Rogan's affectations depend on the guest. He is not a credulous as George Noory. He is not as bonkers as Alex Jones (although he does like conspiracy theories). I don't think Rogan is as smart as he things he is, but he certainly is not as dumb as others have made him out to be.

Janson wrote:
I doubt Pakman would accept the invitation. He seems to have a pretty consistent ideology that is incompatible with IDW. That it's also incompatible with some of the more brittle "SJW" positions isn't likely to shift that balance.


The IDW only seems to be unified against compelled speech. They are not unified about questions of economics or personhood or politics, but most have felt the sting of being called a Nazi and deplatformed for wrong-think. I don't think, for example, Shapiro and Haidt have much in common, save for the core commitment to speech.


Wed Jan 02, 2019 2:36 am
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Jinnistan wrote:
The second half gets worse. None of the material about "retards", "Asian women" or more teasingly the "thrill" of bathroom sex (you don't say, Louie!) would land well even without the post-scandal scrutiny. And, as has been pointed out, it largely seems to be punching down, quite apart from his self-deprecating "I'm such an asshole for pushing this envelope". The macro-theme is targeting the kind of political correctness that has gotten him into trouble, this young generation's aversion to "fun", etc. This also happens to be the macro-theme of a lot of Jordan Peterson's bootstrap sermons about these PC kids today.

Consider his apology ("I'm sorry for being admired"), where he said at the end that he was lucky to have gotten away with saying whatever he wanted. He was acknowledging his privilege and entitlement, implying his abuse of such. As a corrective, he said he would listen. Now, in this set, he's saying "I don't give a shit, I'm going to say what I want."


Oh c'mon, the "Asian women" bit is Louis facetiously pushing stereotypes to absurd, almost surreal extremes. "They procreate using math." We're seriously going to get offended by something as blatantly ridiculous as that?

I agree that large portions of his material are half-baked and don't have a very clear message. Like the school shooting bit. Are we supposed to take it at face value when Louis says, why should we care about those kids in particular, thousands of people die every day? Because I don't think we are, but his delivery is really hazy.

I definitely think he could tread a more interesting line than he is -- none of this material felt remotely controversial to me, if I'm being honest, but a lot of it is easy and cheap (like the retard stuff) and I expect better of him. And I don't mean moral expectations, I'm mostly talking about the clarity of his craft. Probably my favorite thing Louis CK has ever done is his show Louie because it dared to be something other than just funny, and it is overwhelmingly about empathy and the ways we fail at it, and I'd like to see more of that from him, especially now.

Maybe the response to this will change his attitude. Maybe he's beyond caring. I hope he does better, but still, I don't really get the magnitude of the criticism.

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Wed Jan 02, 2019 2:57 am
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For the record, some of his bits reminded me of old Stanhope bits, and I rewatched them. They address three identical subjects: school shootings, the word 'retarded', and the younger generation being less cool. The actual punchlines and riffs are different, but the thrust is the same.

Stanhope's material is older (the oldest one alludes to myspace), and while his delivery is better (and probably more rehearsed), it's also more blatantly offensive. Granted, Stanhope has always been more fringe than Louis. But just to create some sense of proportion:

School shootings:


The word "retarded":


The younger generation:

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Wed Jan 02, 2019 4:07 am
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Melvin Butterworth wrote:
For me to have fallen for the equality of outcomes as a “canard” implies that there is no serious discussion to be had. It is not simply that when we argue in good faith about “X” we will find that the one side of the debate is substantially weaker; it’s not just wrong, but something which was never in danger of being right. The term implies possible intentional misdirection, a failure to see what is obvious, an incompetence or negligence.

I think it is deployed negligently and that it misleads. Whether the discussion beyond that is serious or not depends on the discussion. It doesn’t depend on whether or not I state my position straightforwardly. I’m not going to fake at you like I think this usage of the concept potentially has a lot going for it because I don’t. You think Shapiro and Weinstein had a productive conversation despite disagreeing profoundly. Try that on for size.

Melvin Butterworth wrote:
That you lead with this characterization in your second paragraph is casually dismissive. It is a claim to be demonstrated, true (indeed, I take it to be the proposition about which our present discussion centers). You protest that you demonstrated your claim in what followed. As you say, you “explained why.” Attitudinally, however, the claim is framed as an obviously forgone conclusion via the characterization. It signals a lack of openness to listen and reason. That you call it a “canard” shows that you’re not really interacting with ideas, but defending against infection. Indeed, your link to “Two ways of responding to Conservatives” is rife with fears of infection and the spread of Peterson’s dark magic (“Don’t say he’s powerful when you criticize him, that makes him powerful!”). The intellectual disposition reflected in the very titles of such pieces (left and right) is closed-off and defensive. “Let’s not listen to each other and have an exchange of ideas—rather, let’s defend our side.”

You’re pretty casually dismissive of lot of people, painting with a broad brush that neatly discounts them as dumb utilitarians “rotten with perfection” who “dream the dream of perfect equality of outcome (drop the needle on John Lennon's ‘Imagine’)”. That’s how Peterson likes to frame it too. Question is, is this all that accurate? I’m saying that I think people’s intuitions are in fact more mixed (this goes for everyone under discussion) and it’s a question of weighing them and trying to figure out how to apply them to varying contexts. Moreover, the people you’ve broad-brushed openly acknowledge this and discount the “perfect equality” you foist on them. Here’s Levitz:

Levitz wrote:
While wholly divorced from social reality, the origins of Peterson & Co.’s obsession with radical egalitarianism are plain to see. Progressive commentators (and social media users) routinely present racial and gender disparities as dispositive evidence of social injustice. When liberals do this, they do not (generally) intend to suggest that all human beings are equal in aptitude — or that fairness requires total equality in the material and social conditions of all individuals and demographic groups. I do not know any feminists who blame the patriarchy for the fact that no woman has ever played middle linebacker in the NFL. These days, most self-identified “socialists” in the U.S. seem to want little more than the same suite of social welfare programs enjoyed by their peers in capitalist Western Europe. And even those lefties who are genuinely committed to socializing the means of production are, typically, quite comfortable with the survival of material inequality within a narrow band (to incentivize and reward socially useful labor).


Add on to that, you reduce the Robinson article to fears of intellectual contagion and magical autosuggestion, claiming that he’s walling himself off from Peterson. By comparison, here’s what I read in, you know, the actual article:

Robinson wrote:
Jordan Peterson likes to think of himself as a genius who has happened upon truths that “have been kept secret from the foundation of the world,” and who is upsetting the stuffy academics who attack his style because they cannot handle his arguments. What could better confirm this than a long lament by a stuffy academic who dwells mostly on Peterson’s style without really engaging his substantive arguments?


He’s talking about ways to respond to Peterson, and the one Robinson endorses is engagement with his substantive points, not warnings against his person that give him more credit than Robinson thinks he deserves. Hardly a far throw from what you're calling for.

What I’m seeing, in other words, is you and Peterson wanting to accuse broad swathes of the left of wanting to impose “perfect equality” in the vein of totalitarian communism. When I say this is misleading, that the gap between us is hardly so stark, suddenly your argument turns towards tone policing me and accusations that I’m failing to hear him out. But it’s weird what a one-way street that is. You all get to make outlandish accusations and then get to dismiss us as divisive when we dare to call it out as outlandish.

It’s fun and all to claim an abhorrence of division, but that can also incentivize one to ignore it in oneself, mis-diagnose it in others and turn it into a cudgel, passing your interlocutor by. “We’re not the People’s Judean Front. Splitters! We’re the People’s Front of Judea!” It’s always them over there that are divisive, after all. But sometimes that leads you to read assumptions into their arguments that aren’t there, as you do above. And sometimes, ironically, it turns into a separate excuse for division. “I’m too devoted to bridging divides to engage with this divisive person!” See Sam Harris re: Ta-Nehisi Coates. Stranger still, sometimes the arguments adopted to decry the divisive position blandly repeat the disagreements behind the division in the first place.

