Matthew Yglesias: Not the Sharpest Tool in the Vox

 

Time ZonesLongtime readers are well aware that I do not take Matthew Yglesias seriously as a thinker.  Yglesias is one of the sources of inspiration — if not the source — for Yousefzadeh’s Law, which states that “[t]here is no meritocracy in the field of punditry.”  (Alternately, one may use the Peter Principle to explain Yglesias’s rise in the punditry world.)

Today, Yglesias gives us yet another reason to wonder whether his entire career in punditry has just been one long attempt to troll the planet.  He advocates — dear God, I really don’t believe this! — abolishing all time zones, and having all of us run on Greenwich Mean Time.

Why is this necessary? Yglesias voxsplains in the excerpt below:

. . . It is genuinely annoying to schedule meetings, calls, and other arrangements across time zones.  The need to constantly specify which time zone you’re talking about is a drag. Commuting across time zones would be more annoying still, which is why the suburbs of Chicago that are located in Indiana use Illinois’ Central Time rather than Indianapolis’ Eastern Time.

Oh my stars and garters.  Matthew Yglesias finds it “a drag” to “constantly specify which time zone you’re talking about.”  Also, commuting across time zones is “annoying.”  Surely, this qualifies as some kind of Eighth Amendment violation, or something.

Of course, for most people, the existence of time zones don’t nearly cause the mental crisis that Yglesias apparently has to deal with on a daily basis.  Below, please find a basic outline showing how a normal conversation occurs regarding the specification of time zones when “meetings, calls, and other arrangements” have to be scheduled:

PERSON ONE: We need to have a conference call this afternoon at 2 pm.

PERSON TWO: Okay.  Eastern time?  Central time?  Mountain time?  Pacific time?

PERSON ONE: Eastern time.

PERSON TWO: Great.  Talk to you then.

Usually, this is all it takes to schedule something, and clear up any confusion about time zones.  I grant you that there are times when confusion does take place, but seriously, who cares?  Is befuddlement regarding time zones really such a pressing issue that Matthew Yglesias has to take to writing an article demanding that we abolish them?  Don’t the people at Vox have anything better to write about?  And if not, doesn’t this entire episode justify Jeff Bezos’s decision not to give Ezra Klein oodles and oodles of money to build up a monumentally useless “news” site over at the Washington Post?

Lest you think that this detour into the utterly bizarre is out of character for Yglesias and that — at all other times — he really is the swiftest Porsche in the garage, I refer you anew to the links in the first paragraph of this blog post, which demonstrate beyond any and all reasonable doubt that something has seriously caused Yglesias’s gray matter to go kerplunk.  And if you needed more evidence that Yglesias is simply not playing with a full deck, I give you this.  Query: How do you write an article that claims that England and Wales have provinces, and still keep a job as a journalist-resembling-thing?

Of course, as far as Yglesias is concerned, he really is preternaturally intelligent — all of the evidence to the contrary notwithstanding — which means that he gets to call people with whom he disagrees politically “dim bulbs.”  I guess this means that, in addition to his other failings, Yglesias completely lacks self-awareness.

World Time Zones Map” by TimeZonesBoy – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

There are 27 comments.

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  1. Franchise Member
    Franchise
    @Franchise

    I am surprised he did not bring up China, which is a country that imposes Beijing Time on the whole country. So in the western provinces, the clocks say 3 PM when the sun is at noon.

    • #1
  2. Pony Convertible Member
    Pony Convertible
    @PonyConvertible

    Here is Indiana we started going to Daylight Savings Time just a few years ago.  Before that we stayed on Standard Time all year (I miss those days).   When we made the change it was easily the biggest political event in the State for years, maybe decades.  Some people liked it, some didn’t, but everybody argued about it.   Imagine if you tried to change the time for the whole world.  It might start WWIII.

    • #2
  3. otherdeanplace@yahoo.com Member
    otherdeanplace@yahoo.com
    @EustaceCScrubb

    One of the great things about no time zones is that you would never have to worry about waking someone up when you phoned them, even if they are clear across the country or half way around the world. Noon would be bright day light some places and pitch dark in others. You’re right, genius, pure genius.

    • #3
  4. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    The project I work on has people in Norway (three different cities), Boston, Houston, Austin, and the Los Angeles area.  We telecom – a lot.

    Somehow we manage to make the meetings with really no problem despite the time zone differences.  It isn’t an issue.  Our laptops take care of the time conversions for us.

