YAHOOS R US? Can we conceive of the lives of others?


Otherization and Us: What the heck is "theory of mind?"

On the front page of today's New York Times, Oliver Whang explains the concept in a piece about AI.

More specifically, Whang explains the way the term is used by psychologists. For our money, he clouds his explanation a bit—but this is the way he defines the term in his opening paragraphs:

WHANG (3/28/23): Mind reading is common among us humans. Not in the ways that psychics claim to do it, by gaining access to the warm streams of consciousness that fill every individual’s experience, or in the ways that mentalists claim to do it, by pulling a thought out of your head at will. Everyday mind reading is more subtle: We take in people’s faces and movements, listen to their words and then decide or intuit what might be going on in their heads.

Among psychologists, such intuitive psychology—the ability to attribute to other people mental states different from our own—is called theory of mind, and its absence or impairment has been linked to autism, schizophrenia and other developmental disorders. Theory of mind helps us communicate with and understand one another; it allows us to enjoy literature and movies, play games and make sense of our social surroundings. In many ways, the capacity is an essential part of being human.

For our money, Whang clouds his explanation a bit with his reference to "mind reading"—a reference he introduces, then quickly discards.

That said, Whang does describe a basic, if occasional, human capacity—"the ability to attribute to other people mental states different from our own."

He says that this ability helps us understand one another. He even says that this ability "is an essential part of being human."

Friend, do you have that ability? More precisely, are you able to conceive of a world in which other people may have outlooks, understandings and ideas "different from [your] own?"

Along the way, are you able to understand a basic point? Are you able to understand the fact that differences of this type will always exist within human populations—that there will always be people who disagree with you in some way or other?

Are you able to understand that basic fact about life in the human sphere? Or are you inclined to otherize those who present you with the specter of difference? Do you look for ways to suggest that such Others just aren't fully human?

At issue are "the lives of others"—and no, we don't mean the widely acclaimed 2006 German film. At issue is the ability to accept the fact that other people are going to differ from you in some way or other, and that such people have every right to hold such differing views.

Friend, does your so-called lizard brain sometimes direct you to reject that basic understanding? Does it direct you to adopt a different stance? Does it direct you to otherize others? 

Otherization is powerful, and it's very common! Last week, we saw former president Donald J. Trump take a very familiar path on the road toward otherization. 

Taking a very familiar route, he otherized Alvin Bragg:


It's one of the most common ways to perform an otherization. The party being otherized is referred to as an animal. This move is performed all the time.

It's easy for us to spot this behavior when it's performed by someone like Trump. Way back in October 1999, the Democratic front-runner for president was otherized in this same way by some in the mainstream press corps.

The otherization began with Jacob Weisberg in Slate. Weisberg is a good, decent person, but this came at the start of his instant appraisal of the first Gore-Bradley debate from New Hampshire:

WEISBERG (10/27/99): Gore arrived on stage like some sort of feral animal who had been locked in a small cage and fed on nothing but focus groups for several days. Upon release, he began to scamper furiously in every direction at once. Assuming his stool 20 minutes before showtime, he volunteered to take extra questions from the audience. At the end of the hour-long non-debate, he promised to stay and answer even more. As of this writing (10:30 p.m.) he's still at it, sitting on the edge of the stage with his wife, talking about human rights in Africa and offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico with a few dozen New Hampshireites.

Gore came across as a kind of manic political vaudevillian. He oozed empathy from every pore, getting all over every questioner like a cheap suit. First he would ask the person about his circumstances, his family, or his job, in a desperate effort to bond. Then he would respond with an explosion of gesticulation, sympathy and agreement...

As we noted at the time, Weisberg's astoundingly negative instant appraisal was widely "sampled" by other major mainstream pundits over the next several days.

It had started with a classic bit of otherization—with the claim that the widely despised Candidate Gore had "scampered furiously" about the stage "like some sort of feral animal." 

The takedown proceeded from there. For the record, Democratic Party viewers had scored the debate a draw.

