OUR STORIES, OURSELVES: When he wrote his best-selling book...

FRIDAY, MARCH 4, 2022

...the Skittles were back in the picture: Yesterday, at a press briefing, President Zelensky referred to one part of the problem. According to the New York Times, this is what he said:

“The Russian side has long ago formed the answers to their questions,” Mr. Zelensky said. “What is the point of posing questions if you long ago have the answers? For now, this is the difficulty of this dialogue.”

What's the point of conducting a dialogue? The Russkies are simply going to stick to the pre-crafted story they tell.

In a related matter, Snopes received pushback when it debunked a pleasing report about the war in Ukraine. According to the New York Times, here's what one person said:

The Ghost of Kyiv may be a myth.

While there are reports of some Russian planes that were destroyed in combat, there is no information linking them to a single Ukrainian pilot... A photo supposedly confirming the fighter’s existence, shared by a former president of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, was from a 2019 Twitter post by the Ukrainian defense ministry.

When the fact-checking website Snopes published an article debunking the video, some social media users pushed back.

“Why can’t we just let people believe some things?” one Twitter user replied.

Completing the rule of three, we're going to recall, once again, what Gene Brabender said.  The former plowboy, a right-handed pitcher, was quoted by Jim Bouton in the iconic book, Ball Fou. 

Brabender had little patience for nuanced discussions out in the bullpen. "Where I come from, we just talk for a little while," he is said to have said at one point. "After that we start to hit."

So it may go when other people challenge or question the stories we tell ourselves. The late Joan Didion introduced the topic at the start of her most famous essay:

"We tell ourselves stories in order to live," Didion famously claimed. Sometimes out stories are so simplified that they secretly seem to have emerged from the realm of the fairy tale:

"We tell ourselves stories in order to live. The man with the candy will lead the children into the sea..."

We tell ourselves stories (in order to live) which seem more like fairy tales. So it has been with a tribally mandated story about a deeply unfortunate death. It's one of the stories we tell ourselves within our own terrified tribe.

As of last week, it had been ten years since that shooting death occurred. Here's the version of the story Charles Blow told himself—and us:

BLOW (2/26/22): On Feb. 26, 2012, a 28-year-old neighborhood watch captain, George Zimmerman, spotted Martin in a hoodie walking through a gated townhouse community not far from Orlando.

Suspicious, Zimmerman called 911 and followed Martin. Dispatch told him, “We don’t need you to do that.” There was an encounter between the two before Zimmerman shot Martin in the chest at close range.

Martin was just 17 years old, a boy, and he was where he was supposed to be.

He was unarmed. He was carrying Skittles and a can of iced tea.

For the record, there was never any indication that the teenager's hoodie played any role in what happened that night. Again for the record, it has never been shown that Zimmerman continued to follow Martin after the dispatcher said what she said.

How did the fatal "encounter between the two" actually happen that night? Who might have ended up following whom? Was anyone actually following anyone when the encounter occurred?

None of that has ever been established, But of one thing we can be sure:

The Skittles will stay in the story, used as a symbol of childish innocence. Blow leaves the Skittles in the story he tells, even though they had nothing to do with what actually happened.

Trayvon Martin had just purchased a bag of Skittles on the evening in question—but that fact plays absolutely no role in the tragic events which occurred. When we leave the Skittles in the story we tell, we're engaging in the aesthetic of the fairy tale.

Blow omits one key part of the story in the story he tells—but he leaves the Skittles in.  In fairness, Deborah Roberts did the same thing as she introduced a segment on Good Morning America:

ROBERTS (2/26/22): Trayvon Martin was just a junior in high school when he was walking back to his father's home [sic] with a bag of Skittles and was shot dead.

[...]

It's the image that ignited a movement. 17-year-old Trayvon Martin's hoodie becoming a symbol of racial injustice, his death a catalyst for Black Lives Matter.

Roberts left the bag of Skittles in—but also, of course, the hoodie. In the story Roberts was telling herself, Martin was simply walking home with a bag of Skittles, and then he was shot dead.

Roberts left the Skittles in, but she took a whole lot out. In the story as she told it, Martin had simply bought some Skittles, and after that he'd been shot.

Norah O'Donnell did the same thing. Hosting the CBS Evening News, she left the Skittles in:

O'DONNELL (2/25/22): Saturday marks ten years since Trayvon Martin was shot and killed after stopping at a store to buy Skittles and juice. CBS Morning's co-host Gayle King sat down with his mother to talk about her loss and pain.

In her own synopsis, King returned to a certain striking phrase. She said that Martin "was gunned down while walking back to his father's house [sic] from the convenience store."

He bought the Skittles, and then was "gunned down." Nothing beside remains.

Newsweek left the Skittles in. Here's the story Newsweek told:

ALEXANDER (2/26/22): On February 26th 2012, Zimmerman was working at a local gated community in Sanford, Florida, as a crime-watch volunteer when he encountered 17-year-old Martin as he returned to his father's house from the store, where he'd bought some Skittles and iced tea.

Against the advice of a 911 operator, Zimmerman followed Martin, eventually shooting the teenager dead after an altercation. 

For the record, it hasn't been shown that Zimmerman ignored the advice of the operator. To her credit, Inigo Alexander at least mentioned the existence of an altercation. Oprah Winfrey didn't do that, though she did leave the Skittles in:

WINFREY (2/26/22): Trayvon’s story shook me. Along with the volumes of cases of police brutality and deaths of innocent Black women and men, the unjustified violence inflicted on a 17-year-old kid just walking down the street in his father’s neighborhood [sic] hit a particular chord within many of us.

