Associate Professor Cottom assailed!

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 2021

Where this nonsense takes us: Yesterday afternoon, we posted an award-winning report on the so-called "Cottom Triptych"—on the trio of lengthy essays by Associate Professor Cottom about Senator Sinema's deeply informative wardrobe. 

(Or at least we thought we did. See explanatory note below.)

That trio of lengthy, brain-numbing essays has been published by—who else?—the New York Times. We're sorry to return to the topic today, but a letter in this morning's Times helps us contemplate the wages of journalistic sin of this type.

The letter appears beneath this heading in this morning's Times:

Attacks on Kyrsten Sinema Over Her Bisexuality

In full, the letter says this:

To the Editor:

Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin are facing criticism from Democrats for not toeing the party line. As a bisexual Democrat, I find it horrifying to watch the criticism of Ms. Sinema devolve into sly biphobic attacks that are increasing in frequency and ferocity.

Recent articles about Senator Sinema, including in The New York Times, focus on her person, not her politics. Democrats are attacking her because she is not voting the way they want her to vote, and the attacks are using her bisexuality as a weapon against her.

One article, for example, refers to Ms. Sinema’s style choices viewed as “a type of pinkwashing: leveraging positive associations with gay culture and identity to distract from one’s negative actions.”

Meanwhile, without federal anti-discrimination legislation, bisexuals face discrimination across the United States. One of the places making strides to eliminate L.G.B.T. discrimination is Arizona, Ms. Sinema’s state.

Whether or not one agrees with all of Ms. Sinema’s policy positions, and I often don’t, as an American who cherishes democracy I believe that it is her right (and, as an elected official, her duty) to determine her own political positions, free from attacks on her identity.

(Rev.) Marian Edmonds-Allen / New York

The writer is the executive director of Parity, a nonprofit that works on faith and L.G.B.T. issues.

The letter writer says she frequently disagrees with Sinema's policy positions. We'd be strongly inclined to make the same statement, if we were ever able to figure out what Sinema's positions are.

In our view, Sinema's political behavior has been extremely strange, but that isn't the topic of this morning's letter. The writer complains that attacks on Sinema are now "using her bisexuality as a weapon against her." 

The writer even cites an unspecified article which refers to Sinema's "style choices" as “a type of pinkwashing: leveraging positive associations with gay culture and identity to distract from one’s negative actions.”

Oddly, the Times doesn't provide a specific link to the article which used that particular language. When we googled the offending phrase, you can probably guess what we found:

The letter writer is complaining about the second essay in the Cottom triptych—the essay which was published, by the Times, beneath this brain-numbing headline:

Kyrsten Sinema and the Politics of a Sleeveless Silhouette

And no, we aren't making that up. That's actually what the actual headline on that essay said!

Is Reverend Edmonds-Allen making a fair criticism of Cottom's essay? Can it fairly be said that Cottom's essay in the Times included a sly biphobic attack against Sinema? Can it fairly be said that her essay used Sinema's bisexuality "as a weapon against her?"

We can't and won't answer your questions. In our view, Cottom's essay is so depressingly pompous and dumb that we're unable to read all the way through to the end. 

The dumbness of the essay in question—mixed with the knowledge that it was part of a brain-numbing triptych published by our tribe's most brainiac newspaper—seems to force our brain cells to shut our systems down. It leaves us thinking, as we now do every day, of the destruction Wilfred Owen saw back in World War I.

Did Associate Professor Cottom really lodge a sly biphobic attack on Sinema through the auspices of the Times? We don't know, and we make no such charge. But we can tell you this:

The Times launched a sly attack on the life of the mind when it published that trio of essays. When our academic and journalistic elites think that's the way our world should work, our world is coming to an end, like the more peaceful European realm predating The Great War.

Can a continental nation expect to survive when its academic and journalistic elites believe that work of that type makes sense?

Experts say the answer is no. We think of Owen, and of the ways in which worlds reach their end, whenever we read such manifest dreck, which is pretty much every day now.

It came to us from UNC—but also from the New York Times. Sadly, this should come as no surprise:

At the Times, brain-jangling dumbness has been a prominent cultural value dating back these many long years. They want to write about people's clothes, and to make it sound like they're doing deeply thoughtful work.

Was a sly biphobic attack involved? We leave you to figure that out.

Discourse on method: Doggone it! Somehow, yesterday afternoon's essay about the Cottom triptych failed to get posted.

To read our original essay, click here. This new report is intended as an addition to that  post.


44 comments:

  1. "The dumbness of the essay in question—mixed with the knowledge that it was part of a brain-numbing triptych published by our tribe's most brainiac newspaper—seems to force our brain cells to shut our systems down. It leaves us thinking, as we now do every day, of the destruction Wilfred Owen saw back in World War I."

