HARVARD THEN AND NOW: Fuzzy language to the left of us...


Clown shows to the right: Full disclosure, in the form of a confession:

Long ago and far away, there may have been a time when we wouldn't have been able to identify this latest collection of words as an example of fuzzy language.

The collection of words to which we refer appears in today's New York Times. Here's how the news report begins, with its fuzzy language highlighted:

Federal Judge Approves Georgia’s New Voting Maps

A federal judge on Thursday ruled that the Georgia legislature had complied with orders to draw voting maps that allowed Black voters an equal opportunity to elect representatives of their choice, signing off on new districts created earlier this month.

The Republican-led legislature had drawn new state and congressional maps during a December special session, after a federal judge in Atlanta said the original districts created after the 2020 census violated the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act.


Judge Steve C. Jones of the Northern District of Georgia, who first struck down the [original] maps in late October, said that the legislature had now done enough to comply with the Voting Rights Act with its new maps, which are likely to maintain the 9-5 majority Republicans hold in the state’s congressional delegation.

“The court finds that the General Assembly fully complied with this court’s order requiring the creation of a majority-Black congressional district in the region of the state where vote dilution was found,” Judge Jones, who was nominated to his post by President Barack Obama, wrote in one of three rulings rejecting challenges to the redrawn congressional and state legislature maps.

So begins the report by King and Cochrane, fuzzy language highlighted. 

According to the Times reporters, Georgia's new legislative maps "allow Black voters an equal opportunity to elect representatives of their choice." It sounds like something you'd want to allow, but what exactly does that formulation actually mean?

The reporters make no attempt to explain. Beyond that, the term "vote dilution" appears several times in their report, in the absence of any attempt to explain what that term means.

We'll return to the question of "fuzzy language" before we're done today. First, we want to show you something we saw and heard on Wednesday night as we groaningly watched the Fox News Channel program, The Five.

The Five airs at 5 p.m. Eastern. Also, it features a shifting panel of five (5) panelists. Plainly, a lot of cleverness went into this popular program's name and construction.

As part of The Five's basic format, four (4) of the panelists take turns emitting red tribe Storyline regarding the topic under review. At some point, the panel's one (1) blue tribe panelist is allowed to try to respond.

This format could hardly be dumber. That said, what we heard on Wednesday night crossed the border of the merely dumb, venturing into the uncharted territory of the Baldly Stupid.

On the night in question, the panelist serving as moderator was Lisa Kennedy Montgomery. "Referred to mononymously as Kennedy," she's "an American libertarian political commentator, radio personality, author, and former MTV VJ." 

Or at least, so the leading authority says.

At 5:27 p.m., the former VJ kicked off the segment in question. In all honesty, you really can't get too much dumber than what you see below. 

To watch the full segment, just click here. But this is what Kennedy said at the start of the soul-draining, eight-minute pseudo-discussion:

KENNEDY (12/27/23): Democrats had a busy year declaring war on appliances in the name of green energy. But one liberal leader got a pass on her gas. 

Kamala is getting burned online—Get it?—for posting this photo of herself and the second hubby, Douglas Emhoff, cooking up some Christmas beef Wellington—sounds kinky—on a gas stove, which the regulation-obsessed Biden administration considered banning over health concerns.

And it's not just gas stoves. Biden's anti-consumer crusade is targeting four more types of appliances—including but not limited to, dishwashers, air conditioners, washing machines and furnaces. 

Had enough nanny state? I've been telling you. Well, how about Mayor Pete going after your wheels?

Actually, no. According to experts, it can't get dumber than that.

There followed a brief, misleadingly edited video of a recent appearance by Pete Buttigieg on a Fox Business Network program. (For the record, Buttigieg was treated with perfect courtesy on that particular show.)

Eventually, Kennedy threw to the rest of her panel, including the former pro wrestling heavyweight champion; the former marine whose family boasts "a colorful past as moonshiners and race car," and the 35-year-old Arizonan who, "as an adult woman with eligible ancestry, became a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution."

The four red tribe panelists proceeded to stage a meandering pseudo-discussion of every energy issue under the sun. No attempt was made to explain why anyone might be concerned about any of the three hundred topics under pseudo-review. 

