Unto The Breach

Iowa Caucus

Here we go again…

Here we go again! Political mechanics (rather than celestial mechanics, quantum mechanics, or auto mechanics) brings the Silly Season of a presidential election around once more. Tonight, in Iowa, the results of the first of the Primaries will give us the first clues whether He Who Must Not Be Named gets traction.

The social mechanics, along with technology, seems to make this election cycle unlike any seen in American politics. Despite a common assertion, the world (society, really) does evolve and change!

So no one knows what will happen tonight!

Recently I’ve written a number of posts venting my frustration with the current state of our society…

And I find myself at a loss. If you’ve ever survived a car crash (or other catastrophic accident), you may have experienced one of those drawn out slow-motion instants where you realize — and even seem to have the time to consider thoughtfully — two things: that you’re about to crash, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Leon Wieseltier

A very smart man!

I’ve driven myself (and others) crazy over the years — the decades — ranting and warning about the nature of how we go about our business. And to be clear, this is not a matter of disagreement of opinion. This is a matter of how we form and “debate” those opinions.

Simply put, we do it very, very badly.

I’ve quoted Leon Wieseltier from his appearance on The Colbert Report many times in this blog. What he said there is especially appropriate as we begin our Silly Season once again:

“A democratic society, an open society, places an extraordinary intellectual responsibility on ordinary men and women, because we are governed by what we think, we are governed by our opinions. So the content of our opinions, and the quality of our opinions, and the quality of the formation of our opinions, basically determines the character of our society.”

He makes two points that I think are crucial.

Firstly, that, as members of this sort of society, it is incumbent on us to pay attention, to know what’s going on, and to participate (specifically, to vote). And, yes, that is a big ask, but it’s part of the necessary burden we must shoulder if we are to keep this society.

Secondly, that what matters, what truly matters, isn’t just our opinions, but the quality of those opinions and the process we use to derive them.

whyPerhaps the best simple tool to aid in forming quality opinions is simply asking, “Why?”

And, as I’ve said many times, asking “Why?” is one of the key dividing lines between us and the animals. Animals live their lives as best they can and do no ponder the why or wherefore of it. So you are more human when you ask, “Why?”

Donnie Boy says Megyn Kelly’s question to him (asking him about his own published words) in the first debate was “unfair.” Why?

It’s a simple question. Why? Explain yourself. You’ve just asserted some serious bullshit there. Why do you think it has any connection to reality?

It’s been cute (by which I mean it makes me tear my hair out and say nasty things to the images on my TV machine) listening to the talking head “experts” try to figure out how they got Trump so wrong and why is he so successful?

As I’ve said, he’s the natural end product of where society has been headed for decades. A lot of this is on the GOP, who has trained its electorate away from science, logic, or critical thought. But most of it really is on all of us (see any of several previous posts).

I think it’s useful to distinguish between DB’s appeal and his success.

His appeal is pretty clear. He’s been a figure in the American scene for many years; he’s a reality show star; and he’s a “bad boy” who doesn’t play by the rules. On top of that, he’s an anti-politician, and citizens on both sides of the aisle are heartily sick of politicians. All of them.

His appeal, simply put, is based on populism. In a society that runs on page hits, Likes, and Followers, populism confers validity. We live in a time in which people can be famous… for being famous.

Donnie Boy’s success, however is due to the dialectic failure.

Which isn’t what happens when your Flux Capacitor shorts out (that would be dielectric failure), it’s what happens when we lose the ability to parse the bullshit from the substance.

And we’ve been indulging in bullshit for so long we think it’s steak.

§

Megyn KellyI had an idea for a cartoon (preferably an animation) that starts on a chicken, a rooster (labeled “Trump”).

The chicken is cowering and afraid. As the camera draws back we see that it’s cowering in front of a scary, menacing fox (labeled “Megyn Kelly”).

As the camera continues to draw back, we see coming over the hill, giant bears, even scarier and more menacing than the fox. The bears are labeled “Putin” and “Ali Khamenei” and “Kim Jong-un.”

[And, yes, the fox is a double pun.]

I just wish FNC hadn’t put out that snarky tweet. They gave up their high ground. As it was, they gave DB the excuse he needed to not end up with egg on his face. (And did we all notice how he bought his way out of that?)

§

I will tell you this much. All this fucked up bullshit goes down much better with reasonable amounts of beer (or other libation).

