In the face of the world's most beautiful child...


...we recalled what a teenager knew: We had a plan for yesterday's DAILY HOWLER—but then, we encountered the front page of yesterday's New York Times.

On that front pager, we encountered "Sarah Cuauro, just 6 years old." Our day largely ended here, headline included:

A Girl Loses Her Mother in the Jungle, and a Migrant Dream Dies

DARIÉN GAP, Panama—In the darkness, the little girl called out for her mother, her tiny form lit by the moon.

The two had left their home in Venezuela a week before, bound for the United States. To get there, though, they would have to cross a brutal jungle called the Darién.

And in the chaos of the trek, the child had lost her only parent.

To contain her fear, Sarah Cuauro, just 6 years old, began to sing.

As if that wasn't enough, Times reporter Julie Turkewitz reported the contents of this little girl's song:

“The glory of God, giant and sacred,” she croaked through tears. “He carries me in his arms.”

If we're prepared to believe this report, that was this little girl's song.

Our day largely ended right there. That said, Turkewitz's front-page report reminded us of a conversation we had long ago—a conversation we've been recalling, with appreciation and with regret, a great deal in recent months.

First, all praise for Turkewitz and for Federico Rios, the photographer for that front-page report! At one point, Turkewitz explained how the New York Times was able to report the plight of this 6-year-old child:

To understand the journey so many are taking, two New York Times journalists crossed the 70-mile Darién route in September and October, interviewing migrants, guides, law enforcement, community leaders and aid workers.

The painful fruits of that commitment are found in Turkewitz' report and in Rios' photographs. For the record, we hasten to tell you this:

After three days of separation, Sarah Cuauro, just 6 years old, was reunited with her mother. For those three days, the little girl—in effect, she'd been adopted by a Samaritan—had continued to struggle toward the north, not knowing if her mother was dead or alive.

As it turned out, her mother was still alive. Eventually, mother and child decided they would have to return to Venezuela.

After reading Turkewitz's report, our day largely came to an end. We're always astonished by people like Turkewitz, who go to such remarkable lengths to report on the experiences of the wretched of the earth. 

In the face of that report, we thought again about the conversation we had—the conversation we had when we were seventeen years old, in the spring of our senior year in high school, beneath the fragrant eucalyptus trees, before the late 60s hit.

That spring—it would have been April or May of 1965—we fell, unexpectedly, head over heels in love! Emotionally, we were unprepared for the experience, but we talked and talked, and talked and talked, with the (wiser) junior in high school we were suddenly coming to know.

The gods must have favored us to let us meet this person. But out of all those hours of conversation—after school for hours and hours, then for hours and hours some evenings—we can only remember one specific exchange.

That exchange involved a person's responsibility to the wretched of the earth. The undesirable question at issue was this:

If you know that people are sick and dying around the world, don't you have a responsibility to try to act? 

That was the question we presented. It was based upon things we had read about Dr. Tom Dooley, a medical missionary who had become sick, and had died, in southeast Asia.

Didn't you have a responsibility to act? Even if you'd prefer that the cup be taken from your lips? 

Our friend said the answer was basically no. "It just isn't like that," she said.

Without any question, our friend was right, but then again, we were right too. Amazingly, that's the only specific exchange we can recall from those hours and hours, and hours and hours, of conversation that summer and spring.

The gods must have favored us at that time to let us interact with so wise a young person. (We'll guess that she'd drawn more "emotional intelligence" from her home than we'd been exposed to in ours.)

Yesterday morning, we thought about that conversation, as we've been doing lately. As we'd read about Sarah Cuauro, our day had pretty much come to an end.

The denouement goes like this:

In September of that year, we started our freshman year at Harvard College. In the introductory philosophy course—Phil 3, "Problems in Philosophy"—we were exposed to the unintentional humor of  this "philosophical problem:"

How do you knw that 7 plus 5 equals 12?

