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Links & comment: Episode VII: The Revenge of the Dark Enlightenment
November 30, 2012, 10:01 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Stuff I read and stuff

  • The game theory of the ‘fiscal cliff’. Gives me a headache. Just go over it and see what happens! (I bet, not much.)
  • See, to his ‘credit’ (I guess), Matthew Yglesias is being consistently pop-Keynesian in his approach to this ‘cliff’ stuff: spending is ipso facto good because it is ‘stimulus’ and that ipso facto helps the economy; tax revenue is a means to this good-economy-helping-spending; etc. If you too are a pop-Keynesian then sure you should be all hugely worried about this ‘cliff’ stuff and insist that some ‘deal’ be sorted out. Why (R)s would fall into that trap is beyond me, but I guess they aren’t called the stupid party for nothing.
  • TSA and statist pricks
  • I usually agree with Steve Sailer more than it’s possible to admit in polite company, but I will never understand why he is so obsessed with steroids in baseball and has so much trouble separating the purpose/goals/function of statistical analysis from that of hey-they’re-on-steroids! analysis.
  • I recognize that the ‘if you don’t legalize gay marriage, we lesbians will marry your boyfriends’ video is a joke, but actually, I don’t see what would be so wrong with any of that. Lesbians should totally marry dudes if they wanna. Historically, I’m pretty sure that went on all the time and was a fine arrangement. This is why I have always insisted that ‘gay marriage’ is and has always been perfectly legal: sure, gay people, get married. Be my guest. Gays always have! What’s the prob?
  • Some stubborn people are still not buying the Benghazi story. Hey, remember that? Way back when?
  • Basel III will incentivize banks to hold more short duration securities and less Treasuries/MBS. Because, uh, that’s what we want of banks. I mean, surely someone thought all this out and the Basel approach to capital isn’t just a matter of flinging a model against the wall and seeing which incentives pop out. Right?
  • Obamacare is starting to happen to people, it would appear.
  • Falkenstein explains the perils of winding down. I wish this were more understood by decisionmakers. At the margin, it means that in practice there will be cases where winding-down a business is more costly than not doing so. “Let’s just wind it down!” is an easy, lazy, utopian option that can do more harm than good. It often means the person making the decision hasn’t and doesn’t wanna dig into the details: easier just to (they think) instantaneously turn that part of the report into a bunch of 0s. Problem solved! Only, not really.
  • I’m greeting the news/speculation of more Star Wars ‘Episodes’ and/or spinoffs with a mixture of excitement and dread. I want to like the idea of more movies, but there are just so many ways they can be screwed up. And from everything I’ve ever seen/heard of Star Wars’s ‘expanded universe’, the novels, Luke’s kids, Han’s kids, etc., it all sounds supremely cartoonish. I do not need to see movies about cartoonish video-game characters “Kyle Katarn” or “Mara Jade”. I could write more (endlessly) about this, but basically, cartoonishness is exactly where Star Wars started to go wrong (not just the prequels, but Return of the Jedi as well). Worse, this ‘spinoff’ idea just screams ‘the origin story of some cartoonish Jedi with a weird head’, or, ‘the early adventures of Boba Fett’. Just no. ACTUAL HUMAN CHARACTERS PLEASE. Do people still not get what went wrong with the prequels?
  • Feel the power of The Dark Enlightenment.

10 Comments so far
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Steve Sailer has a number of side obsessions that occasionally leak into his blogging. Apparently Nate Silver and baseball statistics are the obsession du jour. I never knew that a person could have that much to say about baseball statistics, which I always thought were pretty straightforward and unremarkable. I guess the subtext is to puncture the Nate Silver balloon that has popped up in the wake of the election.

Comment by Matt

I like baseball statistics, I think Nate Silver has been an interesting story, and meanwhile, the steroids thing was an interesting (in a bad way) story. It’s just the fact that Sailer seems so determined to fuse these stories together that makes me go Huh?

Comment by Sonic Charmer

I have been befuddled in the same way for a while now. I appreciate your clarity in describing the dissonance he has been demonstrating when he writes about baseball.

