Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

 
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

 
The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.


He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

 
Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit.
 

Midnight repost; The utter childishness of modern intellectual discourse

The tenth anniversary retrospective of Behind the Black continues: This essay from January 8, 2018 encapsulates well the cultural collapse of the United States in the past two decades. And though now more than two and a half years old, it is not dated in the least, and remains terribly predictive of our coming dark future..

———————————
The utter childishness of modern intellectual discourse

The world is faced with threats of nuclear and chemical attacks from North Korea. Iran is hit by protests that might escalate into all out civil war. Islamic terrorist attacks have now become almost routine. And in the U.S. there appears to be corruption at the highest levels of the FBI and the Department of Justice, while at the same time the federal government has produced a national debt exceeding $20 trillion, with more debt on the way.

Have any of these significant stories been the primary focus of our American media, from either side of the political spectrum?

An objective look at the culture of today’s press says no. Even as the leftist American mainstream media continues to focus its energies on petty and ineffective attacks of Donald Trump, too many journalists on the right unfortunately appear to be diving right in to join them with their own petty counter-attacks. The result is a press that spends the bulk of its time on irrelevant stories of partisan bickering that have little substance or importance.

In the last week of 2017 we had one particularly acute example of this. First a mainstream liberal news source pushed an absurdly trivial story in a shallow effort to discredit Donald Trump. This was then followed by a frenzied and as-shallow response from the conservative press. I want to showcase both, not merely to illustrate how weak the original story was (which is obvious on its face), but to also point out the childishness of the response.

I must add that everything written in every one of the news sources that I will cite below appears to be 100% accurate. My point here isn’t to highlight examples of error-filled news reporting — which these days mostly comes from left leaning sources overwhelmed by their blind hatred of Trump — but to illustrate reporting from both sides that hardly rises above the level of a five year old, and is thus completely inconsequential.

From CNN: Truck blocks cameras from filming Trump on golf course.

Apparently the day before CNN had managed, by peering through some bushes on the edge of the Trump International Golf Club in Florida, to videotape President Trump playing some golf. When they came back the next day a white truck now blocked their view. This then became a big scandal for CNN, with the cable network then spending gobs of time every hour for the next few days investigating the truck and following up on this terrible act of corruption, obviously part of the evil Trump administration’s effort to cancel the First Amendment and to silence the press! Much of the leftwing media piled on as well. Below are some of CNN’s coverage, as well as a bit of that liberal news pile on.

The last story provides a lot of links to CNN’s obsessive coverage, showing unintentionally how completely ridiculous and unserious it was.

This kind of stupid partisan reporting repeatedly dominates today’s leftist and anti-Trump press, such as when CNN made a big deal about how many scoops of ice cream Donald Trump ate at meals, or when a Washington Post reporter made a big deal about the high heels Melania Trump wore on her way to Texas after Hurricane Harvey.

While one might be amused for about two seconds by the stupidity of such stories, anyone interested in hard news would generally ignore them. They are irrelevant, childish, and not worth one’s time. They also reveal a great deal about the vapidness and biases of the news sources that think them important. While I don’t boycott CNN because of the story above, it so often descends into this kind of dumbness I generally don’t read many stories from it. Either I don’t trust their reporting (which has been proven recently to be a very reliable conclusion), or the story itself, like the one above, doesn’t merit any attention at all.

What does the conservative press do, however? Unfortunately, following CNN’s obsession with this white panel truck large portions of the conservative press acted as childish and as vapid, mocking this empty story obsessively, as if that mocking somehow makes them better. Below are only a few examples. If I showed them all the list would go on interminably.

The video below nicely dramatizes the maturity of this journalistic debate between CNN and the conservative press. (Hat tip to reader Wayne DeVette for sending it to me.)

In essence, the debating tactics of these two toddlers is no better than that of our modern press. Moreover, the boy’s use of a mild obscenity to make his argument mirrors exactly the shift to crude language we now see almost everywhere in today’s culture. Rather than make smart arguments, people go on Twitter and curse at their opponents. Or they simply curse nonchalantly, because that makes them feel good, even if it is makes it harder for them to think coolly and with depth.

Though I absolutely agree that CNN’s low credibility is further damaged by this silly story, I just don’t see the point of spending my time reading it. What CNN does is what used to be called tabloid junk journalism, and for substantive information one generally doesn’t go to such news sources. Instead, you obtain your information from credible news sources that focus on stories that might really be important.

Sadly, much of the conservative press here does little to distinguish themselves from CNN. Instead, they act as silly and as empty. The result? A spat between toddlers.

