Perfection

One of the strangest ideas — particularly among so-called liberals/leftists — is that one be immaculately free of errors or mistakes. I’ve seen this trend of expected perfection develop from essential non-existence during the 1980s and 1990s, to reaching its current level of absurdity that is the present. But no one is free of mistakes of thought or morals.

Everyone is going to find things they said (in writing or otherwise) from 10, 15, or 20 years ago and realize that some combination of personal growth and changing mores combine to make it seem dated and inappropriate now. If you think that’s not true in your case, there is an outstanding chance that you’re lying to yourself and even greater a chance that you’re dangerously narcissistic and see yourself as essentially flawless and incapable of error.

This is very different from the “consciousness raising” and other dialog methods of the 1960s. Yes, they seem hokey and dated to us now, but I’d argue they are more realistic and more aligned with how humans actually work. After all, achieving an error-free state is not even remotely possible. Those who claim it are lying, ludicrous hypocrites.

It’s likely that increasing polarization led to this, but that can’t wholly explain it. Probably also it has to to do with the isolation and essential disconnectedness of internet dialog as well.

Needed More Wrinkles

I didn’t want it to be, but holy hell, A Wrinkle in Time was a very bad movie.

Can anybody find a plot anywhere and put it in that movie? It’s in dire need of one. Nothing in the film made the least bit of sense. It literally could be recut and assembled in any order and be just as comprehensible.

Yes, like most books, I have read the source book and it didn’t have (as far as I can recall, I read it when I was 20) the same problems as the film. The nonexistent plot, though, wasn’t the sole issue. Wrinkle was miscast, poorly shot, had an over-reliance on CGI, and did we really need a twenty foot tall Oprah Winfrey? I’d argue that we did and do not.

Worst of all, the film strongly implied (really outright stated) that bullied people deserve it and bring it on themselves. Despite all the other flaws of the film, this was the very worst part.

In some ways, it is comforting that a woman of color can make a film just as unbearably bad as anyone else. It was so awful that if I’d had anywhere else to go at the moment, I would’ve walked out of the film.

Do not recommend for any age, or for anyone with more than two brain cells to rub together. Just a terrible movie.

Xof

Hilariously, Chrome is now “updating” its design to look like Firefox before Firefox decided to become a complete Chrome clone.

This commenter, however, said it best.

A Mozilla representative responded, “CAN’T TALK BUSY UNDOING EVERYTHING!”

Firefox began its long, inevitable slide when Mozilla decided it must be more like Chrome than its own browser with its own capabilities and advantages. Very apropos to see Chrome mime Firefox of 5+ years ago as Firefox recedes in importance and influence.

Side of Clueless

This is where Kevin Drum lets his full economically clueless side show.

He’s always been a “nothing is possible” centrist, of course. Also, he claims to understand politics but really does not. For instance, among the many other nuances he misses, Bernie’s proposal is how you start a negotiation.

Simplest and most effective negotiation tactic in the world is to begin the ask with more than you ever realistically expect to get. (As opposed to the Obama negotiation technique of giving everything away in advance and hope the other side cedes some bare crumbs back out of pity.)

Let’s take a look at Drum’s “insight,” though.

This is why even our lefty comrades in social democratic Europe don’t guarantee jobs for everyone. It would cost a fortune; it would massively disrupt the private labor market; it would almost certainly tank productivity; and it’s unlikely in the extreme that the millions of workers in this program could ever be made fully competent at their jobs.

First of all, no. Second, massively disrupting the private labor market is the whole fucking point. Goddamn Drum is without a single bit of clue.

Third, have you noticed that we have a really massive military, and a large number of government employees? Why does he (nor any other centrist) examine it from that perspective? There are about 1.5 million active duty military members currently. In addition, there approximately 22 million government employees of all types in the country already. That is out of about 155 million full-time and part-time workers total.

In other words, government and military jobs are already 15% of all existing employment in the country. Adding even 10 million people (Kevin Drum’s horrific nightmare scenario) will make that a whopping 21.6%. Oh my, how will we ever pay for that increase back to…just a bit above what it was during the unbearable year of 1972.

Surprised? I’m not, because I know my history and I know exactly what has Kevin Drum all angsty and yet embarrassingly clueless at the same time. Being a “no change is possible” centrist means you are more concerned with your house price than the future generations; more cognizant of the possibility of having to share your gold-plated health care plan with someone who doesn’t deserve it than with how the next generation is even going to live; and more interested in fighting the future than with helping your fellow citizens also partake in the great prosperity Drum has enjoyed his entire life — including that Drum went to a nearly-free college in the 1970s that he also cites now as an impossibility.

Cashing Up

I’m just old enough to recall when being a cashier or a retail clerk, as this post mentions, was a respected career choice.

when i first got hired as a cashier, my manager who had been doing that since she was like 17 in 1975 told me that back in The Days, when you were hired as a cashier in a grocery store it was a) a well paid job & you could get full time work easily b) a respected career choice c) the store closed at 6pm and was closed on Sundays so the hours were a lot more pleasant d) they made you go to cashier school for 2 weeks, which was basically a fake grocery store and you just learned the trade completely before even meeting a customer.

As I said, I’m old enough to remember some of this. Now, when someone says “cashier,” that implies a person who has Failed in LifeTM, but when my hometown had a semi-functional downtown a cashier or a clerk was seen as a professional who could help you out in ways that sometimes you didn’t even know you needed.

This was all obliterated by the casualization, de-professionalization and corporatization of the profession.

One day I will tell you the unbelievable story of how custodians and janitors used to be held in much higher regard, too.

Ident

The left’s complete focus on identity politics for the last two decades while ignoring all economic issues is now coming back to bite it.

But, increasingly, partisan identity is aligning with racial and religious identity, according to research by Dr. Mason. This, along with deepening partisan distrust, is creating one of the worst possible conditions in a multiethnic democracy: a growing belief that elections are a zero-sum contest for control among racial and religious groups.

Neoliberalism, of course, demands that we don’t feel we are all in this together, and the left and Democrats are just another variety of neoliberal actor these days.