THE FALTERING COGNITION FILES: Could this be part of Redbook Redux?

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2019

The New York Times' second mission:
Over at Mother Jones, Sarah Jones has tweeted that she was "truly mystified by how badly the NYT botched this book excerpt.”

She refers to the the way, or perhaps to the several ways, the New York Times has bungled its roll-out of the new book about the Kavanaugh hearings.

For ourselves, we haven't yet had the heart to tell you how many ways the Times has managed to bungle that roll-out. More on that later today, with a link to Drum.

For now, we'll only say that we're surprised to see that Jones is surprised by what has occurred. Of all people, we would have hoped that this youngish scribe would have been more savvy.

Jones is a youngish, progressive writer with working-class roots in southwest Virginia coal country. By way of contrast, the Times is a largely vacuous upper-class news org whose cultural roots grow out of the manicured soil in the better parts of the Hamptons.

The Times has been a cancer on American journalism at least since the time, in 1992, when Katherine Boo tried to warn the world about the phenomenon she memorably called "Creeping Dowdism." The fact that Jones is mystified by the Times' latest bungles—well, it just shows us how powerful the newspaper's branding has been.

How fatuous is the inner guild at the New York Times? So fatuous that the paper has decided to reinvent the whole of American history through its self-ballyhooed 1619 Project, a project Andrew Sullivan discussed last Friday in this widely-read essay.

Sullivan praised some of the early work from the project, but warned against the Times' decision to move from "[journalistic] liberalism to [journalistic] activism." For ourselves, we're inclined to think that the paper is indulging itself in massive hubris concerning a deeply important part of American as it launches itself on the mission it announced last month.

The 1619 Project involves a type of journalistic "activism" concerning our nation's brutal racial history. We'll discuss Sullivan's essay on Friday.

Today, let's start to discuss the second major "activist" mission this newspaper seems to be fashioning. We're inclined, perhaps unfairly, to call it Redbook Redux.

How dumb is the essentially upper-class culture inside the New York Times? Let's start today with the "Here to Help" feature found on today's page A3.

As with all upper-class cultures, the upper-class culture of the Times is deep into self-involvement. How else to explain the fatuous nature of a feature which starts off as shown below?

No, we aren't making this up. On today's A3, we found this:
Here to Help
5 (CHEAPISH) THINGS FOR SELF-CARE IN 15 MINUTES A DAY

In recent months, I’ve queued up a routine with a few simple, inexpensive ways to nurture myself in as little as 15 minutes a day, so that I can feel steady even during life’s droughts and downpours. (I also started going to therapy, because although I find these tools helpful, they can’t replace professional medical help.)

In collaboration with picks from Wirecutter, a New York Times company that reviews and recommends products, here are five cheap(ish) things I use to take care of myself in 15 minutes or less.
As the wider American project continues to slide toward the sea, this is the sort of journalism which seems to make sense at the Times.

The writer here is looking for ways to nurture herself on a daily basis, thereby letting herself feel steady even during life’s droughts and downpours. As almost anyone would, we wondered how old a person would have to be to have mastered so complete a regime of self-involvement.

We'll admit that we were surprised to see that the writer is only five years out of college (Reed, class of 2014). Even at that tender age, she's devoted to nurturing herself while keeping her therapy on the side.

Why knows? Perhaps it's the very craziness of the world the New York Times has helped create which explains this type of anxious self-involvement at such an early age.

We're sure that the writer of this piece is a good, decent person; we're disappointed that she'd get involved with a fatuous outfit like the Times. At any rate, she describes her role at the paper like this:
I'm a New York based writer who knows that good writing takes more than carefully chosen words. Currently, I work at Wirecutter, the product review site owned by the New York Times, with a focus on kitchen gear and apparel. This involves exhaustive research and testing, and a fine eye for details. In my day to day, I research, report, edit, and fact-check pieces; work with editors and stakeholders to align our goals; communicate with web and photo teams to realize the big picture; and use data and analytics to reach the right audience. Beyond crafting narratives, I make sure every project reaches its full potential.
Did you know that, as our society slides toward the sea, the New York Times owns a "product review site"—a site which maintains "a focus on kitchen gear and apparel?"

