Patrick Melrose

I just watched the first episode. I had high expectations, being such an admirer of the novels, and it lived up to them. Benedict Cumberbatch captured the “hero” perfectly. Disturbing stuff, but beautifully rendered. The brilliance and originality of the novels shone through.

My Favorite People

My favorite people of the moment are: Don Lemon, Kamau Bell, Janelle Monae, Van Jones, Stephen Curry, April Ryan, Laura Coates, Chadwick Boseman, and Lupita N’Yongo. Do they have anything (significant) in common? Not that I can see.

Tribalism and Truth

Of course these two things are opposed. But what leads to tribalism and the consequent divorce from truth? Tribalism is a substitute for truth–it’s what you cleave to when truth isn’t going your way. It takes up the slack between wish and fact. If your beliefs can’t be true, they can at least agree with the beliefs of others. The more your beliefs fail to correspond to the facts the more you substitute tribalism for truth. So the degree of tribalism in America today is a function of the distance that believers stand in to reality: the more false your beliefs are the more tribal you become. And of course there is a tacit awareness of falsity. A society brimming with delusion is a society of tribes, generally hostile to each other. This principle applies both to the political right and the political left.

Exclusive Inclusivity

I was just perusing the “Inclusivity Workshop” recently held at the University of Miami and was amused to see that the event opened with something described as a “Women’s Lunch”. No men invited presumably. Moreover, all the speakers seemed to be women. Doesn’t seem very inclusive. A black man would have been nice, for example. The event would be better named “Exclusivity Workshop”.

Nicaragua

I just got back from Nicaragua. Fine people, terrible roads, great surf. It’s still not a popular tourist destination, especially on the Pacific coast (Playa del Maderas), so it is relatively unspoiled. The beaches are spectacular, with perfect surfing waves for both beginners and experts. And good to be out of America!

Trump’s Nadir

As I watched Trump’s response to the latest gun massacre in America a sentence pressed itself upon me: “He has the mind of a sociopathic rat”. Or am I being unfair to rats? His boorish indifference was almost titanic.

Unreality

Am I the only one who feels that the world has stopped feeling real? Is this evidence that we are living in a simulation? Nothing makes sense any more. Is this a new syndrome–global unreality syndrome?

McGinn University

I have a solution to the problems of higher education (sic) in America: I am founding my own university–McGinn University (MU). It will of course have a vibrant philosophy department teaching all branches of the subject. We will also cover psychology and brain science, as well as literature, biology, and the more interesting parts of mathematics and physics. There will be a special emphasis on creativity (creative writing is compulsory) and advanced writing skills. In addition we will have an athletics program: tennis, table tennis, gymnastics, trampoline, squash, badminton, swimming, kayaking, surfing, windsurfing, paddle boarding, and skim boarding (oh it will be fun!). Also a music department covering all aspects of music, from music theory to how to hit a drum, from old to new (basic guitar and percussion skills desirable). Fees very reasonable (unlike that monstrosity Trump University). The aim is to turn out first-class minds and free spirits.