OTHERIZATION AND US: They teach the Holocaust and the internment...

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 2022

...except when Otherized: As best we can tell, eighth-grade students in McMinn County receive this type of instruction:

BRADY (1/10/22) The curriculum that we use is called EL What does that stand for? 

I see some teachers here. What does that stand for? "Expeditionary Learning." 

So, the whole idea is that students go on these expeditions, and they will spend two months or so on these different expeditions, and that’s their modules. In eighth grade, that is four things. We do Latin America, we learn about food, the Holocaust and Japanese internment.

[...]

This [Holocaust] module helps students begin building their background knowledge as they prepare for high school. The task that students do at the end of this module, after they spend a couple months talking about the Holocaust, studying this, the project that they do, that shows they understand what went on.

Steve Brady is an eighth-grade teacher and an "instructional supervisor" in McMinn County, Tennessee. That was his description of the county's eighth-grade curriculum.

Brady spoke at a recent school board meeting. He felt the book in question should be retained as part of the eighth-grade curriculum. After a fairly lengthy discussion, the board decided to replace it. 

The board decided to replace the book in question. But as he called for the vote on that question, board member Jonathan Pierce said this:

PIERCE: I’ve got enough faith, from the Director of Schools down to the newest hire in this building, that you can take that module and rewrite it and make it do the same thing. 

Our children need to know about the Holocaust. They need to understand that there are several pieces of history, Mr. Bennett, that shows depression or suppression of certain ethnicities. 

It’s not acceptable today. We’ve got to accept people for who and what they are.

According to Pierce, eighth-grade kids in McMinn County need to know about the Holocaust. The two-month module about the Holocaust would remain in place. Only one text would be changed.

As of January 10, that's seems to be where matters stood in McMinn County. Eighth-grade kids would spend two months learning about the internment of Japanese-American citizens during World War II. After that, they would spend an additional two months learning about the Holocaust.

That's where matters stood until the creepy crawlers within our tribe came slithering up from between the floorboards and out from behind the walls. 

For whatever reason, a highly accomplished, intelligent blogger/journalist had strangely chosen to describe McMinn as "East Bumfuck County." Then, just as it ever was, the floodgates opened and The Ugly and Stupid came forth.

Way back when, a certain number of Republican congressmen staged an embarrassing spectacle about "the rat smart thing to do." Now, the creepy crawlers of our own extremely dumb tribe came slithering up through the boards.

Such people live to Otherize others. According to experts, nothing is going to change this behavior. Our brains are wired this way. 

An unfortunate bit of background is needed at this point. After mocking McMinn as "East Bumfuck County," Kevin Drum had begun using his indoor voice. 

Aside from a footnote which only made matters dumber and worse, this was his entire post:

DRUM (1/27/22): 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.

But rural, conservative school districts have been doing this kind of stuff forever. They don't like sexual themes. They don't like nudity. They don't like swearing. Maus is an adult novel that features all of these things. But there are lots of other novels and nonfiction books about the Holocaust. If Maus is too raw for them, how about recommending something else instead of getting dragged into the usual pointless culture war squabble. Wouldn't that be a better use of time?

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! East Bumfuck is only 20 miles from the site of the Scopes monkey trial! Nothing ever changes among the yahoos who live in such locales!

At that point, Drum began using his indoor voice. Why should high-minded people like us "get dragged into the usual pointless culture war squabble" by the ridiculous rural folk who live in East Bumfuck County? 

Drum suggested a better use of our time. At that point, the floodgates opened. 

Commenter 1 said this:

COMMENT 1: Maybe—if people banning the items are acting in good faith. It could even be argued that nudity in books about the Holocaust will distract from the message, especially where teens are involved. But it does seem the people seeking the bans are looking for pretexts to remove books, not to improve discussions on sensitive topics. Why on earth discussing the Holocaust or saying "Nazis are bad" is now considered "sensitive" by the right wing is beyond me.

Just like that. Commenter 1 seemed to suggest that the school board in East Bumfuck was saying we shouldn't criticize Nazis. It very much seemed to Commenter 1 that the board in East Bumfuck County wasn't acting in good faith.

