THURSDAY, MARCH 24, 2022
The shrieking proceeded from there: Last evening, for a few brief shining moments, Tucker Carlson got to be pretty much right.
At least on a purely political basis, Carlson got to be pretty much right with respect to transgender swimmer Lia Thomas—and we'll just leave it at that.
For a few brief shining moments, Carlson got to be right about a political / culture war controversy in which, at least in the short term, liberals and progressives can't possibly hope to prevail.
Bringing the eternal note of dumbness is, Carlson was even able to link these moments to a certain Supreme Court nominee's sensible but unsettling refusal to offer an answer, during yesterday's Senate hearing, to the apparently straightforward question, "What is a woman?"
In real time, it was obvious that this question, from Senator Blackburn, linked to the issue of transgender athletics and transgender policy in general. Last night, for a few, brief shining moments, the Fox News Channels "excitable boy" was able to bring it all home.
For the record, but also in fairness, Carlson isn't always wrong in everything he says on his nightly "cable news" program. Sometimes, he even makes statements which are pretty much right on the merits, not just on the temporary politics.
That said, such moments rarely last.
Last evening, Carlson was briefly right, at least on the politics, with respect to Thomas' recent wins in NCAA swim meets. But then, the inevitable!
After complaining that the Biden administration won't force Ukraine to stop fighting the Russkies, The Lost Child of La Jolla et L'Ecole Suisse shocked the planet with this:
CARLSON (3/23/22): Marjorie Taylor Greene is one of the only members of Congress who's willing to think this through in public. She represents the state of Georgia. We're honored to have her on our show tonight.
Just like that, there was Greene, filling us in on Ukraine. Richard Carlson's hopeless lost child was honored to have her on.
Tomorrow, as we end our week, we'll return to the striking bit of family history we've cited in recent days. We rarely watch Carlson at this point without thinking of the human story lurking inside those paragraphs.
For today, we thought we'd return to the start of this week's reports. We thought we'd show you the way this wounded child behaves on the air, even when he's working from a reasonable point of departure.
We return you to the Tucker Carlson of Wednesday evening, March 9. On his "cable news" program that evening, he played the videotape of an exchange from the day before:
RUBIO (3/8/22): I only have a minute left. Let me ask you, does Ukraine have chemical or biological weapons?
NULAND: Ukraine has biological research facilities, which, in fact, we are now quite concerned Russian troops, Russian forces, may be seeking to gain control of. So we are working with the Ukrainians on how they can prevent any of those research materials from falling into the hands of Russian forces should they approach.
Might we give credit where credit is due? Someone on Carlson's staff had actually noticed something!
The exchange in question had taken place during a Senate committee hearing. Senator Rudio had posed a very specific question to Victoria Nuland, undersecretary of state for political affairs in the Biden administration.
Rubio had asked a highly specific, perfectly straightforward question. But uh-oh! In her response, Nuland didn't give a specific answer to the highly specific question she'd specifically been asked.
Intelligent observers will sometimes describe that type of reply as a "non-response response." Politicians frequently give such "responses." Sometimes, though not always, it means that there is something the politician doesn't want to admit.
On its face, Nuland had plainly authored a "non-response response." She'd been asked if Ukraine had chemical weapons. In her reply, she hadn't said yes—but she also hadn't said no.
A journalist might want to check to see if there was a reason for this. But in the hands of this lost, helpless child, something quite different occurred.
On his March 9 program, Carlson played the videotape of the Rubio-Nuland exchange. Immediately after he played the tape, this braindead shrieking occurred:
CARLSON (3/9/22): "Does Ukraine have biological weapons?" Ugh,
"Ukraine has biological research facilities." What? You mean secret bio labs like the secret bio labs that Ukraine definitely doesn't have?
Ukraine has those? Yes, it does! And not only does Ukraine have secret bio labs, Toria Nuland said, whatever they're doing in those labs is so dangerous and so scary that she is "quite concerned" that the so-called research material inside those bio labs might fall into the hands of Russian forces.
Try not to use profanity on the air to describe our reaction. Our jaws dropped, let's leave it there.
