Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 9/13/2018: The Serena Winds Continue To Blow, Along With A Lot Of Other Unpleasant Things

Good morning!

There’s Hurricane Hysteria in the Washington area, with everyone freaking out and clearing the store shelves, and the news media making it sound like this is the End of Days. Did you know that BOTH Chicken Little and the Boy Who Cried Wolf lived in Washington, D.C.? Thanks to a late summer repeat of what goes on every time there’s a rumor of  nascent snow flake during our winters, nobody’s working, returning emails and phone calls, or doing anything, it seems, except, I assume,  trying to figure out a way to blame whatever happens on President Trump.

Incidentally, this was going to be an afternoon post yesterday, until my car blew a radiator hose on Route 395 at rush hour.

1. Yes, more on the “racist cartoon.” Reader Michael B. reminded me of some of the liberal editorial cartoonists’ attacks on Condoleeza Rice. Here was one such cartoon, from 2005, that I found online.

Here’s the real Condoleeza:

I’ve been challenged to post a poll on this cartoon too, but that’s tricky. The two cartoons are not equivalent. I don’t think either is racist, but if I were in the business of race-baiting, the Rice cartoon is worse for several reasons. To begin with, Serena really did throw a tantrum on the U.S. Open court, and it was ugly, thus theoretically justifying an ugly graphic portrayal. There was never an incident analogous to what the cartoon Condi is shown doing. Moreover, she never exhibited anything approaching the snarling, aggressive demeanor portrayed by the cartoonist, at least not in public. I think the face given Rice is also vaguely simian, and if a similar spoof of Michell Obama had been published, all hell would have broken loose.

There were some complaints about racist caricatures of Rice during the Bush years, but all from conservative organizations and commentators, none from the NAACP, and nothing on the scale of the uproar over the Williams cartoon.

My position is…

….that both the Williams and the Rice cartoon are within the acceptable range of an art form I detest and find inherently unethical, editorial cartooning.

….that the indignation over either cartoon is driven by bias toward the targets.

….that anyone who wasn’t vocal about “racial insensitivity” toward Rice in various cartoons is not the most convincing advocate for the position that the Knight drawing is racist.  Yes, such a person might have changed their point of view, but he or she has the burden of proof to demonstrate that this is the case. I’m skeptical.

So here are TWO polls..

 

2. I find it difficult to believe that as Democrats are revealing the total ethical void in their current strategy, polls show voters favoring a Democratic Congress in the upcoming election. Of course, it helps that the mainstream news media won’t communicate to the public fairly so they understand what’s going on:

  • During his hearings, Bret Kavanaugh said, speaking of the position of the plaintiffs in a case, “In that case, they said filling out the form would make them complicit in the provision of the abortion-inducing drugs that were, as a religious matter, objected to.” This was immediately distorted in the news media and by anti-Kavanaugh activists as  Kavanaugh referring to birth control as “abortion-inducing drugs.” Hillary Clinton (to be fair, I assume that she was reading second hand accounts—you know, like everyone criticizes Trump for doing with Fox News) then beclowned herself by tweeting:

I want to be sure we’re all clear about something that Brett Kavanaugh said in his confirmation hearings last week. He referred to birth-control pills as “abortion-inducing drugs.” That set off a lot of alarm bells for me, and it should for you, too.

[Pointer: Zoltar Speaks!]

  • CNN tweeted this (Pointer: Instapundit):

I think this qualifies as going beyond deceit to pure lying. The texts themselves were evidence. It’s like a defense attorney saying “The prosecution, without evidence, suggests that the murder weapon with the defendant’s fingerprints on it links him to the killing!”

  • A man cursing Donald Trump attempted to stab Republican Rudy Peters,  running for the House in California, with a switchblade over the weekend.This kind of thing does not happen every day, nor in every Congressional race. Democrats have increasingly been suggesting violent measures be used against conservatives and Republicans, and there has already been one armed attack that nearly killed Rep. Steve Scalise and threatened other GOP officials. Yet when Rep. Eric Swalwell, Peters’ opponent, appeared on  CNN host Erin Burnett’s show “Erin Burnett Outfront” last night, she never asked Stalwell about the attack or its implications. That’s journalistic negligence, and likely bias.

3. Please explain this to me. Anyone? Karen White, a transgender man “transitioning” to female, was accused of repeatedly raping a woman in 2016 and had been previously been jailed in 2001 for a sexual assault on a child. After telling the authorities that he identified as a woman, Karen, who still has her penis, aka her weapon of choice when engaged in sexual assault,  was remanded into HMP New Hall near Wakefield, West Yorkshire, an all female facility.

She then sexually assaulted four female inmates a few days later. Who could have predicted such a thing? The prison’s spokesperson said: “We apologize sincerely for the mistakes which were made in this case. While we work to manage all prisoners, including those who are transgender, sensitively and in line with the law, we are clear that the safety of all prisoners must be our absolute priority.”

Huh? If they are “clear” on that, then why was an accused rapist placed in what must have seemed like a smorgasbord to him. I’m sorry, her. Wait, does employing one’s wanker to assault women just like in those per-transitioning days cancel one’s right to identify as female?

Oh, the hell with it: The distinction, in prisons, dressing rooms, athletic teams and bathrooms should be penises or no penises. It may not be perfect, but its better than whatever the current progressive system is now.

4. Now explain THIS, back in the states:Wanda Barzee, 72, is going to be freed from prison more than five years earlier than expected, despite having been convicted of helping her husband, Brian David Mitchell,  kidnap 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart from her Salt Lake City bedroom at knife-point in 2002. Over the next nine months,  Barzee and Mitchell forced Smart to “marry” Mitchell, she was made a virtual slave by the couple,  denied food and water for days at a time, and raped almost daily.  Smart, now married and an advocate for victims of sexual assault,  called the decision “incomprehensible” on Tuesday.

