Category Archives: The Zeitgeist

Will Microsoft’s New CEO Kill Surface?

Aesthetics, Business, Internet, Technology, The Zeitgeist

Forbes’s Gene Marks contends that Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s New CEO—whom Marks thinks is way cool because, wait for this, Nadella is a “decade younger than his predecessor and looks young for his age”—has effectively killed the Microsoft Surface.

Let me unpack Marks’ “logic”:

Even though The Surface is “a powerful little laptop, lightweight with a Windows 8 touchscreen and a long battery life”; and though this product is “both tablet and laptop and integrates tightly with other Microsoft applications”—Cool-Because-He’s-Young Nadella is to be hailed as brilliant too for sabotaging the future of a magnificent product. It is alleged that Nadella wishes to end Microsoft’s foray into hardware (Surface), and take the company back to the business of software.

“A Windows First policy,” argues Marks, “was the reason behind products like the Surface.”

If, as I understood this terribly hip article, The Surface is more than the software it runs—why reduce the best Tablet in the business to its bits? What about the “Big Idea”?

Not being a techie, I have no idea if Forbes’s Gene Marks is being plain silly, or if silly is the new norm in the media’s tech coverage. I suspect the two are not mutually exclusive. (“A silly society is a youth-obsessed society.” Youth-obsessed U.S is silly.)

In its hipness, the Forbes article reminds me of that grating, pretentious Cisco ad, in which a female with a deceptively soft voice waffles about the Internet of All Things (WTF?!).

But I guess I’m still from the Book Age. Behold a throwback: a wall-to-wall library, or half of it, as I could not get the entire thing in the frame. Sean made this solid maple thing to my mid-century American, Heywood-Wakefield design specs (more):

Bookcase I

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Jimmy Fallon’s Tomfoolery

America, Celebrity, Pop-Culture, The Zeitgeist

I don’t follow the late-night show intrigue that grips this deeply silly country of ours. I used to enjoy the ousted Jay Leno’s jokes. He seemed good at political satire. But the tomfoolery that has replaced the Leno schtick is something to behold. What does the popularity of this dancing, prancing, giggling metrosexul clown, Jimmy Fallon, say about the stuff that entertains America?

Other than Jerry Seinfeld’s brilliant riff on the child-obsessed grownups of his generation—what unfolded was the equivalent of a whiteface minstrel show, if there is such a thing.

“Jerry Seinfeld Analyzes Modern-Day Parenting,” 4:12 minutes into the exchange:

I am not, you know, a great believer in our style of parenting. … Anybody that has kids now, I just think we’re too into it.
When we were kids, our parents didn’t give a damn about us. They didn’t even know our names.
The bedtime routine for my kids is like this Royal Coronation Jubilee Centennial of rinsing and plaque and dental appliances and the stuffed animal semi-circle of emotional support. And I’ve gotta read eight different moron books. You know what my bedtime story was when I was a kid? Darkness!

Fallon giggles non-stop like a star-struck girl.

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UPDATE II: Go Seahawks! (What Are We Doing? Winning!)

America, Drug War, History, Nationhood, Sport, The Zeitgeist

Go Seahawks! Go Richard Sherman; do whatever it is that a cornerback does. Remember: “Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning throws ‘ducks.’”

I probably botched that one up. What I know about American football is dangerous, other than that it originated in the game of rugby (Go Springboks).

I grew up mostly with basketball and real football—the kind Pelé played with no dog muzzle and some real hot footwork. Nevertheless, I am rooting for my home team, the Seattle Seahawks.

Why? It occurred to me that the football fetish in the US has arisen in the context of a country whose inhabitants share very little other than The Game. The host country’s history and founding documents have been turned into a liability by its educrats. The language has been dumbed down and demoted as the number of non-English-speakers clamoring for official recognition for their respective tongues rises. And the faith that once united those who fought to establish the republic has been banished from the public square and confined to the shopping mall, where adherents shop for God.

I love The Evergreen State. However, bar a few of them, I do not love its inhabitants. I share almost nothing with the pinko statists, except for the Seattle Seahawks, my adopted team.

So go Seahawks!

UPDATE I: (2/1): How could I have forgotten the other vital thing I share with residents of the Evergreen State? My bad. Drug legalization. Stop the drug war. “VICES ARE NOT CRIMES.”

UPDATE II: Anthem sung by a real singer, Renée Fleming, not by the likes of the wailing Beyonce and her booty. Gorgeous. Some real cuties on the respective teams.

We’re winning. Sharon Smith Fox is keeping score on Facebook. She writes, “Yes! and we just scored another touch town! Ilana. The score now is 29 to 0 (our favor) Go Hawks!!”

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The Making Of A Stupid Society

America, Family, Intelligence, The Zeitgeist

A youth-obsessed society is, invariably, a stupid society.