We'll admit that we didn't know that! That said, we're struck by the "exhaustive research" and endless journalistic care which seems to go into the work of the site, especially in contrast to the kinds of disaster which routinely occur when the Times attempts to discuss matters like allegations of sexual assault within the highest realms of national politics.

The self-involvement on display in this morning's piece comes to us from the wheelhouse of the modern Times. As the paper's young writer continues, she lists and describes five different ways she nurtures herself each day, even as her society and the global structure are melting down around her.

At the modern-day New York Times, these priorities seem to make sense. Below, you see one of the ways the Wirecutter says we might self-nurture.

No, we haven't made this up. This appears on page A3 of today's hard-copy Times:
Effortless toothbrushing

I sometimes yearn to skip this step in my nightly routine so I can just get to bed already. Since getting an electric toothbrush, though, I’ve found that persuading myself to brush is easier. Wirecutter’s pick, the Oral-B Pro 1000, does most of the work for me. The Oral-B is a cinch to use, and it makes my teeth feel scrubbed clean (I just turn it on and attempt to follow the American Dental Association’s guidelines for two solid minutes). Every time I go to Costco, I treat myself to replacement heads alongside a giant bag of snap pea crisps. Balance!
Effortless toothbrushing! And no, we haven't made that up. That copy appears on page A3 of today's New York Times.

(To peruse the full on-line essay from which the print feature is derived, you can just click here. Don't miss the "bright water bottle you won’t be able to ignore" or the "soothing meditation app." They're all part of The Hamptons Experience!)

Truly, this fatuous upper-class newspaper leaves no stone unturned! Even as it assigns itself the task of creating The One True Version of American History, it's happy to advertise the type of self-nurturing which can result from effortless nightly toothbrushing.

Let's offer a bit of background:

The Times "reimagined" its page A3 a few years ago. Like many others, we were surprised by the slogan the paper announced for its new, helpful page:
You are the dumbest people on earth.
We at the Times want to serve you.
That was admirably frank! But doggone it:

Even in the face of that messaging; even in the face of the newspaper's relentless classic bungles, stretching from the invention of the Whitewater pseudo-scandal on through the destruction Candidate Gore on through the relentless deconstruction of the diffident debutante Obambi on through a tweet which has now announced this:

“Having a penis thrust in your face at a drunken dorm party may seem like harmless fun.”

Even after decades of similar conduct, a journalistic hope for the future is mystified by the Times' latest series of pitiful Trump-aiding bungles.

At this routinely silly, upper-class newspaper, having a penis thrust in your face may seem like harmless fun! On the other hand, effortless toothbrushing can help a subscriber "just get to bed already" on a nightly basis.

On Friday, we plan to discuss The 1619 Project, a sweeping attempt to reinvent the journalistic treatment of our nation's brutal racial history. We plan to discuss Sullivan's view of the project while tossing in our own.

What, though, is the second "mission" on which the Times seems to be launching itself? It seems to us that today's "Here to Help" may help point us in that direction.

We'll describe that second mission tomorrow. We've been thinking of it as Redbook Redux, though that may be unfair.

Tomorrow: A throwback gender world

42 comments:

  1. Somerby considers the 1619 project to be hubris, an example of journalistic "activism." He touts Sullivan's essay.

    Somerby forgets how Sullivan, then editor of New Republic managed their issue publishing an excerpt of Herrnstein & Murray's new book, The Bell Curve. The editors were concerned that if they simply published the excerpt, readers might be convinced by it. They worried they might be promoting those ideas, not revealing their bankruptcy. So they recruited a bunch of noteworthy authors to write critiques, hit pieces on various parts of The Bell Curve and they published these in the same issue, along with Herrnstein & Murray's excerpt. To further put "their thumbs on the scale," they ran the critiques ahead of the excerpt itself, so readers going through the magazine in the normal order would form a negative opinion before encountering the excerpt itself (the subject of the critiques). As it turned out, Sullivan and The New Republic were criticized heavily for giving any attention to the book at all, for promoting it, even in this manipulative way.

