EPISTEMIC ENCLOSURES: We get little help from our friends!

FRIDAY, AUGUST 30, 2013

Part 4—Why is our tribe so clueless: The tribal mind will always know when it is getting conned.

This clairvoyance was observed last Sunday when Ross Douthat wrote a (rather fuzzy) column in the New York Times.

Douthat identifies as a conservative. Within our tribe, that meant that his claims would of course be wrong.

Rather fuzzily, Douthat argued that the “underlying realities” of our “polarized politics” are not as bad as they were as the time of the march on Washington. Even though we’re still “divided by race,” he said, “there is vastly more room to work through major problems together than there was in the Alabama and Mississippi of 1963.”

Can we recall the Alabama and Mississippi of that terrible year? If so, it’s hard to see how we can object to such an obvious statement.

That said, the tribal mind was able to see that Douthat’s claims were wrong last Sunday, often outrageously wrong. Commenters flayed him, starting with a regular commenter who quickly made this announcement:

“There is nothing different about the inherent hate and resentment today.”

Nothing has changed! Some of the comments were obscenely indifferent to the realities of 1963—to the innocent human victims of those obscene realities:

“While lynching and church bombings are nearly non-existent today, racism is just as prevalent as it was 50 years ago.”

Did you follow that? Except for the lynchings and bombings, everything is the same!

That said, the comments provided great tribal pleasure. For ourselves, we were struck by one area where quite a few commenters knew they were getting conned.

At one point, Douthat wrote that Texas “does a better job educating minority students than many liberal states.” There could always be something wrong with the relevant data, which come from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (the NAEP), the widely praised gold standard of educational testing.

But to all appearances, Douthat’s statement seems to be accurate—true. Unless you live within the tribe, in which case his statement is nuts.

To tell the truth, ours is a tribe which has never shown much interest in black and Hispanic kids, except to the extent that they can be used to let us drop our R-bombs. Has indifference led to the cluelessness our tribe tends to display on such matters?

Instantly, one regular commenter snarked at Douthat’s statement. “I'm glad Texas does a good job of teaching students how to take a test,” this regular commenter quickly said, thereby dispatching Douthat’s ridiculous claim. Another member of the tribe was grateful for this rebuttal:
COMMENTER FROM MARYLAND (8/25/13): Thank you, so many of his other absurd arguments were so outrageous that he managed to slide that one in. No serious reformist is looking to Texas on ideas on how to teach "minority students" or anyone else.
Are reformers studying Texas schools? We don’t know, but based on the data, somebody pretty much should be.

Scattered through the comment thread are other mocking reactions to Douthat’s claim—a claim which is plainly accurate. We liberals don’t know much about these concerns. But then, we don’t get much help.

Some commenters clicked the link provided by Douthat, but they didn’t understand the data at the end of the link. Others didn’t bother clicking. They simply knew, or strongly suspected, that Douthat had to be wrong:
COMMENTER FROM OHIO: I really try to read Mr. Douthat with an open mind, but invariably he comes out with a whopper. Perry's Texas does a better job at educating minorities than many liberal states? First, when I go to the link that he provides, I find that Texas eighth grade students overall rank 29th in the country, while the whites rank 8th, the blacks rank 4th and the Hispanics rank 6th. How does the overall rank get dragged down to 29th? Ross should perhaps examine the logic and agenda of his sources before he cites them.

COMMENTER FROM SEATTLE: How does Texas rank 29th in all eighth grade science students, but fourth in blacks and sixth in whites? (because most states were not ranked for blacks).

COMMENTER FROM NEW JERSEY: Specifically, the part about Texas educating minority students better than many liberal states...which states? Where's the comparison? The test in the link measures improvements in learning; it's possible Texas students have had a larger learning improvement because they were doing quite poorly to begin with, while students in the unnamed "liberal states" started off better and so showed a smaller improvement. But who knows? You've left out all the details.

COMMENTER FROM TEXAS: The TEXAS education agency says they do a better job of educating minority students than many liberal states. I would be more inclined to believe that statistic if it came from a more liable source.

COMMENTER FROM NEW JERSEY: Granted that in Rick Perry's Texas (and when did governors possess states?) we find a smaller gap between white and black educational outcomes. But that does not translate into "does a better job educating minorities" because the smaller gap statistic is not enough for that assertion. Texas currently has some of the lowest test scores in the nation. In other words, Texas is doing a bad job of educating most students. Not much to celebrate. "We also educate white students badly" hardly makes Texas a model post-racial paradise.

COMMENTER FROM MASSACHUSETTS: Perry's Texas doing a better job? Maybe, with editing textbooks to put a conservative slant on education.
The commenter from Ohio didn’t understand a basic statistical manifestation. The commenters from Seattle, and both from New Jersey, were wrong in the things they said.

The commenter from Texas wasn’t inclined to believe the source. The commenter from Massachusetts found a new way to dismiss the claim through snark.

None of these people seemed to know what they were talking about. But they all knew the tribal line: Douthat was telling “a whopper!”

The commenters knew this had to be true. All love to the tribe!

Liberal commenters to Douthat’s column were fervent on matters of race. Why did we seem to know so little about the lives of black kids?

Alas! We get very little help from our friends in the leadership class! The professors are off in the south of France. Mainstream journalists are lazy, uncaring, indifferent, incompetent when it comes to the interests of black kids.

Everyone from Obama on down recites familiar bogus scripts about such basic topics. And then, there are the people at our liberal journals and on The One True Channel.

We get little help from these friends! At those venues, you very rarely hear public school issues discussed at all. And you have never heard a discussion of the fact Douthat cited:

It’s true! On the gold standard of educational testing, black and Hispanic kids in Texas do score substantially higher, in reading and math, than their counterparts in most of our bluest states! Why haven’t you ever heard that fact? Why haven’t you ever heard a discussion of the possible reasons?

Could there be something wrong with the data? Why haven’t you ever heard a discussion of that?

In truth, the leaders of the liberal world don’t talk about black kids much. We don’t get much help from them, our famous and overpaid friends. For that reason, we come off looking uncaring and clueless when such topics arise.

By way of contrast, our leaders love to talk about race—that is, about the racism of the other tribe. Why do we hear so much about that and so little about the lives of black kids? Did Krystal Ball possibly pull back the curtain the other day?
BALL (8/27/13): Fifty years ago, the March on Washington focused on ending Jim Crow, a disgusting villain that hid behind the law to deprive people of their votes and sometimes their lives. Fifty years later, we have no Jim Crow and without a villain to focus on, it's hard to get people fired up. Congratulations, Republicans! You have taken the place of Jim Crow.

