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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Stuff I read today: October 26, 2016


reading lenin.jpg

There are 13 days left until we vote, go to sleep, and discover all the spitemongers and moon calves who supported Mr Trump have not gone anywhere, nor wised up. Meanwhile:


But when the opinion in those local groups is split evenly, Galam found, something odd happens: Minority opinions become much more likely to dominate due to the presence of latent prejudices in the population. These run the gamut from sexism and racism, to more innocuous beliefs that are simply unexamined or inherited. Voters usually suppress their prejudices. But suppose an agent comes along that legitimizes some of them, causing some percentage of the electorate to begin trying to convince their friends and neighbors of them. Galam’s model shows that an opinion held by only 15 to 25 percent of the population can spread to eventually be held by the majority. So, in an evenly split electorate, these ideas—unleashed by an inflammatory candidate—may be enough to surmount the low 15-25 percent threshold necessary for them to dominate. (Just think of a phase diagram and its “tipping point.”) In order for the majority opinion to take control, it needs to start at above an 85 percent share of the population.

This, Galam says, helps to explain the Trump phenomenon. On his first attempt to predict the outcome of the Republican primaries, Galam still had Trump losing. “And then I realized,” he says, “that Trump, by shocking people, by making outrageous statements, was awakening prejudices inside some of the voters that had been frozen,” provoking discussions and driving the tipping point in Trump’s favor. His success wasn’t in spite of the shocking statements he made; he succeeded because of them. Trump’s opponents’ less incendiary remarks, meanwhile, failed to activate prejudice to the same degree.

Mr Trump’s supporters deny this, because they all read an article about how physics was invented by liberals and funded by the government.

- Movie monster music works- again, Because Science Stuff.

- Prospects for the banana are poor. Prospects for the banana republic are excellent. No, not the stores.

- If Donald Trump had pussy-grabbed a bimbo before 1920, he’d’a got his lights punched out.

- Mr Trump was nowhere near the Transnation Queen USA contest, more’s the pity.

- Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine has put the ‘who’ in ‘whodunnit?’ for 75 years.


One could ask, but isn’t that why we need to have that talk more than ever? To recognize and appreciate diversity more, to overcome racism, sexism and all the other isms that divide us? Well for one, saying these isms are dividing us is implying that we are equally to blame for the division. What is happening is one group using social, economic and political policies to separate themselves from others, not always deliberately. It’s not for the black person to be more open-minded. It’s for the white person to be less racist. It’s not for the trans person to prove why she needs to use the female bathroom. It’s for the bigot to stop attacking trans people. The problem with me coming to the table to talk about diversity is the belief that I have some role to play in us accomplishing it, and I don’t. And the fact that I have to return to that table often should be proof that such discussions aren’t achieving what they are supposed to.

And they aren’t all right-wing wingnuts, either.

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