    Later, the NY Times similarly published a book excerpt attacking Hillary and Bill Clinton (not Head Start programs) and liberals asked why they gave space to such a loathsome hit piece. The same question as Sullivan faced when he did something similar back in 1994.

    How, the NY Times is recruiting authors to write on another highly controversial subject, to present that subject in a manner that will produce a desired understanding among readers. Not presenting facts and letting the reader decide, but manipulating the choice of facts, the manner of their presentation, to produce a desired viewpoint. In a sense, that is what journalists always do, but it is appropriate to ask "to what purpose" when reading anything written by a human being. But here, Somerby doesn't raise any specific criticism of the 1619 project and he doesn't present any example of misuse of journalistic choice, and he doesn't raise any criticism beyond "They shouldn't do that" with respect to discussing a controversial issue.

    I want to know why it is OK for Andrew Sullivan to do this himself and then complain about it when others address controversy. And I want to know why Somerby approves so much of Sullivan but won't even let the NY Times step in muck before complaining.

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    1. Well, then in that vein, I want to know how the most fatuous and infantile media outlet in the country has the chutzpah to chide the NYT.

      https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.cnn.com/cnn/2019/09/16/media/new-york-times-kavanaugh/index.html

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    2. CNN is ostensibly reporting on the criticism, not making it itself. It cites "widespread critcism and condemnation" and refers to at least one lawsuit. But it seems gratuitous to me too. Push back goes with the territory. Friends of Kavanaugh have an interest in discrediting the NY Times and perhaps they are hoping that discrediting the NY Times may rub off on the book itself, which is NOT the subject of criticism. Kavanaugh supporters and those who aided his appointment need to get ahead of impeachment efforts. The NY Times is caught in that mess, in my opinion.

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    3. CBS News managed to issue a report without leaving out pertinent facts.

      https://m.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=ibEoe7hkv1o

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    4. I want to know why it is OK for Andrew Sullivan to do this himself and then complain about it when others address controversy.

      The antecedent to this in the sentence above is apparently “recruiting authors to write on …[a] highly controversial subject, to present that subject in a manner that will produce a desired understanding among readers.” The charge against Sullivan is hypocrisy: he complains when the NYT does the same thing that he did at TNR.

      There are three answers to your query. The first is that Sullivan’s editorial work on The Bell Curve isn’t comparable to the work of the editors at the NYT on the 1619 Project. TNR presented a controversial piece of egregious pseudoscience along with criticism of it from various academics, social socientists, and writers. The NYT has decided to present history through one lens and one only, namely the neo-Marxist, post-modern nonsense knowns as critical race theory. (Note that Sullivan wants this point of view covered, just not to the exclusion of any other method.)

      Secondly, TNR is a magazine of political opinion. It’s readers understand that, just as I expect they understand not to be overly swayed by the first thing they read on a topic. The NYT is a newspaper, and while no reasonable person expects reporters to be completely objective (or indeed to agree on what it means to be objective), it’s hard to see how abandoning the goal is a good idea.

      Lastly, even if we agree that Andrew Sullivan is a hypocrite, his argument about the 1619 project stands or falls on the evidence presented and the logic employed about the 1619 project, independently of Sullivan’s previous sins. TDH quotes Sullivan’s piece approvingly. That doesn’t mean he “approves so much” of Sullivan.

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    5. The NYT is a newspaper with an Opinion section. Barnett is the head of the Opinion section. That is who is being discussed by Sullivan and Somerby.

      I have now read Sullivan's piece. There are some problems with it. First, it all hinges on Sullivan's assertion of a rejection of Liberalism. I haven't read the 1619 piece so I cannot know whether that rejection occurs in it or not. I do not believe rejection of Liberal values as foundational to our nation is inherent in positing the importance of slavery to the economy and institutions of the new nation.

