Following a typical HBD Bibliography twitter intervention (paraphrased: “educate yourself”), a professor of Global Liberal Studies turned up to engage in activity that can be technically described as “hooting”. The pattern of symbolic behavior that then manifested cannot, of course, be reduced to the expectations of primatology. If it seems like an entirely predictable assertion of dominance, as found among all the great apes, something is surely being missed. That at least is the claim now being made (decorated by a little immediate status signaling):

The error of mistaking this expert hooting for the first step in an argument was too tempting to resist. After all, if a professor of Global Liberal Studies deigns to teach you about the limits of possible biological understanding, it is only polite to listen attentively. Unfortunately, certain monkey juices were triggered by the chest-thumping of GLS-prof., and I descended quickly into obstreperousness:

Uh oh, look what’s happening now — it’s gibbering monkey business political dialectic. GLS-prof. isn’t being even nominally respected, there’s nothing remotely like a “please mount my butt you hairy master” moment taking place, and it’s not hard to see that GLS-p. isn’t getting enough of those from anywhere, so he’s kind of desperate for a random dopamine hit. Time to really make it clear that politics transcends biology, and anybody who thinks the contrary better bend over quickly for a piece of hierarchically-clarifying ass-punishment:

Translation: So which serious alpha monkey like me person owns you as their bitch? Politics is nothing like primate dominance. Dumbass.

Translation: [*sarcastic counter-hoot*]

Translation: My buddy PROFESSOR Wilson wouldn’t even use you as a doormat — so why am I even talking to you, impertinent gamma wretch? It’s distracting me from serious politics and stuff.

There has to be some chimpanzee ass-play politics that isn’t quite this disgustingly stupid, but I’m guessing — not a lot.

Note: “Michael Rectenwald is professor in Global Liberal Studies at New York University. He is the author of numerous essays and six books.” He is widely respected by his peers in the field.

ADDED: After posting this I worried a little that it was too harsh. The guy was probably just having a bad day. After all, no one “paid to write and think” by a (somewhat) prestigious university could possibly engage in these self-parodying dominance chimp-outs on a regular basis, surely? Ooops:

September 24, 2014admin 33 Comments »


33 Responses to this entry

  • Bryce Laliberte Says:

    “Politics has emergent principles (game theory), but it’s as reducible to biology as bio is to chemistry.”

    But biology *is* more than just some chemicals reacting to each other; it is chemicals reacting to each other in a particular form. Not that your point isn’t salient, but it doesn’t require the metaphysical postulate of reducibility.


    admin Reply:

    ‘Reductionism’ is simply the program to improve substrate models (which is now largely about simulating emergent complexity). It doesn’t strike me as seriously objectionable.


    Posted on September 24th, 2014 at 5:53 pm Reply | Quote
  • defused Says:

    According to his NYU webpage, his official title is “Master Teacher” of the liberal studies program. One can’t fault the guy; his asinine chest-thumping is the sole palpable payoff of nine-years of post-graduate education that landed him a gloried lecturing position with the salary equivalent of an NYC “Master Shift Manager” at Burger King (and lectureships are rarer in the US than Europe, though I suspect this will change steadily). That he repays the system that stole his life and reduced him to pauperism is stupefying, and this coming from a non-stem grad student.


    Posted on September 24th, 2014 at 6:15 pm Reply | Quote
  • Ex-pat in Oz Says:

    “presumptuous much?”

    his obvious qualities shine– he’s a precious genius-man you shouldn’t be disrespecting

    i always get stuck next to people like this at required gatherings and they are looooong affairs


    Izak Reply:

    From here on out, let it be decreed! Never trust a man over thirty who says “[adjective] much?”

    I honestly respect “Do you even science, bro?” more. But only with the addition of “bro.”

    And let’s also raise our red flags for people who talk about things that are “reductive,” let alone whatever the hell “reductionism” is meant to be.


