THE OTHERIZATION RULES: Their prudishness now cast aside!


Their racism brought center stage: According to literary experts, we liberals have always been willing to generalize about The Others, often in mocking tones.

In recent years, we at this site have gone all the way back to sainted Thoreau for a possible example of this tribal predisposition. 

"The mass of men live lives of quiet desperation," our former neighbor wrote in Walden. It's one of the famous book's most widely-quoted passages. 

At this site, we've occasionally asked how this sweeping statement might have sounded to The Others of that time and place. We acknowledge now that this question first came to us through the auspices of the experts with whom we've consulted over the past several years.

As a general matter, our sociological band has never been shy about pointing to the shortcomings of Others. For many years, we were willing to restrict our mockery to the sexual prudishness such entities would display.

Sometimes, books really were banned on the basis of the way The Others recoiled from their flagrant sexuality. Performative displays by our own band would follow.

Lady Chatterley's Lover comes to mind. We also think of our band's all-time favorite beach novel:

Written over a seven-year period from 1914 to 1921, Ulysses was serialized in the American journal The Little Review from 1918 to 1920, when the publication of the NausicaƤ episode led to a prosecution for obscenity under the Comstock Act of 1873, which made it illegal to circulate materials deemed obscene in the U.S. mail. In 1919, sections of the novel also appeared in the London literary journal The Egoist, but the novel itself was banned in the United Kingdom until 1936...

The 1920 prosecution in the US was brought after The Little Review serialized a passage of the book depicting characters masturbating. Three earlier chapters had been banned by the US Post Office, but it was Secretary of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice John S. Sumner who instigated this legal action. The Post Office did partially suppress the "NausicaƤ" edition of The Little Review. Legal historian Edward de Grazia has argued that few readers would have been fully aware of the masturbation in the text, given the metaphoric language. 

"Few readers would have been fully aware of the masturbation in the text, given the metaphoric language?" 

Puckish scholars sometimes joke, though only among themselves, that few readers would have been aware of the material in question because none of The Others would ever have read that far! Or anyone else, for that matter!

All through the past century, our band was willing to limit itself to  mocking The Others for their objections to books (and films) based on their sexual content.  

During the 1980s, we even dragged out Frank Zappa to mock certain "Washington wives" for their objections to misogynist rock lyrics and video content. At that time, we hadn't yet begun to perform our current objections to misogyny and the mistreatment of girls. 

(The hero Zappa also made Holocaust comparisons.)

For many years, we were satisfied to mock The Others on the basis of their prudery. In recent years, however, our band has begun to perform a sudden vast interest in matters of race. 

This brings us to the recent flap involving Laura Murphy, the "older blond woman" and "white mother" of recent wide denigration.

Starting in 2012, Murphy objected to a certain book based on its sexual content. 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, a policy which already existed with regard to the showing of films.

Murphy wasn't seeking to ban the book in question. Beyond that, she said her complaint was based upon the book's sexual conduct. 

She also said that she expected her son to be taught about slavery in his public school. But given rules of otherization, such comments couldn't be allowed to stand.

For that reason, our tribe began changing the facts. We began to say that the older blond woman had been trying to ban the book. We insisted that her complaint stemmed from her obvious racism.

In their lengthy interview at Slate, Rebecca Onion and Assistant Professor Knox showed remarkable stamina in advancing this Storyline. Their interview went on at some length; they never stopped saying that the objection to the book had been based on issues of race.

This was the story we wanted to tell. We took turns performing this mandated tribal story. 

In a related matter, Michelle Goldberg came along and buried large chunks of the story concerning two sexual assaults in the Loudoun County schools. 

In that instance, parental anger about what had occurred had to be seen as a mark of their transphobia. Goldberg helped us perform that Storyline, even as one blogger referred to the sexual assaults as a "trivial local story."

(We're sure that isn't what he meant. Tribal imperative being powerful, it is what he actually said.)

We now acknowledge that our insights concerning these matters have come to us through consultation with an array of credentialed experts. Sometimes, these despondent scholars tear at their hair as they watch these performances unfold.