Yes, I’d agree that less than life imprisonment for aiding and abetting a series of crimes like that is incomprehensible. It’s not as if Barzee has been a model prisoner. She refused to appear at her parole hearing. She is also suffering from multiple mental problems.

The technical explanation is that when she was transferred from a federal to a state prison, Barzee’s motion to have the 8 years she already served count toward her Utah sentence. The motion was rejected, and apparently that was a legal error. What I don’t comprehend is the logic of letting the partner, accomplice and willing facilitator of the horrible crimes that put her husband away for life get away with a lesser sentence in the first place.

5. The soft censorship continues…Former Saturday Night Live news anchor Norm Macdonald had his appearance on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”  canceled this week after the comedian’s comments in an interview were deemed too hostile to current #MeToo cant.

In an interview with Hollywood Reporter, Macdonald had said he was “happy the #MeToo movement has slowed down a little bit.”  “It used to be, ‘One hundred women can’t be lying.’ And then it became, ‘One woman can’t lie.’ And that became, ‘I believe all women.’ And then you’re like, ‘What?’ Like, that Chris Hardwick guy I really thought got the blunt end of the stick there.”  Macdonald suggested there was a lack of “forgiveness” for entertainers who were accused of unacceptable words or conduct, with Louis C.K. and Roseanne Barr as examples. “Now it’s admit wrongdoing and you’re finished. And so the only way to survive is to deny, deny, deny. That’s not healthy,” he said. “I do think that at some point it will end with a completely innocent person of prominence sticking a gun in his head and ending it…There are very few people that have gone through what they have, losing everything in a day. Of course, people will go, ‘What about the victims?’ But you know what? The victims didn’t have to go through that.”

“Out of sensitivity to our audience and in light of Norm Macdonald’s comments in the press today, ‘The Tonight Show’ has decided to cancel his appearance on Tuesday’s telecast,” NBC said in a statement.

Let me quickly give the ethics verdicts on what Macdonald said, beginning with, “It’s a legitimate set of political, professional and social opinions.”

  • There is nothing wrong with being pleased that #MeToo may have completed its witch hunt phase, with mere accusations wrecking careers with little differentiation between actual sexual harassment and momentary bad judgment.
  • The “All women have a right to be believed” was utter nonsense from the beginning, and Mcdonald’s characterization was fair.
  • Forgiveness is an ethical value. Are Tonight Show viewers really going to be horrified at the suggestion that society should be more willing to forgive?
  • It is correct that a culture in which denying the truth works better than admitting wrongdoing isn’t healthy.
  • Even if  a not  completely innocent person of prominence kills himself over the intensity of social vengeance and media hounding he has experienced, it is a sign of that fanaticism has overtaken fairness and proportion. With some of the individuals—Kevin Spacey comes to mind—it appears that people want to push him over the edge.
  • Yes, his comparison of the victims to the perpetrators could have been phrased better, and sounded callous.

To his discredit, Mcdonald, as is the trend, immediately groveled for forgiveness with a non-apology apology, tweeting,

“Roseanne and Louis have both been very good friends of mine for many years. They both made terrible mistakes and I would never defend their actions. If my words sounded like I was minimizing the pain that their victims feel to this day, I am deeply sorry.”

If Mcdonald’s position is that Roseanne had “victims,” then he has assented to the anti-speech Hollywood proto-fascism that the Tonight Show dissplayed by dumping him. Roseanne sent a racist tweet that consisted of offensive words. She had no “victims.”

97 Comments

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97 responses to “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 9/13/2018: The Serena Winds Continue To Blow, Along With A Lot Of Other Unpleasant Things

        • Everybody keeps using that phrase, “Dog Whistle”. I am confused. A dog whistle a high-pitched whistle used to train dogs, typically having a sound inaudible to humans. If, then, the sound is inaudible to humans, then why would we use that phrase to condemn a comment most humans can’t hear in the first place?

          jvb

          Ed. Note: The author of this question knows the answer and has been reprimanded for having asked a dumb, though pithy, question. Ignore him. His Rush-addled brain is getting the better of him.

          Ed.

      • Rich in CT

        What is extremely frustrating is that right on the label, birth control pills disclose that they may prevent implementation. A live embryo may be expelled before viability; the textbook definition of abortion.

        I’ve read the science, and the statement is disputed, but not definitely ruled out. The court date is not the place to solve the scientific question, which is open. The Court’s job is to discern whether the known risk of failed implementation constitutes a moral burden on employers.

        The employers object to paying or participating in abortion coverage in anyway. Some also have qualms with both control independent of abortion.

        Under the law, they are required to pay for medical coverage with co-pay free birth control coverage as part of their employee compensation. Signing a paper suddenly means that their provider, or self-insurance manager, is providing this service for free (but coincidently, not at a lower premium).

        Employers object to providing the coverage that on the very label says may cause abortions, and consider the proposed accommodation lame.

        And the Democrat’s theory is that a Judge may never fairly summarize a non-progressive’s court claim, apparently.

    • crella

      He was actually quoting someone else when he said that. Too-late corrections have been put out by Planned Parenthood and others.

  1. adimagejim

    It is my deepest inner hope our society can turn from its current path. My hope appears, day by day, to be more a fantasy than something rational or possible.

    Exposing these unethical behaviors and the social underpinning for them is one very useful thing. But the lack of action or actionable items on this front is disheartening. How do we, decide for yourself who we are, take the words shared and read here and transform them to broader awareness, understanding and civil action?

    The mountain of societal problems created by kicking the can down the road and ignoring the malcontents, assuming they’d eventually see sense, has completely endangered our fruitful garden. It now seems nearly impossible to summit them. Education, media, pop culture, economics, athletics, politics, bureaucracy, even the notion of redemption itself appears quite distant.

    How could we, can we, actually act to stop this from overwhelming our representative republic?

    • Steve-O-in-NJ

      You can’t win with reason when the other side hates you with a passion, and trying to appease them into hating you a little less is surrender on the installment plan. Mark my words, we’re headed for a dose of the Troubles, where red will become orange and blue the new green. Antifa and the left would collapse like an ice jam in a spring thaw in an open fight with the police or military, but Iraq now and Northern Ireland for a good two decades before, show what shooting in the back and planting bombs can do.

