Cover its Tracks
Contempt is frequently overt, but it can also be very subtle. Sometimes it hides itself under superficially polite language and behavior, with the real meaning recognizable only to its targets. Often it is put forward as merely good-natured fun or, in the parlance of 2016, “locker room” talk. It is troublingly easy for contempt to cover its tracks. It is also troublingly easy for listeners to take up another’s contempt without realizing it. This is particularly true when contempt is expressed as mockery.
Stohr, K. (2017, January 23). Our New Age of Contempt. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/23/opinion/our-new-age-of-contempt.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-right-region®ion=opinion-c-col-right-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-right-region
To Annihilate Truth
The Russian dissident and chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov drew upon long familiarity with that process when he tweeted: “The point of modern propaganda isn’t only to misinform or push an agenda. It is to exhaust your critical thinking, to annihilate truth.”
Sykes, C. J. (2017, February 4). Why Nobody Cares the President Is Lying. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/04/opinion/sunday/why-nobody-cares-the-president-is-lying.html?_r=0
Judge a Friend
Speaking on Tuesday night, Mr. Maher, who counts himself as a liberal, did not sound particularly chastened by these assessments. He said he knew his interview with Mr. Yiannopoulos would never be satisfactory to some viewers. “No matter what I did,” he said, “it was never going to be enough for that slice of liberalism that would much rather judge a friend than engage an enemy, because it’s easier.”
Itzkoff, D. (2017, February 22). Bill Maher, Faulted for Booking Milo Yiannopoulos, Takes Credit for His Fall. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/22/arts/television/bill-maher-milo-yiannopoulos-interview.html?ribbon-ad-idx=3&rref=homepage&module=Ribbon&version=origin®ion=Header&action=click&contentCollection=Home%20Page&pgtype=article
I’m pretty sure that the Comic Sans mocking is only because it has been so overused for things like shitty break room printout announcements and stuff like that. It’s an unimaginative choice of font for communicating that people use to say “hey, this should be read but shouldn’t be taken too personally even if it is an edict issued from Above”.
hippybear (2017, Feb 25). Re: The truly villainous font is the ubiquitous Times New Roman [Blog Comment]. Retrieved from http://www.metafilter.com/165320/The-truly-villainous-font-is-the-ubiquitous-Times-New-Roman#6936286
We’re Trying to Get Through Our Day
Look, you’re a human, I’m a human. We’re breathing the same air. We have the same problems. We’re trying to get through our day. Who the fuck are you to throw a log in the road of somebody who has a different set of difficulties in life?
Marchese, D. (2017, March 5). In Conversation: David Letterman. Retrieved from http://www.vulture.com/2017/03/david-letterman-in-conversation.html
Pulled into Other People’s Fights
Maybe Kong, the last of his kind, is supposed to be the lone superpower, a kindhearted tough guy that only wants to be left alone but keeps getting pulled into other people’s fights.
Seitz, M. Z. (2017, March 5). Kong: Skull Island (2017). Retrieved from http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/kong-skull-island-2017
I once saw Yann Martel put forth the following analogy in a talk:
A deer in the forest has senses that let it monitor its environment out to a certain diameter. For the sake of the analogy let’s say it’s 250 meters, give or take depending on various factors (e.g. weather). That is all the deer needs. If a predator is further away then it doesn’t really concern the deer. Now let’s say we electronically augmented the deer’s senses so that it could monitor the forest up to a kilometer around it. It would be aware of a lot more predators but that wouldn’t actually be of any use to it because a predator further away than its unaugmented senses could detect shouldn’t be of any concern. The only result of augmenting the deer’s senses would be to stress the animal out, negatively impacting it. Almost every human being on the planet has senses that have been electronically augmented, through mass media and the internet and so on, resulting in the stresses of modern existence.
Kattullus (2010, April 25). Re: Mean World Syndrome [Blog Comment]. Retrieved from http://www.metafilter.com/91365/Mean-World-Syndrome#3059109
And of course it is true that to one degree or another we are, in fact, hostile to each other, and when we are accused of holding that hostility, we do indeed hate the accusation and the accuser. So that the paranoid creates the reality which proves him right.
Miller, A. (2016). It Could Happen Here–And Did (1967). In Collected Essays: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition).
Last Trace of Sentiment
…but what it comes down to is that a lot of people are pretty sure they’re getting cheated. If you think the world has screwed you, you get mad.
They notice that the attempt to squeeze the last cent of profit out of any operation has also squeezed the last trace of sentiment out of what passes for human interaction. They see that technology serves relentless efficiency, and somewhere in that efficiency life gets joyless and existence precarious.
They observe how put-together types with attitude and little qualification can make a bundle buying and eviscerating solid companies that actually produce things or setting up consultancies that trade on connections at the money-influence margins of politics. They know that if something goes wrong with the rigged system the losses will get “socialized.” Regular schmucks who work a shift will pay while insiders walk away. That’s how things have been since the 21st century began. The fix is always in.
Cohen, R. (2017, February 28). The Madness of Crowds. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/28/opinion/the-madness-of-crowds.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-left-region®ion=opinion-c-col-left-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-left-region
The genius of the hole: no matter how long you spend climbing out, you can still fall back down in an instant.
Max Payne. Dir. Sam Lake. Remedy Entertainment, 2001. Video Game.