BREAKING: End of the year is said to approach!

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2017

"Question of the year" to follow:
Late last night, we returned to our sprawling campus after five days of Big Boggle (five or more letters only), Memory and even Chutes and Ladders and Go Fish, accompanied by an almost total news blackout.

Great nieces were involved.

When we popped "cable news" on, the same completely pointless discussions were transpiring. These discussions constitute tribal entertainment product (TM), a spin-off of corporate wishful thinking palaver (TM).

Our analysts informed us that the end of the year is approaching, not to say the end of days. With that heads-up safely in hand, we expect to post this year's "Question of the year" tomorrow.

But first:

We direct you to this recent post by Kevin Drum, our long-time favorite blogger. But first, a quick review:

Drum was placed on probation within the past year. This was our response to his radicalization by the November 2016 election.

The post to which we've linked you is illustrative of the basic problem with the world. Drum examines the puzzling claim that Alabama's recent Senate election involved a "huge," or even an "historic," turnout by black voters.

Drum notes the oddness of this claim, understating as he goes. His headline goes something like this:
Why Does the “Extraordinary Black Turnout” Meme in Alabama Stay Alive?
Please note:

According to Drum's calculations, the black turnout rate in December's election was 38.7 percent. This strikes us as a rather low turnout rate, given the two candidates:
Democratic candidate: Latter-day hero of the Southern civil rights movement

Republican candidate: Craziest person in human history
Given that choice, and given the basic data, we find it hard to understand why that black turnout would be praised by liberals or progressives, let alone described as "huge," "extraordinary" (in the good sense) or "historic."

(Drum notes, as we have done, that the black turnout rate was much higher in 2008. But then, as we have noted, so was the total black turnout in 2008 and 2012, and even in 2016.)

Why does our long-time favorite blogger remain on probation? Here's one tough-talking, straight-shooting reason:

Drum affects puzzlement about the "extraordinary turnout" script, which he insists on describing as a "meme." Why does this script stay alive? So he rather weirdly wonders.

We say his puzzlement is weird for an obvious reason:

We explained this highly familiar phenomenon a very long time ago. In the years which have passed since that time, we've observed this standard phenomenon about a million additional times. We've persistently offered the obvious correct explanation:
Obvious correct explanation:
Your press corps, and other tribal groups and guilds, tell you the stories they like. Our discourse is narrative all the way down. Information and actual facts play little role in the process.
Candidate Gore has a problem with the truth? That was narrative all the way down, maintained by one and all for years. (Career liberals still aren't allowed to discuss this history-changing behavior.)

Black turnout in Alabama was extraordinary, huge, historic? That too is narrative all the way down, a partisan entertainment product from and for our extremely childish tribe.

To us, that turnout rate in Alabama defines a political problem—though also, an opportunity. Acting on the opportunity would, of course, require political action.

With that in mind, we give you the future:

Our tribal culture is built around talk, not action. For that reason, this latest "meme" will be childishly pimped to the end of time. No attendant political action will ever occur.

Soon, another silly script will appear. All the corporate players on "cable news" will mouth it.

(Some players may know the meme is silly. Most likely, most players will not.)

Because these people have high Q ratings, it will be hard for the rank and file to understand what's occurring. People on probation will agree to be puzzled when this next silly meme sweeps the land.

This is cultural anthropology—anthropology all the way down! These behavior patterns sent Trump to the White House. Question for discussion:

How do you think these behavior patterns have been working out?

Tomorrow: With a nod to Krugman's latest column, the question of the year!

27 comments:

  1. Drum is just as much a useless hack as any other lib-hack.

    "Republican candidate: Craziest person in human history"

    Huh? What happened to your (laudable) pluralistic acceptance of "Others", Bob?

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    1. Mao, are you suggesting Moore wasn't crazy? And I don't think I have ever seen from you and "pluralistic acceptance of others."

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    2. I vote for Caligula as the craziest person in human history (head of state category).

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    3. Is Christmas over in St. Petersburg, Boris ?

