As Aaron Rodgers becomes the GOAT...


...Dvorak censors Beloved: We're forced to start with an embarrassing confession. Until events of the past six months, we didn't know that Aaron Rodgers was a bit of a self-impressed hardhead.

We thought of him, as we do of others, as "just another former Pacific-10 great." Many others called him the GOAT—"the greatest [quarterback] of all time."

Collegiately, Rodgers quarterbacked at Cal, where his running back was Marshawn Lynch at one time. Being regional chauvinists regarding such matters, we rooted for him on that basis.

This past week, it turns out that Rodgers actually is "the GOAT"—the greatest dissembler of all time. 

At this site, we've been reporting on public dissembling for the past 23 years. We're not sure there's ever been a more bald-faced performance than the one Rodgers authored on August 26 of this year, when he deceived a roomful of sports reporters about his vaccination status.

On that day, he authored a world-class performance. Nothing he said was technically false, but every word out of his mouth was transparently drawn to deceive.

On that day, Rodgers was asked if he'd been vaccinated against Covid-19. "Yeah, I've been immunized," he replied, substituting one key word and thereby creating an instant false impression.

He went on to say that he wasn't going to judge the players on his team who hadn't been vaccinated. Clearly, this added to the false impression that Rodgers himself had been vaccinated. 

We're not sure we've ever seen a more clear-cut case of multipart bald-faced dissembling. Depending on the relative importance of the subject matter, people who behave this way are behaving very badly.

This past week, the world finally learned that Rodgers still hasn't been vaccinated. After this information came to light, he appeared on a Wisconsin radio program. 

On that program, he described himself as "a critical thinker," even as he made a series of the world's dumbest possible comments. He even toyed with the history of race, seeming to suggest that Dr. King would have lined up on his side.

Rodgers remains a former Pacific-10 great—but in the realm of public dissembling, he may be the greatest ever. Beyond that, his arrogance seems to qualify as a real piece of work. According to leading experts, he's human all the way down.

Back in August, Rodgers' dissembling was world-class. This brings us to the case of the Washington Post's Petula Dvorak.

Yesterday morning, we didn't see Dvorak's column in the Washington Post. We only saw it this morning.

In print editions, her column appeared in its usual spot, on the front page of the Post's Metro section. In print editions, the column appeared beneath a headline we'd call baldly misleading:

Tales of U.S. enslavement are supposed to frighten

Aaron Rodgers became the GOAT with last August's dissembling. We'd say that Dvorak engaged in a bit of (highly standardized) world-class dissembling too.

In fairness, Dvorak had a story in her head, and the story pleased her. So she did what we humans do at such times:

She told The Story the way she was hearing it! She proceeded to tell the story the way The Voices were telling the story—the voices all over our tribe's mainstream press, and the voices inside her own head.

("Trust us," the Voices said.)

Dvorak proceeded to tell the story in the way which has been mandated within our own tribe. The major takeaway had to be this:

The protagonist, Laura Murphy, didn't want her teenaged son to be taught about the horrors of slavery.

Thanks to the voices inside her head, Dvorak knew that had been Murphy's motive. Gifted with journalistic clairvoyance, she even knew how Murphy had come to think that way:

DVORAK (11/5/21): Murphy was horrified because she was probably taught about slavery the way most of us Gen-Xers were: “It happened, it was bad, it’s over. Now let’s move on to the next chapter.” She didn’t have that context to understand the historical foundation of the novel—our sanitized curriculum failed her. Today’s conflict is about fixing those shortcomings.

"Murphy was horrified because she was probably taught about slavery" that way? 

Dvorak's logic fails to parse, in a way which is truly comical. That said, Dvorak's column wasn't built upon foundations of logic or fact. Her column was the latest tribute to Storyline—to the repetitive recitation of Standard Approved Tribal Narrative.

It's hard to have sufficient contempt for the contents of that column. We'll end the week with two obvious observations:

Our tribe is crawling with dissemblers. Also, The Others are frequently able to see this. 

