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Slate smears John Nash to make a cheap political point

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In the course of a diatribe regarding Eric Garland’s much-lauded Twitter storm, Sam Kriss (I haven’t read Garland’s thing and have no opinion regarding Kriss’s critique) writes:

Garland starts his magnum opus with a promise: He’s going to combat the idea that Obama and Clinton are “doing nothing, just gave up” in the face of Trump’s victory. “Guys,” he writes. “It’s time for some game theory.” Game theory, for the uninitiated, is a branch of mathematics that uses computational models to predict the behavior of human beings in potentially conflictual situations. It’s complex, involves a lot of formal logic and algebra, and is mostly useless. Game theory models human actions on the presumption that everyone is constantly trying to maximize their potential gain against everyone around them; this is why its most famous example concerns prisoners—isolated people, cut off from all the noncompetitive ties that constitute society. One of its most important theoreticians, John Nash, was also a paranoid schizophrenic, who believed himself to be the target of a vast Russian conspiracy.

Emphasis added.

Nash did his work on non-cooperative games in the late 1940s and early 1950s.  He became ill in the winter of 1959, and, as many people know, spent decades struggling, ultimately successfully, to overcome his illness.

Shame on Slate’s editors, assuming they have any.

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  • (((Malaclypse)))

    It’s complex, involves a lot of formal logic and algebra, and is mostly useless.

    I want to play poker with this guy.

    • Dilan Esper

      You definitely do, although you will make more money if you avoid the Nash equilibrium and play an exploitative strategy. :)

      • AdamPShort

        Indeed. It’s necessary to know the right play, but there’s more money in knowing what play the other person is likely to make.

        The Travelers Dilemma illustrates this well. Having some knowledge of what the other player is likely to do is much more useful than knowing the “correct” play.

    • gmack

      Poker, maybe. But it is pretty much useless for most of the things that social scientists try to use it for. I think this piece probably overstates the uselessness, but I think it’s useful for reminding us about why the standard practice (“Use game-theory to generate formal model; then use statistics to ‘test’ this model”) is probably wrong.

  • Kriss probably has a point about the twitter storm in general, but denigrating game theory is beside the point of any legitimate criticism. In fact, a central part of the critique is that Garland doesn’t really use game theory at all, so this is entirely gratuitous.

    • Paul Campos

      What’s a lot worse than gratuitous is the implication that Nash’s illness somehow discredits his work. That Nash came to suffer from paranoid schizophrenia has no relevance to his accomplishments, and exploits prejudice against the mentally ill to score a cheap rhetorical point.

      • XTPD

        Which is ironic to boot, because mental illness in mathematics is common enough to have spawned its own dark-humor meme – the “black theorem,” a mathematical result which supposedly drives the mathematician psychotic once proven.

        • I wonder if there is a dark and twisted allusion to David Foster Wallace’s book on Cantor, which makes use of his bipolar in a complex way. I may or may not have packed the book away so I can’t check right now.

          • which makes use of his bipolar in a complex way.

            Polar coordinates are intimately related to complex numbers; bipolar coordinates, not much at all.

            • Jordan

              booo! boooo!

      • ThrottleJockey

        Epilepsy isn’t really a mental illness but since we’re discussing Twitter Storms I want to Tee up this story which hasn’t gotten much coverage. It concerns our beloved Kurt Eichenwald who chronicled Trump’s villainy and is now paying the price for it with the Alt Right Neo Nazi crowd.

        For the second time this year, someone has apparently used Twitter to attack journalist Kurt Eichenwald by exploiting his epilepsy. In October, he revealed in Newsweek that a Trump supporter had attempted to induce a seizure via Twitter with an epileptogenic cartoon. Fortunately for Eichenwald, he was able to drop his iPad face-down in time.

        Yesterday, someone evidently tried again. According to a series of tweets from Eichenwald’s account, they succeeded this time.

        re twist in the aftermath of Newsweek reporter Kurt Eichenwald‘s highly contentious interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, Eichenwald announced that he was taking a break from Twitter after a troll caused him to have a seizure.

