BANALITY AND TOWN: The banality of today's Washington Post!

TUESDAY, MAY 4, 2021

Top journalists sift what you hear: In June of last year, several police officers in Loveland, Colorado executed a violent arrest of a 73-year-old, 80-pound woman who was suffering from dementia.

They arrested her "as she was plucking purple wildflowers and strolling back home" from Walmart. 

We're quoting from this recent news report. That report included a link to this edited fourteen minutes of videotape recording some of what happened next.

Bodycam tape of the violent arrest is instructive enough. Far more instructive is the videotape, which surfaced a few weeks ago, of several officers sitting around laughing about the violent arrest.

As they sat around laughing about the arrest, the woman in question was sitting in a holding cell, for several hours, with her arms still handcuffed begin her. Videotape from that holding sell shows her shifting uncomfortably, with no surface to lean back on, attempting to compensate for the pain of the fractured arm and dislocated shoulder the violent arrest had caused.

While this tiny woman shifted in pain, the officers chuckled and exchanged fist bumps about the violent arrest. Anthropologically, we regard this videotape as extremely instructive.

The videotape of the officers called to mind a famous phrase from Hannah Arendt—"the banality of evil." 

Most simply put, these officers didn't strike us as some type of standard-issue sociopaths. Instead, they seemed to be too dumb to understand the nature of the very strange event they were discussing.

They seemed too dumb to comprehend the problem with their own behavior. Having said that, we will also say this:

This dumbness seems to be everywhere in the modern life of Our Town. According to the major anthropologists with whom we consult, this banality may be what our species is wired for—the best our species can do.

To our own eye and ear, we now encounter this banality pretty much wherever we look. 

Last evening, on CNN, Chris Cuomo seemed more like the classic stormtrooper. But for a glimpse of this modern banality, consider a certain front-page report in this morning's Washington Post.

In the front-page report, Meckler and Natanson discuss an array of current disputes about the ways some public and private schools are responding to issues of race. Hard-copy headline included, the front-page report starts like this:

In schools' anti-racism push, right sees a threat

The nation’s reckoning over race has reached thousands of U.S. schools, and so, too, has a conservative backlash.

Schools across the country are working to address systemic racism and inject an anti-racist mind-set into campus life. But where advocates see racial progress, opponents see an effort to shame White teachers and sometimes students for being part of an oppressive system.

In particular, conservatives have seized on the idea that schools are promoting critical race theory, a decades-old academic framework that examines how policies and the law perpetuate systemic racism. It holds in part that racism is woven into the fabric of the nation’s history and life — a product of the system and not just individual bad actors.

In this initial framing, thousands of schools across the country "are working to address systemic racism"—and this effort has produced "a conservative backlash." 

Might thumbs already be on the scales as that framework emerges? That is a matter of judgment. We can certainly think of ways to introduce this topic which wouldn't perhaps and possibly seem to signal winners and losers to the extent that the Post's framework might.

That said, we had to sigh and turn away when we read the Post's account of a recent dispute at the Grace Church School, a high-end private school in Manhattan. In their early capsule reference, the Post reporters said this:

MECKLER AND NATANSON (5/3/21): The fight over what to do about [various racial concerns] is unfolding in public and private schools, in state legislatures and on school boards, in private Facebook groups and statewide curriculum committees.

At a private school in Manhattan, a teacher publicly complained about efforts to encourage White students to consider their privilege and affinity groups based on race. In Moore County, N.C., school board members are rebelling over state curriculum standards, which mandate history lessons incorporate the experiences and perspectives of marginalized communities.

And in Loudoun County, Va., the school system’s pursuit of equity initiatives such as anti-bias training for teachers has led conservative media and lawmakers to accuse the district of forcing students to learn about race too early and to view everything and everyone through a racial lens, sometimes basing conclusions on snatches of information, such as a short video clip of a lesson.

These conservatives today! They sometimes base their conclusions on snatches of information! 

