Go Fuck Yourself Weekly: Peter Thiel

Mayor of Libertaria
Population:  all the white boys who haven’t progressed beyond The Fountainhead

Peter Thiel is totally gay, people but that’s not why he wins RM’s esteemed Go Fuck Yourself Weekly Whenever award.  Nope.  I’d say we love gay folks but I’d sound like pander-pander-salamander or Donald Trump. Peter Thiel wins this round of Go Fuck Yourself Whenever because he is a horrible, horrible, horrible person with a dangerously “good brain.”

A little background music for the background, s’il te plaît.

On the surface, Bollea v. Gawker was a lawsuit about invasion of privacy of a reality tv personality (oxymoron, no?). Pull back Hulk Hogan’s ridiculous bandanna and you’ll not only find a bald head but Peter Thiel’s bulging forehead vein, a lust for vengeance and very deep pockets.

The end result: the death of Gawker Media due to an award of $115+/- million in compensation for the deeply traumatized, champion of diversity, Hulk Hogan.  Believe it or not, people celebrated this. They celebrated the collapse of a controversial media outlet. They were overjoyed that Nick Denton lost his empire. They delighted in AJ Daulerio’s bank account being frozen (worth all of $1,505.78).

All this celebration while missing the critical point: free press has been compromised by a Silicon Valley billionaire with a grudge. The precedent has been set: regardless of fact, regardless of reason – if you don’t like what is in print simply bury the outlet and move on with your bad self. So long as you have the dollars, of course. Thiel had the resources to kill Gawker. Thiel had the fire in the belly to stick it to Nick Denton (a post in Valleywag from 2007). All he needed was the case. Hogan’s was it. Nine years later, Thiel gets his and the cornerstone of our democracy – fuck it.

Meanwhile, Thiel’s company, Palantir Technologies, has been working for ICE’s HSI (since 2011) on a project called FALCON.  The scope (via Raw Story): develop and implement a “complex intelligence system which allows ICE to store, search and analyze troves of data that include family relationships, employment information, immigration history, criminal records and home and work addresses.”  In 2014, Palantir entered into another agreement with ICE’s HSI to build a case management system which processes civil and criminal cases.

Peter Thiel has been a very busy, totally gay man, people.  If you haven’t figured it out yet, the “totally gay” comment is what sent Thiel into rage overdrive with respect to Gawker Media.

Now, Thiel has a new folly.  Thiel is part of President-Elect Shitgibbon’s transition team.  Should you be concerned?  If his past actions are any indication of his determination, Thiel is going to get what Thiel wants. We know Thiel wants money and I’ll even go so far as to say “Good for you, totally gay, money making dynamo!  You make your dollars!”

But what about the diversity element?  How does Thiel feel about that?

Back in *1996, Thiel co-authored a book with David O. Sacks titled “The Diversity Myth:  Multiculturalism and Political Intolerance on Campus.” In it, Sacks and Thiel attack multiculturalism and diversity in academia, namely Stanford University:

This is a powerful exploration of the debilitating impact that politically-correct “multiculturalism” has had upon higher education and academic freedom in the United States. In the name of diversity, many leading academic and cultural institutions are working to silence dissent and stifle intellectual life. This book exposes the real impact of multiculturalism on the institution most closely identified with the politically correct decline of higher education—Stanford University. Authored by two Stanford graduates, this book is a compelling insider’s tour of a world of speech codes, “dumbed-down” admissions standards and curricula, campus witch hunts, and anti-Western zealotry that masquerades as legitimate scholarly inquiry. Sacks and Thiel use numerous primary sources—the Stanford Daily, class readings, official university publications—to reveal a pattern of politicized classes, housing, budget priorities, and more. They trace the connections between such disparate trends as political correctness, the gender wars, Generation X nihilism, and culture wars, showing how these have played a role in shaping multiculturalism at institutions like Stanford. The authors convincingly show that multiculturalism is not about learning more; it is actually about learning less. They end their comprehensive study by detailing the changes necessary to reverse the tragic disintegration of American universities and restore true academic excellence.

A passage plucked from the book and shared for your reading pleasure by Advocate:

But since a multicultural rape charge may indicate nothing more than belated regret, a woman might ‘realize’ that she had been ‘raped’ the next day or even many days later. Under these circumstances, it is unclear who should be held responsible. If the alcohol made both of them do it, then why should the woman’s consent be obviated any more than the man’s? Why is all blame placed on the man?

Passages cited by The Guardian on diversity:

Real diversity requires a diversity of ideas, not simply a bunch of like-minded activists who resemble the bar scene from Star Wars.

…and…

As paradoxical as it may seem, the extreme focus on racism has become the source of acrimony, as multiculturalists charge whites with more evanescent and intangible forms of racism, such as ‘institutional racism’ or ‘unconscious racism’. As a result, the awareness of racism, once the main hope for ending racial division, today has become a major cause of debate and friction.

In October 2016, Forbes contacted Thiel about “The Diversity Myth” and his spokesperson responded with:

More than two decades ago, I co-wrote a book with several insensitive, crudely argued statements,” Thiel said in a statement. “As I’ve said before, I wish I’d never written those things. I’m sorry for it. Rape in all forms is a crime. I regret writing passages that have been taken to suggest otherwise.

