Beverly Young Nelson performs a great service!


Deplorables, Chekhov and you:
For our money, Beverly Young Nelson performed a great service yesterday with her discussion of Roy Moore.

No presentation compels another person's belief, but a person would need a substantial motive to believe that Nelson was inventing her account of the sexual assault against her person conducted so long ago. Especially since this presentation was delivered on camera, it constitutes a strong "seconding" of Leigh Corfman's original claim against Moore.

We'll be discussing these matters more tomorrow. For today, we invite you to consider this point:

Nelson said that she and her husband both voted for Donald J. Trump. According to one unfortunate but now-famous assessment, this means the chances are even that Young is one of the "deplorables" whose terrible traits were so exhaustively listed on that unfortunate day.

Is Nelson a deplorable? How about her husband? We'll suggest that you watch her presentation again, this time asking yourself if you're listening to one of the inhuman figures described in that famous assessment.

Why did Nelson vote for Trump? We'd love to see such questions asked and answered on our own flawless tribe's various "cable news" programs.

There are 63 million people who voted for Candidate Trump. In theory, it could be instructive to see them explain why they did.

Instead, we tend to invent tribal novels about Those People, filling them with the ugly motives we prefer to imagine. Go ahead! Watch Nelson's presentation again and ask yourself if she is one of the "deplorables" we all heard described that day.

Why did people vote for Trump? We've often said that there are surely a wide range of explanations and reasons. Our liberal tribe widely prefers to think much uglier thoughts.

Once again, with this in mind, we'll recommend Chekhov's brilliant story, The Lady with the Lapdog. We'll do so for the reasons described below. Beyond that, we'll invite you to ponder Louis C. K., one of our tribally good decent people, as we do so.

(Important permission slip: Professor West lavishly praises Chekhov's brilliance, so it's tribally appropriate for you to read him. Also, Nabokov "considers it one of the greatest short stories ever written," according to the leading authority on the beautiful story. Nabokov wrote Lolita, so his views, like those of West, are tribally acceptable. You're licensed to read the tale!)

What makes Chekhov's story so morally brilliant? Chekhov's main character is Gurov, a deeply unhappily married man and a long-time "womanizer."

From the deep unhappiness of his marriage, he has long pursued insincere affairs with younger women—people he privately dismisses as "the lesser breed."

In short, Gurov is a terribly unattractive figure. Then, one day, it happens:
The appearance on the front of a new arrival—a lady with a lapdog—became the topic of general conversation.
That's the story's opening sentence. We're using the translation of Professor Magarshack, who we think gets it just about right.

The young lady who arrives at the shore is also unhappily married. She and Gurov conduct an affair, then return to their winter homes, which are so far apart in Russia that even Omar Sharif couldn't conceivably walk the distance in the winter snows.

Gurov believes that he has conducted another meaningless, loveless affair, but his feelings begin to tell him something different. Eventually, he somewhat recklessly seeks out the lady, Anna Sergeyevna. In their renewed experience, he makes a surprising discovery:
It was only now, when his hair was beginning to turn gray, that he had fallen in love properly, in good earnest—for the first time in his life.
The miracle of the story is this—Chekhov is able to show the deep humanity of a deeply unattractive figure, perhaps of a genuine deplorable. We'll even reveal this:
Anna Sergeyevna and he loved each other like people very close and akin, like husband and wife, like tender friends; it seemed to them that fate itself had meant them for one another, and they could not understand why he had a wife and she a husband; and it was as though they were a pair of birds of passage, caught and forced to live in different cages. They forgave each other for what they were ashamed of in their past, they forgave everything in the present, and felt that this love of theirs had changed them both.
In the case of Gurov, we see the appearance of the full humanity which was somehow present in a deeply cynical figure. That said, Russian mores provide no way for the pair to escape their loveless marriages. As the story ends, they are wracking their brains, trying to decide what to do.

But along the way, in a very few pages, Chekhov has worked a miracle of moral exposition. We think of this story when we think of the ludicrous, horrific conduct recently attributed to people like Harvey Weinstein and Louis C. K., whose moral greatness our liberal critics knew they must never undermine or dispute.