We've told this story in greater detail at this site. On balance, though, we regard that as a spectacular instance of "found humor." 

Several freshmen, including us, abandoned their intention to major in philosophy after learning what the "problems" of academic philosophy apparently turned out to be. 

(As the semester proceeded, applause at the end of each lecture diminished, then stopped altogether. Within five years, the thoroughly decent young professor had risen to major prominence within the cosseted world of academic philosophy.)

We returned to the philosophy major after sophomore year. By the end of our senior year, we'd been exposed to the later Wittgenstein's (extremely jumbled) implied critique of the comical bungles which constitute the canon of traditional academic philosophy.

For Professor Horwich's account of that matter, you can just click here. Our question from high school remains:

If you know that the wretched of the earth are becoming sick and dying, do you have an obligation to act?

No professor ever raised that question in our years at that well-known college.

We've never told the comical if embarrassing story of what happened at the end of our freshman seminar, Theory of Emotions. The seminar was conducted by a very nice person who was a psychology professor. 

In that instance, we freshmen were given a glimpse of what academic psychology is. Back to the unintentionally humorous problems of alleged philosophy:

In a wonderful bit of found humor, we can still picture our teaching assistant, NAME WITHHELD, tearing his hair as he stared out a third-floor window of Emerson Hall. He was tortured by the question of how he could possibly know that 7 plus 5 equals 12.

Don't jump, Mr. N, we wanted to shout. Things aren't really all that bad, at least not in Emerson Hall!

In our view, Turkewitz and Rios take the prize today. We'll also mention this:

Yesterday morning, the Washington Post of Jeff Bezos was selling you questions, concerns and problems like the ones listed below. 

On the front page of the online Post, these reports all took substantial priority over the placement of a certain front-page report from yesterday's print editions:

Ask Amy: I don’t go by my birth name, but my sister-in-law won’t stop using it

Miss Manners: Aspiring-influencer friend is plagiarizing my posts

Host your first dinner party in style with these basic supplies

A dog shower might be the most practical home upgrade luxury

How to create a logical spot for your television

Your toilet could harbor salmonella, staph and E. coli. Here’s how to clean it better.

Johns and Jons are about to make up 10 percent of the U.S. Senate

I mask at the gym. It’s the smart thing to do. Why do I feel so dumb?

Date Lab: He guessed that she’s ‘totally an introvert’

Sarah Cuauro is six years old. That's the dreck Bezos keeps selling.

On the front page of yesterday's online Post, all that bullshit was given priority over this other report:

‘Everyone has to act,’ Biden tells COP27, as developing nations slam U.S.

That other report appeared on the front page of yesterday's print editions. It concerned Biden's statements regarding climate change,  which is going to work its will on the Sarah Cuauros of the earth.

We strongly recommend Julie Turkewitz's astounding front-page report. Also,  Federico Rios' photographs of the world's most beautiful child.

To the world's teenagers, we recommend this:

Persist in the painful things you know. The things you know will persist!


  1. What's with the word-salad, dear Bob? You sound like liberalism has eaten your brains.

    Snap out of it, dear.

    1. A completely worthless "contribution" from Chairman Mao. And Church Lady's misstatements and distortions are too numerous to count, not to mention the personal nastiness she engages in in response to a heartfelt expression of sadness about the hellish plight of some of the world's innocents. Isn't it amazing that someone who has spent literally years trying to trash a decent person's life and work, day in and day out, multiple times a day, doesn't have enough self-awareness to wonder if maybe it's SHE who has wasted a good portion of her life?