Granted, Peter Thiel did say “I am proud to be gay.” during his speech at the Republican National Convention this past July but is that enough? While it is certainly brave to own homosexuality at the Republican National Convention, the act itself does not mean the person doing it is free from bias and prejudice.  One can very easily fall into the category of marginalized while harboring feelings of bias.  Most do it daily, completely unaware of their own behavior, on some level.

There is no disputing Thiel’s genius which may be the saddest thing of all.  No one is demanding he cast aside his Libertarian ideology (although, I do think a 49 year-old Libertarian is intellectually stunted. That way of thinking should be left in one’s 20s.).  What Thiel does need to do is become less of a demented, evil fuckstick intent on using this country as his token while he plays his distorted version of Monopoly. Visiting a psychiatrist may also come in handy to get that anger under control.

Shutting down a media outlet because you don’t like what it prints is not the way this country works.  Manipulating a legal system for your own personal satisfaction is absolute bullshit.  It’s one thing to be a profitable supplier to a government agency.  It’s another thing to be a supplier of goods and services which harm society.  Enabling a government’s effort to harm people, citizens or non, is unethical but I suppose ethics get a little fuzzy when your vision is blurred by dollar signs and dancing bags of money.

As for the whole diversity issue, from a casual observer’s perspective, it looks as if Peter Thiel has end-stage Implicit Bias (best case scenario).  I shudder to think if this is intentional, although I should not be surprised.  Not in Shitgibbon’s Amerikkka, at the very least.

And, with one long, detailed, not-so-snarky post, Mr Peter Thiel, congratulations!  You are cordially invited to go fuck yourself in the totally gayest way you could imagine.  I’m putting my money on ball gags and leather because I’m also thinking Peter Thiel is a very, very, very, totally gay and totally naughty boy.

*Cannot confirm actual date of publishing.  Five (Advocate, Forbes, The Guardian, Goodreads, Independent Institute – 1996, 1995, 1995, 1996, 1998 respectively) sources cited three different years.

My Beloved Books

I’m not a rich man.  I do not have a Mercedes in my garage.  I do not live in a ten bedroom mansion.  I can’t afford to drink Champagne and eat foie gras for lunch.  I don’t own a thousand dollar suit.

But I do not consider myself poor.  I am surrounded by books ─ hundreds of them ─ hundreds of beautiful books.  They are my treasures, my companions of solitude.  Having books close by gives me comfort, passion, and feeling of oneness with the universe.  My books make my soul feel rich.  They are the fuel for my mind.

Books Every American Should Read #1

I’ve decided to start a new series. The concept will be simple: Screenshot of the book and a Turabian citation.  This will be no book review.  I trust the reader to formulate their own opinion of the work.  Agree or disagree with the work, what really matters is if it makes you think… Perhaps, it will prompt you to question your deep-held beliefs?

González, Juan, and Joseph Torres. News for All the People: The Epic Story of Race and the American Media. London: Verso, 2011.

Book Review: The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition

I’m a logophile, which according to my new dictionary, is “one who appreciates and enjoys words.”  I think that pretty much sums up all of us here at Random Misanthrope.  One would be hard-pressed to find a greater cabal of bibliophiles.  I used the word cabal because I’ve always wanted to use that in a sentence, and we are plotting to take over the literary world after all.

When my dear sister gave me an Amazon gift card for Christmas I thought long and hard about what to purchase.  That I would purchase a book was a given for sure, but what type of book?  Some of you might know my penchant for non-fiction, so it is with no stretch of the imagination that I would settle for something in that genre.

I have always coveted the Oxford English Dictionary, or OED — all 20 volumes of it!  Unfortunately my sister’s generous gift card fell short of the thousand dollars needed to purchase such a treasure.  Not to be deterred from owning a comprehensive dictionary of some kind, I stumbled across an article in the New York Times regarding the recently released 5th Edition of the American Heritage Dictionary.  Not only did two thousand plus pages worth of words intrigue me, but that it had taken a decade to update was equally impressive.  Even better was the fact that at $60 dollars it was well within my gift card’s price range.  I was even more pleased when Amazon was selling it for $38 dollars!  I don’t think I’ve ever clicked on an online purchase button quicker.

A few days later the tome of words arrived.  At 8 pounds shipping weight and 11.3 x 8.8 x 2.4 inches, this is an impressive book to carry around.  But as we all know, looks are not everything: it is what is inside that counts.

The first trial of my lovely dictionary came at work when my boss lamented to me that the local newspaper had misspelled an ad which he had placed.  I did not doubt for a second the veracity of his claim, but as the good Ronald Reagan once remarked about the Russians: “Trust, but verify.”  The word in question was in memorium, which is what the newspaper had printed.  My boss was adamant that it was spelled in memoriam and vehemently defended his position.  To avoid a prolonged logomachy, out from my briefcase came the new American Heritage Dictionary.  A cursory look-up vindicated my boss and provided a J’accuse damnation to the local newspaper editors.

