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Stubs of ideas, some of which may turn into future posts:

(1a) A punk votes for a punk (Johnny Rotten says nice things about Trump). Okay, he's not necessarily saying that he did vote for Trump, though from what he said it's a good assumption he did; but anyway, my armchair psychosocial analysis of the Trump win already had been "Punks voted for a punk," my using the word punks in a sorta pre-punk-rock sense, meaning people who compensate for subconsciously feeling weak by scapegoating and bullying and hurting the vulnerable; but such "punks" can include normally nice people too, people who let the punk aspect of themselves do their electoral thinking.

(1b) Only "sorta pre-punk-rock" given that original garage-rock punks such as ? And The Mysterians and the Syndicate Of Sound and the Seeds were indeed punks in the old sense, weak bully-type punks (and sexists as well),† but most of the great punk rockers — I'd start "punk rock" w/ Stones and Dylan, actually, with the caveat that the true punks, the garage rockers, weren't Stones and Dylan but the garage kids who'd dumbed Stones, Dylan, and Yardbirds down into punk, which'd be a fine explanation except that no one limits "punk rock" this way; most critics etc. would also include the Velvet Underground and MC5 and Stooges and Patti Smith and Richard Hell and Rocket From The Tombs and even more would include Ramones and Sex Pistols and the Clash and the Heartbreakers and X-Ray Spex and Black Flag and Nirvana and Hole, generally self-aware nonbully types, and if you're going to do this you've got to go back and count Dylan and the Stones — ...anyway, most of the great punk rockers (as generally defined) were about punk way more than they were punk; nonetheless, being self-aware, they drew the connection between actual inner true punk impulses and the punk rock they were playing, understanding their own weakness and that bullying and scapegoating were in there lurking, sitting dangerously inside. But anyway, of all the great punk rockers, the Sex Pistols, who were maybe the greatest ("They make everyone else sound sick by comparison," said my friend Bill Routt), were the ones who were true nasty punks as much as they were about punk. They were the band that made punk safe for fag-bashers (fortunately only somewhat safe).* None of which explains why Johnny Rotten would shit his brains down the toilet and support Trump (apparently, Johnny can't tell a racist from a hole in the ground). If you want to turn to social affinity and group identification as an explanation, Johnny's loyalty is to real punks, not to punk rock. (Yes, there's no way to come up with a unitary reading of the word "punk" in this paragraph. It'd be a stupider paragraph if you could.) I doubt that many self-identified "punks" — those who embrace the music as part of their social identity — voted for Trump. These people veer left instead. If you go by social category, Trump got many of the rocks and hoods and greasers and grits and burnouts — at least, more than he should have — but few of the punks. (Among whites he got a significant amount of the jocks and middle managers, too, and their psyches are probably as much punk as the hoods' are, but that's not relevant to Johnny Rotten's social identification.) I doubt that many Trump voters had ever bothered to listen to punk rock (not counting the garage hits they heard way back); if they had, the aboutness would've stung them, and they'd have been repelled. Nonetheless, I think I can understand that what makes the Sex Pistols sound true and real to me, the screaming squalling blind attempt to stand against anything acceptable and settled that can get you by, is what makes a lying hollow pathological bully like Trump sound transgressive and therefore real and true and honest and substantial to a lot of his fans.

(1c) Of course Trump doesn't win if he gets only the punks. And my armchair analysis isn't based on any actual research of mine into "the Trump voter." As I said two sentences ago, there's more than one type of Trump voter, and individual voters are multi-faceted in their urges and ideas anyway (so a particular Trump voter can be more than one type). I'm actually doing two questionable things: (i) reading the characteristics of the voter off of the characteristics of what they voted for, rather than actually asking the voters who they are and why they like what they like; (ii) using a psychological model that can apply to an individual person to explain the behavior of a group of people (the punk types who voted for that punk Trump), as if the group were an individual writ large. Obviously I think the analysis kinda sorta works, or I wouldn't have made it. It's a strong hypothesis, punks voted for a punk, strong in my mind anyway, though maybe someone more knowledgeable could beat it down with an alternative. ("Strong" analysis? Seriously? How so? It tells you what most of you already know: (1) that I don't like Trump, (2) that I think many of his voters voted for a lot of what I don't like about him, even if they don't understand the policy implications, and (3) that he's a punk. You already knew that. He's a punk. It's maybe a correct analysis, but not strong, since it doesn't tell you anything you don't already know. Maybe it makes you think harder about punk rock, and what I write below maybe'll help you think harder about social class.)