      Anyway, regarding Somerby's post:
      1) When I go to the online version of the Post, here are the headlines I see:
      Election deniers lose key state races
      Democrats keep Senate majority after win in Nevada; House control still up in the air
      The party of Trump pays for being the party of Trump
      Republican rivals start plotting a post-Trump future
      Biden, turning 80, faces renewed age questions as he weighs reelection
      The tech CEO spending millions to stop Elon Musk

      After the above headlines, there is a selection of opinion pieces, most of which deal with politics.
      I don't see anything like what Somerby is talking about. This makes me think that the WaPo is showing people articles based on what they've clicked on in the past. So, Bob: whatcha been clickin' on, man? Have you been clicking on some of the "soft" news articles you've been complaining about? If not, what would explain the difference between what I'm seeing at the online Post and what you're seeing? Try this experiment: click only on "hard" news for a few days, and then go to the "front page" of the online Post and see if the ratio of soft to hard news has changed.

      2) What some children must endure in this life is indeed too much to bear. It's one reason (among many!) I, and undoubtedly many others, reject the traditional notion of a compassionate, all-powerful god. I disagree with Bob's teenage crush though. I think to the extent that a person has the ability to do something about it, they should. Unfortunately, another sad fact about the world is that most of us fail our own ideals.

      3) Much (not all) of academia is, as Somerby says, absurd. Spending one's life pondering how we know 2 + 2 = 4 while children suffer, the environment collapses, and brutal political regimes destroy lives, is the proverbial fiddling while Rome burns. (Thanks for the chuckle, Bob. Don't jump! Lol.)

      4) A quote from E.B White: "I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day."

    2. Where does Somerby ever express sadness over the plight of that girl?

    3. It is easy to call academia absurd, but recall that because of academics, we went to the moon, have cured diseases (including slowing this pandemic), we have an internet and EVs, and so on. Where do you think progress comes from, if not the people who study our world? And no, engineers didn't do all this without the contributions of the theoreticians.

    4. E.B. White was being humorous, not suggesting that more people should become do-gooders. You mock the Church Lady, but at least she is concerned about solving problems and making life better for people. Your main contribution here is to pick on Mao (low-hanging fruit), which makes you a bully.

    5. While Mike L's take is more humane than Somerby's (he says the 6 year old ruined his day), it is still a far cry from the recognition that we are all interdependent on this planet and must care about others if we care about our own survival. Greta Thunberg understands that better than Somerby. Odd that he has never called her a beautiful child.

    6. It isn't especially odd that men tend to consider women brilliant only when they express views that the men agree with. As Somerby's teenage beauty did.

    7. So easy to shrug and blame God for the problems of others, while you go about collecting coconuts for yourself.

      If you believe that there is no God or higher being, and that this is the only lifetime any of us will have (no reincarnation), then it seems highly important to help ease the way of everyone else you meet, not hoard goodies, isolate yourself from their struggles, and even worse, blame the victims (well, she clearly should have stayed in Venezuela, amirite?).

      Somerby has the morality of an infant.

    8. Mao Cheng Ji has nothing to do with Chairman Mao.
      The former Mao is 猫. The latter Mao is 毛.

  2. "Sarah Cuauro is six years old. That's the dreck Bezos keeps selling."

    "No professor ever raised that question in our years at that well-known college."

    "Didn't you have a responsibility to act? Even if you'd prefer that the cup be taken from your lips?

    Our friend said the answer was basically no. "It just isn't like that," she said.

    Without any question, our friend was right, but then again, we were right too. "

    "The gods must have favored us at that time to let us interact with so wise a young person."

    These are the statements in today's essay that suggest Somerby's conclusion was that he did not have a responsibility to act to help the desperate of our world. Then Somerby continues his ritual mocking of other forms of knowledge, none of which dealt with the question of suffering and none of which were explicitly addressing it either.

    Do we have a responsibility to act? Many religions say yes. Religion exists to deal with such questions of morality. Somerby also avoids mentioning that philosophy does deal with morality and ethics, just not in a basic introductory course or in study of epistemology (which is what "how do we know 7+5=12?" is). Somerby might as well have complained that engineering doesn't deal with morality either. But sociology does. The larger issue Somerby tries to confuse people with today is that values are distinct from accumulated knowledge. Somerby looks for values-related answers in courses that do not have that purpose -- their purpose is to generate knowledge about reality, what is true in our world. The question of what ought to be done to help the desperate is one of values, of what an individual thinks is the best use of his or her time on this planet, what we owe to God (who does not help the desperate either), what we consider meaningful or important.

