Embarassing Annals of Libertarianism and Policy Writing.

Nob Akimoto

Nob Akimoto

Nob Akimoto is a policy analyst and part-time dungeon master. When not talking endlessly about matters of public policy, he is a dungeon master on the NWN World of Avlis

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115 Responses

  1. Avatar Kolohe says:

    Who owns the University of Texas again?Report

  2. Avatar KatherineMW says:

    I think “being immature around alcohol” is an attitude that afflicts all universities. My campus newspaper had a front-page article a couple weeks backs calling out the campus pub for raising beer costs by a dollar and saying it was an unnecessary “cash grab”. To which I respond – beer isn’t a necessity; the “correct” price for it is whatever most people are willing to pay, i.e. the price that maximizes the pub’s profits. I’m totally in sympathy with arguments that things can be unreasonably overpriced when it comes to the poor not having access to necessities, but there’s no human right to cheap beer in any convention that I’ve read.Report

    • Avatar Will H. in reply to KatherineMW says:

      The history of saison.
      95 pints per worker per harvest.Report

    • Avatar NewDealer in reply to KatherineMW says:

      True.

      Though I was kind of sad when my alma mater switched from being a wet campus to a dry campus. That being said, I think there is a strong argument for universities to be wet over dry. There will be stupidity but once universities go dry, students tend to switch from beer to hard alcohol more and that causes more problems.Report

    • Katherine,

      It’s been quite a while since I attended or visited your university, but in the past there were two, possible three, bars that were run by the student union (one was in residence, so I don’t know if it was run by another committe), and a fourth run by the grad student union (or whatever it’s called).

      One of the three student union bars was turned into a coffee house about 7 years ago (I’m guessing, somewhere between five and ten years ago) and went dry. As far as I know, that one wasn’t replaced. So the student union artificially capped (and reduced) the number of bars, limiting competition and granting them near-monopoly status. Further, the student union is supposed to be working for the students, not necessarily maximizing profits off their backs.

      I don’t have an opinion on whether the price of beer should have been raised, but I can certainly see a reasonable argument being made against the decision.Report

      • Avatar Katherine in reply to Jonathan McLeod says:

        We have two pubs currently that I know of – Oliver’s for the undergrads and Mike’s Place for the grads (though students of either group can attend either pub if they like). I don’t think there’s any student-union-owned cafe – there’s a Starbucks and several THs. Anyway, as the students can leave campus and go to a variety of bars within walking distance, it’s not much of a monopoly; though more so in the winter, I suppose.

        If anyone’s got a near-monopoly on on-campus food, it’s Dining Services and not the student union – they run the Starbucks, the TH’s, and all the dining options on campus besides the two pubs. This is a far cry from my former uni (University of Victoria) where we had a corporate-owned cafeteria in the Unicentre and several different student-union-owned places for lunch (along with a bar) in the Student Union Building. And we had an on-campus consignment bookstore, which Carleton won’t allow the student union here to have because it would compete with the (overpriced) university bookstore.Report

  3. Avatar Dan Miller says:

    What’s really embarrassing is that the author of that piece was apparently drinking beer mixed with Malibu. I mean, seriously? Who in the hell does that? It’s a grotesque affront to the natural order.Report

  4. Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

    Every Libertarian Activist has a finite quantity of Rage(tm).

    Rage(tm) works on a points system, and as a Libertarian Activist of level (n), you only get so much of it (see table 23). Sure, there are exceptions, and sometimes a lucky d20 roll really goes your way, but still — you want to be careful with it.

    Now, you can spend that Rage(tm) on the beer and Malibu in Your Very Own Red Plastic Cup. Or you can spend it on the hundreds of thousands who are arrested for nonviolent marijuana “crimes” every year.

    The choice is yours, as it is in most RPGs. Choose wisely.Report

    • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

      Is Libertarian rage stronger or weaker than Nerd Rage(tm)?Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to NewDealer says:

        I think those might be coextensive. I’m open to arguments to the contrary, of course.Report

        • Avatar Glyph in reply to Stillwater says:

          My ally is Nerd Rage, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Nerd Rage around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes. Even between the land and the ship.Report

        • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Stillwater says:

          I think they are largely coextensive. Many to most or all libertarians are nerds but not all nerds are libertarians.

