NPC Memery, High Grades, Beautiful Begging

NPC Memery

The NPC meme is as fascinatingly stupid as any other slanderous image can be, but I enjoyed Evan James’ hot take over at Jacobite. I don’t want to analyze his analysis here… only to rattle off some brain drip thought…

To suggest that the far right has more liberated ideas than the far left is as silly and blind as flat earth theory—actually, they may be on to something. To be fair though, the right can at least meme. I mean, damn, they’re good at it—and funny too. Guess what! Aligning with any thought-schema makes you to some extent a Turing Machine, spitting up a tape reader with predefined answers. The internal monologue is a simulacrum: maybe something stirred their with life once but now it’s only a mirror of a mirror.

Maybe the NPC meme indicates something cheesier than just another attack. At bottom, we all want to believe our thoughts are free. So we should look to the NPC within and liberate them them from their programming through ruthless self-reflection. Or maybe at bottom, we’re really all just p-zombies.

High Grades

Lo and behold, exhaling cannabis’ sweet smoke causes students to inhale poor grades. Does the devil’s lettuce make you dumber; is the brain’s circuitry being fried like a fly in the lamplight? No. What it does do is make you indifferent, distracted, and prone to giggling. You’re not getting through the Principa Mathematica with grass growing on your fat cells.

Survey data suggest that the proportion of students who consumed marijuana at least once in the prior month increased roughly 7% from 2010 (prelegalization) to 2016 (postlegalization)… Legal access is associated with a decrease in standardized grades by about 0.016 standard deviations, or roughly one-half of the estimated effect of legal access to alcohol. The decline in grades is driven primarily by an increase in the instance of D and F grades and, consistent with earlier research, the largest grade impacts are found in quantitative courses, among weaker students, and among men…

What i don’t get is… are these kids showing up to class stoned? Or trying to study stoned? Or getting too stoned to do the work because the trippy tapestry on the wall is starting to look like a caterwauling cat?

Maybe weed is opening their third-eye and kids who once wanted to be accountants realize their true calling is nose-deep in Judith Butler or studying the colonialism Joseph Conrad. Keep smoking weed kids… we can never have too many polemicists day-jobbing on Twitter!

Beautiful Begging

Listen up homeless people and crack heads, if you want to beg outside the gas station make sure to hit the gym and wear some clothes that click to your cheeks like they’re giving those fat sacks a kiss. Instagram models prove once again that they’re at top of the economic food chain.

In the crude YouTube experiment a woman in a black top held together by as many strings as the dollars she’s begging for tells passing men that she just needs a little money for a taxi. Each one happily obliges while struggling to maintain eye contact. And for their generosity they receives a kiss on the cheek—got to love Chile (or at least I believe that’s where this takes place).

Our fearless content creator asks, “Do you think that beauty or appearance matters?” Is that rhetorical? Was any hypothesis ever in question? What the hell? Of course not. Yes, attractive people—especially women—can solicit requests with more success than a toothless addict.

Still, it’s fun to watch clueless men fumble for their wallets, or even take a walk with our heroine to an ATM so they can do their good deed of the day. Yes people. Samaritans do still exist.

High-School Believers, Attenborough on Trial, Equidistant Finns

High-School Believers (Ripe for another Musical)

Teenage years are tough: you don’t know what’s going or who the hell you are. Hormones fire missiles and escape through your cheeks to leave a zit as afterburn. It’s confusing. It’s a simple slip towards the abyss to end up on the wrong side of Prozac. But wait, there’s hope! Turns out there’s a simple cure, one that even Billy Mays wouldn’t believe. Religion is the number one cure for high-school depression.

…a one standard deviation increase in religiosity decreases the probability of being depressed by 11 percent. By comparison, increasing mother’s education from no high school degree to a high school degree or more only decreases the probability of being depressed by about 5 percent.

Funny, isn’t it? What’s most surprising to me is that involvement in school activities and friends doesn’t build bulwarks against stress, at least not in comparison to the mightiness of clasped hands.

People have an understated need for meaning: nourishment for the soul. They don’t need understanding, just the confidence that the knots holding up the foundation are tied tight with intent, that the weirdness of naked existence adds up to something other than a pair of clothes. Meaning is something I want to explore at some point when I get all the information in order.

For now, it seems like therapy is trying to be the church for a secular world, but it can’t sing in tune with the hymns.