      Some other things bothered me about Sullivan's essay. He implies but never mentions that he himself is an immigrant, having come to the US from Great Britain. I encountered his strong bias against the Irish back in the 1990s, when he was writing about the resolution of the troubles and calling certain people "terrorists." His background and experiences in Great Britain colored his reporting of subsequent events. He then says firmly that he doesn't believe that everyday African Americans think in terms of Critical Race Theory. I cannot see how he can claim that. He doesn't know how African Americans frame issues when white people are not around, and I doubt he understands that black authors and thinking consistent with Critical Race Theory, going back to W.E.B. DuBois, are part of black life. He doesn't know how much support there was for radicalism in the black community. He seems to think that this is only an academic abstract conceit and not something that is widely known and accepted in black America. Further, he doesn't understand the depths of black paranoia and the willingness to believe in targeting of blacks for economic and social advantage by whites. Black people have no illusions and the things they tell white people (largely what they want to hear) and different than what they believe among themselves. Sullivan is naive about the extent to which black people share the faith in Liberal idealism. But progress for both white and black people can only go forward with lip service to those ideals. Sullivan calls that faith. I think there is more cynicism than he has been shown in his life as a white British immigrant.

      Somerby has quotes Sullivan approvingly on several occasions now. How many does he need to quote before you will say he approves of the man (who I assume is a good and decent person)?

      The Bell Curve book had two main sections. The first presented graphs and data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. The analysis was done by Richard Herrnstein, who is not only a famous scientist but a former editor of the Psychological Bulletin, the most prestigious psychology journal. His results were confirmed by an interdisciplinary statistics working group combining statisticians and scientists from the math and psychology departments at Harvard. The attempts to debunk Herrnstein's analyses were largely unsuccessful. It is the second part of the book, written by Murray, that is considered pseudoscience. Herrnstein died before publication of the book and many of his associates believe he never read what Murray wrote. It is conservative garbage aimed at using the graphs to discredit liberal attempts to improve education for black children, arguing that the task was useless due to innate differences in intelligence. That is the part that most of Sullivan's authors were addressing. It is a matter of values, not science, whether you believe that all children deserve the best education that can be provided and an equal chance to succeed in life.

      The NYT can argue that it has been presenting history through one lens consistently from its beginning and now it is appropriate to present that same history through a more inclusive lens because that view has been neglected for so long.

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    6. Basquet said explicitly that he did not intend to write all NY Times content through the lens of critical race theory. Deadrat (and Sullivan?) is advancing a false argument. What is the harm in hearing about the shortage of labor in the early colonies and the way in which North and South dealt with it -- immigration and indentured servitude and transportation of criminals and the slave trade? It might be good to learn that white women left farms to work in textile factories in the North East and that child labor was as onerous as slave labor. Immigrants took that burden off the shoulders of the early colonists and enabled a white upper class. I think white people have a great deal to learn from this kind of analysis, not just black people.

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    7. Dang 3:13, do you blog at all? Looked like a long essay to make your point in a comment section, but I’m glad you did. I at least got to look up “critical race theory,” which is automatically a non-starter. In the human sphere, there is only one “race.” In terms of well-being, it comes down to “class.”

      I suppose that the flaw in CRT is that it’s wrong. What we endure as citizens is due to how power (money) is apportioned, and to what extent we can engage in power to our benefit.

      Simple as pie. Easy as cake.

      Leroy

      P.S. Here’s a great takedown of Murray

      Leroy

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    8. The NYT is a newspaper with an Opinion section. Barnett is the head of the Opinion section. That is who is being discussed by Sullivan and Somerby.

      I’m sorry, @3:13, I’m confused. Yes, the NYT has an Opinion section. Theoretically, that’s because the paper segregates opinion writing from reporting. The head of that section is James Bennet, whose name is mentioned neither by Sullivan nor TDH. The Times employee defending the 1619 Project who was mentioned by Sullivan is Dean Baquet. He’s the executive editor of the paper.

      I do not believe rejection of Liberal values as foundational to our nation is inherent in positing the importance of slavery to the economy and institutions of the new nation.

      Not the positing the importance of slavery, but in granting to slavery the overriding, indeed only, valid narrative. The terms aren’t well-defined in the discussion, but Sullivan’s explication is close enough:

      “That view that ‘systems’ determine human history and that the individual is a mere cog in those systems is what makes it [critical race theory] neo-Marxist and anti-liberal.”

      Some other things bothered me about Sullivan's essay.

