NO COMPLAINT LEFT BEHIND: The Post shows no respect at all!


The endless novelization: Stating the obvious, "race" is very important.

The concept may lack scientific meaning, but it lies at the heart of this nation's brutal history, which is part of the brutal history found in locations all around the world.

Race may be a social construct—"a social invention"—but given its role in our brutal history, race is very important. It would be hard to overstate the amount of suffering connected to social practices tied to race in the course of our American history.

For those reasons, it seems to us that discussion of "race" should be conducted with great journalistic care—even with a bit of respect. But then we come upon the kind of work which is prominently displayed, this very morning, at the Washington Post's web site.

It's hard to find words which are adequate to describe this report. At some point, you simply have to throw up your hands and offer the following statement:

It's all anthropology now.

It's all anthropology now! By that, we mean that there are certain topics which are so fraught that they will never be treated in a journalistically respectable way. 

At present, the children who people our upper-end press corps display that very type of moral / intellectual shortfall with respect to the question of "race."

It's pure anthropology now! Clearly, without any serious doubt, this is the best they can do. It comes to us, live and direct, straight from their flawed human wiring:

What became of Trayvon Martin’s hoodie?
Tracing the 10-year journey of the slain teen’s hoodie on its way to becoming a civil rights icon

Those are the headlines which sit atop the Washington Post's latest novelization. In the report in question, Manuel Roig-Franzia novelizes the shooting death of Trayvon Martin all over again, if not more so.

A few weeks back, we tried to revisit this topic. In truth, it's hard to list the remarkable number of ways in which the children of our mainstream press have rearranged the basic facts of this case, which is now a bit more than ten years old.

The children have invented standard claims which are simply false. They've disappeared highly relevant facts which are plainly true. 

They've emphasized accurate statements which are clownishly irrelevant. Routinely, they take factual claims whose accuracy can't be resolved and act as if the claims are known to be true.

These are the habits of Donald J. Trump—and of our "mainstream press!"

It's the work of children playing with toys—of children toying with race. Can a modern nation expect to function when the children within its upper-end press corps behave in such remarkable ways with respect to such a serious subject?

We hadn't planned to discuss this topic today. This astonishing bit of journalistic porn was unknown to us until it appeared this very morning.

That said, what we're seeing here is anthropology—anthropology all the way own. It reminds us of certain basic, well-worn facts:

Long ago and far away, Aristotle is said to have said the following:

Man [sic] is the rational animal.

Plainly, that isn't the case! Modern experts in the field assure us of these alternate facts:

In fact, we humans are the tribal animal. We're the animal which invents, memorizes and recites inaccurate tribal tales.

Roig-Franza's report is a stunningly disrespectful journalistic clown show. In fairness, Roig-Franza seems to be a child.

The larger question would be this:

Can a modern nation expect to survive when it's dividing itself into identity groups, most of which are inventing novels designed to showcase and display their own moral greatness?

Race is important—and race is profound. But at present, as Gates and Curran have said, race is also "too much with us."

("We need a new language for talking about race?" Could any claim be more profound?)

As journalism, Roig-Franza's new report is an astonishment. That said, viewed from the anthropological standpoint, the behavior of the Washington Post offers insight all the way down.

Tomorrow: In the face of conduct like this, how should observers proceed?


  1. "Can a modern nation expect to survive when it's dividing itself into identity groups, most of which are inventing novels designed to showcase and display their own moral greatness?"

    Oh, of course it can, dear Bob. No question about that.

    The identity groups fight each other, while the chiefs and shamans of your liberal tribe rob everybody, domestically and globally.

    That's a perfectly normal modern nation, dear Bob. In fact, it's pretty much the definition of what they call "liberal democracy".

    1. Right we should follow the Putin model correct?

      And the idea that conservative leaders aren't busy "robbing everybody" is frankly ridiculous.

      When you call people bots you are projecting big time.

