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Preview: Comments on: The Musical Talmud, Think/Counter-Think Edition: “Party in the USA”

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Overthinking It subjects the popular culture to a level of scrutiny it probably doesn't deserve.



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Comment on Episode 490: Urban Surfer Hipster Bro Dragon Ball Z Longhair Fusion Dance by Joseph

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 15:50:03 +0000

This wasn't a particularly good Justice League movie, but considering the scene where King Zora agrees to join the team after Ganondorf invades the Water Temple and steals their piece of the Triforce, this was accidentally a pretty decent Legend of Zelda movie.



Comment on Episode 490: Urban Surfer Hipster Bro Dragon Ball Z Longhair Fusion Dance by Jay

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 06:17:20 +0000

I think Guardians of the Galaxy has a scene where a character ( Star Lord) makes a case for saving the world. Rocket asks "What has the galaxy ever done for you? Why would you wanna save it?" And he replies "Because I'm one of the idiots who lives in it!" Good old self preservation



Comment on Episode 489: 10/10 Would Burn Again by Peter Fenzel

Mon, 20 Nov 2017 20:35:00 +0000

And, by the way, I'm not saying you _have_ to have an orthodoxy and go about punishing heretics to protect the moral cohesion and authority of your group, or even that it's right. But it does give you the power to punish Louis C.K. Interestingly, as we are seeing, the orthodoxy is much more effective at punishing Democrats than Republicans. You can't ostracize someone who isn't of your own number. You have very limited moral authority over someone who doesn't recognize your legitimacy because they don't feel like part of your group, and who has their own power base to protect themselves from your pressure. I guess people could have set up tribunals, but that would have run into other problems.



Comment on Episode 489: 10/10 Would Burn Again by Peter Fenzel

Mon, 20 Nov 2017 20:11:12 +0000

On #3. One would think! But then one reads the bio of a blogger who professes to a bunch of life experiences and political positions not workable in your own life that contribute significantly to their moral authority, and then maybe they stop feeling all that different after all. At the very least, there is a large observable correlation with craft microbrewing. :-)



Comment on Episode 489: 10/10 Would Burn Again by Peter Fenzel

Mon, 20 Nov 2017 19:54:01 +0000

Okay, so, #2. "'Heresy' doesn’t mean anything unless there’s a well-defined orthodoxy, just like 'illegal' doesn’t mean anything unless there’s a well-defined law." The main thrust of what I was trying to say is that I do not agree with this. There are certain sorts of ideas that by their implications for the behavior and structure of groups are going to be opposed to a hypothetical orthodoxy of any sort before it even exists. And by orthodoxy here I am referring to the necessary shared ideas of a broadly extant body politic. An orthodoxy is different from a consensus in that what everybody in the group thinks is not the basis for the shared ideas. But it's similar in that it claims authority over a local maximum of number of people. Orthodox Jews in this framework do not just think they have strict rules - they also think that their way of practicing is supposed to be the way everybody practices - and that it would be good if some definition of "everybody" joined their group and got involved in their body politic to do this. The same with Catholics and Eastern Orthodox Christians - the two main forms of Orthodox Christianity. I know there's a semantic gap here between what I define as "orthodoxy" and what others do. But I think the distinction is useful and necessary for what I'm trying to say. And what I'm talking about in the podcast is building an ideologically driven body politic outside of nation states and their laws to set behavioral norms by punishing powerful men, which is a project currently in full swing. The main extralegal punishment here is social and economic ostracism. The necessary ideas of that body politic - which you will require everybody in the body politic to ascibe to in word and deed - are its orthodoxy. "Believe women." "Men don't talk, listen." "No #notallmen." If you do not have a shared set of ideas of this sort, you will not be able to exercise collective will in this kind of framework. You will fragment and not have a body politic. So - you want to get together a group of people capable of harnessing the power of a shared idea to be able to ostracize people. Why? Before I even know why, I can start naming ideas that you are going to have to fall outside your orthodoxy - ideas that will necessarily be heresies: - Moral decisions should be private and not discussed with other people. - Every person is their own judge, and no one can tell someone else what is right or wrong. - Every place where 10 people gather is an independent group that can make its own decisions. These cannot just be "rules" because we're talking about a sort of body politic that derives its ability to shape behavior from its ideas. We are outside the rule of law in power discourse - there is no "enforcement" outside of the will of the group. So if somebody were to make a moral argument that it was necessary to carry things out in this way - regardless of the goals or beliefs of your orthodoxy, they would have to be heresies - and opposed and punished in some way - or else your orthodoxy would collapse. This becomes especially apparent when you look at how the emperors, east and west, generally dealt with heresies, as distinct from how bishops dealt with them. The emperors tended to be on the practical side - and oppose heresies that undermined what they saw as their ability to maintain unity and moral force, regardless of whether the emperors were taking theological coherent positions in doing so. Many times the emperors just outright banned religious conversations on sensitive topics and branded whole fields of discussion heretical in themselves, because they saw the disunity of nascent Christian sects as the main problem, much more than they saw their own view of Christianity as correct or important. I was trying to make the case that in particular the Dona[...]



