Really Late Ethics Warm-Up, 1/10/22: It’s Hard Being Woke

What did we learn from the Ethics Alarms “echo chamber” survey? Not much, unfortunately. Most respondents clustered around the center, to the right, which I didn’t need a survey to figure out. I work very hard to keep the perspective here as moderate as possible, but then this is not a political blog, and ethics should come from a centrist perspective. (If one is far left, however, it all looks far right to you.) I was disappointed that more non-commenters didn’t participate, but then non-commenters don’t participate. There were only a couple. I also was disappointed that virtually all of the intermittent commenters  whom I know tend to a progressive tilt didn’t take the various tests. Why would that be? I have no idea.

I doubt that there is any way to keep a blog like this one truly diverse, at least among the commenters. Cognitive dissonance is powerful: if someone regularly disagrees with the analysis here, the natural tendency is to stop reading, or, apparently, as we recently witnessed with a now departed mad troll, to stop playing nice.

I force myself to cover far left and left-biased sites like Salon, The Atlantic, Vanity Fair,The Daily Beast, Boing-Boing, Mother Jones, Vox and others, but it’s not fun. I doubt I would subject myself to the experience if it wasn’t part of my job. (The far right sites are pretty annoying as well.) Others, the rational, generally fair sites like Reason and Five-Thirty-Eight, are frequently enlightening.

One note to counter excessive negative talk about the traffic here (which I am primarily to blame for): there are very few blogs or websites dedicated to ethics. I’m disappointed that the upward trend traffic here experienced through 2017 didn’t continue, but if there is an ethics commentary site on the web that offers as much content and has as much traffic as this one, I haven’t found it.

1. It’s a shame this didn’t happen in the U.S. so everyone could make sheep jokes and I could decree the messaging incompetent…To encourage more Germans to get the Wuhan vaccine, Hanspeter Etzold, who works with shepherds and animals to run team-building events for companies in the northern German town of Schneverdingen, organized 700 sheep to form a giant syringe. See?

“Sheep are popular with people and carry positive emotional connotations. So perhaps they can reach many people emotionally when logic and scientific reasoning don’t do the job,” Etzold says. Yup, if you can’t convince people to do what you want using facts and logic, it’s time to use fear, or fake facts, or propaganda, or threats, or insults. Or sheep. [Pointer: Willem Reese]

2. Boy, even I forgot about that...Conservative CNN pundit Mary Katharine Ham is in a nasty spat with her colleagues and New York Times Trump-hunter Maggie Haberman for being so tasteless as to compare the network’s rapid shove of the June 14, 2017 shooting attack on the Republican Congressional baseball team, which left Rep. Steve Scalise seriously wounded, down the memory hole while trying to make the 2021 January 6 riot a Day to Live in Infamy. “You’re welcome to talk yourself into idea that a similar murder attempt on an entire team of Democrats would have gotten the same treatment. I think the shooting of Gabby Giffords is pretty analogous and disproves that theory. Even without that data point, it’s just not true,” Ham tweeted. “And it doesn’t mean Jan. 6 doesn’t deserve coverage. Moving on after 48 hrs would be wrong for that and for Gabby Giffords! But the coverage was what it was, Scalise’s return to Congress was very sparsely covered, and the anniversary was barely mentioned.” Double standards? What double standards?

3. Oh NOW it’s time NOT to inflate pandemic death statistics! For many months now, Ethics Alarms has tried to point out the deliberate dishonesty and fear-mongering strategy of the CDC recording anyone who died with the Wuhan virus or its pals as dying OF the Wuhan virus or its pals. There is a huge difference, but most of the public isn’t aware of the trick, and when I have tried to explain this to various pandemicphobes among my friends and family, they tend to mutter something about Fox News talking points.

But now the hand is on the other foot, and President Biden, after previously saying that President Trump should have prevented 100,000 deaths—is it too snarky to say that was an assholish lie?—-is now the one watching those inflated statistics come home to roost. Sooooo…

On “Good Morning America,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky finally admitted,

“The overwhelming number of deaths, over 75 percent, occurred in people who had at least four co-morbidities. So really these are people who were unwell to begin with.”