      Sullivan doesn’t use the word immigrant, but he writes, “I wasn’t brought up here….” That’s good enough for me to get the point. And The Troubles were rife with terrorists. Your other criticisms are cogent, and if I accept them all as germane, then I would have to conclude that Sullivan is wrong on a number of important points in his essay. But I don’t see why being wrong invalidates his attempt to write the essay.

      Somerby has quotes [sic] Sullivan approvingly on several occasions now. How many does he need to quote before you will say he approves of the man (who I assume is a good and decent person)?

      I know the parenthetical is parodic snark, but it’s not what I assume. I’m agnostic on the issue, since I have no information on which to base a judgment. I’ll say TDH approves of the man and not his work when TDH praises the man in spite of his work or praises the man’s work merely because he is its author.

      The NYT can argue that it has been presenting history through one lens consistently from its beginning and now it is appropriate to present that same history through a more inclusive lens because that view has been neglected for so long.

      Let’s say the NYT has suffered from myopia from its inception, when it first began using only its left eye. The NYT can now argue that the best solution is cover its left eye and use only the long-neglected right. The can argue that, but no one should take that any more seriously than they should Page A3.

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    9. @3:45 comments Basquet said explicitly that he did not intend to write all NY Times content through the lens of critical race theory. Deadrat (and Sullivan?) is advancing a false argument.

      It’s Baquet, and my nym has no initial cap.

      Please excuse the error in my comment @2:32: I should have written, “Sullivan writes that the NYT has decided to present history through one lens and one only….” This is Sullivan’s claim, not mine. I haven’t read the 1619 Project. But note that the claim concerns writing about history (i.e., the 1619 Project) and not “all NY Times content.” Although Baquet is quoted as saying that the 1619 Project is a good start.

      There’s no harm claimed from hearing about the topics you mention. And Sullivan even writes that critical race theory should be part of the discussion. Sullivan just thinks it shouldn’t be the only tool in the tool chest. Again, I can’t tell if Sullivan is correct because I haven’t read the 1619 Project. Baquet’s comments from the leaked town hall seem to back Sullivan’s view.

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    10. “I haven’t read the 1619 Project”

      Has Somerby? Has Sullivan even read it?

      We know deadrat and anon 3:13 haven’t, so they have that in common.

      It’s a bit bonkers for a blogger or a commenter to argue about someone’s opinion about something the commenter or blogger hasn’t read.

      For example, how do you know, deadrat, if Sullivan’s opinion is a fair assessment of the 1619 project?

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    11. For example, how do you know, deadrat, if Sullivan’s opinion is a fair assessment of the 1619 project?

      I don’t. I’ve apologized once for my comment that makes it seems like Sullivan’s assessment is also mine. This makes two. You’ve got one more apology coming if you want it; then third time’s a charm and I’m done.

      My original reply to @10:54A wasn’t about the 1619 Project but an answer to his query “Why is it OK for Andrew Sullivan” to give his opinion of the Project? I see no ethical (or other) obstacle that would block Sullivan from giving his opinion or any of Sullivan’s readers from considering his opinion.

      If you do and thus agree with @10:54, please tell me why.

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  2. "“Having a penis thrust in your face at a drunken dorm party may seem like harmless fun.”

    Isn't it obvious that the NY Times was representing a common reaction among many people (repeated on the right), and not its own opinion, when it wrote this?

    Somerby has spent so much time minimizing the concerns of women about sexual misconduct that he has no standing for outrage over this mistaken statement.

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    1. Are tweets to be held to high journalistic standards if they come from someone who works at a publication? Isn't this the same dilemma about the status of the President's tweets -- are they policy or brain farts? Shouldn't the tweets of journalists be ignored, just as the President's tweets are no longer taken seriously?

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    2. I fully agree @11:00. The meaning was indeed obvious. Sadly, in today's world, some people will be offended (or claim to be offended) at the slightest excuse. This attitude has nearly destroyed stand-up comedy. It makes any kind of subtlety dangerous. The safest thing to say is to never say anything except standard PC slogans.

      What a boring world we have created. :(

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    3. "This attitude has nearly destroyed stand-up comedy."

      And killed societal progress with it's "they're just economically anxious" dodge.