Melvin Butterworth wrote:
Dismissing it out of hand is a mistake. Just brushing it aside as an alleged fallacy reveals what is mistaken about your self-assured casualness. Agency stands at the core of the controversy. What does it mean, for example, to have a “real” opportunity?

And despite agency standing at the core of the controversy, I don’t feel all that compelled to address the Buddhist belief that the self is an illusion. Hey, Sam Harris has professed that too! Good for him? Again, I consider this a marginal thread and the extent to which any of these metaphysical positions interact with political ones, I don’t see the former being a primary driver of the latter. I think you’re overselling it.

Melvin Butterworth wrote:
But Robinson does not stop there. He wants to drill down and diagnose what is “really” wrong with all this equalitarian talk in the first place, and it is here that we are right back in the same territory of Sandel’s discussion of Rawls. Specifically, Robinson states,

Thus, any advantage is an unfair advantage. “Advantages” are causal determinants that give people unearned “privilege points.” No matter how you got it (environment or genes) you didn’t earn it and don’t deserve it. Thus, we should do as much as we can, with only ineliminable contingencies being accepted as impeding our social progress, to flatten out the horizon of opportunity for all. Only perfect opportunity is truly fair! And this leaves us, at a conceptual level, with a never-ending social project of leveling people who have risen (the very fact that you have risen above is proof that you’re getting away with something). Even Rawls doesn’t go this far. Rawls allows for inequity as an instrumental good. Rawls recognizes the benefits of a certain amount of inequality (e.g., allowing those who are excellent to shine, motivating hard work) and this why he does not call for getting rid of it as much as possible. Rather, he proposes for having inequality engineered in a manner that forces us to make sure that the least advantaged in society benefit from it.

Robinson, however, has seen to the bottom of it all and declares us to be passive receptacles of deterministic forces, indicating that all our achievements and flaws are not really our own. You either won the life lottery or you didn’t. Not content to leave the stone of “opportunity” unturned, he has flipped it over and shown the deterministic bugs on the bottom. This nukes the category (and this is why it is important that people start to learn what compatibilism really means) of “opportunity” in light of hidden determinism and is why he can only think to engage in a perpetual levelling project only limited by our contingent inability to progress on the problem. This is “rotten with perfection” (in Kenneth Burke's terms)

This is silly. You leave out the beginning of the sentence and the prior one, where Robinson states his position:

Robinson wrote:
A better approach than “equality of opportunity” involves guaranteeing everyone a good standard of living, and ensuring that both the state and economy operate according to democratic principles without concentrated power. We can have long debates about how to do this in practice


Yikes! What a monster.

He’s a left libertarian, so there are plenty of points where I disagree with him, whether in what he says or how he puts it, but as is, the guy is not arguing for any variant of Harrison or Barrison, not arguing that everything anyone earns is ill-gotten, and not arguing that everything short of perfect equality is unfair. He’s arguing for setting a good baseline standard of living (basically Rawlsian), for limits on the passage of wealth between generations (hardly a wild notion), and for people to have a more equal voice in the economic and political arrangements of their society (let’s not hold our breath). The latter is a huge question mark (although even our corporate overlords are trying to feign it variously), but if you don’t see any merit in that hope whatsover, then I don’t know what all your Occupy posturing really amounts to. To just lump all that into a dystopian nightmare is simply to accept the Petersonian ploy.

And I don’t see how any of this amounts to an incompatiblist rejection of free will. If he thinks we’re just “passive receptacles of deterministic forces” then why is he a left libertarian? Why is he arguing for growing democracy and expanding participatory measures throughout society? Probably because he isn’t making big metaphysical statements about free will. He’s talking about political freedom and ways to ensure that people have a standard of living necessary to flourish and are able to engage in a meaningful way with the social structures they live in, which is all to say, to open up the choices available to them. There’s a huge amount of room to disagree with him here. I don’t see making up disagreements about free will getting you anywhere interesting. If you want to go argue with Jerry Coyne, then argue with Jerry Coyne.


Wed Jan 02, 2019 10:24 am
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Macrology wrote:
For the record, some of his bits reminded me of old Stanhope bits, and I rewatched them. They address three identical subjects: school shootings, the word 'retarded', and the younger generation being less cool. The actual punchlines and riffs are different, but the thrust is the same.

Stanhope's material is older (the oldest one alludes to myspace), and while his delivery is better (and probably more rehearsed), it's also more blatantly offensive. Granted, Stanhope has always been more fringe than Louis. But just to create some sense of proportion:


ja, you're not wrong. maybe it's all in the timing (and not just the comedic timing). plus audience expectations.

although, technically the audience in question was never supposed to be anyone outside of the room he was performing in so I need to keep that in mind.


Wed Jan 02, 2019 1:27 pm
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I agree that some of it is problematic and needs work, but the backlash is absurd. Outrage on this scale would only be warranted if he was cracking jokes about jerking off in front of women.

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Wed Jan 02, 2019 2:24 pm
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I'll be honest, I always assumed seeing less young people doing drugs/fucking was what the older generations wanted from us.


Wed Jan 02, 2019 4:01 pm
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Oxnard Montalvo wrote:
I'll be honest, I always assumed seeing less young people doing drugs/fucking was what the older generations wanted from us.

Let's not throw drug-fucking under the bus, please. Our ancestors happened to be right about a precious few things.

Just don't asphyxiate on adderall, and we'll all be OK.


Wed Jan 02, 2019 8:41 pm
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Macrology wrote:
Probably my favorite thing Louis CK has ever done is his show Louie because it dared to be something other than just funny, and it is overwhelmingly about empathy and the ways we fail at it, and I'd like to see more of that from him, especially now.

Exactly, and this is what I'm saying.

Macrology wrote:
Maybe the response to this will change his attitude. Maybe he's beyond caring. I hope he does better, but still, I don't really get the magnitude of the criticism.

I'm starting to agree with you the more outrageous the outrage I've been reading. I think this is a disappointing set because it comes off as bitter to me and I do suspect something of a conscious pivot to an anti-PC audience (which would be more forgiving of his wankery), but I've seen some really severe condemnations along the lines of "he should go away forever", "this is the last time I'll ever write his name again", "betrayal", etc etc. ....Jesus.* (*joke from his set)

And what's weird is what you've already pointed out, which is that the way a lot of these people talk makes it sound extremely unlikely how they ever could have been fans of his in the first place. There's been a lot of digging up clips of his older material to show that anyone who is so severely punitative to this recent set has either been ignoring a lot of his past material or has been rationalizing their reasons for enjoying it. He's always been a bit of a weasel, and a mean-spirited one, but had a gift to make it seem more like a critique on these impulses. That critique happens to be largely absent in this new tape, leaving the bitter aftertaste. But this stuff about "betrayal" and ostracization goes beyond that into something stickier. It's like they thought this guy was some kind of woke messiah who got caught splooging on the eucharist crackers. I may have been the odd man out for thinking that surprise masturbation sounded exactly like something the old Louie CK would have been up to, or at least would have found funny enough to write a bit about. Anyway, I'm not sure how much of this vehemence, the extreme vehemence rather than the merely appalled and disappointed, is not also a symptom of something else entirely.