There comes a point where it all starts to seem very funny.

Hop Hunter IPAFTR, I’ve been enjoying a lot of Hop Hunter IPA by Sierra Nevada. It’s an excellent IPA (6.2% ABV, 60 IBU), and I like how the beer is crystal clear.

But my favorite among the IPAs is the Northwest Passage IPA by local company Flat Earth Brewing (6.5% ABV, 115!! IBU).

It being winter, it’s more the season for stouts and porters, and I’ve been enjoying both the Out of Bounds Stout (6.3% ABV, 51 IBU) by Avery Brewing as well as the Edmund Fitzgerald Porter (6.0% ABV, 37 IBU) by Great Lakes Brewing.

But again, my favorite is from Flat Earth. Their Cygnus-X1 Porter (6.5% ABV, 45 IBU) is to die for (plus, the name appeals to us astronomy fans).

Yep. It’s gotten to that point. Politics in America requires the frequent application of some form of anesthetic. Something to deaden the pain of it all.

§

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more…

About Wyrd Smythe

The canonical fool on the hill watching the sunset and the rotation of the planet and thinking what he imagines are large thoughts. View all posts by Wyrd Smythe

13 responses to “Unto The Breach

  • Wyrd Smythe

    As of 9:00 PM CST…

    Cruz: 28%, Trump: 25%, Rubio: 22%, Carson: 10%, everyone else: < 5%.

    Clinton: 50%, Sanders: 49%, O’Malley: 1% (awww, poor guy).

    Close race for the front-runners!

  • Wyrd Smythe

    As of 11:00 PM CST…

    Cruz: 28% [winner], Trump: 24%, Rubio: 23%, Carson: 9%, Paul: 5%, everyone else: < 5%.

    Clinton: 49.8%, Sanders: 49.6%, O’Malley: 0.6%. [too close to call]

    Huckabee has dropped out, and apparently so has O’Malley. The winnowing has begun! 🙂

    Interesting results. The record-breaking high turn-out was supposed to help Sanders and Trump. It appears to have done that for Sanders (although not putting him over the top), but not for Trump (who is only barely ahead of Rubio).

    It may be that, even for Republicans, ideas really do matter more than shallow celebrity (they just need to work on those ideas a little).

    • Wyrd Smythe

      It’s now official. Hillary Clinton won Iowa.

      The final counts are: Clinton: 49.9%, Sanders: 49.6%.

      A very close race, indeed. Hillary was supposed to win Iowa, so it being this close shows how successful Sanders is.

  • Steve Morris

    Wyrd, I think that if we begin to draw the conclusion that “they’re all f***ing idiots” then we are actually failing to empathise fully with “them”. I have a starting assumption, which I stick to in all debates unless it can be proved otherwise, which is that everyone else is as smart as me.

    So I would say that the quality of other people’s opinions is the same as mine, and if they are radically different from mine, I try to understand what situation that person is in, and why they have a different world view.

    You can apply this to people who travel to Syria to become jihadists. You can apply it to people from Westboro Baptist Church. And you can apply it to people on the other side of the political spectrum.

    So, to be fair to Donald Trump, he has a lot of attractive qualities. I don’t support many of his political views, but before he stood for election, I thought he was an admirable business person with some truly outstanding personal qualities. As for Republican voters, I would guess that in addition to headline-grabbing policies like building walls along borders and nuking terrorists, they probably support a lot of sound economic policies that politicians like Bernie Sanders really ought to learn. So Republican voters are probably just as scared of Sanders as they are of Mexicans.

    I would bet that a lot of them spent the past decade saying things very much like what you wrote here, but about Obama, not Trump. I would further suggest that every time a Democrat supporter shouts insults at the other side and calls them idiots, that their anger and fear grows, and they become prey to politicians like Trump.

    But I am British and know nothing, so feel free to ignore me, as you did my advice on finding romance. My comments are as always well-intentioned, and I only express them so openly because I know you enjoy a good debate 🙂

    • Wyrd Smythe

      You’re right that I do love a good debate. (It’s a form of good mental exercise that requires a willing partner!) And you’re certainly tapping into a topic on which I have plenty to say. (Despite sometimes appearances, there are topics on which I have little or nothing to say. 🙂 )

      But,… how serious are you here? (I’ve come to recognize that many of your posts have a satirical comic tone, and as such should just be enjoyed rather than debated (sorry, my bad). Sometimes, especially if the humor is subtle, I don’t realize not to take the post too seriously right away. But I catch on eventually. Usually. 😮 )

      In any case,…

      “I have a starting assumption, which I stick to in all debates unless it can be proved otherwise, which is that everyone else is as smart as me.”