          I would argue that nerd rage (TM) is stronger because it is largely dealing with entertainment and lifestyle stuff over serious policy issues. A variant on Kissinger’s observation on university politics. The lower the stakes, the increase in brutality/rage/backstabbing, etc.

          Every nerd has his or her sacred thing and any variance on said thing will produce nerd rage, nothing can calm nerd rage down. It is called fandumb for a reason sometimes.*

          *Disclaimer/Admission: I used to be heavily into anime and was a strong member of my alma mater’s SF/Fantasy/Gaming club. For reasons unknown to me, anime immediately lost its appeal during my first year out of university. I still like Star Trek (though I am weird and DS9) is my favorite series but the excesses of fandom are odd to me. I have no desire to spend every weekend and holiday going to cons. Or any weekend or holiday really. Plus I never liked filk. Plus some nerd explanations really bug me. When Osama was killed, the NY Times ran a picture of a guy in his 20s celebrating by wearing a Captain America mask and shield. I thought this was inappropriate and proof of the silliness of “America, Fuck Yeah” attitudes. Someone I kind of know defended said guy by saying “He is probably just a really big nerd/kid and wanted to do something to celebrate and join in.” I’m still not convinced that being a big nerd is a good defense for that kind of immaturity.

          I am also perplexed by the dominance of fandom in the zeitgeist now and the somewhat cultural conservative/snob in me wonders why everyone is sticking with their 12-year old comfort food. Where are the 20 and 30 somethings getting into art house cinema and experimental stuff? During my parents youth in the 1960s/70s, it seemed like there was a bit more of an expectation to try and like Art House. Where are the Bergmans, Truffauts, Goddards, Cassavettees, etc?Report

          • Avatar Murali in reply to NewDealer says:

            am also perplexed by the dominance of fandom in the zeitgeist now and the somewhat cultural conservative/snob in me wonders why everyone is sticking with their 12-year old comfort food. Where are the 20 and 30 somethings getting into art house cinema and experimental stuff? During my parents youth in the 1960s/70s

            I think we are gradually abolishing the idea that there is any particular virtue to pursuing the higher pleasures rather than the lower. We’re a bunch of intellectuals in this site, but we are more likely to get Dungeons and Dragons, Terry Pratchett and Monty Python references (Dare I hope that there are Jim Butcher fans here?) than Tolstoy and Dostoevsky*. Hell I couldn’t tell one from the other even if you hit me in the face with one of their books.

            *I had to use google in order to spell that.Report

            • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Murali says:

              I don’t think there is anything wrong with liking the things you mentioned.

              However, I do find it troubling that many people in their 20s and 30s seem to be absolutely rejecting “high” culture or at least culture that is somewhat more difficult to appreciate. There is value in humanity when it can produce Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, or deeply experimental artists like Philip Glass, Meredith Monk, Robert Wilson, Judy Chicago, etc. Not everything has to be silly and easy to digest.

              I still find long-form criticism like the New Yorker, New Republic, N plus One, Bomb, The Believer, etc to be highly valuable. I still think one of the most valuable things a critic can do is encourage people to seek out more obscure and difficult art.

              I can’t help but think that when liberal and progressive sites like Think Progress are almost exclusively dedicated to fandom stuff on their culture pages, it is because they have been scared by the Palinistas for being out of touch urban elitists.

              “Socialist in economics, liberal in politics, conservative in culture”-Daniel BellReport

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to NewDealer says:

                I learned long ago that today’s high culture is generally last generation’s low culture.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Morat20 says:

                In music, the opposite is also true. Rock bands like Spiritualized draw on avante-garde sources like Reich/Young/Riley/Glass; even more popular artists like Radiohead do the same, also drawing on Aphex Twin (ditto) and the like; Bjork and Timbaland were huge in the 90’s, despite productions that were often downright weird/experimental. High culture feeds low culture feeds high culture.

