Supplemental: Additional late-summer fun in Ukraine!

TUESDAY, AUGUST 26, 2014

We’ll always have Donetsk:
Travel writers have always praised late summer in eastern Ukraine.

In this morning’s New York Times, Kramer and Roth describe another of the region’s seasonal festivals. In today’s episode, a traitor is tied by the side of the road and motorists stop to abuse her.

For yesterday’s episode, just click here. Hard-copy headline included:
KRAMER AND ROTH (8/25/14): With Peace Talks Near, Prisoners in Ukraine Are Abused

On the sidewalk of a busy street beside a checkpoint, a bearded gunman wrapped a woman in a Ukrainian flag and forced her to stand, sobbing in terror,
holding a sign identifying her as a spotter for Ukrainian artillery. “She kills our children,” it read. Because the woman was a spy, said the gunman, a pro-Russian militant, everything that would happen to her would be well-deserved.

Passers-by stopped their cars to get out and spit, slap her face and throw tomatoes at her. Her knees buckled. She struggled to mumble in protest of her innocence and to shake her head in denial.

This theatrical scene of abuse unfolded a day after the rebel movement had paraded Ukrainian prisoners of war down a main thoroughfare here at bayonet point, then dramatically washed the pavement behind them.

[...]

The drama that played out on the streets of Donetsk Monday seemed sure to ratchet up tensions. A military unit of Russian nationals from the region of North Ossetia, in southern Russia, held the woman at a checkpoint in a roundabout in Donetsk known as “the Motel,” for a nearby hotel. The men, smiling and gesturing toward the woman, waved over cars for drivers to observe or take part.

“We should hang you on the square,” one woman in the crowd yelled, then walked up and spat in the face of the victim,
then kicked her in a thigh, causing the woman accused of spying to stagger back.

The gunmen looked on. At times, the pro-Russian soldiers posed beside the crying woman to take selfies on their smartphones, or playfully twirl her hair with their fingers.

At one point, a fighter walked a few paces back, crouched in the street and aimed a Kalashnikov rifle at the woman in a mock execution. The woman shut her eyes. “Open your eyes, stand up straight!” another of the gunmen yelled.
Just your typical seasonal stuff.

Again, we make an unpleasant point. The tendency to loathe The Other is deeply bred in the bone. We humans all have an impulse in this direction. Presumably, reflexive loathing of The Other was once a survival skill.

When our reptilian brain directs us to loathe, it also directs us to believe every unpleasant thing we might hear about Those People. It suggests that we start making up facts about how The Others are.

In various forms, this goes on all over the world. We sometimes think we see versions of this happening over here.

29 comments:

  1. Howler trolls get results.

    For the second day, we get both last names in a double bylined NYT story, though we have yet to learn their first names from Bob.

    Oh well, sometimes progress is measured in inches.

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    1. Do you care deeply what their first names are? Are you incapable of using google to find out the first names, if you really want to know them?

      Or do you just enjoy making yourself a focus of attention, even over a triviality like this? If this is a result you are satisfied with, enjoy it. The world is full if trivial things you can accomplish. Who knows how little you can do, if you put your mind to it.

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    2. Oh, no. You got me wrong. I know their first names. They are both "Andrew."

      I am just so happy that Bob realizes that when there are two names on a byline, both names should be acknowledged. If it's Bob's new style rule not to mention first names in a double byline, so be it.

      I am looking so forward to "BOSMAN AND GOLDSTEIN" the next time Julie Bosman and Joseph Goldstein share a byline.

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    3. And by all means let's never focus on trivialities.

      After all we have bigger fish to fry. One of the nation's leading progressives, Eleanor Clift, said that there were two cops in the car when Brown was shot.

      Our progressive values, if not the fate of Western Civilization, is at stake here.

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    4. Do you consider it a triviality that there might be an eye-witness or even participant to a crime with nationwide concern, without anyone knowing about it? Clift said there was.

      You of course know that once our planet becomes a burnt cinder and our star winks out, no one will care about anything. There's an argument for reducing everything to nothing. Are you proclaiming nihilism as your philosophy of life?

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    5. "One of the nation's leading progressives, Eleanor Clift"

      Eleanor Clift. Leader! National!! Progressive!!!

      So our "leading progressives" are now relegated to appearing on C-Span? Bob must really be jealous. She took the slot he once had a dozen or so years ago.

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    6. I'm just pleased to learn that Eleanor Clift is still alive. And appearing on C-SPAN no less!

      But boy, the lengths Bob will to go advance his preferred narrative.

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    7. Eleanor is as old as Hillary might be at the end of her first term. Speaking of which, what happened to the jihad? Did Kerry arrange a cease fire?

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    8. @ 12:55 "You of course know that once our planet becomes a burnt cinder and our star winks out, no one will care about anything."

      Why wait that long? I gave up caring when I read here at TDH that the death of the west had already been announced.