        Eichenwald posted over fifty angry and generally incoherent tweets in the aftermath of the interview, eventually deleting most of them. His critics, already displeased with Eichenwald for his stridently anti-Trump rhetoric, began trolling him. One alt-right account with the anti-Semitic handle “@jew_goldstein” posted a gif with rapidly flashing lights.

        Epilepsy kills people and the perpetrators of this act need to go to jail. For a long fucking time.

        • Little Chak

          Unfortunately, it is trivial to be completely anonymous and untraceable on Twitter. Good for not well-known platforms for journalists, dissenters, etc. in countries with repressive governments; not so good for a social media platform that has become a key conduit for national news, and has taken no real steps to keep neo-Nazis from having the full power of the platform at their fingertips, checked only by the amount of time they devote to other pursuits (extremely little) and their decency (none).

          But yeah, if the people who try to kill people because they disagree with their political opinions could just vanish in a puff of logic, I’d be fine with that.

        • mikeSchilling

          You’d think the alt-right would love someone named Eichenwald.

          • BartletForGallifrey

            Apparently he gets a lot of antisemitic tweets, because the alt-right is nothing if not stupid as shit.

  • keta

    Re: Garland’s twitty twitty bang bang (and to paraphrase a sniffing Capote): “that’s not writing, that’s twanking.”

    • Snuff curry

      Alana Hope Levinson at Gizmodo calls it, not without reason, manthreading.

      • XTPD

        Drew Magary actually went over that in one of his Funbags.

        As for the “can’t you just blog about it” question: I love Heer, but why the hell hasn’t he used Sans Everything since last February?

        • jim, some guy in iowa

          apparently Twitter has eaten these guys’ attention spans so that they think as well as write in little bursts?

  • elm

    Kriss’s definition of game theory is also extremely wrong. Game theory does not necessarily use computational models, it is not really focused on prediction, it does not only apply to conflictual interactions, and it does not need to assume individuals are isolated or only interested in maximizing their gains against everyone around them. Also, as his own link to the Prisoner’s Dilemma Wikipedia page shows, it doesn’t even always involve much algebra. The only parts of his definition that are remotely accurate is that it is a branch of mathematics (though also taught outside of that field) and that it involves formal logic. Oh, and thiugh Prisoners Dilemma is fairly simple, I suppose for Kriss even that is complex, so I’ll give him that part of his definition, too.

  • humanoid.panda

    I’d also add that while that thread became popular, by the next day “time for some game theory” became a twitter joke, so we are in no danger of becoming a cult. But Slate gonna Slate and both side do it, and liberals are silly an non-revolutionary like our brave author..

    • XTPD

      That said, #slatepitching has become much less frequent – and Slate itself’s become much better – since Lord Glibturd got kicked out, so this is a rather unfortunate return to form.

      • Domino

        The ultimate Slate Pitch I saw was years ago, when someone complained about people using the term “pre-heat the oven”.

        • Jordan

          The ultimate slate pitch will always and forever be Creed is Good.

          • Nobdy

            I am partial to Farhad Manjoo’s two-parter (published a few weeks apart)

            No, This is Not the Best iPhone Ever

            and

            The iPhone 5 is a miracle.”

            I realize it’s not technically a Slate Pitch, but it shares a lot in common, namely the staking out of an extreme position without supporting evidence just to be provocative.

            In this case Manjoo managed to stake out opposite extreme positions about the same thing in the same publication within a couple weeks. That’s pretty impressive stuff!

            • XTPD

              Shafer now seems to despises him, for some reason; any idea why?

            • Jordan

              That IS kinda funny, but ya, thats not a slate pitch. If anything, pundits admitting their perceived errors (which is definitely what Manjoo is doing in the second piece) is something to be encouraged!

              No one should be encouraged for writing that Creed is Good.

              • Nobdy

                A) Even if you want to credit Manjoo for the second column, the first one was premature and terrible.

