Just when you think you’ve seen the worst, along comes Crowder

He is a truly vile human being.

YouTube will do nothing about this, because Crowder has 5 million subscribers. That in itself is bizarre — 5 million people watch this unfunny, bigoted hack?

I hope Farhad Manjoo’s family survives the holidays

The NY Times published a dangerously goofy piece by Manjoo that went through the scientific advice that said you should stay home to avoid spreading the pandemic, and then concluded with a mind-boggling declaration that he was going to ignore the evidence and go visit his elderly parents anyway. It’s a bizarre article that starts off informative and smart, and then falls off a cliff into wishful self-delusion. I thought about writing a bit about it, since it’s an incredibly vivid example of smart-stupid.

I’m saved some effort, though, because Rebecca Watson has already dealt with it.

I do hope his family is OK, but I also hope he is now locked down in quarantine before he goes casually gallivanting off to spread his viruses blithely with anyone because he wants to.

An irresistible headline

It really makes you want to read the whole thing, doesn’t it?

Except, when you actually read the story, it’s not that interesting. The “rise from graves” is just masses of shallowly buried mink corpses bloating and bulging up to the surface. Unpleasant, yes, but these are not zombie mustelids stalking Denmark. The “mutated form” bit is also not a big deal — viruses are constantly mutating. The real concern isn’t even mentioned in that story. The mutation is just a useful marker, as near as I can tell, that allows them to trace patterns of infection, and 12 people have been found to be infected with COVID carrying the same marker. That suggests that we could have zoonotic transmission from mink to humans (or vice versa). Also, about a fifth of the Danish mink farms have the disease among their animals, which says it’s spreading fast among the captive mink, and now we’re seeing infections and death in mink farms in Utah and Wisconsin. It also seems the virus is deadly to mink.

The Utah Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (UVDL) completed necropsies on several dead animals from the two mink farms after the mink operations reported unusually high mortality rates in their mink populations. The samples were tested at the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at Washington State University. From there, the samples were sent to the National Veterinary Services Laboratories for final conformational testing. The affected mink farms have been completely quarantined to stop the spread of SARS-CoV-2.

Denmark is going to kill 15 million mink to contain the virus. It sounds like a catastrophe for the ethical treatment of animals, but I would remind you that all 15 million were already doomed — they were raised to be slaughtered for their fur, so this is only accelerating their death…and depriving mink farmers of their profit. On the bright side, it may lead to the demise of a particularly brutal kind of animal abuse.

The plot of this drama is building rapidly to an obvious crisis

You know what the current, defeated president is watching right now? OAN. We should be concerned. That’s not a news network, it’s a propaganda organ for far-right lies, and they’re feeding his delusions.

We got through the election all right, but I worry about the spectacle that’s going to occur on 20 January. Trump believes and is loudly proclaiming that he won the election, and OAN is stirring up his angry mob. They’re going to show up for Biden’s inauguration, they’re heavily armed, and even if the Secret Service and the cops manage to winkle the wannabe-tyrant out of the oval office without needing to call in the marines, there may be blood in the streets.

We’re watching an irresponsible “news” network feeding the paranoid delusions of a madman. Are there no laws regulating the accuracy of journalism? Not that OAN practices anything remotely like journalism.

What about an online winter celebration?

Freethoughtblogs is doing it again — we’re have another fundraiser, scheduled for 5 December, with various events with the wealth of talent here on our blog network scheduled. Take a look! We’ll be filling in that page with links and YouTube videos as we assemble the various pieces of our day.

One of the events scheduled is an anniversary celebration: it will have been a year since that ridiculous SLAPP suit by Richard Carrier against Amy Frank-Skiba, Stephanie Zvan, me, Freethoughtblogs, and the Orbit collapsed in a cloud of petty stinking pity from that defeated troll, and also a nasty burden of legal debt for us. That’s why we have these fundraisers, so that maybe can all get out from under that, eventually.