    Students at the college level spend endless hours discussing values-related questions too -- without the excuse of being in love, but simply because they are at a point where they are choosing a life direction and defining who they are as individuals. It is the ongoing quest of adolescence. Somerby apparently expected someone at his school to tell him how to answer questions that only he could resolve.

    What did Somerby do with his life? He spent it making jokes at other people's expense. He spent approx 10 years in the classroom chiding black kids, then gave up on them and became a comedian. Today he wastes a column he could use more profitably, making fun of academics, advancing Trump's selfish goals, and spreading right wing memes. None of that does anything to help that lost 6 year old (compare her situation to Tucker's), who Somerby prefers to use to bash Bezos.

    People with empathy might better understand what is happening with migrants who seek asylum in the US. Some might even want to donate to or otherwise help people in other countries leading difficult lives. They are moved by stories such as today's. Somerby instead refers to this girl mockingly as "beautiful" and complains that the paper is manipulating people with such stories. That feeling of manipulation is your heartstrings being tugged. Instead of brushing away the feeling, why not let yourself feel something? Liberals do. Republicans do not. Somerby has been buried in cynicism since the 80s. Maybe there is still time for him to become a real human being, but perhaps not. He doesn't seem to want to help others, and thereby he closes the door to helping himself achieve some satisfaction in helping other people. This may be his last chance to grow up.

  3. "On the front page of yesterday's online Post, all that bullshit was given priority over this other report:"

    Somerby once again fails to understand that in a digital online format, everything can be accessed at once. You do not need to start at the top and work toward the bottom, or in the front and work toward the back. Any article can be reached instantly using the Table of Contents or Search line, or by clicking on links at the top of the page.

    That means that whatever appears first is not being given priority. What appears next is not second-most-important. It may be that what appears first is what is likely to be sought by casual readers or by the majority of readers, regardless of its importance.

    Somerby refers again to the question of 5+7=12 (wasn't it 2+2=4 before?). That is of interest to a very small number of people, not including Somerby apparently. It is not an either/or matter. One can be concerned about migrants while also caring about philosophy of mathematics. But most people do not worry about whether math has a sound foundation because their use is practical not theoretical.

    These two misunderstandings may have a shared underlying problem. What is important in our world? Is a story about a migrant girl made more important because it appears first in a digital format paper? Is the foundation of math less important because only those at Harvard study it? What is designated as important is an individual matter and it varies from person to person, and not all people have the same values, nor should they.

    Somerby mocks the paper for not putting his own concerns at the top, ignoring those of other people or the majority or those concerns that define what news is about. Somerby wants his own priorities to be reflecting in the world around him. Somerby concluded that his teenage friend was right about ignoring the plight of desperate people, such as this 6-year old, whose story reminds him of his own decisions back in the 1965 to turn his back on a life serving others. There are many other people who made different decisions. Somerby let a child and his infatuation turn him onto a different path in which he prioritized his own self-interest. Republicans are the party who believes that it is not only appropriate to do this, but mistakenly believes that everyone does it. Democrats feel more responsibility for each other, extending beyond our "America First" boundaries in our concern for our shared well-being and humanity.

    Just as Somerby feels threatened by the emotions aroused by this news story about the 6 year old lost in the jungle, Republicans feel threatened by the Democrats who tell them they have a responsibility to others beyond themselves (and those who are extensions of themselves). Somerby spends a lot of time denying and deriding people who make a different decision about this. I think he may not be as confident in his decision as he pretends. He calls his 15 year old friend "wise" but perhaps he is less sure about that. Otherwise, why spend all this time here trying to convince strangers that his choices are right, by mocking those who have made other choices? Is it really wrong for young philosophers to devote time to their own concerns over the foundation of math? Somerby seems to think so. If he didn't, he would just say "philosophy was not for me" and let it go at that. Not return obsessively to this same mockery, trying to convince himself he did the right things with his life.