You are now the people conspiring to keep folks from voting. I'm just amazed that you're willing to destroy your party's brand— the party of Lincoln, the party of Teddy Roosevelt, a party that fought to end Jim Crow—all just to help us get our folks onto the ballot box.
Fifty years later, deprived of Jim Crow, are our leaders possibly looking for ways to get us “fired up?” Will they perhaps overstate on occasion to keep us in that state?

Could that be why we get so much heat, perhaps a bit less light?

Next week will be back-to-school week at this site. But those comments about the Texas schools have us jumping the gun.

For years, we liberals mocked the “epistemic closure” on the right—and it surely does exist! Do those comments about Texas schools track back to a source of closure here, in our own flawless tribe?

If we care so much, why do we know so little? Are we inside some kind of enclosure, just like the other tribe is?

64 comments:

  1. Bob, have you sent an email to President Obama, with a cc to the Dept. of Education, telling them that they have been ignoring important progress for minority kids, evident in NAEP statistics? If not, I hope you will do so. People will not believe the contradiction of information coming from these two authoritative sources, no matter how experienced an erudite a blog may be. Some of us can go to the statistics themselves and see what is there, but as evidenced by the comments you quoted, most people cannot, even when motivated by an open mind. I sincerely hope you are contradicting the government's misstatements whenever they occur, on behalf of the kids and those of us who cannot make the arguments as convincingly.

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  2. My theory about Texas is that it has a much larger percentage of second, third, fourth and fifth generation Latino students than the rest of the country. These students can be expected to be proficient in English and far wealthier than more recent immigrants and thus can be expected to outperform them on standardized tests, thus raising Texas' overall performance by its Latinos.

    I'm not sure where to look to find the date to test this theory.

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    1. Try the US Census data.

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    2. I also looked into this one and I am not sure the theory holds. The data actual seem to show that second generation Hispanics graduate high school and college at higher rates but third and fourth generation Hispanics do not seem to build on these gains.

      Also, if this theory were accurate, California would be doing better in the NAEP.

      There does seem to be some evidence that Hispanics do better in integrated schools. This explains California's dismal statistics since California latinos are basically educationally segregated from whites.

      I wonder if Texas schools are more diverse?

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  3. I also wonder whether there is an educational benefit that accrues to a group simply by it being a majority or near majority group. Perhaps because Texas Latinos are not an extreme minority of the population, they have been able to build a large cultural/community support system for all Latino children, thereby improving test scores indirectly.

    How do other states with very large Latino populations rank?

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    1. I looked into this a little. Apparently California has a large Latino population and does poorly when it comes to educating that population. So I guess this theory fails.

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  4. Black students do well in Texas too, though. Actually, so do whites!


    Say what you will, but the NAEP seems to indicate Texas just flat-out does a good job of educating its students.

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    1. I'm not disputing this, and assuming it is true, has the question why Texas has this relative success been answered or addressed?

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    2. Of course not! What, did you think we have a functional press corps?

      Bob's right: as fucking if.

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  5. If it's true that liberals are so wrong and stupid about so many things as listed here day after day ... when is it finally going to dawn on us that we must also be wrong and stupid about liberalism itself?

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    1. I'm not sure that the problem is so much with liberalism, as it is with those who refer to themselves as adherents to liberalism.

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    2. An important distinction. It's a serious problem that we've let the "progressives" (they're not) capture classical liberalism. A good inquiry might be, how did conservatives let this happen?

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    3. "A good inquiry might be, how did conservatives let this happen?"

      You won't see that inquiry here.

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  6. I am open-minded on these things because I don't see that anyone has conclusive, good solutions to education problems. But, I refuse to equate gains in test scores with providing a good education.

    And anyone who doesn't see that our country is in much better shape on race than it was 50 years ago is being willfully obtuse.

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  7. Everybody seems to assume that racism goes in one direction only. Yet, blacks attack and murder whites at a much higher rate than the reverse. I wonder if there are any studies of black racism.

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    1. Here's a thought: why don't you take time off from your commenting on this blog and do a study of black racism? Take your time; do it right. Get back to us in, oh, a couple of years.

      Or longer.

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    2. If you think that's a reasonable parallel, you are really, really, really stupid.

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    3. David in Cal

      I wonder if there have ever been any studies which ask those who oppose abortion even in the case of rape, "and what if the pregnancy was your daughter's and the rapist was a murderous black thug?"

      rick

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    4. Guys, nice job proving Bob's thesis about the thick-headedness of his tribe.

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    5. Hey Marty, when's Terminator 30 - the March of the Koch Brothers, due to be released?

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  8. OMB

    Well thank heavens the Somerby Race Wars continue!

    Let me start by saying I have looked at NAEP statistics and have myuself made the argument elsewhere, to the derision and anger of some "true progressive...please don't call me liberal" commenters, that Texas does a far better job of educating its students, and in particlular, minority students, than many other states. I agree with Douthat and BOB on this issue.

    So, let's start with the Somerby Scientific Study Standard.

    " ....the comments provided great tribal pleasure. For ourselves, we were struck by one area where quite a few commenters knew they were getting conned." BOB This post.

    Exactly how many is quite a few? What percentage of all comments does this represent? Are "regular" commenters
    more special than irregular commenters and thus more likely to represent the tribe as a whole? Did they know they were getting conned (KGC)or did the fact that they questioned the statistic instead of agreeing with it put them in the "KGC" category?

    Yesterday BOB wondered why Joan Walsh gave no examples or why Maddow left out crucial parts of John Lewis's "March to the Sea" quote (Which was itself left out of a 50 year old speech). Well why didn't BOB include all Douthat's single sentence that set off the tribalism?

    "From Chris Christie’s New Jersey to Perry’s Texas (which does a better job educating minority students than many liberal states), the politics of education increasingly produces cross-racial alliances and intraparty debates that look nothing like the civil-rights era divides." Ross Douthat 8/24/13

    BOB chose to focus on reaction to a parenthetical remark.
    Liberals are tribal ninny's becasue the tiny few who reacted to a parenthetical remark "seemed" to lack the statistical sophistication of BOB in parsing education test scores.

    Did BOB tell his readers that the only NAEP test score linked by Douthat was 8th grade Science? Does Bob agree that referencing one test on one subject at one grade level is indicative that Rick Perry's Texas is doing a better job educating monority students than many liberal states. Can BOB give an example of those states? Does BOB think the statistics linked by Douthat name those states? Could the absence of such information have provoked comments which look themselves like BOB posts of yesterday when viewed in the context not just of Douthat's whole sentence but the paragraph in which it was included?