Donations are greatly appreciated! You can make PayPal donations to our Freethoughtblogs account or to my personal account — they all go straight to paying off our debt. You can also join my Patreon, and chip in as little as a dollar a month; that’s also being applied entirely to our legal fund.

Happy Mediocre Thanksgiving Grading Day, or whatever

I hope you’re all celebrating by staying in place and not seeing friends and family, and may your holiday be quiet and boring and just like every other day in this endless dreary pandemic. Get used to it. You can use today to practice for the upcoming Dreary Christmas holiday.

My plan is to stay home, plod through a lot of grading, and then this evening fix a nice dinner for my wife and me. That’s kind of it. Black Friday: more grading, although I will be going into the lab to feed the spiders. This weekend: grading. Next week: I’ve opened myself up to my class for Zoom Q&As about their grades while I’m waiting for the final exams to come pouring in next Friday, when the torture grading will resume.

After that, I’ll party! At home, alone.

Almost over…

I’m about to give my last lecture of Fall 2020, so it seems only fitting to share a picture of dinosaurs at their last supper.

I AM DONE. With lecturing, anyway. Still have lots of grading. Also, I told my students I’d continue to log onto Zoom next week at regular class time in case anyone had questions about the take-home final.

The only majority that you guys have is the numbers

Watch this MAGA loon try to argue that mathematically, he wins…without any math.

He also states that We [Republicans] have 40% of the population here, you’ve only got about 60%. I just wanted to slap him and tell him that acreage doesn’t vote, people do, and that 60 is bigger than 40. Math Time for Republicans, you ass.

Deadly sequels

I was horrified to learn that Ernest Cline had written a sequel to Ready Player One, creatively titled Ready Player Two. The original was one of those books I could not believe got published, it was so badly written and was such a weaponized pile of 80s nostalgia trash, but then Steven Spielberg went and turned into a big budget CGI-rich movie (I have not been able to read the whole novel, or watch more than a few minutes of the movie), and I was shocked yet again. But now Cline has spewed out another. He’s like the Dan Brown of our decade, an inexplicable popular phenomenon that provides a constant stream of bad quotations on the internet.

But there’s an even worse prospect ahead of us: Jordan Peterson is trying to publish Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life..

Jebus. Who knew there was such a large market for shit? And that publishing houses would be so eager to line up and shell out cash for it, in spite of the fact that their employees are up in arms about it?

Four Penguin Random House Canada employees, who did not want to be named due to concerns over their employment, said the company held a town hall about the book Monday, during which executives defended the decision to publish Peterson while employees cited their concerns about platforming someone who is popular in far-right circles.

“He is an icon of hate speech and transphobia and the fact that he’s an icon of white supremacy, regardless of the content of his book, I’m not proud to work for a company that publishes him,” a junior employee who is a member of the LGBTQ community and who attended the town hall told VICE World News.

Another employee said “people were crying in the meeting about how Jordan Peterson has affected their lives.” They said one co-worker discussed how Peterson had radicalized their father and another talked about how publishing the book will negatively affect their non-binary friend.

“The company since June has been doing all these anti-racist and allyship things and them publishing Peterson’s book completely goes against this. It just makes all of their previous efforts seem completely performative,” the employee added.

Of course executives defended the publication! It’s capitalism, it’s all about the money! And of course the employees, who won’t see a penny over their fixed salaries and hourly wages, have the luxury of principles and can protest the unscrupulous decision.

It’s a self-help book by a guy who published an earlier self-help book, and then went on a self-destructive binge of drugs and weird, destructive dieting and ended up in a coma in a Russian clinic trying to cure his own self-harm with radical, expensive treatments. The only question is, did he end up in such a state because he followed his own stupid “rules for life”, or because he’s such a bad guru that he didn’t follow them? Either way, he shouldn’t be paid to dispense advice, and only a fool would listen to him.

It’s too bad that we have tens of millions of fools in 2020 America eager to lap up the corrupt drippings of bad writers.