Unexpected Quotes

Another quote from Tucker Carlson book, and I can’t believe I’m writing these words:

An earlier generation of liberals would have recognized how awful all this is. Feudal lords took more responsibility for their serfs than Uber does for its drivers. Yet Uber executives weren’t ashamed. They didn’t need to be. They sold exploitation as opportunity, and virtually nobody called them on it.

That’s exactly how liquid capital works. Blatant exploitation is sold as opportunity and people feel grateful and exhilarated because they belong to something big and important.

This is like an adaptation of McGuigan’s Cool Capitalism for non-academic circles. I could have never ever ever guessed that a Fox News host could write this kind of stuff. The world is a lot more varied than I imagined.

Another quote:

The marriage of market capitalism to progressive social values may be the most destructive combination in American economic history. Someone needs to protect workers from the terrifying power of market forces, which tend to accelerate change to intolerable levels and crush the weak. . . Left and right now agree that a corporation’s only real responsibility is to its shareholders. Companies can openly mistreat their employees (or “contractors”), but for the price of installing transgender bathrooms they buy a pass.

Is there anybody here who disagrees with this?

I’m only 15% in, so maybe nastiness will still happen later on in the book. But right now I’m feeling exactly like Tucker Carlson felt earlier this week when he was interviewing an old-school Marxist and found nothing to disagree about (which is when I decided to check out the book.)

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What’s Your Intersectionality Score?

Mine is 31. That means 73% if people are more privileged than I am. Bite on it, suckers!

See your score. But you gotta answer honestly and not like some white people who put themselves down as not fully white because they are contrite about being white. (The same goes for men, people born here, and people who live a very gender-conventional lifestyle yet bill themselves as something different because it’s in vogue.)

Another Quote

The purpose of pretty much any politically tinged debate these days is to demonstrate that the adversary

is incurably death and blind to ‘the facts of the matter,’ and fatally addicted to malice aforethought. The verdict of ill intentions makes the proof of one’s own veracity redundant. Listening to the adversary is strongly un-recommended, empathy with the adversary is a fatal, all but suicidal blunder.

This is from Zygmunt Bauman’s Retrotopia.

Just a Quote

In 1974, journalist Studs Terkel published a book called Working, an oral history of what people do for a living. Terkel was a 1930s-era socialist from Chicago, but for the most part he kept his opinions out of the book. He let his subjects speak. One man he interviewed described what it was like to be a machinist, another talked about spending his life as a doorman in an apartment building.

Working became a huge bestseller, and then a Broadway musical. James Taylor wrote part of the score. The play was nominated for five Tony Awards. Liberals loved the book because it highlighted the dignity of working people. If Working came out today, how many copies would it sell in Brookline or Marin County? Not enough to justify publishing it. Unless the machinist was transitioning to a new gender or fighting immigration authorities over an expired visa, modern elites wouldn’t care.

Tucker Moore

I hate Tucker Carlson. My jaw begins to hurt every time I see him. God, what an ass.

So of course I decided to check out his new book. And it turned out to be bizarrely identical to the stuff Michael Moore wrote in the late 1990s and early 2000s. I was a great fan of Moore’s and know his writing of that era by heart. It’s all, nobody gives a crap about the working class, inequality in the US is shameless, corporations are evil, the minimum wage is a pittance, there is endless exploitation, proletarians of the world unite against the oppressors. In short, the kind of stuff I dig.

I thought you could only find this on the left because the right is supposed to be all pro-big business and “it’s all your fault if you are a minimum-wage loser.” Take the very talented Kevin Williamson. The fellow literally drips with contempt for the poor. (I obviously like him because of the quality of his writing and not because of this contempt or his other unendearing qualities).

So of course I was kind of thrown off when I saw that Carlson was channeling the Michael Moore of 20 years ago. He even lionizes Ralph Nader, Moore’s favorite person in the world.

Carlson is obviously aware of the paradox. The way he explains it is that liberals (progressives, lefties, whatever, God, I’m so tired of these spurious differences that allow people avoid responsibility) have abandoned the working class. Nobody is for the workers any more. So conservatives have to be because if nobody is for the workers, this will lead to scary excesses of anti-democratic populism. Which is what Zygmunt Bauman always said.

I only read the part that Amazon offers as a free preview and I don’t know if I’ll read the rest. But even stylistically it sounds like he’s trying to parody Moore. It’s fascinating. And not even remotely what I expected. It’s especially funny if you imagine the guy’s pompous, nasal voice reading the book aloud.

Irreducible Immaturity

God, people, stop being such victims. If you feel that “evaluations encourage students to place total responsibility for the quality of their education on their instructors,” take your life into your own hands and change what you don’t like.

At my department, we got together, formed a committee, rewrote the evaluations form, and added a section that asks students to take responsibility for their learning. That’s it, problem solved. Students give very insightful, honest responses to the questions like, “did you work as much as you should have outside of the classroom to prepare for class? Did you participate enough in class? What could you have done differently to improve your chances of success in the class?” It takes a couple of hours to figure this out as a group and then that’s it, no more problem, go moan about something else.

I’ve never seen anywhere else the kind of glorious and smug immaturity that exists in academia.

Also, I’m very tired of the demonization of students whom many deeply immature academics place in the role of the disapproving and volatile parental figure. If you hate and fear students so much, you need to look for another profession. The absolute majority of students are well-meaning, good people who very sincerely want to learn and do well. If you don’t see that, you are incapable of performing your work duties. With this bleak outlook on human nature, you should find a job on Wall Street, instead.