“ACADEMIA...PROBLEM?” Are some academics maybe too "woke?"

FRIDAY, JUNE 4, 2021

Brooks emits lunatic slanders: Way back when, David Brooks wrote a column in which he said that same academics may possibly be just a trifle too "Woke."

"Woke" was the ugly, insensitive term the insensitive columnist used. In an early part of his column, he pretended he thinks that "the thing we call wokeness" is actually great at its core:

BROOKS (5/14/21): The thing we call wokeness contains many elements. At its core is an honest and good-faith effort to grapple with the legacies of racism. In 2021, this element of wokeness has produced more understanding, inclusion and racial progress than we’ve seen in over 50 years. This part of wokeness is great.

The thing we call wokeness is great at its core? No one believes that the columnist meant that! As he proceeded, Brooks revealed what he actually feels and believes:

BROOKS (continuing directly): But wokeness gets weirder when it’s entangled in the perversities of our meritocracy, when it involves demonstrating one’s enlightenment by using language—“problematize,” “heteronormativity,” “cisgender,” “intersectionality”—inculcated in elite schools or with difficult texts.

In an essay titled “The Language of Privilege,” in Tablet, Nicholas Clairmont argues that the difficulty of the language is the point—to exclude those with less educational capital.

People who engage in this discourse have been enculturated by our best and most expensive schools. If you look at the places where the splashy woke controversies have taken place, they have often been posh prep schools, like Harvard-Westlake or Dalton, or pricey colleges, like Bryn Mawr or Princeton.

The meritocracy at this level is very competitive. Performing the discourse by canceling and shaming becomes a way of establishing your status and power as an enlightened person. It becomes a way of showing—despite your secret self-doubts—that you really belong. It also becomes a way of showing the world that you are anti-elite, even though you work, study and live in circles that are extremely elite.

In that passage, the insensitive columnist with the hard heart revealed what he really believes.

Brooks continued on from there, spreading his various poisons. At this point, we'll proceed to reveal what we ourselves truly believe.

We tend to agree with one part of Brooks' criticism of the soaring moral commitments he disparages as "wokeness." We tend to agree with his overall claim, though not with a point of emphasis.

We tend to agree! Almost surely, academia's absurdly jargonized lingo will perhaps and possibly tend to drive "Joe and Jane Sixpack" away. These "others" will find the new, improved jargonized language strange. They may tend to feel excluded.

We're less inclined to agree with the point of emphasis Brooks attributes to Clairmont. According to experts with whom we consult, such specialized language principally serves to identify the elect—but only in the tribal or ideological sense.

The constant churning of specialized language serves as a way to identify those who belong to the ideological group. According to the experts with whom we consult, this churning principally serves as a marker of tribal allegiance and obedience, not of high "educational capital."

People employing the jargonized lingo don't all come from Bryn Mawr or Princeton. But they do let us know they belong to the tribe when they emit their new language.

Whatever! Quite plainly, Brooks had revealed his ugly worldview with this ugly attack on academia. Before he was done, it got worse.

Before he was done, Brooks even went so far as to  claim that he supports the part of "wokeness" which "focuses on concrete benefits for the disadvantaged—reparations, more diverse hiring, more equitable housing and economic policies."

It was easy to see how phony that was. It was easy to see that Brooks' attack on the movement was all.

Let it be said that, early on, Brooks also slandered "critical race theory" (CRT), an academic framework of long standing which has been in the news of late. 

CRT has been in the news, but what the heck is it? In many ways, that doesn't really matter, but the question is perfectly sound. 

What the heck is critical race theory? Also, what sorts of complaints have been lodged against CRT?

In last Sunday's Washington Post, Marisa Iati offered an amazingly clear-spoken overview of such current questions. To peruse her report, just click here.

Iati is seven years of out of college (Notre Dame, class of 2014). Her overview was so well-written—was so fair and was so balanced—that it almost seemed to have emerged from some alternate world.

Having said that, let us also say this:

It doesn't exactly matter what critical race theory is. It doesn't matter what the theory is on its best days, in its best manifestations.

What matters are the applications of CRT—or perhaps, the manifestations of "wokeness"—emerging from the hallowed halls where critical theory may reign. We rubes will encounter those applications and manifestations, not the pure theory itself.

Critical theory makes perfect sense in its most pristine forms. Often though, its applications may not. 

Angry parents, seizing on "tidbits," may respond to those applications. They may think they're responding to "critical race theory" itself when, at least in the idealized sense of the term, it may be that they aren't.

Once again, whatever! Those angry parents will seize on certain "tidbits." Just to be perfectly honest, those tidbits—those manifestations—may not always make perfect sense. 

Here in Our Town, in response, righteousness may tend to boil. Knowing how perfect Our Town's motives are, we may be inclined to seize on The Dumbness of Others.

Here in Our Town, we can see how stupid those angry parents are, how pure Our Town's motives are. This ancient reaction was on full display in the news report from the Washington Post we discussed in yesterday's report.

Here in Our Town, we can see how perfect our thought leaders are—even those who may be engaged in acts of "ethnic fraud!" We can see how stupid The Others are, and we're sometimes inclined to go into print to tell each other about it.

In our experience, Our Town has been noting The Dumbness of Others since at least the mid-1960s. The Others have been dumb for a very long time. We've sometimes been eager to say so.

Today, we send our Harvard kids out to talk about their "tidbits." These journalists are two years out of college, but they've memorized all the plays. Their editors don't seem to exist.

