Part 9—Incomprehension and Us: Throughout the course of human history, tribal hatred and loathing have played a destructive role.
This has been true all over the world. Increasingly, experts and scholars have been making a surprising claim about this age-old phenomenon.
According to these academics, we the liberals have increasingly adopted a culture of hatred and loathing. Some of these scholars are even referring to 2015 as "the year of liberal loathing," a claim which must surely be wrong.
It gets worse! These scholars are tying this alleged liberal loathing to the process of liberal dumbnification, a process no one now really denies. If these experts can be believed, the dumbnification of us the liberals has spurred our growing desire to engage in stereotypical loathing of The Others—of the nation's many Trump voters, let's say.
Is it possible that these scholars could be right, if only to some minor degree? Increasingly, we're almost able to catch a fleeting glimpse of their point, thanks to an endless wave of presentations of the type we've sampled in the past few days.
According to these worried scholars, what happens with increasing frequency when we the liberals attempt to discuss and describe The Others? We "otherize" them, scholars say; we offer generalized denunciations of their alleged racism and their obvious bigotry.
Not to mention their xenophobia and of course their nativism!
On occasion, these scholars say, we even take things somewhat further. Increasingly, scholars point to the recent comments of Spike Lee, a smart and funny and decent person—except, that is, when perceptions of The Others are concerned.
Increasingly, worried scholars around the country are pointing to comments like these from Monday's New York Times:
BUCKLEY (2/1/16): There seems to be no common ground right now. Every time Obama talks about guns, sales spike."There seems to be no common ground right now," the Times' Cara Buckley sadly said. Some scholars are saying that Lee's response came close to proving her point!
LEE: Or there's a mass shooting. After San Bernardino, they went up.
It's called scare tactics. I don't think anything good comes out of people using fear, whether it be Mussolini or Hitler.
Trump too. What's his motto? ''Make America great again''? Those are code words. It's like, all right, let's put the blacks back in their place where they used to be. You know what, why not go all the way? Let's bomb churches, let's bring back Bull Connor, let's have water cannons, let's have German shepherds. You might as well. They want to rewind the clock. It's not just black folks; women too. Let's rewind when white men were in control.
Who exactly is the "they" to whom Spike Lee referred? Who wants to bomb black churches again and bring back the German shepherds?
According to an array of scholars, this is a coded, perhaps unconscious, reference to the nation's Trump voters. Some analysts say that Lee was exhibiting his puckish humor, using a literal reference to German shepherds as part of a liberal "dog whistle."
Is it possible that these analysts are right? If we squint our eyes and tilt our heads, we can almost imagine that we have begun to catch a brief glimpse of their apparently crazy point!
Increasingly, we the liberals make sweeping generalizations about the motives and values of those who refuse to vote the way we helpfully tell them to vote. We rarely turn to what philosophers have sometimes described as the "things-in-themselves." On our "cable news" shows, we rarely speak to actual Trump voters to see what they're actually like!
On Tuesday night, Chris Hayes broke from the pack. On the "cable news" program he hosts, he ever-so-briefly played videotape of a Trump voter at Monday night's Iowa caucuses.
In liberal homes across the land, cable subscribers covered their ears and aimed the sign of the cross at their screens. But so what? As his viewers engaged in these acts of self-protection, Hayes bravely broadcast the words which are shown below.
Trigger warning—voter for Trump! Also, brief "credit" expressed:
HAYES (2/2/16): While it's true that Trump fell short of his standing in recent polls, the last dozen of which showed him leading in Iowa, we here at "All In" would like to take a step back, and give the Donald a little credit.In fairness to Hayes, he cushioned the blow by referring to Trump as an "ethno-nationalist," even throwing in a degrading reference to "c*m."
Bear with me for a second. Not only did he finish second in a state that rewards grassroots organizing and evangelical outreach, neither of which are his strong suit. But yesterday, for the first time, American citizens got into their cars and drove to their caucus sites and stood in line and actually voted for Donald J. Trump, real estate mogul cum ethno-nationalist reality star, for president of the United States.