Also, a teacher in a private school "publicly complained about efforts to encourage White students to consider their privilege,"  whatever that new-fangled phrase might signal, suggest or mean.

We assumed the private school was Grace—and sure enough, it was! Later in the front-page report, subscribers were serviced with an account of what had happened there. 

Below, you see the Post's full account of what happened at Grace:

MECKLER AND NATANSON: In Manhattan, the private Grace Church School had always seen itself as racially progressive. Then, in the aftermath of [George] Floyd’s murder, it heard from alumni posting on Instagram, saying they felt marginalized as students there. “It was a wake-up call that we were not doing as excellent a job as we thought we were,” said George Davison, the longtime head of school.

The school had already revised its curriculum. Then it hosted workshops on race and created affinity groups where students of different races could discuss their experiences.

At least one teacher, Paul Rossi, objected, both internally and, when he was not satisfied with the response, in public, including in an essay in the New York Post. He said the school requires teachers to treat students differently based on race and rejects dissenting voices.

“My school, like so many others, induces students via shame and sophistry to identify primarily with their race before their individual identities are fully formed,” he wrote. “The morally compromised status of ‘oppressor’ is assigned to one group of students based on their immutable characteristics. In the meantime, dependency, resentment and moral superiority are cultivated in students considered ‘oppressed.’ ”

Davison replied that no one should feel guilty about the circumstances of their birth. But he said students must face the systemic racism that surrounds them.

“Lots of people have, for a generation or two, said, ‘Well, I’m not a racist, so I have done all I need to do,” he said. “We have arrived at a point in our culture where we say you can’t be race-neutral anymore. Either you are against racism and therefore anti-racist or [you're] supporting racism.”

In fairness, the reporters included a substantial quote from Rossi. That said, they gave the head of school the last word.

(They also failed to report what Rossi said and did next. They failed to tell subscribers where the story went from there!)

In print editions and online, the report includes a pleasant photo of Davison as he "poses for a portrait in front of Grace Church School." It includes a second photo from Grace in which the Post appears to have found a pleasing irony.

In the part of the story the reporters discussed, Rossi said the school has been inducing certain reactions in students by use of "shame and sophistry." Davison said no one should feel guilty about their so-called "race," but he also said that students "must face the systemic racism that surrounds them."

Students should face the systemic racism that surrounds them? We feel the same way about the systemic banality which now surrounds us here in the streets of Our Town. 

When Arrendt wrote about Adolf Eichmann, she referred to "the banality of evil." This formulation accepts the obvious idea that Eichmann's actions were evil. But his evil actions were permitted by his banality, Arrendt argued.

As we read this morning's Post report, a different phrase came to mind. We thought of "the banality of banality"—of the persistent moral and intellectual fail which now rules the streets of Our Town.

Cuomo seemed like the classic stormtrooper to us. Today's reporters do not.

That said, can a modern nation run on this fuel? On banality all the way down?

Tomorrow: The banality of banality (what happened next at Grace Church)


62 comments:

  1. "When Arrendt wrote about Adolf Eichmann, she referred to "the banality of evil." This formulation accepts the obvious idea that Eichmann's actions were evil. But his evil actions were permitted by his banality, Arrendt argued."

    Eichmann didn't personally execute any Jewish person. He didn't work in a concentration camp. He was a government administrator who made the logistical arrangements, did the planning, to make those atrocities happen. That is what Arendt meant by "banality of evil". Eichmann carried out Hitler's orders as chief architect of his Final Solution, and other resettlement and work camps housing targets of Hitler's Reich.

    Arendt's work isn't about banality. It was about the justice of trying someone who built a system that oppressed Jews, instead of carrying out those acts himself. In that sense, Arendt's words support the statements of that school principal, not Rossi. The principal is arguing that children need to be taught that if they collude with a racist system, they are oppressing people and occupying a position of privilege that is not available to all. This school wants to teach children to avoid becoming the Eichmann's of institutionalized racism, to oppose that evil.

