Professor Parker journeys to Colby!

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 8, 2014

A rather peculiar performance: We’ve been curious about Christopher Parker since 2010.

Parker, an associate professor at the University of Washington, burst on the scene at that time with a somewhat murky, somewhat bungled study of the tea party’s racial attitudes. The study produced substantial excitement in some liberal precincts.

The bungling struck us as odd. We’ve been curious about Parker ever since.

Over the weekend, C-Span aired an event at Colby College featuring Professor Parker. Colby students were in the audience, along with some people from the local community (Waterville, Maine).

Parker spoke about his new book for 55 minutes, then took questions for 35. We’d call it one of the oddest university events we’ve ever seen on C-Span.

To watch the event, click here.

Parker has a large personality. As you can see if you watch the tape, he started off with a warning and a pre-emptive apology:
PARKER (11/20/13): All right. I see I have two mikes here. I promise you I won’t need either one.

[Laughter]

Anyway, so let me just say this by way of introduction. I can do this the more traditional, sort of stuffy academic way. Or I can do this my way.

So I’m gonna do this my way. And doing it my way consists of sometimes, you know, dropping an occasional F-bomb. So if you are sensitive, if foul language offends you, I would invite you to leave right now. Because when I discuss this stuff I really get into it.

So I’m going to offer a mea culpa now, to you, and to C-Span, and I’m also going to offer one later as I conclude.
We’ve watched the 90 minutes twice. For what it’s worth, none of the threatened F-bombs were dropped.

On the other hand, we’re not sure we’ve ever seen a more disjointed academic presentation. Even after watching twice, we can’t tell you what Parker’s thesis was, except that he made a point of comparing the tea party to the Ku Klux Klan of the 1920’s.

What was the basis for the comparison? We’d have to say that was never explained.

Parker has a lot of personality, but good lord, what a performance! Around the 9-minute mark, you will hear his account of the time he and his wife went to Lanai, “perhaps the most remote of the Hawaiian Islands,” and got stuck having dinner with some tea party people.

Out of all the rum joints on all the islands of the world, they had to walk into his!

Around the 29-minute mark, you will see the Colby director break in to (our interpretation) stop the professor from sassing an audience member who sympathizes with the tea party. Your interpretation may differ.

No F-bombs were ever dropped, but we found the event depressing.

We Americans are having a very hard time interacting with one another. When we break apart into warring tribes who can’t communicate or work together in any way, the most extreme hyper-conservative mission is at last complete.

The F-bomb warning comes one minute in. But go ahead—take the tea party challenge! Can you define Parker’s thesis from watching the whole 90 minutes?

Frankly, we could not. We’ve seen his book’s thesis described in print, but we didn’t hear Parker describe it that night. C-Span’s synopsis seems quite hard to square with what we actually saw.

We found this event depressing. Your reaction may differ.

91 comments:

  1. So...nothing to say about the recent developments in that "ginned-up" story about the closure of the George Washington Bridge? Nah...thought not.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Strange how you waited until a shred of evidence showed up to hammer on this story. Maybe MSNBC should have done it your way.

      Delete
    2. Strange how evidence would never have come to light if everyone had followed Somerby's sage advice and not sweated the small stuff.

      Delete
    3. Hey, all Gov. Ultrasound got were a few gifts. MAddow has taken liberalism to the pit of paralytic hell.

      Delete
    4. Steeve, would the fact that the lanes were closed for four days for a "traffic study" that no one could document be considered a "shred of evidence." or perhaps the fact that Christie's appointee to the PA resigned when asked to present proof of the study be maybe a schmear of evidence?

      Nah....

      Delete
  2. The blurb for the talk says

    "Christopher Parker says that it is a mistake to argue that the Tea Party is driven by ideology or racism. "

    And Our Maximum Leader says

    "Parker, an associate professor at the University of Washington, burst on the scene at that time with a somewhat murky, somewhat bungled study of the tea party’s racial attitudes.".

    Hmmmmm.

    and 4:27 - we should never let his Kool Aid drinkers forget how much smoke the blogger blew against Maddow the perspirer in re Bridgegate only to tuck tail and quit talking about it now that the story may end Christie's political career.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "and 4:27 - we should never let his Kool Aid drinkers forget..."

