From Were You Dream


Stand back.  I’m going to disagree with Jordan Peterson.

Yes, I know, even great men are allowed to have a blind spot, but his is a doozy and three miles wide: even through everything he’s gone through, he still believes that the preponderance of liberals in the arts and creative professions is because “liberals are creative personalities, willing to take risks.”

Dear Lord.  What is wrong with that wouldn’t fit in a library filled with books the size of the Oxford dictionary, in tiny print, the kind you need the magnifying glass to read (yes, I always wanted one of those.  Nope, don’t have one.)

It starts with the fact that most “liberals” aren’t even capable of taking risks in thought.  They want everything regimented, and directions from above about what to think about every minute subject or portion of a subject.  And if you question any of their shibboleths, they call you racisss sexissss homophobic, even if what you’re discussing is taxes, or the price of books.  These words are the equivalent of their putting fingers in ears and going lalalalala, then running away screaming for mommy/government/twitter mob.

It continues with the fact that the arts are dominated by liberals because they’re dominated by liberals. Of course liberals only hire/promote/give legitimacy to other liberals.  Look, if you believed your opponents were evil incarnate, what would you think? That you could allow them into your field?  Of course not.  If the parameters for good art were “speeds the arrival of the revolution” you’d see as bad art everything that denies it.  And why would you want bad art or bad artists?  This is why the people on the left in my field think with all honesty the unreadable and preachy tomes they promote are “good”.  And ours are bad, perhaps not just despite being fun, but because they’re fun. Because they’ve learned to associate good with “non-challenging.”

Also, because of this our arts have become … stultified.  Not just in writing, but in painting and in everything.  The skewed idea of what art is for; the stuffing of the field with conformists unable to step or even think outside the narrow confines of their indoctrination has created quite possibly the most shallow, uniform and uncreative artistic and entertainment expression ever.  And it promotes some truly bizarrely bad artists who nonetheless get ALL the approval of the elites.

The funny thing is that Peterson describes the artistic personality very well.  If you’re even minimally organized and able to create, you will go very far indeed.  Two of my friends and colleagues are like that.  I fit the more neurotic mold, though how much of that is overwork, I don’t know nor can think about for another year at least.

Still, I wonder what the castrating of our — as a society — imagination does.  Sure, okay, yeah, normal human society doesn’t have a lot of room for imagination.  The good artist is the one just slightly weirder than the average person (yes, I’m a big fail, deal.)  But it needs imagination.

Now that we’re past tribe and the shaman who told us there would be good hunting over the hill, we still need people to tell us as a society who we are.  And we need someone to dream a future for us.  I don’t think the voyage to the moon would have happened without the imagination of the pulp writers (and Heinlein, always Heinlein.)

I think our stagnation on space travel is part of that loss of imagination.  I think how unprepared we are for the actual massive technological change that’s ripping society apart is part of that.

We’ve lost the crazy people who go ahead with the lantern, illuminating paths we never thought of.  Even if we reject those paths, we should see them, so we can choose advisedly.

All we have now are a gaggle of medieval priests, turned back towards us, and blocking the view of other paths and ideas, lest they endanger our soul and the earthly paradise they’re sure is just around the corner if only they can make us CONFORM enough.

This is the way a society dies.

Fortunately the true artists and crazy people haven’t gone anywhere.  They’re just not getting recognition which means a lot of them will die young and in despair, because yes, creative people are neurotic.  But some won’t.  And with the new tech some will find a way to reach the public.  Their public.

For us writers it’s …. ah…. easy… for a definition of easy.

At the risk of all of you thinking I own a copy of Napoleon’s Book of Dreams — I don’t though I briefly considered buying one, because stories — I had two dreams, these last two nights, that I think are apropos….

Two nights ago I dreamed I was in what looked like a Colorado Springs of the future.  (I recognized some buildings on the west side.)

Cities in my dreams are bizarrely dense.  Like, if the thing about bringing the entire population of the world to the US worked, that’s what it would look like.  This one had very fast roadways and these arched pedestrian buildings between massive towers where you could/would fit an entire city’s worth of people.  A few million.  Only all of it was late Victorian architecture, which I think is just me.

Anyway, Dan had gone ahead home, because something needed to be done, and I was following.  And to get home — to the place I needed to be — I had to cross this impossibly high, arching pedestrian bridge.

Imagine a mono-rail width bridge, without safety rails, and made of slats through which you could see the rushing traffic beneath.

I had to cross this, and I thought, way to play with both my fear of heights and my agoraphobia, and then I thought but that’s what I was supposed to do.  The bridge was narrow and dangerous because I was supposed to “defeat” it.

And then ahead of me, I saw a little pigtailed girl, doing back flips as she crossed the bridge, and I realized she was my younger self.

Then this past night, I dreamed something had happened to the roof of our house and we hadn’t noticed, and there were patches of mold creeping down every wall, and we hadn’t noticed.

Suddenly there was a rainstorm and every room was pouring with water, as though we were outside.  Particularly in the ballroom. (We have no ball room, mind you.  DUH.)

But I think, now that I think about that both of those dreams are real and urgent and sounding an alarm.

Both for myself and our culture.

And I think it’s time to wake up.



212 thoughts on “From Were You Dream

            1. Before or after you made the nautical version of a bootlegger reverse and shelled an alien spaceship?

  1. The good thing about not being a liberal is that you don’t HAVE to slavishly agree with your celebrities’ every utterance. Just sayin’.

          1. Oh, hell, with a former actress mother and the Lynn Thorndyke Professor for the History of Magic and Experimental Science for a father, I grew up in that abyss. The abyss of ‘think for yourself’ was home.

        1. Felt the ground drop out from under you as the overton window flew toward fascism and socialism.

          1. It was more a defenestration with me. I really, really, really wanted to be in the Kool Kids Klub, and they pitched me out of the tree house.

            Kind of like what Jon Del Arros experienced at BayCon. It seems similar.

            That’s why I liked the Sad Puppies thing. No club, no tree house, no window to be thrown out of. Perfect! ~:D

            1. The fun part is they’re still trying to portray the puppies as the hateful minions of Larry Correia. Or maybe Vox Day; the Puppy Overlords are practically indistinguishable, you know…

                1. I am still awestruck to learn that Larry has a Correia cousin, equally large, who is some kind of Babtist pastor and YouTube gunfight analyst. He even resembles Larry, except his name is John Correia.

                  1. Oh yeah, I saw that article. Genius way to learn fighting, watch fights.

                    I watch the latest viral videos sometimes, it is -amazing- how stupid a lot of people fight. I guess the thing to remember is that we’re not all that far removed from monkeys, and when our blood gets up we default to chimp. After years and years of practice we default to trained chimp. ~:D

      1. “We ARE the Abyss. And we are staring back you. Good and hard.”

        [Egad, now I mentally picture a political movement countering the “Resistance” (everyone chant ‘Ohm….’) calling itself The Abyss in utter contempt and mockery.]