    Unaccountably, Somerby seems to be siding with Rossi. He dislikes the way the press gave the last word to the school instead of the single oppositional teacher. He clearly dislikes critical race theory, the latest bugaboo of the right wing. Somerby wants to claim Arendt's voice and place the school in the role of Eichmann, the banal evil, but that argument doesn't fit the facts, it doesn't work.

    To further confuse matters, Somerby doesn't appear to understand what the word banal (or banality) means. He equates it with dumbness, but it has nothing to do with dumb and instead refers to what is conventional, routine, ordinary (unoriginal). It can be argued that such terms better describe the routine workings of our society's institutions which carry out racist bias in large and small ways every day, the bias built into our systems. That is the banal evil, not the people urging us to examine and reform such systems. This principal is neither banal nor evil as he attempts to do so within his school. The opposition of this teacher strikes me as dumb, and to the extent that he works to continue institutional racism at his school, evil.

    When someone works as hard as Somerby to redefine what words mean, to twist the intent of a long-dead author who cannot defend her own work and meaning (Arendt passed away in 1975), he is engaging in propaganda and has no desire to engage in honest discussion of anything here. This is right-wing bullshit just as clearly as Tucker Carlson's bombast, and Somerby is no liberal. He is playing the same game as Jonah Goldberg in his book Liberal Fascism, in which up is redefined as down and history is warped to suit a conservative agenda, sowing confusion in the process. Somerby should be ashamed of himself.

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    Replies
    1. So why has Somerby illustrated the banality of evil with the obscure footage of two members of a now controversial profession breaking the arm of a frail white woman?

      Could it be because of their ghastly palsy-walsy cheeriness after such violence AND that such a video never made it to wide media circulation because it wasn't about the right race and the right soapbox?

      The banality of institutional evil, indeed.

      Delete
    2. Those cops didn't torture that poor woman because they were dumb. They did it because they are sadistic sociopaths (people lacking in empathy), something Somerby explicitly denies:

      "Most simply put, these officers didn't strike us as some type of standard-issue sociopaths. Instead, they seemed to be too dumb to understand the nature of the very strange event they were discussing."

      Somerby has no way of knowing whether these men were dumb or sociopathic (the more likely explanation of their behavior). But he makes an authoritative denial of sociopathy anyway.

      Somerby also concealed the timing of the events reported on April 26, 2021. This event took place in early 2020, a year ago. It was never reported by the media because the officers lied in their report, saying there were no injuries. The video was released on April 26, because that is when the woman's relatives filed a lawsuit on her behalf. The police department says it had no knowledge of the arrest before that. The woman sat crying in her cell for 6 hours before receiving any medical attention. She not only had a broken arm but also a dislocated shoulder. She was clearly disordered (had dementia) and could not tell officers about her condition.

      This does not illustrate dumbness. It illustrates extreme callousness and disregard for prisoners, abuse of a suspect who is entitled to medical care, and disregard of existing police procedures -- an abuse by police.

      This event has NOW been widely reported all over the place. Somerby's claim that this was not reported because the woman it happened to was white, is completely incorrect and results from his own bias and his lack of careful reading of the news reports which have appeared.

      And this event has nothing to do with "the banality of evil" because these cops are more like the prison guards themselves, not the administrators such as Eichmann who was the focus of Arendt's discussion.

      It is a good idea to check further into anything Somerby posts because he frequently misrepresents things to serve his own purposes. I dislike you, Cecelia, but even you don't deserve to be misled by Somerby. Check his work.

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    3. @11:19 -- It's easy to account for siding with Rossi: In Somerby's view, and in mine, the school's behavior is evil, not Rossi's behavior. CRT is evil, because it promotes race hatred and divides races and preaches that one should be measured based on one's race. Perhaps one could attribute the acceptance of CRT to the "banality of evil".

