Postmodernism and Her Babies

by baldilocks

Originally posted with a different title on September 22, 2013 at my old blog.

I notice patterns, more so now than back when I was a young woman–likely because my head was filled with fruitless things with which, all too often, young, single women occupy themselves. It was too crowded in there. Too bad. The ability to recognize patterns could have done me some good back then, both professionally and personally. But, it was what it was. And now, the patterns of life are pretty much all I think about. Allow me to expound on at least one.

Many people subscribe to subjective truth–that each person possesses his/her own truth that may be different from another individual’s truth and I have noticed how normalized this way of thinking has become.

Not long ago, I had a conversation with a man, a friend of a friend, on the definition of earning money. For whatever reason, he thought that any money that a person legally possessed was automatically earned–that legal possession and earning were synonymous. We went back and forth about this until I put forth the following scenario: a man is walking down a street and sees a dollar on the sidewalk. He picks it up and puts it in his pocket. Is it legally his? We agreed that it was. But did he earn it? I’d like to think I won the argument. But I found it alarming that, somehow, the gentleman I was talking to–a reasonably intelligent man–had bound up earning and the legal possession in his mind.

Then there was another conversation with another person about the ethnicity of Jesus the Christ. This lady was adamant that Jesus in the flesh was not a “white European” in the manner in which He is often rendered. I agreed, but in the conversation, the passage in The Revelation describing Jesus’ hair was cited. Here it is:

His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow

–Revelation 1:14 (KJV, emphasis mine)

The lady contended that this passage was describing the texture of His hair; that it was like wool, and, therefore concluded that Jesus was “black.” When I countered that the passage only described the color of His hair and nothing about the texture, she said that I wasn’t “interpreting” the passage correctly. This particular conversation did not end as hopefully as the previous one. (As for Jesus’ “race,” I am…ahem…agnostic on the subject. Moreover, I don’t think it matters.)

But whatever one thinks about the truth of the Bible or the proper translation from its original languages into English, it’s fascinating to note that even an English description of a thing is open to “interpretation” in the minds of some; that an explicit mention of a color has many meanings outside of its scope.

And, by fascinating, I mean scary.

I don’t think this type of thinking is an anomaly and I certainly don’t think that the widespread inculcation of this type of thinking is accidental.

A few years back, I coined the term Coconut Treatment. It didn’t catch on but it’s still useful for the purpose of recognizing this particular pattern:

Take a coconut, slice it in half, scoop out the meat from both halves and toss the meat—the substance–into the garbage disposal. Then take a pile of dog manure that Fido deposited into your yard, fill both halves of the coconut shells with it and glue the halves back together. What do you have now?

A “coconut.”

This is what has happened to words and concepts in the minds of many and it is the fruit of primary, secondary, and collegiate education also known as the Great Dumbing Down. The fruit has been emptied of its nutrients and then painted over or glued back together and called “fruit.” At some point, individual words and concepts became subjective. That is, they became fluid and not set in stone. My old blog friend, Jeff Goldstein, had a series of posts at his old blog on this phenomenon, and a lot of people didn’t get that he was talking about this very thing.

(I was going to say that the idea of subjective definition is more common among those with bachelor degrees or higher, but, in the past few years, I’ve noticed that many who don’t have much formal education also subscribe to the notion. The difference between the two groups is this: the latter are less likely to believe in subjective meaning and, even those who do will shake off this idea once it is pointed out and explained. The former tend to be too well indoctrinated.)

Being one of those with less formal education, I had long observed this phenomenon, but until I read Jeff’s intentionalism series, I didn’t know how to articulate it. Then, [in a long ago] Sunday Morning Book Thread at Ace’s place, OregonMuse, the book thread master, added to my informal education by posting the following

Postmodernism is a complex of concepts that asserts that all our constructs are just that, constructs; that there are no grand narratives or abiding truths; that all such grand narratives are illegitimate power moves; and that every perspective is necessarily a limited and local one.

and said, jokingly, that

One year of free AoSHQ Premium content goes to the first [person] who spots the giant logical hole in this worldview.

So, being insufficiently indoctrinated with the Coconut Treatment, I was the first one to point out the hole.

According to postmodern logic, postmodernism itself is a construct and, therefore, limited and local.