Via Jonah Goldberg: “‘In America,’ Oscar Wilde quipped, ‘the young are always ready to give to those who are older than themselves the full benefits of their inexperience.’”

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UPDATE III: The New Wholesome In America (Duck Dynasty & Religiosity)

Christianity, libertarianism, Morality, Paleolibertarianism, Pop-Culture, Relatives, Religion, The Zeitgeist

So the off-putting stars of the reality show Duck Dynasty are the new wholesome in America? Apparently so. Anything these vulgar, immensely popular people say or do is deemed worthy of contemplating and commenting on.

I watched 10 torturous minutes of Duck Dynasty. The participants were unsharpened pencils all–dull, not particularly witty and rather crude.

For example, his abhorrence of homosexuality, the ostensibly devout and educated (because a college graduate) Phil Robertson phrased thus:

‘It seems like, to me, a vagina – as a man – would be more desirable than a man’s anus.
‘That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying?

Yeah. both profound and refined. Yet 12 million Americans watch hours packed with dumb Duck-Dynasty vignettes.

These personalities are associated with religiosity in America! This is what being devout looks like in the USA??

From what I could see in ten minutes—which was way too much—the phoniest, most contrived character of all is Si Robertson. This lewd old man is of course a … preacher too. Lovely.

As for the Ducksters’ occupation. I’ll leave you with this from Proverbs 12:10:

Whoever is righteous has regard for the life of his beast, but the mercy of the wicked is cruel.


Of course I love capitalism. Once again, the reader makes the error of the “lite-libertarian” reductionism. If someone is a capitalist (good) and makes money off his fellow Americans’ uncouth stupidity (good) and voyeurism, lite libertarains think that one cannot criticize aspects of this production. Duck detritus should make money however they wish to, but do I have to like their product b/c they make money? You gotta be kidding. It’s crap.

UPDATE II: As for the claim, on Facebook, that Duck Detritus represents the best of America. I have nothing against this lot. They are, however, part of a debased culture. Duck Dynasty is the right-wing answer to Kim Kardashian—whose deformed figure, elephant man upside down—you can ogle here:

Southerners, to paraphrase H.L. Mencken, were drained of their best blood by the War of Northern Aggression. Although vestiges of good breeding, charm and civility remain in many a Southern man, the uncouth Duck hunters are not it.


I think you’re missing an important point, Ilana. They were selected for the show because they are how you describe them. Duck Dynasty was meant to be a redneck minstrel show. They were supposed to be objects of ridicule for cosmopolitan America. They are what blue state America imagines religiosity to be.

REPLY: Judging from my encounters with Christian America, with few exceptions, it is no longer doctrinaire or demanding. Christianity in the US is exactly what Duck Dynasty professES. This mishmash of pop-religion that is practiced in American churches is an extension of the therapeutic culture: big on feelings, mostly misdirected, light on Godly theology or knowledge of scriptures.

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WASPocracy Replaced By An Idiocracy

America, Christianity, Education, Etiquette, History, The Zeitgeist

Now that America’s “unofficial but nonetheless genuine ruling class” has been destroyed, Joseph Epstein reminisces longingly about the lost and great benefits to society of this untitled aristocracy’s sense of noblesse oblige.

Epstein, however, wrongly suggests America’s “WASP establishment” has been replaced with a “meritocracy—presumably an aristocracy of sheer intelligence, men and women trained in the nation’s most prestigious schools.”

The WASPocracy was replaced by an Idiocracy.

The prevailing wisdom until now has been that the WASPs (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant) “stood for all that was uptight and generally repressive in American culture.” But those who could not wait for their demise are suddenly bewailing it:

… the WASP elite had dignity and an impressive sense of social responsibility. In a 1990 book called “The Way of the Wasp,” Richard Brookhiser held that the chief WASP qualities were “success depending on industry; use giving industry its task; civic-mindedness placing obligations on success, and antisensuality setting limits to the enjoyment of it; conscience watching over everything.”
Under WASP hegemony, corruption, scandal and incompetence in high places weren’t, as now, regular features of public life. Under WASP rule, stability, solidity, gravity and a certain weight and aura of seriousness suffused public life. As a ruling class, today’s new meritocracy has failed to provide the positive qualities that older generations of WASPs provided.

I like this. I’ve always said that IQ is in the math-intense fields of inquiry and study:

Apart from mathematics, which demands a high IQ, and science, which requires a distinct aptitude, the only thing that normal undergraduate schooling prepares a person for is… more schooling. Having been a good student, in other words, means nothing more than that one was good at school: One had the discipline to do as one was told, learned the skill of quick response to oral and written questions, figured out what professors wanted and gave it to them.


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