This is the way the more pestilent minds of our war-inclined species have always worked. And just like that, Commenter 1 received these responses concerning what "these people" think:

RESPONSE: Because these people will tell you the only thing Hitler did wrong was invading Russia.

RESPONSE: And national healthcare. I have it on good authority that's why Obama was just like Hitler.

RESPONSE: That must be why wingnuts avoid the interstate highway system, modeled on the autobahn, and stick to forlorn country roads where the feds can't surveil them.

RESPONSE: These people think the only thing Hitler did wrong is “not finish the job.”

Just like that, the creepy crawlers of our failed "liberal" tribe were staging the typical field day. The crawlers knew what "these people" would tell you. They knew what "these people" think.

One crawler even knew why "wingnuts" of this type avoid Interstate highways. It had something to do with the autobahn. 

Warning: When maggots and yahoos crawl out on the land, their comments won't always make sense. But a few of these comments were quite direct. Those ugly comments said this:

"These people"—the people in East Bumfuck County—think the only thing Hitler did wrong is “not finish the job!"  Also, "these people" will tell you that the only thing Hitler did wrong was invading Russia."

So our own maggots quickly proclaimed as they crawled out on the land. Stating the blindingly obvious, this has long been one of the ways we lose elections, and with those elections the world.

Eventually, Commenter 1 returned to say that the board's concern about nudity in Maus was just "really weird." It didn't seem to have entered his head that the ugly, stupid responses he'd generated were something much weirder and worse.

Meanwhile, let's be clear! The otherization of These People certainly didn't stop there. Commenter 2 and Commenter 3 also slithered out on the land. The stupid comment by Commenter 3 inspired a typical stupid response:

COMMENT 2: I really gotta wonder. They claim they don’t like a couple of boobies and a handful of curse words sprinkled in among this powerful and personal story. But then, the coincidence that they happened to ban it just about on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day? Hmmmmmmm. Makes you ponder.

COMMENT 3: "They don't like sexual themes. They don't like nudity. They don't like swearing."

No, those things are OK. They don't like Jews.

RESPONSE: They don't dislike Jews, they just like Nazis more.

Commenter 2 could smell a conspiracy based on the calendar. Meanwhile, he showcased his high-level sexual politics with his skillful remarks about the "boobies" in question. 

(Another response to Comment 1 offered this high-level remark concerning a fact he misunderstood: "Shaved pussy is shaved pussy, species immaterial." When our slugs sluther forth to otherize Others, their own sexual politics may not always be totally grand.)

These are the creepy crawlers who slither among our own tribe. Helpfully, Commenter 3 was quickly able to define what the school board had really been saying:

"They don't like Jews," this commenter said. In response, another night crawler offered this: "They just like Nazis more."

These are some of the gruesome players with whom our tribe is burdened. Their stupidity is matched by the ugliness of their instinctive reactions. 

Once you say words like "East Bumfuck County," they crawl from behind the walls. In this instance, the idiots who lurk within our own tribe just kept pouring it on as they skillfully performed Our Latest Otherization.

They spoke about "these people" in ways which are familiar to any student of Otherization and human war. We offer a few more samples:

COMMENT 15: There is nothing that I would recommend to these ignorant folks. No wonder they seldom rise from the ground.

COMMENT 16: I love all the earnest suggestions of people in this thread. The reality is that any book that makes any white person feel discomfort is too much...

COMMENT 19: They don’t like anything more challenging than learning a trade, IME.

RESPONSE: And a lot of times not even then. Especially if it's a trade that involves numbers or isn't "manly" enough. Come to think of it, there's a considerable overlap of the two.

COMMENT 26: You should realize it's not about the nudity or the swear words (I think one was "God damned" but I could be wrong), it's about the subject matter. You can pick any book you want about the Nazi genocide (not only against Jews but also against the Romany and others) and this group of people in Tennessee would find some way to object to it because it defines what they want to do so desperately as a crime against humanity.

These people in Tennessee! They'll object to any book about Nazi genocide because any such book will define "what they want to do so desperately" as a crime against humanity!

This is ugly, monstrous stuff. It comes from the realm of the monsters. 

Mainly, though, it's monstrously stupid. We saw no sign that any of these tribal yahoos had reviewed the transcript of the board's decision—knew what they were talking about in even the most basic sense. 

