WHEN OTHERS ARRIVE: Meredith Willson calls his shot!

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2022

Paul Simon lives alone: Long ago and far away, Meredith Willson called his shot.

Willson was author of The Music Man, a smash hit Broadway musical and then, in 1962, an Oscar-nominated film. 

The Music Man told the story of Professor Harold Hill, an itinerant con man at the turn of the 20th century. 

He cons the people of River City into buying trombones for their kids. But how would the children ever learn to play their new trombones?

Learning to play would be no problem, the alleged professor said:

[Professor Hill] incites concern among River City's parents that their boys are being seduced into sin and vice by the town's new pool table. He convinces them that a marching band is the only way to keep boys out of trouble, and begins collecting money for the band.

[...]

Hill tells the boys to learn to play via the "Think System," in which they simply have to think of a tune over and over and will know how to play it without ever practicing on their instruments.

Hill's con is nearly complete: all he has to do is collect the rest of the money and disappear.

In the end, the phony professor's "Think System" pretty much seems to work! But this is the happy ending to a Broadway musical, not a slice of real life.

Professor Hill extolled the think system—and so now has Donald J. Trump! On Wednesday night, he told Sean Hannity how his particular version of Professor Hill's system works.

At one point, Hannity asked Trump about the classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago. This exchange occurred:

HANNITY (9/21/22): You have said on Truth Social, a number of times, you did declassify [the documents in question]. Is there a process? What was your process to declassify?

TRUMP: It doesn't have to be a process, as I understand it. You know, there's different people say different things. But as I understand, there doesn't have to be.

If you're the president of the United States, you can declassify just by saying it's declassified—even by thinking about it. Because you're sending it to Mar-a-Lago or to wherever you're sending it.  And there doesn't have to be a process. There can be a process, but there doesn't have to be. 

You're the president. You make that decision. So when you send it, it's declassified. I declassified everything.

So it goes with this new iteration of Professor Hill's "Think System." 

Most experts say that Trump's presentation makes no sense, or is simply wrong as a matter of established procedure. We did see Bradley Moss say, on Thursday evening's Last Word, that there might be a tiny germ of truth to what Trump said in that passage. 

Alas! Our systems are all so complexified that it seems to be very hard to ever make a definitive statement about pretty much anything. Beyond that, it's hard to explain how anything works, and few people really try.

At any rate, most people agree that Trump's version of the "Think System" doesn't make sense, or is just flatly wrong. At any rate, it started out as a joke in The Music Man—and now it's a part of world news, bannered across the top of A1 along with Putin's threat to use Mother Russia's nukes.

That said, Trump continued to talk that night. It seems to us that his next presentation was considerably stranger. 

Why did the FBI conduct its search of Mar-a-Lago? Even with Hannity trying to help, Trump proceeded to offer this:

TRUMP: There’s also a lot of speculation, because of what they did,  the severity of the FBI coming in, raiding Mar-a-Lago—

Were they looking for the Hillary Clinton emails that were deleted but they are around someplace? Were they looking for the spying on Trump's—

HANNITY: Wait, wait. You're not saying you had it?

TRUMP: No, no. They may be saying—they may have thought that it was in there. And a lot of people said the only thing that would give the kind of severity that they showed by actually coming in and raiding with many, many people is the Hillary Clinton deal, the Russia, Russia, Russia stuff, or I mean there are a number of things.

Does this presentation make any sense? The FBI went to Mar-a-Lago hoping to find Hillary Clinton's deleted emails?

At moments like these, we're inclined to despair for the republic, such as it has been. We don't even begin to understand what Trump's speculation might mean. But the apparent craziness of this presentation has occasioned little comment.

We've been asking a question for some time: Is something "wrong with" Donald J. Trump? Every once in a while, he says something which seems to make no earthly sense, even as an absurdly strained attempt at self-justification.

In what way could Hillary Clinton's deleted emails have been present at Mar-a-Lago? We don't have any idea what this could mean—and neither, it seemed, did the frustrated Hannity.

At times like these, we'll admit it. We're inclined to give up. 

Maintaining a large continental nation requires the establishment of a delicate balance. This is especially true when the large nation in question involves a wide array of identity groups, a project that's dear to the hearts of our blue tribe at the present time.

(At one time, we liberals emphasized sameness. Now we emphasize difference.)

