Starting tomorrow: SPECIES AND TOWN!

MONDAY, MARCH 22, 2021

Prehistory, brain wiring win: According to anthropologists, we humans are inclined to behave in remarkable ways at times of tribal conflict. 

This morning, the Washington Post's editorial board describes one current example of this hard-wired inclination.

The board describes an ongoing bit of conduct by certain elected officials in Arizona. These humans refuse to accept a basic fact:

Donald J. Trump lost the state in last November's election. 

As the editorial explains, the validity of the Arizona vote count has already been validated by the appropriate officials, who happen to be Republicans. 

That hasn't been good enough for major Republican officials. Hard-copy headline included, the editorial starts like this:

WASHINGTON POST EDITORIAL (3/22/21): For some, the 2020 race isn't over

You might have thought that the 2020 elections were over. Not in the minds of Arizona Republicans, who are still upset about President Biden’s narrow win in their state last November. Arizona Senate President Karen Fann (R) said Thursday that the [state] Senate will conduct its own hand recount of 2.1 million ballots in Maricopa County, the state’s most populous jurisdiction. Republicans claim they want to restore confidence in the voting process. In fact, they are only encouraging people to believe the lie that the election was stolen.

The sheer stupidity of Fann's action will become clear if you read the whole editorial. But this is the way we humans are inclined to behave at times like these, an array of top experts have told us.

As we first noted several years back, "it's all anthropology now." There is no longer any reason to think that our nation's warring tribes will be able to resolve current disputes in ways which are even vaguely "rational."

It's the oldest false story in the book, these despondent experts have  said. In our essence, we humans aren't "the rational animal," and we never have been!

We humans are really a tribal animal, these despairing scholars claim. At times of polarization, we're strongly inclined to abandon rational conduct. 

Instead, we find ways to align ourselves with the claims, and with the preferred Storylines, of our own sacred tribes.

For people like Fann, one such sacred Storyline says that Trump couldn't have lost. For an example from here in Our Town, we cite a new post by our own favorite blogger:

As the blogger begins, he asks the question on everyone's mind here in the streets of Our Town. Was Robert Long motivated by racism when he killed eight people last week?

Here in Our Town, we desperately want the answer to be yes. Agreement on such high-minded claims has become the one key way we form our tribal alliance.

Was Long motivated by racism? As he starts, the blogger suggests that the answer is no—but he seems to suggest that, in a pinch, misogyny will do. Headline included:

DRUM (3/21/21): Were the Atlanta Killings Motivated By Racism?

Was Robert Aaron Long motivated by anti-Asian racism when he went on his killing rampage in Atlanta last week? Six of his eight victims were Asian massage parlor workers, so at first the answer seemed pretty obvious: Of course he was.

But then things got more complicated. Racist mass shooters are usually proud to acknowledge their racism, but Long said he didn't care about race. Others who knew him confirmed this. And unlike most racist attackers, he didn't have a Facebook page full of racial fulminations or a Twitter feed that retweeted anti-Asian hate speech. At a conscious level, at least, Long really did seem to be motivated mostly by misogyny and sex obsessions.

Long has no apparent history of racial hatred. This means that, "at a conscious level," he was motivated primarily by misogyny, we're provisionally told.

But was Long motivated by misogyny at all, consciously or otherwise? No effort is made to argue for this second preferred claim. It's taken as a given—and  as the blogger proceeds, his comments become even stranger. 

Believe it or not, here's what he said next. Anthropologists shouted "Eureka:"

DRUM (continuing directly): And yet, there's still the blunt fact that six of his eight victims were Asian, and Long carried out his rampage at a time when anti-Asian hate crimes had been all over the news. Is it really plausible that this was just a coincidence?

That's debatable, but the bare facts nonetheless suggest that anti-Asian racism really wasn't a major factor in the shootings. I accept this, more or less, and yet I've come to realize that I don't care. Since I'm normally committed to facts above all else, what explains this?

