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Tell me what you would like to ban, and I will tell you who you are. It occurred to me that a book of the ten things that a hundred intellectuals would like to ban would be very revealing. — Theodore Dalrymple
I’m uncertain if I qualify as an intellectual, but since Dalrymple has tossed down a gauntlet that few people will pick up, I’ll propose some bans. For the record, if I were suddenly made Philosopher-King of the world, I wouldn’t ban these things. Neither would I vote to ban them, should some deranged polity vote me in as their representative. These are less public policy proposals than pure personal dislike. Please, jump in with the same spirit.
1) Reality TV. I realize that it’s popular to watch people strip-mine their own lives, but it tends to bring out the worst in the stars and their fans.
2) Twitter. It can indeed do some good in breaking news, but more people use it to organize angry mobs. It generates more heat than light.
3) Cliche-ridden prose. Whenever someone says they want government out of the bedroom, ask if it’s okay for a man to beat a woman, provided it’s in a bedroom. Say what you actually mean, not what approximates what you sort of think you mean.
4) Satirical Websites that try to pass for real news. There’s way too much craziness in the world without people getting riled-up over jokes. The human capacity for outrage is limited, and every drop of anger wasted on a fake news story is a drop that can’t be channeled towards a legitimate outrage.
5) Vodka. If you’re going to get drunk, then you need to taste something. Besides, vodka is commie juice and we beat them. Go bourbon.
6) Drive-thru fast food. I totally get being too lazy to cook. But at least get out of the car. Park it, and then walk ten yards to get your supersized McHeartattack.
7) Crummy RSS feeds. I’m a fan of my Really Simple Syndication reader: I can keep up with everything authors write. But some websites (*cough*) National Review and Patheos (*cough*) tweak their feeds so you need to click through to the site to read the whole article. I’m still subscribe to NR Digital, but if you’re going to jerk around someone who wants to read everything you write, then I ain’t donating.
8) Economists. I’m pretty sure that economics is roughly on par with astrology: they both use math, and they both claim to predict the future, but it’s mostly all guesswork. Left-of-center economists were glaringly wrong when they predicted that the Obama stimulus would drop unemployment down to normal levels quickly. Right-of-center economists were glaringly wrong when they predicted that the aforementioned stimulus would cause mass inflation. It’s all hogwash. Microeconomics might be a science, but macroeconomics is theology.
9) The Oscars. They’re too skewed to the present. We shouldn’t give a movie an award till it’s at least ten years old.
10) Listicles. They encourage bad writing. A good article ought to be carefully crafted, with a beginning, middle, and end. Listicles ruin it. They’re easy on the reader and too easy on the writer.
Okay, Ricochetti, what would you ban?