                B) The second column is objectively terrible too, because of its extreme techno-consumerist worship of a goddamned telephone with some minor upgrades. He gets no credit for writing this kind of garbage.

                This is not an example of a pundit putting forward a reasonable-at-the-time idea and then correcting it in the face of new information. This is a lunatic swerving wildly all over the place staking out extreme positions on unimportant issues WHILE simultaneously indulging in the absolute worse tendencies of the tech-review press. It’s some of the worst writing I have ever read and I refused to read Manjoo or take him seriously from that point forward (not that I took him too seriously before that; he’s bad.)

                • Jordan

                  Oh sure, both columns are terrible. The subject is terrible. Its all terrible. I agree completely. I maintain that actually offering up “I was totally wrong” takes is a good thing to promote but other than that its bad all the way through.

                  So, anyways, I agree that this is indulging in some of the worst tendencies of tech “journalism” (almost all of which is utter shit). And I think Manjoo is an excellent example of “failing all the way upwards” type of journalism.

                  So all that said and admitted: its not the worst because it admits error. Thats good and rare amidst the rest of his shitty field.

          • XTPD

            So in terms of a creator actively destroying his brainchild, is Shafer’s tenure at Slate closer to “George Lucas constantly trying to ruin Star Wars” or “Gene Roddenberry on the first two seasons of Star TreK: TNG”?

            • Jordan

              lol, despite being like a decade(?) younger than me you have a much greater hate for Shafer than I do. (I mean, he sucks for sure).

              But hmmm. Slate getting much better after his departure strongly indicates Stark Trek over Star Wars.

              • Nobdy

                Shots fired at The Force Awakens and Rogue One.

                • Jordan

                  Did not really care for The Force Awakens – although it was fine – and have not seen Rogue One.

                  But if we are dipping into the first two seasons of TNG (which, aside from the Q-Borg episode and measure of a man had very little to recommend for it and are entirely appropriate comparisons to the Star Wars prequels. (and to be clear, I actually like Revenge of the Sith quite a bit – I think its better than VI).

              • XTPD

                I’d actually started reading him rather recently, as Pierce has said nice thing about him (and while I was aware of a few shitty articles he’d written recently I assumed they were one-offs). Having thoroughly combed his Twitter feed, POLITICO writing and previous work…my opinion of him is about the same as Duncan’s view of Fucking Idiot:

                …all very self-referential and insidery, which had a certain appeal to outsiders imagining they were getting the water cooler chat from Very Important People, the aforementioned Gang of Wankers. It was what people interested in politics would read because they thought it gave some insight into the insider’s view of how the world worked. And it did do that, but after reading The Note for awhile, with its jokey indifference to just about everything other than just how important the Gang Of Wankers truly was, the reader would begin to suspect that David Icke is right and we are actually ruled by a race of alien reptilian humanoids dedicated to the destruction or enslavement of humanity and that the Washington Swampland was actually the inspiration for the 3rd scene of The Garden of Earthly Delights. If human, and not alien, then The Gang of 500, as portrayed in The Note, were truly the worst people in the world. People so awful no decent human beings would dare get near them. The horror of this world was compounded by the fact that it seemed as if the notional members of the Gang of Wankers seemed to actually like how they were portrayed.

                • Jordan

                  ya, that is more than fair enough.

                  In the olden days I decided that I needed to read people who disagreed with me but weren’t utter morons. Shaffer fit that mold – I thought – at slate. Now I am unsure if that was just because I was an asshole then.

                  Its not that reading people you disagree with has become less important, its that I picked the pro-rich, pro-white assholes as the ones I disagreed with. I’d much rather read jacobin or whatever as my “contrary” reading now, and I think thats a better pick if you are going to go with stuff you don’t really agree with.

                • XTPD

                  In fairness, as a columnist he seems to have gotten significantly worse since his move to POLITICO.

                • Jordan

                  well, that is what I tell myself when I want to feel less like an asshole, ya.