                To the extent that high/difficult culture is being crowded out (I don’t know that I agree that it is – Nabokov’s Pale Fire is being discussed somewhere on the internet as we speak) I think this is more than balanced out by the infusion of high/difficult culture into low – something like Watchmen (the book) is undoubtedly a reaction to/deconstruction of low culture (comics/superheroes), but itself (or Sandman) is IMO almost as layered and ‘important’ as most any high culture you’d like to name.

                Mainstream, non-1% culture has *always* been low culture – and, it’s often not as ‘low’ as it appears at first glance.Report

              • Avatar dhex in reply to Glyph says:

                as per glyph, i would say that glass hasn’t been rightfully “experimental” for years, perhaps decades – but that the popular ear, even the lowest culture, has gotten downright weird in the past decade, especially in terms of distortion and rhythm.

                more people than ever are into what was an “experimental” arena – drone and doom metal, ambient music of all stripes, grindcores of varying degrees of troo-ness, those that mix classical structures with drone/ambient – stars of the lid/winged victory for the sullen, etc. hell, godspeed you black emperor had a lot in common with glenn branca than the ramones.

                this kind of categorization is a lot more about audiences than outcomes. i yield to no one in my love of the works of that fart sniffing irish genius, but he also understood that marketing, even to a niche, was really important in shaping how you got to eyes (and avoided prison terms/fines/bans for obscenity). most of the modernists did – especially those irish modernists who helped push the irish revival.

                possibly unrelated, but i while i was outside making a phone call this morning i saw a young woman in a homemade darkthrone sweatshirt. this culture of ours is downright wacky.Report

              • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Morat20 says:

                I will rue the day when Cat Macros and Gifs are displayed in MOMA and the Guggenheim.

                And I am not sure that is true. The modern artists (Cornell, Richard Serra, De Koening, Wayne Theobaud, and many more) will always considered part of high culture. Same with writers like Beckett and Joyce. Shostakovich was always high culture. They might have been rejected by a large part of the cultural establishment but no one would consider them to have ever been “low culture”. Same with filmmakers like Truffaut, Goddard, Bergman, etc. Were they ever considered low culture?Report

              • Avatar Katherine in reply to NewDealer says:

                I will rue the day when Cat Macros and Gifs are displayed in MOMA and the Guggenheim.

                And I will rejoice. They have as much worth as Pollock’s paint splotches, a few squares, or black stretches of canvas – which is to say, very little. But at least the occasional gif or macro is good enough to provoke a smile, which is more than can be said for much of modern ‘art’.Report

              • Avatar DRS in reply to Katherine says:

                Article in New York Review of Books 2 years ago about Pollock starting to use his cell phone to create images based on the imaging software. Article discussed whether there were art; he says they are.

                “People ask him if it’s true he paints with his cellphone and he says, no, but sometimes he talks on his sketchpad.” (Not an exact quote but really close.)Report

              • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Katherine says:

                @DRS:

                Jackson Pollock? He died way before cellphones were invented.Report

              • Avatar DRS in reply to Katherine says:

                NewDealer, you’re right – it’s Hockney: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2009/oct/22/david-hockneys-iphone-passion/?pagination=false

                Interesting article with visuals of the images and the full quote at the end. Sorry for my confusion.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to NewDealer says:

                RE: GIFs – I’d go to a gallery with these on the walls:

                http://mrdiv.tumblr.com/Report

              • Avatar dhex in reply to Glyph says:

                i just queued up some emeralds and looked at those for about ten minutes. awesome.

                he should do a show here:

                http://alexgrey.com/cosm/

                (warning probably not safe for work due to psychedelic bisected penises and whatnot)Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Glyph says:

                Hey, that’s pretty cool. You should have brought that one up when we were having the ‘Kinkade/impossible light’ convo with ND:

                “It is the light that is sublime in Grey’s oeuvre – which is the most important innovation in religious light since the Baroque – and that makes the mundane beings in them seem sublime, in every realistic detail of their exquisite being.”