    "Scattered" throughout Bob's own blog commentary threads are references by readers to low hanging fruit. Here he is attacking fruit already on the ground. I suggest he step warily considering what he might trip over in his own orchard.

    Oh yes, and lets not forget the Somerby Narrative. In order to advance that he had to skip the Douthat reference to the continuing "Obama race wars." Because it is only liberals tribalists who are foolishly invoking race and tying it to Obama.

    Emperor Daibazaal, grasper of the Tusk!

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    1. I readily admit I had to do a little research to grasp your Emperor Daibazaal reference, but Wikipedia's description of him ("He uses his subjects and even his own son, Sincline, as his scapegoats") shows your allusion to be very apt. Good work, sir! Your youth was not entirely misspent after all!!

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    2. Actually I discovered him not in my youth, but at an age while awaiting the Grand Bargain many "true progressive" bloggers promise Obama has in store for us pensioners. In fact, it was last week when BOB made reference to Doris Kearns Goodwin being from the "far planet Zarkon." I discovered Zarkon was not, in fact, a planet, but the ruler of the Planet of Doom, who also went by the name Emperor Daibazaal.
      Since BOB was on a riff about our intellectual paralysis, I presumed we were all on the Planet Doom. I figured if I was going to be there, I might as well be in charge. BOB names so many people as "leaders" I figured I could go ahead and make myself one as well.

      You'll have to figure out the tusk thing on your own.

      Emperor Daibazaal

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    3. The Emperor says: “You'll have to figure out the tusk thing on your own.” Is it safe to assume it has something to do with the “elephant-groping” that apparently is a Zarkon pastime?

      I'm glad you cleared up my misconceptions about you and anime. I was wondering how someone who wrote the hilariously allusive sentence “Unfortunately he thinks all liberals think alike but were cute when they were young” would be ensnared by anime.

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  9. Here's what puzzles me: Somerby spends an entire post excoriating liberal commenters, saying they fail to grasp the meaning of the data, etc. But he never explains their error! Several commenters he quotes make the SEEMINGLY reasonable point that if Texas is doing so marvelously, with their white students ranking eighth, their blacks fourth, and hispanics sixth, how do they drop to number 29 overall?

    There is a (relatively) simple answer: Simpson's Paradox. This crops up in many different situations, and this is one of them. The reason Texas produces the numbers cited above is that there's a large performance gap between whites on the one hand and blacks and hispanics on the other. When you combine that with having a disproportionately large number of minorities in your state, the result is Simpson's paradox. I'll use another interesting example of it to illustrate the concept in detail: It can happen that a baseball player has the highest batting average in the league in the first half of the season, and also the highest in the second half of the season, yet he doesn't win the batting title!! The explanation: suppose Derek Jeter hits .350 in the first half, going 70/200 (he was injured and so he only got 200 at bats), and .320 in the second half, going 112/350. His batting average for the season will be .331, weighted towards the lower average because of more at bats. Now suppose Miguel Cabrera was in the reverse situation: he was injured in the second half. So let's say he goes 122/350 in the first half (that's .349, just under Jeter's .350), and 63/200 in the second half (that's .315, less than Jeter's .320). So Cabrera would have batted less than Jeter in each half of the season, but would have finished with a season-long batting average of .336, better than Jeter's season-long average of .331.

    I'm not a regular reader of this blog, so I ask those who are: did Somerby ever explain this concept in a past blog post? If not, then either he doesn't understand it himself, in which case he oughtn't to be writing on this subject, or he did understand it but chose to withhold the explanation from his readers, for no good reason. And probably a bad one.

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    1. Yes, Somerby has explained in earlier posts how Simpson's paradox affects the NAEP statistics.

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    2. Okay, thank you, David. Then I retract the last couple of sentences of my comment.

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    3. Winterchill, as an irregular reader you need to understand a simple BOB principle.

      When the grievance held by BOB is long standing, say a slight by a journalist to AL
      GORE in 1999, he will repeat it often.

      When BOB wants to say a tribe member is stupid, he quotes an obscure one with no explanation of the facts whatsoever.

      Thus is its with education statistics. The commenters to Douthat were left with no explanation whatsover by Douthat and a link to a single test posted by the Texas Education Agency patting itself on the back.
      BOB offers no further explanation, just an observation that they must simply be stupid tribalists reacting because Douthat if from far Zarkon where they grope elephants (a snarky reference for regular readers, I'm afraid).

      BOB knows his educational statistics quite well. He has mastered the issue.

      Unfortunately he thinks all liberals think alike but were cute when they were young.
      Therefore, a column like Douthat's which, if written by a liberal, he would savage till the cows come home, is ignored except for the leavings from it in the corral from stupid liberals. These he assembles into a turd resembling his narrative. Then he holds it up for us to admire.

      Thus we have Douthat pronouncing "the Obama race wars could continue" and BOB telling us that liberal don't care about black children and "Everyone from Obama on down recites familiar bogus scripts about such basic topics."

      Emperor Daibazaal

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    4. Somberby Derangement Syndrome--gotta love it!

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    5. Emperor, pardon me for initially thinking your invocation of the revered name of Daibazaal was a summary comment to describe Somerby. May Sorceress Honerva do unspeakable things to my nether regions if I sully the name of Daibazaal again!

      The reason I quickly abandoned this blog was my realization that Somerby's choice of subjects was as trivial as it was repetitious. And that even when writing about those few, he was not always a reliable authority. You say, “BOB knows his educational statistics quite well. He has mastered the issue.” But are you really certain of that? Back when I last read him, quite a few years ago, he was critiquing some books on science he was reading, as he struggled to grasp the elementary concepts of modern physics. It was painful to witness his pathetic fumblings, as he offered misinterpretations even a simpleton wouldn't be prey to, but it had the salutary effect of making me realize I could not trust anything he said that involved math even remotely. And certainly the proper use of statistics requires enormous, and sometimes delicately sensitive, mathematical judgment.

      While Somerby employs whatever intelligence he has to do things like unceasingly attack Rachel Maddow and her shtick, Glenn Greenwald (who used to be a blogger who, eight years ago, was as obscure as Somerby is now) uses HIS forensic skills to confront and defy the most powerful governments in the world, and these days has to almost literally be constantly alert for the sound of an approaching drone. For some reason I choose to spend my finite time reading the latter's work rather the Mr. Somerby's.

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    6. WinterChill

      BOB is an often repetitive somewhat self righteous fellow with a slight hypocisy problem. Greenwald is an often repetitive
      totally self righteous fellow with an insoluble ego problem. Maybe nobody important will listen to BOB. But nobody important will blow Greenwald up. He'll do that to himself.

      I'll stick with BOB reading and commenting.
      He's right more often.