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    4. 11:00 am, where is it that the reaction characterized in the NYT Opinion Page tweet is a "common reaction"?

      Jeffrey Epstein's place?

      Gomorrah?

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    5. where is it that the reaction characterized in the NYT Opinion Page tweet is a "common reaction"?

      The Republican Senate Judiciary?
      The Trump WH?
      Fox NOOZ?

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    6. All the little mice in mm's head?

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    7. No Cecelia, there was a "boys will be boys" argument advanced by these factions throughout the Kavanaugh hearing.

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    8. That argument is being advanced to this day. People continue to scold Justice Kavanaugh for not copping out to that plea.

      If you look at the link Somerby has provided above, you’ll see Kevin Drum doing just that.

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    9. Kevin Drum is nearly as sexist as Somerby, in my opinion.

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    10. I feel like he's racist.

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  3. Somerby thinks only the people in the Hamptons use water bottles?

    Somerby objects to ads in newspapers? That is how they have supported themselves since day one.

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    1. What isn't common knowledge is how Facebook and Google have decimated the print media's ad revenue.

      The NYT is left to disguising paid product links as news copy.

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    2. Can you blame them for trying to stay afloat then? You have recognized something extremely important in today’s world. Somerby never seems to notice this.

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    3. Lee Smith does a great job reporting on this subject.

      You'll find his stuff at https://www.tabletmag.com

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  4. So, NYTimes is crap?

    Yeah, thanks a lot, dear Bob, who woulda thunk it?

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  5. While not really saying much of anything about the 1619 project, or Sullivan’s op-ed about it, or about the Kavanaugh stuff, Somerby’s main focus is, yet again, self-help articles that he finds trivial. Other days, it’s articles in the Arts & Entertainment or Style sections that he criticizes. He thinks that the presence of such articles or such sections in the Times prove his contention that the Times is a cancer on journalism, fatuous, dumb, and upper-class. It does not. It is a waste of time to attack the Times for their soft, popular/cultural content. If you want to show the failures of the Times, stick to the hard news and news analysis content. The Times is no different from any other newspaper in this respect: they all contain similar “soft news”/cultural/popular content and they always have.

    Concerning the contention that this “other” content illustrates the “upper-class” values of the Times, such as the article “5 (CHEAPISH) THINGS FOR SELF-CARE IN 15 MINUTES A DAY.”: it is remarkably ignorant of Somerby if he thinks these kinds of concerns are strictly “upper-class.” Many, if not most, of those residents in hardscrabble “southwest Virginia coal country” (ie the “real America”?) are just as interested in these kinds of things as those supposedly effete snobs in the Hamptons. Is Somerby familiar with the desires of those working class folks? Even if they live on modest means, they still keep up with the latest technology, enthusiastically watch “Friends”, or “Duck Dynasty”, or whatever is current, worry about pillows or tooth brushing, or self-care, do yoga or Pilates, own vehicles, etc. They even manage to attend professional sporting events. (Do you know how much tickets cost to a pro-football game or a NASCAR event these days?)

    If you want to criticize these things as a sign of the “dumbnification” of our culture, then fine. (That is an elitist judgment, of course.) But it is incorrect to pretend that only the effete liberal snob New York Times readers care about these things, or that the Times is trying to dumbnify its readers by running content that appeals to them.

    And in this age of dwindling and dying newspapers, appealing to subscribers is an important way of staying afloat and funding the hard-news content.

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    1. In the same vein, Redbook was never an upper crust magazine. Vogue was. As Somerby seems to vaguely guess, comparing a high circulation middle class women's magazine with mind-rotting garbage is offensive to women. Inserting "perhaps unfairly" doesn't get him off the hook on that.

      Does Somerby know how to get rid of head lice, for example? If his kid came home with a note from the school, would he know how to check for lice and what to do about it if he found them? This is something women with kids routinely deal with, but no one is born with the knowledge. They used to learn what to do by reading women's magazines, just as men read men's magazines to learn how to change their oil or unclog a sink (with a plumber).

      Why would Somerby disparage this kind of knowledge? Maybe he is trying to disparage all forms of education? What is the advantage of having an ignorant and helpless society? Maybe Trump knows? Maybe it will make us all more dependent upon and compliant for our Russian overlords?

