Duck … Duck … Goose?

by John Holbo on December 28, 2013

I wish I’d posted this before Pater Duck got reinstated by A&E. I was, you see, going to predict A&E would reinstate him after a week or so. What, they were going to cancel the show? Limp along without their lead? Leave a ton of money on the table? Hardly seemed the most likely option.

The whole thing seems like it could have been, from the start, a deliberate marketing gimmick. Free publicity for the new season. Goose ratings! Get the show’s fan base lathered up and loyal. Why should A&E mind being subject to a two-minute hate, so long as it gets to sell ads?

Were I truly devious, I might hypothesize that the whole episode was engineered as part of a vast liberal media conspiracy to keep the GOP boxed as a regional ethnic party.

Seriously: even NRO went for a HuffPo-style ‘stand with Phil’ slideshow. (You can click it after reading Steyn’s column on “The Age of Intolerance”.) Man, there’s no way GOP outreach proceeds by convincing lots of undecideds this sort of ‘the only intolerance is intolerance of intolerance!’ double-talk is the bright future of freedom.

{ 527 comments }

1

nnyhav 12.28.13 at 4:45 am

Reality programming: it is what it is.

2

oldster 12.28.13 at 4:54 am

People who mistakenly thought that there were free-speech issues involved here will mistakenly see this as a triumph for free speech.

People who–correctly–though that this was a matter of several private commercial entities making commercial calculations, will take this new news as further evidence that the issues here are commercial calculations between private entities. And they’ll be correct.

A&E has decided that more intense loyalty from a smaller group is worth the cost of alienating a larger group who probably were not going to bite anyhow. And they may be right, as a matter of profit for the next few quarters.

If they were in the business of building a nationwide political party, they would almost certainly be wrong.

3

Will 12.28.13 at 5:14 am

What a Grand Old Party indeed, holding to the timeless conservative principles that have guided them since the days of Lincoln and Grant. The right of TV stars to say whatever they want with impunity. Vigorous rejection of spectacles, pajamas, and hot chocolate. The eternal and immutable whiteness of Old Saint Nick. These are the principles to rouse the hearts of patriotic Americans and persuade those on the fence.

4

maidhc 12.28.13 at 6:12 am

I had never heard of these duck people before the brouhaha started, so in that sense the publicity campaign was a success. But when I found out they have a net worth of some $200 million, whatever smidgen of interest I had immediately dissipated. And it was a mighty small smidgen to begin with.

5

Hey Skipper 12.28.13 at 6:13 am

It is the proper response to manufactured outrage.

6

Jake 12.28.13 at 6:16 am

The guy is on a reality TV show based around him being an entertaining redneck from a family of same. A “reality” TV show. Suspending him because he has redneck political beliefs makes no sense.

It wouldn’t be incredibly surprising to find out the entire thing was orchestrated from the beginning.

7

Sancho 12.28.13 at 6:33 am

It’s doubtful that many Republican luminaries are actually interested in winning elections. In many ways, the GOP has become a sort of platform for ambitious ideologues to build a reputation, then move into full-time demagoguery through book deals, speaking tours and TV spots.

Sarah Palin is a classic example. She hasn’t actually had a titled job for years, but her celebrity status pays the bills handsomely. And Ted Cruz clearly sees party participation as the first steps into the same sort of career.

For those types, conservative electoral victory is disastrous because it reduces the market for outrage.

8

Collin Street 12.28.13 at 10:05 am

See, I always viewed it from the perspective that the people the advertisers most want — and the people the producers of advertising-funded media most want to attract — are people with money who’ll believe any damned thing the idiot box tells them.

You don’t want viewers who are too smart, they won’t believe the ads.

9

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© 12.28.13 at 1:55 pm

That’s my vote: publicity stunt from the getgo.
~

10

Omega Centauri 12.28.13 at 2:53 pm

“You don’t want viewers who are too smart, they won’t believe the ads”
I remember during my teenage years Star Trek was cancelled, despite having high poll numbers. But the fans didn’t buy the products.

11

P O'Neill 12.28.13 at 3:44 pm

I think Steyn is trying to get fired by NR and saw the duck imbroglio as his opportunity.

12

nick s 12.28.13 at 4:22 pm

Occam’s Razor would suggest that it wasn’t a meticulously planned publicity stunt. The Duck Dynasty brand and product does not include bigot eruptions: they may be totemic to certain parts of conservative America, but they’re also crafted to appeal to the Gawp At The Rich Yokels demographic.

On the other hand, given the nature of reality show contracts, are we really to think that A&E didn’t have final sign-off on that GQ interview, even though it headed into territory that has been meticulously edited from the television product?