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    7. Even IF Somerby were right more often, right about what? That Maureen Dowd is a twit, that Gail Collins has cooties......?

      You're indisputably correct that Glenn Greenwald has a monstrous ego, and that he's totally self-righteous--and I thank God for that! It requires the monstrous ego and extreme self-righteousness that you decry and mock in order to do what he dares to do. He needs the ego (also describable, in more neutral words, as a secure sense of self) to enable him to disregard the constant disparagement, ridicule, and assaults upon him—like yours but more vicious and less elegantly phrased (I appreciated the deftness of your parallelism even as I deplored the use to which you were putting it). He especially needs the overwhelming, unalterable conviction that he's doing the right thing (what you opprobriously call “self-righteousness”), considering that the entire Washington establishment and much of the so-called free world is calling him an accessory to treason.

      As for your final act of belittlement, saying “But nobody important will blow Greenwald up. He'll do that to himself”, how cavalier you are on your couch in Fresno or wherever the hell you are in deriding the very real threats to Greenwald's well-being. Have you not followed the events at Heathrow, where someone tangentially involved in the NSA documents affair was held incommunicado for nine hours? Do you seriously believe the US government, or one of its “friends”, wouldn't consider arranging for the brakes to fail in Greenwald's car? With plausible deniability of course.


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  10. Lies...Statistics. Black parents move to Texas.
    Rick Perry, You the man!
    Thanks Bob.

    LG

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    1. Ah, the snark. A sure symptom of Intellectual Paralysis or LPF syndrome (Lingering Potato Famine).

      B

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    2. Snark?
      Per Bob: Liberals are always wrong. Right wing nuts deserve understanding.
      Like hell.
      They are racist bastards. No snark.
      They can kiss my ass.

      LG

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    3. Liberals are always wrong? Then why would I, an acknowledged liberal be reading this blog to find out that I am always wrong?

      "People deserve understanding"

      I sorta thought that was a basic, core liberal principle. That, as liberals, we deplore racism, because it treats black people like they are somehow LESS than people. Treats them like sub-humans.

      And yet, you have your own category of sub-humans, or maybe two such categories with large overlap. One category is "racist bastards" and the other category is "right wing nuts".

      It is that kind of tribal hatred which Somerby says is always wrong - not liberalism or liberals. And unfortunately, that kind of tribal hatred is being brought to us liberals by our store bought liberal leaders in the media.

      Each tribe is being told by these media hucksters "our tribe is great, we are moral, intelligent, reasonable, informed, kind, generous and decent. The other tribe is sub-human scum they are hateful, stupid, unreasonable, uninformed, mean, stingy, and indecent."

      Such a narrative is designed to make the listener feel good about themself and to enjoy spewing their three minutes of hate at the enemy. Tribe members HATE that Somerby dares to challenge this narrative. Dares to point out that maybe WE are NOT all that, and maybe the other tribe is NOT all that either. Maybe we can all be part of the beloved community.

      If not for this blog, I might never have read "Stride toward Freedom". In that book, MLK writes "the nonviolent resister not only refuses to shoot his opponent, he refuses to HATE him as well." We liberals gush our praises of the great MLK, while at the same time spit right in his face by paying not attention to the things MLK actually taught, in fact, glorying in the very opposite of it.

      "Screw Martin Luther King as his nonviolent resistance, I am gonna HATE."

      There's your dream Martin. Those who claim to be your admirers are gonna hate. And if you don't like it, you can kiss their ass.

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    4. Interesting, guess. But I doubt that anybody who says "Screw Martin Luther KIng" is one of his admirers.

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    5. @ guess 1:23 AM.
      You post quotation marks around "people deserve understanding", implying that someone said that. Your inner Dowd? Maybe.
      What I wrote: "Per Bob: ...Right wing nuts deserve understanding".
      I repeat: "They can kiss my ass".

      LG

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    6. When Rick Perry & his family named their hunting lodge "Niggerland" it was not in error. That was deliberate. You (and Bob) can rationalize that forever, but he and his family made a conscious decision.

      Forget about it! Reason with him! He is a good guy!

      Liberals are evil. Right wing nuts are misunderstood and can be reasoned with.

      Dr. King was a great man. A man of history. I am not.
      Hurt me or my children, I will not forgive or forget.

      LG

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    7. LG,

      Thank you for providing a perfect example of tribalism. Or is it a deliberate parody? Let's suppose you're serious.

      The problem is that you can't even get the simplest facts straight. Let's count them, shall we, starting with the sins of commission.

      1. The place wasn't the Perry's; In the early 1980s, Perry's father leased 1000 acres of a 42,000 acre tract owned by a Texas charity. Rick Perry added his name to the lease later.

      2, There's no "lodge"; it was a hunting camp.

      3. The offensive name was "Niggerhead," not "Niggerland."

      4. The name didn't apply only to the Perrys' leasehold.

      5. The name didn't originate with the Perrys, so deliberation doesn't enter into it.

      And the sin of omission:

      6. Perry claims that his father painted over the name thirty years before the controversy; others claimed that the name remained visible.

      I'm the last person to call Rick Perry a "good guy," and I don't think he's smart enough for anyone to "reason with him." But hatred often requires a narrative. You've decided to hate Rick Perry, and before you know it you won' t forgive him things that you can't forget even though you invented them.

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    8. AlwaysSeekingToEdifyAugust 31, 2013 at 4:27 PM

      Deadrat, with what you fancy is lawyer-like precision you catalog LG's offenses, concluding with “6. Perry claims that his father painted over the name thirty years before the controversy; others claimed that the name remained visible.” Your final sentence is “You've decided to hate Rick Perry, and before you know it you won' t forgive him things that you can't forget even though you invented them.”

      To adopt the condescending, and frankly insulting, tone towards LG that you do at the beginning and end of your comment would be inappropriate and obnoxious even if you had a powerful argument supporting your position.

      But you don't, deadrat. In what is probably the dumbest rhetorical move I've seen in the past decade (did you really expect anyone to be taken in by it, deadrat?), you blithely equate the denials of Rick Perry, a politician then seeking the presidency and desperate to avoid an ugly controversy, with the claims of multiple parties, some disinterested, and some actually supporting Perry. A lengthy Washington Post piece of Oct.1, 2011, exhaustively researched by Stephanie McCrummen, says this, “Of those interviewed, the seven who said they saw the rock said the block-lettered name was clearly visible at different points in the 1980s and 1990s. One, a former worker on the ranch, believes he saw it as recently as 2008.” Perry emphatically stated that his father painted over the rock in 1983 or 1984 and that his own visits to the place confirmed that.