According to our favorite blogger, "the bare facts suggest that anti-Asian racism really wasn't a major factor in the shootings." (Truthfully, he hasn't argued that racism was a factor at all.) 

"The bare facts suggest that anti-Asian racism really wasn't a major factor." The blogger says he accepts this (more or less), and yet he doesn't care!

Last week, Our Town spilled with praise for one of the dumbest journalistic performances of the modern era—for Oprah Winfrey's fawning, boot-licking behavior around a pair of multimillionaire royals.

Children were drowning in the sea, but Oprah cared about this. We loved it because it let the clowns in the clown car perform our current favorite story:

Some unnamed person, on some one occasion, had (allegedly) made some unrecorded racist remark! Also, it was sheer luck that the royals could afford to buy their $15 million house. Let's not forget about that!

This week, Our Town is obsessed with the question the blogger is exploring. We very strongly want to say that the killer is a racist. The blogger says the facts don't hugely support this claim, and yet he doesn't care.

The blogger goes on to offer two reasons why he doesn't care. You can peruse his reasons if you wish. Also, you can peruse the comments to his post, in which commenters struggle for ways to keep telling the story Our Town prefers

Remember, this is an anthropological story as it's being told here. We're discussing the way our species is wired to function at tribalized times such as these. 

This wiring dates to prehistory, back to the time when we first crawled up on the land. Or so major scholars have said, even as Vladimir Putin gets tired of all the winning.

In our efforts to tell this anthropological story, we're suggesting that the time has come for you to abandon a false picture of our species. "A picture held us captive," Wittgenstein once wrote, speaking about something else.

Over the weekend, we read (journalistic) garbage by the boatload about the Atlanta killings. This is the best we humans can do, an array of top experts have said.

Starting tomorrow: Examples of the very best which can be expected

Tracking that quote:  "A picture held us captive. And we could not get outside it, for it lay in our language and language seemed to repeat it to us inexorably."

Click here, search on "captive." You'll be taken to paragraph 115.


56 comments:

  1. I have two dembot3000 Goebellsian limited edition Dildos up my ass

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That’s true for the entire U.S. of America, bro.

      Delete
    2. Ha ha ha ha, that is just too too funny! Dildos up asses, how did Cecelia and Mao come up with that? Ha ha ha. So, so funny.

      Delete
    3. A little trick she learned at a massage parlor, no doubt.

      Delete
    4. I didn’t come up with Anonymouse 4:07pm.

      Fake Mao did.

      I just thought it was a apt description of the present.

      Delete
    5. Ha ha ha ha ha, you are so funny Cecelia. Fake Mao, ha ha ha, as if there were any real Mao! And dildos are so funny ha ha ha. Even dildos in mass shooting are so funny. Were they Asian dildos ha ha? Cecelia will know, ha ha ha.

      Delete
    6. Anonymous 5:44pm, quit validating fake Mao’s point.

      Delete
    7. Validating....hmm, that must be something you do with a dildo, right Cecelia? Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!

      Delete
    8. Depends on your skill with that dildo, dear Cecelia, ha ha ha ha ha. You are always so witty, ha ha. And dildo spelled backwards is odlid, you clever thing!!!

      Delete
    9. Only in Ferangi.

      Everywhere else the backwards spelling is Anonymouse.

      Delete
    10. Anyone else notice how much funnier Rush Limbaugh has been in the 5 weeks since he kicked his drug abuse habit? He seems smarter too.

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  2. Mao's ashamed motherMarch 22, 2021 at 10:05 AM

    Plenty of time to be first in but always too busy to clean your room...

    ReplyDelete
  3. "The sheer stupidity of Fann's action will become clear if you read the whole editorial."

    The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

    How is it any skin off your (or goebbelsian WaPo editors') nose, dear Bob, if the votes are re-counted?

    ReplyDelete
  4. "Over the weekend, we read (journalistic) garbage by the boatload about the Atlanta killings."