At this juncture, let's state the world's most obvious point:

This astoundingly negative appraisal was the fruit of Gore's earlier failure to denounce President Clinton to the extent that the corporate hacks of our mainstream press had demanded. 

In that same month, then again in November, CNN's Howard Kurtz asked two separate panels of mainstream journalists why Gore was being covered in such a negative way by the mainstream press. Everyone agreed that the coverage of Gore had been harshly negative—and everyone pretended that they didn't know why that was!

Last week, Trump described Alvin Bragg as an animal. In Weisberg's construction, Gore was a feral animal, one who had scampered about. 

It's like that with otherizations! In the Rwandan genocide of 1994, the Tutsis had been widely described as "cockroaches." Before long, the murders began. In its most consequential appearances, otherization takes this form.

At any rate, this is one of the common ways we tend to otherize Others. Simply put, the Others simply aren't human. They'll be compared to animals, but also perhaps to machines.

Robotically, mainstream pundits borrowed from what Weisberg had said. In real time, we cited some of the borrowing. Years later, we expanded that work.

On the front page of this morning's Times, Whang discusses the human capacity which gets abandoned, left behind, when otherization starts. 

He describes the ability to understand a basic fact about the lives of others. He describes the ability to understand the fact that other people are separate from us, and even different—the ability to understand the fact that other people won't necessarily share every one of our own infallible views.

In all honesty, our blue tribe has a long history of dehumanizing Others. As tribal polarization has increased in recent years, our tribunes have increasingly turned to the pleasures of this approach.

We have a long list of insulting names we're quick to apply to the Others. We're at our happiest when we name-call the Others this way tens of millions at a time.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but our tribe is often extremely unimpressive. Reading Petula Dvorak's recent column, and much else in the Washington Post, we've almost begun to wonder if a certain changing of the guard is currently taking place:

Could it be that the Rednecks R Us in the brave new world we're composing? Is it possible that our own blue tribe is adopting this long-despised role? 

How about it, friend? Can you "attribute to other people mental states different from [your] own?" More precisely, can you do that without feeling the need to otherize such people?

Are you prepared to inhabit a world which includes the lives of others? It seems to us that our own blue tribe is increasingly challenged on this score.

Otherization has played a key role in the sweep of human history. As we increasingly name-call Others, could it possibly turn out to be that the new Yahoos R Us?

Tomorrow: Love it or leave it, she said


  1. tl;dr
    " The party being otherized is referred to as an animal."

    Oh, puh-leeze, dear Bob. Normal ordinary people refer to each other as animals, different animals, all the time. There's nothing "otherizing" in it at all.

    ...don't bullshit us, dear, please...

    ...and please take care of your TDS, and of your slightly crazy veneration of Demigod Algore...

    1. Today you reveal you haven't spent a lot of time around normal, everyday people. More like exceeding creepy lowlifes who you have done nothing but
      emulate at cheap bars and monster truck rallies.
      It's not much of a revelation.

    2. Give Mao some slack. He's a lost soul ever since Limpdick passed on.

  2. "For our money, Whang clouds his explanation a bit with his reference to "mind reading"—a reference he introduces, then quickly discards."

    Somerby's money here is wrong. Whang is not clouding his explanation but preventing a common misunderstanding. He raises that reference in order to dismiss it explicitly because it is wrong. For the general public, mind-reading is what happens during a mentalist act in a night-club, or part of paranormal belief. It is important to make it very clear at the onset that this is NOT what psychologists mean by the term.

    Somerby, being an ignorant goofball, presumes to know more about how to present this subject matter than an expert who does it all the time. And that is a subtle swipe, again, by Somerby at the notion of expertise. It also reflects the grandiosity of someone who habitually thinks he knows more about everything than other people, including experts.

    That is how narcissists think too. It is reflected in Trump's assertions that he knows more than his generals, that he knows all about space and nuclear weapons and doesn't need to read any daily intelligence briefings. He has all the best words and is a stable genius. Then he goes on to suggest that we should nuke a hurricane to change its path. Such people get upset when others don't value their important ideas.

