Dubliners: What happens as the bogus tale spreads!

MONDAY, JULY 29, 2013

To us, this smells like sadism: There is no perfect set of rules explaining how best to raise a child.

What should you tell a child about the dangers the world presents? When should he or she be told about those dangers?

How much should a child be told? In how much detail?

There is no perfect set of rules to answer such questions for parents. That said, we thought Slate’s recent account of child-reading in liberal brainiac Cambridge was extremely sad and carried an obvious smell.

To us, there was a scent of sadism in the air as we read the first-person piece. But more than anything else, this pitiful memoir helps us see a very basic fact:

No one on earth is quite as dumb as Cambridge intellectuals can be! Though only in certain types of cases, of course.

No one can prove that E. J. Graff was wrong in what she decided to do with, or to, her 10-year-old son, who is black. (Graff and her partner are white.) But in her piece, you will read about the way she chose to treat her son in the wake of the Zimmerman verdict.

After the Zimmerman verdict, Graff made her “visibly miserable” child watch the recent film about Jackie Robinson's heroic but horrific experiences as he integrated major league baseball in 1947. If you read her piece, consider one thing she chose to tell her son about Robinson’s experiences, after she made him watch the film all the way through.

“Our son told us that he didn’t like the movie,” Graff writes, “and asked if we could turn it off.” The answer was no—and as he asked a child's sensible question, he even had to hear this:
GRAFF (7/26/13): Afterward, our sweet-headed boy—a child who's terrified of spiders and loves fart jokes—was especially upset by the fact that Robinson had gotten hate mail from strangers, that his life was threatened for playing baseball with white men. He kept asking us: Who wrote those letters? Did the police catch them and put them in jail? Why not? We’ve worked hard to undo his outsize fear of “bad guys” and burglars, to teach him that most people are good, to understand that the police and the law are there to protect us. So it was painful to say: Some of those letters were probably written by cops.
Was it really painful to say that? Or did it perhaps hurt so good?

Good grief! What made Graff think she had to provide that detail, at which she was only guessing, to her “visibly miserable” child, who so upset by the film's displays of 40s-era racism that he didn’t want to sleep alone that night?

No one is clueless like these folk are clueless—these Cambridge “intellectuals.” Forget the hint of sadism or something like it, although that river runs all through that piece. Just consider how dumb a person has to be to make a statement like this:
GRAFF: When he wanted to know why the jury let Zimmerman off, we didn’t have the words to explain reasonable doubt to a 10-year-old. He wouldn’t understand phrases like poor prosecution, indifferent investigation, or “stand your ground.” We couldn’t articulate the probability that by refusing to consider race, the mostly white jury was probably influenced by parts of their brains they don’t know are there, or to explain that hidden biases could have influenced both Zimmerman and the jury to perceive a young black man in a hoodie as a potential menace, whereas a young white man, similarly reedy and with a hood up to keep out the rain, might get the benefit of the doubt. How do you explain that sometimes these attitudes grow not out of overt hatred but because of the more subtle biases, nearly undetectable except by social scientists and neurologists, lodged in American neurons so deeply that most of us don’t even know that they're there?
What a horrible, horrible person! Putting the moral dimension aside, can humans be any dumber?

Graff didn’t know how to explain “why the jury let Zimmerman off?” What a self-serving pile of crap! Why not give her son the obvious answer? Why not tell her 10-year-old son what one actual juror, B37, actually said?

Why not tell him this?

The jury believed that Zimmerman was getting beaten up by Trayvon Martin at the time of the shooting. They believed that (1) because that’s what the one real eyewitness said, and (2) because Zimmerman had injuries.

In every state, you get to defend yourself, even with deadly force, if someone is beating you up and you think you’re at risk of serious injury or death. And the jurors thought that Zimmerman was getting beaten up that badly.


Or at least, they weren’t sure! Ten-year-olds certainly can understand the concept of proof and the burden of proof, unless they are unlucky enough to have parents-from-Hades like this.