In fact, with last night's high turn-out, he earned more votes from Iowa Republicans than any other candidate in all of history except for one. That's Ted Cruz, last night.
At a caucus in Des Moines, I talked to one of those voters, who was caucusing for the first time:
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (videotape): I like Donald Trump. He's not bought and paid for, you know? I look at politicians. I might be radical here, but they're like wh*res, you know? They go out there, they show—they tell people what they want. The donors basically hire them for services. They do what the donors want. I like Trump because he's his own man.
But Hayes then presented an actual voter for Trump! He attributed his support for Trump to a non-racist motive—to a non-racist political motive which might even seem imaginably plausible, if only on the top of the surface and for the briefest of mini-moments.
At any rate, this Iowa voter attributed his support for Trump to a non-racist motive. According to the nation's increasingly worried scholars, many liberals now believe that such representations must be discarded on face. You can't believe the claims of these "vermin," the nation's liberal Hitler-haters will increasingly say.
Did the voter to whom Hayes that night spoke secretly want to bomb black churches? Tomorrow, in search of an answer, we'll expand our "N" by 200 percent! We'll look at two additional voters for Trump who spoke on cable by videotape, this time on the Maddow Show, all the way back on December 10.
Under prevailing tribal norms, we the liberals are rarely allowed to see what The Others are willing to say. For ourselves, we were struck by these voters in real time.
Tomorrow, we'll examine the rodent-like claims of these secret church bombers as our current award-winning series reaches its glorious end.
Was 2015 really the year of liberal dumbnification and loathing? Scholars and experts keep making this highly implausible claim.
Tomorrow, in a happy ending, we'll see that these scholars are just plain wrong. Historically, at times like these, such implausible claims by this effete class have always turned out to be wrong.
Tomorrow: On seeing through claims by The Others
You have to admit, Bob's most recent novelization technique is great.ReplyDelete
This endless series always starts off with imaginary experts and academics, many of whom proclaim last year the Year Of Liberal This or That. It certainly beats the crying analysts. In our view.
You left out scholars. Bob has made his peace with academics and scholars. He mentions them at least a dozen times without once using the perjorative "professor."Delete
Anon. @ 10:37: You need to nurture a sense of humor. Perhaps starting out with the Three Stooges, and gradually working your way up to the Marx Brothers.Delete
Hope if I work hard I will get to where you are on that front Horace.Delete
Good luck, darlin'!Delete
Today, even racists know they are not supposed to say racist things. I don't know why Somerby would expect a Trump voter to give nativist and racist sentiments as his or her reason for supporting Trump, even if that were the primary reason. It is progress that racist sentiments can no longer be expressed openly, but that doesn't mean such sentiments have disappeared.ReplyDelete
@10:37 -- trolls don't do literary device. For them, it is concrete thinking all the way down.
Poof. There goes 10:37's argument. Thanks Rachel.Delete
Increasingly, we the liberals make sweeping generalizations about the motives and values of those who refuse to write the way we helpfully tell them to write. We rarely turn to what philosophers have sometimes described as the "things-in-themselves." We never interview real reporters and journalists. We never ask them what they meant. We simply say what we think they suggest, and dependiong on our level of vitriol, often imply the worst.ReplyDelete
Thank you for your house of straw, Gary.Delete
Gary doesn't recognize that @ 11:27 is simply taking a statement from this post and changing a few words to make it apply to Somerby.Delete
Heard a very interesting interview with journalist Greg Palast on the radio today.Delete
The Howler certainly has expressed major disappointment in black people with increasing regularity over the past few years. Ta-Nehisi Coates and Spike Lee seem to have earned as much repetition recently as Chris Matthews used to get.ReplyDelete
I don't know of any other critique of liberal media from a liberal perspective. Is one one too many?Delete
"From a liberal perspective"? Really? What distinguished this blog as "liberal" from the hundreds out there who bash NYT, Washington Post and MSNBC on a daily basis?Delete
Because the author says he a "liberal"? While taking the neo-conservative side on virtually every issue? Up to and including Flint?