(On Stanhope, he's an interesting case for me personally. There have been lots of times where I found him to be an insufferable prick - I would think he'd agree - and yet I always found something admirable about his ability to be so fearlessly reckless in his provocations. I once said that he might be the closest thing to Lenny Bruce working today for this reason. I think he's also both a comedian that would not surprise me if he were to get caught masturbating on surprised women or at least found it funny material to riff on. Maybe he's done worse. The difference may be that, unlike Louie, Stanhope has never entertained a virtuous pretense about his politics. Maybe that's why his outing, if one were forthcoming, would not be considered a "betrayal" in the same way. Or also the fact that Stanhope has never bothered trying to win over a larger audience than his already dedicated following. His scandal would maybe last two, three days in the news, tops.)


Wed Jan 02, 2019 9:24 pm
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Melvin Butterworth wrote:
Shapriro fits in rather awkwardly with the IDW set. What's great, however, is that Shapiro can have a two-hour conversation with Eric Weinstein on YouTube and the two can disagree profoundly while still having an engaging conversation. That ain't bad.

That Shapiro can manage to keep his composure doesn't exactly make him a less disingenuous interlocutor. But I do agree that engagement is for the best, if for nothing else to expose the kind of sophic fallacies that Shapiro trafficks in.

Melvin Butterworth wrote:
When he interviews guys like Roger Penrose, however, you can tell he is out his depth.

Most people would be. I think it says something for Rogan's humility, and conversely his confidence, that he didn't try to pretend that he wasn't out of his depth.

Melvin Butterworth wrote:
I don't think Rogan is as smart as he things he is

He things a lot of things.

Melvin Butterworth wrote:
The IDW only seems to be unified against compelled speech. They are not unified about questions of economics or personhood or politics, but most have felt the sting of being called a Nazi and deplatformed for wrong-think. I don't think, for example, Shapiro and Haidt have much in common, save for the core commitment to speech.

Which again makes it seem perverse to include Rogan, who, to my knowledge, has never been deplatformed and in fact has one of the largest platforms currently on the internet. The "dark web" marketing is just manufacturing a false sense of danger and subversion. Those who would identify as the audience of the IDW are more likely to be James Damore types.


Wed Jan 02, 2019 10:58 pm
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Ergill wrote:
I think it is deployed negligently and that it misleads. Whether the discussion beyond that is serious or not depends on the discussion. It doesn’t depend on whether or not I state my position straightforwardly. I’m not going to fake at you like I think this usage of the concept potentially has a lot going for it because I don’t.

What I’m seeing, in other words, is you and Peterson wanting to accuse broad swathes of the left of wanting to impose “perfect equality” in the vein of totalitarian communism. When I say this is misleading, that the gap between us is hardly so stark, suddenly your argument turns towards tone policing me and accusations that I’m failing to hear him out. But it’s weird what a one-way street that is. You all get to make outlandish accusations and then get to dismiss us as divisive when we dare to call it out as outlandish.

I'll throw in an intrusion on this debate over the "canard" of equality of outcome while avoiding any of the free will stuff: Equality of Outcome is bullshit, and the only ones who take the phrase seriously are those, like Jordan Peterson, who use it to obfuscate the true goal of Equality of Opportunity, something which is quite different. As my example, I'll offer every single civil rights platform in American history. Civil rights have always been essentially about access to resources - food, schools, housing, jobs, health - which provide opportunities to then reach their individual (ie, diverse) outcomes. By framing these civil struggles as ends rather than means, it effectively blurs the goalposts of what the current social movement is trying to accomplish. This is essentially what I take Robinson to be saying with his "general standard of living" and Levitz's rejection of "equality of aptitude". This is exactly why it is misleading.


Wed Jan 02, 2019 11:07 pm
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Ergill wrote:
I think it is deployed negligently and that it misleads.

Right, my charge of casual dismissiveness is thus demonstrated and your burden of proof is high. The only question is whether or not you can establish that the notion of being dedicated to equality of opportunity is on a par with advocating for a conspiracy theory or a fallacy or some alleged factoid that can be dismissed with an internet search. Can you carry the motion that the very idea of equality of opportunity as a value proposition is to be pre-judged as “negligent”? That’ a bold move Cotton.

But how bold are you really being here? And are you being bold enough to adequately back your own claim? A Scylla and Charybdis are now on the horizon. In your original post you allowed yourself the back door of “very local points” (whatever that really means). So, by your own admission, the idea is not totally bullshit. Apparently, it is just that it is (in some vaguely surveyed terrain of “locality”) “in almost all cases” bullshit. There is a consequence here; you cannot prove your case tautologically. It is not, by definition, a “canard” because you sketched out some fine print in your original post.

Granted, it’s best not to set the bar too high, lest one’s argument be dragged down by the Charybdis of a single unseen counter-example. But you have still set the bar high enough for yourself with words like “canard” and “negligence” that you’re not going to squeak out a conviction from an ideal jury by merely meeting the standard of “preponderance of evidence.” You can’t win this by arguing that “equality of opportunity” is “mostly” bullshit. And if you get caught out veering too far away from the Charybdis, you will be revealed to have failed to have crossed your own (self-determined) straight and sailed right into a tentacle of the Scylla, a “mostly bullshit.” You are safe from other tentacles which would undo your claim - a “maybe bullshit,” or “probably not bullshit,” or “almost certainly not bullshit,” or “definitely not bullshit,” but don’t think for second that I am going to let you skirt the passage on the side of a generous “mostly” when you’re using words like “negligent” and “canard.” In short, you’re not going get by “capturing the middle ground,” because you haven’t taken a middle ground position.

Now, when I rejoined that “equality of opportunity” was not historically conceived as “getting even-steven with the deterministic forces of the Cosmos,” you added more fine print,

Ergill wrote:
In other words, our generic use of “equality” (of whatever kind) is hedged about with riders, qualifications, explanations, amendments, warnings, afterthoughts, etc.

Let’s pause here. Our “generic” use. This means, by your lights, that in the typical case, in common language, in common usage, etc., we are NOT speaking of absolute perfect conditions when we speak of “equality of opportunity.” Interesting. If so, then how is it that our typical use of “equality of opportunity” is to be dismissed as a “canard” and as “negligent” and “misleading”?

You’re trying to defend corresponding notion of “equality of outcome,” but you just dignified the thing you said deserves casual dismissal without sugar-coating (you’re keeping it real and all that). You are so busy trying to defend your progressivist friends (like Robinson, who I showed you does have a simple and absolute account of agency and desert and only allows for practical—NOT principled—limitations of levelling groups), that you appear to have lost sight of the proposition.

The move you just made appears to suggest that what really bothers you is the parable of Harrison Bergeron and NOT the concept of equality of opportunity. Let’s not what you said immediately after this,

Ergill wrote:
What’s more, it isn’t one value alone, but a value amongst other, sometimes competing, values, between which we have to strike compromises and work through peripheral cases. You feel that “Barrison Hergeron” doesn’t countenance your fuller sense of the term? Welcome to the club. Maybe you get what it feels like when you lamely wheel out “Harrison Bergeron” because you’ve decided to play the Handicapper General and hamstring all the individuality out of your interlocutor and stuff them in a plain vanilla box of your liking. The vast majority of the people who disagree with you on this or that issue bearing on equality aren’t any more “Harrison” than you are “Barrison”. There are real disagreements, but also overlapping intuitions and opportunities to talk through what are, indeed, difficult subjects.

Curiouser and curiouser. It now appears that Harrison Bergeron is the defendant and not “equality of opportunity.” However, you originally positioned Bergeron as a reluctant witness for the state to establish that “Equality of Opportunity” was a canard.

Court reporter reads back transcript from day 1 of the trial wrote:
You yourself buy into the "equality of outcome" canard, and you've used "Harrison Bergeron" in the past to underline the point.

