Noodling around the internet I found myself at a page of quotations from legendary Science Fiction writer Isaac Asimov. I was quite a fan of his work in my youth, but I haven’t read him in years. As I was reading the quotes it seemed that he could be talking about our current crop of wingnuts and their twisted view of reality. For example:
“Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'”
— Isaac Asimov
“They won’t listen. Do you know why? Because they have certain fixed notions about the past. Any change would be blasphemy in their eyes, even if it were the truth. They don’t want the truth; they want their traditions.”
— Isaac Asimov (Pebble in the Sky)
“All the hundreds of millions of people who, in their time, believed the Earth was flat never succeeded in unrounding it by an inch.”
— Isaac Asimov
Now of course he wasn’t talking about our current crop of wingnuts, he was talking about the wingnuts of his time that–while still crazy–maintained some grip on reality from time to time. In our time that grip has been lost and rejecting reality in any form has become a litmus test. To be a serious contender for any office in the Tea Party run Republican Confederate Party you must attack reality at every opportunity. Word salads and fantasies are all you need. It is all a competition to see who can get the deepest into candyland–from T-Paw’s insane fiscal plan to Santorum’s denial of science to Newt’s new campaign strategy to Cain’s word limit on legislation to Rick Perry’s Day of Magic to well, anything Palin or Bachmann might say–it is all crazy town all the time.
And with that how about an Open Thread.
ps: his quotes about Religion vs Atheism are quite nice as well.
My memories of his non-fiction is what I remember best–especially his books on chemistry, physics and mathematics. Numbers, algebra, trig, calc, they all seemed much easier to understand from his books. They should be required reading if we really want kids to get ahead in the sciences…
@Daddy-O: I thought I was one of the few. If you can remember having read The World of Carbon…
He wasn’t talking just about politicians.
To project backwards that today’s right wingers / anti-modernists / religio-cultists etc are somehow more crazy than those of his times, and before, is to commit a real error.
They had less access to media, particularly national media. But, no, the crazies of today aren’t crazier than the crazies of then.
The Disgruntled Chemist
The back cover of that book mentions that he’s a well-known biochemist who also happens to write science fiction.
‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’
That’s classic, I love it. Thanks for that.
I read a bunch of Asimov back in the day … not the sci-fi stuff, I’m not a big sci-fi fan, but I read a lot of his non-fiction. But someone told me I’d like the Foundation series.
I don’t think the wingnuts of today are any more wingnutty (or really any more numerous) than they have ever been. They are just better organized and better publicized because some fool (or group of fools) made the decision that it would be a good idea to weaponize the stupid.
Asimov’s S-F writing doesn’t hold up well. He has interesting “grand ideas” and his plots are decent, but, his writing still is leaden and his characters cardboard.
@El Cid: Peak crazification. Has it ever happened? I do think that there are more of them now, but I stand to be corrected. Perhaps that is wrong, but I do know that they have far more political power in the United States than they did 10, 20, 30 and 40 years ago. While the number of making up the crazification factor may be similar the nuts in power do seem greater today.
Of course, one would have to measure to be sure, so I’m will offer this as my humble opinion on the matter.
I had a “friend” on Facebook who I always knew was a right-winger, but never realized how much until recently.
Looking at his posts on FB’s home page, I saw post after post of stuff that is so completely detached from reality that, instead of getting mad, I just got depressed. Depressed that this guy–who is solidly middle class–is so consistently cheering on people who are working day and night to grind him into poverty, whether it be by oil subsidies, Kochsucking, or the destruction of unions. They’re shitting in his mouth, and he’s asking for more–while simultaneously mocking those who are trying to turn things around.
I finally just had to defriend him, seeing his delusional posts just made me sad, and that’s not why I go to Facebook.
@Dennis G.: There aren’t more, they just all have a bullhorn now.
Mike in NC
Christ, Tricky Dick Nixon himself wouldn’t know what to make of the current batch of lunatics.
@The Disgruntled Chemist:
Wow – great quote.
Asimov understood the energy limits we’re facing, as did many other scientists of his day, but they were swiftly ignored after Carter, to our collective peril.
