April 29, 2019
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The LeBron Paradox: This is a good LeBron James article because it gets at what I think is the fundamental aspect of James, something that’s applicable to him and just a tiny handful of living human beings: it’s impossible for normal people to imagine what it’s like to be him. It’s easier for me to imagine being the president, who is in the end no more than a particularly busy and public bureaucrat, than to imagine being LeBron James. As Brian Phillips puts it: “I can’t imagine what it’s like to be him. Can you? With any confidence? To have gone in the blink of an eye, while still an adolescent, into a state of almost unfathomable fame, cameras everywhere you turn, so many people to tell you ‘yes,’ so few people to tell you ‘no.'” And that doesn’t even consider the transcendent physical talent.
Is Prison Necessary? Ruth Wilson Gilmore Might Change Your Mind: Whether or not you are a prison abolitionist, I think a general policy that aims us toward prison abolition, even if we never got there, would be better for society.
How to reduce digital distractions: advice from medieval monks: “They complained about being overloaded with information, and about how, even once you finally settled on something to read, it was easy to get bored and turn to something else. They were frustrated by their desire to stare out of the window, or to constantly check on the time (in their case, with the Sun as their clock), or to think about food or sex when they were supposed to be thinking about God.”
The Raisin Situation: I wondered why everyone kept talking about raisins on the internet. This is why. It’s good! Raisins are serious business.
April 1, 2019
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This is the text of a talk I gave to the Randolph County Historical Society, titled “The Self-Defeating Logic of the Attack on Pearl Harbor.”
The title of my talk today is “the self-defeating logic of the attack on Pearl Harbor.” I’d like to discuss why Japan attacked the United States at Pearl Harbor and why, despite being a short-term victory, it ended up being a long-term failure.
There are many examples in history of winning a battle but losing a war. Sometimes, it’s the fact of winning that battle that loses the war. I don’t think there’s a better example of this than the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, which has gone down in history as “a date which will in infamy,” in the famous words of American president Franklin D. Roosevelt. The Imperial Japanese government believed that its attack would accomplish a number of different aims that would guarantee Japanese success and power in the Pacific. As it turned out, the very act of attacking Pearl Harbor ended up guaranteeing that Japan could never maintain a position as the leading power in the Pacific. Read more of this post