Why the percentage of craziness may not actually be worse than in the late 20th century

    It's not the change in numbers so much as new access for the crazed to a public voice:


    Good example: we might not ever had known this happened without citizen reporters:

    Bad movie set?  Tom Cruise stage right renegotiating his contract?

    Part of a new employee incentive package to increase their diligence and dedication to their job.

    French Revolution reenactors

    Doesn't really explain how one of the crazed letter writers became president

    But actually it does in a way, especially if you buy into "the Russian bots what did it".

    Populist journalism, populist politics.

    At least in the first iteration of empowering everyone in the world with a cell phone with a camera and the internet, seems to be what we've got? And I do mean temporary iteration, the only constant being change. I.E., there could very well be a counter reaction quite soon, where everyone wants the elites back to do the work for them again, especially because the whole thing causes the pace of change to speed up....

    One thing TMac brought up - the Spectacle. "Likes" are spectacle points, followers are spectacle points, reviews are spectacle points. Theoretically there can be quality evaluations there too, but we're mostly crunching #'s, rewarding the biggest draw, the largest tent. Fox doesn't care if they're "truthful" as long as they maintain their following. CNN didn't worry about fact checking Trump as long as putting him front and center made them a billion dollars - don't kill the golden goose.

    One academia model was "publish or perish". Now it's "get likes or perish". And with citizen journalism and cutting newsroom/investigative budgets, we see where it's headed -  a big mashup. The truth is in there - somewhere.

    needless to say, while I don't know much about other populist pols out there, Trump loves genuine classic physical meatspace spectacles. Big shews of wrestlemania and boxing, yuge inaugurations, international beauty pageants, military parades, Saudi sword dances...I recall it is even in one of the biographies that he shared this with his mother, she was very much drawn to that type of thing too.

    Heh, on the ratings thing and the fake debate with rants and spin thing, etc.

    I am a proud elitist on this front: would love to see all spinmeisters, both paid and volunteer, out of biz.

    But then what? Rampaging hordes of unemployed s/meisters tipping over baby carriages and plucking the rhododendrons? Better isolate  them on their tiny screens away from real people. Who knows what they might do otherwise ?


    When viewing the right wing talking points, it is interesting how small a worldview it is. The same arguments repeated over and over by the unverified visitor can be found word for word on Briebart, Drudge Report, Fox, and certain areas of Reddit.

    The random debris of crazy surrounds a core of recursive logic that is applicable to every new event. It is not a belief system although it panders to some. It more closely resembles a Jane Fonda workout video than a philosophy on the best way to live.

    I am inspired by your comment about this not being a belief system: to point out that certain mental illnesses often seem to exhibit very similar narratives, i.e. the paranoid shizophrenic types obssessed with a "tin foil hat" type conspiracy about either microwaves or mind control by the authorities or aliens.

    And I do know from reading that some of the most common letters to old time editors were truly "crazies", as in being mentally ill. That sending such letters every week about this or that plot could often be part of a diagnosis.And now all these people have a cell phone and social media instead of paper, pen or typewriter, and a stamp. And can "go viral", especially if they are also strikingly creative.

    The Russians working the social media platforms in 2016 were learning from that creativity. As a feedback loop, being given a range of negative or positive responses helps shape the final product. Maybe it less about certain thoughts being given free reign than aggregators having data sets that did not exist in the past.

    I take your point about how mental illnesses can display similar behaviors using widely various narratives. I take a narrower view of cognitive styles from years of working with other people in an industry that places the highest value on understanding what is happening. Colleagues who can only discount other people's arguments without presenting a compelling case to think otherwise never take more responsibility than they have to. People who own their perceptions enough to test them against all objections take more responsibility than was assigned to them. As it was in the beginning, is now, and forever shall be.

    From that perspective, the change in who is participating in civic discourse has given newfound leverage to intellectual slackers.

    This comment is separate from the others I made on this topic because I don't want to mush different observations into one theory of the universe.

    Being defensive and careful not to cause unnecessary suffering for oneself is the default position. It takes courage to be a good person. I am an okay person. I would be a better one if I had more courage.
    When someone objects to the motives I ascribe to their actions, I have to leave my bunker and expose myself to their view. If I insist that they own what they do not claim to own, then they become silent, no longer representatives of themselves. Everyone can do that, make others silent. Maybe being human is having a mute button.

    That is why we become complicit through silence. It is unfair but true. If I don't put myself out against something, then I am helping it. Not because of motive, ancestry, or training but because I did not try to stop it.

    So, when I am told that my perceptions are false because I was mislead by others or I fooled myself with foolishness, there needs to be a lot courage involved. The properties commonly assigned to rationality as a thing are not possible without the strength of moral conviction. Having someone tell me that why I think something is only the product of some other thing is weak as a matter of logic but the greatest weakness is when the observation required nothing from the observer.

    Nothing comes from nothing.

    Funny you should get on this topic because I just watched this video which strongly renewed my natural inclination to think that partisanship, tribalism, misunderstanding or fear of "the other" is all a load of crap that parents used to teach their kids in the olden days but now they teach us in sports as kids, the whole enemy team thing:

    Yeah, I know, it's well-done kumbaya propaganda, but there's a lot of truth to it, especially for those of us who speak the same language. We developed language for a reason...and I'm pretty sure it sure wasn't to yell at or hate or kill another close by member of the species.

    I remember letting my kids talk to strangers on public transport - everyone else seemed horrified - just wasn't done.

    Latest Comments