    Somerby sounds a bit Trumpish when he says "for my money" and then shows his ignorance, proudly, as if "his money" is worth contradicting someone who has made a subject his life's work. But that's what Republican hubris is like. It results in male legislators claiming that a woman cannot get pregnant from being raped, or that global warming is being caused by Chinese space lasers, and other nonsense. And it leads people to accept conspiracy theories because they appeal to their overvalued "common sense" uninformed by facts.

    But I suppose we should be happy that Somerby read this article at all. After all, it is about behavioral science.

    1. GW boasted how he governed using his "gut". How'd that work out?

    2. Do you think he really did that?

    3. Yeah, I think he was dumb and uncurious and unengaged and reckless because of his unjustified confidence in his gut.

      It's like President Bartlett said to that Governor from Texas he was running against for re-election.

      "You've turned being unengaged into a zen like thing, and I don't think you shouldn't enjoy it so much....."

      That pretty much succinctly sums up the modern GOP.

    4. Don't you think he listened too much to Dick Cheney and other advisors around him to be relying on his gut?

  3. "That said, Whang does describe a basic, if occasional, human capacity—"the ability to attribute to other people mental states different from our own."

    Somerby inserts the words "if occasional" but on what basis? Whang doesn't say this is occasionally used. He says that those with deficits are unable to do it. People make attributions about the mental states of others all the time, not occasionally.

    When you have a conversation with a person you are also monitoring whether they are understanding what you are saying, whether they are interested in what you are saying, whether they agree or have objections. People monitor others important to them to decide what their moods are, whether they are tired, sick, happy, angry. Even if you don't realize you are doing it, it informs interactions with others, continually not on occasion. Knowing the intentions of others is important to personal safety and to maintaining relationships.

    But Somerby, knowing next to nothing about psychology, inserts the words "if occasional" out of his butt, without knowing whether he is right or wrong about how often people rely on their ability to form a theory of mind about what others are thinking, feeling, know or don't know.

    Somerby does this because he wishes to "borrow" this concept to berate liberals. He accuses us of failure to recognize that others think differently, but to do that, he must demonstrate that people set aside this ongoing monitoring of the mental state of others, for wilfull political reasons. There is no evidence that liberals or anyone else does this. It occurs outside of awareness and is automatic, not conscious typically.

    Then Somerby says:

    "Friend, does your so-called lizard brain sometimes direct you to reject that basic understanding? Does it direct you to adopt a different stance? Does it direct you to otherize others?"

    Somerby is no longer talking about the ability to form a theory of mind. He is now misusing that concept to suggest that liberals are ignoring important differences, but now he claims that our lizard brains are doing this, when this ability itself resides in unconscious processing that cannot be set aside like that without also turning off all senses and awareness of one's environment. To be unaware that another person is upset or angry, one would have to stop seeing them at all. Or be so preoccupied with other dangers that they lost awareness of the environment. This isn't someone you choose to do or flip a switch to turn off.

    So, Somerby warps psychological knowledge to suit his own hypothesis that liberals are bad people because we don't acknowledge differences in thought among The Others. But this is not true and not consistent with Whang's exposition either. It is Somerby's pet idea that liberals don't pay attention to right-wingers, that we otherize them (on what basis if we don't know they are different?), and that we turn off our theory of mind in order to do this. That is idiocy. It is like Trump using that Sharpie to change the path of a hurricane because it didn't fit his personal predictions.

    Science doesn't exist to give Somerby another bat to hit his enemies with. You don't change the details to fit your personal desire to denigrate others (in this case liberals). We liberals know that the right wing thinks differently. Of course we know that. We don't know how to change them and we do not agree with them. But we know what they think. So this particular rant is beyond stupid. It is a blatant misuse of science in order to attack liberals, and unfair to Dr. Whang, who would not likely agree with anything Somerby has said, including his distortion of Whang's ideas to enable their use as a battering ram against one political ideology that Somerby clearly disagrees with.

