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On “How to Lose Friends and Influence No One

How many new wars were started by Herbert Walker?
How many new wars were started by Clinton?
How many new wars were started by Dumbya?
How many new wars were started by Obomba?
How many new wars were started by Drumpf?

I'm under the impression that the answer to that last question is "zero". Is that not the case?


We just need the Boomers to die and then we can finally have that society we've been wanting.

I don't know why we're pushing back against opening up the country!

On “Biden Picks Kamala Harris

And more reasons to like Biden's pick:

On “How to Lose Friends and Influence No One

Oooh! Do you think it has to do with their relationship to their parents or grandparents?

Do you think it's more likely to do with their success (or lack thereof) at establishing romantic relationships?

Do you think it's more related to how they were raised by a particular religion and this particular religion has twisted how they see themselves in relationship to the world?

What do you think we could fix in society that would prevent these psychological issues from bubbling up in the future?

On “The Crimson Letter

"You'd think that artists would better appreciate how important taboos are!" is one of those NeoProgressive viewpoints that strikes me as being surprisingly reactionary.

On “Biden Picks Kamala Harris

There's a particular kind of argument from ignorance that, seriously, always calls to me like a Siren.

And I always steer my ship into it and crash upon the rocks.

"I don't understand why X!"
"Oh! Well, here's why X."

See? Fairly straightforward from my point of view.

But I need to remember the little old ladies from the church where I grew up.

"I don't understand how someone could engage in Particular Sin."
To answer the lady that Particular Sin is fun, or cathartic, or whatever, is to miss the point of the statement.

The declaration that "I don't understand how someone could engage in Particular Sin" is a way to communicate Holiness.

And to make this little old lady understand how someone could engage in Particular Sin, and make her see how someone could, seriously, be tempted by it, would be to remove some of this little old lady's Holiness.

It is, indeed, an *ATTACK* on this woman to explain to her the thing that she does not understand. It would lessen this woman to understand it.

And, as someone who sees the world and, good God, wants to understand it even at the cost of his immortal soul, I will dash that ship upon that rock every goddamn time.

And then, as I sink beneath the waves (again), remember: Oh. Yeah.

On “The Crimson Letter

Nick Cave is complaining about Cancel Culture now.

Didn't Nick Cave devote an entire album to Inceldom?

On “The Thinker

When did Rodin's Thinker come out? The Gates of Hell was commissioned in 1880 but the statues that you saw everywhere didn't start showing up until 1904.

It's a magnificent statue (we had one in Detroit when I was a kid... might still be there for all I know) and... yeah. It's been inspiring other artists for forever. (Jump ahead to 0:18.)

On “Broken Sleep Books Poetry Kerfuffle

Well, in this *PARTICULAR* case, I think that, depending on the contract, this was likely dumb.

I mean, maybe it was done on a handshake in which case it's likely to be fine but, if somebody signed something, it strikes me as likely to backfire. (But the publishing house is in Wales. So God only knows what the likely outcome is.)

You praise shame/shun and oppose firings for non work-related reasons. You’re problem is with employers who buckle to a type of social pressure you actually support.

Well, I also know that there are a handful of business-types out there who will respond really quickly to social shame/shunning. There are also a handful of business-types out there that will prove nigh-impervious to it.

And that is part of what is going to lead to the places that will be really, really, really funny.


I think that shaming/shunning is fine. It's when people get others fired for non-work-related reasons, that I think that we're starting to get into some weird places.

Now, I also know that the train doesn't have particularly good brakes so once it starts getting into weird places, it's going to go into weirder ones and we're going to find ourselves wondering at Poetry Professors getting cancelled.

(Hell, from what I've heard about Master's Programs, we're probably going to start getting hit with a deluge of stories from people who weigh their future options and decide either that there's going to be no harm done to their future by telling their story or see a potential opening by telling their story and we're going to hear a *LOT* about the ish that is going down in the post-grad world.)

On “How to Lose Friends and Influence No One

Ask yourself: "What will help *ME*?"

And then do that. Will voting 3rd Party help you sleep better at night? Vote 3rd Party. Don't even think about it.

Will voting for Biden/Harris let you tell people "I voted for Biden/Harris" without wincing at what they'll say in response? Then vote for Biden/Harris without hesitation.