      Oh yes. Troll tag-team!!

      Delete
    2. Anon @ 6:12

      Do trolls cause you to feel unclean and queasy when informing frineds of your readership of this otherwise fine blog?

      Delete
    3. Anon 6:24pm, trolls are tyrants. They will always demand that everyone "dance!"

      Yeah, they make you feel queasy and like you'd rather be in another hemisphere, but you keep on trucking despite their intention to squelch you.

      Somerby isn't going anywhere. There will always be tyrants, so there will always be trolls.

      Delete
    4. I am just glad there are stalwart defenders of Somerby that can always come to his aid in times of trouble.

      Delete
    5. Let's pretend Somerby never makes a mistake.

      Delete
    6. You mean let's pretend that you're reasonable and fairly intentioned.

      Delete
  3. Should this be filed under "Who Needs Professors?" or would it fit better under "R Bombs Away with Today's Liberal Leadership."

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hmmm.. What's going on today that you're ignoring, after harping on the subject for weeks? Hint: It rhymes with "Misty".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bob was epically, comically wrong on that one.

      Delete
    2. Ok, Bob doesn't know anything about Christie or NY/NJ politics, That's not really a big deal. But what has to hurt Bob's pride is to be so totally wrong on something where Maddow was front and center and, well, correct. Ouch.

      It's kind of impressive, if somewhat pathological, the way Somerby has carried on....pretending anyone is going to care about today's random liberal-bashing at TDH, pretending all his readers don't think he's desperate and full of hot air.

      Delete
    3. All his readers don't think he's desperate and full of hot air.
      Cecelia Mc is always there for him.

      Delete
  5. "Can you define Parker’s thesis from watching the whole 90 minutes?"

    If you understand basic English, its quite easy really.

    Tea Partiers are not crazy or irrational, not sui generis (The Kool Aid gallery might need to hit the dictionary for that one) , not angry conservatives, not mainstream such as McCain, Boehner, McConnel et al.

    They are reacting to change - they want to preserve the WASP way of life - White Men dominant, blacks and women (you can also throw in Hispanics now) know their place, gays are in the closet and anybody who is to be considered American was born in America.

    You may agree or disagree - but thats his thesis.

    Who does his definition remind one of around these parts?

    ReplyDelete
  6. "Around the 29-minute mark, you will see the Colby director break in to (our interpretation) stop the professor from sassing an audience member who sympathizes with the tea party."

    SASSING?

    Would you use the word for a University of Chicago PhD putting an ignorant audience member in his place?

    Well - the professor is black - does that explain everything?

    "large personality" - WTF is that? Count the number of ways the blogger is trying to ridicule the professor with vague innuendos.

    The endless riff about "black kids", rock-ribbed support for Zimmerman - folks - the blogger has started to let it all hang out.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Kool Aid Drinkers:

    Christie is finished.

    Now have the decency to admit that your god let his librul-hatred run away with himself and made a thorough ass of himself ("traffic wasn't disrupted", Maddow's sweat etc.)

    NY Times:

    Later text messages mocked concerns that school buses filled with students were stuck in gridlock: “They are the children of Buono voters,” Mr. Wildstein wrote, referring to Mr. Christie’s opponent Barbara Buono. The emails are striking in their political maneuvering, showing Christie aides gleeful about the chaos that resulted, including emergency vehicles delayed in responding to three people with heart problems and a missing toddler, as well as commuters fuming.

    --------------------------------------

    While the emails do not establish that the governor himself called for the lane closings, they show his staff was intimately involved, contrary to Mr. Christie’s repeated avowals that no one in his office or campaign knew about them. In fact, the emails show, several staff members and appointees worked to cover up the scheme under the ruse that it was a traffic study.

    -------------------------------------------------------

    In fact, bridge officials testified in December that Mr. Baroni and Mr. Wildstein instructed them not to tell the Fort Lee police, or anyone else, about the lane closings before they happened. They also testified that they did not believe there had been any traffic study; none were produced after the lane closings, and any study of traffic patterns could have been done using computer models of data routinely collected at the bridge.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I beg you to stop this crazily vile trolling. All you do by this trolling is make me despise liberals or Democrats or anything you are for. If you are for anything, I am against it because you are so vile. I beg you to stop being vile.