      So the heavy weight of the evidence is that not only did Rick Perry tolerate the emblazoning of “Niggerhead” across the front of the property for many, many years (against the advice of concerned friends who recognized the political problem it could one day present) but he lied about it.

      And the even heavier weight of the evidence is that you, deadrat, are a vicious caster of unwarranted aspersions against people making entirely legitimate points.





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    9. NeverSeekingToVerify,

      "Lawyer-like precision" Check. "Condescending" Check. "Frankly insulting" Check. "Obnoxious" Check. I was afraid I might have been losing my touch, but I've apparently conveyed my tone perfectly. I don't seem to have been as successful with the content of my comment, but I'm going to blame that on your apparent inability to read for comprehension. So let me break it down for you:

      LG has constructed a narrative to channel his hatred of Rick Perry, and it goes like this: Rick Perry owned a hunting lodge. He was going to name it "Tara," but decided instead to consciously cater to his inner racist and call it "Niggerland." This is nothing like what happened, and if we're going to continue to insist that reality has a liberal bias and that liberals guide their judgments about people and policies on the facts, then it's best that we not spin these kind of tales. I notice that the first five points attract none of your ire. I'll submit that my lawyerly precision and powerful argumentation gave you no purchase there, so you've decided to attack point 6.

      Now, if you had a powerful argument to support your discussion of point 6, then your comment wouldn't be what is probably the dumbest rhetorical move I've seen in the last ten minutes. Nowhere do I equate Rick Perry's denials, which are obviously self-serving, with the claims of multiple parties. What I've done, and what LG should have done, and what everyone who wants to weigh the evidence fairly would have done is to take note of what the supposedly-offending party says about the matter and to note that his version is at odds with others'.

      What's the "weight" of the evidence that Rick Perry tolerated a racial slur on a sign on some property part of which he and his father leased? You say a former worker on the larger ranch read the sign in 2008. Perry says he hasn't been at the hunting-camp section since 2006. Everyone has his own scale. Mine reads "not sure."

      Now the next part is important, so pay attention. LG's charge isn't that Perry "tolerated" a racial slur through insufficient sensitivity or negligent inattention, but that Perry (and his family!) "deliberately" and "consciously" selected the name "Niggerhead" and posted it on the property.

      That's narrative unsupported by any evidence and deserves all the contemptuous insult and insulting contempt that I can heap upon it. If you want to delve into Perry's mind and read that he (and his family!) are intolerant, then fine. I think this is an error-prone process, particularly when you're dealing with people's recollections across almost three decades. I find I don't need any such mind reading to judge Perry's policies and politics. As always, YMMV.

      Finally, it seems to me that vicious aspersions would have to include some false charges of a personal nature. Nothing I've said to LG is false or constitutes a personal attack. I've said LG can't keep his facts straight, a statement that for all your bluster you don't even try to dispute.

      Delete
    10. AlwaysSeekingToEdifyAugust 31, 2013 at 8:55 PM

      Deadrat, did you ever read “Life on the Mississippi”? Twain describes a fellow steamboat pilot with a photographic memory--and the problems it caused for that pilot. Like many people, the man couldn't distinguish between the crucial and the utterly irrelevant, but unlike most, he didn't forget the utterly irrelevant, and so everything he said, every story he told, every argument he tried to make, was larded with those maddening irrelevancies.

      You powerfully remind me of him, because any sensible person even cursorily examining your six points immediately recognizes that the first four are as laughably irrelevant as anything the steamboat pilot ever said—in fact, unless you're dumber than I think you are, you fully recognize their irrelevance to the main thrust of LG's argument, and you only included them to make your pathetically weak case look imposing. But the effect was, instead, that of a dwarf wearing lifts. Embarrassing.

      Your fifth point was both right and wrong. Right in a trivial factual sense—the Perrys didn't originate the name Niggerhead—but very, very wrong in your judging it therefore “non-deliberate”. Once Rick Perry became aware of it, obviously on his very first visit, every single second it remained visible was a deliberate act on Perry's part because he was making the free and intentional choice to allow it to remain visible. Whether in the law, or in quotidian reality, it is recognized that you needn't originate something for its continuation to be considered a deliberate act. If you enter your home and find a stranger bound and gagged and you proceed to eat dinner, watch TV, and go to sleep and do nothing about it, do you not consider that a “deliberate” act for which you can and should be held culpable? Of course it is, and while your level of culpability is less than that of the binder and gagger, you're still guilty of an awful, deliberate act in choosing to do nothing about an egregious situation. And so was Rick Perry.

      Now we come to point 6. Deadrat, you amaze me. Do you not grasp that you can't simply assert something patently idiotic, call it an “argument”, and then sit down with a satisfied smile at a job well done ? You say,”Nowhere do I equate Rick Perry's denials, which are obviously self-serving, with the claims of multiple parties. What I've done...is to take note of what the supposedly-offending party says about the matter and to note that his version is at odds with others'.”

      No, deadrat (who's pretending, I believe, to be very, very obtuse because he's found himself trapped and can't escape any other way) you can't simply “take note of what the supposedly-offending party says about the matter and note that his version is at odds with others'”. Doing that in this case is exactly equating Rick Perry's denials with the claims of multiple parties. NOT EQUATING would be to EVALUATE THE COMPETING CLAIMS in terms of the number of witnesses, their impartiality, their probity, their certainty, the plausibility of their testimony, etc.

      Did you do that? No, your point six consisted of one sentence: “Perry claims that his father painted over the name thirty years before the controversy; others claimed that the name remained visible.” ANYONE READING THAT SENTENCE WOULD SAY YOU PUT THE TWO SIDES ON AN EQUAL FOOTING. Now, if you'd been less lazy, or, closer to the truth, less disposed to savage LG by any means available, you'd have quickly found an objective source, as I did, and seen that only someone determined to exculpate Rick Perry at any cost (including sacrificing all logic, all ethics, etc.) would have found Perry's claims as persuasive as those of the many witnesses against him, SOME OF WHOM WERE SUPPORTERS OF HIS.

      I'm a newcomer here deadrat. I have no idea what your real beef is with LG. But the gravamen of LG's comment about Rick Perry was so obviously true that my sense is that your diatribe against him is rooted in something entirely unrelated to it.

      Delete
    11. Well, at least we know what that otherwise useless degree in literature is good for -- displaying pomposity on blog commentaries. Dear God, Life on the Mississippi! As soon as I read that, I thought, "Pretty soon, he's gonna throw 'quotidian realities' at me." And I didn't have to wait long.

      Let me break it down in even simpler terms. I'll even type as slowly as I can so you can follow:

      If you can't bring yourself to love your political enemies, at least don't make shit up. Have you got that yet through the haze of your literary allusions?