He’d just done something we’ve all done before—stopped at a convenience store. The innocence of his purchase still lingers with me: a packet of Skittles and an Arizona iced tea. I think of him chewing on the Skittles, delighting in the burst of flavors while talking with his girlfriend on the phone.

In the story Oprah tells herself, it's all about the innocence. Martin was "just walking down the street" with his Skittles. Then he was shot and killed.

As she proceeded, Oprah did a lot of "imagining" about what happened that night. She also omitted a whole lot of facts. She closed her story with this:

WINFREY: He had only 17 years on earth, but what a powerful soul. A decade later, the way he died still resounds through our culture. We remember him and acknowledge his life’s sacrifice in our continuing aspiration for social justice: to be seen as a fellow human. Not a threat.

To feel safe. To be respected. To simply be able to be yourself. To walk down the street with some Skittles and an iced tea with no fear of death.

He deserved better. We owe him to do better.

There they were again!

"A decade later, the way he died still resounds through our culture," Oprah said. She said that after omitting a range of basic facts about the way this young person died, while leaving the Skittles in.

We tell ourselves stories in order to live." Also, to simplify the world beyond all recognition. To pretend that we are the good, decent, caring people, and that The Others are not.

The way we've told ourselves this story is an indictment of us. It isn't an indictment of Trayvon Martin, who was only 17 years old. It isn't an indictment of George Zimmerman, though that's the way the most atrocious journalism we reviewed last week kept pushing our tribe's astonishing wealth of misstatement.

Charles Blow left the Skittles in, but he left a whole lot out. He said that Trayvon was right where he was supposed to be, without mentioning where actually he was in the unfortunate moment when he was shot and killed.

We don't know how the altercation began, but by the time of Zimmerman's trial, there was little serious doubt about the way the fight had proceeded. Here's part of what Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote after the Zimmerman jury announced its "not guilty" verdicts:

COATES (7/14/13): I interrupt your regularly scheduled programming to offer some thoughts on the verdict of innocent for George Zimmerman:

[...]

I think the jury basically got it right. The only real eyewitness to the death of Trayvon Martin was the man who killed him. At no point did I think that the state proved second degree murder. I also never thought they proved beyond a reasonable doubt that he acted recklessly. They had no ability to counter his basic narrative, because there were no other eyewitnesses.

The idea that Zimmerman got out of the car to check the street signs and was ambushed by a 17-year old kid with no violent history, who told him "you're going to die tonight," strikes me as very implausible. It strikes me as much more plausible that Martin was being followed by a strange person, that the following resulted in a confrontation, that Martin was getting the best of Zimmerman in the confrontation, and that Zimmerman then shot him.  But I didn't see the confrontation. No one else really saw the confrontation. Except George Zimmerman. I'm not even clear that situation I outlined would result in conviction.

For the record, juries don't deliver "innocent" verdicts; the verdicts here were "not guilty." Those verdicts meant that the state didn't prove its charges against Zimmerman. It didn't and doesn't represent an ultimate judgment about what actually happened that night.

Coates said the jury "basically got it right." He never thought that the prosecution had actually proved its case.

At the same time, he found the idea that Martin ambushed Zimmerman that night to be "very implausible." 

We don't know what actually happened, but we didn't, and don't, have that same reaction. Teenage boys do many things which are deeply unwise. Sometimes, disasters occur.

That said, Coates was willing to do what almost no one ever does. He was willing to state an obvious fact—he wasn't there to see the confrontation! 

Like us, he didn't know how the fight began—and he was willing to say so!

How did the confrontation begin? Unlike everyone else on the planet, Coates wasn't willing to pretend that he actually knew.

That said, he had come to accept a fairly obvious fact. A fight had occurred between the two, and Martin was "getting the best of Zimmerman" when he was shot and killed.

By the time of the Zimmerman trial, there was little real doubt of such facts. By now, these facts have been almost uniformly disappeared from the story we tell ourselves—but Coates was willing to acknowledge these facts in the passage we've cited.

Trayvon wasn't "walking home" (full stop) when he was shot and killed. He was on top of Zimmerman, engaged in a fight, and he was pummeling him. 

How did this fight begin? As far as we know, no real evidence has ever emerged concerning that basic question. That said, Zimmerman emerged with a fractured nose and with lacerations on the back of his head. 

Zimmerman had said that he feared for his life. Here's what Coates said about that in comments, drawing upon his youth in Baltimore at a time when street fights were not unknown:

COATES (7/14/13): As a younger man, I was in a few fights—mostly on the losing end. Some I provoked. Some I didn't. But in almost every one I can make a case for "death or great bodily harm." One I remember specifically, a guy hit me over the head with a steel trash can at the start. But the fight ended with me overtop of him—much like Trayvon was said to be over Zimmerman—wailing away. He had started the fight—but by Florida law I was the aggressor.

Fights are not like boxing matches. If you provoke one and start losing, your life is basically in someone else's hands. You should be afraid. Punches actually do kill people and cause "great bodily harm."

COMMENTER: I don't see how being on the losing end of a fist fight means a person "reasonably believes that he or she is in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm."

COATES: I am on the ground and you are on top of me wailing away. I am most certainly in "imminent danger of death or great bodily harm."