And might have died soon anyway, or died at the same time without the virus.

4. This is academia! Kara Cooney is a professor of Egyptian Art and Architecture and Chair of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at UCLA, and she has no integrity whatsoever.

She released a book in November called “The Good Kings” which is  about Egypt, the subject she knows more about than you and me. However, it included this passage about… Kyle Rittenhouse?Yes indeed:

“[C]onsider 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, who used his semi-automatic weapon to kill two Black men in Kenosha, Wisconsin, while waging a glorious race war on behalf of his inherited White power.”

Well, as we all know except those who have clung to the various lies about Rittenhouse spread by the media, all of the men shot by the teen were white, and there is no evidence whatsoever that he was waging a “race war.” Incredibly, the professor was indignant when this blatant and arguably defamatory falsehood was pointed out by critics. She wrote,

“On p. 341 of THE GOOD KINGS I state that Kyle Rittenhouse shot two Black men when instead he shot two white men. That was my mistake, and I apologize. The response has been a hateful stew of ridicule and denial that America has a race problem at all….If one mistake in a little known book about ancient Egypt elicits this much howling, it is to avoid discussing our larger problem, to avoid seeing our deep-seeded obsession with patriarchal power. “So yeah, tiny detail of the book with a big mistake about a massive American issue. And that’s on me. But the white supremacy is still a problem. And the misogyny is still a problem.”

How did misogyny get into this? Oh, I get it: criticizing the professor is misogyny because she’s a woman.

Gee, is it too snarky to declare her an asshole? What else would you call a scholar who reacts to a careless and biased error like that?

5. See, this is why I read Vox: Poor Nancy Pelosi revealed herself as painfully unwoke by having the cast of “Hamilton” perform during the Democrats’ “Remember Jan. 6!” orgy. Hamilton has been cancelled, sayeth Vox, because the show, “according to current conventional cool-person wisdom, glorifies the slave-owning and genocidal Founding Fathers while erasing the lives and legacies of the people of color who were actually alive in the Revolutionary era. It is no longer considered to be self-evidently virtuous or self-evidently great.” Also out: once -celebrated progressive feelz-infused sitcom “Parks and Recreation,” and, naturally, the “Harry Potter” books and movies.

Boy, it’s a lot of work being progressive; you have to throw out the culture every few months whether there’s anything to take its place or not.

56 thoughts on “Really Late Ethics Warm-Up, 1/10/22: It’s Hard Being Woke

  1. “Gee, is it too snarky to declare her [Prof. Kara Cooney] an asshole? What else would you call a scholar who reacts to a careless and biased error like that?”

    Time to fire up the woodchipper.
    It is late, that’s all I got.

  2. 1.) I can only assume that the association between sheep and unthinking groups of humans following orders does not exist in Germany. I had originally guessed that fencing was used to corral the animals, but it turns out bread crumbs were used.

    I can’t say that, having seen the sheep syringe, I’m more or less inclined to get the booster.

    • The Germans are not exactly known for being free and independent minded. It is a very obedience-oriented culture. Here, the powers that be say “jump,” and we say “why?” There the powers that be say “jump” and the ordinary folks say “how high?”

    • Oh no, it does. The sheep metaphor is deeply embedded in Western Christian culture, stemming from Jesus on the cross being explicitly analogous to ancient Jewish sacrifice of lambs during the Passover. This is why, “Wake up, Sheeple” is a stereotypically an unhinged right wing catchphrase. The metaphor is just as fully known in Germany as it is here.

      • You took the words right out of my keyboard. I would only add that the sheep vs. goats metaphor predates Christianity, having its roots in Judaism.

        Additionally, pop culture would suggest that “sheep” as a metaphor for complacent, obedient citizens is alive in Western tradition, as Pink Floyd employs it in “Animals”, which dates back to the 1970s, just a few years after Jesus’ time.

        jvb

  3. *sigh* I know I’ll probably regret asking this, but why is “Parks And Recreation” suddenly problematic and attracting the scorn of the wokeshits?