(1di) Trump got more working-class whites than he was expected to )

(1dii) The terms hoods, greasers, grits, and burnouts as stand-ins for current social identities )

(1diii) The class systems in people's immediate experience are not an exact match for the upper-middle-working class grid )

(1div) They voted against Clinton because she's a student-council type )

(1dv) Kids who bombed out of the classroom still hurt by it )

(1e) Middle class divided )

(1f) Want to hurt people and feel good about hurting them )

(2) The failure of education )

(3a) Duncan Watts criticizes idea of 'representative agent' )

(3b) How would we measure 'punks voted for a punk'? )

(4) The principle of the inferred et cetera )

(5) Top 100 singles of 2016 )

(6) A punk votes for a brat )

(7) Etc. )
koganbot: (Default)
My understanding — or, more accurately, since I don't actually understand the subject or know what I'm talking about, my understanding of Paul Krugman's and Paul De Grauwe's et al.'s understanding, since those are the people I'm choosing to believe, even when I don't understand them — is that the most dangerous problem right now isn't Greece, and isn't banks' exposure to Grecian debt (though this is dangerous), but Italy. Or, not really Italy itself, since its economy isn't actually doing so poorly compared to similar countries, but the perception that its debt will become unsustainable because people will refuse to continue sustaining the debt. (Repeat for emphasis: the debt will become unsustainable because creditors will refuse to sustain it.) In other words, we'll have the equivalent of a bank run, but on a country rather than a bank, the run being in the form of investors selling off their Italian bonds. As with a bank run, the bank doesn't have to have any fundamental problems, and investors don't have to believe that the bank does have fundamental problems, all they have to believe is that other investors are about to start withdrawing their funds (in this instance, selling bonds). So the first investor will sell his or her bonds so as not to get caught broke if other people sell theirs first. And the run is on. And Italy, which right now is able to pay its interest, will then have enormous interest to pay.

There's a sure-fire way to prevent the run from happening: the European Central Bank declares that it will unconditionally back Italian bonds by offering to buy them if the interest rates get out of hand. (Interest rates on bonds go up when investors sell, right? As I said, this is not my subject.) And the ECB can do so because in effect it can print its own money or do something equivalent, and in the current situation, owing to principles of quantum mechanics some detailed macroeconomic stuff I won't go into but it concerns the zero lower bound, there's little risk of inflation if it does so. And if the ECB declares its willingness to buy the bonds it most likely won't have to anyway, because investors will lose their fear of a run and their incentive to sell out.

But the European Central Bank won't do this )

Occupy update )
koganbot: (Default)
Stupid thought of the day: the drums are the defensive linemen, the bass is the linebackers, the rest of the instruments are the cornerbacks, nickel backs, safeties, etc. The singer or rapper is the opposing quarterback.

Of course, a lot of modern "electronic" defenses like to disguise their coverages, as in the Japanese version of After School's "Bang!"
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At the very end of my Why Music Sucks broadside of February 1987 I wrote a paragraph that in retrospect might seem supernaturally prophetic. Whereas now, such a paragraph, with a few of the words changed, would be the common, received wisdom. However, despite almost every sentence of it being right, I think it's fundamentally wrong. But see for yourself:

People will cluster into cultural 'regions' based not on physical proximity but on mutual attitudes, tastes, hobbies, beliefs, etc. )

[This paragraph was something of an elaboration on a more interesting passage I'd written the previous year for an aborted book on punk rock: "It is a social achievement that parents can't understand their kids' slang or that one child will become a punk and another a Mormon and a third will go into interior design (and discos and cocaine) and none will have much to say to the others. Each incomprehensibility is a kind of vengeance."]
koganbot: (Default)
International Herald Tribune, July 17, 2008:

"Do not be confounded by those who see you as just another consumer in a market of undifferentiated possibilities, where choice itself becomes the good, novelty usurps beauty, and subjective experience displaces truth," he said.

He also declared faith's central position in the moral universe, attacking the idea that there are no absolute truths.

"Relativism, by indiscriminately giving value to practically everything, has made 'experience' all-important," he said. "Yet experiences, detached from any consideration of what is good or true, can lead not to genuine freedom but to moral or intellectual confusion, to a lowering of standards, to a loss of self-respect."

The thing is, the "ism" that Benedict is decrying, "indiscriminately giving value to practically everything," doesn't exist. No one does that, and no one holds the position. Even people who say they hold it don't hold it.

This is a position that no one can hold who thinks about it for 20 seconds )


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