The Four Reading Levels

  1. Elementary: What does the text say? Literacy.
  2. Inspectual: What is this article/book about? Superficial, skimming.
  3. Analytical: Is the information / argument good? Meaning, perspective and use.
  4. Synoptic: Comparative. Trying to incorporate multiple points of view into our own view.

Nothing I want to quote from the article by Bruno Boksic on this topic. But, I thought it was a useful mental model.

When Reality Leads to Legal Realism

“If courts don’t have to defend their decisions, then they’re just acts of will, of power.”

—Adam Liptak, “Missing From Supreme Court’s Election Cases: Reasons for Its Rulings.” The New York Times. October 26, 2020.

At base, Legal Realism, when you get past all the philosophical talk about natural science, is simple, “The law is what judges say it is.” There need be no consistency, for power need not offer explanations. The problem with the above quote is not a problem of shadow rulings, it points to something people don’t want to accept is a feature of the legal system as a whole. It’s more or less arbitrary. But, we need a method to resolve disputes. Every human society has judges.

The common law tradition has the advantage of trying to reach agreement among judges over time, a.k.a., stare decisis, but it still is based on granting the power to resolve disputes to certain people because it is convenient. As members of the country’s elite, judges will tend to align with elite interests. Everything else, such as the notions of positivism or “originalism” is just rationalizing “acts of will, of power.” See also: Exhibit A.

CRIMEHOT

CRIMEHOT is about hot thieves in a crazy future where the human race was guided by an all-knowing Algorithm to leave Earth behind and colonize the depths of outer space and okay that’s all boring. That all sucks. Stop worrying about that. Let’s talk about how Haze is the greatest thief that has ever lived and how cool that is…

Enjoy the first issue of CRIMEHOT, a new on-going sci-fi caper comedy by Alec Robbins (creator of MR. BOOP.)

Just doing my part to support more weird in the world.

Oddkin

“Here’s Donna Haraway, talking about kin, in Staying with the Trouble (2):

“Kin is a wild category that all sorts of people do their best to domesticate. Making kin as oddkin, rather than, or at least in addition to, godkin…troubles important matters, like to whom one is actually responsible….What shape is this kinship, where and whom do its lines connect and disconnect, and so what?”

Haraway is reclaiming kin to mean not merely blood relatives (“godkin”) but also those whose company [1] we choose to be in (“oddkin”). “Odd” works here to mean unexpected or unusual but also suggests the odd ones out. “Oddkin” brings the odd ones together into kinship.

But what does it mean to be oddkin? To whom are we actually responsible? The nuclear family restricts the answer to that question to the smallest possible unit: only immediate [2] relatives, not other more distant ones, and certainly not friends or neighbors. This isn’t just a philosophical restriction—it’s built in to our streets and buildings and laws with parking lots and bricks and surveillance cameras. But oddkin rewrites those boundaries, opens them wide up. Oddkin stakes the claim that the shape of kinship isn’t a birthright but a choice, that the people we choose to gather with are connected to us in ways at least equivalent to those we were born alongside.”

-Mandy Brown, “Oddkin: A working letter.A Working Library. August 29, 2021.

U2: We Are the People [Making Next Level Shite]

I try to avoid highlighting things that are bad here, just as one tries to avoid stepping in poop. But, holy shit, the Euro 2021 theme song We Are The People is terrible. I somehow keep hearing it, despite being quite comfortable living the rest of my life and never hearing it again.

Curious. Does the band call “The Edge”, “The Edge”? Like Bono turns to The Edge and asks, “Hey The Edge, I want to go get some food as bad as our music, you want the 12 piece McNuggets again?” Or, does he call him “E” and Bono is “B”? I’m going to imagine Adam and Larry go by “A” and “L”, and then make some bad joke about having a better understanding about why Cain had to kill ABEL. Thanks, I’ll be here all week. Try the veal.

Troll Taxonomies

“The internet doesn’t turn people into assholes so much as it acts as a massive megaphone for existing ones, according to work by researchers at Aarhus University.

-Tom McCay, “Online Trolls Actually Just Assholes All the Time, Study Finds.” Gizmodo. August 27, 2021.

I think there is a troll gravity online, where the megaphones of a few draw people into their troll orbit. And like gravity, there is a difference between super massive jackholes of trolldom, where galaxies of individuals revolve around them. On the other end, there are the asteroids and comets of trolldom, not there all the time, but occasionally, they fly in and are a spectacle. If you are going to have this kind of discussion, you probably need to develop a taxonomy of trolldom.

Also, the reason people behave differently online is because there is not a threat of physical violence. A grief troll online can just ask questions that offline would likely end in a beating.

Planet of Cops

“The woke world is a world of snitches, informants, rats. Go to any space concerned with social justice and what will you find? Endless surveillance. Everybody is to be judged. Everyone is under suspicion. Everything you say is to be scoured, picked over, analyzed for any possible offense. Everyone’s a detective in the Division of Problematics, and they walk the beat 24/7. You search and search for someone Bad doing Bad Things, finding ways to indict writers and artists and ordinary people for something, anything. That movie that got popular? Give me a few hours and 800 words. I’ll get you your indictments. That’s what liberalism is, now — the search for baddies doing bad things, like little offense archaeologists, digging deeper and deeper to find out who’s Good and who’s Bad. I wonder why people run away from establishment progressivism in droves.”

-Freddie deBoer, “Planet of Cops.”freddiedeboer.substack.com. Originally posted: May 2017.

Immediately made me think of this scene: “You’re not cop. You’re little people.”