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  2. 1. This is not cultural anthropology.
    2. What sort of “action” does Somerby propose to take the place of talk?”

    Quibbling over whether something is a meme or a script seems pointless. Somerby need a new, absorbing hobby. Boggle and Go Fish win’t hold his interest. I recommend my personal favorite, duplicate bridge.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Can you see how deeply insulting it is to call liberals all talk after we have spent the past year in the streets protesting various Trump atrocities, beginning on day 1? People have died and been jailed because they were acting, not talking.

      Like Trump, Somerby doesn't seem to care who he insults.

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    3. Somerby mistakes his own situation, of endless talk and zero action, with that of all liberals. He is as blindly narcissistic in this as Trump. And as self-loathing.

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  3. Our tribal culture is built around talk, not action

    Exactly. This comment applies to the Trump-haters, who focus on Trump's crazy talk rather than his reasonable and effective actions.

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    1. Like the awesome, effective dismantling of net neutrality?

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    2. Crazy talk is an action.

      This dichotomy between talk and action is false. Talking is action. Even reading is an action. Somerby, hair-splitter supreme, should see that.

      Trump's crazy talk has consequences worldwide, negative ones. He may have an occasional reasonable and effective action, but most of what he has been doing is against majority views of Americans nationwide across both parties and seems to have little purpose beyond enriching himself and his cronies and undoing Obama's achievements, forwarding a thoroughly racist agenda. You don't have to be tribal to oppose this, and in fact, many Republicans feel the same way Democrats do about Trump's actions and his talk. He is deeply unpopular in the US and the world.

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    3. tRump's "crazy talk"? You mean like his full court attacks on the FBI and his coordinated calls for the purging of the FBI by his cronies in the Gooper house of reps. and state TV Fox Nooz? I guess you're all in on that bit of tyranny bullshit eh, you treasonous bastard.

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    4. AnonymousDecember 28, 2017 at 12:57 PM -- the term "net neutrality" was spin. What Trump undid was the FCC regulating the net under laws that were designed to deal with radio and later to TV. These laws are not a good basis for regulating the world wide web.

      Restoring Internet Freedom
      On December 14, the Federal Communications Commission voted to restore the longstanding, bipartisan light-touch regulatory framework that has fostered rapid Internet growth, openness, and freedom for nearly 20 years.

      Following detailed legal and economic analysis, as well as extensive examination of comments from consumers and stakeholders, the Commission reversed the FCC’s 2015 heavy-handed utility-style regulation of broadband Internet access service, which imposed substantial costs on the entire Internet ecosystem.

      In place of that heavy-handed framework, the FCC returned to the traditional light-touch framework that was in place until 2015. Moreover, the FCC also adopted robust transparency requirements that will empower consumers as well as facilitate effective government oversight of broadband providers’ conduct. In particular, the FCC’s action restored the jurisdiction of the Federal Trade Commission to act when broadband providers engage in anticompetitive, unfair, or deceptive acts or practices.

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    5. Unbeknownst to you (or not), you are playing the Hitler built the Autobahn game. You also find it expedient to divorce Trump’s words from his actions, but he’s the president for shit-sake. As has been pointed out by 1:06, you can’t just do this and move on. Words out of the mouth of the leader of the free world fucking matter and you know it. By shrugging this off, you are being dishonest. For me, Trump’s actions and words predated my disdain for him. Does the Central Park Five ring a bell? I don’t hate many people (not even you, David) but Trump is a national danger and an embarrassment. I reserve hate for people that hurt innocent people. What you call Trump’s reasonable and effective actions have and will continue to hurt innocent people. And by the way, the dick army (ha ha) that is the republican congress is just as hate-worthy. Your worm-squirm apologetics are getting tiresome.

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    6. It's almost amusing if it wasn't so sick. DinC doesn't even bother to defend the constant stream of bullshit his president spews on a daily basis. My my how Comrade DinC has evolved. It seems like only yesterday that he just couldn't abide the fact that Secretary Clinton mentioned the fact that she flew into a war zone wearing a flak jacket and mentioned there were snipers there but in reality the snipers had been cleared out hours before she arrived. My God, how offended David was that stretched the truth a bit. Honesty and trustworthiness were of paramount importance. These attributes revealed the true inner soul and character of the person.