Any one of those topics would have been appropriate for a real discussion. Instead, the four red tribers generated an endless stream of self-pitying nonsense—nonsense which had started with the unfounded, apparently bogus claim that the Biden administration considered banning gas stoves this year.

Finally, the torch was passed to Jessica Tarlov, the panel's one (1) blue tribe member. As is typical in these imitations of life, this exchange quickly ensued:

TARLOV: No one has mentioned why there's any conversation about getting rid of gas stoves. It's because of childhood asthma. Gas stoves are responsible for 12 percent of the childhood asthma cases in the United States—

KATIE PAVLICH: That's not true.

TARLOV: Yes, it is true. Twenty-one percent oft he cases in Illinois, 20 percent of the cases in California. It's a health and safety risk more than it's just about liberals wanting to exert maximum control over the populace that we think that we're smarter than...

The interruption was instantaneous. Only a fool would suppose that Pavlich actually knows what's "true" about this technical matter. 

That said, why did Tarlov include the statement about what liberals do and don't want to exert? She included it because the four red tribe participants—the former VJ; the former heavyweight wrestling champion; the ex-Marine with the colorful family; the former conservative blogger of the year, so named at age 23—had insisted, all though their pseudo-discussion, that liberals want to engage in such regulations because they think they're smarter than us the regular people, and because they want to control us.

Full disclosure: Everyone is smarter than the people who pump the tribal line on programs like The Five. 

(We'll offer a pass to Johnny Joey Jones, the ex-Marine with the colorful family history. Jones is unfailingly courteous, and strikes us as being completely sincere.)

At any rate, no one isn't smarter than these people are! That said. we the people will commonly lack the analytical tools with which to discern the level of clowning being performed on such "cable news" programs.

As a general matter, we the people lack such tools—and at this site, for the past twenty-five years, we've noted a certain cultural problem:

No one from our finest schools is going to dirty his or her hands by stepping forward to discuss the degrees of deception and misinformation involved in these endless gong shows. At schools like Harvard, MIT and Penn, such things simply aren't done.

It simply isn't done! Nor will the collection of billionaires, donors and corporate heirs assembled on the Harvard Corporation ever step out of their mahoganied  rooms to take note of this failure to serve.

Regarding the fuzzy language with which we began, let the word go forth:

There was a time when we ourselves might not have noticed the fact that this morning's Times report is built around fuzzy language.

In the major piece of fuzzy language, we're told that yesterday's decision in Georgia means that black voters in that state will now be "allowed an equal opportunity to elect representatives of their choice."

Go ahead—try to paraphrase that formulation! Try to explain what that means! 

In fairness, there was a time when we ourselves probably wouldn't have seen that as fuzzy language—but what does that fuzzy language mean? It's very had to say. Nor will any Harvard professor ever step forward in a guest essay to address any such point of concern.

To appearances, the professors are too busy inside their bubbles to offer any such service to the world. With that, we think back to our own freshman year at Harvard, and to the handful of years which have followed.

The clowning on the Fox News Channel is an existential threat to our failing nation. Harvard professors are too refined to emerge from their studies to say that.

Nor is it likely that any such professor would actually have the skills with which to perform some such service. Meanwhile, the jugglers and clowns on Harvard's governing body lack the social awareness to notice the end drawing near.

The board sits in mahoganied rooms making its "key decisions." When the president they selected showed up in Washington at the start of this month, it turned out that she didn't have the slightest idea how to speak in public. 

In fairness, neither did the other college presidents, those from MIT and Penn. Simply put:

After decades inside the bubble, the three lacked any such skill.

These are the jugglers and the clowns who are conventionally described as "highly educated." The three college presidents were beaten and cowed by the screeching lunacy of Rep. Elise Stefanik—and Harvard's own Professor Tribe couldn't run fast enough to tell the world that Stefanik had been right! 

So spoke the highly educated, at that point in time.

"You've gone to the finest schools," Bob Dylan derisively said. On Monday, the New York Times launched a sneak attack on the "highly educated" people who count their money and successfully hide inside such high-end bubbles.

