THE RATIONAL ANIMALS FILE: Obviously, scribe absolutely believes!

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 5, 2018

Two unexplained key words:
Do you believe it? Do you believe that Brett Kavanaugh assaulted Christine Blasey Ford—then Christine Blasey, age 15—in the manner Blasey Ford has described?

As of last Sunday morning, it seemed fairly clear that several callers to C-Span's Washington Journal didn't believe Blasey Ford. What did they think of Blasey Ford, and of her allegations?

Allen from Ohio said, "She's not credible. Not credible at all." He based his assessment on his experiences with "professors and people with Ph.D.'s," who "can be a little goofy."

Philip from North Carolina had a somewhat similar view. "I don't believe her. She just doesn't have credibility," Philip said. "Maybe she believes that was Kavanaugh, but it wasn't." Full stop!

The very next caller, Sarah from Texas, didn't believe Blasey Ford either. "To come on TV and act like she did, I think she's a disgrace to the women," Sarah from Texas said. "And I believe that Kavanaugh is telling the truth."

Allen, Philip and Sarah directly said that they don't believe Blasey Ford, or that they do believe Kavanaugh. Others denigrated Blasey Ford without explicitly saying that they don't believe her account.

According to Jim from Delaware, Blasey Ford had been "drawn out of the woodwork" as part of "this, the whole conspiracy to keep Kavanaugh or anybody that is nominated by Trump off the court." Howard from Florida hotly complained that Blasey Ford, and one of her lawyers, had attended last year's women's march—and that the lawyer had made an incriminating statement in a speech at that march.

(Note: Blasey Ford didn't attend the march. We find no report that the lawyer attended, or of the lawyer's alleged statement.)

Carol from New York wanted an investigation of Blasey Fork's "drinking habits" and "drinking background." She speculated that Blasey Ford may have been too drunk to identify her attacker on the night of the alleged attack.

Jacqueline from Philadelphia complained that, if she herself had a doctorate, "I don't think I would be speaking in that teeny-tiny voice. I noticed that right away."

(Note: In fairness, Carol also said she wasn't sure that she liked Kavanaugh's crying. Also in fairness, a full investigation of Blasey Ford's claims probably would include an attempt to determine how much she drank on the evening in question, though it isn't obvious how such a thing could be determined.)

We listened to the first dozen calls to Sunday's Washington Journal. By that time, 7:30 AM Eastern, several analysts had gone catatonic. Skillfully, we turned the TV off and addressed their needs.

At any rate, quite a few callers seemed fairly sure that Blasey Ford's account was inaccurate, though none of these callers were asked to explain the basis for their apparent certainty. As a general matter, C-Span offers an open, welcoming forum for callers. Each caller is allowed to state his or her views, full stop.

Under this system, factual claims go unchallenged, even if they're inflammatory or prejudicial or almost surely false. Statements of belief, including so-called true belief, go unchallenged too.

On what basis did these callers believe that Blasey Ford's account was wrong? No one was asked to say, and the logic of the callers' presentations often came live and direct from la-la land. That said, this happens whenever C-Span opens its lines for viewer calls.

Here as elsewhere, these open phone segments tend to draw the curtain back concerning our ballyhooed human nature. That said, these callers are "regular people"—Joe and Josephine Sixpacks. They don't possess the special skills of our high journalistic class.

That said: Long before last Sunday's forum, we were struck by a pair of statements by a major national journalist.

The analysts woke us on Tuesday, September 18 to report an emergency sighting. Possibly behaving a bit like those unschooled C-Span callers, Michelle Goldberg had started her column in that day's New York Times with a somewhat puzzling statement—a statement anchored by a somewhat puzzling word:
GOLDBERG (9/18/18): Obviously, I believe Christine Blasey Ford, the psychology professor who says that Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in high school while his friend Mark Judge watched and, at moments, egged him on. I believe her when she says that Kavanaugh, who she says was drunk, held her down, covered her mouth when she tried to scream, and ground against her while attempting to pull her clothes off. I believe her when she says this incident haunted her all her life.
Blasey Ford's name had appeared in the Times on Monday, September 17 for the very first time. One day later, Goldberg was saying who she believed—and she began with an unexplained word.

