"Question of the year" to follow: Late last night, we returned to our sprawling campus after five days of Big Boggle (five or more letters only), Memory and even Chutes and Ladders and Go Fish, accompanied by an almost total news blackout.
Great nieces were involved.
When we popped "cable news" on, the same completely pointless discussions were transpiring. These discussions constitute tribal entertainment product (TM), a spin-off of corporate wishful thinking palaver (TM).
Our analysts informed us that the end of the year is approaching, not to say the end of days. With that heads-up safely in hand, we expect to post this year's "Question of the year" tomorrow.
We direct you to this recent post by Kevin Drum, our long-time favorite blogger. But first, a quick review:
Drum was placed on probation within the past year. This was our response to his radicalization by the November 2016 election.
The post to which we've linked you is illustrative of the basic problem with the world. Drum examines the puzzling claim that Alabama's recent Senate election involved a "huge," or even an "historic," turnout by black voters.
Drum notes the oddness of this claim, understating as he goes. His headline goes something like this:
Why Does the “Extraordinary Black Turnout” Meme in Alabama Stay Alive?Please note:
According to Drum's calculations, the black turnout rate in December's election was 38.7 percent. This strikes us as a rather low turnout rate, given the two candidates:
Democratic candidate: Latter-day hero of the Southern civil rights movementGiven that choice, and given the basic data, we find it hard to understand why that black turnout would be praised by liberals or progressives, let alone described as "huge," "extraordinary" (in the good sense) or "historic."
Republican candidate: Craziest person in human history
(Drum notes, as we have done, that the black turnout rate was much higher in 2008. But then, as we have noted, so was the total black turnout in 2008 and 2012, and even in 2016.)
Why does our long-time favorite blogger remain on probation? Here's one tough-talking, straight-shooting reason:
Drum affects puzzlement about the "extraordinary turnout" script, which he insists on describing as a "meme." Why does this script stay alive? So he rather weirdly wonders.
We say his puzzlement is weird for an obvious reason:
We explained this highly familiar phenomenon a very long time ago. In the years which have passed since that time, we've observed this standard phenomenon about a million additional times. We've persistently offered the obvious correct explanation:
Obvious correct explanation:Candidate Gore has a problem with the truth? That was narrative all the way down, maintained by one and all for years. (Career liberals still aren't allowed to discuss this history-changing behavior.)
Your press corps, and other tribal groups and guilds, tell you the stories they like. Our discourse is narrative all the way down. Information and actual facts play little role in the process.
Black turnout in Alabama was extraordinary, huge, historic? That too is narrative all the way down, a partisan entertainment product from and for our extremely childish tribe.
To us, that turnout rate in Alabama defines a political problem—though also, an opportunity. Acting on the opportunity would, of course, require political action.
With that in mind, we give you the future:
Our tribal culture is built around talk, not action. For that reason, this latest "meme" will be childishly pimped to the end of time. No attendant political action will ever occur.
Soon, another silly script will appear. All the corporate players on "cable news" will mouth it.
(Some players may know the meme is silly. Most likely, most players will not.)
Because these people have high Q ratings, it will be hard for the rank and file to understand what's occurring. People on probation will agree to be puzzled when this next silly meme sweeps the land.
This is cultural anthropology—anthropology all the way down! These behavior patterns sent Trump to the White House. Question for discussion:
How do you think these behavior patterns have been working out?
Tomorrow: With a nod to Krugman's latest column, the question of the year!