By our senior year: By our junior and senior years, we'd been directed toward the admittedly incoherent work of the later Wittgenstein. 

Incoherent as that work may have been, it did offer a way to untangle the spider webs of fuzzy language and conceptual confusion afflicting high-end thought. According to Professor Horwich, his colleagues  decided that life would be easier if they simply averted their gaze.

His colleagues retreated back into the bubble. When the three college presidents showed up in D.C., you saw where such lethargy leads.

The donors and heirs sit on the board, with a pair of scholars thrown in.


  1. David, what was the cause of the Civil War?

    1. Democrats who wanted policies that were bad for black Americans.

    2. So, David, the southern states seceded to preserve slavery, right?

    3. David is just doing some of his bitchy passive aggressive trolling. He thinks he is being clever. As I said before, DiC is not here to engage in intellectually honest dialogue.

    4. Anon 3:48 -- do you think the question asked by @8:45 was honest dialogue? I don't. I think it was intended as some sort of a "gotcha" question.

      BTW @3:32 is only partly right. It wasn't just Southern Democrats. Northern Democrats were not in favor of slavery, as Southern Democrats were, but Northern Democrats were not committed to ending slavery, the way the Republicans were. If a Democrat had been elected President in 1860, I don't think slavery would have ended.

    5. Yes, absolutely, it was a fair and honest question. What the fuck is wrong with you people? It is amazing how a simple fucking softball question to a Republican presidential candidate at a townhall has gotten you magats into a tailspin. It wasn't a trick question, David, you fucking racist prick.

    6. Lincoln ran on a platform of preventing the spread of slavery. After he was elected, but before he took office, southern states started seceding. After he took office, he showed that he was prepared to use armed force against secession, and the rest of the South seceded.

      Why did they secede? To preserve slavery!

    7. The cause of the civil war was not slavery alone. After all, the US had slavery for over 80 years. Why didn't the civil war begin before 1861?

      Other causes include growing popular moral resistance to the institution of slavery, led by the Christian church, and Abraham Lincoln personally.

      Did secession alone lead to the Civil War? After all, the North could have just accepted the South's secession. The North did accept the secession for several months, until the South fired on Fort Sumpter. It's interesting to speculate about what would have happened if the South had left Fort Sumpter alone.

    8. As usual, you don't know what the fuck you're blabbering about, David. The United States of America didn't for one fucking second accept the confederacy, jackass.

    9. Lincoln said this: “ Secession would destroy the only democracy in existence and prove for all time - to both future Americans and the world - that a government of the people could not survive.”

      David must have attended DeSantis’ anti woke school system.

    10. From the date of the first secession, the US did not go to war bring the seceded states back into the country for 3 1/2 months. Even then, the US did not go to war until the South first attacked them at Fort Sumpter.

      "On December 20, 1860, by a vote of 169-0, the South Carolina legislature enacted an "ordinance" that "the union now subsisting between South Carolina and other States, under the name of 'The United States of America,' is hereby dissolved." As GIST had hoped, South Carolina's action resulted in conventions in other southern states. Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas all left the Union by February 1."

      "On April 12, after Lincoln ordered a fleet to resupply Sumter, Confederate artillery fired the first shots of the Civil War."

    11. BTW @8:03, you deserve some credit for quoting evidence. However, words are not action. Decrying something while not preventing it or stopping it is a way of accepting it.

    12. Unlike Cecelia, David discusses this subject intelligently.

    13. David, Lincoln did not need to declare war to put down an illegal and unconstitutional rebellion by treasonous bastards like yourself and your magat party.

    14. @5:05 PM
      "Yes, absolutely, it was a fair and honest question."

      If you are so confused about the reasons of the secessions, you might want to try to find some learned opinions on the web.

      And if you are such an idiot that you can't do it, and have to ask commenters instead, then you are a total idiot.

      I am Corby.

    15. Nikki Haley knows the Civil War was fought over slavery. She was trying to signal to Republican voters she's one of them.
      I hear that in her next campaign event, she's going to eat paste.

    16. Yes, I agree, 8:04 AM. It really was a softball question. Except nowadays for Magats like DiC and presidential candidates in the repugnant party pretend primary who don't want to offend their racist base voters.

