Greetings from East Bumfuck County!


But also, Chris Hayes falls in line: On Thursday afternoon (East Coast time), Kevin Drum launched a short post. Inoffensive headline included, it (remarkably) started like this:

What are the best books for middle schoolers about the Holocaust?

Our story so far: East Bumfuck County¹ in Tennessee—about 20 miles away from the site of the Scopes monkey trial—has banned Maus, a Pulitzer-winning graphic novel about the Holocaust. Outrage is universal.

There was a bit more to the post; for today, we'll leave it at that. Drum was discussing a recent event in a place called "East Bumfuck County." 

Less comedically, Drum was referring to McMinn County, Tennessee—population, roughly 53,000. For the record, Drum's footnote about this county made his original snarky remarks even dumber and worse.

We were surprised by what Drum wrote; the comments were appalling. That said, the comments were also highly instructive. We expect to visit those comments in the coming week.

How do we liberals picture the Others? How have we always pictured the Others, stretching back through the annals of time? 

Over the years, we've tried to call attention to the dumbness and ugliness of these secret tribal dreams. Also, to the political problems our less-than-secret musings create. 

We've also noted a basic fact:

According to experts, nothing is ever going to change this moral / intellectual dumbness. According to experts, the transcendent belief that Others live in places with names like "East Bumfuck" is deeply wired in our deeply flawed, notably weak human brains.

According to experts, nothing can disconnect this deeply primal wiring. And this wiring exists in the brains of our tribe, as it does in the brains of theirs.

Drum's "East Bumfuck" remark was surprising, disappointing—strange. The comments were appalling. 

In a somewhat similar vein, we were dismayed on Thursday night by Chris Hayes' treatment of a burgeoning tribal Storyline, in the course of which the cable host fully signed on with the gang.

To what burgeoning Storyline do we refer? We refer to the Storyline involving the "forgeries" submitted by Republican would-be electors in December 2020. 

On Friday, January 21, Hayes had offered a segment which added a bit of complexity to this burgeoning Storyline. More specifically, it added a bit of complexity to the childish account of this matter which Rachel Maddow had been spoon-feeding to dumbnified viewers ever since December 2021. 

(On Thursday, January 20, Hayes had also offered a segment which added complexity to the standard Storyline about Donald Trump's phone call with Brad Raffensperger. The analysts had almost begun to think that they had their old Hayes back!)

This past Thursday night, Hayes agreed to dumb himself all the way down, adopting The Maddow Framework. Near the start of his opening segment, his treatment started like this:

HAYES (1/27/22): And now, going even further up the chain, federal prosecutors are looking into the phony elector certifications that were sent to the National Archives from multiple states falsely declaring Donald Trump the winner of the 2020 election.

The way I think about this scheme, it's sort of like when you're a kid in school, elementary school, and you get a letter sent home, maybe it's about a bad grade, maybe about getting detention for some misbehavior. You might try to just forge your parent's signature, take it back the next day. 

This was like that, but for a coup that would end American democracy.

It was sort of like when you're a kid and you forge your parent's signature to a bad report card! In this way, Hayes publicly debased himself, signing on to the idiot Maddow's framework.

In fact, it wasn't like when you forge your parent's signature to a letter or a report card. Whatever else it actually was, it wasn't like that at all! 

Indeed, the now-submissive Hayes knew it wasn't like that! Moments later, he submissively offered this:

HAYES: After the 2020 election, Trump supporters in seven different states that Biden won sent phony certificates to the National Archives claiming that they were the actual electors.

Now in some cases, the documents are signed by the top state Republican Party official. This was not just some like freelance group of wackos. So even though this may sound like sort of flailing, again almost comical attempt to forge your parents' signature, send some fake documents, hope the National Archives won't notice—"Oh look, we got this from Arizona!"—it was actually part of a very coordinated plan by Donald Trump and his allies.

It may turn out that this actually was "part of a very coordinated plan by Donald Trump and his allies." It seems to have come from the law firm of Guiliani, Powell and Trump—from three central players who all seem to be completely out of their minds.

That said, it obviously wasn't like what you did when you forged your parents' signatures to your bad report card! Duh:

As Hayes inferentially noted, these groups of would-be electors didn't forge the signatures of the governors of their states to the documents they submitted. Also, they didn't forge the signatures of their states' attorneys general or secretaries of state.