I say this as someone who has been in that position, and the person putting someone in that position. It is really, really frightening. And you are in danger of "great bodily harm" at the very least. Punches kill people. Skulls hit concrete or tables and cause great damage.

And that assumes that you know you are only being hit with someone's fist. What if it feels like your being hit with brass knuckles? What if you think you see the person reaching for something to finish the job?

Fights are not tame staid events. They are chaotic, random and very, very scary. They are not regulated. There are no TKOs. Fist-fights kill people—and there is no guarantee that a fist-fight will stay at that level.

Zimmerman had said that he feared for his life as Martin banged his head on the ground (or perhaps on the sidewalk). In that exchange, Coates was saying that it wouldn't be crazy to fear for your life in such a chaotic circumstance.

He said that people can, and do, die in fights like that. "Punches kill people," he said. "Skulls hit concrete or tables and cause great damage."

(As far as we know, these comments are no longer visible. To peruse our real-time report, you can just click here.)

Today, we live in a prettier world, a world our tribe has cleaned up. We live in a world which comes straight outta Didion, though her opening lines now say this:

We tell ourselves stories in order to live. The boy with the candy walking home from the store was shot and killedwas "gunned down"by the wolf with the gun in the tree.

We're honest enough to admit it! Not that many years ago, we wouldn't have known that members of the conservative world could believe as many crackpot tales as they have come to believe.

On the other hand, we also wouldn't have known that our own liberal tribe would ever be able to behave in the various ways we have done in the past ten years, starting with the endless array of ways we have dissembled about this tragic event.

We promote false claims, disappear true facts, pretend that our favorite conjectures have somehow been established. But most of all, we leave the Skittles in the picture while we drop the violence out. And then we struggle and strain and strive to get The Others locked up.

We tell ourselves baldly falsified stories in order to (falsely) believe in ourselves. We dissemble as easily as we breathe. The others can go straight to hell.

The one thing we humans rarely do? We rarely acknowledge the fact that we don't actually know.

They're the three dirty words you can't say on TV! To make life simpler, we tell ourselves stories. Again and again, then again and again, it's dissembling all the way down.

And now for the rest of the story: By the time he wrote his best-selling book, Coates had seemed to make some adjustments in this particular story. 

The book was written as a truth-teller's testament to his son. It opened with a baldly inaccurate account of an appearance on Face the Nation. Eventually, Coates wrote this:

COATES (page 104-105): There it is—the right to break the black body as the meaning of their sacred equality. And that right has always given them meaning, has meant that there was always someone down below because a mountain is not a mountain unless there is something below.

You and I, my son, are that "below." That was true in 1776; it is true today. There is no them without you, and without the right to break you they must necessarily fall from the mountain, lose their divinity, and tumble out of the Dream...But because they believe themselves to be white, they would rather countenance a man choked to death on film under their laws. And they would rather subscribe to the myth of Trayvon Martin, slight teenager, hands full of candy and soft drinks, transforming into a murderous juggernaut.

The people who believe themselves to be white had subscribed to an ugly myth about an innocent teen whose hands had been full of candy at the time.

The candy and soft drinks were back in the picture. So goes our failed human race!


73 comments:

  1. "The Russkies are simply going to stick to the pre-crafted story they tell."

    Don't be cynical, dear Bob, all stories are not the same.

    Your liberal narratives are nearly 100% bullshit, we know that (thanks, in part, to you). But the Russkies' story is different; it kinda rings true. Otherwise, why would it be so heavily censored and so hysterically denounced by your tribe's shamans?

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    1. Are you financially compensated for keeping an eye on his blog, making sure it never critiques right wing outlets?

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    2. What is the Russkie's story, that you find rings kinda true, that is being censored? Could you explain? I'm serious - I might very well not know the story due to the heavy censorship you allege. Also, I'm told by this tribe's shamans that the Russkies have passed a law that anyone there who criticizes the action that Russia is taking, (which it seems the Russkies contend is not an invasion or a war is committing a crime - is that not true? If true, is that not heavy censorship, maybe even heavier than that imposed by this tribe's 'shamans'?

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    3. We're not suggesting to uncritically accept any black & white, good vs evil Russkies' story. Just that both sides need to be heard.

      For that purpose, we suggest, for example, Max Blumenthal (with Jimmy Dore, if you prefer it light).

      As for banning enemy war propaganda (classified as 'fakes', we presume) in the RF, we don't find it remarkable.

      The US of A, however, is not at war. Nor Europe, for that matter. Therefore, the ongoing hysteria, censorship, and hate-mongering seem highly unnatural.

      ...y'know, things like Met cancelling Anna Netrebko, or Italian university cancelling the Dostoevsky course, to name a couple...

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    4. This so-called censorship is symbolic and expresses displeasure with Russian actions in Ukraine. It is far from hysteria -- it is a principled objection to the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

      Censorship occurs when the government bans something. Businesses and cultural organizations making choices about who to hire are not censorship or banning. It is an economic decision based on whether hiring those people will send the right message to consumers at this critical point in history. Such organizations are making a statement about their support for Ukraine and disapproval of Russia.

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    5. "Censorship occurs when the government bans something. Businesses and cultural organizations making choices about who to hire are not censorship or banning."

      Year, right. When private companies (some of which have more money and power than most governments) do it, Jimmy Dore says it's called 'freedomship'.

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    6. Jimmy Dore
      LOL. You're shameless.

