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Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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  1. Avatar Damon
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    says:

    “The media industry has long skewed young, educated, and New Yorky, AND LIBERAL. ” Fixed that for ya. I have less of an issue with them being liberal, if they’d just damn well concede it than trying to hide under a banner of “neutrality”. But what I think is even worse about our media folks is the “new yorky” focus. NYC is the center of the universe. That’s a mindset/focus that colors everything. They have no idea how everyone else lives. I’ve lived in rural west, the south, and the mid atlantic. One of my friends is exactly like how I expect media types are. Self opinionated, 100% self focused, VERY LIBERAL and can’t understand anyone who thinks different from them. I don’t think that’s a good set of qualifications for being a reporter–which is why all them don’t report, the opine.Report

    • Avatar Sam Wilkinson in reply to Damon
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      Our media is extremely conservative. It routinely mouthpieces for cops and prosecutors, routinely goes to bat for corporations, routinely defends rotted cultural institutions, routinely defends capitalism, routinely uses Republican framing to discuss everything from environmentalism to voting rights to crime to culture, and routinely focuses its time on overwhelmingly conservative demographics, whether that means telling us sob stories about rich people or pretending like “working class” Trump voters are only ones that exist anywhere in America.

      It sure would be nice if that wasn’t the case though.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Sam Wilkinson
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        It does this weird thing where it’s woke as hell as camouflage for how it fights to keep the status quo.

        It’s like those white people who yell about White Fragility and Anti-Racism the loudest yet live in the so-called “Apartheid School Districts”. By screaming “LOOK OVER THERE!”, they can successfully get a lot of people to look over there.Report

        • Avatar Kristin Devine in reply to Jaybird
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          It’s not liberal. It’s not conservative. It’s the mouthpiece of the status quo whatever that may be.

          So weird how people are so invested in the liberal-conservative yin-yang that they cannot see all the other yin-yang dynamics that affect our culture.Report

          • Avatar Damon in reply to Kristin Devine
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            Actually, the politics of most journalists are liberal…often more liberal than the Democratic party, but they are also, as you stated, mouthpieces for some elements of the status quo–they sure as hell aren’t mouthpieces for any conservative ideas or of the conservative status quo. I’m speaking broadly not in specfics.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Sam Wilkinson
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        says:

        I think the “media” is too big to defy easy categorization but there is a potentially a broad “soft” liberalism that pushes for diversity (because strife is bad for profits) but sometimes does all the things you describe above. Conservatives don’t mind the stuff you mention above but they do mind when newspapers issue slightly progressive guidelines on gender pronouns or when the Bolsheviks at (checks notes) Nabisco do the same via tweet.Report

        • Avatar Pinky in reply to Saul Degraw
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          Slightly progressive guidelines on gender pronouns? Slightly? If you lined up all of human history on one side, and a tiny number of gender theorists who would have been laughed off the stage even 10 years ago on the other, where would you chart slightly progressive?Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Sam Wilkinson
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        says:

        You might want to take a mulligan on that one.Report

  2. Avatar DensityDuck
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    says:

    I think the industry is sunk.Report

  3. Avatar Sam Wilkinson
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    says:

    Gonna need more evidence for that “they and their cohort” claim, or at least a definition of both “they” and “cohort.”Report

  4. Avatar Saul Degraw
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    says:

    i am not sure this is completely true. I don’t deny that these six-figure stories do get focused on. I know people who fit that description. Maybe more so than average. But I have also read a lot of articles that focus on the fact that the majority of defaulted student loan debt is for the other group you describe. Generally people who went to for-profit colleges for vocational or “useful” subjects and ended up without a degree and without a premium. I suppose you could make an argument that including even one six-figure debtor with an academic degree destroys the cause but it shouldn’t.

    https://slate.com/business/2020/07/debt-nation-the-faces-of-americas-student-loan-crisis.html

    This is a recent student debt story. You have a diverse cast of characters. There is a 36 -year old man with a doctorate in education, six figure debt and household income of 125K. There is also a 60 year old man who was laid off in the last recession, went back to grad school to become a teacher, and now has over 200K debt. But they also feature some people with much lower student debt or who have paid off their high student debt. The 60-year old is an interesting case because it seems society has no answer for what he should have done when laid off in his late 40s during the last Great Recession except maybe “sucks to be you. sorry.”Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Saul Degraw
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      I’ll be honest, I think any mention of the edge cases damages the message in much the same way that talking about welfare abusers damages the message regarding the need for welfare.