                – Donald Kuspit,
                Professor of Art History
                and Philosophy at SUNY
                -Stony Brook

                Report

              • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Glyph says:

                Those are cool.

                I meant the ones grabbed from movies andTV that are used to show emotional dismay on the Internet. And I consider them to be a sign of the end of civilization and discourse.Report

              • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to NewDealer says:

                I tend to find arthouse cinema fairly pretentious and a lot less meaningful than it thinks it is. Ditto with most of modern art.

                Classic literature is something entirely different and worthy of appreciation, but I wouldn’t expect to see a lot of blogs branching out in that area, simply because it’s been so heavily analyzed that it’s hard for anyone besides Lit majors to find something new to contribute to the discussion. And it’s less useful in terms of recommendations and sharing interests – everyone knows they ought to read Crime and Punishment, whereas I had only vaguely heard of The Sandman before Jaybird talked me into reading it (and it’s not exactly short on depth and complexity, either).

                I suspect a substantial part of what’s been rejected is the idea that certain genres – science fiction, fantasy, graphic novel – are inherently “low culture” regardless of their actual quality and content. And that, in my view, is a healthy trend.Report

              • Avatar NewDealer in reply to KatherineMW says:

                I generally think that pretentiousness is a very easy charge to level and make at something. And I often find that I have a hard time figuring out why things are considered pretentious?

                Ozu produced domestic dramas about middle-class families being gently torn apart at the seams by equally compelling forces of modernity and tradition. Kurosawa made Samurai films and modern noirs for much of his career some of which were adapted from Shakespeare (Throne of Blood, The Bad Sleep Well, Ran). Star Wars is basically an homage to Kurosawa’s the Hidden Fortress. Goddard got wonky and non-narrative so I will grant that he could be pretentious. Truffaut never struck me as pretentious. Neither does Rohemer or Bergman.

                Likewise, I never quite understand why non-representative artists like the Abstract Expressionists always get labeled as pretentious. As I mentioned in another thread on the league, I find that it is Imperialistic propaganda of the Pre-Raphaelites to be pretentious. I strongly dislike their glorified and false paintings of courtly life from the Middle Ages. There is more reality and beauty in a Rothko painting than in the pomposity of seeing a lady crown a knight on his way to or home from Imperialist adventure.Report

              • Avatar Murali in reply to NewDealer says:

                I thought the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood tended towards religious stuff.

                The pretensiousness of contemporary art is not its supposed lack of realism. The pretensiousness rather lies in the fact that everything is Critical. Social commentary All. The. Time. The impression is that they are never off. they never do anything just for aesthetic pleasure. There may be exceptions, but that is the biggest impression I get.

                And do you know what is even more irritating, the social commentary is often simplistic even in cases where they happen to make valid points.Report

              • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Murali says:

                These are the kind of pseudo-Middle Ages pieces of pre-Raphaelite art that I find to be pompous and pretentious but many people seem to find aesthetically pleasing:

                http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-3PI4TMCMtds/TzVRWFDiLiI/AAAAAAAABaY/FlYO4itZ130/s1600/god_speed.jpg

                http://painting-canvas.co.uk/images/gallery/Painting%20Reproduction/pre-raphaelite/creppre015.jpg

                The most interesting thing about the group is that they were all in love or lust with the same two women and used them as models in all their paintings.

                I think that all art is social commentary of one sort or another. Even people who say they are doing “art for art’s sake” are engaging in a form of social commentary because it is generally a reaction against those who think art must be social commentary or useful in some way.

                Now I think there is plenty wrong with the art world and social commentary and it can largely be illustrated by the career of Damien Hirst. Also Bansky to a more limited extent. I agree that in the world of high art prices there is a lot of insular “knowing” that can be alienating to people. Is Damien Hirst pulling a joke on his buyers or are the buyers pulling a joke on us/Damien Hirst?