  4. It will be funny to hear what Somerby has to say about a Theory of Emotion seminar back in 1965. That was before the whole field of emotion research changed dramatically with an influx of studies based on neuroscience. Research methods also changed in the 1970s with access to brain imaging equipment. Whenever you change how you study something, you get new findings that result in changes to theory. If Somerby is stuck in what they told him in 1965, he may have some outdated ideas, but let's see what he has to say.

  5. "If you know that people are sick and dying around the world, don't you have a responsibility to try to act?"

    Where would Somerby or any of the rest of us be if doctors answered this question the way Somerby did?

    During covid, medical professionals were challenged in ways that generally only happen during pandemics and disasters. They hung in there under circumstances requiring considerable personal sacrifice and risk of their own lives. But Somerby thinks they needn't have done so.

    In a sense, we are all dying and most become sick at the end of their lives. Does that mean no one should help a 6 year old? Does it mean no one should help ease the transition at the end of life? Does it mean no one should comfort the families of the dying and help them with end of life decisions?

    And what about the people who are not sick or dying but who are suffering in lives into which they were born without consent? Do we ignore the disparities between their lives and ours? Do we stand by and do nothing, because life is full of suffering, so why care? Or do we abdicate personal involvement by leaving it all in God's hands, ignoring that God (if you believe in Him) works through people?

    People do choose to help others recognize that there are limits to their resources and that they must preserve a balance in order to remain useful, and they protect themselves while helping others. But they do not turn their back in the manner Somerby today attempts to justify (by calling his little friend "wise" beyond her years). If Somerby were happy with his choice, he wouldn't spend time here denigrating the choices of others, including those upon whom he may now be finding himself dependent.

  6. Yay yay yay yay! The Democrats have won control of the Senate again!

    Where's that red wave now, Somerby?

  7. "Yesterday morning, the Washington Post of Jeff Bezos was selling you questions, concerns and problems like the ones listed below."

    Today Somerby presents us with the usual Sunday list of topics he considers too trivial to be worth reading about. He uses the plight of Sarah Cuauro to make the list appear even more trivial, then switches to his own nostalgic musings. I disagree with Somerby's reaction to those topics. They are not trivial -- they concern the social cement that holds our society together. They are about cooperation, coordination and affiliation with other people, because individual survival depends on group cohesion today, as it did during our evolution as hunter-gatherer groups.

    This is well explained in Cacioppo & Patrick's book "Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection" (2008):

    In a study of the !Kung people of the Gobe desert Marjorie Shostak said "Village life is so intimate that a division between domestic and public largely meaningless." The authors continue: "Even with the (admittedly brutish) rigors of avoiding hungry predators while finding enough to eat, it seemed that a vast amount of !Kung men and women's mental and emotional energy was devoted to managing social commitments. The opposite of solitary, life among the !Kung involves juggling relationships with a spouse and children, ever-present in-laws and other family members, assorted friends, enemies, and rivals who, nonetheless, contribute to one's survival, as well as a succession of lovers on the side...when !Kung women are not out gathering, or !Kung men off on a hunt, they spend a surprisingly large amount of time singing or composing songs, playing musical instruments, sewing intricate bead designs, telling stories, playing games, visiting, or just lying around chatting. They have no written langauge, but people sit together and talk for hours, repeating the same stories again and again. They have no calendar but mark life as a progression of social events...Social insects co-regulate by way of chemical communication; humans, having far greater behavioral latitude, rely heavily on culture..."

    The stories Somerby considers trivial are the modern equivalent of these social practices in groups more closely resembling our ancestral living conditions. Culture is not only about "high culture" but also about the preoccupations of everyday people in their daily lives. And by discussing these in a newspaper that is widely circulated, The Washington Post creates social conditions important to human connection. That is far from unimportant and it takes nothing away from the larger concerns of survival embodied by the 6-year-old migrant child.