      Delete
    2. Translation:
      Wah, wah, waaaaaaaaah!"

      Delete
    3. No; rather translation: Please give up your childish, inane gloating. You seem to have the temperament of an 8 year old with an IQ of 80.

      Delete
    4. Yeah, gloating or beating a not so dead horse.

      Somerby never does that.

      Delete
  8. OMB (Ex BOBfan Club meeting)

    BOB may or may not get back to the bridge story, but his coverage of it has made BOB the story elsewhere. Somebody alert Cecelia. Her help is needed elsewhere.

    http://www.balloon-juice.com/2014/01/08/waiting-for-a-correction/

    KZ

    Be sure and read the multiple trolls lamenting our ONE TRUE BOB in the comments section. I wonder if BOB has counted them yet.

    ReplyDelete
  9. off topic -- do not read ...January 9, 2014 at 12:51 AM

    im back, but unfortunately I got nothing. so this.

    so glad to hear about maureen dowd standing up for irish people and americans with irish heritage. i dont read her column except when referenced by some other source. no knock on her, just not my cup of tea. so I didnt know what her attitudes were in this regard.

    ive often defended americans who happen to have irish heritage from attacks on them which are *based on* their ethnicity. ive often dreaded doing it, as ill see, for example, chris mathews, badmouthing americans with irish heritage, as a 'group', on some other network selling his books. then theres oddoneel, i cant remember his first name, never having on americans with irish-catholic heritage while I was watching during the months prior to the 2012 election. and when he did talk about things 'irish' it was always apologeticly. what a disgustingly traitorous way. then theres the time I defended jack welch and ronald reagan. i never would have done so if they were being attacked as just the pigs they are or were.

    but if theyre attacked for their background again, i'll defend them again.

    oh, and 3 cheers for jim cramer.


    http://www.irishcentral.com/news/NY-Times-Maureen-Dowd-pays-homage-to-her-Irish-family-160989515.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ureallyshoudnthavereadthat . . .January 9, 2014 at 1:10 AM

      lawrence o'donnell

      Delete
    2. sorryicantthinkofanything...January 9, 2014 at 1:20 AM

      boy did i get rusty quick.

      ------correction:

      http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/08/opinion/dowd-beautifying-abbey-road.html?hp&rref=opinion&_r=0

      Delete
  10. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/09/nyregion/christie-aide-tied-to-bridge-lane-closings.html?hp

    If you've been following NYT coverage of this story over the past month or so or just in the course of today: it's very instructive to see the story evolve. Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. Done well here. That's journalism for you -- daily stuff, constantly redacted and edited. Not to be judged by any one story (the way Bob too often does). I wish I had saved each version of today's story on the NYT site, as models for students of the wonders of rewriting.

    Not that the NYT is a star in all this. Its own investigations have been slow, late. The WSJ has one-upped it. But the real stars are local NJ papers, especially in Bergen County. We should be celebrating their reporters' and editors' dogged efforts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fully agree, the local reporters (who probably get paid next to nothing) were on this story like a dog on a bone. They did their job. Kudos.

      Delete
    2. "We should be celebrating their reporters' and editors' dogged efforts."

      And also questioning the near black out of this story by the national media. That is something that should be and used to be right up Bob's alley. Why is the national media ignoring this story for months? Maddow was a lonely voice reporting this story. And for her trouble endured ridicule. For the first time that I can recall the story made it on the Today Show this morning. How is that possible? We're talking about a federal crime. I'm willing to be a lot of folks that work on the Today Show live in Fort Lee and got caught in those jams.

      Delete
    3. Well, that's the way it works. Local stories don't become national stories unless a national figure is involved AND after the local reporters have made their "dogged efforts."

      It even took quite some time and some relenteless digging by "local reporters" Woodward and Bernstein before Watergate blew up.

      Let us also note that while Maddow congratulated herself on being the "first national media outlet" on the story, she also heaped praise on the local reporters who first broke it and stuck with it, and even had the reporter for the Bergen County Record on her show.

      Delete
    4. "Well, that's the way it works. Local stories don't become national stories unless a national figure is involved AND after the local reporters have made their "dogged efforts.""