      I understand that @11:19 disagrees with my view. That's OK.

      Delete
    4. David, it is pretty easy to argue that race hatred and racial division existed before the development of CRT. In order for something to be causal, it must precede whatever is the effect (in this case race hatred). Further, your characterization of CRT is wrong. It doesn't preach "one should be measured based on one's race."

      Somerby loves the phrase "banality of evil" and ignores its context in order to apply it to whatever he chooses. Words and ideas don't work like that, if you expect to communicate with others.

      I get it that you think CRT is evil. You are a conservative. My point is that Somerby is a conservative too, that he doesn't care what Arendt meant and feels perfectly free to distort and misuse other people's creative activity, their words, at will. That makes him a bad guy in the writing profession and intellectually dishonest.

      The point of teaching CRT in a school is to tell deserving and hard-working minority students that sometimes their best efforts will not produce an appropriate result for reasons beyond their control, inherent to the bias of the system and bigots who manipulate that system for their own benefit. Otherwise, they will think that merit alone determines success, when that is manifestly untrue for women and members of certain minority groups. It is evil to let students think that this is a fair system when it is sometimes rigged against them.

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    5. Anonymouse 12:05 pm, had you seen the video before it was linked here?

      I haven’t seen it anywhere but here, although it is out.

      Long before Arendt’s book, CS Lewis spoke of the banality of evil.

      “ I live in the Managerial Age, in a world of "Admin." The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid "dens of crime" that Dickens loved to paint. It is not done even in concentration camps and labour camps. In those we see its final result. But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voices. Hence, naturally enough, my symbol for Hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state or the office of a thoroughly nasty business concern."1942

      It is “dumbness” in the way of animality. In the sense of a deadening of the things that make us human. The firefighter burning books. The Orwell apparatchik. The child pulling the wings off butterflies seeming without sentience.

      Lewis said evil merely gets its reality from goodness. Goodness was always there and everlasting. Without endlessly inspiring and creative goodness there could be no evil. Lewis says that evil is “spoilt goodness”.

      That’s the dumbness, the littleness, the banality of evil.

      Delete
    6. @12:20 PM - I think that a majority of Americans think CRT is bad. For that reason, I expect Republicans to do well in the 2022 elections. We shall see.

      Delete
    7. One bad thing about CRT is that it turns blacks into beggars. This is what I mean:

      When I was growing up, it was clear that there was Christian privilege. Antisemitism was prevalent in some industries and some universities. If I had asked Christians to atone for their privilege and give me something on account of it, I would have been laughed at. What I could do was to work extra hard to succeed, despite Christian privilege. That may seem unfair, but it had some big advantages

      1. It worked. I did succeed in a historically antisemitic industry.

      2. My example made employers more eager to hire other Jews.

      3. It was was dignified. I wasn't begging someone else to help me. I was taking charge of my own life.

      P.S. People like Arthur Ashe and Jackie Robinson succeeded by this method

      Delete
    8. David, you are exhibiting the False Consensus Effect:

      "The false consensus effect is the tendency people have to overestimate how much other people agree with their own beliefs, behaviors, attitudes, and values. For example: Thinking that other people share your opinion on controversial topics. ... Believing that the majority of people share your preferences."

      The majority of Americans probably do not know what CRT is. I expect that CRT will have next to know impact on the 2022 elections, but racism will continue to be part of the Republican platform (such as it is), so you will no doubt get the bigoted vote. You will probably need more than that to "do well."

      Delete
    9. typo: no impact, not know impact

      Delete
    10. David, at the end of WWII, because of the atrocities committed by Hitler and because of films such as Gentleman's Agreement, there was a concerted effort to eliminate discrimination against Jews, in employment, housing and the media. You may have believed your efforts led to your success but so did that campaign against antisemitism. Yes, you would not have succeeded without your own effort, but you very well could have been unsuccessful despite that effort had there not been such a movement on behalf of Jews in the US. I do not believe that you alone made your employers more eager to hire Jews in your workplace.