Meanwhile, is it possible? Is it possible that top academics here in Our Town may sometimes lack perfect insight? The ugly column published by Brooks gave us a chance to assess that silly idea.

While showering praise on the core of wokeness—while voicing support for reparations!—Brooks had dared to suggest that the jargonized lingo of Our Town may come from a "privileged" place.

He'd even suggested that Our Town's academics may do the darnedest things. Insensitive headline included, he had started his column like this:

BROOKS (5/14/21): This Is How Wokeness Ends

My friend Rod Dreher recently had a blog post for The American Conservative called “Why Are Conservatives in Despair?” He explained that conservatives are in despair because a hostile ideology — wokeness or social justice or critical race theory—is sweeping across America the way Bolshevism swept across the Russian Empire before the October Revolution in 1917.

This ideology is creating a “soft totalitarianism” across wide swaths of American society, he writes. In the view of not just Dreher but also many others, it divides the world into good and evil based on crude racial categories. It has no faith in persuasion, or open discourse, but it shames and cancels anybody who challenges the official catechism. It produces fringe absurdities like “ethnomathematics,” which proponents say seeks to challenge the ways that, as one guide for teachers puts it, “math is used to uphold capitalist, imperialist and racist views” by dismissing old standards like focusing on “getting the ‘right’ answer.”

I’m less alarmed by all of this because I have more confidence than Dreher and many other conservatives in the American establishment’s ability to co-opt and water down every radical progressive ideology...

Truly, that was ugly stuff. It seemed to say that we in Our Town may sometimes be inclined to "divide the world into good and evil based on crude racial categories."  Brooks said he wasn't hugely alarmed by this tendency because the movement in question will eventually be co-opted by the nation's establishment.

Forget that complexified claim! Along the way, Brooks even suggested that academics in Our Town can sometimes produce "fringe absurdities." 

As an example, he dreamed up a crazy idea. He suggested that someone has offered a crazy type of "ethnomathematics."

"Academia, do we have a problem?" Sarah Viren, herself an academic, posed that question last weekend in the New York Times Sunday Magazine.

Earlier, Brooks had crazily seemed to say that the answer can sometimes be yes. Luckily, two academics responded to this silly, ridiculous claim.

At times like these, reactionaries like Brooks are willing to do and say anything. Angry parents will seize on "tidbits," but people like Brooks will be worse.

Tomorrow: Two academics responded to Brooks. Each is a good, decent person...


93 comments:

  1. One need not swallow such absurdities as this, but one ought to recognize that the present political chaos is connected with the decay of language, and that one can probably bring about some improvement by starting at the verbal end. If you simplify your English, you are freed from the worst follies of orthodoxy. You cannot speak any of the necessary dialects, and when you make a stupid remark its stupidity will be obvious, even to yourself. Political language – and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists – is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. One cannot change this all in a moment, but one can at least change one’s own habits, and from time to time one can even, if one jeers loudly enough, send some worn-out and useless phrase – some jackboot, Achilles’ heel, hotbed, melting pot, acid test, veritable inferno or other lump of verbal refuse – into the dustbin where it belongs.

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    1. I don't think you can blame our current troubles on language when there are such intransigent differences in the meanings encoded in language.

      I disagree that the purpose of political language is to propagate lies and excuse murder. I believe it is a shorthand for communicating shared values and ideas among like-minded individuals. Language changes with usage and those changes originate with the people, not some authority imposing views on others (with the exception of historical contexts such as Nazi Germany, where there was an explicit ministry of propaganda). In most cases language is used by people not imposed upon them. This is especially true of the term woke, which is derived from African American culture, not the press or government or any political party.

      But wouldn't it be nice if we could do away with all division and political strife simply by watching what we say. Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. I see a focus on language as a way to avoid dealing with problems, not a way to eliminate them.

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    2. 10:11 - 9:48 is a quote from a famous essay by George Orwell. Noted you disagree with it.

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    3. "(with the exception of historical contexts such as Nazi Germany, where there was an explicit ministry of propaganda)"

      This is the part that covers Orwell's concerns. He isn't talking about natural language but about manipulation of people by totalitarian regimes using language. I specifically excluded that, since I do not believe that the word "woke" arises from that activity.

      Less "gotcha" and more thinking please.

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    4. Noted your disagreement with Orwell and "thinking" that manipulation of language doesn't occur in our current political system.

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    5. Please demonstrate how the term "woke" arises from manipulation of language in our political system, and not from a group of people seeking racial justice in the context of police abuse of power.

      Orwell wrote some interesting books in a very different political context. He isn't a god.

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    6. Very sorry that that is not blatantly obvious to you. The term is inherently politically divisive. It's a binary term. Sorry for your naivete. Somerby just wrote a whole column about it. President Obama spoke well on it: https://youtu.be/qaHLd8de6nM

      Again, sorry for your naivete.

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    7. Anonymouse 10:32am:

      (with the exception of historical contexts such as Nazi Germany, where there was an explicit ministry of propaganda)"

      “This is the part that covers Orwell's concerns. He isn't talking about natural language but about manipulation of people by totalitarian regimes using language. I specifically excluded that, since I do not believe that the word "woke" arises from that activity.”

      I don’t think that’s a distinction with a difference when it comes to language. Orwell’s analogy would certainly fit the political dynamics of the Russian Revolution and certainly the tactics of suppression via a managerial class.