      Now, Comrade DinC, as he watches president pussygrabber commit obstruction of justice and witness tampering in broad daylight, just shrugs. Why is that? Now as Comrade DinC watches the lying sack of shit pussygrabbing flimflam man bullshit the American public on a continuous basis, as he watches him publicly undermine the free press and the top law enforcement agency in the world David says, ho hum, it's not important. Why is that?

      He. Just. Doesn't. Give. A. Shit.

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    7. David, thanks for the heads up but nothing you have presented here supports your claim that it was spin. You have cut and pasted from the fcc's press release but that doesn't mean much does it?

      Certainly you are not so daft as to swallow what they spoon-feed you whole.

      Let's try a little harder in the future, okay?

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    8. Don't fall for it. David likes Trump more than Clinton, because of talk. Specifically, Clinton's vocal support of BLM on the campaign trail.

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  4. Off topic. In a prior thread, mm had questioned why Trump deserves some credit for the defeat of Isis in Iraq and Syria.
    ISIS has lost 98 percent of the territory it once held -- with half of that terror group's so-called "caliphate" having been recaptured since President Trump took office less than a year ago, U.S. military officials said Tuesday.

    The massive gains come after years of "onerous" rules, when critics say the Obama administration “micromanaged” the war and shunned a more intensive air strategy that could have ended the conflict much sooner.

    “The rules of engagement under the Obama administration were onerous. I mean what are we doing having individual target determination being conducted in the White House, which in some cases adds weeks and weeks,” said retired Air Force Lt. Gen. David Deptula, the former head of U.S. Air Force intelligence. “The limitations that were put on actually resulted in greater civilian casualties.”

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    1. You need some stats to back up the claim that there were greater civilian casualties under Obama. Everything I have read contradicts this.

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    2. hey trollboy, Comrade DinC, why would you post this offtopic comment here and not in the original thread? Maybe because you don't want people reading my actual comment about how Isis was allowed to walk away from Baqqa right under our noses?

      The BBC has uncovered details of a secret deal that let hundreds of IS fighters and their families escape from Raqqa, under the gaze of the US and British-led coalition..

      When are you having your ticker tape parade for the defeat of IS, fuckhead? Maybe you haven't noticed the recent suicide attacks in Afghanistan for which they've taken credit.

      Where is the fucking link for you citation above? Where did it come from? Let me see, oh what a surprise, the state run cable NOOZ outfit called Fox? The cable NOOZ station that fucking lies every day.

      http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/12/26/isis-has-lost-98-percent-its-territory-mostly-since-trump-took-office-officials-say.html


      You really are a deceitful little shit coward. president pussygrabber, the guy who promised he would have no time to play golf and has now completed his first year having spent a third of his time at one of his golf resorts at a cost of over $100 million to the taxpayers, had jack shit to do with the continuation of our policy stared under President Obama. So fuck off you broken record. Go troll with your FOX NOOZ somewhere else.

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  5. Anthropology uses cross-cultural comparisons to understand cultures and it adopts a culturally relativistic stance, which means that it does not judge one culture by the standards of another.

    Somerby does none of those things here. He uses the word "anthropology" to give credibility or validity to his personal ramblings which are no more than opinions cloaked in pseudoscientific mumbo jumbo. He uses words like script and meme without the real analysis that would go with them. This stinks.

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  6. Moore lost in Alabama? Black votes had nothing to do with this.
    Fucking liberals.

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    1. Black votes had everything to do with Moore's loss in Alabama. Face it, they had to bail out whitey. Again!

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    2. anons 4:17 AND 7:26 - you're both wrong. Without both black votes and white votes (and whites who didn't vote) Jones would not have won. Neither alone sufficed.

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    3. "(and whites who didn't vote)"

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  7. Somerby the appeaser.

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