Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Lunch At The Google Cafeteria

Via Rod Dreher

The clip below is from The Lives of Others (2006), an unforgettable film.  Please see it if you have not already done so.  Set in communist East Germany during the 1980s it documents how the regime effectively imposed itself on the way its subjects not only acted, but on how they thought. This scene take place in the cafeteria for the Stasi, the country's secret police organization.

Since the controversial memo on Google's diversity program that resulted in the author's firing was actually solicited by the company as part of its internal discussion, and only became public when circulated externally by those who were offended by it, one is also put in mind of the Let a Hundred Flowers Bloom Campaign of 1956, run by Mao Tse Tung and the Chinese Communist Party.  That campaign solicited critiques of the country and the regime's programs, supposedly as a way to guide improvements.  Instead it was used encourage dissidents to expose themselves so they could be punished with prison or execution.

What is happening at Google is tied in with some large societal trends.  In a recent Wall St Journal article Mark Lilla, a Columbia professor, and well-known liberal Democrat, wrote about this change:

As a teacher, I am increasingly struck by a difference between my conservative and progressive students. Contrary to the stereotype, the conservatives are far more likely to connect their engagements to a set of political ideas and principles. Young people on the left are much more inclined to say that they are engaged in politics as an X, concerned about other Xs and those issues touching on X-ness. And they are less and less comfortable with debate.

Over the past decade a new, and very revealing, locution has drifted from our universities into the media mainstream: Speaking as an X…This is not an anodyne phrase. It sets up a wall against any questions that come from a non-X perspective. Classroom conversations that once might have begun, I think A, and here is my argument, now take the form, Speaking as an X, I am offended that you claim B. What replaces argument, then, are taboos against unfamiliar ideas and contrary opinions.
In a New York Times piece shortly after the presidential election (which I wrote about), Lilla first made his argument against identity politics, and its increasingly repressive and authoritarian nature, and was attacked by many progressives, including a professor at Columbia Law School who likened him to David Duke.  His critique is perceptive but I doubt it will gain much traction with 21st century progressives.

Who are the brain police?  I think I know.


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

I'm Not Going Back To Woodstock

I'm not going back to Woodstock for awhile
Though I long to hear that lonesome hippie smile
I'm a million miles away
From that helicopter day
No I don't believe I'll be going back that way
Neil Young at his most disheveled and dissolute.
The opening lines:
It's too dark to put the keys in my ignition
And the morning sun has yet to climb my hood ornament
And I also haven't been back to Woodstock for awhile, and don't believe I'll be going back that way.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

You Be The Judge

Even for someone who doesn't like the Yankees, it's been fun watching Aaron Judge this year.  And this year's Home Run Derby, which he won, was my favorite.

It's going to be interesting to see how Judge does over the rest of the season.  Here are two sets of numbers:

Plate Appearances  95/118

At Bats  89/93 

Hits  15/15

Doubles  2/1

Triples  0/0

HR  4/5

RBI  10/12

BB  9/24

SO  42/43

Batting Average  .179/.161

On Base %  .263/.339

Slugging %  .345/.333

The first set is from Judge's abbreviated 2016 rookie season, when he looked overmatched against major league pitching.  The second set is Judge's performance since the All-Star break.  The numbers are very close.

Before the All-Star game Judge was hitting .329 with an on base % of .448, and slugging .691.  Is he in a temporary slump and can he make the adjustments to get back to his form of earlier in the season?

Saturday, August 12, 2017

The Right Response

Senator Ted Cruz on the white supremacist march and violence in Charlottesville:

“It’s tragic and heartbreaking to see hatred and racism once again mar our great Nation with bloodshed. Heidi’s and my prayers are with the loved ones of those killed and injured in the ongoing violence in Charlottesville. The First Amendment protects the rights of all Americans to speak their minds peaceably, but violence, brutality, and murder have no place in a civilized society.

The Nazis, the KKK, and white supremacists are repulsive and evil, and all of us have a moral obligation to speak out against the lies, bigotry, anti-Semitism, and hatred that they propagate. Having watched the horrifying video of the car deliberately crashing into a crowd of protesters, I urge the Department of Justice to immediately investigate and prosecute this grotesque act of domestic terrorism.

These bigots want to tear our country apart, but they will fail. America is far better than this. Our Nation was built on fundamental truths, none more central than the proposition ‘that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.'”
This guy gets it right too:

I Must Go, My Planet Needs Me

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Road Trip!

Turns out that Carhenge is located precisely on the line of the full solar eclipse on August 21.  Coincidence? I think not!  Located just outside the bucolic Nebraska Panhandle town of Alliance, Carhenge has been the subject of a previous THC post.  Special events are planned for the occasion.  Take a drive and join the fun.