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    8. Cecelia, that's who Orwell was writing about. He wasn't describing American politics. Now, China might be more apt.

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    9. Orwell was describing totalitarianism.

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    10. "Very sorry that that is not blatantly obvious to you. The term is inherently politically divisive. "

      Do you know what the word "inherently" means? If I say, I woke up early this morning, is it divisive? If not, then the word isn't inherently divisive, only divisive when attached to a particular political movement.

      You seem to think that you have demonstrated how woke became divisive, but you have not.

      If the word woke binary if there are African Americans who disagree with BLM? Is it binary when the word is generalized from BLM's struggle to other groups, such as the movement for Puerto Rican statehood? If BLM stops using the word, is it still divisive?

      Is it wrong to be divisive in the cause of justice? Isn't some divisiveness necessary in order to achieve change? Why is divisiveness a bad thing? There is never complete harmony on any subject or in any arena of human behavior, so might not harmony be a false goal, used to deter efforts to achieve social change?

      Do you even think about what you write, or do you just feel comforted by platitudes?

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    11. Yes I am entirely stand by what I wrote and I'm sorry for your naivete and inability to understand the inherent divisiveness of the term, as President Obama appointed out.

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    12. ANON 12:22. Neologisms are formed all the timeand 'woke" is one of them. You might want to connect to some of the links in Brooks' column about what is going on at Princeton, Bryn Mawr and a couple of pricy private schools. Woke gone wild. A lot of those on our "team' have their heads in the sand about how crazy it's getting.

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    13. AC/ MA,
      I read the links from Brooks.
      I didn't see anything about the snowflakes who tried to "cancel" the 2020 U.S. Presidential election because black people's votes were counted.

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    14. '. A lot of those on our "team' have their heads in the sand about how crazy it's getting.'

      AC/MA -- is it as crazy as believing that Somerby is a liberal, whereas he is clearly a Trumptard (another neologism -- I can play this game too) ?

      Delete
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  2. ""Woke" was the ugly, insensitive term the insensitive columnist used."

    What is the origin of the word "woke"? Here is some info about it from various internet sources:

    From Wikipedia: "This usage was popularized by soul singer Erykah Badu's 2008 song "Master Teacher", via the song's refrain, "I stay woke". ... Within the decade of the 2010s, the word woke (the colloquial, passively voiced past participle of wake) obtained the meaning "political and social awareness" among BLM activists."

    From Merriam-Webster dictionary: "Stay woke became a watch word in parts of the black community for those who were self-aware, questioning the dominant paradigm and striving for something better. But stay woke and woke became part of a wider discussion in 2014, immediately following the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. The word woke became entwined with the Black Lives Matter movement; instead of just being a word that signaled awareness of injustice or racial tension, it became a word of action. Activists were woke and called on others to stay woke."

    In what sense, then, is this an ugly or insensitive word, as Somerby claims? It seems plausible to call it such things only from the perspective of someone unsympathetic to African American concerns and causes such as social equality and economic equity. That certainly describes Somerby.

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    1. He's definitely racist. If you don't support the word "woke", you hate blacks. It's simply iron clad logic.








      ;)

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    2. Meh. More so if you vote Republican.

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    3. If you call woke concern for African American issues "ugly" and "insensitive" then you are unsympathetic to such causes, obviously. I don't think anyone has used the word racist here except @10:12.

      But now that you mention it, I do consider Somerby racist, sexist and generally bigoted. Not because of the word woke, although that is consistent with his previously expressed attitudes, but because of the way he reacts to current events affecting black people. And he is even more blatant in his attitudes toward women.

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    4. 10:27 "I don't think anyone has used the word racist here except @10:12. But now that you mention it, I will! 10:12 is entirely correct." LoL.

      You people are complete morons.

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    5. Moron at 11:41:

      Yes, @10:12 was wrong at 10:12. Since he didn't repeat his comment, he is no more correct now. You are too easily amused. Do you also laugh at your own navel.

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  3. Virtue signaling dembottery is funny, dear Bob.

    And when it serves as a pretext for woke zombies to attack and devour their own kind, that's even funnier. Of course innocent bystanders do suffer accidentally, but hey: c'est la vie.

    May we suggest that you need to lighten up a bit, dear Bob, and enjoy 'em circus clowns.

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  4. Wokeness has nothing to do with academia. It didn't originate there and it has little relation to academic work. This is just Somerby's attempt to smear academics using a word he apparently dislikes.

    Academia is a place devoted to generating new knowledge and teaching young people. It is neither liberal nor conservative and is generally not particular political. Academics are not a monolithic group and do not support causes as a group, other than academic values and traditions. There are many liberal and also many conservative people working in academia.

    Somerby may think academia is liberal because he is most focused on the extracurricular activities of social scientists and ethnic studies professors. But there are many conservative academics in other fields, including economics, computer science, engineering, physics and biology, mathematics, history and philosophy. If Somerby is not paying attention to developments in those fields, with the same eagle eye he devotes to ethnic studies, he will miss their contributions to social discourse.

    Personally, I believe that Somerby promotes the view of academia as a bastion of wokeness because he is furthering the conservative attack on our nation's intelligentsia, because that is what fascists do. Criticism of fascist regimes comes from professors and students, so most totalitarian states eliminate these sources of dissent as one of their first moves to repress the populace.

    Wokeness comes from woke people, regardless of their job titles. Attacking universities and scholarship won't make wokeness go away.

