I very much hope that Matt Yglesias’s new weblog http://slowboring.com becomes the place to see and be seen on the internet.
Not, mind you, that I expect Matt to get everything right. Or that I expect all of his quick takes to be sound takes:
I find myself more with Tom Scocca here than you. You write https://www.slowboring.com/p/whats-wrong-with-the-media:
The problem here, to me, is not that Walker ought to “stick to sports.” It’s that the analysis is bad. But because it’s in a video game console review rather than a policy analysis section and conforms to the predominant ideological fads, it just sails through to our screens...
And then you say:
What actually happened is that starting in March the household savings rate soared.... Middle class people are seeing their homeowners’ equity rise and... their debt payments fall, while cash piles up on their balance sheets…
This makes sense as a criticism of Ian Walker only if you think that when Ian Walker wrote 'I’d be remiss to ignore all the reasons not to be excited for the PlayStation 5...', it was meant to be the start of an argument that the PS5 will not sell very well because of the epidemiological-economic-cultural uproar of the plague year.
But I do not think that was what Ian Walker was doing at all. When he wrote 'I’d be remiss to ignore all the reasons not to be excited for the PlayStation 5...', he was doing what Chaucer does at the end of the Canterbury tales—saying: 'OK. You have had a good read and a good laugh. But now I need to remind you of the most important things https://www.gutenberg.org/files/22120/22120-h/22120-h.htm that all his readers join him in praying:
Graunte me grace of verray penitence, confessioun and satisfaccioun to doon in this present lyf; thurgh the benigne grace of him that is king of kinges and preest over alle preestes, that boghte us with the precious blood of his herte; / so that I may been oon of hem at the day of dome that shulle be saved: Qui cum patre, &c.'
Ian Walker is doing something very similar to Geoffrey Chaucer here. Ian Walker is very excited about the PS5 https://kotaku.com/playstation-5-the-kotaku-review-1845588904:
This review has spent 3,000 words talking about the PlayStation 5, which is the most I’ve written about anything. It’s as good a video game console as there has ever been. The combination of ultra high-definition video, increased framerates, high-end graphics techniques like ray tracing, and the lightning-fast SSD make it feel like a real-deal, next-gen successor to the PlayStation 4. And if you’re not ready to give up on the previous console, the PlayStation 5 reliably runs a vast majority of the PlayStation 4 library, with many of those games receiving upgrades to fidelity, framerate, and loading times.
That is the passage that immediately precedes 'But I would be remiss'. What Ian Walker is doing is an act of confession: he is excited about the PS5, but he is letting that excitement crowd the important things out of his soul, and he wants to mark that allowing that to happen is a sin. His idea of sin is very different from Chaucer's: rather than calling to mind his need to 'thanke I oure lord Iesu Crist and his blisful moder, and alle the seintes of hevene...', Ian Walker wants to call to mind the ‘covid-19 pandemic… Americans out of work... that the worst people aren’t going away just because a new old white man is sitting behind the Resolute desk... a lot of people simply won’t be able to buy a PlayStation 5... [his own] privilege... [that he can] simply tune out the world as it burns around you...'
This is not 'analysis [that] is bad…. But because it’s in a video game console review rather than a policy analysis section and conforms to the predominant ideological fads, it just sails through to our screens...'
Ian is not forecasting how the pent-up hoarded cash is going to show itself in spending on consumer electronics next year—that is the thing I am doing, not the thing he does.
What Ian Walker is doing is shifting into Woke Theology Mode.
And, Matt, I think you miss his point because you take him to be doing a bad version of the forecasting exercises that I do.
&, by the way, good luck with Slow Boring. I have subscribed.
But how many weblogs-flying-the-jolly-roger-of-Substack-&-costing-$100-a-year am I supposed to subscribe to?
.#noted #publicsphere #wokeness #2020-11-21