TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 30, 2021
For starters, we'll go with "teenager:" For starters, we'll admit an embarrassing fact:
We aren't inclined to agree with, or to affirm, Dana Milbank's latest name-calling.
In this case, the name-calling is directed at Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), who we'd regard as one of the least constructive members of Congress. The name-calling starts in the headline to Milbank's new column for the Washington Post.
That headline announces this:
Lauren Boebert is what George W. Bush called the ‘worst of humankind’
Is Boebert "the worst of humankind?" We wouldn't be inclined to voice that kind of judgment—to engage in that type of name-calling—with respect to Boebert, who we regard as one of the least constructive, helpful or insightful members of Congress.
As his column proceeds, Milbank calls Boebert and her running-dogs an array of other names. (They're bigots, they're clowns, they're haters.)
Early in comments, a member of our own infallible tribe gives voice to the not-so-secret assessment which frequently lurks behind the scenes at such times. The unnamed though fiery commenter extends the name-calling thusly:
To be fair, bo-bo also responds to "uneducated white racist trash."
When we start with "the worst of humankind," we may tend to drift toward name-calling of that highly familiar type. According to experts, this is the road to our species' endless wars, in which quite a few people have died.
As a general matter, we'd be disinclined to name-call Boebert, who we regard as tending to have extremely poor judgment. We'd also be disinclined to name-call Kyle Rittenhouse, who was found "not guilty" on all five counts in his recent criminal trial.
Last week, we noted the fact that a bit of name-calling had emerged from Charles Blow. In a column in the New York Times, Blow used the term "vigilante" thirteen separate times, scattered through twelve different paragraphs, in a column about Rittenhouse.
The term "vigilantism" appeared two additional times. Rittenhouse wasn't just identified as a "vigilante," but as a "white vigilante" at that.
He was also identified as a "murderer," despite his acquittal on all counts.
Is or was Rittenhouse a "vigilante," even a white vigilante? We wouldn't be inclined to say that.
In an email, a friend who seemed to disagree asked us what else we would call him. For today, we'll start with the word "teenager," though we may proceed onward from there as the week proceeds.
Rittenhouse was 17 at the time of the conduct for which he was put on trial. People who are 17 often show extremely poor judgment, though we don't think it's obvious that Rittenhouse did on that unfortunate night.
At any rate, we'll start with "teenager," then move on from there. As we do, we'll discuss the way Storyline conquered Kenosha.
How did Storyline conquer Kenosha? In our view, it accomplished that task in the now-typical way:
Our nation's fueling red and blue tribes began constructing different accounts of what happened that day and that night. To cite just one example:
One side says Rittenhouse took a gun "to a protest." The other side says he took a gun to a used car lot.
The standard process proceeds from there, with the two tribes picking and choosing which facts to cite, even to stress, and which facts to disappear. We will continue to offer this highly instructive assessment:
In our view, this was a case in which viewers of Fox were exposed to more information than we liberals were. Here's the way it seems to us:
On CNN and MSNBC, more information got left behind!
In the next few days, we'll expose you to some of the information which our tribe tended to disappear. By the time our tribunes got done, Rittenhouse was a vigilante (and a murderer), and also sometimes the latest example of uneducated white racist trash.
We tend to name-call The Others that way. Our tribe has always behaved that way. In our view, it isn't our tribe's finest impulse—or its most constructive.
What kinds of information were we denied on CNN and MSNBC? In the New York Times?
Tomorrow, we'll start with information about what was happening in Kenosha on the days and evenings in question. Actually, all the information we were denied can be fit under that general rubric, so for now we'll leave it right there.
In this particular instance, we'd have to say that viewers of Fox were exposed to more information than we liberals were. In our view, a large amount of information was withheld from liberal eyes and ears.
This was done in service to preferred Storyline—and in the end, it seems to us that Storyline conquered Kenosha.
Increasingly, this is the way our failing tribe has tended to function over the course of the past dozen years. That doesn't make us "liberal fascists," but it isn't the best way to play.
Teenagers often show poor judgment. (So do "cable news" stars.)
Did Rittenhouse show poor judgment that night? Did he act as a "vigilante?"
When people aren't given a full range of information, they can't make balanced judgments about such questions. Instead, we may tend to do what we humans have always done:
We may tend to call The Others names as we march off, singing our songs, to our latest tribal war.
Tomorrow: What Nellie Bowles says she saw