Now we find that “equality of X,” which includes both “equality or opportunity” and “equality of outcomes,” is subtle, multifaceted, balanced. You know, #Just Canard things.

Have a care not to steer into the Scylla, Sanchez.

Ergill wrote:
You’re pretty casually dismissive of lot of people, painting with a broad brush that neatly discounts them as dumb utilitarians “rotten with perfection” who “dream the dream of perfect equality of outcome (drop the needle on John Lennon's ‘Imagine’)”.

Tu Quoque. Strange, whenever I bring this one up, you whine about “whataboutisms.” I won’t call on you to mark some strained distinction between the two (thus establishing that you merely invoke standard Tu Quoques where I am habitually implicated in illicit “whataboutisms”). Rather, I will note what is common to both and that the argument is “you too!” At worst, this would only make an offender myself. At best, however, this does not get you off the hook for you claim.

I don’t think that “Equality of Outcomes,” however, is a mere “canard.” At least, I don’t think that it is disingenuous, an intentional misdirection. I do not think, however, that we can safely say that the idea is as safely “sophisticated” as you claim. How can it be when it involves thudding utilitarian manual corrections to produce outcomes? When California, for example, requires of all publicly traded companies to have at least one female on their board of directors by the end of this year regardless of size, particularity, interest, merit, or composition (you know, the fucking details which everyone is supposed to be so sensitive to). When your boy Robinson remarks that we want it to the greatest extent possible (because determinism is true in his view, equality of opportunity = an equality of outcome, how subtle…). In short, I do not know that we can safely speak of the “generic use” of “equality of outcome” as involving all the balancing “hedging” you invoke.

I do agree with you, however, that when we speak generically of “equality of opportunity” that this is the default. And since we agree, this claim need not be proven. And since this is the central claim under discussion, what remains appears to be moot, however, I’ll indulge you a bit.

Moreover, I will agree with you that there are pernicious occasional uses of the idea under which the rich yell at the poor to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. If pure determinism denying agency is improper, so too are notions of libertarian (in the philosophical, not political/ideological sense) of agency under which everything falls under the province of free choice which produces decisions and action like God “ex nihilo.” That is, I view equality of opportunity to be “mostly not bullshit.”

You might sense that this leaves me vulnerable (at least conceptually, if not in typical practice) of needing to confess (if I am to purport to be a reasonable person of good will), that a hedged “equality of opportunity” is the same thing, at bottom, as a hedged “equality of outcomes.”

Even if it were a conceptual wash, I would maintain that our present context demands the “correction” of a countervailing parable.

However, I don’t believe in equality of outcomes even as a mitigated or hedged goal. Like Rawls, I am in favor of inequality as an instrumental (not inherent) good and this means that at a conceptual level I am NOT for equal outcomes as a vector (mitigated or absolute, simple or subtle) for society. Unlike Robinson, I do not hope to gerrymander the law to get us “as close as we can get” to equal outcomes. On the contrary, I am for bounded inequality, a world with a floor (i.e., safety nets) and perhaps even a ceiling (can we sustainably allow the 1% to continue to suck all the wealth out of the economy?)—at least we should have graduated taxation like we used to have. And within these bounds, the inequality of choice produces the diversity that people are supposed to be so in love with in the first place, but more importantly (for those of us who do not simply genuflect to “diversity”) it respects fundamental human dignity. It allows people to try and fail (within reasonable bounds) in the pursuit of their own happiness, whatever that happiness might be.

Thus, I see (and need not prove via your generous concession) that equality of opportunity is a generically hedged and respectable concept, but I do not see equality of outcome in the same light, neither in typical use or even as a pure conceptual construct as it is necessarily erosive (as a goal) to free choice.

I see it as well-intentioned, but wrong, and disastrously clumsy when implemented. To the extent that a hedged “equality of opportunity” contingently coincides with this camp, however, I am happy to agree with them.


Thu Jan 03, 2019 1:25 am
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Melvin Butterworth wrote:
we find that “equality of X,” which includes both “equality or opportunity” and “equality of outcomes,”

No, it doesn't. It's the conflation of these two things which is misleading.


Thu Jan 03, 2019 2:54 am
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Melvin Butterworth wrote:
Let’s pause here. Our “generic” use. This means, by your lights, that in the typical case, in common language, in common usage, etc., we are NOT speaking of absolute perfect conditions when we speak of “equality of opportunity.” Interesting. If so, then how is it that our typical use of “equality of opportunity” is to be dismissed as a “canard” and as “negligent” and “misleading”?

I’m not sure you’ve paused hard enough. Throughout the first half of your post, you’re laboring under the impression that I called “equality of opportunity” a canard. I didn’t. You even quote the record ostentatiously in an attempt to catch me in some double-bind later in your post, and what did I say? I said “equality of outcome” is a canard, particularly the way you, Peterson and the right use it.

Melvin Butterworth wrote:
You’re trying to defend corresponding notion of “equality of outcome,” but you just dignified the thing you said deserves casual dismissal without sugar-coating (you’re keeping it real and all that). You are so busy trying to defend your progressivist friends (like Robinson, who I showed you does have a simple and absolute account of agency and desert and only allows for practical—NOT principled—limitations of levelling groups), that you appear to have lost sight of the proposition.

Where have I defened “equality of outcome”? I’ve said it’s a phantom notion. It’s more touted by critics of the left than the left themselves, a yearning for the Maoists of yesterear because you don’t get that our Cold War banalities are a poor fit for our present circumstances and sentiments. In that light, I still don’t recognize your account of Robinson at all. If he thinks that there is no value in people’s choice or that such choice doesn’t exist, why is he advocating for the expansion of people’s choice?

Melvin Butterworth wrote:
In your original post you allowed yourself the back door of “very local points” (whatever that really means). So, by your own admission, the idea is not totally bullshit. Apparently, it is just that it is (in some vaguely surveyed terrain of “locality”) “in almost all cases” bullshit. There is a consequence here; you cannot prove your case tautologically. It is not, by definition, a “canard” because you sketched out some fine print in your original post.

A local point was like I meant in that post (i.e. Barrison), that point being that we could just as well create a dystopia out of fixed opportunities as fixed outcomes. It was local because it was fictional counterpoint to a fiction, OK to underline their shittiness at capturing the mixed, actual intuitions of people on either side, but that’s about it. Do you want perfectly fixed opportunities? No. Do we want perfectly fixed outcomes? No.

Claiming that I have to prove something is tautological or true-by-definition in order to assert it with confidence is deeply weird [he says confidently]. People have scores of legitimate beliefs that aren’t based on either. It’s like you expect people to live in a world where we’re all supposed to walk on egg-shells of hyper-qualification and self-doubt while you barrel on pell mell with all manner of wild claims about us. Nope.

Melvin Butterworth wrote:
Tu Quoque. Strange, whenever I bring this one up, you whine about “whataboutisms.”

Peterson claims that the left is, by and large, hankering after perfect equality in line with a dystopian nightmare. I say this is balls. You say I’m not hearing him out. I say you all don’t appear at all interested in hearing us out. If that’s “whataboutism” then what the fuck about it?

Melvin Butterworth wrote:
I don’t think that “Equality of Outcomes,” however, is a mere “canard.” At least, I don’t think that it is disingenuous, an intentional misdirection. I do not think, however, that we can safely say that the idea is as safely “sophisticated” as you claim. How can it be when it involves thudding utilitarian manual corrections to produce outcomes? When California, for example, requires of all publicly traded companies to have at least one female on their board of directors by the end of this year regardless of size, particularity, interest, merit, or composition (you know, the fucking details which everyone is supposed to be so sensitive to). When your boy Robinson remarks that we want it to the greatest extent possible (because determinism is true in his view, equality of opportunity = an equality of outcome, how subtle…). In short, I do not know that we can safely speak of the “generic use” of “equality of outcome” as involving all the balancing “hedging” you invoke.