Goldberg didn't say that she was inclined to believe Blasey Ford. She didn't say that she believed Blasey Ford at that point on balance. She didn't even say she believed Blasey Ford, full stop, and leave her statement at that.

Instead, she said she believed Blasey Ford's account—and she started with the word "obviously." She never explained where that word had come from. Nor had her editor required an explanation.

Later in her column, Goldberg said that Kavanaugh had been "credibly accused of attempted rape." As things have turned out, we'd say that statement turned out to be perfectly accurate. But "credible" isn't the same thing as "true." How did "credible" get us to "obviously" at roughly the speed of light?

Goldberg didn't explain. Two days later, she wrote on the topic again. Again, an unexplained word:
GOLDBERG (9/20/18): Whether you believe Blasey or not—I absolutely do—something happened when she was 15 that damaged her. A friend from her teenage years told The New York Times how, after the alleged attack, the formerly outgoing, popular girl “fell off the face of the earth socially.” Much later, The Wall Street Journal reported, she told another friend that she needed more than one door in her bedroom to avoid feeling trapped. She sought therapy for what she experienced, and reportedly confided in her husband and in at least one friend well before Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination.
Now, Goldberg "absolutely" believed Blasey Ford. She based this assessment on at least one reported fact which seems to have turned out to be mistaken. A more important claim was attributed to Blasey Ford's husband. It bore the key qualifier, "reportedly."

Our analysts went catatonic as they listened to those C-Span callers this Sunday. Several of the analysts even cursed sacred Aristotle, the mental giant who memorably said 1) that all matter was made of four elements plus the heavenly aether, and 2) that we humans are "the rational animal"—or at least, so he's said to have said.

That "rational animal" characterization is part of the western canon. That said, to what extent are we humans defined by our "rational" nature?

It's easy to be hard on the follies of C-Span's less than perfectly rational callers, especially those who hail from the other tribe. It may be harder to see the problems when they strike a bit closer to home, and when they strike at authority figures in the academy or in the upper-end "press."

It may be hard to see the problem when our team leaps to true belief. To see the way this may help our oligarchs tighten their grip on the world.

Coming next: "Incredibly credible," a raft of pundits said

94 comments:

  1. "It may be harder to see the problems when they strike a bit closer to home, and when they strike at authority figures in the academy or in the upper-end "press.""

    "Harder", Bob? I don't think so. There's no equating of simple, ordinary people, the salt of the earth, who - understandably - perceive this shit as a soap opera, with repulsive liberal intellectuals.

    Ordinary people think and speak like the ordinary people do everywhere.

    Zombies a-la Goldberg speak like members of the lib-zombie death-cult. Which is exactly what they are.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ahh, the slt of the Earth people who - understandably - perceive this shit as a soap opera, with repulsive liberal intellectuals.

      We all know THEM. They're the people who the Right-wing are taking voting rights from.

      Delete
    2. Iraq war dembot, is it you, confessing again?

      You've been confessing a lot recently, while getting less and less intelligible. Seek professional help, my dear.

      Delete
    3. That's "Iraq War dembot the Great' to you, fuckface.

      Delete
    4. Yeah, right. Like I said: get help, dear.

      Delete
    5. Not "dear'. It's "Iraq War dembot the Great". Learn it, and use it, fuckface.

      Delete
    6. Mao,
      Trump paid the Russian whores to piss on him when you would have done it for free.
      The dealmaker.

      Delete
    7. Trump is a liar and a thief.
      And Putin's bitch.

      Delete
    8. Trump to Mao: Bend over, I'll drive.

      Delete


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  2. Yeah, liberals really have a problem with poorly stating their messages. "Believe all women" is a bad slogan, which isn't followed by anyone. Maybe we should dispense with the slogans, and just take seriously all such claims.

    Similarly, "Black Lives Matter" was hurt by poor messaging, with people objecting to a response that "All Lives Matter," which sounds very unobjectionable. It would have been better if BLM had simply added "Too" at the end of the group name. It was already implied, but its absence allowed people to argue that it wasn't inclusive enough.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Even "All Lives Matter" is bad messaging. They probably should have added "unless your a refugee at our border seeking asylum". It was already implied (along with people of color, the poor, Democrats, etc), but the GOP missed a huge opportunity to garner more of the "Heartland of America" vote by leaving it out.

