I think Marcus Ranum just diagnosed my problem.
I am so full of anger and hatred that it’s 3:00am and I can’t sleep.
Hey, that’s my problem! I just checked my dipstick, and yep, I’m overflowing with bile. No wonder I’m waking up in the middle of the night.
What’s making the bitter gall flow? It’s similar to what annoys me: Joe Rogan and the whole elaborate pile of bullshit that is the current ladder to success. Rogan is just one symptom, but hoo boy, his recent not-pology pushed all my buttons, too.
Then, Rogan made his elaborate not-pology, basically saying that he’s just a dumb jock, and he’s a curious guy who likes to interview trolls. Basically, he’s pulling the Oprah excuse, “I didn’t create ‘Doctor’ Phil, I just uh… promoted him and handed him my microphone. He’s the grifter, not me!” Everyone is playing the same song, and it’s edging perilously close to the “free speech” defense. You know, that one? It’s usually followed around by its nasty little cousin “Both sides”. And that’s where I have to stop and call ‘bullshit’ on the whole thing.
It’s grifters all the way up.
We have to be a lot less forgiving of the bullshit, “I am just trying to learn…” dodge. Let me speak as someone who used to teach (fairly well-reviewed and popular!) classes around the world: I would not give a 1 hour lecture on any topic whatsoever without developing the expertise, first. It usually took me most of a day to write any given 1 hour presentation and I already knew my topic. If someone offered me $1 mil to do a talk on virology, sure, I would do it but it’d be basically a wad of “this paper says this and this professor says that and isn’t it all cool?” That’s being a cheerleader, not an expert, but I’d take the $1 mil. Anyone who is trying to have a public conversation about any given topic, whatever, owes their audience the simple attention to detail to absorb the supporting knowledge necessary to have the conversation. That’s why I have to hoist another great big “fuck Joe Rogan” flag – he had Jordan Peterson on his show and simply batted the bullshit-ball back and forth; that tells me that he (and his handlers) didn’t do the simplest, most basic research, to figure out that Jordan Peterson is a sociopathic compulsive liar who doesn’t even bother to get his facts straight in the field he professes; never mind the other fields: the guy is omni-wrong. Interviewing Jordan Peterson is not the time to play dumb jock, it’s the time to pull out the verbal knife. That is the only way to get these people off the mainstream media: make them walk off the stage with the rhetorical equivalent a fat lip and a bootprint on the seat of their pants. Any “interviewer” who can’t hold their own against a bullshit artist is, ipso facto, a bullshit artist themself. Or they’re not qualified to hold a mic.
Right. I’m giving a one-hour lecture today, on a subject I’m familiar with and have been teaching for a couple of decades, and I still have to sweat over it for a few hours, reviewing material, trying to figure out better ways to present the topic, thinking ahead to how it will fit in the rest of the curriculum, putting in late nights and early mornings on the class. I can’t get up to the lectern and bloviate with a fellow bullshitter for an hour. Where’s my million dollars?
And seriously, is Rogan even worth the hundred million dollars Spotify paid him? He doesn’t bring any expertise to the table. Just go down to the local bar and offer the motormouth (there’s always one) $50 and a case of beer to sit in front of a microphone. Oh, right: he’s paid to bring his custom-built audience of artisanal stupid people along. That’s his value-added.
Oops. Whoopi Goldberg just got suspended for two weeks over her Holocaust remarks. Black woman gets stronger corporate response than dumb jock, news at 11.
The thing is, there isn’t really anything most of us can do about any of this stuff. Getting angry and full of bile doesn’t help anybody, and it just shortens your lifespan. And might lead one to doing something that would just make things worse. (Keep in mind, the mindset you describe is really the mindset that drives White Supremacist terrorists.)
I recommend my way of coping:
1. Figure out what concrete things I can do. E.g., I don’t give my money to Amazon. (I will grudgingly use the gift cards that my totally un-“woke” family-of-origin people send us.)
Otherwise, disconnect. No social media. I get my news from my local newspaper, which limits my exposure. I figure that anything I really need to know I’m going to hear about, anyway. (I’m still working on limiting my exposure to bile-filled SJW blogs, though.)
P.S.: I was going to say the same to Marcus Ranum in response to his post, but he seems to me to be too addicted to being angry to listen.
It is that way for most people.
Think about what it is like to be trans, nonwhite, female, gay, nonxian, etc..
These days, the newest target of the modern know nothings are…health care workers. Doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, all the support workers, etc.., especially those that are working overtime to save the lives of antivaxxer Covid-19 virus patients. They get constant verbal abuse from the patients and their families, and assaults are common to the point where even the hospital security is starting to burn out and quit. Common insults are “killer” and “murderer” and the hospitals are supposedly deliberately killing people for the federal bounty.