Something that I don’t think we’ve grasped in this country is that the median family’s purchasing power topped out in 2000 and has been declining since, and given the energy limits we’re facing in the next 3-4 years, they’re never going to top the year 2000 again this century.
I really wonder if that fact has sunk in with the president or with his advisors or with really anyone in Washington. Are they in denial or do they not care?
I’ve had my fill of the Regressives this week, so it was all about cooking for me. So here is a Thursday Night Menu for you…now with 50% more pictures:
Pasta Caprese, Caesar Salad and Chocolate Pecan Torte
Anyone planning on seeing Super 8 this weekend?
Wait, what? Backmann? I had no idea that the former Mets second baseman was running for president. And there is only one n in “Backman.”
@Dennis G.: The wingnuttery is more prominent and the grownups in the party are no longer able to keep it in check, so it seems like the whole GOP is running on id these days; but in terms of absolute numbers I think the voting block is about the same as it has ever been: 27% vote for the team no matter what; another 15% or so are fairly reliable but can be put in play. On the Democratic side it’s about the same. That leaves 15-20% in the mushy middle. It’s a group that doesn’t much like politics but is quite susceptible to symbolic manipulation and liable to vote against the party in power when things go sour simply because any change has got to beat the status quo.
@Martin: Martin, completely, totally OT, but for something for your daughter to keep in mind Saturday night.
(Sorry to interrupt with tween tv msg. Back to peak wingnut.)
This is main challenge. The current economic data indicates that we’re going to be in zero to negative GDP growth for the rest of the year, at best. If we turn around sharply starting early next year, Obama will probably be okay for the election. If Europe descends into a PIIGS mess and the markets get spooked, we could have trouble next year too, and that might mean that even Palin has a shot.
@Mike in NC: Actually, Nixon would have fit in quite comfortably with the current teatards, being a vindictive fuck and paranoid to an inch of his life and all. The moderation of his actual policies had only to do with the times he governed, nothing at all with the basic politics, which, like the teatards, was an exquisite blend of resentment and paranoia.
I read his entire “Greater Foundation series”, which if you read it as Asimov wanted you to (covering the Robot Series, the Empire Series, the Foundation Series, and the Extended Foundation Series) amounted to 14 novels. Yes, his characters are often wooden, his dialogue even worse. But my God, the sweep of history and the amazing ideas he expresses in these novels are unreal. To read 14 novels and have them all brilliantly sewn together into one epic poem to humanity is a really special experience. He was a science fiction philosopher more than science fiction novelist, and I highly recommend to anyone at least giving the core Robot or original Foundation series a shot. Robots of Dawn especially, or Foundation and Empire.
@MikeJ: So help me, I assumed that was going to be calling for the impeachment of Elizabeth Warren.
Villago Delenda Est
The heinous actions of Ronald Reagan were multiple and diverse, but I think one of the most crucial was his vindictive, petty, and just plain stupid decision to kill nearly every last energy initiative of Carter’s presidency. If that research had continued to this day, we’d be in much better shape as a society. True, oilmen would not be as rich, but frankly, fuck them.
I try to look at it as glass half full, or half erect, as it goes these days. That there are no more than half of our countryman that are crazy, or vote for crazy people. So we just need the other half plus one to stay sober long enough to vote for those opposing pilot programs for a new and improved Jim Crow state, or Salem Witch Trials to see if they work any better than they once did.
So it is up to a few people who are uninformed enough to have open minds that we call swing voters, and the circus is mostly for their benefit, to determine the fate of the realm. That’s all the optimism I got these days.
Excellent catch Dennis G, on these little tidbits of insight from Mr. Isamov
Back to decorating my personal bunker in case the end is nigh.
@BR: A lot will depend on what happens this summer with the debt ceiling. My gut tells me that the business interests are not at all happy with the GOP and at the moment would like to see Obama win but left in a weak position (either the GOP holding the House or taking the Senate or at most the Dems taking slim majorities). But I don’t know how much say anyone is going to have once the shit hits the fan with the debt ceiling. I’m guessing we’re going to have a default of some sort—the GOP has boxed themselves in so badly with the Ryan plan that I think they will take the risk and hit the mother of all reset buttons with default—and I have a real difficult time seeing how the politics play out after that.