    Didn’t one of that show’s creators come out in defense of political correctness and cancel culture just a year or two ago? Delicious.

    • I can’t quite figure this out either. Is it because Chris Pratt isn’t as liberal as a Hollywood celeb is required to be? Is it because Ron Swanson’s extreme Libertarianism is too far right for them?

  4. #2: The Scalise/Giffords shootings are only somewhat analogous.
    Gifford’s shooter was a paranoid schizophrenic druggie with a specific unexplained dislike of Giffords.and described as having a “toxic jumble of left- and right-wing conspiracy theories”. He seemed to have no clearly defined political leanings that motivated the shooting

    Scalise’s guy was described by CNN as one “…who defined himself publicly by his firm support of Bernie Sanders’ progressive politics – and his hatred of conservatives and President Donald Trump.”

    #4:…the subject she knows more about tha(n) you and me.” Are you sure?
    Cooney was pounded on Twitter, not only for her literary non-sequitur, but by people pointing out that if she would make such a mistake about a widely known and easily checked occurrence, there was no reason for anyone to trust the information she provided as a supposed scholar/expert.

    #5: Are they out with three strikes? Let’s see…there was the phoney Harris & child actors NASA vid, the Biden & Jonas brothers TikTok cringer, and now Nancy’s whatever-the-hell-that-was. Yep, that’s three. (Somewhat tangential: For some unknown reason, my wife got us tickets for Hamilton a couple of months ago. It was mostly silly, trending towards annoying, but “King George’s” bits were funny and well done by the performer…who was apparently the original cast member for the part.)

    • On #2: the main interest of Giffords in contrast with Scalise is the way the MSM tried to blame rhetoric by Palin and Rush Limbaugh for the shooting, reminiscent of how Trump has been blamed for the riot. The Bernie Bro’s rampage, however, was never linked to Bernie’s rhetoric or any of the anti-GOP heysteria.

      On #4—fixed the “than.” The frequency with which commenters choose to quote lines in which there are typos is astounding. You’d think I have them in every sentence.

      • #2: I get the point of the disparity in extent of coverage and spin on the two incidents. I was meaning to point out that Ham was being too generous if she was calling the circumstances of the shootings themselves “analogous”, as one was by a functionally apolitical random nutjob, and the other an attempted political assassination by a far-left ideolog.

        But a further note on the coverage: It’s interesting that the Giffirds shooter has an entire long separate Wiki article, with 110 references. The Scalise shooter has no separate page.

  5. 4. Incompetent? Biased? Biased Incompetent? I hate those kinds of books with a passion. I read as much history as I can get my hands on and nothing will cause me to stop reading a book faster than one that contains Snarky Political Commentary, especially where it doesn’t belong. It started a few years ago when I stopped reading a book about the Marquis de Lafayette because the author wouldn’t stop with jabs about Israel/Palestine and George W. Bush.

    I also hate sloppy research, such as the author who claimed that George Rogers Clark went on the famous Corps of Discovery with Meriwether Lewis.

    But, when you combine Snarky Political Commentary with sloppy research, I have no reason to read your book at all. There is no reason to include the Rittenhouse incident in a book about Ancient Egypt unless the book is a cover for pushing the author’s Far Left agenda, which it rather sounds like from her ranting defense.

    She either failed to get the facts or she knew the facts and chose to prop up the false narrative. She’s either incompetent or a liar. This means she can’t be trusted to get any of the facts right, regardless of how much she knows about the kings of Egypt versus you or me or a herd of sheep.

    And this is why a large segment of our population is concerned about what children are learning in schools.

  6. Jack wrote at the end of #4, “Gee, is it too snarky to declare her an asshole? What else would you call a scholar who reacts to a careless and biased error like that?”

    I don’t think it’s too snarky, I think it’s spot on.