  4. Dr. Whang says that developing a theory of mind about others is what normal people do, but he cites various conditions that might prevent or lessen that ability, including schizophrenia and autism.

    In fairness, Somerby may not have much experience of theory of mind himself, if he is actually on the autism spectrum. It may also account for his mediocre success as a teacher and standup comedian. A standup must be able to "read the room" which involves interpreting how the audience is reacting to his jokes, not just assuming he is the funniest guy on earth (as Trump and narcissists tend to do). A teacher much be able to assess whether students are understanding one's explanation, recognize their frustration or inattention or discouragement, or other mental states in students that interfere with learning and need to be addressed before a lesson can proceed. If Somerby had problems in that area, it would explain why he left the field.

    But Somerby doesn't seem to have much understanding of how liberals think either. He seems to be protecting his own difficulties onto the entire blue tribe, accusing us of not recognizing right-wing concerns instead of recognizing but rejecting them. Somerby's accusations against liberals never seem to hit the mark for me. They are unrelentingly negative, so I assumed Somerby is just manufacturing names to call us. But perhaps he doesn't know how to assess liberals himself and he truly believes his atypical misunderstandings about liberals.

    As Somerby says, he is entitled to his beliefs too, just as everyone is. But that doesn't make him right. It makes him odd. And his motives are clearly to harm liberals, to undermine liberal arguments, to perhaps gain some votes for the right wing. It would be better if he were honest about that, insead of pretending that he cares about whether liberals win elections. Those of us who are not impaired see through that pretty easily, using our own ability to understand that Somerby is not straight in his thinking and has been dishonest in his motives here.

    1. correction: "protecting his own difficulties" should be projecting

    2. What is the evidence for Bob's 'mediocre success' as a teacher?

    3. Hector, they are just trolling. They will say whatever to get attention - that are probably lonely.

    4. Mainly I meant that he was a mediocre success as a standup comedian (in the same sentence as teacher). Somerby's teaching career included teaching 5th grade at an inner city Baltimore school, then switching to 6th grade, then teaching math in middle school. He apparently didn't like it much, since he left the field. If he were good at it, he would have found it more satisfying and wouldn't have changed grade levels/schools. He also wouldn't have an attitude (expressed in his blog) that the kids are to blame for not learning, and the belief that no one cares about whether black kids learn, especially liberals. At the end of his teaching career, he wrote a newspaper editorial about a school standardized test cheating scandal, was interviewed on local radio about school cheating/testing, and tried to become a journalist by writing local op eds, but that didn't work out either. Good teachers believe in their students and stay in the field. Mediocre ones blame the kids for not learning and use teaching as a stepping stone to somewhere else. Somerby became a teacher to avoid being drafted. I'm sure he enjoyed being the "sage on the stage" in his classrooms, developing his standup timing, but that doesn't make him good for his students.

      In all the essays Somerby has written here about education, none of them has addressed teaching methods, student needs, inner city problems or reforms needed, or any other specific aspect of teaching. A person without any experience at all as a teacher could have written any of Somerby's essays -- they are mostly only about NAEP scores and racial gaps. And I've never seen the warmth toward people that good teachers share with their students.

    5. If longevity is the criterion for success, then Bob must be a helluva blogger.

    6. Longevity may be an indicator in the sense that good teachers don’t tend to quit, but mediocre ones may hang on too. Staying on the job may be ambiguous, quitting less so.

  5. "At issue are "the lives of others"—and no, we don't mean the widely acclaimed 2006 German film. "

    Inability to suppress (inhibit) extraneous associations that pop up while thinking is a symptom of frontal lobe dysfunction, such as what occurs in autism or schizophrenia or mania, but also with dementia or frontal lobe injury. A person writing an essay may have such thoughts, but instead of writing them down and distracting from his own exposition, a normal person would supress the thought and go on with his essay. Knowing how to select what is appropriate and what is extraneous is part of good writing. Somerby doesn't inhibit the things that distract him. That can be confusing for readers or distracting or merely annoying, but it doesn't help the essay. Somerby does this a lot.

