Event Horizon

This week on America’s Most Trustworthy Podcast®, we talk about the meaning of the word “spying” and try to determine exactly what the definition is. Then, a bracing and brilliant discussion on reparations with the great Shelby Steele, who unlike most candidates for President, actually knows something about it. Then, our long time amigo Arthur Brooks calls in to talk about his new book, Love Your Enemies; How Decent People Can Save America from the Culture of Contempt. Actually, come to think of it, we really don’t like Arthur. Finally, some thoughts on the newly photographed Black Hole, and tomorrow is Record Store Day and to celebrate, we asked the hosts what the first record they ever bought was. What was yours? Tell us in the comments.

Music from this week’s show: Supermassive Black Hole by Muse

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There are 121 comments.

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  1. Kephalithos Member

    The monocle seems to be the one fashion accessory hipsters haven’t yet resurrected.

    I wonder why . . .

    • #1
    • April 12, 2019, at 2:57 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  2. kylez Member

    It’s amazing to think some Democrats are so stupid they think slavery reparations is going to help them defeat Donald Trump.

    • #2
    • April 12, 2019, at 3:26 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  3. Percival Thatcher

    The Clinton Campaign paid money for the outline to a rotten spy novel, the FBI represented it as the basis for spying on a political campaign in court under oath, and those responsible need to be made an example of to dissuade those who come after from countenancing or even contemplating doing so in the future.

    I don’t care who might be president. If you can’t color within the lines, we’re going to take away the crayons.

    • #3
    • April 12, 2019, at 3:56 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  4. GrannyDude Member

    Gentlemen! Here is my question for ya: my children are descended from at least one black American woman. My first husband’s great-great-great(?) grandmother, she was the daughter of a slave and possibly a slave in childhood herself. She grew up and married a poor Scots-Irish sharecropper or small-farmer sometime before the Civil War. 

    Since her African genes were injected into the line of a white family, this clearly is not a case of southern droit du seigneur. That’s a bit of a narrative-buster in itself, but in any case, what was once a matter of fascinating family lore has more recently been confirmed by genetic testing. 

    I might think my first husband’s family was unusual, except that my second husband, too—tho’ lily white and supposedly Dutch— has a large dollop of African ancestry. In his case it is spiced up with a bit of Surinamsk native; there were black slaves in Surinam/Dutch Guiana, dragged over the seas by the Dutch West India company to work in the sugar fields. Surely my husband’s great…great…great granny wasn’t the only one who married a Dutchman and settled down to have kids with him? 

     Given human nature and the amply-proven (thanks, 23&Me!) tendency of persons to merrily mix and match race-wise, I should think that there are plenty of white Americans who could, in theory, be standing in line with their hands out when the reparations get distributed. If it is all about the bad stuff that happened to your ancestors and not about anything bad that has happened to you…what would prevent my kids and stepkids from getting in on that action? 

     

    • #4
    • April 12, 2019, at 4:08 PM PDT
    • 10 likes
  5. Percival Thatcher

    If there is a Grand Final Settlement, whatever will the current cadre of race hustlers do? Gotta have a gig.

    • #5
    • April 12, 2019, at 4:14 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  6. OccupantCDN Coolidge

    kylez (View Comment):

    It’s amazing to think some Democrats are so stupid they think slavery reparations is going to help them defeat Donald Trump.

    They’re clearly worried about their base in the black communities. Trump sparked the conversation in 2016, “What do you have to loose? Forget are you better off than you where 4 years ago? Is your community better off than it was 40 years ago?” I think a lot of black communities can examine themselves, and find that they are not.

    268 buildings where destroyed in the Watts Riots in 1965. I would be interested to know how many have been re-built or have new buildings on those lots?

    • #6
    • April 12, 2019, at 4:54 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  7. Full Size Tabby Member

    GrannyDude (View Comment):
    She grew up and married a poor Scots-Irish sharecropper or small-farmer sometime before the Civil War. 

    I expect there’s a lot of that. There is much in common between white Appalatian culture and large segments of American Black culture because they lived the same life next door to each other. It would surprise me if they didn’t get together, marry each other, and produce children together. 

    • #7
    • April 12, 2019, at 4:55 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  8. Michael Minnott Member

    My first record was Glenn Campbell’s Rhinestone Cowboy. I had it on 45, which I played daily on my Fisher-Price record player. My family always knew what time I woke up when they’d hear that opening piano riff.

     

    • #8
    • April 12, 2019, at 5:06 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  9. kedavis Member

    GrannyDude (View Comment):

    Gentlemen! Here is my question for ya: my children are descended from at least one black American woman. My first husband’s great-great-great(?) grandmother, she was the daughter of a slave and possibly a slave in childhood herself. She grew up and married a poor Scots-Irish sharecropper or small-farmer sometime before the Civil War.

