Author: David Frier Page 2 of 293

Stopping the Spread of Racism Overrides Tolerance

As you might know from earlier references, I like to read some internet advice columns.

Dear Prudence today got a very tough issue right (again). Here’s the excerpt – including a dispute from a reader and his response:

Q. Parents’ problematic Facebook groups: My parents recently got invited to a neighborhood Facebook group that, alongside garage sales, traffics heavily in racist fake news concerning real and imagined crimes by “African youths.” Challenging them on facts doesn’t work. (“Why would someone post it if it wasn’t true?”) Would it be wrong of me to sneakily grab their phone and unfollow the worst offenders? They are pretty hopeless with technology, so they won’t notice, but the world would be a better place if their news feed reverted to baby photos and cat videos.

A: You are not violating your parents’ rights to constantly absorb racist videos on Facebook; go ahead and unsubscribe them with my blessing, and keep challenging their racism whenever they bring it up, even if you don’t make immediate headway.

Q. Re: Parents’ problematic Facebook groups: OMFG, do not modify your parents’ Facebook settings without their consent or knowledge. Would you like it if they did the same to you?

A: Yeah, I don’t really go for using the language of autonomy about something like the right to look at racist videos about imaginary crimes committed by nonexistent black people when you log into Facebook. I think it’s fine to be a little benevolently paternalistic in this case.

After thinking about it for a while, I got there: the right to read or say whatever one wants ends when it begins to harm others. And this LW’s parents’ digging themselves deeper into racist positions based on propaganda was definitely going to be harmful to others.

This solution may be counterintuitive but I believe this letter shows us a manifestation of the Paradox of Tolerance: that if a society is tolerant without limit, its ability to be tolerant is eventually seized or destroyed by the intolerant. We’re facing that dilemma now. This is one small way to deal with it.

Breakfast is Served

One of the things that went away in the Pluspocalypse was a community where we played Breakfast Combo. Breakfast Combo is a game similar to Twenty Questions, but without the question limit and with a different answer format (not just Yes/No).

The rules are simple; it’s the imagination of the players and the range of knowledge they bring to it that make this fun.

We didn’t let this die with Plus – a small group of hardcore players continue the fun, on Slack.

Breakfast Combo Rules

The Online Minimal Implementation of the Classic Dinner & Party Game.

⓪ The Server thinks of a noun to be the secret target and announces that breakfast is served.

① When a player guesses the target, she wins and becomes the new server.

② Players shall take turns guessing nouns in an attempt to discover the target. Specifically, a player may guess if either of the following is true:
ⓐ since her own last guess, another player’s guess was answered
ⓑ she has not guessed within the last two hours, has one previous unanswered guess, and someone has guessed in the interim.

Note that, if Alice guesses, and then Bob guesses, and then I answer, §2a is satisfied for both Alice and Bob (as well as everyone else).

③ An incorrect guess will either be designated as the new closest guess, or some commonality between the guess and the target will be revealed, possibly cryptically.

Comment or PM me if you want an invite

Sob Stories

Maybe I’m an old curmudgeon but it’s starting to seem that American Ninja Warrior spends a lot more time on Queen For A Day-level sob stories than on the competition.

It’s a shame, too because they have really upgraded the obstacles and the overall play, with the opportunity at the end for the top two to skip straight into the nationals.

But we heard about some guy looking for his long-lost sister with lots of church shots and upturned faces to mysterious light sources. Or, you know, spots placed by the film crew. And a woman whose dad passed away when she was a teenager, and she is not happy about it. Just so you know.

Someone, please explain to me how this enhances the ninja obstacle course competition?

Yes, I am hashtagging this entry #grumpy


This is dedicated to a cover of a cover of a song I love.

Covered the cover
Covered the original

The Mamas & Papas were a single drop of cool that made the whole world cooler, even at that billion-to-one dilution:

The whole Village scene, in 3’47”

Creeque Alley is one of the few songs that wherever I am, whatever I am doing, I will stop and listen if it begins to play.

Also: they were not above stirring up some shit


This is what I figured would happen all along, to be honest

Page 2 of 293