          1. I want to be the guy that looks into the Abyss, and the Abyss runs away crying for its mommy. >:D

        1. And the response, “MHO” (as in, “Ohm, ohm, give me MHO!!!”
          {I have the whole story somewhere in my papers in storage} {{yes, it IS kinda salacious}})

  2. The interesting thing to me is that the gatekeepers thought they had it all nailed down, but the new tech allowed an end run. The Powers That Be were able to bureaucratize and choke off NASA, degrade public support for space “exploration” using their control of the media, limiting efforts to a few robot probes with a tiny number of government employees in LEO only. And truth to be told, the Modale-ians were well on their way to slowly killing off NASA.

    Sure, they would happily make money with Hollywood space epics, but hey, we gotta solve all these problems on Mother Gaia first, donchaknow.

    But the unexpected new technology explosion allowed the TechLords to gather their unauthorized fortunes, and first Paul Allen and then Musk and Bezos decided to spend theirs on getting past the government-employee-monopoly to create access to space. And the gatekeeper-monks have so far been powerless to stop them.

    And one small effect of that is making KSC turn away from being a looking-to-the-golden-past sad museum/shrine to what the US once did in space, making it into a working space center again. And the space companies are building more launch sites elsewhere too.

    There are indeed looming dark clouds, but the spaces between the clouds have never been brighter, and oddly, they are full of stars. In the end, we win, and they lose, and we get to get off this rock.

    1. Shoulda read “Mondale-ians” – see then-Senator Fritz Mondale’s dogged attempt to kill the Apollo program after the Apollo 1 fire.

        1. With Fritz Mondale: If he were in the pay of the Soviets what would he have done differently?

          But what if the Soviet Union was just a 70-year long alien plot, hmmmm?

        2. They’d be sneakier and more careful. And the -really- stupid ones would have mysterious accidents. That guy who thought Guam would tip over, he’d have been lost in a tragic boating accident.

          1. I remember showing that to the Housemate, and he said something like “Y’know, I make fun of Americans being stupid, but please tell me that guy isn’t fucking serious. There is just no way. The guy answering him is a champion for NOT laughing in his face for being so fucking retarded. I wouldn’t have been able to resist.” He then watched my face, and said “Wait, he’s for real?”

        3. Given their history? They’d be exposed, rather quickly. They can’t keep a,secret, which is why their preferred tactic is to make is socially unacceptable to mention said secret.

          At which they are failing.

          1. Now, sure. But how much do we TRULY know of Obama’s past, except that it’s fishy? How many people think Benghazi is a Jewish guy? They could keep a secret when they controlled the media.

            1. It seems to me that a good deal is known. His schooling, his college career (not his grades, but why would we care.), his work as a ‘community organizer ‘ (Mau Mauing The Flack Catchers), his radical Left mentors.

              All public knowledge, but the Pravda Media said ‘this doesn’t matter’ and a lot of people bought it.

              1. The information is available. If you look for it. As opposed to the full court press against any R.

      1. The left has always hated the space program. It is no surprise that Obama acted early and often to gut it. The left’s attitude has always been “why spend money exploring space when that money can be used to “help” people on Earth-through leftist wealth re-distribution schemes of course. The fact that leaving space to the Soviets would also have given the Soviets a technological and potential military advantage was an added bonus for them.

        1. It wasn’t just the Left. Nixon was still holding as grudge over Kennedy’s theft of the 1960 election and worked quietly to minimize the achievement JFK is most remembered for.
          It was disheartening when I was a teenager whose father worked for NASA to see so much progress just thrown away like that…

        2. Depending on which direction you look at it, the space program re-distributes wealth to scientists and engineers and heavy manufacturing.

          Somewhere I have a meme/poster that I made that has a night time photo of the Earth from space and the caption, “Money on the Space Program spent in Space…… $0.”

    2. > able to bureaucratize and choke off NASA

      NASA was born with a “cost-plus” budget, and was therefore doomed from the start. When the torrent of Apollo money turned off, they had already formed a huge and nonfunctional bureaucracy; one that had never learned how to make an effective budget, and had no real interest in learning.

  3. I’ve been dreaming too. I’m on a double decker bus, hanging off the side and being chased by young people on bicycles. They keep trying to catch us so they can pull us off the bus. I’m hanging on for dear life as the bus careens back and forth and finally out of the city. I’m worried that I’ll lose my purse and I do.
    When we get to the bus station, I find most of my things–money and IDs. Purse is shredded. The bus driver says, “8 dollars please.” I shell out for three people.

    I came out of that dream exhilerated as if I escaped some type of danger.
    There was more detail and denseness in this dream—

  4.  …the Oxford dictionary, in tiny print, the kind you need the magnifying glass to read (yes, I always wanted one of those.  Nope, don’t have one.
    The same for our household. 
    The only thing The Daughter ever asked Daddy to get her that she did not receive was The Compact Edition of The Oxford English Dictionary, Complete Text Reproduced Micrographically, she tells me that they agreed that the size and weight of the thing made it was too clunky to read … it measures 18 x 11 x 3.6 inches and its shipping weight is 14.5 pounds.

    Now me, I would have put in for a dictionary stand to go with it …

    1. I have the Compact edition. Amazing stuff. But more recently I bought the New Shorter OED, which is also two large volumes but in normal size print. Now it’s very rare that I have to go to the Compact; the New is normally sufficient. From what I recall, the New contains almost the same vocabulary, minus seriously archaic stuff, and its etymology and/or historical citations material is trimmed. That’s how it got shorter.

      1. > its etymology and/or historical citations material is trimmed.
        Good example of YMMV. The etymologies and citations are precisely why I go to the OED rather than a lesser dictionary.

          1. For me, the etymology is what gives me sufficient context to remember the word & its spelling.

    2. Last I checked, the most recent revision of the complete OED was available on CD ROM. Probably online with a subscription now.

      Interestingly, the 11th Britannica is (or has been) also available on CD ROM. That’s the one scholars lust after, BTW. As I understand it, a group of homeschoolers bought the rights to use it in their curriculum.

      1. Bought an 11th Britannica of my own in library sale – $5 for all volumes. Still haven’t found an OED in any version, sigh.

    3. Years ago the family chipped in and got my then mother-in-law one of those. My part was to build an oak and walnut reading stand for the huge book.

  5. Can’t imagine what might be controversial about disagreeing with one of the Officially Approved YouTube Celebrity Spokespersons for Us Conservatives(tm) Folk, even one who isn’t entirely wrong about everything. Ya takes what you need and you leaves the rest…

    1. Not controversial, just mildly surprising to some. (I prefer the book to his videos, but I have a low lecture patience this year, for some reason.)

      1. True, some would like us to think that the conservative thought is one monolithic movement. (I am sure that makes it easier on the minds of the unthinking masses.) Thus if one self avowed conservative makes a less than publicly acceptable remark the thinking behind it can be attributed to all conservatives and then all conservatives can be dismissed.

        1. Apparently saying that not all Republicans are evil Nazi equivalents is considered thought-crime among the “woke” crowd and they are castigating people who express any disagreement with the claim that every single Republican is by definition a Nazi. While these vocal leftists may be a minority, so were the Bolsheviks. I suspect this is going to get a lot uglier sooner rather than later.