    1. This isn't the place for you if you only want to read what you agree with.

    2. This isn't a matter of agreeing or disagreeing. It is a matter of having to sort through irrelevant references because such thoughts wandered momentarily through Somerby's mind. It makes it take longer to read and grasp what Somerby is talking about. That is counterproductive for Somerby, no matter who agrees or disagrees with his point once we figure out what it might be.

    3. Somerby's asides make him a more entertaining writer, thereby making him easier to read and to be understood.

    4. Did you find it entertaining to know that he wasn't talking about a 2006 German film? What understanding did that lead to for you?

    5. That there was a highly regarded 2006 German film called 'The Lives of Others.' Bob even helpfully provided a link.

    6. Anonymouse 11:54am, have you no shame?

      Somerby is a very lucid writer. He Is often wonderfully lyrical.

    7. Especially when quoting Bob Dylan without attribution. I especially love his phrase: "the woods are lovely, dark and deep..."

    8. @2:03

      Next time just google "best German films"

      It will give you this:

      But remember that Somerby WASN'T talking about that 2006 film at all. So why mention it? What was Somerby talking about? Do you remember?

    9. 2:03,

      is this really the hill you want to die on? Bob's aside about a German film?

    10. You are the one making a big deal about it. I think it reflects a cognitive deficit and that is problematic because it affects lots of things Somerby writes. That is more than just a reference to a German film. But you are the one who said you like hearing him talk about stuff like that, even when he says he is NOT talking about it. (Why wouldn't he just remove the reference and the disclaimer?) Again, it is either something wrong with his brain or someone is paying him by the word to fill up empty space in a manner consistent with right-wing political goals.

    11. Bob often can’t concentrate on his
      topic because he has nothing to bring
      to it. I can’t think of an instance that
      he ever did any outside research
      investigate the validity of a point,
      pro or con. Even when he takes
      a second day or now, sometimes
      a week and a given topic. He
      just repeats what he is on about
      over and over.
      Cecelia, an Ayn Rand style
      bigot, merely enjoys his dull

  6. Bob, who must be at least in his early seventies, is just
    getting tired. I feel his pain. Going back to the abuse of
    Al Gore (it was unfair, but he made his own mistakes,
    and they were whoppers) to justify the freakish,
    horrid weirdness of Donald Trump and his supporters
    doesn't much fly. Can we really believe he believes
    it does?

  7. "At any rate, this is one of the common ways we tend to otherize Others. Simply put, the Others simply aren't human. They'll be compared to animals, but also perhaps to machines."

    Somerby goes from examples of attacks on Gore, to Rwandan genocide, but he doesn't present any examples of liberals calling Republicans animals. He shows us Trump calling Bragg, an animal (as black people have been called throughout our entire history as a nation), but he doesn't quote any liberal calling Republicans animals. But Somerby doesn't need evidence or proof. It is enough for him to assert that we do this as part of otherizing the right wing. Who needs examples?

    I think the main reason Somerby needs to present evidence of his complaint is that Democrats are the party of empathy. Our motivation is largely to help other people. We urge tolerance of difference, celebration of multiculturalism, inclusion and civil rights for all. Why would we be calling the right animals when it runs counter to strongly held liberal values -- ones that Somerby himself does not seem to share? Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof, yet evidence is exactly what Somerby omits entirely, skipping over that part to directly accuse the left of things that the right does do, but the left does not.

    Yes, it is hard to find those examples. Somerby is a lazy guy. But it is getting tiresome to hear such claims day after day and never anything to support them.

  8. "Robotically, mainstream pundits borrowed from what Weisberg had said."

    I think they borrowed it because it was colorful and funny and they disliked Gore themselves. There was nothing "robotic" about it.

    Notice how Somerby inserts the word robotic to dehumanize the reporters he dislikes, after telling all of us that comparing people to machines is wrong.

  9. Here’s a good discussion of Michelangelo’s David:

  10. "We [liberals] have a long list of insulting names we're quick to apply to the Others."