Under oath, in an open committee hearing, Toria Nuland just confirmed that the Russian disinformation they've been telling us for days is a lie and a conspiracy theory and crazy and immoral to believe is, in fact, totally and completely true.
Whoa! You don't hear things like that every day in Washington. Talk about a showstopper and a dozen questions instantly jump to mind.
What exactly are they doing in these secret Ukrainian bio labs? Ukraine is the poorest country in Europe. It's hardly a hotbed of biomedical research. We're assuming these weren't pharmaceutical labs. Probably not developing new leukemia drugs.
From your answer, Toria Nuland, we would assume, because you all but said it, that there's a military application to this research, that they were working on bioweapons. Again, your answer suggests that.
So it went as this pitiful child staged his latest breakdown. On our side, our flailing team constantly props this child up.
What did Carlson say in that passage? More to the point, what didn't he say as he wandered the countryside?
For the record, he didn't say that he or his staff had actually researched this question. Nor did he actually say that Ukraine does have bioweapons.
Instead, he wandered the countryside, offering excitable insinuations and making excitable claims. By the time that passage was done, he was saying that Nuland's answer "suggests" that Ukraine has bioweapons—that he would "assume" that it does.
On that basis, the person who writes the headlines at Fox reported that Carlson said this:
Tucker Carlson: Someone needs to explain why there are dangerous biological weapons in Ukraine
The Pentagon is lying about this—why?
Those are the headlines which sit above the transcript of the excitable boy's remarks. The person who wrote those headlines seemed to think that Carlson had said that Ukraine does have biological weapons, and that the Pentagon had been lying about that fact.
Did Carlson explicitly make those claims? You can score it as you like—but we'll cut some slack for the functionary who put those headlines atop that transcript. We can assure you that, if you watched the entire meltdown, that's the way this latest mess sounded.
Carlson isn't always wrong in the things he says, not even on the merits. That said, he rarely makes a claim, or espouses a viewpoint, without staging an immediate journalistic breakdown.
He displays a contempt for liberal women—but also for normal rules of analysis and decorum. At age 51, La Jolla's Lost Boy is trailing a story behind him.
In our view, we need to stop propping him up by taking his endless offers of bait. We need to see him as a lost child—as the lost boy he plainly is.
Last night, the child was honored to host Taylor Greene. Such bait is cast out every night.
Tomorrow: "It was actually not really part of my life..."
"Tomorrow, as we end our week, we'll return to the striking bit of family history we've cited in recent days. We rarely watch Carlson at this point without thinking of the human story lurking inside those paragraphs."ReplyDelete
As Tucker said- "ugh".
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.ReplyDelete
We realize, of course, that defending liberal tribe's bullshit 'narratives' is every liberal tribesman's sacred duty. And dear Bob is a self-confessed tribesman.
That much is clear.
But we also realize that in this particular case, all your lame insults only speak to the fact that you got no intellectual defense of your tribal shamans' 'narrative'.
Truth prevails, and lame insults only signal your, dear Bob, feebleness.
Conbot zombie says what now?Delete
Mao, what did you think of that "narrative" from a former president that Putin's is guilty of "atrocity" and was committing a "holocaust" in Ukraine?Delete
That's not a "narrative from a former president", dear AC/MA. Those are official ritualistic pronouncements.Delete
Any thoughts on the subject at hand?
Mao, I'm not sure which is the "subject at hand." The key thing seems to be Nuland's response to Rubio's question. TDH raises a good point. Has anybody answer what "biological research" is going on in Ukraine? Maybe they have, I just don't know. There's lots of potential questions. I think TDH's perspective is reasonable about the biological research issue, and about Carlson, but it would be better if he let go of the 'pitiful child' stuff. And when you complain about TDH's "lame insults" it seems like the pot calling the kettle black.Delete
Hmm. Somehow we don't remember us throwing lame insults at Mr. Carlson.Delete
In fact, we distinctly remember calling him the best talking head in the establishment media.
And, to repeat, we assume Mr. Carlson being the best talking head in the establishment media is exactly the reason dear Bob has to resort to lame insults. In this case...
