20 Alternatives to Punching Nazis

20 Alternatives to Punching Nazis

I won’t rehash the Nazi-punching debate that rolled over America last week. Good sources include thisthis, and this.

But having read too many articles on the topic, I still don’t endorse Nazi-punching.

When punching “the right people” becomes an option, the punchers often end up punching a lot of other people. And punching Richard Spencer in particular gives Richard Spencer much more publicity — even sympathy, in some cases — than he’d receive otherwise.

But it’s not helpful just to claim people shouldn’t do something to Nazis. Or to certain other groups of people who endorse ideas they see as existential threats.*

My views here are closest to those of Darth Oktavia, a longtime anti-fascist who writes:

“The nazis love getting into fights with antifas, because that’s their home territory. What nazis hate is parody […] they could save face with a traditional fight, but they cannot save face by starting a fight with people who are only showing what huge jokes they are.”

So, in the spirit of parody: here are some ideas for bothering Nazis, turning Nazis into laughingstocks, and making Nazis feel terrible — all without leaving bruises, and hopefully without running the risk of a felony assault charge.**

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The Good Judgment Project: My Experience

Are You Smarter Than a Coin-Flipping Monkey?

30 years ago, a man named Philip Tetlock decided to figure out whether the people we pay to make predictions about politics were actually good at predicting things.

He picked two hundred and eighty-four people who made their living “commenting or offering advice on political and economic trends,” and he started asking them to assess the probability that various things would or would not come to pass, both in the areas of the world in which they specialized and in areas about which they were not expert. Would there be a nonviolent end to apartheid in South Africa? Would Gorbachev be ousted in a coup? Would the United States go to war in the Persian Gulf?

–Louis Menand, Everybody’s An Expert

Tetlock’s discovery: On average, the commentators were slightly less accurate than a monkey flipping a coin with “yes” printed on one face and “no” on the other. They’d have been better off if they’d made completely random predictions!

What’s more, being an expert on a topic didn’t help much. At some point, more expertise even led to more faulty predictions.

 

Can We Do Any Better?

There are lots of reasons we make bad guesses about the future. But Philip Tetlock’s particular interest was in figuring out how to do better. 

Prediction, after all, is one of the most important things a person can ever do: Will I divorce this person if I marry them? Will I be happy in a year if I accept this job offer? It’s also an important skill for governments: How much will the Iraq War cost? Will this gun-control bill really lower the crime rate?

But if political experts aren’t good at prediction, who is?

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17 Photos That Prove Barack Obama Had Polio This Whole Time

My first article for Buzzfeed. Also, Stage 1 in my campaign to turn Buzzfeed into Clickhole.

FDR stunned the world by hiding his lower-body paralysis from the people who elected him. After years of personal investigation, I now have ironclad proof that Barack Obama is pulling the same stunt. Don’t let him run for a third term!

http://www.buzzfeed.com/aarongertler/11-photos-proving-barack-obama-had-polio-this-whol-19deu

Obama/FDR mash-up, via time.com

This picture may be fake, but it gets the point across.

 

Barack Obama vs. Adam Levine

Which of these is the greater triumph over adversity?

That the teenager shown in the photo below, born to a Kenyan father, educated in Hawaii and Indonesia, with dark skin and a liberal populist background, would one day become the President of the United States?

Barack Obama yearbook

Or that the teenager shown in the photo below, whose tattoos are his most prominent feature, and whose body Channing Tatum could bench-press with one hand, would one day become People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive and marry this woman?

Adam Levine acne

Both saw their parents divorce and attended elite high schools, though Levine’s college education was far spottier than Obama’s. I’d call it a toss-up.

But whatever the case may be, America has come a long way since the whitewashed days of John F. Kennedy and John F. Kennedy, Jr.

Also, the existence of this Proactiv ad made me realize that the company must have an intern whose job is to hunt down youth photos of adult celebrities, pick those whose acne looked the worst, call them up, and ask them to star in commercials featuring their terrible childhood acne. All of which makes fetching coffee not sound so bad, as internships go.

The Floodgates Open: Globalist Edition

My work, so far, for the Yale Globalist, in reverse chronological order.

Includes Iceland, the European Union, and diseased honeybees, in rising order of fragility. Those last two might be tied, actually.

Unity vs. Ennui: The Life and Times of a Eurocrat

“In the most interesting line of his presentation, Steimer let out some of his inevitable frustration, in this case with the majority of the French populace that fears losing national sovereignty if France integrates further into the EU. ‘Where is French sovereignty in the face of financial markets? Where is French sovereignty when we try to negotiate with China?'”

Review: Tokyo Story

“Tokyo Story does not have a happy ending, but that’s less because there isn’t happiness than because there isn’t an ending.”

Silent Swarm

“Six years ago, the bees stopped waking up.”

Hard To Swallow: Child Obesity and Parental Rights in the United Kingdom

“It’s a libertarian’s nightmare: government-appointed social workers forcing your family into public housing, making your children exercise, even standing in your new kitchen as you prepare food. And if your children fail to slim down, you lose them.”

No Future? Fantastic!

“In a social-science coup de grâce, Keith Chen announced to the audience that next-door neighbors who speak different languages, and whose demographics and family lives are otherwise near-identical, have wildly differing savings and obesity rates—again, predicted by the tenses permitted in their native tongue.”

Who Else Were You Going to Vote For?

“On May 29, 2010, the voters of Reykjavík, Iceland rejected politics as usual, dumping the Independent and Social Democratic parties in favor of a new candidate’s covenant: increased transparency, family values, free towels in public pools, and a new polar bear for the Reykjavík Zoo.”

Europe Is Toast: Yale Debt Panel Finds Few Solutions

“Though Carmen Reinhart, Ernesto Zedillo, Stephen Roach and Benn Steil all approached the European Union’s debt crisis and the latest Greek tragedy from different angles, they agreed on one thing: it’s a depressing time to be an international finance expert.”

The Floodgates Open: WEEKEND Edition

For the next few weeks, I’ll be posting links and summaries for my published work to this point. I begin with my short work for the Yale Daily News’ WEEKEND section, which appears Friday afternoons here.

Entries appear in reverse chronological order with a short preview. Topics include the Mayan apocalypse, the Republican primaries, the presidential election, lifting heavy objects, the little-known musicians of Alestorm, the better-known musician T-Pain, the best-known musician Adele, and shoes with toes on them.

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