    Oh. This explains it, dear Bob. We did warn you, many times, dear Bob, that your unfortunate promiscuity in reading damages, nay ruining your brain. Whatever's still left of it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Reading too?
      It was bad enough that anyone who knows basic math couldn't be a Right-winger. Now reading gets you a side-glance.

      Delete
    2. two too many "Dears" here.

      Delete
  5. Somerby's tendency toward excess literalness leads him to believe that when this shooter said he wasn't targeting Asians, he must be telling the truth.

    Why would he associate massage with sex unless he has been taught that by stereotypes of Asian women. He shot a bunch of middle aged women. And why would they be objects of lust for him? His stated motives make no sense in the context of what he did.

    Since when do criminals tell the truth about their crimes? And Somerby, notorious for never believing women, bends way over backwards to believe this guy who has a major motive to avoid the extra hate-crime designation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was struck by how anxious the lib media have been to categorize these killings as motivated by anti-Asian hatred. As if it can't possibly be by some isolated crack pot, which seems to be the case. Anon 1:32 - you're a good example of this irrational national hysteria about 'race.' . You make an extraordinarily dumb argument - You're right - the alleged killer shouldn't be "presumed" to be telling the truth, after all he is a murderer. I suppose you could use the same logic, and not believe some of these other Mass killers, like the guy who murdered several blacks in a church that he did it because he was a racist. But what is the basis for not believing Long? Two of the victims were not Asian - why kill them? he said he was on his way to some porn outlet in Florida - little details on that, but, if true, was this place run by Asians? His ex room mate confirmed that Long was screwed up about sex and pornography, caused by this crazy church he belonged to. This type of shit happens, unfortunately. People do bad, crazy things unrelated to racism (and sometimes related to 'racism'). You say his statements didn't make sense because the victims were middle aged women - it didn't make sense for him to kill them at all, along with the other 2 non-Asians, period. He killed 8 people, we know that, but why the urge to pin it on 'racism' against Asians when whatever limited information there is indicates that's not the case, and there is no evidence he harbored animus toward Asians.

      Delete
    2. He’s not gay, so he’s not seeking a male “massage therapist.

      These facilities are plentiful, probably clean, impersonal, unlikely to cause an STD or to knock you in the head and rob you.

      Delete
    3. AC/MA, it is legitimate to evaluate motive from the results themselves. The result is that primarily Asian women were targeted. That was not accidental -- he chose them on purpose. That is the racist/misogynist part.

      You can try to explain this away as just a crackpot response, but most crackpots kill their relatives, not strangers like this. Or if he were trying to kill just anyone, there were people closer, without him deliberately seeking out three different ASIAN massage parlors.

      How can you say that when someone kills people that he has "no animus" toward them? That is about the most ridiculous thing I've heard anyone say lately. "It's nothing personal, bang bang bang". No, I don't think so.

      Delete
    4. AC/ MA,
      His religion is bigotry. Why wouldn't it be a hate crime?

      Delete
    5. anon 6:47, as far as a know, there is no known religion known as "Bigotry." Unless there is also a religion known as Simple Mindedness, of which you seemingly observe.