    • I think she’s worse. Assholes are just generally objectionable people. I think she’s a propagandist for the left, who spews lies and hate. Josef Goebbels was the chief propagandist for Hitler and company for most of WW2, but Julius Streicher, who was shoved into the background because his irresponsible and crazy behavior was too much for even the Nazis, was far, far worse. Unless you’re a WW2 buff, and maybe not even then, probably the only time you heard his name was as one of the 12 Nazis condemned to death at Nuremberg and the 10 later hung. You probably don’t know the extent of what he did or how he did it.

      I won’t write a dissertation here. You can look his article up on Wikipedia if you want to read his story in detail. However, suffice it to say that the base he built everything else he later did upon was the spreading of hateful lies about his primary target: the Jewish people. Some were well-worn, i.e. the centuries-old blood libel. Some were semi-pornographic or even out-and-out pornographic, like stories about Jewish men abusing white women, often accompanied by disgusting cartoons showing Jews as subhuman or demonic. Still others were not objectively provable, but all too believable if the readers were angry and bitter at Germany’s difficulties and wanted someone to blame, like the Jews were behind the defeat in WWI, the depression, labor unrest, etc. He was a committed Nazi to the end, and before he was hung, the last thing he said was “Heil Hitler!”

      Jack has talked a lot about the various Big Lies here, but I think we are moving beyond simple big lies with some of this material like this professor has given us. We are moving into spreading not just falsehoods, but false reasons to justify hatred, anger, and ultimately violence. It’s one thing to say Kyle Rittenhouse was more responsible for the situation he found himself in than the jury found, which is an opinion with some reasonable basis. It’s one thing to say that no one carries an assault rifle into that situation who isn’t looking for trouble, which is another opinion and a reading of things into a situation that might or might not have been. It’s one thing to mock his demeanor and behavior on the stand, which is ridicule, and also protected expression, even though maybe not enough people see it for what it is or want to see it for what it is. However, to say that he shot black men while waging a glorious race war on behalf of white power is not only an out-and-out lie, not only a complete 180-degree turn from what actually happened, it’s a lie deliberately told to stoke anger, hatred, resentment, and the desire for a violent revenge. What’s more, it’s in a publication that is supposed to be factual and properly researched.

      On its own, maybe you ignore it, ok, this woman is a leftist crank spouting lies. However, this wasn’t written in a vacuum. You know garbage like this was already out there and had been for years, and this is just taking it to another level. We aren’t at the level of Streicher yet, and maybe we’ll never get there. I’d like to think that we are wiser and fairer than that. However, the last few years have seen an awful lot of published material that targets white people, specifically white males, for demonization, some of it based on selected truths, some on half-truths, some on made-up lies, and a lot just on anger. Is it that wide of a gap between “white privilege” and “ill-gotten Jewish wealth?” Is it that broad of a gulf between “Boardrooms and leadership need to reflect the demographics of this country exactly” and “The Jews run the media and the banks?” Is it really that far from an ordered one-day boycott of Jewish-owned businesses to buying black and black only? Do I dare say that there isn’t that much of a difference other than the group targeted between vandalizing synagogues while writing anti-Semitic slogans on them and tearing down statues while covering them with black power graffiti?

      These are not comfortable parallels to draw. These are not comfortable questions to answer. These are not comfortable thoughts to have. They shouldn’t be. They should be uncomfortable because it SHOULD bug you that any group is singled out, targeted, treated deliberately worse, or lied about to justify all of that. If nothing else, it should bug you because tomorrow you might become the target, but it should also bug you because it’s objectively wrong. Don’t tell me not to go there, that’s the equivalent of putting your fingers in your ears and saying “lalalalala, I can’t hear you!” Don’t say how dare you, I dare because it’s something that needs to be addressed, not swept under the rug. Don’t tell me we’re nowhere near where the Nazis got, the point isn’t that we’re rounding up people and piling them onto trains that go somewhere we don’t need to talk about, the point is that this is the same kind of underlying thinking that facilitated things coming to that. What’s more, those who let things come to that knew damn well what they done, and they knew it was wrong. They knew it from the beginning. That’s why the SS murdered British troops who were unable to retreat at Dunkirk and tried to make damn sure no one lived to tell the tale. That’s why they started trying to destroy the concentration camps as the Allied armies advanced. That’s why almost every German civilian who’d cheered and jeered or just looked the other way on Kristallnacht later swore up and down that he had no idea what was going on.