      Delete
    2. "Messaging" is what your zombie cult is all about; fiddling while Rome burns, 'messaging' while American industrial jobs are getting shipped overseas.

      Thank God for Donald The Greatest.

      Delete
    3. Donald the Greatest with toilet paper stuck to his shoe. The world is truly in safe hands.

      Delete
    4. 12:37,
      Kavanaugh's claims of innocence are colored by his belief that women are second-class citizens.

      Delete
    5. "Kavanaugh's claims of innocence are colored by his belief that women are second-class citizens."

      Tsk. Tell your dembot supervisor that she an idiot. Soros' hard-earned billions are being wasted. Sad...

      Delete
    6. Mao descends to the level of "I know you are, but what am I?" No retort to this truth except "Soros, soros, soros."

      Delete
    7. Toilet paper got onto Air Force One with Donald Trump stuck to it. How embarrassing for the toilet paper.

      Delete
    8. Anon 11:47: Don't pretend to talk for black people.

      Delete
  3. To me, Goldberg's word "obviously" meant that it was mandatory for her to believe Ford. Expressing disbelief of Ford would get Goldberg expelled as a liberal women.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you take the word in context, it is obvious she is supporting Ford's statement because she has written an op-ed for that purpose. Obviously may refer to her opinion, not to Ford or anything Ford said. She says, "Obviously, I believe..." not "Obviously Ford is telling the truth." Somerby has deliberately distorted what Goldberg said, for his own purposes. Goldberg's editorial appears under a headline that makes it obvious what her opinion is.

      Delete
    2. @david: Goldberg wrote a column a while ago saying that Juanita Broaddrick's claims about Clinton should be taken seriously. Somerby went ape shit, and called Goldberg a "pseudoliberal careerist."

      Delete
  4. I'm a woman and almost always vote for Democrats. Less and less so, because they have come to be defined by unhinged behavior, crying and screaming like toddlers and treating women as if we're mental invalids. At the same time I was compelled by Judge Kavanaugh's emotional testimony, and skeptical of Ms. Ford's. To me, she appeared to be trying to make her story match one that her team had decided would invalidate all of Judge Kavanaugh's defenses. In areas her first story didn't, she changed it.

    I am pro-choice but abortion is practically becoming the only concern of Democrats and it never was for me. Education and social programs have kept me voting for Democrats but I don't see those issues as being handled well by the Democrats. The party is focused on race and gender, but not really on dealing with those issues, only on exhibiting rage. I don't think most Democratic voters identify with that which is why people are leaving both parties. Many more have more complex views than the parties represent now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The silver lining from the Kavanaugh hearings is that getting pissed-off after being accused of something you didn't do, is now okay. Black men being harassed by police officers, should absolutely rejoice that both, the Left and the Right, fully approve in them pushing back hard when facing this kind of harassment.

      Delete
    2. If this commenter were actually (1) female, and (2) pro-choice, she would never say: "I am pro-choice but abortion is practically becoming the only concern of Democrats and it never was for me."

      Abortion rights are discarded in favor of other priorities at every turn. Democrats do not stand up for them and they do not emphasize them in their platforms, and they do not fight for them. That means it is far from the only concern of Democrats and anyone who is actually a Democratic woman would know that.

      So I do not believe this person is female or Democratic. I believe this is another conservative Troll, like David in Cal. That makes anything "she" says after her opening remark suspect. Just as conservatives have no compunctions about calling in on the Democrat line on C-SPAN, they have no qualms about writing shit like this.

      Delete
    3. Women are as varied as men in our opinions. I don't see that abortion rights have been discarded. I see them as secure, at worst becoming a state's rights issue but I think the enraged reaction to Trump's election is about abortion. Some of it was dashed hopes of having a woman president but abortion is the only thing I can see that would explain the raging. Me Too is a part of it but as a woman I think that is long overdue but at the same time, having worked in the corporate world all my life, we had a workplace culture of zero tolerance because of the financial costs involved.

      Why is it important which race or gender group a commenter belongs to? This is another problem with politics. An accusation of attempted rape becomes a gender battle. Most of us don't see it that way but others see everything that way, throw out other principles like the rights of the accused, but consider themselves very enlightened.

      I think if you dilute it all down we are having a battle right now over whether we as a society will go along with changing the principles of presuming the accused to be innocent to "believe accusers." No Democrat in the past would have to think twice about that but that's just it.