    17. @9:15 AM
      you're too hard on the Democrat party.

    18. 9:15,
      You're giving Republican voters too much credit.

    19. 9:19,
      DiC thinks it's a "gotcha question"!!!!! Bwahahaha!!!

  2. Well, Bob wants liberals to stand up to clowns like the four of the five. Then he wants to deride liberals for standing up to the four of the five because when they do that it hurts the feelings of his good friends and neighbors who also watch Alex Jones, wonderful people all.
    So it has always been with Bob, so as it is likely to go for the rest of my days.
    Hey, how bout that insane Maine? We will now be treated to listening to 10 months of Republicans letting us know that elections should be decided by the people.
    Let that sink in for a minute.

  3. Remember that in 2017, a white supremacist son of a murderer from Kentucky killed a person with his car, and just this month, FOX News joked about wanting to hit people with cars. Fox is very open about blaming YOU for trying to care about the world and challenge white power. Their rallying cry is simply: taste my bumper, hippie! I am the Angel of Death!

    Now where would we find such a psychopathic form of thinking in Harvard? This idea that "It's not my problem!" Does it really just come from stupid people?

    The erasure of a general, transitive meaning of reality, can be read in a Harvard professor's book "The Better Angels of Our Nature." (2012)

    The Vietnam war of aggression led by France and US white supremacist imperialism is not our fault, he writes but the fault of the Asian for " a fanatical dedication to outlasting their opponents" in war. (Page 308, Chapter "The New Peace"). These silly Reds could have died in less numbers if they just lost the war on purpose, turned the other cheek as it was burning with DOW napalm!

    Going farther back, none other than Harvard scholars published a book called "Management and the Worker" in 1939 to describe language games that turn complaints about low wages into a cultural issue.

    Page 267 of the manual states if a worker complains about low pay, simply write down instead that "his wife is in the hospital and that he is worried about the doctor's bills he has incurred..."

    The job of the manager according to Harvard graduates Dickson and Roethlisberger was to take this issue of a sweeping indictment of the corporation and sterilize it into "There once was a man with bills, boo hoo!" Taste my spreadsheet, hippie!

    According to the New York Times, they were great scholars, since "expressions of management concern for working conditions was a more significant factor in productivity than the actual physical conditions."

    According to Wikipedia, no doubt some proud grandson added this morsel: the manager manual was voted the 10th most influential book for managers of the century.

    The elite have trained themselves almost to imitate psychotic schizophrenia for their own class survival (let's pause to note most mentally ill people are victims of crime rather than perpetrators).

    The elite are smart enough to know they are using power for ill-gotten gains, but just crafty enough to decide they can't find anyone responsible for it in power today.

    Educated people are not too stupid for their own good, they're clever social groomers who forgot honesty and respect to chase prestige and money.

    Fox and Harvard are playing for the same team, AGAINST US.






    1. grandson of a murderer actually

  4. Liberals have indeed enacted various rules regarding our kitchen appliances. To mention a few: My dishwasher takes a considerably longer time to run because of liberal rules. Some cities banned natural gas heat in new construction. As of Jan 1., gasoline powered leaf-blowers will be illegal in my community.

    1. David, what was the cause of the Civil War?

    2. Your kitchen runs on new natural gas investments in other cities? How goddamn big is your house?

    3. Anonymouse 2:12pm, according to Nicole Hannah Jones, the answer isn’t slavery.

      Who knew?


    4. @2:12 Democrats back then claimed that preserving slavery was in the best interest of blacks. Democrats today pass laws and regulations that actually hurt blacks, but which they claim are in the best interest of blacks.

      The more things change...

    5. That's not what she said, Cec. She said that the North didn't get into it to end slavery, which is totally accurate. The question to Haley was "what was the cause of the Civil War", and the answer is slavery.

    6. Cecelia, why did the souther states secede? Tom Cotton says, "The Civil War started because the American people elected an anti-slavery Republican as president and Democrats revolted rather than accept minor restrictions on the expansion of slavery to the western territories." Is Cotton wrong? If so, what was the reason for secession? Why did the southern states secede?

