Joe Biden's racism brought to the fore!

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 2019

There's no cure for stupid and righteous:
This past Monday morning, the New York Times' perpetually-furious Charles M. Blow wrote a column about Candidate Biden.

For ourselves, we regard Biden as a terrible candidate in a field of terrible candidates. In our view, the field is so bad that they've begun to suggest a startling possibility—the possibility that Donald J. Trump could actually win again.

We think Biden's a terrible candidate—but is he guilty of racism? That's what one Trump-enabler took away from the latest expression of Blow's perpetual fury.

Yesterday morning, her letter appeared in the Times. Charles M. Blow had helped the writer crystallize these thoughts:
To the Editor:

Charles M. Blow’s incisive critique of Joe Biden helped me to crystallize what exactly bothers me so much about Mr. Biden. His racism and hypocrisy, and his unwillingness to learn, listen or grow, are unnervingly disturbing to me, since he is the current front-runner.

I hope that Mr. Blow’s critique will illuminate these issues for both black and white voters. C’mon, Dems! We have so many other truly exciting and qualified candidates. Warren, Bernie, Booker, Harris. Even Beto and Castro. We decide, as voters, who is not only electable but also right for the job!

P— A—
Santa Cruz, Calif.
Expressing her gratitude to Blow, the writer urged black and white Democrats to reject Biden's racism. Other Democratic voters? They were left on their own!

All kinds of people are found within our sprawling U.S. electorate. Based on a simple Google search, this letter writer has been a clinical social worker since 1990.

During the bulk of that time, she has also been the owner of a concern which sells fine clothing and jewelry. For twenty-four of those years, she was director of an eponymous consulting firm which continues to promote itself in the kind of consultant language which no normal human being could paraphrase, react to or fathom.

Whatever! The writer has spotted Biden's racism, the one sin our tribe knows. She hopes others will see his racism too, perhaps including Hispanics.

To his credit, the perpetually furious Blow didn't accuse Biden of racism—or at least, not in so many words. He did say that Biden had given "racial offense" in at least two different ways in the course of a rambling, discursive answer to a rambling, discursive question from ABC's highly presentable Linsey Davis at last Thursday night's debate.

As we noted yesterday, Blow didn't seem to know what Biden was talking about in his rambling answer. For that reason, he declared that Biden's racially offensive answer had also been "nonsensical," which it pretty much wasn't.

Blow did know enough to complain about the fact that Biden referred to a "record player" in the course of his rambling statement. Within our pitiful upper-end press corps, everyone has agreed to offer that jibe, just as everyone once spent years making "invented the Internet" jokes at Candidate Gore's expense.

In that way, this guild of fools sent us into Iraq. What are they trying for now?

All scribes have seemed to know that they should mention that record player! That includes the hapless Roger Cohen, fulminating and showboating in this morning's Times:
COHEN (9/21/19): His reference to a “record player” in the last Democratic debate in the context of a question about reparations for slavery tied Biden to a bygone era, but that was far from the worst of it. Talking about black families—that is what the question was about—he actually said: “We bring social workers into homes and parents to help them deal with how to raise their children. It’s not that they don’t want to help. They don’t, they don’t know quite what to do. Play the radio, make sure the television—excuse me, make sure you have the record player on at night, the, the — — make sure the kids hear words.”

They don’t know what to do! Make sure the kids hear words! This is insulting toward African-Americans...
"Make sure the kids hear words!" We'll guess that Cohen has never heard of the co-called "30 Million Word Gap." For that reason, we'll guess he didn't recognize Biden's reference or understand his (jumbled) point.

As a member of the world's dumbest guild, Cohen did know that he should play the "record player" card. Also, that he should fulminate in a way designed to showcase his own racial greatness. This will always be part of the deal, wherever this hapless band roves.

Must we move on to Astead Herndon's news report in this morning's Times? The youngster is four years out of college (Marquette, class of 2015). In our view, his work just "goes from to worse." Here's the way he started today:
HERNDON (9/21/19): A groan erupted at a debate watch party at Texas Southern University last week as former vice president Joseph R. Biden Jr. got a question about slavery and racism and gave an answer about Venezuela and record players.
For the record, Biden was asked about "education and race" (among several other things) in the course of Davis' rambling question. In the main, that's what his rambling question addressed.