"God must have loved The Others," these disconsolate scholars ironically say, "he made so many of Them." If you could see these experts when they offer this sally, you would see that their scholarly sarcasm is aimed directly at Us.

At any rate, these are the "Otherization Rules" which obtain within our tribe. This is also who and what we actually are. 

According to major anthropologists, this is never going to change. Also, your lizard brain is going to tell you that none of this ever happened.

By rule of law, the older blond woman had to engage in the behaviors which fit preferred Storyline. Prudishness no longer sufficed. By now, it had to be racism, and she had to be banning books.

Those are the otherization rules of our whole war-inclined species. These rules extend back through the annals of time. Such rules are obeyed within all human tribes, and nothing is going to change them.

Maybe this afternoon or tomorrow: Math on the coast


  1. The media shouldn't be trying to make bigots out to be just morons.

  2. Frank Zappa was mentioned in the context of the Washington Wives, but how about some Dee Snider?

    “Ms Gore was looking for sadomasochism and bondage and she found it,” implying that her reaching the conclusion on his song was down to her own brain rather than the lyrical content. Snider later wrote for the Huffington Post that he was pleased with the “raw hatred I saw in Al Gore’s eyes when I said Tipper Gore had a dirty mind,” — the former Vice President was sitting on the sub-committee.

    1. Things have only gotten better since then!

    2. Let's go back in time some more. Take a break from the monotonous politics and have a laugh...

      On October 4, 1961, Bruce was arrested for obscenity at the Jazz Workshop in San Francisco; he had used the word cocksucker and riffed that "to is a preposition, come is a verb", that the sexual context of come is so common that it bears no weight, and that if someone hearing it becomes upset, he "probably can't come".

    3. Was.Bruce fighting in order to give monologues like in a venue or via a medium widely accessed by underaged kids?

    4. Oh, definitely the former.

    5. And he got arrested for it, multiple times in multiple cities.

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

    "According to major anthropologists, this is never going to change. Also, your lizard brain is going to tell you that none of this ever happened."

    Meh. It'll change soon. As soon as your liberal-hitlerian cult completely collapses, which, it seems, can't be too far away now.

    In fact, we're beginning to suspect that your hitlerian cult taking over the government earlier this year might've been a blessing in disguise...

    1. Mao,
      Loved that you are a fan of "Let's Go Brandon". Such an awesome way for your Establishment buddies to get Republican voters to completely forget that they are getting screwed by your bosses with the help of Republican Daddies.

      Shout it now, while you can. Midterms are coming. You'll need to drop the goofing around and get to some serious deep-seated racism (like Youngkin provided), if you want to win elections.

    2. He lives in an "urban" area, in a state with a GOP-led legislature?

    3. Mao lives in an urban area in a republic with a United Russia led legislature.

  4. This is all well and good, Mr. Somerby, but what I want to know is has Dr. Suess been straightened out yet, and what about Mr/Mrs Potato Head, that's what us Mr and Mrs Middle America out here in the HEARTLAND in our Midwestern diners are really concerned about and why we have to vote for the party of racist demagogues.

  5. "When conservatives try to ban a book, we liberals get up in arms. But when the threat comes from our own side, we often sit on our hands."

    Huckleberry Finn
    Of Mice and Men
    To Kill a Mockingbird
    SkippyJon Jones
    Captain Underpants

    1. Now show us the Democratic politicians who ran and/or won in a high-stakes election on a platform of banning, or preventing kids from having to read, Huckleberry Finn.

  6. "Although the Devoted Conservatives and Progressive Activists make up just 14% of the US population, they wield enormous influence on American political discourse as they passionately express their hatred for each other—despite their unexpected similarities. It may not surprise you to learn that the Devoted Conservatives were the whitest of all seven groups (88% white), but would you have expected that the Progressive Activists were the second whitest (80%)? Likewise, it may not surprise you to learn that the Progressive Activists—who were the most highly educated—reported the highest annual income, but would you have guessed that the second wealthiest group was the Devoted Conservatives?"

    1. Oh please, not another "both sides do it" drivel.

      No, both sides don't do it.

      There is the dominant establishment dogma -- and everything else: normal, ordinary people. Your liberal-hitlerian cult is not run by any "activists"; it's imposed and enforced by the state.