      Take your teacher with $200K in debt – that’s not tuition for him; that his tuition, living expenses, his daughters school expenses, etc. He racked up a whole lot of debt paying for things that are not tuition. That says “School isn’t expensive, people are just careless with credit.”

      Journalists in general have a problem with big numbers. They think that if they toss around big numbers, it’s always scary in the right direction, regardless of the context. It’s not, that context is very important, and it only takes a single misfire to turn a reader off from your message.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Oscar Gordon
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        says:

        That’s fair. I meant he was more of an interesting case on “what do you do with a middle-aged person in his or her job in his or her late 40s who lost his job in a recession and it is not coming back?” They are too young to retire, they might have dependents to support, etc. It is a tricky problem. It might not have been wise for him to go back to school but I can see why he made that decision.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Saul Degraw
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          I think going back to school is always a good thing, but not if you are going to have to live on loans, and take out loans for your kids to live on while they are in school, etc.

          Just because it’s a good thing doesn’t mean you need to be dumb about the debt. But my larger point stands, this guy is not all that sympathetic. I mean, to a degree he is, but not to a degree that I feel OK paying off his loans for him.Report

  5. Avatar InMD
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    There are too many interesting points in that Yglesias post (and some comments) to get into all of them but the section about the influence of tech workers in media is something I never thought about. It makes sense to me that additing a bunch of them into a stodgy old journalism institution would result in some very strange tensions.

    Anecdotal but being from a stodgy profession (law) and working with a lot of tech people I often feel they come at the world with a different mentality. Most I’ve worked with are certainly smarter than me in a technical way, and they attack problems looking for short-cuts and ways to do more with less. There’s a lot I envy about it, especially since my own mind just doesn’t work thay way. They’re capable of things I never will be.

    This also leads to a lot of metaphorical building the plane while you’re already 40,000 feet in the air and all the economic pressure in the world to do things that way. What I don’t see as much appreciation for is rigorousness, disciplined work on getting things right, and bigger picture thinking. I end up running into a lot of extremely intelligent people who are also mind-bogglingly lacking in perspective.

    The outcome of bringing this to journalism I think is disrupt, but do it on the cheap. Believe in the cause but try to rationalize away the inconvenient facts. Don’t reflect on errors, double down on them and where you can’t pivot, memory hole, and try to retcon reality. Put it in a big cultural and political institution and watch how this kind of thinking bleeds out into the wider world.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to InMD
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      One factoid that continually bugs me is the fact that there are more journalism graduates every year than there are jobs in the industry.

      Not “open jobs in the industry”. *JOBS* in the industry. That is to say, if you fired everybody in the biz and hired them with a fresh-faced kid who graduated in May/June of this year… you’d still have fresh-faced kids who graduated in May/June of this year after you ran out of jobs.

      IT very much has a problem with the whole “Jaybird, we need to hire somebody who isn’t stupid for this position. Do you know a guy?” and I go through my databanks and realize that I do know a guy from a job or two back. We worked together on the Soccerball project. Hey, he’s still in my gmail. “Dude, who do you work for? Quit, work for us! Go here and apply!”

      Now what’s the most likely political demographics of this guy I remember and who was in my gmail?

      “Spitting distance of yours?”, I hear you guess. “BINGO!”, I respond.

      Journalism has a similar thing going on.

      Which results in crap like Kotaku’s review of the PS5 having a section devoted to the Coronavirus, the high price of insulin, and untreated mental illnesses. Thank goodness Biden got elected! But he’s also an old white man.

      And you can’t help but wonder whether this person took the only journalism job available and decided that the best play is to start writing for the job you want and not the job you have.

      Say what you will about IT having a “do you know a guy” problem, but the guy I remembered from the last job wasn’t a bad programmer. He was a pretty good programmer. Sure, he was kinda goofy and had shelves full of stuff from his $200/month ThinkGeek habit, but if you asked for a program that could do X, Y, and Z, he’d tell you “you don’t need a program for that, you want a shell script…” and whip something up in an hour.