      To me, that assumption is based on facts not in evidence. In fact, it’s contrary to the facts on the matter.

      Would you assume, sight unseen, that everyone is as tall as you? Or has the same hair and eye color? Or the same weight?

      You might be making the same mistake I’ve made for most of my life. I’m struggling now to unlearn that mistake, and I feel that, if I can, it will help me be more accepting of those who aren’t tall.

      I’ve always assumed I was normal intellectually, that there was nothing special about me. I’ve always viewed “smartness” as something like being physically fit (or not). I’ve always figured it was something anyone could do with a bit of effort.

      And so it felt as if I lived in a world of out-of-shape people who just didn’t care to exercise their natural intellect.

      I’ve come to think that’s wrong.

      To some extent, perhaps to a large extent, being smart is like being tall (or not).

      You see, I’ve blamed people for not trying harder, but one can try with all their might, and — Procrustean beds aside — they will never be any taller. (Proving, once again, that, no, you can’t accomplish “anything” if you just try hard enough.)

      In fact, I have always assumed others were on par with me (and spent most of my life puzzled because of it). The thing is, most people prove they’re not in very short time.

      They demonstrate that they aren’t in possession of the relevant facts and don’t recognize that lack. Or they show that, while they do possess the facts, they aren’t marshaling them well (or are ignoring them, or worse, disdaining them).

      Or they demonstrate serious (well-known!) logical errors in thinking. Or they make it clear their heart-felt opinion has more weight than critical analysis (which they appear to be incapable of).

      They commit all the errors I’ve been writing about for several posts. That’s not smart. That’s the opposite of smart.

      “I would say that the quality of other people’s opinions is the same as mine,…”

      This is manifestly not the case. The quality of opinions ranges from feeble to strong, and the dialectic gives us tools for determining their strength. There are objective criteria available for critical analysis.

      “…if they are radically different from mine, I try to understand what situation that person is in, and why they have a different world view.”

      That is a whole other kettle of fish. World view has a great deal to do with the general direction your opinions take, but that is different from the quality of those opinions.

      A classic one important to USAnians is Big Government (the “mommy” model) versus Small Government (the “daddy” model). Both are entirely valid views; both may be subject to strong or feeble opinions about them.

      You’re involved in the hard sciences; perhaps I can put it this way: World view and critical thinking are orthogonal vectors.

      “So, to be fair to Donald Trump, he has a lot of attractive qualities.”

      Yes, he does. If I could be certain he was fooling the GOP and will pivot centrist upon getting the nomination, I might even consider voting for him. I love the plain spoken non-political aspect of him.

      “As for Republican voters, I would guess…”

      Don’t. 🙂 American politics is a strange morass even experts constantly get wrong (especially lately). It’s turning out the interweb is a major game-changer. Social media may finally end some of the grip money has on USAnian politics.

      GOP policies tend to benefit Big Business because the GOP has lost its way in the last decade or so. Because of the finance system seen as necessary for politicians, most politicians here are pretty deeply into the pockets of business.

      Sanders is an idealist with little chance of actually implementing his policies, but he’s not wrong. His policies would make us a much better country.

      “So Republican voters are probably just as scared of Sanders as they are of Mexicans.”

      Heh. I heard Marco Rubio in an interview talk about how extreme segments of the left have taken the Democratic party hostage, which made me laugh. Funny talk from someone who is supposedly a faithful Christian (see: Matthew 7:3–5 as well as Luke 6:37–42).

      “I would bet that a lot of them spent the past decade saying things very much like what you wrote here, but about Obama, not Trump.”

      You would lose that bet if “things very much like” is the criteria. 🙂

      They have attacked President Obama ceaselessly, that’s for sure. The Fox News Channel never misses an opportunity to slam the president (or Hillary Clinton, whom they also loath).

      “I would further suggest that every time a Democrat supporter shouts insults at the other side and calls them idiots, that their anger and fear grows,…”

      No doubt. But you see, I’ve stopped believing anything I can do will change things. And I’ve stopped caring. The world is what it is.