@MikeJ: Oh, very cool, thank you. I’ll pass that on. Wife and the kids will enjoy doing that.
Saw this today in a print copy of the Wall St. Journal. Of course I can’t access all of the story online, because it’s behind a paywall, but:
China’s real estate market has been a big bubble waiting to pop. I have no idea how it’s going to play out for China and the global economy, but it’s not going to have zero effect.
I’ll be even more optimistic. Since it’s really the 27%ers, we really only need 28% of the electorate to turn out on our side. The problem isn’t the number of wingnuts – it’s the number of folks that stay home. If everyone voted, the crazies would have no power.
Asimov knew his strengths and weaknesses as a writer. He once tried to write a sexxytime scene just to see if he could. He failed and published it anyway. ETA: it’s called I’m in Marsport Without Hilda.
He’s a great writer because of his ideas and broad scope, not because of great writing. Unlike, say, Bradbury.
Yeah, this is the economic nightmare scenario. Defaulting is worth at least a 1000 point drop in the dow and a return of 2008-like panic conditions.
Regardless of whether the GOP backs off or not, that’ll make a dent, and surely send us into a recession since the economy is already entering a weak period.
Yeah, people have been talking about China’s bubble for a while. I wonder when it will really pop. They have an advantage in that it’s a command economy so they can change anything they want to try for a soft landing rather than a steep decline. But no country has ever succeeded.
Fucen Pneumatic Fuck Wrench Tarmal
the rhetoric in one way may be more given over to hyperbole. today reading the twitters, and seeing the best/funniest/greatest song/movie quote/speech ever…
really? are you sure? this is the tops, the apex, no one has ever said it or done it, the way you like it, better?
i think its just expected.
of course, i think if you were to put the 1950s on twitter, or have a freeper forum, or even a balloon juice, you might see some words, and ideas that would shock the contemporaneous sensibility.
its a scene from a movie, so shoot me, but in the biopic of kinsey, where he is talking to his researchers about how to talk to his subjects in terms they understand, where balling is ok, but intercourse is too clinical, and penis and vagina are too scientific….some of it is played for a chuckle, but you have to think, some terms of art were restricted to certain classes or groups. they weren’t necessarily common amongst a broad cross-section. i would think politics was the same way. they didn’t have dog-whistles per se, so there was not as much need for wider euphemism. the need to speak in ever more abstract terms, has made the speaking more extreme, if only to convey the dog-whistles themselves.
Night shift checking in, belatedly. Had to rehydrate with some Sam Adams Irish Red after the beastly heat here in NoVa the last two days. Got up to 97° or 98° yesterday, a little hotter today. Supposed to go up “only” to 92° tomorrow, thanks to some rain, which will cool things a bit but raise the humidity to 120 percent. Good times.
Least favorite thing on ESPN right now: interminable post-game press conference. Just because they can show it doesn’t mean they should.
Ah, Baseball Tonight on ESPN2. Click.
Also getting hooked on a book I just started, Håkan Nesser’s The Return. Third in a series of crime novels by a Swedish writer that take place in an unnamed European country that seems like the Netherlands. Inspector Van Veeteren is the protagonist, a grumpy cop in his late 50s. I read the first two, Mind’s Eye and Borkmann’s Point, over the last week or two and enjoyed them. This one is starting out even better.
There actually isn’t much RELATIVE difference in (lack of) intellectual horsepower between then and now. Our side is commensurately dumber than back in the day, maintaining the same relative position to the wingnuts.
We’re a bunch of education majors (= one step above being mentally handicapped), and other folks who love talking ABOUT how “pro math/science” they are, but don’t actually KNOW anything more than a 9th grade level about it. Such instances could be multiplied.
But we’re smarter than the wingnuts, so we fancy ourselves geniuses. As the saying goes, in the land of the blind….
“[George Herbert Walker] Bush isn’t as stupid as Reagan, because it’s impossible to be as stupid as Reagan.”
I guess every visionary has his limits …
@sherifffruitfly: Speak for yourself. Yesterday I explained nuclear binding energy and why it prevents star fusion from forming elements heavier than iron. I was hardly alone in the conversation, as well.