    2. I actually like him on a lot of things, but, as there’s no one on this earth I agree with 100% (including myself, on occasion), yeah, you pick and choose.

      I’ve seen him say, more than once, that creative people are extroverts and that extroverts are more open to new ideas. That gets a facepalm from me.

      1. I’ve seen him say, more than once, that creative people are extroverts and that extroverts are more open to new ideas.

        *Slow blink*

        Makes you wonder if they’ve ever tried to get a carried away extrovert to consider an idea they don’t already hold, doesn’t it?

        1. Similarly, one of my pet peeves is the common saying “A mind is like a parachute; it only functions when open.”

          Oh, really? How about “A mind is like a parachute; it only functions if it opens at the RIGHT TIME.”

          A perpetually open parachute will drag you hither and yon; through thorn bushes and over cliffs. And if you JUMP with it already open you run a very real risk of it tangling you and killing you.

          So, I think the first part of the original quote is sound (or as sound as aphorisms get). But the second part?


          1. I’ve always favored “Don’t open your mind so much that all your brains fall out.”

          2. I prefer this version:

            “A mind is like a parachute. Just because you’ve lost yours doesn’t mean mine is at your disposal.”

            1. Always worthwhile.

              I lean into GKC’s simile, myself:
              “A mind, like a mouth, should only be opened in order to close it around something solid.” ~ Chesterton, (paraphrased from memory)

        1. I suspect he knows very few, and is trying to reason his way from what he does know into what he doesn’t know. Those of us sitting over where he doesn’t know are going “Um, dude,… nope. Not even close.” (Other examples are: He’s Canadian. American politics can opaque to foreigners, especially when cultures are similar enough that you make assumptions that “they’re just like us.”)

          What I like is that he seems the kind of person who will approach things with an open mind, and change when presented with new information. And when I watch him, he’s often trying to figure things out by forcing himself to articulate his assumptions clearly, and then examining them.

          Also, I wonder at semantic confusion: is he using (or confusing) “conservative” and “liberal” as their classical meanings, or their current US political ones? Because “classically liberal” people are very open and questioning, but the current “political liberal” people are full of reactionary, hidebound socialism and its closed, unquestioning ideology.

          1. About the only problem I’ve seen with him is that he’s willing to accept information without enough digging to find the original source– the statistic about women rating half of men as in the bottom 20% of attractiveness.

            It is, obviously, a popular quote…but the origin is junk when used to measure attractiveness, it’s better explained by recognizing that the dating site rating system made it so almost no women would rate men highly, because it involved a level of commitment with a lack of important information.

            But he’s a step in the right direction as far as thinking and recognizing your thoughts and biases, so more power to him.

            1. Heh. Swimming in a sea of misinformation, it’s hard to check all your facts and assumptions. He’s done brilliantly at explaining why you need to be thoughtful and precise in your speech, but there’s so very much misinformation, leftover agitprop, shibboleths, and ideologies out there that his positions in ten years are likely to be very different from where he started.

          2. I sort of *wish* people would use the actual literal meanings of the words. I mean, there’s not much “conservative” about a “libertarian”. And there’s nothing at all “liberal” about most “liberals”. Liberal is a word that has *meaning* dangit. It means something.

            (See also, those idiots insisting that “libertarian” = “fascist”, or any of the similarly absurd notions that people in jackboots trying to force compliance through fear are *anti* fascist.)

            A great swath of “conservatives” anymore are “conserving” classical “liberal” ideals of individualism and freedom of thought and belief.

            Up is down, forward is backward, freedom is slavery, and lies are truth.

          3. I was jarred mentally a few weeks ago. I started reading the founding debates of Canada and a Liberal politician described how his party was for the freewill and liberty of the common man. Whereas the Conservatives were for big government and fixed positions.
            Somewhere in our history (I think the early 60’s) the roles reversed mostly. I just can’t call myself a liberal though. Too much baggage these days.

  6. I followed the bad art link and… ouch. I’ve seen better art (if just as vulgar) art from those supposedly less talented and acclaimed. There is a difference. They, usually, eventually got better at the art part. Some even got a bit less vulgar.

    1. Vulgar, in art, in writing, in songs is a way to produce an emotional impact out of proportion with your ability. Therefore even though it’s not necessarily a mark of the unskilled and lazy, it tends to correlate about 90% of the time.

      1. I’m for reviving the term “vulgar”; it’s woefully under-utilized. And in it’s place we get lables that don’t serve the purpose.

        Case in point; Andres Serrano’s ‘Piss Christ’. Who CARES if it’s blasphemous. The First Amendment protects that too. The point is, it’s vulgar, childish, and stupid. It exists solely to insult a wide swath of people, who are being asked to pay for its exhibition. If that’s the kind of thing the National Endowment for the Arts does with its budget, then the sooner its budget is zero, the better.

        The same goes for all the other exhibits the Left takes such delight in foisting on the public. If they want to send little care-packages of vulgar hipness around the country, to outrage the squares and titilate those Lefties ufortunate enough to not live on the coasts, fine. Let them front the money themselves. It’s not like they’re poor.

        ‘Vulgar’ is exactly the right term to apply to this kind of thing, because it makes clear that we are not talking about creativity on any sophisticated plain. We are talking about ‘art’ that is on all fours with the picture spreads in Hustler.

        1. It’s an even greater benefit. Just like the ‘bake the cake’ lawsuits, it isn’t about the art or item. It is about proving their superiority and making subhumans like deplorables kneel and tug their forelocks.

          1. Exactly. Can you imagine their frustration when they trot out their latest ‘art’ piece intended to enrage and demean and it is dismissed as ‘vulgar’?

            That’s the thing. If we call their art ‘offensive ‘ or ‘blasphemous’ we give it more importance than it deserves. ‘Vulgar’ is dismissive.

            And God knows, it is certainly vulgar.

        2. It’s like the little kid who discovers that certain words produce a reaction from parents and other adult authority figures.

          When I heard the tapes of Rod Blagojevich slinging f-bombs right, left, and center, that was the thought that came to me: little kid discovering wow, this word is powerful, and using it over and over again for the sheer glee of the shocked look it gets.

          1. The thing that strikes me about the foul-mouthed Left is the paucity of their vocabulary. Outside of their gender-studies jargon (which is pretty meaningless) and a handful of tired phrases from Teh Revolution, they’re pretty much limited to cussing and idiocy.

            Trump is that despicable Austrian? Please. That’s simply absurd. Now if they compared him to, say, Huey Long or Tom Pendergast – machine political bosses who played the Populist card and were utterly corrupt – that might actually sting. But I doubt they know about Pendergast, and they may not even know abou Long.

            Piffling children, the lot of ‘em.

            1. Pendergast wasn’t from New York or San Francisco or LA, or even Chicago. How could he possibly have any importance at all? [channeling current Leftist]

            2. If my memory serves regarding Long, the ruling class see him as the example. Just now indtead of nationalism they have shifted to factionalism.