It’s equality of outcome to integrate schools if the goal is simply to get black kids into white schools. It’s equality of opportunity if the goal is to give black kids a better opportunity than was otherwise available to them. We can also say fuck all to equality and set a desired outcome as the eradication of poverty and pursue that outcome as we see fit. Fix that outcome and perhaps the meritocratic utopia can be continually pursued unhindered. Or perhaps it won’t be that simple. Perhaps we’ll continue to have to hash out and hassle over the details. You’re concerned about continual tweaking of the system? What world are you living in? That’s democracy. That’s why the constitution is open for amendments. That’s why we’re contually passing laws and adjudicating them. That's why we're always negotiating the customs and mores of the land. We’re all supposedly pursuing a “more perfect union” and that entails forever tweaking and measuring and trying to get a sense of better from worse.

Melvin Butterworth wrote:
Even if it were a conceptual wash, I would maintain that our present context demands the “correction” of a countervailing parable.

Yes, people are so rabid with egalitarianism that they gave the Republican party full control of the government (only part of a substantial power they’ve wielded for a decade) and sold the party’s soul to a meritless, idiotic parody of the Horatio Alger myth. The left has been in a decidedly defensive position for a while now. That you think they are the overwhelming and out-of-control variables right now is a joke.

Melvin Butterworth wrote:
I am for bounded inequality, a world with a floor (i.e., safety nets) and perhaps even a ceiling (can we sustainably allow the 1% to continue to suck all the wealth out of the economy?)—at least we should have graduated taxation like we used to have. And within these bounds, the inequality of choice produces the diversity that people are supposed to be so in love with in the first place, but more importantly (for those of us who do not simply genuflect to “diversity”) it respects fundamental human dignity. It allows people to try and fail (within reasonable bounds) in the pursuit of their own happiness, whatever that happiness might be.

So are most people, left and right. This you underestimate in an attempt to flatten the left into caricature.


Thu Jan 03, 2019 1:25 pm
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Jinnistan wrote:
I'll throw in an intrusion on this debate over the "canard" of equality of outcome while avoiding any of the free will stuff: Equality of Outcome is bullshit, and the only ones who take the phrase seriously are those, like Jordan Peterson, who use it to obfuscate the true goal of Equality of Opportunity, something which is quite different. As my example, I'll offer every single civil rights platform in American history. Civil rights have always been essentially about access to resources - food, schools, housing, jobs, health - which provide opportunities to then reach their individual (ie, diverse) outcomes. By framing these civil struggles as ends rather than means, it effectively blurs the goalposts of what the current social movement is trying to accomplish. This is essentially what I take Robinson to be saying with his "general standard of living" and Levitz's rejection of "equality of aptitude". This is exactly why it is misleading.

I'm cool with that. I'm not sure what you mean about the "conflation" of outcome and opportunity in the other post though. Part of my position is that things get muddy when we try to tack this tinker toy distinction onto actual cases, which I feel is more in keeping with your point above.


Thu Jan 03, 2019 1:29 pm
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Ergill wrote:
I'm not sure what you mean about the "conflation" of outcome and opportunity in the other post though. Part of my position is that things get muddy when we try to tack this tinker toy distinction onto actual cases, which I feel is more in keeping with your point above.

I stepped in the distinction, but I was looking to reiterate what Levitz said from his piece:
Eric Levitz wrote:
Jordan Peterson and Ben Shapiro would be well within their rights to contest these premises. But instead of engaging in an honest debate about whether equality of opportunity exists in the United States, they chose to misconstrue their point-of-contention with “SJWs” — and proceed to delegitimize concerns over structural inequality by equating them with a totalitarian ideology (i.e. “cultural Marxism”).

The fact that they voice such unequivocal support for “equality of opportunity” while executing this move is, itself, a testament to their bad faith. In truth, these conservative thinkers do not actually believe that all citizens of a democracy are entitled to an equal opportunity at economic and social success. In fact, virtually no one believes that — because achieving such equality is impossible to literally realize.

That Levitz sees "perfect equality" as impossible doesn't mean he's less willing to try to reduce lead exposure in impoverished schools, for example. This equality semantics is intended to congest a homogeneity onto diversity, which is this "imperfection" of outcomes. As both your sources pointed out, none of this is helping the disadvantaged, or seems interested to.


Thu Jan 03, 2019 3:13 pm
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in my opinion, there's not enough discussion in the MSM about what a goshdarn ridiculous idea Trump's wall is and always has been. I can remember a while back, Robert Samuelson (who is not a wingnut) devoting a column about now the Democrats should concede on the wall because, "they lost the election and sometimes that's who democracy works, you gotta find common ground and make some concessions" as if this was the usual sort of policy disagreement. or maybe the wall is just a distraction from something else? clearly I'm not over how bizarre this all is.


Fri Jan 04, 2019 12:12 am
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Levitz wrote:
While wholly divorced from social reality, the origins of Peterson & Co.’s obsession with radical egalitarianism are plain to see

A ”wholly divorced” “obsession.” I love it. Wouldn’t want a diagnosis to come off like a justification. Just how afraid of this guy are people like Levitz?

His “obsession” (at least the phase in which we, as the public, became dimly aware of him) begins with his opposition C-16 in Canada. That is, his opposition and appearance does not emerge with swiping at phantom opponents or merely a few angry college students at the fringe making noise (the go-to example you consistently set to the other side of Peterson to deflate his views), but rather a law that has met with opposition from the left and the right.

One theory of gender holds that it is, in whole or in part, determined by sex. It’s not just the squares who argue this. Transgender activists frequently refer to the “transgender brain” as having structures which determine individuals to be at variance with their sexual phenotype. Indeed, a few years back I had an extended conversation with a transperson who maintained they would commit suicide if they found out that transgenderism was not determined on a biological basis (as this would make the condition no more dignified that being an “other kin” and, therefore, insane – an oddly prejudicial remark, if you think about it).

Another theory of gender is that it is a social construction. Meghan Murphy testified against C-16 before a Canadian Senate committee stating this view,
Megan Murphy wrote:
Gender is not about internal or individual experiences — it is a social construction. It exists as a means to reinforce stereotypes and oppressive ideas about men and women. Gender does not mean male or female; it means masculine or feminine. … No one is born with a “gender.” We are born male or female and gender is then imposed on us through socialization. Women do not know they are women because they are born interested in high heels or the colour pink, they know they are women because they are female.

This is the old Blank Slate view stated forcefully and clearly. You know, the sort of liberal and feminist that Levitz wants to claim doesn’t exists (“I know of no feminists”) or, at least, is not typical (“they do not generally).”

C-16 settles the metaphysics of identity by legislating a third view, that “a person’s internal or individual experience” I definitive of gender. Gender expression is thus unfalsifiable, private, and as fluid as a person’s feelings. It is in the realm of religious beliefs and appetitive apprehensions (true-for-me).

Legislators who opposed C-16 in Canada voiced the same concerns that Peterson voiced, but strangely Peterson is a bugbear for the left (an obsession of?) as much as C-16 is a bugbear for Peterson. “Obsessed,” I think, would be more appropriate description of a university department which would reprimand a graduate student for showing a brief clip of a public debate telecast on a national news channel on the grounds that showing a clip of Peterson is like showing a clip of Adolf Hitler.

