Starting tomorrow: TIMES AND TOWN!

MONDAY, MARCH 1, 2021

Performative, insincere, phony, dumb—counterproductive, unhelpful?: At the end of last week, we were thrilled by a couple of things we saw in the New York Times.

On Thursday morning, we encountered Michael Powell's front-page report about an unfortunate incident at Smith College and its sad, stupid, silly, dumb aftermath. 

In our view, Powell's lengthy front-page report adopted a (highly instructive) approach to issues of race and class—a high instructive approach which would normally be avoided in the Times.

After that, the comments! We saw the comments to Michelle Goldberg's fuzzy opinion column about "critical race theory," a school of thought which largely went undefined in her piece.

In print editions, the fuzzy column was published in yesterday's Sunday Review, the newspaper's highest platform. In its explicit and implied praise for the tenets of CRT, the column represented a return to form for the Times concerning matters of "race."

Goldberg's column was poorly reasoned but completely familiar in its implied point of view. But then, dear God, the comments! 

We sampled the comments to Goldberg's column, in which one self-identified liberal after another savaged what might be described as the "Woke" point of view.

Could it be true? Is it possible that denizens of Our Town are prepared to engage in a bit of self-criticism concerning the way we tend to approach this very important topic? Could we possibly imagine that this might be true?

Based upon Thursday's front-page report, could we imagine another possibility? Could we imagine the possibility that the Times might be prepared to rethink the way it has approached this very important, very large topic in the past quite-a-few years?

According to experts, that would be a consummation devoutly to be wished! That said, on Saturday morning's front page, the Times returned to its standard, almost comical approach to the role of race in the public schools.

And this morning—good God, this morning! This morning, there the Times went again!

We're speaking here of what we saw when we scrolled through this morning's "Today's Paper" listings.  In our view, a person could almost say that the Times' offerings for this day border on a type of journalistic parody.

Tomorrow, we'll tell you what we saw when we performed that act of scrolling. From there, we'll proceed to the near-parodic, unhelpful way the New York Times covers race in the public schools. 

We'll link that topic to this interview with Ibram X. Kendi in yesterday's Book Review section. To be perfectly honest, that interview could almost be seen as a bit of a parody too.

We've long been appalled by the way the Times approaches the topic of race in the public schools. For all we know, that approach may even be well-intentioned, but in practice, we regard it as deeply ugly—destructive, performative, vile.

We regard it as the ultimate example of Our Town's modern performative culture. We regard it as the behavior of the Hamptons crowd as they pretend to care about all the kids they have no plans to know.

In fairness, who knows? They may even be sincere!

Ugly, stupid, phony, faux? Silly, stupid, pretentious, performative? Which words will the sages employ, if any sages exist in the future, when they review the way Our Town rampaged around and about, addressing issues of (so-called) race in these, the final days of our rapidly failing republic?

At Smith, a kid who had just finished her freshman year seemed to need some help. (In large part, we base this assessment on the videotape of the interview she did with Boston's CBS station.)

Many young people do need help; ideally, adults should try to provide it. In this case, Smith's president responded by fawning and pandering to this young person, while throwing an array of long-time staffers under a big yellow smoke-belching bus.

On the merits, behavior like this is deeply counterproductive. But this is the way we tend to behave in the more "elite" precincts of Our Town—and we'll even add this:

Almost surely, this is one of the ways Trump voters get born! Beyond that, we're often amazed that the modern white working class isn't more hostile than it seems to be on the general matter of race.

Here in Our Town, we've been looking down on such people ever since Mother and Father told us how special we were. We refuse to take yes for an answer from the denizens of Their Towns, and our biggest newspaper keeps pimping the pap about how much they care in the Hamptons.

Yesterday morning, the Washington Post published an essay by Matthews Yglesias on the front page of its high-profile Outlook section. In his essay, Yglesias offered a critique of Our Town's approach to matters of race! Online, the headlines say this:

Not all ‘anti-racist’ ideas are good ones. The left isn’t being honest about this. 
On some topics, progressives prefer pointing out right-wing hypocrisy to debating substance.

We'd try to stay away from ultimate assessments of "honesty." In theory, though, the publication of that essay should perhaps be encouraging too.

In theory, the publication of that essay is perhaps encouraging. In practice, it seems to us that Yglesias chose his words and his examples with extreme care. 

If we might borrow from Tiny Tim, he may have tiptoed through the tulip craze a bit. We will be a bit more direct in our presentations this week. 

It seems to us that the major tribunes of Our Town tend to be phony, silly, stupid / dumb / faux when it comes to matters of race. Also, extremely unhelpful.

We don't believe a word they say, though it may be that they're fully sincere. But then, we've mined (if only for a while) in their mines. We have (somewhat briefly) gathered in their corn.

Tomorrow: Scrolling through this morning's Times

Coming: Professor Kendi on the way to report on the public schools


41 comments:

  1. I'm a worthless sack of shit.
    Dear Bob.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies


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      ......

      Delete
  2. "Could we imagine the possibility that the Times might be prepared to rethink the way it has approached this very important, very large topic in the past quite-a-few years?"