They signed the documents with their own names. Despite what Maddow has been screeching, no act of forgery like the one Hayes described was involved. And by the way:

There was exactly zero chance that anyone at the National Archives was going to think that these submissions were the official statements from these seven states. Despite what the absurdly submissive Hayes now said, there was exactly zero chance that any such misapprehension would ever occur.

There was zero chance that anyone at the National Archives was going to receive these non-"forged" documents and say, "Oh look, we got this from Arizona!" Despite what Hayes was now willing to tell you, there was exactly zero chance that any such thing would occur.

When Hayes read that copy to his viewers, he was dumbing himself all the way down to the ground. He was dumbing himself all the way down to the brain-damaged place from which Maddow had been broadcasting in the previous weeks.

At present, MSNBC is slow-walking its transcripts again, so we're going to wait to give you a full account of what Hayes said this night. (At one point, it got worse. In fairness, if we produced the types of gong-shows MSNBC does, we'd delay our transcriptions too.)

Concerning our two topics today, we can tell you these things:

Concerning the East Bumfuck post: In 1992, Candidate Bill Clinton said he "believed in a place called Hope."

That's one of the ways you win elections. By way of contrast, many members of our tribe believe in a place called East Bumfuck. 

They believe its residents are Others. Our tribe's dumbness and ugliness seize control from there. Our subsequent self-defeating remarks come from a place called West Bumfuck, where many of our tribals live.

Concerning Chris Hayes' submission: On Thursday, Hayes submitted to Storyline, adopting the Maddow Framework. That said, we're sorry, but no:

No, Virginia! What those Republican would-be electors did wasn't like what you did when you forged your parent's signature to your lousy report card! But Maddow has heavily pushed the dumbly enhanced "forgery forgery forgery" line, and as our tribal wars devolve, everyone has to agree to offer the dumbest and most pleasing account of what actually happened.

In the main, your TV shows are pure Storyline now. And no, you really can't believe the things your favorite TV stars tell you. Some are acting in good faith, but you can't assume that they are.

Chris Hayes is much smarter than most of our cable news hosts. He knew that no one's signature had been forged, but so what? On Thursday night, he submissively went ahead and told you that they had been!

Did he believe the things he said? It's hard to believe that he actually did, but he said them anyway.

Also, the Kilmeade rule: We first told you this about Brian Kilmeade of Fox News, roughly two decades ago:

 People will do a lot of things to retain the giant salaries paid by "cable news." 

People who watch these TV shows don't know that they're being misled and misinformed. They don't know that in East Bumfuck, and we don't know over here in the West.


  1. "According to experts, nothing is ever going to change this moral / intellectual dumbness."

    Your experts sound dumb, dear Bob. The upcoming collapse of your liberal cult will definitely put an end to this particular kind of dumbness. At least on the scale it's practiced now.

    Obviously, other kinds of mass-dumbness will emerge. And fall.

    Tsk. That's life, dear Bob...

  2. "Drum's "East Bumfuck" remark was surprising, disappointing—strange."

    I guess Somerby doesn't remember Dagwood Bumstead, or Daisy Mae Yokum from Dogpatch? The comics started the tradition of referring to the small town South using names that are intended to be humorous. Al Capp didn't have the sinister intent Somerby imputes to liberals, somewhat defensively if you ask me.

  3. "It was sort of like when you're a kid and you forge your parent's signature to a bad report card! In this way, Hayes publicly debased himself, signing on to the idiot Maddow's framework."

    Apparently Somerby needs some dumbnification because he didn't understand at all why Maddow was referring to these fake elector lists as "forgeries". Maybe Hayes can make it clearer for him, but then again, maybe not. Somerby's motivated obtuseness cannot be cured by explanation, no matter how clear.

  4. Somerby keeps claiming that Southerners (and The Other) will vote for Biden if we all just be nice to them. That seems very dismissive of the idea that they have actual issues and concerns that they wish to see addressed. In fact, it seems to be reducing such voters to vain children who, like Trump, will do anything if you flatter them.

    That suggestion is way uglier than Drum's simple joke about the name of the county that wants to eliminate Maus, much as Hitler tried to eliminate the Jews.

  5. Here are some of the actual weird town names found in the South:

    Boogertown, North Carolina; Butts, Georgia; Intercourse, Alabama; Scratch Ankle, Alabama; Sweet Lips, Tennessee; Sugar Tit, South Carolina; Water Proof, Louisiana; Weiner, Arkansas; Devil's Elbow, Missouri; Accident, Maryland; Booger Hole, West Virginia; and Ding Dong, Texas.

    Bumfucks fits right in among such names. One cannot help concluding that the people who live in such places like their town names just fine.