      Delete
    6. anon 2:50 - it's plain logic is a foreign concept to you.
      As to your first paragraph, you claim it is legitimate to evaluate motive by the results themselves. "Agreed - the results can be, depending on the circumstances, a factor in evaluating motive. But certainly not the only factor. What if a killer kills someone who is left handed? Is the result that he/she killed a left handed person evidence that the intent was to kill the victim for that reason? The simple fact the 6 of 8 victims were 'Asian' doesn't mean, in and of itself, that the reason he killed them was their ethnic background. More obvious is that they worked at or were present at massage parlors that he patronized, and that he had a psychotic issue about being tempted by sexual desire.
      As to your second paragraph, it is so twisted in its logic it is tough to respond to, but I'll try. I would wager that a substantial number of victims of murder are relatives of the murderers, and that often, the murder is committed by someone who is mentally ill. But it is safe to say that anyone who commits a mass murder is a 'crackpot.' It's not a rational thing to do, whether motivated by religious fanaticism, racial or religious hatred, or delusional paranoia. He apparently sought out these massage parlors because he had patronized them. Is there evidence that he patronized massage parlors not operated by Asians? If there is no evidence he harbored any particular animus toward Asians, but did have this crazed issue about being tempted to commit adultery, why is it so important to insist that this had to be anti-Asian racism, given the current fad that racism permeates everything?
      As to your third paragraph, I didn't say that Long had no 'animus' toward the victims (not all of whom were 'Asian).' I wrote that there was "no evidence that he harbored animus toward Asians." You dishonestly distort what I wrote. I suppose you could say that since 6 of the 8 victims were "Asian'; and that murdering them demonstrated 'animus' toward them; that it follows that he has animus toward Asians. This is poor reasoning, and leads to an absurd conclusion. For example, say X walks into a supermarket, and kills 8 people, 6 men and two women. By your logic, the murderer's motive was anti-male hatred.
      Right now there is being advanced the narrative that there is an epidemic of anti-Asian racism, apparently brought on to some significant extent by Trump's calling Covid the "Chinese virus.' (Not mentioned is that Biden and a wide swath of pundits and pols, probably correctly, criticize China for repression of minorities and other human rights violations, and for industrial espionage etc). I'm not judging whether this narrative is valid - but it seems obvious that the fevered insistence on attributing the Atlanta murders to anti-Asian racism is motivated by the compulsion to fit this incident into the new narrrative.

      Delete
    7. AC/ MA,
      They call it "Evangelicalism" or "Southern Baptist", but the religion is actually bigotry.
      If you paid a modicum of attention, you'd know that.

      Delete
    8. AC/ MA,
      Now do one on the "good guy with a gun" narrative.

      Delete
    9. Anonymous 11:08am, Christianity proscribes sex outside of marriage. The religion also proscribes murder.

      People do not have to be religious to be in mental anguish from an addiction to porn.

      We don’t know if Long has a particular bent for a variety of it that is darker than the norm, but the norm is generally debasing. People don’t proudly admit to a porn addiction unless they’re talking to other people who enjoy it.

      People don’t have to have religious leanings in order to be distressed and angered by their compulsion to look at pornography.

      Religion would heighten that shame, but it’s not the sole incentive for it.

      Delete
  6. Drum says: "At a conscious level, at least, Long really did seem to be motivated mostly by misogyny and sex obsessions."

    However, the problem is that his misogyny and sex obsessions led him to target Asian women because of societal stereotypes about Asian women and sex. There are men with sexual fetishes related to Asian women. Those stereotypes are PART OF racism against Asian women. Exempting this shooter because he talked more about sex than about Asians in general, is a mistake.

    Somerby wants to treat intersectionality as a "get out of jail free card" for this shooter, but that overlooks the damage done by racist stereotypes. And that's part of why many liberals consider this a hate crime regardless of what this guy said on his social media.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Kevin Drum says that this crime was motivated by misogyny. Somerby works overtime to excuse this shooter of hate crime charges, but hating women IS a hate crime too. Somerby implies that if this is not a racial hate crime, then it is a normal crime, AS IF shooting women is normal for criminals. There is nothing normal about hating women (who this man blamed for his lust) to the point of seeking them out and shooting them.

    Somerby doesn't want to talk about sexism any more than he wants to talk about racism.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Cecelia says "He’s not gay, so he’s not seeking a male “massage therapist."

    Various articles have been saying that these women were providing massages, not sex. They were middle aged women with children trying to support their families. They were not sex-trafficked or sex-workers. They were therapeutic massage therapists offering relief for aches and pains.