  7. Hey Bob, here's Matt Taibbi's new post. And it's about your Goddess Rachel!

    For your reading pleasure:

  8. “we liberals have always been willing to generalize about The Others…”, says Somerby, generalizing.

    What a shithead.

    1. Dear Bob doesn't talk about any 'conservatives'. 'Conservative' is not even an ideology. There are no conservative dogmas, other than that radicalism is dangerous. Everyone who isn't a total punk is conservative, in one degree or another.

      It's perfectly fine to generalize about liberals.

      However, generalizing about The Others - those who are outside the liberal cult - is a completely different matter.

    2. So you’ve countered Bob’s statement by saying he is a hypocrite. Does that automatically make his statement false?

      If you were to say that conservatives tend to make unfair generalizations about environmentalists would that remark carry the same gravitas as my making that statement? (And I do.)

    3. definition of conservative (in a political context):

      "favoring free enterprise, private ownership, and socially traditional ideas"

      Of course there are conservative dogmas. There are also stories, memes, and talking points that originate on conservative media (such as Fox, OANN, Newsmax, Breitbart and talk radio) that become conservative dogmas.

      Liberals are not "total punks" and they are not conservatives either.

      When Somerby talks about The Others, he is specifically referring to Trump supporters, not generic conservatives. You should also differentiate Q-Anon believers, since they are their own brand of crazy.

    4. Nonsense. Everyone is "favoring free enterprise, private ownership, and socially traditional ideas", dear dembot. To one degree or another.

      Even a total punk is in favor of privately owning his crack pipe. Although indeed he may not favor the traditional social norm of not farting at the dinner table.

    5. Anonymouse 10:43pm, perhaps you should cut and paste that disclaimer under every post here.,

    6. ...I checked: according to Gallup, 25% of the population of the US of A self-identify as 'liberal'.

      Consequently, by definition, the remaining 75% are The Others. 75% of the population of the US of A.

    7. The asses you confess kissing are in the 25%, dear psycho-dembot.

  9. A balanced and reasonable post about the current topic from someone who actually gives a shit about public schools:

  10. “During the 1980s, we even dragged out Frank Zappa to mock certain "Washington wives" for their objections to misogynist rock lyrics and video content.”

    This was, of course, the Tipper Gore hearings. As I recall, John Denver also testified against Gore’s efforts. Did he mock anyone? Doubtful. He presumably objected to the intended limits on free speech.

    Anyway, it isn’t clear that “we” dragged out Zappa. What? Liberals collectively dragged out Zappa? That’s a remarkably stupid thing to imply. He most likely wanted to testify of his own accord.

    What is all of this supposed to show about liberals? Wasn’t Al Gore at those hearings, supporting his wife’s efforts? Wasn’t he a liberal also?

  11. “In recent years, however, our band has begun to perform a sudden vast interest in matters of race. “

    Sure, Bob. That 150 years or more of the progressive band’s interest in abolition and then Civil Rights wasn’t worth a mention here.

  12. “All through the past century, our band was willing to limit itself to  mocking The Others for their objections to books (and films) based on their sexual content. “

    This is ridiculous.

    Hollywood, a supposed bastion of liberalism, refused for years to show married couples sleeping in the same bed.

    Does Somerby really believe that no liberals were upset by such books at the time? That only “The Others” were?

    Does he truly believe that the efforts to block the censorship of Lady Chatterley’s Lover were based on mockery of the prudishness of the people who objected to the book? These efforts were based on a belief in the First Amendment, that books should not be banned by federal law.

    Somerby is just off the rails here.

  13. "Also, your lizard brain is going to tell you that none of this ever happened."

    So, if you don't agree with Somerby's mischaracterization of situations, you must have a lizard brain. Nice.

  14. There are quite a few books with sex in them on the lists of recommended reading as prep for the AP exam.

    My Antonia has sex in it. So does Black Boy. I think Lord of the Flies might give a kid nightmares -- it shocked me when I read it in high school. A portrait of the artist as a young man has sex. Jude the Obscure gets a girl pregnant. Anna Karenina is about cheating. Sister Carrie has domestic abuse. Brave New World has sex and drugs. In Grapes of Wrath, Rose of Sharon suckles a man at her breast to feed him her milk. Does that sound suitable for an 18 year old boy? Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf is perverse and very adult on the subject of marital intimacy. Catcher in the Rye has swearing and masturbation.

