In this week's edition of The Daily Banter Mail Bag, Bob, Ben and Chez discuss Nate Silver vs Paul Krugman, InfoWars goon Dan Bidondi and Dating Gwyneth Paltrow.
1. It is my imagination or has Nate Silver taken on a Greenwaldish tone with the new FiveThirtyEight? It feels like he's picking petty fights and basically snarking at anyone who criticizes him. Right now he's in a bitter feud with Paul Krugman. Am I right about this or am I just being biased because he's picking on the Left?
Ben: I haven't really read his new site all that much to be honest (and never have) - bit too wonky for me. As far as the tone for his relaunched site, I'd imagine he knows he has to create a strong brand identity and is experimenting with tone/style etc. He's had quite a bit of blowback regarding the lack of context, general pointlessness of some of the pieces he has run, and petty snarkiness, so I'd imagine we'll see him adjust in the coming months. The guy is brilliant as a statistician, but it remains to be seen whether he can build a serious website by himself.
Chez: Silver's always felt like he's somewhere on the spectrum: he's great with numbers and seems to distill everything down to that while eschewing "human" traits like instinct and heart. And when someone doesn't agree with him, he responds like some evil supercomputer. His way is almost assuredly the optimal way of surveying the political and cultural landscape, but Krugman's right when he says that numbers in the service of no analysis or context is kind of half-assed. But Silver despises pundits so it's not surprising that he's lashing out at Krugman. Yeah, on the surface his abrasiveness is very reminiscent of Greenwald, as well as his belief that his way is the only way and those disagreeing with him seem to be doing so because of an agenda or outright corruption.
Bob: I honestly haven't bothered to follow along with that fracas, but either way Silver's math has been spot on, so regardless of his attitude, he knows what he's talking about.
2. Well? Are yoo goona get in the OCTAGON wif Dan Bidondi?!? Come on! He challenjed yoo!!! No seriously, please keep writing about Bidondi. His angry illiterate responses are the best. He's like a gorilla with a laptop.
Chez: He is a big dumb animal, isn't he. No, I probably wouldn't scrap with him physically and never said I wanted to. I'd challenge him to a spelling bee, though.
Bob: As I said on the podcast this other day, I find the Alex Jones universe endlessly entertaining, and big doofus Dan Bidondi is really the best thing to come along in quite a while. Maybe since Sarah Palin. All we have to do it hold out our fists and Bidondi runs headlong into them. And that voice! It's a perfect storm of dumbstupid.
Ben: Yeah, count me in. I'd love to legally smack the dude. He's an A-grade idiot with a big mouth and could do with someone closing it properly.
3. Would any of you date Gwyneth Paltrow? She's free you know.
Bob: I'm allergic to crazy people.
Chez: My curtains aren't impressive enough to date Gwyneth. Plus I eat glutens.
Ben: I mean, if I really had to....Seriously though, she's one of the most irritating celebs out there. Don't get me wrong, she's a very attractive woman and clearly very intelligent, I just couldn't do the whole 'conscious' whatever it is she does.