    2. Yes, but Mao is the type of person who has nothing better to do all day than wait for a post on this blog so he can be the first to make the same idiotic comment he always does. In other words, he cannot be dealt with by using logic and reason. He is mentally ill and his comments should be considered as such and ignored.

    3. Anon... you are ignoring the possibility that Mao is paid to do this, and it might be worth his time in that sense.

  2. “Can a modern nation expect to survive when it's dividing itself into identity groups, most of which are inventing novels designed to showcase and display their own moral greatness?”

    What kinds of “identity groups?”

    He mentions race specifically.

    But what about men v women, gay vs straight, to name a couple of others?

    In the case of white v black, it is the whites who created the identity groups “white” and “black” and decided that white was better than black.

    In the case of men v women, it was men who decided that women were the lesser group.

    In the case of straight v gay, it was straight people who decided that gay people were the lesser group.

    In each case, the oppressed group is fighting back to regain a level playing field. And in general, no one chooses their gender, race, or sexuality.

    So, Somerby needs to examine himself (straight, white, man) and think about why he is wrong to describe the fighting back that those formerly oppressed groups are doing as “displaying their moral greatness.” What an insult.

    And if you’re talking about political groups, it is natural for people to group themselves by political belief and believe that their ideas (not their personalities) are better than the other group. You wouldn’t associate with a political party if you didn’t feel its ideas were better.

    1. Thank you for stating this so clearly.

  3. The situation described by Bob has got me feeling resigned. The conventional wisdom seems is what matters, regardless of whether it's true or not. E.g., the other day a friend made a joke about Trump presumably being controlled by Putin and Russia. I didn't bother to point out that investigation has completely undermined the collusion hoax. It's easier to just accept the idea that, for practical purposed, the collusion was real.

    Same thing for Trayvon Martin. What's the use of knowing the actual details of the event. It's easier believe that, in some sense, Zimmerman was guilty of murder.

    I guess this is "cognitive dissonance". Are any others here feeling anything like that?

    1. Yes we have the facts and actual occurrences, then we have the way its sold, digested, and subsequently remembered. And they are at odds.

      It's disappointing that we as a species (can I still say that at least) are still basically putting garbage into the historical record.

      Information that is accurate will be a commodity there is no doubt.

    2. Reporting the facts is what has the Right up in arms about being called “bigots”.

    3. Ending every conversation with bigot. The Godwin's Law of this comment section!

    4. Okay then, venomous spitting post by Anonymous is distinctly not seeking to find common ground with David.

      David you can always count on me for reasonable discussion FYI.

    5. Rationalist,
      Why didn’t you take Bob’s advice and listen to “the Others”?

    6. Don't worry about me. If liberals do something wrong it's okay as long as "the Others" do it even worse!

    7. Notice how Somerby calls the people he disagrees with or criticizes "children," before he even tells us what they did that he dislikes.

      Is that the way to have a rational discussion about anything? I don't think so.

    8. Rationalist... you are ignoring the possibility that David is paid to do this, and it might not be worth your time discussing anything with him, in that sense.

    9. It is never worth your time to try discussing anything with David, trust me. I've seen it for years, people civilly and politely spending time and effort to seriously debunk the rightwing bullshit David posts without ever making a dent is his "opinions".

      Rationalist says, "venomous spitting post". Let me fix that. Venomous FACT LADEN post". The man David continues to admire, Donald J Chickenshit, should never ever be allowed anywhere near political office again, yet David will enthusiastically all that has come before and vote for him again. There is nothing rational or reasonable about David.

    10. It has always been clear that Zimmerman was guilty, that the trial offered no evidence to think otherwise (there was no testimony about pummeling, no punching, no injuries indicating eminent threat of death, etc), and that Zimmerman's behavior after the trial left no doubt.

      Mueller's investigation did not undermine Trump/Putin collusion, it said it could not justify that qualification based on a technicality, and then proceeded to offer an entire volume of evidence showing how Trump and Putin essentially colluded.