We'll offer one last point about Dvorak's column. In effect, Dvorak was censoring Beloved, a widely acclaimed major novel. She was working to keep her readers from knowing what's in the book.

Based on the quotations she offered, Dvorak had to know that Murphy had objected to passages in Beloved dealing with bestiality. Dvorak disappeared that part of Murphy's past statements. She chose to omit that fact.

All through her column, she chose to make it sound like Murphy was objecting the book's larger discussion of slavery. Where Rodgers dissembled about being "immunized." Dvorak dissembled about that.

Aaron Rodgers may be the GOAT, but Dvorak ain't far behind. 

It's hard to have sufficient contempt for the way  tribalists like Dvorak work. But this is the way our human brains are wired, disconsolate major experts all say—and this is who and what and all we are here in our self-impressed  tribe.

Full disclosure: Regarding Dvorak's column, your lizard brain is going to tell you that none of this ever happened. 

Our appraisal of QB 12 will be permitted to stand.


  1. Thank you for documenting more liberal-goebbelsian atrocities, dear Bob.

    "the voices all over our tribe's mainstream press, and the voices inside her own head"

    We understand it's quite common for cult members ('your own tribe') to hear voices. Nothing extraordinary here, dear Bob.

  2. Some conservatives as well as some liberals a use the unfortunate practice of misunderstanding what someone said, in order to make the speaker look bad. As Bob points out, assuming a bad motive is one way to do this. Another is to interpret an ambiguous comment to find fault with it, when another interpretation would find the comment to be OK. This was often done to Bush, in order to make him look stupid.

    I wonder how the misinterpreters feel about what they're doing. Are they just partisans, who are intentionally misinterpreting? Or, are they so convinced that the speaker is bad (racist, dumb, etc.) that they believe their misinterpretations?

    1. Can you name one case where a Republican made a good faith argument?
      Try to make it someone after Abraham Lincoln. Good luck.

    2. David in Cal,
      You're speaking about the reaction to "De-fund the police", yes?

    3. An ambiguous statement should be clarified by the author, not by readers, especially not by adding words that were not there in the first place.

      Bush was stupid about some things.

    4. @9:44 yes, Bush certainly was stupid about some things. E.g., trusting Putin and nation building in Afghanistan.

      Yes, an author should clarify an ambiguous statement. However, in off the cuff speaking, clarifying words are not always included.

      I should have mentioned that the right is now doing to Biden what the left did to Bush. They interpret everything he says as evidence of mental deterioration.

  3. Aaron Rodgers is the GOAT in his mind only.

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  5. "That said, Dvorak's column wasn't built upon foundations of logic or fact. Her column was the latest tribute to Storyline—to the repetitive recitation of Standard Approved Tribal Narrative."

    What Somerby calls narrative or storyline, implying that it is fictional, is actually history. It is part of our nation's history that students were routinely NOT told about slavery as it really happened, but instead were presented with a sanitized version. Only at the college level, and only as history majors (not those taking a general education requirement) did students encounter the actual history of slavery. This is fact, not Dvorak's invention.

    And this isn't a matter of opinion because school curriculum is documented in writing and can be examined from those documents.

  6. "Dvorak had to know that Murphy had objected to passages in Beloved dealing with bestiality."

    Throughout this discussion, Somerby has never dealth with the use that Morrison made of her theme and figurative language that portrays human beings as animals (which is what is referred to as bestiality by literary critics). Morrison's point is that humans are being treated like animals and as a consequence behave like them. The sex scene in which slaves engage in sex with an animal, illustrates that point, which is central to the entire novel and to what Morrison is saying about how slaves were Murphy pretended to be offended by sex but was actually treated. You cannot separate that scene from the rest of the novel as Murphy attempted to do.

    That's why it is wrong for Somerby to discuss Beloved without reading the book itself or even about the books, by visiting Wikipedia or Clif Notes. When you do that, you see what Murphy was about, why Somerby's claims about Murphy wanting to avoid the sex part is just plain wrong -- and Dvorak is correct in her analysis of Murphy's motives.