Why would anyone want to behave in the manner attributed to Weinstein and C.K.? We compliment Angelina Chapin for presenting a humane discussion of that important question in this recent report at Slate. We're not big on punishment here. We hope they move beyond this.

Louie and Harvey were two of Ours. So were the many colleagues and critics who covered for their disordered behavior down through all those long and horrifically ludicrous, deeply unfortunate years.

By way of contrast, Nelson was one of the deplorables, as was Corfman, another Trump voter, before her. Our suggestion:

Watch Nelson's presentation again. See if you have possibly gained a new, less inhumane view.

Also, treat yourself; read Chekhov's beautiful tale. Magarshack's translation is found in the Penguin Classics edition. Professor West and Nabokov have said it's OK to go there.


  1. Couple of things:
    Beverly Young Nelson provides a convincing account of sexual misconduct by Moore, constituting a "strong "seconding" of Leigh Corfman's original claim against Moore." A normal human being might re-assess their position on Moore at this point; not Somerby. What's his take on this? 'Nelson was a Trump voter, so don't you liberals feel ashamed for calling her deplorable?'

    First of all, I don't see any discussion of "our journalists" in this post. It seems to be another troll-like berating of liberals, a particularly crass one, using someone else's pain to, once again, make a political point.

    Secondly, who the hell are the ones bringing these kinds of stories to public attention, encouraging people like Ms. Nelson to speak out? Let's just say it ain't the right wing.

    Thirdly, Somerby loves to rake someone over the coals for their misreading or cherry-picking of others' words. But that's exactly what he keeps doing with Hillary's words. Here's what she actually said:

    “You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right?” Clinton said. “The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic—you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up.”
    She said the other half of Trump’s supporters “feel that the government has let them down” and are “desperate for change.”

    (Note that she never said *ALL* Trump voters were deplorable. )

    And she was roundly condemned *by liberals* for saying it.

    But Somerby continues to repeat right wing nonsense.

    1. So far Speaker Ryan and Majority Leader McConnell have come out on the record stating Moore should withdraw. I'm pretty sure this is mostly coming from the establishment R's who don't want that guy in their club.

      So I wish Bob would stop blaming this feeding frenzy on the D's. We really are just sitting on the couch eating our popcorn and enjoying the show.

    2. Hardly right wing nonsense.

      I'm left wing, but highly skeptical of all of this. For instance, now the NYT tonight is referring to the 14-year-old's story as a "sexual encounter."

      That's such a gross exaggeration/misrepresentation/teaser as to what the allegation constitutes. So why do they do it?

      Sexual encounter means sex. Pedophile means sexual interest in pre-pubescent children. So why all the phony embellishments? They're not accurate and they're certainly not necessary.

    3. pedophile means whatever pedophiles want it to

    4. Is that supposed to make sense?

      I'd love to think that Moore's a pedophile and child molester. I hate the Christian Right and all their hypocritical pities.

      But even if the worst of these accusations are true, he's not. That the Left continues to spew this garbage about him puts them on the same level as FOX News.

      MSNBC is completely unreliable now. I trust them as much as I do FOX.

    5. 6:20 PM,
      Agreed. If we are going to make-up shit about Moore, let's make-up something that will hurt him at the polls. Accusing him of wanting to date African-American women should do the trick. I'm not sure why it would do the trick, but I've been told it's, most assuredly, not due to racist voters.

    6. Now that's funny.

  2. Just because you were a victim of a sexual predator does not excuse a vote for Trump. One would think she would have thought twice about voting for Trump in light of her experience with Moore. But that's just the problem, many citizens would vote for a Trump or a Moore rather than any Democrat. This is not the fault of Democrats for people thinking like this.

    1. Consider this: one does not need an "excuse" to vote for Trump. Just like people didn't need an excuse to vote for Obama; and some people voted for both.

    2. "It’s fair to conclude that because of Broaddrick’s allegations, Bill Clinton no longer has a place in decent society."

      That was in the NY Times today.

  3. "the deep humanity of a deeply unattractive figure"

    I dunno, Bob. It's been awhile since I read the story, but is "deeply unattractive" really true? As I recall, Chekhov's schtick is to bring drama into the lives of perfectly ordinary people, not "deeply unattractive" ones... Your interpretation is a bit corny, which is kinda-sorta anti-Chekhov and anti-Nabokov...