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    7. Mao, You say you don't find "banning enemy war propaganda" (by imprisoning people) unremarkable. Maybe the US should have tried that in the Vietnam war. Even if the "propaganda" is true, lock them up? No doubt, there is a case that the Russians had a lot to be aggrieved about, which is not highlighted in the media, but it's certainly out there. Can both sides be heard in Russia? Didn't Putin say for weeks that they weren't going to invade? I don't disagree, both sides should be heard, but (1) doesn't seem both sides can be heard in Russia, and (2) if there is an honest justification for the Russian invasion, what is it?

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    8. We didn't say anything about imprisoning people, you're making it up. Some media orgs (identified as "foreign agents", financed from abroad) were banned there, and we do find it unremarkable, under the circumstances. Unlike banning foreign media orgs in the US and Europe, who aren't part of the conflict.

      Incidentally, a lot of Americans were blacklisted in the US during the Cold War. You should know that. A la guerre comme a la guerre.

      "doesn't seem both sides can be heard in Russia"

      We have the impression that the anti-war side is heard in Russia far louder than the pro-Russian side -- and by that we mean just the basic facts of the matter -- can be heard in the west.

      "what is it?"

      do you read our replies to you? Okay, we'll repeat: the Grayzone, the Jimmy Dore shows with Max Blumenthal. Caitlin Johnstone. The usual: anti-imperialist activists.

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    9. ...by the way: it's actually completely irrelevant what can or can't be heard in Russia, and who is and who isn't imprisoned in Russia. They'll figure it out by themselves. And you're just changing the subject.

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    10. Mao,
      Tell it to the atheist on the Supreme Court.

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  2. Russia's great. A country where so many journalists are killed they need a whole wikipedia article for it.

    Maybe they'd let Mao live if he only posted pro-Russia garbage.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_journalists_killed_in_Russia

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  3. The media loves the Skittles. It creates the sort of tale that sells news.

    Now if he'd bought a pack of cigarettes you can bet it wouldn't be front and center, perhaps not even mentioned.

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    1. Watch what you wish for, Rationalist.
      The skittles were relevant to the situation, but not as relevant as Zimmerman's bigotry.
      Imagine how sad Bob would be if that was the media's obsession.

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    2. The Skittles as talking point are dumb, but the overkill Bob engages in mocking them is pretty much equally stupid. It leaves you vulnerable to retorts from fools like Anon at 1:35.

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    3. Aye, the Skittles are relevant and should be mentioned.

      But to mention the Skittles and not the lacerations on Zimmerman. That's misleading, and there's no argument possible that could make it not so.

      Mention the bigotry too, just put it all out there - make people think.

      But people have shorter and shorter attention spans, and turn to the news to get a quick dose of entertainment while reinforcing their views. So people get what they deserve I guess.

      As the age of Misinformation goes into full swing, accurate information will become a rare commodity.

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    4. Somerby lacks a moral compass, lacks integrity.

      There was no testimony that Zimmerman was pummeled, zero.

      "Fracture" and "laceration" are technical medical terms, in reality Zimmerman's nose was barely injured and some experts tend to suspect it resulted from being hit in the nose by his own gun, either from recoil or from struggling to aim it at Martin; in reality Zimmerman had two tiny, tiny as in a couple millimeters, "lacerations" on the back of his head, so not caused by being pummeled; based on the lack of injuries, and other circumstances, Zimmerman could not have reasonably feared for his life or great bodily harm; a reasonably objective and unbiased jury would trivially find Zimmerman guilty, and furthermore, it is clear from Zimmerman's behavior after the trial that he should have been found guilty.

      Somerby lies to make his arguments, lies to manufacture ignorance, lies to fuel hatred.

      Rationalist, explain why people of color do so poorly in our society compared to white people.

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    5. I don't watch the news for entertainment or to reinforce my views. I watch it to find out what is happening, especially in matters that will affect my own life. Keeping up with the news is like watching history being written during your own lifetime. It gives you a sense of control to know what is going on in the world. It helps you make intelligent decisions in your personal life, and if you are attached to other people, you care what is happening to them too. Somerby disrespects most people when he suggests that we don't know or care what is in the daily news, that it is just entertainment or self-justification.

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    6. If Martin bought a pack of cigarettes, the convenience store would be closed by the authorities.

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    7. Where were you all day?

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    8. Bridge tournament

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    9. Patients are permitted to stay out that late at the insane asylum? It must have been held on the premises.

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    10. "But the mentally ill did not disappear into thin air. Many were put on new medications, and some placed in community-based care, but others became homeless, and many landed in what are now, according to the paper, “the nation’s largest mental-healthcare facilities”—jails and prisons. Studies show that 15 percent of state prison inmates suffer from a psychotic disorder, and it has been widely documented that penitentiary facilities fail to provide adequate mental health care. With the widespread use of tactics such as solitary confinement, they often exacerbate the problem."

      https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/01/should-the-us-bring-back-psychiatric-asylums/384838/

      Liberals are concerned about such issues. You think calling people insane is some sort of joke.

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    11. I'm not joking. Your posts tend towards the insane almost all the time. It would make the most sense that you are committed to an asylum somewhere being force fed gobs of pills between sessions of watching court shows on afternoon TV and the occasional "bridge tournament".

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    12. And that way, you're lucky you're not in prison.

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    13. Meh. We still tend to think it's computer-generated drivel. Note that it's always grammatically correct.

