John Walker's Electronic House

Rum Doings Episode 234: It’s Time To Stop It Now

by on Feb.03, 2017, under Rum Doings

In our 234th ever Rum Doings, our topic is, when will the world’s governments finally begin an investigation into the cause of all these celebrity deaths?

It’s a lot of Trump. That was fairly inevitable. John continues to argue for hysteria and panic, Nick continues to argue for calm uninterest. Via this exquisite example of Hegelian dialectic, a synthesis is eventually reached. (Actually, this episode presents a much more realistic example of real-life communication within the twenty-year friendship between the two hosts – this is how we normally get anywhere.)

Then there’s a smattering of the idiotic lawsuit between Bethesda and Oculus.

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8 Comments for this entry

  • Daniel

    For someone who complains about hysteria Nick doesn’t half get hysterical on these podcasts sometimes. If someone thinks Trump has the potential for being the catalsyst for a fascists esque uprising they have much more reason for being hysterical compared to someone, like Nick, who thinks Trump is just this small Hegelian reaction that will right itself after four years. Chill out.

  • Nick Mailer

    “Chill out”.

    Dude, it’s a podcast.

  • scotchmi_st

    The argument between John and Nick pretty accurately reflects the argument going on in my head at the moment. I’m probably more disposed to Nick’s position, since it seems to be the meta-argument. There’s certainly less evidence for it than John’s though.

    It’s often said that expert poker players can appear like complete novices to spectators- bluffing all the time and making what appear to be terrible moves. At this point I’m not sure anyone can say with certainty that Tump is an expert player or a complete novice with a good hand. I’m worried that there is a chance he could be playing us in his apparent incompetence, and that this whole situation is part of some grander strategy.

  • Ed

    Thanks for the podcast, I do enjoy hearing these arguments be thrashed out. I think Nick’s position is a little contradictory, to both bemoan the hysteria and celebrate the immune response of the body politic – does one not beget the other? If everyone were responding as placidly as Nick desires, would the response of the ‘deep state’ be as successful in eventually ejecting this toxic administration? The prospect of some kind of Reichstag fire is truly terrifying, but I think the post-9/11 shutting down of dissent won’t wash if enough people are sufficiently angry and vigilant. This is why it’s important, and not hysterical, for people to point out the many things currently happening which are historically unprecedented.

    On specific points, I think that Nick was right that Neil Gorsuch is not the most outrageous choice for Supreme Court, and is perhaps the least worrying aspect of the Trump administration so far (although he is a bit of a knob). But for all the formal, legal separation of powers, the supreme court actually holds little meaningful power in the US. When defied at the state level, its power can only be enforced through the military, controlled by the executive. If the executive branch sets out to openly defy the judiciary, there is ultimately little they can do about it. Given Trump’s stated antagonism towards judges, I think a constitutional crisis will emerge very soon indeed, and I’m not sure the judiciary can win against an executive that simply refuses to play by the rules.

    The point Nick made about it not being fascism, as there is no SA or SS, is probably correct. However, there is definitely a precedent for ‘non-fascist’ authoritarianism in the mould of Putin or Erdogan which, whilst different from the Third Reich, is still worthy of a reasonably hysterical response. I’m also worried about the role that militarized police forces might play over the next few years, especially if we see more unrest like that in Ferguson. A heavily armed police force, more willing to listen to Trump than the supreme court, could be incredibly dangerous in such a situation.

    On Nick’s other unlikely saviour, corporate America, I think there is an awful lot they can get comfortable with before they’ll really start making a fuss. We’ve already seen Goldman Sachs alumni hover over Trump as he moved to repeal Dodd-Frank, and a bonfire of banking regulations will be all that is needed to keep finance sweet (and sow the seeds for an almighty bubble and crash). Big employers like Ford would, indeed, be alarmed to see protection increasing. But Trump has made them his absolute priority in power, and I think we will see significant concessions made to ensure they don’t rock the boat.

    I think the mid-terms will be the crunch point, and time will tell whether the republicans get scared enough to pull the plug or not. Many other countries (Russia, Turkey etc) have shown that a narcissistic despot can lord it over ‘sneering’ metropolitan elites with the backing of an electorally robust coalition of rural voters, and Trump might successfully have engineered such a situation for himself. If so, I honestly don’t see the republicans challenging his agenda no matter what levels of senility or depravity he sinks to, as they have demonstrated less collective backbone than a tank full of sea-monkeys.

    It’s said that nervous fliers should always look to the cabin-crew when flying through turbulence, and be reassured by their calm demeanor. The people I look to in politics for such a role are now mostly all making very worried noises about the fact that the republic is, at the very least, rolling up its trousers and going for a paddle in the Rubicon. Hysteria and panic are usually unhelpful in politics, and 9 times out of 10 a heuristic which says things aren’t as bad as they seem and we’re not as special as we think we are is correct. But I think we’ve now entered a situation where a version of Pascal’s wager applies, and the consequences of too much hysteria are minuscule compared to those of the widespread insouciance that Nick seemingly wishes to see.

  • Gassalasca

    May I just point out that Nick kept mispronouncing ‘Reichstag’. It’s Reichs + tag, not Reich + stag*. Therefore, there’s no sht sound like in e.g. der Staat or die Stadt.

    The IPA for it is /ˈʁaɪçstaːk/

  • Nick Mailer

    Gassalasca: You are correct syntactically, but I promise you I’ve heard native southern-German speakers pronounce it with the scht. As with liaison and so forth, the actual construction of a word can give way to convenient mouthing in certain accents and dialects, and this happens here – although I imagine proponents of Hochdeutsch shudder at every utterance.

    Similarly, listen to how some native Germans slur words like “sprechst” and so on. Admittedly, nowhere near as lazy as Estuary English, but it’s there ;-)

  • Gassalasca

    That sounds plausible. Just like some speakers of English assimilate the /s/ in ‘street’ to some kind of a postalveolar sound.

  • James Benson

    Does anyone’s dogmatic attitude in this podcast remind anyone else of the Great Orange Leader’s own style?