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    1. Yeah, Anonymouse 10:20am. Except for part where Bob wrote this:

      “ We're less inclined to agree with the point of emphasis Brooks attributes to Clairmont. According to experts with whom we consult, such specialized language principally serves to identify the elect—but only in the tribal or ideological sense.

      The constant churning of specialized language serves as a way to identify those who belong to the ideological group. According to the experts with whom we consult, this churning principally serves as a marker of tribal allegiance and obedience, not of high "educational capital."

      People employing the jargonized lingo don't all come from Bryn Mawr or Princeton. But they do let us know they belong to the tribe when they emit their new language.”

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    2. "But they do let us know they belong to the tribe when they emit their new language.”

      This is a tautology. People who understand jargon belong to the "tribe" of people who understand that jargon.

      The commonality of such a tribe is their ideas not their language -- because the language signifies the ideas. Otherwise nonsense words would suffice. "We are the knights who say nigh!"

      Specialized serves a much more important purpose beyond identifying a tribe (t-shirts can serve that purpose).

      Cecelia, I don't see how anything you've quoted negates any point I made. I also don't see what it adds. Somerby is ignoring the function of technical jargon and seeing it primarily as a signal of membership in some tribe. That isn't how language is being used in academia. It is being used to communicate with other scholars about ideas that are not easily captured by everyday language.

      Somerby isn't part of the club, not because of his politics but because he is not a member of such academic specialties. He may be describing how it looks from the outside, but there are many fields that are just as arcane that don't attract the ire of conservatives. So blaming this on language is specious.

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    3. Word omitted: should be "specialized language" serves...

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    4. Anonymouse 12:01pm, Somerby explicitly says that he thinks the language of wokeness delineates tribe.
      which is a broader cohort than academics or intellectuals.

      It’s interesting that you don’t see how position is in conflict with your accusations here:

      “Personally, I believe that Somerby promotes the view of academia as a bastion of wokeness because he is furthering the conservative attack on our nation's intelligentsia, because that is what fascists do. Criticism of fascist regimes comes from professors and students, so most totalitarian states eliminate these sources of dissent as one of their first moves to repress the populace.”

      Now you simply exchange tribe for the more esoteric group and continue to argue that jargon is the natural result of the collective analysis of the whole.

      Well, that’s grand. That’s certainly a predictable dynamic explained in four or five paragraphs. However, what does it have to do with Brooks point that such insider woke-speak has the tendency to drive away people who you might otherwise persuade? Isn’t persuasion supposed to be the coin of the realm when it comes to change?

      I would think that this simple consideration is a much more salient one that screeds on the development of group jargon. Unless all you do want really is a group of people who spend all their time signaling to each other and who enact their druthers via insults and ostracizing and inevitably by internal threats.

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    5. Cecelia is correct. If you use the wrong words, you'll never persuade people to see your point of view.
      Look at the Voting Rights Act of 1965. It was worded so wrongly, a Democrat hasn't won the white vote in a national election, since it was enacted. How tribal of LBJ.

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    6. 1:03,
      Give white people time to come to grips with blacks having voting rights. It's only been a little more than half a century.

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    7. Anonymouse 1:03pm, thank you for illustrating the hermetic nature of Anonymouse jargon as represented by groupthink.

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    8. On the Right, "facts" are tribal and divide us.

      Instead of relpying with some inanity, order yourself a t-shirt, Cecelia.
      https://www.teepublic.com/t-shirt/7000387-trump-2020-fuck-your-feelings-us-election

      Delete
    9. Cecelia @1:12, do you perhaps mean hermeneutic? That is a different word than hermetic.

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    10. Darn. I already have an “f- your feelings” tee, Anonymouse 1:22pm, but maybe they have a “Lock Her Up” one.

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    11. Dr. Somerby,
      In your expert psychiatric opinion, would you classify Cecelia's futile attempts to convince us there is something beyond white supremacy which draws Republican voters, a mental illness?

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    12. Anonymouse 1:26pm, whichever works.

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    13. Anonymouse 1:39pm, we know that Bob thinks that delusions can be be a sign of mental illness, in which case your thinking that I’ve wage that discussion with you would qualify.

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    14. Cecelia, hermetic doesn't work. You should try looking words up before you type them out.

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    15. Delusions are not a sign of mental illness. Some forms of mental illness include delusions, but many non-ill people also have them. Somerby knows nothing whatsoever about mental illness.

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    16. Anonymouse 5:24 pm, notice that I wrote “ delusions can be a sign of mental illness”.

      For someone who wages an argument like you’re Greyhound Bus Lines going from Sacramento to San Francisco via Salt Lake City, you sure are careless in your reading.

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    17. You don't diagnose mental illness based on delusions. You do it based on a syndrome or series of symptoms that form a pattern. It needs to include emotional distress and inability to function in the world, and dysfunction such as inability to hold a job, form a relationship or conform to law. Diagnosing mental illness is complex and not something laymen such as Somerby should do (or you either). Delusions are widespread among otherwise normal people. Some people believe they are psychic or that their dog has ESP. Some believe God is watching out for them. Some believe they never make mistakes. Some believe Trump won the election. You get the idea now?

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    18. Oh, I get the idea that you’re launching into a lecture on diagnostic criteria for mental illness upon no other impetus than the sentence “... Bob thinks that delusions can be a sign of mental illness...”. This statement in no way suggests that either he or I think delusions are the sole or definitive condition for a diagnosis.