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    14. I don't believe they make computers with processors large enough to originate such cockeyed flights of logic as hers. But maybe.

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    15. Oddly, you guys never refute any of the logic or supply facts yourselves. You just call names.

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    16. "cockeyed flights of logic" you said...

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    17. North American Bridge Championship starts in Reno next week (March 10-20).

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    18. Flights of logic means there was never any logic to begin with. It's not logical to claim someone isn't a liberal if they say something that doesn't comport with what you think the liberal party line is. That is the logic of a child which means it's not logic at all.

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    19. No, it means that the logic is difficult to follow.

      I gave a long list of reasons why Somerby is not a liberal. It didn't amount to just not holding liberal opinions.

      Children actually are logical, especially after age 7-8. Between ages 2-3 they form logical connections between things. You really shouldn't pay attention to Somerby's idiotic claims that humans don't reason well. It is wrong, as I have said here many times before. When I say that he is wrong, I mean that his statements are contradicted by findings in cognitive science and cognitive psychology, which is the science of how people think. That is my field of expertise. Somerby's is standup comedy.

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    20. None of the long list of reasons you have given why Somerby is “not a liberal” are remotely logical. It's not even logical to think that “being a liberal” is an objective designation over which you have some knowledge. It's childish and moronic and quite clearly a psychological device you consciously or unconsciously employ to avoid the issues he presents. Like a child, you need to be shielded from all forms of criticism. Criticism of your beliefs equals death because you are so identified with them. Such sloppy and stupid thinking.

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    21. Psychobabble from someone who doesn't even know that children make logical connections.

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    22. "Criticism of your beliefs equals death"

      They don't have any beliefs, only talking points.

      Tomorrow, some of their talking points may change to the opposite, and they will parrot the new ones with the same self-righteous pomposity.

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    23. Q. How many Right-wing accusations are really confessions?

      A. All of them, Katie.

      Delete
  4. Where's the lunatic Corby with her rambling neurotic inanities? God willing, they have taken her keyboard away.

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    1. Generally people here appreciate Corby, sorry to say you are alone with your weird framing of Corby.

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    2. Thanks for letting me know that Corby.

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    3. Thank you though, it is nice, even for just one day, to be spared of your gibbering insanity.

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  5. This blog reads like it was written by a 5 foot 1 man who sees dangerous teenagers on every corner. Fights are dangerous, someone save me. And don't send any rookie cops either!

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    1. We know Somerby has been rejected by his advances towards younger females, we can reasonably suspect, as a resident of Baltimore, that Somerby has faced an uncomfortable confrontation with a young male that likely left him feeling emasculated.

      Republicans make no sense, their notions bear no connection to reality, it is highly likely their existence is related to unresolved trauma. Trauma can come from childhood abuse, it can also come from being rejected by a romantic interest, or having your masculinity and assumed dominance challenged.

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    2. The Daily Chihuahua

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    3. Those rookie cops in the Floyd case were just recently found guilty, Somerby’s pleas for leniency notwithstanding.

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  6. Unlike Coates, a known narcissist and embellisher - and generally disliked by the Left (see Cornel West), I have been in real fights, in real fights that might lead to great bodily harm or death, you do not come out looking as unscathed as Martin and Zimmerman did. In reality, Zimmerman did not like his space, his authority, being challenged by a black person, and thus shot him. This is not covered by statute, officially you can not murder someone because they trigger your personal issues; however, white people have embarked on a moderately successful endeavor to decriminalize murder for white people.

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  7. Somerby said this just yesterday:

    “What actually happened that night, out in the back in the dark? Some basic facts still aren't known, and most likely never will be.”

    Now, he makes an assertion of fact himself:

    “That said, he [Coates] had come to accept a fairly obvious fact. A fight had occurred between the two, and Martin was "getting the best of Zimmerman" when he was shot and killed.”

    Somerby believes it was Martin who acted out:

    “We don't know what actually happened, but we didn't, and don't, have that same [Coates’] reaction. Teenage boys do many things which are deeply unwise. Sometimes, disasters occur.”

    Somerby is welcome to believe what he wants, but he is hardly one to criticize others for what they believe might have happened.

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  8. Since Somerby never writes about cases like Ahmaud Arbery, one wonders if he is in the business of ignoring actual racism, preferring to imply that liberals are simply creating “pleasing” narratives about a phenomenon that Somerby hardly acknowledges.

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  9. Didion didn't write these words:

    "We tell ourselves stories in order to live. The boy with the candy walking home from the store was shot and killed—was "gunned down"—by the wolf with the gun in the tree."

    Somerby italicizes them to imply that they are a quote. He says: "We live in a world which comes straight outta Didion, though her opening lines now say this:"

    Then he fake quotes several sentences that Didion did not write, attempting to portray Zimmerman vs Martin as a fairy tale. If Didion were alive, she might object. This is dishonest handling of someone else's writing and Somerby should be ashamed to have passed this off this way. Didion herself did not write fairy tales and Somerby should not imply that she did, nor that anything about this situation is like a fairy tale, when it is hard cold reality that ended in a teenager's death because Zimmerman couldn't follow police directions: "We don't need you to do that," they told him. But he did it anyway and a young man died.

    Despite the scariness of fist fights, they don't generally end in someone shooting another person. Is that because young men who engage in such fights have a sense of honor or is it because they don't have ready access to guns, the way Zimmerman did.