And, of course, that means that postmodernism, itself, is false, illegitimate and a mere power move, by the postmodern narrative’s own logic.

I started writing this post weeks ago [sic], and, after reading OregonMuse’s post, it occurred to me that postmodernism is the very fecund parent of subjective definition. Oh, I’m know that I’m not the first person to come to this conclusion, but, keep these things in mind: I have only a two-year degree and, what little I do know and think about comes from volitional reading, observation and from thinking ideas through to the end. (I had heard of postmodernism, but whenever I began to read anything written by its adherents, my eyes began to close.)

Something else that occurred to me about postmodernism, besides its logical fallaciousness, is that its advent has been long predicted. Speaking of the perilous times in the Last Days, Paul in his second letter to his protégé, Timothy, writes this:

But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.

–2 Timothy 3:13 (KJV, emphasis mine)

Lying and being lied to.

Postmodernists like to make their written offerings seemingly complicated, but such are really quite simple, and I mean that in both senses.

It is but one big gigantic lie, negating itself even. Above, I likened postmodernism to a mother with countless children and those who read the Bible know who the father is. Subjective truth and definition? The Lie-baby.

It’s up to each individual to see the lies for what they are, to shake off the indoctrination.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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The creation of media bias

By Christopher Harper

While taking an online course created by the University of Texas and the Knight Foundation, I hoped to learn more about reporting on the Covid-19 crisis.

Instead, I got an informative look at the creation and propagation of media bias throughout the world.

Had the class involved only a few students, the result would have been a small group of individuals subjected to an anti-Trump bias. Instead, nearly 10,000 people from countries throughout the world received examples of how NOT to report.

The instructor, science reporter Maryn McKenna, barely cloaked her bias throughout the four-week class.

In the first week, the class got the bias of writer Sonia Shah.

“[W]hat really surprised me about the way this pandemic is unfolding is the huge political failure in the United States. I think that really was not expected. You know, I think we’ve all been kind of confused about the U.S. response and, you know, the political moment we’re in where we have all of these right-wing populist leaders around the world,” she opined.

That would run counter to recent studies that found the U.S. lockdown may have saved 60 million Americans from contracting the disease.

In the second week, the class read one of the instructor’s articles in The New Republic, an avowedly leftist publication, entitled “The Plague Years: How the rise of right-wing nationalism is jeopardizing the world’s health.” 

“Nationalism, xenophobia, the new right-wing populism in Europe and the United States, are raising our risk,” said Ronald Klain, who was the White House Ebola response coordinator for President Barack Obama, told her. 

The article is a classic example of confirmation bias, where she sought out sources to confirm her beliefs.

In the third week, the instructor blamed President Trump and Fox News for saying hydroxychloroquine might help people to recover from Covid-19. Her criticism was based on a study that has been subsequently found to have had numerous errors. See https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/04/health/coronavirus-hydroxychloroquine.html

McKenna also highlighted an obvious piece of propaganda from a student from China:

“China’s President Xi Jinping…pledged to make any potential vaccine developed by China a ‘global public good’ once it was put into use. This move would be China’s contribution to achieving accessibility and affordability of a vaccine in developing countries as well.”

Moreover, the instructor makes a particular point to forecast that it would take 10 to 15 years to discover a vaccine.

Then the coup de grace in the final week. In rapid succession, the instructor interviewed the head of the CDC under Obama, who criticized the current U.S. policies. But, ahem, she failed to ask him about Obama’s and his failures during the H1N1 pandemic.

Then, you can’t make this stuff up, came fiction writer Annalee Newitz.

“We’re seeing our political institutions become more unstable. We’re seeing environmental problems exacerbated as regulations over environmental waste. We’re seeing more problems around climate change because environmental regulations are being relaxed during these difficult times. … We’re facing starvation in California, even though we have plenty of food, but lots of people are now undernourished and malnourished and aren’t able to eat,” Newitz told the instructor, who didn’t question this nonsense.

Famine?

I repeatedly tried to contact the instructor, who apparently ignored my emails.

One of the organizers, University of Texas professor Rosental Alves, responded to my complaints.  

Alves said: “This is the only complaint I have received from anyone among the nearly 9,000 people registered in this MOOC. It’s also the first time I’ve received a political bias complaint since I started our distance learning program for journalists 17 years ago. I will look into it.” 