              • N__B

                Stark Trek

                Space winter is coming.

          • Manny Kant

            The point is, ladies and gentleman, that Creed — for lack of a better word — is good.

            Creed is right.

            Creed works.

            Creed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit.

            Creed, in all of its forms, has marked the upward surge of mankind.

            And Creed — you mark my words — will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA.

            • Jordan

              True. Also, about the first part of that speech.

              “Well, ladies and gentlemen, we’re not here to indulge in fantasy, but in political and economic reality. America, America has become a second-rate power. Its trade deficit and its fiscal deficit are at nightmare proportions. Now, in the days of the free market, when our country was a top industrial power, there was accountability to the stockholder. The Carnegies, the Mellons, the men that built this great industrial empire, made sure of it because it was their money at stake. Today, management has no stake in the company!”

              Hmmm, who does that remind me of?

        • Ahenobarbus

          Slatepitches aside, I’ve always been annoyed by their “.. and that’s a good thing” headlines.

          We’re All Scandal Addicts Now. And That’s a Good Thing.
          Canada has Death Panels. And That’s a Good Thing.

    • fishbulb

      The jokes get more play than the original thread. Slate no doubt is aware of that.

  • thebewilderness

    Not only is it a vile cheap shot at Nash, Sam worked very hard not to get the joke about game theory.
    Read the Garland piece and I am guessing most peeps will get the joke.

    • Jameson Quinn

      Um… can you explain the joke for those who aren’t “most” or who don’t want to read a long storify right now?

    • JL

      I sure as hell didn’t get any joke, and I was foolish enough to read Garland’s entire godforsaken mess of a thread. It just sounded to me like he didn’t know what game theory was and was using the phrase to make himself look smart.

      The cheap shot at Nash is vile, and also, Kriss doesn’t appear to know what game theory is either.

      • delazeur

        It just sounded to me like he didn’t know what game theory was and was using the phrase to make himself look smart.

        I.e., 98% of references to game theory.

    • Steve

      I am pretty sure the thread author is just a mediocre mind. That is all there is to it.

  • Hercules Mulligan

    It can be simultaneously true that this was a gross, offensive smear and that the Garland tweetstorm was absurd, dangerous, insulting drivel. There is no need to defend the former to prove the latter, or vice-versa.

    • JL

      Yep. That thread was utter garbage. So is this smear.

      • Manny Kant

        Kriss is absolutely awful. Read through his terrible cultural criticism in Jacobin.

        • EliHawk

          Or his aside that Boris Yeltsin is “Russia’s very own Donald Trump.” Remind me the next time Trump does anything quite as important to Democracy as facing down the 1991 coup attempt by the hardliners.

          • JonH

            If only Trump had also died in 2007.

  • Frank Wilhoit

    “…Shame on Slate’s editors, assuming they have any.”

    Any shame, or any editors?

    • Nobdy

      Any shame, or any editors?

      Questions that have been asked about Slate for almost as long as it has been a going concern.

    • rachelmap

      It works either way.

  • Jordan

    Ya, I think my reaction to the tweetstorm (which I think I commented here) was to ask for some of whatever Garland had.

    But that bit by Kriss was just dumb. IIRC Nash had already showed signs of his “paranoid schizophrenia” in The Beautiful Mind movie while coming up with his “date the less-hot-chick” game theory insight. So that is probably what Kriss is going on.

    • Steve

      That scene also managed to get game theory wrong…that is not, in fact, a Nash equilibrium situation.

      • Jordan

        Sure, I wanted to put “game theory insight” into quotation marks as well, but three scare quotes in one sentence, including two back to back, is suboptimal sentence structuring.

        • econoclast

          The world is getting so meta that we’re just going to have to get used to it.

          • Jordan

            you are telling me the fucking shitposters have won, aren’t you.

  • Nobdy

    We need an update for “When Keeping it Real Goes Wrong” for the Internet era, for hot takes that boil over.