      You’re either doing this because it’s part of the troll playbook to drag comment boards down by getting commenters off in the woods over semantics or you’re desperate to prove yourself on target about something...

      Or both.

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    19. Somerby did the same thing when diagnosing Trump. Remote diagnosis is why Bandy Lee was fired. You cannot do it.

      You and Somerby know nothing about clinical psychology or you wouldn't say the things you do. Admit your ignorance instead of pretending that calling someone mentally ill on the basis of delusions is justified. It isn't. On that basis, anyone who thinks of themselves as pretty when they are not is delusional and mentally ill. Anyone who thinks they play good golf, same thing. Anyone who thinks they are smarter than they are is delusional (which includes a lot of people). Anyone who thinks their grandkids are geniuses and their dog loves them is delusional. A delusion is just a persistent belief in a counter-factual.

      Trump has been delusional his entire life. Did anyone call him mentally ill before he got into trouble as President? Not Somerby. No one else either.

      You are an extremely unpleasant person, Cecelia. You don't belong writing comments on a so-called liberal blog. You contribute nothing here except noise and you irritate the heck out me and quite a few others here. It would be nice if you went away. But don't think that you are correct about the things you argue about here. That would make you delusional too, and by Somerby's reasoning, mentally ill.

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    20. I don’t have to “ admit my ignorance of psychology” any more than I must see you as being learned in it.

      Certainly not over an accurate statement of Somerby’s view - “Bob thinks that delusions can be a sign of mental illness”. This is also a factual statement as to psychology - delusions CAN be a sign of mental illness! Not the only criteria. Not the definitive criteria, But one criteria.

      All your bluster over that sentence...sheesh...

      Delusions are but one criterion of illness that Somery sees in Trump. He’s opined on others.

      It’s remarkable that I’m a Trump supporter and I can tolerate and am often entertained by most of the bashing of Trump by Bob and commenters alike, but you can’t bear a blogger venturing an opinion on DT’s mental health or calling for more focus on mental health and the presidency, without pulling your hair out. Hell, you can’t even bear reading “delusions can be a symptom of mental illness”.

      You’re the unpleasant person. You’re the scold. You're the angry dimwit. You’re the self-proclaimed expert and the tin-eared tyrant.

      Don’t tell me to leave. You can’t tolerate the blogger, let alone a commenter who doesn’t sing your song about him.

      You’re uncomfortable, so you leave. That’s what adults do.

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    21. My "bluster" is over the unethical practice of labeling people mentally ill without a proper diagnosis -- the thing Bandy Lee was fired for doing. It isn't over a sentence but over an ongoing attempt by Somerby to excuse Trump because of his supposed mental illness.

      Neither you, nor Somerby, has the credentials and training to diagnose anyone, much less over the media. And Somerby does not bash Trump. He bashes the media. That's why you are enjoying your time here.

      As deadrat used to point out, credentials mean nothing on the internet when someone is anonymous and there is no way to verify them. So, I will not bother telling you what my credentials are, other than to say that I do have them. You might be able to tell that for yourself if you knew even a tiny bit about psychology.

      I am not "uncomfortable" here. I dislike you and Somerby too and I consider it important to correct disinformation of the type that you spread in heaps. And yes, it is time for you to go somewhere else. Of course, you won't, because that's what people like you do. With every ignorant comment you write, you fantasize that you are owning some libs, and that is your delusion. You are merely showing everyone your ignorance. And like Somerby, you hate the idea that anyone can know anything, because if you can destroy knowledge then no one will know how ignorant you are.

      You are the Marjorie Taylor Greene or Lauren Boebert of commenters. And you are stupid enough to think that is a compliment, so stupid you do not understand how you embarrass yourself every time you open your mouth.

      Delete
    22. Anonymouse 8:06am, you could your present credentials on a silver platter and they’d make no impact on me.

      You are someone who must launch into a scolding screed over the statement “can be a sign of mental illness” and excuse the absurdity of that over-reaction by referencing Somerby’s opinion that the topic of a president’s mental fitness to lead is a valid one.

      You buttress that by invoking a professional who ran around saying the country was in grave danger because Trump is crazy. As though that behavior morally and legally proscribes the entire range of that subject from ever being broached by anyone on the airwaves.

      That’s contrived nonsense, just as your suggestion that I had issued diagnostic criteria in my statement is contrived.

      I’ve no doubt if this topic of concern had been broached by any other blogger, you’d have no issue with it But still, you should read up on the controversy still brewing among Lee’s peers over what happened to her.

      It’s not so cut and dry and certainly not to the point where you have get your panties in a wad over a statement made on a blog.


      Delete
    23. "Anonymouse 8:06am, you could your present credentials on a silver platter and they’d make no impact on me."

      Facts, too.
      If you want to impact Cecelia, try to get the last word in.

      Delete
    24. "Anonymouse 8:06am, you could your present credentials on a silver platter and they’d make no impact on me."

      There is a term in medicine called "differential diagnosis." It refers to the fact that symptoms can have several meanings and it is the job of the physician to figure out which disease or disorder is producing those ambiguous symptoms. Differential diagnosis is needed in psychiatry because lots of different disorders (or no disorder at all) can occur when delusions are observed. Delusions are just a behavior. Figuring out what that behavior means requires training in diagnosis.

      Of course facts and truth have no impact on you. You are a Republican.