Along the way, Commenter 12 decided to traffic some snark. A rodent piped up in response:

COMMENT 12: East Bumfuck County? Better watch out there, Kevin. Rural people might think you’re making fun of them, disrespecting them or condescending to them. A few years ago, you warned all us liberals that we shouldn’t do that to rural folk, and instead should empathize with them.

RESPONSE: East Tennessee is mostly bumfuck counties, although it was generally pro-Union in the Civil War…

The region is mostly bumfuck counties, this sage observer now said.

For the record, this process of constructing The Other is part of our human wiring. The Nazis had the Jews, and quite a few others. On this day, our own tribal idiots were quite literally defining our own tribal monster:

COMMENT 24: Maus is an amazing work of art. Instead of looking at alternatives, Drum should inform us why the County thinks like it does, starting with the transcript of the hearing and perhaps call a spade a spade.

RESPONSE: To explore alternatives with them is to concede that their book-banning position has some legitimacy. If you decide to meet a monster half-way, you've already lost.

It's what our tribe has been shouting for years! Please don't ever speak to The Others! Once you "meet a monster halfway," you've already lost!

Down in McMinn County, the monsters in question spend two months teaching eighth-graders about the Holocaust. Before that, they spend two months teaching those same kids about the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.

That sounds like a good curriculum to us. But who will teach our own monsters about the stupidity flooding our souls? Our tribe is very, very dumb, and there is exactly zero sign that this is ever going to stop.

Just for the record, our self-impressed tribe sends these signals across the land on a quite regular basis. We mock the people of the various Bumfucks. We describe them as Nazis and monsters, then we're puzzled as to why they refuse to vote the way we tell them to.

We wonder why they don't vote our way. Has anyone ever been any dumber than our own self-impressed tribe?

There's a great deal more to say about this ugly episode, and about the attitudes behind it. We won't get there today. With regret, we won't get to what Bill Clinton said about his respect for the Pentecostals, even though they didn't generally vote his way.

We won't have time to discuss what it means to have respect for people who don't match us in perfection. That said, those ugly, amazingly stupid comments help us see who and what we actually are. 

We don't have the slightest idea why an otherwise (highly) sensible person would have trigged this ugly onslaught. But the episode gives us a portrait of ourselves, and of one of the ways we lose elections, and with those elections the world.

"Physician, heal thyself," someone said. He or she had a good sound idea.


44 comments:

  1. "We wonder why they don't vote our way."

    May we suggest, dear Bob, that the reason they don't vote your way is, for the most part, not that most of you act like arrogant hate-mongering assholes.

    The main reason they don't vote your way is because the sponsors of your cult are war-mongering globalists, who ruin their livelihood. Shipping their jobs abroad, flooding the country with cheap undocumented labor, destroying workers' solidarity.

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  2. "Way back when, a certain number of Republican congressmen staged an embarrassing spectacle about "the rat smart thing to do." Now, the creepy crawlers of our own extremely dumb tribe came slithering up through the boards."

    The creepy crawlers are not the readers of Drum's blog, but the members of the School Board who voted to withhold the book Maus from the McMinn curriculum because it presented the Holocaust using mice instead of human beings -- which would help kids because it would distance the violence from them.

    Somerby wants to displace the outrage onto those who find such excision of a booklist unacceptable instead of leaving it where it belongs, on the small-minded and ignorant in McMinn County (and it doesn't matter what the name of the county is when considering its merits in this situation).

    Drum's alternative name for that county tells us that adults engage in all sorts of behaviors that are unacceptable for children, including holocausts, but kids need to learn about them sometime (presumably in high school). Bumfucking is one of them. Drum highlights the hypocrisy of adults who are concerned about mouse nudity or mild swearing instead of the extreme obscenity of the holocaust itself. But hypocrites have ever been thus.

    Somerby ignores the adult hypocrisy and complains about the terms of the derision heaped on those adults, who are more concerned about their kids learning that mice can have tits (when drawn a certain way) than they are about atrocities, near and far.

