THURSDAY, MAY 13, 2021
Slate attempts to say: We're so old that we can remember when Slate was a smart, high-end mainstream web site.
Today, Slate largely panders. If you want to know how dumb we actually are in Our Town, you just have to visit Slate.
Slate often aims extremely low in an apparent attempt to attract and hold readers. So far today, for example, the site has offered such think pieces as these:
Pooping at the Office Again Is Going to Be Terrible
BY ANGELA LASHBROOK / MAY 13, 2021 / 5:45 AM
My Boyfriend Is Desperately Obsessed With a Pop Star
BY DANNY M. LAVERY / MAY 13, 2021 / 5:58 AM
Yesterday, some Slate readers got Schwedeled again, along with other clatter:
Help! My Cat Caught My Friend Spying on Me Having Sex
BY DANNY M. LAVERY / MAY 12, 2021 / 11:35 AM
Help! My Ex-Husband Slept With My Mom
DEAR PRUDENCE / MAY 12, 2021 / 8:00 AM
What Trump Toilet Paper Can Tell Us About His Election Chances in 2024
BY HEATHER SCHWEDEL / MAY 12, 2021 / 5:47 AM
Some traditional articles are still scattered in, but you may be starting to get the general idea.
At certain times, Slate still tries to offer basic explanations. So it goes in today's new essay, "Most People Are Thinking of Herd Immunity All Wrong."
Readers, you've probably heard of herd immunity. But how well could you explain it?
We'll guess you couldn't explain it well. We certainly know we couldn't!
We have a rough idea of how it works, or at least we think we do. But we don't think we've ever seen anyone actually try to explain the phenomenon, and it isn't entirely clear in our mind.
For that reason, we hungrily clicked the link to the new Slate report. The report was written by a PhD scientist at Wisconsin Madison. We'd have to call her effort incoherent.
The human capacity for incoherence has been a lifelong interest of ours. A certain type of (unrecognized) incoherence was the principal concern of the later Wittgenstein, who was very hot at one time. For us, this tracks all the way back to college, back to the street-fighting days of 1969.
Certain types of incoherence are remarkably widespread. Einstein himself couldn't make Einstein easy. In the hundred years which have passed, no one else has been able to do it either, but our journalists and our academics tend to insist that various people have.
Slate's PhD. scientist writer composed a wholly jumbled mess as she tried to explain what herd immunity is, or perhaps how herd immunity works. She didn't seem to know that her essay was incoherent. Apparently, no one else at Slate noticed the problem either.
(Go ahead—read her piece! If you think the essay makes sense, we think you should read it again!)
Concerning the piddle which keeps Slate afloat, we would ask this question:
Can a group as dumb as we have become really hope to prevail or survive? (Experts uniformly suggest that the answer is no.)
Concerning Slate's attempt to explain herd immunity, we would offer this:
Complete and total incoherence has been in the saddle and riding humankind since the dawn of the west. Naming one name, Plato almost never made a lick of sense in his "philosophical" work—but Alfred North Whitehead famously offered this assessment:
"The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato." Arguably sad but true!
Some Slate readers got Schwedeled again. Technological progress to the side, has it been that way all along?