But whatever! Like the rest of this hapless guild, Herndon knew he should start things off with that "record player!" As anthropologists continually tell us, these peculiar life-forms are only happy When They All Get to Say The Same Things, but especially When They All Get to Make The Same Pointless Jesting Remarks.

Once, they clowned about the Net; today it's that record player. None of them is discussing the factors which may hold black kids back in school, and none of them ever will. Instead, they thrash about, seeking ways to announce the latest "racial offense."

Joe Biden is a terrible candidate; the others are terrible too. With respect to the liberal/progressive world as a whole, you just can't be this dumb and uncaring for this long without re-electing a Trump—or so experts say.

Top anthropologists keep telling us that there's no cure for any of this given our species' wiring. "Given modern social arrangements, this is simply the best this species can do," they despondently tell us, though only late at night.

There is no cure for this, they say. We're beginning to think they're right.

THE UPPER-CLASS COGNITION FILES: A tale of two faltering states of cognition!

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2019

Joe Biden meets 1619:
What was Joe Biden talking about when he gave that rambling, discursive answer?

You may know the answer we mean. We refer to the answer he gave, last Thursday night, to a rambling, discursive question from ABC's Linsey Davis.

The candidate's rambling answer has raised questions about the state of his cognition—questions we regard as fair. The journalist's rambling question has occasioned no such concerns.

Inside the press corps, that's the way the score has been kept for decades. At any rate, we reprint Biden's answer below, as we did in Monday's report.

What the heck was Biden talking about? Few members of our elite pundit class have seemed to know or to care:
BIDEN (9/12/19): Look, there's institutional segregation in this country. And from the time I got involved, I started dealing with that. Red-lining, banks, making sure that we are in a position where—

Look, you talk about education. I propose that what we take is those very poor schools, the Title I schools. Triple the amount of money we spend, from 15 to 45 billion a year. Give every single teacher a raise, the equal raise to getting out—the $60,000 level.

Number two, make sure that we bring in to help the teachers deal with the problems that come from home.
The problems that come from home, we need—we have one school psychologist for every 1500 kids in America today. It's crazy.

The teachers are—I'm married to a teacher. My deceased wife is a teacher. They have every problem coming to them. We have—make sure that every single child does, in fact, have 3-, 4-, and 5-year-olds go to school. School! Not daycare. School. We bring social workers in to homes and parents to help them deal with how to raise their children.

It's not that they don't want to help. They don't—they don't know quite what to do. Play the radio, make sure the television—excuse me, make sure you have the record player on at night, the, the— Make sure that kids hear words. A kid coming from a very poor school—a very poor background will hear four million words fewer spoken by the time they get there. There's so much we—

DAVIS: Thank you, Mr. Vice President.

BIDEN: No, I'm going to go like the rest of them do, twice over, OK? Because here's the deal. The deal is that we've got this a little backwards...
As some of our college graduates noticed, Biden's sentences didn't parse especially well. But what the heck was the candidate even talking about?

A few suggestions were clear. He wants to spend more money in low-income schools, possibly increasing the number of school psychologists. He wants to have all 3-year-old children attending actual schools.

It's at this point that the problems began for the elite press corps class:

Biden said something about making sure that parents have the record player on at night so children, apparently low-income children, will be able to hear more words.

Even worse, he said that we should "bring social workers in to homes" to "help [parents, apparently low-income parents] deal with how to raise their children."

As we noted at the start of the week, these hard-to-parse statements did make an obvious type of sense.

Plainly, Biden's reference to the words low-income children don't hear was a reference to the so-called "30 Million Word Gap."

The number of words involved in this alleged gap has moved about over the years, possibly down to just four million, as Biden clearly knew. But you can see the general topic discussed at Education Next in this essay from this past June.

Biden's reference to those social workers was also easy to place. He was referring to programs like the Baby Steps program founded by the Washington Post's William Raspberry in 2003, two years before his retirement and nine years before his death.

The program was based in Okolona, Mississippi, Raspberry's home town. Years later, the Post's Courtland Milloy wrote that the program "teaches mostly low-income parents of preschoolers how to prepare their children for success in school—and life."