Beyond that, the development of new technologies has made this task much more difficult here in our staggering nation. Crazy statements are quite widespread, and our human discernment is limited.

Is something "wrong with" Donald J. Trump—whether with his "mental health" or with his basic cognition? 

Our press corps has agreed that such questions must never be asked. Also, our upper-end press corps works on a level where presentations like this are somehow believed to make sense:

ROBERTS (9/22/22): Saul Kripke, a math prodigy and pioneering logician whose revolutionary theories on language qualified him as one of the 20th century’s greatest philosophers, died on Sept. 15 in Plainsboro, N.J. He was 81.

 Professor Kripke’s classic work, “Naming and Necessity,” first published in 1972 and drawn from three lectures he delivered at Princeton University in 1970 before he was 30, was considered one of the century’s most evocative philosophical books.

[...]

The Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Taylor Branch, writing in The New York Times Magazine in 1977, said Professor Kripke had “introduced ways to distinguish kinds of true statements—between statements that are ‘possibly’ true and those that are ‘necessarily’ true.”

“In Professor Kripke’s analysis,” he continued, “a statement is possibly true if and only if it is true in some possible world—for example, ‘The sky is blue’ is a possible truth, because there is some world in which the sky could be red. A statement is necessarily true if it is true in all possible worlds, as in ‘The bachelor is an unmarried man.’ ”

For more detail, see yesterday's report. That said:

According to the New York Times, the late Saul Kripke is recognized as one of the 20th century's most important philosophers because he noted the fact that, while the sky is blue in our world, there is some world in which the sky could be red. 

That's why Kripke is so important. At the very top of our upper-end press, such reasoning is presented as if it actually makes sense.

This seems to be the best we can do; this seems to be all we have. We think of the glum closing line in the upbeat yet gloomy album, Graceland:

"That's why we must learn to live alone."

The post-war project which failed: The Music Man was one in a series of major musicals of the post-war era in which a certain type of man was returned to the human race by the intervention of a woman with better human values.

The Music Man, The Sound of Music? Gigi, My Fair Lady, The King and I? In these smash-hit musicals, various types of domineering men are humanized by their recognition of, and adoption of, stereotypical "women's values."

These leading men were humanized by their leading women. It's a post-frontier project we'd strongly endorse, but it doesn't quite seem to have worked. 


64 comments:

  1. It's not an outlandish concept that an item becomes declassified by virtue of its acquisition and transport to the home of someone who is empowered to declassify at will, since the substantive aspect of the declassification has taken place (his preference) even if the less important aspect of process has been neglected.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is not an outlandish concept, but it also is not the way our system for handling classified material works. A system exists and it does not function the way Trump asserts, nor in any of a variety of alternative ways. It functions the way it exists in our country, as explicitly described by law.

      Trump does not have the authority to declassify all documents at will. There are some that require coordination with others to be declassified.

      No one thinks that Trump simply forgot to check the documents out when he left the White House at the end of his term. The whole chain of attempts to retrieve the documents, and Trump's statements about them being his, all demonstrate deliberate evasion of the law for handling classified material.

      By extension, if Trump can change laws about handling classified materials at will, he may be able to change who gets to launch nukes at will, or who gets fired and who gets hired at will (even for positions requiring Senate confirmation, for example). That would make him king, not president, since our president is bound by law whereas these suggestions about what Trump can do set him above the law.

      There are many stories showing that Trump regarded himself more as king than public servant. That doesn't change his actual position, nor the rules governing and constraining presidential power, nor the oversight of the other branches on behalf of the people. If Trump had ever watched a single episode of The West Wing, he might understand his position better, but instead he modeled himself on the dictators he admired (Putin chief among them, but also Bolsonaro, Dueterte). Ivana said he read books about Hitler before bed. Trump's confusion about the authority of his position and what he could and could not do may be genuine, but his lies about the documents demonstrate guilty knowledge, not ignorance. And his willingness to sell out the American people to his admired dictators, in exchange for their (feigned) admiration, suggests that he didn't understand the importance of the secrets he was supposed to protect. That makes him a traitor, not a bumbling fool.

      Delete
    2. Trump believed in a strong executive, even if he never studied the idea, and he's never been a conscious lawbreaker. The monstrous portrayals of a secretive criminal stealing material to sell or blackmail with are deranged. His possession of these documents is of zero legitimate concern, whether or not they are ultimately deemed legally in his possession.