      Oh really? Is that the rule?
      As a matter of fact, Maddow stayed off this story for quite a while. It was only a few months ago that she began reporting on it and this has been in the NY/NJ news since last September.

      Delete
    5. No, there is no "rule". But as even you admit, that's the way it works out even in this case.

      Delete
  11. Bob Somerby, the reason Rachel Maddow is a star anchor at MSNBC and you have some crappy blog nobody cares about is that she bothers to do research and reporting before running a story, whereas you just go off on some ill-informed rant without bothering to know what you're talking about. Now that your idiotic crusade against her reporting on the bridge scandal has been discredited, anyone in your position with an ounce of integrity would have run an abject apology on your front page every day for a year, if not quit blogging altogether. You are a dirtbag for not doing that.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Horace Pleigh:

    From NorthJersey .com

    FORT LEE – Emergency responders were delayed in attending to four medical situations – including one in which a 91-year-old woman lay unconscious – due to traffic gridlock caused by unannounced closures of access lanes to the George Washington Bridge, according to the head of the borough’s EMS department.

    The woman later died, borough records show.

    In at least two of those instances, response time doubled, noted EMS coordinator Paul Favia, who documented those cases in a Sept. 10 letter to Mayor Mark Sokolich, which The Record obtained.

    On Sept. 9, the first day of the traffic paralysis, EMS crews took seven to nine minutes to arrive at the scene of a vehicle accident where four people were injured, when the response time should have been less than four minutes, he wrote.

    It also took EMS seven minutes to reach an unconscious 91-year-old woman who later died of cardiac arrest at a hospital. Although he did not say her death was directly caused by the delays, Favia noted that “paramedics were delayed due to heavy traffic on Fort Lee Road and had to meet the ambulance en-route to the hospital instead of on the scene.

    end quote.

    Don't you think the blogger's critics' IQ/temperament is less important than how the blogger is going to respond to his documented vileness on this matter?

    He can be excused for librul-hating on autopilot before these revelations - but smoothly ignoring it or doubling down is only going to prove what we the troll-brigade have been saying about the blogger?

    CHRISTIE MIGHT HAVE CAUSED UNNECESSARY DEATHS OF TOTALLY INNOCENT New Jersey-ans for petty political revenge. Blogger-fans - chew on that for a second.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Maybe if Somerby had been college roomies with the people of Fort Lee, he'd have considered the GWB story worth the coverage Rachel Maddow gave it.

    ReplyDelete
  14. To add my voice to the chorus, I am also awaiting Bob's mea culpa on his slashing at his most reviled Maddow for reporting this story.

    On a related note, I am watching Morning Joe right now, where his Joeness is in high dudgeon. I'm thinking back to a few weeks ago where Joe and Jim Van de Hei clowned around about this being a nothing-to-see-here story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, at least it appears that Scarborough isn't buying the "I didn't know anything until yesterday" excuse.

      Delete
  15. If Bob responds at all, it will be to say that Maddow's initial reports were about a traffic jam on the bridge, when the real traffic jam was in the city, ergo all subsequent reporting should be ignored.

    And Somerby would be well advised to cut his losses and not go there.

    I've lost count of the number of sharks he has jumped, but this one is "Jaws."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know this thing about "traffic on the bridge" vs "traffic at the Ft Lee approaches to the bridge" was such a minor point it's bizarre he was harping on it.

      People i know caught in that mayhem got to work and said "traffic on the GW, sorry." not "traffic on the Ft Lee approaches to the bridge." In other words, most of us see it as one in the same.

      Delete
    2. I saw that original Maddow story about this. She was very specific and accurate about the lane closures causing gridlock in the city of Fort Lee, and appearing to be designed to do just that.

      What gets me is that, as of last night, Lawrence O'Donnell still had it wrong, missing that point and talking about traffic on the bridge.

      Delete
    3. I will concede the point that Lawrence O'Donnell isn't the sharpest tool in the shed.

      But how does that make Somerby look less like a fool for his knee-jerk reaction to Maddow's reporting?

      Delete
  16. step up, bob. no one cares about Professor Parker. give us your considered wisdom on GWB.

    it's Chinatown, bob.