For the record, our society identifies Milloy as black. Upon Raspberry's death in 2012, the DeSoto (Mississippi) Times-Tribune described the Baby Steps concept thusly:
SALTER (7/18/12): In 2005, after learning of the early childhood education/intervention effort he was personally funding in Okolona, I asked him to meet me there and to tell me about his vision for changing the game for disadvantaged children in a town with a poor track record in public education.

[...]

Raspberry’s solution was the program he funded and founded called Baby Steps in Okolona. The Baby Steps Program has been a partnership between columnist William Raspberry, the Okolona Area Chamber of Commerce, the University of Mississippi and the Barksdale Reading Institute. Other key community partners include a number of Okolona and Tupelo churches and local volunteers.

“The (Baby Steps’) basic idea is that all parents, no matter how unsuccessful they might have been in school, want their children to succeed academically—even if many of them don’t know how to make that happen,” Raspberry wrote in his nationally syndicated Nov. 17, 2003, column in The Washington Post.

“We propose to teach them. The text for the effort is Dorothy Rich’s “MegaSkills”—a set of 11 attitudes and competencies that she believes lead to success in school and in life . . . the idea is to train the parents themselves, as they children’s most effective teachers, to pass these MegaSkills along to their children.”
What was Raspberry talking about? To cite one example, many parents from low-literacy backgrounds may not realize the advantages a child can receive from being read to—even from being spoken to!—on a daily basis.

Middle-class kids get the advantage of being read to from their earliest years. Lower-income kids often don't get that advantage.

Programs like Baby Steps try to help low-income parents develop the understandings which may help their kids succeed in school. That's what Biden was talking about when he spoke about social workers helping parents—even when he spoke about the (unheard) millions of words.

Biden's sentences didn't parse well. Beyond that, he seemed to fumble the basic idea behind the "30 Million Word Gap," which generally refers to words which are spoken between a parent or caregiver and a child, not to words emerging from a TV set.

That said, it was obvious what Biden was talking about in his jumbled answer. Unless you work for the New York Times, where the constantly angry Charles M. Blow angrily offered this:
BLOW (9/16/19): [H]e gave a rambling, nonsensical answer that included a reference to a record player. But, the response ended in yet another racial offense in which he seemed to suggest that black people lack the natural capacity to be good parents:

We bring social workers into homes and parents to help them deal with how to raise their children. It’s not that they don’t want to help. They don’t—they don’t know quite what to do. Play the radio, make sure the television—excuse me, make sure you have the record player on at night, the—the—make sure that kids hear words. A kid coming from a very poor school—a very poor background will hear four million words fewer spoken by the time they get there.

His language reveals a particular mind-set, one of a liberal of a particular vintage. On the issue of race, it is paternalistic and it pities, it sees deficiency in much the same way that the conservative does, but it responds as savior rather than with savagery. Better the former than the latter, surely, but the sensibility underlying the two positions is shockingly similar. It underscores that liberalism does not perfectly align with racial egalitarianism, regardless of rhetoric to the contrary.
It's hard to get dumber than that. At the Times, though, such maximal dumbness is largely de rigeur, as the French would have it.

Listening to Biden that night, we heard an obvious reference to the 30 Million Word Gap and to such programs as Baby Steps. Apparently, the perpetually furious Blow didn't know what Biden was talking about, although he certainly should have.

Presumably due to his ignorance, Blow thought he'd heard something "nonsensical." Just Like Everyone Else in The Guild, he tossed off a scripted jibe about Biden's use of the term "record player." Then he got very/real mad.

Inevitably, the perpetually furious Timesman thought he'd heard a racial offense. In that pitiful passage by the perpetually furious Timesman, a candidate who may be displaying some cognitive lapses ran head-first into what we might call "1619 Cognition."

Blow, who is perpetually furious, didn't seem to know what Biden was talking about. There should be no giant surprise in that—the New York Times is at its dumbest in the manifest indifference it displays towards the interests and needs of low-income kids, like the children Raspberry tried to serve in founding Baby Steps.

Okolona's public schools are almost totally black. Raspberry, a native son, was trying to help his hometown's young black parents learn how to help their kids attain academic success.

That's what Biden was talking about when he spoke about social workers. But as if by rule of law, the perpetually furious New York Times columnist decided to take racial offense.

(Just for the record, Blow's son went to Yale.)

