Friday, August 5th, 2022
The second most important country in the Western Alliance is almost detached from it, all by the apparently innocuous and meliorist actions of Germany’s peppiest environmentalists.
Conrad Black, Triumph of Davos Man
Thursday, July 21st, 2022
On Israeli Policy Pod, Ehud Yaari for the (more or less) hour. When asked who is the greatest of the many great men he met, he is unequivocal: Sadat.
Friday, June 10th, 2022
Good for him: the great Guy Zohar quickly demolishes a climate alarmist report on Israeli TV [Hebrew video]. From here in the UK, it puzzles me why Israel also jumps on the bandwagon of American neuroses. But everybody does it — we can’t just switch off what has until 5 minutes ago been a salutary cultural parent for over a century.
Thursday, April 14th, 2022
In an interview on Israel’s national broadcaster Kan, this is a fair-minded well-informed backgrounder on Temple Mount tensions.
Jonathan Haidt is wise enough to note that it is mainly America, not necessary the rest of the world, that has gone particularly mental the past decade. Haidt blames social media. But the word “marriage” does not occur even once in the article, despite the decade having seen same-sex marriage transformed from oxymoronic absurdity to self-evident cudgel. If a human institution so deep — deeper than the nationstate, than monotheism, even than history itself — can be so decidedly upended, then what chance has anything else of standing, the collective subconscious must wonder.
Thursday, January 20th, 2022
The most important Abraham Accords peace dividend so far: the beautiful Dubai, Dubai, Dubai by Israeli comedienne Noam Shuster-Eliassi. Israel’s biting satire — mocking Arabs and Israelis alike, and in Arabic leavened with Hebrew (or is it vice versa) — has more of a chance of freeing the Middle Eastern masses than in retrospect the US Armed Forces and State Department ever had. As Frank Herbert kind of say: he who control the comedy control the universe.
Tuesday, November 23rd, 2021
It’s sad but American national institutions are crumbling — that is to say, I’m not sure I fully trust David Brooks any more. In his report from his experience at the National Conservatism Conference he concludes:
There is something extremely off-putting about the NatCon public pose. In person, as I say, I find many of them charming, warm, and friendly. But their public posture is dominated by the psychology of threat and menace. If there was one expression of sympathy, kindness, or grace uttered from the podium in Orlando, I did not hear it. But I did hear callousness, invocations of combat, and whiffs of brutality.
His piece is for The Atlantic, which, while not as far into illiberal territory as The New York Times or The New Yorker, is on the way. So I can’t help but feel that he is toeing their editorial line, and that if the piece was say for the New Criterion, his tone would be friendlier towards the event.
This is sad to say, because if you can’t trust uncle Dave Brooks, who can you? Well, at least the title isn’t his; the word “terrifying” doesn’t appear even once within the article (though this is a talent who surely has the clout to have editorial control or at least strong influence over the titles of his pieces).
Update: More straightforwardly, Arnold Kling reaches a similarly worried conclusion and actually explains himself.
Update #2: 2021 Dec 19: Here’s Ross Douthat with mealy-mouthed support for NatCon2 and an excited Adam Ellwanger.
To my mind, the New Right needs to focus on and build upon modernity’s bedrock value: tolerance.
Sunday, November 14th, 2021
In The Telegraph, columnist Janet Daly hopes for a wake for Woke in The Telegraph:
Maybe it is the secret that explains why British life is not torn asunder by culture wars in the way that the United States so often is. Instead of taking up arms against the advancing guard of combatants who threaten to dismantle your social values, and fighting to the death (often literally) in the streets as Americans are inclined to do, the British take a softly-softly, appeasing tone — giving a bit here, offering a bit there to the angry mob, without ever losing their sense of irony. Until — almost without warning — the onslaught grows so overblown and overconfident that it becomes patently, stupidly, undeniably crazy, self-contradictory and, most important, risible.
Friday, October 8th, 2021
I had to read this snooty bit of exhibitionism at Gawker (must the devil have all the good web design?) slowly to keep track of what and whom the reader is supposed to consider virtuous versus vile. One through-line that helped was, like in a Hollywood movie, the bad guys have British accents.
Regarding the author’s complaint of British transphobia, one possible cause: due to cultural proximity and thirst, the Great Leap Forward emanating from the USA arrives first at Britain’s more grounded doorstep, with the resulting crockery-dropping rejection most clearly heard when ricocheting back across the pond.
Sunday, October 3rd, 2021
What a great piece on the dysfunctionality of online advertising at the now-defunct The Correspondent, “The new dot com bubble is here: it’s called online advertising”  by Jesse Frederik and Maurits Martijn.
Picture this. Luigi’s Pizzeria hires three teenagers to hand out coupons to passersby. After a few weeks of flyering, one of the three turns out to be a marketing genius. Customers keep showing up with coupons distributed by this particular kid. The other two can’t make any sense of it: how does he do it? When they ask him, he explains: “I stand in the waiting area of the pizzeria.”
