I’m not necessarily a fan of Azerbaijan’s President Aliev but the way he wiped the floor with a supercilious Western reporter will gladden the heart of everybody who detests supercilious Western reporters:
On the playground, Klara climbed a very tall structure and didn’t know how to get down, so she deputized a little boy to ask me to come over and rescue her.
“Excuse me,” said the boy. “Your. . . erm. . . sister over there needs your help.”
This boy has a great future in politics or diplomacy.
So I listened to Jordan Peterson’s hour-long interview on Tucker. It’s a very good interview. I finally figured out what Jordan Peterson is about. I guess what confused me this whole time is that I couldn’t understand why he drives people so completely nuts. Everything he says is eminently reasonable. I hear most of it in church every week. Yet people are reduced to babbling incoherence by Peterson.
Once I listened to the whole interview and accepted that yes, people are, indeed, such incredible snowflakes, the mystery was solved. It’s not what he says that freaks them out. It’s the fact that he speaks, period.
Neoliberalism was originally the project of the right that believed it could be used to erode the post-war welfare protections. Stupidly, the right convinced itself that it would somehow exercise enough control to prevent neoliberalism from eroding everything else. When it became obvious that there was no containing it, the right – and I don’t mean politicians. I’m taking about regular people – lost interest in neoliberalism.
By that time, though, neoliberalism had another ally, the Left. The Left loved neoliberalism’s promise of eroding every certainty and plunging the world into a real permanent revolution where everything always revolves, changes, and mutates in a very literal way. All that had to be done to complete the alliance between the Left and neoliberalism was to ditch the concept of “workers” and adopt the idea that instead of the most progressive class, workers were the most regressive one. Workers were rebranded into “racists, bigots, and like literal Nazis” and the merger between the Left and neoliberalism was complete.
The current situation of the compact between neoliberalism and the Left is that the Left is facilitating the largest transfer of capital from the middle class to the oligarchy and create a semi-feudal system where the former middle classes will serve as guinea pigs for medical, digital, and psychological experimentation benefitting the oligarchy. In return, the oligarchy will tolerate the Left’s favorite slogans about “systemic racism”, “the global South,” and the rest of that inane, neoliberal stuff.
For the first 22 years of my life I was the girl on the left. For the next 22 years, I was the girl on the right. (I’m talking about the video, not politics. Watch the video, it’s hilarious).
I have no idea what the next stage will bring but the moral of the story is, it’s never too late to surprise yourself.
“The intelligentsia for many years laboured unconsciously to destroy itself by hesitancy and submission in the face of unremitting blackmail from the extreme left,” wrote the great dissident Leszek Kołakowski in 1978 about the Russian intellectual class.
This is the nonfiction book that the Oscar-winning movie is based on, and since I loved the movie, of course I had to read the book.
For 3 years, Bruder followed around mostly retirement-age people who live in their vans and make money picking up temporary gigs at Amazon warehouses, beet harvests, and campsites. The most fascinating thing in the book is the contrast between the resilient, strong, and hopeful retirees and the mopey Millennial Bruder who writes about them. As she follows them around, Bruder can’t figure out why they don’t feel victimized or pathetic. It’s got to be because they are white! she decides at some point. If they were black, police would have already murdered all of them on sight!
Bruder can’t understand the world outside of these angsty, infantile truisms. She also fails at the jobs that the vandwellers who are twice her age carry out. The last chapter of the book is especially revealing as Bruder worries and frets incessantly over the possible obstacles that might arise once Linda May, the retirement-age nomad she’s researching, starts building the project of her dreams. Linda May’s optimism and capacity to enjoy life in the midst of the greatest hardship offers a striking contrast to the fussy anxiety of the pampered Bruder.
Chloe Zhao, the director who brought Nomadland to the screen made the correct choice to excise Bruder from the story completely. The book was published in 2017 but we all know what happened then. The generation of Bruders freaked out over COVID and George Floyd, destroyed the economy for everybody, unleashed sky-high crime rates, and is now trying to devise ways to muzzle everybody who doesn’t stand in awe of their “lived experience of trauma” of some sort.
Bruder is a fine writer and, I’m sure, a nice person. But there’s an enormous emptiness at the core of her self that is particularly evident when she writes about the nomads – evicted, broke, old, sick, yet happy, undefeated, and free in a way she’ll never be.
What’s really amazing here is that you swim in the lake and you can see the entire shoreline – and there are no people. I realized that this is the first time in my life I see such a gigantic space without any people. It’s just me. ME! I’m almost beginning to understand Bill Gates and his desire to get rid of a few billion humans. (This is a joke. I think Bill Gates is despicable).
The tent campers and the RVers left in the morning. What really stunned me is that both crowds left their respective campsites absolutely spotless. You couldn’t even tell anybody had been there an hour earlier.
I come from a culture where leaving a mountain of garbage and wrecking the nature for a mile around is an integral part of camping, so this was unbelievably cool.