    The problem with banning Maus is that it bans the entire book, not just the questionable pages with mouse swearing. One wonders why they couldn't have wielded a Sharpie to blot out the objectionable pages? That's why it seems like the goal was to get rid of the book itself, and its portrayal of the holocaust. And in that case, one wonders what they REALLY found objectionable. Somerby doesn't say and neither does the person he quoted, but it may have been discussed at the meeting -- in any case, we aren't told. Were they worried that perhaps the kids might identify with the mice and be extra upset, whereas dryer accounts might be easier to absorb because no actual people were harmed in the retelling of history without actual human beings?

    Obviously, Somerby's only concern is to do some more liberal bashing, even though Drum is (by his own account) a centrist/moderate and there is no telling who or what his commenters are.

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  3. "Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! East Bumfuck is only 20 miles from the site of the Scopes monkey trial! Nothing ever changes among the yahoos who live in such locales!"

    This strikes me as a true statement. It is no coincidence that these incidents arise where they do. A complaint about a book is not a random occurrence. It arises where people are less educated, more fundamentalist religious, insulated from broader society and have some expectation that they can and should remake their society to fit their own needs (e.g., less multicultural and less diverse).

    Are the adjectives that someone might use to describe such a society less negative than East Bumfuck? As pointed out a few days back, the statistics that measure McMinn County's school performance are not very good. That may or may not reflect the misplaced focus of its school board, censoring individual books instead of considering the broader oversight the schools deserve and figuring out how to improve them.

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  4. "Just like that. Commenter 1 seemed to suggest that the school board in East Bumfuck was saying we shouldn't criticize Nazis. It very much seemed to Commenter 1 that the board in East Bumfuck County wasn't acting in good faith."

    Here is an example of Somerby's bad faith. Commenter 1 first said that "it could be argued" and talked about nudity as a distraction, and acknowledged that this might be a possible reason to ban the book. Somerby focuses only on the second possibility mentioned by Commenter 1, ignoring the rest of his comment.

    It could be argued that Somerby has a magnet for grievance and only wants to blame commenters, seeking only the parts that he can whine about, and not even considering which is the most likely explanation. (There are ways to determine which is most likely, but only if the context of discussion is provided in place of a limited excerpt.)

    Somerby doesn't know the motives of the McGinn school board any more than Commenter 1 does. Yet Somerby assumes they are blameless and not ignorant bumfucking rubes. On what basis? Does he know them personally, has he visited there? For all Somerby knows, they might be even worse than Commenter 1 thinks -- they might be trying to protect white supremacy and Hitler's legacy and also practicing mouse kinky sex that they don't want to the kids to find out about. My point is that there is no more reason for Somerby to assume innocent motives than there is for Commenter 1 to assume nefarious ones, and the real explanation may be something else. But I doubt anyone banning a book is reasonable myself, since there are too many things wrong with book-banning as a practice.

    If we start with the idea that these school board members are conscientious but ignorant, then they may not know how to do their jobs as board members, but objecting to mouse nudity may seem like the kind of child-protection that a good school board member should do. So their motives may have more to do with not knowing how to govern, and some education of the board might help (e.g. send them to a school board conference or set up a staff training session (orientation). Once they learn how to review a budget, maybe they will leave the curriculum alone.

    But, given that white supremacists and extreme conservatives have been conspiring to seek local offices all over the country, Commenter 1 is not necessarily off base in his second suspicion. Such people need to be called out, in outside voices (Somerby's term for all caps) because they are not going to do anything that will help local schools.

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  5. "This is the way the more pestilent minds of our war-inclined species have always worked."

    Somerby doesn't seem to know that there have been no weapons found among the anthropological digs of the earliest men. Only tools and hunting implements (stones for throwing at animals).

    I get very tired of his assertion that we are a war-like species when conflict between humans seems to have evolved as part of culture, not as an inborn trait of humanity.

    Somerby does, however, illustrate the kind of behavior that might make a person want to engage in violence.

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  6. Bob now spends his days looking through Kevin Drum’s comment section for things he finds objectionable. What happened to you, Bob?

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    1. Why doesn't he spend as much time with his own comment section?

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    2. Maybe if you post a particularly vile comment on Drum's site, he'll quote you.

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    3. Yes, if I post that there is a gender-based pay gap, that'll catch Somerby's attention.