Sunday, September 26th, 2021
The ruling class’s campaign regarding public health, global warming, race, the rights of women, homosexuals, micro-aggressions, the Palestinians, etc. etc. have far less to do with any of these matters than with seizing ever more power for itself.
Angelo Codevilla, “The Covid Coup”
Thursday, August 26th, 2021
The new Nike spin on “Just Do It,” is basically, “At Least You Tried.” Sports journalist Ethan Strauss launches a Substack newsletter.
Monday, July 26th, 2021
What is an entertainment company? Matthew Ball surveys the landscape, focused on Disney, and concludes they must reach into digital games.
Tuesday, June 29th, 2021
Chaos Monkeys: Inside the Silicon Valley Money Machine
Antonio Garcia Martinez
As author Antonio García Martínez battles away as an eager newcomer at Facebook, his account jolts one awake to the somewhat forgotten power of literature: we are reminded that what will survive these times will likely not be the mammoth trillion dollar company but instead this book.
And shame on Apple, caving to those who campaigned to have Martinez fired recently from his new job there because of some gross and silly yet heartfelt generalization in the book of San Francisco womenfolk; such philistine snowflakes do little more than buttress his point, as well as forcing our author to remain up on these more commanding if perhaps less remunerative cultural heights.
Friday, June 25th, 2021
I just logged on to Facebook for the first time in a while for a few minutes. This piece, full of zingers, captures the feeling of sickly irritation well.
[Facebook] exists as a weird kind of social museum, where I exist as an observer watching people I knew 5, 10, 15 years ago grow up, get married, have children, all the while saying nothing in the silence. Intersperse the family announcements with memes and ads and other nonsense, and my newsfeed is nothing but a wasteland, a place I’ll find maybe one relevant, engaging update from someone I know for every fifty I couldn’t care less about.
To be fair, I have a friend who finds his Facebook feed uplifting and enjoyable.
Saturday, June 12th, 2021
From Nieman Media Lab, a newsy perspective on Apple’s recent WWDC 2021 announcements:
Will my iPhone’s algorithms decide that a breaking news story from Bloomberg is “urgent,” “important,” or “time-sensitive”? How about something more feature-y pushed by The Atlantic, or a game score notification from ESPN?
Sunday, May 16th, 2021
Jerusalem Post editor Yaacov Katz argues that Israel’s rough treatment of the international media during the current conflagration — duping them to entice Hamassholes into their tunnel network before bombing it, then razing the building that housed the AP and Al-Jazeera — will bite us in the behind.
I’m not so sure Katz is correct — it could be the media needed to stop taking Israel for granted, that they required a little fear put in them in order to finally do their job properly and aim for truth — but at at any rate the issue he raises is a real one.
Friday, April 2nd, 2021
Tuesday, February 23rd, 2021
Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020
The New York Times abandons key claims of the 1619 Project, as reported by the World Socialist Web Site — this stuff it seems is too kooky even for them.
Sunday, August 30th, 2020
A solitary voice suggesting Vitamin D, Matt Ridley in The Spectator:
The bottom line is that an elderly, overweight, dark-skinned person living in the north of England, in March, and sheltering indoors most of the time is almost certain to be significantly vitamin D deficient. If not taking supplements, he or she should be anyway, regardless of the protective effect against the Covid virus. Given that it might be helpful against the virus, should not this advice now be shouted from the rooftops?
I do believe that the Western media — and therefore Western society in general — is actively uninterested in a biological reason for why darker-skinned people are suffering more from the novel coronavirus; such a materialistic and addressable cause does not fit the fashionable angle of systemic racism. So who suffers?
Thursday, August 20th, 2020
The iPhone matters more than anything … it is the foundation of modern life.
Ben Johnson, “Apple, Epic, and the App Store”
Friday, August 7th, 2020
Shamefully kowtowing to China, Israel has withdrawn a Ministry of Health public service video that humorously refers to the coronavirus as “Made in China (yet works properly)”. This isn’t going well is it?
Thursday, August 6th, 2020
The Daily Mail has 8:38 minutes of police bodycam footage of the George Floyd arrest.
Saturday, March 21st, 2020
Tuesday, March 10th, 2020
“More news, less junk. Faster.” Brent Simmons has just released the free and open source RSS reader NetNewsWire app for iOS. This may well be a visible dent in the universe.
In an interview with Kelly Gulmont on MacObserver, he says in an interview that one of the things he’s most proud of is that search is really fast (in a 20-minute podcast, this, remarkably, is the only bit of substance; I won’t be listening again).
There’s a review up at MacStories, “NetNewsWire for iOS and iPadOS Review: The Perfect Complement to the App’s macOS Counterpart” while Cult of Mac has “NetNewsWire is reborn on iOS”. Also 9to5Mac.
Sunday, March 1st, 2020
Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of an Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader
Brent Schlener and Rick Tetzell
Although the simple thesis gets repeated interminably, nonetheless it’s a nice one: that Steve Jobs’s greatness stems muchly from his constant becoming, constant learning, constant trying to overcome himself (hence the title, which can be read as descriptive).
It’s great to be in his company, which you feel you are, as one of the authors was himself repeatedly so for decades.