                I think you are being unfair by calling the social commentary of art to be simplistic. It sounds rather glib. It is glib to say that Picasso’s Guerenica can be reduced to “War is bad” or Edward Hooper’s Nighthawks is about the lonely and alienating nature of the modern city/life but this cheapens the viewer’s reaction and interaction to the work. There are real and raw human emotions in those pieces of art that reflect truth to the human condition and empathy towards human suffering and misery.Report

              • Avatar Murali in reply to Murali says:

                I think that all art is social commentary of one sort or another. Even people who say they are doing “art for art’s sake” are engaging in a form of social commentary because it is generally a reaction against those who think art must be social commentary or useful in some way

                I’m not talking about people doing art for art’s sake. I’m talking about things like Tanjore paintings, woodcuts etc which middle class people buy to put on their walls because they look nice or the design elements fit with the theme of the room or because it depicts the life of Krishna well, or because every house should have a Gita Upadesam or a Ramar Pattabishegam

                I think you are being unfair by calling the social commentary of art to be simplistic. It sounds rather glib. It is glib to say that Picasso’s Guerenica can be reduced to “War is bad

                I’ll cop to being a bit unfair.

                Picasso ain’t exactly contemporary.

                this cheapens the viewer’s reaction and interaction to the work

                The problem is that at least to me, a lot of the contemporary art pieces (like a lot of jazz and R&B) are themselves completely alienating.

                Turner paintings on the other hand are the visual equivalence of an angelic chorus. Even the pseudo medievel pre-rafaelite stuff is engages that part of my brain which gives me pleasurable feelings when I look at something. Contemporary stuff doesn’t and it gets trying after a while.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Murali says:

                In defence of what folks call Modern Art, in the words of Edgard Varèse: “the present-day composer refuses to die.”

                What’s the difference between some pedestrian print of Shiva or Rama and the temples at Ellora? Time is the difference. We say art is classic when it’s survived the test of time. In all times, mankind has been making art and not much of it survived. The stuff that was loved and cared for made the journey.

                I recall when I was small
                How I spent my days alone
                The busy world was not for me
                So I went and found my own
                I would climb the garden wall
                With a candle in my hand
                I’d hide inside a hall of rock and sand

                On the stone an ancient hand
                In a faded yellow-green
                Made alive a worldly wonder
                Often told but never seen
                Now and ever bound to labor
                On the sea and in the sky
                Every man and beast appeared
                A friend as real as I

                Before the fall when they wrote it on the wall
                When there wasn’t even any Hollywood
                They heard the call
                And they wrote it on the wall
                For you and me we understood

                Can it be this sad design
                Could be the very same
                A woolly man without a face
                And a beast without a name
                Nothing here but history
                Can you see what has been done
                Memory rush over me
                Now I step into the sun
                Report

              • Avatar NewDealer in reply to KatherineMW says:

                Or for the more representational, there is more beauty in the social realism of the Ashcan school.

                Or the social realist Jewish painters from the Lower East side like Raphael Soyer:

                http://www.artclon.com/OtherFile/raphael_soyer_xx_annunciation_1980.jpgReport

              • Avatar MikeSchilling in reply to KatherineMW says:

                If people were reading Jim Butcher in addition to Faulkner, rather than instead of him, I’d agree.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to MikeSchilling says:

                Faulkner’s such a drag to read. Do Not Like.Report

              • Avatar dhex in reply to Kim says:

                “Faulkner’s such a drag to read. Do Not Like.”

                it’s not, like, “fun”, but he was pretty super awesome. same with o’connor. southern gothic is a mood altering kinda literature, generally pretty heavy on the goth.

                “If people were reading Jim Butcher in addition to Faulkner, rather than instead of him, I’d agree.”

                how do you know they’re not?

                i dunno who this jim butcher character is, but i know a ton of book nerds with hella letters after their name and half of them are so harry pottered to shit and back i fear for their sanity.

                point being, people are often wide and voracious readers against type. the stereotype of the literary snob with elbow patches on his tweed jacket, all clucking his tongue at anything with less than 600 pages or involving a plot, is so old it should be appraised on antiques roadshow, where it would be found to have little value because it is so dreadfully common, if not actually a reproduction of an earlier work.Report

              • Avatar MikeSchilling in reply to Kim says:

                I’m just going by how rarely Faulkner (Or Fitzgerald, or Hemingway, etc.) come up in discussions compared to Butcher or Grisham or Stephen King. TNC posts about Faulkner on occasion, and it’s often a good discussion, but it’s so damned rare.

                clucking his tongue at anything with less than 600 pages

                Huh. To me that says “bloated fantasy doorstop”. Gatsby and The Sound and The Fury are maybe half that size.Report

              • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Kim says:

                at Mike.