  7. Back in 2013, 19-year-old Blake Murphy, the ‘traumatized’ youth, said about Beloved: “It was disgusting and gross. It was hard for me to handle. I gave up on it.”

    Back in 2013, his mother said: “To me, mature references means slavery or the Holocaust. I’m not thinking my kid is going to be reading a book with bestiality.”

    It isn’t clear what notions about slavery she had, or what aspects of slavery she would find suitable for impressionable 18-year-old honors students to read about, but wait till her son reads the true story of Margaret Garner, which inspired Toni Morrison’s book. It involves rape (by the master), infanticide, and whether a black woman was a human being or just property.

    Oh wait. The young Murphy’s of the world will never be reading about that thanks to the efforts of people like Laura Murphy and Bob Somerby.

    1. You, dear mh, appear to believe that the school system is supposed to shock the school children emotionally. But no, it isn't. It's supposed to teach them, not indoctrinate them. Teach them, among other things, about the socioeconomic systems of the USA. And of the Roman Empire. Intellectually, not emotionally.

      How would you like them to be shown various horror pictures and videos of dismembered fetuses, on a daily basis?

    2. Wait till poor young Master Murphy gets to reading the Bible. He will shocked out of his knickers.

    3. 1:23 It may come as a shock to you but people like the Murphy's are often disingenuous. Case in point, the beliefs you attribute to mh bear no relation to what mh wrote. Furthermore, the Roman Empire's economy was based on slavery and it was socially acceptable to rape boys.

  8. In Somerby's continuing attempt to manufacture ignorance, he condemns a football player while engaging in the same misbehavior: his blog entries about the Beloved in VA issue are based on two falsehoods, which he repeats several times. According to TDH:

    "Just as a matter of fact, she wasn't seeking to ban the book. She was asking that her son, a high school student, be allowed to pursue a separate assignment"

    This is false. 1) Murphy was indeed initially trying to get the book banned, and 2) there already existed a school policy for students to opt out of reading books that made them uncomfortable.

    When attempting to make sweeping negative claims about an entire tribe, you resort to repeating misleading talking points provided by an opposing tribe, you are probably operating in bad faith and with a broken moral compass.

  9. Tim Libretti says:

    "...Adopting politically progressive politics that recognize and advance policies that seek to make American society more equitable for these constituencies and ensure their civil rights has come to be referred to as “wokeness.” Republicans have mobilized this term as a pejorative to encode the whole suite of political positions that insist on basic civil rights and socio-economic inclusion and equity for women, people of color, the working class, and LGBTQ people, threatening white male supremacy and the corporate power structure that creates gross economic inequality.

    And now elements of the Democratic Party have bought into this Republican framing, similarly deploying “wokeness” as a term of slander and dismissal, betraying key constituencies as they flee to the center, looking more and more like Republicans as they court “bi-partisanship” with a poisonous party that favors minority rule instead of courting an American majority.

    Certainly Terry McCauliffe, a bland Clintonian centrist, did not lose because he spoke out so vociferously in favor of a progressive economic agenda and the civil rights of all. We didn’t hear him, as he campaigned in the heart of the state in which white supremacists marched with burning tiki torches in 2017, speak intelligently about how racism and discrimination undermined the interests and civil rights of all working class people. He wasn’t really for anything. He was mainly against Trump."

    I don't consider Somerby to be a centrist Democrat because he spends too much time here spreading conservative talking points and defending Republicans, but he certainly has joined the chorus that thinks being "woke" is a bad thing.

  10. From Digby:

    "Reliable Sources this morning featured a segment on an author who’s written a book about how “woke” white liberals are ruining everything with their elitist anti-racism and class warfare against the salt o’ the earth working class. Yeah. It’s just a new angle on the same old story. It’s not that there isn’t some truth to the fact that the progressive left can be annoying. It can. But to say that it’s just white liberal elites from the big bad city who are agitating for racial and social justice is just — wrong. "

  11. From Palmer Report:

    "And how has Aaron chosen to respond? Did he take the slightest bit of personal responsibilities for his actions? Oh, Hell no. He’s busily complaining about being the target “of the woke mob” and how cancel culture is being mean to him and misrepresenting his views. Aaron also was going on about how he did his own research and used ivermectin. Of course, his male bovine excrement about masks and vaccines was quickly shot down by actual medical experts."