    Insulting someone isn't the same as dehumanizing or otherizing them. A person who is called dumb is still being treated as a human being. A dumb one. In contrast, someone who is called a cochroach is being called subhuman and we have different rules for treating cochroaches than people (even dumb ones). The dehumanization is used to justify breaking the rules about how we treat other people by setting those people outside the boundary of what is human. We are allowed to kill cockroaches but not people.

    Somerby glosses this important distinction and reduces otherization to simple namecalling, which is different. You have to watch these transitions because Somerby is sneak about them. Yes, liberals call conservatives names. Do they call them animals or cockroaches -- that hasn't been demonstrated by Somerby at all. Have liberals called for conservatives to be denied civil rights and treated as second-class citizens in red states -- no, but Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene did that when she said that liberals shouldn't be allowed to vote for 5 years after moving to a red state. Can Somerby find any actual examples of similar behavior from the left?

  11. Jacob Weisberg is neither good nor decent.

    1. His mother probably loved him.

  12. David in CA and Cecelia are Others. Mao Chengji is an animal.

    1. And you’re human, but an anonymouse by choice.

    2. Meh. Bots ain't humyn. They are fully automatic computer-generated word-salads.

  13. "could it possibly turn out to be that the new Yahoos R Us?"

    yahoo definition: "a rude, noisy, or violent person"

    Well, we aren't the ones responsible for political violence in our country. We didn't foment an insurrection. We don't send the death threats. Aside from that, are we rude and noisy? Maybe. Marjorie Taylor Greene did complain because a protester was blowing a whistle at her press conference. But we haven't beaten anyone up, that I know of. We weren't the ones running down protesters in their trucks, killing them on the sidewalk. And Rittenhouse isn't one of us.

    So, I don't see us becoming the new yahoos any time soon. I also don't see any move on the right to curtail the excesses of its yahooiest members.

    And notice that the definition of yahoo includes the word person. It is thus not otherization because it does not refer to someone who is rude or violent as an animal or machine or sub- or non-human being.

    Personally, I think the yahoos on the right are proud of that title. It would be difficult and perhaps cruel to wrench it away from them when they are enjoying it so much. That yahoo quality of rudeness and violence is why they all voted for Trump, after all.

  14. "As we increasingly name-call Others, could it possibly turn out to be that the new Yahoos R Us?"

    The contradiction in this sentence is that Somerby has been decrying name-calling (as otherization, although it isn't, strictly speaking) but tries to stop the name-calling by calling liberals yahoos. He seeks to stop name-calling by doing more name-calling. Has that ever worked?

    Someone paying attention might point out that Somerby is only name-calling liberals and he isn't concerned about stopping the way conservatives name-call us, just our name-calling of those people he [affectionately?] calls Others. We didn't call them that. That is Somerby's name for them.

    1. If Somerby stopped his own name-calling half of the name-calling in the world would disappear.

    2. Somerby is heavily ironic.

    3. Unsignaled irony and sarcasm are means of plausible deniability for someone who wants to say something outrageous but doesn't want to take responsibility for it. It is akin to "What's the matter, can't you take a joke." and "wink wink, nod nod".

    4. Some unsignaled irony matches your definition, but not all.

  15. Christmas greetings from Andy Ogles:

  16. One way to otherize others is to describe them using only one characteristic, as if that characteristic defined them. Sen. Joseph McCarthy did that with "communist". If someone was a communist, that's all you had to know to deduce that that person was utterly unacceptable.

    Liberals have been doing for quite a while with the term "racist', including such related labels as "bigot" and "sexist".
    Someone who can be called a "racist" is a bad person, including such paragons as George Washington or Thomas Jefferson. That one term outweighs all their incredible achievements -- achievements for which Americans should be eternally grateful.

    1. Meh. Liberals always call the Right racists. Remember, they even called the Right-wing meme of Obama with a bone through his nose racist.
      One of TDH's regulars even calls them racists, just because they threw a childish temper tantrum at the United States Capitol because black peoples votes counted in the 2020 Presidential election.
      Meanwhile, those achievements by the right, huh?