      The journalism problem is that if you want a PS5 review and you get a sentence dedicated how you shouldn’t be excited for the PS5 not because of storage problems but because Joe Biden is another old white guy that you might find yourself saying “I’m going to go elsewhere.”

      We saw this with ESPN.

      If the world of journalism has so very few openings that the only way through is to know a guy, you could very easily find yourself with a world of journalism that is embubbled.

      This seems to be exactly where we are and there’s no real obvious way out.

      And wanting to talk about not wanting to be *HERE* is interpreted by a buncha folks as scary language that could make other people feel unsafe.

      Which, I suppose, brings us back to Yggy writing on substack instead of Vox.

      And whether it’s problematic that most of the top writers/earners at substack are white guys who couldn’t hack it at modern journalism outlets.Report

      • Avatar InMD in reply to Jaybird
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        So comrade, we agree, the problem is capitalism! Kidding. Sort of.

        But there is a lot of culture is downstream from economics which is downstream from technology going on with these issues. And it’s just as much in play with the insufferable Brooklyn journalist as it is with the blowhard MAGA dude in Ohio.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Jaybird
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        Doesn’t IT’s “do you know a guy” result in the same old boys problem network that existed in high corporate and legal jobs before World War II? Connections are just as important or more important than skills. With the informal reference system, who you know is just as important as what you know. This prevents a lot of people from getting entry.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to LeeEsq
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          Yes. Indeed it does! Except for the skills thing. There are deliverables for a lot of the work that gets done.

          If the dog refuses to eat the dog food, the programmer cannot get away with calling the dog stupid.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to LeeEsq
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          It does, but…

          A lot of IT starts in places where turnover is necessarily high (e.g. Academia), so you get a chance to make connections and demonstrate competence.

          Also, IT people tend to settle into jobs. They burrow in like a tick* and unless you work to make them very uncomfortable, they will stay there, so calling up a buddy and asking them to quit and come work for you first requires that they really don’t like where they are. So you get more openings than you might think.

          *I was in IT for a long time, I was a tick. A very beneficial, symbiotic tick, but burrowed in nonetheless.Report

        • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to LeeEsq
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          Yes and no. In IT it becomes clear pretty quickly whether someone can do the job or not (as JB points out), so

          1. It’s not the classic “Hire the boss’s incompetent son-in-law* or drinking buddy”, with the rest of the staff having to do the work he can’t.
          2. It is one reason that outsiders have a harder time getting the more desirable jobs.

          * No politics!Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Mike Schilling
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            says:

            I realize that faking it in IT jobs is a lot harder than other white collar jobs. Maybe it is near impossible to fake it. Most of the people who got their positions through the old boys net were at least averagely competent though, especially in the legal field. The number of true incompetents that got their jobs through the old boys network, your classic scenario one, was probably not that big. That didn’t make the old boys network a good thing.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to LeeEsq
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              It doesn’t make the IT network a good thing! It does, however, shorten a few things when it comes to the search.

              It’s so hard to find good help these days.

              There are a ton of people out there who are good enough for the job but don’t have the proper credentials, people who are good enough for the job and have the proper credentials but you wouldn’t freaking believe how much they want, and people who are good enough for the job and have the proper credentials and are willing to work for 80% of the going rate but they want to live in Pueblo instead of San Francisco.

              The network makes it so that you can find someone, nearby, who can do the job, quickly.

              Lee, do you want to make a lot of money? Figure out a way to get people who have the ability to do a job to connect with the people who want to hire folks. Do it efficiently.

              Both employers and employees will pay out the nose for that.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Jaybird
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                I’m not sure if your idea will work. The pre-World War II old boys network existed because the people in charge of the big firms wanted everybody in the upper and mid-echelons to be similar in culture. Even if an outsider was capable, they didn’t want the outsider if he or she spent their free time differently.

                IT culture might be different than the old WASP culture but a similar dynamic could exist. The IT people want people who are like them to work for them rather than a more capable outsider that might not be insignificantly nerdy or something.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to LeeEsq
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                A more capable outsider who is not particularly nerdy already got hired by someone else and is making more money and probably going on dates.

                The bastard.

                Now what?

                The problem isn’t that my company isn’t willing to hire someone sufficiently good-looking. The problem is that we need someone who can do the job, pass a piss test, showers occasionally (not as important anymore), and explain to the scrummaster that his storypoints are done or that he’s blocked (but it’s not his fault).

