Monday, August 7, 2017

Don’t Try to F- with N.N. Taleb in Languages Ancient or Modern, OR Middle English

From The Spectator:
Over the weekend I, like a good dozen others, endured the Twitter rage of Nassim Nicholas Taleb, an old man who rolls around like a drunk trying to prove he’s still the toughest hombre at the bar. He’s the sort of guy who screams at the Cambridge classicist Mary Beard:
He’s the sort of guy, who, when I and others objected that bragging about his citations was a ‘crass’ way to behave, cried:
He’s the sort of guy who when I replied:
Can come back with:
He’s that hard. Don’t try to f- with him in ancient or modern languages, or middle English  for that matter. He could have you with one hand behind his back. ‘Kappish?’ – as he is fond of saying.
Taleb, if you haven’t heard of him, is an economist and the author of The Black Swan. It sold well because Taleb purported to explain why the experts never saw the 2008 crash coming. The debunking of authority figures is always pleasurable. I bought it and, to my shame, admired it until friends with a sceptical intelligence pointed out that Taleb was also the kind of guy who could say in 2009:
Complex systems do not like debt. So it will proceed to destroy tens of trillions in debt until society rebuilds itself in an ultraconservative manner. We are in for a worse ride than people think.
Read that passage again. Clear your mind and try it for a third time. Leaving aside the fact that the first sentence makes no sense, complex societies did not rebuild themselves in an ultraconservative manner after 2009, and eight -years on we are still waiting for Taleb’s Armageddon....MORE