AS SEEN BY OTHERS: Anderson Cooper seen!

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 24, 2017

Part 2—We Occitan speakers are best:
Are we all Catalonians now?

You're asking a very good question! Let's try to flesh out what you might possibly mean.

Not unlike Mr. T, we pity the poor Catalonians! Whatever their personal views might be, they're currently trapped in a growing secessionist movement, the type of tribal dispute which has routinely led to our thousands of years of human wars.

What is Catalonia, you ask? We'll let the leading authority on the subject explain:
Catalonia (Catalan: Catalunya, Occitan: Catalonha, Spanish: Cataluña) is an autonomous community of Spain located on the northeastern extremity of the Iberian Peninsula. It is designated as a nationality by its Statute of Autonomy. Catalonia consists of four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. The capital and largest city is Barcelona, the second-most populated municipality in Spain and the core of the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union. Catalonia comprises most of the territory of the former Principality of Catalonia (with the remainder Roussillon now part of France's Pyrénées-Orientales). It is bordered by France and Andorra to the north, the Mediterranean Sea to the east, and the Spanish autonomous communities of Aragon to the west and Valencia to the south. The official languages are Catalan, Spanish, and the Aranese dialect of Occitan.
People cursed with complex history are said to be doomed to repeat it. In this case, the modern-day successor to most of the territory of the former Principality of Catalonia is an autonomous community of Spain with a population of 7.5 million souls.

This population is able to sustain three official languages, including the Aranese dialect of Occitan. No matter their individual views, residents of this autonomous community are now locked in a growing dispute built out of long-running differences of culture and language.

These kinds of disputes have always fueled our glorious human wars. But are we all Catalonians now, even here in the States?

Alas! When such tribal disputes begin boiling up, we alleged humans tend to report to our tribal battle stations. We tend to see the brilliance and goodness of those on Our side, the evil and dumbness of Them.

For ourselves, we pity the poor Catalonians! But even as the speakers of Catalan and the Aranese dialect of Occitan square off against a modern nation's larger set of speakers of Spanish, is something like that happening here in the States, among us?

Are we Americans all Catalonians now? Our young analysts came to us with that question this morning after they read this early part of David Brooks' new column:
BROOKS (10/24/17): I’ve had a series of experiences over the past two weeks that leave the impression that everybody on earth is having the same conversation: How do you engage with fanatics?

First, I was at a Washington Nationals game when a Trump supporter in the row in front of me unleashed a 10-minute profanity-strewn tirade at me, my wife and son.

Then I went to the University at North Carolina at Asheville and watched some students engage in a heartfelt discussion over whether extremists should be allowed to speak on campus.

Then I went to Madrid, where a number of Spaniards told me that the leaders of the Catalan independence movement were so radical there was no way to reason with them.

Then I went to London where I was with pro-Brexit and anti-Brexit activists trying to have a civil conversation with one another.

Over the course of these experiences I’ve been rehearsing all the reasons to think that it’s useless to try to have a civil conversation with a zealot...
Brooks goes on to offer his thoughts about the right way to deal with a zealot. All in all, we favor his overall view.

Brooks favors the approach which Dr. King derived from what he called "the love ethic of Jesus." But is it possible that we're all zealots now—or at least, that we're all stuck with a world in which the zealots are taking control of the culture and of the public discourse?

Are we all stuck with the zealots now? With the Trump supporter spewing insults? With the college students trying to shut people up?

We note that Brooks, who has long been never-Trump, is harder on the Trump supporter than on those college students. Indeed, it sounds like that Trump supporter was completely and totally out of line. By way of contrast, Brooks says the college students were "engaged in a heartfelt discussion."

A danger lurks in that presentation, as it does in all tribal wars. The danger lies in our instinctive belief that the tribal derangement is all Over There, among The Others—that we speakers of the Aranese dialect of Occitan are playing no role in the growing destructiveness of the growing dispute.

Increasingly, we Americans are engaged in a great civil war, much as the Spaniards are. Our growing meltdown has roots in our nation's real Civil War, as does the growing meltdown in Spain, including in most of the territory of the former Principality of Catalonia, with the remainder Roussillon now part of France's Pyrénées-Orientales.

For us liberals, it's easy to see the way the Trump supporters are misbehaving in public—but how about Us, Over Here? Is it possible that our animal spirits are making it hard for Us to see our own tribe's flaws? Is it possible that The Others can see our own tribe's failures and flaws in ways which we ourselves can't?

We'd have to say that's very possible. For ourselves, we're struck by our own tribe's failures and flaws in this growing war every day of the week.

We often think how things might look to The Others. Consider last Tuesday night's Anderson Cooper performance, in the 9 PM Eastern hour.

Good God, that hour was horrible! What might The Others have seen in that program? Instead of trying to speak for The Others, we'll tell you what we saw:

The bulk of this hour was the now-typical CNN pigpile, in which an array of overwrought "empty barrels" all sounded off about Donald J. Trump.

