an endless succession of beans and nuts.

"'I’m going to have to tell shorter stories,' Mets announcer Keith Hernandez said this month..."

".... after rapid pitches (and quick outs) interrupted his anecdotes. A half-inning barely gave him time to recall his minor league days in Tulsa long ago, when he hit Leon Russell’s nightclub to see Eric Clapton or Freddie King."

By "returning to the past," he means that in the old days, the games averaged something like 2½ hours, and in recent years, the average had elongated into 3 hours 11 minutes. Under the new rule, which sets a 15-second clock — 7 seconds for the batter to get ready and 8 seconds for the pitcher to start the windup — we seem to be returning to the old game length.

"It’s amazing how hearing the umpire yell 'Strike!' or 'Ball!' as a penalty, just because you have dawdled an instant too long, can speed up a fellow’s metabolism."

Sounds a little nerve-wracking. And too umpire-y. Too officious. Why were we watching? Maybe we loved the languors and the anecdotes.

"Genuine users are rightly outraged at the idea of being blackmailed into paying Musk to prove who they are."

"These people — the signal amid the Twitter noise — are, after all, a core component of the value of the network. So of course they shouldn’t (and won’t) pay — and so their visibility on Twitter will decay.... In a further twist, only paying users will get a vote in future Twitter policy polls — meaning Musk will guarantee populist decision-making is rigged in his fanboys’ favor...."

Writes Natasha Lomas in "Twitter is dying" (TechCrunch).

"The upshot is Musk is turning Twitter into the opposite of a meritocracy. He’s channeling pure chaos — just like the cartoon ‘chaotic evil’ villains love to.... That our system allows wealth to be turned into a weapon to nuke things of broad societal value is one hard lesson we should take away from the wreckage of downed turquoise feathers.... We should also consider how.... our democratic systems seem so incapable and frozen in the face of confident vandals running around spray-painting ‘freedom’ all over the walls as they burn the library down."

So: "Musk is turning Twitter into the opposite of a meritocracy." How's that?

Lomas's idea must be that people who had blue checks in the past embodied merit — presumably because they'd achieved places of distinction within traditional media. The new system gives checks to those who pay (and have their identity verified). So, there's no more reliance on the meritocracy of the world beyond Twitter, and there's democratization within Twitter (at least for those who are able to pay).

Then merit is established by writing things that get liked or retweeted or responded to — right? How is it the "opposite of meritocracy"? It's just a different meritocracy, more of a marketplace of ideas. Why would you call that "chaos"? It's just populism as opposed to elitism.

Now, of course, I have to admit that what gets propagated within the internal mechanism of Twitter is often inflammatory junk. It's hardly a perfect meritocracy, but neither is/was traditional news media. 

"Last year, federal prosecutors in the [Washington D.C.] U.S. attorney’s office chose not to prosecute 67 percent of those arrested..."

"... by police officers in cases that would have been tried in D.C. Superior Court.... In an interview, Matthew M. Graves, the Biden-appointed U.S. attorney for the District, said his office was continuing to prosecute the vast majority of violent felonies. He said prosecutors were declining less serious cases for myriad reasons, including that the city’s crime lab remained unaccredited and police body-camera footage was subjecting arrests to more scrutiny...."

"[P]rosecutors have to pay to have evidence for DNA, firearm and fingerprint analysis sent to outside laboratories, Graves said. Prosecutors, he said, prioritize doing so for violent offenses.... [A] D.C. law that the city council passed in 2020 preventing officers from reviewing their body worn cameras before filling out charging documents... means officers now have to rely on their memories and notes when filling out arrest warrants, and prosecutors might not move forward on a case if details in the warrant don’t match the footage, officials said.... Graves said the office temporarily had resources stretched thin in recent years, though some of those problems had abated. After the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, he said his office temporarily pulled about 15 prosecutors and staffers from D.C. Superior Court cases to focus on prosecuting the federal cases."

"Not every time, but most times, you select Twitter and put the name 'The Kinks' in there, and it warns that it could be quirky stuff, like a porn star or kink porn."

"Of course it isn’t. We’ve been the Kinks. It’s a band name that we’ve had since ’63. We used it perfectly fine all of these years. I think this needs to be cleared up, because it puts people off, having a warning sign on their posts. You think you’re doing something you shouldn’t do. I hope there’s someone out there that can do something.... I’m a big admirer of Elon Musk and his work. Maybe they’ve set a program into motion that they can’t sunset. I don’t know. They must be able to unravel it somehow...."

Said Dave Davies, quoted in "We Are the Viral Tweet Restoration Society/The Kinks’ Dave Davies says Twitter is suppressing his band’s content—and he knows why" (Slate).