I’ve heard nothing more.

I declined my certificate of completion of the class on reporting about Covid-19. Instead, I might ask for a certificate in watching media bias unfold to nearly 10,000 people, who, unlike me, may have limited backgrounds in assessing how the media can suborn the truth and propagate the false. 

Dynasty All Time Any Time League Report. AL/NL Division A

The latest in our weekly reports on the Dynasty leagues I play in and run. There are currently two teams open (of 24) in this league and if you have an interest in taking over one of them let me know.

This week we look at the A divisions in both leagues

American League:

1970 Baltimore Orioles 40-29 1st place

Five weeks ago the defending AL Div champion Baltimore was where they were 10 weeks ago in 2nd place but with a recent surge (8-2) they have finally grabbed the top spot in the east. Now that they have it can they hold it?

Heroes: Jim Palmer continues his reign of terror on AL hitters leading the league in ERA, IP K’s and sitting top 3 in 4 other pitching categories, Merv Rettenmund sits 3rd in batting, OBP, hits and Boog Powell’s triple crown numbers .300 15 HR 64 RBI continue to strike fear in the hearts of opposing pitchers

Zeros: Marcelino Lopez has not distinguished himself out of the bullpen as indicated by his 5.12 ERA on a team with a 3.47 team ERA but the real surprise on this list is Brooks Robinson who despite 13 HR & 38 RBI is hitting a mere .188 and whose range factor is the lowest at any infield position on the team.

Wild Cards: Baltimore’s ERA is 2nd in the majors (3.47) thanks to strong starting and excellent defense .989 FPCT 3rd in league and with a .462 Caught stealing percentage running on them is a risky business. All of this leads to a +86 run differential the best in the AL

Coming Attractions: The Orioles have three at home against the slumping 1924 Senators before a quick roadtrip to Anaheim to face the 2002 Angels before a 12 game homestand which starts vs the 2015 Kansas City Royals.

Injury Report: The Orioles remain healthy which might have a lot to do with their steady performance.


1993 Toronto Blue Jays 40-30 1/2 GB 2nd place

Despite a bump in the road following a torrid run the Bluejays remain only 1/2 game out of 1st. Nearing the halfway point of the season it remains to be seen which team will be there over the next few weeks.

Heroes: Rickey Henderson leads the league in walks and stolen bases which is why despite a .235 avg he is 3rd in runs scored. Dwayne Ward 12 saves are 4th in the league but most importantly he has only blown one. Paul Molitor, Roberto Alomar & John Olerud are all hitting .315 or higher with double digit numbers in HR and are all on a pace for 100 RBI & runs.

Zeros: Ed Sprague sits in the dumps at .215 3 HR 25 RBI and an OBP a only .281. While Devon White has managed 11 steals being caught only once with a .228 avg & .310 OB he doesn’t get a lot of chances. But the biggest problem has been Jack Morris whose 1-5 record .388 avg against and astounding 10.46 ERA is the worst in either league for a regular starter.

Wild Cards: Between Henderson, White and Roberto Alomar (13 sb) it’s no wonder that Toronto leads the AL in steals and are 3rd in runs. And with the only turf surface in the AL they’re bound to keep that lead.

Coming Attractions: Toronto finishes their current homestand with 3 vs the 1989 Oakland A’s before heading on the road for 9 1st stop Boston vs the 2013 Redsox then to Detroit for the 1968 Tigers and finishing in DC taking on the 1924 Washington Senators.

Injury Report: All players present and accounted for.


2005 Chicago White Sox 32-40 9 1/2 GB 3rd place

The White Sox Slide has not abated they now find themselves 8 games below .500 and in need of some spark to get themselves back in contention.

Heroes: Mark Buehrle despite a .500 record is making the other guys earn it with a 2.63 ERA and only 23 walks in 123 1/3 innings (best in AL) White the sox have not got to him as much as in the past when Dustin Hermanson gets the ball he does the job (despite a 4.15 ERA) with 12 saves in 13 chances. Paul Konerko’s 21 HR is 2nd best in the AL

Zeros: On a team that’s only hitting .235 Aaron Rowand (.201) and Jose Uribe (.199) are the worst of a bad lot. On the mound Orlando Hernandez remains winless in 11 starts (0-9). That 8.02 ERA .320 avg against and 14 HR in 58 innings might have something to do with it.