There's plenty to criticize there, of course. For ourselves, we regard Donald J. Trump as profoundly dangerous and quite possibly as some form of "mentally ill."

Others don't see him that way, of course. Here's what they might have seen had they watched that hour:

They would have seen the typical CNN pigpile, in which six anti-Trump enthusiasts wailed away at one lone Trump supporter.

We include Cooper himself in our count of the six. He has long since abandoned the pose of moderator, trading it for the role of the undisguised partisan. Starting at 10 PM Eastern, Don Lemon is even worse.

There's plenty to criticize about Donald J. Trump, but Anderson Cooper's Gang of Six were running wild this night. There's no apparent reason to book six pundits for a panel if they're all going to say the same things, but CNN has long since adopted this stance, presumably for reasons of excitement and entertainment.

The complaints against Trump were all over the map; during this particular hour, there was nothing too dumb to include. Meanwhile, the lone Trump supporter was the egregious Ed Martin, whose incessant interruptions and persistent illogic are so infallibly awful that he makes a viewer pray that CNN will please bring Jeffrey Lord back.

This six-on-one gangbang pigpile ate the vast bulk of this hour. In spite of the ludicrous stacked alignment, the work of the anti-Trump Six was so disjointed and so trivia-based that Martin was fully able to hold them at bay through his constant interruptions and his world-class streams of illogic.

Cooper made no attempt, at any point, to create a discussion which wasn't inane. Presumably, this is all part of a corporate decision concerning what makes "good TV."

How might The Others have seen this gruesome display? You're asking a very good question! Our best guess would go something like this:

We'll guess that a Trump supporter might not have seen how awful Martin is. That said, Trump supporters would likely have seen this absurd presentation as the latest example of "fake news" and liberal bias—and it isn't even slightly clear that they would have been wrong.

Especially during the evening hours, CNN has abandoned any pretense of offering actual journalism. A wide range of our liberal stars are involved in this sad display.

The Others are fully able to see this. It often seems that we liberals cannot.

Are we all Catalonians now? Are we all doomed to be washed away by the rise in animal spirits? The very best within our own tribe are being washed down this destructive old drain.

Tomorrow, we'll discuss Rep. Wilson's 2015 speech. What have liberal stars said about it? What might The Others have seen had they sat next to General Kelly as he watched that speech??

Tomorrow: Our MVP goes all in

28 comments:

  1. "The bulk of this hour was the now-typical CNN pigpile, in which an array of overwrought "empty barrels" all sounded off about Donald J. Trump."

    It says a great deal about Somerby that he would (1) adopt the ugly phrase 'empty barrel' used by Kelly to malign a black congresswoman, and (2) refer to Cooper's show as a pig pile.

    This is offensive language intended to demean other people. Yet Somerby has the nerve to call us names for opposing The Other in intemperate ways.

    I cannot understand how Somerby thinks it is OK to trivialize the insult to Dr. Wilson by shifting the term used to demean her onto a set of panelists on a nightly TV show.

    Note that Somerby gives no example of the inanity of Cooper's show, gives no specific complaint about it whatsoever. We aren't even told what was being discussed. He just says it was awful and we are supposed to assume it was, on his say so.

    And how exactly is this supposed to keep us from becoming Catalonians?

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    1. People raise the volume when they feel like they aren't being heard.

      The point of Kelly's empty barrel remark was that he was maligning a woman as "all hat and no cattle" who in actuality has considerable accomplishments, including a doctorate in Education and years serving as a school principal, organizing a mentoring program and serving in both the state and federal legislature. How is she an empty barrel, all hat and no cattle?

      This is why people object to the use of that term. Now Somerby picks it up, as if he were being clever or cute. He is applying that same term to us, without any evidence that we are similarly lacking in accomplishments.

      I'd like to remind Somerby that we won the last election by more than 3 million electoral votes only to have our victory stolen by Russian interference and James Comey's violation of Justice Department rules to favor Trump (and throw in some voter suppression and hacking to boot). In a normal election, Clinton would be president, Congress would be doing its job and there would be less frustration on all sides. These are not normal circumstances.

      In that context, Somerby's remarks are as callous as Trump's. Somerby is again today behaving like an ass.

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    2. Somerby's take on the Kelly/Wilson story was possibly the low point of this blog. Absolutely appalling and indefensible.

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    3. The old Bob would have taken Kelly apart, point by point, and castigating the writers who let it p

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    4. 2:22. Can you provide an example from the archives a post that exemplifies the old Bob of which you speak?

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    5. Didn't think so.

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  2. "These kinds of disputes have always fueled our glorious human wars. But are we all Catalonians now, even here in the States?"