      At this point, all I can do, all I am doing really, is venting my rage and frustration. I see so much misery, so much poverty, so much ugliness, so much pain, so much loss,…

      And I know — know for certain — that it doesn’t have to be this way.

      One of the great aspects of literature, especially the better SF literature, is that it explores the possibilities of the human condition. There are better ways of being.

      Maybe people can’t be taller, but they can at least be more fit. Short people can play basketball, they just have to try a bit harder.

      • Steve Morris

        Well I am quite a short person (5 foot 9 inches). I’m not very good at basketball, but my height doesn’t cause me any problems in normal life. People don’t look at me and say, “Hey, there’s poor Steve. He’s so short. Look at him struggling to reach the handle on that door.”

        So I think that while some people may be smarter than others, that doesn’t mean that dumb people can’t make intelligent decisions about who to vote for. In fact, I don’t think intelligence necessarily comes into the equation. I know plenty of highly intelligent people who are willfully ignorant about simple economics and believe in totally stupid policies.

        Like Bernie Sanders, for instance – even though I agree with him in other areas.

        But you are approaching politics in a very specific way – one that you may not even be consciously aware of. You are thinking like an engineer, trying to understand the problems and opportunities facing your country, and evaluating which policies would be best. Perhaps most other people don’t vote that way. After all, it isn’t your job to micro-manage policy decisions. It’s your job as a voter to select a leader who will do that on your behalf. So maybe people look at Trump and see how he has made his company worth billions and think that maybe he could do as good a job for the USA. Maybe they like him and trust him. Maybe they look at someone like Hilary Clinton and think she is a cold fish who cannot be trusted.

        It’s true that I like to have a laugh and poke fun at things. And I like to be terribly serious about things too. Anything in between doesn’t really interest me, which explains why I’m not a people person.

        There’s one thing you said that I don’t believe. It’s when you said you stopped caring. I think you do care a lot about the world, and that’s why you’re here. Your blog article about gun control struck me as one of the most reasoned and balanced articles I had ever read on the subject. That’s why I was disappointed to find that you’d basically come to the conclusion that the country has gone to the dogs. So that’s why I’m poking you here, in my usual annoying way.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        “Well I am quite a short person (5 foot 9 inches).”

        You’re taller than I am by three inches. 😄

        “I’m not very good at basketball,…”

        Yes, which is the point of the analogy.

        “…but my height doesn’t cause me any problems in normal life.”

        But that stretches it beyond its domain. The analogy is about short people playing basket ball, not short people in normal life.

        “So I think that while some people may be smarter than others, that doesn’t mean that dumb people can’t make intelligent decisions about who to vote for.”

        To an extent I agree with that. I’ve long viewed IQ as somewhat similar to CPU speed. Any (Turing Complete) computer can do anything any other TC computer can do, but system speed and resources may limit or slow down the calculation. But ultimately, any computer should arrive at the same result.

        So, yes, I do think most people can eventually reach a valid conclusion if (and this is one huge “if”) they are capable of thinking critically and if they have enough data.

        I think that’s an “if” that fails more often than not.

        “I know plenty of highly intelligent people who are willfully ignorant about simple economics and believe in totally stupid policies.”

        Hence the importance of having the facts, the background knowledge. The abysmal ignorance of most people is part of my complaint. It’s all the more egregious given the ease of the interweb. Everyone should know at least a little bit about the things that matter in their life.

        “Like Bernie Sanders, for instance…”

        Other than the extreme difficulty of implementing them, what makes his policies stupid to you?

        “Perhaps most other people don’t vote that way.”

        That doesn’t make their way right. As Opus Penguin so famously said, “If two-million people do a stupid thing, it’s still a stupid thing.”

        “After all, it isn’t your job to micro-manage policy decisions.”

        Agreed, and I’m not doing that.

        “It’s your job as a voter to select a leader who will do that on your behalf.”

        Agreed, and I am doing that. 🙂

        “So maybe people look at Trump and see how he has made his company worth billions and think that maybe he could do as good a job for the USA.”

        Which is certainly a relevant factor, but it ignores so much else.

        It reminds me of how people love this movie or that series because of this thing and that thing and ignore all the other things. I know a lot of SF fans who loved Intersteller, for example. For me, its flaws are too great to be ignored. (Likewise Mad Max, which I tried unsuccessfully to watch last night.)