      Delete
    3. You have no idea whether Trump is a conscious lawbreaker. The documents are marked top secret so there is certainly legitimate concern because only matters of national security are marked that way.

      Delete
    4. “He’s never been a conscious lawbreaker”
      This is the pap Fox is rather desperately
      hawking these days. It takes one very
      dumbed down soul to sign on, and
      Trump finally seems headed for some
      accountability. To be sure, in the
      big picture the indulgence of his
      freakish arrogance was a societal
      failing, not merely the rotten
      ethics of Republican partisanship.
      Those trusted with keeping an
      eye on white collar crime,
      Including the Post and the Times
      , have some explaining to do.
      But with media critics like Bob
      on the case, it’s doubtful they
      will ever have to.

      Delete
    5. 7:05,
      Agreed. Trump is far too stupid to even know how laws work.
      Yet, despite that, he was elected President because Republican voters love bigots.

      Delete
  2. His invoking Hillary's deleted emails was his way bringing up the topic again, and noting that the raid of his home, if justified, could only be justified by a search for something that hugely significant. Classic Trumpspeak, but not deranged.

    ReplyDelete
  3. If some people say murder is okay, how could murder be against the law?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Try your question this way: "If Jeffrey Dahmer says murder is okay, how could murder be against the law?"

      Now try it this way: "If conscientious objectors say war is murder, how could murder be against the law?"

      Now try it this way: "If police said that the killing of George Floyd was not murder, but the judge said it was, how could murder be against the law?"

      Now try it this way: "If the doctor did everything he could to save the patient, but the family said it was murder, how could murder be against the law?"

      Delete
  4. Outside of court, Trump says he declassified everything. But his lawyers will not say so in court because they required to tell the truth there.
    I don't understand why it's necessarily a less important aspect of the classification process to notify others that this or that is now not classified. Why wouldn't that be MORE important? The Pentagon would need to know if, for example, Trump declassified documents detailing their secret weapon that they've spend years developing, right?
    You are suggesting Trump can take this with him as he leaves the WH and never tell anybody anything until they find the TS docs in his bathroom at MAL years later?
    Ridiculous.

    ReplyDelete

  5. "At any rate, most people agree that Trump's version of the "Think System" doesn't make sense, or is just flatly wrong."

    Oh yes. When most dembot experts say something doesn't make sense, it does for sure. That's just a law of nature.

    "The FBI went to Mar-a-Lago hoping to find Hillary Clinton's deleted emails?"

    Lol. Thanks for the laughs, dear Bob. Brilliant. The Commander never disappoints.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Right-wing corporate-owned media did an extensive investigation into how Trump was elected President in 2016. Seems it was for every single reason you can think of except that Republican voters were turned-on by Trump's bigotry.
      My favorite? Sunspots.

      Delete
    2. Morning crude pigboy. During the Clinton Scandals, it was often noted in the liberal media that the lack of evidence of wrong
      doing just went to show how guilty the are. As satan’s pimp, you offer a slight variation on that today.

      Delete
    3. When did MAO ever say anything that made sense?

      Delete
  6. I just want my kids back.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. clean up your act and get an attorney

      Delete
  7. Well, lots of problems with Bob's Post today, hard to
    say where to start but let's dive right in:
    Bob seems utterly at a loss when we get to Trump's
    hilarious/pathetic tweak of Hillary Clinton which Sean
    of course allows.
    What the HECK can this be about? Bob is just
    utterly defeated about it.
    Has Bob never noticed, in any situation, the
    never indited Clintons will be dragged in and buzz
    worded for the saddest suckers of the right? It's
    hard to give Bob the benefit of the doubt here.
    But we can say this: since Bob decide around
    2008 that he was no longer going to do his job
    and review the Political Press, and would only
    review the LEFT political press, he now didn't have
    to spend much time paying attention to what was
    going on on the right. He always turns away in
    easy pity on Trump and his enablers, so he never
    built up any immunity.
    Or at least he can fake being shocked with
    just a BIT of credibility.