Comment by Ian

“Alt Right”

I was right before right was cool.

Comment by eddie

31 Days to the cliff! It’s getting so close… but I still worry it will all fade away in some kind of ‘deal’ that suddenly appears one day…

Comment by joshua

I forget where I read this insight, but someone pointed out that the mere fact we’re being treated to so much of this Fiscal Cliff Theater probably in and of itself is evidence that some sort of ‘deal’ is already a fait accompli. I just can’t wait to find out what’s in it.

Comment by Sonic Charmer

Not sure it was the right thing to do, but I just left the following comment on Sailer’s blog:

[Second only to Sonic Charmer's transcendent "Rhymes With Cars and Girls",] Steve, yours is my favorite blog, and it has been for years – and I read many. I’ve literally thought to myself the exact words, “Steve Sailer is a national treasure”. I appreciate your clarity, intelligence, honesty, and yes comprehensive thinking. I have imagined to myself that, if I were ever a political leader, I would be on the phone to you, asking for your advice, perspective, and insights, as often as I could get away with.

That said, honestly, one of the few things that I don’t like about your blogging (and you do it less now than you used to) is when you bitch abound people who get rich, famous, and influential doing what you do (quantitative-ish analysis of social trends), but in a more mainstream palatable (perhaps we could say “dishonest” and “sell-out-y”) way. Meanwhile, you are more insightful and tell the truth – but panhandle for money on your blog.

Gladwell and Steve Levitt are examples of two guys who have gotten you steamed with their success in the past, and Daniel Kahneman did recently. Yes, I agree with you that those guys are BS artists. Yes, in my version of a sane world, you would be making Gladwell or Thomas Friedman money and have their audience, and they would be hustling up donations on a blog. But honestly, the emotionally charged articles you have sometimes written about those guys huge speaking fees and immense popularity, or how you personally are more accurate than they are about something, are not my favorite posts of yours.

Seems to me that Nate Silver and Bill James have both gotten your goat similarly recently, and it seems to me that their recent mainstream acclaim and influence is part of it. Unlike Gladwell, Levitt, and Kahneman, you don’t know enough about what they actually write about to upend them on content (eg lol calling Miguel Caberera over Trout for the AL MVP this year). So, the statheads must be invalid … because they never wrote about steroids, and you did. That’s the way it looks to me from here on the other side of the computer at least, and it doesn’t ring true.

Comment by Ian

He does go to an unseemly place with some of those posts and their insinuations. Essentially the picture he’s been trying to paint of pure stat amateur hobbyist-turned-professional Bill James, for example, is of someone who, since the late 80s, has been laying in wait for a baseball front-office position – biding his time, and biting his tongue about steroids. 15 years later, finally the call came from the Red Sox. His Master Plan, hatched back in his mid ’70s days as a cannery security guard, and put into play in ’87-88, of intentionally not saying Jose Canseco was on steroids finally paid off and now he can rake in the big front-office bucks, which was his real obsession and goal. Not that boring stats stuff. That was just a front.

None of this makes the slightest bit of sense to anyone with a passing familiarity of Bill James. So you wonder where Sailer comes up with it, if not simply envy. Oh well, I have envy too. Actually I’m envious of Steve Sailer’s talent and prolific output!

Comment by Sonic Charmer

Well put on all counts. You’re not such a bad writer yourself, SC.

I doubt Bill James is making much more than enough to get by, even now. But he is honored and revered by the stathead army, by Michael Lewis’ many readers, and by the people who have seem the glowing hagiographies in the main stream press. Sailer, meanwhile, is God for us in the little alt-Right blog world, but is unfortunately widely reviled, ridiculed, and blacklisted (or just plain unknown) outside of it.

And, since the two men (broadly speaking) do a similar thing (esp since James has branched into social analysis), it seems to me that the difference in reception eats at Sailer. It’s an understandable reaction. But his reaction to it, to go after James (and Silver) about steroids, does, yes, seem strange.

Comment by Ian

You’re too kind. But thanks.

Comment by Sonic Charmer




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