No baseball players were elected to the Hall of Fame today. Jonah Keri has one of many refutations of the logic, or lack thereof, of the Hall of Fame voting body. I don't want to get into a debate about the silliness of the BBWAA, but I think it's illustrative, in the lightest way possible, of one of the more pernicious and annoying forces in this country: anti-intellectualism (and the musty moral codes it produces).
Nate Silver did a great job of exposing much of the anti-intellectual punditry that masked for mainstream political reporting this past election. We shall see if it has any lasting effect. The world he left behind, baseball, is still largely dominated by reporters who don't know even the most basic of mathematic or statistical principles. Thankfully the market forces that drive winning have pushed some smarter people into MLB front offices so at least the product on the field is run more rationally, but much of the smartest media coverage of sports still exists on the fringes.
One of the reasons I've gravitated towards the technology sector is that it has always seemed to me to be one of the most intellectual-friendly of industries. When people criticize Silicon Valley for not engaging more in politics, what they fail to understand is that most people in technology study politics and see a rigged and inefficient game, dominated by intellectual hostility. Why would they want to waste their life playing a game that's tilted against them?
The tech world may not be perfect, but it aspires to be a meritocracy, and when companies fail, they just cease to exist. There are no government bailouts (yes, that's you Wall Street) because you're too big to fail. I can't remember who posted a link to this article in my Twitter feed, but the first line is astonishing.
When I worked at high profile companies like Amazon and Hulu, I'd be upset when various reporters covered us in a lazy way. When reporters did not just legwork but critical thinking, it always comforted me, regardless of whether it was positive or negative coverage, because it showed a healthy press at work. A smart, independent, and dogged press is one of the core strengths of this country, like white blood cells against the spread of lies and half-truths. It's one reason I still derive a certain perverse pleasure whenever Gruber at Daring Fireball ridicules some of the silliest of Apple media coverage.
When anti-intellectualism is allowed to clog up our communication channels, it reduces the gains that we could be reaping from the Internet's single greatest strength, it's ability to transmit information cheaply and quickly.
How did I get off on this tangent from the baseball Hall of Fame vote? I think this Mucinex is making me loopy.