    2. 13 years to about 18 guys drawing on walls when they have figured out what adults find disgusting, and they should definitely not know about yet but have seen photos about online. Or back in the day sneak peeks on some older guy’s porn magazines. I once found a stash in a barn in the middle 70’s, and of course I had to take a look, being curious – eek! – and those pictures of daddy Dunham’s “art” look like really badly rendered copies by somebody who very much can’t draw or paint of what was in those magazine photos. Those mags were something which DEFINITELY made something like Playboy look very refined and totally classy. 70’s was a pretty disgusting decade in some ways (our school had a movie club, and that club did once show something with fairly explicit sex scenes to an audience with lots of 14 and 15 years old in it, I think I was 16 then – the movies were chosen by the older students, but they were supposed to need approval by a teacher…), and daddy is about the right age to have become familiar with that stuff back then or soon after.

      1. Concerning some things I have said before: having grown where I have I don’t think nudity in itself is automatically damaging to see for children of any age, I think that is mostly a cultural thing – if it is seen as natural under some circumstances, like sauna here, I think that can be a good thing as then it, by itself, is not particularly shocking if encountered even in a different situation (like accidentally seeing your parent naked when he/she is preparing to get dressed), but when if it is something always hidden in a society it can be. However I definitely do think kids should be kept away from things like porn, even mild versions.

        1. As we say in the American South, there’s a difference between naked and nekkid. Naked means no clothes on. Nekkid means no clothes on and up to mischief.

    3. The link asked what that art said about the artist. My answer is that it says he’s a 10 year old boy who just discovered the female anatomy and is determined to shock his parents by mentioning it as much as possible.

      1. It sells.

        I’m going to blaspheme here and say that I think that it’s clear that he has *talent*. He’s not unskilled and is not without a good “eye”.

        But how soul destroying, how awful, to have that directed at drawing “locker room” penises and vulvas in crayon? And as someone said… for the rest of his life.

        It seems to me that visual artists often get trapped. They hit on something that sells very well and they end up making the same piece over and over again for decades with minor variations because they can’t afford to stop. In this case, endless identical variations of genitals and pubic hair.

        For the rest of his life.

        1. Novel authors do the same thing. See Wheel of Time. Or the Honorverse, although Weber seems to be at least aware of it.

  7. There’s one outstanding characteristic of liberal endeavors.
    It’s impossible to measure them to any degree that you could be called on what you have done as a failure. As long as you have the approval of your peers, no matter how useless they are, you are home free.
    The painting you made by throwing paint balloons at a canvas?
    If the deplorables laugh at it you just turn your nose up and declare them unlettered.
    Contrast this with a short order cook.
    If you whip up an omelet that is inedible people walk out without paying and you soon find everyone in the area has been warns the diner stinks.
    If you are a psychologist you say any damn thing that pops to mind and you are a genius. If your patient goes home and kills himself, well he was crazy when he came in. How can you lose?
    But if you are an engineer and design a bridge that falls down (cough, cough Genoa, cough) nobody will give you a free pass and they get all nasty.
    See the difference?

    1. I saw a “before” picture of that bridge, taken of the underside. Why that bridge was still open is a Mighty Important Question. I am not a civil engineer, and if I had anything to do with traffic on that bridge and saw that, I’d be even less civil.

      1. Politics.

        Over 3/4 of the bridges in my state have been declared “unsafe” by the state DOT. They’re still in daily use. Is the Legislature ignoring a real public safety problem, or is ARDOT still trying to get revenge for getting their executive Learjet taken away as a frivolous use of state funds? Who sets the standards? Who actually does the inspections? Who knows…

        1. A friend did bridge engineering for CalTrans and has rather bitterly mentioned Jimmy Carter’s unilateral decision to increase the load limit on bridges from 80,000 to 105,000 pounds as causing lots of problems. It’s worse in Oregon; our bridges were done early in the interstate era, and several were at 60K pounds. Since fixed, I’m told. I hope.

          After the 1989 Loma Prieta and the Northridge earthquakes, California did a lot of upgrading and unscrewing inadequate designs. Not sure if this was finished, but there were a couple of rational governors in office at the time.

          On the gripping hand, I’d be ticked at the loss of a Learjet…

          1. Not saying this is what happened, but knowing local governments in CA they probably defunded it as soon as the news stopped reporting on it… or they tied the funds up in ‘studies’ conducted by some councilman’s younger sisters’ best friend’s husband’s consul;ting firm.

            1. I just lost a bunch of time on that website. On the first page, IIIRC in the bay area alone, there was the warehouse fire and the tilting Millenium tower.

            2. They did a lot of work on the overpasses and bridge-like-structures associated with the interstate and state freeway systems, basically because it’s right smack in the D power structure to give heavy construction contracts out to the construction companies that do that work.

              Some of the high profile chunks were done very well – see the Northridge quake highway stuff, where there were bonuses for beating due dates and waivers of certain onerous paperwork requirements – and some done incredibly poorly – see the new SF Bay Bridge eastern half, just recently finishing up the demolition of the old span only 29 years after the 1989 quake that damaged it.

              Work on road bridges and overpasses on county expressways and city streets, less work, though some of the larger ones got done.

              Basically, the state lined up Federal money, and that pile of money was not going to spend itself on programs that happened to contract with the politically connected.

          2. “It’s worse in Oregon; our bridges were done early in the interstate era, and several were at 60K pounds. Since fixed, I’m told. I hope.”

            I know for a fact that they were not allowing multiple trailers on trucks on a stretch of I-5 that went over the Willamette River next to Eugene. Which caused a lot of problems for trucking, since double and even triple trailers are common in Oregon. They have since entirely renovated that particular bridge and have a few nice pieces of abstract metal artworks on it, to boot.

            Currently they are redoing several stretches of I-5 going through the Shasta Lake area, including a massive new bridge at Lakehead (that also massively straightened an S-curve) and another bridge on the southbound stretch near Packers Bay. (We… uh… drive this a lot. It’s very visible.)

            As a counterpoint, I-80 in between Sacramento and the Bay Area is truly awful. Part of that is that the traffic is so insanely bad that it’s difficult to find a time to close even a lane to resurface it. But part of that is deferred maintenance.

            1. “Which caused a lot of problems for trucking, since double and even triple trailers are common in Oregon.”

              Doubles allowed on all highways. Triples only allowed on Freeways, like I-5 & I-80. Not sure about 97 on the east side. Triple not allowed hwy 101, or at least weren’t early 1990’s.

        2. If this was from a TV or newspaper report I would be skeptical about the word “unsafe”.

          The word normally used in the inspection inventory is ‘deficient’, because there are other factors besides core safety systems being evaluated – like capacity – and the scale is based on severity. The rating system runs from one to five for each element; a ‘2’ – needs attention soon (maybe a couple of years) – will give that bridge a ‘deficient’ rating. A ‘1’ as you might guess, means that element requires prompt attention to perform according to the design specs and the functional classification.

          If an inspection scores anything on the main load-bearing system as a ‘1’ an emergency repair contract is let, if for no other reason than the bureaucrats not wanting to get pointed questions if they don’t fix it and it falls.

