MONDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 2021
It's the stupidity, Stupid: The saddest words in the English language may well be these:
"Tressie McMillan Cottom is an associate professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill."
Actually, those words would only be sad on their own. They become the saddest words when they appear in the identity line of the featured opinion essay in today's New York Times.
In print editions, the opinion essay to which we refer appears in the spot traditionally reserved for New York Times editorials. In the present day, this dumbest of all American journals rents that space to opinion essays with such headlines as this:
How Kyrsten Sinema Uses Clothing to Signal Her Social Class
Stunningly, this is now the third major essay by the associate professor concerning the various signals allegedly sent by Senator Sinema's wardrobe. Actually, this fact only becomes stunning when we realize that the New York Times has published all three of these brain-numbing disquisitions, perhaps with more to come!
At some point, the die is cast. At some point, you have to be able to see it or not. We refer to the human mental trait most commonly known as The Stupid.
(In our view, Sinema's politics emerge from that trait. But so do these long, grinding essays.)
All across the mainstream press, journalists savaged the wardrobe of Candidate Gore during 1999 and 2000. People are dead all over Iraq because these manifest subhumans wouldn't or couldn't stop behaving that way.
Candidate Gore represented their last shot at the loathed President Clinton. From the fall of 1999 on, they incessantly frisked his suits, his boots and his polo shirts, among other marks of the beast.
The number of buttons on his suit jackets (three!). The "earth tone" hue of that one troubling suit.
The height at which he hemmed his pants. The degree of shine observed on his boots. The way these grinding fashion choices were aimed at fooling female voters. With respect to that earth tone choice, the way he had allegedly "hired a woman to teach him how to be a man."
They kept this up for month after month, no one more than Brian Williams. Now they want to talk (and talk) about Sinema's clothes. Nothing will force them to stop.
At the Times, The Stupid has been a controlling cultural value for at least thirty years. The blinkered class which prevails at the Times decamps to the Hamptons whenever it can. When forced to assemble a modern "newspaper," it assails the subscriber class with manifest bullshit like this.
At some point, it becomes the reader's responsibility. In our view, it's plainly the stupidity, Stupid.
Are you able to see it or not?
Earlier flights of the grindingly pointless and the cosmically pompous: The Kyrsten Sinema clothing triptych got started with these earlier brain-numbing essays by the associate professor:
October 29: Why We Should Talk About What Kyrsten Sinema Is Wearing
November 5: Kyrsten Sinema and the Politics of a Sleeveless Silhouette
As best we can tell, those essays only appeared online. By today, the brainiac Times had been convinced:
This endless flight into sheer inanity had to go straight into print!
Calm down, dear Bob: no one reads the New York Times.ReplyDelete
You're the only one whose brain suffers irreparable damage from reading all kinds dembottery published there on a regular basis.
No one reads the NYT? Are you serious?Delete
Few are as silly as you.
A lot of people read the new york times.Delete
“Monday, Monday…can’t trust that day…”ReplyDelete
All these words and yet Somerby doesn't tell us how Sinema signals her social class. These signals, which exist throughout our culture, are part of what keeps people in social classes and they dictate how people are treated by others in social contexts. They are not only important, but social psychologists (among others) study them because they are important to things such as (1) whether or not people get job interviews and are hired, (2) whether people are given good deals by car salesmen, (3) whether or not people get bank loans and mortgages, (4) who swipes right or left on photos on dating aps, (5) who gets waited on promptly in restaurants, (6) who gets attacked by neighbors as "not belonging" there, despite owning a home in the neighborhood, (7) how police treat citizens, (8) who gets accused of shoplifting while shopping, (9) how presentations and public appearances are received by an audience, (10) who is elected to office and who loses.ReplyDelete
Sinema may be smart enough to pay attention to such signals, but Somerby clearly is not. That may be another reason why the NY Times doesn't appeal to him (i.e., numbs his mind).
Somerby keeps avoiding the fact that Gore thought this was important enough to hire a consultant. If he had taken the advice to heart earlier in his political career, he might not have been ridiculed when he ran for president. It is a bit late to change personas at that point, but he DID hire Naomi Wolff and paid her a lot of money. Clearly Somerby and Gore are not on the same page about the importance of style.
"Will these "meritocratic" flyweights continue to publish this dreck?"ReplyDelete
Why is Somerby using the word "meritocratic" as an epithet. Is being meritocratic a bad thing?
Is it meritocratic or non-meritocratic to attack people for holding different opinions in their op-eds than Somerby does? Does it make sense for anyone who respects free exchange of ideas (as most academics do) to refer to ideas they disagree with as "dreck" and urge that they be suppressed by newspapers who service a wide swath of the community, including those who like mind-numbing essays?
The opposite of meritocratic cannot be egalitarian or Somerby might have more tolerance for other people's views.
Meritocracy is a toxic notion, what is unusual here is that Somerby is usually pro meritocracy.Delete
Success in our current society is, broadly speaking, a function of privilege and happenstance; meritocracy reinforces the status quo of privilege, and realigns happenstance into a justification for inequality.
Looks like Somerby got up late and forgot to check with Fox News about today's talking points, so he missed the latest atrocity that the right wing is clamoring about over where The Other get their news -- Hannity, Tucker and the rest.ReplyDelete
So, he is covering up by pretending that he meant to post this "dreck" (to borrow a term) yesterday and just going ahead with it today, since if he doesn't, Big Brother will be upset with him and may reduce his pay to 1 cent per word instead of 2 cents. And then he will have to sell pears for a living.
You hate too much. Why are you here? What's your insipid game?Delete
To make Somerby stop pretending to be liberal. There is no mystery about that.Delete
It’s not like ghe good ole days, right, Anonymouse 6:04pm?Delete
Back then you could tie people to the rack.
Now you are writing gibberish.Delete
The writer has a good line of argument about how liberals will let powerful people call themselves fragile victims, but clothing is far from hard evidence.ReplyDelete
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