  6. "But Maddow has heavily pushed the dumbly enhanced "forgery forgery forgery" line, and as our tribal wars devolve, everyone has to agree to offer the dumbest and most pleasing account of what actually happened."

    But Maddow has heavily pushed the dumbly enhanced "homicide homicide homicide" line [for Rittenhouse's accidental shooting of two unarmed men and wounding of a third], and as our tribal wars devolve, everyone has to agree to offer the dumbest and most pleasing account of what actually happened [to that unfortunate youth who was just minding his own business while playing with his AR-15].

    Minimize, minimize, minimize. Next Somerby will suggest that the 1/6 insurrectionists were just a bunch of tourists wandering around the Capitol building smearing feces on the walls. Wait, someone has already said who was it? Hint: it wasn't some liberal who said that.

  7. "Chris Hayes is much smarter than most of our cable news hosts. He knew that no one's signature had been forged, but so what? On Thursday night, he submissively went ahead and told you that they had been!"

    Somerby knows that Chris Hayes didn't tell anyone that the electors forged their own signatures. Somerby is being excessively literal about the analogy that Hayes used, where a child forges a parent's signature. In the case of the fake elector lists, the forgery was that the state seal was attached to an unofficial document that was then submitted as if it were real, with the name of the wrong winner (Trump instead of Biden) and the wrong electors. The more important part of this report is that the fake elector lists were intended to give Pence a reason to overturn the certification of votes in Congress, as part of an attempted coup.

    Somerby doesn't mention that the 1/6 committee has now subpoenaed some of the fake electors, to determine how this activity was coordinated and by whom. This is a big deal and Somerby's attempts to deflect are only working on those who are too stupid to understand what is happening, just as Somerby keeps pretending there is nothing going on, because he doesn't like it when news reporters refer to this as forgery.

    1. Nothing at all will come of the elector story for the exact reasons Somerby states. They cannot prove an intend to deceive. The electors story is junk food for couch potatoes. It's vaporinfo. It's a hat trick in a medicine show. It's designed exactly to elicit the overblown types of reactions you sheep are giving it.

    2. They do not have to prove an intent to deceive. See the comment yesterday about Litman's analysis. Only the act of affixing one's signature on a document that refers to Trump as the winner needs to be proved. The specific act. Not the broader beliefs or intent. That is basic law.

      But you keep on wishing and hoping. If they show that this was organized by the same people who planned the 1/6 insurrection, it will be part of the coup attempt, and that is much worse than simply forging a fake elector list.

    3. I'll come back and point out to you when the story has evaporated into nothing and nothing at all has come of it.

    4. Hopefully the Right's gaslighting of their attempt to disregard the actual 2020 Presidential election result works out better than when they tried to gaslight a viral pandemic like it was some common NY Times political reporter.

    5. 10;45,
      Agree. Reminds me of when Republican voters were so amped-up by Trump's bigotry, they elected him President, and the corporate-owned media tried to blame it on Russia.

    6. The last thing the corporate-owned media wants to admit is Republican voters belief in nothing but bigotry and white grievance.
      Remember, they even tried to sell the idea Republican voters were "economically anxious", before they realized no one believes Republican voters know anything about economics.

    7. "I'll come back and point out to you when the story has evaporated into nothing and nothing at all has come of it."

      Something has already come of it. Several of the fake electors have been subpoenaed by the 1/6 committee. At least two states have referred the fake elector lists to the DOJ for investigation. That is not "nothing".

    8. “Nothing to see here, move along…” We shall see, Trump voter.

  8. Fyi - statement from the school board itself:

    "One of the most important roles of an elected board of education is to reflect the values of the community it serves. The McMinn County Board of Education voted to remove the graphic novel Maus from McMinn County Schools because of its unnecessary use of profanity and nudity and its depiction of violence and suicide. Taken as a whole, the Board felt this work was simply too adult-oriented for use in our schools.

    We do not diminish the value of Maus as an impactful and meaningful piece of literature, nor do we dispute the importance of teaching our children the historical and moral lessons and realities of the Holocaust. To the contrary, we have asked our administrators to find other works that accomplish the same educational goals in a more age-appropriate fashion. The atrocities of the Holocaust were shameful beyond description, and we all have an obligation to ensure that younger generations learn of its horrors to ensure that such an event is never repeated.

    We simply do not believe that this work is an appropriate text for our students to study."

    1. Those who have read Maus say that the claims in this letter are trumped up (exaggerated), especially when talking about things like mouse nudity and phrases such as "God damn" (which most people consider to be pretty mild profanity).