      2. I started following the eng-tips (dot com) forum for the FIU FUBAR disaster (all 8 pages/1500+ posts), and have been glancing at the discussion on the Genoa collapse. FWIW, the underside is considered more or less OK, but the concrete-encased cables seem to have been A Very Bad Idea–the thought was to prevent corrosion, but it did a great job at hiding corrosion. The span that collapsed was the only one that hadn’t been reinforced, from what I’ve read.

        The FIU bridge promises to be an extinction event for the contractor and the bridge designer. The latest NTSB preliminary report (see Part 8 and start around August 10th for the details) indicate that the bridge had probably failed some time (day or three) before the collapse, and only inertia kept it from collapsing. FWIW, one suspects there will be criminal charges about the non-response to serious cracks.

        1. The FIU bridge promises to be an extinction event for the contractor and the bridge designer.

          As it should be.

          … and a whole bunch of related thoughts that I’m not going to bother to put in any kind of coherent order.

          1. If these facts hold up, I would expect the lead designer, concrete designer, and the construction engineer to lose their Florida licenses, permanently. These are things even I know, and I’m traffic, not structural. The involved firms are going to have a very hard time holding back claims of gross negligence and punitive damages.

            The photos show the complete failure of a primary structural element and the safe live load based on that is zero. I’m appalled that given they had a structure with no known safe load, they would jack it – requiring specialized calculations – with the road open.

            1. From the discussions, the FIU-developed accelerated construction technique was designed to minimize disruption to traffic. I suspect that was the top priority, never mind the cracks big enough to place a measuring stick into.

              Not sure if FIU is going to be a defendant on the lawsuits, but their technique should be trashed.

              The other takeaway is that a concrete truss is an exceptionally bad idea. Works well in steel, but like they did it.

            2. That road should have been closed immediately after that was taken. I say that makes each and every member of those firms who saw it and didn’t go down there and put up Jersey barriers to close it, and then inform the proper authorities, chargeable with murder.

              Speaking of authorities, is anyone surprised this happened in Florida, home of Broward County? Anyone?

        2. I’ve seen what purports to be email between some of the contractors. If true, jail time is definitely warranted.

          The crazy thing is, most of these people *grew up* with email; even the oldest ones have used it most of their working lives. How can they *not* know it can some back and bite them? I guess it’s like the robbers who don’t pay any attention to the plainly visible security cameras… some of them even have little red lights that flash, just to call attention to themselves, fercryinoutloud…

          1. Just ’cause someone can do CAD doesn’t mean that they are technically literate. If you grow up with email, you may think of it as being a utility, no more thought about than gas, water, and electricity.

            Might be fun to see how many engineering graduate students would fall for the “no animals are killed when you buy meat from the store” falsehood.

            1. Way too many. We have stress guys who can’t do anything without a fem. I will admit I don’t sketch as much as should.

            2. If they ever get the “vat-grown meat” devices invented/working, that might happen.

              Nowadays? Not so much.

            3. That’s been a theme in the discussions; a lot of the tech people know the tools, but on a bleeding-edge design like that bridge, they don’t have the wherewithall to figure out the limitations of the tools.

              The shortage of rebar between the truss elements and the deck showed an impressive (misplaced) faith in the ability of concrete to do things it was never intended to do.

              And don’t get me started on the “need” for a signature pedestrian bridge, funded by federal tax dollars.

              1. Dark humor, but the engineers I knew had an old joke: How do you determine the load limit of a bridge? Drive increasingly heavier trucks over until it collapses; rebuild it; and post the load of the one just before it broke.

  8. I’ve always (40+ years) loved my Compact Ed Oxford. Go crazy and send AbeBooks 35 bucks for a very nice copy. Affordable entertainment. Hey – for 13 bucks more you can get a set with the magnifying glass.
    After 40 years, my glass now lives in my desk drawer…

  9. I think Peterson is probably right when it comes to (real/classical) liberals. The problem is that modern “liberals” aren’t liberals, any more than “antifa” is anti-fascist, old-school “Pravda” contained truth, or the “People’s Democratic Republic of (North) Korea” is a democratic republic.

    They are authoritarian communists.

    Somehow it’s become socially unacceptable to call them what they are, and somehow we keep getting manipulated into using their terms. That needs to change.

    1. See also: people like that Booger Tic Tac dude and whatever made-up “gender” he claims to be (I’ve forgotten, and don’t really care enough to go look it up).

    2. I suspect Anti-fa actually is anti-fascist. They’re descended from the paramilitary wing of the German Communist Party. They called themselves “anti-fascists” and even had a symbol that was very similar to the one today’s anti-fa uses.

      …and I do believe they are “anti-fascist” since totalitarian systems don’t like competition from anyone, including (or perhaps that should be especially) other totalitarian systems.

      Of course, being totalitarians, they have no problem with lying and claim anyone who doesn’t jump on their bandwagon is a “fascist” to hunt down and destroy.

  10. “Liberal” (modern re-definition) are by appearance the more creative. Look at a newspaper comic page (if any of either are still around….) and you see.. a bit of generic fluff, a lot of left-ish stuff… and, maybe, Mallard Fillmore as “balance.” It’s like walking into Sears in the 1980’s and seeing a vast selection of VHS and one lonely Beta VCR. Only the reasons for what is seen are different. This time it’s not about licensing, but gatekeeping. And we’re supposed to buy the line that gatekeeping is a good thing? REWIND!

    1. On occasion I’ll look at some of the comments on various random comics in places like gocomics dot com …

      President Trump has an enormous amount of free real estate for his use, it seems. And that’s just the “non-political/contemporary” comics.

  11. I’m fortunate. I was interested in Science before I got interested in Art. I think I’m still more interested in Science than In Art, but seeing what comes out of people who try to do the Art these days without knowing the Science (Because supposedly Art is Easy but Science is Hard) I’m occasionally tempted to think I can do better….

  12. > We’ve lost the crazy people who go ahead with the lantern, illuminating paths we never thought of.

    The Left’s daycare system identified them, slapped them down, ridiculed them, and zombified them with Ritalin until they were proper round pegs to fit in their assigned holes.

    1. And school is designed such that even without medicating, many grow opposed to subjects because of how mistaught. Those that had innate skills are held back because of the need for proper supplication resulting in a degree.

      And the threat of social destruction enforced by the mobs makes sure you do what you are supposed to like a good slave.

  13. I haven’t even read the column and likely won’t have time to do so today, BUT … oh, forget it. I’m not going to touch that title, not even with the 11-foot pole I keep for use with the things I won’t touch with my 10-foot pole. Just saying. A typo to the wise is sufficient!

  14. Here is much of why modern art is such dreck, and sells for such outrageous prices: it’s used as the maguffin for money laundering. A real object exchanges hands at a real auction, and conveniently matches the amount of dark money one wishes to move. Meanwhile galleries are paid handsomely to hang the piece, the artist gets paid, and everybody’s happy. And for the many pieces languishing in warehouses because no one actually wants to look at ’em… if they get lost or destroyed, well, they’re insured.