    There is no reason to mention this shooter's sexual orientation given that these were not sex workers at all. It was the shooter's sexualization of the massage that made it sinful in his eyes. If he wanted to remove the lust from the encounter, he could have selected a male therapist.

    Cecelia, however, reveals her own interpretation of the situation as one in which sex was part of the massage. That is not supported by anything the relatives and friends of the victims have said, and in fact, they have denied that sex was involved in their work. Since they were nearly all middle-aged (50+), I am inclined to believe them and not Cecelia about that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cecelia is repeating the same stereotypes that perhaps drove this shooter to seek out massage parlors for sex, which illustrates the damage done by such stereotypes.

      Delete
    2. Anonymouse 4:06, if you think that description is an endorsement of those facilities then that’s on you and your psyche.

      Saying that it’s likely that Las Vegas institutions would have a Vegas vibe would not be an inducement to mass murderers.

      Delete
    3. Who said anything about an endorsement of anything? You are not making sense.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous 4:03pm, you can be inclined to believe any way a family would frame it, but it makes no difference as to the plausibility of what I said, it just doesn’t fit your narrative.

      You say that he sexualized the massage but was unlikely to be getting off on the over the hill women who were massaging him.

      Im pretty sure you’re overestimated this man’s choices and underestimating the ageless attractiveness of Asian women.

      Delete
    5. No, I said that the middle-aged women giving massages were not sex workers.

      Please stop repeating offensive stereotypes about Asian women.

      https://abc7news.com/asian-american-women-stop-hate-stereotypes-racism/10435731/

      Delete
    6. "Since they were nearly all middle-aged (50+), I am inclined to believe them and not Cecelia about that."

      Why? What logic drove you that conclusion?

      Delete
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    ReplyDelete
  10. Anonymouse 3:58pm,”Somerby implies that if this is not a racial hate crime, then it is a normal crime, AS IF shooting women is normal for criminals. There is nothing normal about hating women (who this man blamed for his lust) to the point of seeking them out and shooting them.”


    This why it is relevant to mention sexual orientation. If the murderer blames these women for arousing his lust, it’s that capability that he blames. He didn’t chose that orientation. What he did chose was ease and safety in finding a place where he would be touched by women.

    If he did find Asian woman especially attractive (they generally are), that is still an aspect of his involuntary orientation and lust. The lust he despises. The same could be the case if he searched for gingers.

    It’s being investigated. Why can’t you let that play out before impugning people who haven’t come to a judgment as to his motives?


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Asian women are not "especially attractive" unless you are buying into cultural stereotypes that are part of the racism that makes them targets of both sexual abuse and hate crimes.

      Delete
    2. That’s a matter of personal opinion that is not inherently fetishist or racist.

      If Asian women are more frequent targets of sexual abuse and hate crimes you should look at stereotypes of subservience rather than appearance.

      Delete
    3. Note that Cecelia is trolling again. Deliberately engaging in stereotyping of Asian women in order to get a rise out of libs here. Fuck off Cecelia.

      Delete
    4. So mentioning the stereotype of subservience is stereotyping?

      Saying that Asians are in general an objectively beautiful people is “stereotyping”?

      Delete
    5. If the stereotype about Asian women had been that they are feisty and all know martial arts, would that shooter have attacked them?

      Delete
    6. “I want us to call it out for what it is. I want us to recognize the intersections of xenophobia, racism, misogyny, gender-based violence and the lax gun laws in Georgia and you cannot simply separate the issues from each other.” — Rep. Bee Nguyen

      Delete
    7. Anonymouse 7:57pm, it’s a mystery as to why we have investigators, attorneys, judges, and trials, when we have the superheroes that we quaintly refer to as politicians.

      Delete
    8. Their breasts are so tiny.

      Delete
  11. So that new shooter is racist against whites?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Probably deserved it.
      White people are the worst.

      Delete
    2. Another in a long line of white loser terrorists.
      I miss the relatively carefree days, when all we had to worry about was Al Queada.

      Delete
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