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Meanwhile around America the GQP has been busy

Don midwest
Don midwest

What is it like to be young and grow up in a screen world – i.e., on phone and internet? I introduce a twitter feed on the topic.

(Note from Don: I have been following Phillip Conway for about a decade. He wrote an incredible dissertation “The Historical Ontology of Environment: From the Unity of Nature to the Birth of Geopolitics.” Like most young “academics” he does not have a regular position. In the tweet series below, Phillip responds to Carl’s position that the youth should tough it out and follow tired and true paths. Phillip points out that today’s youth live in a different world shaped by information technology and the consequences are difficult for older people, even compared to me, very young like Phillip Conway – hard to understand youth growing up in a screen world, not a hands on world. I am not saying that this short series of tweets is a profound statement, but it is a wakeup call to consider what a different world youth today are facing. In particular, Phillip’s work in geopolitics and environmental change are the larger forces shaping what goes on in local settings as seen in many issues, including Covid-19.)

Philip Conway @PhilipRConway tweet posted on 2/28/21
This, and particularly the responses to it, are a great example of the kind of intergenerational condescension that drives me up the wall. The reduction of young people’s changing morality to something being wrong with them, rather than resulting from shifting conditions of life.
Quote Tweet
Carl @HistoryBoomer · Feb 26
I was thrilled that my students loved John Stuart Mill & his radical defense of freedom.
Mill says the only justification for interfering with freedom is to prevent harm. Then I
discovered that students defined “harm” as emotional harm. So no free speech that hurts
feelings! 1/2
Students were surprised that Mill didn’t mean emotional pain. They think that way
automatically. Personal pain takes priority. They like the idea of freedom, but not if the
freedom upsets anyone. Not all agreed, of course. Some students clearly liked Mill on his own
terms. 2/2
(Note from Don – this thread replying to Carl has many, many comments. I only included . This is just a springboard to Phillip’s tweets. )

Let’s accept that young people today are generally more sensitive to ’emotional harms.’ This seems plausible, if often exaggerated. Well, why might this be? Perhaps because they live their entire lives in a fractal goldfish bowl of infinite media-capitalist self-surveillance?

There was a good film a few years ago exploring what it’s like to grow up as a teenager in the environment of social media: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eighth_Grade_(film)… It stuck with me. All the same pressures and need for validation plus the piercing personal-impersonal gaze of the panoptic lens.

I absolutely hated secondary (aka high) school. I walked around all day wanting the ground to swallow me up. But at least I didn’t have to take it home with me. It had an outside. Social media only came into existence while I was at university, and it wasn’t a big deal.

Facebook was founded in 2004. Most undergrads starting in September were 1 at the time. Not only have they never known anything else, they’ve never known Facebook as anything except where your parents and grandparents hang out. It’s ancient history.

As much as headline writers still like to call young people ‘millennials,’ this generation is now becoming middle aged. We are the last generation to remember a world before the saturation of our lives in digital media. We can still perceive the novelty, if only just.

I don’t really know what it’s like to grow up in this world. But what I do know is that if every aspect of your existence can be scrutinised, inescapably, down to the tiniest detail, you might well develop a moral disposition that attempts to limit this potential for harm.

All of which is to say that the failure to understand why young people today might see the world differently seems to me to be based in callous, willful moral ignorance. We don’t live in the world of J.S. Mill. We don’t even live in the world of Myspace.


thanks don. new eyes for my tweens becoming teens gks.

Don midwest
Don midwest

My wife brought a book home from the library. I had never heard of this gifted Science Fiction writer.

His latest book is a near time environmental disaster which starts out in the first chapter with 20 million people dead from a heat wave in India in a week. His earlier books took place a few hundred years in the future or on Mars, but this book is an in your face story of what could happen in the next few years unless major change comes about.

I am going to introduce this through 3 links.

The first one is an interview about his work and writing

A Functional Form Has Its Own Beauty: An Interview with Kim Stanley Robinson
McKenzie Wark interviews Kim Stanley Robinson

The next link is a review of his book that came out a couple of months ago

Of Course They Would: On Kim Stanley Robinson’s “The Ministry for the Future”
By Gerry Canavan

The third is an interview about his new book

What Will the World Look Like in 30 Years? Sci-fi Author Kim Stanley Robinson Takes Us There
Robinson on his new book The Ministry for the Future, a plausible, chaotic, and hopeful novel about how the climate crisis could play out

And then I did my usual trick of checking out the linkage to my hero, Bruno Latour. I do this by searching with both their names. Sure enough, they are linked.