    ReplyDelete
  8. We must also take a moment for the issue of style.
    The Music Man reference (overused by Bob, but whatever)
    sort of works, comparing Trump's idiotic comment to
    the sham of the "think system," This could have been
    handed in a sentence, maybe two.
    Bob is too lazy edit his work, even a little.
    This shows a disregard for his readers, but it also
    turns Bob into a very tiresome thing, a comic
    explaining his joke.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please, anon 11:56, start your own blog, so we can get something superior to what we get from TDH. TDH's millions of followers will be so grateful. If not that, start a blog that points out the daily failures of TDH's blog.

      Delete
    2. You are not the boss of anyone here. Skip the comments you don't want to read.

      Delete
    3. Millions of followers? Haha, no.

      Delete
    4. AC/MA … only if you promise to start a.
      blog critiquing my Blog. In the meantime
      you can just note here how on
      the money I am. Thanks.

      Delete
  9. "He cons the people of River City into buying trombones for their kids."

    Actually, he cons them into buying all sorts of band instruments, because you cannot form a band that has only trombones in it.

    So, what is the song 76 Trombones about? It is the Music Man's memory of a time when several great bands all came together to play at the same time -- he lists them by name. Together they have 76 trombones all playing the same song, plus all of the other instruments found in a brass band, also playing.

    It is a small point, but it suggests that Somerby is cribbing his info from Wikipedia and never saw the actual musical, or that he didn't understand it when he did see it. It is also pretty clear from the musical that the money is being collected from parents to pay for the instruments, not to fund the band itself. Another small point that Wikipedia has wrong. But the details of the stories told by con men do matter.

    For example, it matters that the migrants conned into getting on a plane were promised 4 months of housing and jobs, not just a trip to Martha's Vineyard. Asylum seekers have extra trouble getting work permits yet they must support themselves until their hearings, which may be years away. Con men offer what people need most. In The Music Man, Harold Hill offers safety and wholesome occupation for kids (only boys). He doesn't promise they will play well, but that they will be doing something fun, in spiffy uniforms, with their friends and staying away from temptation. Part of the pleasure of the musical is that he delivers all of that, and thus isn't must of a con artist at all, and that he cons himself at the end by falling in love for real.

    Notice how Somerby equates the innocence of this entertainment with Trump's situation, in which his lies have gotten people killed and are as cynical and false as anything any real con ever said. Trump belongs in jail. Harold Hill is mainly just a salesman, not a true con artist, since he delivers a product and his intention is not to steal but to sell. Trump, by comparison, tells any lie he thinks a rube will believe, for his own profit, no matter what the consequences to others. Trump is a criminal.

    But this sort of side-by-side implied equivalence is how propaganda works. You put a man with a dog in an ad, and people will transfer the warm fuzzy qualities of the dog to the candidate and consider him more honest, loyal, brave, loving, etc. for his association with man's best friend. Trump is not Harold Hill and life is not a musical, and Somerby knows the difference but sells us this shit anyway.

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    Replies
    1. Sounds like somebody's jealous.

      Delete
    2. Sounds like she’s about to break into Till There Was You.

      Delete
    3. Have you seen Schmigadoon? It is on Apple+

      @2:02 -- you aren't making sense

      Delete
    4. No, I haven’t. Looks great! Thanks.

      Delete
  10. The think system isn't as ridiculous as it sounds. Athletes use visualization to practice diving, gymnastics, figure skating jumps. Practicing a speech by visualizing yourself giving it works, as does mentally practicing social skills such as speaking up in meetings or holding a conversation on a first date or in a job interview. There are many activities where imagining the motions uses the same areas of the brain as actually performing those motions. That makes mental rehearsal effective at improving the actual performance. Dreaming also uses the same areas of the brain -- except that signals to muscles and voice and from external sensory pathways are disconnected at the Thalamus.

    The folks who wrote the Music Man didn't know this and apparently neither does Somerby, who appears to have never taken a psychology course or read a psychology book, beyond the chapter by Bandy Lee on Trump.

    What makes Trump's assertion ridiculous is that he didn't tell anyone and didn't follow the explicit rules for handling documents, not that thinking was involved. Many of us have had the experience of deciding to do something and then forgetting whether we have actually done it or not. If that were Trump's claim, he might get more sympathy. However, his claim is that he only has to think things for them to be law. His claims about HIS documents should be considered as a whole, not as isolated statements. He believes those documents are HIS and he doesn't understand that he works for the people and that he is a servant not a master, and certainly not a king whose whims are law, expressed or not.