      I wonder, will one day the far left in this country be brought to answer for the wrongs of the past few years, and then, will they stand up and continue to spew the same garbage, or claim they had no idea what was happening or that it would go that far? Will one day we execute someone for murders and have his last words be “Black lives matter?”

      • Excellent post. Any society that allows members of its community to be singled out is in danger of heading in the direction of Germany. It’s too naive to think that Americans are not capable of burying their heads in the sand and ignoring open bigotry, to say nothing of rooting for the same. That’s why we must remain vigilant and defend the rights of those with whom we disagree.

        And Julius Streicher was a piece of work, distanced by even fanatical Nazis who considered his pet project, “Der Stuermer”, to be obscene.

  7. Re: #1, I was thinking about sending this to you, but it seemed like it had to be fake.

    Re: #4, So, the author of the book says, “one mistake in a little known book about ancient Egypt….” Did the author just run down her own book? More perplexing than that is the connection between 21st Century Kenosha Wisconsin and ancient Egypt. I would think the topic about ancient Egypt would be rich enough that you would not need to stray off the continent or into the 21st Century to find something to say about it. Oh well, another example of what I mentioned in your recent philosophy post: when required to publish under duress, people will say some pretty inane things.

    -Jut

  8. https://ethicsalarms.com/2017/06/14/morning-ethics-warm-up-61417/

    I guess we don’t need to rehash everything with regard to the attempted massacre of GOP congressmen, a lot of it was said at the above link. However, I will say this: the shooter there had a LOT of the same issues that Big Tech is now cracking down on and Big Media are saying are huge problems from the other side. He had stewed for years in his hatred of all things conservative. He also hadn’t tried to hide it. On the contrary, he had splashed it all over social media. The guy was clearly in need of an intervention before this ended up where it did. No one did a thing about it, and you know the rest.

    I submit to you that if we reversed the parties or changed the race of the targets, what happened would have been very different. If this had been a far righty who’d been spewing rhetoric for the same length of time and said it was time to wipe out the other side, we’d still be hearing about it. Or maybe we wouldn’t, because Big Tech would have clamped down on him and ended his spewage of radical sewage. God forbid he had been a white guy targeting a group of black people, because we’d have NEVER heard the end of it, and they might now be introducing laws that required Big Tech to report dangerous rhetoric to the authorities. Of course, they’d only report rhetoric from one side.

  9. As a contrary participant in the original thread about the echo chamber, I’d like to weigh in with a few points.

    First, there was too much rigor in this whole analysis – the test, the scores, the analysis. Come on now. Most of the readers (undoubtedly) and all of the comments on any given day – ALL of them – are from political conservatives. I know I know I know – different varieties of conservatism. I know I know – “liberal” doesn’t mean that any more, that whole thing. I know, I know – it’s not fair or something. It doesn’t alter the fact that the echo-chamber problem exists. I’d like to see this change, and Jack claims he wants it to change, and putting people through a test was bound not to help this process by creating a further self-selection of time required to participate and acquiescence in the process. It should have been a simpler matter to assess and fix.

    Second, when I did comment the last time, one of the ultra-regular commenters here, normally one who presents a friendly front, kind of blew his cool at me – not in kind of the worst Internet sort of way, not anything truly vulgar, but still, a real change. Folks, ya gotta realize, in today’s world, *everybody* thinks that other people are smarter, friendlier, better behaved, and better looking if they share the same political opinions as they do. If you want me to concede that this is a bigger problem on the woke left, I will, that’s probably true. But it doesn’t change the fact that this is a chronic problem throughout. You ALL should welcome some dissent, including in this very comment I’m writing. Let’s see if you can stand it and discuss it vigorous but respectfully.