    Click to access launder.pdf

    1. I’ve seen a number of book advances that I’d lump in with that. I wonder when Strzok’s publisher will announce an eight-figure deal…

      For that matter, while “Hollywood accounting” explains why some films never make a profit on paper, money laundering would explain why they were made in the first place…

      1. Many cast and crew on The Room thought the movie was a front for money laundering by Wiseau.

    2. On another, lower-level scale of money laundering, I ran across a blog essay a couple of months ago that speculated that many of those mattress stores are also fronts for money-laundering, I mean, mattress stores are all over the place, they’re always having sales, but they’re mostly empty of customers … and how often do you go out and buy a mattress?

        1. The point of mattress stores is that you only have to sell a few mattresses a week in order to pay all the rent and wages. Not much worry about shoplifting, either.

      1. Sounds like Spider Robinson’s theory to explain the explosion of T-shirt shops in Key West.

        OTOH, it could just be typical business acumen for a bunch of well-heeled Lefties. They might have thought that all the SJWs would start carrying them around. Actually, not a bad bet, since that demographic does tend to be lemmings – but they failed to recognize the fundamental laziness of most people in their potential market.

      2. We got “rental emporiums” instead. Rent a TV for only $89.95 a week, living room furniture for about the same, etc.

        I was in north Texas a few years ago; the big thing then was renting bling wheels for your car.

      3. Bars were very commonly used to launder money back when they were primarily cash businesses (they still are, to some extent).

        There used to be a bar here that was famous for constantly having “five cent beer” specials (yes, five cents, when the typical price for a beer in a bar was $2.00-$3.00). They were always packed. How did they make money at that price? They didn’t. Their goal was to be able to say “Well, Mr. IRS Agent, our regular price for a beer is $3.00, and here are our receipts showing we sold this many beers.”, even though they sold almost no beers at “regular price” and in fact lost probably fifty cents on each one. Each five cent beer let them launder probably $2.50 in money that came from elsewhere.

        1. I can attest by personal direct experience that once upon a time, way back in the 1980s, there was a lot of South American money, purportedly earned in the oh so lucrative soda distribution business down there, making its way into the retail computer store business in the US.

          Yep. Soda.

          It’s like they were not even trying.

  15. I always find it sad to see so many people who are creative in thrall to an idiotic philosophy that isn’t worth the paper it’s written on: Marxism. They could do so much more without being weighed down by it.

  16. Funny – I’ve never cared if my ‘art’ creator was liberal, religious, sane, gender-challenged or even human… Any such baggage may be mildly interesting – but I’m an end-results guy. If it makes me think and/or smile and/or cry and/or dream…enough… I’m in.
    As for the modern artistic wasteland, I’m not convinced the ‘heath’ is any more ‘blasted’ now, than anytime this past century or two. My personal superstars seem to have come at random in fiction, music and film. I’ve never resonated with much graphic art – beyond Canaletto, Escher & Dali – so I’m pretty tone deaf there. Dance & sculpture are also limited – but machinery, for me, is art… and there is some great stuff being done. Has been, all my life. Lots & lots of crap – but gems always.
    Creativity comes in bursts – and just because it’s popular doesn’t mean it’s dross.
    (a) Hogwarts was one of the greatest creations in kid-lit ever (and I speak as a lifelong student)… so little PC / revisionist / propaganda content that I wanted to cheer. And it was kid-contagious.
    (b) Cirque de Soleil has done things to the live performance space that are novel and beautiful and compelling (and have to be the only living example of a small Govt handout returning pure gold) !
    (c) What Jackson did with Lord of the Rings was a community of creative joy. An antidote for the Disneyverse or the Marvelverse.
    Three (of my favourite) recent massively popular works of art – and I really couldn’t pigeonhole their creators or audiences.
    Just my 2 cents worth 😉

  17. “Two nights ago I dreamed I was in what looked like a Colorado Springs of the future. …Only all of it was late Victorian architecture, which I think is just me.”

    I did a google image search on “late Victorian architecture.” I think I prefer that to virtually all of the new houses around my area, which look like they’re made of corrugated cardboard. Perhaps your dream is a sign that in the future, we’ll stop with this, “Let’s make every building as ugly as possible” nonsense and actually try to make things nice again. That would be a reason for optimism.

  18. I took an online version of the Big Five personality test, provided by Jonathan Haidt’s Your Morals Website. I came out quite high on a trait that psychologists call Openness to Experience. And, well, I thought that sort of made sense. But then I looked closely at the questions, and let’s say the name doesn’t fit. You get points for Openness to Experience if you have intellectual interests; if you take the arts seriously, especially the fine arts and the arts of other cultures; and if you have an interest in cultures other than your own. But there was nothing about having tried psychoactive substances, or having multiple sexual partners or trying kinky stuff, or doing bungee jumping or rock climbing or extreme diving, or travelling places that are off the tourist routes, or a lot of other stuff that would surely count as “experiences” in the vernacular. Really it comes down to having an interest in the intellectual and cultural topics that separate the college educated from the rest of the population. Of course, psychologists almost all are college educated, so this fits THEIR concept of “experience” and “openness” quite well.

    And really, you don’t need any special imagination or creativity to be familiar with that stuff. You can have utterly conventional tastes for your class.

  19. “Good artists” make stuff I like; “bad artists” do not. And there are some artists that make both some “good” stuff and a lot of “bad” stuff. Ergo, when it comes to art, good or bad really is subjective to each one of us.

    Successful artists aren’t the same as good artists. They may make good stuff or bad stuff. Doesn’t matter as what they do make; they make it and they sell it. They either make a lot of cheap stuff that sells well, or they make a little expensive stuff that sells. It’s the volume of the revenue stream that determines success or not.

    An artist whose work brings in millions, but only after he’s dead, isn’t a successful artist. He’s a good artist discovered too late.

    1. I’ve been able for a long time to entertain both the proposition “I know this isn’t good art, but I like it anyway” and the proposition “Yes, I see that this is good art, but I don’t enjoy it.” And I think a moderately large number of people can make such distinctions. I don’t think we’re in a position to identify and measure whatever quality it is that we are calling “goodness,” but I think such a quality probably exists.

      On one hand, I wouldn’t equate “goodness” to “commerrcial success”; if my liking, say, the Lensman novels doesn’t make them good art, millions of people liking “Fifty Shades of Gray” or Harry Potter doesn’t make those good art, either. But on the other hand, I wouldn’t equate “goodness” to the presence of some specific intellectual or political content, or any specific content whatever; I think goodness has to do with how the content is expressed. I’ve seen and read and listened to things that I found impressive by people with an amazing range of different viewpoints. (One of the classic Hollywood producers said, “If you gotta message, call Western Union.”)

    2. Thomas Kinkade had some serious painting chops. You can see it in his early work and in some particular pieces that he did other than his successful stuff. (There’s a piece in the Auburn County Courthouse of historical Placerville that is quite lovely.) His successful stuff actually is a step back and less interesting than his earlier work.

  20. Some day, we may manage to clean up our language from the pollution it has suffered over more than a century now. (Okay, I’m only optimistically pessimistic about that, but that’s my default setting.)

    I am a liberal. I am not A Liberal. I am a libertarian. I am not A Libertarian. I am a progressive. I am not A Progressive. (I am a republican. I am A Republican – but only because there are still a few flowers in that patch, and I can at least hope to spray RoundUp ™ on some of the weeds.)