    But of course, dear Bob! Just as soon as the Party line changes. Although "rethink" is not the most suitable word, in our humble opinion.

    Have patience, dear Bob.

    And when that happens, immediately your liberal-hitlerian 'news org' will start spewing brand-new liberal-goebbelsian talking points.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Gobble gobble gobble

    ReplyDelete
  4. That's it Mao.
    As we discussed; keep you posts briefer and more succinct so people won't hate you so much. 2 out of 3 ain't bad.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Sure Aziba...
    Keep feeling the boys head with your goebellsian dembot spellcasting. Three fucking years and his microphallus has not grown an eighth of an inch. Your spells are useless

    ReplyDelete
  6. Let he who is without parking tickets cast the first stone at fascists.

    I declare...tee hee

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is what you get when you call for nyms, Eric.

      Delete
    2. Nyms are meant to be used every time, so that you can identify the poster.

      Delete
    3. You’re always going have people parodying others via nyms. Especially via liberals insinuating conservative women are whores and conservative men are gay. It’s a given.

      A consistent nym makes for accountability for what is argued from post to post. That is what Anonymices seek to avoid.

      Delete
    4. Are there really people out there who argue one thing one minute, the opposite the next?

      Asking for Right-wingers, who think Biden is in the pocket of corporations AND a commie Marxist, simultaneously.

      Delete
    5. Marxism and a monthly stipend and freebies for thee, Anonymouse 7:57am.

      Cheap labor, slave labor, globalism and managerial power for me.

      Delete
    6. Which one is Biden when he's pushing for the unionization of Amazon?

      Delete
    7. Like Clarence Thomas' vote being the exception to the Republican rule that black votes shouldn't be counted.

      Delete
    8. I don’t think saying that workers should be able to decide if they want to unionize without intimidation is a ringing endorsement of unionization of Amazon.

      It’s politics, Anonymouse 8:57am. Just because the players are vying for the biggest slice of pie doesn’t mean that they don’t sit down at the table with each other and eat it.

      Delete
    9. Anonymous 9:03am, we’d make an exception for Denzel too.

      Delete
    10. Elizabeth Warren has Right-wingers confused about everything but their misogyny.

      Delete
  7. Dotard in CaliforniaMarch 1, 2021 at 10:28 AM

    I have a black neighbour who was a solidly upper middle class entrepreneur and now his job has been canceled by antifa and his son got a letter from Joe Biden demanding he report for sex re-assignement surgery and now he has no choice but to move to a black neighborhood and commit black on black crime.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just one more victim of our society’s inveterate institutional racism.

      Delete
  8. "Performative, insincere, phony, dumb—counterproductive, unhelpful?"

    Somerby isn't willing to call Trump a liar, but he does pretend to know whether a purported liberal, performative, insincere or phony? How can he know that if he cannot even tell when Trump is lying?

    I doubt he can know whether such reports are counter-productive or unhelpful either. Somerby keeps insisting that liberals drive voters away with their focus on race and gender, but he has never provided any evidence of that. He cannot know how many women and minorities are attracted to the Democratic party by its emphasis on civil rights and social justice. If we repel Trump voters with such talk, were they ever going to vote Democratic anyway?

    Some previous Obama voters went for Trump in 2016. But that was most likely because they believed the lies told about Hillary, or could not stomach voting for a woman. Or it may have been because they believed Trump's lies. Or perhaps they thought he was a hoot and didn't think he'd be able to mess up much (a view that became untenable in 2020). It most likely wasn't because liberals suddenly became the party of race and gender -- we've always been that (at least since the 1960s).

    So Somerby isn't making much sense these days, except to tell all of us how uncomfortable he himself is with race and gender issues. But most of us already knew that about him.

    ReplyDelete
  9. "We sampled the comments to Goldberg's column, in which one self-identified liberal after another savaged what might be described as the "Woke" point of view."

    The key word there is "self-identified".

    No one ever said that all the bigots were in the Republican party.

    ReplyDelete
  10. There is no point in calling CRT the "woke point of view" when the word Woke is being applied to a wide range of things in popular culture now. I saw a picture of a woman wearing a t-shirt that says WQKE (as a Q-Anon supporter). If woke now applies to Q-Anon, it has truly lost its original meaning.

    In Somerby's hands, the word "woke" is an epithet, derogatory.

    Why should anyone be surprised when white person after white person rejects the ideas of those expressing a minority perspective on American history and current social dysfunction?

    Why does Somerby think that those white people, self-identified liberals or not, should be the final word on black history and current social injustice?

    If these were self-identified black people objecting to Goldberg's essay, he might have a point, but this reaction is entirely to be expected given our "troubled racial history" (to use Somerby's name for slavery and Jim Crow, talk about euphemisms!).

    ReplyDelete
  11. "Here in Our Town, we've been looking down on such people ever since Mother and Father told us how special we were. "

    Liberals are bad because their moms and dads love them?

    How sad for Somerby that he thinks this.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Somerby can’t seem to decide if race is a real thing or not. He calls it “so-called” (“issues of (so-called) race”), he puts the word race in quotes: (matters of "race."), and sometimes with no qualification: (“the role of race in the public schools.”)