                You find us that person and we will hire them. We’ll give you $1000 bucks for the referral.Report

              • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Jaybird
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                pass a piss test

                What? I’ve never had to take a drug test. What industry is your company in?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Brandon Berg
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                says:

                This is one of those things that strikes me as nuts. I’ve had to take a drug test at every company I’ve worked for since I left the restaurant.

                From HP, to Agilent, to MCI/Worldcom, to that little place up in Denver that contracted with Expedia.

                They all made me pee in a jar.

                I think it’s because they all have contracts with the gummint and the gummint has rules about “Drug-Free Workplace”.

                But, I mean, back in the 90’s, Blockbuster drug tested me! THEY GAVE ME A HAIR TEST!Report

              • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Jaybird
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                The government contracting makes sense (although I’m pretty sure Microsoft had government contracts when I worked there), but in Blockbuster’s case, maybe they just had a bunch of bad experiences with drug users showing up high or not at all?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Brandon Berg
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                It was the 90’s. The last of the Full Speed Ahead! moments in the WoD.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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                John Ashcroft arresting Tommy Chong was the last drop of gas in the tank.

                There are still fumes. There is still inertia.

                But it’s nowhere near what it was like in the 90’s.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Jaybird
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                Another possibility is someone at some point decided it was an important part of your security program. There are CISOs out there (especially older ones) who see it as a safeguard for personnel with actual or potential access to PHI, PCI, PII or even just sensitive corporate financial info. Or at the very least someone thought it was important back in the 90s, it’s still in all of the audits from past years, and no one sees a pressing need to change it.

                It has created some interesting tensions now that some states not only allow medicinal but prohibit discrimination based on medical use (with exceptions for commercial driving/heavy machinery operators).Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to InMD
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                Colorado legalized medicinal marijuana in 2000 (!) and recreational in 2012.

                The difference between the two is that medicinal is taxed differently. Because it is taxed differently, you need to prove that you are eligible for it. This is done through a doctor’s prescription which places you in a database and gives you a “red card”. This red card makes you able to purchase medicinal at many fine stores in the region.

                Colorado Springs has kept it illegal to sell recreational drugs in town. If you want to buy recreational, you have to go to Manitou or Pueblo (Manitou is closer, but there’s less competition so the prices are a little steeper).

                What does this have to do with employment? WELL, I WILL TELL YOU.

                I have a buddy that contracts for CDOT. He was told that getting a red card for himself would result in immediate termination of all contracts and permanent ineligibility for all future contracts.

                I called a bunch of employers back in 2014 about marijuana policy. I would do a follow-up on that if I weren’t so goddamn lazy.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Jaybird
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                It appears that CO still expressly permits firing employees based on off duty marijuana use. Per google a bill to change that was defeated as recently as Feb 2020. Sounds like it isn’t the law so much as the old fuddy duddies at the top who need to be convinced it’s bad policy.

                https://telioslaw.com/blog/commandments-law-and-religion/can-you-fire-employee-colorado-using-marijuana

                https://www.denverpost.com/2020/02/19/colorado-legislature-marijuana-employees-fired-2/Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to InMD
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                House Business Affairs and Labor Committee votes 10-0 against the proposed bill

                10-0? That ain’t fuddy duddies.

                I’m torn between saying it’s legislative capture by the CofC, bad bill writing by pie-in-the-sky hippies, or some mixture of the two.Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Jaybird
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                I suspect more likely people who are not willing to risk getting crosswise with federal regulations on the subject. References to controlled substances show up in all sorts of places in the federal statutes and rules.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Michael Cain
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                Would saying that sort of thing out loud be politically harmful?Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Brandon Berg
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                The DVDs of Up in Smoke kept disappearing.Report

            • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to LeeEsq
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              says:

              Agreed, 100% that it’s not a good thing. That’s why making an effort to find non-traditional hires is a good thing, even though it gets dismissed as PC affirmative action.Report

        • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to LeeEsq
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          FWIW, this is not at all how it works in my experience in software development at the big companies. An internal recommendation just gets your resume looked at a bit faster, and nowadays with automated screening tests, I’m not sure it even does that. It’s mostly a way for the internal guy to take credit for the applicant applying and get a bonus if he gets hired. The applicant still has to pass the same tests as everyone else.