      Don't. Make. Shit. Up.

      If there's any one thing that the other tribe does, it's make shit up. Obama was born in Kenya. He a socialist. There are death panels in the ACA. Raising the debt ceiling gives the President a blank check to spend money.

      We're not supposed to do that. Even when we dearly want to, we

      Don't. Make. Shit. Up.

      What's embarrassing for you is that you can't seem to distinguish between facts and made up shit.

      Suppose LG had said, "Although Rick Perry may deny that he took no action to remove a racial slur posted near his hunting camp, I don't believe him. Credible witnesses say the sign persisted during the time he and his father were lease holders. I think that at least shows an insensitivity to racial issues and at worst makes him a racist." I may come to a different conclusion or I may be slower to judge the mental state of others or I may think there are better reasons not to support Rick Perry. Everyone gets to judge this matter for himself.

      But LG has a different narrative: "Rick Perry is a racist who built a hunting lodge that he deliberately and consciously named 'Niggerland.'" That violates a cardinal rule:

      Don't. Make. Shit. Up.

      And speaking of not making shit up, let's examine the rest of your literary tirade. Contrary to your narrative, I'm not saying that Rick Perry didn't deliberately ignore the sign that said "Niggerhead" at his hunting camp. Maybe he did. I don't know. I do know that it's not reasonable to conclude this from a tale about building a nonexistent hunting lodge supposedly called "Niggerland." You can make up all the fantasies you want about my finding strangers bound and gagged in my home, but that isn't going to tell you anything about my culpability let alone anything about the sign or about Perry's mental state. All of that also violates the rule:

      Don't. Make. Shit. Up.

      And here's another one: you've got some narrative where you judge my recitation of conflicting facts as a judgment on their equality. That's in your head. My point is that when you accuse somebody of malfeasance, intellectual integrity demands that you note their denial. It's also fair to note at the same time, that this denial does not enjoy universal support. To refrain from mentioning the accused position violates the rule

      Don't. Make. Shit. Up. By omission.

      And there's yet more. Stop reading my mind and start reading what I actually write. Even a newcomer like yourself ought to realize the importance of that instruction. I don't have any "beef" with LG. I don't know him. I don't even know if LG is a him. My argument is with LG's narrative, and nothing I've said is in the slightest way personal. Unlike you, I don't use phrases like "patently idiotic" or "very, very obtuse" or "lazy" or "dumber than I think." My argument is restricted to telling LG that he can't get simple facts straight, and in doing so, he violates the commandment

      Don't. Make. Shit. Up.

      (continued at next comment)

      Delete
    12. (continued from previous comment)

      LG's comment about Rick Perry wasn't "obviously true." In fact, given that LG was making up porkies, it's obviously unsupported. For all I know, Rick Perry is a raving racist. But you can't tell that from made-up stories like LG's. It's hard enough to understand the minds of those with whom we're personally familiar. Judging others' is a tricky business, especially when you're trying to make contemporary judgements based on events, some of which occurred 30 years ago. But perhaps your background in American literary studies gives you an insight that I lack.

      You have a "sense" -- and that word is just adorable in context -- that I bear some personal animus to LG unrelated to his comments. I can't wait for your analysis. Perhaps you could relate my deeply rooted feelings to something from Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment or Conrad's Heart of Darkness. Or does your expertise not extend beyond 19th and 20the century Americana?

      Delete
    13. AlwaysSeekingToEdifySeptember 1, 2013 at 1:31 PM

      Deadrat, may I tell you a little story that I think is very pertinent to you and this situation?

      A few years ago I was driving somewhere, turned on the radio, and happened to tune in an interview with Danny Aiello. The host was reviewing Danny's long acting career and at one point asked him how he felt playing a character so unlike himself, the racist pizzeria-owner in “Do The Right Thing”. “Oh, no!”, Danny exclaimed, “Sal wasn't a racist! Not at all!”, whereupon the host bellowed, “NOT A RACIST???!!!!! The guy called a black youngster the N-word! How can he not be a racist??”

      Deadrat, I was very struck by Danny's response. He said (as I reconstruct the gist of his very interesting comment), “Sal's business was being threatened by the kid, and Sal became very, very angry. And like all angry people, he wanted to hurt the person responsible. And like many angry people, he seized any available weapon. In this case, he felt the only weapon he possessed that could wound the black kid was the N-word. He didn't say it because he was a racist who hated black people—far from it, if he'd been THAT then he wouldn't have run a pizzeria in that inner-city neighborhood—no, he was just an infuriated human being who hated another human being who was giving him grief. He temporarily adopted the persona of a racist, in order to inflict pain, but it wasn't at all who he was.”

      Deadrat, I immediately recognized how insightful Danny's comment was, and instantly saw that I had said things precisely equivalent to Sal's words in my life, though in realms far removed from race.

      I mentally reviewed your comments in this thread, from one early on where you responded to a post by David in Cal with bitter sarcasm not commensurate with the mildness of David's remark, to your many comments to LG and me. Any objective reader would be struck by one commonality--your intense anger and desire to injure. And, equally, I was struck by the conviction that your words didn't reflect your genuine views, but that, like Sal, you'd temporarily adopted new personae that would allow you to vent your anger by wounding (you hoped) me and LG.

      I don't believe for a second that you're this deeply anti-intellectual person who derides people for pomposity if they make pertinent literary references. No, you were just furious at me, and, like Sal, seized upon the available weapon, an accusation of pomposity, to try to injure me. (Note: I'm alive and kicking, unscathed by your remarks.)

      More germane to this discussion, I've concluded that you don't actually believe the two principal accusations you made against LG: that he fundamentally misrepresented the Rick Perry incident and that he did so because he's a tribalist “who makes shit up”.

      To me, the GRAVAMEN (look it up!) of his accusation against Perry is obviously true—that Perry willfully allowed a variant of “nigger” to remain prominently displayed on this property for many years, indicating at the very least a latent racial animus . And it's also obvious that the minor errors in LG's account were not because “he makes shit up” but because LG is an improvisatory, off-the-cuff kind of person who writes comments not after careful research as you do but quite casually. In this case, I'm sure he wrote from memory, based on his best recollection of the Perry affair. He didn't deliberately “make shit up”. I FIRMLY BELIEVE THAT YOU, DEADRAT, THOROUGHLY UNDERSTAND BOTH THESE POINTS TO BE TRUE. But because of your anger at LG and desire to wound him, you pretended otherwise so you could write the lacerating comments that you did.

      Deadrat, I'll be gone from this blog after today, so you needn't bother defending yourself. Put aside your perpetual mockery, and instead think seriously about the impression you've so quickly and so powerfully made upon me, a stranger. Honestly, you remind me of the beginning of “Notes from Underground”. Don't let yourself become like the narrator!