    Third, there IS one commenter here every day, who, yes, has been graced with the prize of “Comment of the Day,” who does very consistently add an extra dollop of white male resentment into his writings, even when issues like identity politics and affirmative action aren’t remotely in the topic at hand. That undoubtedly generates some of the nasties that Jack receives. All I can say is that I’m a white male who is not particularly left or maybe even liberal by the standards of 2022 and I’m tired of seeing this, to the point where it’s a real disincentive to reading Ethics Alarms. I’d like to see this problem handled to the betterment of this forum.

    Fourth, I’d like to see Jack stop throwing up these straw men of unprintable comments. Yes I’m sure they come over the transom – it’s, you know, the Internet. The impression given is that the echo chamber is impossible to fix. Just forget that sort of nonsense and move on to the next piece of dissent that is far more responsible, even if stated very forcefully in the way people do. Surely somebody is weighing in differently on various subjects. Look what I’m trying to do, even at the risk of being blasted.

    Fifth, and I’ve told Jack this privately, MAKE DISTINCTIONS. Look at the list above of supposedly liberal publications and sites: “The Atlantic, Vanity Fair, The Daily Beast, Boing-Boing, Mother Jones, Vox and others.” But those aren’t remotely the same. The Atlantic in particular runs a mix of, shall we say, woke, liberal, centrist and simply contrarian articles. I believe it’s had multiple examples already post January 6 Plus 1 of people saying, “I’m a Democrat and I hate Donald Trump as much as anyone but forget January 6 already, I’m pissed off at Fauci, Weingarten and the unions for keeping my kids out of school and I’ll remember THAT in November.” I also encourage people of ALL ideologies to subscribe to the New York Times because there’s a fascinating dynamic developing between their deeply reported stories and the reader reactions – last spring and summer it was “how dare this article not conform to liberal verities” but now it’s a lot of “hell yeah, I’m getting concerned that we blew it in the pandemic and made a lot of mistakes and I want my life back.” Bill Maher was saying this a year ago, and Jack needs to go back to watching Bill Maher, no matter what he ever said about Trump!

    Thanks everyone, and I hope this helps.

    • A Friend wrote, “It doesn’t alter the fact that the echo-chamber problem exists. I’d like to see this change, and Jack claims he wants it to change”, “It should have been a simpler matter to assess and fix.”

      Jack isn’t the one that needs to take action to change/fix the commentary here to make it more diverse, there simply needs to be more of those that oppose what’s written here to participate.

      It’s my opinion that the following should be repeated to anyone that makes a serious claim that Ethics Alarms is an echo chamber…

      FACT: If Ethics Alarms is perceived as an echo chamber then it’s only because those that oppose what’s being written here don’t have the intellectual fortitude to interject themselves into the conversation which would make Ethics Alarms seem less like an echo chamber.

      If those who oppose what’s being written on Ethics Alarms don’t have the intellectual fortitude to write their arguments here and then stand up for those arguments then they have no ethical grounds to complain about a perceived echo chamber that only exists because they are not comfortable participating due to their own intellectual cowardice. Intellectual cowards stay out of hot debates and find an echo chamber that they’re comfortable with.

      If people disagree with what’s being written on Ethics Alarms, all they have to do is present their opposing arguments in these threads with the full expectation that others might actually disagree with them and they might actually tell them that they disagree, that’s how debating works, they need to get over themselves.

      Don’t walk into a debate and expect to come out unscathed, to do so is immature. It’s a choice to be thick-skinned or a snowflake.

      A Friend,
      Please continue to participate and add some more diversity to the commentary. It’s your choice to either stand up and try to make a difference in the diversity or sit back and complain about a perceived “echo chamber”. It really is your choice.

      A Friend wrote, “when I did comment the last time, one of the ultra-regular commenters here, normally one who presents a friendly front, kind of blew his cool at me – not in kind of the worst Internet sort of way, not anything truly vulgar, but still, a real change.”

      I went back to that thread and scanned replies to your comments, including mine, and I didn’t notice anyone that blew their cool at you. Are you misrepresenting what was written in that thread or can you support your statement?

