Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Nathan Robinson

How Zizek Should Have Responded to Jordan Peterson

If you had the misfortune of suffering through the “debate” between Jordan Peterson and Slavoj Zizek, I offer you my solidarity. Peterson and Zizek put on one of the most pathetic displays in the history of intellectuals arguing with each other in public. This was not Foucault versus Chomsky or even Hitchens versus Hitchens. It almost makes the Bill Nye versus Ken Ham debate look good, and that’s really saying something. Peterson and Zizek began with long, 30-minute speeches, ostensibly on the subject of which system is more conducive to human happiness—capitalism or socialism. The two speeches had virtually nothing to do with each other and very little to do with the topic.

You can read the rest of my piece on the Peterson/Zizek debate over at Current Affairs:

https://www.currentaffairs.org/2019/04/how-zizek-should-have-replied-to-jordan-peterson

A Critique of Sam Harris

Over at Current Affairs, Nathan Robinson and Eli Massey have written the critique of Sam Harris. Robinson offers a magisterial, detailed overview of the rhetorical sleights of hand Harris uses to give relatively weak, unoriginal positions the imprimatur of “science” and “reason”. I want to add something to this discussion–something Robinson touches on but which I want to stay with for a minute. There is a core problem with the way Harris thinks which necessarily generates bad takes on Islam and the Muslim world.

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Remember When Americans Cared about Perjury?

My friend Nathan Robinson has written an excellent piece documenting with care and detail all the times Brett Kavanaugh appears to have committed perjury during the recent hearing. Robinson’s work is around 10,000 words long, because the number of instances of perjury or possible perjury is stunning. It’s almost as if Kavanaugh–a man attempting to be a Supreme Court justice–doesn’t think perjury matters. And it appears that to millions of Americans it doesn’t. Many still want Kavanaugh confirmed, and 11 senators voted to move Kavanaugh out of committee even after he repeatedly lied to their faces. This reminds me of another case in American history–the case of Alger Hiss.

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Ben Shapiro Laid a Trap For Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

I was dismayed this week to see Ben Shapiro successfully trap Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. This is a good opportunity to talk about political rhetoric–the art of talking political smack. It’s important to know not just how to do it but when not to.

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What Really Happened on Super Tuesday

Unlike the British press, which openly acknowledges and parades its biases, many American news outlets like to maintain a pretense of objectivity. But this doesn’t mean that they’re objective, it just means that their biases are more insidious. Many media outlets clearly like Hillary Clinton and dislike Donald Trump, and these views have quietly colored their reporting on the presidential race. Last night Bernie Sanders won as many states as Donald Trump lost, but Clintonites will try to paint the democrats’ race as effectively over while anti-Trumpsters will look for excuses to say that the republicans’ race isn’t finished yet. These media narratives are used to give the press’ favorites “momentum”. If the public believes a race is over, it often is, regardless of whether or not the numbers really make it so. So by crowning a nominee (or refusing to crown one), media outlets exercise power to shape the races grounded in their biases. To understand what really happened last night, we have to look at whether candidates are meeting or exceeding their projected paths to their respective nominations.

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