Weekly Roundup: Payton’s Piece Of Mind And The Bigoted Bike Shop Edition

“Sampling has turned Hiphop into the deformed child of a mother who’s been fucked by her own son.” Not what you’d expect to read in a modern music-review thinkpiece, but with Nicholas Payton it’s more or less par for the course. Payton, who along with Roy Hargrove was promoted as a “young lion” of a revitalized traditional jazz thirty years ago, has long since gone his own way, and chosen his own opinion, about everything from his record label (he’s self-published now, because he doesn’t want to hear other opinions) to his take on the “N-word” (it is related somehow to the Sanskrit naga, which means snake, so if you are Black then saying the word is a sort of prayer, or spiritual self-activation).

Some of Payton’s written work proved even too hot for a self-employed musician to handle, but you can still find it on archive.org, most of it related to Robin Thicke and the “Blurred Lines” lawsuits with Marvin Gaye’s estate. I assume that at some point some attorney told him that repeatedly offering an opinion that differed from the one published by the trial court, and being rather personally offensive with it, was going to get him sued next.

Nicholas Payton hates me — not me personally mind you, but me as a generic idea, a German-American human being and jazz fan. He doesn’t think “jazz” exists, preferring to include it in his umbrella of #BAM (Black American Music). And he doesn’t think whites have any business listening to or playing it. In fact, he’s kind of down on the whole idea of white people. I can only imagine what he would think if he walked in on my and my son practicing the Metheny and Pastorius parts of “Bright Size Life”. Something along the lines of “two crackers stealing the music of two other crackers who stole the music,” most likely. And yet I have no trouble buying his music, reading what he writes, and supporting his efforts in general. I’m not going to apply a litmus test of political and personal conformity to everyone with whom I do business. That would be insane.

Not everyone feels that way, of course.

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Weekly Roundup: Not Up For Debate Edition

Do you suppose that there was a single voter in all of the United States who changed his (or her) mind about anything after watching the Vice-Presidential debate? Why, it’s almost too ridiculous to consider such a prospect. This wasn’t a true debate, any more than the Presidential one that preceded it was a debate. It was a gladiatorial contest, a football game, a NASCAR race — all the things that boil down to My Tribe Vs. Your Tribe. A fly landed on Mike Pence’s hair. This was very bad, and suggested that Pence was a robot or possibly a human garbage dump. (When it happened to Mrs. Clinton in 2016, the same sources said it was an auspicious sign of emotion.) Oh, and Pence also interrupted Harris quite a bit, yet Harris managed to pull off the trick of speaking for longer than her opponent. Who knows how that was done?

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Weekly Roundup: Folded, Spindled, Mutilated Edition

To the unpleasantries of September — contentious and unsatisfying club races, difficulties in getting my Radical prepped for the track, some coward lobbing libelous Molotovs at my employment from (what might turn out to not be) complete anonymity — I can now add a long, jagged fracture of the right fibula, sustained at Austin’s Walnut Creek Trails this past Tuesday. On my warm-up lap. I cleared three jumps on a borrowed Specialized P3 then promptly earned myself a two-month sit-down in the final turn.

Since I was in Austin for the primary purpose of reviewing the new Rolls-Royce Ghost, I stuck around for two days and did my job, walking on the ankle while telling myself not to be a you-know-what about it. This probably increased the difficulty of the repair to come, but I have a great young surgeon who trained with the fellow who fixed my left tibia in 2015 — who, in turn, trained with the fellow who did my femur nail in 1988 and who recently jammed some plasma into my right knee. I’ll be able to ride much of the indoor skatepark season and if I do all my therapy well I should be able to hit the big jumps at Snowshoe when they open in May.

This is going to hurt a little bit, of course, but if you know me then you know what really hurts is the loss of time.

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Weekly Roundup: 1994’s Gift That Will Never Stop Giving Edition

In 1985, this country encountered something new: a trade deficit with China. It was just six million dollars. In 1994, President Bill Clinton ignored criticism from his own party to renew China’s Most Favored Nation trade status, citing the eight billion dollars’ worth of export business this country did with China. He tactfully failed to mention the thirty-nine billion dollars’ worth of goods we imported, for a net deficit of thirty billion dollars. And then we were off to the races, as government policies under the Clinton, Bush, and Obama Administrations made it a no-brainer for American companies to outsource their manufacturing and technical operations overseas. That deficit doubled, then doubled again, within the first ten years after Clinton’s decision. It peaked in 2018 at a staggering $418 billion before dropping to $345 billion in 2019. We are currently on track for a 2020 trade deficit of $279 billion, the lowest figure since 2009.