    ReplyDelete
  17. The question is not what people know NOW about this incident, but what people knew (what the evidence was) back when Maddow reported on it and Somerby criticized her report. This is 20/20 hindsight. Only an idiot troll doesn't get that distinction. But this is just piling on over Somerby's lack of omniscience and his belief that Maddow didn't have enough evidence either to be saying what she did back before these emails emerged. If you think it is OK to draw conclusions without support, then Maddow is vindicated but she will be wrong as often as she is right. Some of us think journalists shouldn't function that way. But you guys are just trolls using up space in a blog where you don't belong.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "... his belief that Maddow didn't have enough evidence either to be saying what she did back before these emails emerged.""

      Bullshit. TDH never showed one single thing Maddow reported that was wrong, inaccurate, or going beyond the known facts. It just burned his ass that she was wasting time reporting on it at all.

      Delete
    2. Go back and look at Maddow's reporting. She included specific information that was known already at that time: Wildstein had personally ordered the lane closures, and explicitly instructed that Fort Lee officials NOT be notified in advance. The PA department that does traffic studies knew nothing about it. That was known THEN, and was the basis for Maddow's reporting. Bob was just as wrong then as he would be now if he continued to deny the quality of Maddow's reporting on this story.

      Delete
    3. Well, by that impeccable logic, Woodward and Bernstein should never have written a word about Watergate until they had all the answers.

      And anybody who questioned them for continuing to dig, raise questions and follow leads was entirely correct, even to the point of saying it was all about nothing.

      Delete
    4. Woodward and Bernstein were not permitted to write anything without two sources. They worked to different standards than we have today. That's why the story gradually emerged over time. Maddow and others just go right to their own suspected bottom line, without evidence. No one is upset that reporters continued to dig on this story.

      Delete
    5. "without evidence"

      You go right ahead and accept Bob's line that Maddow raced to report a wild rumor with nothing at all to back it up.

      But if you actually saw her reporting about this, instead of merely reading what Somerby said she reported, you'd see plenty of evidence, not the least of which was the "traffic study" that no one could produce.

      And yes, we are living in a different world. And in the World of Somerby, he'd be glomming on the mistakes Woodward and Bernstein made over the course of their Watergate reporting -- and there were plenty of them -- in a lame attempt to discredit their entire body of work.

      Delete
    6. Even as late as last night, Maddow was still carefully reporting that there is still no direct evidence to indicate that Christie himself directly ordered the lane closures even with the smoking gun e-mail that directly ties the order to a member of his staff.

      Delete
  18. The connection back to Christie has still not been established. This story is only interesting if Christie can be shown to have known about this and/or ordered it to happen. I agree that he probably did, but "probably" isn't good enough for journalism and it isn't good enough to jump to the conclusion that Christie did this. While there is more support for the belief today, there was less back when Maddow made her report -- just a juxtaposition of events (the mayor failed to endorse, traffic lanes were closed, the study justifying it seemed bogus) but not the connections between them. Reporters are not supposed to jump to conclusions. Partisans smear based on tenuous evidence because their goal is weaken opponents, not report truth. If they get it wrong, so what, their goal has still been achieved. Somerby's point is that Maddow is behaving like a partisan not a journalist. Some of us want to leave such tactics to conservatives and those at Fox and do not want to see the left behave unethically, even when it serves partisan purposes. Others don't care, as long as someone like Christie is hurt. It is clear where you guys are coming from on this issue. You don't care what the substance of the discussion is, as long as Somerby is hurt.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So you buy Christie's "I knew nothing until today" excuse. Well, sorry, but that makes him either a liar or a fool.

      Take your pick.

      Delete
    2. Even partisans can do good reporting on occasion. Chalk it up to the broken clock theory, if you like. I often agree with TDH's critiques of Maddow and the rest of the MSNBC crew, but if he doesn't admit his error in this case, he becomes the broken clock as far as I'm concerned.

      If Christie knew nothing about this, it's still a huge story about abuse of power and executive incompetence.

      Delete
    3. "This story is only interesting if"

      Delete
    4. Somerby has no error to admit. He wasn't arguing that Christie is innocent. He was arguing that Maddow didn't have the evidence, and she didn't -- THEN. This is new evidence.