    Steve Johnson Reply:

    I don’t want to be associated with any group where “bro, do you even lift?” isn’t considered an effective rebuttal.


    pseudo-chrysostom Reply:

    never skip leg day

    Posted on September 24th, 2014 at 8:14 pm Reply | Quote
  • E. Antony Gray (@RiverC) Says:

    Rectenwald. Isn’t that german for ‘ass play’?


    admin Reply:

    Now, now. Professor Rectenprobe can’t be held responsible for the semiotic workings of divine providence.


    Antisthenes Reply:

    ‘Ass Play’ is a pretty good euphemism for the literary masterworks of the Master Teacher Rectalwart, which constitute a delicate, yet insistent synthesis of Stephanie Meyer and E.L. James, among other greats:



    admin Reply:

    “I like the Woody Allen meets Twilight vibe …” — yes, it’s really — uh — something.


    Posted on September 24th, 2014 at 8:29 pm Reply | Quote
  • Stirner (@heresiologist) Says:

    The classic blunders:

    1) Never get involved in a land war in Asia
    2) Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line
    3) Never go up against Nick Land in a fancy word battle


    Posted on September 24th, 2014 at 9:05 pm Reply | Quote
  • Politics | Reaction Times Says:

    […] Source: Outside In […]

    Posted on September 24th, 2014 at 9:29 pm Reply | Quote
  • Drfitforge Says:

    Random semi-off topic things:

    http://therightstuff.biz/2014/09/24/britain-is-on-fire-let-the-motherfucker-burn/ General piece on the decay of the British people and thereby nation.

    – Commentary that Scots internationally are some of the RIghtmost peoples, while in Scotland are well to the left

    – The UK for several hundred years has been exporting people with high initiative to their various colonies

    – The UK burnt through a whole lot of its K stock men in two world wars

    What you have in Britain now is descended from what was left over. It’s a long burn variant on the IQ shredder.

    Interesting that in Russia, with a practice of rounding up its r-stock men and using them as cannon fodder, with the K stock behind them to stop them bolting, the same decay is not so evident, even with much higher losses.

    All suggests there might be something to be said for conscription…


    Posted on September 24th, 2014 at 11:32 pm Reply | Quote
  • John Says:

    Man who prepends DR to his twitter handle, indoctrinates feeble minded status seekers, and basks perpetually in smug superiority encounters actual intelligent person.

    Man is shocked, shocked, when intelligent person does not immediately defer upon being notified that “I teach 19th c. history of science btw”.


    Posted on September 25th, 2014 at 12:00 am Reply | Quote
  • defused Says:

    @Stirner (@heresiologist)

    Indeed. I was drinking when I read the comment about E.O. Wilson knowing nothing about global liberal studies and almost coughed it all up over my keyboard; incisively brilliant, unlike his sparring partner.


    Posted on September 25th, 2014 at 12:51 am Reply | Quote
  • Artxell Knaphni Says:

    “Whenever a supervenient level seems ‘irreducible’ it’s because our substrate theory is too crude.”

    If the “substrate theory” has to be supplemented by a “supervenient level” in order to produce a complete image or representation: then, one, the attribution of substration & supervenience to disciplinary regions proves essentially arbitrary: & two, the use of either substrate or supervenience, alone, is necessarily “reductive” or inadequate, if the resources of one are expected to account for the territory of the other.


    admin Reply:

    A supervenient level provisionally summarizes the research ambitions of advancing the substrate theory towards competence at modeling complex singularities.


    Artxell Knaphni Reply:

    That’s not contradicting what I wrote.


    admin Reply:

    I’m under some kind of imperative to contradict everything you write? (You realize that would make me fully programmable?)

    Artxell Knaphni Reply:

    “I’m under some kind of imperative to contradict everything you write? (You realize that would make me fully programmable?)”

