Various and Sundry, 7/24/12

Quickly, because I have other things to write today:

* Saw The Dark Knight Rises last night, which I enjoyed but which I strongly suspect could have been about a half hour shorter without any significant loss of story or quality. I think it’s time for filmmakers to reconnect with the idea that more is not always better; sometimes it’s just more. That said, I think it’s a better movie than The Avengers, which I also enjoyed but which I found aggressively lightweight. I guess maybe I like my superhero movies dark, or something.

* Somewhat related to DKR, I’ve been asked a couple of times if I had any thoughts on the Aurora shooting. Outside the official statement SFWA released on the matter, which features a quote from me as president, not really. This was one of those times when everyone else had so much to say on every aspect of it that I didn’t feel adding my voice would be useful or necessary. And to be blunt about it, what I mostly felt was sad.

* I’ve been watching yesterday’s “Self-Made Man” piece get about the Internet and reading the comments, not just here but also other places, particularly Metafilter and Fark. What’s interesting about both of those places is not so much the response to my piece in itself, but that the majority of the response in both cases was based on how the piece was framed by the person who submitted the links.

Over on Metafilter, the person who linked to the piece tied it into Massachusetts Senatorial candidate Elizabeth Warren’s speech about infrastructure, and so the conversation quickly became about that, as well as Obama’s echoing of that sentiment (and the GOP’s recent attempts to reframe the statement for its own political gain). On Fark, the submitter claimed the piece invalidated arguments about taxes being too high, so — surprise! — the thread there is primarily about taxes.

I don’t think there’s any problem with the conversations in either case, and even if I did, I don’t run either site, so that would be tough for me. But it’s amusing how quickly in both cases the comments became not about what I wrote in the piece.

* That’s all I have got for you today. Back to the writing hole for me.

51 thoughts on “Various and Sundry, 7/24/12

  1. Amusingly, I had the exact opposite opinion re: The Dark Knight Rises vs. The Avengers, but for precisely the same reasons that you state. :)

  2. That said, I think it’s a better movie than The Avengers, which I also enjoyed but which I found aggressively lightweight.

    Heretic!
    Of course, I had planned to skip DKR in the theaters because, while I don’t mind grim, I want at least a *chance* that things could turn out at least acceptably – it doesn’t have to be happy, just not full of despair. I didn’t really see how DKR could pull that off in a way that I could buy. But after hearing about the shooting in Aurora, it just felt like the right thing to do. I wound up being glad I’d gone.

  3. I’m with Rob Wynne. I enjoyed the heck out of Avengers, because it seemed like the kind of superhero movie I want to see — brightly colored, lighthearted, and actiony. I haven’t bothered seeing Dark Knight yet because I’m going to have to work myself up to seeing something that dark, the incident in Colorado notwithstanding. It took me a month to go see the previous Batman film, for the same reason.

  4. It’s always hard to know where a conversation on Metafilter will go. To some extent that’s what I like about it; it’s a site that really has a community and the discussions are a reflection of the community and what they’re interested in at that time. Framing certainly impacts it but I’ve also seen things take a left turn into an aspect that the Mefites think is more interesting just based on the conversation.

  5. You wrote, “But it’s amusing how quickly in both cases the comments became not about what I wrote in the piece.” Fair enough, but the context in which we read a given text is partly responsible for the text’s meaning. The framing of the piece by others matters, because they are using it to advance their own point. It’s good that people could use it to discuss taxes or infrastructure or whatever else they felt important. The beauty of the piece is that it can be transposed into many different rhetorical keys.

  6. I’m swimming against the tide of “DKR rules” too, I’m afraid. Weighty grimdark just doesn’t do it for me anymore. It was okay for part one and two, but my mood has definitely changed since then. Plus the rumours I heard and wikipedia has confirmed, pretty much sank it for me. It sounds like it might be an okay superhero movie, but it just isn’t Batman. If this was Nolan’s plan all along then I’d rather he had came up with his own original character rather than strapping it to an existing cape. Makes me fear for the Superman reboot really.

    Plus, and I’ll admit it, I’m ready for the Silver Age to come back. Some light-hearted, campy action would just about hit the spot.

  7. Something that’s always interested me about film is the need for it to be a certain length, all the way down to the script should be 120 pages. So I’m generally happy when filmmakers try to push that boundary a little bit (see also Peter Jackson and James Cameron). Of course, as you say, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should…

  8. When the comments on THE SCIENCE OF WATCHMEN video on youtube reached triple digits, I noted an interesting statistical breakdown. A third of the commenters liked the video. A third found my voice annoying (to which my kids say: Get in line! We’ve been saying that for years!). And a third talked about Jesus.