      • adimagejim

        The crazies offer an emotional and, by it, existential utopia. We know it is totalitarianism in disguise.

        How do we influence the not-full-on crazies beyond our usually wise words? How do we make them feel and understand this dream will result in a nightmare?

    • Glenn Logan

      This will not happen until we bring social media under control. Our inability to use it properly is a major reason why we are in this mess.

      • adimagejim

        Can we use/create a new social media platform to contradict the current digital dictators?

        • Glenn Logan

          Some have tried, but their success is limited.

        • Jeff

          I don’t think that’s the answer. The history of social media so far seems to indicate that each new form, in its early adoption, is a generally positive environment. As it grows in size and a new, specific culture begins to develop on the network, it starts to rot, and the voices of reason are drowned out by the loudest, most negative voices. Then the reasonable folks move on to the next trendy platform, hoping it will be less toxic than the one they’re fleeing. The pattern seems to repeat itself with saddening regularity.

          It seems that over time, all social media platforms over-amplify the haters, which chases away the people who aren’t interested in vitriolic exchanges. The ratio of reasonable people to negative shitheads starts to skew toward the shitheads, and you have a very bad feedback loop, until you end up with hateful cesspools like Twitter and the YouTube comments section.

          The whole process seems to be accelerated by these companies’ efforts to force more engagement from users (more eyeballs for more time means more money) by employing algorithms to show you more of what you’ve previously seen. If you “like” a post that insulting or untruthful about a certain person or ideology, you’re probably going to start seeing more posts with similar content, and we have another feedback loop.

          • Hmm, I’m on Youtube daily but have managed to avoid cesspit users. For any media when the trolls outweigh the real people, I stop visiting that blogger or site. I’m still seeing thoughtful commentary by a handful of YouTubers nearly daily. I blame bad speakers to a greater degree than the platform. but there are limits, I won’t even visit my brothers’ favorite ‘meet someone’ sites after one look and the reported gold diggers he’s found. Sturgeon’s law a rule to live by with the Internet: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

            • Jeff

              Perhaps YouTube is more hit-or-miss, since the content there is fairly segregated; if you’re looking for videos with funny cats or how to fix a leaky roof, you won’t stumble into the more politically-charged topics. Other sites, like Facebook and Twitter, are more “general purpose”, and don’t have that segmented quality, so the toxic people are laying in wait everywhere.

              Or perhaps YouTube has cleaned up its act a bit. I admit I never read the comments on videos there anymore. A couple years ago, which is when I added rules to my adblocker software to filter out YouTube comments, it was pretty rough. Perhaps the trolls have since moved on to Twitter. Maybe it’s a cycle, and social media platforms have to go through a “dark age” before they can mature into useful tools for substantial conversation.

    • AdImageJim wrote: Exposing these unethical behaviors and the social underpinning for them is one very useful thing. But the lack of action or actionable items on this front is disheartening. How do we, decide for yourself who we are, take the words shared and read here and transform them to broader awareness, understanding and civil action?

      The mountain of societal problems created by kicking the can down the road and ignoring the malcontents, assuming they’d eventually see sense, has completely endangered our fruitful garden. It now seems nearly impossible to summit them. Education, media, pop culture, economics, athletics, politics, bureaucracy, even the notion of redemption itself appears quite distant.

      You would be unwise to take any action at all if you do not fully grasp the situation. No one on this Blog, as far as I have been able to tell, can really describe *what is going on* and definitely not *why*. They see the surface of things, but they do not see through the surface. They react against the shifting forms that pass before them, but have no means to interpret what is happening.

      I am not making this up!

      Every statement that explains ‘What is going on’ is, I think you will agree, an interpretive statement. One has to interpret in order to be able to explain. But what are the criteria-of-interpretation most employ here? Tired, weak, outmoded, effeminate, complaining and most often partial perceptions.

      As Spartan accurately points out, the blog is habited by 85% older white conservatives. They attempt — bless their hearts — to see the world, to see America, through an outmoded lens. They come across as rather removed from reality and often as merely American jingoists (with Constitutional pretensions). Be that as it may there is a new generation of conservatives (in any case they define themselves in this way) who challenge the tired, old Conservatism that can no longer offer productive help in the present.

      Having read a good portion of what you write, I would say that you are among those who have hardly a clue even what general area to *take action* in. You are trying to recover (that is, if I am right in my perception) a sort of wish or dream or hope of what once was (sort of was) but is no longer.

      The entire situation is shifted though. The issues and problems have exploded, and the adversaries reveal their hand. In order to *see* the present, a meta-political perspective is needed. You do not have it. You don’t even know what it is.

      Sorry, I force myself to say what I think based on what I see. 🙂

      • Alizia wrote, “No one on this Blog, as far as I have been able to tell, can really describe *what is going on* and definitely not *why*.”

        Nonsense.

        That is a terribly biased opinion based on the fact no one on this blog thinks the way you do and that’s a good thing. Reality is that no one, not even you, could ever satisfy the never ending deflecting questions you conjure up. Sometimes a fact is simply a fact and your mind cannot accept that.

        Alizia wrote, “Sorry, I force myself to say what I think based on what I see.”

        Even when it’s nonsense deflections and terribly biased.

        Signed,
        Zoltar Speaks

      • I like what I wrote better! I also think it is far,far more accurate:

        As Spartan accurately points out, the blog is habited by 85% older white conservatives. They attempt — bless their hearts — to see the world, to see America, through an outmoded lens. They come across as rather removed from reality and often as merely American jingoists (with Constitutional pretensions). Be that as it may there is a new generation of conservatives (in any case they define themselves in this way) who challenge the tired, old Conservatism that can no longer offer productive help in the present.

        As to *bias*, I’d say no, rather assessment based on over 3 years of observation.