Hell, vote 3rd Party and then tell people you voted for Biden/Harris. Or vice-versa! Or, hell, don't vote! Tell people you forgot that there was an election that day. Or that you got a "Republicans vote on Tuesday, Democrats vote on Wednesday" email.

Do whatever will let you do double finger guns at yourself in the mirror when you get home that night.

On “Broken Sleep Books Poetry Kerfuffle

I'm still pushing against "Cancel Culture Doesn't Exist". I see "Cancel Culture Exists But It's Good" as a step forward.

From there, I can get to the question of the extent to which tortious interference is bad and whether we're confident that it won't be yet another program popular among the NPR Totebag set that will end up with women and minorities hardest hit.

As for shaming/shunning, I think it's interesting that this is coming around and hitting the MFA crowd. I mean, let's face it, when it comes to politics, does Dean Young strike you as anything even *CLOSE* to a Trump voter? I mean, sure, he lives in Flyover but he's a MFA kinda professor who does MFA kinda stuff.

And he got cancelled. His poetry pamphlet did, anyway. (Well, maybe it'll have to be published by someone else now. I wonder if the accusations will follow to the new place or if the new publisher will be sufficiently mercenary to say "we just publish poetry and then try to sell it".)

Shaming/Shunning is great. We need more of it! As much as the internet will handle! But contracts being dropped? Because of a tweet or series of tweets? That strikes me as likely to have second order effects that are going to suck and third order effects that are going to be really, really, really funny.


However, so often this debate is about reasoned criticisms of powerful people who use their platforms to harm vulnerable groups.

I am 100% down with people going with reasoned criticisms of powerful people. Heck, I think that sort of thing is awesome!

What I think is interesting is that the contract got pulled. That's *FASCINATING*. Does it count as a "harm" or merely a privilege that was once extended but now, no longer is? Depends on the contract, I guess.

I wondered if there have been any edits to the guy's Wikipedia page and... nope.

Not yet, anyway. (The last change to the page was 2018.)

He's got a twitter, apparently, but he hasn't tweeted since 2012.

I mean, assuming that it's the same Dean Young, of course. Lotta Dean Youngs out there and it wouldn't surprise me that there'd be two that are prominent poets.


I have no idea what happened. I know that Broken Sleep Books terminated their contract with him over twitter on the basis of a tweet from someone else and the tweet from someone else said that what's-his-name did some awful stuff as a professor.

Out of everything that happened, the only thing that I think I know is that the guy got his contract cancelled.

And *THAT* is interesting.

On “Always at the Abyss

In this case, it's just Rumor that resulted in riots and property damage and people screaming for justice.

Why were there riots in Chicago?

"Just Rumor".

The difference is that I see the Rumor as potentially very powerful.
And you seem to see it as merely people talking to each other and saying things.

On “Biden Picks Kamala Harris

It's sort of like the whole "Jesus was an Immigrant!" argument.

"I don't believe this stupid shit, but you say that you do so do what I want."

On “Always at the Abyss

Wait wait wait.

We've gone from "young man has been killed by the police" to "legal adult has been arrested and he is not, repeat, is *NOT* dead, though, granted he *WAS* shot"?

Hey, Chip? This is what I mean what I mean when I say “truth is orthogonal to The Narrative”.

On “Broken Sleep Books Poetry Kerfuffle

The tweet appears to have since been pulled. (Or, more precisely, the account has gone protected.)

There may be a contractual issue for pulling a book you'd been scheduled to publish but no longer doing so based on a tweet (or series of tweets).

If the original tweet has been pulled, there's much less of a story here than before.

Or, maybe, it's an example of immune response.

On “Biden Picks Kamala Harris

Vox is talking about how Kamala might be what Joe needed to win over Silicon Valley.

On “Always at the Abyss

Not exactly.

This is more of an embryonic form of the same phenomenon. It allows you to watch two brothers wrestle in the womb and, perhaps, watch one absorb or devour the other.

(But, sometimes, they emerge anyway.)


Another lovely essay in support of The Letter.


Does the PMRC count as something that evolved into Cancel Culture?

I see family similarities...

On “Always at the Abyss

There isn’t really any way to make a summary judgement of it without distortion.

There might be a few bad apples, but that's no reason to condemn the barrel as a whole?

On “Han Fei and America

I loved this essay.

The problem with The American People is that there isn't one. It's legion. Perhaps it's always been many but that many seems to be multiplying.