      The problem today is that African Americans can work just as hard as you and be just as accomplished as you and still not be hired, promoted and paid fairly. Effort alone will not win against racism. I know this from my own career in which my best efforts as an intelligent, well-trained, accomplished professional still did not eliminate bias against women in my field. Every woman who has tried to succeed on merit alone comes to the realization that it is not enough. It is cruel to teach members of minority groups that they can succeed by merit, because when they are the victims of discrimination they may blame themselves when it is not their fault. How do we know this? Because the statistics show it plainly. These findings do not rest solely on the kinds of anecdotes you are so fond of. Blaming the individual for a systemic problem is harmful to that individual. But that is what you seem to be insisting should happen.

      You give no credit for your success to organizations like the B'nai Brith and the Anti-defamation League, but they helped you receive the opportunity to be the best actuary you could be. Members of other stigmatized groups deserve the same opportunity. No one is insisting on the same outcome -- just a level playing field in which merit and hard work can be rewarded equally for all who compete in the job market.

      Delete
    11. "Anonymouse 12:05 pm, had you seen the video before it was linked here?"

      Yes, I live in Colorado so I saw it in the Denver Post, but I also saw it on several liberal news sites, including Daily Kos.

      https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2021/4/27/2027879/-Loveland-CO-cops-laugh-Joke-reviewing-bodycam-vid-of-breaking-73-y-o-demented-woman-s-arm

      Delete
    12. @3:19 -- you might be right about False Consensus

      @4:00 -- you say, "African Americans can work just as hard as you and be just as accomplished as you and still not be hired, promoted and paid fairly."

      True, but in many other cases, African Americans get preference over whites. It's the whites who fail to get positions commensurate with their performance. As I've said before, in my own field, a qualified black African American is a very desirable hire. I was once ordered to hire a black person as an Assistant Actuary. (Someone who has passed a portion of the actuarial exams.) Not a single black person applied for the job. Huge numbers of women and Asians are passing actuarial exams, but fewer blacks.

      College admissions is even more blatant. Blacks are accepted at colleges with much weaker records than Asians and whites.

      Are more blacks held back by racism or are more black advantaged by Affirmative Action? That'a a question of fact, and I don't have the data.

      Delete
    13. 4:00 PM,
      At the end of WWII, Nazi soldiers were running from their fate, shucking their uniforms to make it look like they weren't huge supporters (and fighters for) National Socialism.

      In 2009, Republicans did the same thing after they drove the world's economy into a ditch, except instead of "shucking their uniforms", they called themselves "the Tea Party".

      Delete
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  2. "But his evil actions were permitted by his banality, Arrendt argued."

    This is not what Arendt argued. She argued that his actions were evil despite his apparent banality, and thus deserved to be tried and convicted along with those who worked in the camps and executed Jews (and others).

    Somerby's reformulation (misattribution) is necessary because he has redefined banal as dumb, and he wants to further argue that evil comes from dumbness. Arendt said nothing at all like that.

    Then Somerby extends dumbness to the press, and then to the rest of us, all of humanity but especially Our Town, "us liberals". Arendt was not dumb and she wasn't talking about Nazi dumbness. Our press is not dumb, simply because it thinks about race differently than Somerby does. That school principal is not dumb either. Neither is critical race theory, nor the professors who examine that theory, nor are liberals who wish to reduce the impact of racism on minority group members dumb.

    This reduction of everything to dumbness is Somerby's way of attacking without ever considering the content of that theory. It is from the Pee Wee Herman school of name-calling as a substitute for thought. Somerby wants us to believe he is a deep philosophical thinker, tossing around the name of Hannah Arendt in service to his own racist knee-jerk defiance, but he is just calling names today. There isn't a single coherent idea in this entire essay.

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    Replies
    1. Somerby hasn’t equated banality with dumbness in the sense of low IQ.