    This last part puzzled me (they were no referring to Dr. Manhattan I should stress) until I realized that if you are going to get up on your soapbox and preach, you want to do it on a nice Sunday afternoon when the park is full of people, rather than in a deserted alleyway in the middle of the night.

    Haven’t seen DKR yet myself – but I found AVENGERS to have a surprising amount of heft for what only needed to be a light weight superhero confection, at least in the evolution of Tony Stark, from shallow prima donna at the beginning to being willing to lay down by the end of the film on “the wire to save his team mates.” When he asks: “What’s the plan, Cap?”, at the end, and was willing to take suggestions from Hawkeye, there was, dare I say, growth. Needless to say, Cap HAD a plan. This they got right – as others have said, his real super-power is Resource Management, just as the Black Widow’s is Manipulation.

    I’d be interested in your thoughts on THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN. (I have a soft spot for that one, thanks to the Decay Rate Algorithm).

  9. Best superhero movie of the year is still Jiro Dreams of Sushi. The other punks have nothing on him.

  10. The spousal unit & I also saw DKR yesterday, and were suitably impressed. I want Selina Kyle’s cat ears–cute, yet functional! While I agree that the film could have trimmed slightly, it passed what I refer to as the watch test–if I haven’t even thought about checking my watch during a movie, then the film was sucessful.

  11. Personal statement on Colorado’s premiere of The Dark Knight Rises
    by
    Jonathan Vos Post
    Copyright © 2012 by Magic Dragon Multimedia.

    My condolences thoughts go to the loved ones of those killed or injured, and to all affected. My opinions may not be popular, but they are informed and sincere:
    (1) The accused has a presumption of innocence under the law.
    (2) This is not about Science Fiction/Fantasy professionals, from the brilliant co-writers Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer, nor anyone who previously contributed to the Batman mythos.
    (3) This is not about Science Fiction/Fantasy fans, many of whom shared my enjoyment of San Diego Comic-Con, where previews of the film were greeted with intense approval.
    (4) This is not about guns nor gun control laws. Japan strictly regulates swords, you know.
    (5) This is not about PhD. Programs, in Neuroscience nor any other academic field.
    (6) This is not about terrorism, as terrorists almost always expound a political agenda.
    (7) This is about mental illness, and why our culture should remove the stigma for treatment.
    (8) This is about youth, especially given the ages of the alleged perpetrator and many victims. See the current Los Angeles Times series of articles on global demographics, which I feel deserved a Pulitzer Prize. The equations of population dynamics are not so hard, as I’ve taught them in high schools. But Science Fiction/Fantasy professionals might consider the stark statistics on youth-dominated nations and the “arc of violence” in extrapolating to even more overpopulated futures.
    (9) I could be wrong. We may find out in trial. Or we may never know.

  12. I think I shall immediately start a thread about the Self-Made Man piece and link it to weasel-stomping. This should provide us with dozens of comments about the essence of self-made weasel-stompers.

  13. I’m over grimdark too. The Avengers did deal with some serious issues, but didn’t wallow in the mud about it. Am hoping New Superman goes more the Avengers route than these Batman movies, but fear it won’t. Grimdark Superman is an oxymoron to me.

    However, self-made weasel-stompers would be an interesting discussion, as well as a swell band name.

  14. Re: Mr. Vos Post: About youth? Really? The shooter was 24 years old. I have a hard time understanding how his “youth” is a factor in his crime. We’re not talking about a kid here. Also, in what sense is the case not about guns and gun control laws? Access to firearms — lots and lots of firearms — was essential to the crime. If he did not have guns, then the crime would not have happened. If he had fewer guns, fewer people would have died. One might say that the crime would have occurred even if stricter gun control laws were in place. That statement might be correct; it is at least an open question. But to say that the crime is more about “youth” than “guns” is a reach.

  15. I thought your “Self-Made Man” piece was saying that really, there is no such thing as a “self-made” man, at least not in your case. I felt I was reminded of how we are all helping each other (through paying taxes that may go to fund AFDC, student lunch programs, etc.; through encouraging gifts in children, urging them to reach higher, etc.). I got the impression you were acknowledging that you didn’t come by your success all on your own.