In this minuet, your see the problem which lurks within The 1619 Project, the self-ballyhooed major undertaking which was announced last month by our dumbest, most upper-class newspaper.

One week ago, Andrew Sullivan announced his reservations about the project, which he regards as a form of journalistic "activism." (He also offered words of praise for some of its early work.)

We think Sullivan's analysis is well worth considering.
We'd planned to offer our own thoughts about the structure of the project, and about one aspect of its inaugural essay.

Instead, let's leave things here, with this tale of two faltering states of cognition.

Biden stumbled and fumbled about, in ways we regard as a point of concern. With his brilliantly one-track mind, Blow took racial offense.

This afternoon, we'll show you a letter in today's Times in which a highly suggestible Santa Cruz reader thanks Blow for helping her spot Biden's troubling "racism." Anthropologists came to us with a troubling message:

You simply can't be this dumb and this scripted without ending up with a Trump! Such reactions are "cognitively suspect," these top major experts said.

Could Candidate Warren beat Donald J. Trump?

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 2019

Kilgore, Chait puzzle it out:
Could Elizabeth Warren beat Donald J. Trump next November?

Sadly, we have no idea. But in this post for New York magazine, Ed Kilgore makes an excellent, semi-ironic point as he tries to puzzle it out.

Given the fact that Warren such a thoroughly regular everyday person from Oklahoma, she should be able to show voters that she understands their fear of a major change in the American health care system. Or so Kilgore says:

"A populist like her should show some empathy for those who fear big government and politicians as much as they fear insurance and drug companies."

We think Kilgore makes an excellent point, even if it sounds semi-ironic, though possibly only to us. We had a somewhat different reaction to a somewhat similar rumination by Jonathan Chait.

Chait does a good job discussing possible vulnerabilities in Warren's issue palette. But we think he misfires, instructively so, concerning the elephant in the room—the presumably inevitable return of Trump's "Pocahontas" jibes.

If Warren is the nominee, will Trump return to Pocahontas? If he does, will the approach take a toll?

We have no way of knowing. That said, we think Chait misconstrues the situation in two ways which have become standard within our liberal tribe. Here are the relevant passages:
CHAIT (9/18/19): Despite an exhaustive Boston Globe report that her self-identification as Native American had never benefited her career, early media coverage fixated on the issue, and she drew scorn from left and right alike. To Democratic voters, she looked like another victim of Donald Trump’s bullying.

[...]

Trump has also stopped, for the moment, injecting his “Pocahontas” slur into the political news cycle, but that will return if she clinches the nomination.
Would Warren be hurt next year if Trump starts it up again? We don't know, but we think we do know these things:

No benefit to her career: Did Warren ever gain career advantage from her self-identification as Native American? We have no idea, and the Boston Globe's assessment, right or wrong, completely misses the point.

They key point is this—it's very hard to avoid the impression that Warren was seeking career advantage by making this very strange claim. It's the alleged motive that's central here, not the question of an actual benefit.

With our characteristic cluelessness, we liberals have been hiding behind that Globe assessment for a long time. It totally misses the point.

All the president's slurs: Question—when did the term "Pocahontas" become a racial "slur?"

We liberals keep dismissing Trump's taunt as "racist," as a "slur." But what makes "Pocahontas" a "slur?" What makes the mocking term "racist?"

Clearly, Trump's nickname is a term or derision in this context—but the derision is aimed at Warren for allegedly making a fraudulent claim.

She isn't being insulted or ridiculed for actually being Native American. She's being ridiculed for allegedly making a (decades-long) false claim to that effect.

News flash: If Trump returns to that attack, it won't sound like a "racist" "slur" to all kinds of in-between voters. They'll understand what's being alleged. Our complaint will sound like what it is—a dodge, which misses the point.

Why did Warren make that weirdly implausible claim for all those years? We have no way of knowing, but on its face, it's hard to imagine how she ever thought that she was actually AMERICAN INDIAN, as she once listed herself on an official form.

Whatever the truth may be, the impression that she was seeking advantage is very hard to avoid. Question:

Do we liberals plan to win next year, or do we just mainly enjoy calling Trump a racist? If we actually hope to win, we ought to consider the way this derisive attack might actually come across out there in the real world.