    This is one of the more idiotic things Somerby has said recently. First, if he finds the NY Times mind-numbing instead of informative, he should read something else. Why insist that the paper dumb itself down to his level, just because he doesn't like reading articles by professors? Second, Wilfred's Owens' deeply affecting poems about the tragedy of WWI have nothing whatsoever to do with these letters to the editor or the original essays, and certainly nothing to do with pinkwashing or bisexuality. It is offensive for Somerby to throw them in here, with the kitchen sink, as if he had no regard for the loss of life in that devastating war, no respect for those who died, no respect for military at all. Or maybe, like many other things, he hasn't actually read any of Wilfred Owen?

    ReplyDelete
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    1. anon 3:31 - you seem to be stupid beyond the bounds of imagination. Every point you make is mind-bogglingly and painfully dumb. One example, you chastise TDH for criticizing the NYT, pointing out that if he doesn't like it, he should read something else. But here you are, day after day, with your brain-deadeningly stupid accusations, oblivious to the irony, when you yourself might be able to "read something else."

      Delete
    2. I do read other things. I wouldn't want anyone to think Somerby represents liberal thinking.

      I find it hard to understand how someone can think that Somerby is worth reading while my criticisms of him are "painfully dumb," especially when I have pointed out some factual error in Somerby's work. But people believe Trump and Fox News too, so I figure it must be the same mechanism.

      The media put labels on disinformation elsewhere, but no one has been doing that here, so I have taken on the job. It is dangerous not to defend the truth, and that means each of us need to combat lies in our small neighborhoods.

      If you think my points are dumb, you need to go back and check your work, because you are reaching wrong conclusions. That said, it is your choice to believe what you want, and if you want to bathe in Borax and take Ivermectin, only your doctor cares enough to try to stop you. But I am going to keep challenging Somerby's "bilge" and "dreck" because that is what a good citizen should do.

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    3. "I wouldn't want anyone to think Somerby represents liberal thinking."

      We are pretty certain the feeling is mutual.

      Delete
  2. "When our academic and journalistic elites think that's the way our world should work, our world is coming to an end, like the more peaceful European realm predating The Great War."

    Hate to tell Somerby, but the world did not come to an end in WWI, not even in Europe (aka the Continent).

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  3. "Can a continental nation expect to survive when its academic and journalistic elites believe that work of that type makes sense?"

    The US is a country, not a continent. We include states such as Hawaii and Alaska, which make us not continental even in the sense of being self-contained within the continent of North America.

    Why does Somerby say such things? Is he really ignorant or is he not even bothering to think about what he writes? Does it not matter to him whether his words are true or not?

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  4. "We think of Owen, and of the ways in which worlds reach their end, whenever we read such manifest dreck, which is pretty much every day now."

    Owen is not "manifest dreck". He is a much admired poet, especially by those who respect the sacrifice of our servicemen in WWI and more recent wars.

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    1. Corby -- Bob did not say that Owen was dreck. He said that the dreck published by the NYT suggested the end of the world, just as Owen's poetry does.

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    2. Except that it doesn't.

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    3. The NY Times is worse than dreck. They spent 2016 pretending to care that Republicans were pretending to care about email protocols. (Can you imagine?)
      Now they are trying to kneecap Biden because of inflation. If they weren't worse than dreck, they'd inform the public that the way to fight inflation is through higher taxes (Economics 101---if you don't understand it, you might just be a typical economically illiterate Right-winger*).
      In their defense, media corporations, like the NY Times want Trump to be elected President in 2024. Just like 2016 and 2020.

      Delete
  5. "Was a sly biphobic attack involved? We leave you to figure that out."

    I personally don't think that calling out "pinkwashing" is biphobic. I think that there is a tendency for people to attack Sinema for things other than her behavior as a senator and that is unfortunate when she has done so much wrong in her job that there should be plenty to attack.

    Are we sure that it is liberals who are lodging such attacks? I suspect a false flag operation by the right to make liberals seem hypocritical. Somerby doesn't discuss that possibility but I think it is more likely than liberals attacking her for being bi, no matter what her style choices.

    Somerby dislikes it when the NY Times discusses style (despite being the fashion capitol of our country), because that is yucky girl stuff. I doubt he keeps up with any fashions at all; he no doubt wears baggy old man's pants and bedroom slippers all day, out beneath his pear tree.

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  6. I would rather be water-boarded than read anything about the dope from AZ.

    The saddest words indeed are from a "professor" at NC, a very fine school, but these words match it: Kyrsten Sinema U.S. Senator.

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  7. When someone makes a mistake about the date of an essay, it is common to both correct the mistake and apologize to anyone who was confused.

    Not Somerby though. He doesn't operate that way.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you dislike S that much, then why are you here? I disagree with him, but he's always thought provoking, which makes thinking fun.

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    2. Provoking yes, but not thought provoking. Irritating. Like an itch that must be scratched.

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    3. Anonymouse 3:31pm: “This is one of the more idiotic things Somerby has said recently. First, if he finds the NY Times mind-numbing instead of informative, he should read something else.”