    It seems like Kriss wanted to wedge some hot takes into his argument (Game Theory sucks! John Nash was a crazy person! Screw your ‘a Beautiful Mind’ hero worship!) which even he admits were a digression. In doing so he managed to not only distract from the point he was making, but damage his credibility and reputation.

    When hot takes boil over.

    • Manny Kant

      Sam Kriss has a reputation? Isn’t he heretofore best known for attacking Pokemon Go as reactionary?

      Pokémon Go is coercion, authority, a command issuing from out of a blank universe, which blasts through social and political cleavages to finally catch ‘em all. It must be resisted.

      He also attacked Star Wars as reactionary:

      I’ve not yet seen The Force Awakens, but a few conclusions are already easy to make. Firstly, the title has a decidedly Heideggerian bent

      And Back to the Future:

      Scientific socialism, by contrast, is grounded in the actual present-day experience of workers. A materialist Utopianism would be one that recognizes that the gaze of reason does not stand outside of time. There is no wormhole-jumping DeLorean into which we can pack the entire proletariat.

      And, um, the early 2000s Microsoft Game Age of Empires:

      In other words, Age of Empires II does the same thing for feudalism that Marx does for industrialism with Capital.

      • Jordan

        Well, I guess its good to know that the MIM has a spiritual successor out there.

      • Scientific socialism, by contrast, is grounded in the actual present-day experience of workers. A materialist Utopianism would be one that recognizes that the gaze of reason does not stand outside of time. There is no wormhole-jumping DeLorean into which we can pack the entire proletariat.

        That…that…that is a thing of beauty.

      • EliHawk

        God, that overanalysis of Age of Empires is painful to read.

        The really notable thing about Age of Empires II is the total lack of any class struggle.

        Nothing novel is allowed here. History runs along a single track. You can arrange your town in any formation you like, but you have to use the building types provided; you can send a detachment of knights in any direction, but you can’t make them dismount or get your archers to use their arrows as spears; you can advance from the dark ages to the dawn of imperialism, but you can’t produce any social form that isn’t essentially feudalistic.

        Yes Sam, it’s an amazing insight that this game is a medieval war simulator and not a political sandbox game.

        • Juicy_Joel

          The player in Age of Empires II doesn’t take on the role of a monarch or a national spirit; you become the feudal mode of production itself. This is why the game isn’t, strictly speaking, a game — you’re not competing with the other players, but instead form part of a single system reaching towards a collaborative annihilation.

          What.

      • EliHawk

        any timeline in which the uppity proletarian antagonist Biff doesn’t end up sufficiently downtrodden is a false one.

        Yes, the pseudo-Donald Trump of Back to the Future is truly the avatar of the uppity proletariat.

        • farin

          The central tenet of Jacobin ideology: The greatest oppression is not being the hero of the story.

    • Manny Kant

      Damn it! My comment is in moderation for having too many links. I pointed out that Sam Kriss doesn’t have a reputation to damage, and pointed to several terrible Jacobin article he’s written as evidence.

  • Todd

    Kriss also believes William Wallace bedded Isabella of France, who would then go on to kill Edward II, apparently out of love for Wallace…and Scottish freedom or something.

    And he can also tell you that Emperor Commodus was killed in a gladiator fight, in front of thousands of Romans, by a fatally wounded ex-general.

    And don’t get Kriss started about Daniel Webster and a certain Mr. Scratch…

    • M31

      I read that as “Scottish Femdom” first.

      THE SAFEWORD IS ‘HAGGIS’

      • THE SAFEWORD IS ‘HAGGIS’

        So is the ball gag.

        They’re frugal, those Scots.

      • Nobdy

        In general you want a safeword to be something you wouldn’t otherwise say during a sexual encounter, so haggis is definitely not going to work.

        • Origami Isopod

          That’s not … the part of the sheep that you …

          … never mind. I’ve said too much.

  • Steve

    While it is deeply embarrassing for David Farenholdt to praise that thread, pretty much every “establishment liberal” journalist I follow on Twitter spent hours mocking the thread. “Time for some game theory,” turned into a joke pretty quickly.