We have no idea if this type of attack would be successful next year. We do know how we liberals sound to many unaligned voters:

It sounds like all our sentences have a noun and a verb and a word ending in "—ism." It's the way we currently like to play. We'll guess that this approach could be a loser in this odd circumstance.

A final point: Liberals should start to plan for this attack today. Just consider the history.

Back in Campaign 1988, the Willie Horton attack was always going to come. When it came, we were caught by surprise.

So too, amazingly enough, with Candidate Kerry and the Swift boat attacks in Campaign 2004. The attack was always going to come. When it came, it did great damage.

Pocahontas will likely be back. Are we going to plan ahead, in realistic ways, or will we just gambol and play?

THE LIMITED COGNITION FILES: Dating despair at the Sunday Review!

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 2019

The New York Times' sexual politics:
It's the rare morning when we don't do it—when we don't wonder about the degree of cognition put on display within the upper-end press corps.

We had several such moments this morning, just scanning the New York Times Some questions:

Should "E for Effort" in a banner headline really be taken as a compliment? Should 40 percent of a population be described as "most?"

In fairness, the Times does tell us today that Donald J. Trump's Scottish resort is 25 miles away from that much-maligned Scottish airport. On September 6, Rachel and Brian each rattled off a different figure—they each said the distance was 50 miles, a figure they took, live and direct, from a report which Politico had apparently bungled.

This morning, we checked the 2018 study from which an opinion column in today's Times had taken that figure of 40 percent. Alas!

That study came from NPR and Harvard, but the cogitations within that study were enough to break human hearts. We'll cite just one example:
HARVARD/NPR (October 2018): Most rural Americans say that minority groups do not face discrimination in their local community, with the exception of three key groups: gays and lesbians, transgender people, and recent immigrants to the United States. Three in ten rural adults (30%) say that generally speaking, they think transgender people are discriminated against in their local community, while 29% of rural adults say they generally think recent immigrants to the U.S. are discriminated against. More than one-quarter (27%) of rural adults say that generally speaking, they think gays and lesbians are discriminated against in their local community.
In that passage, journalistic and academic elites say that 27% is "most!" At such moments, we tend to think of Kevin Drum's reporting about the massive exposure to lead which was almost universal during the years when most current elites were children.

On line, that op-ed column in today's Times makes much more sense than it did in our print edition, where it seems to have suffered from ham-handed, slapdash editing. That said, hapless editing is standard at the Times, as we all learned this weekend in the case of the grotesquely bungled editing of the new Kavanaugh semi-accusation, in which an important disclaimer was removed during the editing process.

Make no mistake! We live in a world where 25 miles is actually 50 and 30% is most! We live in a world where some editor at the Times doesn't understand that "E for Effort" will sound like an insult to many people, not like an accolade.

More specifically, we enter that world when we peruse the puzzling work product of many people within our mainstream press. Our first such journey this morning occurred as we scanned the new contents at Slate. This entry appeared on that list:
CHRISTINA CAUTERUCCI / SEPT 18, 2019 / 8:18 PM
"Go Home and Just Rest and Do Something Else”: Senior Citizens on Biden's Age
Skillfully, we clicked. The report to which we were transported was headlined exactly like this:
POLITICS
“It’s Time for the Baby Boomers to Get Off the Stage”
People over 60 respond to concerns about Joe Biden’s age.

By CHRISTINA CAUTERUCCI
We were surprised to see that older voters were telling Biden to quit. As everyone knows, older voters have been Biden's strongest age cohort in primary polling to date.

Personally, we think Biden is a terrible candidate within a field of terrible candidates. But if it's terrible you want, terrible is routinely present in the cogitations of those in our upper-end press.

In this case, the Slate report was a virtual parody of anything resembling serious journalistic practice. The analysts screamed and tore at their hair when they encountered this discourse on method:
CAUTERUCCI (9/18/19): With Biden, Trump, and Bernie Sanders all pushing back the outer limits of candidate age, and Elizabeth Warren not far behind them, I set out to ask people who have personally experienced the aging process what they thought about Biden, aging, and the presidency. I found some through Twitter and some hanging around tourist hotspots in D.C. All in all, I talked to more than a dozen Americans over 60, some of whom preferred to omit their last names while speaking frankly about politics.
We didn't make that up! Indefatigably, Slate's scribe had spoken to more than a dozen people as she tried to learn what older people think about Biden's acuity. That struck us as a rather small (and rather imprecise) N.