      I don't think these race and gender based "groups" even understand why we have those principles, or if they do understand that they care. That's happened in history many times so they are not alone. The lack of education on these issues and principles is important but it is disturbing that the side that used to defend them has abandoned them and adopted the thinking of the villains of To Kill a Mockingbird and The Crucible.

      Delete
    4. It's actually possible to be pro-choice and sympathize with Kavanaugh.

      Delete
    5. 1;52,
      Really? So no rage about the EPA allowing businesses to pollute our land, air and water in exchange for larger profits?
      No rage about children being separated from their parents at the border.
      No rage about Right-wing voter suppression?
      No rage about Betsy DeVos being the Sec. of education?

      You are either an ignorant moron or a liar. Either one gets you in the good graces of the right-wing. Both gets you elected President by white America.

      Delete
    6. "The lack of education on these issues and principles is important but it is disturbing that the side that used to defend them has abandoned them and adopted the thinking of the villains of To Kill a Mockingbird and The Crucible."

      Liberals never had any principles, they're just serving the oligarchs. You're longing for something that never existed.

      The old marxist left did have principles, but it's long gone now. Weakened in the 1950s and then decisively exterminated, starting from around mid-70s.

      Delete
    7. How do you create and promote works like those, like liberals have, without having sympathy to the underlying principles? That said the battle of the last couple of weeks shows sympathy is not the same as conviction for people who claim to be liberals.

      Delete
    8. Works like those were written long before the current brand of liberalism (promoting 'identity'-based martyr complex and 'identity'-based hatred) came to existence.

      Delete
    9. Words from Putin's anus to The Daily Howler, courtesy of The Broken Record.

      Also, to the #walkaway trolls. you're schtick is soooooooo played.

      Delete
    10. Anon @1:52pm: “I don't see that abortion rights have been discarded. I see them as secure, at worst becoming a state's rights issue....”

      Thus in Missouri*, there is now only one abortion facility left for the entire state — in St. Louis, the GOP-run government having successfully regulated all others into closure — placing undue burden of travel on women in other parts of the state.

      (* as in Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota and Mississippi....)

      But making abortion more and more inaccessible by difficulty of travel, or rarity of access, doesn't count to you as a denial of rights, right? Because *rich* people have no trouble traveling to wherever the facilities are, whenever they need to?

      Delete
    11. "undue burden of travel"

      Ha-ha, a great example of dembot-bullshit special, right there.

      Of course the feds must institute an abortion clinic at every post office. So that the poor - who should remain poor, the lib-zombie cult has no problem with that - wouldn't be inconvenienced by having to travel to the next town, should they feel like aborting.

      Because abortion is such a routine every-day activity. Anything less would be a gross human rights violation and an outrage.

      And that's the kind of idiot-freak they want you to be, 1:52 PM.

      Delete
    12. Planned Parenthood will transport people who are having elective abortions. The "back alley abortion" will become an abortion pill exchange. The lucky ones will use the extra time to contemplate the act and change their minds.

      Delete
    13. I have an idea. Why don't we shame people who make unwanted children they kill?

      Delete
    14. If men had monthly periods during which the excess reproductive tissue unneeded for procreation was sloughed way in a messy and inconvenient process, perhaps they would understand that not every sperm is precious. Maybe then they would leave women alone and let them take care of their own bodies, make their own choices about whether to allow a fetus to gestate or not, as nature does every single month, year in and year out. If men experienced spontaneous miscarriages, they might develop some fucking empathy for women and they might have the sense to keep their mouths shut about when and how a woman's body becomes more than a possibility for new life.

      This is a medical procedure involving a medical condition. It belongs between a woman and her doctor, not all the men in a community. This idea that women should have maximum inconvenience when it comes to reproductive medical procedures is cruel, wrong, and none of men's business.

      Men have nothing to say about abortion. They have nothing to say about women's reproductive health issues at all. They have nothing to say on blogs about these issues. Yet they continually make noise and laws affecting women, as if women's bodies were an extension of their own. This is one of the most offensive and abusive things that men do to women and it needs to STOP.