They’ve been quitting the hospitals to the point, where there is now a…health care worker shortage right at the peak of the Omicron wave.
I threw out my TV during the Reagan administration and never missed it.
You might think of taking a vacation from the worst of the media for a while and getting some distance. You aren’t wrong but you have to just do what you can and make sure your life isn’t another victim.
One of my favorite quotes.
PZ and Freethoughtblogs are a candle in the darkness.
The demons of ignorance and misinformation are people like Joe Rogan, Jordan Peterson, most GOP politicians, and the christofascists.
Frankly, I’m at a loss as to why anyone wants to pay attention to the Joe Rogan neurosurgery self-care center nonsense.
It’s right up there with Trump bragging about an uncle who is a physicist, so that qualified him in biology and medicine. Or Rogan’s driving through a college campus, which somehow educated him.
Marcus Ranum’s take on Rogan reminds me of the old “unemployed stand-up philosopher” bit from Mel Brooks’ History of the World Part 1. Rogan’s just a bullshit artist too, but unlike Comicus, he’s not even remotely funny.
If ignorance is bliss, these imbeciles spouting things they know nothing about should be ecstatic! When my bullshit meter pegs, my gag reflex is triggered. Freethought blogs and pharyngula in particular helps decrease the reading on my bullshit meter. Thank you Prof. Myers and all the intelligent commenters here.
Dennis K says
@1 — I don’t waste time on anger anymore, either. I say this after suffering decades of bitterness and disgust and revenge fantasy. I’m done with it. Lucky me to be old, unlucky to those just starting out.
As biochemical machinery responding to external stimuli, humanity has badly overshot environmental checks on population and wedded itself to “technology” too quickly for our genes to keep up. Meh. Extinction’s been the rule for countless eons. Hubris, to think we’re somehow an improvement over microbes.
Were we more sophisticated when Cliff Clavin was a recognizable character on the sitcom Cheers and not expected to provide reliable information? How did know-it-alls manage to monetize so effectively? Maybe people need to stop watching YouTube and connect with a live bullshit artist for a change.
Marcus Ranum says
Just go down to the local bar and offer the motormouth (there’s always one) $50 and a case of beer to sit in front of a microphone
Hey, why hasn’t Marc Maron gotten a $10mn deal? He’s not as big a draw as Rogan but he’s another of the internet’s local bar motormouths.
Marcus Ranum says
If ignorance is bliss, these imbeciles spouting things they know nothing about should be ecstatic!
Well, it’s always been interesting to me that Oprah, ‘Doctor’ Phil, Joe Rogan, etc., don’t just look at their bank balance and go, “well, I’m outta here!” and hit the cocaine and lamborghinis circuit, or whatever one does when one is leading a satisfied life. The only conclusion I can leap to is that blowing an endless stream of bullshit is what satisfies them. They’re addicted to the bright lights and the dull-eyed fans who nod along as if they know what’s going on. Basically, their idea of what’s fun and what completes them is to fuck with people’s heads.
Remember the name Suzanne Scott. She is the ceo of Fox News. She is ultimately responsible for the narrative of anti-vaccination and anti-public health propaganda. As millions refuse the simple measures that could save them, she and her evil little minions are making millions on ads viewed during the very popular anti-vaxx and anti-public health stories. 2500 Americans are dying every day. A non-trivial part of them turned down vaccines after watching Fox News.
Never forget. Never forgive.
Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says
I am legitimately expert on a couple of narrow topics, and every time I even think about pulling out the expert card and going off on a topic where I’m knowledgeable, I get to quaking. And when I go off on topics where I’m not an expert (as I have with, say, La Guerre des Farines), I’m triply nervous. So I do what Marcus would do with the $1million virology talk: I work my damnedest to pull from reputable sources and avoid going past the limits of what I can footnote.
All of this is to say that I can’t even imagine taking $100million to go off on topics of my ignorance for hours a day. I’d be an emotional train wreck halfway through the first week.
I don’t worry about imposter syndrome in normal life as much as in paid employment. I’m always amazed at all the random names and acronyms my coworkers know (for cloud services today, but some other thing ten years ago). Usually if I dig deep, I find it is just a new label for a familiar concept in computer science, but I still feel like I’m gramps asking where they put the gramophone. Heck, they still pay me, so it’s a pretty good grift.
There are a few things I know very well, such as the point set proximity algorithms I wrote my dissertation about. Anyone want to talk about point set proximity? Didn’t think so. Even there, if some of the researchers I cited were to show up I’d still revert to “junior grad student hoping some of this is publishable.”
Eh, who needs to be an expert. I think bullshit properly labeled as bullshit is totally fine. It’s not the product, but a matter of truth in advertising.
Well, that’s pretty blatantly true of Dr. Oz, who was actually quite well respected (and well paid) as a surgeon at one point, but for whom being able to parade his god complex in front of an enraptured audience is now clearly more important than the surgery he has rarely been doing for several years now.