Is something still unclear?
you're not that dense are you - your lame insults to dems, quite uncivil even if you don't agree with them. I ahven't watched Carlson, or any other caqblenews pundit on whatever side for that matter, due to them being brain deadening. But I've seen the snippets of Carlson, when out of curiosity I've checked the Fox News site, and my impression is that TDH is right about him, except for his venturing into psycho-historical speculations.Delete
We don't know if you are dense, dear, but clearly you can't understand simple logic.Delete
We don't do lame insults. We call dembots dembots and the best talking head in the establishment media the best talking head in the establishment media. That's all.
Cecelia and AC/MA disappear for a while (AC/MA was caught pushing falsehoods) and suddenly they reappear at the same time. Whatever.Delete
Yes people have provided more info on those labs in Ukraine, in fact scientists that worked at or with those labs. This was all debunked days ago, even on Fox News!
Apparently Somerby's ability to manufacture ignorance extends only to sock puppets and whatnot. Watch as my eyes roll slowly up, and down to the side.
Not one "falsehood", nimwit.Delete
C'mon Bob. Nothing about Republican Senators at the KJB confirmation hearings cosplaying that they don't love pedophilia?ReplyDelete
This must be a deep ruse by Bob, to cast doubt on our resident idiot anons claims that he is not a liberal. At least in idiot anons' mind.ReplyDelete
Anons need to look past Bob's repeating of right-wing nonsense memes, and see the real Bob.Delete
Right. Such classics as:Delete
Carlson isn't always wrong in everything he says on his nightly "cable news" program.
[Carlson's] braindead shrieking
He displays a contempt for liberal women
Yes, and notice that Somerby has summarized that right wing conspiracy theory via his reporting of Carlson's show, under the guise of critiquing Carlson. But he doesn't actually address the conspiracy theory itself, never points out that bio labs do lots of different things and there are many types of technology besides weaponry that we may not want the Russians to steal. Somerby just lets Carlson's assertions stand, thus amplifying them and exposing liberals here to these right wing ideas, which is what Somerby does frequently -- spreading right wing memes under the banner of a supposedly liberal blog.Delete
Those who know anything at all about persuasion should understand that a message aimed at liberals will be considered more believable coming from a liberal speaker than a conservative. That's probably Somerby's sole value as a disinformation purveyor -- his former liberal street cred. But now he uses it to repeat conservative talking points -- and today's message is about biolabs in Ukraine, NOT Tucker Carlson's mistakes as a journalist, which are the same as they ever were.
There is no deep ruse here. If a conspiracy theory sounds like it came from the right, it is coming from the right, regardless of whose blog it appears on and who is saying it. And it would be a huge mistake not to ask why Somerby is the only one here who is propping up Tucker Carlson, not by saying he is wrong but by pointing out that Nuland didn't actually disavow bioweapons in Ukraine, therefore everything the conspiracists believe must be true -- because why else would someone answer a question by giving more info than they asked for, instead of a simple Yes/No response?
Carlson's disrespect for liberal women is Somerby's favorite part of his show.Delete
"Yes, and notice that Somerby has summarized that right wing conspiracy theory via his reporting of Carlson's show, under the guise of critiquing Carlson. But he doesn't actually address the conspiracy theory itself, never points out that bio labs do lots of different things and there are many types of technology besides weaponry that we may not want the Russians to steal. Somerby just lets Carlson's assertions stand, thus amplifying them and exposing liberals here to these right wing ideas, which is what Somerby does frequently -- spreading right wing memes under the banner of a supposedly liberal blog."Delete
"There is no deep ruse here. If a conspiracy theory sounds like it came from the right, it is coming from the right, regardless of whose blog it appears on and who is saying it. And it would be a huge mistake not to ask why Somerby is the only one here who is propping up Tucker Carlson, not by saying he is wrong but by pointing out that Nuland didn't actually disavow bioweapons in Ukraine, therefore everything the conspiracists believe must be true -- because why else would someone answer a question by giving more info than they asked for, instead of a simple Yes/No response?"
Good grief. You've truly turn a political stance into a veritable religion with a ridiculous anti-intellectual argument like thiis.