    My conclusion:  Anyone who seriously believes everyone needs to be on the same time zone spends all his time in the basement believing he is an alien from outer space living on an asteroid.

    What would be a good name for such a creature? Ygdrassil  maybe?  Ypsilaonius? Ydronicus?  Something like that.

    Seawriter

    • #4
  5. Franchise Member
    Franchise
    @Franchise

    What gets me is why does it have to be a top down solution? Why can’t he say something like “When I was working with people around the globe, it was easiest for us to give times in UTC. That way we all were co-ordinated, and each of us could convert that to our local time. It worked well for us and might work for you too.” Except that would mean he would have had to actually try it and gain experience, rather than advocate a radical overhaul based on an idea he once read about.

    • #5
  6. Larry3435 Member
    Larry3435
    @Larry3435

    It would avoid that blinking <12:00 12:00 12:00 12:00 12:00 12:00 12:00 12:00>
    when you plug in your DVD.  (Talk about a drag!)  All clocks could be preset to universal time, and we could save money by skipping those “set time” buttons.

    By the way, does anyone take Matthew Yglesias seriously as a thinker?

    • #6
  7. Marion Evans Member
    Marion Evans
    @MarionEvans

    I think the idea has merit and would probably save a lot of money. Your scheduling dialogue would be two lines instead of four, a minuscule difference for two people but a sizable one when multiplied billions of times a year.

    • #7
  8. DrewInWisconsin Coolidge
    DrewInWisconsin
    @DrewInWisconsin

    I’m just surprised Vox is still going. And that GE would risk its reputation to sponsor such a collection of ignoramuses. (To be fair, GE’s reputation is already soiled from being one of this administration’s favorite cronies.) Vox has been a history of public face plants since it started. It’s now a punch-line (and one of Mollie’s favorite punching bags). I don’t think it can be saved.

    • #8
  9. hawk@haakondahl.com Member
    hawk@haakondahl.com
    @BallDiamondBall

    If this weren’t so mule-spankingly stupid, it would be profound.

    The profound part is that we could literally change our concept of the meaning of the numerals used to indicate time.  You schedule a meeting for 1945, and by Gum, that’s what time it is no matter where you are.  Simple.

    The stupid part is that this would only replace one uncertainty for another.  The meeting is at 1945.  Hmm, at 1945 GMT is it day or night in Japan?  What time should I schedule a polite call to check on a contract?  Is that today or tomorrow? 
    Without a rolling clock, you would likely need to jettison the dateline.  And if the standard time must be set to match a current value somewhere, why should lily-white Albion be so graced?  Why oppress the billion Chinese who have all figured out how to use a single time zone just so an Anglican Bishop of Whiteness doesn’t have to reprogram *his* VCR?

    Why, it’s the most racist thing since gardening.

    • #9
  10. hawk@haakondahl.com Member
    hawk@haakondahl.com
    @BallDiamondBall

    Pitch-perfect leftism.  Small rare problem, big unpopular solution, expensive mandatory nightmare.

    It’s like they have a special school where they teach people that counting is the only valid form of math, and that when the sun sets it’s gone, and you had better hope to God a new one surfaces tomorrow.  If there is a tomorrow.

    • #10
  11. lesserson Member
    lesserson
    @LesserSonofBarsham

    Larry3435:

    It would avoid that blinking <12:00 12:00 12:00 12:00 12:00 12:00 12:00 12:00> when you plug in your DVD. (Talk about a drag!) All clocks could be preset to universal time, and we could save money by skipping those “set time” buttons.

    By the way, does anyone take Matthew Yglesias seriously as a thinker?

     Sure. Matthew Yglesias…and his mother.

    • #11
  12. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Advocating that the entire planet run on London time?

    • #12
  13. C. U. Douglas Thatcher
    C. U. Douglas
    @CUDouglas

    I still uphold that Vox remains the most polished Confirmation Bias Aggregration Site out there.

    That Matthew Yglesias is still a pundit there is proof of that alone. It must be fun to make policy and lifestyle proposals about things that annoy you personally.

    • #13
  14. Pony Convertible Member
    Pony Convertible
    @PonyConvertible

    Eustace C. Scrubb:

    One of the great things about no time zones is that you would never have to worry about waking someone up when you phoned them, even if they are clear across the country or half way around the world. Noon would be bright day light some places and pitch dark in others. You’re right, genius, pure genius.