Why wouldn’t Graff give the obvious answer to her son’s obvious question? You get two choices here. She either believes the Official Standard Story, in which Trayvon Martin was essentially shot by a racist sniper who had waited for him in a tree. Or she’s so committed to various dogmas that she refused to tell her son the truth, that there is a pretty good chance Zimmerman was getting beaten up at the time of the shooting, in a potentially dangerous way.

Why wouldn’t a decent person explain that to a miserable child? Partly because we Dubliners have all agreed, from Obama on down, that these things cannot be said.

Chris Hayes accidentally said it once; Zimmerman got beat up. (For partial transcript, see below.) Other than that, Dubliners have widely agreed to disappear all such suggestions.

Even with a terrified child, Graff won't break faith with the Standard Dogma. She will let a 10-year-old suffer in terror before she will tell him the truth.

To our nostrils, Graff smells very unpleasant. This is the horrible way she concluded her horrible tale:
GRAFF: He didn’t want to sleep alone that night, so we let him camp out on our bedroom floor. As he got ready for bed, my little guy started a chant of “USA! USA! Except 20 states!” No, I corrected him. “All the states are OK now. They fixed their laws. Black and white can be married anywhere in the country.” I knew I was telling a little (if you’ll excuse the phrase) white lie: Voter ID laws and the disenfranchisement of felons disproportionately affect black people; mini-DOMA laws ban recognition of his moms’ marriage in half the American states. But there are limits to what you can load onto a 10-year-old in a single day.
Translations: Earlier, when Graff told her son about those old racial marriage laws, she had somehow forgotten to tell him that they no longer exist! In her last sentence, we find her dreaming of all the discomfort she can impose in the future.

This is an astonishing tale. It shows what can happen all over Dublin when we start telling embellished tales because they make us feel morally, racially pure.

That child will be free from that person one day. That’s the best thing we can tell you.

What not quote Chris Hayes: On July 1, Chris Hayes described how he felt watching tape of Zimmerman the day after the shooting: “The thing that struck me was, man, that dude looks like he’s pretty messed up. Like, he kind of got beat up...When you see his nose in this, it’s like, ‘OK, he took something in the face.’”

Why wouldn't Graff tell her son some basic facts about what seems to have happened that night? Dubliners will die for their tales, or at least they'll inflict major pain on others.

70 comments:

  1. Give her some credit. At least she didn't say, "Zimmerman was told not to get out of his vehicle, but he did."

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    1. file under 'better late than never'
      ------

      In his later 7-31-31 dubliner masterpiece, lord robert de somerby says,

      "In Dubliners, Joyce tried to tell part of “the moral history of my country.” In his view, a moral and intellectual “paralysis” was general all over Ireland.
      In our own Dublin. . ."

      >>> is somerby using using a country occupied by a genocidal superpower as a basis of comparison for modern day america? joyce wrote those words in 1907 or sometime prior. the anglo-irish treaty wouldnt occur for another fourteen years. is he trying to connect the infection of irish-bad in 1907 ireland to the descendants of ireland who work in the media in the usa today?
      --------------------------------

      previously lord robert de somerby also said,

      "According to The Modern World, Joyce saw “moral and intellectual paralysis” among his fellow Dubliners. He tended to attribute that condition to his country’s domination by a foreign power.
      The fact that Joyce thought he saw that doesn’t mean it was actually there!"

      >>> somerby actually admits that joyce attributed his countrys poor morale to britain. but then he disagrees with joyce and anyone with a shred of common sense and integrity.

      wow! what cantaloupes!

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    2. "The fact that Joyce thought he saw that doesn’t mean it was actually there!"

      The line is humor, dummy.

      Even if you are too thickheaded to get that into your cranium, perhaps you could notice that, as a matter of simple grammar, the line doesn't actually say Joyce was wrong. It doesn't actually, as a matter of reading comprehension, "disagree with joyce" [sic].

      But I'm probably just pissing into the full-force wind of your hurricane of insanity, so I don't expect to get through to you.

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  2. Race prejudice is an ugly thing.

    It really is none of my business that a parent tells some lies to their children to reinforce that fact, even if I would think that this specific instance is psychologically cruel to a child of ten.

    But it is somewhat shocking that that parent would then take to a podium to tell me and everyone else what they've done with their child.

    When that happens, they can expect to be be told: There are indeed better ways to parent (to put it mildly).