Since then I’ve had the pleasure of looking up several more words, all of which were found in my dictionary.  The biggest workout came while reading the late Christopher Hitchens’ autobiography, Hitch-22.  Not even halfway through the book I stumbled across words such as: dyspeptic, polemical, ontology, lambent, milliner, inchoate, taciturnity, portentous, anomic, lugubrious, scintilla, doggerel, donnish, and apotropaically to mention just a few —  The American Heritage Dictionary defined them all.

When it comes to looking up words I am old-school, I prefer picking up a real book and turning the pages.  But not everybody is like me and the editors of The American Heritage Dictionary were wise to include a free companion app with their dictionary, a $24.99 dollar value!  Inside the hardcover is a sheet containing a code which you can redeem online and  download the app for either an iPhone/iPod, iPad, or Android phone.  Please be advised that you can only use this code once, so if you have all three of these devices, you can only activate the app on one of these, unfortunately.  Sad as this might be, the convenience of having 175,000 definitions, 4,000 full-color images, and 69,000 real-voice pronunciations at your fingertips is unbeatable.  I decided to download and activate the dictionary app on my Android smartphone and run it through its paces.  The first word I punched in was Kokopelli in honor of my anthropologist friend Frances, and lo and behold, the dictionary had it!  Impressive…

As I mentioned before The American Heritage Dictionary contains over 4,000 full-color and black-and-white images which is great for people like me who like to flip through pages and browse.  This morning I was flipping through the dictionary and my two and a half year old son screamed in delight when he saw a picture of a llama.  Later that afternoon I screamed in delight when I stumbled across one of my favorite Swedish authors, Selma Lagerlöf.  This for me solidified The American Heritage Dictionary as one of my favorite go-to books.

A good dictionary should never be static, and like society as a whole, should endeavor to evolve.  Ten years since the last edition with 10,000 new words and senses, The American Heritage Dictionary has some surprising additions.  My personal favorite is: asshat.

In summation, The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition is a winner in my book.  A perfect companion for logophiles who cannot afford to buy a complete set of the Oxford English Dictionary.  I could not be happier with this purchase and would recommend it to all bibliophiles and aspiring writers.

What is your dream?

Let us say that money is no consideration and that you had an unlimited amount of it:  What would you do, where would you live?

Hemingway's desk in Key West by squirrelist

I would move to Key West, Florida and live like Ernest Hemingway — drinking and writing, writing and drinking.  My wife and I are in love with Key West, in fact that is where we renewed our vows.  There’s something magical about that place, as though the heat and humidity, the people and scenery prompts your inner muse.

So, what is your dream?

 

Traditional book burning and eBooks

photo by April Sikorski via WikiCommons

To a totalitarian censor there is nothing more satisfying than a good, old-fashioned book burning.  Putting a match to paper and starting a literary funeral pyre with the acrid smoke billowing towards the heavens is a true delight to the bibliophobe.  But how the times have changed with the advent of the electronic reading age.  Kindles, Nooks and iPads have made life miserable for the traditional book burner.  The fact is that hitting a delete button is not very satisfying.  Deleting hundreds and thousands of words in a second is fleeting enjoyment, nowhere near as fulfilling as watching piles of books slowly ash away.  I truly feel for the poor bibliophobe and totalitarian censor.  One can only hope that they can find a more productive outlet for their mania.

Bibliomania: In Pursuit of the Book

I’ve always been a bibliophile.  I love reading.  I love walking into libraries and book shops, browsing endless rows of books, stacked from the bottom of the floor to the top of the ceiling.  I fear that one day I will be killed by a bookshelf falling on me, but what a death that would be!  Alas, they will say, “he loved books and they killed him.”  I can think of no better epitaph than that.

Recently, I’ve taken up the obsession of book collecting, a noble pursuit, and one that is filled with many mysteries.  Few creatures are as misunderstood as the book collector, and especially the ones of the antiquarian kind.  They have their own language, and not many understand their bibliomania.  Most are not in it for the money, but for the passion, for the pursuit of that elusive book that haunts them late at night.  Is it a first edition they seek?  Is it a signed copy?  Is it just the name of the author that drives them to despair?  They must possess this treasure at seemingly any cost or detriment to their mental sanity; like a CERN scientist chasing neutrinos with chalked hands and a collider.

No doubt you are thinking, “well what book do you seek, good Sir?”  I shall tell you, it is a signed first edition of Damn Rare: The Memoirs of an African-American Bibliophile by Charles L. Blockson.  The irony is not lost on me that I’m searching for a rare book written by a rare bibliophile with “rare” in the title.

 Damn Rare: The Memoirs of an African-American Bibliophile

 

 

In my first attempt to locate this book and read it, I scoured my public library, but to no avail.  Not even through an inter-library loan could a copy be found.  The nearest library that actually has a copy is in Champaign-Urbana, a good 45 minutes drive away, and this being an academic library I can not check it out without being a student or faculty of the university − for shame!  Searches on AbeBooks and Amazon give me prices ranging from $30 to $130 dollars should I wish to purchase a copy.  This cements my theory that  the book is a rarity indeed, for why else would it be so expensive?  I must now commit my time and energy to tracking down a copy of this book and I will keep you posted on my progress.