      The behavior that Bandy Lee engaged in got her fired because she knew she wasn't supposed to engage in it. Someone with actual credentials carries more weight when they diagnose someone. That means they have greater responsibility to be correct, which means examining the person, not just applying a stigmatizing label.

      You can say whatever you want because no one thinks you are a trained professional and there are apparently no ethics governing your behavior, as there were for Lee.

      I have complained about this every time Somerby has brought it up, including before you started commenting so often. It doesn't matter whether Lee has support or not. Lee is making a political statement, but this issue of labeling affects the ability of mental health practitioners to do their jobs effectively, not just Bandy Lee's political activism. I think the needs of mentally ill people should take precedence over harassing Trump.

      Delete
    25. No, psychiatrist can still do their jobs no matter what is discussed on tv.

      You are correct, Lee got into trouble because she is a professional who was on tv flatly calling the president danger to the country without ever having examined him seeing the records of an examination.

      Which makes me wonder why you invariably bring Lee up when Somerby voices his opinion that concerns about Trump’s fitness for office should have been discussed and could have been discussed in a professional and cautious manner even by clinicians.

      Delete
    26. No, psychiatrist can still do their jobs no matter what is discussed on tv.

      You are correct, Lee got into trouble because she is a professional who was on tv flatly calling the president danger to the country without ever having examined him seeing the records of an examination.

      Which makes me wonder why you invariably bring Lee up when Somerby voices his opinion that concerns about Trump’s fitness for office should have been discussed and could have been discussed in a professional and cautious manner even by clinicians.

      Delete
    27. No, psychiatrist can still do their jobs no matter what is discussed on tv.

      You are correct, Lee got into trouble because she is a professional who was on tv flatly calling the president danger to the country without ever having examined him seeing the records of an examination.

      Which makes me wonder why you invariably bring Lee up when Somerby voices his opinion that concerns about Trump’s fitness for office should have been discussed and could have been discussed in a professional and cautious manner even by clinicians.

      Delete
  5. What liberal reads Brooks or wastes time dissecting his benighted essays?

    ReplyDelete
  6. "We tend to agree! Almost surely, academia's absurdly jargonized lingo will perhaps and possibly tend to drive "Joe and Jane Sixpack" away. These "others" will find the new, improved jargonized language strange. They may tend to feel excluded."

    What happens if you take this idea out of the context of sociology and ethnic studies and put it into the context of astronomy and cosmology? Would a call to eliminate words like "bat shadow" and "near-infrared" and "stellar nursery" and "brown dwarf" because they are opaque to non-elites and make people feel ignorant make any sense?

    People invent words, create jargon, out of a desire for greater precision and to avoid confusion with everyday meanings. Academics invent words when no existing word captures the intended meaning. Are advanced subjects difficult to grasp? Of course they are, but that isn't intentional obfuscation. It is because the deeper you dive and the more you consider nuance, the greater complexity exists in a field. The more ideas people generate, the more findings become part of a corpus within a field, the more study is required to understand it. This is a property of knowledge, not language. The goal is not to exclude the uneducated but to streamline conversation among scholars.

    Somerby wants to be treated like a scholar without doing the work. That is his problem. He seems to have found someone who is willing to express his laziness as a social issue, but that doesn't make him any less lazy, and it doesn't conceal his decades-long hostility toward those who know more than he does (through no fault of their own).

    ReplyDelete
  7. "What matters are the applications of CRT—or perhaps, the manifestations of "wokeness"—emerging from the hallowed halls where critical theory may reign. We rubes will encounter those applications and manifestations, not the pure theory itself."

    As an example, Somerby used the controversy in Loudoun VA, discussed yesterday. There, the school board did not use the term CRT and did not use any academic extension or application of CRT in its efforts to address racial equity. But the right did use that term in its objection to those efforts.

    CRT has become the right's shorthand term to label any attempts to teach racial equity in schools. It does not exemplify CRT. It does address racial injustice. This should make it clear that it isn't CRT that is the target of the right-wing, but any effort to improve things for African Americans and other minorities in our diverse culture. The right is plainly against racial progress, and they use CRT to hide behind, characterizing it as an academic excess, much as Somerby does. Because that way, they don't have to accept the responsibility for their true motives, which are to main white superiority and oppose change.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Waiting for Republicans to make a good faith argument is a waste of life.

      Delete
  8. ' At this point, we'll proceed to reveal what we ourselves truly believe.'

    It's obvious what Somerby believes. He believes in defending Trump, Roy Moore, Ron Johnson, Matt Gaetz and Devin Nunes. In short, he is a Trumptard.

    ReplyDelete
  9. This is why more "wokeness" is needed in K-12 classrooms and school districts. From The Root:

    "There are just some “educators” out there whose whole careers revolve around the reading of books, yet they haven’t bothered learning how to read a room. Clearly, they have missed the numerous news stories involving teachers giving their students ill-advised slavery-based assignments that made Black students uncomfortable at best and left them completely mortified at worst. Somehow, they appear to be completely unaware that racism—especially as it relates to education—is currently among the hottest of hot-button issues and that it behooves them to think critically about the activities they assign their classes, particularly when they have Black students and students of color in attendance.

    In Spokane, Wash.—a city that’s already on notice for giving Rachel Dolezal an NAACP career—a Black family is demanding the removal of a school administrator who they said offered to remove two 14-year-old twin Black girls from a classroom in response to their discomfort over a cotton picking assignment given to their class."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for an illustration that exhibits the ridiculousness of our current culture and the delight schools take in pandering and encouraging it.

