CSotD: Backing away

A lot of things have changed in the past day or two, and I’m covering myself by starting with this handy flowchart from Joy of Tech, because Sam Altman was fired as head of Open AI and then hired by Microsoft and then a bunch of people at Open AI threatened to quit and then there were rumors that he was coming back and so here’s the explanation.

Or as good a one as you’re likely to get. You sure won’t hear me try.

My best move in the past 48 hours was to hold off on commenting about the apparent ceasefire in Gaza and the rumored release of hostages. I said I wanted to see how it shook out and the Washington Post apparently wishes they’d done the same, because it turned out to be a lot less certain than their early reports suggested.

It’s not entirely wrong, it’s just not a done deal. And there’s many a slip ‘twixt cup and lip.

Which means it’s okay to keep the pressure on Bibi, as Kirk Anderson does here.

And as Peter Schrank does with this grim piece.

They’re hardball cartoons, but it’s a hardball situation. It reminds me of the riddle we discussed here a few days ago, of the two guards, one of whom always tells the truth and one of whom always lies.

The riddle is fantasy. Nobody always tells the truth, nobody always lies, but much of the divisions over this conflict come from people who sincerely believe that Hamas and the IDF are like those two guards.

We just can’t agree on which one is which.

There does seem to be a growing world agreement that bombing an area with a substantial civilian presence is not the best way to root out militants or terrorists or whatever you want to call them, but Jeff Danziger (Counterpoint) echoes both Anderson and Schrank in hanging responsibility on Netanyahu.

Beats me. I don’t think the IDF consistently tells the truth, and I don’t trust the guided tours they have allowed the press to take. That doesn’t mean I think Hamas consistently tells the truth either, but I’d like to hear from the journalists who have made it into Gaza, and we’re now up to 50 dead among them.

And I don’t think the doctors in the hospitals or the members of Doctors Without Borders are lying, while finding weapons in Al Shifa hospital reminds me of finding aluminum tubes in Iraq.

Now the two sides are arguing whether an assault on a second hospital involved artillery shelling or was confined to exchanges of small-arms fire.

It’s hard to see anyone coming out of this with perfectly clean hands, including those of us who sit and watch and wish it weren’t happening.

Juxtaposition of the Day

Fiona Katauskas

Mike Lester — AMS

The other thing I have to back down on was that Thanksgiving looked awfully spring-like, because it’s suddenly 15 degrees out and that’s Fahrenheit. It’ll warm up some when the Sun rises, but this looks like a mighty cold time after all.

A few years ago, every snowstorm brought cartoons mocking climate change, but most people are more sophisticated these days and recognize that “global warming” is about overall climate, not daily weather.

Most people, I said. Australian cartoonists seem convinced of the reality, but Katauskas bemoans the lack of response experts there get from anyone in a position to make real changes. It’s hard from this distance to gauge the reaction of the overall public, but the government seems dedicated to fossil fuels and, specifically, to coal development.

It’s as if they don’t deny the science, but either feel that there’s still plenty of time or, perhaps, that it’s futile.

Lester, by contrast, denies reality, using a bit of false historical mythology to assert that, in the days of Eratosthenes, most experts thought that the world was flat. It’s not true. Most natural philosophers, as scientists were then called, realized that the world was round but couldn’t prove it. He did.

And others subsequently did. The legend that anyone with any sense at all thought Columbus was going to sail off the edge of the Earth is foolish. They just thought he and his crew would starve or die of thirst, because they assumed the ocean stretched uninterrupted between Europe and Asia.

There were ignorant people who thought the world was flat. There still are.

And there are ignorant people who think climate change is a myth.

Dave Granlund points out that we’re coming up on the 60th anniversary of the murder of JFK, and there are foolish people who believe that didn’t happen, that he was spirited away to a Mediterranean Island by Aristotle Onassis, who then pretended to marry Jackie so she could tend her vegetative spouse.

Which is only the most ridiculous thing people believe about that day.

And, by the way, the Elongated Muskrat just agreed with someone who was repeating the Q-Anon Pizzagate nonsense.

In case you had hoped that at least the really, really stupid stuff was going to go away.

There is nothing so completely stupid that someone will not agree with it. Just go down to the gas station and ask Elvis.

Clay Jones points out that people believe what they want to believe, whether it makes sense or not. It’s one thing, I suppose, to “take Trump seriously but not literally,” and quite another to believe that Joe Biden is slipping a cog while Trump is sharp as a tack.

Unless you truly need to believe it.

It doesn’t help that we have purposefully, deliberately taught nonsense in our schools. Paul Fell points out the central lie about the Pilgrims and Puritans, that they came here for religious freedom.

They came, as the Indian says, to escape persecution, but not to establish freedom here.

It’s not entirely fair to blame our schools for the widespread disinformation, because they have always taught about how Roger Williams left to start a truly free society in Rhode Island, and perhaps less often about how Anne Hutchinson did much the same.

But it certainly didn’t sink in.

Oh dear.

Well, we’ll get back to that later. Christmas doesn’t start until Santa’s sleigh pulls into Hudson’s or Macy’s or some place, right?

3 thoughts on “CSotD: Backing away

  1. Nice reminder that Christmas actually used to be outlawed as “an offense to God”

    Religion is weird

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