Alex Beam in the Boston Globe today, highlighted Scott Adams’ (the creator of Dilbert) prediction in in his blog August 2015 that the “Clown Genius,” as he calls him, would win a close election up against Hilary.
“On the surface . . . Trump appears to be a narcissistic blow-hard with inadequate credentials to lead a country.”
He added to the message in the Wall Street Journal this week:
“Humor is an extraordinary tool of persuasion,”
Adams compares Trump to Ronald Reagan, “a Master Persuader — someone who sees reality as malleable because to a large degree it really is.”
“Why does he say these things? He does it because he’s creating the future. The fact checkers are missing the entire show. The show is the president is describing the future by pretending it’s the present. It’s right out of the Norman Vincent Peale playbook.”’
and read the story in The Cornell Sun
One of the great joys of my early days in professional theatre was a Blade Runner-esque version of Of Mice and Men with an extraordinary actress and an amazing person, and even though our paths have not crossed in many years, my thoughts have gone to her several times, and I finally looked her up to find that she is just as extraordinary these days.
From my friend, Dmitry Zinoviev at Suffolk Univeristy, “Seven aspects of happiness.” Co-occurrences of subject tags in 1,350 academic articles about happiness, published since 1970 (tags “happiness” and “ethics” removed as too frequent). Node size represents tag frequency, edge thickness represents tag co-occurrence frequency.
We are swimming in a world of lies and hype. Politics and the consumer society are mostly based on telling us what we want to hear. And we are happy to hear exactly that. Trump supporters and his haters both. “What do you do,” asked one of Steve Almond’s students, “if, no matter what you write, the reader won’t believe you?” Almond writes, “the nation, as a whole, seems to have no answer for it now.” And boy, we don’t. Even the sober mainstream press is not helping us take our eyes off the car crash that is our national experience at the moment. He goes on to point out that the rhetorical term for all this is “epistemic closure.” “Which is what happens when folks lock themselves inside an ideological echo chamber.”
What we have is “a president for whom lying is not a last resort but a vital political tool. The essential crisis here isn’t that Trump lies. It’s that his lies work because journalists continually debate and debunk them.”
Almond’s conclusion, is that we need to read the stories that are trying to tell us what is really going on. And to read those stories with an eye to where they might be slanted and find others to get as full a story as we can. We will never know all the details, all the facts, but lets live in this world and not some fantasy that feeds our insecurities.
“We need to turn our attention toward those who stand to lose medical insurance or clean drinking water or even the sustenance supplied by a program like Meals on Wheels. All of us must summon the courage to seek out news sources that challenge our beliefs using empiricism, not innuendo.”
It is more than time for all of us to think about the flaws in the worlds we believe in, the worlds we are trying to achieve, and the worlds we inhabit. Our dream worlds admit everyone, nor do they acknowledge the pain we have caused and continue to cause for the lifestyles we live. Mishra’s Age of Anger does some of the work, but he misses in many ways. He focuses on thinkers as representative of times and the actors in those times. The driving force of many of his ideas is Rousseau. He also tends to lump together the angers of Trump voters, Brexiteers and ISIS in a way that is too glib. Many of you have well thought out arguments about these topics, and Mishra will prompt you to resurrect those.
Franklin Foer in the New York Times:
Liberalism has no choice but to sincerely wrestle with its discontents, to become
reacquainted with its moral blind spots and political weaknesses. Technocracy —
which defines so much of the modern liberal spirit — doesn’t have a natural grasp of
psychology and emotion. But if it hopes to stave off the dark forces, it needs to grow
adept at understanding the less tangible roots of anger, the human experience
uncaptured by data, the resentments that understandably fester. A decent liberalism
would read sharp critics like Mishra and learn.
Richard Evans in The Guardian:
Of course it is right to point to the downside of “modernisation”, however the term is conceived: in particular the violent and sometimes genocidal impact of European imperialism on other parts of the world in the 19th century, and the poverty and exploitation engendered by industrialisation. If 19th-century Europe was generally peaceful, its peace was punctuated by episodes of extreme and bloody violence. But history is a many-sided phenomenon. It cannot in the end be made to serve the interests of explaining the present through the vast and questionable arguments Pankaj Mishra puts forward in this thought-provoking book.
This is from an article in TransferWise:
We’ve already done some research to know the things Brits have to adjust to in the U.S., so we decided to go deeper and find out as much as we could about British expats living in the States.
It’s no surprise that New York City is home to the most amount of Brits. However, Portsmouth, is where you are most likely to run into one. Among all the places where Brits reside, the independent city of Portsmouth, Virginia has the highest concentration of British expats relative to the city’s population. Almost 5% of this city is British.
We also dug into the social media behavior of Brits to see what the top interests are for those living in this side of the Atlantic.
The data tells us that Her Majesty, The Queen, has a significantly larger following than the Republican Party candidate Donald Trump among Brits. However, Trump comes ahead of Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party candidate, in social media likes. Making him over twice as popular as Clinton.
Interestingly enough, Brits tend to favor American celebrities (Lady Gaga over Adele) and athletes (LeBron James over David Beckham) in terms of social media. But one thing the Brits will not replace with it’s American counterpart is Cadbury, being twice as popular as Hershey’s.
But it’s not all about politics and sports, we also saw that Brits working in the U.S. are earning significantly higher per year than they would back home. More than double the average UK income.
Take a look below to see just what else we found!