Ridiculousness

Here are some quotes from different articles in today’s NYTIMES:

For 4,000 years, the Jewish people were seen as the world’s moral compass.

“Welcome to the Resistance, Omarosa.”

“We are merging with robots. That’s a good thing. What does it mean to live in this kind of emerging world? It is to live in a world marked more by possibility, fluidity, change and negotiability than by outdated images of fixed natures and capacities. This is a world of remarkable personal and social possibility. Sharing and group solidarity are now easier than ever before, and the communal mapping of new electronic trails is enabling multiple once-hidden demographics to command social, commercial and political respect.”

These are random articles on a random day. The amount of sheer ridiculousness is staggering.

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14 thoughts on “Ridiculousness”

  1. As must as I tried (ok, I didn’t try very hard), I can’t determine what that paragraph about “merging with robots” claims or has as its thesis. I know what all the words mean, but that is little help.

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    1. Just based on the blurb, maybe they’re talking about becoming cyborgs? So if there’s something you don’t like about yourself, you can get modded to improve that feature (beyond just cosmetic surgery for aesthetics)… But I agree it’s written so poorly I’m not going to waste my time to read the article and figure out what they’re talking about.

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    1. “I support robot-working, but we can’t act like it will not happen.”

      Hey, just sit back and relax! The robot workers have been pushing unskilled workers off their union jobs for decades now.

      Remember the elevator operators who used to take passengers from floor to floor when you were a child? The railroad “firemen” who used to shovel coal into no-longer existent steam locomotives? The pretty girl sitting in your local bank’s external window who once smiled and cashed your written check that’s become a debit card that you now insert into an unsmiling but efficient ATM machine?

      But you and every other human being alive today still have one distinct advantage over the best-programmed “A.I.” units on the market, like Alexa and its competitors Amazon Echo and Google Echo: You have a BRAIN, and these sophisticated but flawed toys don’t. The youngest child in your house doesn’t misinterpret your words and order merchandise from amazon Prime that you don’t want, or record your casual words and broadcast them to a hundred people on your Facebook page without your knowledge.

      If you think that a self-driving car can get you across town safely, let along across the country, try turning on the ignition key and then start reading “War and Peace” while you travel from New York to San Francisco, and see if you make it as far as the Mid-West before your funeral.

      Robotic machines that can replace certain basic human functions have been around for a century or so now, but until their I.Q. exceeds that of the average pet cat (about 12), they’re going to have to be regarded as efficient but potentially dangerous machines that definitely require adult supervision.

      That’s the truth, and the rest is hack science fiction garbage that I periodically sell to genre magazine editors who pay me for my nonsense but are smart enough not to take it seriously.

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  2. My favorite is “For 4,000 years, the Jewish people were seen as the world’s moral compass.”

    Especially by Germans in WW2 … or by European Christians in the Middle Ages and till now …

    Where do those people come from? Who writes and edits those things?

    Guess such sentences are supposed to invoke a certain mood in particular kinds of readers since I cannot believe they were written in honest, pristine ignorance.

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    1. That was my reaction exactly. Has this fellow heard of anti-semitism? The Inquisition? The pogroms? The anti-Jewish tropes that for at least a thousand years presented Jews as venal, dirty, sexually perverse, diseased, etc.?

      The author of this statement is the president of the World Jewish Congress. And I have no idea what he was trying to say with it.

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      1. Ah, if he is a Jew himself, he merely presents his fantasy of the Jewish history – utopian fanfiction rather then canon – in the attempt to turn it into OR preserve it as reality for a bit longer in minds of some non-Jewish Americans (after Holocaust has been losing its influence).

        In Israel we have another distopian-utopian (re)interpretation of Jewish history. 🙂

        Wait, Judaism sees the Jewish people as the world’s moral compass. Unsurprisingly. 🙂
        May he refer to the way Jews saw and see themselves?

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          1. // This is why the passive voice is dangerous. Seen by whom? By me? By everybody? By talmudic scholars? It’s weak writing.

            You know, I have a weakness for passive voice but this example ‘got’ to me. Will try to improve.

            However, not every sentence with the passive voice is unclear.

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            1. Of course. “The novel was published in 1982” is a good example of a justified passive voice. The good rule is always to ask yourself: do you know who’s performing this action? Are you sure the readers know?

              I always tell students that great insights await us when we start unraveling our own passive structures.

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  3. “a world marked by possibility, fluidity, change and negotiability … of remarkable personal … possibility.”
    VS
    “Sharing and group solidarity are now easier than ever before”

    I think there is a contradiction here and do not understand what is meant by sharing – who shares what with whom?

    “the communal mapping of new electronic trails” — Understand every word (trails = roads?) but not the meaning …

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