  16. On the Colorado shooting: I don’t get why this is a big deal. We accept that tens of thousands of Americans will die on the roads of this country every year, and we don’t make a big deal about it. It’s the price we pay for having the freedom to drive automobiles wherever we want. Why is this any different? The majority of Americans seem to want unrestricted access to firearms, and this kind of incident is the price we pay. If you are against gun control, then you should be thrilled about this. It means your freedom is not lost.

  17. On July 24, 2012 at 7:49 pm, Kevin said:
    “On the Colorado shooting: I don’t get why this is a big deal. We accept that tens of thousands of Americans will die on the roads of this country every year, and we don’t make a big deal about it.”

    Automotive deaths are a slow loss, spread out over the entire country and an entire year. If 36,500 people die in car accidents in a year, that’s 100 per day, spread out across the entire country. Even with an adjustment for population density, that’s not a lot of people in any given area. And yes, it won’t be evenly spread out; there might be a headline about the ten-car pileup in L.A. that claimed fifteen lives and injured twenty others, but one or two people dying in a car accident may not make any sort of news in a major city unless they’re famous on some level, or there’s something unusual about the death.

    The Colorado shooting was a relatively large number of people hurt or killed, there’s no sense of fairness at all, and to top it off, it feeds into a major debate in the U.S. on firearms and gun control. It’s going to be a big deal, in spite of whether this should be an expected risk or not, and in spite of the actual level of need to be concerned.

  18. I thought Avengers was great. Part of that was that I had low expectations, even with Whedon and the cast. Haven’t been to DKR, I’m down on dark and down right now; I was before the Colorado shooting, too, and that didn’t help any. This is not the time or place … no, wait, I will: Kevin, you won’t find many more fervent supporters of all of the Bill of Rights than I am (well, maybe not the 17th), but I am disgusted about the Aurora shooting. There’s nothing thrilling about it. That you would think that (or say it as provoking) … never mind.

    Sorry, John, mallet if you please.

  19. Yeah, I guess there’s a reason it ain’t my Mallet, for I’d certainly have used it by now.

  20. “it feeds into a major debate in the U.S. on firearms and gun control. ”

    Yeah. I’m about to turn 54, and the “firearms and gun control debate” has made exactly ZERO progress one way or the other in my lifetime. I don’t see why this one incident will change that. Columbine didn’t. West Virginia didn’t. What is different about this one?

    The point is, nothing will change, because neither side of the debate is listening to the other side. They never have, and I don’t see it changing at this point.

    This is what “freedom” looks like.

  21. Kevin:

    “On the Colorado shooting: I don’t get why this is a big deal.”

    Then you are stupid, disingenuous or a sociopath, Kevin. Whichever it is, don’t pull that sort of shit here. There are lots of ways to make your point other than suggesting twelve people dead and dozens of others are wounded in a single event is not “a big deal.” Honestly, that’s just about the stupidest damned thing anyone’s said on this site in a very long time. If you don’t understand why, then go away and think about it until you do.

  22. I think it says more about our society than all the arguments combined that the immediate response of so many Americans to a tragedy of this magnitude is to immediately launch full tilt into partisan bickering while the press goes hounding victims. Welcome to America, where strangers aren’t human beings, they’re chew toys. I’d be furious about it if I weren’t so sad.

    I wish the victims and their friends and families peace and support in this time which belongs to them, not me.

  23. Over on Metafilter, the person who linked to the piece tied it into Massachusetts Senatorial candidate Elizabeth Warren’s speech about infrastructure, and so the conversation quickly became about that, as well as Obama’s echoing of that sentiment (and the GOP’s recent attempts to reframe the statement for its own political gain

    Well, the “reframing” was done by the President; what the GOP and libertarians did was reveal it. I don’t know how many business owners I know who were both Clinton supporters and Obama voters (meaning they’re socially liberal, support some taxes for infrastructure and regulation but still realize that it’s the free market that’s the heart and backbone of American prosperity) who’ve gone over to Romney after seeing both the Obama and Warren speech in full. They did so because they finally released how far from the center the Democratic party has gone, how it’s been taken over by extremists who hate the private market.

    No one denies that the infrastructure (and teachers and cops and even regulators), which the rich and successful have paid far more than their fair share to support, are necessary for the successful to be successful. Framing their opponents position as that of no taxes for any infrastructure and no regulation is really a blatant strawman argument on the President and Warren’s part. They know they can not win if they debate their opponents real positions of slowed increases in government spending and reasonable limits on government power so they have to argue against a horribly perverted version of their opponents position.

    But Obama really let the mask slip when he said this:

    Look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.

