The greatest amount of obnoxious, insensitive smartassery appeared in my blogroll on the anniversary of 9/11. The smartassery came exclusively from American bloggers. (I have dozens of examples but I don’t want to link to these losers.) The Spanish and Ukrainian bloggers and journalists in my blogroll wrote only profound, respectful pieces.

What Is a Good BP?

There is a huge article, or even a series of articles, in the NYTimes communicating the results of a supposedly groundbreaking study that points to a healthy systolic blood pressure being under. . . 120.

I have absolutely no idea how this can be news to anybody. I’ve known for at least three decades that systolic BP should be 120 or lower and diastolic BP should be 80 and lower. The NYTimes article states that the former guidelines considered systolic BP of 140 or 150 to be good. This is extremely shocking to me. With the systolic of 150, I feel so ill that I can’t function at all. Anybody who experienced it should know that it isn’t normal.

This reminds me of that bizarro documentary where a fellow with an angry girlfriend decided to “prove” that food sold at McDonald’s is not healthy. When the first McDonald’s opened in my city in Ukraine back in 1996, we all knew this was unhealthy food. How is it possible for Americans to spend their entire lives around this stuff and not know that it’s unhealthy?

What’s with this self-infantilization of people who can’t figure out on their own that a systolic BP of 150 is not OK and that fast food is harmful?

Trump’s Lesson

After this election cycle, politicians will finally understand that running for Congress, drumming up support and donors, serving as governor, trying to come up with a semblance of policy is all a huge waste of time.

Instead, an aspiring politician should simply get on a reality TV show. Then viewers will have no trouble memorizing the politician’s name.

Stupid Reading Choice

So I started reading Greg Grandin’s Kissinger’s Shadow and I already wish I hadn’t. I know this fellow from his book on Latin America and I shouldn’t have expected anything good from him.

There’s nothing ideological in the reason why I’m frustrated with Grandin’s new book. The problem I have is with his writing. It’s so sloppy, careless, and disrespectful of the reader that I keep getting angry.

For instance, Grandin has this obnoxious habit of making a statement and following it with a column and a quote. One, of course, assumes that the quote will support the statement. But it turns out, almost always, that the quote and the statement are not related to each other. Here is an example from page 1:

Nixon suggested that he had invaded Cambodia not just in response to a foreign threat but to domestic disorder: “It is not our power but our will and character that is being tested tonight.”

I have no idea whether Nixon suggested that or not but there’s no way for me to find out from this quote. Besides, the quote is weak. I’m guessing there was much stronger stuff in Nixon’s statement but Grandin seems to pluck out whatever sentence he glances upon first because he’s too lazy to look any further.

The author’s disrespect for his readers can also be seen in ridiculous statements like this one:

This book, though, focuses not on Kissinger’s outsized personality but rather on the outsized role he had in creating the world we live in today, which accepts endless war as a matter of course.

I don’t believe Grandin is ignorant and honestly thinks that the concept of war as a natural state of humanity was invented by Kissinger. But he thinks readers are dummies who will unthinkingly swallow whatever swill he pushes in their faces.

It’s not a good sign when a book annoys you so much before page 11.