    7. The economy of the southern states needed free international trade, to export cotton. The economy of the northern states needed protectionism, tariffs, to develop industries.

      For the most part, these contradiction is what led to the secession.

    8. Anonymouse 3:45pm, no Nikole Hannah Jones begs to differ. She says the cause of the Civil War was to keep the union together. That implies that if there could have been some compromise that merely mitigated slavery, no war would have been fought.

      I think she’s full of crap.

    9. Anonymouse 3:34pm, Tom Cotton is not wrong.

      What is also not “wrong” but is pretty damn stupid and insulting is the anonymouse desire to make some commenters dance by asking such a questions.

      No one is going to indulge you in that. Stick it up your nose.

    10. "How silly. The South fought to preserve slavery, the North fought to preserve the Union. Basic history."

      Nicole Hannah-Jones posted that, May 22, 2022.

      I pulled that directly from your link, Cecelia. Now think real hard, Cecelia. Why did the south secede, thus breaking up the Union?

    11. The compromise was this: slavery can stay in effect where it is, but can’t spread to the west. The South rejected this.

    12. I have a green energy induction stove that's faster than methane.

      My Frigidaire ultra quiet dishwasher is the envy of my neighbors.

      It takes some research into consumer purchases to buy good appliances.

      Why is this all left to the consumer? Because corporations don't care.

      You're joining in a whispering campaign led by the methane industry. It has zero to do with your rights. Fuck all.

    13. Why the hell do I need a stove that can gas me in my sleep anyway?

  5. Quaker in a BasementDecember 29, 2023 at 2:51 PM

    "In the major piece of fuzzy language, we're told that yesterday's decision in Georgia means that black voters in that state will now be "allowed an equal opportunity to elect representatives of their choice."

    "Go ahead—try to paraphrase that formulation! Try to explain what that means!"

    There's an easy solution to Bob's problem: The Supreme Court! The language he finds so "fuzzy" is taken directly from decisions published by our nation's highest court. In Thornburgh v Gingles (1982), the court found that racially gerrymandered electoral maps deprive mintority voters--specifically black voters--of an equal opportunity to participate in electoral politics.

    The writers at the NYT didn't come up with this "fuzzy" construction all on their own. They're adopting the language of court decisions.

    1. I don’t think Thornburgh deals with gerrymandered districts; instead, I think it deals with multi-member districts, which under certain circumstances can dilute the electoral clout of minorities.

  6. Eden Phillpotts has died.

  7. I wonder how much Putin paid Somerby to write, “The clowning on the Fox News Channel is an existential threat to our failing nation”?

    1. That is an embarrassingly inane ponderance.

    2. If you want to insult, screw up the courage to use a nym.

    3. I already did insult, dumbshit. And you deserved it.

    4. Hit and hide, Mouse!

    5. General rule: It is not worth wasting time on anyone who spews insults but is too chickenshit to use a nym.

    6. You mean, like you just did?

    7. True religion can never suffer any prejudice from a hypocrite’s wearing a cloak of it, more than the good angels can suffer a stain by Satan’s transforming himself into an angel of light. The devil hath his lackies and pages with Christ’s livery upon them. Was not Judas, who was but one of the twelve, a vile hypocrite?

    8. 6:22 was not by me.

    9. Weird to have someone impersonate me.

    10. I am not Dogface George.

    11. I'm as queer as a 10 dollar bill.

    12. Cecelia, what should George do?

    13. Learn the difference between a $10 bill and a $2 bill.

    14. My impersonator seems to be homophobic.

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  9. The role of researchers is not to go on Fox News shows to refute politically bias disinformation. It is to stay where they are creating new knowledge.

    What would have happened during covid if those developing a vaccine had dropped their work in order to go on Fox to debate conspiracy theories about Wuhan bioweapons? Many more people would have died. What comes out of universities is important. What is said on Fos is not important, not even to Fox viewers.

    Ask yourself why Somerby wants to impede research at top universities. Who would benefit from that?

    1. Who died and made you boss of researchers?

      People DID die because conspiracy theories were rampant and went unchallenged.

      The model for AIDS healthcare used to include dollar for dollar education matching research. This is a complaint being shown is true in Rona as well.