You're arguing that if you must ask questions of anyone on your own side it should be done with goal of advancing the narrative favorable to your party, else it be the devil's work.
No, I am arguing that Somerby's purpose here isn't to critique anything but to put conservative talking points in front of liberal voters.Delete
Actually, you've demanded that all questions be skewed in a doctrinal direction else they're innately heretical.Delete
Oof, I'm guessing Cecelia is on the shorter side, since points typically sail right over their head.Delete
Somerby blames liberals for propping up Carlson:ReplyDelete
"On our side, our flailing team constantly props this child up."
First, Carlson is no child. Second, he is not "excitable" but is deliberately bombastic as part of his on-air persona. Third, most liberals ignore Carlson -- we do not watch him ever. How then are we "propping up" this disinformation agent of the right? We aren't. Nor does Somerby explain what he means when he accuses us of this.
Nothing in Carlson's background excuses his current behavior. He is responsible for his actions. There is no basis for blaming Carlson's father for what the son has been doing.
Note that Somerby has been criticized for years for ignoring right-wing wrong-doing. Now, when he finally talks about Tucker Carlson (who Somerby admits following nightly), it is to excuse his actions with vague references to childhood abuse. And accuse liberals of supporting (because that is what propping up means) Carlson. We aren't the ones watching him -- Somerby is, and Somerby is no liberal.
If this was mental gymnastics, this would get a 10Delete
Not from the Russian judges.Delete
We've read the piece, dear Bob, outta curiosity. We've read what Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia said.ReplyDelete
What she said, in our humble opinion, is perfectly fine. Common sense, and perfectly good judgement.
...and may we add that we've heard nothing common sense nor good judgement from any of your tribal shamans (let alone your tribal vegetable in chief) for year now. For many years, dear Bob...
There are plenty of people, like MTG, who are obsessed about sex.Delete
Hugh Hefner made a career of it.
Today Somerby posts another link to nowhere. I clicked to hear what Carlson was right about and got this:ReplyDelete
"You don't have permission to access "http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/tucker-carlson-ketanji-brown-jackson" on this server."
fox news tucker carlson ketanji brown jackson
and click the link in Top News section
Their site must be restricting the link based on site/domain you come from.
OK, reading the statement at that link, Tucker Carlson appears to think this is a simple question because he is apparently unaware that there exist people with anomalous sex chromosomes:Delete
"Sex chromosome anomalies belong to a group of genetic conditions that are caused or affected by the loss, damage or addition of one or both sex chromosomes (also called gonosomes)."
There are also cases of children who were born genetically male but reclassified as female shortly after birth due to a circumcision accident. This gender reassignment does not always persist due to gender dysphoria of the child.
This situations can be complicated to resolve. Dr. Jackson was acknowledging that FACT when she said that she was not a biologist. Repeatedly she has said during her testimony that she would need to study the facts of a case before making a judgment, and in a case involving gender the details of each person's situation would be important to study and there would be biomedical testimony to consider.
For Tucker Carlson and Somerby to reduce this to a political issue is an injustice to a person bringing such a case to the Supreme Court. If Somerby agreed with Carlson, he too is ignorant and wrong in my opinion.
In our society, people treat others based on their self-presentation of their gender because to do otherwise would be an invasion of their medical privacy. It is not up to Tucker Carlson, Somerby, or anyone else to tell any person whether they are male or female, especially not based on simplistic stereotypes about males and females.
If biological anomalies mean that gender has traditionally been a matter of simplistic stereotypes, then race is the stuff of smoke.Delete
Let's ask Ketanji Brown Jackson to define African-American.
Biological anomalies don't mean that gender has been a matter of stereotypes. It is more likely a matter of hormones. The attempt to classify men as men and women as women on the basis of stereotypes is what I was objecting to. The idea that Jackson should be able to tell what someone's gender is by use of such stereotypes is ridiculous.Delete
Is a woman female because she likes to cook? Why then are most chefs male? Jackson said that her approach is to apply the law to the facts of a situation. She doesn't make up her own definitions but takes them from the law.