    What kind of man drives around in his pickup truck looking for young boys to bully? The kind who thinks he is about to die because he is on the ground in a fist fight? The only person more ridiculous than Zimmerman is Somerby.

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  10. "She said that after omitting a range of basic facts about the way this young person died, while leaving the Skittles in."

    If Zimmerman had stayed in his truck and left the policing to the police, Trayvon Martin would not be dead.

    Martin had the right to walk down the street without being harrassed or bullied by Zimmerman or by police. He wasn't doing anything wrong and he wound up dead. That is the bottom line on this, and Somerby's nitpicks over which details are "disappeared" by whom is just obfuscation. Black kids need to be as safe as white ones, even in gated communities near Orlando FL.

    I think Oprah understands what is important about this story and Somerby has no clue, and no decency either.

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    1. I thought you were taking the day off!!

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  11. "The candy and soft drinks were back in the picture. So goes our failed human race!"

    Why does Somerby work so hard to keep the candy and iced tea out of the picture when they were details that were true and reported and were definitely part of the picture?

    Somerby dislikes being reminded of what these particular details represent. Trayvon Martin's innocence up until the time when Zimmerman demanded his attention. Trayvon Martin wasn't carrying a gun -- he was carrying candy and a soft drink. He didn't know Zimmerman, had no business with Zimmerman, and there was no reason he should ever have had anything to do with Zimmerman or his gun. No amount of Somerby sophistry can change those facts. So Somerby rants about skittles instead of considering what actually happened when Zimmerman stalked Martin and shot him, claiming self-defense even though he was the one who accosted Martin and forced a confrontation between them.

    Teens should not be stalked by grown-ass white men with guns who pretend they are doing something wrong in order to shoot them. And if Martin fought back at the end, it is too bad he lost that fight. But he was out-gunned, being unarmed and all.

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    1. All fine and good stuff, but at the end there, did Martin fight back? There was no testimony to indicate as such, this is something Somerby lies about repeatedly. Somerby manufactures ignorance via manufacturing testimony, and suckers like our local right wing cohort fall for it every time.

      AC/MA THERE WAS NO TESTIMONY THAT MARTIN PUNCHED ZIMMERMAN. THERE WAS NO ONE BLACK ON THE JURY.

      The US white murder rate is not comparable to other similar industrialized countries, it is much worse, double the rate of countries like the UK, Germany, France, and Australia.

      Why do these fools lie so much? Why do they not care about the lives of people of color, yet are so concerned about the black murder rate, which is dwarfed by the white suicide rate? Why do they not care that white people are killing themselves at an enormous rate? As a country, we, the US, are clueless on how to properly raise children to be healthy and happy. Our children are miserable, and those that can't cope with the misery grow up to be right wingers, become servile to authoritarian figures. PARENTS, LOVE YOUR CHILDREN, PLEASE!

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    2. anon 11:31, Wikipedia has an extensive article about the zimmerman trial, summarizing the testimony of all the witnesses, jury selection, and other aspects of it. According to WiKipedia, one of the 6 jurors was of "mixed black and Mestizo ancestry." One of the witnesses (called by the prosecution) was Jonathan Good, a neighbor who testified he saw a tussle, with the participants on the ground. He called 911. He testified that the person on the bottom had "lighter skin." He could see "downward arm motion, multiple times . . . that looked like punches" from the person on top. On cross, he was shown photos by Zimmerman's lawyer of Zimmerman and Martin from the night of the incident. Good identified Martin as the one on top, and Zimmerman as the one on the bottom. Entered s evidence were sound recordings of a person screaming for help, and there was dispute whether that person was Zimmerman or Martin. Good testified that the voice screaming for help was Zimmerman. The above is what I base the statements I made in a previous comment. It's possible that Good's testimony was mistaken, that he lied, that he didn't really see what he testified to. But his testimony was evidence. That your statement above to the contrary is in ALL CAPS doesn't lend any credence to your position, which seems utterly based on prejudice.

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    3. God loves all people.

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    4. Downward arm motion is not necessarily punches. It could be restraining Zimmerman by holding him to the ground, trying immobilize him, trying to keep him from punchig Martin, or even trying to keep Zimmerman from raising his gun to shoot. Good is speculating in a manner consistent with Zimmerman's story. Unfortunately, Martin is not alive to tell his side of things and thus had no ability to explain what his downward arm movements meant.

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    5. anon 9:48, that's the way it is when there is a homicide - the victim can't testify. Good testified as he did - it was evidence (not proof) that Martin was punching down on Zimmerman. That's how it looked to him. It was admissible evidence - he testified as to what he saw. It's possible I suppose that Martin was trying to immobilize Zimmerman from pulling his gun out - but that is speculation on your part. The Wikipedia article isn't a transcript, but the DA certainly could have asked Good whether it was possible the person on top was doing something other than punching down on the person under him - maybe he did ask something like that, you'd need to see the transcript. Good testified the person on top was moving his arm up and down like he was hitting the person underneath. Good's evidence supported the jury verdict that guilt wasn't proven by the State beyond a reasonable doubt.

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    6. You keep missing the point. Good said he saw downward arm movements, not punching. He was asked whether those movements could be consistent with punching. That isn't the same as saying that he saw punching because the movements are consistent with other things too, and I listed some of them.

      I agree that guilt wasn't proven, but that too is not the same as Zimmerman being innocent. It only means he didn't go to jail for what he did to Martin.