Our side at least asks the questions and listens to the answers when offered, and we’re happy to offer. That’s a huge difference right there.
¡Caramba! Just checked my closest weather station on Weather Underground, and it got up to 100° yesterday and today. Average historical high for June 9 is 84°. Just sayin’.
Did I mention that my anemic in-wall air conditioner is laboring and not really gettin’ it done?
@BR: It’s pretty clear to me that the GOP caucus has already made the decision to jump. The only question at this point is whether the business interests still have sufficient clout in the GOP caucus to buy back enough votes to keep it from happening. If the GOP does jump, then it will be fascinating to see how the business interests react. Will they (or enough of them) decide that whatever misgivings they might have with the Dems that the GOP is too dangerous to trust with power? That would be the optimistic outcome. There are far more bad outcomes than good outcomes, however.
@Steeplejack: It was 99 today, supposed to be the same tomorrow. But the electric company is replacing the wiring in the neighborhood, so we’ll be without air at home all afternoon.
I have found that the “beer cave” at my neighborhood supermarket is a good place to hang out. Basically a walk-in refrigerator. If that doesn’t work for you, maybe the library? (If the local Republicans haven’t closed it. After all, if you can buy a book on the Internet, why do we need publically funded libraries?!)
I used one of my favorite Asimov quotes for a tagline for awhile:
I also like
My copies of Asimov’s Guide to the Bible and Asimov’s Guide to Shakespeare are highly prized.
@jwb: The answer right now is no, not as long as they can use the debt ceiling as a rhetorical stick against Obama. I’m still thinking this is gonna be one huge game of chicken, and I’m gonna get a few delayed paychecks in the future.
FWIW that’s a Dutch surname. Whatever that tells you. He could be Belgian too.
Thank you for pointing out the bleedingly obvious. [Head smack] One of the interesting things about Nesser’s novels is that the place-names all sound vaguely northern European, but not a single one corresponds to an actual place. So the novels exist in a sort of anonymous, “generic” European country. It lends kind of a cool atmosphere.
Ah! From Wikipedia:
@Steeplejack: Just go to the mall. Food, bookstore, movie theater – can easily burn half a day there when it’s scorching out. I don’t do that, I do yardwork, mainly because I’m a fucking idiot.
You DO know where he works, amirite? It’d probably inspire flashbacks.
@Steeplejack: One of the more interesting phenomena of the European Union has been labor mobility. Before the EU going from, say, Denmark to France for a better job was almost unheard of. That could be why Nesser refuses to nail down the exact location. Or he just likes being vague.
Oh, no, I don’t… did I faux pas?
Dr. Asimov, bless him, didn’t believe in revising his first drafts. For his sercon non-fiction, his editors took care of that; but in the grossly underpaid world of sf magazine publishing, well… I think it was Fred Pohl who said “If only Isaac had been a worse typist, he’d have been a much better writer.”
That said, the man responsible for the Three Laws of Robotics is liable to live on as a footnote, at the very least — like Karel Capek.
True dat. Except that the mall is a long bus ride for me. In the urban hiker lifestyle I have to seek out the little micro-climates of chillness close at hand.
@Martin: Big Box retail store. So going to the mall is probably a different experience for him than it is for us proles. But it was unintentional. I’m sure he won’t complain about it.
He just likes being vague. But it does add something to the books, in a way that is hard to pin down.
When he admits that someone is driving an Opel, it’s like an “Aha!” moment. Or when he alludes to one character’s daughter living in France.
Yes, the Big Box Bookstore is, er, a big box store, but it’s an older one that is not in a mall. I’ve got Home Depot on one end and Ross on the other, but it’s not a mall in any sense of the word. It’s like a strip on steroids (but not very good ones).
Agatha Christie came to regret making her best-selling detective character a Belgian. In fact, in a couple of the later Inspector Poirot novels, she includes a comic “lady detective novelist” (Ariadne Oliver) who often deplores her light-hearted decision to make what would turn out to be her “bread and butter mainstay” a Finnish detective… because once the books became popular, people complained if every little detail wasn’t correct, while she’d only chosen a relative obscure nationality because she didn’t think people reading throwaway paperbacks would care!