      That said, shame about all bodily functions needs to stop too. These anti-abortion enthusiasts should direct their energies to shaming men who masturbate and shaming men who abandon their children and shaming men who seek sterilization and shaming men who will not have quiverfull families. When that job is done, they can look at women and ask whether women want help managing their own reproductive choices. In the meantime, shut the fuck up.

      Delete
    15. "Men have nothing to say about abortion." "In the meantime, shut the fuck up."

      Thanks for your excellent illustration of Poe's law. Outta curiosity: Are you a real feminazi, or was it a parody of feminazism?

      Delete
    16. Let's look on the bright side. With Kavanaugh on the bench, Conservatives won't lose the right to go fuck themselves.

      Delete
    17. "Yet they continually make noise and laws affecting women, as if women's bodies were an extension of their own. "

      She says nothing about the men who had no say about the sex-specific laws compelling them into battle and death, so that she may rant illogically here. They never do. Men who didn't risk their lives for her were shamed and prosecuted. Calling a killing a medical procedure doesn't make it less shameful.

      Delete
    18. 11;00,
      Are you gas-lighting us, or are you the last person on Earth who doesn't realize the abortion issue is about keeping women in their place?

      Delete
    19. You sound like you're been well gaslighted by your lib-zombie death-cult already, dembot.

      Delete
  5. Looks like Kavanaugh is going to get confirmed. I'm sure he'll be getting blackout drunk to celebrate.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Not Josephine Sixpacks: Sally Soccermoms.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This struck me too. The casual extension of a term that applies to men, Joe Sixpack, to women, Josephine Sixpack, just makes no sense. Women don't drink like men because they get drunk on fewer ounces of alcohol, have greater danger while drunk, don't use drinking for the same social purposes, behave differently when drinking, etc. It sounds ridiculous and makes no sense to refer to Josephine Sixpack as everywoman when a woman who tosses back a sixpack is not normative. But Somerby is too lazy to characterize women properly. Just change the name without thinking about whether the behavior makes any sense. Because men include women, right? Even when they don't.

      Delete
  7. 'Blasey Ford participated in a local Women’s March protesting Trump last year, she said. And a month later at the March for Science, she wore a pink-yarned “brain hat,” Gensheimer said.'
    https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/09/17/metoo-spurred-christine-blasey-ford-to-open-up-about-alleged-attack-year-before-kavanaugh-nomination-friends-say/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 12:03,
      That's not going to help her. The Right hates when a woman exercises her First Amendment Rights almost as much as when a person of color does it.

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    3. If a woman who has opinions is raped, she obviously deserved it or asked for it. Only apolitical woman deserve to be believed.

      Delete
    4. The context here is that Ford's political beliefs could be the basis for her allegation.

      Delete
    5. 12:37,
      Kavanaugh's claims of innocence are colored by his belief that women are second-class citizens.

      Delete
    6. Again, we must point out that no such allegations were raised against Gorsuch, who is just as much of a right wing ideologue. Kavanaugh wasn't accused simply for being conservative while Ford is a Democrat. If her views were any part of her basis, they weren't the whole of it. The part that is based on Kavanaugh's sexual behavior needs to be addressed, no matter what the politics. One cannot say, "Oh, the accuser is a Democrat and the accused is a Republican, so no crime done, no need to investigate, everyone go home." The context here is that Ford and Kavanaugh knew each other, Kavanaugh was a blackout drinker and pussy hound (by his own yearbook words), was at the party in question (by his own calendar), knew the people Ford said were also there, and did similar things in other contexts (according to multiple additional witnesses). All those facts are also "the basis for her allegation." So the simple fact of her politics cannot override this other stuff.

      Delete
    7. The possibility that she has a political motivation is something that needs to be taken into account, but it isn't a basis for shutting down an investigation. In fact, a serious investigation would examine the possibility that she has political motives.

      Delete
    8. so what? A lot of people attended those rallies. That alone doesn't mean she is lying.

      Delete
    9. "a serious investigation "

      LOL. You're a hoot.

      Delete
    10. Yeah, let's just believe her or not based on our political views. LOL

      Delete
    11. Let's investigate her claims thoroughly regardless of our political views (or hers).

      Delete
  8. I really don't understand Somerby's point here. Is this an excuse to maintain some doubt about Kavanaugh's behavior and lying? There is no doubt about his lying, if not his actions as a teen. We all heard him lie to avoid admitting his teen drinking.