        “Maybe they like him and trust him.”

        Which is stupid, because they don’t know him.

        “Maybe they look at someone like Hilary Clinton and think she is a cold fish who cannot be trusted.”

        Which is also true and relevant. It’s both her strength (she’d be effective) and her biggest flaw. (Quite honestly, between Hillary’s baggage and possible email problems and Bernie’s age and impossible idealism, I may just end up voting for Trump if (again a huge “if”) I’m convinced he will govern in a moderate way.)

        “There’s one thing you said that I don’t believe.”

        Smart man! (Only one? 😀 )

        “It’s when you said you stopped caring. I think you do care a lot about the world, and that’s why you’re here.”

        I embrace paradox. No, seriously, I do. Many of the things I think have both a Yin and a Yang component (which is one reason I revere the Yin-Yang concept so much).

        There are days, Steve, when if there was a button I could push to wipe out all life on Earth, you’d have to literally kill me to stop me from pressing it repeatedly. There are times when I have a deep and abiding hatred for the human race.

        But the Yang is that I also think they’re (at least potentially) one of the most astonishing things that happen in the universe. That atoms, given enough time, would arrange themselves into a shape capable of pondering their nature and role in the universe… is mind-blowing.

        Our capacity to love and build and explore and make art and music make us something very special in the universe (even as just an evolutionary product).

        And so it is in the context of what we could be that I shake my head at what we so frequently actually are.

        And I’m increasingly painfully aware that I’m cursed with extreme tallness in a world of average height people. My problem, really, is that I’m the freak. The whole tallness analogy is an attempt on my part to stop blaming people for not being tall.

        “Your blog article about gun control struck me as one of the most reasoned and balanced articles I had ever read on the subject.”

        Thank you. It’s another Yin-Yang thing for me… I see both sides very clearly, and I agree with aspects of both sides.

        “That’s why I was disappointed to find that you’d basically come to the conclusion that the country has gone to the dogs.”

        No, not the country. The entire fucking world. It’s people that are the problem. (And the solution if they’d just pull their heads out of their asses.)

      • Steve Morris

        “Like Bernie Sanders, for instance…”
        I think that’s probably too big a subject and off topic. Maybe another time?

        “That doesn’t make their way right
        Nor does it make it wrong.

        “I may just end up voting for Trump”
        SHOCKED.

        “That atoms, given enough time, would arrange themselves into a shape capable of pondering their nature and role in the universe… is mind-blowing.”
        Just isn’t it?

        ” It’s people that are the problem.”
        Well, yeah. That’s why politics exists.

        “the last several hundred years of western civilization, and, generally, the last two thousand or so (is in decline)”
        Surely not? Remind me -what were the Romans’ favourite pastimes?

        “I’m certainly not alone in that view.”
        It seems to be very popular, in fact.

        “never met someone who was both very intelligent and very happy”
        It’s a kind of curse to be sure. And yet having a low IQ may be correlated with under-achievement and low socio-economic status, which is no recipe for happiness.
        http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-19659985

        “But that is a permanent and constant condition of the world, not something new under the sun.”
        Aha! That was my point, all along. 🙂

      • Wyrd Smythe

        “I think that’s probably too big a subject and off topic.”

        Not really off-topic. I’m game if you are. Just some bullet points would do; I can figure it out from there. I’m genuinely curious about this.

        “Nor does it make it wrong.”

        Let me wind this back to the beginning (’cause I’m getting lost). You’d said I approached this like an engineer (which is true, but only in part) and that, “Perhaps most other people don’t vote that way.”

        Which is likely also true! 🙂

        There is more to it than an engineering analysis of policies. There is the past history of the person and what that says about their character. We’re very confused about character these days. I consider character at least as important as policy.

        More to the point, we embrace dishonesty to a dismaying extent. We don’t hold our candidates (or much of anything) to a high standard of authenticity. Specifically: honesty (speaking the truth), integrity (meaning what you say; doing what you say you’ll do), and facticity (a belief system consistent with reality).

        When we fail to do this, we err, and while that may be human, it’s still wrong! 🙂

        That said, when it comes to politicians or businessmen, dishonesty seems to go with the territory. We’re left to consider what we can of character (integrity and facticity remain).

        I think ignoring the lack of those character factors is wrong, even if a candidate has other traits that seem desirable. It all has to be weighed fairly, and it’s the failure to do that I think is most wrong.