    No, the Lion’s share of the credit goes to those individuals’ intelligence, hard-work, risk-taking and talent; not the people who supported them.

    And isn’t it revealing that the “somebody who gave you help” and the help itself is always government help?

    If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.

    In the end this is just another argument to raise taxes on an already overtaxed group: the successful. Which, if you listen to the false or misleading arguments that it’s the public sector that’s fallen behind in job creation, that “people want to lend us money!” argument, the “letting the Bush tax cuts expire won’t kill job creation” argument you realize that what the left wants is more taxes, moar borrowing, Moar spending, MOAR “stimulus” and MOAR! regulation. In a country with a trillion-dollar deficit, a national debt that has added $6 trillion to the $10 trillion debt Obama has inherited in 3 years and has intentionally closed off the most promising area for job growth (Oil, natrual gas, fracking etc).

    And the polls show it. Obama is tied or behind Romney for a President who should by all rights be significantly ahead (since he’s a Democrat and the media has done everything to spin stories for his benefit.)

    Say it with me: President Romney. A Centrist President in the mold of both Clinton (on the left) and Bush II (on the right).

  24. I think [The Dark Knight Rises]’s a better movie than The Avengers, which I also enjoyed but which I found aggressively lightweight.

    Personally, I felt the exact opposite. Perhaps I prefer “aggressively lightweight” to “aggressively pretentious, and not as profound as it so obviously thinks it is”. (Apply “different strokes for different folks” and “nobody fraking DIED disagreeing over a MOVIE” filters to taste.)

  25. I absolutely loved DKR. I also loved Avengers, because it doesn’t take itself to seriously…but my first love will always be the Bat.

    My opinion of Christian Bale also increased significantly after I saw that he traveled to Aurora to visit the victims of the shooting. I’ve always respected him as an actor (anybody who punishes his body that much for a movie role gets my respect), but as a person I thought he was probably a huge jerk. He probably is still a huge jerk, but at least he has some social conciousness.

    I would have flipped my shit if he would have shown up in costume.

  26. John @ July 24, 2012 at 10:54 pm . . . Thank you

    When I read about the debt you owed to people that had given you a hand up I was moved because you remembered those people by name and understood that each had done something for you, often but not always intentionally FOR you without expecting anything in return. That sort of gratitude seems so rare (and not just in todays world – for as far back as I can remember & that is further than I care to think about). But I recognized right away that certain elements would pounce on your admission that government performed positive actions that also made you the success you are today.

    Those folks did not disappoint me, but I wonder if you saw that coming when you wrote the piece. If you did, was there an impact on what you wrote or how you wrote it?

  27. Frankly:

    No. Some people are allergic to the idea that the government and/or taxes can be instruments of social and personal benefit, but I’m not one of them.

  28. I thought that about all three of Nolan’s Batman movies, they are all 15-20 minutes too long. Though I think this one was the best, I enjoy my heroes and villains spouting philosophy as they beat each other, just like they do in comics. (breathing and giving speeches while fighting is their real super power).

    Though I really liked Avengers a lot more than any of the lead-in movies. I think it had the right amount of humor and fun. It was not supposed to be a thinking movie, but Joss Whedon kept it from getting stupid (ok except for the flying turtles).

    OT:
    @farley: “moar” is an internet word, like “pwn” and “teh”, though MOAR has to be in all caps to be really effective.

  29. But did you foresee their panicked attempts to turn your thoughtful piece into a chance to flog their favorite whipping boy while you were writing it? I sensed that would happen while reading it & frankly it depresses me to despair. Partly because they are so sadly predictable and partly because they couldn’t wait to . . . all over a really wonderful thank-you note.

  30. they finally released how far from the center the Democratic party has gone..

    I keep hearing repeated references to ‘the center’ in reference to both parties, both contextually within those parties and across the broader meta-spectrum of American politics. Which were you referring to and how do you define the center? From my personal perspective, our current president has repeatedly shown himself to be in the center, of his own party and possibly of the larger body politic, generally garnering props and scorn from either direction for not being far enough to either direction. I’m gathering from your post you disagree, so I’m curious what you deem ‘the center’ to be and how you quantify it.

  31. wizardru – funny but the current Dem President is to the right of St. Ronald Reagan on many issues. He has governed exactly like the New England industrialist Republicans of my youth would have throughout the 50s and 60s. Even his “radical, so-shalist, leftist” healthcare reform is exactly what the American Heritage Foundation proposed and Newt Gingrich offered as a response to the Clinton initiative in 92 – right down to the individual mandate.

