Perception Is Nine-Tenths Of Reality, Unless It’s More

There once a mayor of a certain city who was beset on all sides by people talking about high crime in the city, dysfunctional city departments, problems everywhere.  The city was actually in fairly good shape in most areas, but the perception was that it was crumbling. The mayor kept reporting on statistics showing relatively low crime rates, improvements made by city agencies, good things happening, but his opponent in the upcoming election kept riding the perception, and rolled to an easy victory. The mayor never understood that once perception gets set in, it essentially becomes reality, and no amount of statistics will convince people otherwise. Simplistic slogans are served by perceptions.

I’m not saying this is an exact parallel to what has been happening. But I am saying that there are lots of perceptions out there – critical race theory, Federal takeover of education, defund the police, etc. – and if Democrats try to fight it by just quoting facts without going after the perceptions, they’ll end up just like that former mayor, who despite good ideas and good intentions was washed away, never to be seen again. It isn’t enough to quote facts and say “I don’t understand how you can believe otherwise”; you’ve got to dig deep enough and honestly enough to figure out why they believe the malarkey (but don’t call it malarkey). The End.

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The Lords Of The Manor Aren’t Happy

From this article in Slate:

In today’s topsy-turvy job market, a strange new thing is happening. Employers are increasingly grumbling about job seekers “ghosting” them. These job candidates just don’t show up for their scheduled interviews. And in some cases, new hires accept a job only to disappear.

I know it’s not an exact correspondence, but if I had a dollar for every time a potential employer took my application without ever responding, even after inquiries, I’d have a bunch of dollars. If the pandemic causes a fundamental reshuffling of the relationship between employer and employee, if it pushes the balance back towards employees, if it revitalizes unions, then that will be a good thing. If it forces a higher minimum wage, even if it’s de facto and not de jure, then that will be a good thing. Right now workers have, if not the upper hand, at least a strong hand to play, and they should play it.

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Periodically I wander through the few active blogs on my blogroll (is that term still in use?) to see if they’re still truly active, and to see if their blogrolls lead to anything interesting. I did stumble on to something tonight – a post at Traversing on one of my favorite short stories by Arthur C. Clark, “The Nine Billion Names Of God”. Between the ages of roughly 12 and 25, from the mid-60s until the late 70s, I read everything I could get my hands on written by Clarke and Isaac Asimov. Those were truly halcyon days for me, a time of voracious reading, though with little social life. Finding this post was a treat. It’s a very short story, you can read it here.


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Uncertain Loss

She divorced him long ago
but when he died she felt a loss
that she didn’t quite understand
Perhaps a dream that had lived on
as half a life, as a whisper in the night
that was forever gone

She mostly remembered the anger
but some around her noticed
that she never quite let him go
It was never a hope to reclaim the past
more a wish that the past had not been
what it turned out to be

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Way, way back in the beginning of the World Wide Web days, there was this website called The Spot. At first we weren’t sure what it was, but soon realized it was basically web-based soap opera. It was somewhat entertaining at first, but pretty soon just became a dramasnarl. I was reminded of The Spot recently while reading twitter, that it was just one drama snippet after another, interspersed with political outrages and memes. So, I’ve decided to walk away. My corner of twitter was so tiny that there really seemed to be no point on continuing anyway.

Now to think about Facebook.

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