It Almost Seems Deliberate


MEMORANDUM

To: YouTube

re: Really? I thought this part was obvious

So … you know that little thing you have where we click for the option to say we don’t want you promoting this or that kind of video? Why does it not work? No, really, when I tell you to not show me this, don’t turn around and promote the same damn video again.

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If It’s Tuesday I Must Be Whining


U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton works from a desk inside a C-17 military plane upon her departure from Malta, in the Mediterranean Sea, bound for Tripoli, Libya, 18 October 2011. (Kevin Lamarque/Associated Press)

Microcosmic: As Rachel Maddow asks Michael Beschloss his opinion on campaign norms―e.g., releasing tax returns―it occurs to me that we are quite possibly witnessing a microiteration of a problematic thumbnail sketch: If achieved, then change standard.

As Maddow asked, what about the future? And that would approximately make sense: Hillary Clinton is about to be elected president of the United States of America. We’ve already decided that everything else in her career is just that much more volatile and alarming and inappropriate than any man who came before her, repeatedly suggesting with each iteration that we will, in fact, attempt to change the rules in order to forestall certain outcomes.

For instance, who remembers the One-Drop Rule? Was there nothing incongruous or untoward about the proposition that we finally laid the One-Drop Rule to rest when Barack Obama was elected? Okay, that’s not fair; we lynched the One-Drop Rule and then put the corpse in whiteface: If Barack Obama is one-drop white, we haven’t yet elected our first black president.

Remind me all you want that it didn’t work; I’ll just shrug and wonder why we bothered trying.

Still, though, if we call off the customary tax return release? It’s easy enough to expect the ritual to survive Donald Trump, but we’ve seen this happen before. No, really, did you know that politicians were never supposed to get paid for public speaking when they weren’t in office? Apparently this has always been the rule, and Hillary Clinton just wasn’t smart enough to know. And since her predecessors didn’t really use the private email systems that they actually did, Secretary Clinton should have known that behaving like her predecessors was forbidden; I mean, it’s not like we suddenly invented this standard that what she did was unacceptable out of thin air just because she’s Hillary freakin’ Clinton, right? It’s not like we didn’t care when it was anyone else and then just decide to care because some scandalmongering political opponents decided to pretend something entirely ahistorical and―you know, since it’s “Her”―well, yeah, why not, sounds great. Sorry, I guess that’s just a distraction, isn’t it? Because while we’re spinning pay for play fancies because transparency means we can, the only reason we don’t care about the idea of pay for play through Colin Powell’s foundation, while he was Secretary of State, is because he’s Colin Powell, not Hillary Clinton, so that sort of thing could never, ever happen.

Nor is it just about girls, though it’s true in this case it kind of is. But the underlying principle of schoolyard socialization dynamics includes a function whereby a bellwether among the despised might achieve a threshold of respectability, and the communal response is to alter the threshold in order to maintain exclusion. That is to say, some kids will simply never be allowed by their peers to be cool; it’s a general bully principle, because without it the list of people bullies are allowed to treat poorly pretty much crumbles to dust in the wind.

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Image note: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton works from a desk inside a C-17 military plane 18 October 2011. (Kevin Lamarque/Associated Press)

Maddow, Rachel. “Historic debate could reset campaign norms”. msnbc. 27 September 2016.

Maybe It’s Best I Don’t Have a Dog


Rickey Wagoner

Okay, so my only question is whether all the people who forwarded the inspiring story of Rickey Wagoner around that internet book with faces, and the bird’s nest thing, and all that, are now obliged to go around to every person they annoyed with that excrement and apologize for being so stupid.

At any rate, the Associated Press reports:Rickey Wagoner headline via Mail Online

A white bus driver’s story that a religious book in his shirt pocket blocked bullets as he was attacked by three black men isn’t supported by evidence and testing, Dayton police said Wednesday as they closed the case, which had been investigated as a possible hate crime.

Rickey Wagoner, 49, told police he was outside his city bus Feb. 24 when men assaulted him. He said that two bullets hit the inch-thick book containing Bible verses and that one hit his leg and that he was stabbed in the arm, according to a police report. The report also said Wagoner told police he grabbed the gun and shot at the fleeing men.

Wagoner had told police that the assailants were black and that he thought the attack might have been a gang initiation.

But his account wasn’t found to be factual, Police Chief Richard Biehl said at a news conference.

“This assault, as reported, is not true, not accurate,” Biehl said. Police did not say Wagoner made up the story and didn’t explain why he would have made the report. Biehl did say it appeared Wagoner owed on back taxes.

Sigh.

Right.

Truth told, I rather prefer the Daily Mail take on the story: “Bus driver shot and stabbed HIMSELF before making up story that only his Bible had stopped fatal bullets fired at him in supposed hate attack”.

In related news, the nation’s foremost failure-cum-racist-cum-failure, the one and only Donald Trump, is apparently upset that black people have civil rights, too. In other words, no news, or, what killed the dog.

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Associated Press. “Bus Driver’s Bullet-blocking Book Tale Is ‘Not True’: Police”. The Huffington Post. June 18, 2014.

Associated Press and Daily Mail. “Bus driver shot and stabbed HIMSELF before making up story that only his Bible had stopped fatal bullets fired at him in supposed hate attack”. Mail Online. June 18, 2014.

Trump, Donald. “Donald Trump: Central Park Five settlement is a ‘disgrace'”. New York Daily News. June 21, 2014.

Wills, Nat M. “No News, or, What Killed the Dog?” Camden: Victor, 1908.

The Ben Carson Phenomenon


“You know, they put you in a little category, a little box—you have to think this way. How could you dare come off the plantation?”