When the law guarantees equal protection on the basis of race or sex, does it matter what the judge's definition of race or sex is?
Thank you for spelling her name right.
These protections exit because traditionally we've had no trouble recognizing and defining race or sex and I've no doubt you'll be surprised to know that a fondness for cooking or even for mathematics has nothing to do with it.Delete
Cecelia is misinformed in just the saddest way. These categories are defined by notions like privilege and oppression. Race, for example, broadly speaking, did not exist until Americans invented racial slavery. That's when the "black" and "white" races were constructed, and they will continue to exist until racial oppression ends.Delete
It isn't clear from Somerby's essay what Tucker Carlson said about Lia Thomas that was politically "pretty much right". I found a clip from earlier in which Tucker Carlson said that he didn't think liberals cared about swimming or about trans people but that their main goal was to get everyone to agree to something that was a lie, that didn't make sense. Because then liberals would own us.ReplyDelete
I don't know whether Carlson repeated that thought yesterday, nor do I know whether that is what Somerby was agreeing with. Somerby didn't bother to tell us. He is being cagey about what he agrees with Tucker about. The link doesn't work and Somerby won't say, but he is affirming something said by Carlson. In my experience, no liberal does that because Carlson never says anything worth agreeing with, much less listening to.
In Feb, USA Swimming suggested new rules for trans athletes requiring them to prove that their having gone through puberty as a male did not provide an advantage in competition. This is now March and neither Somerby nor Carlson mentioned that rule, which should make this issue moot.
Meanwhile, are liberals trying to get conservatives to believe big lies? In my opinion, that is Trump's domain, and the mission of conspiracy theorists, not liberals. Liberals have prided themselves on being reality-based, following science, defending truth. I don't see this suggestion as even remotely consistent with liberal beliefs. As far as liberals go, we already consider Carlson to be someone who believes huge lies. Do we own him? Not so much.
As to Lia Thomas, why must she give up her swimming career, which she has worked as hard at as any other athlete, in order to live as a female. If she were permitted to continue competing as a male, would that satisfy anyone's concerns or would taking female hormones make it impossible for her to be competitive against men? Deciding that she has nowhere to compete strikes me as unfair given that she did not ask to be what she is, someone assigned the wrong gender since birth, now corrected what she sees as a mistake. This is no more her fault than anyone else's, but Tucker sees her as a scam artist, a dude trying to win unfairly (to use his words).
Somerby is too big a coward to express an opinion, other than he agrees with Carlson, without actually repeating what Carlson said that he agrees with. Whatta guy!
Our society will find ways to resolve these details and this will be no longer an issue. Phyllis Schafley said that we couldn't have equal rights for women because that would mean unisex bathrooms. Today, such bathrooms are seen in various places because they make economic sense, and they cause no one any problems, but the ERA has still not been ratified. The practical details are clearly not the reason why there remains reluctance to admit women to full citizenhood. I doubt the logistical details are the real objection to participation in society by trans people.
I saw an interview where a woman claimed that they were being denied their own category by inclusion of trans women. There is a lot of hysterical nonsense being said. Does this woman think she will feel less like a woman or be less of a woman (if she does) because of what some swimmer accomplishes? Is gender that tenuous? The lengths that trans people go to be assigned the correct gender suggests that no woman is going to be denied her womanhood because a trans person feels like a woman too.
But is Somerby really so silly that he would agree with Tucker Carlson's views on trans people? Well, he agrees with a lot of other silly stuff (such as that Carlson is warped because his father was head of PBS), and anything is possible.
*These beliefs are mine alone and are not meant to be attributed to any other liberals.
Any time a minority group is gaining political power, you can be sure the GOP will be there to try to marginalize them.Delete
Same as it ever was.
I wish people would open a goddamn book for a change. There's lots to read about gender. Does anyone read anymore or do we just argue about children's books?ReplyDelete
I suspect there's a lot less reading of actual non-fiction books.Delete
A lot of people seem to only have time and attention span for a twitter or youtube length perusal of knowledge (questionable knowledge at that...)
yeah true, but also books stopped being well written, idk, maybe they are connected, but a well written book makes it a lot easier to readDelete
Yesterday, Krazy Kat suggested that Somerby's essays are dripping in irony.ReplyDelete
irony definition: "the expression of one's meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect"
Irony depends on signaling of intent by the author. Since the meaning of the words is meant to be opposite from what is said, readers will not know whether the author is intending them to be taken at face value or discounted.