I think back to my early teens in the mid-1960s, when my father, a delivery truck driver with barely a high school education, would come home on Sunday with the New York Times. No comics, but the Sunday newspaper then had a large number of sections covering a wide range of topics, from real estate to entertainment to human interest to serious news coverage. This was before the NY Times had devolved into a partisan rag pushing Democratic Party talking points. Then, it tried to cover the world’s news with some depth and seriousness. The Sunday Week in Review section was especially thoughtful, with long articles from all sides of the political spectrum ruminating about the consequences of the previous week’s events.

I can’t imagine the Times of the mid-twentieth century — or any serious newspaper or any of the news bureaus of the three major networks at that time — spending much time or effort on any of the stuff above. They certainly wouldn’t consider it a front page story to report on how often the president golfs, or whether the high heels the First Lady wore sent the right optics. Nor would they have been bothered much if the president’s people took action to give him some privacy during his time off. And they certainly wouldn’t devote any time ridiculing the bad reporting of their rivals. They might report that bad reporting, as a news story in itself, but in those days this kind of bad reporting would not garner much attention, mostly because everyone would generally consider it supermarket tabloid junk, not to be taken seriously, and a discredit to the news organization that published it.

This is why so few stories like this were ever seen then in the mainstream press. The press knew then that if they focused on this tripe instead real news, their customers would vanish. The news-reading public, including my relatively uneducated father, wanted hard news, written carefully, accurately, and with some depth.

Unfortunately, that is not the news-reading public we have today. CNN’s reporting here as well as the reactions of the conservative press tell us a lot about both their readerships. Today, it appears that the only kind of news a majority of the public wants to see is tabloid junk. Make it short! Make it sexy! Make it silly! Make it fit the narrative I expect, even if it isn’t true! And above all, don’t make it thoughtful and in depth! People will simply click away out of quick boredom.

I grant that not all readers want to read these shallow news stories. I also grant that a significant portion of the news media today is not interested in participating in these immature spats. The problem however is the overall trend.

One of the regular commenters here thinks that a major house-cleaning in Washington is about to happen. He believes that the existence of the Constitution in the United States makes our situation somewhat unique in human history. Power always tends to concentrate to the top, and with that growing power comes corruption and the abuse of power. As Lord Acton wrote, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” This commenter believes however that the Constitution has provided the United States with a unprecedented legal and cultural framework for defeating this corrupt power at the top. As he noted recently, “What we are also witnessing as this entire thing rolls out in the coming months has the potential to be the germination of a true rejuvenated America reconnecting to its foundation document [the Constitution], if we as a people have the guts to do what must be done.” [emphasis in original]

I unfortunately remain reluctantly pessimistic. We as a people have been reelecting these corrupt frauds, now in power, for decades (Trump, a non-politician, being the exception that so far proves the rule). I also believe we will elect them again. And while much of the blame might fall on the liberal voters in liberal states, the conservative states don’t have much to brag about either. (Sadly, my weekly reports beginning in October 2016 on the insanity, the inanities, and the fascism that now dominates the culture of American college campuses dovetails with this pessimism quite clearly.)

You get the government you deserve. Right now, I think this corrupt bunch in Washington is unfortunately exactly what we deserve. And I remain doubtful we are acting in a way that will make us deserve better, illustrated clearly by the petty immature tastes of today’s general news-reading public and the press that it serves, as noted above. If more people made the simple decision to go elsewhere when either CNN or conservative websites acted like little toddlers arguing, CNN and those opposing websites would either grow up and change their reporting, or would go out of business, beaten by better more mature competition.

That is not what we see however. Instead, these news outlets garner bigger ratings and clicks, first by reporting these shallow stories and second by mocking them. The childish tit-for-tat appears to be exactly what the public on all sides of the political spectrum want right now. There appear to be few adults in the room.

Meanwhile, the protests in Iran grow, the tensions in the Korean peninsula grow, the spread of Islamic terrorism grows, the federal debt grows, and corruption in the federal government grows. And few in our so-called intellectual class are looking at these issues with any sense of maturity.

How then can we expect these problems to be handled thoughtfully and with success?

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6 comments

  • Cotour

    Bill DeBlasio, Junior Sandinista, Marxist mayor of New York proudly paints BLACK LIVES MATTER in front of Trump Tower, this is his great symbolic accomplishment.

    All while the most innocent among us are shot dead by the criminals that DeBlasio himself has empowered to do so.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/13/nyregion/Davell-Gardner-brooklyn-shooting.html

    Soak it in America, this is the “Progressive” agenda in America and its all about the Democrat party exclusively. Is everyone feeling Equal now?

