Friday, December 18, 2015

Friday videos: no, really, America, What Time Is Love?

Here's a documentary about how the Justified Ancients of Mu-Mu founded the nation of America, in a Viking boat, led by the singer from Deep Purple and two guys in trashcan helmets not pretending very well to play guitar because why bother:

Why the hell isn't anyone doing anything as joyously, absurdly nuts as this anymore? I wanna time-travel back to 1989 and start a KLF rip-off trance act now.

Thursday, December 17, 2015


Yeah, been busy studying for polisci.

But just to show the goldbugs I haven't forgotten about them, here's Postmodern Jukebox with Haley Reinhart and Puddles the sad clown, doing "Mad World":

An ignominous day: the end of Permashave Dave

Just to remind you, it's really been a whole year since Pharmasave Dave quit his blog.

We never found out how he fared on the Casey Cruise.

Maybe he was dumped overboard. Who knows? In whose rational self-interest would that have been? Hasn't Rick Rule been acting a little suspiciously all year?

Yeah no actually now he writes about speakers and stuff.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Noah Smith on academic BS

Well, I got my micro exam done. I pretty much sucked for the last month of stuff, but since I had a 95 going into the exam I'm not too concerned. I'd need to get more than 23/90 wrong to get less than an A. I doubt I sucked that bad.

Today is my macro exam, so I'm basically stuck trying to cram Mundell-Fleming and the Phillips curve for the next few hours. But why not a bit of news first?

Noah Smith - academic BS as barrier to entry. He wonders if the newspeak of critical theory serves as a barrier to entry. The idea is that since the US turns out an insanely high number of Ph.D.s who have no job prospects except to compete for university teaching positions, something must be used to select out most of that crowd, and critspeak does the job.

As far as pomo is concerned, btw, I was at university during the grand old days of Andrea Dworkin and Helene Cixous. I can quote verbatim a hilarious passage from Lyotard, even today:

It is once more around the anus that the revolution of the disjunctive bar will grow furious to the point that the president's arse will glow like the sun.

Yes, that was 80s postmodern scholarship! And this is from the same guy who formulated the most intelligible and succinct definition of postmodernism, "an incredulity toward metanarratives".

I'm back at uni doing a second degree now, and it really does look to me like much of the silly French academy excesses of the old pomo have been stripped away, and nowadays you can do pomo without sounding like a fruit.

"Post-modernism" is really just a rejection of the modernist way of thinking (yes, I can explain what I mean, and yes in a way that would make sense to you). The silly blather associated with the 80s-90s era writing wasn't specifically pomo: it was specifically bourgeois French academy bullshit. Heck, 100 years ago Emile Durkheim fled the French education system for Germany because he actually wanted to study sociology and not just spend a career trying to sound clever. The French academy has always had a reputation for vacuous bourgeois bullshit. Pomo is just yet another field that they corrupted.

I'd agree strongly that obscurant critspeak is just a way of trying to sound clever without having any real ideas. This was what the Sokal affair threw into the spotlight 20 years ago. So maybe it's not so much a selection mechanism as it is a coping strategy?

I bet all the pomo profs who were given tenure 25 years ago because every faculty needed a token pomo (though, and because, nobody could understand a bloody word they were saying) are probably on selection committees now, and so they want to take on new faculty who make them look less stupid and useless.

But here's an idea: pomo, without the bullshit, is actually immeasurably important to understand if you're in the humanities or social sciences (except in economics where you're still stuck in the modernist, rationalist, non-self-reflective fucking mid-19th century). Social constructionism is important, post-structuralism is important, seeing the author behind the narrative is important, paying attention to power structures is important. Fuck, all this stuff was invented by Nietzsche in the 1880s, and for damn good reason.

So maybe understanding of pomo is necessary to be a professor: but since most Ph.D.s are coddled bourgeois children who've never had to work for a living in the real world - and are thus stuck at an adolescent level of development with a few severe psychiatric disorders on the side - they just can't understand how to do pomo sensibly, and so they instead try to ape the writing of the 80s French pomo brigade, and thus they end up sounding like bullshit.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Ford Motor Co.


Yes yes, let's puke a stock that yields 5% and has worldwide market exposure.

A rational reason to puke this would be a fear that the US economy is about to collapse, a recession is nigh, and thus sell anything that manufactures durables.

A rational reason to believe a recession is nigh is not a belief that Janet wants to destroy America, or that she's incompetent, or that some high-yield fund invested exclusively in CCCs is going under.

A rational reason to believe a recession is nigh would be decelerating M1 and M2, a collapse in home purchase applications, a collapse in hiring, dwindling tax withholding, unserviceable consumer debt, or those other sorts of things that we're not seeing at all.

I think I should put in a stink bid for $11. Hey, someone made money last time, didn't they?

Let the panty-piddling begin!


25.5 already this morning, with 2 days to go yet til Janet Yellen destroys America in the name of socialist Islamism. Or whatever.

The $VIX monthly futures curve has flattened out in a matter of days too. It'll be interesting to see how this ends up.