    So, out of all the classics that this woman might have singled out, full of sex and adult themes, she happens to choose the one written by a Nobel-prize winning black author because that author decries the way black people have been treated like animals to the point of behaving like animals?

    But Somerby pretends that Laura Murphy WANTED her son to learn about slavery, but not in the way black people talk about it, apparently. Beloved is every inch a great novel, in the same way as the others on reading lists, which also contain graphic depictions of things adults don't want to think about. And that's why this woman IS absolutely a bigot for singling out this book from a class that has its students read a number of books, including no doubt many of those with content just as disturbing to a sensitive parent who is not bigoted.

    It is not OK to single out just the black authors for removal a child's coursework. THAT is what makes Murphy a bigot. And that is also what makes Youngkin a dog-whistling race baiter. He chose Murphy's cause because of its claims about Beloved, racist claims because no similar books were attacked, and that was his means of assuring whiter voters that he was on the same page as they were about matters of race.

    1. Contrast the usual angry…personally impugning…hyperbolic…screed of Anonymouse 10:33pm, with what Laura Murphy actually advocated.

      This is the contempt and malevolence that parents face for simply petitioning the people who derive a living via taxpayers.

      While you’re at it, take a look at this.

    2. Poor Republican Operative (and Democracy rat fucker), Laura Murphy.
      Fortunately, she has braved the real world to set her child up for a successful career calling Liberals "snowflakes".

    3. Not a soul on earth expects you to act rationally toward anyone who disagrees with you,

      It’s not about “poor” and expletive Laura Murphy”. It’s about establishing what Laura Murphy asked of the school board.

    4. Laura Murphy was asking for something that parents already had the right to do.

      That is the tipoff that this was a right-wing political crusade and not a legitimate parental rights issue.

    5. " act rationally toward anyone who disagrees with you,"

      This isn't a matter of agreeing-disagreeing. Bots get their talking points, and they keep repeating them. As if you didn't know.

      "Laura Murphy was asking for something that parents already had the right to do."

      If that's the case, what's this liberal hate-fest is all about?

    6. They never actually read the blog.

  15. Wokeness has become the scapegoat for everything conservatives dislike about liberals. Even Somerby has fixated on wokeness in order to castigate liberals, much like his comrades on the right.

    For example, here is what Aaron Rodgers said in defense of his lying about being vaccinated (from Palmer Report):

    "Now Rodgers has made things even worse. Instead of taking responsibility for his lies, Rodgers has blamed the whole thing on — woke people. I kid you not.

    Sigh. This is a myth, just like Critical Race Theory being taught in elementary school is a myth. It’s bullshit, people. But this is what people who refuse culpability do. “I realize I’m in the crosshairs of the woke mob right now,” the liar said. Calling the backlash a “cancel culture casket,” Rodgers proceeded to say he was allergic to the vaccines.

    Rodgers also let it rip about NFL protocols saying in his not-so-humble opinion many of them were not, in fact, based on science."

    Obviously, wokeness has nothing to do with acting responsibly about the virus. It is just a catch-all term for anything conservatives dislike, much as CRT has become. When these words lose their meanings, there is little sense in trying to find such meaning in these situations.

    The left isn't being too woke. It is doing what it always does -- trying to change things that Republican don't want to change. Why so many conservatives would rather die than take a vaccine makes no sense to me, but it also has nothing to do with liberal wokeness or CRT or even with the left, since Fauci began trying to vaccinate folks when Trump was in power.

  16. Rodgers is emblematic of the times. He wants it all ways to Sunday. That’s a bipartisan condition.

    He tried to get off easy and finesse the media (and possibly his employers) and now that he’s been exposed, he’s pretending to have taken a bold stand for which he’s being persecuted.


    (The COVID-19 vaccine came after Trump had left office)

    1. Rodgers is the Laura Murphy of the NFL.

    2. Sure. Except for that whole deceiving thing.

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