        • 1. I defy anyone to label me a “conservative,” as I eschew all ideologies. If rationally developed ethics positions tend to favor conservative views, good for them. I assess conservatives to be more often correct than the Left because they are more often correct, not because I am a member of the club. For example, favoring open borders is idiotic on its face. That is not a conservative position, but a logical one.

          2. Using racial, ageist and gender stereotypes to dismiss that validity of analysis is exactly like saying, “Well, what do you expect from black woman?” It’s bigotry.

          3. The commenters here are also overwhelmingly educated, articulate, experienced, and diverse. As for the readership itself? Nobody knows.

          • I believe that I understand what you are saying. I also think that, to some degree, I understand why you say it (based on what you have said about your general method). I would be, if it were relevant for me to be so (it is not) concerned when you say you eschew all ideologies. I do not believe this possible though I accept and respect that you say this about yourself.

            https://www.britannica.com/topic/ideology-society

            It is also true that there is a diversity of voices and opinions here, and perhaps it is not fair to say that 85% of the blog would identify as ‘conservative’. But a significant faction do.

            In any case, I spoke in general terms, and general terms are both necessary and potentially erroneous. One cannot avoid generalizations but then they always have to be carefully qualified.

            This statement does, I am sure, have logical reasoning behind it:

            For example, favoring open borders is idiotic on its face.

            And so would, and do, statements that define the sort of person and the quality of the person — even possibly the ethnicity — of the immigrant. One could proceed down a line making statements that arise out of logic, but it would amount to ‘specific logics’ and would, I am sure, verge into ideologically-tinged logical statements. This is what the Newer Conservative movement is doing (perhaps it cannot ultimately be defined as such though? I am uncertain), and they are challenging an older Conservative movement to rethink its positions.

          • crella

            Here, too! I’m a registered Independent and have always voted for whoever I thought could do the job better. Sometimes that was a Democrat, sometimes a Republican. Unfortunately these days, if you’re not 100% in line with whatever the left is selling, you’re automatically pronounced far right, if not ‘alt right’. 100% compliance is an unreasonable standard, and what is fueling the social media wars, with people being shamed for a hundred different flavors of ‘wrong’.

            Open borders are a horrible idea. Anyone for whom ‘Imagine’ is an anthem rather than just another insultingly shallow pop tune* will not be swayed by logic regarding human nature. The idea that we can all hold hands and all our troubles would be solved by dissolving countries and owning nothing completely disregards the very real human character components of jealousy and greed, and those whose intentions are evil. Bad people DO exist, it’s only wise to have limits on immigration. Has anyone advocating open borders realized what could happen, how crowded it could get?

            Does any nation on earth have open borders? Why must the US? It’s naive and delusional to think that paradise on earth can be created by allowing lawless chaos.

            * The Beatles, despite their hippy-dippy image, were (are?) some of the wealthiest men on earth. While singing Imagine, they amassed an impressive collection of antique and rare cars, houses, and castles, used those nasty borders to create tax havens outside Great Britain so 70% of their wealth wasn’t taken by the Crown, and promoted Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. (I’ve never liked this song, can you tell? ) I still know people who wax on about the Truth and Enlightenment of this ditty.

            • Jeff

              Hey now, “Imagine” was a John Lennon solo effort. It’s not fair to the other Beatles to tar them with that childish, musically inept pap. Even though Ringo’s solo career might be a source of ridicule for some people, he can hold his head high that he had nothing to do with “Imagine”.

              You’re right about Lennon’s hypocrisy, though. Not only had he amassed a vast wealth by the time he wrote the song, he also apparently managed to assemble an incredible hoard of chutzpah, to be able to write “imagine no possessions” while sitting in a home that had a climate-controlled bedroom set aside for his fur coat collection.

              • Saw a meme about the Beatles, where John and Paul are on a talk show. They are asked if Ringo is the greatest drummer in the world.

                “Ringo is not the greatest drummer in the Beatles”

              • crella

                You’re right, sorry about that! I apologize!
                That song has always aggravated me.

                • On the wonderful Beatles channel on Sirius-XM, its periodic appearance makes me go elsewhere. “Give Peace A Chance” is marginally less stupid, but only by a hair. Finding “Imagine” profound is signature significance for an idiot.

                  • Jack Marshall wrote, “On the wonderful Beatles channel on Sirius-XM, its periodic appearance makes me go elsewhere. “Give Peace A Chance” is marginally less stupid, but only by a hair. Finding “Imagine” profound is signature significance for an idiot.”

                    SPOT ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                  • How is “Give Peace a Chance” stupid?

                    • What a great essay question!

                      1. What does “give it a chance” mean? It’s meaningless.
                      2. Give peace a chance when outside forces threaten violence? By capitulating? Surrendering? Peace has chances every hour of every day.
                      3. Who is the message aimed at? “Everyone”? Everyone doesn’t threaten peace. Peace is threatened by those who decide that their goals can only be achieved by disrupting peace.
                      4. It is a call to pacifism, which is imaginary. WWII. Argument lost.
                      5. “All we are saying” is act as if history, human nature and politics are not as we know them to be. “All”? That’s not a “hey, it’s no big deal” assertion. Anyone who thinks so is lying, a demagogue, or an idiot.

                      Or John Lennon.

            • Crella: Here, too! I’m a registered Independent and have always voted for whoever I thought could do the job better. Sometimes that was a Democrat, sometimes a Republican. Unfortunately these days, if you’re not 100% in line with whatever the left is selling, you’re automatically pronounced far right, if not ‘alt right’. 100% compliance is an unreasonable standard, and what is fueling the social media wars, with people being shamed for a hundred different flavors of ‘wrong’.

              Open borders are a horrible idea. Anyone for whom ‘Imagine’ is an anthem rather than just another insultingly shallow pop tune* will not be swayed by logic regarding human nature. The idea that we can all hold hands and all our troubles would be solved by dissolving countries and owning nothing completely disregards the very real human character components of jealousy and greed, and those whose intentions are evil. Bad people DO exist, it’s only wise to have limits on immigration. Has anyone advocating open borders realized what could happen, how crowded it could get?