Somerby not only never signals irony, but there is nothing in his essays that shows the reader that the stated meaning is not the intended meaning.
For example, today's essay begins:
"Last evening, for a few brief shining moments, Tucker Carlson got to be pretty much right.
At least on a purely political basis, Carlson got to be pretty much right with respect to transgender swimmer Lia Thomas—and we'll just leave it at that."
While this statement is limited, there is nothing here that indicates Somerby intends us to know that he thinks Tucker Carlson was wrong about what he said. That means there is no irony here when he says that Tucker Carlson got something right.
Or this statement, later on:
"For the record, but also in fairness, Carlson isn't always wrong in everything he says on his nightly "cable news" program. Sometimes, he even makes statements which are pretty much right on the merits, not just on the temporary politics."
No irony there either. Somerby appears to be sincerely saying that he thinks Tucker Carlson is correct, beyond temporary politics (whatever he means by that).
Making a statement that is controversial, then later declaring "I was just being ironic" when called on it, is another way of evading responsibility for one's opinions. Somerby excels at that. It may be that if Somerby intends his writing to be ironic, he is retaining plausible deniability by failure to signal his intent. So, if someone says "that doesn't sound very liberal to me" then Somerby can fall back on "I was being ironic -- don't you get it?" and that is very close to the old faithful "I was just joking -- can't you take a joke?"
I see very little irony in anything Somerby says. It might be helpful if Krazy Kat were to point out some irony so that we can all see what he is talking about.
It also may be that your are insane.Delete
The irony comment was so dumb I think we all just ignored it. Somerby is careful to provide himself some plausible deniability, Somerby is coy, Somerby is excessively literal when it suits his agenda. Somerby is not ironic.Delete
IMO the testimony of a judicial nominee is generally unimportant. The nominee's best course is to avoid questions as much as possible. Judge Jackson was doing what she's supposed to do, when she evaded the question of what is a woman.ReplyDelete
However, that topic does deserve discussion somewhere. According to a textbook I read, we each have a gender and a sex. Sex is determined by our genetic makeup. But, gender can be different from sex.
What I find uncomfortable is that there appears to be no objective way to determine someone's gender. If a person says s/he feels that s/he's a woman, then his/her gender is female. This definition leaves me uncomfortable. On the one hand, a female friend of mine became a man called Jake. She had the surgery. I have no doubt that Jake should be considered male.
OTOH what about people who are less certain? Can someone be wrong about their gender? What would being wrong even mean? Since the only definition of gender is what someone thinks they are, they can never be wrong. There's no outside way to check someone's feelings.
I worry that a certain number of youngsters will make a decision too quickly.
I recommend asking yourself a simple question, "How Is Any Of This My Business At All?" It works on abortion too.Delete
I'm concerned about children being hurt. Isn't that my business?Delete
BTW I'm pro-choice, but your argument is flawed IMO. One could make the statement about infanticide.
Thank you for being pro-women.
David, what this is is nothing more than a moral panic. It's not any different from saying I don't want my daughter to date outside of her race.Delete
I'm happy to give you information on what dangers exist to trans kids if you actually want to get involved in activism. Here's a recent report. It covers real risks like access to healthcare and suicide prevention. It probably will challenge your perception of where the danger is coming from.
Support and activist groups also need people to volunteer and donate. But you can also just let them speak for themselves. They probably have spent more time than both of us together learning about this.
Sending the second link for David:Delete
David is pro-choice. This is why he votes religiously for the party that takes it's marching orders from the RW Christo-Fascist evangelical base.Delete
David is pro choice like Hitler was pro jew, only when there is a hot looking broad around. amiright David? You dawg!Delete
Name the 20 thousand genes in the human genome. Okay now explain to me what they do, right now.ReplyDelete
Wait, that's not your job? I don't trust you.