      If Christie knew nothing about this, it suggests he distanced himself from the operations of his aides in order to maintain plausible deniability. It doesn't make him a liar or foo, or an incompetent. It makes him a politician. I agree that it would be an abuse of power. It is obvious Christie is a bully (finger shaken in teacher's face, for example). If you didn't know that before Maddow's story, you weren't paying attention. So, what really is this story about? Does anyone know anything new about Christie? It is now about a potential takedown of a Republican candidate ahead of the 2016 presidential primaries. THAT is the story. That Maddow is helping to takedown a politician instead of being a journalist is Somerby's complaint.

      Delete
    5. I disagree Anonymous @ 10:39.

      This makes Christie a foo.

      It also makes TDH coverage of the Maddow coverage poo.

      Delete
    6. "Reporters are not supposed to jump to conclusions."

      And once again, Maddow didn't jump to conclusions and no one has established a single thing she reported that was wrong, inaccurate, or that went beyond the known facts.


      Isn't it a bit ironic that you keep accusing her of doing the very thing you're doing, convicting her of journalistic malpractice without any evidence to support your pre-determined story line spoon fed to you by TDH?

      Delete
    7. By golly, reporters jumping to conclusions is the Somerby script, and they are sticking with it.

      Unfortunately they are guilty of a classic Bobism -- projecting their own flaws upon favored targets.

      " . . . no one has established a single thing she reported that was wrong, inaccurate, or that went beyond the known facts."

      Bingo. And they don't and won't because they can't. All they can do is recite the script Somerby has handed them.


      Delete
  19. As unclean as they make me feel, and embarrassed as I am to tell my friends about this blog because of them, I have to admit that in this particular case:

    TROLLS WIN!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Trolls never win because they are sick little people acting out an obsession. They lose every time they post.

      Delete
    2. Some would regard this entire blog as Mr. Bob Somerby trolling.

      Delete
    3. I like Somerby and have been reading him since the 2000 campaign. But i strongly disagreed with him on his take on the Christie story. And i also strongly disagreed with over the Zimmerman case.

      Like most people (i assume), I tend not to post when i agree with him - what's the point?

      My take from some posters here is if you disagree with Somerby you're a troll. Odd.

      Delete
    4. You guys clearly don't understand what trolling is, then.

      Delete
  20. This wound will keep festering in this post until Somerby does a separate post about it. He did at least three, maybe four individual posts about Maddow's coverage last month. He needs to evaluate his work in light of what we all know to be the facts now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What don't you get about 20/20 hindsight? He wasn't claiming that Christie was innocent. He was claiming that Maddow's coverage wasn't supported by the facts AT THE TIME. No revision is necessary because nothing has changed about that. Is this really so hard for you to understand or are you only focused on making Somerby crawl? Ugly if the latter, sad if the former.

      Delete
    2. You can continue to pretend that Somerby was right and Maddow had nothing behind her reporting AT THE TIME, which of course today makes Somerby still entirely right when he is entirely wrong.

      Those of us who actually saw Maddow's reporting AT THE TIME no different. But then again, some of us aren't so eager to swallow everything Somerby throws our way.

      Delete
  21. OMB (Ex BOBfan Club Meeting Part 2)

    Here is what some unbiased outsider blogging elsewhwere had to say:

    "So, I wonder if Bob Somerby, who expects perfect accuracy from everyone in the media, will walk back his many posts criticizing Rachel Maddow for pushing this story. My guess is “no”, but I still think it’s an important question. I’m not one who thinks that liberal media should make shit up like Fox News, but when there’s a little smoke around an elected Republican, there’s nothing wrong with looking hard for some fire. That’s all that Maddow did. And, in the end, her instincts were right, while Somerby’s were dead wrong."

    Balloon Juice...Waiting for a Correction
    http://www.balloon-juice.com/2014/01/08/waiting-for-a-correction/

    KZ (Strongly suggesting you read the many comments there)

    ReplyDelete
  22. Trolls have tried to hijack this and the previous few threads by repeatedly returning to this bridge stuff and harassing Somerby for an "apology". The rest of us sit here and hum while they do it. I see this as an analogy to the way liberals respond to the coverage offered by our pundits on MSN.