    Also I like how this article takes the time to tell us that any concern whatsoever about Russian hacking is paranoia. See that way the author can connect Nash’s paranoia with our current “paranoia.” Game theory= paranoia! It’s like he started with a hot take he had to make and then built his argument around it.

    • Hercules Mulligan

      Yup. With a few exceptions from the Twitter Personalities who embarrass themselves regularly, the only people cheering this thread were prominent journalists like Farenholdt and Stelter. Doesn’t make it any less pathetic, but it certainly wasn’t the center-left leading the way.

    • EliHawk

      Well, in the past, the same author wants to inform us that Crimea and Eastern Ukrainian separatism was really about austerity:

      Before I went to Kiev, I was scared of the fascists: the Svoboda party, the violent protesters of the Right Sector. Now I’m more scared of the liberals. After all, liberalism had pioneered ethno-nationalism and mass genocide for hundreds of years before fascism came along to claim them as its own.

      As someone Jewish by birth and communist by the grace of God…

      Capital always needs new places to expand, and where it goes immiseration swiftly follows. Many of the pro-Russian separatists in Crimea and Donetsk have been vocal on this point: They don’t want to join with Russia just out a sense of ethnic loyalty. They’re hoping to escape the trillion-tentacled monster of austerity.

  • libarbarian

    His description of game theory is all wrong.

    Game theory will be useful in deciding how we defeat the Treasodent-Elect and the 5th Column traitors who put him in the White House

  • Jordan

    In this game (of choosing to side with either of these assholes), the only winning move is not to play.

    • Steve

      Mathew Broderick once taught that valuable lesson to a computer.

      • Jordan

        ya, but that movie had a happy ending.

  • Anon21

    The thread was deeply stupid, but rather than stopping there, Kriss had to turn it into yet another edition of the brain dead deBoer/Greenwald thesis that the only reason Clinton could have lost was bad campaign tactics, so complaining about anything else (Comey, Russian hacks, blanket MSM coverage of both) is disingenuous Clinton worship.

    • Gwen

      I know a couple of prominent activists that there was nothing wrong with Hillary Clinton as a candidate and howdarewesuggestotherwise.

      Clearly a number of external forces had an impact. But none of them forced Hillary to fail to campaign in Michigan or forced John Podesta to fall for a phishing attack. The Clinton campaign made a number of very significant unforced errors.

      So while I think Greenwald is an utter toad , it seems to me that we need a corrective. Otherwise there won’t be any real accountability.

      • Incontinentia Buttocks

        The argument that we shouldn’t consider Y to be a factor in the election’s outcome because X was a factor in the election’s outcome is a terrible argument, for all values of X and Y.

        Clinton’s strategy and Comey’s letter and Russian hacking and false equivalence idiocy from across the political spectrum (via the media, Johnson voters, Stein voters, etc etc) and voter suppression laws were all among important factors in the outcome (and many more besides).

        Now we might be differently interested in these different factors for a variety of reasons. Some (e.g. Comey, Russian hacking, and voter suppression laws) are threats to democracy itself. Others (e.g. Clinton’s strategy) might provide lessons Democrats can learn from in the future.

        But our concern for any of these factors does not cancel out our concern for any other. When someone actually tries to use, e.g., concern for Russian hacking to suggest that we shouldn’t worry about Clinton’s strategy or concern for Clinton’s strategy to suggest that we shouldn’t worry about Russian hacking, the problem is the suggested relationship between the concern for one and the concern for the other, not the concern itself.

      • humanoid.panda

        Clearly a number of external forces had an impact. But none of them forced Hillary to fail to campaign in Michigan or forced John Podesta to fall for a phishing attack. The Clinton campaign made a number of very significant unforced errors.

        Those two things are not at all the same. Not campaigning in Michigan was a failure of thinking and strategy. Saying that “falling for a phishing attack” is equivalent to it really blaming the victim here.