Ben Carson

Perhaps insensate equivocation is the sort of unfortunate outcome one should expect from a collective that views itself more as a marketplace than a community, but rising conservative star Dr. Ben Carson offers the latest reminder of obvious differences:

Dr. Ben Carson and President George W. Bush, 2008.Dr. Ben Carson, a black Johns Hopkins University neurosurgeon and conservative favorite after challenging President Barack Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast, said Monday on “The Mark Levin Show” that white liberals are “racist.”

“And you’re attacked in many respects because of your race. You’re not supposed to think like this, and supposed to talk like this. A lot of white liberals just don’t like it, do they?” said Levin, host of the syndicated radio show.

“Well, they’re the most racist people there are. You know, they put you in a little category, a little box—you have to think this way. How could you dare come off the plantation?” responded Carson.

Let us start with the obvious: What does that even mean?

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Gemini Spectres


But, yeah, a commenter on Daily Kos called George W. Bush a Nazi in 2004, so … both sides do it, right?

Dan Savage

The Face of Hatred: Scott TerryConventional wisdom often pays homage to the belief that there really isn’t much difference between the two main American political parties; indeed, if one party displays problematic behavior, the response is often to point out that both parties do it.

And it’s true that bigotry is not confined to Republicans, or conservatives in general. But, as Savage notes, it’s kind of hard to find a similar Democratic- or liberal-side episode that rivals reports coming out of Maryland, where the Conservative Political Action Committee endured an encounter that, well, therein arisies the problem. Scott Keyes and Zack Beauchamp explain for Think Progress:

The exchange occurred after an audience member from North Carolina, 30-year-old Scott Terry, asked whether Republicans could endorse races remaining separate but equal. After the presenter, K. Carl Smith of Frederick Douglass Republicans, answered by referencing a letter by Frederick Douglass forgiving his former master, the audience member said “For what? For feeding him and housing him?” Several people in the audience cheered and applauded Terry’s outburst.

After the exchange, Terry muttered under his breath, “why can’t we just have segregation?” noting the Constitution’s protections for freedom of association ….

ThinkProgress spoke with Terry, who sported a Rick Santorum sticker and attended CPAC with a friend who wore a Confederate Flag-emblazoned t-shirt, about his views after the panel. Terry maintained that white people have been “systematically disenfranchised” by federal legislation.

When asked by ThinkProgress if he’d accept a society where African-Americans were permanently subservient to whites, he said “I’d be fine with that.” He also claimed that African-Americans “should be allowed to vote in Africa,” and that “all the Tea Parties” were concerned with the same racial problems that he was.

At one point, a woman challenged him on the Republican Party’s roots, to which Terry responded, “I didn’t know the legacy of the Republican Party included women correcting men in public.”

He claimed to be a direct descendent of Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

At some point it seems nearly comical, like the easiest agent provocateur gig in history; just get up and play whatever bigot caricature comes to mind, and find people in the conservative audience rallying to the cause. And it is true; there are times when one would be forgiven for thinking they were not dealing with a genuine conservative, but instead some overzealous, half-witted provocateur trying to discredit a movement.

One of my favorites was a conservative associate who reckoned that Obamanoia had nothing to do with racism, but rather that a fantasy president Obama was victimizing good, decent people by forcing them to resort to racist slings and arrows. “Race is absolutely not the motivation for opposition to Obama,” he explained, “but it is used by some as a tool in the fight against him.”

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You’ve Got To Be Kidding! (#2)


Let us simply go with the Associated Press:

Christian Science Monitor logoAn African-American nurse claims that a Michigan hospital agreed to a man’s request that no black nurses care for his newborn.

Tonya Battle tells the Detroit Free Press she “didn’t even know how to react” when she learned about the request from the father in October at Hurley Medical Center in Flint. The Flint Journal reports Ms. Battle sued last month in Genesee Circuit Court ….

…. Battle’s lawsuit claims a note was posted on an assignment clipboard reading, “No African American nurse to take care of baby.” She says that later was removed, but claims black nurses weren’t assigned to care for the baby for about a month because of their race ….

…. The Free Press said the lawsuit recounted how the neonatal intensive care nurse was at the infant’s bedside when a man came in and she requested to see the hospital-issued identification wrist band given to parents of patients. The man responded that ” … I need to see your supervisor.”

A supervising nurse spoke with the father who told him he didn’t want African-Americans to care for his child; the supervising nurse, reports the Free Press, also told Battle that he appeared to have a swastika tatoo on his arm.

“What flashed in my mind is ‘What’s next?’ A note on the water fountain that says ‘No blacks’? Or a note on the bathroom that says ‘No blacks’?” Battle told the Free Press.

Sometimes, there are no words that suffice, so the relevant critique comes from Rev. Charles E. Williams II, president of the Michigan chapter of the National Action Network: “There is growing concern around the country about how this could be in 2013.”

Notes on political correctness


A question that seems to arise frequently in my circles is whether or not the idea of political correctness is inherently evil. Perhaps I need new circles.

The thing about political correctness is that it is just a form of polite discourse. And some people resent any sense of obligation toward being polite.

Jen Sorenson, Slowpoke, 2005Viewed through a hostile critique, political correctness is simply a modern term for euphemism.

Most men can recall learning all sorts of nifty words, for instance, denoting women’s breasts. Titties, gazangas, melons, rack, and so on. But in my youth, if the question of a women’s breast size came up in the presence of elders, one might speak in terms of endowment. Large breasts were described as “well-endowed”. I would not, at age twelve, have used the phrase “mondo gazangas” in the presence of my grandmother. It’s not some yoke of social slavery, but, rather, being polite according to the company I was in, and also avoiding a distracting family scandal.

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