      He’s equated it to a deadening of feeling and conscience that comes from self-deception.

      Delete
    2. Somerby doesn't get to redefine words to mean whatever he decides they should mean. To quote Alice in Wonderland:

      ""When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in. rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I. choose it to mean-neither more nor less." "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can. make words mean so many different things."

      Dumb means stupid, low IQ, unintelligent. It doesn't mean deadened or conscienceless or self-deceived. It can mean unable to speak. It cannot be a substitute for sociopathic, which does refer to that lack of conscience and circumscribed affect. Why not? Because Somerby explicitly says he doesn't think they are sociopathic. He denies the meaning you wish to attribute to the word.

      And dumb doesn't mean banal, or vice versa.

      Delete
    3. Anonymouse 12:11pm,

      In this thesaurus “banal” is listed as a word related to dumb or dumbness.

      https://www.thesaurus.com/browse/dumb



      Get a thesaurus.

      Delete
    4. "Some common synonyms of banal are flat, inane, insipid, jejune, and vapid"

      None of those words mean dumb.

      Merriam Webster synonyms for dumb:

      "airheaded, birdbrained, bonehead, boneheaded, brain-dead, brainless, bubbleheaded, chuckleheaded, dense, dim, dim-witted, doltish, dopey (also dopy), dorky [slang], dull, dunderheaded, empty-headed, fatuous, gormless [chiefly British], half-witted, knuckleheaded, lamebrain (or lamebrained), lunkheaded, mindless, oafish, obtuse, opaque, pinheaded, senseless, simple, slow, slow-witted, soft, softheaded, stupid, thick, thick-witted, thickheaded, unintelligent, unsmart, vacuous, weak-minded, witless"

      None of those words are "banal."

      At your thesaurus, following your link, banal was not listed as a synonym for dumb. It was listed as a word "related to" dumb and its meaning was given as:

      banal adjective commonplace

      Commonplace does not mean the same thing as dumb.

      It is one thing to get a thesaurus and quite another to actually read it and understand what it says.

      Delete
    5. Dumb

      Other Words For Dumb

      Antonyms Of Dumb

      Use Of Dumb In A Sentence

      Content Related to Dumb

      Words Related To Dumb

      Aphonic

      Banal

      Blockheaded

      ....more...

      Quit being these things, Anonymouse 3:14pm!











      Delete
    6. Cecelia, words "related to" dumb are not the same thing as synonyms for dumb. You are the one being blockheaded.

      For example, the phrase "deaf and" goes with "dumb" but that doesn't mean that deaf is the same thing as dumb. Cat and dog are related words, but they do not refer to the same animal.

      Delete
    7. Words listed under the word Banal which is listed under the subheading Words Related To Dumb

      common

      conventional

      cornball

      corny

      dumb






      Delete
    8. https://www.thesaurus.com/browse/dumb

      Delete
    9. "related to" is not "synonymous with"

      how dumb are you that you do not get this point?

      Delete
    10. For goodness sakes, Anonymouse 5:42pm, put the word “banal” rather than the word “dumb” in the search engine of the thesaurus.

      See the results.

      Here’s a clue-

      bland, corny, dumb, hackneyed, mundane, stupid, trite...

      Delete
    11. For goodness sakes, Anonymouse 5:42pm, put the word “banal” rather than the word “dumb” in the search engine of the thesaurus.

      See the results.

      Here’s a clue-

      bland, corny, dumb, hackneyed, mundane, stupid, trite...

      Delete
    12. For goodness sakes, Anonymouse 5:42pm, put the word “banal” rather than the word “dumb” in the search engine of the thesaurus.

      See the results.

      Here’s a clue-

      bland, corny, dumb, hackneyed, mundane, stupid, trite...

