"From an original position, obviously a parent would choose meager wealth and brilliant children instead of the opposite. Thus, because wealth minimizes life’s petty cruelties, it’s rational that Huffman, Loughlin, and other middling talents should do everything they can to supplement their tragically average genes with whatever advantage they can get."
The Theranos scam looks like the Enron scam. Both are black box scams. There are inputs and outputs, but how inputs become outputs is obscured. The perfect black box is one in which what's obscured generates faith instead of suspicion.
Perhaps Howard Schultz and today’s Democratic Party are symptoms of the same condition. Both the billionaire and the party with a lot of billionaires want to restore an era, a politics, and a political culture that seem increasingly foreign with each new tweet from the White House.
"PC culture and free speech debates on college campuses have shifted gear. They’re no longer about Gen-Xer egalitarianism. Through an era of skyrocketing tuition PC Culture now is unironically more about “correctness” and less about politics. By “correctness” I mean that PC culture seems more about corrections and transformations of campus atmosphere and culture than it is about political engagement in the marketplace of ideas. In this way “political correctness” now is more inwardly directed on the college community itself instead of towards solving problems in the larger world beyond four years of very expensive schooling."
"The American Left uses “conspiracy theory” to dismiss news and narratives it doesn’t like much in the way the American Right uses “fake news.” Other eras would’ve considered this a bug, but at this moment it’s a feature of the mainstream and alternative news and opinion cycle. Aristotle’s observation that “the more we know the more we don’t know” helps to explain why too often conspiracy theories fill in the gaps of what we don’t know...and sometimes of what we think we know. The prevalence of conspiracy theory in a time of unparalleled information abundance reveals deep anxieties that Enlightenment inspired values such as truth and opinion supported by facts and argument aren’t working as well as they once did. This examination of different ways to think about conspiracy theory is an effort in the fight against the most unfortunate trend in American intellectual life."
"Social conservatives need to maximize turnout from the base and expand the map by stressing the softer side of the faith agenda: education reform, immigration and criminal justice reform, and anti-poverty measures,” said Ralph Reed, founder of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, which has extensive outreach to conservative evangelicals in battlegrounds across the country."
"The genius of the new far right, if we could call it “genius,” has been their steadfast determination to blend into the larger fabric of society to such an extent that perhaps the only way you might see them as a problem is if you actually want to see them at all."
"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."
"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."
"“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."