"If it’s happening to us, I’m sure it would happen to a lot of people with slightly devious names. The whole idea of being creative, it’s to come up with new things, or different and unusual things. So, it’s going to put a damper on creative ideas.... I can choose what words I want to say—'hello,' 'good day,” and 'how are you'—and it shouldn’t be limited by certain rules or regulations, which might rule that you can only say 'hello' and 'goodbye.'..."

"Appropriately titled 'Tightness-Looseness Across the 50 United States,' the study calculated a catalog of measures for each state..."

"... including the incidence of natural disasters, disease prevalence, residents’ levels of openness and conscientiousness, drug and alcohol use, homelessness and incarceration rates.... The South dominated the tight states: Mississippi, Alabama Arkansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Louisiana, Kentucky, South Carolina and North Carolina. With two exceptions — Nevada and Hawaii — states in New England and on the West Coast were the loosest: California, Oregon, Washington, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Vermont...."

In a 2019 interview, [psychprof Michele J.] Gelfand said that 
Some groups have much stronger norms than others; they’re tight. Others have much weaker norms; they’re loose. Of course, all cultures have areas in which they are tight and loose — but cultures vary in the degree to which they emphasize norms and compliance with them. 
Cultural differences, Gelfand continued, “have a certain logic — a rationale that makes good sense,” noting that “cultures that have threats need rules to coordinate to survive (think about how incredibly coordinated Japan is in response to natural disasters). But cultures that don’t have a lot of threat can afford to be more permissive and loose.”

The researcher is choosing which things to inspect for tightness or looseness. What if you had to argue that California and Oregon were "tight"? You'd just identify some areas of ideology about which leftish folk are harshly disciplinarian. 

The tight-loose concept, Gelfand argued, is an important framework to understand the rise of President Donald Trump and other leaders in Poland, Hungary, Italy, and France, among others. The gist is this: when people perceive threat — whether real or imagined, they want strong rules and autocratic leaders to help them survive.

I'd say we need to watch out for autocrats, but if you think they're all coming from the right, you're going to get blindsided. 

My research has found that within minutes of exposing study participants to false information about terrorist incidents, overpopulation, pathogen outbreaks and natural disasters, their minds tightened. They wanted stronger rules and punishments.

"Tight" is a confusing word. It could describe orderliness and cool practicality. I think of a "tight ship." But it could imply rigidity and fear of change. Why was "tight" ever used for "drunk"? "Loose" is confusing too. Is it relaxed and creative or lazy and disorganized? I wrote that before reading this:

In her book, Gelfand writes that tightness encourages conscientiousness, social order and self-control on the plus side, along with close-mindedness, conventional thinking and cultural inertia on the minus side. Looseness, Gelfand posits, fosters tolerance, creativity and adaptability, along with such liabilities as social disorder, a lack of coordination and impulsive behavior.

So, Gelfand embraces the confusingness. We need a balance of loose and tight, apparently — like yin and yang.

Edsall poses the question:

If liberalism and conservatism have historically played a complementary role, each checking the other to constrain extremism, why are the left and right so destructively hostile to each other now, and why is the contemporary political system so polarized?

Psychprof Laura Niemi answered:

Unlike liberals, conservatives strongly endorse the binding moral values aimed at protecting groups and relationships. They judge transgressions involving personal and national betrayal, disobedience to authority, and disgusting or impure acts such as sexually or spiritually unchaste behavior, as morally relevant and wrong... [Liberals stress] caring, kindness, fairness and rights — known among scholars as “individualizing values” — while conservatives focus more on loyalty, hierarchy, deference to authority, sanctity and a higher standard of disgust, known as “binding values.”

The left supports individualism? The left goes for fairness and rights? I think that's only because you are choosing where to look and your choice is based on what you want to see. 

I'm going to read "Fear pervades Tennessee's trans community amid focus on Nashville shooter's gender identity."

At NBC News. 

The headline signals that we are to prioritize empathy for members of the trans community because they are experiencing fear rather than to want to find out what happened and what role transgenderism may have played in the murder spree. This is the idea that just to talk about the subject or to want to understand and analyze something having to do with transgender people is already inflicting a harm: fear. The message is: Don't even think about it, move on, because your attention is hurting vulnerable people.

This, though three 9-year-old children were murdered, along with 3 adults, and our natural empathy would go to them. Instead, we're expected to look away because trans people feel fear of what you might think if you think about it. Indeed, fear pervades the trans community — at least in Tennessee.

From the article:
Within 10 minutes of police saying that the suspect was transgender, the hashtag #TransTerrorism trended on Twitter.

I added the link and scanned some of what is on Twitter. I can see that there are some people trying to put together a pattern that would show that trans people have a propensity toward violence or a plan, as a group, to seek vengeance for perceived wrongs. 