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    2. Why does Somerby think it is OK to slur women, if he admits he is being unfair?

      He doesn't compare it to Popular Mechanics because he no doubt considers the content aimed at men to be "important" and not trivial. The problem is that this is by definition. Anything assigned to women is lesser, automatically. So if you want to slur something male, compare it to something female.

      Women's Studies classes ought to be mandatory for all stand up comedians during college. Unfortunately, a high percentage of standups are high school dropouts and it shows in what they think is funny. (High school conflicts with open mic nights.)

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    3. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6PYb_anBMus

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    4. [C]omparing a high circulation middle class women's magazine with mind-rotting garbage is offensive to women.

      Have you been to redbookmag.com recently? Check it out. Believe me, it will come as no surprise to me that you won’t find the measure of condescending crap and trivia “offensive to women.”

      Does Somerby know how to get rid of head lice, for example?

      Hell, he apparently doesn’t even know how to get rid of the infestation of trolls, spell casters, Mumbai movers, and assorted numpties from his commentariat.

      If his kid came home with a note from the school, would he know how to check for lice and what to do about it if he found them?

      An infestation of pediculosis capitis is a medical condition. I sure wouldn’t go to Redbook for help.

      [Women] used to learn what to do by reading women's magazines, just as men read men's magazines to learn how to change their oil or unclog a sink (with a plumber).

      That’s what they used to do, eh? Well, Sparky it’s been a new century for a while now. Men didn’t read men’s magazines to learn how to change their oil. They didn’t read men’s magazines at all; they just looked at the pictures. And if you have a plumber handy, you don’t need to know how to unclog a sink. You let him do it. Sorry: him or her.

      Why would Somerby disparage this kind of knowledge? Maybe he is trying to disparage all forms of education? What is the advantage of having an ignorant and helpless society? Maybe Trump knows? Maybe it will make us all more dependent upon and compliant for our Russian overlords?

      That’s right, Sparky. TDH hates knowledge and education, and all he want is an ignorant and helpless society. Get off the fainting couch already.

      Delete
    5. TDH wants a society full of useless idiots for Trump, like he is.

      Delete
    6. @deadrat
      “he apparently doesn’t even know how to get rid of the infestation of trolls, spell casters, Mumbai movers, and assorted numpties from his commentariat.”

      So, he is apparently in your view too stupid to do this?

      Next, why would or should he want to do this? Perhaps he is more committed to freedom of expression than you are.

      *You* are the one who seems to imply that he should get rid of all the loser commenters.

      Delete
    7. So, he is apparently in your view too stupid to do this?

      Do I have to mark such comments as facetious? ‘Cause I will, if that’s what it takes to make things clear for you. It’s just not as much fun for me.

      Next, why would or should he want to do this? Perhaps he is more committed to freedom of expression than you are.

      Sure, Sparky. “Freedom of expression” is always enhanced by spammers and trolls.

      *You* are the one who seems to imply that he should get rid of all the loser commenters.

      I’m not sure why the pronoun is emphasized here, but let me remove the implication. I’ll straight out say that I prefer he get rid of certain “loser commenters.” But that’s just me. I’m not ready to say what TDH “should” do.

      Here’s a short list:

      Advertising (Mumbai movers, spell casters, penis enlargers, etc.)
      Other attempts to drive clicks to other sites.
      Word salad (check out the one-liners from the commenter who uses my nym)
      Threats (even when made in likely jest)
      One line insults: “You’re an X, for values of X=fag, Trumptard, etc.)

      I wouldn’t censor off-topic banter or all personal retorts. Some of the most entertaining comments here have been parodies of my style. I’d leave anything that had some relationship to a blog entry or another comment on a blog entry.

      In case you were wondering, if I were king, David in Cal would still be here.

      Delete
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  7. 'Truly, this fatuous upper-class newspaper leaves no stone unturned! Even as it assigns itself the task of creating The One True Version of American History, it's happy to advertise the type of self-nurturing which can result from effortless nightly toothbrushing.'

    Better than being a Trumptard, as you do, surely Somerby ?

    ReplyDelete
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