      Shameful is a pretty mild word to use to describe the Holocaust, but it may be telling that the word is used by adults wishing to shield children. Whose shame are they talking about in their letter?

      How does one talk about the Holocaust without mentioning violence?

      A paragraph that says "we do not diminish the value..." and then goes on to diminish, is not exactly written in good faith. It is important to recognize evasive subterfuge when it occurs. If school boards feel this way about Maus, which occurred in a different country, imagine how they feel about discussing slavery, which occurred in their own backyard!

      It sets a horrible example for children when adults refuse to acknowledge past mistakes because they are "shameful". Educating children should take precedence over protecting adult feelings.

    2. I can't think of a better book about the Holocaust for eighth graders than that one. But I also disagree with your misreading of their statement.

    3. Scratch a Right-winger bitching about "cancel culture", find someone who wants to ban books and the teaching of CRT in schools.

      Most likely, this is due to the fact that Right-wingers really believe in NOTHING but bigotry and white grievance.

    4. "But I also disagree with your misreading of their statement."

      Unless you have the letter-writers here to testify, who is to know which of our readings of their letter is correct and which is a misreading?

      You can certainly disagree with me, but I object to your characterization of my opinion as a "misreading".

    5. You misread the letter as some kind of refusal to acknowledge past mistakes because they were shameful.

    6. The letter says:

      "The atrocities of the Holocaust were shameful beyond description"

    7. Where is the part about refusing to acknowledge past mistakes?

    8. It is implicit in the act of banning Maus.

    9. I can't not see that as an utter misreading.

    10. I think that's on you then.

  9. "They don't know that in East Bumfuck, and we don't know over here in the West."

    Somerby doesn't live in the West. He lives in Baltimore, which is on the East Coast and also part of the South.

    We who actually do live in the West don't think about things the same way as Somerby does. He certainly doesn't speak for any of us here in CA, CO, NV, AZ, NM or even OR and WA. But maybe he is referring to TN, MO, WV, and places to his own west as The West, just to confuse matters? Or maybe he just hasn't looked at a map recently.

    Don't get us started on the Southern inbreeding jokes. One might suggest that as the reason why the contiguous Southern states are so easily taken in by fast-talking hucksters, such as Joe Rogan and Somerby.

    Somerby used to excuse any kind of joke, if it was said in the name of comedy. Even horrible jokes about incest and rape, like the ones Saget liked to tell [women are way over-sensitive, amirite?]. Today, he is so sensitive himself that he cannot stand the simple Bumfuck joke made by his own pal Kevin Drum. One standard for mediocre Southern standups but another for the libs? Or maybe Somerby just loses his sense of humor when he talks about The Others? I know how he feels.

    1. Baltimore is on the East Coast? Thanks for the info.

    2. It's on Chesapeake Bay about 30 miles from the Atlantic ocean.

  10. "Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) said that President Biden’s forthcoming pick of the first Black woman to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court in history will be a “beneficiary” of affirmative action, the Mississippi Free Press reports."

    It seems to me that most of the previous picks have been affirmative action picks of white, Catholic, males. The only difference now is the criteria used to identify the nominee, not the lack of consideration of anyone who falls outside that category. That restriction is business as usual. Have any black women ever been elegible for consideration before now or are we to assume that they are always and ever unqualified, no matter what their accomplishments have been?

    But I'm sure this guy Wicker thinks he is very clever to have drawn this parallel.

    1. The reporting is already saying that not a single Republican Senator will vote to confirm. The nomination has not even been announced yet. This is why we are living under a tyranny of the minority. Why N and S Dakota don't deserve 4 votes in the US Senate.

      But don't you dare say all republicans are racists.

  11. "Forgery" may not be the most precise term, but they signed a fake document, attempting to mislead. Fake.

    Legal definition: Forgery is making, using, altering, or possessing a false document with the intent to commit fraud. Forgery can be the creation of a false document, or changing an authentic one. Forgery is a crime that is classified as a felony in all fifty states and by the federal government.