          The vast majority of our hires do not come from internal recommendations, and all but one of my software development jobs (not the first), I just sent in my resume cold.

          Smaller companies, or small IT departments at non-tech companies, may work differently.Report

      • Avatar KenB in reply to Jaybird
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        I don’t consume much gaming journalism — how representative is the Kotaku PS5 article of the typical content these days? Is this kind of thing inescapable and everywhere you look, or is it more of an occasional annoyance that gets signal-boosted? I did see this particular article mentioned on twitter, but only because it’s the sort of thing that raises hackles for a few folks I regularly read.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to KenB
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          Of course, one could find a half dozen examples of stuff (Kotaku wrote an article about Black Ops: Cold War just recently and it goes on a rant about the evils of Ronald Reagan) but if someone said “you’re nutpicking!”, I wouldn’t really have a counter-argument.

          The problem is that there’s not a number above which you can say “okay, maybe it’s not *ONLY* nutpicking…” and start saying “maybe it is a culture thing”.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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            I mentioned in the earlier comment about ESPN. That also provides an example. The Olbermann thing. Well, he’s not representative, I hear you say. Okay. How about Michael Smith and Jemele Hill? That doesn’t count. The covid and events this summer conspired to have ESPN discuss, erm, social events every day on Sportscenter. (Well, you have to understand… there weren’t a lot of sports going on…)

            At what point does it stop being nutpicking?Report

          • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird
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            Has anyone made death threats against Kotaku? My understanding is that that’s the traditional way to address integrity in gaming journalism.Report

          • Avatar KenB in reply to Jaybird
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            I wasn’t even thinking about nutpicking, more about whether this is something the market will sort out based on demand (i.e. you know where to go if you want the political salt sprinkled on everything you read or not), or if there really aren’t enough journalists to do the “normal” kind.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to KenB
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              Speaking for myself and myself only:

              I have found that there aren’t that many “we just won’t talk about it” places.

              There are the ones who want to discuss how the new Miles Morales Spiderman game is a good start, but he’s still working with the police (THE FREAKING POLICE!!!!) and the game doesn’t talk about Black Lives Matter at all… and there are the ones who talk about how, of course, they made a game with Miles Morales instead of Peter Parker and that just proves that the game panders to people who don’t buy video games.

              You don’t get low-sodium.

              Your only choice is chirality.Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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            Kotaku wrote an article about Black Ops: Cold War just recently and it goes on a rant about the evils of Ronald Reagan

            This assertion that we don’t want the peanut butter of politics mixed with the chocolate of war games seems…odd.

            I sometimes think about what would happen if some Iranian hacker were to re-write the code for Call of Duty to have the player be a Muslim fighter who goes around killing Americans.

            Y’know, nothing political.
            Just an exciting game with lots of sandy haired young men from Iowa screaming as their bodies are ripped apart by bullets.Report

            • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Chip Daniels
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              The tension is that nobody likes constant politics and analysis even if everything is be nature subject to politics and analysis. Like Slate’s view of Netflix’;s new teen romcom saying that the meet cute involved being mean to service workers. It could be entirely accurate but most people are just going to want to turn off their brain and enjoy a fuzzy warm teen romcom for the holidays.

              When you subject everything to political analysis you can find yourself going into very doctrinaire places. The more austere leftists and rightists like austere religious people before them basically decided anything that departs from the official ideology in the most minor way is by definition evil and must be eliminated. So you had people basically arguing any fun is the enemy of justice.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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              There was a minor scandal a few years back (holy crap… a decade ago!) where someone reviewed Worldwide Soccer Manager 2009.

              Here’s the basic gist of the game: you’re a manager of a European Football team and it’s your job to build the best dang team ever. You fiddle with stats, make trades, deal with budgets… it’s a sabremetricians dream and if you like Excel Worksheets, this game is the game you’d been waiting your whole entire life for.

              Well, IGN reviewed it and complained. Here are some of the choice tidbits from the review:

              “Yes, the depth of management in this game is impressive. But, it’s not impressive enough to make up for the fact that you aren’t actually playing soccer.”

              “There is no traditional gameplay to speak of. I couldn’t imagine why anybody would prefer Worldwide Soccer Manager to FIFA 09 or Pro Evolution Soccer 2009.”

              IGN pulled the review and apologized.