    Does Somerby think people aren't entitled to their own opinions about this? Is he insisting they express their opinions in his preferred manner, with room for doubt? Or is he insisting everyone go about maintaining doubt about every uncertainty, even when it is obvious no one can be certain about everything? Is he saying we must be always explicit about all room for doubt? What a waste of words that would be.

    I think he has chosen this concern about doubt in order to give breathing room to support for Kavanaugh. There is no other reason to point out that no one can know with certainty what happened, because senators still must make a decision about his fitness for the court. Only by ignoring Ford can anyone consider him remotely fit, as so many reasonable judges and other "guardians" of thought are now saying quite vocally.

    Somerby is again giving comfort to a sexual predator and liar simply for partisan reasons while pretending to himself be a liberal. That makes Somerby a special kind of miscreant, with a special place in hell. At least Mark Judge had the grace to be upset about what he and Kavanaugh did together. Kavanaugh and Somerby are blatant in their dislike of women. Judge is conflicted, which makes him the better man.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You'll have to ignore more Ford, to consider Kavanaugh remotely fit to serve on the SCOTUS. You also have to ignore his lying to Congress multiple times on multiple occasions.
      Let's face it, Kavanaugh isn't fit to clean the toilets in a court house, never mind render judgement on anyone/ anything from the bench.

      Delete
    2. I just took the point to be that these callers had deep held beliefs that were steadfast and not supported by anything, which would then prove his "man is not the rational animal" thesis.

      Delete
  9. Have you seen Kavanaugh's piece in today's Wall street Journal? He says he'll stop hitting us, if we just give him what he thinks he's entitled to, which is great news, since we'll no longer need a restraining order against him.

    ReplyDelete
  10. "It may be hard to see the problem when our team leaps to true belief. "

    We should let our uncertainty immobilize us and do nothing to support Blasey Ford, nothing to demand that survivors be taken seriously, nothing to share our experiences with our legislators, because maybe Kavanaugh jumped on the bed while Mark Judge attempted the rape?

    Wouldn't it be lovely if conservatives had a free hand in Congress and full support of the American people while liberals stand around doing nothing because there is uncertainty in taking a stand on anything and who can know anything with certainty? So let's let Ford fight this battle on her own. She asked for it by coming forward, so let's just stand by and watch the outcome while the right crucifies her with suggestions about her character and actions that have absolutely no proof whatsoever, that they don't even believe in but that they hope will be damaging, because Somerby doesn't hold them to the same standard as liberals.

    I call bullshit on Somerby.

    ReplyDelete
  11. "It may be hard to see the problem when our team leaps to true belief. To see the way this may help our oligarchs tighten their grip on the world."

    This seems to me the central thesis of today's post, and really one of the central ideas running through Somerby's blog since day one.

    One issue I take with it is that "the oligarchs" is an imprecise term, and hence it renders the statement, and by extension, the idea behind it, imprecise. Who exactly are these oligarchs? And do they all agree on politics and methods? The term can just as easily be replaced with equally fuzzy terms like "the elite", or "the Deep State." The precise mechanism by which the oligarchs supposedly inflame and stoke tribal warfare is unclear as well.

    My second disagreement is the idea that Goldberg is wrong to say "I believe Ford" instead of "I am inclined to believe Ford.", and that stating it the first way plays into the hands of the oligarchs, while the second ostensibly does not. If the oligarchs want to inflame our tribal passions, they can just as easily convince the opposing side to attack the second statement; nuanced hair-splitting is not required.

    At any rate, Goldberg gives reasons why she believes; She is stating her personal opinion in an op-ed; Op-ed writers seldom say things like "I kind of sort of believe but I'm not sure".; No one is bound by her opinion; and it's a rather troubling notion to assert that statements of belief in op-eds must be tailored to ensure they do not play into oligarchs' hands. This implies giving of some sort of phantom editorial control to oligarchs, and would seem to preemptively grant the oligarchs power over our discourse, in the guise of steering clear of that.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I think Somerby is arguing that Washington Journal shouldn't have a call-in line because people have stupid opinions.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, he is an elitist.

      Delete
    2. i took it to mean he is arguing that man is not the "rational animal" based on what he heard in those calls.