Cauterucci had spoken to a comically small number of people. Some were concerned about Biden's age, others were not—but so what? Some editor selected the most negative quotes and placed them in Slate's two headlines. No one cared about the sheer absurdity of Cauterucci's basic method, a method we've persistently found in the New York Times during past elections.

So it goes when our journalistic elites attempt to create information.

Within this puzzling cognitive realm, an important new project has been announced. We refer to The 1619 Project, in which the same newspaper which massively bungled last Sunday's Kavanaugh report is going to reinvent the whole of American history.

We'll discuss the advisability of that undertaking tomorrow. For today, we'll only say this:

People who think that 40 percent is most; people who are inclined to tweet that “having a penis thrust in your face at a drunken dorm party may seem like harmless fun;"

People who let their best-known columnist write about Obambi's finicky eating habits all through Campaign 2008; people who go out and hire the fatuous Wall Street Journal writer who wrote an endless analysis piece questioning whether Candidate Obama was too skinny to be president:

People whose rather shaky cognition tends to lead them in such directions should perhaps be less self-assured as they undertake to intervene in so sweeping a way concerning so crucial a topic. On balance, the Times is not an impressive group. People who think Maureen Dowd is a genius might even do the world the favor of leaving such projects alone.

We'll assess that history project tomorrow. For today, we only want to call your attention to another mission on which this very strange upper-class newspaper seems to have embarked.

To us, this other project seems to be present each Sunday morning now. We find it in the Sunday Review, generally with a pair of essays which open like this trio of essays, all of which appeared on Sunday July 21:
The Ridiculous Fantasy of a ‘No Drama’ Relationship
Online, that’s what men say they want from women. Do they know nothing about life?

By Laura Hilgers
Ms. Hilgers writes about addiction, love and other topics.

I was recently on the dating app Bumble when I came across the profile of an attractive middle-aged man, a few years younger than I am. He was born on the East Coast and had a big dog, which I liked. But then I read that he was “100 percent drama-free” and demanded that any dates be the same way. I thought, “Here’s somebody who probably won’t listen if I’m having a bad day” and swiped left to indicate my lack of interest...

FaceApp and the Savage Shock of Aging
In the mirror is someone we never thought we’d become.

By Nicci Gerrard
Ms. Gerrard is the author of the forthcoming book “The Last Ocean: A Journey Through Memory and Forgetting.”

Several years ago I was in a department store, frazzled and running late, looking for things I couldn’t find. As I was hastening along an aisle, a woman came toward me. She was quite a bit older than I was, and in a state of substantial disarray. As I drew closer I saw her shirt was wrongly buttoned. I put up a hand to prevent her bumping into me, and she put up a hand as well. I stopped. She stopped. We stared at each other with a kind of pity. And with a sudden rush of mortification, I understood that I was looking at myself in a mirror. Was I that tired and shambolic? Was I that old?...
"Opinion columns" of this type have become a staple at the Sunday Review. With apologies, they make us think of the throwback sexual politics the New York Times has persistently put on display during the era of Dowd.

Is there anything "wrong" with first-person, "human interest" submissions of this type, submissions which, in the Sunday Review, exclusively come from women? We'll agree that there's nothing evil about such submissions, but as American society slides toward the sea, we can't help wondering about a guild which continues with musings like this in its highest profile weekly ideas and analysis section:
In Praise of Online Dating
Yes, it can be demoralizing. It can also enlarge your world.

By Katharine Smyth
Ms. Smyth is a writer.

When I was in my early 30s, my husband of four years, partner of nine, left abruptly in the middle of the night. In the surreal weeks and months that followed, I grew increasingly apprehensive about the idea of online dating. I hadn’t been single in nearly a decade; I didn’t even have Facebook, let alone a stockpile of profile pictures or an irrepressible texting game...
That return to the problems of online dating appeared on August 11. One Sunday later, on August 18, these ruminations appeared:
Finding Myself in My Mother’s Calendars
We tend to think they are about keeping track of time. They are about much more.

By Carol J. Adams
Ms. Adams is an activist and author.