    This “center” you mention and fools like David Brooks keep harping on . . . I do not think it means what you think it means.

  32. Frankly:

    “But did you foresee their panicked attempts to turn your thoughtful piece into a chance to flog their favorite whipping boy while you were writing it?”

    Some people of all manner of political persuasions have soapboxes they haul out at the slightest opportunity. It doesn’t bother me, nor do I think it will have a significant impact on how the piece is read by the majority of people. A piece here will be read by hundreds of thousands of people over the course of its online life; the number of people who will read the comments will be a single percentage of that, most likely, and the number of people who respond in comments is a single (or smaller!) percentage of that number.

    What I worry about regarding comments is that people heed the comment rules here and are polite to each other; other than that however people want to respond is fine.

    That said, people who have to see everything through a rigid political lens (or at the very least, feel as if they must respond in such a manner here) can be terribly tiresome.

  33. There was a link submitted on Michelle Bachman’s page that claimed your books would have gone #1 on the New York Times bestseller list already if it was not for government interference in your childhood. She said it was a muslem conspiracy.

  34. Plus, and I’ll admit it, I’m ready for the Silver Age to come back. Some light-hearted, campy action would just about hit the spot.

    It seems as if the world of DC animation is actually ahead of the movies here: they already went back to Silver Age/Super Friends craziness with Batman: The Brave and the Bold, which I think recently ended its run. Though its sounds like the next Batman series is going to be darker again.

  35. Which were you referring to and how do you define the center?

    By my thinking a centrist is a pragmatic, sober politician who bows to political realities as expressed by the popular will and the input from the loyal opposition party.

    Reagan might have come in as a hard-driving free marketeer but he eventually bowed to the popular will and made a deal with Tip O’Neill over SS.

    Clinton might have come in as a starry-eyed socialist (over Hillarycare) but eventually co-opted the GOP’s “Contract With America” due to it’s popularity with the American People.

    Bush II… well, he came in wanting to be, as one writer recently put it, the GOP’s Clinton who presided over a time of prosperity and tinkered around the edges. But, the big things he did were with the popular will behind him and with the consul and support of the opposing party.

    Those men were centrists.

    Every big thing Obama did, however, was against the popular will and with no support (or advice wanted or needed) from the opposing party. He even told one congressman to effectively “Shut up” when he said “I won” when the congressman wanted some input about the so-called “Stimulus” package. In Obamacare he pushed through a radical plan (though not radical enough for the deeply-entrenched leftists, I admit) that was starkly opposed by the people and did so while doing everything to ignore or belittle the concerns and consul of the loyal opposition.

    This man is an extremist.

  36. Or, you could just look at how he supported his EPA in their efforts to deny the right to sue to property owners who were fined by the EPA over use of their own land.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/post/supreme-court-halts-epa-bullying/2012/03/22/gIQAjxVSTS_blog.html

    That’s pretty extreme.

    I mean, just because he’s not giving the far left everything they wish for and not lining up businessmen and businesswomen for execution doesn’t make him a centrist.

  37. Obama has moved the democratic party away from the center, and away from the left-of-center. He’s moved the democratic party all the way over to the right of center of just a decade or two ago.

    Which means anyone criticizing Obama at this point has to be so far to the right that if Reagan were running today, they’d call him a sissy socialist fascist pinko commie. Which makes one wonder if its about politics anymore, or if its really just about Obama being black.

  38. “Every big thing Obama did, however, was against the popular will and with no support (or advice wanted or needed) from the opposing party.”

    Because the opposing party decided upon lockstep opposition and had zero qualms about reversing themselves on all manner of issues in order to pursue that strategy. The PPACA was perfectly ok GOP policy right up until the Democrats proposed it. Then it was time for Lucy to yank the football away. Death Panels!

    Fiscal stimulus (which, btw, was 40% tax cuts!) was also previously perfectly acceptable GOP policy (that’s how the first round of Bush II tax cuts were sold, as I recall). But when a Democrat wants it? Now it’s horrible socialism.

    There was no GOP input because the GOP had no intention whatsoever at providing any. The obvious (and stated!) goal is a 1-term Presidency. Everything else is secondary. And it’s worked out pretty well for them (2010 mid-terms), so why in the world would they stop?

