We love to assail the "banning of books!"


Times board member's complaint: We liberals!

We simply love the banning of books. Rather, we love to assail the banning of books, especially at times like these.

We're behind on time today. so we'll leave it right there for now. That said:

By clicking this link, you can see the short "contribution to The Discourse" which was granted a large display in print editions of today's New York Times.

(Online, it's hard to find. Most likely, that's why it's been tweeted.)

Alex Kingsbury is a member of the Times editorial board. We're sure he's a good, decent person. Tomorrow, we may be able to critique his short, high-profile contribution.

We liberals simply love these complaints. They help define the (imagined) culture of our tribe, though we'd say they aren't especially empathetic, helpful or smart.

What qualifies as the "banning of books?" Compare and contrast. Discuss.

Instant update:   In a totally different context, this was posted by Kevin Drum on this very day:

If you watch group interactions, it's clear that lots of people operate with no real understanding that other people have different ways of viewing the world. They aren't just being stubborn about recognizing "obvious" truths.

One of the things the MBTI does is devote some time to explaining (a) how different personality types are good at different things, and (b) how you should interact with different personality types...[T]he simple idea that you should acknowledge differences in people and act accordingly is fairly valuable.

 Compare and discuss. Contrast!


  1. "Rather, we love to assail the banning of books, especially at times like these."

    Yeah, dear Bob, you are.

    As long as FB, Twitter, Youtube, Amazon, etc. are busy banning scores of undesirables, your tribe can safely enjoy virtue signaling.

    1. I'll vote for anyone who gives me the legal right to over-rule corporate boardrooms.
      What's that? You were just virtue signaling about how unfair those companies are to the Right?
      Well, you know the truism; Every Right-wing accusation is really a confession.

  2. Somerby: Your complaint and then your approved stance (Drum) both are what has allowed society to be ruled by notions like slavery, fascism, classism, and identity based oppression. You are so certain you are correct on this stance, yet so seemingly unaware of what a terrible stance it is, and you have the nerve to suggest it is US that struggle with acknowledging differences, brother, please, it is you (and Drum) who is the lost soul, with no moral compass.

  3. "We simply love the banning of books. Rather, we love to assail the banning of books, especially at times like these."

    And why wouldn't we? This is a positive good in the world. This is like blaming firefighters for loving to rescue kittens.

    1. Somerby is always accusing liberals of loving the things we work hardest to change. Why does he do that? No one on the left loves racism, poverty, sexism, homophobia and we don't love opportunities to address such problems. We love trying to decrease such ills in our society so that all people can have better lives. But Somerby keeps saying we love using the r-word, etc. That isn't just a misunderstanding of liberal motives, but a slur against the left, and today he does it again when he says we all love book banning.

      Why would he say this? Perhaps because he has swallowed the rights idea that liberals only engage in virtuous things for performative reasons, such as to show others what good people we are. That is another vile slur and not at all true, but it is what they say to disparage the left and to excuse themselves for NOT engaging in virtuous things, such as helping the poor, cleaning the environment and so on. If you cannot disparage the good that liberals seek to do, you can disparage the seeker by questioning our motives. And that is a rotten thing to do, especially for someone who claims to be liberal himself.

      But Somerby taught in the inner city Baltimore schools in order to avoid the draft. With such motives himself, perhaps he really believes there are no idealistic teachers who sincerely wish to help kids learn. It wouldn't surprise me.

  4. The MBTI was a pseudo-psychological fad back in the 1980s, widely used in business to the detriment of everyone tested using it. Therapists now think it may be useful to talk to clients about individual differences, but it lacks reliability and validity as a psychological measurement tool, and theories of personality have passed it by. It is little better than astrology and outside of counseling, no serious researcher uses it to study personality.

    Kevin Drum doesn't know this because he is not a psychologist. Ditto Somerby. It must be a joke that Somerby dares to lecture Democrats on respecting differences among people. It isn't as if Republicans are great respecters of diversity. It is also somewhat hypocritical for Somerby to refer us to MBTI after spending years here calling Trump crazy for his personality problems.

  5. Meanwhile, here is the kind of news story that Republicans get off on. Conservatives simply love these complaints. Defending people like this bar owner from PC culture defines MAGA identity. This woman is clearly not helpful, empathetic or smart, but she sure captures the in-your-face f*ck your feelings aspect of MAGA tribal culture.

    See how easy this game is, and anyone can play. Even Somerby, who has nothing better to do this afternoon than insult liberals and then run, without explaining anything.

    From Rawstory:

    "In an interview with the station, Holly Tinch said she didn't care if people are offended by her posts about her place of business that sports a "Warning: Does not play well with liberals" sign out front.

    According to Chris Girardot of Billings, who was adopted from South Korea, he was personally offended and decided to call the owner out.

    “You can see that I’m of Asian descent. And I’ve been in fights in high school because I was the only brown kid. So, yes, I took offense to that," he told KTVQ.

    Giradot also claimed Tinch posted online what she thought was his phone number in an effort to get her fans to harass him. She had the wrong number, he added.

    Since that time, Tinch has doubled down with another post that read, in part: "So yesterday a bunch of 20/30 somethngs (sic), (who have never been here before) decided to call the bar, write sh*t on Billings Service Group (FB) because I said Ch*nk flu. I call it how it is. Just an FYI, I have removed them from my page but I'm not going to spend anymore time with this."

    Speaking with KTVQ, she blithely dismissed the criticism, saying, "I’m not a racist person at all. And if you think that I am, that’s your problem, not mine,” while adding, "You want to call me an Irish name, have at it. Ask me if I care, I don’t.”

    She also insisted, "I’m going to stand by my First Amendment and my Second Amendment and the rest of them."

    Since the controversy began, the Yelp page for Holly's Road Kill Saloon has been inundated with bad reviews including one person who claimed, "It's a bar in a cool spot that serves whatever beers and mixed drinks you might need after a day enjoying the area. Owner was very friendly (to us) but the liberal use of a certain word that starts with N which I believe was meant to be heard by everyone (including strangers) was pretty awkward, but moreso despicable. Won't be back. She is unfortunately the exact stereotype that adds fuel to fires that divide us all."

  6. The less educated parents are, the more likely a child will be abused. That's why hospitals and schools and social service agencies in cities all try to educate parents about how to be better parents. Unfortunately, some of the people who need such classes most are the least likely to get them, including those in fundamentalist sects, rural areas, those who are poor and who were themselves raised in abusive homes.

    I suppose now, books on parenting will have to be shelved with those banned books only accessible via QR code, and the cycle of abuse will continue. Maybe Somerby will think a bit before he writes something stupid tomorrow? We live in hope.

  7. Drum says about the MBTI:

    "It's fun and easy to take, and if you administer it to a large group it teaches a valuable lesson: people are different."

    One of the problems with it is that people give different answers each time they take the test. That makes it not a reliable measure of people's differences. Of course people are different! And people are even different from themselves at different points in time, if you don't know how to measure individual differences using a stable measure.

  8. Drum ultimately says:

    "the simple idea that you should acknowledge differences in people and act accordingly is fairly valuable."

    It is also simplistic.

  9. What a disjointed pile of crap this post was, as signaled by its first 2 sentences.

  10. Are the Left passing laws that make it illegal to talk about straight people in schools?

  11. I thought Biden was speaking about the extreme Republicans who hate democracy, not all Republicans.
    However, I took Bob's advice and listened to "the Others". Turns out all Republicans hate democracy.
    My (and Biden's) bad.