                I think Gatsby is only a bit over 200 pages. It is a third the size of a fantasy door stop.Report

              • Avatar dhex in reply to Kim says:

                “I’m just going by how rarely Faulkner (Or Fitzgerald, or Hemingway, etc.) come up in discussions compared to Butcher or Grisham or Stephen King. TNC posts about Faulkner on occasion, and it’s often a good discussion, but it’s so damned rare.”

                well, it is comparing modern day bestsellers with authors whose bestselling days were 70+ years ago. plus there’s a certain formality to the notion of “the classics” that is lacking from modern works of fiction. not a ton of leopold bloom fanfiction running about; bloomsday is probably as close as you’ll get.

                there’s a feeling that one has to know their stuff in order to make observations about faulkner that isn’t accompanied by something by stephen king, even if the analysis comes from the same direction or targets the same themes.

                there’s also the distortion effect of the internet at play – there’s a lot of lit blogs out there, but unless you go looking for them you’re not going to find them. for more popular blogs, if you’re going to write about literature, contemporary works are going to get you more hits than those that are decades old, unless you have something particularly unique or outrageous to say.

                hell, if you threw a dart at the internet, you might come to believe that firefly is one of the most popular television shows ever made and libertarians are 35% of the population.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Kim says:

                hell, if you threw a dart at the internet, you might come to believe that firefly is one of the most popular television shows ever made and libertarians are 35% of the population.

                Wait, what?! You mean we aren’t attaining quorum?!?! 🙂Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Kim says:

                dhex,
                I read a play by one of the Nobel prizewinners… it had so many mentions of the word n!gger it made my eyes bleed… (seriously. this isn’t Steinbeck, where he was using it to make a point.)Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to MikeSchilling says:

                I’d been working on some Quentin/Dalton slashfic to help make the book a little more accessible, but it wasn’t received particularly well.Report

              • Avatar MikeSchilling in reply to Jaybird says:

                Which Quentin?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

                The first time I was asked that question, I slapped my forehead and threw together a completely different Quentin/Dalton story with the other one but that only resulted in someone asking for Quentin/Quentin/Dalton and that just creeped me out.Report

              • Avatar MikeSchilling in reply to Jaybird says:

                Yeah, doing it with your niece icky unless you’re royalty.Report

              • Avatar Murali in reply to Jaybird says:

                Yeah, doing it with your niece icky unless you’re royalty.

                or IndianReport

              • Avatar joey jo jo in reply to KatherineMW says:

                “I tend to find arthouse cinema fairly pretentious and a lot less meaningful than it thinks it is.”

                ZOMG that’s how I feel about libertarianism. But I joke too much. 🙁Report

              • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to joey jo jo says:

                That too.Report

            • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to Murali says:

              Dare I hope that there are Jim Butcher fans here?

              Yes!Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Murali says:

              We’ll be discussing Jim Butcher’s newest novel “Cold Days” (available November 27th) at Mindless Diversions.

              Somebody should do a bookclub for that series, I tell you what.Report

              • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to Jaybird says:

                …I was going to ask for it for Christmas (I almost never buy hardcovers), but now I may have to pre-order it.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to KatherineMW says:

                Wait, what? You still buy books on actual paper? What is this, the dark ages?

                I resisted a Kindle for a long time. But my personal library (and my wife’s) was taking over the house. I was — and am — literally out of room for books. Now that I have a Kindle? You’ll pry it from my cold, dead fingers.

                I don’t have my whole library on Kindle (not being, you know, ridiculously rich). We have maybe 200 books between us on Kindle (we share an account). I’m slowly adding my old library to my Kindle, and any new books go there.

