O Jerusalem

One of the flaws in the concept of “History” is that important events trigger other important events, but that’s circular; it’s how we define “important.” Something is historically significant because a historian pointed at it and says, “See? Here is where that sequence of events got rolling.” That’s a conceit. Causality is real, in that events cascade in sequence and if one of them didn’t happen, subsequent events wouldn’t happen either, but human attempts to frame it are mostly an exercise in self-importance. In case you’re not up on it, that’s Michel Foucault’s main point: our interpretation of causes is always seen through a lens formed by existing power relationships.

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I Don’t Think John Oliver is “Funny.”

What he’s doing is a bit more important than comedy. In my opinion he’s a better version of John Stewart, who was sometimes distractingly funny. Oliver, unlike Stewart, has never managed to get Tucker Carlson even the least bit cancelled, whereas Stewart went into the belly of the beast and revealed him to be such a helpless hack that Crossfire was, actually, cancelled. Oliver’s funny, to be sure, but I worry that he’s mostly funny to my demographic: nerdy ageing white guys.

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So Many Of The Weird Things

When I encounter a weird story that might be an interesting core for some bloggy ruminations, I usually email it to myself. Email is my “post it note” and it’s been a great technique since I keep a complete archive of my emails going back to the 80s. The problem is that I have an in-box that consists mostly of weird messages from myself (2000+ at present).

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Fascinating and Depressing

Nima Shirazi and Adam Johnson’s podcast Citations Needed is one of my favorites; they never fail to illuminate their topic, and their research appears to be impeccable. I also like the slightly unsophisticated un-slick audio and editing; podcasting is metastasizing into a big business full of well-funded corporate drones that milk advertising opportunities, so it’s refreshing that there are a few hold-outs that stay resolutely old school. They’re just about the information.

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