Around the same time, Republican lawmakers — including Sen. JD Vance, R-Ohio, and conservative firebrand Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga. — insinuated in social media posts that the shooter’s gender identity played a role in the shooting. And by Tuesday morning, the cover of the Rupert Murdoch-owned New York Post read: “Transgender killer targets Christian school.” 
“We are terrified for the LGBTQ community here,” Kim Spoon, a trans activist based in Knoxville, Tennessee, said. “More blood’s going to be shed, and it’s not going to be shed in a school.”....
Denise Sadler, a drag performer who is transgender, said... “You don’t know if [the shooter’s gender identity] is going to trigger a community of people who already hated us to come and try to shoot us to prove a point,” Sadler said. “At the end of the day, there’s a lot of hurt going on, there’s a lot of anger going on, there’s a lot of confusion going on.”...

It sounds as though everyone is afraid of violence. Some people are afraid that random transgender people are going to become murderers, and some transgender people are afraid some of those fearful people are going to go on the offensive and randomly murder transgender people. This is an amorphous but specific fear of violence. Both groups are afraid of each other. 

So far this year, Tennessee lawmakers passed two bills targeting LGBTQ people: A first-of-its-kind law that will criminalize some drag performances takes effect Saturday, and another that will ban gender-affirming care for the state’s minors becomes effective July 1. Nathan Higdon, the chief financial officer of Knoxville Pride Center, is helping organize protests against the new drag law in Nashville and Knoxville this upcoming weekend. 
Higdon said that while he and other organizers are “scared sh–less” that the conservative backlash over the shooter’s suspected gender identity will prompt violence, they’re going forward with the events as planned. “The people who hate us are always going to hate us,” Higdon said. “We can’t not do these things. We just can’t not show up.”

Are the protesters of the new laws in danger because of the school shooting? I'd like to think that human beings can think straight and would not hold the acts of an individual murderer against the group that murderer belongs to (or may belong to), but passion and irrationality are high, and protests are not exemplars of rationality and impassivity.

Not usually.

They can be. 

I reveal the name of the puzzle cited in yesterday's post, "She feels that curves are far more appealing than angles...."

I didn't want to spoil the day's "Name Drop" puzzle, but now that I've updated the post, I'm afraid you won't see it and some other new material that I added there, and because I think some of it is kind of cool, I'm going to repeat it here, after the jump:

The puzzle was the New Yorker's "Name Drop" yesterday. I like this puzzle. Each weekday there's a set of 6 clues for a famous name. The clues get easier as you go along, and I got Mae West after the second clue: "My silhouette inspired the shape of the bottle for Elsa Schiaparelli’s Shocking perfume, and my lips inspired the shape of a sofa designed by Edward James and Salvador Dalí." 

Last night, I happened to watch a Mae West movie, her first, "Night After Night." It was another one of the Criterion Channel's series of pre-code Paramount movies. She has a secondary role and doesn't even show up until the movie is halfway over, and it looks like this, at the door of George Raft's speakeasy:

The character West plays — Maudie Triplett — was based on the real life personage, Texas Guinan. Here's some documentary footage of Guinan in a speakeasy in 1928:

According to Wikipedia, George Raft wanted Guinan to play the role that went to West, but "but the studio opted for West since she was nine years younger. Raft believed that the part would have launched a major film career for Guinan (then aged 48), which proved to be the case for West instead. (West was reportedly a fan of Guinan and incorporated some of the flamboyant Guinan's ideas into her own acts)."

"I once felt that I would rather die than go blind. Now I feel the opposite. Daily life has a renewed delight and vigor."

"I am learning new things constantly. The most ordinary tasks, like going to the post office, have become terrifically interesting. In terms of everyday life, I feel that I am finally in there, more mindful and alert, more fully present. I have chosen curiosity over despair. When my disability was invisible, I irritated strangers constantly — they thought I was rude or dithering or both. People are impatient when they don’t know why you’re holding up the line. Now that I signal my disability with a white cane, I find that I have tapped a well of visible kindness.... Like a Buster Keaton film, my life is full of mishaps and averted disasters...."

Writes Edward Hirsch, who has been going blind for 20 years, in "I Am Going Blind, and I Now Find It Strangely Exhilarating" (NYT).

Beautiful! And I like that he brought up Buster Keaton. I've watched 3 short Buster Keaton movies in the last month — "Neighbors," "The Goat," and "Playhouse":

I reveal the name of the puzzle cited in yesterday's post, "She feels that curves are far more appealing than angles....""I once felt that I would rather die than go blind. Now I feel the opposite. Daily life has a renewed delight and vigor."

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