    Contradicting Somerby's repeated nonsensical statements here about anthropology, the book says: "In fact, !Kung life is so completely egalitarian -- an almost universal finding among pre-agricultural societies living this close to the end -- that there is no chief or headman. All food is shared. Access to land is collective, and stinginess is a serious matter, punished by social exclusion...And their generally peaceful and cooperative social life can be punctuated by co-regulation that takes the form of violence. With an estimated 22 killings in five decades, the 1500-member band studied by Mel Konner had a higher murder rate than the United States...And evert pre-agricultural society we know about has this same basic structure...disconnection leads to dysregulation and damage, not just at the level of society, but at the level of the cell."

    Somerby's view of what is baked into humans by nature and what causes dysfunction is majorly incorrect. His tendency to dismiss culture and social connection, even when trivial, is ignorant.

  8. Not only does Tucker Carlson support the Russian Invasion of Ukraine, but he does so using the same tactics and memes as Putin does. For example, Tucker has a strong obsession with beefing up men's testosterone levels to combat the feminization of our society. Putins does the same, claiming that Western society has made beta men out of its males, feminized the military, and so on. The gender-related fear-promotion of authoritarians on the right and Putin is so similar that is seems clear that there has been borrowing of memes and propaganda across the two states.

    Here is how an article in the Texas National Security Review, WHY DICTATORS ARE AFRAID OF GIRLS: RETHINKING GENDER AND NATIONAL SECURITY

    "In Russia, Putin has pushed for the re-masculinization of Russia, manipulating traditional cultural symbols and language to justify territorial expansion, nationalism, and resistance to what his inner circle views as a corrupt, decadent west. This campaign has led to a significant deterioration in the rights of women and historically marginalized groups in Russia. Putin has gone as far as saying Russians who seek gender freedoms are part of a larger anti-Russia fifth column. Russian social media is awash with hate speech groups like Male State that have become vocal supporters of Putin’s war in Ukraine. Between 2005 and 2019 Russian elite used youth groups like Nashi – a self-proclaimed “anti-fascist movement” described as Putin’s Generation – to link gender, support for Moscow and traditional values as a counterpoint to the West. The manipulation of gender roles and identity helps Putin reach a larger, global network of populists who view traditional values and society as under threat. "

    This lack of recognition that women's rights and pro-choice measures on our ballot are closely tied to national security issues and defense of our democracy, has contributed to the incorrect polling and predictions of so many pundits before the midterms. Pollsters don't consider women and their issues important enough to figure in their models. That led to their mistakes. But not only are women important to models, but they are also important to the key national security battles being waged internationally. And when you look at gender, it becomes obvious that the right is serving the interests of our historical enemy, Russia, not the interests of the American people. And that makes me wonder whether the rot stops with Trump or whether the corruption of our politics by Russia extends to a much wider swathe of the Republican Party, including Tucker Carlson.

    Meanwhile, Somerby is busy telling us that Tucker Carlson makes good sense and has the best facts. And his only mention of gender, even in an election that focused on abortion rights and was most likely lost by the GOP when its right wing Supreme Court members overturned Roe v Wade, is that mythical 15 year old girl who he supposed loved when he was a high school senior in 1965. Somerby has nothing kind, decent or good to say about women in the 22 years I've been reading his blog, whether as candidates or journalists or people. I hope she broke his heart.

    1. From the same source:

      "Less appreciated is the role of gender and discourse about order and stability in modern China. The Chinese Communist Party increasingly views feminism as a threat to its own ideology and perception of China as a socially conservative country. Xi Jingping has been defined as a neo-traditionalist propagating a notion of cultural deficiency and degeneracy to justify centralized rule and repression. The communist party increasingly focuses on gender as a threat to stability, calling for state institutions to prevent the feminization of males and adolescents and to promote Chinese celebrities deemed masculine counterweights to “sissy men” with “abnormal aesthetics.”