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    4. Somerby himself dropped a few comments at Drum’s blog to lecture the other commenters and accuse them of being Maddow fans. Needless to say, it did not stimulate the discussion.

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    5. hardindr: He does it to show us who are.

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    6. 2:24: I didn’t realize we were all Drum commenters.

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    7. 2:29 No, you didn't.

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    8. That’s because no, we’re not.

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    9. It's about that too mh - not realizing how ignorant we are of our ignorance and cruelty.

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    10. Don’t include me in your group, 2:54. I don’t know what cruelties you may be into.

      I do know that I could find 8 vile comments from conservatives say “see how conservatives are”, but that would run counter to Somerby’s admonition that we not generalize.

      Meanwhile, let’s judge all 85,000,000 liberals by eight commenters at a blog.

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    11. Of course mh. I respect it if you feel the comments misrepresent and are an outlier of liberal sentiment towards this issue in particular and/or 'the others' in general.

      Delete
    12. I think this is a valid criticism of Somerby.

      I guess the counter-argument is he wants liberals to be held to a higher standard. Lead by example and all that. The adults in the room.

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    13. 3:06: Do you have evidence that they are not?

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    14. I think we carry and project an enormous amount of cruelty and ignorance towards conservatives. Enough to where it is valid to point it out. The media plays a big part in it - as they have "an incentive to stoke their audience’s outrage by making extreme views seem commonplace." So you see more of the ignorance and cruelty among those who consume partisan news sources and Twitter. But I get what you are saying. The truth is both sides are far more similar than different. That's what makes those kinds of comments and ignorant comments like the deplorables comment or the ignorant black and white comments one sees in this comment section here sad and disappointing.

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    15. Well there is a great divide in the parties, and massive disdain for the other party's presidential candidates in particular.

      From 2016 (I imagine it's gotten worse):

      -----

      The average rating for Trump among Democrats is 11 on the 0-100 scale... two-thirds (68%) who give him a zero...

      Clinton gets an average rating of 12 among Republicans... 59% rate her at zero.

      -----

      So around 60-70% of voters across the board think the opposition candidate is basically worthless, no value at all.

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    16. Oh hey 3:42. I'm liking that last post.

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    17. 3:42: I ask for evidence, and you tell me what you think?

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    18. Thanks Rationalist.

      Delete
    19. 3:50
      Then I’ll tell you what I think. I think that the mainstream media spends a lot of time beating up on Democrats and liberals and also conservatives spend a lot of time beating up on Democrats and liberals. It gives the impression that Democrats and liberals are horrible people who say mean things all the time and who hate the others and so forth and so on ad infintum, a view that is shared by Somerby.

      You know how they justify it? By extracting a mean comment from a political blog, saying “this commenter is a liberal” and “see how horrible liberals are?” It is grade-school illogic. It should be banished from serious discussion. Hence, it gets discussed here.

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    20. So with mounting evidence that the political divide in the U.S. is greater than ever, with the news commentary on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox almost exclusively being to promote outrage over the latest words or actions of "The Others", we are not only supposed to believe liberals in general don't have disdain for "The Others" but that is not even a serious issue worth discussing?

      Did I get that right?

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    21. Thanks for letting me know how you feel about it. It sounds like you feel like you are unfairly categorized. If someone like Clinton makes a deplorables statement, it is not a comment on a blog. It is the most powerful liberal Democrat in the world making mean and hateful accusations about scores of millions of conservatives, in a very glib way. That would be some evidence. I think Somerby's take is completely valid and important. But it is not delivered with any sugar and it may be drawn in the same type of black and white extremes as the ones he is criticizing. So I see how you could be frustrated. And I respect it if you don't agree with the underlying point that our mockery in comment sections and the mockery of our most famous representatives and everything in between contributes to "the ways we lose elections, and with those elections the world."

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    22. The Democrats took back the House in 2018, Biden won, the Dems got 2 Senate seats in Georgia and held onto the House. What do you mean “lose elections?”

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    23. Clinton said that about 40% of Trump supporters were deplorables. She explicitly did not say they all were.

      Somerby says that ALL liberals are the way he describes, not SOME but ALL. And he bases that on excerpts by random people who are not representative of anyone but themselves. I agree with mh about that.