      No need to resign yourself, if these actualities get you down; better to introspectively examine why you would feel that way; better to focus on your family and community. Try to get to the root of your all consuming urge to dominate. If you live in CA, life is good, the weather and the scenery are amazing. Try hiking.

    11. "Ending every conversation with bigot. The Godwin's Law of this comment section!"

      And just like that, facts and accuracy were no longer important.

    12. Rationalist,
      Agreed. A Republican suppressing the votes of black people, doesn't mean that a Democrat should get away with jay-walking.

  4. When Bob is right he's right, and this is a terrible performance by the Post. And this guy has a masters in journalism from Northwestern. The worst part, as Pauline Kael said of one shmatzfest "It would be difficult for a cynic to fake this."

    1. schmaltz?

      definition: "excessively sentimental"

      Do you really have the nerve to call those who are concerned about a teenager's needless death "excessively sentimental"? Do you now want to deny those who cared about Martin, and those who care about teens like him, the sense that this was needless, tragic, and shouldn't have happened, and that such lives are important to others, even if not to Somerby (who performatively claims to care about black children, except ones like Martin)?

      It is not just an insult to caring individuals to treat caring as "novelization" and disparage those who think the victims matter, but it is the kind of callous lack of empathy that right wingers are noted for. The deatils of these cases matter because the victins are real people with friends and family who mourn them. I am glad that at least one journalist recognizes it, even if Somerby wants to "disappear" the facts about the human beings who die at the hands of goons like Zimmerman.

    2. You continue to come in to the comment section here and lie about the facts surrounding the Martin case, so it is you who displays obnoxious nerve.
      In said case, the tragic death of a juvenile delinquent (yes, such people often right themselves in life) has been turned into schmaltz by people like you. There is no evidence race played into this case, even when you engage in your own brand of racism, turning Zimmerman into a faux white person. Martin's childhood photo posted everywhere in the national media rather than a recent one from when he was kicked out of school for having a pack pack filmed with screwdrivers and
      watches? Skittle me this, how is that NOT schmaltz?
      Clearly, you are the leftish equivalent of the Fox viewer who buys the war on Christmas, a truly hopeless case. Re Kael's comment, it's hard to believe you are NOT a cynic, that you don't know you are hurting any chance of progress on race when you BS as you do.

    3. "That dead cop was no angel."

  5. Why is Trayvon Martin's hoodie important? Because Zimmerman himself said that it was the hoodie and Martin's black skin that attracted his attention as he was driving through the neighborhood on an errand to a hardware store.

    Somerby wants to call such details "novelization," along with the skittles that were Martin's errand that day, because he thinks they are irrelevant, but they are not. The use of race to identify someone to stalk and harass was the behavior that started the chain of events that led to Martin's death. In some states, stalking is a crime. In some states, vigilante activities are illegal. It is not unusual for such behavior aimed at black people to result in the black victim being beaten or even hanged (or dragged behind a truck). The main thing that was different in the Martin case is that Zimmerman was acquitted based on a self-defense claim, much as Rittenhouse was.

    Somerby is more inclined to believe the novelization about these white shooters' lives being in danger, than the one that says an armed, aggressive white man shot a member of a minority group and claimed he deserved it.

    To those of us who don't understand why an armed man gets to shoot an unarmed person and claim self-defense, these situations make little sense. I have no doubt that Trayvon Martin was also afraid and felt he needed to defend himself, but he lost the fight because he had only fists instead of a gun. But it is very clear that Martin didn't start the interaction -- Zimmerman did that and the moral guilt is his, no matter what the jury said.

    There are 8 guns for every man, woman and child in our country. A society where an armed man can kill someone who is unarmed and claim self-defense is a dangerous one. But that doesn't bother Somerby. He is more concerned about gratuitous mention of hoodies. Why do you suppose that is?