      It is no coincidence that conservatives (especially MAGA extremists) are attacking gender identity as a major issue this year, when it is actively working toward an authoritarian government and abandoning democracy. You might wonder why they care so strongly about cat boxes in schools, but their actual target is the definition of gender identity, individual freedom to express gender, and establishment of patriarchal systems in which women are repressed and an authoritarian leader is justified by alpha male roles.

      Just as the connection between mass shooters and domestic abuse is not accidental, the attempts of incels who target women to prove their manhood is not accidental either. The strong-man version of leadership is another fact of this same violence-prone version of politics in the US, and global politics internationally. Note Trump's worship of despots because of their masculine strength, no matter how foolish they otherwise appear on the world stage.

      The UN has been saying that Women's Rights are Human Rights. That has never been more true. If we do not take women's rights seriously, we may find ourselves sacrificing individual rights that are held dear by men (at least the ones who are not admiring of despots and tyrants).


  9. "Persist in the painful things you know. The things you know will persist!"

    Does this make any sense at all or seem like a good idea to anyone?

    If a teenager knows (from a painful high school experience) that no one likes him and he is destined to live his life ostracized and alone, is that a good idea to cling to?

    Teenagers can think some dark thoughts without sufficient life experience or social support to contradict them. Perhaps Somerby is saying that he should have clung to his first impulse to help others, instead of being convinced by a 15 year old (Somerby was then 18) to abandon it. If so, isn't it wiser to advise teens to get a broader sample of opinions?

    And what on earth is Somerby doing "in love" with someone who is jailbait and too young for him? Especially in high school, the only reason older boys date younger girls is to take advantage of their innocence. Were the girls his own age too scary?

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  11. 12 = 10 + 2 by definition.
    10 + 2 = 10 + 2 + 0
    = 10 + 2 - 3 + 3
    = 10 - 3 + 2 + 3
    = 7 + 5
    Hence, 12 = 7 + 5, QED.

    1. Maybe it is the "by definition" part that is the problem. Somerby doesn't say.

  12. Robert Harrington made a point about Bill Maher that applies just as well to Somerby. He said:

    "It [Trump's sex life] was also a particularly trivial and irrelevant subject for Maher in light of his “New Rule” segment from the previous week called “Democracy’s deathbed.” In that one he spent a full seven minutes essentially chastising Democrats for bothering to vote. Bill Maher was there to pronounce Democracy’s final epitaph and you were a fool if you couldn’t see the hand-wringing on the wall — as it were — courtesy of Mr. Maher.

    But in lieu of an apology after his “prediction” went spectacularly wrong, Maher instead decided to speculate on Donald Trump’s sex life. Did he think planting sickening images in our heads would distract us from the colossal belly flop of his previous week’s prediction? If he did it didn’t work with me.

    I therefore think it’s time that Mr. Maher takes a long, introspective look at himself and asks what in the hell he thinks he’s doing. Because if getting it wrong were an Olympic event, Maher would be a heavy favourite for gold.

    “Ben Franklin said our country was a Republic if we can keep it,” Maher intoned dolefully before the midterms, “Well we can’t. And unless a miracle happens on Tuesday we didn’t. Democracy is on the ballot and unfortunately it’s going to lose.”

    No it didn’t. I said the opposite in my article “Democrats United” on November 7. I believed Tuesday was going to be our finest hour, and so it has turned out, thus far. As I write this, the announcement just came through that we won the Senate. But however things transpire, we don’t need naysayers like Bill Maher, who predict doom and gloom and are ready to pat themselves on the back whenever they accidentally turn out to be right."


    Somerby has been entirely silent about his own failure to predict the midterms accurately. Somerby too avoids discussing the important topics in favor of stupid crap. And Somerby too has joined the right wing in blaming Democrats for wokeness, claiming that no one likes us because of it. If people dislike the Democrats, they really hate the Republicans.