    Since her African genes were injected into the line of a white family, this clearly is not a case of southern droit du seigneur. That’s a bit of a narrative-buster in itself, but in any case, what was once a matter of fascinating family lore has more recently been confirmed by genetic testing.

    Given human nature and the amply-proven (thanks, 23&Me!) tendency of persons to merrily mix and match race-wise, I should think that there are plenty of white Americans who could, in theory, be standing in line with their hands out when the reparations get distributed. If it is all about the bad stuff that happened to your ancestors and not about anything bad that has happened to you…what would prevent my kids and stepkids from getting in on that action?

    Considering the meme/trope/whatever that all humanity evolved from Africa, doesn’t that mean that ALL people ALREADY have African genes regardless of intermarriage etc?

    (The race-hustlers shouldn’t look at that too closely though, or start bragging, since evolution is generally considered to be a process of improvement.)

    • #9
    • April 12, 2019, at 5:32 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  10. kedavis Member

    It’s a shame Stephen Hawking didn’t live long enough to see the black hole images,

    • #10
    • April 12, 2019, at 5:33 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  11. GrannyDude Member

    kedavis (View Comment):
    (The race-hustlers shouldn’t look at that too closely though, or start bragging, since evolution is generally considered to be a process of improvement.)

    No, it’s not. Evolution is a process of adapting (or failing to adapt) to the environment. In no sense is a pinniped an “improvement” over Puijila, though doubtless your average harbor seal thinks she’s the point of the whole, bazillion-year enterprise. 

    • #11
    • April 12, 2019, at 6:27 PM PDT
    • Like
  12. Al Sparks Thatcher

    Regarding Rob’s comments on black holes, the whole field of astronomy is like that. It’s interesting, but has no practical day to day impact on our lives. The two exceptions are the sun (life giving heat and light) and the moon (ocean tides).

    I could not see dedicating my professional life to that field.

    • #12
    • April 12, 2019, at 6:41 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  13. Al Sparks Thatcher

    I’m a fan of Shelby Steele, though his dossier on Russian Collusion was a little much, and it’s unfortunate that it caused so much turmoil.

    I kid.

    I do think that he’s too optimistic regarding race relations, and both he and Thomas Sowell are exceptions that prove the rule.

    I was born the same year as Peter, and though I was not politically, or otherwise aware of my surroundings at the time, I grew up aware that there was some serious racial repression at the time, that included physical intimidation and harm. And as Steele pointed out, it was considered legitimate in areas of the South.

    It remained that way until the late 1960’s before the very serious issues were addressed.

    What I find depressing is the bitter rancor continuing over now trivial issues. And the left tacitly acknowledges that these issues are trivial by referring to them as micro-aggressions. One of the accusations regarding the Covington kids (teenagers) was that one of them “smirked”. By the way, that trivial issue was included in the Kavanaugh hearings as well.

    This is an indication on how invested many people are in the rancorous racial status quo.

    • #13
    • April 12, 2019, at 7:14 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  14. James Lileks Contributor

    Al Sparks (View Comment):
    Regarding Rob’s comments on black holes, the whole field of astronomy is like that. It’s interesting, but has no practical day to day impact on our lives. The two exceptions are the sun (life giving heat and light) and the moon (ocean tides).

    How about the ability to detect asteroids heading our way, so we can send up Bruce Willis?

    • #14
    • April 12, 2019, at 7:16 PM PDT
    • 11 likes
  15. filmklassik Member

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    Al Sparks (View Comment):
    Regarding Rob’s comments on black holes, the whole field of astronomy is like that. It’s interesting, but has no practical day to day impact on our lives. The two exceptions are the sun (life giving heat and light) and the moon (ocean tides).

    How about the ability to detect asteroids heading our way, so we can send up Bruce Willis?

    James, you extemporize as brilliantly as anyone I have ever heard in my life. That whole black hole peroration near the end (in response to Mr. Long)? Stunning.

    • #15
    • April 12, 2019, at 8:39 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  16. kedavis Member

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    Al Sparks (View Comment):
    Regarding Rob’s comments on black holes, the whole field of astronomy is like that. It’s interesting, but has no practical day to day impact on our lives. The two exceptions are the sun (life giving heat and light) and the moon (ocean tides).

    How about the ability to detect asteroids heading our way, so we can send up Bruce Willis?

    So many holes in that movie…

    It was less dramatic, and slightly less successful – part of the big rock did get through – but Deep Impact was far more technologically plausible.

    Although both movies wiped out Paris so at least that’s something.