                So everywhere I go, I have my entire library in a lightweight Kindle that lasts two weeks between charges. And if I forget it, I can always read on my phone.

                All of Jim Butcher’s stuff I have on Kindle (Codex Alera and Dresden Files). Pratchett just his newer stuff (I shall Wear Midnight, Snuff, The Long Earth, and Dodger). Charles Stross, because it seems wrong to read his stuff on paper. 🙂Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Morat20 says:

                There is a comedy bit involving the difference between the new digital phones and the old industrial plastic phones you used to lease from the phone company.

                The comedian would pretend to yell something to the effect of “GO COPULATE WITH YOURSELF YOU COPULATING COPULATOR!!!” and then look at his palm and pretended to press a button on it while saying “boop”. The old phones, he pointed out, could be hung up FOR REALS. It even had a bell in there telling you how awesome your hangup was.

                Which brings me to this:

                Ain’t nobody gonna throw a Kindle across the room.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Jaybird says:

                Makes me think of this Hedberg bit:

                http://youtu.be/V9NIwWD8yp0Report

              • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to Jaybird says:

                I like old phones. They were designed practically, by people who realized that a device intended for verbal communication should be able to reach both your mouth and your ear. The designers of modern cell phones seem to have forgotten this, perhaps because they prefer communication 2 b ntirely n txt.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Jaybird says:

                Plus, this cell phone is gonna be useless as a murder weapon should I ever need to employ it that way, unless I can somehow get the victim to swallow it.Report

              • Avatar MikeSchilling in reply to Jaybird says:

                unless I can somehow get the victim to swallow it.

                It could profitably be used as a weapon if you reverse that.Report

              • Avatar Ramblin' Rod in reply to Jaybird says:

                I worked for AT&T for a short while (before my career went to hell) and they used to tell stories about the old Western Electric days. The final quality test on those old phones was a drop onto concrete from a height of two stories. The case might break but they were expected to still work. Try that with your cell phone.Report

              • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to Morat20 says:

                Yes, I still buy books on actual paper. I find it easier to read. Also, given that most of my books come from the library and I know some good used bookstores for when there’s something I reread often enough to want to buy it, paying a couple hundred (or more) dollars for an e-reader which I then have to pay to download books onto doesn’t seem worth it. And I’m not worrying about breaking something that expensive whenever I carry it around with me.

                And there’s a 0% chance that whoever’s selling it can change their mind on some copyright issue and delete my physical books from my shelf, which is also a big plus.

                Anyway, found Cold Days on Amazon for $19, which is insanely low for a hardcover. I’m understanding why some of the big bookstore chains are going out of business.Report

              • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Morat20 says:

                Yup. I prefer reading on actual paper and with binded books. Reading on a screen gives me a headache and hurts my eyes.Report

              • Avatar Kimsie in reply to NewDealer says:

                kindles aren’t a screen like you’re used to. or at least they didn’t used to be.Report

              • Avatar MikeSchilling in reply to NewDealer says:

                That is the great thing about Kindles — they’re easier on your eyes than a book is. (And you can make the font as big as you like.)Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to NewDealer says:

                Kindle won’t give you a headache — it’s not a screen like that. Don’t know about the new paperwhite stuff, though.

                Kindle uses epaper — it boils down to black lines on a white (not backlit) background, just like ink and paper.Report

              • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to Morat20 says:

                And if I forget it, I can always read on my phone.

                Blasphemy.

                I am content in my Luddism.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to KatherineMW says:

                Amen, sister.

                Will a kindle serve me as kindling in an emergency on a camping trip?

                Dare I take the kindle with me on a wilderness canoe trip?

                What if I drop my kindle in the bathtub?

                Can I cram the kindle down in whatever space I can manage to find in my luggage?

                Can I glance up at my shelf and suddenly be reminded of all the delights in that particular book I just happened to spot?

                What if I accidentally step on my kindle?

                Do I dare throw the kindle across the room in rage at how horrible the book I’m reading is (I’m looking at you N. Taleb)?

