William Gibson is reality-based

And shrill? Man, this is the quitessence of shrill.

It isn’t normal for one human being to hate and despise another the way I hate and despise George W. Bush. Somehow, then, it’s comforting to know that my pathology is shared by people who think differently from the way I think, and whom I deeply admire.

Here’s a twofer in that department, with William Gibson quoting John Cleese:

How many Bush administration officials does it take to change a light bulb?

None. There’s nothing wrong with that light bulb. There is no need to change anything. We made the right decision and nothing has happened to change our minds. People who criticize this light bulb now, just because it doesn’t work anymore, supported us when we first screwed it in, and when these flip-floppers insist on saying that it is burned out, they are merely giving aid and encouragement to the Forces of Darkness.

Scroll up and down Gibson’s site and you’ll see virtually nothing (other than the wonderful news that Peter Weir is working on a film of Pattern Recognition) but high-quality advanced-level shrillness, some of it amazingly acute.

For example, Gibson quotes Jack Womack as follows:

We can see that the person now in office has led us into a terrible situation, and clearly has no idea what to do, and if reelected will continue to do more of the same. But his opponent has not given us a sufficiently exact plan of action indicating what he intends to do during the next four years — regardless of what events might take place in the meantime. Therefore, obviously, the right thing to do is to stick to the idiot we know, who will continue to do the same, but who at least has never been accused of suggesting that Americans committed atrocities in Vietnam.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com