    2. That isn't what otherize means. It is a valid point but it isn't what is being talked about here.

      otherize definition: "view or treat (a person or group of people) as intrinsically different from and alien to oneself.
      "referring to them in these terms strips them of their identity and otherizes them as foreigners"

      If someone considered being a communist intrinsically different from and alien to oneself, then that would be otherizing them, but not because it only focused on one trait to the exclusion of others.

      It is the alien part that makes people otherized also dehumanized.

      I get it that David doesn't like being called racist. That isn't what Somerby is concerned about today. He thinks liberals aren't bothering to understand the others -- not that they should be excusing otherish behavior because it is not considering them in a well-rounded way that includes admirable off-setting qualities.

      Can someone be a wonderful person in other respects while also being a racist? I think that depends on their racist behavior and their attitude toward the people they were racist toward. George Washington didn't personally oppress his slaves. If he had, I doubt people would have regarded him as a paragon. One heinous flaw can negate virtue in the balance of history and people's regard for them. This is why we don't excuse Hitler's wrongdoing because he loved his dog and made the trains run on time.

    3. If George Wallace was a good father, would that undo the racist things he said and did that negatively affected black people?

      Protesters in 1963 should have given him a pass because he was a good guy if you really got to know him.

    4. My angry reply to David was instantly removed.
      I suspect TDH has installed a protective shield around DinC.

      2:46, it doesn't matter. These people are actively voting to hurt me and mine. I couldn't care less if my magat neighbor can cook a mean barbecue or enjoys baseball like me, I don't want to hang out with him.


    5. @dembot at 3:05 PM

      We seriously recommend that you, dear dembot, overcome your whiteness, and become less aggrieved.

      ...and then, we predict, your comments will stop disappearing...

  17. David and Cecelia are good decent people, but they’re still others.

  18. @2:40 wrote "we don't excuse Hitler's wrongdoing because he loved his dog and made the trains run on time."

    I agree. Similarly, I would never pooh pooh George Washington's and Abraham Lincoln's heroic and incredibly important achievements because of aspects of their personal lives.

    On a more mundane level, I give Donald Trump credit for a number of important Presidential achievements despite his sometimes disgusting personal actions.

    1. The problem is that you let the actions you like, such as that tax cut, outweigh his failures, such as those hundreds of thousands of unnecessay covid deaths or the immigrant kids separated from parents and lost in the system, or the insurrection.

    2. well Trump did manage to get himself impeached for treason twice in one term. Now there's a record that will not soon be broken. Unfortunately he utterly failed to hang his VP at the critical moment. Other than that and giving a ginormous tax cut to billionaires and deregulating banking institutions, I can't think of any other achievements. Did he improve his golf game, David?

    3. @8:07 Trump helped poor and minorities by building an economy that substantially improved their lives. Trump made progress toward peace in the Middle East by persuading Israel and several of its neighbors to sign the Abraham Accords. Trump also helped blacks by reducing the crime rate. As you may know, blacks are disproportionately victims of crime.

    4. Shorter @ 8:47, etc.- believe me, not your lyin' eyes.

    5. He built an economy? Really David? Holy shit.
      From scratch. Wow, what a guy. It's so long ago I forgot the dystopian landscape before Trump took over.

      By the way, how can you make progress toward "peace" when there wasn't and isn't any war in the Middle East involving Israel with any of those countries who signed the accords.

      How is his love affair with Bibi working out, David? Unfortunately it doesn't look like Israel is going to remain a democracy anymore.

    6. David is being coy. He doesn't care about Trump's "economy", or that Trump gave a HUGE tax break to the Establishment Elites Mao works for.
      David loves Trump's bigotry. Trump punches down on the groups David hates.
      Best thing about it is David really thinks he'll be looked at as one of the good Jews.

  19. "... and it was at this very time that a rare and peculiar butt wind was hereby produced."

    - Fanny Longfahrt, circa 1998