      Delete
    14. Brave Sir Robin, Very Bravely Running Away, and Not That I Blame You,

      I don't know whether to laugh or cry. First Samuel Clemens. Now Russian novelist/philosopher Fyodor Dostoyevsky and poseur/filmmaker Spike Lee. From the sublime to the ridiculous. Have you really so little insight? (I know, I know. You've left and I'm talking to myself, but as any but the newest tyro knows, I love the sound of my own voice.)

      Here's the moral of the DTRT story: because circumstances may trigger someone to act in ways at odds with his deeply-held beliefs, we should be chary of blanket moral judgments about the necessarily hidden mental states of others. So, if you actually applied what you learned from listening to an NPR interview, you would withhold judgment on Rick Perry even when you think he might be anything from an outright bigot to someone harboring "latent racial animus."

      TDH adds the admonition that we not convince ourselves with narrative, no matter how pleasing, but that we stick with facts. The mental state of others is difficult to discern even for those we know personally, and thus judgments on those mental states, are particularly prone to reliance on narrative. Most particularly when we judge people whom we know from reports alone,

      Instead, here's what you learned:

      I'm angry at LG and furious with you.
      I think I can injure you by criticizing your comments.
      I'm anti-intellectual.
      I hope to wound you and LG.
      I don't believe what I've written.
      Perry is lying about painting over the sign and his failure to do so was willful.
      It's obviously true that Perry holds a latent racial animus, "at the very least."
      LG didn't "deliberately" make things up.
      I understand the preceding two sentences to be truth.
      I don't know what gravamen (or even GRAVAMEN) means.
      Samuel Clemens, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, and Spike Lee are "pertinent" to your mind reading.

      Although it should be clear from the list, I'll point out anyway that 1) you can't know any of these things, and 2) for a discussion of Rick Perry, my name is a tad too prominent.

      Speaking of me, here's what I know.

      LG made up a story about Perry's deliberate use of a racial slur. I have no evidence that LG did this knowingly.

      LG's story is long way from the claim that Perry failed to remove a racist sign near property he leased, a claim Perry disputes, even in the face of those who say otherwise about events some of which happened nearly 30 years ago.

      Figuring out Perry's mind about race today is an error-prone business, which shouldn't be left to narrative, disputed accounts, and anecdotes from the past.

      Note that my list is much shorter and much less definitive. In particular it doesn't include anything about the interiority of LG, Rick Perry, or you. Now, I may suspect that you're a pompous ass who thinks over-highly of the breadth of his literary knowledge. And I may suspect that you're an intellectual coward who's cut and run because he can't defend his errant psychologizing. But, if so, I realize that's because of your ad hominem argumentation. It's more than possible that you're quite learned in film and literature. And that you've decamped because you were simply bored with this exchange.

      Who knows for sure? Not me.

      Ah, well. Off to the brothel.

      Delete
    15. AlwaysSeekingToEdifySeptember 1, 2013 at 11:19 PM

      Deadrat, first, between your venom and your ridicule, you seemingly do your utmost to drive me away. Then, suddenly, you try to coax me back, albeit with a taunt!

      You are a very strange human being, and in fact I'd need some highly sophisticated DNA tests from several different laboratories before I'm convinced you ARE actually homo sapiens sapiens and not a human/Vulcan hybrid given your striking Spockian tendencies—although Spock wasn't given to such outbursts of bile (except when he and Dr. McCoy were transported back to a primitive era where they were vying for the affections of the only other life form around, the very lovely Mariette Hartley). Yes, deadrat, I deliberately threw in another cultural reference: you mocked my Twain and Dostoyevsky as pompous, you disdained my Spike Lee as ridiculous (though in fact Spike Lee had nothing to do with Danny Aiello's understanding of his character Sal—that was strictly his own interpretation), so does the original Star Trek pass muster with you? Or I am to be forbidden all allusions, on pain of disparagement by you?

      By the way, I believe it was Eleanor Roosevelt who very wisely said words to the effect of: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” And I have no intention of giving my consent. So you should understand that your demeaning of me is entirely without effect, except to make me question your values and judgment—for example, why are you trying to banish cultural allusions, when they at the very least enliven a discussion, and often provide an effective way to make a point?

      But deadrat I would like to change the subject and ask your opinion on something quite provocative I encountered yesterday. I was looking up Lee Atwater to get more information on the fascinating personality/character/ideology transformation he (allegedly) underwent in his final days, and I stumbled upon the following passage from his Wikipedia entry: “Ed Rollins, however, stated in the 2008 documentary Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story, that "[Atwater] was telling this story about how a Living Bible was what was giving him faith and I said to Mary (Matalin), 'I really, sincerely hope that he found peace.' She said, 'Ed, when we were cleaning up his things afterwards, the Bible was still wrapped in the cellophane and had never been taken out of the package,' which just told you everything there was. He was spinning right to the end.”

      If one accepts this account at face value, then one would be hard put to explain the apparently well-documented public and private letters Atwater sent to all those he came to feel (after his conversion) he had grievously wronged. So I did some investigating and found several highly intriguing tidbits that have led my thinking in a different direction. But given that you seem to follow politics far more closely than I, I'd be very interested in your thoughts on the subject.

      I'm going to be very busy after today, so any response may take me a while.

      Delete
    16. Goddamnitt. You'll probably never see this, but deadrat, if you ever in Chicagoland and want a free beer, let me know. I owe you one.

      Delete
    17. Matt in the Crown,

      Maybe. Chicagoland is a big place. To what do I owe this largesse?

      Delete
    18. ASTE,

      You've stumbled into a blog called "The Daily Howler." "Howler" describes the main topic (egregious blunders of the press, "real howlers") and the owner (who howls at the egregiousness). In particular, the press treatment of Al Gore leading up to the 2000 election and the press misrepresentation of the results of public education over the last four decades. TDH has noted a particular process that sustains the erroneous reporting, a process he calls "narrative," a favored story, unsupported by evidence, that gets repeated without thought or investigation. For instance: Al Gore said he invented the internet. Or test scores in public schools monotonically decrease. But the ur-narrative, a meta-narrative, if you will, is that the people who adopt our narratives are smart and virtuous while the others who have differing narratives are stupid and evil. Sustaining this meta-narrative requires reading people's minds, i.e., plumbing their intentions and motives, their misdirections and hypocrisies.

      By the way, I believe it was Abraham Lincoln who very wisely said words to the effect of: "You can't trust anything you read on the internet." But you may verify my summary by consulting the TDH archives. If all this is already well-known to you, I apologize for the pedantry. But there are two points to make. One, that this really isn't the place for us to meet up to discuss random topics.