  39. Incidently, the public wasn’t particularly anti-ACA. If you look at the breakdown of the poll numbers, consistently there was a majority if you added up people who liked the law and people who thought the law didn’t go far enough. If you instead added up people who didn’t think it went far enough (lefty single-payer types) and people who though the law was a move in the wrong direction entirely (right-wingers), you got a majority. Which is pretty silly, because those groups were saying totally different things.

  40. “Say it with me: President Romney. A Centrist President in the mold of both Clinton (on the left) and Bush II (on the right).”

    ** Shudder ** No, thank you.

  41. And the polls show it. Obama is tied or behind Romney for a President who should by all rights be significantly ahead (since he’s a Democrat and the media has done everything to spin stories for his benefit.)

    For what it’s worth, this is untrue: there are outlier polls that show the race tied or Romney ahead, and these occur often enough to make good horserace article copy. But all the big poll aggregators that glom many polls together show Obama with a narrow lead that has been remarkably stable for months. It’s usually within the statistical margin of error for a single poll, but, in principle, not the statistical margin of error for many combined polls, so it’s even misleading to call them “statistically tied”. You can see this on fivethirtyeight, election.princeton.edu, or electoral-vote.com; you can even see it on RealClearPolitics, a conservative site that if anything tends to credit conservative-leaning polls.

    Of course, then one can argue about systematic house effects, effect of likely-voter vs. registered-voter screens, demographic biases vs. turnout, etc., which surely do exist. Obama’s lead is not large in national-popular-vote terms. And typically the race changes substantially around convention time. So this in no way constitutes an inevitable prediction of what will happen in November.

    The terrible economy still makes Obama vulnerable, and Romney typically leads on the question of who can best manage the economy; if Romney can make an appealing case for himself based on that, he can still win. But so far, Obama’s head-to-head and favorability results suggest that he’s far outperforming a hypothetical incumbent whose ratings depend on the state of the economy.

  42. Well, I’ll try to steer things back on track and state that I enjoyed both Avengers and TDKR, although I thought neither lived up to the hype. I thought Avengers was fun largely because of Downey Jr. and all of the Iron Man tie-ins (I was pleasantly surprised to see Paltrow) while all the other Avengers were somewhat bland. TDKR stretched a bit too long for my liking, and try as I might I could not buy Hathaway as Catwoman. Nice twists though.

  43. “Then you are stupid, disingenuous or a sociopath, Kevin. Whichever it is, don’t pull that sort of shit here. There are lots of ways to make your point other than suggesting twelve people dead and dozens of others are wounded in a single event is not “a big deal.” Honestly, that’s just about the stupidest damned thing anyone’s said on this site in a very long time. If you don’t understand why, then go away and think about it until you do.”

    I remember the day in 1966 when Charles Whitman carried his rifle up the UT tower and killed 13 people. Instead of being a landmark event, that day became just another in a long string of similar acts.

    Nothing you could say to me would embarrass or humiliate me as much as living in a society that encourages and facilitates such actions, to the point where the only emotion they elicite now is “sadness.”

    I guess that probably makes me stupid and sociopathic.

  44. Matt McIrwin:

    Those poll “aggregators” you cite use a statistical method called “Meta-analysis”. Professional Statisticians (ahem) know that one has to be very careful when employing meta-analysis since even the most intelligent and well-meaning amateur (Nate Silver) can easily mess it up.

    Basically you can’t just do what a lot of those sites do, namely throw a bunch of studies (polls) into a software and average them. You have to start by carefully selecting those studies most like each other into several groups. Then you have to standardize each group, in this case to the voter turnout percentage by declared party. A little more highly technical work is needed and only then can you report multiple meta-analysis with any degree of confidence.

    And that’s not even touching on that external polling is mostly crap compared to internal polling (the polling the campaigns do themselves that people outside the campaign rarely see). While even internal polling is considered crap by any self-respecting statistician.

    I do my own analysis poll-by-poll (for those polls that aren’t complete crap judged by their internals) and my own set of meta-analysis. I can tell you that since about the beginning of the summer the standard errors of each candidates ranking in each poll have overlapped significantly and grown closer. And Romney has pulled ahead in my analysis.

    But, I do consider this just a hobby and does not accurately reflect the real world candidate rankings. However, while some stat nerds love to crunch numbers and make predictions on sports I like to do so towards politics.

    I don’t even know why I’m telling you this. I want Romney to win and the best way to ensure that is to let the opposition become overconfident and sloppy. I guess I’m just a stats nerd who loves to talk shop.

  45. And Romney has pulled ahead in my analysis

    Of course he has, and I assume that you are also still basking in the glow of McCain’s victory in 2008?

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