      Delete
    3. And hence, he believes that the "people" are too stupid to govern themselves or even think for themselves, therefore they need "guardians" or "gatekeepers" or "professors" to filter out the noise. It is a profoundly undemocratic view.

      Delete
    4. I think you are jumping to conclusions with that statement. I always read bob's gatekeeper argument to be more about the notion that people like reporters etc are supposed to sift through the bullshit and report the facts so that we the people can make better informed decisions, and that they oftentimes fail at their job. Where I personally disagree with Bob is that I think people are often bored by facts and don't pay attention enough. choosing black or white is easier than sifting through shades of gray. I personally also think that everyone nowadays is WAY to quick to assume the purest of motives on their side and the most nefarious of motives on the other side.

      Delete
    5. And it is what leads him to criticize liberal elite Goldberg. He believes her op-ed, her statement of her personal belief, gives the green light to all of the irrational dummies in the liberal "tribe" to act tribally.

      Delete
    6. @2:32: you make a good and valid point. However, I don't think that this is any recent phenomenon, this business of jumping to conclusions and believing one's own side exclusively. It's just magnified by the internet and the explosion of alternative media. The only way those very human impulses can be 100% held in check is through some form of coercive state. So, I'm still inclined to see the logical outcome of Somerby's thinking. If you cringe at beliefs uttered by dummies on c-span, and you chastise Goldberg for having what, in my view view, is a perfectly valid opinion, then you are calling the whole notion of democracy into question. Would he rather c-span didn't have a call-in? Does he think that that would prevent people from having unfounded opinions? Does he believe people at some unknown point in the past did not hold unfounded or bizarre opinions? He has wished, whether whimsically or not, that the Internet would go away. Yes it would be better if people were more circumspect and "rational", but he pretty much calls the notion that man is the rational animal into question. And democracy relies on rational citizens to survive.

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    7. @2.50 - you also make good and valid points, particularly that the internet and alternative media have made the problem exponentially worse. I don't really know what bob thinks to give an opinion on that. You respectful and thoughtful response gives me hope for humanity though...usually I just get yelled at on here.

      Delete
  13. This is why it is difficult, if not impossible to have an intelligent discussion with a republican. Their minds are made up, don't confuse them with facts.

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  14. When Goldberg wrote an op-ed a while ago stating that Juanita Broaddrick's claims about Clinton ought to be taken seriously, Somerby went ape shit, calling Goldberg a "pseudoliberal careerist." But what it shows is that Goldberg isn't a tribal thinker, at least not on issues like sexual assault. In other words, she doesn't maintain a double standard about them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Link please. Don't be a hoarder.

      Delete
    2. Goldberg said she believed Bill Clinton raped Broaddrick and that he "no longer has a place in decent society" based solely on her accusations despite the obvious fact it is impossible for Goldberg to have any idea of that truth either way. Somerby pointed out how thin her reasoning was in contrast to the Lyons reporting on the accusation. If Goldberg had studied the matter deeply, she didn't make it clear in the column, according to Somerby. Somerby seem to be saying, accurately or not, that it was a part of an irresponsible, irrational pseudoliberal "stampede" by millionaire journalists. So she may not have been maintaining a double standard about sexual assaults but she was irresponsibly making claims about them and calling to cast people out of society without any evidence or any way of really knowing the truth which is kind of a shitty thing to do. Or that's what he seems to be saying.

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    3. @7:35:
      I don't necessarily agree with Goldberg about Broaddrick. But, in the first place, I seriously doubt she makes a seven figure salary! And, my main point is the she can't be both a pseudoliberal and on "our" team at the same time.

      Delete
    4. Oh sorry. I thought your main point was the one that you actually made - that Somerby overreacted to Goldberg's assertion, without evidence, in the world's most prestigious media forum, that Bill Clinton is a rapist that should be expelled from society and that her assertion was admirable because it showed her openness to make baseless rape accusations against any and all no matter what party. Next time you have a main point you should state it. ;)

      Delete
    5. "My main point is the she can't be both a pseudoliberal and on "our" team at the same time."

      I'm quite sure that is Somerby's point as well. That's the damn thesis of the whole blog for 2 decades.

      Delete
    6. Somerby doesn't call her a pseudoliberal in this post. He says she's on "our" team. Those not familiar with Somerby's history would have no idea that he actually does not believe she is on "our" team. It is a source for confusion. He also doesn't really ever say why he thinks she isn't a true liberal, but that is another subject.