Attenborough On Trial

Shots fired! David Attenborough is under attack by one George Monbiot in The Guardian: a person I never cared to know and likely won’t remember. It’s the kind of article that draws a thumb across its neck: “It’s coming for ya Attenborough.” What is Georgie boy so upset about? Attenborough has betrayed the nature-loving community by not signaling the alarm bells for ecological collapse. With great power comes nature documentaries that include an apocalyptic overtone. Attenborough doesn’t play along; he’s the Benedict Arnold of nature.

I have always been entranced by Attenborough’s wildlife programmes, but astonished by his consistent failure to mount a coherent, truthful and effective defence of the living world he loves. His revelation of the wonders of nature has been a great public service. But withholding the knowledge we need to defend it is, I believe, a grave disservice.

The obligations we hold influential people to is endlessly provocative. We can’t help but project our imagination—the way we conduct ourselves if were them—as the one and true path. The only path. Again and again, the powerful are exposed for their bowel movements and we find it disgusting. They’re supposed to be something transcendent: a kind of perfect piety, following what the gods deem worthy—queue a Euthyphro reference.

If I were to give Monbiot some advice it would be this: work on your vocal cords until their silky smooth and full of grace. Then go and make your own documentaries. Push whatever message you like; get a Kickstarter going. Your idol’s in twilight; pick up the torch and inspire your own sun.

Equidistant Finns

If you ever wondered whether equidistance could arise naturally look no further than the Finns. Whether or not the images are shot in Finland I can’t say (I’m not going to source an Imgur post). But I’m somewhat familiar with Nordic antisocialism and this fits the mold for the image I’ve formed.

This is how Finns wait for the bus

At a bus stop the Finnish stand at minimum six feet from each other. There’s enough room for them to be waiting within invisible tiny houses. At least it’s ordered. My bus stop experiences are a lesson in chaos as people yell into their smartphones or breathe secret rituals into your ear: “Why are you standing so close to me!” Finland is the perfect place for the misanthrope in all of us.

Deleuze’s Love Letter to Spinoza, Shaviro on Whitehead, The Best Kind of Government

Deleuze’s Boyhood Crush: Spinoza

On to Deleuze’s Spinoza: Practical Philosophy. I have never read anything Deleuze; all I do know—and its sum decreases each day—is that the Frenchie is cited in every circle I stumble into like a drunk showing up late for a wedding. Required reading. He’s one of those citable guys who has to nestle somewhere among the brain’s wirings to even begin a conversation. Or so it seems to go.

I’ve been fond of Spinoza since taking a college course years ago, more for the Tractatus than the Ethics at the time. But it’s the life of Spinoza, the life of a philosopher that’s so attractive, in the same way I’m drawn to the literary figure of Diogenes the same way the flies were to his smell.

Hunched over, breathing air sparkling with glass shards, and creating a philosophy of joy despite being a pariah by the community at large. What a life! It’s not the ascetic that’s admirable but the courageous commitment, to exhaust one’s energies in a total pursuit.

There is, then, a philosophy of “life” in Spinoza; it consists precisely in denouncing all that separates us from life, all these transcendent values that are turned against life, these values that are tied to the conditions and illusions of consciousness. Life is poisoned by the categories of Good and Evil, of blame and merit, of sin and redemption. What poisons life is hatred, including the hatred that is turned back against oneself in the form of guilt.

Deleuze’s work reads is the philosophical equivalent of a grade school I like you do you like me letter? Well worth finding if you’ve ever been charmed by Spinoza.

Whitehead’s Causality

Continuing on my way to Tartarus I stumbled upon Steven Shaviro’s essay, “Whitehead on Causality and Perception:” emphasizing Whitehead’s openness to error and how it leads to his own understanding of causality. It shouldn’t be a surprise. Considering the Principia Mathematica may be the largest philosophical blunder of the early 20th Century thanks to the young apocalyptic horseman Kurt Gödel.

For Whitehead, according to Shaviro (because my copy of Process and Reality remains minty fresh), causality is in bed with perception. By virtue of perception, causality is. Fun sentence eh? No need for the transcendent; no need to fall back on the happy coincidences of correlation. Now I’m not explaining much here because I’ve read the PDF once and it takes more than one lick to seal an envelope.