    Harrington (at Palmer Report) suggests that Maher take a closer look at what he is trying to accomplish with his show. I would tell Somerby the same thing, but I think he has been doing exactly what he wants, helping the Republicans defeat the Democrats, because it is so goddamned embarrassing when Democrats engage in their performative virtue and reveal grinches with small hearts for what they.

    Palmer Report:

  13. “Without any question, our friend was right, but then again, we were right too.”

    Without further explanation, neither argument is clear.

    But it seems a recipe for simply shrugging one’s shoulders and basically saying “nothing really matters, because both sides have a point.”

    It leads either to apathy or an outright rejection of the idea that we all have a responsibility to each other. It sounds as though it wasn’t a very deeply held belief on Somerby’s part in the first place.

  14. Question for Bob Somerby wearing his media-analyst hat: why are you MIA on stuff like this?

    CNN just aired a glowing segment on Casey DeSantis.
    The New York Times just ran a puff piece on Casey.
    NYT did a fawning piece on Ron DeSantis, calling his career “supercharged.”
    Why is the media promoting a fascist who arrests innocent Black voters & bans DOJ election monitors?!
    (Lindy Li 12-12-2022)

    1. Can you link these pieces? The last thing I saw about Casey DeSantis made her the crafty and ambitious brains of the operation who has been angling to be a FOTUS all her life.

      Gov. DeSantis was portrayed as a dull bully. That set-up is not a puff piece.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.


      Now we find out that the Pelosi security camera shows Paul Pelosi opening the door to let in the cops ( “with his left hand”) and walking back into the room to be attacked.

      However, that contradictory info doesn’t matter anymore. The only thing that matters is “conspiracy theories”,

      So we can’t have free speech and thought…cuz…conspiracy theories…AND we also can’t even expect an accurate report of a crime, because that will generate…conspiracy theories.

      THAT is madness.


    4. "THAT is madness."

      Meh. That's the definition of normality, in dear Bob's world. Where good decent persons enact fascist totalitarianism, to fight the mentally ill, the working people.

    5. Cecelia,
      It's almost like you can't trust corporations, without the "It's almost like" part.

    6. Flying Monkey 2:14pm, which means we should entirely distrust the narrative-crafting establishment-globalist-leftist-alignment and its media hit men.

    7. My conspiracy theory has always been that Cesillyia is either mentally disturbed or a sockpuppet, or some combo, with a side of super sized fries.

      Now we find out that the Cesillyia's comment shows us they are not capable of thinking with the left side of the brain.

      I mean, what???

      First off, it is not "now", it is in the District Attorney filing from 11/1/22.

      Secondly, it is not contradictory (neither by it's definition, nor the context).

      Thirdly, it is of no consequence, even for those mentally "inclined" towards conspiracy theories.

      Fourthly, the US government is not abridging anybody's free speech with respect to Pelosi and his hammered head. Right wingers love to weaponize an actual victim's tragedy.

      Fifthly, the crime was reported accurately, and the one filing that said the cops opened the door was a) not reporting the crime as a news item and b) at worst making an insignificant error, and c) for all we know, the cops may have indeed opened the door. Nobody cares, it is just part of the right wings singular obsession with weaponizing even tragedy, in their sad attempts to gain dominance over non right wingers.

      When one thinks such trivialities are madness, one has become a clown.

      idk....Maybe Cesillyia is a plant intended to make right wingers look foolish?

    8. Anonymouse 6:27pm, the matter is so inconsequential that you have the DoJ and the San Fran PD contradicting each each other in official reports. With the LEOs referencing what they saw on the Pelosi security cam.

      Your posts are specious and painful to read, but I’m not going to head shrink you. You’re merely disingenuous and stupid.

  15. The Democrats did better than expected, because every Republican voter who cares about the economy voted. All none of them.

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