Wild Cards: Chicago’s .235 team avg is the worst in the majors, it’s their pitching (4.28 3rd in AL) that’s the reason why they haven’t sunk into oblivion. However while the ERA is good the team is very generous with base stealers 63 of 71 have been successful in swiping a base. Additionally while they are below .500 overall they are over .500 in the division.

Coming Attractions: Chicago is on the road for 3 at Detroit to take on the 1968 Tigers then it’s to Washington to take on the 1924 Senators, the 3rd stop is Kansas City against the 2015 Royals then a critical series in Baltimore vs the 1st place Orioles.

Injury Report: They may not be happy but they’re all healthy.


1998 Oakland A’s 27-43 13 1/2 GB 4th place.

The one consistent in the AL east has been the struggles of the Oakland A’s who simply have not broken out of their early season funk. It’s not too late but the clock is ticking.

Heroes: For the 1st time since I started making the “leader” cards I have a team without a “Hero” in the top 3 of any pitching or hitting category to make a card for them , but in limited duty (43 games) Dave Parker has hit .313 with 4 HR & 13 RBI’s, and despite 4 losses and three blown saves Dennis Eckersley has 13 saves a 1.98 ERA and a WHIP of 0.78.

Zeros: While there is no Oakland A’s worthy of a leader card if I made a card for the most losses Curt Young would qualify currently tied for 3rd in the league thanks to a 7.18 ERA & .314 avg against in 13 starts. Storm Davis is right behind him with a 1-8 record in 13 starts a 5.73 ERA and a .300 avg against.

Wild cards: The biggest shock to A’s fans has been the lack of power. Where they have been signs that both Mark McGuire and Jose Canseso are finally getting out of their funks only the 1924 Washington Senators have hit fewer HR’s than the A’s and only the 2005 Astros have a lower slugging PCT.

Coming Attractions: The A’s are at the start of a 12 game road trip starting with a trip to Canada to case the 1993 Toronto Blue Jays then it’s to Cleveland with for a date with teh 1954 Indians then the heat of Texas to take on the 2010 Rangers and finally out west to Anaheim for a shot at the 2002 Angles.

Injury report: Other than Doug Jennings who is out for the season this is the 1st time that the A’s have not had a player out with injury in a long time.


National League

1955 Brooklyn Dodgers 42-30 1st

After a stint at .500 the Brooklyn Dodgers have put it in gear again 12 games over .500 and 1st place. Are they in a position to run away and repeat. We shall see.

Heroes: The Duke of Flatbush continues to rule in the NL Duke Snyder‘s .314 (8th) 23 HR (2nd) 55 RBI (9th) are all big as are Roy Campanella‘s .303 21 HR (3rd) 64 RB (3rd) who also throws in a range factor of 7.54 behind the plate throwing out a 3rd of people trying to steal. Meanwhile on out of the bullpen Sandy Koufax is 4-0 with a save (and one blown) with a 1.59 ERA a WHIP of 1.06 and a .180 avg against.

Zeros: Jim Hughes has appeared in over 50% of the dodgers games eating 46 2/3 innings out of the pen. Unfortunately that has come with a 6.56 ERA a .295 avg against a 1.99 WHIP and 15 homers allowed. Billy Loes is 5-1 in 12 starts but is averaging only 5 1/3 innings per start with an ERA of 5.04 so that luck can last forever. At the plate Don Hoak .165 2 HR 11 RBI and Sandy Amoros .200 3 HR 22 RBI haven’t delivered.

Wild Cards: The only people who have had more trouble against the Dodgers than left handed pitchers (16-8) has been American League teams (5-1). Of course leading the Majors in Home Runs (114) and the NL in batting (.271) might have something to do with it too.

Coming Attractions: The Dodgers continue their long road trip heading to Milwaukee to face the 1957 Braves then to Chicago to take on the C leading 2016 Cubs and after a jaunt to Philly to face the 2008 Phillies finally finish their trip in Arizona against the 2013 Diamondbacks.

Injury Report: These Dodgers are both happy and healthy.