    ReplyDelete
  11. He probably saw it, or the movie, at some point. Beating it to death is just his way of not really talking about Trump and the Press.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Trump is delusional, as are his supporters. But the chickens are finally coming home to roost.

    ReplyDelete
  13. "Paul Simon lives alone"

    What does this mean to Somerby? He never explains.

    Paul Simon lives with Edie Brickell. They have been married since 1992 and have 3 kids. Her activities with The New Bohemians are aided by Simon, not an interference to their relationship. So what the hell does Somerby mean?

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    1. The typhoon of stochastic abortions in Mississippi.

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    2. Anonymouse 1:15pm, hit the link near the bottom of the blog where Somerby mentions the song Graceland.

      Delete
    3. Thank you, and then I looked up interpretations of Simon's lyrics and found that this song is about apartheid in South Africa and the myth of fingerprints refers to the fingerprints checked at borders, that set aside who can come in and who cannot. It was about the differences imputed by the fingerprints, as opposed to the similarities we all share by virtue of being human.

      The man who lived alone was a radio show host with a political show who lived alone and outside South Africa for his own safety. Somerby perhaps picked up on his being on the air and equated him with Trump, perhaps thinking of his aloneness as a punishment.

      Trump meanwhile, lives with Melania (we never hear about Barron, their son). I doubt her values have done anything to civilize Trump (or even herself). Apartheid is sad, but the work being done by the man who lived in the valley, who was alone, was essential and provided change, and in that sense was not sad but admirable, courageous, an inspiration. Somerby's idea that the song is sad is true with respect to the necessity for opposing apartheid, but very wrong on a personal level. People who work for change are sustained by their work and shared effort, even when change is slow and difficult. They are not lonely and not sad, even if alone.

      How did Somerby go so wrong about such meaning? First, he may not have chased the links, as I failed to do until Cecelia pointed them out. Second, he perhaps did not chase them far enough, to find any actual competent explanation of the lyrics. Graceland is sad because Elvis was a sad person. Simon is not sad, nor was the man in the valley with the talk show, who lived alone. Trump is certainly a sad figure for anyone with the slightest sensibility, but he would reject the idea for himself and his followers admire his lifestyle and the man, despite their lack of "better human values."

      Somerby needs to stop grabbing phrases because they suit his fancy and pay more respect to the author of those words, their meanings and what they were trying to communicate.

      Delete
    4. You could have just gone to Wikipedia.

      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graceland_(album)

      Delete
    5. Paul Simon does not live alone. His song about Graceland is nostalgic, not sad. The song about the Myth of Fingerprints is not sad just because it is in a minor key. It is on an album that introduced African rhythms, harmonies and styles that were unfamiliar at the time. Major keys tend to sound happy while minor keys sound sad to American listeners. They may not have been received the same way by African audiences.

      It is perhaps telling that Somerby thinks someone who lives alone must be sad. Many older people prefer to live alone rather than get used to someone new or have the nuisance of a roommate. Pets fill the gap for some, but many are just happy to be independent and have control of their lives at their age.

      Who is old? Somerby, certainly. Also Paul Simon (who lives with Edie Brickell, not alone). John Prine wrote a song called "Hello in There" about elderly people. I have always found it offensive because it considers being old a tragedy instead of an age when people can relax and explore their interests and leave the work to others, or simply sit outside under a pear tree and drift. However, life is harder for those with health issues, but that is true at any age and the percentage of elderly who are sick is around 35%.

      Delete
    6. “The musical is so sweet and gentle that the audience might be inclined not to notice these liberal aspects of the story. (It’s my favorite musical.)”

      Not Man of La Mancha?

      Delete
    7. Cecelia, if you look up "Does Paul Simon live alone" you find out that he lives with his wife Edie Brickell.

      It is fine if Somerby wants to return to the topic at the end of his essay, but this teaser line, hung out there all by itself at the beginning, entirely unrelated to everything that follows, is only confusing and irrelevant and (in this case), entirely wrong. And why should Somerby say something factually untrue about Paul Simon in a subhead? The correction is in the equivalent of a footnote, way at the bottom, after you wade through the repetitious mess of yesterday's quotes about Kripke. And then, Somerby doesn't even tell us what the lyrics actually mean. You have to chase that from the song lyrics to a site with an actual interpretation (not a guess by some equally clueless fan).