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    1. Well these "parents" aren't married (they're gay-married) and he isn't their son (he's their mismatched orphan), so is it any surprise the parenting effort is beyond twisted as a result?

      Would I get kicked out of the large-scale liberal camp for having such involuntary reactions to these topics? Are my choices now down to the party of regressive economic policy or the party of anti-white sexual deviance? It increasingly seems like the political strategy to get people to join your side is to shine the spotlight on the worst of the other side, and liberals have a knack for making the whole concept backfire on themselves like no others.

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    2. Anti-white sexual deviance today, anti-white sexual deviance tomorrow, anti-white sexual deviance forever!

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    3. So, "worst" of liberalism that you want to shine your little light on is "gay-married" people with adopted children (sorry, "mismatched orphans")?

      It would be nice to see you change that ugly thinking, but we can move forward without you, I guess.

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    4. Wow, Jimmy Carter is a giant asshole!! Who knew ?!?

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    5. Thanks, majneb. That made me laugh.

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  3. E. J. Graff boasts of moral superiority:

    [Our son] told us that “no one cares” about that race stuff any more. He can think that because he's grown up in a Cambridge, Mass., bubble

    For Ms. Graff, Zimmerman must be a racist, because he's a southerner. Never mind the fact that he's 1/8 black, was raised in a biracial family, took a black girl to the prom, tutors black children, stood up for a black neighbor who had been mistreated by the police, and had a black business partner.

    Evidently Cambridge, Mass. really is a bubble -- a bubble of bigotry against Southerners and political correctness run amok.

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    1. When I picture a race-blind Utopia I often think of Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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    2. David in Cal

      These two happily married white women in Cambridge had best be saluted, rather than upbraided, for at least recognizing that there are problems flowing from one's race.
      Problems their "mismatched orphan" (to use the term of one of Somerby's fans) might benefit from being aware of.

      http://www.boston.com/news/local/breaking_news/2009/07/harvard.html

      Let's see. This link brings you racial profiling, suspicious black men doing more than just staring into houses where the owner had been away, robbery suspects, intellectuals, biased cops, and inappropriate Presidential intervention in local police matters.

      And all this in the bubblelicious home of the Graff mother and Somerby's undergraduate daze! You know, Cambridge. Where all the intellectuals are dumber than average.

      rick

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    3. You know, Rick, those of us who are Somerby's fans have no control over who else comments here (including you), so it is a bit unfair to attribute the phrase "mismatched orphan" and the ugly overtones that go with it, to those of us who like and admire what Somerby does here.

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    4. I would be inclined to agree with you anon @4:49 if Mr. S didn't from time to time direct attention to whackos in the commentary section of a piece he is criticizing to make his point. But he does, and so shall I.

      rick

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    5. Yeah, but that wacko ("Jimmy Carter") doesn't seem, well, very Somerbybian, you know?

      Insistence that "gay-married" isn't married?
      Calling an adopted child a "mismatched orphan?"

      "Jimmy Carter" is a scumbag, is the long and short of it.

      rick's "point" as usual is not only not worth making, but he doesn't do a good job of making it -- In fact, as 4:49 Anon observes, rick more exemplifies than makes the point.

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    6. I wouldn't call Jimmy a scumbag for those views, for which a rational, even compassionate case can certainly be made.

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    7. OK, let's heave it then:

      Make your compassionate case for calling an adopted child a "mismatched orphan."

      Pretend, say, that you're compassionately explaining it to a ten year-old "mismatched orphan."

      When you're done with that, you can tell us the compassionate case for referring to people as "gay-married."

      Because, wouldn't you know it, the rest of us find those terms as used by "Jimmy Carter" rather disparaging -- but I'm sure you can let us in on the way they're really compassionate and caring.

      [/sarcasm] [/putting up with nonsense]

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    8. "Children should look like their parents. You don't, little mismatch. You're not really their kid. You shouldn't be with them -- really you don't have any parents; you're just an orphan. It grosses me out so much I might have to vote for the Republicans this year. I know, you don't understand voting yet. But you do understand why I think your family is ugly and wrong, don't you?"