Bob doesn't care about black children in Flint. He already knows the limited vocabulary of their most likely single mothers has already done them more damage than the lead in the water will. And don't get me started about giving those kids honors classes in English.Delete
Remember the posts where Bob would attack New York Times reporters for only interviewing half a dozen voters?ReplyDelete
Guess consistency's just a hobgoblin of nasty Howler trolls.
"Dumbnification" made its return in this series! Twice in one paragraph!!ReplyDelete
Gack! Has it really been two years? As Bob would say "we are old enough to remember" when Dumbnification was strong enough to be the Media Trend of the Year for 2013. It had its very own multi-part series, which followed another great Howler series "Land of Script." Of course Dumbnification did not last as long as Year of the Liberal. That is because Bob was forced to replace it with a multi part analysis of the hoirrible job Rachel Maddow was doing on a ginned up story on the George Washington Bridge. And Governor Ultrasound.
Let's hope Rachel doesn't come up with another horrible story that causes Bob to interrupt Year of the Liberal. That would be dumbnifying.
Tomorrow, we'll examine the rodent-like claims of these secret church bombers as our current award-winning series reaches its glorious end.ReplyDelete
Unless of course we decide to cover all these things we teased the last week of January:
This afternoon: Is Slate allowed to say that? Also, more highlights from Flint
Coming soon: People who judge candidates as if they were college professors"
Also tomorrow, or later: Sagacious remarks by Professor Painter on the topic of "never forgetting"
"Tomorrow: Amid the hammering, banging and pounding, our plan for the next two weeks"
Here's an irony. Spike Lee imagines that white people want to bomb black churches. However, his great movie, Do the Right Thing, seemed to justify or encourage black people to burn down a white establishment.ReplyDelete
Spike didn't imagine white people bombing black churches DinC. It happened. He made a movie about that as well you small minded, relative-inventing putz.Delete
I hadn't known about that movie, Anon. What I meant to say is that Spike Lee imagines that white people want to bomb black churches today. Of course it happened in the past.Delete
Making up sh*t again, Dr. David. Can you bend spoons with your mind, too?Delete
Look up how many black churches were burned in 2015, David.Delete
To equate burned black churches in 2015 with "the typical", or any significant number of Trump voters is clear cut demonization.Delete
Roger Ebert's glowing review of Do the Right Thing stated that the intended irony of the title is that NOBODY did the right thing.Delete
@ 1:41 AM - you needto get your glasses checked.Delete
Can you imagine. Actually examing campaign finance reports instead of reporting on crazy budget plans?ReplyDelete
To Somerby's progressive critics, keep in mind that Sanders was recently mocked for suggesting his campaign could appeal to and win over some of Trump's supporters. Sounds like a worthy goal politically speaking.ReplyDelete
Very worthy goal. So let's see what he can do to win over people who admire someone who says all Mexican undocumented immigrants are rapists, and all Muslims should be kept out of the country.Delete
BTW, Bob's progressive critics recall Bob seemed to think Trump was batting 50-50 in his view on those two issues.
One more time for the Bob readers out there. Spike Lee did not, as Bob has now alleged for the third time, say Trump voters want to bomb black churches.ReplyDelete
His answer wasn't stupendously helpful. It's not totally clear to me what Lee meant by that. Here's why I say that:
Extemporaneous speech isn't like a written text. In extemporaneous speech, people often make slightly murky remarks, statements which can be understood more than one way.
I'm often surprised by the number of people who don't seem to grasp or acknowledge that fact. Instead, they impose an interpretation on a somewhat murky remark, usually an interpretation which makes them mad. It doesn't seem to occur to them that the speaker may not have intended her remark in precisely the way they took it.
Here's some evidence about Trump supporters: at Trump rallies his supporters cheer when he says xenophobic and racist things. Also, have you spent much time reading comments on Breibart, Red State, or Fox News? What Trump supporters say in public might differ from what they are willing to say anonymously.ReplyDelete
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