  4. Nelson sounded less than believable when she said, "He said if I told anyone no one would believe me because he's the DA." That sounds like phony dialogue from bad TV. It wouldn't have occurred to Moore that she would tell anyone or that anything would come of an allegation that he made a pass. Not in those days. She read her statement with Allred watching her like a hawk. He probably offered her a ride home, made a pass, and then left when she refused.

    1. I tend to agree with you. Something obviously happened, but Allred's a classic embellisher.

      I also laughed out loud at the "I was afraid he'd hurt my family" remark, and the tears.

      Sorry, but I find all this crying on TV to be highly insulting. The alleged event was almost 45 years ago. It's just so cloying corny and manipulative. It seriously harms their credibility, and is totally out of scale with the alleged offenses.

    2. No one cares about you or what you find anything you watch on TV to be moronic TV watching cunt.

    3. Nice blowing your point with the "cunt" addition.

      You self-righteous guys ALWAYS end up doing this, too. And if you actually think shedding tears on TV is somehow automatically sanctifying, then you're a moron to boot. Easy pickings.

    4. Better trolling please.

    5. If elected,Roy Moore will hurt families all over the country.

  5. I found Angelina's Slate article to be awful. Starting with the title "Why do men masturbate in front of women."

    Again, why are women writers unable to use adjectives? Then later she's like "well I don't know what that feels like (to hold my own penis), but I imagine those men are probably thinking this or that."

    Well, at least that was well researched. Perhaps there could be a way to ask the people who do it what their motivation is?

    In my experience, people often have a hard time figuring out why other people do anything and probably are not going to believe an explanation - if there even is one besides "I want to do it".

    Why, for example, do some people enlarge their earlobes? Why do other people pierce their tongues?

    All three of those, including the dude masturbating in front of me, are violating tribal norms and making me see something I don't want to see. Only one might have some criminal penalties attached to it, although Kansas, at least, has NO law against public nudity.

  6. Bob who eviserates those who misrepresent comments even slightly dies just that to HRC...Her comments were: "You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump's supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic -- you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people -- now 11 million. He tweets and retweets their offensive hateful mean-spirited rhetoric. Now, some of those folks -- they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America."

    1. In hindsight, making grossly generalized criticisms about 30 million a potential voters wasn't really such a hot idea. The way it was said it could be projected and interpreted by 60 million potential voters as an aggressive, extremely offensive criticism.

      She really wasn't the smartest politician.

    2. I wouldn't call it wearing blinders, I would say I had more faith in the intelligence, decency and righteousness of my fellow Americans. No more. The sleeper has awakened.

    3. What you have is too much faith in the intelligence, decency and righteousness of powerful Democrats. But - I get it. You're just doing the best with the intelligence and perspicacity you have.

    4. I have great perspicacity.

    5. Really? It led you to "sleep" through the last election? That's like, massive perspicaciousness dude. Rock on.

    6. Goff, tRump rode around that campaign insulting people every day. Millions and millions of people. He was a steady stream of gross vulgarity and ignorant repulsive offense to every segment of our society. He was Jabba the Hut without the class.

      She said one thing that was taken out of context and used to belie the very essence of her campaign message of love.

      "Love trumps hate" was her constant steady message.

      The whole convention radiated her principles of "love and kindness."

      "Stronger together is not just a lesson from history, a slogan from our campaign," she told the nation. "It's a guiding principle for the country we've always been."

      “I know it’s not usual for somebody running for president to say what we need more of in this country is love and kindness,” she said. “But that’s exactly what we need more of.”

      And on and on, that was the message of her campaign.

      But dickheads like you want to promote the idea that that one thing she said, changed peoples' minds and decided to vote for the walking talking sack of shit. No, she spoke the truth. There is a basket of deplorables in this country who respond to a message of hate. Who gravitate to the repugnant.

      I find Trump repulsive. I will call him immoral, disrespectful dishonest and a douchebag. David in Cal
      November 13, 2017 at 8:49 PM

      Yet DinC decided to make that "immoral douchebag" the most powerful man on earth, leader of the free world.

      No, she was right. DinC is deplorable. We just never realized there were that many of them.