      You guys are forgetting that we all know people who are Trump supporters. And we all know liberals too. I am hugely disappointed by those I know who have chosen to support Trump. I do not hear liberals engaging in the behavior attributed to them by Somerby and Fox News. I am civil and nice to the Trump supporters I know. I don't call them racists or sexists or anything like that. I don't talk "woke". I avoid talking any politics with them.

      I see no reason why liberals or conservatives should be required to talk nicely ABOUT each other, especially to a group of presumed allies. For example, this is an explicitly liberal blog. If someone here says something about conservatives, why should there be a chorus of conservative trolls objecting and complaining? We weren't speaking to them. I don't think that anything said about conservatives (among liberals) should count as meanness or mockery, when it wasn't ever directed AT such people. So I consider Somerby to be wrong. Further, he seems to be demanding agreement, not civility, and that isn't ever going to happen. I will move to Canada before I agree with the wide array of garbage spewed on the right (and here, by Somerby).

      The way liberals and conservatives feel about each other has nothing to do with winning or losing elections. Our votes reflect how we feel about the candidates and the issues. If that is not true, then children are voting, not adults.

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    24. "They knew what "these people" think."

      When a group of conservatives tells the public that a butterfly sanctuary is trafficking in children, does it matter whether we know whether they really believe this is true or whether they are telling lies for instrumental reasons related to a lawsuit?

      It seems to me that it doesn't matter what those people really think, when their words were told on person and they have a damaging effect on others. Who cares what they really think?

      You can broaden this to the whole phenomenon of voting for Trump. Who cares why Trump supporters put him into office. It doesn't matter what they were thinking. What matters is that they did it and now Trump has done incredible damage to our nation.

      This is why it makes no sense to me when Somerby keeps telling us that we must try to understand The Others. I don't try to understand why a burglar broke into my home and took my stuff. I don't try to understand why my sports team lost its last game. It doesn't matter at all. What matters is what they did. The reasons are on them.

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    25. Thanks for sharing your feelings.

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    26. You need to not only listen to the "others", you have to agree with them if you want to make your point.
      For example, the Others will gadly tell you they hate the welfare state because they believe in merit.
      Don't disagree. Agree. And let them know you could be convinced to support a 100% Estate Tax, but you think the first million shouldn't be taxed.
      Quickly, you will find that EVERY belief they have is negotiable, EXCEPT the bigotry and white grievance.
      Currently, I agree with their concern about Biden's Inflation, so I can remind them that raising taxes lowers spending, which lowers inflation.
      Bob's on to something with his "listen to the Others" rants, and so I again agree with an Other (Bob) and wait for them to call me dumb for listening to them.

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  7. "They knew what "these people" think."

    WE know this because WE have all heard people on the right say such things. Real people.

    There is a segment of the right that has lost its filter. It will say incredibly mean and cruel things. The memes that circulate are awful. It started with things like the Hillary nutcracker and got worse after Trump gave his followers permission to express themselves.

    Where does Somerby think the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers and Atomwaffen (who sent death threats to the HBCUs) live? Where did Rittenhouse live? Rural small towns, where militia practice is a social activity.

    It is true that not every small town dweller is like that, but it only takes one phone call from a "concerned parent" to get a book banned.

    Somerby thinks that all small town dwellers are like Andy Griffith and Aunt Bea. He needs to get out of Baltimore and look around some. I was in Gatlinburg five years ago and there were confederate flag t-shirts on every second person I encountered, at the pharmacy, buying ice cream, everywhere. Am I supposed to believe that they only wear the shirts because they like the color red?

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  8. "Commenter 2 could smell a conspiracy based on the calendar."

    The word "conspiracy" is inappropriate, since the board acted as a whole in public, but this is how the right operates. When you juxtapose the Holocaust Remembrance Day with banning an important book about the Holocaust, it does seem like a message is being sent. A competent school board would be aware of the possibility of sending such a message. So we have to consider that they were (a) incompetent, (b) unaware that it was Holocaust Remembrance Day, thus ignorant, (c) intentionally sending a message, which justifies the comments. Somerby is welcome to pick one but it won't rehabilitate the McMinn School Board's image.

