Craft beer, partisan troubles, and an optimistic AI clock
Creative Discourse's weekly collection of links to opinions, videos and news stories that offer insights into the act of persuasion and creativity.
Every Friday, Creative Discourse shares a few thoughts on recent news items that either offer insight into the act of persuasion and creativity… or simply seem somewhat amusing. Here’s what you might have missed this week:
Cheers to common sense
It’s occasionally mind-blowing to realize how many of the rules placed on us in our daily lives have virtually no substantive reasoning behind them.
In Nevada, lawmakers are considering doing away with at least one such rule that applies to the craft beer industry:
“SB108, sponsored by Sen. Rochelle Nguyen (D-Las Vegas), would carve out a limited exception to the state’s “three-tier system” for alcohol sales — a regulatory structure that requires producers, distributors and retailers to remain separated from each other. If passed, the bill would allow craft breweries to move their product to their own off-site taprooms or tasting rooms without having to first sell it to a distributor or wholesaler.”
That’s right: Currently, craft breweries have to first sell their own beer to a wholesaler, then purchase it back (at markup), before making it available for purchase at their own taprooms and tasting rooms.
Naturally, the wholesalers who currently profit from selling beer back to the very people who brewed it aren’t going to let go of such a government-mandated business model without a fight — which should be a reminder to us that that there is always someone, somewhere, ready to defend the status quo if it is in their best (personal) interests.
We might all claim to believe in “smarter” government and “reasonable” regulation… but we’re also human beings. And, as such, cognitive dissonance is a common phenomenon when dumb or unreasonable regulations happen to align with our personal (or commercial) interests.
You can read my column on the issue in The Nevada Independent by clicking here.
Speaking of politics, it’s no secret the GOP is going through a bit of a branding crisis at the moment. (So too are Democrats, although it doesn’t seem quite as severe.)
The Bulwark’s Tim Miller recently wrote about the slow decline of the GOP in my home state of Colorado — pointing out that, while Trump hasn’t helped the Republican Party in the once-swing state of Colorado, the road to decline has been a long time coming for the dysfunctional party apparatus.
“…in some ways, pegging the entire problem to Trump seems like a bit of a cop-out. The Colorado GOP was already meandering down the road of decline when Donald was still determining whether he should fire David Cassidy (Rest in Power) or José Canseco for failing to sell the requisite amount of pizzas on Trump’s game show.
“When I spoke this week to Dick Wadhams, [a] former [Republican] strategist, he pointed to the 2009 Tea Party revolution as the origin of the morass. ‘I liked a lot of the activists frankly, but many of them were just out of their minds,’ he said.”
One can certainly quibble with whether or not the Tea Party movement was the beginning of the end for the Colorado GOP, but the overall point being made in the column seems objectively true: Over the last decade or so, the Republican Party in Colorado has been primarily concerned with narrowing the definition of a “good” Republican, and booting anyone who doesn’t fit it from its ranks.
It’s a problem that is occurring at an accelerated pace on both sides of the aisle — and one that is, undoubtedly, partly responsible for the rise of independents. As I pointed out some time ago,
“… the predominant voices in both parties seem far less interested in inclusivity than they do in intellectual homogeny. By and large, partisans seem more concerned with defining political tribes not by the range of ideas included, but by those they self-righteously banish from consideration.”
Read more about my take on the death of “big-tent politicking” here.
In an effort to quell some of the more dystopian predictions about AI, it seems worth sharing Matt Webb’s most recent experiment: An AI-generated poetry clock:
Honestly, such positivity every minute would be a pleasant and artful addition to my office set up. It’s also nice to see that our future robotic overlords have a natural inclination toward optimism.
In case you missed it
In my recent post for Creative Discourse, I discussed the power (and difficulty) of thinking creatively. However, I also ventured into a brief tangent about the dangerous way we’re hardwired to think in binaries and extremes:
“Put simply, ideological extremism rewards our brains with a dopamine hit that doesn’t exist in the nuanced no-man’s-land of the ‘middle’ — which is yet another psychological insight that is, unfortunately, on prominent display in our current political era.
“Understanding this, it’s easy to see how one might become attracted to an extreme position… and quite casually dismiss any alternative viewpoint as inherently ‘wrong’ by default.”
Most importantly, however, I shared a few stunning landscapes I was fortunate enough to capture in Moab, Utah.