Among my mother’s legacies are four decades of yearly calendars. At the beginning of this year—a decade after her death—I resolved to read all 40. Could these appointment calendars, which she kept from 1965 through 2003, offer a window through which to glimpse my mother in the midst of living her life? Curious, I hoped that something as ordinary as her datebook might surprise me...

I’m 57. Am I Grown Up?
I’m childless, still trekking the path to self-realization, and always the first one on the dance floor.

By Erin Aubry Kaplan
Contributing Opinion Writer

Am I grown up? I have been asking myself this question for 40 years, since I was 17. At that very young age the question was mostly rhetorical—of course I was grown up: I had graduated from high school and was headed to a big university; I had a driver’s license and could navigate Los Angeles freeways; I wore makeup and high heels with regularity and reasonable sophistication; I had finally ditched the wash-and-set hairstyle preferred by my mother and let my hair curl at will. I was doing me by degrees, and every degree was thrilling, all I imagined grown up would be...
"I’m 57. Am I Grown Up?" Again and again, then again and again, this is the way this throwback newspaper has pictured the capability and agency of the people they think of as women.

To us, these musings seem to come straight from the old "women's pages" of newspapers from the past mid-century, or perhaps from the pages of the Redbook of some era. There's nothing "evil" about these musings, but no similar musings are published by men, and the musings seem to create a somewhat peculiar picture of the capabilities of women.

By August 25, we'd actually proceeded to "Dating While Dying/I found myself terminally ill and unexpectedly single at 40." Last Sunday, we were asked to muse about this:
How My Boyfriend Made Me Fall in Love With Gaming
It became a form of bonding for us, not a source of strain.

By Eve Peyser
Ms. Peyser writes about culture and politics.

When my boyfriend moved into my shoe-box one-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn, he brought along three uninvited friends: his Xbox 360, his PlayStation 4 and the Nintendo Wii. Within a week, he insisted on buying a second television in order to game at his leisure, and avoid badgering from me. In fairness, I was the stereotypical video game-phobic girlfriend.

Growing up in an all-female household, I never owned a gaming console and never yearned for one. Whenever I did play a console game, always at the house of a male friend, I would quickly grow frustrated because I didn’t know how to use the controller...
Is the modern subscriber permitted to ask if these regular Sunday submissions might not constitute a new form of Standardized New York Times All-Around Dumbness? Just so you'll know, the Times appended this pathetic "human interest" request to the end of last Sunday's column:
Did a loved one help you appreciate video games? Do you think being a gamer is worthwhile or problematic? Let us know in the comments.
How far is it from that silly request to yesterday's "Here to Help" feature, in which a very young woman told us that, in recent months, she has queued up a routine with a few simple, inexpensive ways to nurture herself in as little as 15 minutes a day, so that she can feel steady even during life’s droughts and downpours?

Alas! Among the ways this young woman said she now nurtures herself, she didn't fail to list this:
Effortless toothbrushing

I sometimes yearn to skip this step in my nightly routine so I can just get to bed already. Since getting an electric toothbrush, though, I’ve found that persuading myself to brush is easier.
She has also started going to therapy, because although she finds these self-nurturing tools helpful, they can’t replace professional medical help.

Needless to say, that young woman deserves all the help she can get; we'd suggest a one-way ticket away from the Times. That said, who will save us from the throwback culture so persistent at that peculiar newspaper?

Dating from the ascension of Dowd and the full-blown investment in "Creeping Dowdism," the Times has persistently projected a very strange picture of the capabilities of women. Without attempting to denigrate the young women who wrote it, yesterday's Here to Help feature—and those now routine, two-per-week Sunday "human interest" submissions—seem to have taken us back to the time when people socially defined as women need the constant assistance of stronger people just to get through the day, then to jump into bed at night with teeth successfully brushed.

Can this still be the way anyone pictures the world of women? Apparently, yes it can, at the persistently fatuous Times.

Like other upper-class institutions, the New York Times is almost impossibly daft on a regular basis. It's stunning to think that a flyweight gang like this has decided that they should be the ones who "finally" craft The One Absolute Truth about American history.

WE'll start tomorrow with Biden's cognition, move on to that of the Times. But we often think of Kevin Drum when we peruse the upper-end press, and major expert anthropologists just won't stop telling us this:

You simply can't be this stupid this long without ending up with a Trump.

Tomorrow: What was Biden talking about? The Times meets American history