Talking about big boats and the ultra-rich…

For many years I’ve been paying special attention to the utterings and “ideas” of ultra-rich people.

That is, I’ve been struck by the social stupidity of people who’ve risen to the top of the Big Money pile. We’re supposed to think they got where they are because they’re really smart, but it doesn’t seem to be true. Apparently, some people have a segment of their brain dedicated solely to making huge money in some way or another — designing or funding a useful app, for instance — while the rest of the brain is empty.

Ever since I worked for a very rich man, I’ve noticed that big money rots human souls and brains. For one thing, wealth builds a buffer, a wall surrounding the rich guy that gets thicker and thicker over time and effectively pads the rich guy from criticism, from reality. Rich guy becomes isolated from social conventions and proprieties, i.e., moral intelligence.

That is, they have lost the human capacity for feeling shame. So these are people who feel free to say out loud things most of us don’t even think. Some of those things are awful, some are stupid and some make absolutely no sense.

I went back back to Evan Osnos’s “The Floating World” (The New Yorker, July 25, 2022), because I recalled a paragraph about Peter Thiel, which had me saying, “What?!” out loud:

Water conveys a particular autonomy, whether it’s ringing the foot of a castle or separating a private island from the mainland. Peter Thiel, the billionaire venture capitalist, gave startup funding to the Seasteading Institute, a non-profit group co-founded by Milton Friedman’s [oy vey!] grandson, which seeks to create floating mini-states — an endeavor that Thiel considered part of his libertarian project to “escape from politics in all its forms.” Until that fantasy is realized, a white boat [a megayacht] can provide a start.

So if Peter Thiel is planning to use his huge money to escape to a private mini-state floating in the sea as a way of permanently deleting politics from his life, why the fuck is he pouring millions upon millions into the political campaigns of J.D. Vance and Blake Masters?

Blake Masters, running for the Senate against Mark Kelly, as described by The Guardian:

Masters, 36, is an author and venture capitalist with close ties to the billionaire tech investor and Trump donor Peter Thiel.

Among controversial statements, Masters has blamed gun violence on Black people; said Democrats are trying to “change the demographics of this country”; and claimed Kamala Harris was only picked to be vice-president because of her race and gender.

He has also been dogged by reporting of views he expressed as a student, including advocating for open borders and saying the US should not have entered either world war, although the second was “harder to argue because of the hot button issue of the Holocaust”.

Reporting a new batch of emails, said that while a student at Stanford University, Masters said America was fascist.

You can understand why Thiel is financing this guy’s political life. The two men have some similarities. They both are rich-smart and in all other ways sort of publicly stupid…and unashamed of being stupid.

But but but: why is Thiel heavily financially involved in U.S. politics if he’s intending to escape all politics for that floating island mini-state thing? I mean, shouldn’t he be spending his billions or trillions on the anarchic island project rather than trying to destroy the United States?

Also, aren’t these guys trying to get to and settle Mars?

Big money is eating their brains.




Posted in Capitalism, Fascism, Government, political campaigns, Politics, Racism, The Facts of Life, The filthy rich | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Some personal animal news

I’m losing my ability to distinguish among a certain group of animals. Some are rodents but some are not.

Starting with hamsters and gerbils — I can’t tell the difference — lately I’ve blanked out on names from all sorts of animals with cute noses and whiskers.

I’m still OK with raccoons but that’s strictly because raccoons have those rings around their eyes, and brandish stripey tails. Hedgehogs and porcupines…I don’t think I know the difference between them but they both are covered in spines. And I am grateful.

When did this thing, this early onset animal confusion, kick in? I suspect it was the day I first noticed a capybara on my computer screen. Since that capybara, I’ve become desperately muddled about badgers and beavers, muskrats, meerkats, ferrets and polecats. Mongooses (mongeese?) Stoats and other weasels, except in winter when the stoat transforms itself into an ermine. Ermines, I get.

Sometimes I am unable to identify otters, and that is truly shameful since an otter’s adorability is aww-some beyond the cuteness of other small, furry animals. And if all you show me is the face of a sloth, I freeze.

To fill the gaps in my brain, I must invent an all-purpose term for furry wild animals. I need to create a term as successful as the time I was in Brittany with my cousin Ruth, when we were among people who did not speak English. I found that the word “chose” (“thing”) gave me a type of French fluency I’d never had before. I simply threw “chose” in whenever I couldn’t remember a specific word and I did OK.

I’m thinking Fuzzies. What do you think?

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Is this animal news?

From Harper’s Weekly Review:

[I]t was reported that multiple American Airlines flights have been haunted by grunting, moaning, and groaning sounds…

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