    • #16
    • April 12, 2019, at 10:44 PM PDT
    • Like
  17. kedavis Member

    Arthur Brooks makes a common mistake regarding oxytocin. Although he says it accurately but apparently just doesn’t quite understand the implication.

    Basically, if you tell someone else a personal story or secret about yourself, YOU have oxytocin released and YOU feel closer to THEM, but it’s really without basis, it’s not a reciprocal relationship, because THEY DON’T have a similar reaction which means THEY DON’T feel any closer to YOU as a result.

    In terms of politics, the feel-gooders such as Mr Brooks seems to be, might “empty their soul” to a lefty and feel all warm and fuzzy as a result. But the lefty doesn’t get oxytocin and so they just look at you like an evil idiot still, same as before.

    The feel-gooder might think they accomplished something, but it’s an illusion.

    • #17
    • April 12, 2019, at 10:48 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  18. kedavis Member

    GrannyDude (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):
    (The race-hustlers shouldn’t look at that too closely though, or start bragging, since evolution is generally considered to be a process of improvement.)

    No, it’s not. Evolution is a process of adapting (or failing to adapt) to the environment. In no sense is a pinniped an “improvement” over Puijila, though doubtless your average harbor seal thinks she’s the point of the whole, bazillion-year enterprise.

    How is adapting to the environment, not improvement?

    Of course, a leftist would think that only becoming more leftist, is “improvement.” A Catholic might think that only becoming more Catholic, is “improvement.” But that’s not objective.

    • #18
    • April 12, 2019, at 11:05 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  19. dicentra Member

    Rob’s first album was The Partridge Family, puka shells and all.

    • #19
    • April 12, 2019, at 11:09 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  20. James Lileks Contributor

    filmklassik (View Comment):
    James, you extemporize as brilliantly as anyone I have ever heard in my life. That whole black hole peroration near the end (in response to Mr. Long)? Stunning.

    Thanks! It was a shorthand version of something I think about whenever these issues arise – whether this universe is a one-off, or one of an infinite number of iterations, whether having a voracious appetite at the center of the galaxy is actual an instrument of renewal, and so forth. If we are alone in this particular iteration, the very act of observing and seeking to explain gives meaning to an indifferent mechanism, and that seems like an important responsibility.

    If we are not alone, our attempts to understand are a mark in our favor.

    • #20
    • April 12, 2019, at 11:11 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  21. Blue Yeti Admin

    dicentra (View Comment):

    Rob’s first album was The Partridge Family, puka shells and all.

    Actually, I asked him and it was Live and Let Die.

    • #21
    • April 12, 2019, at 11:54 PM PDT
    • Like
  22. GrannyDude Member

    kedavis (View Comment):

    GrannyDude (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):
    (The race-hustlers shouldn’t look at that too closely though, or start bragging, since evolution is generally considered to be a process of improvement.)

    No, it’s not. Evolution is a process of adapting (or failing to adapt) to the environment. In no sense is a pinniped an “improvement” over Puijila, though doubtless your average harbor seal thinks she’s the point of the whole, bazillion-year enterprise.

    t How is adapting to the environment, not improvement?

    Of course, a leftist would think that only becoming more leftist, is “improvement.” A Catholic might think that only becoming more Catholic, is “improvement.” But that’s not objective.

    Ah. Well, I suppose you could describe a better (and better) fit between organism and environment as “improvement,” in a limited and contingent sense. But it isn’t accurate to claim that the modern, Western human is an improvement on the paleolithic hunter-gatherer from an evolutionary point of view anymore than the paleolithic HG was an “improvement” over the primate ancestor thereof. All the theory of evolution really tells us is that our ancestors were adapted enough to their given environments to have survived and reproduced. No less but no more than can be said of my grandmother and yours. Whether our descendents will be able to say as much of us depends on whether they are around to say anything at all, something both my fundamentalist friends and AOC appear to believe is very much in doubt. 

    If the End Is Near and it’s the Rapture, well, God will choose whom He counts as most improved, and His standards are not ours, if Jesus’ characterization of God was anything to go by. “Last shall be first” and all that. 

    If the End is Near and in twelve years human life (according to the prophecy of the wine-swilling, Ikea-shopping AOC) ceases, evolution will continue to sculpt the algae and cockroaches who, among all Ma Nature’s children, would seem to be the most improved of all.

    • #22
    • April 13, 2019, at 6:21 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  23. GrannyDude Member

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    filmklassik (View Comment):
    James, you extemporize as brilliantly as anyone I have ever heard in my life. That whole black hole peroration near the end (in response to Mr. Long)? Stunning.