      Somerby is wrong to claim that Good saw Zimmerman being punched by Martin. He is even more wrong when he suggests that Zimmerman's head was being bashed against the concrete. There is no evidence of that at all.

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    7. anon 2:53, I get your point, but I just don't think it is a good one. Good did say he saw punching. Read the whole Wikipedia article, including the footnotes. Good's testimony that he saw "downward arm motion, multiple times . . . that looked like punches." That is evidence that the person on top was punching the person on the bottom. It's not "speculation" in the legal sense. Good's testimony was to the effect Martin was the one on top. Good had also given interviews where he had used the term "MMA style" to describe the fracas. On cross, Zimmerman's lawyer asked this question relating to what Good had meant by "MMA style": Q. "The person on top was ground and pounding the person on the bottom?" A: [Good} "correct." See Wikipedia footnote 151. To the extent this was the testimony, it is testimony that supports Zimmerman's self-defense argument, and i evidence that Martin was on top and punching him. It doesn't mean that Good's testimony was accurate, but it was evidence and he was a disinterested witness. The other testimony about "ground and pound was even more direct. You say that the question to Good was whether the downward arm motions "could be consistent with punching." What is your source that this was the question? {I can't say you are wrong about that, not having a transcript, but none of the sources in Wikipedia indicate a question was in that form.] Bottom line, Zimmerman had what appears to be a fair trial and was found not guilty. Doesn't mean that this was a "correct" verdict, but that is what it was. That's the best any defendant can ask for in a trial. People can believe Zimmerman was guilty, but that isn't any evidence that he was.

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    8. AC/MA you are simply a liar.

      There was no testimony that there was "pummeling", as Somerby likes to put it, or punching.

      GOOD TESTIMONY AT TRAIL: "I only saw downward movement."

      LAWYER: "You can't say that is was actually blows inflicted on the person on the ground."

      GOOD: "I could not see that."

      "I COULD NOT SEE THAT", you are scum AC/MA, a flat out liar.

      There was no one black on the jury. The woman you refer to calls herself hispanic, and she also said she was bullied by other jurors and that Zimmerman "got away with murder". She also admitted she misunderstood the jury instruction, she thought Zimmerman merely had to claim he feared for his life, instead of what the law states which is that the fear has to be "reasonable".

      SO AGAIN AC/MA YOU CONTINUE TO LIE.

      It is clear from the witness testimony, from the lack of injuries, that Zimmerman could not have reasonably feared death or great bodily harm. It is clear from Zimmerman's behavior after the trial that he should have been found guilty.

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    9. GOOD TESTIMONY AT *TRIAL*: "I only saw downward movement."

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    10. This is the kind of bullshit AC/MA and Somerby do, they misstate the facts of cases that are beneficial to right wingers, and so you have to waste time proving how wrong they are, instead of focusing on the fact that black people are killed by cops at about 2.5 times the rate of white people, and that for every dollar a white person has, a black person only has 15 cents.

      They do not want you to know that the 60 richest individuals in the world have as much wealth as half of all people on the planet.

      Polls show a majority of people do believe Zimmerman is guilty; it is an important fact because of how foundational to our justice system is the notion of jury of peers. If that trial had had a different jury, they would have easily found Zimmerman guilty.

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    11. anon 9:50, everything I set forth the source of everything I stated, all from Wikipedia. Anyone can look it up, and see that what I said accurately reflects those sources. You have some alleged testimony in quotes. You don't identify the source Does that come from the transcript itself? I don't have a copy of the transcript. Anything I said would need to be measured from the transcript as a whole - that goes both ways. You accuse me of lying without any foundation whatsoever (albeit in ALL CAPS) - the accusation is absurd, as anyone can see by looing at the Wikipedia sources. If those sources are inaccurate, that does not mean I'm lying, only mistaken.

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    12. anon 10:16 - what you say in the first 2 paragraphs has nothing to do with whether a witness testified that Martin was straddling Zimmerman and punching him. What exactly did I say that was a misstatement of the facts? You don't say. I think it's probably true that blacks are killed by cops at a 2 1/2 times higher proportion than whites, but I also understand that blacks commit murders at a significantly higher rate than whites. Neither fact, in itself, proves anything. I don't see how my comments benefit "right wingers" but if the truth benefits "right wingers" so be it. That polls may show that a majority of people think Zimmerman was guilty is meaningless. The actual jury heard in person all the witnesses' testimony, and saw all the exhibits; I'm pretty sure that hardly any of the poll responders did the same. You have no way of knowing what other juries would have done, nor do I. Presumably, there wouldn't be people on the jury who would decide the case on the basis of what effect the verdict would have on 'right wingers.'

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    13. Can we give poor, innocent, O.J. Simpson his Heisman Trophy back, now?

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    14. AC/MA so Emmett Till's murderers got off because a jury found them not guilty, so what, right?

      What you write is so profoundly stupid, it is hard to believe you are merely arguing in bad faith, perhaps you are and just poorly so.

      All your Wikipedia references are either false or misleading (most of them are empty links, one is to Mediaite, a hard core right wing nutcase publication). Even so, here is one of your Wikipedia references that actually works, The Miami Herald, this what they report in that reference link:

      "Good stopped short, however, of saying that he saw the person on top throwing punches or slamming the other man’s head on the sidewalk"

      Oof AC/MA you faceplant and self own like how most people drink coffee in the morning.

