Sunday, January 29, 2017


I see people posting (still, somehow) that both sides in politics do it, and give Trump a chance, and Clinton would've had her problems, too.

"Both sides do it" is insidious and attractive as a theory. It lets you appear to be aware of the flaws of the Democrats and Republicans both. It lets you seem fair minded and judicious. It gives an illusion of thoughtfulness. I say an illusion, because it's actually thoughtless and stupid, entirely so. It's the political equivalent of a 19 year old reading On The Road for the first time and having a really deep conversation with a friend while they're both high.

Both sides do it is often true enough. Both sides have lobbyists who court them. Both sides have politically questionable issues they support for no reason but to fire up their base. Both sides cozy up to foreign governments of their particular choice. So yes, both sides do it. But they don't do it equally; when you say "both sides do it" you're trying to make it seem as if they're the same, and they aren't. When people said Clinton was as bad as Trump, and there was no difference (the evidence is now clear that there were massive differences) they were full of shit, and stupid to boot.

It's like saying of the Amazon and the Atacama that they both get rain. That's true enough, but the Amazon is a rainforest, and the Atacama a desert. It's like saying Mt. Everest and Mt. Washington are both mountains, an evident fact that still obscures the obvious truth that Everest is 5 times higher than Mt. Washington. It's like having a protein bar for lunch and a seven course dinner a that evening and calling them both meals.

Whatever "it" is, it's very likely that both sides (all sides) do "it" because "it" will be something the speaker finds bad about politics, and all people in politics pretty much have to do "bad" things. It's not true that they do them equally though. It's not true that you can assign equal weight to a minor slight and a massive issue.

The next time someone tells you "both sides do it" you should just ask them what they mean, and after they provide their bullshit reasoning, call them the idiot they deserve to be called.

What am I reading? The Oregon Trail by Rinker Buck. History and Travel Writing rolled into one, it's pretty great. Took a bit to accept it wasn't just a history, but after I got over that, it was great. The Dark Forest turned out to be really clunky yet still compelling.

How's the brain chemistry? Seems to be improving steadily. I'm pretty happy about that.

What do you think about the Oscars? That La La Land is going to win a bunch of stuff that it doesn't merit because it's a movie about Hollywood and actors and dreamers and that kind of shit will go over well with the voters. It's not that great. I don't have a good counter-choice though, because I haven't seen hardly anything this year. Going to see Fences today, so that's one more, at least.

Writing? Not really. Busy, busy week. Bullshit excuse, I realize, but there it is. I'm going to try for some words tonight and tomorrow.

Anything else? There's a great board game called Tokaido that is lovely to look at and pretty easy to learn and pretty hard to figure out strategy for. It's intriguing. I'm not sure if it's good yet. Played that a couple of times, want to play it a couple more.

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