One day, back in the Dark Ages – I think it was around 1975 – we kids were shown a movie in Social Studies about the witch trials of colonial New England. There was a scene in which the girls making the accusations against their neighbors started acting as if they were choking. As if on cue, sitting in a darkened room of 200 fourth graders, I threw up.
I saw the movie in full some years later, although I am still not sure what it was. It may have been a production of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible (1953), perhaps one of the ones made for television, but I have an inkling that it was something different. It doesn’t really matter. What stuck with me was the feeling that I had watching all those young women – they were actresses, after all – pretending to be attacked by some invisible enemy. And having everyone in the room – both on- and off-screen – believe them.
Fast forward to the summer of 2017. You all know what happened in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 12. A motley group inclu…
Our Friday night Symposium takes on James Damore’s now infamous memo about the “ideological echo chamber” at Google. For the legal speak, see the first hour or so. For those who prefer thinking in pictures, Fencing Bear gives the full exegesis on “Lobstercide” starting at 56:45 or thereabouts. Listen and watch here.
This week our Symposium welcomed our first special guest, Young, Black, and Conservative Patty Politics, to help us talk about what happened in Charlottesville, where identitarian politics comes from, how “white nationalism” is unAmerican, and what the Confederate statues mean.
If, like me, you enjoy listening to Professor Peterson take on the fallacies of postmodernism, you will have heard him acknowledge – “to give the Devil his due” – that there is one thing that the founders of postmodernism got right:
They actually put their finger on quite an important problem: the fact that any set of phenomena has a near infinite number of potential interpretations.
Which, Professor Peterson argues, is true, as researchers in artificial intelligence learned when they tried to make machines that could perceive the world. What the AI folks found, like the postmodernists, was that there is “a very large number of ways to perceive the world,” just as there is a near-infinite number of ways (or so the postmodernists would insist) to perceive a text.
Except (much as I hate to disagree with the good professor) this is not quite what the founders of postmodernism said. Here’s one of the most famous founders – albeit not one that Professor Peterson alludes to – talking about …