      • “A Friend” is probably talking about a time he commented under an older screen name. Like, let’s say deery (who I haven’t seen in a while), had come back as a new name, but is referring to something that happened while posting as deery.

        This may be a similar phenomenon that “A Friend” is discussing.

          • Then, as Steve mentioned, maybe you can show which of your earlier posts received a less than cordial response from a typically cordial person, or as you put it “when I did comment the last time, one of the ultra-regular commenters here, normally one who presents a friendly front, kind of blew his cool at me”

            • Easy to find. Come on. Echo chambers are COMFORTABLE, that’s my point. As noted below, I fell down laughing when I saw the immediate responses and from whom. Reminds me of Facebook threads where somebody goes just slightly off the left-approved narrative and immediately a dozen comments light up and you don’t even have to read them to know what happened.

              • A Friend wrote, “Easy to find. Come on.”

                Accusations with no substance to back them up, signature significant and unfortunately all too typical of a rhetorical coward progressive when their rhetoric is directly challenged.

                Your choices, your consequences.

                • Michael, all you have to do now is look at Steve W.’s comment back to me right above this, or below after I say “Points 2 and 3 illustrated perfectly.” Two MORE examples of exactly what I was talking about in terms of the sudden change in tone when comfort is disturbed. And I’m NOT even really a “progressive” under anything like today’s definition! Thanks, everyone.

    • 1) All the publications listed are untrustworthy, biased and have an agenda. Publishing the occasional contrarian article doesn’t fix it.

      2) Bill Maher should have been fired by HBO when he called Sarah Palin a cunt, on national TV. He did the same with Michelle Bachmann. He’s a pig, and the occasional burst of support for free speech he mixes in to get headlines doesn’t excuse him. As for Trump, I was writing worse things about Trump before he was even on Maher’s radar.

      3) What do you think would have happened to him if he called Michelle Obama a cunt? I don’t find pigs funny or clever. I didn’t find Andrew Dice Clay funny either.

      • I think you’re confusing the several roles of The Atlantic. It’s one of the most historic “publications” in America. (The fact that it’s all online now, I think, is not very relevant.) Yes I believe they made some mistakes during Trump’s term. One story that sounded like it was based on one source just didn’t “sound right” to me despite Donald Trump’s crude nature. Perhaps you’re thinking of the same thing. But they also have two other roles of publishing regular columnists, and more importantly, publishing random freelance submissions that they find compelling. I can’t believe you wouldn’t find value in this from a few days ago from just some ordinary mom in Cleveland: “Why I Soured on the Democrats” with the subhead “COVID school policies set me adrift from my tribe.”

        The point is, they’re hardly the Daily Beast, which is useless. And these various announcements that you’re fed up with this or that public person or media outlet seems to block you off from certain ideas and current events. Anyway, here’s the link to that piece:

        https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/01/democrats-botched-public-school-covid-policy/621183/

        • I think my disappointment in the obvious bias in current The Atlantic has made me more dismissive of the publication than may be fair. You may have missed this post, focusing on a ridiculous quote by the Atlantic senior editor. But how can I trust a source overseen by someone who would say something like that? “Let’s Go Brandon” shows an insurrection mindset, and “Let’s impeach the motherfucker!” isn’t?

          My dad used to subscribe to The Atlantic, Harpers, and the Saturday Review. I read them all, and they all explored ideas without showing a clear bias, and usually with deft right-left balance, though all such mags have tended to the liberals side. But those were the days when liberals were the ones who extolled civility, free speech,and freedom of association.

          • All publications now, with the exception of a pure print journal that has no Internet or broadcast presence, have to deal with a radical change in the conception of what readers/viewers think is news. Historically it was something violent, or salacious, or earth-shattering, and editors and publishers assumed that those things were the most read or viewed type of news. You know, the legendarily ideal headline of “Headless Man in Topless Bar.” Now all the publications know from technology, in the form of clicks and ratings, that the most-consumed sort of the article is the one that confirms the biases of the assembled audience.