Comment on Episode 489: 10/10 Would Burn Again by Peter Fenzel

Mon, 20 Nov 2017 19:14:30 +0000

So, it was clear even while this recording was going on that I didn't have my thoughts organized well enough to be able to get my points across clearly in the context of the podcast. And it's pretty apparent that I failed to do this. I hope people still enjoyed the podcast regardless. But I'll try to clarify a bit what I am trying to get at. And I'll break these down one at a time. For point #1, regarding workplaces versus public spaces as harassment hot spots - This is a complicated topic, and I still firmly believe that it really matters that this stuff is happening in a workplace, along two axes. But I also recognize that people who have not been personally involved with managerial work in comedy theaters and performance troupes likely has a different sort of perspective on this than I do. First axis of point #1, for example, there are frequently men who expose themselves on my town subway system - you hear about somebody doing it a lot every few years. While this is wrong and illegal, it is not nearly as big a problem in the sense that everybody has to get together to do something about it as it would be if this person were a boss doing it at a big prominent company to employees. Mostly because of the effects it has - sure, a chilling effect on women riding the subway is a problem (and one that exists), but a chilling effect on women entering a whole industry, or on how their careers advance and how they are paid, and even follow-on effects across the whole culture, is a more acute problem. One stopping point along the way is to consider that the rule of law around exposing yourself on the subway has not broken down. The police will still grab you for that. So that contributes to why it's less of a problem, I suppose. The orthodoxy does not have to concern itself with problems that the civil authority can still deal with. Render unto Caesar, etc. But even past that, I believe a man whose behavior of this sort gender-segregates a workplace is more destructive in terms of the evils of sexism than a man doing the same things in public to strangers. People deal with a lot of crap in public that makes them unsafe, and there are a lot of ways to deal with it that seem to work more or less well. But when you're talking about work, you're talking about people's livelihoods. The primary and most meaningful enemies of women in a chauvinistic or misogynistic sense are not strangers - they are men who are close to them, and men who have responsibility or authority over them. So when a man in that situation does it, it is much worse. Second axis of point #1, a bunch of the things Louis C.K. did would _not_ be as bad or illegal outside a workplace or working relationship. And a lot of the things other people did would also _not_ be as bad or illegal outside a workplace or working relationship. Although this is probably more true of other men that it is of Louis C.K. A good example is Ellen Page's story about Brett Ratner outing her as gay in a suggestive way at a cast meet and greet (by suggesting that a woman have sex with her). Outside of a working relationship, what Brett Ratner says would be crude, rude, inappropriate, hostile, etc., but only in a working relationship does it really become an actionable sort of civil rights violation. The trick is that "working relationship" or "workplace" or "employee" or any sort of term like that is widely defined to include a bunch of sorts of places that aren't generally thought of as jobs. But if that just happened to Ellen Page on the street it would be lousy but wouldn't really be remarkable in this way. Street harassment is bad, but it's not nearly as bad or illegal as workplace sexual harassment. Of course here "illegal" applies to civil penalties as well as the criminal system - maybe even more than the criminal system. As in Ellen Page[...]



Comment on Episode 488: Thor: Macklemore by Margo

Mon, 20 Nov 2017 01:17:13 +0000

I just saw the film today. So what is Earth’s immigration policy regarding homeless Asgradians? My guess is that there is time travel involved. Thor and Co settle Norway qa few thousand years ago, the all the Norse mythology.






Comment on What Comics Can Do by Kyle

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 22:56:28 +0000

That's great to hear, I'll have to dig a little deeper.



Comment on Episode 489: 10/10 Would Burn Again by Matthew Wrather

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 21:40:49 +0000

Fortunately there's no authority to tell us whose opinions are correct