      I'll be damned if I give a shit with the east in charge.

      It pains me to say it, but now I know why all those Republicans didn't vote in the Florida Panhandle in 2000 after the networks announced at 7 pm EST that the polls had closed. Who gives a rat's ass? They felt about Gore the way I do about them eastern folks.

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  2. I'm not sure these things happen because of labeling. I see people doing bad stuff within groups, not just across them. People do some incredibly brutal things to their own family members in the name of religion or honor or discipline or even custom. What capacity of being human permits that?

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    1. I am checking the previous post on the three stages of Human Evolution written by the great teacher/philosopher B. Somerby (Harvard 69) to see if I can find an answer.

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  3. Anonymous @12:24 - I've sworn-off trying to reason with some of the commenters here, but I'm back just to offer you some moral support, and to suggest to you that it's not worth the effort to try to engage with the inanities expressed by many of the commenters.
    This blog, even with its shortcomings, should provoke some interesting commentary. There could be the people (who already are here) arguing that Bob is too focused on the liberals and not enough on the conservatives. More importantly, there should be people who try to address the real issue raised by this blog - that the media tend to reinforce the existing power structure, whether consciously or not. Commenters can agree or disagree with the thesis, and can argue that Bob's points either support his thesis or don't. Either way, that sort of commentary could be enlightening in a way that I don't see on most other blogs, which don't address this issue.

    Instead, however, we get commenters like KZ and others who, as you note, focus on trivialities, to the extent that their comments can be understood at all. I don't understand what motivates them; without being sarcastic or rude, I honestly would guess that they suffer from a disorder of some sort.

    In any event, I think that it's perfectly obvious that Bob's comment on Eleanor Clift wasn't meant to say that she committed the worst sin known to man. As he said, the mistake didn't really matter much, but she's an example of the out-of-touch media that accept a lot of money for appearing on TV, but don't appear to know anything substantive beyond the approved narratives that everyone else is spouting. That's a real problem for a society that is supposedly "democratic."

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    1. Yes, Jonny. A society that is supposedly "democratic" cannot tolerate "out of touch" voices speaking as defined by Somerby.

      Let us ignore the trivialities. Let us instead focus on the critical issues -- like the opulent digs of celebrity journalists.

      Bob will get around to writing that long-promised series any day now.

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    2. Thanks for coming back Jonny! Let us state the "triviality" which motivates our participation in the commentary box of this fine blog since you do not understand it.

      The notion that "the media reinforces the current power structure" is about as insightful as "the sun comes up in the east and sets in the west on a predictable schedule." In his attempt to make this insightful theme relevant to his readers, Mr. Somerby, BOB as we like to call him, engages in exactly the same behavior as the media he criticizes. We find it amusing and entertaining that he as attracting an annoying following in doing so.

      In the case of Eleanor Clift, for example, BOB takes a very long time writing about her in order to make the point that she does not know what she is talking about. Neither does BOB frequently. We note, for purposes of our primary amusement, it took him as long to get to that point as it took for the New York Times to reach a point in a story where they made a statement which was, in BOB's judgement, the most important thing in the article he criticized. That said, as BOB himself would say, others's views may differ on whether that was the most important thing in the Times article. Obviously the Times did or they would have made it the lede.

      Returning to your long comment on something Clift said which "didn't really matter much," you cite her as an example of media folk who don't know anything "beyond the approved narratives that everyone else is spouting." We find no one else spouting what Ms. Clift spouted, and we long for you or our beloved BOB to tell us what mysterious cabal "approves" of the narrative.

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    3. Please go back to posting comments about spells.

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    4. Now deadrat is one who cares not whether the sun comes up or sets on a particularly regular schedule so long as David in Cal is around for mental gymnastics.

      Ask and ye shall receive my napster man...

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=orNpH6iyokI

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    5. 345: you left off your little trademark thingie.

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    6. I was Anon@12:24 and I appreciate the moral support. Thank you.

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  4. Surely I can't be the only one to notice the irony that the excerpted Times article detailing alleged prisoner abuse by Ukrainian rebels was published with the intent of inculcating loathing of those rebels (and by implication, Russia) as The Other.

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    1. Yes, indeed. Those Eastern Ukranians are definitely not like "us."

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    2. Then why, for Pete's sake did they invoke the obviously attractive (for Americans) image of blondes with guns on the rebel side?

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    3. Surely I can't be the only one to notice the irony that you failed to understand that Ukrainian rebels are loathsome because they abuse prisoners, not because they're The Other.

      No, not irony. What's that other thing?

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    4. Deadrat I genuinely can't decide whether or not that was sophisticated sarcasm, but I think it was, and it brought a chuckle. Well done sir!

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    5. "What's that other thing?"

      Not irony.

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    6. Yes, there is much to learn about our loathsome tribal media by looking at the Times coverage of eastern Ukraine.

      http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/jon-stewart-ferguson

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