      Delete
    13. The lack of precision you are fighting for doesn't help the quality of your thinking. Close enough is not good enough when it comes to nuance. Fighting for a generic catchall negative term such as dumb to mean anything you want it to mean dumbs down your discourse. It is hard to think well if you cannot use words properly. Saying "dumb" when you mean "banal" doesn't communicate well. But you be you. No one can stop you from it.

      Delete
    14. And you be you..,moving the goalposts after inexplicably, vehemently, and ridiculously denying what you saw via an online thesaurus.

      Delete
    15. And you be you..,moving the goalposts after inexplicably, vehemently, and ridiculously denying what you saw via an online thesaurus.

      Delete
    16. Cecelia, it says at your link that the word dumb is a related word, not a synonym for banal. You seem to think that if you find the word dumb anyone on the page it is a synonym. Please understand that a synonym is a word that means the same. A related word doesn't necessarily mean the same as the word it is related to.

      Why are you still arguing about this when you are wrong?

      Delete
    17. Also, please figure out how to post your comment once, not multiple times.

      Delete
    18. Actually, Anonymouse 6:27pm, if you put word “banal” into the search engine of that thesaurus the word “dumb” comes up as a synonym.

      Go ahead... you can try it..,

      Delete
    19. Anonymouse 6:28pm, I have no power over that for myself or for others who have had posts multiplied.

      Don’t read the duplicates. Don’t read the original. Whatever helps.

      Delete
    20. Cecelia, I went to your linked thesaurus and it said:

      "WORDS RELATED TO DUMB" and then it listed first Aphonic and second Banal. But a word that is related is not a synonym. The word banal is not listed among the synonyms (the other words for dumb). If you put banal into the search, the word dumb does not come up, as it should if these were synonyms.

      Also, this is the only Thesaurus that provides banal as related to dumb. Merriam Webster does not.

      Delete
    21. Nice to see that you’ve checked them all Anonymouse 6:47 pm.

      That’s broadening for you.

      Delete
    22. Obviously, you stopped when you found one that mentioned banal.

      Delete
    23. It was the first and only thesaurus I went to and “dumb” was not the sole synonym for “banal” mentioned on that site.

      You don’t think the word dumb is proper, suitable, correct, accurate and faithful to the intent of the author’s original meaning.

      When do you ever launch an argument that is NOT some hackneyed, trite, conventional, pedestrian variation of that?


      Delete
    24. Now you are gibbering -- look that one up. It is a synonym for dumb.

      Delete
  3. Here is an example of the racial banality of evil:

    "An investigation by Reveal and The Los Angeles Times found stark racial disparities in the Paycheck Protection Program. In Los Angeles, businesses in white neighborhoods received loans at a much higher rate than in Latino, Black or Asian neighborhoods."

    ReplyDelete
  4. Banality -- as opposed to what, dear Bob? The comic books Evil? The Joker vs Batman?

    You call your goebbelsian dembots clownish and cartoonish, and then, suddenly, it's all 'banality'?

    Make up your mind, dear Bob.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ma0 ma0 * ,!, ,!,

      Delete
    2. It's not banality OR evil. It's certainly not the comics or movies lightweight version of evil, that's just clouding the air with unnecessary rubbish.

      It's the banality OF evil. Try to formulate your thoughts a little better before posting. It's understandable because your seething hatred of the "libs" assuredly limits your ability to present cohesive arguments.

      Delete
  5. It's been a LONG time since I read Arendt, but I think Bob makes hash out of what She had to say at a pretty basic level. It had to do with people being passive and even pleasant in the face of atrocity, for reason that are fairly complicated. It's like, oh, an obvious con artist like Trump declaring himself the automatic winner in any election he participates in, and people Cecelia finding dull, tit for tat reasons to go along with it, even though it is obviously evil. A slob like Mao doesn't really fit the mold, he is wicked in a passionate, openly hateful fashion.
    That said, the collusions Bob draws are pretty sound. But they have more to do with the leftish readers of the post wanting the thumb soundly on the scale for their opinions, the facts of a given matter no longer being good enough.