        • EliHawk

          And all of the “But she didn’t campaign in Wisconsin/Michigan” is total horseshit given THAT WINNING THOSE TWO STATES WAS NOT ENOUGH TO WIN THE ACTUAL ELECTION. You have to also engage with PA/FL, where they did go hard. It’s the ultimate in lazy pundit.

      • paulgottlieb

        Well, any electoral strategy the results in million more people voting for you than for your opponent can’t be dismissed out of hand. Both Sam Wang and Nate Silver have independently concluded that the Comey letter was the decisive event in determining the outcome. That and our usual shitty mainstream press, of course

  • Origami Isopod

    Sam Kriss is a veteran troll who got his start at Something Awful and seems to have lucked out into a role as a Srs Bsnss Kommentatur. Witness this Jackoff Bin piece from last summer in which he insists that Pokémon Go is aimed at Teh Sheepul and designed to enforce corporate control over their brains:

    Walk around. Explore your neighborhood. Visit the park. Take in the sights. Have your fun. It must be resisted. Pokémon Go is coercion, authority, a command issuing from out of a blank universe, which blasts through social and political cleavages to finally catch ‘em all.

    • Oh god, he’s the guy who wrote that pretentious, ridiculous diatribe against Neil deGrasse Tyson. Someone linked it to me as something I might be interested in (after I was mildly critical of Tyson) and I was so pissed off.

      I don’t remember him at SA. Do you know what his handle was? Frontpager or forum account? Google just gets me a lot of people on the forums making fun of him.

      • Origami Isopod

        I was never on SA myself; I only ever visited there there for Photoshop Phridays. A friend tells me his handle was “RedKen,” but I don’t know anything else about his account.

  • Game theory, for the uninitiated, is a branch of mathematics that uses computational models to predict the behavior of human beings in potentially conflictual situations. It’s complex, involves a lot of formal logic and algebra, and is mostly useless.

    LOL.

  • djw

    Whatever one thinks of Garland’s rant, Kriss’s article is much worse.

    • Happy Jack

      Clara Jeffrey made it sound like the Great Gatsby of twitter storms. Is it not a tour de force?

  • dl

    why is the rant that bad

    • Jordan

      It doesn’t provide evidence for its assertions, it groups people as “russian agents” that either aren’t or are – at best – dupes, it has a terrible end that wouldn’t cut it in president fighter pilot’s speech in independence day, its clearly written by someone who has ingested a fair amount of amphetamines, and so on.

  • nkh

    This is just a continuation of a depressing pattern in American life. Try to dismiss a result or theory you don’t like in a way that makes it blatantly clear that you don’t understand it. Then try to associate those people who work in it with some sort of mental illness or instability or some kind of disreputable behavior. This is just one more reason why we can’t have nice things.

    • weirdnoise

      Ad hominem is mandatory in American political arguments. It’s the only way to “win.”

  • The Great God Pan

    Nash did his work on non-cooperative games in the late 1940s and early 1950s. He became ill in the winter of 1959…

    But that’s a mere fact, and Kriss is an opponent of the “deadness of mere facts.” His great complaint is against those who champion truth over falsehood, because “falsehoods are beautiful, tiny, glittering reminders that the world can be something other than simply what it is; we should nurture them and let them grow. Instead, they’re crushed, mercilessly, in the name of a blind, stupid, pointless truth.”

    So fuck off with your blind, stupid, pointless truth about when Nash became ill! Kriss is on a campaign for beautiful lies. His blog is subtitled “Why I Hate Intellectuals.”

    • Gareth

      I’m not sure how accurately we can determine the start of his mental illness. He says he was perfectly sane until early 1959, but there’s an obvious problem with relying on him. It’s entirely possible that he was a paranoid schizophrenic when he developed game theory. The point is that game theory still works, no matter how crazy the guy who invented it was.

    • Dalai Rasta

      Christ, he’s just so…precious, isn’t he?

  • Linnaeus

    Well, that was a shitty way to start a Saturday morning.

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