@Anne Laurie: A) I love the name Ariadne.
B) It really is amazing what people will choose to be bitchy about. My favorite whine is when a movie isn’t totally faithful to an original book. It’s like creative license suddenly goes away unceremoniously.
@Steeplejack: I had a comment here but in coming down from my fairly shitty day it disappeared on me. I’ll let you know if it decides to invade my brainpan again.
And what I think also happens is that Nesser is able to set the mise-en-scène with extremely efficient shorthand. Borkmann’s Point is set in a seaside town where Van Veeteren is ending his summer vacation and has to stay on because a murder comes up that is beyond the scope of the local police. At one point Nesser describes an area that was a hub of the peat business in the early 20th century but later was largely abandoned and fell into ruin. He can sketch the details very quickly, and even juxtapose whatever geographical details he needs, without worrying that the inevitable pedant is going to come along and say, “Well, this is clearly incorrect, because peat was a major agricultural product in this region until well into the 1970s.”
It’s sort of like overlaying your own Middle Earth-type construct over the real map of Europe. And it works pretty well.
ETA: It also reminds me a little of the mid-century European backgrounds of Miyazaki’s movies, e.g., Kiki’s Delivery Service, Castle in the Sky. You can’t quite read the signs (I mean the actual signs on the buildings), but you get a strong feeling of place. Just not a place that you can put your finger on.
@Yutsano: As Milo Perrier (Hercule Poirot) declares in ‘Murder by Death’, “Frenchie? I am not a Frenchie, I am a BELGIE!”
@Steeplejack: If you’re a Dodgers fan skip those lowlights. Gak.
Well that’s mostly true, although some of his better work like End of Eternity and The Gods Themselves bear up reasonably well.
That could be said of almost all the good Golden Age writers. For the 40s and 50s, there is a very short list of SF writers within spitting distance of showing actual literary qualities that begins and nearly ends with Theodore Sturgeon.
Sorta OT but this made me laugh.
I think Asimov’s writing still holds up fine for a crucial audience – bright eight- to thirteen-year-olds. The themes are simple but profound, the writing clear, and the characters’ motivations are free of all that messy romatic goo stuff.
I have a whole tribe of nieblings who’ve had their minds opened with the Foundation trilogy and Nightfall and his Susan Calvin stories.
Paul Krugman once wrote that reading about Psychohistorian Hari Seldon in Asimov’s Foundation trilogy as a kid is what first inspired him to want to become an economist.
The Wingnuts have jumped on this as proof that it’s all “social engineering” and redistribution and all the rest of it. Which is of course revealing in several ways, first that they miss the point that Krugman was saying this in a way more similar to “when I was a kid I wanted to be a cowboy” or whatever, rather than that he actually thought that’s what he got his degree in or was practicing now.
The other interesting point of course is that what the Hari Seldon story was all about was trying to shorten the period to come when galactic civilization would slip back into chaos, brutality, and more or less feudal conditions, hoping not even to prevent it but just make it shorter, preserving scientific knowledge and so on for humanity much like the monks of Europe and elsewhere in what we used to call the Dark Ages.
The fact that the right wingers come down on the side of the descent into darkness and loss of science should really surprise no one I guess, but it made me laugh as they proudly sneered about it. I imagine people like that reading those books and rooting for the descent into darkness instead of you know, the other side, as most of us were.
Sounds like the same way Arthur Conan Doyle created Holmes, and then was overwhelmed and eventually annoyed by the degree to which he took over his writing career.
When you say “Confederate Party you must attack reality at every opportunity. Word salads and fantasies are all you need” you miss the point that only speech that is approved by our elite is allowed – speech that strays from the approved list is forbidden. Just ask the A.O. Newt.
They were fine with Newt saying the President inherited the Kenyan anti-colonial Mau Mau gene from his father but saying that Medicare should be left alone is verbotin. A candidate can believe Obama is setting up FEMA internment camps and death panels for granny but one best not acknowledge the reality of global warming.
And WTF kind of impulse is that?