      Delete
  15. This is payback on the Democrats for not locking up Hillary for the crime of not stopping a Republican Congress from reducing security funding at US global outposts like Benghazi.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Un bel di vedremo ...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6sMtbmlk5w

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds very sad at first. Then passionate, then resloved. Then, passionate, in a different way. Then, very shrill – angry shrill. Women can’t help but sound that way – unless you’re Karen Carpenter. (That was a joke, and given the current climate, just had to make that clear).

      Then… I have no idea. I’ll have to look it up to understand it.

      I like banjo.

      https://youtu.be/mI-MPQqJOUg?t=16

      Get to at least 5:50… If you can stand it. And wonder: Where's the drummer?

      Leroy

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    2. Here's an explanation of the aria:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Un_bel_d%C3%AC_vedremo

      And here's an explanation of the whole opera:

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

      Coincidentally, the soprano just died:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montserrat_Caball%C3%A9

      The Flecktones, new to me, seem to be a good group. Maybe the drummer is a machine.


      Delete
    3. Imp, there must be music blogs where you can talk about this stuff. This is way off topic. In this context, it comes across as communicating that you have no interest in what is on topic here, that you don't care about it. Since the topic yesterday was Kavanaugh and whether survivors should be taken seriously, your message of disdain for that discussion is kind of hurtful. Bonding with Leroy also seems like something better done elsewhere, such as on a conservative blog.

      Delete
    4. Caesar -

      Thanks for the links, though they’re not edifying in terms of the story the opera is telling. I could only impute the emotions of the singer from your original link. I don’t speak Italian. But some Spanish.

      In fact (true story), the other day I tried to explain the word “butterfly” to a non-English speaker, and the best I could come up with was “mosca de mantequilla.” But I couldn’t make squat out of the aria. Perhaps that’s the point with opera. I could detect the emotion, but not the meaning. Knowing what they’re saying would make it so much mo better.

      As far as the drummer with Bela Fleck, he’s the one on the right, and he developed a way of playing percussion with an instrument he invented.

      Cheers,

      Leroy

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  17. If Somerby is any guide, apparently liberals should be writing op eds, like he does, about how liberals don't care about black kids or schoolchildren, that they exude a moral squalor, and that conservatives are 100% right about liberals, and that conservative hatred is justified ( all of these are statements he has made in the past).

    These are things that Somerby absolutely believes, or knows.

    He also believes that only liberals are to blame for the present situation in our country and that (somewhat paradoxically) only liberals can fix it, i.e. that only liberals have agency. Aside from the implied condescension towards conservatives, it is simply not correct. You can't admonish liberals to change their ways, be all rational animals, not be "tribal", and not ask conservatives to do the same. It takes both sides. And, is there any indication that the Republicans have shown any willingness to change, to be respectful of The Other (i.e. Liberals, to them), especially Post-Gingrich? Just look at Somerby's persistent conservative commenters to see how intransigent they are, and why I think it has been a mistake for Somerby, who supposedly cares about "the media" and "our discourse", to focus almost exclusively on a critique of liberals, or "liberals."

    ReplyDelete
  18. Rough Rule of ThumbOctober 5, 2018 at 7:22 PM

    To all teachers, Happy World Teachers' Day!

    ReplyDelete
  19. “Instead, she said she believed Blasey Ford's account—and she started with the word "obviously." She never explained where that word had come from. Nor had her editor required an explanation.”

    I believe this to be a salient point. One cannot bandy about the word “obviously” without at least a cursory explanation. Especially when the “facts” are decades-old memories. We know Kavanaugh is a liar. Is Blasey Ford also? No way to tell, but from what I’ve seen, I believe her. Though, she could be a Russian mole.

    Maybe Bob believes her too. Who cares? The only thing I care about, in this brief moment of time on this blog, is that Somerby’s treading too close to home, and not supplying this fool with some more comparative literature. I like the old Bob, and I like the new. His young analysts need to sit him down and force him to focus on the new.

    Leroy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What do you mean about "treading too close to home?" Did Bob assault someone? Just kidding, of course. I was just intrigued by your statement.

      Delete
  20. And your understanding of it was entirely correct, 2:23 PM.

    ReplyDelete
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