      Whatever Somerby thinks he is doing here, it damn sure isn't communicating.

      Delete
    8. You should ask for your money back.

      Delete
    9. mh, my favorite is Brigadoon.

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    10. @3:56 -- glib, but how do you correct lies once they are out there?

      Delete
  14. Let a real trombone man explain it:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=odUFhLB4oTM

    ReplyDelete
  15. "The Music Man was one in a series of major musicals of the post-war era in which a certain type of man was returned to the human race by the intervention of a woman with better human values."

    Somerby has pretty obviously cribbed this idea from somewhere but he doesn't credit his source. The idea of women civilizing men is certainly not new.

    This doesn't really fit many musical plots very well. Marian the Librarian doesn't teach Harold Hill better values. She gives him a reason to stick around the town, which means he cannot bilk them and run, so he changes. Actually, none of the men in that list of musicals really changes his views. They behave more gently toward the heroine because they want to please her, but that is all. The difference is that there is a strong female lead that is the focus of the show, making the men secondary. She is generally the one who changes, not the men who appease her in order to win her affection.

    But Somerby is no feminist and he doesn't like women much. That's why this interpretation seems so foreign to any experience he might have had of such shows. So he really needs to tell us what book her read this in.

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    Replies
    1. I don't believe the men in the shows Somerby listed actually change their values. They fall in love and are willing to do things to please the women, but that isn't the same as changing values. For example, in the movie The Front, various men said they had joined the Communist Party because of a woman, but years later, they were not communists and the affiliation didn't last any longer than the flirtation with the woman. How is that sort of thing "accepting women's values" or even "better human values"?

      If men in general have been accepting better human values all this time, why are there still complaints about men's values, toxic masculinity and why do feminists urge women's values as a way of improving society? What better values did Eliza Doolittle have, besides "stop yelling at me"? Was it a better value to talk the King of Siam into negotiating with the British, against his better instrincts? In Sound of Music, the father wasn't interacting warmly with his kids because they reminded him of his dead wife. Falling in love with Maria didn't change any values for him (he was always against the Nazis). Respecting women's competence isn't a "better human value." Treating equals as equals, even if they are women or minorities, might be considered such a value, but competence tends to be respected when it is obvious. Expecting women to be competent instead of incompetent, in the absence of prior experience, would be a better human value.

      Delete
  16. Meredith Willson was a game-show panelist before The Music Man made him famous:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOrJhMqmKPc

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  17. One aspect of the Music Man is its (gentle) satire of narrowminded small town values. Professor Hill appeals to the parents’ sense of morality, claiming that the new pool table will result in their children becoming moral reprobates. The townspeople willingly shell out money for the band to prevent this.

    Also, Marian the librarian is attacked by the town gossips for providing “smutty” books to the high schoolers, like Chaucer, Rabelais, Balzac, and Omar Khayyam. I’m sure Somerby would say that the “pick a little talk a little” women “had a point.”

    Plus, Marian is a single woman whose cordial relationship with the rich (dead) founder of the library is perverted into something immoral by the other townspeople.

    It is she who persuades the town to redeem Professor Hill, even as they are about to pass judgment without giving him the benefit of a fair trial.

    There is also the story of the mayor’s daughter who is interested in the “Nithulanian” (the mayor’s mistake for “Lithuanian”) kid, but the mayor forbids it because he’s not “American.” Both the professor and Marian oppose the Mayor’s bigotry.

    The musical is so sweet and gentle that the audience might be inclined not to notice these liberal aspects of the story. (It’s my favorite musical.)

    ReplyDelete
  18. “Alas! Our systems are all so complexified that it seems to be very hard to ever make a definitive statement about pretty much anything. Beyond that, it's hard to explain how anything works, and few people really try.”

    The 11th circuit court of appeals had no trouble making a definitive statement and explaining how the process works the other day when they overturned judge Cannon’s ruling, despite her faux complexification of a simple matter.

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  19. “it's hard to explain how anything works, and few people really try.”

    And when they do, they are stomped by BS.

    Has Somerby tried to explain how anything works? One gets the sense that he thinks himself smarter than all those phoney-baloney logicians and philosophers, so can’t he at least attempt to explain complex things to his readers? The process for declassifying documents, say, or the meaning of the later Wittgenstein?

    Or you can adopt the cynical pose, and sit around and wait for someone else to come along with the answers. I’m sure we’ll all know when the right answer is delivered to us.