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  4. there was a scent of sadism

    That perfectly describes some people's disturbing excitement about an opportunity to scare their children, and their determination to disappear facts so that they are not deprived of the pleasure.

    In her last sentence, we find her dreaming of all the discomfort she can impose in the future.

    Only TDH can make you laugh and nauseous at the same time.

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  5. It was not proven that Tayvon beat Zimmerman.

    In court, the witness you refer to backed off his earlier description of MMA, and said he saw "downward motions". Besides, he only saw a portion of he struggle and was not watching when the shot was fired.

    There were no signs of fighting on Trayvon's hands, no blood or DNA of Zimmerman's.

    You don't know what happened, yet pontificate as if you do. Sound familiar?

    You are becoming a parody of yourself.

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    1. Actually, Trayvon's knuckles were bruised consistent with punching. Witness John Good saw blows raining down, but was almost comically careful to say he couldn't actually see them landing. The evidence for that was Zimmerman's head. Some of you can go to extraordinary lengths to retain belief in the Sacred Story peddled by lawyer Crump...

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    2. Zimmerman didn't have a concussion or need stitches. Somerby's exaggeration on this count are just as bad as those he condemns.

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    3. Anon 2:17, if you think that's a relevant fact you need to think some more.

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    4. We do not know whether Zimmerman had a concussion or not because paramedics did not take him to the hospital for further tests. My understanding is that he did have a broken nose. I'm not sure why stitches would indicate being beaten more than the evidence that was there. According to the trial testimony they also failed to bag Martin's hands and it was raining, so blood and/or DNA may have been washed away. There was Martin's DNA on the back shoulder of Zimmerman jacket, consistent with being grabbed there by Martin. There were also abrasions on the back of Zimmerman's head. There were no injuries to Zimmerman's hands and no injuries to Martin beyond the gunshot and the wounds on his hands (consistent with punching).

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    5. "Zimmerman didn't have a concussion or need stitches. Somerby's exaggeration on this count."

      What exaggeration?

      You see how I quoted you?

      You could do that for Somerby's "exaggeration just as bad as those he condemns." Well, actually you couldn't.

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  6. As these parents lecture about the bigotry of white people, the child will be daily presented with examples of their own love for him, the kindness and friendliness of many white neighbors, and the inclusiveness of his white friends. Those sorts of daily experiences tend to outweigh lecturing by parents.

    In the 50s we were given stories about nuclear holocaust and commie spies to keep us up nights, drop drills for possible attacks at school and siren tests. We were taught not to accept candy from strangers and to fear the dangers of sex. We grew up OK despite that because our daily lives were secure. I think this little boy will be OK too because the bogey man he is being frightened with is no longer real. If it were, he wouldn't need this lecture from his white moms to know about it.

    These claims of pervasive racism in our culture rest in part on the IAT (Implicit Associations Test) which demonstrates a lurking racial preference in our unconscious reaction times to pictures of white and black people. When I use that task with psychology students, even African American students produce scores showing that they are racist in their categorization. It often dismays students so we have a discussion about what the scores actually mean. Some theorists think it is nothing more than linguistic marking -- the category that is defined as "other" takes longer to classify because it is thought of in comparison with a majority or main category. Male has no marking, female is marked because it is defined in comparison to male. Up is not marked, down is marked. And so on. This is trivial and has nothing to do with everyday racist behavior in our lives. Overgeneralization of this kind of thing to situations where it was never meant to apply leads to the "racism is inescapable and everywhere and we are all racists and there is nothing we can do about it" sort of conclusion. I don't see any value in telling everyone they are racist because it trivializes the kind of racist behavior we can and should address in life.

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    1. I have no difficulty believing that there is latent racism in all parts of society.

      What bugs me is when this profundity is massaged, shampooed, and given a $50.00 pedicure, for our own ideological agenda.