One thing new to me was Pixar’s role in maturing Jobs; we don’t often read about who and what shaped the shaper.
Sunday, October 20th, 2019
Dr Alex Joffe notes that while the West’s working classes are still relatively sensible, “in Western social and information environments saturated with virtue-signaling, [grafting BDS onto contemporary concerns and movements”:https://besacenter.org/perspectives-papers/bds-antisemitism-class/ is] having some success with members of the image-conscious, predominantly white middle class.
Wednesday, October 16th, 2019
Succession as comedy. Obvious, given its producers, but still, nicely written.
Sunday, October 13th, 2019
Wednesday, October 2nd, 2019
There is no climate emergency, states the European Climate Declaration, organized by Amsterdam-based Climate Intelligence Foundation (CLINTEL) and undersigned by “over 500 knowledgeable and experienced scientists and professionals in climate and related fields”. This on the day the media provided extensive coverage of a speech at the UN by a 16-year-old climate activist. Interestingly, the country with the most signatories is Italy, with 113.
Saturday, June 8th, 2019
Tuesday, April 30th, 2019
This detailed account of how The Guardian changed its tech stack provides an excellent peek into the workings of a large digital media outfit.
Monday, March 11th, 2019
Putting the ack! in acquihire: Our Incredible Journey.
Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018
From February 2016 to February 2018, global average temperatures dropped by 0.56 degrees Celsius, reports Aaron Brown in Real Clear Markets. He notes that “none of this argues against global warming” as “the 1950s was the last decade cooler than the previous decade” but worries that “statistical cooling outliers garner no media attention”.
Friday, May 11th, 2018
It’s ominous yet futile, the Western media’s circumlocutions to avoid the traditional names of the various wars between Arabs and Israel. Here’s an example from today, “1 Gazan killed, 49 wounded by Israeli fire in border protest” by the Associated Press and posted at Yahoo (currently owned by Verizon). The paragraph in question:
Another large-scale protest is planned for Tuesday, when Palestinians mark their “nakba,” or catastrophe, referring to their mass uprooting during the Mideast war over Israel’s 1948 creation. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were driven out or fled homes in what is now Israel. More than two-thirds of Gaza residents are descendants of refugees.
I can’t remember when I last saw the capitalized term “Independence Day” in any international media news reports, nor the term “War of Independence”. Ditto for the Yom Kippur War, the Six Day War and the somewhat less heroic Sinai Campaign.
I understand that these are inherently pro-Israel terms, told from an Israeli point-of-view. But they are vivid, concise, accurate, individuated terms. I’d also have thought that if they were transliterating Nakba they’d also be doing Yom Ha’atzma’ut in the vaunted name of balance. Moreover any war from which a nation-state arises deserves the term War of Independence.
Saturday, April 21st, 2018
We have entered an uncanny valley of algorithmic culture. I believe it’s still easy to step out of, but even easier not to. And maybe it’s merely a speeding up of how things have always worked.
Sunday, March 25th, 2018
Vincent Gallo Sings by one Vincent Gallo. “I know what I look like. It’s certainly not how I would have made myself look. Don’t blame me.”
Tuesday, March 6th, 2018
A review of the new disenchantment with our overly-enchanting digital lives by one Arianna Huffington of all people.
Thursday, February 8th, 2018
Quincy Jones on Michael Jackson’s bullshit and everyone else’s too. Oh and famous friends.
Wednesday, January 17th, 2018
The blockchain is our way back to the open internet, explains Steven Berlin Johnson in this long New York Times Magazine piece.
Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018
Monday, December 11th, 2017
Also Abraham Ben-Zvi briefly compares Trump’s defiance of his own government regarding Israel to that of Truman and Kennedy, rather propelling The Donald into the pantheon.
Marcus Pretzell is one German member of the EU Parliament who supports the declaration and says other do too but fear to speak up.
Finally, Rashid Khalidi’s response illustrates the unhappy thrashings-about of the opposing side.
Thursday, December 7th, 2017
Friday, November 24th, 2017
Jon Stewart with Howard Stern for some 90 minutes; they cover family, showbusiness, animal welfare. Two fine Yiddle, unlocked.
Monday, July 17th, 2017
Another dizzyingly ironic yet comic and worthy essay by a late 20-something “writer based in Brooklyn” (I shouldn’t disparage, to be such was my highest ambition), this is Daniel Kolitz’s What I Learned at Personal Branding School.
Wednesday, July 5th, 2017
Just the insight I was seeking on Jim Carrey as a performer.
Wednesday, June 28th, 2017
What an internet treasure. Standard Ebooks is — according to their web site — “a volunteer driven, not-for-profit project that produces lovingly formatted, open source, and free public domain ebooks.” These are some beautiful, consistently-designed ebooks. The epub version works a charm in iBooks.
Sunday, April 23rd, 2017
“Even The Beatles have sort of faded for this generation, but Billy hasn’t. Billy’s still cranking,” observes cover band leader Mike DelGuidice. Billy Joel is outearning the likes of U2 and Adele.
Tuesday, March 14th, 2017