Thoughts While Reading Classmate Entries In My Alma Mater’s Anniversary Report, #5: Bias Really Does Make You Stupid…Or Worse

The stunning thing is how many of my aging classmates, no matter what they’ve accomplished and how credentialed they are, have their brains riddled with progressive cant, Trump-Derangement, and climate-change fanatacism. They usually save their rants for the end, after leading the reader on by impressive accounts of career triumphs, arcane literary references, and skilled writing.

A report I read last night by a retired physician was sailing along, rational as could be, and then unravels like the rebel leader in Woody Allen’s “Bananas,” who once he overturns a South American dictatorship gives a speech announcing that the national language will henceforth be Swedish. The doctor warned of madness to come by listing, among the activities he and his still practicing physician wife are passionate about, “seeing Marlon every chance we get.” Surely he doesn’t mean Marlon Wayans or Marlon Jackson; it must be a reference to Marlon Brando.

Okaaay, that’s a little strange: Brando was a great actor and all, but he made maybe ten really good movies (I just checked that: ten is a stretch) and was a self-indulgent, pompous jerk. A non-actor being obsessed with “Marlon” is an ominous sign. Quickly after that admission we get “The Republican push to delegitimize any election they don’t win screams 1938.” Ah, a “Republicans are Nazis” shot…and Republicans push to delegitimize elections they don’t win? A bit of selective history there, Doctor.

Then comes the obligatory climate change hysteria: “The existential threat of climate change has me thinking about Marlon in a haze of worry and terror…Greta Thunberg has it absolutely right.”

Marlon again! Wait: now I remember: one of the ways Brando wasted his money while sneering at society was creating the world’s first “post-carbon” resort, The Brando, at Tetiaroa, the tiny Pacific island he bought to hide away from the rest of us mere mortals.It is featured in the Netflix series “Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby” and is run by the Brando Estate with eight of his children involved.

It has not, and will not, have any effect on climate change whatsoever, but apparently makes Marlon a hero to people like my college classmate. I bet he and his wife have made a pilgrimage to that resort. (Another thing I’ve learned from reading these screeds is that the only member of my graduating class who isn’t rich is me.)

As for Greta, she came out in her latest book as a full blown Marxist, blaming the existential threat of climate change on a capitalist system that is “defined by colonialism, imperialism, oppression and genocide by the so-called global North to accumulate wealth that still shapes our current world order” and that has “roots in racist, oppressive extractivism…to maximize short-term profits for a few.” And, naturally, anyone who opposes Greta’s world view is a fascist. Absolutely right on, kid!

The report ends with an endorsement of this carbon-free pie-in-the-sky nonsense, penned by acclaimed depressive, doom-obsessed fiction writer Joy Williams, who has no training in science of any kind but is certain what to do about the environment:

The ecological crisis cannot be resolved by politics. It cannot be resolved by science or technology. It is a crisis caused by culture and character, and a deep change in personal consciousness is needed. Your fundamental attitudes toward the earth have become twisted. You have made only brutal contact with Nature; you cannot comprehend its grace. You must change. Have few desires and simple pleasures. Honor nonhuman life. Control yourself, become more authentic. Live lightly upon the earth and treat it with respect. Redefine the word progress and dismiss the managers and masters. Grow inwardly and with knowledge become truly wiser. Think differently, behave differently. For this is essentially a moral issue we face, and moral decisions must be made.

This, in turn, made me think again about a tweet Sean Lennon—the conservative Lennon!—issued this week:

Imagine that!

12 thoughts on “Thoughts While Reading Classmate Entries In My Alma Mater’s Anniversary Report, #5: Bias Really Does Make You Stupid…Or Worse

  1. Sean is absolutely right. We are hard wired to worship something. If not God, we will find something to worship: money, lust, food, alternate philosophies, ourselves….

    “since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

    For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.” Romans 1:19-23

    The Left professes itself to be wise but look like fools when they want us to trust their vague philosophies over what we see with our own eyes.

  2. I have a few personal rules of thumb to help me identify and prevent me from reading nonsensical screeds.
    1. If the writer uses single spacing that goes on for more than one page it is a nonsensical screed.
    2. If any sentence or phrase has three or more consecutive “isms” it is a nonsensical screed.
    3. Any document that repeatedly refers back to Hitler as the basis for an argument is a nonsensical screed.
    4. Any statement that refers to the “breakdown of democracy” in our republican nation is a nonsensical screed.

  3. The only explanation I’m able to come up with for elitist, wealthy lefties is they’ve lived their entire lives in very rarified air. While doing my starving young artist thing after graduation, one of my better jobs was driving the Yale Shuttle Bus. The route ended at Yale Medical School and Yale New Haven Hospital. So, lots of passengers were physicians and medical students as well as other Yale faculty. There was simply an aura of “We’re the best and brightest and therefore we know everything.” And those people have been marinated in that for the last fifty years. They simply know better. They’ve been pampered and catered to their entire lives. Who better to dictate all things? It’s a real problem. Fortunately, these people are a parody of themselves. They remind me of Statler and Biltmore of Muppet fame. They sit around in their “University Clubs” saying “Bully, Bully!” to each other and the attending, ever-present servants.

  4. “Another thing I’ve learned from reading these screeds is that the only member of my graduating class who isn’t rich is me.”
    You’re not going to hear from the ones who are in prison, who’ve been through four wives (or husbands) and are living penniless in a child’s basement, who have tried to drink themselves to death (certainly not the ones who’ve succeeded in that), etc., etc. You’ll only hear about any failures if they can be spun to sound like triumphs over adversity, or some such puffery.

    Through your work and this blog, you’ve influenced many people for the good; that’s not failure.

    • The closing line in the 1940’s movie it Happened on Fifth Avenue was when the industrialist states “There are far richer men than I” as he watches Mr. Mckever, the vagabond squatter, who helped the industrialist’s family reunite, walk away from the industrialist’s home in which he was squatting never knowing that he was helping the industrialist regain his humanity.
      There is great wealth in knowing you are helping people even if it never manifests itself on one’s personal balance sheet.

      Wealth is not always a measure of financial security.

  5. Not having read your classmates essay, I have no idea if this fits, but is it possible that “Marlon” refers not to Brando, but to your classmate’s child? That would seem to fit better with wanting to
    see them every chance they got and worrying about them in response to a perceived existential threat.

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