  12. Here is what Rodgers actually said (from Lawyers, Guns & Money blog):

    "The following is a selection of what Rodgers said on McAfee’s show:

    Rodgers said that he chose a homeopathic treatment he believes boosted his immunity to COVID-19 over the approved vaccines because he is allergic to an ingredient in the two FDA-approved mRNA vaccines, produced by Pfizer and Moderna. He did not take the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, he said, because it “got pulled due to clotting issues” in April and “was not an option at that point.” Use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was temporarily paused in April but resumed later that month after a review of available data by the CDC and FDA. Health experts found that the risk of clotting after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was roughly one in a million cases, mostly in women between the ages of 20 and 50.
    Rodgers declined to share what his homeopathic treatment entailed but described it as “a way to stimulate my immune system to create a defense against COVID,” which happens to be a very good way of describing how vaccines work.
    Rodgers said that the NFL “sent in this stooge early in training camp to shame [Green Bay] for being 19th in the league in vaccination rate.” He said that the NFL “thought I was a quack” and denied his appeal to be exempted from league policies for unvaccinated players.
    Rodgers used the phrase “my body, my choice.”
    He said that “people hate ivermectin” because pharmaceutical companies “can’t make any money off of it.”
    Rodgers said that he was being placed in a “cancel-culture casket.”
    Rodgers said that he is “not some anti-vaxx, flat-earther.” He also asked, “If the vaccine is so great, then how come people are still getting COVID and spreading COVID?” Rodgers said multiple times he believes he got the virus from a vaccinated person but did not offer evidence. “This idea that it’s the pandemic of the unvaccinated, it’s just a total lie,” he said. A CDC study of COVID-19 cases and outcomes across the U.S. from April 4 to July 17, 2021, found that 92 percent of positive cases, 92 percent of hospitalizations, and 91 percent of COVID-19-related deaths were reported among those not fully vaccinated.
    Rodgers said he was comfortable not wearing a mask around groups of vaccinated people because he believes their trust in the vaccine should make it irrelevant to those groups whether he’s masked or not. On clearly having violated the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols by giving press conferences indoors without a mask, Rodgers said he considered it his responsibility to go against a policy he doesn’t believe in.
    If Rodgers was trying for Intellectual Horse Paste Web bullshit so rote and uninspired Bari Weiss would be reluctant to host it at her ShakeShack, mission accomplished!

    Also, as Princiotti notes, the lesson of “Letter From a Birmingham Jail” is not “a wealthy person can ignore any rule they don’t like for any arbitrary and self-serving reason”:

    “The great MLK said you have a moral obligation to object to unjust rules and rules that make no sense,” Rodgers said. “In my opinion, it makes no sense for me.”

    In “Letter from Birmingham Jail” (a clause I was not expecting to write today), King defines an unjust law this way: “An unjust law is a code that a majority inflicts on a minority that is not binding on itself.” A just law, King wrote, “is a code that a majority compels a minority to follow, and that it is willing to follow itself.”

    Those compelling Rodgers to follow the NFL’s protocols are also following the protocols themselves. Jordan Love, the Packers’ backup quarterback who will start Sunday in Rodgers’s stead, showed up to his Friday afternoon press conference wearing a mask. Love is vaccinated and not required by NFL policy to mask indoors, but wore the mask because he had been designated a close contact of a player who had tested positive—Rodgers. The use of King’s argument for nonviolent protest against segregation to promote Rodgers’s belief that he shouldn’t have to wear a mask inside is also wildly disproportionate."

  13. In my opinion, Aaron Rodgers is very deserved to be called a "GOAT" for his io games achievement.