    Defund and defang the police, actually release dangerous criminals from being locked up, suspend proactive policing and replace them with social workers and giving the lawless thugs the freedom and incentive to spit on the police. The police are now in fear of doing their job and of themselves being arrested, prosecuted and sued. How nice.

    Sound familiar? Sounds just like Seattle.

    Yes, you keep watching America and you comment on this situation in November.

    This is our process, this is our system.

  • Cotour

    How are these two things true?

    CDC downgrades Covid death rate: https://www.rt.com/usa/489823-musk-cdc-covid-fatalities/

    And

    The WHO (Not the rock group) : Corona virus may get worse: https://news.trust.org/item/20200713135549-k1b00

    (I always love when some talking head or “Official” uses the words: May, Could, Might, Possible etc.. Its so all encompassing, flexible and the potential for fear is always present)

    Wash your hands, don’t touch your face, generally stay away form others and wear a mask if you are forced in close proximity to others.

  • Cotour

    Black Lives Matter?

    Not really all black lives matter apparently to the “Progressive” / Socialist mayor of New York.

    https://dailycaller.com/2020/07/13/go-to-hell-gardner-family-slain-toddler-tells-killers/

    Maybe it should more accurately read : Sometimes Black Lives Matter, Sometimes Not So Much.

    SBLMSNSM: Subliminalism? Makes sense to me.

  • Cotour

    From the real world:

    I just now had a conversation with my good friend who is a “frontline” emergency / ICU nurse, that is her specialty, and she was right in the middle of the worst of the virus because she works in a major NYS hospital. And I do not usually have any political conversations with her because she is a rabid anti Trumper.

    My questions to her lately are about what going on in her hospital and the ICU specifically because that is were the tale is told IMO. So I asked her today and she responded that everything is now normal and there is no longer any crisis situation in her hospital related to the virus, and I will extrapolate that to the entire state of NY in general. Thats the virus reality in NYS today essentially ZERO, it cycled through as is the nature of such things.

    And her concern now is? Although she now recognizes that if and when a second wave comes through we will be much better prepared with the necessary equipment and therapies that are now known to be effective, its the growing wave that is running through other states that have less resources and infrastructure than NYS. Reasonable, especially if it gets to the level it was in NYS.

    And as she was leaving she happens to say what a great job that governor Cuomo did to save so many lives “He really did a great job and I will support him in what ever he chooses to do”. I said nothing, I let it go right over my head.

    And then of course she had to go to Trump and how because he did not wear a mask from the beginning that he killed so many people. (Trump who sits in Washington killed them all, and Cuomo is a shiny golden hero. Right off the cliff, I expected nothing less)

    I pointed out that if you were going to say that then you will have to recognize that Cuomo was responsible directly for at least one third of all the NYS deaths by his own nursing home policy. “No, No, it was Trump that has directly killed them all because he refused to wear a mask”.

    There is just no ability to honestly and objectively see things as they are for some people. How can one politician who by what I saw was in the weeds and desperate at the beginning and he demanded everything in the world from the Federal government (Trump) from hospitals to PPP that he was unprepared to supply and Trump supplied them. Things that he should have had in storage and should have been prepared for but did not.

    And the other politician who did not wear a mask initially and supplied, even over supplied, those who were in need for resources and federal action, and the one is a God and the other is guilty of murder essentially?

    This coming election will be won like most all political contests at the edges with those in one party or the other who are able to see that there is indeed something wrong and they are able to become just a bit more objective and change their minds.

    And that is what is going on in the real world.

  • Cotour

    If not for you and your “Progressive” policies there would ne no need to “Vow to catch the killer”.

    https://nypost.com/2020/07/13/de-blasio-visits-mom-of-slain-brooklyn-1-year-old-vows-to-catch-killer/

    What a shameful man, this is Socialism, this is “Equality”.

    Shameful, a disgrace of a mayor.

    Keep watching America.

  • Col Beausabre

    One of my uncles got a Masters in Social Work after he got back from WW2 and became a parole officer. The first couple of decades, he got top marks for his job performance, but then his ratings declined. He retired early. Because his supervisosr felt he wasn’t being “understanding” enough and was “too tough” on the criminals. Doing things like revoking their parole when they decided not to show up for required meetings. Funny, he viewed his job was to protect society by making sure that parolees were on the straight and narrow.

Readers: the rules for commenting!

 

I welcome all opinions, even those that strongly criticize my commentary.

 

However, name-calling and obscenities will not be tolerated. First time offenders who are new to the site will be warned. Second time offenders or first time offenders who have been here awhile will be suspended for a week. After that, I will ban you. Period.

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