Levitz wrote:
Progressive commentators (and social media users) routinely present racial and gender disparities as dispositive evidence of social injustice. When liberals do this, they do not (generally) intend to suggest that all human beings are equal in aptitude

In essence, this much only argues that progressives are “not really” invested in the notion of the human being as a “Blank Slate” equal at birth and only divergent because of environment. I doubt that Levitz is very much correct about this denial. It's hard to say what most progressives believe. In my experience, you can get most progressives to acknowledge biological differences, but five minutes later we will be talking about environmental influences again. The tabula rasa human isn’t just a free floating idea, but a core premise, an article of faith in a metanarrative. It is a predominant frame which gets habitually activated, because it has to, as it is a coordinating frame for meaning.

Stephen Pinker wrote a large book (eponymously titled) detailing how invested we still are in the idea of “the blank slate” as an unquestioned axiom in various academic disciplines and contexts of public policy. The myth of the blank slate slants our conversations in the directions of environmental determinants. This oversteering slant has had severe ramifications. Those who worked to investigate sociobiology in the 1970s often found themselves smeared as eugenicists, and racists, and (perhaps worst of all) determinists. This hampered and derailed a lot of careers and research.

Even today, this is a queasy topic. “I am afraid that if we admit that there are biological differences between men and women, we will have to excuse their behavior as ‘boys will be boys’” is something I heard in a recent conversation with a colleague. Biology is thus, even today, a sort of dreaded secret that must be denied, a bugbear that should be suppressed, even if (or perhaps especially if) it is true because the consequence cuts against the assumption that people are fundamentally all the same.

As Robert Wright noted in 1994’s “The Moral Animal” these concerns are misplaced, because regardless of whether we cash out for cultural determinism of the myth of the Blank Slate (and the hope of the moral perfectibility of man via environmental programming) or the inborn determinism of genetics, “determinism, is determinism, is determinism.” And when progressives have finally acknowledged biological determinism, there is the tempting turning-the-tables argument that all this is simply conclusive proof that life is totally unfair, that there is no hope for agency, and that, therefore, the fairest possible world would be one in which all unearned privileges (i.e., any advantage) would be levelled.

Levitz wrote:
or that fairness requires total equality in the material and social conditions of all individuals and demographic groups.

It may not “require” it, but this does not illuminate whether or not the people implicated in the view “desire” it.

Levitz wrote:
I do not know any feminists who blame the patriarchy for the fact that no woman has ever played middle linebacker in the NFL.

And yet I know lots of people who maintain that transgender females enjoy NO physical advantages over biological females. With hormone replacements all those physical advantages disappear, as if bone structure, biomechanical leverage, and years of muscle growth are entirely evaporated by hormone replacements.

I wonder what Levitz says about this… …are we “all the same” after hormone replacements or is Joe Rogan right that it is unethical (because physically dangerous) to let transgender females fight in the UFC? Oh wait, Levitz dismisses Rogan as being “fellow traveler” in the IDW and implicates him as a mere right-winger on a par with Shapiro. Sorry, Janson, Rogan is officially a “baddie.”

That Levitz won’t deny biological differences as a vague premise which costs nothing—the rubber would meet the road if he actually explored what he meant by it.
Levitz wrote:
These days, most self-identified “socialists” in the U.S. seem to want little more than the same suite of social welfare programs enjoyed by their peers in capitalist Western Europe. And even those lefties who are genuinely committed to socializing the means of production are, typically, quite comfortable with the survival of material inequality within a narrow band (to incentivize and reward socially useful labor).

Are most “socialists” what Levitz thinks of when he also speaks of “progressive commentators,” “social media users,” and “liberals”? He is consistently speaking on behalf of “most of” these groups, telling us what they “generally” think, but did he conduct a poll? Is Levitz the Pope of Progressivism? And does an idea only deserve scrutiny and opposition if “most” of some group is saying it?

Robinson wrote:
Jordan Peterson likes to think of himself as a genius who has happened upon truths that “have been kept secret from the foundation of the world,” and who is upsetting the stuffy academics who attack his style because they cannot handle his arguments. What could better confirm this than a long lament by a stuffy academic who dwells mostly on Peterson’s style without really engaging his substantive arguments?


So what? The very title of the article announces itself as a method of resistance. Robinson is NOT telling us to listen to Peterson. In the passage you just cited, he dismisses him as a self-styled genius. The opening line states, Instead of criticizing them for poor character, we should show why their “ideas” are shallow, incoherent, and will make people miserable… That is, the shallowness, incoherence, and harm of Peterson is assumed at the outset of the article! He is preaching to his choir. He is not calling for them to engage and risk transformation, but telling them “Yeah, we already know he’s an idiot, but we must show others the way by attacking his ideas!” This is not the mark of open-minded engagement. This is no different than a “How to respond to Atheists” tract.

Peterson wrote:
What I’m seeing, in other words, is you and Peterson wanting to accuse broad swathes of the left of wanting to impose “perfect equality” in the vein of totalitarian communism.

What you saw was a comment where I shrugged. In the post which is at the top of this chain of dialogue, I am NOT committed to the claim that all lefties are commies, so you will forgive me if I question your sight. Rather, I commented that I thought Peterson was out his depth with PoMo and his Jungian mysticism, that the IDW is a broad tent that includes many lefties, and that (and this is the only place where you might have seen something) he is “a skilled dialectician who consistently dunks on thudding journalists who haven't thought through axiomatic commitment to equality of outcome as a God-term.”

For one example of the last point, Jordan Peterson was on a panel with Sophie Walker, leader of the Women's Equality Party in 2018, and host Matthew Wright asked Walker what she meant by terms like “equality” and “freedom” to which her final disclosure was that she believed it was “equality of outcomes.” Later on in the show another panelist chimed in, commenting that Peterson and Walker want equality of opportunity, and she corrected him (twice) by stating that she wants equality of outcome. Peterson challenged this view, citing research from Norway and other egalitarian countries which show that the more you control for environmental bias, the greater disparity in outcomes one finds (this is usually referred to as the “gender equality paradox”). Her response was that she and Jordan have two different theories and that Jordan leans into nature and she leans into nurture. When Peterson pointed out the whole point of citing those studies was they controlled for environmental determinants, she argued that men and women are largely the same, to which Peterson agreed, noting that small differences in the aggregate can have significant effects in terms of population. She then argues that we’ve never had societies with equal opportunities, at which time Peterson (yet again) pointed to the research from Norway which shows that equalizing for environmental determination magnifies the effect of slight biological differences.


Peterson wrote:
It’s fun and all to claim an abhorrence of division, but that can also incentivize one to ignore it in oneself, mis-diagnose it in others and turn it into a cudgel, passing your interlocutor by.

It is a tricky thing. One does not want to become the thing one opposes. However, there is a profound difference between advocating for one right to say something and condoning what that person says. My cultural value of free speech does NOT require me to agree with people who oppose that very value with calls for compelled speech. On the contrary, I am only committed to their right to say it. I don’t think that anyone should be deplatformed or shouted down. If you don’t want to hear what someone says, don’t attend their event. Don’t buy their book. And if you want to engage, listen and read. Do NOT begin with the assumption that they are wrong and strategize over whether it is best to attack the style or the substance of your opponent—actually listen to them and risk transformation.

Do I risk division by standing against the dividers? I suppose so, but it seems to be a bit of logical necessity.

And the post you responded to was hardly a cudgeling! It was mitigated praise of Peterson. “Meh, he helps some people get their act together and he dunks on people who haven’t thought through their premises.” You were the one who came charging in like Lancelot to warn of the perils of self-help junk food and the canards I am allegedly a sucker for.