It’s been my observation, growing up in tiny towns, that many parents, even striving ones, seek to restrict their children’s intellect and experiences because encouraging them means then they will leave. It would explain a rural politics of resentment; but it’s so extensive and so damaging.
And that’s all I got.
As far as Asimov; love him to pieces. I have the R. Daneel Olivaw novels on my bookshelf right now; bought within the last year, used, because I can’t bear to see them not available to me. You read Asimov for the ideas; which is an excellent use of writing.
What Asimov non-fiction book would you recomend? I haven’t read any but I plan to purchase one this weekend.
@WereBear: Might explain why on the East Coast they push their kids to learn so they do leave!
Of course, what sane kid would ever want to leave the left Coast … I mean the West Coast.
I think it has more to do with their values – the more the kid learns, the more likely they will question the established (for the town) values – like reject the complex and insane religion that the parents stuff down the kids throat or the crazy norms and insane morals that they demand. Also, that the kids are never to question any beliefs that the parents have had shoved up their asses by their parents and these parents now think that this is the god given and only way white people are to live – of course, their crasy minister tells them to sell their souls, kids lives and amerika out for the elite to make a few dollars more.
I’m only here to provide a link to an essay of Asimov’s that fundamentally changed the way I think way back when I first read it: The Relativity of Wrong
@DBrown: That’s an excellent point, too.
One Catch 22 is that our Finance Overlords create a tenuous economy; one which does not reward innovation or the breaking of such mental bonds. Keep your head down is then drummed into everyone.
(from the NRO link)
No, he really doesn’t. Nobody on our side of the aisle’s saying anything about managing economies. We support laws to prevent corporate malfeasance (e.g. selling unsafe products). We support unions because there’s no reason blue-collar workers shouldn’t be allowed to have professional guilds (big businessmen have the Chamber of Commerce, why shouldn’t their employees have a pale imitation?) And we support a basic social safety net because capitalism creates winners and losers, and it’s better for the loser to be able to pick himself up and get back in the game, which he cannot do if he’s starved to death in the meantime.
None of that has a damn thing to do with central planning and “managerial statism.” The feds aren’t telling people where they can and can’t work, they’re not telling corporations what to invest in, and they’re not telling CEOs how to run their business (short of very basic things like “you can’t put rat poison in those burgers” or “you can’t hire goons to break your employees’ legs just because they’re asking for a raise.”)
If you have a philosophical problem with corporations being asked to guarantee safe products, employees having the same rights as robber barons, and people not starving to death Gilded Age style, then go ahead and say that. Don’t squeal soshulism just because you’ve got nothing else to argue.
This is the real forever war, and it has been going on since Kylon vs Pythagoras. And it won’t end until we get control of the legacy code and and rewrite the IQ drivers.
Ah, a pleasant Spring day in Texas.
@Groucho48: IMHO, you’re right.
I had an English teacher in high school, who, when I asked him his opinion of Issac Asimov, he said, “leave off the ‘imov'”. I think that he was right.
A self-important fellow Issac was. And he hated used book stores: no royalties from them, you see. I lived/live for used book stores.
His fiction was “classic” science fiction: ideas over everything else. Character development wasn’t his strong suit. Not very good writing either, sort of like a liberal Ayn Rand. His non-fiction was pretty good, but always pedantic. Smartest person in the world, he was. In his opinion.
I read him when I was a teen. I don’t mean to diss him entirely, ’cause when I was a kid, I thought that he was pretty good. And he did try to popularize science.
Foundation Trilogy is still a favorite read — about every 5 years or so. Still remember how I felt the first time I read it.
Fuck the markets.
Seriously. I’m really getting sick of ‘the markets’.
Do not forget that the markets reward the inflation of wealth to a leverage that’s what, thirty times the value of every THING on the fucking planet? The markets liked this, and here we still are.
Liking the markets and wanting to preserve them is literally wanting to preserve our diet of tire rims and anthrax. We’re literally in such a position, we are all literally dependent on a class of people who are maintaining a fiction that’s unsustainable, and worrying that they’ll become upset, and they are still eating tire rims and anthrax.
