RatS 27: Taibbi – Maintain Your Brain

We haven’t had a RatS for a long time. I think they were and are worthwhile, but there’s just been too much work with the day job of educational crusading to post much about the more general cultural decline. This one, however, by Matt Taibbi, struck a very strong chord. Taibbi is one of the very few consistently sane journalists on politics and the media. He is getting busier and angrier, and better, visibly exasperated at the increasing government and corporate control over social media and free speech. Taibbi has a particular loathing for censorious assholes in the legacy media, particularly in particular for the sanctimonious “misinformation” “experts”: see here and here for two recent examples. The following is a public post by Taibbi, with no particular target, simply a Mad As Hell scream.

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RatS 26: Taibbi – Are Authorities Using the Internet to Sap Our Instinct for Freedom?

Last week, Meta-Facebook-Instagram announced a program to combat “misinformation” during the referendum for the Voice to Parliament. This is a bad move, if for no other reason that it will be viewed, probably correctly, as the silencing of voices in order to support the Voice. The ironic anti-message will undoubtedly be clear to Voice sceptics. We had thought to write on this, but figured we’d already written enough on inappropriate Voice spruiking, and on the dangers of half-wit authorities declaring what is or is not misinformation.

M-F-I’s misinformation program is not just a bad move, however, for unintentionally screwing up the Yes guys on the Voice. M-F-I claims that their program is “contributing to democracy”, but there is a solid argument that they’re doing the exact opposite. Which brings us to Matt Taibbi. Again.

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RatS 25: Taibbi – On the Loony Van Gogh Protests

We try to avoid recommending paywalled stuff, but the Van Gogh nonsense, and the response, is just so depressing, and Taibbi’s critique is so good, we decided to make an exception. Of course, regular readers will be used to our badgering them to read Taibbi, and the subscription is worth it. But readers can also avoid paying by “trying 7 days for free”, and then cancelling immediately (so you don’t then forget and get billed).

A couple paragraphs are below. Read all of Taibbi’s post, and then scream.

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RatS 24: Ed Knight – Guessing C on a NY Algebra Test

Courtesy of frequent commenter Red Five, a maddening and absolutely hilarious article:

Guessing C For Every Answer Is Now Enough To Pass The New York State Algebra Exam

Ed Knight

RatS 22: Taibbi – PayPal’s IndyMedia Wipeout

Matt Taibbi has another in his infinite series of posts on powerful and sanctimonious thugs, this one free to the public. This time it’s PayPal doing the thugging, and thieving, and not for the first time, or second time, all the while preening as the defender of Truth, Justice and the American Way. A nice touch is that this time the thugging seems to be in partnership with the Anti-Defamation League. Proving, as if it were needed, that the Old Jews can be just as much assholes as the New Jews.

Read Taibbi’s post, and then scream.

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RatS 21: Taibbi – Twitter’s Chickens Come Home to Roost

(29/04/22 Update below) We had thought about posting on this one but, given the paywall, we had decided against. Now we’ve decided for it. With Elon Musk having arranged to buy Twitter, and given our post yesterday on Twitter Fun, it seems worthwhile.

People are going nuts at the prospect of Musk controlling Twitter. They’ve been going nuts since it became clear a couple weeks ago that Musk was eyeing the company. It is appalling. One doesn’t have be a fan of Musk to be disgusted by the manipulative, hypocritical and, most importantly and nauseatingly, censorious twaddle that would-be-respectable journalists are currently spewing.

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RatS 20: Michael Lind – The End of Progressive Intellectual Life

Following on from Laura Kipnis, we had also never previously heard of Michael Lind. Unlike Kipnis, who seems consistently great, Lind is a mixed bag. He has a superior tone, which doesn’t sit well with some of his less-than-superior judgments; anybody who writes a book titled Vietnam: The Necessary War is on the thinnest of ice. Nonetheless, Lind is smart and thoughtful and, critically, he is willing to write what he thinks, is willing to annoy anybody.

Last week, Lind had an excellent essay published in Tablet. Titled The End of Progressive Intellectual Life, it begins,

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RatS 19: Laura Kipnis – Why Are Scholars Such Snitches?

Last week, Matt Taibbi published a book review/interview with Laura Kipnis (paywalled, but a decent chunk is freely available). We hadn’t previously heard of Kipnis, but she seems great: smart and literate and brave and funny. Taibbi’s piece was prompted by a great essay Kipnis had published last month in The Chronicle of Higher Education, titled Academe is a Hotbed of Craven Snitches. It can naturally be read together with two of Kipnis’s earlier essays, Sexual Paranoia Strikes Academe and My Title XI Inquisition.

But of course we in Australia don’t have to worry. This is all just an American thing, isn’t it?

Read Kipnis’s essays, and then scream.

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RatS 18: Taibbi – Putin the Apostate

Putin is a psychopath and, once upon a time, he was our psychopath.

Matt Taibbi, who is regularly painted as a Putin-apologist because he didn’t buy the Russiagate garbage, was in Russia as a young, gonzo reporter when Putin’s rise began. Taibbi has written a great, depressing history of this time. It is paywalled, but anyone who is gagging on Western sanctimony and hypocrisy should read it. It begins, Continue reading “RatS 18: Taibbi – Putin the Apostate”

RatS 17: Taibbi – Loudoun County: A Culture War in Four Acts

This one is a bit old now, and it’s more an American thing. It’s such a crazy story, however, it is still compelling reading. Aspects of this nonsense also appear to be taking hold in Australia, so one should not be too quick to dismiss it as one-of-those-crazy-American-things.

Last November, the Democrats screwed up, throwing away the Governorship of Virginia. In ways this was just a typical Democratic screw-up, just like their screw-ups over many decades. In other ways, however, the screw-up demonstrated how things are getting way, way screwier. The political battle was largely played on the fields of education and race, and in both respects the Democrats were the Bad Guys. (Well, the Worse Guys.) That takes some heavy-duty doing. Continue reading “RatS 17: Taibbi – Loudoun County: A Culture War in Four Acts”