FRIDAY, DECEMBER 30, 2022
Some blue year's resolutions: We'd love to see our flailing blue tribe make some new year's resolutions. The gist of these resolutions would be:
Blue tribe, let's try healing ourselves!
Let's encourage Nicolle Wallace and her favorite reporters and friends to talk about something other than getting Trump locked up in jail.
Let's improve our use of language, especially involving these two routinely misused words: "lie" and "information."
(Note to Willie Geist: a statement doesn't provide "information" if the statement in question is false. Note to our flailing tribe, desperate for some ardent glory: A misstatement isn't a "lie" if the speaker believes it's true.)
That said, "lie" is a fighting word. As soon as you say that someone has lied, all conversation ends. It makes us feel good to keep using that term, but we're highly promiscuous in its use, and our promiscuous use of the term tends to drive Others away.
Stating the obvious, clarity is strongly tied to precision in the use of language. That said, it's been a long time since our tribal tribunes sought clarity or clarification. For our tribe's tribunes, as for theirs, it very strongly tends to be Storyline all the way down.
While we're at it, we'll recommend a second resolution for the coming year:
Blue tribe, let's try getting over ourselves!
More specifically, let's stop pretending that we in our tribe are stupendously moral in all known ethical realms. As an example of where we tend to fail, consider the New York Times' recent trip back to the realm of Maus.
We refer to this recent report about the passion of Art Spiegelman, a good and decent person. He's been in agony all this year. In Wednesday morning's print editions, this is what the twin headlines said on the front page of Arts:
Cartoonist Pushes On Amid the 'Maus' Chaos
Spiegelman is ready to get back at it after having to defend his prize-winning work.
Just imagine! Imagine the indignity described in that pair of headlines!
According to those headlines, a prize-winning author was asked to "defend his work" in some way or other! In being asked to do such a thing, he was exposed to "chaos!"
What actually happened this year with Maus? Here's what actually happened:
In a giant, sprawling nation on with 13,800 school districts, one (1) school district decided to replace Spiegelman's book as a required text in its middle-school curriculum on the Holocaust! It was this decision by one school board which created the chaos in which Spiegelman was somehow allegedly forced to defend his work.
We blue tribals have a very hard time getting over ourselves. We're also extremely judgmental, and we're very dumb.
We have a very hard time accepting the idea that somewhere in this vast nation, there may be as many as one (1) community whose values or judgments may differ from ours in some minor way or other.
We instantly know what we must do when such chaos occurs. We do what we did in this set of five letters concerning a related topic. (The letters were published by the Times in Tuesday's print editions.)
Here's what we do at such times:
We refer to the Others as "local yahoos." As if by rule of law, we insist that their behaviors and judgments can only stem from "their bigotry." We say that the judgments of the Others are driven by "fear and hate." We are able to imagine no other possibilities.
For the ten millionth time, we even recite the tired old saw in which the Bible itself "is full of incest, infanticide, sodomy, murder and other violence." We rush these letters to the Times, and the Times puts the letters in print!
In the course of this behavior, we convince ourselves, for the ten millionth time, that we alone are decent, moral, intelligent, caring, wise, unbiased, good. It's clear that we don't know how to stop playing this pleasing, unhelpful card.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep. Our profoundly self-impressed tribe is amazingly unimpressive.
We're very, very self-impressed. We love to lump the Others together, at which point the name-calling starts.
We just can't seem to get over ourselves! Based on the claims of disconsolate experts, we know of no obvious reason to think that we ever will.
Tomorrow: George Santos / mental illness
Counting can be hard: How many school districts exist in the United States? We aren't entirely sure.
At any rate, one school district stopped mandating Maus. As you know, chaos ensued!