I’m sorry, but they are gonna get sick whether I pat them on the head and tell them they’re good, or not. My approval of them will not spare them the consequence of their choices- or dim mob stampeding, which is more accurate.
Fuck the markets.
The whole concept is a lot more stupid than people are willing to admit.
@jinxtigr: Next you will remind us that liquid fuel is finite and they are hiding peak oil … yeah, amerika’s middle class will learn the real and painful lesion of what they are in view of the elite and the robber barons will finally be kings.
I lived in west Texas when I was a kid, and I can certainly tell the difference between a dry, “usual” 100° and a humid, sweltering “15 degrees above normal” 100°. It’s partially about what’s “right” or expected. I don’t bitch about the heat when I visit my relatives in Las Vegas, because it’s, well, Las Vegas.
I don’t reread it very often.
But the fourteen books of the Foundation-Robots-Empire canon sit on my bookshelf.
And every now and again I do reread them.
I first read the Foundation Trilogy as a teen.
Basically I agree with Will’s comment.
My favorite Asimov quote:
@jinxtigr: you are right.
Market-based capitalism is a scam to let the overclass accumulate a greater share of wealth.
Market-based economics is foundationally incapable of delivering social justice as anything but minor side-effecting. Free market or “freed” market policies empirically have resulted in increasing inequality. Free Market Theory is antipathic to Social Justice Theory.
This seems fairly obvious to me since I have begun studying economic theories lately.
But even relatively intelligent people (like Krugman for example) seem to be incapable of understanding this, because its all they know.
There are things the market can be channeled to accomplish, but free or “freed” market policies are simply teleologically incapable of delivering large quantities of social justice remedy after a crash like the Econopalypse.
It can’t be done.
@DBrown: Fanatical belief in market-based economies is what caused the Econopalypse, and will prevent a speedy recovery.
jinxtgr is just pointing out something that evolutionary economics theorists now believe is empirically true.
The teleology that free market policies improve the human condition is not empirically true– these policies only benefit the human condition of the overclass.
My favorite Woody Allen one-liner:
My second-favorite Woody Allen one-liner:
The Left Hand of the Electron
Great set of essays on a wide variety of topics. My personal Asimov favorite.
If one has not read Asimov’s science fiction by the time the teen years are over, I would recommend avoiding those stories.
As I would pretty much most of the so-called “Golden Age” (40s and 50s) of science fiction writing, with the exception – as Viva BrisVegas wrote above – of Theodore Sturgeon and, I would also add, possibly Poul Anderson (though Poul’s later, post- Golden Age writing was better).
Definitely avoid the vastly-overrated Ray Bradbury.
And with that, I’ve probably done it again, as I did a couple days ago when I dissed the “great” John Wayne.
@Steeplejack: How old is it? Do you clean the filter? It may be time for a new one. They’re much cheaper than they used to be, and their efficiency is improved too, so they’re cheaper to run.
I agree that if you read Asimov when you are young, the grandeur of his ideas will stick with you and the nostalgia, in later years will give his writing a glow it doesn’t really have. For me, the same is true of Edgar Rice Burroughs. I first read Tarzan when I was 7 or 8 and I still love Tarzan and John Carter and, of course, the incomparable Dejah Thoris.
I will also agree that not very many S-F writers in the 30’s and 40’s had much in the way of style. But many of them were good pulp writers, which Asimov wasn’t, and they did a much better job at keeping the energy level of the writing up and including an exotic element or two to remind readers that they weren’t in Kansas anymore.
@TreeBeard: Thanks very much for this!
Thanks for your input. The air conditioner is a “window”-type unit (sticks out to the exterior), although it is (permanently) built into the wall underneath the window. I have been unable to figure out how to get the facing off, or even whether I should be able to, and I haven’t gotten around to calling the landlady yet because she is an older woman who freaks out about everything. There’s a guy in the building who sort of putters around and seems to know stuff, so I was going to ask him before picking up the hot line to the landlady.
Usually the A.C. is able to sort of keep up, although it never delivers a really frosty chill, and it’s only when the outside temp gets above the low 90s that I suffer. Which I have been this week, let’s get that straight. But it’s supposed to drop back into the 80s this weekend and next week, so that will take a little of the pressure off.