December 18, 2017

The parking lot music system playing a schmaltzy version of Auld Lang Syne makes me feel like I'm trapped in some old movie flashback sequence.
"I did not like any of this. As I've mentioned, I am an only child. This makes me a member of the world-wide, super-smart, afraid-of-conflict narcissist club. And let me emphasize: afraid-of-conflict. Since I had no siblings to routinely challenge or hit me, and equally no interest in playing sports, I'd grown up without any experience in conflicts. I therefore had no reason to imagine confrontation of ANY kind, ranging from fighting to kissing was not, probably, fatal."
--John Hodgman, "Vacationland"
"The big trouble with dumb bastards is that they are too dumb to believe there is such a thing as being smart."
--Kurt Vonnegut. It reminds me this recent Sam Harris podcast with Tom Nichols, Defending the Experts - a super bright guy (a Never-Trumper despite being a Republican - and firmly in the 'Trump probably didn't want to win for reals' camp) who is just aghast at how "my common sense gut feel is better than your studied expertise" is running over the land. He made an interesting point about the kind of people who revel in Trump's success - apart from the white nationalist element, there are people who just feel left out by age of increasing technological change and expertise. I knew that, but pointing out that many of these people aren't even struggling financially, from communities stuck by heavy industry screw-over and the opioid epidemic - but they still feel chronically out of the loop - that part was a new angle for me, with some explanatory power.