The DeX-Files: A House Of Cards Collapses

“The opacity of Claire’s inner life over the first five seasons of House Of Cards served a singular and focused purpose. It was a lens. Through it we understood the lure of power politics in virtually every Machiavellian aspect of life. We accepted seizing and wielding power in a republic as a talent for which the most well-adapted are also the most successful and therefore the most deserving. We also squirmed as this austere dharma made meritocracy self-justifying.”

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RIP Stan Lee

“Stan Lee used myth and history to show the best AND the worst of us. He gave nerdy kids like me in the 70s who bought Marvel back issues from second-hand stores for a quarter, read them over and over voraciously, and realized superheroes for us now are what gods once were for the ancients that we didn’t have to stand by in the face of evil, or even in the face of the everyday banalities that make us small, petty and cruel.”

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The Politics Of Cruelty And Cruelty As Politics

““White identity policing” is an instance in which a white person reports the actions and behavior of a black person to the police that (s)he would not report were the same actions those of  a white person. I’ve suspected that the frequency and tenor of white identity policing is a knock-on effect from the curious way that Black Lives Matter receded from the spotlight of a very specific cultural, political, and media moment.”

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The Angle 10/16/2018

One of the gloomier American narratives of our time is the possibility that Millennials will not prosper as their Boomer parents have. We assume that the obvious question in response to this is “Why?” as if Millenials are the paltry exception to a trend of ever increasing prosperity. But what if the question is “Why not?” as if the inevitability of their situation weren’t already baked in before they were born?

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Kanye West And The Double Hustle

Kanye West is a small player in a sprawling, decades old play that’s seldom seen for what it truly is. The Double Hustle’s features are 1) real and genuine oppression; 2) mass, mostly justified grievances; 3) white hot media fascination; 4) obsession with celebrities who use their “platforms” to speak on behalf of the movement; 5) black politicians following instead of leading; 6) the inevitable wane and disappointment; and, lastly, 7) “non-commensurate victory conditions,” when “winning” for black people has a higher bar and a higher cost than it does for any other groups with which we claim solidarity.

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The Angle 10/11/2018

It only took us 20 years to understand that digital readers get “easily distracted, flitting from link to link, and a little allergic to depth.” By contrast, if you’ve paid hard cash for a newspaper and it’s the only thing in front of you, aren’t you going to get your money’s worth? Are you going to check Google News on your phone while you’re scouring box scores? Indeed, “In print, newspapers had few if any competitors. Online, they have infinite competitors.” This is the Achilles heel of making money from digital content.

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Artificial Intelligence: Oligarchs As Oracles

For Apple, Google, Facebook, and Tesla, the future looks like Apple, Google, Facebook, and Tesla. I’m pretty sure that the future—particularly an AI future—will look nothing like what the tech moguls have already built. They’d be as likely to nail the future of AI as J. D. Rockefeller would be speculating on how to get to the Moon.

If this is even sort of true then we should question our expectation that the tech moguls of today know enough to really know whether AI will be beneficial on net or not.

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Project LinX 10/06/2018 — Gas Mask

A lot more people think they’re middle-class than actually are. This is because “middle-class” is as much an ideology as it is a salary range. By “ideology” I mean a “way of thinking” that justifies how one thinks and acts. It’s interesting that neither “lower-class” nor “upper-class” are ideologies. Neither has need for it. Both understand the true nature of class warfare. It’s crucial that the middle class remains oblivious.

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Steven Pinker And The Enlightenment Paradox

We sense that something has gone wrong, that our way of doing things has been disrupted by its own rules. That everything we’ve built over all this time is more fragile than it should be. We may even feel some low-frequency trauma that we might not have it as well as our parents or grandparents. What Pinker might dismiss as “un American gloominess” shouldn’t dissuade us from thinking through to some clarity about whether Enlightenment values are still sustainable, even though Enlightenment institutions are still going strong.

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