      This anonymouse wouldn’t know irony if they fell over it,

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    4. Who is being ironic? Not you and not Somerby. Maybe it is the NY Times.

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    5. Anon 3:31 -- Bob writes a blog focusing on media criticism. He needs to read some unworthy media, so he can criticize it.

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    6. IMO the deterioration of the NYT is a national tragedy. I've been reading that paper for almost 70 years. For much of the period, we could count on the NYT to be an accurate, reliable unbiased source. The Times no longer performs that role, but no other media have taken their place. So, we are all left guessing what really happened, based on whatever unreliable news sources we use.

      Also, many people are unaware that the NYT is not the reliable source that it used to be. It's important to point that out.

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    7. The NY Times has opinion pieces, but please cite in what way the articles themselves are inaccurate, unreliable or biased. Since you feel this so strongly, you should have no problem citing some examples.

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    8. @7:47 Here's a quote from a NEWS article 11/4/2021

      "The dossier has played a vivid role in the Trump-Russia affair, but was largely peripheral to the official inquiry. The F.B.I. had already opened its counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign and Russia before the Steele dossier reached the agents working on that matter. The special counsel who eventually took over the inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 election, Robert S. Mueller III, did not rely upon it in his final report."

      First of all, "LARGELY peripheral" is an opinion, which doesn't belong in a news story. Second, "a vivid role" is vague and a big understatement. The whole nation spent three years obsessing over this document. Congressman Schiff lied about having evidence for it. The plain word "vivid" is so insufficient, that it's pretty close to a lie.

      Put another way, the impression of the quoted bit is that the Steele Dossier was not a particularly big deal. That's deceptive. It was an enormous deal.

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    9. I see. You have a preconceived idea of what the news should be and you want the NY Times to reflect what you hear on Fox. You disbelieve what is said in the 1st paragraph about why the word largely peripheral is justified. The word vivid refers to the impression on the public when the Steele dossier was first reported to the public.

      Delete
    10. David in Cal,
      No collusion between Russia and the Trumps?

      If it’s what you say, I love it, especially later in the summer.

      Delete
    11. David is so funny, still defending the monstrosity who got himself impeached twice, setting an all time record, and then criminally tried to overturn an election and incited an attempted insurrection.

      Hey David, what's your man have planned for an encore? Burning down the Reichstag has already been taken. Got anything original?

      Delete
  8. Okay let's take a look at the troll spam and see if its posts fits the template I suggested.

    1. Starts with a quote, 9th word in last paragraph is Somerby

    2. Quote, 4th word

    3. Quote, 3rd word

    4. Quote, 1st word

    5. Not a quote, 2nd word

    So, one data point missing out of 10. What do you think, Corby?

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    Replies
    1. I don't know what you are talking about.

      Delete
    2. Let me break it down for you, Corby.

      Rationalist is a TDH fanboy, and they do not like it when you criticize their hero, especially when suggesting Somerby has empty goals.

      So in their mind, they think that if they call you a troll (sacre bleu!) and notate your writing style - paragraphs with premises leading to a conclusion, that they will have effectively muzzled your triggering criticisms.

      Have you hugged a Republican today?

      Delete
    3. Stop pointing out Bob is dishonest, is right up there with stop pointing out the Right are bigots.

      They want us to tie our hands behind our backs, before they'll climb in the ring with us.

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    4. We may be Bob’s fans, but you nuts are Bob’s scorned ex-wives.

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    5. As if. Somerby has never been married.

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    6. Bob's affair with the KKK ruined our marriage.

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    7. I agree that he is a racist.

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    8. Of course he is. All conservatives are.

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    9. Yes, he hates blacks.

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    10. ^. The flying monkey variety of anonymices.

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    11. Cecelia,
      You could always pretend there is something other than bigotry Conservatives care about. Surely, someone would chase that shiny object.

      Delete
    12. Hysterical overactivity of psycho-soros-bots is always a good sign.

      Delete
    13. 9:42,
      You triggered bro?

      Delete
  9. Meanwhile, this is what actual media criticism looks like (from Politicus):

    "Chuck Todd is one of the poster children for this behavior in corporate media, but he is far from alone. The mainstream media outlets make their living by taking the positivity out of the news.

    Democrats made history, but according to Chuck Todd, it is irrelevant because they didn’t make history a month earlier.

    Todd’s point isn’t realistic. The reality is that voters won’t punish Democrats in 2022 because they passed and signed an infrastructure bill in November instead of October.

    If Democrats lose in the midterm, it won’t be because of the timing of the infrastructure bill, but the corporate media has decided to put a negative spin on everything that Democrats do."

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    1. It's no accident the corporate media, currently beating the inflation drum, hasn't told their readers/ viewers that raising taxes is how you reduce inflation.

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    2. Tsk. It's too bad, then, that your cult is hellbent on cutting taxes to super-rich limousine liberals, by repealing the SALT cap.

      Delete
    3. Ha ha.
      Fuck Republicans.

      Delete