I don’t get the Whoopi Goldberg thing. All she said was that it’s about man’s inhumanity to man rather than being about race. The only ones for whom it was about race was the Nazis, who considered the Jews to be a different race. There was nothing hurtful or hateful in what Whoopi said.
This should go without saying, but he’s not paid to bring expertise. He’s paid to bring viewers and thus advertising dollars. It’s the market in action. And what do you know? Market forces do not optimize the quality of information on offer. Shocking.
That should make people wonder if the market economy is really such an effective system after all, but a more typical response is the Panglossian notion that somehow the success of Joe Rogan works for the public good. How do you compete when the audience really wasn’t looking for expertise in the first place, or wouldn’t recognize it?
Christoph, Imagine that someone said that Jim Crow was about man’s inhumanity to man rather than an overt attempt to wipe out black people in this country as a political or economic force. Or imagine that one said the Trail of Tears was a shameful incident in human history without noting that it was directed against Indigenous peoples. These statements are not so much wrong as they fail to note that it was a particular group that bore the suffering.
You cannot understand the Holocaust without noting the previous thousand years or so of European repression of Jews. (According to Erica Jong, you must have also experienced German toilet paper as well.)
@snarkrates, # 17: I’m not disparaging the Holocaust, I’m just pointing out that is about more than race. In addition to Jews, homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Gypsies were also exterminated. Whoopi was looking at a horrible episode of history with a different perspective. It doesn’t make it any less horrible, it’s just horror viewed from a different angle. My point was that Jews aren’t a different race, although they were viewed that way by racists.
The Vicar (via Freethoughtblogs) says
If that were the whole problem, there wouldn’t really be a problem. The other half is the real issue: all the impostors think they’re qualified people.
(Like, for example, we had some total amoral idiot in Congress who supported the Iraq invasion and the protofascist USA PATRIOT Act, who decided that the US should back neo-Nazis in the Ukraine despite the EU being totally against it purely because they believed, falsely, that it would put Russia in a cleft stick, and now it turns out that that was a massive disaster and everybody gets to sweat out whether Biden is smart enough to avoid setting off World War III, which is not at all certain. And that same total amoral idiot had the unmitigated nerve to run for President in 2016, and even some of the people commenting here were so incredibly stupid that they thought this was a good idea. Such utterly useless people should be weeded out of the run for leadership long before reaching the Congressional level; impostors at the highest levels.)
Walter Solomon says
Well, that’s the point. The Nazis are to blame for the Holocaust and they were, without a doubt, motivated by race; or, at least, their stupid ideas about race.
Whoopi’s point isn’t so much wrong since the vast majority of the Nazis victims — Jews, Roma, Slavs, Czechs, Poles, European gays and Communists — would, without a single doubt, be considered white in the US and be afforded all of the privilege that comes with being white here. The problem is her point was irrelevant in the context that it was mentioned. We weren’t talking about how these groups would be viewed in the US, but how the perpetrators of the atrocities against them (the Nazis) viewed them, which was that they were of a different, inferior race than “Aryans.”
That said, I don’t agree with suspending her. It would’ve been a good opportunity to have an expert on the Holocaust on The View to discuss these things and correct misconceptions. To dismiss her as if she’s a Holocaust denier is not good look for ABC.
about the Woopi comment and the reaction to it.
she was see racism from her personal experience true and what she sees, the jewish race looks like a fiction and illusion and does not exist as a thing. So close because as has been discussed here before race is an illusion almost completely impossible to define with anything like clear well defined edges. any discussion of racism that does not take that into consideration seriously is accepting a definition of race as something real. so she is correct and at the same time basically incomplete.. racism is a fig leaf that is trying to justify the essential inhumanity and irrationality of the hate.
The corporate reaction is hopelessly pandering as you would expect of an entity whose main value and reason for being is money and how to make it.
Rogan is an ass but spotify is a vampire
Rich Woods says
I had to look it up just to confirm that it is what I thought it was! Detail will have to remain firmly in the past.
Honestly we need more boycotts of Spotify, until Rogan gets the boot.
About the evil anti-vaxxer that started the nonsense that is killing millions:
“God Awful Movies 59: Vaxxed”
More evil anti-vaxxer nonsense.
“GAM 248 Plandemic part 1”
The husband of the woman who made the Plandemic movie died from…the Covid-19 virus.
For an imaginary virus, the Covid-19 virus has killed many millions worldwide so far.
One of Petersons rambling Joe Rogan vacuities made it to Askhistorians. If you want to see how someone should deal with his crap, this is fun – https://www.reddit.com/r/AskHistorians/comments/sh92go/in_a_recent_interview_with_joe_rogan_jordan/hv1x5vm/?context=3
@18 You forgot the disabled murdered under the T4 programme.