As a cultural cherry on the top of the #gamergate cake, Matt Taylor’s confession is hard to beat. Convicted merely of being a clueless dude, who just happened to have helped land a fricking spacecraft on a comet, his tears strike me as another sad product of our over-polarized, over-politicized culture.
This weekend, as I was drinking some great coffee in L.A., I was re-reading Alan Watts on my Kindle. In The Way Of Zen, one of his greats, he wrote the following:
It was a basic Confucian principle that ‘it is man who makes truth great, not truth which makes man great.’ For this reason, ‘humanness’ or ‘human-heartedness’ was always felt to be superior to ‘righteousness’, since man himself is greater than any idea he may invent. There are times when men’s passions are much more trustworthy than their principles. Since opposed principles, or ideologies, are irreconcilable, wars fought over principle will be wars of mutual annihilation. But wars fought for simple greed will be far less destructive, because the aggressor will be careful not to destroy what he is fighting to capture.
Reasonable – that is, human – men will always be capable of compromise, but men who have dehumanized themselves by becoming the blind worshipers of an idea or an ideal are fanatics whose devotion to abstractions makes them the enemies of life.
Our culture is full to the brim of these righteous ideologues right now. Why are we shocked that so much cruelty and fanaticism reign?
Some gems from the weekend: the eighteenth century version of Fox News; the fashionista who made Thatcher punk; the vulnerability of post-Jäger “shot-faces”; the key themes of a sext life; Christopher Nolan’s religiosity in Interstellar; and the natural landscapes of religion.
We had a big boost in subscriptions late last week, thanks to a reminder email we sent out to lapsed subscribers whose credit cards, by and large, had expired. You can join the recently renewed here – and get access to all the readons and Deep Dish – for a little as $1.99 month. A new subscriber writes:
Hi Andrew, saw you on Bill Maher Friday night and, as usual, I found myself agreeing with about 99% of what you said. (Don’t ask me what the other 1% is, I don’t know …). I’ve been reading your stuff for at least 15 years, and I find The Dish to be one of the best reads around. Even when I don’t agree with what you are saying, I find that how you say it is rational, well thought out, and almost persuasive. On Maher’s show, the one thing I strongly agreed with was … why does the U.S. have to go over and fight ISIS, especially after the failures we’ve experienced there? Let them fight it out.
I’m partly disabled, living on SS Disability and a small pension from Disney, but the $20 bucks I just spent is worth much more than that. Keep up the good work, and get back on Maher!
“Almost persuasive!” We have a new slogan.
See you in the morning.