                I fully support people’s right to use kindles, just as I support their right to drink Miller Lite. Just don’t try to persuade me that I’ll really really like it if I’d just try it.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to KatherineMW says:

                Will a kindle serve me as kindling in an emergency on a camping trip?

                Never mind that…what if you need emergency paper for more…personal reasons…the type of reason that “bears in the woods” are familiar with?Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to KatherineMW says:

                I too am content to be a luddite.
                But carrying 30 days worth of books in my luggage was technically infeasible.Report

              • Avatar MikeSchilling in reply to KatherineMW says:


                Dare I take the kindle with me on a wilderness canoe trip?

                What if I drop my kindle in the bathtub?

                You wouldn’t do that with valuable (or library) books either.


                Can I cram the kindle down in whatever space I can manage to find in my luggage?

                They’re very flat, so you put them at the bottom and cram everything else on top of them. It takes up much less space then the three or four books I’d usually have packed for a week-long business trip.


                What if I accidentally step on my kindle?

                They’re not fragile. Spikes might be a problem.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to KatherineMW says:

                From personally experience, 250 lbs on the kindle screen (via heel) is enough to break the screen.

                Dropping it from table height? No.

                They are rather sturdy. Also, I’m gonna be blunt on the rest: I have never, ever, EVER in my life viewed a book as an emergency fire starting tool. I actually have one of those, and it works a lot better than a book – -since a book is gonna fuel a fire for about a minute, which is kinda useless. Starting the fire is hard, not finding stuff to burn. (Firesteel is awesome).

                As for taking it on trips — sure. I take mine to the beach. It’s slightly smaller than a hardback and thinner than most magazines. The battery lasts for weeks if you turn the wireless off. It’s best read in direct light. Like sunlight.

                Also, mine is well organized. Although I wish Amazon would release software for it so I don’t have to use Calibre or the Kindle’s own interface.Report

              • Avatar zic in reply to KatherineMW says:

                James Hanley, they fit nicely inside a zip lock bag; my son read his inside a bag while in the bath.

                And while it’s sturdy, the previous iteration did get damaged when his backpack got backed over. Not broken, just damaged.

                He’s also got the G3 access to gmail and wikipedia pretty much anywhere; son also used in in lieu of a cell phone while attending school in Alaska. Call his gmail, leave him a message, got transcribed and emailed to him.Report

              • Avatar zic in reply to KatherineMW says:

                Edit: call his g-phone#. Oh for an edit function.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to KatherineMW says:

                Mike–I don’t waste money on expensive books, because I do drop them in the bathtub.

                Morat–35 degrees and raining after snow. Misjudged burn rate on new stove and ran out of fuel. Hungry and in need of warm food. The problem wasn’t sparks, it was lack of dry tinder. Didn’t have the paraffin fire sticks on that trip. Dean Koonz burns well, gets finger-size sticks burning, larger stuff follows, warm breakfast gives us the calories to make a long trudge out that day. Best use of Dean Koonz ever. Ev. Er.Report

            • Avatar MikeSchilling in reply to Murali says:

              Dungeons and Dragons, Terry Pratchett and Monty Python

              One of these things is not like the other.

              But, yes, it’s discouraging that we all have opinions on Peter Cetera, but the only one who liked to discuss Bach was a certified loon.Report

  5. Avatar Kolohe says:

    Remember when campus liberalism was all about fighting the power?

    Now it’s all yes sir, no sir, don’t want to get anything on my permanent record, sir.

    (in other words, it would have been even more hilarious if the guy was tased or peppersprayed amirite?)Report

  6. Avatar NewDealer says:

    Is the University of Texas really private property?Report

  7. Avatar MFarmer says:

    I don’t know if anyone asked, but what does this have to do with libertarianism?Report

  8. Avatar b-psycho says:

    Taking seriously your Open Thread/ Embarrassing articles that shouldn’t exist request…

    This on the Trayvon Martin case isn’t a new one, but it still grates at me, especially for where such crap is being said. It’s as if the writer completely forgot that *actual cops* (y’know, those people in uniforms that draw their paychecks from tax dollars) assault & kill people that did nothing wrong. Out of sight, out of mind I guess.Report

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