    7. mm - thanks for sharing your reasoning with me. I agree with Bob that voters had a wide range of explanations and reasons for their vote. I also agree with you that many liberals like yourself have been and still are "asleep" in some important areas that affect voter's decisions. I know you see things much more simply so we'll have to agree to disagree. All the best,

    8. I voted for Clinton by the way. I was very sorry to see trump win but not surprised.

      I know it's strange to you but a lot of Trump voters will vote for him just to piss people like you off.

      You're so angry and nasty and come off like such a know it all. You may not realize it but you act like a dick.

      I know that might sound totally crazy to you. It's not rational! It's not a rational! I can hear you saying it. But the world isn't rational.

      It's the way of the jungle man. The world is a jungle and we are wild animals.

      Welcome to the jungle.

      Thanks for trying to wake up from your slumber.

    9. Goff, if you have been reading the comments of this blog (and many others) you would realize I wasn't sleeping through this campaign.

      From the minute Hillary Clinton threw her hat into the ring, she was slandered, smeared, lied about and attacked mercilessly from every direction, starting with the NY Times and the WP. Left and Right. Persecuted unfairly by the GOP congress abusing their power, forced in the middle of her campaign to endure 11 hours of hostile interrogation by some of the scummiest putrid people ever to wear the title of US Representative who decided their best hope was to ride the corpses of 4 American heroes in the most nakedly partisan manner in living memory, just to damage her politically.

      It astounded me to watch the President and VP stand silently by and allow her to absorb all that punishment without ever once standing tall and taking some responsibility. I prayed and hope that enough of my fellow citizens would be repulsed by the relentless unfair abuse heaped on her from those pygmies.

      But more than that I attempted in my own humble feeble manner to politely (and sometimes not so politely) respond with facts and logic to the avalanche of lies and calumny heaped on her, relentlessly from all directions. I tried.

      I don't want to get into a long argument with you. I only wanted to respond to your characterization of her candidacy - it seemed to me you were blaming the victim and we've had enough of that.

      Yes, that wasn't the most politic statement she might have made. Thank you for telling me I act like a dick. I only do that to people who I know are unreachable anyway.

    10. "I know it's strange to you but a lot of Trump voters will vote for him just to piss people like you off."

      "Nazi's sent 6 million Jews to their deaths during the Holocaust.
      Never again.
      Unless it pisses off liberals, of course."

    11. Goff is correct, mm. All your logic is Trumped (so to speak) by Trump's bigotry.

    12. Yes they are unreachable and stop wasting your time with facts and logic for God's sake. You will truly be woke when you do.

      The whole work of man really seems to consist in nothing but proving to himself every minute that he is a man and not a piano-key! It may be at the cost of his skin, it may be by cannibalism! And this being so, can one help being tempted to rejoice that it has not yet come off, and that desire still depends on something we don't know?

    13. @Goff:
      "Yes they are unreachable and stop wasting your time with facts and logic for God's sake. You will truly be woke when you do"

      First of all, Somerby condemns liberals in his blog almost daily for exactly the kind of attitude you exhibit here. (And I almost despise him sometimes for his childish, mocking vitriol).
      Second, what is the solution? How do liberals win? By being as bigoted a demagogue as Trump? By voter suppression and gerrymandering? By being as closed-minded and hateful as so many Republicans and conservatives are? Your attitude isn't a way forward in the real world of politics. It's a retreat into self-satisfied despair.

      And mm isn't a dick. He's passionate and honest.
      Can't say the same for other commenters here whom you don't take to task.

    14. I second that mm is not a dick and further offer that his commentary is one of the few remaining reasons to still visit this blog. Goff, I also agree that there are plenty of disingenuous assholes here more deserving of your displaced scorn. You say that mm comes off as angry and nasty but you come off a bit more so to me. Seeing this in others but not in your own words reminds me a little of Somerby. Hope you don't take that as a complement. However, I do agree with you that the deplorables quote was really dumb politics. I cringed when I first heard it, though I sadly also have to admit that I must agree with those who think it to be true (even if that includes you).

    15. I didn’t cringe, I agreed with it. It is an obvious truth. And mm is great!

  7. According to Colbert's monologue tonight, Moore was banned from a local mall, and the YMCA for stalking teenage girls. If that's not just some joke, then Moore needs to do the right thing and drop out.