And Kim Stanley Robinson’s work will influence far more people than Bruno Latour’s work. But Bruno and his collective are building an intellectual basis for work like this and Richard Power’s novel “The Overstory.”


The Ministry for the future is now on my to-read list. TY.


I’m reading KSR’s 2140 right now:

Early in New York 2140, two boys jump into their inflatable boat to begin the day’s business, scavenging through the canals of a half-drowned New York. Since the weight of the engine threatens to sink the stern, the older boy sits up front to balance it out.

And yet, what defines New York 2140, beneath its anger at toxic capitalism and its despair over inadequate environmental measures is the thread of hope that somehow, maybe, we might yet balance the boat enough to make it through the ruins.


I find it fascinating the we might be able to terra form a planet to support life some day. My question is is why are so many on this planet hell bent on terraforming this planet to the point where it wont support life as we know it?




ordered from Amazon. Joining others in my basket. Enough to qualify for free shipping.






This one does not look like a keeper.


THIS WEEK, Milwaukee Bucks senior vice president Alex Lasry announced a 2022 run for U.S. Senate in Wisconsin, a seat currently held by Republican Sen. Ron Johnson. Lasry, son of private equity billionaire and major Democratic Party donor Marc Lasry, is the second Democratic candidate to jump in the race.

Lasry’s father owns the Bucks, and the 33-year-old Lasry said recently that his relocation to Wisconsin to work for the basketball team had come with the pleasant surprise that the state turns out to have many of the same cultural amenities as the cities on the coasts he had previously called home.

“I didn’t know much about Milwaukee; I knew the Brewers, I knew the Packers were in Wisconsin,” he said in a conversation with the Jewish Museum Milwaukee this past summer.

“I came in with, kind of, just trying to keep an open mind about the city,” Lasry told the museum audience last July. “The only places I had lived in prior were New York, Philly, and D.C. — so kind of bigger East Coast cities. And when I came here, I think what most surprised me about Milwaukee is the fact that Milwaukee has all the same things as any city, especially any big city, has,” he continued.

Alex Lasry’s career opportunities have consistently been connected to his father’s businesses or political giving. Though he doesn’t note it in his bio, Lasry began as an intern at Goldman Sachs during college, while Lasry’s father was a major Goldman Sachs client. Marc Lasry was a bundler for Barack Obama’s 2012 presidential campaign, gathering $500,000 for his reelection, and he led a Wall Street effort to restore relations with the White House after the president mildly criticized the financial sector. His son then scored an internship in the White House in the Office of Public Engagement, run by senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, who was one of the White House’s key links to the CEO class. The White House gig was his first job out of college, and he rose through the ranks of the office. From there, he returned to Goldman Sachs as an analyst in their government affairs department.

So far, Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson, the former state Assembly majority leader, is the only other Democrat to officially enter the August 9, 2022 primary, running as a populist-progressive from a part of the state where Democrats are in short supply.


IDK about WI politics.

Does a big $$$ corporate (D) have a better/worse chance to beat Ron Johnson?

If it’s an unanswerable question, then going with the Progressive Nelson, if he is a progressive, would be my choice


During the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, Nelson was a delegate for Bernie Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist. During the primary, Nelson called on Democratic candidates to be more aggressive in their support for organized labor, noting the role labor unions played in the passage of key components of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal.

Nelson has endorsed raising taxes on the wealthy to fund social security. He has praised the Green New Deal, stating that he hopes to forge a “blue-green coalition in the progressive movement, to unite the environmental and labor movements.”
He has endorsed Medicare for All as well.


Sounds really wonderful to me.

Can he win? give me your assessment, please.

And thanks for answering.


At this point i think he can win. Madison and Milwaukee have to turn out big in an off year election. The R’s will turn out because they know thier gerrymander wont carry the day on a Senate election in Wi. In a lot of peoples eyes Ronjon is a national embarrassment representing WI.