Sadness

I never thought the death of somebody I never met could be so painful. It’s strange how one can get attached to voices that reach one over the internet.

Babchenko Killed in Kiev

I just discovered that the most talented dissident journalist from Russia was murdered. His name was Arkady Babchenko. I know nobody on this blog knows who he is but for me this is devastating news. I can’t believe it. I just can’t believe it.

Babchenko had to escape from Russia because he is the most famous – and the most talented – dissident journalist in Russia. His life was threatened, his family was threatened, so he moved first to Prague, and then to Kiev. His was always the most lucid analysis of what was happening in the region.

Russians have been murdering one dissident after another. I always wondered what Babchenko was thinking, trying to hide from them in Ukraine. But he’s not only crazy talented. He’s also brave.

Was, he was. Fuck this.

Roseanne

It’s scary to contemplate that Roseanne felt such an uncontrollable compulsion to share her racist insight into Valerie Jarrett that she threw away the rest of her career in order to do it. At her age, it’s not like she has many other starring roles waiting for her.

I obviously didn’t watch her show but wasn’t its whole point to demonstrate that Trump supporters can be completely normal people? It’s kind of ironic.

Good Books

It’s really great to have book that you want to be reading all the time. A book that turns you into a person who always volunteers to go get coffee at the reception or go back to the room to fetch snacks because it’s an opportunity to read a couple of pages in the elevator. A book that you carry everywhere in hopes of snatching a few sentences here or there.

I wish there existed a mechanism to identify such books and ensure I’m never without one. Right now I have a book like this. Actually, I have two, one in Spanish and one in English, and that’s unusual.

Individuals #6

Another defining characteristic of this mentality is the war on time. Individuals have to be shorn asunder not only from nature but also of the vision of themselves as rooted in time. Instead, people are mired in presentism that doesn’t allow for the existence of either the past or the future.

I’ll just give one example and you can think of many others. Remember when Bernie Sanders was excoriated for saying something back in 1972 that didn’t completely jive with today’s sensibilities? One would think that it’s pretty unfair to blame Bernie for not anticipating how the speech codes would develop half a century later, right? But the people who denounced him didn’t seem to notice that a lot of time passed.

Or this whole argument of let’s not read Aristotle because he was sexist-racist-classist. It comes from the same incapacity to accept the passage of time.

And then these same people seem completely unperturbed by the possibility that whatever they say today might look as out of step with the new speech codes fifty years from now. Because the future doesn’t exist either. It’s all endless, rootless, unchanging present.

Individuals #5

One of the central characteristics that the liberals / neoliberals share is their war on nature.

Neoliberals believe that nature needs to be subjugated to the needs of global capitalism. Nature is the enemy that needs to be defeated and squeezed for every penny you can get from it.

Their opponents are appalled by this approach to nature. Yet they also see nature as the greatest enemy of human autonomy. That there are biological realities of human existence that stand outside of individual definition and control is an idea that they cannot tolerate. Nature has to be subjugated to the consumerist idea of choice.

Think about the inane fashion of biohacking that is so popular with the Silicon Valley idiots. I mean, we can ridicule all we want, but this is just an extreme manifestation of this phenomenon.