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The State of the Contest
pretty dark, but with maybe a few emerging signs of hope
I’ve been trying to come up with a count: If you consume a typical amount of news media and social media product, how many individual pieces of dishonest, misleading, and calculatedly or ignorantly unreal “information” do you take on board over the course of a typical day?
Walter Kirn’s one-sentence summary of contemporary media is stuck in my head: “This is a world-concealing layer of diversionary and illogical and internally inconsistent noise, under which the world exists somewhere.” How much noise do you have to purge to merely get to zero, not at all informed but not not deeply misinformed? And if you encounter the deep thoughts of Ruth Ben-Ghiat, does the deficit merely double, or is it much worse than that?
I’ve been reading on The Site Formerly Known as Twitter this week that Elon Musk’s refusal to activate the privately owned Starlink network over Crimea is a violation of the Geneva Conventions, which now apparently apply to corporate product, and also high treason, for which Elon Musk should be executed. At the risk of mixing metaphors, it’s like the Internet allows strangers to use your brain as a toilet. Although, as the Twitter randos always end up explaining, I just feel this way because I’M PUTIN’S NAZI BUTTBOY.
All day, every day, 24/7/365 — well, maybe with some breaks for sleep, but only if you stop looking at your phone at night — you take on garbage. Your brain is loaded with information barriers, dressed up as information. You read and hear sentences that are designed to prevent understanding. By the way, Paul Krugman exists.
Your whole life is lived in a welter of noise-objects. How do you think? How do you see the world under the noise-cover?
Courts defer to the executive branch during a war, then reassert or rediscover their ability to protect individual rights after the moment of crisis has passed. It seems to me that we’re emerging into the pandemic-equivalent moment, and institutional quiescence is fading. (I used “quiescence” to avoid using a form of the word “chickenshit.”) Checks and balances: they live!
I can only find this two-minute excerpt on Twitter, so click here to watch a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit maul — I mean, maul like courtroom-polite grizzly bears — a lawyer for the Los Angeles Unified School School District who is in court to defend the district’s mRNA-injection (“vaccine”) employment mandate:
There's no rational basis for believing that someone who got a two-shot sequence in 2021 – in March, say, of 2021 – has any protection against transmission now in September of 2023. There's just – it seems to me to be irrational. Even the CDC does not claim that a shot sequence two and a half years ago provides immunity against what's circulating today…So this just seems completely arbitrary...That's not rational.
The whole session of oral argument is here, if you’re in the mood, and the LAUSD’s lawyer shows up for her mauling at 13:05:
In the face of an endless noise-war assault, judges are now just plainly saying that look, the shit doesn’t work, how can you possibly justify mandating it? It’s not much, and it’s a little late, but I’ll take it as a sign that we’re not dead yet.
Second, as California’s idiot-groomer-scumbag attorney general argues that it’s very very very important for elementary school teachers to have secret sexual discussions with children and hide the discussions from parents — and as he pursues a lawsuit against a school district in the service of that appalling dirtbaggery — a growing number of school districts are responding by passing parent notification policies. An infection is producing an immune response.
And third, a federal judge in San Diego has just enjoined a school district from enforcing a policy that requires school employees to hide the alleged gender identity of children from their parents. Again, the parents’ rights activist Jonathan Zachreson brings the news:
Put the competing pieces on the scale, and they may begin to move in the direction of balance: 24/7 psywar media madness against institutional (and maybe cultural) checks and balances that slowly seem to be almost real again. The fever may be breaking. We may be breaking it.
I’ve been posting too much, lately — I can watch the engagement numbers slide as people get tired of hearing from me — and I’d like to create some space for discussion of this maybe/maybe not argument. So I’m going to shut up for a few days, barring some incredible piece of provocation. Over to you:
Are we turning a corner?
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An economist is walking in the woods when he falls into a deep hole. How does he get out? “First, let us assume for the purposes of our model that we have a ladder.”