True – necessary – kind

I get emails from Christian Michel about the virtual meetings he is still organising. Here is a snippet from the latest such email:

A good friend sticks to this rule – any statement you are making should meet at least two of three characteristics: be true, be necessary, be kind.

Christian then says: “I like it.” I think I like it also. Most of us probably follow a rule like that with all our friends, or they’d not be our friends. But I for one haven’t nailed it down as clearly as that, in words.

Another remarkable Trump speech

Here.

I don’t agree that Trump is defeating The Virus, as he claims. I think it is fizzling out of its own accord. I therefore think that he overdoes the criticism of China, on this particular score. But otherwise, amazing.

I was particularly interested in the bit near the end, where he said:

As President I am proudly putting America first, just as you should be putting your countries first. That’s okay, That’s what you should be doing.

This is something people have always got wrong about Trump. He does admire people like Putin. But this is not because he is a Putin agent of influence, as some anti-Trumpists have absurdly claimed. It is because he admires Putin for fighting Russia’s corner. But Trump isn’t be fighting Russia’s corner. He’s fighting America’s corner.

The manner of the speech’s delivery was also interesting. He just read it out, with no gaps during which anyone might try to heckle. He didn’t seek rapport with his audience, like at one of his rallies. There was a distinct undercurrent of “I don’t give a fuck what you evil bastards think about this, and I’m taking no questions, I’m just telling you how it now is” about the whole thing. I’ve been waiting all my life for an American President willing to talk in this manner to the assembly of (mostly) pompous and tyrannical scumbags that is the “United Nations”. It’s a different world, I tell you. As Patrick Crozier and I talked about in this conversation, Trump is conferring respect upon millions of Americans who have been denied it by their self-appointed betters. Crucially, he is also withdrawing respect from the over-respected “global elite”, and never more so than in this speech. And his voters will be loving it.

Roll on the thermonuclear landslide.

One phone call

Alexander Larman writes, in The Critic, about the catalytic phone call, from a movie maker to a writer, that resulted in Goodfellas getting made, thirty years ago:

Scorsese told Pileggi, “I’ve been waiting for this book my entire life”, to which the understandably overwhelmed writer replied, “I’ve been waiting for this phone call my entire life.”

Good to see The Critic getting noticed by Instapundit, which is how I came across this.

The only house Zaha Hadid ever designed

Zaha Hadid Architects interests me because, Zaha Hadid having herself died, it is now run by a libertarian, Patrik Schumacher. People like this are rare, and we libertarians must make much of them. Also, they are interesting.

So, this house interests me:

That looks rather small. Rather disappointing.

But look at this:

That being, I presume, a faked up photo beforehand of how it was going to look. Now you’re talking. Because of the rather odd procedure I found myself using to get that photo from here (where I found the above two images) to here, I found myself emphasising the darkness of the place where this house was going to be built, making it look even more like a spaceship than, I presume, it actually does.

The bit at the top is not the Bridge of Starship Enterprise. No.

The 36,000-square-foot home, formally dubbed “Capital Hill Residence,” has many unique features, but one of the most outstanding may be its narrow tower, and what it supports — namely, the master bedroom, situated over 100 feet high. The tower’s supporting column includes a glass elevator and staircase.

Now that’s a Master Bedroom. Feminists: cower in terror. I love that it’s a woman that designed this. Would any male architect now dare to create such a thing? I also wonder, did Zaha Hadid ever have any run-ins with feminists? That would have been fun to see.

I particularly enjoyed the bit where Zaha Hadid first got the job, from the Russian oligarch who paid for all this:

“She drew a sketch on the napkin and I said, ‘You’re hired.'”

Classic Because-We-Can! architecture. In my version, La Hadid does her sketch on the back of a restaurant menu, but otherwise, it’s just like I said.

M AGA

Here‘s the big reason why Trump is going to win. He wants everyone to vote for him, black or white, gay or straight. He’s not picky. All you have to be is pro-American!

Ricky Rebel explains his video, in one of the great pro-Trump speeches of the campaign so far. Conservatives are in on the joke! It’s driving liberals crazy! Some of my best friends are Republicans! … Trigger all the Libs!

Following.

“Any bridge constructed by an engineer who believes that should have a large warning sign attached …”

Douglas Murray writes in the Times about the Pluckrose and Lindsay book that is subtitled “How Activist Scholarship Made Everything about Race, Gender, and Identity -And Why This Harms Everybody”. And the invaluable Mick Hartley quotes Murray, at greater length than I am about to, out from behind the Times paywall:

Pluckrose and Lindsay have waded through all the core texts that I and other critics of this school have had to read. They have also contended with many less familiar ones. What they reveal is essentially a self-sustaining academic Ponzi scheme. Where good writing might once have been seen as a successful effort at rendering complex ideas understandable, researchers in these studies have become virtuosos at nothing other than making highly contestable ideas incomprehensible. Take Homi K Bhabha in full flight: “If, for a while, the ruse of desire is calculable for the uses of discipline soon the repetition of guilt, justification, pseudo-scientific theories, superstition, spurious authorities, and classifications can be seen as the desperate effort to ‘normalise’ formally the disturbance of a discourse of splitting that violates the rational, enlightened claims of its enunciatory modality.”