              The question is always “what do you, the reader, want to know about the game?”

              If the answer is “I want to know how the game handles, I want to know whether the multiplayer allows for private rooms so I can play with my buddies, I want to know whether there is character customization, I want to know whether the game has that intangible ‘fun’ factor”, you’re likely to be confused by the fact that the game reviewer is talking about how Che Guevara hated black people and homosexuals. Why does it matter if Che Guevara hated black people and homosexuals? I mean, I’m not saying that it’s good that Che hated black people and homosexuals by saying “Why are you talking about Che Guevara?”

              I went to the review to find out about the game. Not about whether Che called black people “indolent”. Not whether he called homosexuals “scum”.

              I am curious about the game and I want to know about multiplayer before I plonk down sixty of my hard earned dollars on a game that might force me to play with complete strangers.

              And you’re two paragraphs into how Che called Mexicans “Illiterate Indians” and calling him racist and you’re not talking about multiplayer at all. Hey, maybe you should look at his comments in the context of the time he lived in, pal! And then talk about multiplayer!

              In that same vein, it might be fine to have an article discussing the politics of a game that deals with politics.

              But if you’re hoping for a review, you might walk away disappointed if all you get is a writer talking about how offensive they find Che iconography in the year 2020 for a couple thousand words.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                What you are suggesting is that the reviewer needs to accept the game on its own terms without questioning its underlying assumptions.

                Which is how racism, and most injustice works by making it impossible to discuss certain things. You yourself are fond of pointing that out.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                Not at all. The reviewer can do whatever he wants to do.

                God is Dead. We are radically free.

                Here’s Dean Takahashi playing the tutorial for Cuphead (I really only recommend the first two minutes or so):

                Which is how racism, and most injustice works by making it impossible to discuss certain things. You yourself are fond of pointing that out.

                We can discuss anything, Chip.

                But if I am going to you for information about a game and you insist on talking to me about how Che Guevara abused women when, crap, I just want to know about the game, then you should not be surprised when you find yourself mocked among those who just want to learn about whether the game has multiplayer.

                Even if Che was a bastard.

                This isn’t about Che. Why do you keep wanting to bring up the motorcycle diaries? It was the 50’s! He evolved since then!Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Chip Daniels
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                I think we are getting into what Orwell noted as one of the problems with being a book reviewer. Book reviewers have to read a lot of books. This naturally makes them more aware of what makes books really good and really bad and more. Most people don’t read a lot of books and generally go to a book review to see if reading this book is worth their time. Is it entertaining.

                The same goes with gaming. Most people want to know if the game is worth their money. They don’t particularly care about its politics or how it relates to the issues of the day. They want to know if the game is fun, exciting, challenging, and worth their money.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
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                Do you understand how people who are simply looking for information might get seriously pissed if they instead have to endure a lecture or sermon.

                Like, dude, I just came in for pizza, I don’t want to hear about HRC secret child abuse ring.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                Fun is the enemy of justice, Brother Oscar.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                Yes I totally get it.

                Would it be weird for a guy to complain that he just wanted to watch a football game, and didn’t want to endure a flyover of the Blue Angels or a flag ceremony by the Police Protective League?Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                The people who feel that way are still stumbling in from the parking lot. I know because I’m one of them.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                No. It wouldn’t be weird.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Not weird in the least.Report

        • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to KenB
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          says:

          Even if it’s not “representative” it’s worth asking how it happened in the first place. Because both the writer and the editor thought “yes, Joe Biden’s race is definitely relevant to the PS5”.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jaybird
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        says:

        Can you elaborate on your perspective on ESPN?

        The gaming thing is interesting. I’m not a gamer so don’t read any of that. Is this stuff where the writer is discussing the politics WITHIN the game (e.g., “This game offers torture as an option to solve missions so if you aren’t comfortable with that, this isn’t the game for you?” Or do they use the game to springboard into politics unrelated to the game itself?Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy
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          says:

          Well, I don’t watch ESPN. I was, however, privvy to the whole “Can Olbermann just shut up!?!?” thing that has been going on since forever and how it turned into this entire controversy. (And I picked up that it began again with Hill and Smith and then, again, I picked up that Sportscenter had controversy over various political stuff this year… which, at least, is somewhat more understandable if there are no games to cover.)