      The reason why The Miami Herald reported this fact (in the Wikipedia reference link!), is because it is a fact. The trial testimony in the earlier comment is taken directly from the trial, which was watched by a huge amount of Americans. Again, here is how the testimony went, this is directly from the trial (which is easily available via Google):

      Good: "I only saw downward movement."
      Lawyer: "You can't say that is was actually blows inflicted on the person on the ground."
      Good: "I could not see that."

      "I could not see that." See AC/MA you are a fraud. There was no testimony that Zimmerman was pummeled or punched. Good testified that all he saw was 2-3 sec to maybe 10 sec max, in bad lighting. Did not hear any punching, did not see any punching, only saw a single downward arm movement.

      You are a fraud AC/MA. You have shamed yourself here, once again.

      Furthermore, there was no one black on the jury.

      Furthermore, Zimmerman did not sustain injuries that would indicate a reasonable fear of death or great bodily harm.

      Furthermore, Zimmerman has made it plain after the trial, that he enjoyed killing Martin, and he is proud of it. Zimmerman is clearly guilty, it has always been clear. If Zimmerman's jury had been the jury in the Arbery case, those killers would have been found not guilty too, it is just happenstance of that particular jury that Zimmerman was found not guilty.

      Also, you claim not to not understand the significance of black people being killed by cops at 2.5 times the rate of white people, and how it would connect to right wingers. This is due to racism, which also happens to be fundamental to the modern right wing movement. "Blacks commit murders at a significantly higher rate than whites" is not a counter point to cops killing black people, nor a mark against black people. There is nothing inherent to being black that makes black people have a higher murder rate. They may not even have a higher murder rate, those numbers are of people arrested for murder, that does not mean they actually committed those murders. But it is possible that black people might suffer a higher rate of crime, because they suffer from a massive amount of oppression from white people in America. Again AC/MA, you have a dollar in your pocket, a black person has 15 cents.

      To summarize, you misstated the facts of the case, you knowingly did so, you are a liar, you have no integrity, you have no credibility here. Here is your pointy hat, there is the corner, you know what to do.

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  12. Somerby needs to read this, because these are the people he keeps telling Democrats to make nice with:

    https://digbysblog.net/2022/03/04/the-coarsening-of-the-culture/

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  13. What Bob has said about this case is factually correct, no matter what others say. This is the problem with our discourse.

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    1. Yes, this is the problem with our discourse, but no, Somerby is not saying factually correct things.

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    2. It is factually correct to say you may or may not torture animals.

      Bob did the same thing with what he calls dangerous teenagers. He is asking you to be prejudiced by a vague generalization.

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  14. Alfred Lord TennysonMarch 6, 2022 at 2:08 PM

    Today the Peoples Convoy visits DC:

    I
    Half a mile, half a mile,
    Half a mile onward,
    All in the valley of Dearth
    Rode the six hundred.
    “Forward, the Truck Brigade!
    Charge for the Socialists!” he said.
    Into the valley of Dearth
    Rode the six hundred.

    II
    “Forward, the Truck Brigade!”
    Was there a man dismayed?
    Not though the trucker knew
    Someone had blundered.
    Theirs not to make reply,
    Theirs not to reason why,
    Theirs but to do and die.
    Into the valley of Dearth
    Rode the six hundred.

    III
    Prius to right of them,
    Tesla to left of them,
    F-150 in front of them
    Volleyed and thundered;
    Stormed at with ozone and diesel,
    Boldly they rode and well,
    Into the jaws of Dearth,
    Into the mouth of hell
    Rode the six hundred.

    IV
    Flashed all their lights bare,
    Flashed as they turned in air
    Honking the drivers there,
    Charging a Congress, while
    All the world wondered.
    Plunged in the diesel-smoke
    Right through the line they broke;
    Progressive and Democrat
    Reeled from the diesel smoke
    Shattered and sundered.
    Then they rode back, but not
    Not the six hundred.

    I will not go on. You know what I mean
    Not the six hundred.

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  15. รถมือ 2 ถือเป็นอีกหนึ่งทางเลือกสำหรับใครที่ต้องการถคันเเรก เเต่ด้วยงบที่จำกัด เเละเศรษฐกิจแบบนี้กว่าจะผ่อนไม่ไหว รถมือ2 จึงเป็นอีกหนึ่งทางเลือก เราจะเห็นได้ว่าตามท่องตลาดนั้น รถมือ2เป็นรถที่มีราคาถูก บางคันเป็นรถที่ปีไม่ลึกเเต่ถูกกว่าออกใหม่มากถึง 50% จึกเป็นทางเลือก เพราะฉะนั้นเราจึงมีวิธีสำหรับ การกู้สิ้นเชื่อไฟเเนนซ์สำหรับการซื้อรถมือ2 คันเเรก เข้าชม ซึ่งวิธีเหล่านี้จะช่วยให้คุณประหยัดเงินในการหาไฟเเนนซ์ เเละไปเพิ่มเงินดาวน์ได้.

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  16. This is nonsense. Zimmerman was in a car when he supposedly saw Trayvon Martin several hundred feet away while it was raining. GZ asserted he could tell Martin was high, at night 200 feet away in the rain.

    This is what happened. Zimmerman got out stalked Martin,Trayvon spotted him and got into a confrontation. Zimmerman being a wad of flabby chewed bubble gum got his ass kicked and then decided to shot Martin.

    Dead men tell no tales.

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