    Thanks! It was a shorthand version of something I think about whenever these issues arise – whether this universe is a one-off, or one of an infinite number of iterations, whether having a voracious appetite at the center of the galaxy is actual an instrument of renewal, and so forth. If we are alone in this particular iteration, the very act of observing and seeking to explain gives meaning to an indifferent mechanism, and that seems like an important responsibility.

    If we are not alone, our attempts to understand are a mark in our favor.

    And/or an expression of what is meant by “in the image of God.” 

     

    • #23
    • April 13, 2019, at 6:23 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  24. Stephen Richter Member

    how lame were republicans in Congress that they could not expose the baselessness of the collusion case for the 2 years they held the majority? The country went into the 2018 elections thinking Mueller must have had something. Why did Trump not press to get everything released before the election?

     

    • #24
    • April 13, 2019, at 7:08 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  25. SpiritO'78 Member

    Image result for black hole sun soundgarden

    Rob’s comment about taking a selfie as the black hole pulls everything in reminded me of that Soundgarden video “Black Hole Sun”

    • #25
    • April 13, 2019, at 7:53 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  26. Al Sparks Thatcher

    kedavis (View Comment):
    In terms of politics, the feel-gooders such as Mr Brooks seems to be, might “empty their soul” to a lefty and feel all warm and fuzzy as a result. But the lefty doesn’t get oxytocin and so they just look at you like an evil idiot still, same as before.

    I’ve not read much of Brooks’s stuff, and haven’t read his latest offering. He appeared on Jonah Goldberg’s podcast, The Remnant, and the roughly hour long discussion with him was one of The Remnant’s poorer efforts. Jonah didn’t have much to work with.

    What I’m saying is that based on these two interviews, Brooks’s book is fairly shallow, and doesn’t contribute much originality or influence to the public discourse.

    Brooks’s talent, as long time president of The American Enterprise Institute, is probably fund raising and the metaphorical herding of cats (or the fellows of the institute he heads) that such a job requires.

    His own effort at writing is subpar compared to the members of that institute.

    He’s an influential man. But he’ll never have a large influence from his writing. He should stick to his knitting.

    • #26
    • April 13, 2019, at 8:24 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  27. Penfold Member

    First album: a 45 of “Rubber Duckie” from Sesame Street sung by Ernie (Jim Henson). The B side was “The Sesame Street Song”. I bought it in an actual record store, Musicland. Remember record stores? Can you hear the pride in my voice? 

    • #27
    • April 13, 2019, at 9:48 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  28. Samuel Block Member

    Blue Yeti (View Comment):

    dicentra (View Comment):

    Rob’s first album was The Partridge Family, puka shells and all.

    Actually, I asked him and it was Live and Let Die.

    So, of the three, Robinson was the one whose first record was a Rock ‘n’ Roll album? Awesome.

    • #28
    • April 13, 2019, at 12:30 PM PDT
    • Like
  29. Al Sparks Thatcher

    Samuel Block (View Comment):

    Blue Yeti (View Comment):

    dicentra (View Comment):

    Rob’s first album was The Partridge Family, puka shells and all.

    Actually, I asked him and it was Live and Let Die.

    So, of the three, Robinson was the one whose first record was a Rock ‘n’ Roll album? Awesome.

    Paul McCartney and Wings was Rock and Roll? Who knew? Even McCartney downplays that period of his artistic life.

    • #29
    • April 13, 2019, at 1:22 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  30. kedavis Member

    GrannyDude (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    GrannyDude (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):
    (The race-hustlers shouldn’t look at that too closely though, or start bragging, since evolution is generally considered to be a process of improvement.)

    No, it’s not. Evolution is a process of adapting (or failing to adapt) to the environment. In no sense is a pinniped an “improvement” over Puijila, though doubtless your average harbor seal thinks she’s the point of the whole, bazillion-year enterprise.

    t How is adapting to the environment, not improvement?

    Of course, a leftist would think that only becoming more leftist, is “improvement.” A Catholic might think that only becoming more Catholic, is “improvement.” But that’s not objective.

    Ah. Well, I suppose you could describe a better (and better) fit between organism and environment as “improvement,” in a limited and contingent sense. But it isn’t accurate to claim that the modern, Western human is an improvement on the paleolithic hunter-gatherer from an evolutionary point of view anymore than the paleolithic HG was an “improvement” over the primate ancestor thereof. All the theory of evolution really tells us is that our ancestors were adapted enough to their given environments to have survived and reproduced. No less but no more than can be said of my grandmother and yours. ….

    But adaptation to more than just the natural environment, can also be improvement. It’s about reproduction, after all. Someone who is wealthy can reproduce better.

    • #30
    • April 13, 2019, at 3:25 PM PDT
    • 1 like
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