Nor is this rot limited to the humanities. The social justice movement has Stem in its sights too. One recent book, Engineering and Social Justice, claimed that “getting beyond views of truth as objective and absolute is the most fundamental change we need in engineering education”. Any bridge constructed by an engineer who believes that should have a large warning sign attached.

We are talking about the collapse of civilisation. This is no mere metaphor. Spouting gibberish about Shakespeare or Coronation Street is one thing. Teaching techies to do technology in a way that goes beyond its “enunciatory modality”, in plain English which does not work properly, is something else again.

When bridges start collapsing, plagues start being spread, food starts being poisoned, cars and trains start falling to pieces and killing their passengers, because of people being anti-educated in this fashion (there are plenty of other reasons why such disasters happen to do with the fact that such stuff is difficult to do), that will be the moment when civilisation reasserts itself by starting to shut down all the university departments in the grip of this insane idiocracy. And, if necessary, entire universities. Or not, in which case our civilisation really will start collapsing.

A funny and informative tweet

Ben Sixsmith:

Don’t have anything funny or informative to say but have to post something because I’ve told my loved ones that if I don’t post for 24 hours it means I’m in danger or dead.

And as a result of having to tweet something, while not having anything funny or informative to say, he nevertheless said something funny and informative, about the relationship between himself and his loved ones.

There is a lot more to social media than just screaming abuse at political enemies.

Quotulated on the subject of responsibility

It’s always a pleasure to be Quotulated. That particular Quotulation being from a posting I did for Samizdata entitled Jordan Peterson on responsibility – and on why it is important that he is not a politician.

Here’s another bit from that Samizdata piece that was not Quotulated, but which gives you a flavour of it:

But getting back to what Peterson says about “responsibility”, the deeply refreshing thing about how he uses this word is that, because he is not a politician, he separates the benefits to me of me choosing to live responsibly from the idea of him deciding what he thinks these responsibilities of mine should be, and then compelling me to accept them whether I judge them to be wise or appropriate or meaningful for me or not. The process he wants to set in motion in my mind is of me thinking about what my responsibilities should be. He is arguing that I should choose my own cross, as best I can, and then carry it as best I can, because this is what will be best for me. He is not telling me which cross it should be, in a way that he calculates will be advantageous for him.

Because this Samizdata piece was done quite a while back, I began reading the bit of it that the Quotulatiousness guy Quotulated from it knowing only that it was a Quotulatiousness QotD, by somebody or other, and that it concerned Responsibility. I began reading it, and thought: This is not bad. I like this. I do like it when I read something I like, and then find out that I wrote it myself.

It doesn’t always work like that. Sometimes you read something you know you wrote, because your own name at the top was the first thing you clocked, and then you think: This is bollocks. (In this paragraph, for “you” read “I” throughout.)

Poetry on the South Bank

Last summer, when wandering about where those Modified Social Benches are to be found, in the vicinity of the Royal Festival Hall, I happened to look downwards and I encountered, beneath my feet, this snatch of poetry:

When, more recently, I wondered what this poetry was, I was of course quickly able to identify the entire poem, hunting quotations down, even quite obscure ones, having now become so very easy.

I am sure that the off-puttingly antiquated language that I see in this poem is at least metaphorically speaking present, for many, in the classical music that I so love to listen to. These things are all a matter of personal taste. An insuperable barrier to one potential receiver of Art is no barrier at all to another. But for me, this sort of poetry is such that I hear only those barriers, rather than what is behind those barriers.

“O Thames!” … “Bards” … “fair River! … “fair Stream! … “Thy quiet soul on all bestowing” … “Vain thought!” … “thou art” … “ditty” … “the dashing oar” … “By virtue’s holiest Powers attended”. I just can’t get past such verbiage. If you can, I’m delighted for you, but I just can’t. This is close enough to the language I know and love for me to get straight away most of what is being said, but for that very reason, the fact that I and my contemporaries just wouldn’t say it like that also cannot be got around.

And, for me, the poetic momentum acquired by poetry when it really had a public impact, when people were spoken to strongly by words and phrases like those I have picked out from this Wordsworth poem, seems to weigh down even much contemporary poetry with its antiquated habits.

It’s not just the antiquated words. The very habit of “poetic” contemplation now seems to me more a suitable object for comedy than a real way to communicate. This much repeated bit of Rik Mayall stand-up seems to me to skewer the whole idea of being a poet, now. The puns that aren’t funny and aren’t even meant to be. The knowing proclamation of banalities, or just nonsenses, in a manner that implies deep wisdom. The deep suspicion verging on outright hostility that the Poet now has towards his potential audience, knowing that we think he’s rather laughable, in a bad way. The feeling that this character is a Poet, because he’s not up to being anything else of greater impact in the world as it now is.

I repeat. If you like poetry of the sort that poets do now, great. I am trying to describe how I feel, not making any sort of argument about what you should feel. I know I’m missing out on a lot of good things because of the above.

Here is something else I encountered, earlier on the same South Bank photo-walk in which I photoed that bit of Wordsworth.

A poet:

Yep. Definitely a poet. A poet is exactly the sort of person I’d expect still to be using a typewriter, and to ply his trade without drawing anyone’s attention to a website or social media presence. This is an exercise in self-conscious anachronism and, if this chap is silly enough to take what he’s doing seriously, almost inevitable downward social mobility.

Unless of course, he’s gathering material for his stand-up comedy act. That would make sense.