Who is the divisive one again? When was the last time you simply agreed with something I posted? I post plenty of innocuous things. I talk about films I like and patterns in art that I think I’ve found. And yet I only encounter you as a disapproving schoolmarm. It’s not like I follow you around “cudgeling” you and complaining about your posts. I don’t comment on your posts which are addressed to other parties and/or the universe at large. Moreover, I largely avoid your posts addressed to me (usual don't read them) and let you have your say. Most board users don’t appreciate these furballs and I have already conceded (repeatedly and graciously) that you are the Heavy Weight Champion of Keyboard Warriors (enjoy the “W” already). It is only on a rare occasion that I respond to your posts, and I only reply to those posts which are directly addressed to me. You get a pass for 95% of drive-by criticism. I post something. You snipe. I move on. Rinse and repeat. When I occasionally do engage you protest that I am unfair.

Sanchez wrote:
And despite agency standing at the core of the controversy, I don’t feel all that compelled to address the Buddhist belief that the self is an illusion. Hey, Sam Harris has professed that too! Good for him? Again, I consider this a marginal thread and the extent to which any of these metaphysical positions interact with political ones, I don’t see the former being a primary driver of the latter. I think you’re overselling it.

Well, you’re wrong and your failing to look at the elephant in the middle of the room. Our primary conceptual posits are the stars about which our dialogues orbit. I have repeatedly shown evidence of how the determinism, agency, and free will intrude into the discussion whether we like it or not.


Fri Jan 04, 2019 1:21 am
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Melvin Butterworth wrote:
Sorry, Janson, Rogan is officially a “baddie".

Even if I were to consider the possibility of agreeing to the premise that I would need to abide by every tangential opinion of Levitz's in order to support the central basis of his argument, the fact that the quoted point refers to how the physical attributes of the sexes happens to be irrelevant to feminism - female civil rights (and by extension transgender human rights) - would make Joe Rogan's opinion on physical disparity, uh, irrelevant.


Fri Jan 04, 2019 8:47 am
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Free-associating, are you?

Melvin Butterworth wrote:
A ”wholly divorced” “obsession.” I love it. Wouldn’t want a diagnosis to come off like a justification. Just how afraid of this guy are people like Levitz?

I dunno, dude. Peterson’s the one who reflexively accuses even moderate leftists of paving the way for radical egalitarianism, and on a regular basis. It pops up in practically every political speech he gives and underlines the consequences as deathly important. Sounds obsessive to me. Maybe Levitz is afraid of Peterson. Hard to tell when all he’s done is write an unhyperbolical article accusing Peterson of hyperbole. But you often accuse people of being afraid in arguments.

Melvin Butterworth wrote:
His “obsession” (at least the phase in which we, as the public, became dimly aware of him) begins with his opposition C-16 in Canada. That is, his opposition and appearance does not emerge with swiping at phantom opponents or merely a few angry college students at the fringe making noise (the go-to example you consistently set to the other side of Peterson to deflate his views), but rather a law that has met with opposition from the left and the right.

Ah yes. Peterson pounded his chest and said he’d proudly go on hunger strike after hypothetically getting jailed for refusing to call someone by their preferred pronoun at the barrel of gun. It was quite a piece of melodrama and predictably came to nothing. You should probably look elsewhere for decent, principled ways to contest Canada’s hate speech laws. Try EA over in Kateland.

Melvin Butterworth wrote:
This is the old Blank Slate view stated forcefully and clearly. You know, the sort of liberal and feminist that Levitz wants to claim doesn’t exists (“I know of no feminists”) or, at least, is not typical (“they do not generally).”

Huh? Murphy’s talking about gender, not sex. We can expect radicalism because, you know, she’s a radical feminist, but she’s arguing just the opposite of sexual morphology being completely malleable and arbitrary. Part of the radfem beef with transwomen is rooted in sexual dimorphism, fears of female physical vulnerability and of male-born bodies (often tinged with misandry). She doesn't think the patriarchy is keeping women out of the NFL. Keep trying though.

Melvin Butterworth wrote:
In essence, this much only argues that progressives are “not really” invested in the notion of the human being as a “Blank Slate” equal at birth and only divergent because of environment. I doubt that Levitz is very much correct about this denial. It's hard to say what most progressives believe. In my experience, you can get most progressives to acknowledge biological differences, but five minutes later we will be talking about environmental influences again. The tabula rasa human isn’t just a free floating idea, but a core premise, an article of faith in a metanarrative. It is a predominant frame which gets habitually activated, because it has to, as it is a coordinating frame for meaning.

I don’t see the contradiction. You can believe in biological differences and environmental influences, and talking about the latter doesn’t commit one to a tabula rasa. This should obviously be the case for everyone, whatever their politics, because genes and environment both play huge roles in our lives. It’s hard to untangle them, and our vast ignorance of their interworkings makes for some confusion and worry across the board. It’s a human predicament, not a partisan one.

Melvin Butterworth wrote:
Even today, this is a queasy topic. “I am afraid that if we admit that there are biological differences between men and women, we will have to excuse their behavior as ‘boys will be boys’” is something I heard in a recent conversation with a colleague. Biology is thus, even today, a sort of dreaded secret that must be denied, a bugbear that should be suppressed, even if (or perhaps especially if) it is true because the consequence cuts against the assumption that people are fundamentally all the same.

Well, if we grant sexual dimorphism, I guess it follows that men are rapists. Good stuff.

Melvin Butterworth wrote:
And when progressives have finally acknowledged biological determinism, there is the tempting turning-the-tables argument that all this is simply conclusive proof that life is totally unfair, that there is no hope for agency, and that, therefore, the fairest possible world would be one in which all unearned privileges (i.e., any advantage) would be levelled.

You should write a play with these hypothetical progressives. You can put yourself in it. You can talk to them.

Melvin Butterworth wrote:
“…or that fairness requires total equality in the material and social conditions of all individuals and demographic groups.”

It may not “require” it, but this does not illuminate whether or not the people implicated in the view “desire” it.

I guess you’ll have to psychoanalyze the left, in that case, since you’re not so interested in listening to them.

Melvin Butterworth wrote:
And yet I know lots of people who maintain that transgender females enjoy NO physical advantages over biological females. With hormone replacements all those physical advantages disappear, as if bone structure, biomechanical leverage, and years of muscle growth are entirely evaporated by hormone replacements.

I wonder what Levitz says about this…

Ask him. I personally think that we should abolish sex-segregated sports because it’s done under the guise of “fairness” and “fairness requires total equality in the material and social conditions of all individuals and demographic groups.” Same goes for weight-classes. I mean, what, are we going to re-segregate basketball? Whites are lagging, after all.

Melvin Butterworth wrote:
Are most “socialists” what Levitz thinks of when he also speaks of “progressive commentators,” “social media users,” and “liberals”? He is consistently speaking on behalf of “most of” these groups, telling us what they “generally” think, but did he conduct a poll? Is Levitz the Pope of Progressivism? And does an idea only deserve scrutiny and opposition if “most” of some group is saying it?

Errr, he’s read Jacobin for one. You dropped the hyperlink in his quote. Otherwise, like an adult responsibly talking about something, I presume he’s read up on democratic socialists, i.e. most of the people who identify as socialists in America. As someone who’s done the same and knows some, I’d say his description is accurate. I can’t tell if this is an honest appeal to ignorance of if you’re just feigning it.

Melvin Butterworth wrote:
What you saw was a comment where I shrugged. In the post which is at the top of this chain of dialogue, I am NOT committed to the claim that all lefties are commies, so you will forgive me if I question your sight.

You haven’t called anyone commies. A low bar. (I can only imagine you as an ambassador to China, you bridger of divides.) That you think “the prevailing vice is increasingly that of socialistic uptopian equity policing” and attribute it to even moderate leftists while brandishing Bergeron suggests that you aren’t so cautious, though.