      Two, no matter what exchanges we have, we will continue to talk past each other because you've settled on an elaborate narrative of who I am and what my words must really mean. You find me strange because you think that I'm doing my utmost to drive you away while at the same time I'm trying to coax you back. If you leave, I will have lost an opportunity to post the sound of my own voice. Another will happen along in a minute, if not someone new, then David in Cal will no doubt step into the breach. Whether you go or stay is thus pretty much immaterial to me. I use the Pythonesque "Brave Sir Robin" salutation because I find it amusing that anyone would feel he had to announce his departure from an online forum.

      Allusions. The Star Trek bit was almost entirely lost on me since I've never watched the program. Everything I know is second hand, mostly from comedic parodies. I asked my wife, who did watch the original series. At least she claims to have watched the original series. (She also claims to be my wife.) She said that Spock is only half human, and his alien side allows him to operate without emotion and with a hyper-acute rationality. Thanks, I guess, but this hardly comports with your image of me as furiously angry. (Not lost on me is the irony that you're the guy who's SCREAMED AT ME IN CAPSLOCK.) And as I've pointed out, the obvious lesson of one of your other allusions, Aiello's analysis of Sal, applies to Rick Perry and not me.

      My objection to your literary tropes isn't based just on the fact that you're bad at them. They're problematic because they are narrative based on narrative. You're saying that you know about X (say, the fictionalized riverboat pilot from LotM) and you know that Y (say, deadrat) is like X, so you can draw conclusions about Y based on what you know about X. But the riverboat pilot is fictional, and you know nothing about me. Except what I write, and you refuse to accept that at face value. If you think the points I've made to LG are "irrelevant," then you need to demonstrate that. Appeals to riverboat pilots won't help you.

      Delete
  11. The one link that Bob gives is very fishy in that it only gives results for 8th-grade science tests - this by itself hardly proves that Texas educates minorities, or anybody, better than the rest of the country. If Texas really did the latter, why didn't the story give more complete results? The story appears to be so selective as to be dishonest, unless for some reason NAEP only tested 8th-grade science.

    If Texas really did so well overall - better for all groups - what is it that it is doing right? The results do indicate that there is a large gap between whites and blacks and/or hispanics (again in 8th-grade science). An interesting measure would be how rapidly that gap is being narrowed, if at all.

    ReplyDelete
  12. DeadRat,
    My apologies to Perry and his father. "Niggerhead" is much less offensive than "Niggerland". The appendix (obviously) dominates.
    Only 1k acres was leased by the Perry's. We knew nothing!
    Other lessees kept the name. Life is good in Texas. While hunting.
    No "lodge", only a "camp". Allrigthy then.
    The name did not originate with the Perrys.
    We only leased a portion of said property. Nice.

    Hatred requires a narrative? Really?
    Perry and his supporters can kiss my ass.

    How about that.

    LG

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LG,

      My apologies to Perry and his father.
      This isn't about the Perrys. They wouldn't give a shit about you if they knew you existed. This is about you.

      "Niggerhead" is much less offensive than "Niggerland".
      I don't detect much difference. Except that the former happened and the latter didn't. Doesn't seem to make much difference to you.

      Only 1k acres was leased by the Perry's…. Other lessees kept the name. Life is good in Texas.
      This isn't about Texas. It's about your narrative.

      No "lodge", only a "camp".
      That's right: no "lodge" owned, built, and named by the Perrys, deliberately, consciously, and without error.

      The name did not originate with the Perrys.
      Although you claimed it did.

      We only leased a portion of said property.
      Although you implied otherwise.

      Perry and his supporters can kiss my ass. How about that.
      You're welcome to your well-considered political philosophy. How about I don't think much of it? Which probably means as much to you as your ass means to Perry and his supporters.

      How about you work on getting the simplest facts straight?


      Delete
    2. Vote for Perry and Texas.
      As Lee Atwater said: "Nigger". "Nigger". "Nigger".

      Enjoy yourself.

      LG

      Delete
    3. LG,

      Don't make this about me. I'm not a Perry supporter, and as far as I'm concerned, we can give Tejas back to Mexico.

      Lee Atwater actually said that "Nigger, nigger, nigger" didn't work. Don't make this about Lee Atwater.

      It's about you: "Niggerland, niggerland, niggerland."

      Enjoy the hatred. Feels good, doesn't it?

      Delete
    4. LG,

      Wrong election. Atwater's revamped the "southern strategy" during his time managing South Carolina elections and Reagan's re-election campaign.

      There's no doubt that Atwater was responsible for the viciousness of Bush the Elder's campaign, but the southern strategy didn't play much of a role there.

      What's your meaning? Atwater was a hater. GHWB won. Hey, it works! Let's all become Atwater?

      Delete
  13. Not sure how Rick Perry got dragged into this.

    One of Somerby's very good points, is that so often our liberal "leaders" will kick down. Their target is not so much Rick Perry or Rush Limbaugh, it is, instead, "Joe Average teabagger."

    Those are the "rightwing nuts" we should be trying to understand, be trying to woo over to our side.

    That is, if we actually want to win those election thingies. If, OTOH, we just want to have fun throwing our R-bombs and then complain after every election "why don't those morons vote in their self interest?" Then, by all means, enjoy yourself.

    True, LG, you never wrote "people deserve understanding" but hint: rightwing nuts - they are people too.

    As for Perry and what he did deliberately. In the multiply quoted passage from "Stride toward freedom" some person or persons DELIBERATELY tried to blow up Dr. King's house - when his infant daughter was inside it. And Dr. King STILL did not think it was good to hate them. Instead of encouraging his own hateful thoughts, he fought against them. He told himself "you must not become bitter".

    Finally, to correct a typo. And, not as.

    "Screw Martin Luther King AND his nonviolent resistance, I am gonna HATE."

    But nobody SAYS that. Instead they DO that. They tell themselves "I really admire the great Dr. Martin Luther King" and then they tell themselves "it is a wonderful thing to HATE those evil racists" (and their supporters and their mothers, their friends, their children, even their dogs).

    In that manner, it is their ACTIONS which say, loud and clear "Screw Martin Luther King".

    Or, as Jesus is quoted in Luke 6: 46 "Why do you call me 'lord, lord' and do not do what I tell you?"

    At this 50th anniversary, maybe we could remember some of the things King said. King marched, he fought, but he did so - NONviolently and without HATE.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Republican.
    Stew on that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thin gruel, rather than stew. MLK did not advertise a party affiliation, nor did he endorse any candidate.

      Delete