          I don’t mind politics in my games. Bioshock is probably one of the best examples of an exceptionally political game that handled its politics deftly (even as I’d be more than happy enough to write you an essay about how it created a strawman then knocked it down). It was a good game!

          But if I read a review about the game that spent more time talking about Ayn Rand and how much Ayn Rand sucks and how Libertarians are all hypocrites for playing Bioshock because they’re too dumb to know that it’s their own politics being criticized…

          Dude. Just tell me about the game. Does it suck or not?

          (Bioshock Infinite is a game that had mechanics that improved on the original game but writing that was, holy crap, a *LOT* worse.)

          More recently, Disco Elysium came out and it had the Chapo Trap House crew help with some of the voice acting and even if the Chapo guys didn’t have input into the writing, the game was made by people who said “you know who we should have as voice actors for this? Chapo Trap House!”

          And you know what? THAT GAME WAS FREAKING AWESOME. Did I agree with the politics? Hell no. Well, I didn’t agree with 80% of them. But it was a good game and it was *INTERESTING*.

          Someone who reviews Disco Elysium and spends the review talking about the harm that unions have done, historically, to the businesses they worked with (see, for example, the Hostess incident) instead of talking about Disco Elysium is not someone who should be reviewing the game.

          I mean, sure. You want to write an essay about the problems of Disco Elysium and its take on unions? Great. I’ll read it. I’ll argue in comments. But if I want a review, I don’t want three paragraphs talking about how in the 1970’s there was a rash of cinderblocks being thrown off of overpasses through the windows of scab truck drivers and whether or not the scabs should have expected such a backlash.Report

          • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jaybird
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            says:

            Speaking of review…

            The 7-year-old wants a Switch. FB tells me this is a good idea but I should get extra controllers for the 5 and 13-year-olds. Confirm or deny?

            The wee ones gaming has been limited to whatever age-appropriate content they can get on their Kids Fire tablet. And some Minecraft with the elder one.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy
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              says:

              If you get the Switch, you should get two Joycons. The Joycon itself is composed of a couple of controllers. You can use the Joycon Comfort Grip Connecter to use both controllers at once for the intricate single player games like Zelda (or, heck, just put one in each hand and you don’t even have to lift your arms) or you split it up and hand them around for multiplayer games like Mario Kart and Smash.

              If you look at the Joycon Controllers, You’ll see what I mean. You’ll eventually want 4 of those (but they sell in packs of 2). You will want a charger. You will *PROBABLY* want a Joy Con Comfort Grip Connecter. I mean, for you. When you play Zelda, you’ll want it.

              When the kids play Kart or Smash, they won’t.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to InMD
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      says:

      One of the last in person CLE classes that I took was an introduction to New York’s e-filing system. The presenters flat out admitted that e-filing was being implemented so the law looks less old-fashioned rather than out of any real desire for efficiency. Law likes it’s traditions even though American law has less ceremonial razzle-dazzle than law in other countries. Our court dress is professional attire rather than a robe like it is in many other countries still. Sometimes. the robe comes with a wig or a hat depending.

      Your observations on the techie mindset are spot on. There are a bunch of attempts by techies to make the immigration process more straightforward by software that helps you fill in the various forms. This software doesn’t work as well as they think because not all of the questions are easy to answer and they do shit about the evidence needed but the techies think they are making it easier.Report

    • Avatar veronica d in reply to InMD
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      says:

      I’ve told this story before. I recall my first software engineering job. I attended a series of meetings, dealing with some “big decisions” we needed to make. By some estimates, I was the “smartest person in the room,” as I was the only person there who understood Galois theory. On the other hand, I really didn’t know shit. The room also held our CEO, CTO, and a bunch of marketing folks.

      One of the marketing people said something that stuck with me my entire career. They said, “You’re focusing on the technical problem, but first we need to figure out the business problem.”

      His point was the fancy tech stuff didn’t matter if we failed to build something people would pay for. I realized I had literally no idea what people would pay for, nor did I have any tools for figuring that out. I understood some statistics, so I guess I could build a “model.” However, I lacked any experience in how to gather data, what questions to ask, nor where to get the information. Any model I built would be mental masturbation, not a valid tool.