    He has previously declared it a myth:

    ‘That myth—the myth of biological race—came to us, live and direct, from the (conceptual) horrors of "the world the slaveholders made." But there's no such thing as (biological) race. Biologically, we humans are all the same!’

    (“RACE AND TOWN: Dr. Moore assumed to be right!”

    FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 2021

    http://dailyhowler.blogspot.com/2021/02/race-and-town-dr-moore-assumed-to-be.html)

    He has even put the word black in quotes:

    ‘it scares the daylights out of a lot of good, decent "black" kids and out of their loving parents.’

    (How many people get killed by police?

    THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2021

    http://dailyhowler.blogspot.com/2021/02/how-many-people-get-killed-by-police.html)

    And yet today, he is very concerned about a real, non-mythical, non-quoted and not just so-called racial (or “racial”) group: “the modern white working class.”

    And no one has been more adamant about subdividing people into races than Somerby. Yglesias (Harvard, philosophy major, major supporter of the Iraq War) mentions them in his essay, and Somerby has gone on and on about the public school racial “achievement gaps”, which only exist if you make note of the “race” or (so-called) race of the students.

    Does this not place Somerby firmly within the (conceptual) framework of the horrors of the slaveholders?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Somerby is from the judge all by the “content of our character” era.

      He’s having trouble understanding that a de-emphases on physical attributes is the last thing desired by political power brokers of all stripes.

      Delete
    2. He’s also heartened by the notion/hope that the Biden Admin will be more Clintonite (Gore) than Obamaesque.

      Delete
  13. "If we might borrow from Tiny Tim, he may have tiptoed through the tulip craze a bit."

    Let Tiny Tim rest in peace. Let the tulip craze, which occurred in the mid-1600s, rest in peace too. There is very little similarity between that event and what is going on now.

    ReplyDelete
  14. At Smith, a kid who had lived in a dorm there during her first year of college, didn't understand that she couldn't be there during the summer. So, Somerby says she "needs some help", a phrase we all understand as referring to emotional problems.

    Somerby supposedly cares about beautiful and deserving black school kids, but not when they get to college age, apparently. This was a misunderstanding and the student emerged with hurt feelings. Somerby takes the side of the adult workers, assuming that their ever so polite approach was correct, even though the result pretty much speaks for itself.

    The student interpreted this as a racial event. She ought to know, having lived her entire life as a black person. Somerby cannot know, but presumes that he is wiser than the girl herself, who was there, while Somerby was not.

    Somerby interprets a racial situation as mental illness on the part of the girl, for believing that a white person would have been treated differently (because that's what an accusation of racial bias means). He consigns the racial sensitivities of a minority woman to the category of mental disorder. Does Somerby suppose that black people have never been called paranoid before, never been called schizophrenic, never been labeled with developmental disorders? Does he not know that more black kids are consigned to special ed than white kids (adjusted for population size)?

    This is bigotry in all of its ugliness -- from Somerby, not that college president. Somerby is the one claiming this girl needs counseling, is maladjusted or crazy, because of the way she was treated. Somerby is the one denying the validity of the black, female person's experience, just as he claimed a few days back that an Asian woman was wrong about slurs aimed at herself and her parents in NYC.

    White men do not get to label the experience of minority group members. It is as simple as that. Somerby clearly doesn't understand this fact, and he keeps digging his hole deeper. But he needn't worry -- he will always have a place in Trump's party.

    ReplyDelete
  15. “the role of race in the public schools.”

    Even if “race” is a social construct, or a myth, “racism” isn’t, so: If there really is a black-white “achievement gap” in the public schools, does that not suggest that racism, either through a legacy of the slaveholding days and/or structurally, is potentially an underlying cause or contributing factor to the gaps and needs to be addressed apart from other potential causes?

    ReplyDelete
  16. “We regard it as the behavior of the Hamptons crowd as they pretend to care about all the kids they have no plans to know.”

    I see no evidence that Yglesias or Somerby have any plans to know those kids, either.

    There is no evidence from his bio that Yglesias has ever worked with those kids. He was a major proponent of the Iraq War, which sent a lot of “those” kids to their deaths. He seems fairly well off, although maybe not Hamptons level.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is an example of what could be deemed a missed opportunity:

      “We'd taken a class of Baltimore fifth graders on a field trip to Washington. We were standing inside the Lincoln Memorial; the entire short address is inscribed on one interior wall.

      We recall our stupefaction at the thought that a human being, on this very planet, had ever issued such a radical moral statement.”

      (“Lincoln was from a whole different world!”

      MONDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2019
      http://dailyhowler.blogspot.com/2019/02/lincoln-was-from-whole-different-world.html)

      We know how Somerby reacted. Did he ask his kids what they thought? Did he discuss it with them? Did he take that opportunity to get to know his kids?

      Delete
    2. When you take someone such as Lincoln and magnify him into a larger than life figure (someone from a whole different world), you implicitly excuse the rest of humanity from following his example. Lincoln was superhuman but the rest of us are merely human, so why try to follow his lead?

      That's why it is wise to be suspicious of someone who wishes to put anyone on such a pedestal. There is usually an ulterior motive.

      Delete
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