RatS 8: Donald McNeil Has His Say

Last month, science writer Donald McNeil got shoved out of the New York Times. McNeil has waited until he was formally out of the Times to have his say. Now, he has done so. The whole thing is insane.

Part One: Introduction

Part Two: What Happened January 28?

Part Three: What Happened in the 2019 Investigation?

Part Four: What Happened in Peru?

RatS 6: Bipolar Opposites

We’ve never paid particular attention to Scott Alexander (pseudonym) and his blog, Slate Star Codex (now Astral Codex Ten). Long ago, we ran into a few SSC posts and our very vague memory is that we liked them. Then, while reading more on the New York Times‘s crucifying of Donald McNeil, we came across the Times‘s smelly article on SSC, including the gratuitous and sleazy outing of Alexander.* We explored a little, including reading this thoughtful critique of SSC. Still, we didn’t, and don’t, look to have an opinion on SSC, or on the “rationalism” in which it is supposedly immersed. (We did however, come to the opinion, that the New York Times has lost its collective fucking mind.)

A couple days ago, however, and completely by chance, we ran into an old, 2014 post on SSC. Alexander is a psychiatrist, and this post was on his long and futile attempt to conduct a study of a screening test for bipolar disorder, a test that Alexander suspected was of limited worth and knew was being widely misused. From the introduction to Alexander’s saga:

You ask patients a bunch of things like “Do you ever feel really happy, then really sad?”. If they say ‘yes’ to enough of these questions, you start to worry.

Some psychiatrists love this test. I hate it. Patients will say “Yes, that absolutely describes me!” and someone will diagnose them with bipolar disorder. Then if you ask what they meant, they’d say something like “Once my local football team made it to the Super Bowl and I was really happy, but then they lost and I was really sad.” I don’t even want to tell you how many people get diagnosed bipolar because of stuff like this.

Alexander’s post struck a particularly strong chord. Our father was a clinical psychologist, and he saw the worst. The whole Cuckoo’s Nest thing. More importantly, he didn’t think the not-worst was generally all that much better. In general, he regarded his psychologist and, especially, psychiatrist colleagues as arrogant, narrow-minded, drug-pushing quacks. Alexander’s story is from a different angle, but it fits right in.

Alexander’s post is alternately hilarious and horrifying. Read it. And then scream.

 

*) The kind of thing that a toady like James Massola would do.

Yes, Creighton is the Dumbest Man on the Planet

Meanwhile, GregHunt (one word) and ScoMoFo and BlackShirts Dutton, you know, the people responsible for the little things such as the country and borders and health and vaccines and whatnot, do nothing but play to the camera with their fuck-you-all smirks.

Luckily, Andrews and Victorians have shown themselves to be way smarter and way more responsible than these Liberal and NeoLiberal shitheads. And they, we, will do it again.

Take care, Victorians, and ignore these assholes.

RatS 5: Woody to Get Hatcheted Again

We’ve posted previously on the lynch mobbing of Woody Allen. Now, HBO is coming out with a four-hour documentary on Woody and Mia. And here we go again.

Documentary filmmaker Robert Weide has written carefully and compellingly about the nonsense accusations against Woody Allen,. He has spent time with Moses, and he has looked carefully at Golden Boy Ronan.

Weide now has a new post, on the coming documentary, what to watch for and why he doesn’t trust it. If you do not believe Allen molested his daughter, then you should read it. If you do believe Allen molested his daughter, then you’re either ignorant or you’re an idiot and you should read it. Here is an excerpt:

For all the years that Mia, Dylan, and Ronan Farrow have been having their say on mainstream and social media, I’ve never seen them put in a position where they weren’t in control over who was questioning them, so I’ve never seen them have to hold up under cross, so to speak. Now, in this documentary, there might be some very “soft” cross questions to make it look like the interviewers are going for the truth, but these will likely be questions where the responses are already known, creating the illusion of due diligence. (And if the answer doesn’t suit the filmmaker’s needs, it can always be left on the cutting room floor.) I know several people who could question these three Farrows … that, in five minutes, would turn each of them into Cmdr. Queeg in “The Caine Mutiny.”

Ask yourself why Ronan Farrow blocks anyone who ever questions his statements on Twitter, no matter how polite or well-informed they are. (This is the same Ronan Farrow who wrote an editorial for The Hollywood Reporter asking why Woody Allen isn’t asked “the hard questions.”) Why did Ronan Farrow never respond to my Tweets offering a $100k donation to the charity of their choice for a shred of “evidence” of any number of his provably false claims? When Ronan and I were both invited to debate the issue live, on stage, at the SoHo Forum in NYC, I responded, “Fly me out and put me up, and I’m there.” Ronan declined to even respond. Ronan is a lawyer and a Pulitzer Prize winner for investigative reporting. I won a prize as “Most Outstanding Student” from the Rotary Club when I was in 8th grade. So what is he afraid of? 

 

RatS 3: The GameStopping of Wall Street

Matt Taibbi has written a great article on the GameStop game: Suck it, Wall Street.

(Subheading: In a blowout comedy for the ages, finance pirates take it up the clacker.)

It’s all really worth reading, but here’s Taibbi’s summary:

[E]verybody “understands” what happened with GameStop. Unlike some other Wall Street stories, this one isn’t complicated. The entire tale, in a nutshell, goes like this. One group of gamblers announced, “Fuck you!” Another group announced back: “No, fuck YOU!”

That’s it. Or, as one market analyst put it to me this morning, “A bunch of guys made a bet, got killed, then doubled and tripled down and got killed even more.”

UPDATE (07/02/21)

Taibbi interviews one of the GameStop gamers.

And, Taibbi responds to a critic.

Trumped

We’re back, sort of, and we’ll soon get back to mathematics and to needling the VCAA and their goon-clown minions. But, first, there’s a little catching up to do. And, to begin, we must celebrate the decline and fall of the Orange Maniac. It turned out, and this was no gimme, that American society was strong enough to withstand the full on assault by Republican fascists. And now America, and the World, is once again perfect.

Trump, of course, is not the disease but a symptom. True, he’s a disgusting symptom, and he’s a symptom that’ll probably end up killing a couple million Americans; symptoms can indeed be deadly. But the disease is what matters most, and the disease was thriving long before Trump shat on everything, and it is stronger than ever. For decades, Republicans have gleefully engaged in a calculated and vicious denial of reality, eagerly enabled by Murdoch and his rapacious ilk, and their psychopathically soulless henchmen. And the Democrats, and America in general, is not a whole hell of a lot better. The place is pretty fucked.

Australia is not fucked. Yes, we currently have a fifth rate, mini-wit conman motherfucker for a Prime Minister. Yes, this fifth rate mini-wit conman motherfucker leads a government of neanderthals and crooks and born-to-rule twat-snots and full blown sadists. They are trying to fuck up Australia, and they are certainly making it worse. The disease is here as well, and it is getting stronger. But, and in spite of ScoMoFo and his thugocracy, and corruptly compliant media, Australia has held together pretty well.

So, let’s give thanks. Let’s give thanks that we don’t live in a gun-infested, reality-denying lunatic asylum. Let’s give thanks that the dumb fucks in our government are, in particular, pretty inept in their attempts to fuck things up. Let’s give thanks that the disease, although anything but dormant here, has not won here. Yet.

Amen.