Even a Broken Clock

David Brooks has written a brilliant long-read piece on the nuclear family. No, really. I’m not a fan of his, to put it mildly, and only started reading to feel outraged by Brooks, like I usually do. And it turned out to be great.

History Repeats

Folks, remember how during the Obama years the opposing camp used to wail that he was a socialist, too radical, a crazy leftie? Remember that?

And we, the supporters, were sitting there, completely befuddled. “Who is it they are calling a radical? This neoliberal, center-right, milquetoast fellow? What are they smoking?” There were many things to criticize Obama for but being a radical socialist leftie was really REALLY not on the list.

It’s exactly the same with Trump. People who see him as an authoritarian, anti-immigrant strongman are as clueless as those folks who thought Obama was a radical leftie.

This goes to show that an incapacity to distinguish between fantasy and reality is entirely non-partisan.

Pro-Hawley

My political instincts are extremely poor. I was so anti-Hawley when he ran but he turned out to be great. He’s fighting surveillance capitalism like a beast.

And before people start bashing him for partisan reasons, Hawley’s proposal is very similar to Elizabeth Warren’s. If his plan stinks, so does hers.

Jordan Peterson’s Treatment

This is from an article about Jordan Peterson but I hope people get over their feelings about him and read it as a commentary on differences in medical systems:

She said the family sought alternative treatment in Russia because they found North American hospitals had misdiagnosed him, and were prescribing “more medications to cover the response he was experiencing from the benzodiazepines,” Mikhaila said. “He nearly died several times.”

She and her husband took him to Moscow last month, where he was diagnosed with pneumonia and put into an induced coma for eight days. She said his withdrawal was “horrific,” worse than anything she had ever heard about. She said Russian doctors are not influenced by pharmaceutical companies to treat the side-effects of one drug with more drugs, and that they “have the guts to medically detox someone from benzodiazepines.”

What Peterson’s daughter says is completely true. We know I have gag reflex whenever I hear “Russian anything” but Mikhaila is absolutely right.

The problem with the US medical system isn’t the cost or the insurance companies. The real problem is that nobody knows how to treat anything. Doctors don’t know how to do anything but prescribe, and it’s hit and miss on prescriptions, too, much of the time.

You wouldn’t know what you are missing until you try medical care outside of the rich countries. The approach to medicine is fundamentally different.

Movie Notes: An Inspector Calls

N and I watch a lot of TV series together but never any movies. So we decided to do something unusual and watch one.

An Inspector Calls is based on a play by JB Priestley, and Soviet people loved their Priestley. The play had actually premiered in the USSR several months before it did in London.

The movie (as well as the play) is set in 1912, and it’s the perfect portrayal of the relationship between the recently emerged institutions of the nation-state and industrial capitalism.

What’s really fun about the movie is imagining the modern-day version. The inspector is gone, and as the vicious capitalists abuse the working-class girl they lecture her about her racism, white supremacy, and transphobia. The viewers are tricked into identifying completely with the capitalists and cheering on the working-class girl’s suicide. The capitalists aren’t afraid of the press finding out. To the contrary, they make the story of their victimization by the indigent, desperate worker as public as possible, monetizing the likes and the retweets. Everybody celebrates the worker’s death which “like literally prevented a genocide.”

We enjoyed the movie but we are now desperate to re-watch the Soviet version where actors actually acted instead of just standing around. It’s so sad that the actors here are so impotent that the poor director had to cast as the evil capitalist a really ugly actor with a huge paunch and a gigantic nose. There’s simply no way to transmit the evilness of the character other than through appearance if an actor can’t do any acting.