STARTING TOMORROW: "Back out of all this now too much for us..."

MONDAY, APRIL 10, 2023

Still looking for what to call it: "Back out of all this now too much for us..."

That's the way a poet began a somewhat inscrutable poem. We often think of that opening line as we examine our perhaps unwinnable, rapidly devolving, embarrassing national politics.

Has our national politics created a place which is "now too much for us?" It seems to us that it has, and it seems to us that our self-impressed blue tribe is a self-defeating part of that growing problem.

These national politics today! We skip from silly dispute to silly dispute, with both major tribes embellishing freely. Just consider this morning's newspapers:

In the Washington Post, Jada Yuan devotes a long analysis piece to—get this—a sillysad series of flaps which grew out of—get this—some unusual behavior after the end of the NCAA women's championship basketball game.

To her credit, Yuan doesn't present the adjusted set of basic facts which were accepted as instant Storyline as soon as the flap broke out. That said, Jill Biden was quickly thrown into the stew, thereby becoming the focus of Yuan's snarky, unhelpful report.

"Back out of all this now too much for us!" That lyric came to mind as we read Yuan's long, largely silly piece.

That's what we found in this morning's Washington Post! In this morning's New York Times, we found this letter from a college student who's 100 percent well-intentioned:

A Disney Movie, Banned in a Florida School

Re “A Ban on a Film Is a Ban on American History,” by Charles M. Blow (column, March 30):

The censorship occurring in Florida schools is a dangerous attack on education and free speech. How can children receive an adequate education if anything that a parent objects to is banned?

When I was in elementary school, we were taught about history, even if it meant acknowledging racism or hardships faced by minority groups, and we were better informed growing up because of it. To ban a Disney movie—something completely appropriate for children—because it refers to racism does nothing but harm the child.

Perhaps Florida parents should start objecting from the other side, as Mr. Blow suggests. If media depicting racism is banned, where is the ban on Thanksgiving, or on the white founding fathers, or on any slave-owning historical figure? Of course, none of this should reasonably be banned from discussion in the classroom, but Florida rule makers should be forced to consider the implications of their actions.

We have a moral obligation to stand up against what is being done in Florida.

A— L—, Boston

The writer is well-intentioned and completely sincere. That said, where to begin? 

This "ban on a film" was never a ban. No "censorship" was ever involved.

Beyond that, this non-event was quickly resolved, more than a week ago. The letter writer doesn't seem to have heard about that. 

Presumably, the Letters editor isn't aware of the quick resolution either. Say hello to the leadership cadre at the New York Times!

As you may recall, this "ban" was such a non-event that the New York Times, to its credit, never published a news report about the trivial matter. Inevitably, the Opinion pages published two (2) opinion columns about the flap—a non-flap flap which still seems to exist on the newspaper's Letters page.

Within our flailing tribe, we love love love love love love love to talk about book and film bans. Within our tribe, we think "we have a moral obligation" to trumpet such claims far and wide, embellishing as we go.

Then too, along came this lengthy report from yesterday's Washington Post. Reviewing events in the Tennessee House, Gowen and Green let this slip about the way the white lady (Rep. Gloria Johnson) manages to escape expulsion:

GOWEN AND GREEN (4/9/23): Democratic lawmakers who spoke in Johnson’s defense Thursday noted that Johnson had not shouted or banged the podium during the March 30 protest, unlike [Reps.] Jones and Pearson, but merely stood beside them in a show of support.

Johnson ultimately avoided expulsion after a vote of 65 to 30 fell one short of the two-thirds majority needed to eject her.

(For the record, the Republicans voted 65-7 in favor of Johnson's expulsion. Five or six changed their votes from the way they'd voted with respect to her two colleagues.)

Sad! If that account by Gowen and Green is accurate, Tennessee Democrats urged their Republican colleagues to let Johnson escape expulsion because she hadn't done the various things her two black colleagues had done.

When a handful of Republican members actually voted the way their Democratic colleagues had urged, our blue tribe did what we now do best. We fanned out across the countryside, proclaiming that Johnson's narrow escape proved that the Republicans were just a gang of racists! 

That is very, very much the way we now play the game.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but we are now, very much, in a place grown "too much for us."

There's no way to win in the world we're inventing. Tomorrow, we'll start trying to take you down that unpopular conceptual path.


  1. "Has our national politics created a place which is "now too much for us?""

    It's easy to fix, dear Bob: just get your tribal chief out of politics.

    ...incidentally, it not national; the whole liberal-western world is in deep crisis. Imperial globalization, the unipolarity, the whole post-cold-war structure is collapsing.

    ...all we can do it wait 'n see, and hope that your tribal strangeloves will stop short of destroying the planet...

  2. ‘This "ban on a film" was never a ban. No "censorship" was ever involved.
    Beyond that, this non-event was quickly resolved, more than a week ago.’

    The film was indeed “banned”, pending a review. (From news reports: “Pinellas County Schools officials temporarily banned “Ruby Bridges” from the elementary school until it’s assessed by a committee.”) The ban was based on the objection of a parent who said this:

    “the film teaches students about racial slurs and how white people hate black people.”

    This is the type of objection that Florida’s “stop woke” act is specifically engineered to elicit.

    The film was reinstated, although “The parent who filed the complaint was invited to speak to the committee but did not attend Monday's meeting [which was about whether to reinstate the film].” It’s conceivable that the decision could have gone the other way.

    This is not a non-issue, but an example of the ramifications of Florida’s Act and the broader question of censorship in and control of public schools.

    How many such objections by parents of two of the 60 students who viewed the film until the school district is swamped with similar complaints?

    The concerns of the student letter writer are justified.

    1. FL is now moving to permit people who live outside of a school district to present objections to materials used in other districts. This facilitates the nationwide campaign of right wing groups such as Moms for Liberty. This is not about parent objections -- it is a coordinated political movement against certain ideas. Schools are a place for inquiry not propaganda.

  3. The Texas abortion pill ban, a pretty shocking evangelical overreach, is the current topic on Bob’s dreaded “Deadline Whitehouse.”
    The story is about as relevant to Bob as the Disney movie flap, so maybe he is not being inconsistent. But there is a serious question
    if Bob is even trying to pay attention to what is
    going on.

  4. Somerby lives in a dreamscape of his own creation, in which the “white woman” was not expelled because she didn’t shout or bang the podium.

  5. “Johnson's narrow escape proved that the Republicans were just a gang of racists!”

    It sure looks that way.

    But, to be fair, we liberals also fanned out across the countryside, proclaiming that Republicans were a gang of authoritarian fascists, for deciding that “shouting” and “banging a podium” were a reasonable justification for depriving tens of thousands of Democratic-voting Tennessee citizens (many of them black) from having any representation in the state house.

  6. The awful Judicial decision banning a particular abortion medicine has something in common with the prosecution of D. Trump. Both are prohibited by the statute of limitations. A wild stretch in the in the interpretation of this statute was required.

    I wish a more American opinion leaders cared about integrity in applying the law, regardless of which side it helps.

    1. On the one hand, a right-wing front group for anti-abortion activists, with absolutely no valid legal standing to even bring this case, went judge shopping to - holy shit!! - Amarillo, Texas, looking for just the right "judge" with extensive knowledge of biology and drugs and qualified enough to second guess the FDA and 23 years of experience in use throughout the world.

      On the other hand a team of DA's took up a case they had previously been blocked from pursuing by cover-up specialist Billy Barr.

      What the fuck do you and Donald J Chickenshit know about integrity, David?

    2. With every passing month, David's comments are more disappointing.

  7. The second amendment is evil.