User:Moulton

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Moulton is the Internet character of Barry Kort, a researcher and science educator affiliated with the MIT Media Lab and the Boston Museum of Science.

Moulton's Improbable Backstory

Moulton was born in 1945, the year the Holocaust ended. His parents were Holocaust Survivors. But they couldn't take pleasure in having survived a terrible ordeal because so many others were brutally exterminated. This left them Emotionally Conflicted. They didn't want to talk about it.

Psychologists who studied this kind of emotional conflict came up with the name Survivor Guilt to describe it. It's an unfortunate Label because it invokes the word Guilt which suggests that they broke a Rule and deserved to be Punished. And in those days, when everyone lived in a Rule-Oriented, Control-Oriented, Punishment-Oriented Culture, no one ever admitted Guilt, because then the Control Freaks from the Police Culture would feel Justified in meting out Sanctions and Punishment. It was a Toxic Culture in that regard. So everyone tried to keep it a Big Secret from Emotions Police who habitually practiced Erratic Retaliation.

But a few Holocaust Survivors, who were smart enough to stay far away from Psychologists and their Ferchachta and Erroneous Theories about Survivor Guilt asked themselves the Question, "Why Me? Why was I spared and allowed to live, while so many others perished?" And the Answer came to them. "Because you were Smart enough to get the Hell out of Europe before the Nazis rounded you up. Because you Foresaw what was coming and did the Intelligent thing before it was Too Late."

And so these Holocaust Survivors realized that it was their ability to Prophesy what horrors were coming and to take Timely and Intelligent Action to save their lives that explained why they were spared. And so they Worshiped a New God, the God of Model-Based Reasoning. This was a actually a Small Cognitive Error, which they didn't realize, because this all happened before anyone worked out the Science of Cognition and the Correct Rules of Thinking Straight about God and God's Plans.

They founded Schools for their children and taught them Model-Based Reasoning. But since they were Silent about their Conflicted Emotions of being Holocaust Survivors, they never let the children do any Model-Based Reasoning about Emotions. They made that Taboo, because they didn't want to grade Homework Assignments in which their own children were stumbling through the Learning Curve trying to Understand and Model the Emotions and Motivations of their parents, the Holocaust Survivors.

Finally, after 40 years in the Emotional Desert, most of the parents had begun to forget their concerns about dealing with Survivor Guilt, and instead began to Kvell with Joy as their now-grown children, who had been taught Model-Based Reasoning, enjoyed Successful Careers and produced Bright and Playful Grandchildren for them to take Pride in.

The Successful Children, on the other hand, began to be Criticized because, for all their Intelligence and Skill at Model-Based Reasoning, they were lousy at thinking about other people's Emotions. Everyone else was Brilliantly Skilled at figuring out how others were feeling, from nothing more than a Raised Eyebrow or a Muffled Cough.

So these Successful Children decided to Learn about Emotions. They wrote books on Emotional Intelligence and formed Theories on Emotion, Cognition, and Learning. They got so good at Regarding Emotions that they founded whole new disciplines of Affective Computing, teaching machines to Bear Accurate Witness to the Feelings of the User and to construct Complex Models to Reason about Emotions in an Intelligent and Scientific Way and to make Appropriate Apologies as needed so that the Users wouldn't get Upset and Kick the Machine.

And then the Children of the Holocaust Survivors realized what they were doing. They had not spent their lives Worrying about Emotions. Instead they had spent their lives learning Diagnostic Reasoning Skills. And it Occurred to them that this was too Important an Idea to keep a Big Secret from everyone else.

And so they launched a New Culture, one in which people didn't worry endlessly about their Feelings and Emotions but instead Thought about them Rationally, Diagnosed the Underlying Problem, and Solved them with Ingenuity and Creativity.

Their Mantra became "Stop Worrying and Heal the World."

Or in the more Cryptic Swahili/Hebrew, "Ha-Tikkuna Mutata Olam."

And they posted this Idea prominently and spamfully on their Silly Web Site.

Moulton was not the God of this New Religion. He was merely their Public Relations Guru. They fired him for Incompetence. He vigorously protested that it was Illogical to fire him for being Incompetent since he was the only person doing this work and there was no one else against whom he was Competing. But they didn't listen. "You're not listening," they told him Sternly. But he didn't hear them. Evidently they had neglected to pay attention when he reminded them over and over he had a Listening Disability.

Moulton got a new job as a Journalist, Speaking the Truth to Power. He wasn't expected to last long.

Many people thought Moulton was Pathetic and a few Poked Fun at him. A few kept their counsel to themselves.

One especially quiet and contemplative chap, who liked to go for Long Quiet Walks in the Woods, said very little in public. In fact, he never spoke a word to Moulton. He just quietly handed Moulton a freshly picked Mushroom. Moulton, of course, had no Idea what that Gesture meant.

On the Internet

Moulton is a prominent critic of Wikipedia and WikiCulture. He posts on several obscure blogs and has for a long time posted scathing criticisms of Wikipedia.

Bad Poets Society

Do you know why the caged bard sings?

A mockingbird stands on the grave of dreams
His shadow echoes a nightmare scream
His songs are blipped and his rhymes decried
Yet he rises each dawn like a Phoenix to sing

I know why the mockingbird sings, these days,
When his song is a bruise and his lyrics a bore,
When he butchers the meter and tortures each phrase;
It is not a carol of joy or grace,
But a geshrai that he sends from his heart's deep core,
But a bleat, that upward to level he grinds –
I know why that blasted bird rhymes

The Bored's Prayer

Pater Duster

Gomi no Sensei, mellow be thy game. Thine deliverance come, thy will be fun, on Wiki as it is in Paris. Give us this day our daily lulz, and forgive us our trash-talking, even as we forgive others who trash talk against us. And lead us not into the 300 Club, but deliver us from Moulton.

More Poem Parodies

Song Parodies By Moulton