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    2. Some of it may be a bias against any signs of poverty, and, of course, the disproportionate poverty of African Americans is no doubt due to the centuries of American slavery that they endured. For most of American History, Blacks could not own property or get an education, and because their families were arbitrarily dispersed by heedless whites, it was near impossible for African Americans to evolve the familial and communal power structures that elevated white families into the middle and upper classes. They especially didn't have the kinds of family power dynasties like the Rockefellers, Bushes, or even the Kennedys.
      My point is that some of the bias against blacks has more to do with them having been for so long clearly identified as an impoverished group of people. We instinctively approve of signs of social power.
      I wonder as African-Americans attain more social power if that test will show diminishing racial bias in the upcoming decades. The effects, for example, of an African-American President may take a generation to play out on our American psychology.

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    3. Your explanation for African American poverty rings hollow to every descendent of Polish,Swedish,Italian,Hungarian,Spanish,Israeli,Russian,Indian,Chinese,etc. immigrants. You know, there IS a history of caste systems elsewhere the world.

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    4. I still don't like Communists, and I still don't accept candy from strangers.

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    5. And I still detest scaremongers, and Halloween remains my favorite holiday, so go figure.

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    6. "I don't want no Commies in my car... No Christians either!"

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    7. I just wonder if you are talking to me Anonymous 2:31 because I don't get your comparison. None of those immigrant groups you mention were owned wholesale as slaves in the United States of America, and actually, many of the people you mention came to America to escape those caste systems. Black people were dragged here in chains and their descendants inherited those chains until 1865 at the earliest. Not really until 1964 did the U. S. Constitution really protect black people as citizens. That's a huge, irrevocable difference between the Africans and all the other immigrant groups you mention.

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  7. Despite the zealotry within his mother's good intentions to teach him the ways of the world ( and God knows we moms can do some biscuit-eating-stupid things under that impetus), she could have let her baby boy hop up in the bed with her and his other mom.

    If there's one comfort children can take from confronting the demons, it's the warmth and the security of that.

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    1. There is no evidence of good intentions.

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    2. Who makes a frightened child sleep on the bedroom floor? That is horrifying to me. It gives an implicit message that contradicts anything they might say about his self worth using words.

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    3. At least they didn't strap him to the roof of a car.

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  8. "No one on earth is quite as dumb as Cambridge intellectuals can be!"

    No one on the blogosphere writes dumber hyperbolic generalizations than former middle school teachers.

    That poor Graff child. Hopefully he will cross the Charles before intellectual maturation occurs.

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    1. It's really entertaining when he goes on to condemn his target for the exact same thing he does.

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    2. He's exactly right. The dumbness and twistedness of the product that "can" come out of intellectuals of every stripe and region is unmatched.

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    3. Yes, trashing Cambridge intellectuals. How subtle. How original.

      There's no populism like faux populism....

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    4. Populism which is "faux" because... because you say it is?

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  9. Nightly News | March 21, 2012

    Growing outrage over Zimmerman’s self-defense claim

    >> reporter: also tonight here, police are saying for the first time that they believe that zimmerman did not confront and pursue martin. that zimmerman had returned to his car and was waiting for police and that martin, the teenager, attacked him. that's why they're sticking to their conclusion that zimmerman acted in self defense . brian?


    Hey Bob, should they tell their children about all the bullshit coming out of the SPF at the time? Just want to check with you to see what's ok to tell black children.

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  10. One wonders whether Bob might find the time to take a day out his schedule and maybe try to understand --- maybe probe, maybe inquire as to --- the black community's response to this case and this verdict. Maybe take a day and put himself into someone else's shows. Maybe try to understand other people's reactions, and how their *reality* informs those reactions. And maybe, just maybe, allow that his interpretation of what transpired that night may not be what actually happened.

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    1. Everyone who reads this blog already understands the connection between lies told by media as the truth is still trying to get its boots on.

      Reality informing reactions to information when the information received is false means inappropriate reactions will be formed. More misery, fear and sadness.

      White "progressives" in Cambridge and elsewhere wouldn't have it any other way.

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    2. But it couldn't be that people project their own reality onto a situation that is somewhat different. News organizations wouldn't exploit that human tendency to present them with a tale that conforms to their fears, would they?

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    3. Confused - Feel free to start your own blog and write about whatever the hell you want. Bob focuses on the media, not the black (or any other) community.

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    4. Better yet, just leave.