            On the one hand, I admire The Atlantic for daring to run a freelance piece that blasts the teachers’ unions and tells the author’s beloved Democratic Party that no matter how much she performatively hates Donald Trump, January 6 is irrelevant to her compared to the way they’ve screwed up her family’s home and school routine. On the other hand, I actually suspect that The Atlantic’s assembled audience may have already been moving in that direction – note Youngkin’s victory here in blue Virginia when McAuliffe ran against Trump but Youngkin ran on the issues – and The Atlantic’s editors already sensed it.

            In any case, Jack, keep in mind what editors and publishers are up against before you write off a whole swath of their publications just because people aren’t reading Harper’s and the Saturday Evening Post by the fireside on a chilly winter evening any more after collecting the mail. It may land you on the mirror-image side of the Bias/Stupid connection that you so properly point out.

            • Point taken.

              But do recognize that I am affected by those same forces, and have resisted tailoring my content and analysis to what I know would attract more “clicks.” Facebook banned links here for almost two years. I could try to maximize potential profit here, but that would interfere with what I’m trying to do. I only am holding journalists and businesses to the standard I hold myself to, or try.

        • This one was just sent to me: https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/01/gun-sales-murder-spike/621196/?scrolla=5eb6d68b7fedc32c19ef33b4

          It’s just sloppy research and analysis, driven by bias, that should have been flagged before publication. By far, it is illegal guns that are involved in most murders. Even the Washington Post wrote that the record gun sales were not a cause of the spike in violent crimes—in fact, it’s the other way around. How could the intellects at the Atlantic ignore the basic rule that correlation doesn’t prove causation? Because they wanted to, would be my guess.

  10. “Third, there IS one commenter here every day, who, yes, has been graced with the prize of “Comment of the Day,” who does very consistently add an extra dollop of white male resentment into his writings, even when issues like identity politics and affirmative action aren’t remotely in the topic at hand.”

    Ok “friend,” let’s not beat around the bush, but let’s not go battle ax and mace either. If you want to point the finger at another poster for whatever, go ahead and say who it is. We’re big boys (and a few big girls) and we’ll stand behind what we write.

    I can’t imagine why anyone would add “an extra dollop of white male resentment.” Actually I can, in this era of demonization of white males. I said it before, and I’ll say it again, where black identity politics, brown identity politics, yellow identity politics, pink identity politics, rainbow identity politics, and every other kind of identity politics there are become predominant, it should come as no surprise that white identity politics emerge as well.

    Not all the white male conservatives are evil or interested in harming those who are not. Most of us just want to go about our business the same as everybody else. However, just as the Nation of Islam and similar groups emerged to look out for the black people, just as the shomrim emerged to look out for the Hasidic people, just as a lot of groups emerged to look out for their own when they thought they were threatened, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that some of us white males, particularly conservative white males, should emerge to look out for those like us.

    I do think there is a certain amount of entitlement or expectation among those other groups that whites, especially white males will just roll over and play dead as soon as someone says racist. That isn’t fair, and it isn’t right, any more than it’s all right to tell a woman to go back to the kitchen or a Jewish person to go back to Park slope or Williamsburg or wherever, or to tell a black person to stay above 110th Street where people like you belong. When you start looking only for racism, or only for bad things or only for the pain of the past as opposed to the promise of today and tomorrow, that’s all you’re going to find. If you do these things, it really shouldn’t come as a surprise if someone on the other side, or several someones on the other side, might do it too. I for one don’t think this nation is well served by this splintering, blaming, and Balkanization, to say nothing of the government choosing winners and losers based on these many characteristics. If that does not sit well with you, you can tell me why, but I can’t guarantee that it will change anything. It’s really not as simple as one cartoon I saw where one guy is holding up a black lives matter sign, another guy challenges him on it, he gives the pad explanation that right now black lives are in more danger than the others, and in the last panel the other guy joins him and holds up a sign that says simply yeah.

  11. Points 2 and 3 in my comment illustrated perfectly. Thanks guys! And all within an hour and half of my post, on an ordinary weekday afternoon.

    I took me five minutes to pick myself up off the floor from laughing before I could get back to my laptop to write this.

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