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On Today Is The Day We Can Get Rid Of Richard Cohen

People with conventional views must repress a gag reflex when considering the execrable "columns" of Richard Cohen — a white man married to a reactionary, 1960s view of race relations. (Should I mention that Cohen also has sexually harassed at least one young female coworker?) Cohen represents the cultural outlook that has been erased from parts — but not all — of America. To rational adults, Cohen's words don't sound like their country at all.

Posted on November 12, 2013 at 3:39 pm 0

On Guess Which Homo Is Going To See "Ender's Game" Tomorrow?

There is never any reason to cite David Bernstein, for anything.

Posted on October 31, 2013 at 11:57 am 0

On Just Give Reddit A Few More Decades, They'll Crack This Boston Thing Yet

@skahammer That is an excellent point well made. I'd be happy to never see/hear his name again.

Posted on April 18, 2013 at 9:36 pm 0

On Just Give Reddit A Few More Decades, They'll Crack This Boston Thing Yet

Sure, Reddit is an easy target, but how could you pass up mocking Calacanis's article? There's really no other appropriate response to hilariously myopic gems like "Twitter is where all the smart and important people in the world spend their time" and "smart people favor Twitter over any other social network by far" and "Is there a cost to speculation? I’ve given that a lot of thought. The only cost is that you might encounter speculation you don’t like" and "We can debate if we want to live in a world with vigilante justice." LOL. Except he's apparently serious.

Posted on April 18, 2013 at 1:14 am 0

On Can 'Diablo 3' Point Us Toward A Grand Unified Theory of Nerdrage?

D3 is an interesting contrast to another recent game that garnered its fair share of nerdrage upon release - Skyrim. To wit: the spells are underpowered and not customizable, dragons are weak, no mounted combat, no flying, the story and dialogue suck, human faces are still not very human, ridiculous physics, no real difficulty curve, etc.

Skyrim meets the same 3 criteria that would predict intense nerdrage as D3: 5.5 years of development between it and its predecessor, Oblivion; extreme "intimacy" in terms of hundreds of hours of playtime; and (especially in the wake of Oblivion) seductive hope that things would get better (i.e., no more overpowered mountain lions).

But the nerdrage over Skyrim has largely died down, which I think can be attributed almost entirely to the fact that Bethesda - the creator of Skyrim - has adopted a different business model than Blizzard. Unlike Blizzard, which aims to profit on the real money auction house, and therefore has to keep the game totally locked down, Bethesda has gone the opposite direction and opened the game up to the community. By opening the game up to modders, the community is empowered to create its own solutions to its complaints, and has done so. You can now play a version of Skyrim that literally looks nothing like the game Bethesda shipped in November. There are two benefits: first, if you dont like something about Skyrim, you can do something about it, and second, Bethesda's continued interaction with the community has earned it the benefit of the doubt. And its been a success: the recent expansion has implemented a bunch of things in response to 'nerdrage' complaints (like crossbows and real vampires), and by all accounts is selling quite well.

Posted on June 28, 2012 at 11:17 pm 0

On Are You Smarter Than a Legal Rockstar? Obamacare at the Supreme Court

@Lucky Jim I think that also makes you smarter than Justice Kennedy.

Posted on June 28, 2012 at 10:50 pm 0

On That Thing That's Happening

@rjlarimer You aren't the only person who reads the opinions that way, and its obviously possible. The dissent lacks the fire seen in Scalia's immigration dissent, but that might also have been a consequence of getting Kennedy on board. And it is interesting to note that Ginsburg didn't issue any major opinions or dissents at the end of the term (although her concurrence here is pretty substantial), which could suggest that she originally wrote much of the majority opinion as a dissent. But its all speculation at this point, and indeed, another reading is that Ginsburg's concurrence is really just a dissent on the Commerce Clause issues, so of course she attacks Roberts on that point because his was effectively the majority opinion on that point.

But regardless, Roberts was writing for the majority: either on behalf of 5 justices to strike down the law, or on behalf of 5 justices to uphold it.

Posted on June 28, 2012 at 1:13 pm 0

On That Thing That's Happening

@Gef the Talking Mongoose My sense is that if Kennedy had voted to uphold the ACA, Roberts would not have switched sides; Roberts was not going to let anyone else write the majority opinion on this case.

And I'm no defender of Roberts, but its more than a bit unfair to hold Bush v Gore against "the Roberts court."

Posted on June 28, 2012 at 12:07 pm 0

On Are You Smarter Than a Legal Rockstar? Obamacare at the Supreme Court

@Dave Bry I'm sympathetic to your point, Dave - it is certainly possible to make a strong critique using civil language, and as you can tell from my comments, that is my preference.

But realistically, for every piece published on the Internet, there is a very high chance that people will leave comments like the one you quoted. Particularly when that piece is about a topic as timely and controversial as the health care act. I have no problem if an author doesn't want to engage with trolls or assholes, but failing to engage with good-faith, civil critiques is, for lack of a better word, weak.

Or should I stop expecting Awl writers to defend their positions in the comment threads?

Posted on June 27, 2012 at 1:11 pm 0

On Are You Smarter Than a Legal Rockstar? Obamacare at the Supreme Court

@skahammer Fair enough. An article that explained why this case is difficult (whatever that means) or, in Spiegelman's words "so close", compared to other Supreme Court cases involving interpretation of the Constitution would of course be valuable. But the article doesn't do that (why is this case "so close"? because its likely to be 5-4? because there are arguments on both sides?), and since he fails to competently explain the arguments on either side he does everyone a disservice. The Awl can, and should, do better.

For what its worth, I also think that at least the individual mandate is going to be overturned. I hope I'm wrong.

Posted on June 26, 2012 at 11:02 pm 0