              Again, pure surface. It is not ‘what the Left is selling’ but much more what an entire culture has absorbed, without really thinking about it, and as the ability to think philosophically, ideologically, sincerely, and soundly, has been taken down into the perception-mud.

              To see through the *surface* is to see less what *they* are doing and the degree to which *you* have been infected by the same material, the same processes. Therefor, to recover what I can only refer to as a ‘true conservatism’ (in contradistinction to the Hyper-Liberalism of the moment, which has infected everyone’s seeing and saying) is an activity and a project that is necessary. What many on this Blog do (if I will be allowed to say this in the most polite way possible with no desire to nor interest in offending) is to … endlessly complain. Complaints about the passing images.

              It requires another sort of analysis to begin to get to the core of *what has happened to America* and *what has happened in Americans*.

              While it seems (to some anyway) obvious that the division between Left and Right is a false and misleading dichotomy, and politics in America is not just an unclear zone it is a chaotic, impenetrable fog, who can speak with clarity about a) what is going on and why, and b) who can propose any sort of activity that will lead to a cure?

              Like, precisely no one. It requires meta-political analysis, or meta-Americana analysis in any case! to even approach a position of clarity, and this you do not have. I have said at least a dozen times that one of the most destructive and undermining of processes, highly destructive to the Republic (if this is even taken seriously as a term and is meant not to refer to the business interests that now run the Republic), is the war-enterprises of the last 50 years or so. What has recoiled against *America* no one who writes here has the courage to talk about. Why? Why are the limits of intellectualism so controlled? Why are the limits of critique so narrow? It is not just in this area but in most areas of conversation, it seems to me.

              Therefor, my suggested analysis is sound:

              Every statement that explains ‘What is going on’ is, I think you will agree, an interpretive statement. One has to interpret in order to be able to explain. But what are the criteria-of-interpretation most employ here? Tired, weak, outmoded, effeminate, complaining and most often partial perceptions.

              As Spartan accurately points out, the blog is habited by 85% older white conservatives*. They attempt — bless their hearts — to see the world, to see America, through an outmoded lens. They come across as rather removed from reality and often as merely American jingoists (with Constitutional pretensions). Be that as it may there is a new generation of conservatives (in any case they define themselves in this way) who challenge the tired, old Conservatism that can no longer offer productive help in the present.

              [*modifiable to people who can only think within determined limits, and limits which require to be expanded].

              • This is an interesting article by Greg Johnson on a recent book whose topic is the ‘alt-right’. What is interesting is that when *they* (and this is of course *you*)(a general you-plural, a shotgun *you*) set their sights on seeing the Alt-Right, this is all that they see. Their seeing shows how their process of distortion is carried out. The act of seeing, and explaining, is an act of distortion.

                [ https://www.counter-currents.com/2018/09/thomas-j-mains-the-rise-of-the-alt-right/ ]

                Certainly, this is what *you* describe the Left as doing. You can easily see that they are hysterical and terribly biased. More, they *impose* a view — potentially on you — if you deviate just slightly from their sense of rightness and righteousness. Suddenly, you are a fascist (or what-have-you).

                However, *you* in fact do precisely the same thing! Your seeing and your describing is imposition, is distortion. And you do this to what you do not understand and what you fear. When I say *you* I of course mean ‘in general and in America today’.

                This was brought home to me by one of the most amazing examples said by dear Spartan. In reference to Noam Chomsky she said (she really did!) “I don’t have to read sh*t to know sh*t stinks”. Never having read him, she yet knows what he is about.

                Similarly, you have no idea (or a shadow idea) of what the so-called ‘Alt-Right’ is about, but have not made any substantial nor genuine effort to consider their perspectives and opinions.

                This certainly described (::: er hem :::) the outlook of American Conservatism generally, but also those who operate in the middle areas.

                Only in The Wave, or some similar living cultural situation of the day, can you achieve that level of a priori bias where merely a name calls forth such a determined reaction.

                Zeig Heil! (I hope I spelled it right…) 🙂

      • If we wait until total understanding, we cause harm by inaction and will remain in paralysis while people who are both very sure and mistaken will decide FOR us. I’m not saying you should not consider well, I’m saying too much passive reaction can be terribly dangerous too. Total understanding will only come when we achieve whatever enlightenment there is in the afterlife. There are plenty of examples of too little and too late reactions in both history and popculture. Galloping forward in viral hysteria is the flip side to reacting too slow. Some areas of social maturity are coming too slow and it angers the left. Areas of pragmatism are coming too slow and that angers the right. Both sides have been getting more childish over the last generation and would fail the kindergarden ‘plays well with others’ grading.

        But it comes down to how well each side behaves when they are the one in power. There has always been a shift when the Prez changes, but the left has utterly disallowed the normal shift process and grown vindictive and scorched earth. Back to the ‘plays well with others.’ This does not reflect well on them and they underestimate the masses.

        BTW, I am not old white male, I am middle aged white female, though I also qualify for a couple of other minority designations if you want to play that scorecard. My scorecard is not that relevant. I have voted Dem many times, even straight ticket more than once. This fall there is one middle of the road I plan to vote for despite the party’s overall behavior. I have leaned Dem my entire life, and I still believe in their general ideas. But they are FAILING their own ideals, by not just prioritizing their fights but dismissing the needs of some groups they claim to serve. They have lost the ability to even accommodate multiple groups within their coalition. That group is ‘spesheler’ than that group, which I think is bull. Their actions have gotten very petty and I don’t want Big Brother. I am very disappointed in them. ‘Meaning well’ doesn’t mean anything on barren ground.

        • Marie writes: If we wait until total understanding, we cause harm by inaction and will remain in paralysis while people who are both very sure and mistaken will decide FOR us.