    I watched a bunch of the video about Parker. I agree that his presentation is disjointed and that he was unduly harsh with the spectator. I think the moderator was trying to get Parker to back off. That occurred at the point where he invited the man and his wife to come down to the front row so he could look him in the eye. The "wife" or whoever the woman sitting next to the guy was, is shown climbing over chairs and exiting at that point. Parker challenges the man to provide evidence supporting his claim that voter fraud is a real problem. The problem with that is that a speaker is expected to provide evidence to support his claims, not the audience, especially after he has made a disclaimer that he is not going to be stuffy and scholarly (which means provide footnotes and the kind of support an academic would expect). It is like shutting someone up in comments by demanding they cite sources. It steps outside the linguistic pragmatics of the situation to win an argument by suppressing an opponents statements (not refuting them). It is viewed by academics as an unfair tactic, so I think that is what Somerby is responding to. If a professor did that to a student during a class, it would be bullying. His recitation of his credentials at the beginning of his talk is an assertion of argument by authority and is also a bit of bullying of critics ahead of making his case. Academics typically downplay their credentials to let their data speak for itself.

    Based on his style, I think Parker is either tired of doing these kinds of appearances, or he is not taking this one very seriously. He seems underprepared. If he has been receiving these kinds of reactions so widely, he has had the chance to prepare some stock responses to them so that he need not be sidetracked by someone raising some pretty standard objections from the tea party perspective. Instead it was a chance to engage in Jerry Springer-type theatrics, waste time, and evade engaging with the material until the clock is run out and he can go back to his hotel. That's my take on it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for directing readers back to a really important example of intellectual paralysis. The professor's performance at Colby does so remind one of Joyce and Dublin at the turn of the previous century.

      Delete
    2. Thank you for this fine, fine comment.

      Delete
  23. Bob, there is 1 completely crazy and completely vicious troll who is trying to destroy this blog and you. Please do ban the troll. No blogger should tolerate such maliciousness. You are too valuable to allow such maliciousness.

    ReplyDelete
  24. If "racist" is the first adjective you think of to describe the Tea Party, you're doing it wrong. "Stupid" and "gullible" are WAY MORE accurate descriptors.

    Berto

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    1. My conversations with conservatives leads me to believe they are undereducated. I think that is partly because the sources they read mislead them and are not factually correct. For example, I read Amity Shales book on the depression, the Forgotten Man, and it presents a factually distorted look at historical events that is not shared by other historians of that time period. If conservatives read it, their point of view will be validated and they will be given a bunch of selective info and arguments to support their viewpoint, but they will not understand how real history is written and what the consensus among historians is about it. There are agreements in the field about what constitutes evidence and how arguments are made. I find that conservatives don't understand that and base their views on mistaken information about the world, on a wide variety of issues. I don't know what can be done about that other than to encourage more students to attend college and support non-partisan sources of info that will cut across the garbage sources. I don't think these are stupid or gullible people, I think they are untrained in critical thinking and under-exposed to mainstream thought in most fields.

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    2. ^
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      a premise so absurd only an intellectual could form it.

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  25. Aside from the obvious-- that Bob has been wrong about the whole Christie thing from the start--that he skewered himself while trying to jab Maddow--the amazing thing is that he doesn't just concede the issue.

    If Bob would concede that he was wrong from the start on this one, it would make him seem honest, mature and credible. It would make TDH's other misadventures on, say, Zimmerman and Susan Rice seem somewhat more plausible. But when what was always true finally becomes undeniably obvious to everyone, it cannot help this blog to keep asserting that previous misguided and incorrect assessments were somehow wise, considered and well-informed.

    It's not like Bob didn't get a lot of feedback that he was barreling down the wrong path in real time...

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    1. This topic is dead here. Go away.

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    2. This topic is dead, but when TDH discusses scripts Gore 2000 is very much alive got it.

      Bob had a script for Maddow, and played us like fools.

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    3. Even worse than the truth that he was dead wrong is the way he went about criticizing Maddow, calling her a bought and paid for partisan hack for even daring to report the story.

      What happened to all his lectures about how King and Mandela treated their "enemies"?

      Down the memory hole, I guess.

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  26. 10:54 hope you like the Kool Aid.