    The divisions in the US are not geographic or cultural (in the sense of language or religion or traditions). They are about the haves versus have nots and those who can handle change versus those who cannot. They are truly about liberals who are flexible and accepting of diversity and conservatives who are suspicious of differences among people and yearn for a simpler time and place.

    Unfortunately, because this doesn't map cleanly onto geography, there is no way for one group to secede from the other. Even in the reddest states, the cities tend to be blue. Even in Texas, there is Austin. The majority tends to be blue, but it is dispersed so thoroughly that it cannot prevail, especially with gerrymandering, so the reactionary red views have power and are imposing their views on an unwilling populace.

    Somerby thinks the problem is name-calling, an inability to talk to The Other because of fanaticism. That is incorrect. There are genuine differences that would not be resolved by any amount of talking. Only some conflicts are the result of misunderstandings that can be resolved via better communication. When differences are real and substantial further talk only deepens the chasm. These are the marriages that cannot be saved by counseling. This is the situation in our country. The more we know about The Other, the more we fear for our country and dig in our heels against them.

    Someone is going to have to give. That isn't going to be the blues, because reality is changing and we are going to be pulled kicking and screaming into the future, whether we like it or not. Those capable of embracing change are going to be better equipped to handle what the future brings. The ostriches who want to return to cherished values (like the purity of women) are not going to be able to cope with greater change, especially when they cannot handle today's world. That means we will be the ones to step in and clean up after the red leadership (if Trump can be called a leader) has fucked everything up. That day cannot come too soon.

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    1. Do you truly believe that "The divisions in the US are not geographic or cultural (in the sense of language or religion or traditions)." If so, methinks that you need to review our nation's history, starting with the Constitutional convention that followed the revolution. Pay particular attention to the years leading up to the Civil War.

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    2. In any culturally distinct region of the US there are blue voters and red voters. Voting doesn’t divide along those cultural lines.

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  3. "The very best within our own tribe are being washed down this destructive old drain. "

    Who are these "very best", may I ask? It must've been years since I met any liberal who wasn't a brainless zombie, mindlessly repeating, as if in a deep trance, various liberal 'deep truths' and other meaningless talking points.

    Get out, Bob, get out before they eat what's left of your brain...

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    Replies
    1. Bots need to get out more.

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    2. Hey Mischa, has your paymaster attacked any more newscasters today?

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  4. Somerby says:
    "We often think how things might look to The Others"
    And
    "For ourselves, we regard Donald J. Trump as profoundly dangerous and quite possibly as some form of "mentally ill."
    OK. If Trump is profoundly dangerous, why wouldn't you be doing everything you can to inform the "Others" of that fact? Why would you worry about how it "looks" to Them? If your apartment building is on fire, do you whisper that so as not to disturb the sleeping occupants, or do you shout it at the top of your lungs?
    It seems to me, Mr. Somerby, that in recognizing an emergency in our profoundly dangerous president, you are derelict in your duty by striking a conciliatory tone, instead of doing your damnedest to put an end to this emergency. You have an obligation to inform the "Others" of the danger, especially since they are the least able to recognize it.

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    1. Here is a good description of how things "look" to The Others:

      http://nomoremister.blogspot.com/2017/10/all-those-nice-heartlanders-in-diners.html

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    2. The purpose of this blog is to present Bob's "musings on the mainstream 'press corps' and the American discourse."

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    3. There is apparently a subtle difference between musing and obsessing.

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    4. 'And the American discourse' covers a lot of ground. It does leave Somerby some room to discuss why he thinks Trump is "profoundly dangerous". One would almost say he has a moral duty to do so, if he truly believes that. It is after all his blog, so he can write what he damn well pleases. Otherwise, he might well be accused of fiddling while Rome burns.

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  5. My personal theory about Corker's remarks today is that he is trying to draw Trump's fire so Trump will stop attacking Myeshia Johnson. That's what a Tennessee gentleman would do.

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  6. If Trump is profoundly dangerous, why wouldn't you be doing everything you can to inform the "Others" of that fact?

    But it's that unproved belief that is the tribal. E.g., it would be tribal and wrong to reason as follows:

    If Obama was really born outside the US, why wouldn't you be doing everything you can to inform the "Others" of that fact?

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    1. There is some irony to this given today’s statements by Sens Corker and Flake.

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    2. David, SOMERBY HIMSELF says that he believes Trump is profoundly dangerous. Did you not see him say that?? I then ask how Somerby can then fail to warn people.

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    3. 2 days ago the troll had to fall back on Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky. Today it's birther bullshit. Whenever you think his trolling can sink no lower, he outdoes himself.

      Sad.

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    4. AnonymousOctober 24, 2017 at 5:06 PM - My comment was using the birther issue as an example of bullshit. That's why I said it was wrong.

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    5. Funny that you used that example after previously promoting it in the past.

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  7. I have noticed many posts have pointed out the declining quality of Bob’s essays. The comments are following him down the rabbit hole.

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    www.happywheelsy8.com

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