          I think Zoltar is right when he says that ‘no one on this blog thinks like you’ (referring to me). And I am sure it is because I am interested in wider, meta-political ideas and in opening the general conversation. We who have these unfamiliar, perhaps even frightening ideas, are shunned now. We get *reaction* not consideration.

          In my view, most of the people read here have limited, almost parochial stances in regard to the question of what is happening. They look at surfaces but cannot see a larger whole. I personally think that what is happening is a manifestation with a looooonnnngggg causal chain. Therefor, one cannot be seduced to look only at *surfaces* but one must go under the surface and into modes of seeing and thinking which are quite uncommon — and shunned as I say — in our present.

          To me, that is the meaning of opening in the political conversation that occurred when HRC brought out an analysis of what she termed the Alt-Right.

          MD writes: “But it comes down to how well each side behaves when they are the one in power. There has always been a shift when the Prez changes, but the left has utterly disallowed the normal shift process and grown vindictive and scorched earth. Back to the ‘plays well with others.’ This does not reflect well on them and they underestimate the masses.

          I think that to *see* the Progressive Left that is now activist in America today, one requires meta-political analysis. A position outside of the American political situation. But in order to describe ‘what is happening’ requires an interpretive project.

          And if you (or one) asks ‘What can be done?’ but does not really see what is happening, nor understand why (the causal chain), their effort will not be successful.

          Thank you for your comment! To get a sense of how I orient myself *meta-politically*, see the following. (I think that my analysis is very helpful, very necessary, but I don’t seem to get much positive response. So, maybe I am suffering under an delusion!)

          https://ethicsalarms.com/2018/09/10/ethics-quiz-the-racist-sexist-cartoon/#comment-556024

  2. Steve-O-in-NJ

    1. (shrug) Typical – liberals can’t be racist and anyone not white or male who is conservative has forfeited the protection afforded by accusations of -isms.

    2.Of course it’s biased, which is why I put a lot less stock in the current polls. The press was all-in for Obama, all-in for Hillary, and now they’re all in for the Blue Wave.

    3. I agree, but it’s just too fraught with politics to be logical now.

    4. That’s presumably on the trial judge, or whoever struck the deal that allowed a lesser sentence. Did she toll to throw the husband under the bus?

    5. You can’t win in any sector that’s now suffused with #metoo. Maybe that movement has crested, but it isn’t going away until there isn’t any political hay to be made from it. There are still bales and bales of the stuff, and still plenty of allies looking to make political hay, as a former colleague reminded me by telling me he grew up as the one male among a mom, a grandma, two sisters, and three aunts, and now lives with a wife, three daughters, and a dog who’s a female, so he’s all-in. I grew up with a dad, a brother, five uncles by blood, one by marriage, three unofficial (not family, but might as well have been), a generation of male cousins, and when we had pets they were male. Does that make me a chauvinist villain?

  3. The Polls: In my humble opinion I think you left out one choice from both polls and it’s a choice that I nearly everyone can choose.

    The cartoon is disrespectful towards the target.

    Respect is something that seems to be nearly non-existent in today’s emotionally charged society.

  4. #4 Jack wrote, “Barzee has been a model prisoner. She refused to appear at her parole hearing. She is also suffering from multiple mental problems.”

    Maybe this is a decent reason to NOT release her into the public, after all she has shown that her mental problems caused her to choose behavior that was immoral and illegal so she’s obviously still a danger to society; lock her up in a mental facility.

  5. #5 NBC is capitulating to social justice warriors. It’s the “little” things like this that are an moral/ethics eating infectious virus to society as a whole.

    The trend is clear, Social Justice Warriors have won.

  6. Glenn Logan

    I don’t generally vote in the polls because for some reason, they don’t display in my browser, and I’m too lazy to figure out why. Well, that and I have a disinclination to do polls generally, making it easy for me to opt out.

    However, I want to make one observation related to the one you made in the first post with your inclusion of Jimmy Carter’s cartoon image. It is de rigueur for cartoonist, particularly editorial cartoonists, to emphasize certain features of their subjects to an extreme. Jimmy Carter did have prominent lips and a big smile, and the smile, at least, was a big part of his appeal, especially when placed beside the stolid visage of Gerald Ford. We’ve seen cartoons that emphasize, for example, Trump’s skin color, comb-over, and other features that stand out to some people, or that get mentioned a lot.

    African-Americans often have prominent facial features, but apparently what we are now saying is that we cannot emphasize them in editorial cartoons, because it recalls earlier pejorative stereotypes in theater and screen, among other things. How can that be “equality?” It’s obscene to think we have to walk on eggshells when drawing cartoons about non-white people. This is a further example of the reductio ad absurdum of our politics by “political correctness” – we now have new rules not only for talking about minorities, but how we depict them in cartoons intended to lampoon certain of their members!

    Perhaps that red calf has finally been born, and not a moment too soon…

  7. Chris Marschner_

    On point 4. Why do we assume that she was a mere accomplice and not the mastermind who got her jollies off by watching.

    The reason she and other women get lesser sentences when charged along with a male is that we as a society are conditioned ro believe that such women are mere pawns of their male partner.

  8. I couldn’t decide which 2nd Poll response most accurately depicted my sentiment, so I checked all the boxes; lo-n-behold it went through.

    Serendipity? I’m gonna quit while I’m ahead.

  9. Sarah B.

    Re #2, How does referring to an abortifacient as an abortifactient set off alarm bells? Birth control pills can cause abortions. They proclaim that, as part of their protection, they can cause a zygote not to implant. This is on the documentation they give you when you buy them. They proclaim this as a fact, it is part of the three way protection they provide. That is known as an abortion. This is part of the textbook definition of abortion. Even if he were not repeating what someone else said, what is there to get up in arms about? Should I be throwing a fit because someone said that my antibiotics can cause diarrhea and sun sensitivity? Oh wait, this isn’t a side effect, but a declared intent of the medicine as part of its well known “triple protection.” Thus, should I be mad that someone says my antibiotic kills bacteria? Has our society truly lost all grip on reality?