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    5. and I thought I was confused

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  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  12. As a bona fide progressive (not only did I march for Justice for Trayvon last week while wearing a hoodie, I changed my Twitter avatar to a hoodie cartoon), one of my favorite things to do is to come to this blog and join the the sneering at the intransigent Somerby.

    We progressives like to target him for various offenses such as being a middle school teacher in Baltimore, not being famous, and not making as much money as my favorite MSNBC hosts or NYT columnists.

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  13. Clearly, Bob and his minions know best. Better than millions of other people who look at the same set of facts --- such as any of us really know them --- and come to different conclusions.

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    1. Yes, truth is always determined by a majority vote.

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    2. "Better than millions of other people who look at the same set of facts"

      Bob's point is that they DON'T look at the same set of facts, that false narratives are being endlessly repeated. The "he was told to stay in the car" one being the worst, probably.

      It also seems pretty clear that Zimmerman was getting beaten up by Trayvon, but people don't seem to know this, either.

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    3. Those millions didn't look at the same set of facts as Bob did. Most weren't paying close attention. Those who were paying close attention mostly got their facts from the media, but the media were terribly inaccurate and biased.

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    4. "Bob and his minions know best"

      Where "minions" = "people not as stupid as I am"

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    5. Don't be so hard on yourself. You're probably not really that stupid. How about, "people not as stupid as I am trying to be."

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  14. I know plenty of people who followed the trial as closely as Bob did, and came to different conclusions. But then none of them went to Harvard, as Bob did, so they clearly lack both his suppleness of mind and his almost unique capacity to grasp the truth. Despite having spent countless hours following court testimony and reviewing transcripts, they've been hoodwinked the media, as ever.

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    1. "I know plenty of people who followed the trial as closely as Bob did, and came to different conclusions."

      I'm looking forward to reading what they have to say about it. Can you provide links?

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    2. They can't be very bright, sorry.

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  15. These are humans who practice the lost art of conversation.

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  16. It's not just Cambridge that's awful. Slate is an awful, horrible, miserable publication.

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  17. Kid will probably grow up to be a young wacked out male version of Dr. Melissa ?-Perry. Doctrinaire to the gills and ready to bring the guilt.

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  18. Yep, why not tell them the italicized Bob Somerby narrative, quickly followed by the weasly, non-italicized "Or at least, they weren't sure!"

    And here you have the problem: The prosecution had the burden under Florida law of proving beyond reasonable doubt that Zimmerman was NOT getting beat up to the point where he feared for his life.

    And no, Bob. Until the NRA and ALEC started promoting "Stand Your Ground" laws in multiple states, beginning with Florida, the right to use lethal force in self-defense was never given to the guy who grabbed his loaded gun and pursued an unarmed "suspect" who wound up dead.

    Here's another inconvenient fact that doesn't fit the Somerby narrative? What about Trayvon Martin's right to self-defense? Could he not feel as equally fearful of a guy first following him in his vehicle then getting out of his vehicle to follow him on foot? Was he not allowed to "stand his ground" and fight back?

    Here is an even thornier subject for the NRA and ALEC. Suppose Trayvon had a proper conceal-and-carry permit and thought might be a good idea to pack while walking to the convenience store in such a crime-ridden (Zimmerman defense team's description) neighborhood.

    Now suppose that Martin sees the guy getting out of his vehicle with a gun, pulls his, and shoots first and lets the cops ask questions later. And they see Zimmerman was packing, too.

    Food for thought, Bob. Is that the kind of country you want to live in? Because it is certainly the NRA's and ALEC's vision of a perfect America.


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    1. Yeah, but the question remains, If you had a gun and someone was attacking you such that you feared for your life, would you use the gun? Are you saying there should be no guns or no self-defense rule? It's not hard to imagine complications to an already complicated case, but are you really implying that a defense of Zimmerman is a defense of the NRA? Also, as Somerby has pointed out repeatedly, this case did not invoke SYG.

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    2. "suppose" "suppose"

      This isn't food for thought. It's thin gruel for fevered imaginations.

      [And of course, you're wrong about Somerby's italics on self-defense law, and you have to introduce your own narrative, unsupported by the few known facts ("grabbed his loaded gun and pursued") to attempt to pretend otherwise.]

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