Last year, I tried like hell to build a “dirt jumper” bike without Chinese parts. I spent nearly five thousand dollars sourcing a frame from Ann Arbor, rims from Grand Rapids, titanium crank components from Florida, brakes from Japan. In a few cases, notably tires and tubes, I had no choice other than Taiwanese-sourced items. Taiwan is Chinese but it’s not Chinese, I suppose. The front fork, made by Fox, was largely Taiwanese thanks to the company’s recent decision to move all production to that island. Having painstakingly researched my way out of mainland China, I then built the bike… only to see “Made In China” on a wheel bearing.

The American Giant hooded sweatshirt, pictured above in the Black Camo limited edition I was too slow to buy in 2018, is entirely sourced in the United States. Every single part. But it’s a sweatshirt. If you get any more complex than that, you will find that Chinese manufacturing, like the COVID-19 virus, is impossible to completely avoid. Bicycles are not complex machines by any modern standard, but you can’t build one without buying from China. This should have worried all of us, but with the exception of yahoos like your humble author it did not. Our media told us to accept globalization as an inevitable thing, even as they told us we could help the climate of the entire planet by buying “sustainable” clothing that just happened to be made in China.

The cracks in this Tower of Babel are starting to show. Ironically, bicycles are leading the way.

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Weekly Roundup: A Society At The Hammer Event Horizon Misgenders A Nail Edition

It’s called Dutch disease, although you might know it as the Shoe Event Horizon. It’s apparently possible for one sector of an economy to become so overheated that it is no longer economically feasible to work in another sector of the economy. This is already true in a very limited sense for certain aspects of the United States, most notably with regards to choice of careers at certain intelligence levels: if you are above 99th percentile but not quite in the 99.9999 percentile, the absolute best occupation for you is in finance, more specifically in trading. Second-year associates at Goldman Sachs can earn $350k a year, which is more than the average oncologist in his prime — and the compensation only goes up from there. Therefore, you’re literally throwing money away if you’re smart enough to work at GS but don’t, unless you are so smart that you can easily invent and produce something more valuable on your own. The problem is that not every 1-in-a-thousand fellow can find a job in the business; that would require employing 20,000 new graduates a year in perpetuity. So a lot of smart people target finance and then fail, which leaves them unprepared to enter other fields where knowledgeable new prospects would be welcome, from manufacturing to medicine.

Don’t confuse “Dutch disease”, a term coined by The Economist and which refers to a specific economic situation in the Netherlands during the 1920s, with Dutch elm disease. Turns out that “Dutch Elm Disease” originally came from China, the same way that the Emerald Ash Borer originally came from China. It was called “Dutch elm disease” because it killed Dutch elms. There’s quite a history of Occidental trees and people experiencing some unpleasantness thanks to various unwanted Chinese imports; in addition to the above-named disorders, we have the now-omnipresent Brown Marmorated Stink Bug and the Northern Snakehead and the Asian citrus bug and… can you think of another recent biological invader from China? Not H1N1… not SARS… not H7N9… not the “Asian Flu” of 1956… not the “Hong Kong Flu”… of 1968… oh, that’s right! It’s COVID-19, which is this year’s killer disease from Asia, er, the latest global virus of completely mysterious origin.

No doubt you’ve been told how important it is that we not associate COVID-19 with China in any way, shape, or form. It’s also possible you’ve heard the opinion of WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who recently told a panel of Geneva reporters that “Stigma, to be honest, is more dangerous than the virus itself. Let’s really underline that. Stigma is the most dangerous enemy…”. In fact, for every person who appears to be working on either countermeasures or a cure for COVID-19, there are a hundred, or perhaps a thousand, maybe a million, people who are insistently alerting us to the greater dangers posed by stigma… or racist disparities in virus effects and treatment… or climate change. This is obviously far from a productive state of affairs — not since the last Super Bowl has the ratio of (useless-people-bloviating-from-their-couches)-to-(properly-trained-people-attempting-to-accomplish-something) been this high. How did we get here? More specifically, why are we spending so much time talking about racism and bias and climate change when there is a deadly disease sweeping around the world?

Turns out we have a little Dutch Disease of our own. Call it the Hammer Event Horizon, whydontcha?

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Weekly Roundup: Not Max Mosley’s Kind Of Nazi Pornography Edition

We have a shortage of everything in this country right now, apparently — the gun stores are sold out, the pharmacies aren’t picking up the phone, and the toilet-paper shelves are empty — but most of all, there appears to be a desperate shortage of… Nazis. You wouldn’t think this is the case, given the rate at which the definition of “Nazi” is being ratcheted down. In 1932, it meant someone who was a member of the NSDAP. By 1941 it meant “pretty much any German”. By 2016 it meant voting for Trump. A year later, it meant making the highly offensive and racist suggestion that it was okay to be white. In 2020, “Nazi” has been expanded to mean “would vote for Biden over Sanders”.