    Re #3. I recant on my question above. We (as a society) have obviously lost our grip on reality. I have many problems with the gender disphoria movment, but this is proof of one of my issues, which is that since there does not have to be a psychologist involved in someone’s decision to be “trans” anyone who wants access to the other locker room for whatever reason, is allowed it. I know guys who would have loved to claim to be girls in high school so they could see us shower. Especially since Questioning or Gender Non-conforming status allows them to go back to the boys room tomorrow and tell everyone about how great it is. There have been a few of these examples before, though the one I think makes my point best was the man who identified as a transgender woman who was battered. He entered a battered woman’s shelter a couple of times and each time raped some of the women there. He finally got arrested, but telling a man that he can’t be in a woman’s shelter would have avoided this in the first place. My second choice one is the man who decided that he was a lesbian trans-woman. So he would go to the pool where the high school girls swim team would be. He’d be nude (allowed by pool rules) and be ogling the girls. We used to call men like him perverts and men who have done far less are hit by a felony sex offense. DNA and plumbing is a fairly good indication of what bathroom/locker room/psichiatric hall/prison/etc you should use. How does this not make sense?

  10. JP

    1. I don’t know if I would say it was hypocritical. Those cartoons are 13 years apart. I didn’t even get into politics until 2012. I imagine quite a bit of it is hypocritical, but as with the Williams cartoon, most of the complaints I see are from the younger generation who might never have seen those regarding Ms. Rice.

    2. There was were a few incidents involving attacks on Republicans this week. Some guy threatened to shoot up a convention and another involving a fire at a campaign office.

  11. “Incidentally, this was going to be an afternoon post yesterday, until my car blew a radiator hose on Route 395 at rush hour.”

    You can blame TRUMP for that, too.

    2. “That’s journalistic negligence, and likely bias.” No, that’s collusion.

    3. “The distinction, in prisons, dressing rooms, athletic teams and bathrooms should be penises or no penises.” Exactly what I have been saying, ever since the issues like who-uses-which-toilet, umm, raised their ugly heads.

  12. luckyesteeyoreman wrote, “that’s collusion.”

    Correlation ≠ Causation

    It more likely Monkey See, Monkey Do Hive Mindedness. 😉

  13. Re #2: Is it not true that almost any drug can cause an abortion given a high enough dose?

    • Yes. Specific design matters however. Are sellers to be held accountability for misuse of a product sold?

    • Rich in CT

      Yes, but most do not have FDA warnings that ordinary use may prevent implantation.

      • Sarah B.

        Most drugs do not declare that a goal of the drug is to prevent implantation. The drug has three purposes in ordinary, on-label usage. The packaging from this drug tells us about the great three layer protection. First, it provides hormones that cause the ovaries not to release an egg. This is considered the first layer of protection and has a certain chance of failure. The second layer of protection is that the drug hardens the outermost layer of the ova, making fertilization unlikely. This can also fail. The third layer of protection is that the drug thins the lining of the uterus. This is done with the goal of preventing implantation. obviously, given how many people are born or aborted from the failure of contraceptives and specifically oral contraceptives, this can fail too. However, one of the stated on packaging, written as an advantage, goals of this drug is to cause failed implantation, which is just another word for abortion.

        • Written as an advantage?

          I was thinking the warning was there to make sure they do not lose a lawsuit in case a pregnant girl decided to take some birth control pills just for kicks.

          • Michelle Klatt

            It’s not really a warning though. It’s how the drug is intended to work. It would be like putting a warning on car that it drives in reverse.
            “Warning: This car is intended to drive forward. Please be advised it will also drive in reverse.”
            Manufacturers don’t warn when a product does its intended purpose. They warn about unintended side effects.

  14. Allow me to complicate the cartoon issue. Or to inject some nuance. Or whatever.

    Yes, I think the Serena Williams cartoon is racist, and no, I don’t think the Condoleezza Rice one is. But that’s not because I’m a fan of Williams (I’m not) or because I’m not a fan of Rice (although that’s true). And I don’t think it’s at all hypocritical of me to make the distinction, which is based on the way the question was asked. If the question had been “is the portrayal of Serena Williams racist?”, I’d say no, at least if there were no “I can see how a reasonable person would say that, but…” option.

    But yes, I think the cartoon is racist, not for its foreground, but for its background. In transforming Naomi Osaka, who is only marginally lighter-skinned than Williams, into pretty much the stereotype of a white sorority girl, the cartoonist has indeed introduced race into the mix, and has done so gratuitously at best. Yes, Osaka had dyed the tips of her hair, but she didn’t have a blonde pigtail, and her skin isn’t anywhere near that light. That’s not a very good caricature of Osaka’s face, either. In other words, the cartoon as a whole now depicts a (specific) black woman throwing a tantrum in an attempt to usurp the legitimate rights (a tennis victory, in this case) of a generic white woman, who is being urged to concede to this obviously absurd demand. And yes, I think that is racist.

    Your mileage may vary.

    • I asked Spartan to do something when she made these exact same protests.

      I don’t know if she did.

      Download the jpg for the cartoon.

      Open it in Microsoft Paint.

      Use the eye dropper tool to lift a mid-tone off of the Serena caricature. Then to lift a mid-tone off of the Osaka caricature.

      The colors are *for all intents and purposes* the exact same shade of brownish gray. The Osaka tone is slightly slightly lighter than the Serena tone. (Which practically parallels real life if you look at a picture of the two of them).

      As for how much of Osaka’s hair is “blonded” in the cartoon versus real life…this is just grasping at straws over what amounts to about 0.5% of the drawing’s size (and not even part of the focus which is Serena’s tantrum and secondary focus, the judge’s comment).

      • I don’t care about the exact colors. That, to me, is the “grasping at straws” part. I care about how they appear to the eye. And there’s no question that cartoon Osaka, well, cannot be perceived to bear any resemblance whatsoever to real-life Osaka.