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  20. If Trump is truly as far gone mentally as Somerby claims, then what is his solution? Having the media talk about it?

    How about having Trump forcibly committed to a psychiatric ward? Or are we all just supposed to watch helplessly as he runs for President, possibly winning again?

    Somerby has attacked liberals for impeaching Trump and for trying to hold him legally responsible for Jan 6 and other things.

    Where does that leave us? With the prospect that we are powerless to prevent an insane narcissist from possibly gaining power? Because it is apparent that the GOP are AOK with it.

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  21. Somerby's odd Paul Simon statement today is more than just annoying. It is a short step from making up facts to making up quotes. Both practices show a disrespect for truth and reality. If anyone is slip-sliding, it is Somerby, into sloppy use of other people's ideas and words.

    A case in point is today's Republican fake-quote attributed to Abraham Lincoln (from Rawstory):

    “Commitment,” reads the quote, “is what transforms a promise into reality.”

    For McCarthy’s purposes, it’s a pitch-perfect message. There’s just one problem: there’s no record of Lincoln actually saying it.

    The quote appears often on social media or inspirational websites, attributed to Lincoln. But a review of historical records by The Daily Beast turned up no proof of when or where the beloved president said these words.

    Christian McWhirter, a historian at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield, Illinois, said he could find "no reliable evidence" that Lincoln ever said those words. "They do not appear in his writings and I cannot find them recollected by any of his contemporaries," McWhirter told The Daily Beast.

    McCarthy’s office did not immediately respond to questions about how they sourced the quote.

    What may have injected this phrase into the public’s bloodstream was not Lincoln but Lehman Brothers, the Wall Street titan that collapsed in the 2008 financial crisis.

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    1. “Somerby's odd Paul Simon statement today is more than just annoying. It is a short step from making up facts to making up quotes. Both practices show a disrespect for truth and reality. If anyone is slip-sliding, it is Somerby, into sloppy use of other people's ideas and words.”

      Oh, for goodness sake, you’re so tedious with this stuff.

      It is not a sloppy use of words and it’s not a misuse of another person’s work to glean something that they may not have specifically intended, but has meaning to you.

      There’s not an artist, past or present, who isn’t aware of that and who would not, at least, intellectually accommodate (if not relish) this to a reasonable extent.

      Graceland was a controversial album that garnered a lot of criticism for Simon from his own people, so to speak, from his own house. He went thru it because of the cultural boycott artists had placed on South Africa.

      Simon made the album anyway, because he thought it was important to get this genre of music and these voices out to the world.

      It was not an easy road to take, but he did it, alone and came to know that ultimately we all must live alone.

      It should be fairly evident why, in certain contexts, Bob would identify with that.

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    2. And yet he explains little of this. I think you give him too much credit.

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    3. Anonymouse 8:10pm, are you serious?

      Around here, “too much credit” works out to giving him any at all.

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    4. You said things Somerby didn’t. How do any of us know he was thinking anything you said?

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    5. Why don’t you ask yourself that as you’re doing fifteen paragraphs about him misappropriating other people’s stuff.

      Delete
    6. You have no more right to put thoughts in Somerby’s head than Somerby has mindreading Paul Simon.

      Delete
    7. Right, Anonymouse11:28pm, we all know that’s your turf.

      Delete
  22. Yes. But if arguing you didn’t think you
    were breaking the law because that’s what
    you believe Carried any weight it would
    be impossible to convict anyone for
    anything. Bob knows this. It’s fair to
    assume at this point Bob feels no
    loyalty to the US, just the strange
    of the South rising again.

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  23. As for humanizing women: women can easily match the vileness of men.

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    Replies
    1. But they will never be able to write their names in the snow by urinating through a penis.

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    2. FDR, we can top you on vileness and we can also improve your handwriting.

      Delete
  24. Cecelia, you're breaking my heart. Methinks we have arrived here at a reckoning. Suffice it to say, it does get lonely out there, lonely enough for a secret friend. Someone who admires you, not from afar, but by knowing your thoughts and intentions remarkably well. I wondered from the get-go about the appellation. Cecelia. Paul Simon. Makes perfect sense.

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  25. Anonymouse 1:45 am, we’ll settle with me shaking your confidence daily here on this blog.

    ReplyDelete