    There are several elements to the crime of forgery, and all must be proven before someone can be found guilty:

    A person must make, alter, use, or possess a false document. Forgery can be creating a false document from scratch, or altering an otherwise genuine document in a material way. The alteration is material if it affects a legal right.
    For example, a document like a will may be otherwise valid according to state law, but if someone other than the testator signs it, the will is a forgery. A forged signature misrepresents the identity of the person whose will it is, and that has significant legal consequences.
    The writing must have legal significance. Not just any false writing will be considered criminal forgery. Common examples of documents with legal significance include contracts, passports, drivers licenses, deeds, receipts, checks, wills, certifications, professional licenses, prescriptions, historical papers, and art.
    Legally significant means that the document affects legal rights or obligations. Signing someone else’s name on a friendly letter would not be forgery because it is probably not legally significant.
    On the other hand, signing someone else’s name on a letter of recommendation for a job may be forgery because it might affect employment and that is legally significant.
    The writing must be false. The writing must have been created or changed in a way that makes it appear that the document represents something that it is not. The fundamental meaning of the document must have changed because of the forgery.
    Intent to defraud. The person committing the forgery must have done so with the specific intent to defraud or trick another person or entity.

  12. “the idiot Maddow's framework”

    Good work. When you suspect your argument is weak, throw in a few ad hominem insults. That will surely bolster your reasoning.

    It also shows what a compassionate liberal you are by insulting someone you claim is crazy.

    Good work, I say.

  13. Note that Somerby, in his dramatic narrative, portrays Hayes as “submissive” to the apparently monstrously dominant idiot Maddow, who wields her position as All-Powerful Chief Liberal Thought Leader with seeming good humor that hides a bloodthirsty all-consuming lust for power.

    Have I got that about right?

    Perhaps Maddow’s analogy of the forged parental note was referring to the note itself, and not solely the signature, the note being a forged instrument purporting to be parental acknowledgment, like the fraudulent electoral slate purporting to be an official document.

    You would think from these posts that only Maddow has ever used the word “forgery.”

    And if Hayes is supposedly the more astute one, why doesn’t Somerby give him more coverage? Except that would dispel the picture he tries to present of liberals being represented by the evil Maddow. Who will his bogeyman be when she is gone? Will he go into withdrawal?

    1. Correct. We should also note that the writer of the Slate piece Bob used to try and absolve the electors also “fell into line.”

  14. “There was exactly zero chance that anyone at the National Archives was going to think that these submissions were the official statements from these seven states.”

    Well, that makes everything ok. Amirite?

    I’ll tell the bank when I sign a check with Donald Trump’s name that there is no way that check would ever be taken seriously, so no need to prosecute, mkay?

    What does Somerby think the purpose of these fraudulent electoral slates was?

  15. Just out of curiosity, is bumfucking illegal in the South?

    1. Depends on whether you use the British or American meaning of “bum.”

  16. " People will do a lot of things to retain the giant salaries paid by "cable news."

    I never thought Ed Sullivan was worth his inflated salary either. And don't get me started on Soupy Sales...

    Seriously, why does Somerby think media hosts with high ratings don't deserve to be well paid? Next, is he going to argue that sports stars don't deserve their millions either? Why not?

    I see no connection between what is reported on the news and what the salaries are of those on camera. I suppose Somerby wants us to think they are all being bribed to propagandize, but I think that is only true on Fox News, where the women at least were bribed to put up with the male harrassment, until they decided there wasn't enough money in the world to let Roger Ailes do his thing.

  17. Hayes’s metaphor is imperfect, but it must be deemed spot on in comparison to the ones usually attempted by Bob.
    I would expect if Drum had gone over the line it’s due to general revulsion at what Trump Republicans have done to the Country. Bob’s moral indifference spares him any such feelings, I guess.

    1. Drum isn't over the line -- it is his commenters who Somerby is attacking.

  18. When Maus came out it did offend many people (not right wingers) who thought it trivialized the Holocaust. Others, obviously, liked it. Also, the first attempts to pull Huck Finn from the schools came from the left, not Right. It’s hard to make generalizations about this stuff, some High School kids might be ready for 1984, some not so much. It’s a disturbing book whatever it’s other virtues.

    1. There are better books about race than Huck Finn. I would argue for supplementing it, not pulling it (given Twain's status in American literature). But if there is limited room on a syllabus, it shouldn't be chosen to teach about race when there are many better books now by black authors.

      People who paint the liberal desire to use these better books as some sort of cancel culture are not understanding the concerns of those on the left who want to revise the syllabus.

    2. Should note, I think the school was using it as an example of a Great book, not a book about race.

  19. The “Maddow Framwork” seems fairly solid outside the confines of blind Trumpheads (highly dubious Americans). The reliable view seems to be that these sleazy actions of Trumpheads may or may not be legal, and that it will have to be hashed out. That would justify neither hyping it or ignoring it (Bob’s choice) as a story.