      That teacher was trying to illustrate the importance of the Industrial Revolution by highlighting the cotton gin and the parents of these kids decided to act as though cotton hasn’t been picked by people of every race unto this day and age.

      I seriously doubt these kids weren’t prompted to be offended.

      What’s next? Domestic Arts classes are racist for baking classes featuring cornbread?

      Delete
    2. Thank you for an illustration that exhibits the ridiculousness of our current culture and the delight schools take in pandering and encouraging it.

      That teacher was trying to illustrate the importance of the Industrial Revolution by highlighting the cotton gin and the parents of these kids decided to act as though cotton hasn’t been picked by people of every race unto this day and age.

      I seriously doubt these kids weren’t prompted to be offended.

      What’s next? Domestic Arts classes are racist for baking classes featuring cornbread?

      Delete
    3. There was not a cotton picking assignment in the class in Spokane. The complaints of the children are an example of the absurdity of wokeness culture gone haywire. This is a perfect example of why woke culture is not working. Sorry brother! You got fooled again by media that trust without questioning or doing any research. How long are you going to play the fool brother?!

      Delete
    4. 1. The Root isn't the media, 2. Yes, there was an assignment to strip cotton bolls off a stalk, illustrating the utility of the cotton gin, 3. the teacher repeatedly said that this is why slaves are no longer needed to harvest cotton, 4. the teacher made it into a competition to see who could pick the cotton fastest. 5. The parents complained to the school, not the children. 6. The girls were excluded from class because of this incident, depriving them of education.

      Delete
    5. Oh my God. That incident will do the exact opposite of helping the cause. That incident will actually inflame hatred among the races. The writer at the Root is a liar first of all. Cleaning cotton is not cotton picking. Calling it cotton picking is an incendiary, irresponsible lie. That is not woke! The parents letting their children publicly air such a totally absurd claim and calling it a part of "racist culture" that implies "there was a time when slavery was okay” is so offensive in its stupidity and irresponsibility, I'm not going to comment on it further. You think this shows why more "wokeness" is needed in schools?? Oh my God. It isn't. But good luck trying to advance that absurd idea. It ain't woke at all. It's the opposite of woke. It's an irresponsible, foolish, lie.

      (The Root is media. It's owned by Univision.)

      Delete
    6. Stories like that are manna from heaven for the Breitbarts of the world. That's what you foolish dimwits can never understand. You're advancing a story that destroys your cause. You are giving your enemies ammunition to destroy you. You're SO dumb.

      Delete
    7. Said just like someone who neither understands nor cares about the feelings of 14 year old girls. You guys are truly lacking in empathy. This only gives ammunition to sociopaths. This country is pretty much dividing along the line of people who care about others and people who don't.

      It is culturally insensitive to force children to pretend they are slaves or otherwise engage in past racist behavior as a teaching tool. It reinforces the one-down position minority children already experience to force them to engage in slave activities. Teachers should not do or say racist things and if they need lessons on how to not be a bigot, that is legitimate training for school districts to provide. Your denial that it happened is wrong. All language-based communication is media, but The Root is not cable news or any kind of newspaper.

      Cleaning cotton was slave labor. The children were given branches of cotton and asked to separate the bolls from the branches. That IS cotton picking. The practice of separating the seeds from the cotton is what the cotton gin did, so the demonstration was misguided to begin with. Your nitpick is ridiculous. You don't call someone a liar on the basis of narrowly split hairs like that without revealing yourself to be dishonest (in the same way as Somerby frequently is).

      You cannot say that people shouldn't address racism because it will cause racial division because the racism itself is more divisive than the actions taken to eliminate racism.

      But this is an excellent example of the way the right responds to anti-racist efforts. Trying to tone down wokeness to spare the feelings of guys like this is a wasted effort and Somerby is foolish to suggest it.

      Delete
    8. These kids have never been slaves, just as their white schoolmates have never been slaves.

      Had it been an exercise in emphasizing the rigors of slavery to white kids, for no other reason than their melanin level, you’d be all for it.

      Instead, the exercise was meant to show how industrialization has eased some of the dynamics of human capital and instead it was made out to be an afffont to kids who likely have no inkling of the burdens of 21st century agrarian life, let alone of the hardships of slavery.

      It’s nonsense.

      Delete
    9. Great. Use this as an example to encourage more woke training. Tell the world all about this racist cotton picking exercise. Go tell it on the mountain. Have the parents and children and racist teacher interviewed so all can see how the children were forced to pretend to be slaves by the culturally incentive, bigoted teacher who doesn't care about others.

      You'll see how it goes.

      Delete
    10. Cecelia, the teacher implied that slavery was OK because it was hard to pick cotton, but once the cotton gin was invented, it was no longer OK. That is just wrong. Nothing justifies slavery. And doing any exercise that makes a child feel that attention is being drawn to them in a negative way is not OK either.

      You may consider it nonsense that someone black might feel put on the spot by some exercise, but it isn't up to you to decide what their response should be. Conservatives have passed laws saying that white kids should not be made to feel bad about slavery, so why is it OK for bad kids to be made to feel bad about it so that white kids can learn about it? It isn't.

      And like the obtuse person you are, you cannot see anyone's point of view but your own.

      Delete
    11. Typo: "why is it OK for bad kids" should be "why is it OK for black kids"...

      Delete
    12. Anonymouse7:55am, read the linked piece from The Root.