    1. The mindset that “hey, maybe I can improve this, even though it’s not perfect” probably helps in the Republican and republican mindset.

      1. Yes. Progressives in any field seem to think that if something is not perfect (as they define it), it must be destroyed to make room for Perfect. The rest of us patch, tweak, adjust, and hope that the beta version* isn’t as bad as it seems from the ad copy.

        *A friend almost lost his computer to a “borrowed” bootlegged beta version of a Windows update. And wondered why I was not overflowing with sympathy and compassion.

    2. I’m not in agreement with much of the GOP’s platform, either. On the other hand, they haven’t chosen to make voiding my civil rights part of their official party platform as the Democrats have.

      Like L. Neil Smith, I’m a single-issue voter. Anyone trying to impede my Second Amendment rights gets voted against…

  21. My moment came at a con a few years ago when a panelist started talking about Bush the Younger. No reason for it, not a politics panel. But she did and claimed that Gore wiped the mat with him in every debate, both direct and indirect, and the reason Bush wasn’t laughed out of town was because, I SWEAR she said this: “People felt sorry for him.”

    And then the next ten years of your privates and how you feel/talk about them.

    Fandom was supposed to be the community of the dreamer and outcast, wasn’t it?

    And on that note, I put the flyers out, so if you get a bunch of ire directed your way again, I’m sorry for that. Tell them to find the bald guy with glasses and yell at him.

      1. Why did it happen in ’15?

        I comment on your blog, that makes me your responsibility in the minds of these loons.

        First batch stayed out for a couple hours, then went away, so either a bunch of people wanted them or, again one or two people didn’t want them seen.

          1. The festival wouldn’t be in Mendota, Illinois would it?
            Fifty years ago they cooked their corn on the cob with an old steam tractor and sold you three ears I swear were a foot long each, dripping butter, with a tiny salt shaker, all for a quarter. But north central Illinois has always been the heart of corn country, mostly field corn used to fatten cattle and hogs, but farmers of my acquaintance always planted a couple rows of sweet corn at the edge of a field for family and friends.

        1. Oh, are you the one? Heh. I saw those, but didn’t take one because reading it and leaving it for other people was entertainment enough. I will say that stuff on the free table was disappearing with alacrity, including some romance promo stuff that I brought for a friend, so it’s possible that things disappeared naturally. (I took a lot of Little Free Library SF books, the kind that are duplicates or that I just didn’t want, and they disappeared almost as soon as I put them out. Great way to declutter.)

  22. “liberals are creative personalities, willing to take risks” I hardly think so…here’s a story.

    In 1940, as the German troops moved deeper into France, Matisse asked Picasso: “But our generals–what are they doing?”

    To which Picasso replied: “Well, there you have it, my friend. It’s the Ecole des Beaux-Arts”……ie, men possessed by the same rote formulae and absence of observation and obsessive traditionalism as the rulers of academic artist. It was a very intelligent insight, and completely matched the perception of Captain Andre Beaufe, then a young officer on the French General Staff. Beaufre described his impressions of this organization thusly:

    “I saw very quickly that our seniors were primarily concerned with forms of drafting. Every memorandum had to be perfect, written in a concise, impersonal style, and conforming to a logical and faultless plan–but so abstract that it had to be read several times before one could find out what it was about…”I have the honour to inform you that I have decided…I envisage…I attach some importance to the fact that…” Actually no one decided more than the barest minimum, and what indeed was decided was pretty trivial.”

    This is absolutely true of today’s leading ‘progresives’. Much of the hatred directed at Trump, like that directed earlier against Sarah Palin, has been because of the failure of these two individuals to speak in the standard Ivy-League-approved style which has been expected on high-level politicians in the last few decades.

  23. Peterson can be a little off on economics as well. For all his railing against Marx, he accepts the fundamentally marxist trope about “income inequality”.

    1. This flaw and the one Foxfier notes both kinda fall under “he’s probably been a psychologist his whole adult life”.

      You would expect someone seeing from the essential perspective of a psychologist to realize that Marxism corrodes the soul well before they realize that Marxism is the economics of insanity, by the insane, for the insane. It took esr into, I think, his sixties to realize the proof showing that information problems mean that control of the economy by any centralized means, including any possible computer, must be worse than the free market.

      Contesting every point and checking every citation thoroughly does not seem to be the thing in clinical psychology. My experience with psychologists is that they are non-confrontational, but if they prompt you into realizing a mistake, and you ask them, they’ll confirm that it struck them as a mistake.

      1. You’re probably right– now that you mention it, the teeth-itching effect some of his stuff gives me is similar to applied non-confrontational psychology. (The cousin I keep mentioning as a College Libertarian? Uses that. Drives me nuts to have someone arguing but not willing to, you know, ARGUE.)

        There’s a reason (several, really) that I keep pointing out that he’s not my cup of tea, but I think he’s effective and a force for good.

        1. Not sure if on topic or off, but some months ago $BIGBOSS and $GROUP had a meeting. Most was the usual stuff that would be expected, but there was one time when $BIGBOSS repeated something a few times, in a strangely relaxed voice, that felt oddly familiar and made me feel Uneasy Indeed.

          It took a while to figure what happened. Way back, I did some stuff with (self)hypnosis and (auto)suggestion and such. And I had read Estabrooks’ popular(?) volume on the subject. He said something very important: That while a person cannot be hypnotized against their will, it is possible to induce trance/implant suggestion without consent which is slightly different, but just as.. effective. I installed psychological circuit breakers. (Not sure I’m up to that any more, but…) And they were tripped. When I realized the safeties had been triggered, I also realized something else. I had heard that peculiar relaxed voice and that repetition before – from a professional hypnotist. I don’t know if $BIGBOSS is consciously using hypnotic methods, or if those were stumbled upon as being that aid in persuasion. Either way, I find it rather creepy.

      2. In fairness to Peterson, he’s been forced to step outside his area of expertise because of the mind-numbing trend in academia (mainly the social sciences and humanities) toward “interdisciplinarianism”. Gosh, doesn’t that word sound fetchingly postmodern? So Peterson and unfortunately few other academics are faced with a couple of decades of Gramscian rot no matter what subject. Too many disciplines have crossed postmodern, neo-marxist singularity’s event horizon.

        Peterson’s had to study up way outside his area of expertise in too many other disciplines, and it shows sometimes. But short of academics like him, Pinker, and Taleb, I’m hard pressed to think of any that are pushing back against the madness who have that level of exposure. Taleb is the one I’m most interested in at the moment. He’s like a frighteningly intelligent bulldog.

          1. Even Heinlein had his faults and the occasional blind spot. Just look at his early attitude towards the UN and world government.

              1. It still amazes me that very few on line are looking into Deep State finances.


                Also look up – McCoy “The Politics of Heroin”. There are free versions available.

                You don’t see it on the left, the right is silent, and even “Q” doesn’t touch it. And this silence is despite public examples like Ollie “1,500 Kilos” North.

                Afghanistan is a notorious open secret.

                Where ever the CYA is operating – that is where the drugs come from. When it was Laos we got heroin. When it was South America we got cocaine. And now Afghanistan and heroin again.