Melvin Butterworth wrote:
For one example of the last point, Jordan Peterson was on a panel with Sophie Walker, leader of the Women's Equality Party in 2018, and host Matthew Wright asked Walker what she meant by terms like “equality” and “freedom” to which her final disclosure was that she believed it was “equality of outcomes.” Later on in the show another panelist chimed in, commenting that Peterson and Walker want equality of opportunity, and she corrected him (twice) by stating that she wants equality of outcome. Peterson challenged this view, citing research from Norway and other egalitarian countries which show that the more you control for environmental bias, the greater disparity in outcomes one finds (this is usually referred to as the “gender equality paradox”). Her response was that she and Jordan have two different theories and that Jordan leans into nature and she leans into nurture. When Peterson pointed out the whole point of citing those studies was they controlled for environmental determinants, she argued that men and women are largely the same, to which Peterson agreed, noting that small differences in the aggregate can have significant effects in terms of population. She then argues that we’ve never had societies with equal opportunities, at which time Peterson (yet again) pointed to the research from Norway which shows that equalizing for environmental determination magnifies the effect of slight biological differences.

Phew. I was worried you forgot about “equality of outcome”. Yes, I’ve heard this among Peterson’s several talking points and he’s never come off as a particuarly careful reader of the studies he cites. He likes to gesture at “multivariate” analysis, but then dumbly concludes from here that the options are between heredity and social constructivism, and declares a death-blow to the latter. You follow suit, trying to fit this into your genes vs. environment argument. But you all are again foisting overly simplistic dichotomies onto more complex phenomena. That the countries have more gender equality does not ipso facto mean, as Peterson assumes, that the outcomes must be biologically determined. That’s absurdly overhasty. The studies certainly don’t purport to establish the kinds of conclusions he reaches for because they understand that they can’t control for all the relevant factors, among them social mores and conditioning. They can’t literally control for all the environmental determinants (however that would happen).

Melvin Butterworth wrote:
It is a tricky thing. One does not want to become the thing one opposes. However, there is a profound difference between advocating for one right to say something and condoning what that person says. My cultural value of free speech does NOT require me to agree with people who oppose that very value with calls for compelled speech. On the contrary, I am only committed to their right to say it. I don’t think that anyone should be deplatformed or shouted down. If you don’t want to hear what someone says, don’t attend their event. Don’t buy their book. And if you want to engage, listen and read. Do NOT begin with the assumption that they are wrong and strategize over whether it is best to attack the style or the substance of your opponent—actually listen to them and risk transformation.

Do I risk division by standing against the dividers? I suppose so, but it seems to be a bit of logical necessity.

Poor sleight-of-hand. You say Robinson is sorely divisive. I point out that he, while fundamentally disagreeing with Peterson, advocates engaging his substantive points. You sneak in the issue of deplatforming as a line in the sand and level it with Robinson’s “assumption” (i.e. conclusion) that Peterson is wrong. But Robinson opposes deplatforming and similar tactics (not that actually engaging people as individuals is your thing). What’s more, what makes de-platforming divisive and worrisome is precisely that it precludes what Robinson does advocate: dialogue. You’re Exhibit A for how accusations of divisiveness can be drastically misleading and pull people away from the kind of charity you only pay lip service.

Melvin Butterworth wrote:
Who is the divisive one again? When was the last time you simply agreed with something I posted? I post plenty of innocuous things. I talk about films I like and patterns in art that I think I’ve found. And yet I only encounter you as a disapproving schoolmarm. It’s not like I follow you around “cudgeling” you and complaining about your posts. I don’t comment on your posts which are addressed to other parties and/or the universe at large. Moreover, I largely avoid your posts addressed to me (usual don't read them) and let you have your say. Most board users don’t appreciate these furballs and I have already conceded (repeatedly and graciously) that you are the Heavy Weight Champion of Keyboard Warriors (enjoy the “W” already). It is only on a rare occasion that I respond to your posts, and I only reply to those posts which are directly addressed to me. You get a pass for 95% of drive-by criticism. I post something. You snipe. I move on. Rinse and repeat. When I occasionally do engage you protest that I am unfair.

That’s much ado, but outside this and our Kateland exchange on free speech months back, I can probably count the number times I’ve responded to you in the last year on one hand. You don’t read them apparently, but you know what’s in them. Ah well. Love will tear us apart. I’m very sorry to hear that most board users are upset by us (I presume you conducted a poll hoho haha! *carves D in YARN's cravat*). Considering that probably only three of the fifteen people who post here have skimmed this, that’s a substantial percentage. To them I say, look upon us and despair!

Melvin Butterworth wrote:
Well, you’re wrong and your failing to look at the elephant in the middle of the room. Our primary conceptual posits are the stars about which our dialogues orbit. I have repeatedly shown evidence of how the determinism, agency, and free will intrude into the discussion whether we like it or not.

Well, I’ve seen you project metaphysical positions onto people with little evidence and try to force metaphysical concepts into some ill-fitting political straight-jackets. And now you’re just throwing everything else at the wall. Agree to disagree.


Fri Jan 04, 2019 12:44 pm
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PR 101: If you are trying to distance yourself from the perception that your strong border wall has something to do with racism, maybe try not to surround yourself with anonymous Aryan minions.


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Sat Jan 05, 2019 4:12 am
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The abundance of bald people has convinced me that Trump's hair is real and good.

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Sat Jan 05, 2019 10:33 am
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Photo of the Year 2019

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Tue Jan 15, 2019 4:44 pm
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Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:32 am
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Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:40 am
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Wed Jan 16, 2019 2:51 am
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You know things are bad when you wish Principal Skinner was the president.

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Wed Jan 16, 2019 2:53 am
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Wed Jan 16, 2019 2:04 pm
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heh


Wed Jan 16, 2019 6:17 pm
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I'm still not sure which is more funny - Aryan hamster, Steve King, finally getting called out in the racist sweepstakes of "how can I make my bigotry more clear?" or watching all of these pious Republicans pretending that they had no idea that this collegue has been saying all of this shit for years.

"I'm not talking about 'white supremacy', I meant Westrn Civilization!" How did King define "western civilization" in 2016 at the RNC convention? "European Christians". Oh.

I wonder how all of these sanctimonious 'Pubs feeel about Tucker ("dirty immigrants") Carlson or Laura ("massive demographic changes") Ingraham? I wonder if they think this will fool anyone who doesn't have clumps of racism under their rugs?


Thu Jan 17, 2019 11:36 am
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Torgo wrote:
You know things are bad when you wish Principal Skinner was the president.

We need a Prez who doesn't sez school is for losers.

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Thu Jan 17, 2019 12:29 pm
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Rock wrote:
We need a Prez who doesn't sez school is for losers.

Trump wrote:
You know, I don’t know if you know what this means: Oxford. Right? He went to Oxford. Oxford is a very — I’m very much into the world of schools. Oxford — you have to be very, very smart to go to Oxford.

Trump: Very Much Into the World of Schools


Thu Jan 17, 2019 12:38 pm
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Oxford is cool, but it's no Trump University.

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Thu Jan 17, 2019 12:48 pm
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"Strong, pit bull, sex symbol, no nonsense, business oriented, and ready to make a difference!"


Fri Jan 18, 2019 8:02 am
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yeah I did see that. pretty funny.

also: maybe this is the beginning of the end. but for three years it's felt like the beginning of the end. so I don't know. I still think the Republicans in Congress have already signaled how little this concerns them.

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/jasonleopold/trump-russia-cohen-moscow-tower-mueller-investigation

EDIT: story may not be true after all. whoops. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/2019/01/18/b9c40d34-1b85-11e9-8813-cb9dec761e73_story.html?utm_term=.3cb3202d3c94


Fri Jan 18, 2019 4:03 pm
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