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  9. A bunch of commenters are listing things they've heard right-wingers say but Somerby attributes the filth of those statements to the commenters, not the folks who said them. I've heard similar things said, so I do not doubt that some on the right say such things.

    Are these commenters creepy because they repeated such filth? I think they are expressing concern about the right and how it is influencing school curriculum, not making up things about right wingers.

    The remark about shaved mouse pussy sounds like it was written by a 14 year old -- with lucky he may see shaved pussy in his future, although fashions change. There is no way to keep 14 year olds out of blog comments, but the remark seems trivial, even if adolescent, and not as creepy as admiring Hitler. Remember that Trump himself was said by Ivana to keep a copy of Hitler's speeches on his nightstand, so this is not liberal imagination at work, but a real phenomenon that we are justified in being concerned about. If Trump's schooling had included Maus, he might today feel differently about the dictator.

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  10. "This is ugly, monstrous stuff. It comes from the realm of the monsters."

    To be clear, the Holocaust was monstrous. Objecting to the Holocaust by affirming the value of books such as Maus, is not monstrous.

    Objecting to the people who would ban Maus is not monstrous either because it protests those who would forget, minimize, prevent children from learning about the Holocaust.

    If Somerby is arguing that there are no people in the south who sympathize with our neo-Nazis and anti-semites, he needs to visit the websites of those specializing in anti-hate campaigns, those who monitor white-supremacist and anti-semitic groups. These are especially prevalent in some Southern states compared to others, among them Tennessee.

    If the state itself were actively trying to reduce the proliferation of hate, I might have some sympathy with Somerby's objections. But they don't appear to be doing that. Somerby really needs to visit McMinn County and similar places in TN, sit in a diner, try to engage the good citizens there in a conversation about MLK or Maus (his pick). It will open his eyes to some truths he might find uncomfortable, about the folks he defends here so vigorously.

    If he thinks someone who repeats at ugly statement is a monster, how much worse about the people who believe such statements? Yet Somerby has no companion site for scolding The Other (what an innocuous name for a monster). Does he only care about fixing a world full of hate, and not the haters themselves?

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    1. Sorry for the typos:

      Does he only care about those fixing a world full of hate and not the haters themselves?

      These people are especially prevalent...

      How much worse are the people who believe such statements?

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  11. "With regret, we won't get to what Bill Clinton said about his respect for the Pentecostals, even though they didn't generally vote his way."

    What a surprise! But why do we need to hear this old story again? Bill Clinton liked everyone, EVEN Pentecostals. He didn't like them for being Pentecostal but because they are people.

    There is nothing to like about a monster who thinks the things anti-semitic Hitler-admiring, miscreants think. The right harbors such people, among them Trump (who is not off the hook as an anti-Semitie simply because he supported Netanyahu). Trump said our home-grown Nazis are good people, he called them beautiful on 1/6. The right (The Others) are encouraging monsters to come out of the woodwork, with dog whistles such as banning Maus on Holocaust Remembrance Day. And Somerby thinks it is wrong to call out monsters because it might hurt some feelings on the right?

    It seems to me that Somerby is having a lot of trouble keeping his monsters straight. It isn't the liberals, but the conservatives who are in the wrong on this issue, Somerby among them.

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  12. “ we won't get to what Bill Clinton said about his respect for the Pentecostals, even though they didn't generally vote his way."

    What an understatement. They hated his guts.

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  13. Bob,
    Why do you want to give these people the benefit of the doubt? They're the same "tribe" who manufactured outrage over the teaching of CRT to get out the vote.

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  14. Stupidity, insults, false promises and false accusations seem to win elections for Republicans.

    But they are “victims” of Fox News, says Somerby. Does that mean their votes are determined by their victimhood?

    Does it also mean their view of liberals is dictated by Fox News propaganda?

    Oh no, say the dumbass Somerby supporters. That is really how liberals are.

    Go ahead and find the logic in Somerby’s mess somewhere.

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  15. Bob clearly got to an understandable point where watching Fox made him sick. His solution of was to start only critiquing left outlets ( while dumbing down his shtick with bullying and cheap insults, so long Socrates) as if you would still get a worthwhile result. At some point, finicial appeals to readers stopped. Hmmmmm……..

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