                All the intel agencies must know about this. It is about 10% of world trade flows. And yet no country is willing to blow the whistle. Interesting don’t you think?


                From all this you might think a coordinated coverup is going on.

        1. I was around for the first Interdisciplinary stuff, and it was great – German and history together to look at literature and language in order to improve historical understandings and to better place literature in context. Archaeology and civil engineering (and chemistry) gave us experimental archaeology, which has led to some seriously cool stuff. Then people started “crossing the streams” in ways that Nature never intended…

        2. In engineering, the term for interdisciplinary is Systems Engineer. DenBeste was a Systems Engineer before he retired, and understanding Systems Engineering explains some of where he was coming from.

          The discipline of Systems Engineering was created to deal with the problems inherent in large complex projects. Some of a Systems Engineering curriculum teaches specific techniques for those problems. Some of Systems Engineering education is developing the ability to communicate with experts of the disciplines involved in the project, inside and outside of engineering.

          1. Fundamental to Systems Engineering is that the whole is not equal to the sum of the parts. There is emergent behavior.

            Which is why if you have a system that is good enough you don’t fook with it. Or if you do wish to improve it you carefully think out everything (well as much as possible). And test. And then see how it does in a limited deployment.

            1. Got my BSE in dual Industrial and Systems engineering. Did my Masters work in Operations Research, graduate level systems engineering.
              Found myself doing a shocking amount of mediation and translation during my years of government service. Any meeting that included traditional engineers and the business folks the two simply could not communicate with each other, always so focused on their bits and pieces that they constantly talked past the important issues.
              That’s where I developed the technique of asking questions that I already knew the answer to. When both sides jumped in to help educate the poor dummy, revisiting the issue often caused them to adopt a much better perspective and come to at least begrudging agreement.

              1. My niece’s job is “translator” between the engineers, artists, & business, personnel. She works out of Seattle for Disney.

                Suspect her job is a lot more complicated than that. But I can visualize the need for exactly that.

  24. I’ve looked at the people who’s work I enjoy, and I’ve noticed three big things about their work-

    1)They have at least a good ability with the technical side of their art. Yes, they might not be perfect draftsmen, or English professors, but their work does not have glaring flaws or issues that immediately end my ability to be immersed in the work itself.
    2)If politics were there, it was used like any other powerful spice. Sparingly, and to enhance the flavor, rather than to drown us in a single sensation.
    3)There was a sense of nuance-you could have absolute good and absolute evil. But, there were other shades and colors available and you knew where they went.

    And, that’s the thing, isn’t it? All of these require you to work at something. For a lot of the Social Justice Zealots, they want to be given their gold star and cookie for having just “been there” and made something that kind of looks like a finished product.

    Which is why Heinlein, even at 60+ years since publishing, holds up better than Scalzi. Or even Gaiman or Jemisen. Or Stross, even before the Martian Brain Fungus got to him.

    1. “All of these require you to work at something. For a lot of the Social Justice Zealots, they want to be given their gold star and cookie for having just “been there” and made something that kind of looks like a finished product.”

      Indeed. Becoming an alcolyte of some all-encompassing theory…especially a theory with claims of moral superiority…can spare you from the effort of learning about anything else. For example: if everything is about (for example) power relationships–all literature, all history, all science, even all mathematics–you don’t need to actually learn much about medieval poetry, or about the Second Law of thermodynamics, or about isolationism in the 1930s. You can look smugly down on those poor drudges who do study such things, while enjoying “that intellectual sweep of comprehension known only to adolescents, psychopaths and college professors” (the phrase is from Andrew Klavan’s unusual novel True Crime.)

        1. When I looked at Foucault and realized what particular brazen idol that I would have to worship to finish college, that is when I left college.

          (That, and the college I went to ripped out the pub with the nice booths that you could study in and nurse a cheap beer for several hours with a noisy “food court” area, I realized that I was probably a decade too late for the College Experience that I needed.)

  25. Thanks for sharing! I’m with you on your Jordan Peterson departure point. I saw him say similar things in some video, and thought to myself he doesn’t see what they’ve turned the art world into. We will demonstrate its failures by presenting more compelling alternatives.

  26. I know from being a professional visual artist for a few years now, that it has nothing to do with who makes better artists – it’s who has the power to speak up about their politics to be counted.

    I am acquainted with quite a few conservative artists, that no one will ever know are conservatives. To remain in the industry (or break in to), and not be pushed out by the dominant lefty ideologues, it’s much easier to stay mum on where they stand.

    It’s not unknown to have your future in the industry completely destroyed simply for having a concept that puts a conservative idea in a positive light, let alone believing in that conservative thought yourself!

    I guess that’s not really news to most reading here though 🙂

  27. I think you have to look further into things he says. When he says liberal, he means classic liberal not the current situation that balls up the progressives, the post modernists, the socialists all up under the liberal banner. He makes a pretty clear distinction when the idea of liberal is discussed.

  28. “Cities in my dreams are bizarrely dense. Like, if the thing about bringing the entire population of the world to the US worked, that’s what it would look like.”

    Somewhere online, a few months back, I read that if you placed all of the world’s population in the state of Texas, Texas would have about the same population density as Manhattan. Of course the minor matters of how you supplied water, food, electricity, etc. to them were not addressed, that being irrelevant to whatever the topic at hand was.

    1. That doesn’t sound right…. *pokes around*

      Nevada or New Zealand would be the Manhattan one; Texas is the all-of-New-York one.

  29. One thing I have noticed in business: people who have advanced degrees…whether it’s an MBA or a Computer Science degree…often have difficulty thinking in any ways or models not pre-programmed by their education. Especially true of those just a few years out of school Not 100%, of course, lots of exceptions, but there definitely seems to be a pattern there.

    1. “have difficulty thinking in any ways or models not pre-programmed by their education.”

      Computer Science. Saw signs when I got my Bacholer’s of Science in Computers as my Second Bacholer’s. Some things kept me out of that mind set.

      1) Was NOT 17 years old (nope that was the first one). Age does make a difference.

      2) Technically this was my 3rd degree (2nd one was practical programming, 2 year associate, emphasis on practical).

      3) Was working full then part time as I got the degree.

      4) Had been working already for over 5 years & had to change careers thanks to the economy & environmentalists/leftist. Could not just stay home due to inflation & significant other’s likely hood of temporary months of unemployment due to weather &/or environmentalists.

      5) We knew what no money looked like. We started out with no money, no credit. Just weren’t poverty … not when you have parents that can assist to get you started until that first pay check comes in. WAS NOT going to repeat.

      6) Environmentalist had stamped, kicked, spat, on, original career, even though Thought it was an career good for the environment. (So, hows the summer fires working out on the not managed forests now? In CA, & Oregon & Washington Cascades?)

    1. No, they’re not. They don’t associate with anyone outside their INTELLECTUAL bubble.
      If you read left as liberal, at least.
      WE do. We have to, by virtue of being alive.

  30. The Compact Edition of the OED was a premium from the Book of the Month Club back in the day, which is the only reason I have one. 😉

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