     What?  Don’t you think people would still sleep based on the sun?  If the sun is overhead here, I most likely would wake someone up if I called China, regardless of what their clock said.

    • #14
  15. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Pony Convertible: Don’t you think people would still sleep based on the sun? 

     Not in Matt Yglesias’s world.  Like I said.  He lives in his basement, and never leaves.  Day and night is just artificial construct imaged by lesser being than him.  Because he is a space alien superior to mere mortals, living in a world of artificial (CFL) light.  At least in his own mind.

    Seawriter 

    • #15
  16. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    We’ve already got UTC aka Zulu time.  Can we at least change the name to “Stardate”?  That would probably appeal to Yglesias and get him to leave it alone.

    • #16
  17. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Miffed White Male:

    We’ve already got UTC aka Zulu time. Can we at least change the name to “Stardate”? That would probably appeal to Yglesias and get him to leave it alone.

    • #17
  18. thelonious Member
    thelonious
    @thelonious

    Time is just a construct imposed by the corporate military complex.  Who are we to say what time it is and who actually controls time? Didn’t Einstein prove time is just a construct made up by man?  Why must we impose this fascist construct on the natural world?

    • #18
  19. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    thelonious: Didn’t Einstein prove time is just a construct made up by man?  

    I’m pretty sure he proved the opposite.

    • #19
  20. thelonious Member
    thelonious
    @thelonious

    Misthiocracy:

    thelonious: Didn’t Einstein prove time is just a construct made up by man?

    I’m pretty sure he proved the opposite.

     Well.. yeah… but still.

    • #20
  21. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    thelonious:

    Misthiocracy:

    thelonious: Didn’t Einstein prove time is just a construct made up by man?

    I’m pretty sure he proved the opposite.

    Well.. yeah… but still.

     Well,  Matt Yglesias probably proved time is just a construct made up by man (most likely by dividing by zero somewhere in the mathematics).  So who are you going to believe?  A with-it hipster like Yglesias or some dead white guy like Einstein?  (That choice doesn’t take an Einstein a Yglesias.)

    Seawriter

    • #21
  22. RPD Member
    RPD
    @RPD

    Well, here in EasternTimeland I would have to get used to my working hours being 0230-1000 with lunch at high 0700.  I suppose I’d get used to it eventually.  Now where do I find a chart to see if they’re awake or not in Tokyo, Berlin, or Honolulu?  At least when the scream “do you know what time it is!!” I’ll know the answer.

    • #22
  23. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    RPD:

    Well, here in EasternTimeland I would have to get used to my working hours being 0230-1000 with lunch at high 0700. I suppose I’d get used to it eventually. Now where do I find a chart to see if they’re awake or not in Tokyo, Berlin, or Honolulu? At least when the scream “do you know what time it is!!” I’ll know the answer.

     That’s actually an important point.  Under the existing (aka “sane”) system, you have some idea of the current daylight wake/sleep cycle at a locale based on their reported time.  If we would go with the modified Yglesias system (aka “stupid”), there would be no cues for people who are in different parts of the globe as to the current condition.

    • #23
  24. CuriousKevmo Member
    CuriousKevmo
    @CuriousKevmo

    He is probably an Outlook use; that might explain his troubles.

    • #24
  25. tabula rasa Member
    tabula rasa
    @tabularasa

    Up next: everyone in the world should be required to work the same hours as Matt Yglesias, no matter where he may be in the world. 

    Maybe he could send out his weekly schedule.  Sorry, Asia.  You folks with be working at night and sleeping during daylight hours. 

    Can’t cause Mr. Y to feel inconvenienced.

    After that, he’ll discover the value of mandatory Esperanto.

    • #25
  26. Xennady Member
    Xennady
    @

    I have an even better idea.

    Why don’t we make it the same time everywhere all the time.

    That way, no one would ever have to worry about what time it was, because it would always be the same time.

    For example, if you needed to schedule a meeting it would go like this:

    Person #1: Let’s have a meeting.

    Person #2: Okay.

    See how easy that was? No need to worry about time at all.

    • #26
  27. Tim H. Member
    Tim H.
    @TimH

    I like that WestJet video.  It remind me of this (unpretty linking…done from my iPad):
    http://deadhomersociety.com/2011/08/24/quote-of-the-day-889/

    • #27

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