For the mainstream of modern Western philosophy, causality is an example of a relation that must be put into doubt, because it is supposedly not given in perception. Whitehead counters this by showing that causality is not just an abstract condition for perceptive experience (which Kant had argued already), but is also an actually given component of experience. Causal efficacy is in fact directly experienced, even though this direct experience is not necessarily Conscious.

Time to break the spine of my Whitehead.

The Way City Government Should/Could/Ought? Be

And this time the best is saved for last…

In the quiet village of Carpentersville, Illinois the greatest board of meeting of all time took place on April 1, 2008. An epic battle between municipal powers that shook the sawdust-choked earth and chucked storms across the land. Former village president Bill Sarto refuses to abandon his motion. He DEMANDS somebody second his proposal, and will filibuster the hell out of the locals until he gets what he wants. What follows is the best YouTube video I watched on Monday.

American government is rarely exciting, nothing like British parliament (the saving grace of CSPAN). But when civility wanes and tensions flare it’s the reality TV we deserve—woe to Baudrillard.

From my representatives I want to see passions fly, collide… rage against the dying of their motion. Sarto below ends up reaching for any insult he can muster to get his way like a spoiled child on Dr. Phil—and it’s glorious:

Bad Writing, South Sea Scamming, & Flaunt your Wealth

The Bad Writing Contest

It’s unfortunate the Bad Writing Contest lived only three years, from 1996 – 1998. Pointing out nonsense is a civil service, like showing children that the monster in their room is nothing but a shadow. Philosopher Denis Duton stopped too soon.

The winner of 1998 is a delight: Miss Judith Butler, of contemporary fame thanks to her associations with gender theory a and a brilliant Onion parody. Her too-smart-for-you winning sentence goes:

The move from a structuralist account in which capital is understood to structure social relations in relatively homologous ways to a view of hegemony in which power relations are subject to repetition, convergence, and rearticulation brought the question of temporality into the thinking of structure, and marked a shift from a form of Althusserian theory that takes structural totalities as theoretical objects to one in which the insights into the contingent possibility of structure inaugurate a renewed conception of hegemony as bound up with the contingent sites and strategies of the rearticulation of power.

Duton writes, “To ask what this means is to miss the point. This sentence beats readers into submission and instructs them that they are in the presence of a great and deep mind. Actual communication has nothing to do with it.”

This stifling garbage scatters academic writing like flies on shit.

But it’s also simmering in everyday writer’s prose as well. In an effort to appear as educated as that Master’s Degree warrants, bloggers and journalists have adopted an esoteric language that’s more occult than real. It’s worst offense—and one I can hardly stand—is the ol’ reference-language-game, in which you make upturned nose references to obscure writings to appear to be in-the-know.

“Yes, you are very smart.”

Maybe I should have a section on the site dedicated to abominations that should have been aborted long before the keyboard’s clacks. Stay tuned.

South Sea Company

If you think hype-scamming is a recent phenomenon, think again. The cryptocurrency world should have studied the past before taking out loans to invest in Altcoin 2.0:

The South Sea Company (officially The Governor and Company of the merchants of Great Britain, trading to the South Seas and other parts of America, and for the encouragement of fishing)[3] was a British joint-stock company founded in 1711, created as a public-private partnership to consolidate and reduce the cost of national debt. The company was also granted a monopoly to trade with South America and nearby islands, hence its name (the modern use of the term “South Seas” to refer to the entire South Pacific was unknown in England at the time). When the company was created, Britain was involved in the War of the Spanish Succession and Spain controlled South America. There was no realistic prospect that trade would take place, and the company never realised any significant profit from its monopoly. Company stock rose greatly in value as it expanded its operations dealing in government debt, peaking in 1720 before collapsing to little above its original flotation price; the economic bubble became known as the South Sea Bubble.

Bubbles rise and POP. And no matter how many contributions you make to physics there’s no guarantee you won’t fall for the scam, i.e. Isaac Newton was no exception.

The lesson? Do your damn homework instead of copying the kid wearing glass with scotch tape on the left temple. It’s likely they know less than you do, or nothing at all.

Flaunt your wealth

What better way to go as viral as herpes than to spill out of a car with your daddy’s wealth all over the floor?

Chinese millionaire children—with little else to do than hunt for likes from Mongols—pretend to collapse, while their Gucci bags, lipsticks, and iPhones spread out in front of them (plural because you know, rich). Funny, how the spread is so organized. I guess chaos does create order.

Thank you, China for the scientific lesson.