      Humility is a very important tool for engineers. We tend to look down on the “suits,” but I think that is a mistake.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to veronica d
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        says:

        This is a fishin’ amazing comment! Thank you V!Report

      • Avatar InMD in reply to veronica d
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        says:

        Seconding North’s comment. One of the things I’ve learned in-house (and why I like it better than private practice) is you get to see how much goes into making something big work. And lest anyone think I’m picking on technology I don’t mean to be. There are all kinds of intelligences out there with their strenghs and weaknesses.

        I’ve certainly dealt with places that are obviously over-lawyered. If the lawyers were in charge no one would take any risks. If the marketing people were in charge nothing would get built. Most ironically in my experience if the accountants were in charge no one would make any money. It takes a lot to run these things and it’s easy to get off balance any number of ways.Report

        • Avatar InMD in reply to InMD
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          says:

          An addendum. Years ago I saw a one-man play called the Agony and the Ecstacy of Steve Jobs. The thrust of it was this guy doing the play, a white American, who had supposedly gone to mainland China and personally seen the horrors in the Foxconn factories. IIRC a lot of it turned out to be fabricated at least to the extent it involved him actually being there.

          Anyway there was a segment where he talked about the true genius of Steve Jobs. He said what made him special as an engineer and inventor was his willingness to ‘knife someone else’s baby.’ By that he meant look at some other brilliant person’s idea, the product of love, blood, sweat, and tears and say ‘this thing sucks, it won’t work for us, kill the project.’ Whether that was true about Steve Jobs or not I have no idea. But it was really insightful I think about an aspect of leadership that separates the really good enterprises from the also rans.Report

  6. Avatar Saul Degraw
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    says:

    I am also not sure how correct he is here about when college graduates skewed left or not. Reagan won the youth vote in the 1980s. My college has a reputation for lefty politics but if you look at the 84 yearbook, there are lots of students wearing Reagan-Bush pins in photos. This would not happen today or even during my time 20 years ago but I don’t think they shifted that left by 1990. Also D’Amato’s base was the suburbs and upstate, not NYC.Report

  7. Avatar Kristin Devine
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    says:

    Interesting piece. Thanks for writing it.Report

  8. Avatar Saul Degraw
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    says:

    For the broader point, internet journalism does swing young and largely left (except at the Federalist, Bulwark, etc). i do not think that can be contested. Internet journalism also maintains more of a partisan stance because it can succeed without appealing to a broad-based audience. The old dailies wanted to reach as broad an audience as possible but were probably more looking at socio-economics. The NY Times was always the paper of the educated middle-class and above. The NY Post and Daily News were always sensationalist tabloids.

    But I also wonder how much budget young reporters at internet media are given to do student debt stories. They might not be given enough resources to go find the more sympathetic stories you mention.Report

  9. Avatar LeeEsq
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    says:

    Comment in moderation.Report

  10. Avatar CJColucci
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    says:

    I haven’t seen much evidence that the current crop of young journalists is all that interested in “naval” affairs — or army or air force affairs either.Report

  11. Avatar Mike Schilling
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    says:

    We don’t tell our writers what to write about or what not to write about, for the most part1. Since they’re unpaid

    Maybe you’re not getting any Soros money, but you know Lee, Saul, and I are. ✡︎ ✡︎ ✡︎Report

  12. Avatar Kazzy
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    says:

    We get what we pay for. Everyone wants free access to news, journalism, and other content. Welp, here we are.Report

  13. Avatar Kazzy
    Ignored
    says:

    “ First, how much of our student loan discourse has revolved around a particular kind of edge case. You see a number of interviews and profiles that racked up six figures of debt, often in private school and frequently with degrees that aren’t especially career-ready. Critics of student loan forgiveness point to this as a reason not to forgive debt. Spoiled little rich kids who were too good to learn something useful and all that. Meanwhile, a more sympathetic case for student loan forgiveness has been sitting there the whole time: People who went to school — often vocational school to learn something “useful” — but didn’t finish. Most of the debt, little of the wage premium. They owe less individually, but there are more of them and they have a harder time paying it back (so something like student loan forgiveness would be of particular help).”

    This begs the question as to who is more sympathetic.

    Why not frame the first kid as the middle-class genius who scrapped his way into an elite school but couldn’t afford it and the economy doesn’t value his brilliance?
    Why not frame the second kid as someone who has consistently demonstrated they just can’t cut it?Report

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