Miscellaneous Quotes

2018/07/21 quotes

Some saved quotes from spending time online.

The subtext which usually emerges when simplicity is avoided in the telling of a morality tale is that good and evil are actually arbitrary. The fresh and shocking impact of this film is that the contrast between good and evil is sharp and clear. So rarely do we see that contrast today that we feel revived from moral slumber, even if momentarily. That's the essence of great storytelling.
...
The undergraduate writer's urge to dilute good with poison and draw virtue from evil is not always evidence of genuine profundity. More often than not, it's simply cloudy and ill-defined values.
peedur (2003), reviewing "Murder on a Sunday Morning" ([2001](https://www.imdb.com/review/rw0854161/))
Liberalism here is being conceived as "everything is permitted", but that's not the reality of liberal capitalism. intellectual property is about preventing other people from using your findings, it's about squashing innovation. does innovation still take place? of course. but its scope is extremely limited. we innovate in the direction of what will sell, and our idea of what will sell is heavily conditioned by what has sold. the biggest corporations are extremely risk-averse, for the most part it's the state (and to put an even finer point on it, the military-industrial complex) that is actually willing to invest in what we call 'revolutionary' technological advances.
— Ethan, 2018/07/15
Fascism welcomes our attempts to play logical “gotcha” with its inconsistencies because it knows we will lose — not because we won’t find a fallacy but because the fallacy won’t matter.
— Erik Hane, 2018/03/30
so two things, one is that the rapid acceptance of gay and now trans ppl makes a lot of sense once you realize there's less of an economic component to those aspects of oppression
yea, as Serious and Non Conspiratorial lefties there's always an instinct to default to unintentional aspects of oppression which is literally denial for the sake of credibility
— Xwier, 2018/03/18, discussing Dolores Vek
[T]hat's what liberalism is, really: the absorption of the immediacy of a political sense into the studied, slow time of useless intellection, the conflation of taking-time and having-a-(truer-)thought.
Chris Taylor on Ideas Whose Time Has (Belatedly) Come: Or, Political Science
[P]olitically useless but personally uplifting
Jacob Silverman discussing pop-culture and politics
There is a large contingent of radical empiricists in machine learning who assume "big data + automation = truth", especially on HN, and this is a message they need to hear more of.
People have been advocating radical empiricism in some increasingly uncomfortable contexts recently, and I hope it's just that it's the only thing they were taught and the only way they know how to think about their craft. The alternative is that an increasing number of people really do want machines to triumph over human judgment and morality.
rspeer
The inescapable desire for vengeance highlights the need for a prison system that avoids its logic.
— DB on the tension surrounding Larry Nassar's indictment.
a dedicated and enthusiastic runner who always finds themselves already at the finish line
— DB on rationalists of many varieties
I can't deal with the idea that the tools of the revolution need to be readily purchasable at fuckin walmart
— DB on gun control
Economics is just astrology for white dudes
— tsarlights
[Node.js] had some unfortunate properties like encouraging highly nested callbacks. Now, some apologists at the time would have said that this is the programmer's fault for using it in this way, a timeless argument that is always wrong. My own view is that the behavior you see a tool being used for is the behavior the tool encourages.
— Gary Bernhardt, The Birth and Death of JavaScript, ~4:00
Neoliberalism is not particularly hard to define. It’s not only an ideology or a set of principles; it’s a system of practices, and an era, the one we’re living in now. What it means, over and above everything, is untrammeled ruling-class power, an end to the class-collaborationism of the post-war years and a vicious assault of the rich against the poor. This is achieved through market mechanisms, fiscal austerity and the penetration of capitalist relations into every possible facet of human life. It doesn’t mean that the role of the state vanishes—an essential precondition for neoliberalism is the destruction of working-class power and collective bargaining, and this has to be achieved, often brutally, through laws and their enforcement. There isn't just "some role for market forces" either, but their invasion into every fathomable social situation.
 
Warehouse workers are electronically monitored and made to compete against each other in efficiency rankings? This is neoliberalism. The young and unemployed are encouraged to build a "personal brand" and sell themselves as a product? This is neoliberalism. If you don’t like any of this, you’re encouraged to shop ethically, reduce your personal carbon footprint and consume vaguely antagonistic culture-commodities. This is neoliberalism.
— disgraced Sam Kriss
Generally readers don't notice the presence of familiar value judgments in stories, but do notice (and object to) unfamiliar ones as "Political" ... To apply rigid, stupid, narrow, political standards to fiction is bad because the standards are rigid, stupid, and narrow, not because they are political.
Joanna Russ, 1979
I am utterly disgusted. [...] I strongly feel that this is an insult to life itself.
Hayao Miyazaki, on a technology presentation by DWANGO
The unwritten story of the Juicero debacle is that high income inequality causes capital to be misallocated towards luxury production.
— Matt Bruenig, on a deleted Tweet
The point isn't whether or not free speech should exist, the point is that inasmuch as it does exist, it's invoked selectively and politically. And saying that well it ought to have been invoked consistently, and ignoring the material reality of how it is invoked, ends up being tantamount to accepting the existing power structures of the society (or at least to the degree to which they rely on this). And therefore, terminating the discussion once someone has brought up free-speech concerns seems dubious.
DB discussing free speech
He was first a Marxist, then a neocon, then an atheist missionary of some sort. Now he's dead - and that's the first position of his that I find fully convincing
huyvanbin on Christopher Hitchens
The reason Orwell's essay makes some people angry is that it depicts violations of stylistic rules as moral violations. Use the passive, it says, and you are playing into the hands of the totalitarians. I think that's also why some people like it; people can feel like they're defending the cause of freedom by writing concisely.
 
I tend to side with the former camp. I think people pick up on cant pretty well without his help, except when it's telling them something they already want to believe. And in the latter case his help is no use.
Mark F.
I think there is something to be said to the effect that laziness is actually where we can find a lot of insight - as it's when we're lazy, when we cannot be bothered, or at least where we think it is not essential to focus our attention for the sake of the work at least, that we tend to defer to the implicit shared attitudes or beliefs about the world to do the lifting for us.
DB on Mad Max: Fury Road
The media and the government collude to conceal important truths from the public, in the same sense that Coke and Pepsi collude to reduce consumption of tap water; which is to say, not at all, yet extremely effectively.
lukifer on US Media Blacks Out Snowden Interview
The substantial conflict of the world isn't the clashing ideologies and geopolitical interests of major states, but the steady repression of the most marginalized by the most privileged and powerful.
— DB discussing the dominance of "russian hacking" as a news item