        Yuo would have us believe that the fact that Osaka’s hair color has changed is “not even part of the focus,” but the fact that’s she’s in the background (i.e., “not even part of the focus”) and therefore darkened in order to make the foreground stand out more is irrelevant? Oh, and she’s apparently in the shade, too, as she, unlike the other two figures, casts no shadow. Osaka’s roundish face, which we’d assume to be exaggerated, is instead chiseled. I can get to Williams from her caricature; I can’t get to Osaka’s.

        Seriously, if you can look at that portrayal of Osaka and see anything but a white woman, well, I guess we’re just going to disagree.

        • Curmie wrote, “I don’t care about the exact colors. That, to me, is the “grasping at straws” part. I care about how they appear to the eye.”

          Sorry but you are the one grasping at straws.

          What you and others don’t seem to realize is that the colors are close really close to the same and I’d bet my next week of dinners that the artist used the exact same piece of chalk on both or chose the same color sample using a digital spray paintbrush in something like Photoshop. FYI: I’ve used used Photoshop for nearly 30 years as a professional and I can spot things in photos that most people wouldn’t even think of and they don;t see it until they are pressed to look for it.

          Here is a fact that most people don’t know; when you have a smaller amount of one color surrounded by larger amounts of other colors that small amount of color appears differently to the naked eye unless you actually pay attention to those kind of details which I do, average people don’t. A lot of people actually have experience with exactly what I just wrote when they go to a paint store and get the little 2″ square color samples, take them home and hold them up to their wall, they choose their color based on that and then when they paint the wall and there’s LOTS of that color they get something they really didn’t quite expect – it’s an optical color illusion of sorts.

          I think you are barking up the wrong tree with this racism stuff, it’s manufacturing a problem where a problem doesn’t exist and sometime’s it’s caused by a bias that they aren’t aware of.

          • WallPhone

            More on proportions–Osaka’s entire face is half the size of the ref’s, despite both characters at the same focal distance. It is challenging to any cartoonist to capture enough features in profile to communicate race in such a small space, and yet the face and jawline both match as if a photograph was used for reference. No racism at all, the only thing I interpret is pity for Osaka and her minimized win–reflected both by text in the bubble and the shrinking of her character.

            The pacifier on the ground is a gratuitous insult to toddlers everywhere.

            • ”The pacifier on the ground is a gratuitous insult to toddlers everywhere.”

              My take? A symbol injected into an image symbolizing a theme symbolically devoid of symbolism…

              • Errol

                In Australia a baby pacifier is called a dummy and there is an Australian expression “spit the dummy”.
                From the ‘Urban Dictionary’ – Spit the Dummy – To indulge in a sudden display of anger or frustration; to lose one’s temper. The phrase is usually used of an adult, and the implication is that the outburst is childish, like a baby spitting out its dummy in a tantrum and refusing to be pacified.

        • Glenn Logan

          I don’t care about the exact colors. That, to me, is the “grasping at straws” part. I care about how they appear to the eye. And there’s no question that cartoon Osaka, well, cannot be perceived to bear any resemblance whatsoever to real-life Osaka.

          That’s a little too clever, Curmie. No sale. You may think that, but in my opinion, you are wrong and grasping at straws. I can get both of them Williams and Osaka clearly from the cartoon. So what does that say?

          It’s a detail so minor it is unworthy of mention. In other words, you’re fishing to defend your position. I think you’ve failed.

        • “I don’t care about the exact colors. That, to me, is the “grasping at straws” part. I care about how they appear to the eye.”

          I wonder if color has anything to do with how they appear to the eye. Especially given the argument you make that the Osaka caricature is supposedly an obvious white person compared to the Serena caricature.

    • Junkmailfolder

      Michael West made an undervalued observation the other day in talking to Sparty, and I’d like you to address it.

      Her skin tone in this comic is essentially the exact same as Serena’s. The ump she’s talking to has white skin. Her’s is nowhere near that color. Frankly, the only liberty taken as far as her looks is that the top of her head is blonde.

    • Just for the sake of a reminder…

    • I think the focus on the smaller figure of Osaka is an incidental short cut by the cartoonist with no larger significance whatsoever.

      • Glenn Logan

        That, I agree with. Or to distinguish one ethnic type from another who have similar skin tones. By no means does Osaka look “white”.

    • Still Spartan

      Yep. Erasure.

      • Still Spartan wrote, “Yep. Erasure.”

        Forgive my ignorance but can someone explain this use of the word “erasure.” in this context? I just don’t get it.

      • Honestly, S, I have no idea what “erasure” means in this context. But here’s a simple yes/no question for you and/or Curmie: Do you expect us to believe that if the background sub-gag of Serena’s opponent whispering to the umpire had been omitted entirely, the reaction to the cartoon would have been any different?

        • Auto-correct from “racist”…is my guess. Which would be unfortunate because she didn’t answer one iota of the response to her original protests.

        • Jack Marshall wrote, “Do you expect us to believe that if the background sub-gag of Serena’s opponent whispering to the umpire had been omitted entirely, the reaction to the cartoon would have been any different?”

          I honestly think the emotional reactions would be equally the same even if the rationalizations they chose to use to justify their hyped up emotional opinions were different. It’s all about Serena and her supporters trying to portray her as some kind of a victim to deflect from her immature actions.

        • “Do you expect us to believe that if the background sub-gag of Serena’s opponent whispering to the umpire had been omitted entirely, the reaction to the cartoon would have been any different?”
          In the same way I distinguished between the portrayal of Serena Williams and the cartoon as a whole, I’d suggest that my reaction would have been different, but I suspect that the majority of those who objected to the cartoon would still have done so. I doubt that more than one or two per cent of the total population look at the cartoon exactly the way I do: they either think the image of Williams is racist, they think the image of Osaka looks sufficiently like (a caricature of) her, or they see nothing wrong with the fact that it doesn’t. I don’t think any of those things; they do. I’m okay with that.

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