Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Monday, November 12, 2018

My shout-out in Politico

I really need to start my podcast about Steven Pinker and Quillette and the "Intellectual Dark Web" - I just got a shout-out from Politico to my Twitter thread about the "race realism"/"race science"/"hereditarianism" - or you can just call it neo-Nazi science position at Quillette.

The link on "clowns" in this screen cap links to the thread which is here.

Brigitte Macron, living the life

Saturday, November 10, 2018

O his prophetic soul - Ken Tucker on Steely Dan's "The Royal Scam"

Ken Tucker's review of Steely Dan's "The Royal Scam" ends with:
In any event, I doubt that Steely Dan will ever become merely precious or insular; through five albums they have consistently circumvented their complexity with passionate snaz-ziness and fluky, cynical wit. If The Royal Scam lacks ready-made Top 40 fodder, it also widens Steely Dan’s already considerable parameters. Their next album, if one can speculate about this lovably perverse bunch, should be a pop killer. In the meantime The Royal Scam is well worth living with, pondering and, what the hell, even dancing to.
The next album was Aja considered Steely Dan's masterpiece and on top of that, was their biggest seller.



Friday, November 09, 2018

Dude loves Bohemian Rhapsody


This guy, who has apparently been living under a rock has never heard Queens "Bohemian Rhapsody" - or many other famous songs before.

He has a Youtube channel in which he listens to well-known song for the first time and reacts to them. He loves Bohemian Rhapsody.

Thursday, November 08, 2018

The ridiculous symbolism of MOSHI

Nietzsche and his huge &
hideously excessive & ugly mustache
I criticized the organization MOSHI about a year ago for its bizarre usage of a mustache - a male secondary sex characteristic -  to represent
philosophical thought and ideas for children.

According to its web site:
MOSHI is a witty mustache which sticks on children’s face to teach them how to philosophize and express their ideas in artistic ways.
Moshi is a mustache full of ideas!
In the US women are sometimes complimented by being told they "have balls" because having testicles - something that only men have - is a symbol of courage. So to have balls is to be like a man, therefore courageous.

Maybe one day we'll see women complimented with: "you have a mustache" meaning they are full of ideas and philosophical thoughts and if so we can thank MOSHI for pioneering that concept.

Well it turns out the use of a disembodied mustache for the organization is even more ill-considered than I had guessed. I recently had an extremely unpleasant exchange of emails with MOSHI founder Caroline Murgue, who threatened to sue me for daring to publicly criticize her organization for sexism on account of its symbolizing thought by a mustache.

WIGGI is a wig full of ideas!
During the exchange she indicated that her organization's goal was aimed at helping children in their "social and emotional learning through MOSHI workshops."

This came as a surprise to me since the MOSHI social media sites emphasize thought, not emotion or socialization.

But even more surprising, Murgue informed me that the mustache was inspired by the huge walrus-sized mustache of Frederich Nietzsche, the nineteenth century philosopher who ended his days stark raving mad.

Now the MOSHI web site does not at all make it obvious that the mustache represents Nietzsche - I didn't find any mentions of Nietzsche by name. On its home page there is an image of Nietzsche - sans mustache on his face - but I doubt many of the parents of MOSHI's target audience have any idea what Nietzsche looks like.

And I find it astounding that Murgue considered it a good idea to use Nietzsche and his mustache to represent social and emotional learning for children since Nietzsche was no model of either social or emotional success in his life, even before he went completely bonkers.

POODIE is a poodle
full of ideas!
There are so many gender-neutral options that Murgue could have used to represent philosophy. Schopenhauer, for example, who detested facial hair on men and from whom Nietzsche got all his best ideas, is famous for loving his poodles.

(I know a lot of fun facts about Schopenhauer thanks to all the research I did writing a play that included him as a character.)

A talking poodle would be a much more attractive symbol to convey philosophical ideas to children than a disembodied floating mustache. Not to mention the poodle symbolizes Schopenhauer's love for his pet, which is a better representation of "social and emotional learning" than Nietzsche's ugly woman-repelling facial hair.

Although to be honest Schopenhauer might have been even less successful in his social life than Nietzsche, and his strongest emotional connection seems to have been primarily or even exclusively with his poodles.

If the symbol must be something one can wear, the model philosopher could have been Voltaire and children could have worn powdered wigs to represent becoming full of ideas.

I wonder what Voltaire would have thought of the leader of an organization, claiming to be dedicated to philosophy, threatening a lawsuit in an attempt to censor criticism.

Voltaire had some experience with censorship.
 At this time he published his views on British attitudes toward government, literature, religion and science in a collection of essays in letter form entitled Letters Concerning the English Nation (London, 1733).[50] In 1734, they were published in French as Lettres philosophiques in Rouen.[51][b] Because the publisher released the book without the approval of the royal censor and Voltaire regarded the British constitutional monarchy as more developed and more respectful of human rights (particularly religious tolerance) than its French counterpart, the French publication of Letters caused a huge scandal; the book was publicly burnt and banned, and Voltaire was forced again to flee Paris.[18]

Friday, November 02, 2018

Supernatural Podcast teaser




You can hear:

…our interview about the superstitions surrounding “the Scottish Play” and the John Wilkes Booth connection with noted Shakespearean scholar (and star of a BBC series on Shakespeare) Professor James Shapiro; 
…Orson Welles talk to H. G. Wells (author of the original “War of the World”) about Hitler’s response to the Orson Welles broadcast and the panic it caused; 
…the performance of Michael Jalbert’s LOVERBOY and our discussion with Michael afterwords about how domestic abuse can be more horrifying than the most extreme horror story.

You can listen either on the web site or check it out on iTunes. More info here.

Thursday, November 01, 2018

The one where they went to the wrong fountain

One of the things you are asked when you are working the kiosk in Central Park is "where is the 'Friends' fountain?"

The actual fountain that is featured in the opening credits of the 1990s TV show "Friends" is on a studio lot in Burbank California.



This is the Cherry Hill fountain that they think is the Friends fountain. 


Cherry Hill fountain - no houses nearby

Not only do they not look much alike - aside from a general fountainy-ness but Cherry Hill is in the middle of the Park - there are no houses nearby and in any case not five-story houses that look like the ones behind the real fountain. There's nothing but very tall apartment buildings on the streets along Central Park.

Could they be more mistaken?