1975 Cincinnati Reds 41-37 4 GB 2nd

After a brief stint at the top of the standings the Reds have lost both 1st place and their 2nd manager this season. Can they right the ship and find a skipper to get that big red machine back on top?

Heroes: There are reds all over the leaderboard Johnny Bench leads the NL in RBI’s and is 4th in HR George Foster is right behind him in both. Pete Rose in 3rd in hits and Joe Morgan leads the lead in walks and is 2nd in stolen bases.

Zeros: Cincinnati’s troubles come down to starting pitching epitomized by Fred Norman (14 starts 1-7 1.75 WHIP 6.15 ERA .289 avg against) and Jack Billingmam (14 starts 3-9 6.49 ERA .309 avg against )

Wild Cards: The Reds are 2nd in Stolen bases and 3rd in runs and have the 3rd best avg against .253 but are also 2nd in swinging and missing and have a losing record both on the road and against left handing pitching.

Coming Attractions: the Reds finish their current road trip against the 2005 Houston Astros before coming home for a quick series vs the 1962 San Francisco Giants before hitting the road again visiting Arizona and the 2013 Diamondbacks then it’s off to DC to take on the 2019 Washington Nationals

Injury report: They might have trouble keeping managers on the field but their players are all there.


1986 New York Mets 36-39 7 1/2 GB 3rd

The Mets remain in a holding pattern hovering at .500 not dropping far below nor surging ahead. Unless that changes the divsion will be out of reach and it will be a question of playing for a wild card spot.

Heroes: Wally Backman is setting the table with a .333 avg (3rd in NL) and a .384 OBP leading to 45 runs. If Backman is setting the table Keith Hernandez (.294 25 2B 41 RBI) & Daryll Strawberry .281 14 HR 51 RBI are clearing it regularly. On the Mound Bobby Ojeda’s 3.01 ERA is leads the team & is 7th in the league.

Zeros: It’s the bullpen that’s been the Mets issue Doug Sisk (40 app .6.46 ERA .327 avg against 1 bs in one chance) Rick Anderson 7.59 ERA .339 avg against 1 bs in one chance) and Bruce Berenyi .377 avg against 8.60 ERA 2 sv 2.40 WHIP. Roger McDowell’s numbers are better 4.76 ERA .264 avg against but he’s blown 5 saves in 8 chances.

Wild Cards: Only Arizona and Washington have blown more saves in the NL than the Mets but it can’t all be laid at the hands of the pitchers as NY has the worst fielding percentage in the majors at .973 and 77 errors nobody else is even close.

Coming Attractions: It’s 3 in Milwaukee to play the 1957 Braves followed by 3 more in Chicago vs the red hot 2016 Cubs before heading home to face the 2008 Philadelphia Phillies.

Injury Report: Everyone is healthy which eliminated one excuse for the bullpen.


2013 Arizona Diamondbacks 30-42 12 GB 4th

It’s been a season at the bottom for Arizona, but with a New Manager whose father led his team to the top of the Futility league AL West can his son in his 1st managing job take this team out of the basement and into the hunt for the wild card?

Heroes: While Paul Goldschmidt is no longer 3rd in HR (Ryan & Snyder are still 1 & 2) as he was before with 81 hits 18 HR (6th) and 49 RBI is a problem for any pitcher in the league. Patrick Corbin’s 3.24 ERA & 1.37 WHIP means opposing batters have to earn it and out of the pen Josh Collmenter has done his job with a .185 avg against and a 0.87 WHIP.

Zeros: Wade Miley has not done the job with a 6.14 ERA and a 2-6 record in 16 starts. Joe Thatcher out of the pen in 35 appearances “boasts” a 9.21 ERA a .347 avg against and a 2.02 WHIP. At the plate on a team that hasn’t produced much the bottom of the barrel is Miguel Montero hitting .200 with 1 HR and 21 RBI in 239 AB.

Wild Cards: Only Houston has a worse team batting avg than Arizona or fewer Home Runs but if you’re visiting in Arizona or throwing a lefty watch out because they are over .500 against both.

Coming Attractions: after three games in Houston to face the 2005 Astros. They head home for a 12 game series with 2008 Philadelphia followed by 1962 San Francisco,

Injury Report: Brandon McCarthy will be out for the year and Aaron Hill will not be back for a month.