    ReplyDelete
  6. It's been a LONG time since I read Arendt, but I think Bob makes hash out of what She had to say at a pretty basic level. It had to do with people being passive and even pleasant in the face of atrocity, for reason that are fairly complicated. It's like, oh, an obvious con artist like Trump declaring himself the automatic winner in any election he participates in, and people Cecelia finding dull, tit for tat reasons to go along with it, even though it is obviously evil. A slob like Mao doesn't really fit the mold, he is wicked in a passionate, openly hateful fashion.
    That said, the collusions Bob draws are pretty sound. But they have more to do with the leftish readers of the post wanting the thumb soundly on the scale for their opinions, the facts of a given matter no longer being good enough.

    ReplyDelete
  7. It's been a LONG time since I read Arendt, but I think Bob makes hash out of what She had to say at a pretty basic level. It had to do with people being passive and even pleasant in the face of atrocity, for reason that are fairly complicated. It's like, oh, an obvious con artist like Trump declaring himself the automatic winner in any election he participates in, and people Cecelia finding dull, tit for tat reasons to go along with it, even though it is obviously evil. A slob like Mao doesn't really fit the mold, he is wicked in a passionate, openly hateful fashion.
    That said, the collusions Bob draws are pretty sound. But they have more to do with the leftish readers of the post wanting the thumb soundly on the scale for their opinions, the facts of a given matter no longer being good enough.

    ReplyDelete
  8. It's been a LONG time since I read Arendt, but I think Bob makes hash out of what She had to say at a pretty basic level. It had to do with people being passive and even pleasant in the face of atrocity, for reason that are fairly complicated. It's like, oh, an obvious con artist like Trump declaring himself the automatic winner in any election he participates in, and people Cecelia finding dull, tit for tat reasons to go along with it, even though it is obviously evil. A slob like Mao doesn't really fit the mold, he is wicked in a passionate, openly hateful fashion.
    That said, the collusions Bob draws are pretty sound. But they have more to do with the leftish readers of the post wanting the thumb soundly on the scale for their opinions, the facts of a given matter no longer being good enough.

    ReplyDelete
  9. “These conservatives today! They sometimes base their conclusions on snatches of information!”

    70% of Republicans think Biden did not legitimately win, a conclusion based on the ramblings of a lunatic, so their views on just about anything, including “critical race theory” are not likely to be based on sound reasoning.

    ReplyDelete
  10. The first big attempt by blacks to assert their rights during the civil rights era was met with police violence, angry mobs, and a mass exodus of racists from the Democratic to the Republican Party.

    Today, black assertion of rights and a demand for fairness are met with attempts to keep them from voting and the passage of laws by GOP legislatures to outlaw (ie cancel from the public schools) whatever they think “critical race theory” means, which, in their minds, is usually just white people being asked to think about the history of racism.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, gosh, when you put it like that why would anyone think CRT was just an attempt to indoctrinate kids into Democratic shibboleths.

      Delete
    2. Well, gosh, when you put it like that why would anyone think CRT was just an attempt to indoctrinate kids into Democratic shibboleths.

      Delete
    3. Well, gosh, when you put it like that why would anyone think CRT was just an attempt to indoctrinate kids into Democratic shibboleths.

      Delete
    4. Gosh, when you put it like that, knowledge is kind of a Democratic shibboleth after all. Hard to see Republicans doing much to defend truth, when it suits their self interest to keep their followers ignorant and full of conspiracy theories based on lies.

      Delete
    5. Why does Cecelia keep posting her remarks multiple times?

      Delete
    6. I don’t do that. I thought it was Blogger’s way of saying I’m twice as nice, but it has happened with Anonymices post too.

      Delete
    7. No, it happened with Greg. No anonymous posts have been repeated like that.

      Delete
    8. I think it’s happened with Jake Winkman too.

      Perhaps it’s some glitch with logging in with nyms.

      Delete
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