At this point, by my count, at least 65% of the country might be Nazis. Possibly more than that. Some of them are, apparently, black. You could be a Nazi right now and not even know it — until you are called out as such, which is one of those accusations which cannot be effectively refuted, even if you’re related to someone who actually tried to kill Hitler.

As many Nazis as we currently have in America, however, the demand is still exceeding the supply. How else can you explain the recent, and profoundly, disturbing fetish the mainstream media has developed for Nazi pornography?

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(Last) Weekly Roundup: The Plural Of Trash Anecdote Is Garbage Data Edition

The Internet got pretty excited last week about a piece entitled COVID-19: Evidence Over Hysteria, written by former Mitt Romney staffer and “Silicon Valley growth hacker” Aaron Ginn. The article went, ahem, viral because it said a lot of things that people desperately wanted to hear, whether they are true or not. The ensuing backlash was fairly weapons-grade and it came from a lot of people with letters after their names so the article was unpersoned by Medium and banished to the Internet ghetto of ZeroHedge, which is where you can read it at the above link.

I don’t know enough to say whether or not Ginn is right — but I am also fairly sure that Ginn also doesn’t know enough to say whether he is right. My purpose here isn’t to discuss the article, but rather to suggest that much of the world is being run into the ground by people like Ginn thanks to what I can only characterize as a shared and immensely powerful delusion. Let’s call it the fake law of isomorphic data, or “Ginn’s Law” for the moment.

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Weekly Roundup: I Believe It… Even If It Is Not True Edition

As the kids say nowadays, I’m “still processing” the responses to last week’s distracted-driving column. A surprising number of the commenters appear to have an opinion which roughly boils down to: There’s no statistical support for the idea that texting-and-driving is as bad as drunk driving — in fact, it appears to be nightmarishly more dangerous to do the latter than the former — but in my Secret King feelingsverse I still think that texting is just totally the worst thing ever and I won’t hear any argument to the contrary. It doesn’t matter that my statistics are coming straight from the NHTSA, which is currently trying to use “distracted driving” as something between a cause celebre and a reason to implement a draconian new raft of privacy-destroying regulations. And it doesn’t matter that those statistics show distracted driving to be more of a nuisance than a deadly epidemic. These commenters just know that cellphones are turning the American highway into a bloodbath, and they won’t accept any opinion to the contrary.

In other words, just like the narrator of Miike Snow’s “Cult Logic” — they believe it, even if it is not true.

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Weekly Roundup: That’s Not Very Cash Money Of You Edition

One of our most, ah, energetic commenters accused us here at Riverside Green of “staying silent” on the Jamal Khashoggi “situation”. I am not certain why he thought I should write something on the topic. At least forty-five journalists were killed in 2018, including the four killed by Jarrod Ramos in the United States earlier this year. (As seems to be the usual practice nowadays, Ramos was demoted to white after the fact.) Approximately 150 journalists have been killed since I started this site, and never have I written a word about any of them.

After reading a bit about Mr. Khashoggi and his likely fate, however, I thought that it might be worth a few words to discuss just how oddly, and perfectly, the situation serves as synecdoche for many of the issues currently occupying the national conversation. None of this is meant to be conclusive; please feel free to offer your opinions below, whether you agree or disagree with me.

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Weekly Roundup: Oceania Has Always Been At War With Sheryl Sandberg Edition

“Truly,” I wrote last year regarding one of my favorite billionaires, “it would be impossible for Mrs. Sandberg to have a tragedy now. Her money is permanent, immutable, too powerful to wither in her lifetime.” Turns out I was wrong. Because what is money, what is power, what is permanent #Blessed status, if you are declared a nonperson by the Deep State and all its tentacular appendages?

Today was the day that Ms. Sandberg became a nonperson, courtesy of a New York Times hit piece that ran yesterday and was immediately echoed everywhere from Vanity Fair to the Post to the Atlantic. “Sheryl’s Facebook Disaster,” brays one article; “Sheryl, We’re Revoking Your Mensch Card” bleats another. CNBC openly called for her dismissal today, as if she were some sullen Starbucks barista who had been caught spitting in Rachel Maddow’s soy latte. Yet I wasn’t completely certain that Sheryl was about to disappear from history like one of Stalin’s disgraced associates until I read that Jezebel had hit her with what I call the “George Zimmerman”: “Sandberg has built her personal brand on a particularly aggravating strain of capitalist-empowerment feminism, one that is built for rich white women…” Emphasis is mine. As long as she was identified by the press as Jewish, as was almost always the case in the past, I figured she had a chance — but the minute the media demoted her to Wypipo it was Game Over. Those whom the media gods would destroy, they first make white.

After today, Sheryl will still be unimaginably rich. She will not lose her home, her remaining family, her permanent ability to do as she likes and to pass that distorting wealth unto the seventh generation and beyond. But she will no longer be welcome in The American Conversation. What happened?

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