        “the last several hundred years of western civilization, and, generally, the last two thousand or so [is in decline]”

        That’s you quoting me, and in adding the part in square brackets you misinterpreted (and misrepresent!) what I wrote.

        Which is that our modern culture is in decline in the last handful of decades. My reference point — the proverbial “bar” that’s sunk — is “the last several hundred years of western civilization, and, generally, the last two thousand or so.”

        I might be wrong about that, but, if so, a lot of other really smart and very cultured people are also wrong about that. The thing is, I think there is plenty of objective data supporting the point.

        “Remind me -what were the Romans’ favourite pastimes?”

        If your point was that the Romans were a decadent society that ultimately collapsed and was overrun… well, yeah, exactly! 😄

        During the Enlightenment, science and logic lifted us up out of the Dark Ages. We are in danger of forgetting the value those things have (other than to provide toys). People running for president of the USA deny climate change (including, I believe, Trump).

        The implications are horrifying.

        “That was my point, all along.”

        Well, we agreed on that one from the start! 🙂

        I took your other point to be that “the quality of other people’s opinions is the same as mine,” and on that I vehemently disagree. 😮

      • Steve Morris

        Tell you what, on Bernie Sanders, if you write a post about him at some stage, I’ll tell you what I think.

        I like what you say about honesty and integrity. Facticity isn’t a word I know, but I know what you mean. Facticity, in politics, doesn’t mean that the politician needs to be right, but needs to have the same view as the voter.

        It always amazes me that politicians seem not to recognise the importance of honesty and integrity. Voters are always complaining that politicians are dishonest, yet few politicians seem to make an effort to appear honest. They rarely answer questions in a straightforward, direct manner. Why don’t they understand that it makes them look dishonest? I just don’t get that. It should be the first thing they learn.

        “our modern culture is in decline in the last handful of decades”
        Ah, sorry, I misunderstood what you were saying!

      • Wyrd Smythe

        “Facticity isn’t a word I know,…”

        It’s a term used in philosophy and it sort of means “factual” but its meaning varies a bit. I meant it mainly the way existentialists do — essentially that your views are consistent with reality.

        [In existentialism, there is the idea that your past, or any labels that have been applied to you, do not define you. A life-long crook can become an honest person at any point (and vice versa). We define ourselves through our will, but that is limited to facticity (and, very possibly psychology and biology). You cannot will yourself to fly; that isn’t factual.]

        “It always amazes me that politicians seem not to recognise the importance of honesty and integrity.”

        (Or that many businesses do not recognize the value of service.) Yeah, it seems almost beyond explanation. It’s one of many things I refer to when I say I live in an “upside down crazy world.” Do we excuse it in our leaders because we excuse it in ourselves? The part that really blows my mind is that we allow it.

        The inability to give a straight answer is a particular stick in my craw. If someone asks me a yes-no question, the first word out of my mouth is usually “yes” or “no” (followed by a typically long-winded explanation of why). If I ask someone a question, I expect a straight answer.

        And I’m just as bothered by so-called journalists that allow their interview subjects to get away with that crap. OTOH, some of them do try, and the subject just keeps pivoting away and dodging. Most journalists seem to craven to really nail them down.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Actually, let me refine my answer in that last paragraph. There are two aspects to my frustration and rage (and the resulting disdain (or on some days, glowing glowering nuclear hatred o_O )).

        I do, in fact, believe USAnian culture is in decline per some fairly objective definitions — specifically, the last several hundred years of western civilization, and, generally, the last two thousand or so. (This is precisely why I believe a good Liberal Arts education provides a normative view of the world.)

        I’m certainly not alone in that view. Just the other day I watched a South Park episode where James Cameron dives deep into the ocean looking for “the bar” that’s sunk so low that only James Cameron can find it and raise it. (If you’re not familiar with the show, South Park uses a unique style of animation to tell highly topical, satirically razor-sharp, often scatological, hysterically funny stories. The show is truly brilliant.)

        That said, I do suffer from tallness. I’ve never located the quote, but supposedly there’s a good one by Hemingway about how he never met someone who was both very intelligent and very happy. There’s definitely some truth to that. It’s frustrating living in a world where it seems like people just aren’t trying (to be tall; as if they could).

        But that is a permanent and constant condition of the world, not something new under the sun.

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