    It’s just an observation. Was writing about substration & supervenience (metaphysics of substance), your ‘psychological motivation’ was not emphasised. Not that it’s necessarily irrelevant, I’m sure I could configure an philosophical argument for its essential pertinence to the ‘objective’.

    Artxell Knaphni Reply:

    On second thoughts, it could, if the substrate is overly or dogmatically valorised. Provisional fixation is allowable, to the extent of mapping the play of other variables. Anyway, I need to sleep.


    Scharlach Reply:

    The mental gymnastics some people will go through to convince themselves they aren’t animals . . .

    Artxell Knaphni Reply:

    Au contraire, Scharlach, gymnastics is the epitome of animation.

    Posted on September 25th, 2014 at 2:28 am Reply | Quote
  • Antisthenes Says:

    Literature majors are always a barrel of laughs.


    Posted on September 25th, 2014 at 2:29 am Reply | Quote
  • NRx_N00B Says:

    Nick “McPwnage” Land, that was beautiful—what a hoot!

    [Took the liberty of a micro-edit — assuming you had no particular attachment to the glitch.]


    Antisthenes Reply:

    We’re just witnessing a Liberal Arts beta male in the act of pwning himself.

    He has pwned himself upwards of nine thousand times, and he has become exceedingly efficient at it.


    Posted on September 25th, 2014 at 6:46 am Reply | Quote
  • Alrenous Says:

    A man grows up being imprinted in the painfully artificial Prussian school environment, where only academic achievement is respected. So he goes to university and does okay for himself, but he finds, too late, academia has no middle class. You’re either top of your field or a schlub. He blames this for his failure with women, too. However, he’s sunk so much time, effort, and money into the game he can no longer afford to change tracks. (At least, he can’t face the conclusion that we was so comprehensively gulled.) He attempts to empty the endless fountain of frustration by bailing it out onto the heads of the lowest underclass, nobody else being available. It works especially poorly when he mis-assesses the class of his next victim, merely adding to his woes.

    A pitiful wretch. He should have questioned authority. Having sacrificed everything to petition Authority, he certainly can’t do it now, even though he received none of the promised blessings.


    Nick B. Steves Reply:

    You paint an unbearably bleak picture of midwittery. And probably accurate.


    Alrenous Reply:

    I’ve met too many of them.

    Still, it’s not all bleak. Knowing the problem illuminates the solution. In these cases, several things have to go wrong. We can see it’s not inevitable.


    Hanfeizi Reply:

    There is a solution. It’s called bail out and join the private sector. And it’s not too late, at least if one is courageous enough to be geographically mobile.

    I sometimes thank my lucky stars that an arrogant prof kicked me out of the dead-end Poli Sci PhD program I was in seven years ago. That man doesn’t know it, and probably has forgotten me completely, but he changed my life for the better by doing so.

    Hanfeizi Reply:

    “Midwittery” is a good term. I refer to it as the “Alpha Minus Problem”: or why someone who seems to tick all the right boxes can end up as more of a loser than your average middle-class schlub. Being a textbook Alpha Minus, I know all about this.

    Nassim Taleb also hinted at it with his “extremistan vs. mediocristan”- the former is winner-take-all, and second place is just the first loser, whereas the former can provide relatively consistent rewards to most in the field.

    Compare academia to dentistry, or finance to accounting, and you get the idea. Though, as Taleb also notes, one of the reasons for this is that extremistan jobs tend to be interesting and appealing, while mediocristan jobs tend to be boring and unpleasant. Being an academic is good work if you can get it; dentistry is ugly work, but moderately lucrative. Finance tends to produce a few stars and a lot of failures all pursuing a field that is at least somewhat glamorous and interesting; accounting provides a great deal of constant, dull work.


    Posted on September 25th, 2014 at 2:29 pm Reply | Quote
  • Lightning Round – 2014/10/01 | Free Northerner Says:

    […] Land has some fun with one Michael Rectenwald on Twitter. […]

    Posted on October 1st, 2014 at 5:02 am Reply | Quote

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