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.
Our bankrupt intelligentsia: Journalist and author Sarah Jaffe went on Twitter yesterday to claim that the police effort to catch and arrest looters in Florida is the equivalent of “white supremacy.”
When she was lambasted by numerous other Twitter users for this dumb statement she doubled down, implying (with an obscenity) that her critics were all Nazis.
This minor story illustrates two things. First, that someone as uneducated and thoughtless as this person can get published and be treated as a respected author demonstrates the intellectual bankruptcy of our modern elites. Everything to her is race and bigotry. Capitalism is evil. Anyone who disagrees with her is a racist or a Nazi. Comparing this childishness with the thought processes seen when you read Shakespeare, John Adams, or William Butler Yeats, and you will see that the future of modern western civilization does not look good.
Second, this story shows again why anyone who has any intelligence should avoid Twitter. That venue is not for thoughtful discussion. It is specifically designed to cause people to hurl insults at each other, and only serves to lower the level of our intellectual discourse. And I am not alone in this opinion.
Far more fundamental is the way Twitter intensifies and amplifies pathological social tendencies among those who act within, report on, and write about the political world. It turns politicians, political staffers, reporters, editors, pundits, and analysts into petty, vain, childish, showoffy, hostile, vindictive, dogmatic, impulsive, careless versions of their best and most professional selves. This makes Twitter horrible for our politics and equally bad for journalism. The single best thing for both politics and journalism would be for Twitter to go out of business tomorrow.
Every July, to celebrate the anniversary of the start of Behind the Black in 2010, I hold a month-long fund-raising campaign to make it possible for me to continue my work here for another year.
This year's fund-raising drive however is more significant in that it is also the 10th anniversary of this website's founding. It is hard to believe, but I have been doing this for a full decade, during which I have written more than 22,000 posts, of which more than 1,000 were essays and almost 2,600 were evening pauses.
This year's fund drive is also more important because of the growing intolerance of free speech and dissent in American culture. Increasingly people who don't like what they read are blatantly acting to blackball sites like mine. I have tried to insulate myself from this tyrannical effort by not depending on Google advertising or cross-posts Facebook or Twitter. Though this prevents them from having a hold on me, it also acts to limit my exposure.
Therefore, I hope you will please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.
Regular readers can support Behind The Black with a contribution via paypal:
If Paypal doesn't work for you, you can support Behind The Black directly by sending your donation by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman, to
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