      As asinine and juvenile as it and other such creeds are on matters of race, even it doesn’t accuse the teacher of implying that slavery was “okay” by clarifying that technological progress has helped to put it (and some other ills) out of business.

      Let me add- not altogether out of existence- before you hop to accusing me of making an extreme claim.

      Delete
    13. Here is what it says:

      "“The teacher kept saying, ‘We don’t need slaves anymore,’” she said. “That really hurt because it felt like she was saying there was a time when slavery was OK.”

      BRUH, WHAT THE FUUUUUUCK?!?"

      And you, Cecelia, think this doesn't accuse the teacher of implying that slavery was OK? What planet are you from?

      https://www.theroot.com/spokane-wash-middle-school-gives-class-cotton-picking-1847032972?utm_source=theroot_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=2021-06-04

      Delete
    14. Have the lying scumbag writer from the Root come on television and radio and the internet and tell us all about how it is cotton picking exercise. The family never said it was a cotton picking exercise, the complaint from the ACLU never said it was a cotton picking exercise. It was the liar writer from the Root who was the first to call it cotton picking. Since it's a cotton picking he can come on and tell the world about this cotton-picking exercise and how cleaning cotton is cotton picking. You can come on and help him. I guess one uses their fingers so it's picking? He can tell the whole world about how that accurately describes what was happening. That will play great the people who you want to convince more woke training is needed ... to get in front of the world and lie. How woke.

      You people have to realize that not everyone in the world is as stupid as you are. You would think you idiots would know by now that overstating the case of institutional racism and calling people racists and bigots when they who are not is a losing play.

      Have the writer from the Root and the parents go before a congressional committee and tell the world about this racist cotton picking exercise and the bigoted teacher who tried to tell his black students that slavery was okay.

      You people are such stupid losers. You are born to lose.

      Delete
    15. Here that entire Right-wing? 9:53 says lying is bad.

      Delete
    16. Corby: “And you, Cecelia, think this doesn't accuse the teacher of implying that slavery was OK? What planet are you from?”

      What I do, Corby, is to expect you to act like a thinking and reasonable person and consider that it is not at all controversial to say that technology has benefitted man by making cranes and bulldozers of use in building pyramids rather than the muscle power of Jewish slaves.

      You would think that you could reason that is a fact instead of jumping to the conclusion that a teacher was minimizing slavery to black children rather than applauding human advancement.

      Delete
  10. Meanwhile, here is how the right is attempting to indoctrinate kids:

    https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2021/6/4/2030479/-The-right-wing-indoctrination-machine-sets-its-sights-on-kindergarteners

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All the things that are mentioned in that piece are extracurricular to the standards set for community schools.

      To incorporate it into government schools, a teacher would have to go outside out the established program.

      Public school teachers (when they deign to work nowadays) get in trouble for teaching kids the Pledge of Allegiance. On the other hand, some public school authorities wish to use Incan prayer chants in their daily routine, much to the dismay of many of those problematic people called “parents”.

      Prager is likely to make life very difficult for public school teachers who attempt to thwart the set standards by saying that Reagan was a popular president.

      That fact alone should reveal the lopsided nature of this.

      Delete
    2. Cecelia, if you read more than the first paragraph, the article explains how conservatives are trying to get such materials incorporated into public school curriculums.

      Your swipe at public school teachers (when they deign to work nowadays) is gratuitous. I suppose you don't have children or you would understand the difficulties teachers have faced during covid and the very long hours they have put in to help kids adjust to distance learning.

      This swipe at teachers is as bad as calling nurses and doctors working to help those with covid slackers.

      You are truly a nasty piece of work, and I don't mean that in a good way. But you will get your reward in hell.

      Delete
    3. In Cecelia's defense, she's a moron.

      Delete
    4. Anonymouse 9:17am, we’re talking PUBLIC schools.

      You know...run by the government and funded by tax payers.

      Why is it shocking to you that all sorts of constituencies would petition local and state boards for the things they find important?

      Delete
    5. Right, they are trying to get this stuff used in PUBLIC schools, run by the government and funded by taxpayers. There shouldn't be propaganda in such schools.

      Read the link. This isn't a matter of individuals or community members petitioning local boards. It is a concerted campaign funded by large donors, nationwide, aimed at advancing a conservative agenda.

      Delete
    6. Anonymouse 11:33am, did I not say “all sorts of constituencies”?

      Why do you find that shocking when it’s done by every sort of group?

      Delete
  11. Here is a different take on Donald Trump's delusions, by Amanda Marcotte (another of the female journalist who Somerby dislikes). Her explanation makes a lot more sense than Somerby's:

    https://www.rawstory.com/trump-delusional-2653241366/

    ReplyDelete
  12. “ You are truly a nasty piece of work, and I don't mean that in a good way. But you will get your reward in hell.”

    Well, I’m not sitting on a blog every day in order to call the blog owner a senile sexist, racist, misogynistic dummy who has mommy-issues and is a poseur.

    I just think that you’re a fatuous dope.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No. You're sitting on a blog every day play-acting as an unfunny moron.

      Delete
    2. That would be play-acting.

      Delete
  13. “ You are truly a nasty piece of work, and I don't mean that in a good way. But you will get your reward in hell.”

    Well, I’m not sitting on a blog every day in order to call the blog owner a senile sexist, racist, misogynistic dummy who has mommy-issues and is a poseur.

    I just think that you’re a fatuous dope.

    ReplyDelete
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