    "Parker challenges the man to provide evidence supporting his claim that voter fraud is a real problem. The problem with that is that a speaker is expected to provide evidence to support his claims, not the audience,"

    EVERYBODY has the obligation to support positive assertions. Prima facie it seems to be voter suppression and not fraud prevention since it is happening mostly in Red states and he even gave reasons such as a hunting license being acceptable but not a college ID. The professor has been studying this and was justifiably peremptory and perhaps even bullying with a layman making unsupported claims.

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  27. Asking an audience member to supply sources on the spot, off the top of his head, is bullying. The professor has been studying this and should be able to supply support himself, especially since he was asserting that voter fraud is not a real issue. He could have educated people. Instead he created a circus.

    In class, if a student contradicts something a professor says, the professor doesn't say "show me your sources." He or she directs the student to a resource or discusses the issue (with evidential support and analysis). Parker should know the figures for investigations of voter fraud, and should be able to cite them. It is his field of research. Some schmuck in the audience doesn't do this for a living and cannot be expected to reel off citations from his seat at the back of the room. That's just ridiculous. There is no place in education for bullying, even if the teacher is right about his statements. It makes the student (or audience member) shut up but it doesn't change their mind or convince them of anything. It makes others watching very nervous and it stifles further discussion, which is perhaps what Parker wanted.

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  28. 11:36

    This is not some disagreement about the capital of Poland. This is a white couple (most likely not students) who showed up and the man lobs an unsupported statement at a professor who HAD PROVIDED SUPPORTING DATA to show that its intended effect is to suppress low income/minority votes.

    The man took a cheap shot and the professor decided that he wasn't there to learn and nailed him. I have seen even math lecturers do that to the wilfully dumb. He got exactly what he deserved,

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    1. Exactly. How rude of the professor to ask a heckler to support his argument. Why that's never done in academic circles.

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  29. This particular comment section is probably a good example of the problem that TDH often brings up about our inability to have a serious discussion. Most of the comments are off subject. Some believe they have caught a TDH mistake on a completely different subject and they will not let any further discussions occur until they "resolve" this mistake. Nothing, of course, can resolve the mistake, so the bickering becomes endless and ultimately pointless. The result is that all serious discussion ends and no one obtains any new insights or relevant points of view. What were we talking about then?

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  30. 12:59

    Cut out the "can't we all just get along" crap.

    The mistake can be resolved by the blogger issuing a humble mea culpa. Instead he has made it worse by bringing in Gail Collins who had nothing to do with the faeces-hurling he did against Maddow, the war or Gore and every irrelevancy except how he acted like a dick and got caught out.

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  31. 12:59

    I agree, and add that one of the reasons that the trolls so often take up their pitchforks is that an obvious underlying theme at this blog is how the power elite divide and conquer.

    You see, Bob isn't really criticizing Maddow, he's rubbing her fan's faces in the fact that they are so gullible that they swallow this circus whole. I understand that there are differences between the Dems and Repugs, but if one gets so deep in the mud that all you see are enemies and friends, one will not notice that full employment is, in fact, by their policies, actually discouraged by nearly all national politicians, regardless of party. Big business is running the show, and Maddow is on the payroll.

    Have some of you proud liberals recognized how far it has gotten you and your middle class and working class peers when you show so convincingly how stupid the Repugs are? Do you ever wonder who you are convincing? Undecided voters? Really? They must just love the hatred and belittling you do to the stupid, racist party. I know that I'm always swayed by the debater with the largest supply of misanthropic vitrol. And here's another clue: just becasue you're laughing, doesn't mean you're not being mean.

    You know way in the back of your heads that the media kings set up these poo-flinging set pieces (in print and on TV), to keep the rabble's minds clear of the obvious solutions to help support the average American.

    Bob is wrong often. But he shows this modern truth. So you hate him for it.

    I know, I know. I'm full of shit. Maddow will come out any day now with support for a return to the Communications Act of 1934.

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    1. Ah, so that's why Bob told us that there was nothing to the bridge story.

      It's because Maddow is really a tool of elite and powerful.

      It all makes sense now. To you.

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    2. Stay with me: your gloating over this episode shows that you have been hood-winked into believing that by being a fan of Maddow, you have not been utterly neutralized in the modern political battle.

      All hail Comcast!

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