A&E have probably found a bunch of gay Christian conservative hunters who’ll go out with Papa Duck on a carefully-scripted and edited adventure in the woods. No, not that kind of adventure: one where waterfowl get shot. There will be ‘learning’.

It still makes me wonder what Wingnuttia wants out of the Robertsons, other than a wide range of merchandising at Walmart.

13

Ben 12.28.13 at 4:59 pm

The editing on Duck Dynasty is consistently the best on television there I said it

If one wanted to get on the wingnut welfare train, there’s probably an article to be written on how The Duck Show displays a lot of craft in the technical aspects – editing, lighting, uhm, sound design, why not – and the only reason the critics don’t recognize it is because the kale-chip-eating Subaru drivers on the coasts can’t get past gawking at the good honest volk on the screen

14

John Holbo 12.28.13 at 5:11 pm

“Occam’s Razor would suggest that it wasn’t a meticulously planned publicity stunt.”

I think it’s most likely that the GQ interview was just off-script, but after that, the only logical plan was to stage a temporary suspension, and hope to turn it all into a glorious publicity stunt. It pretty much couldn’t fail, as such.

15

christian_h 12.28.13 at 5:24 pm

I think Sancho makes an interesting point. In a sense, the GOP has transformed itself into a party designed to capture the protest vote – in a two-party system. This is very odd.

16

P O'Neill 12.28.13 at 5:35 pm

The GOP strategy is arguably to make the federal layer ungovernable through Palin/Cruz antics and concentrate on state and regional power. From that perspective, Duck style antics make perfect sense.

17

otpup 12.28.13 at 6:17 pm

@christian_h 15, “protest vote”. It is not odd at all, it is what our political system excels at, giving powerful minorities the ability to endlessly block reform (in part by manipulating the subaltern protest vote).

18

Plume 12.28.13 at 7:04 pm

Interesting that this same “base” of support no doubt thought that it was perfectly okay to black ball the Dixie Chicks for their comments regarding George Bush. Death threats ensued, few American radio stations would dare play their records, and they couldn’t buy their way into a concert tour.

And, of course, the corporate angle in all of this. If a business owner wants to foist their fringe beliefs about religion onto their employees — if they are good old fashioned right-wing Amurikan beliefs — that’s perfectly okay with this crowd, too. Chick Fil “morality” and the various organizations that believe they can decide for their employees how to spend their own money — health care is a form of compensation, etc. Limiting that health care to coverage in accord with the beliefs of ownership should be anathema to anyone who believes in “free speech” or “freedom” in general.

Oh, and of course, the perennial “War on Christmas.” No “free speech” there if someone gets on the “wrong” side of that issue for this crowd.

Abject hypocrisy is much too kind a phrase for them.

19

parse 12.28.13 at 9:08 pm

Plume, I don’t think that’s an accurate description of the reaction to Natalie Maines’ on-stage criticism of Bush. It’s true that there was an immediate impact on their career, including difficulty getting airplay on country music stations that had previously supported them. But Maines had made the remarks at a London warmup for their tour in support of the Home album. According to Wikipedia, “The tour grossed $60.5 million, making it the highest grossing country music tour up until that time (since superseded by several artists). It was also the 8th highest-grossing tour of any genre in 2003.”

The first album they released afterHomedebuted at number on both the pop and country music charts.

I’m also confused about the point you are making with regards to hypocrisy. The implication is that one should be either consistently supportive of the Dixie Chicks and Duck Dynasty, or consistently critical of both of them to avoid being hypocritical. Which side would you come down on?

20

JML 12.28.13 at 9:59 pm

“The GOP strategy is arguably to make the federal layer ungovernable through Palin/Cruz antics and concentrate on state and regional power. From that perspective, Duck style antics make perfect sense.”

The GOP strategy has proven marvelously effective a pushing the middle of political discourse (and action) to the right. One only has to read The Economist to know just how far right of Right mainstream American conservatism has become.

21

Plume 12.28.13 at 10:47 pm

Parse,

If you scroll down on the same Wiki article, you’ll see my description was accurate about the violent and irrational reaction to their comments. Google other sources for more details.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dixie_Chicks

As for your confusion about the hypocrisy. There shouldn’t be any. Those who are defending this ignorant bigot — with a history of bigotry — on Duck Dynasty are doing so under the guise of “freedom of speech.” They did not come to the Dixie Chicks’ defense along those same lines. And the same people who say a business owner should be able to do whatever he or she wants with their company are not being consistent when it comes to A&E. Now, it’s all about “free speech” for the employee. But an employer who wants to direct (and withhold) how a worker spends their compensation (via health care insurance) is perfectly free to do so, apparently. In fact, in a bizarre turning of the tables, they claim the employer is practicing their “free speech rights” by doing so.

The content of what was said is all that mattered, not the ability or right to say it. The content, not who said it. To the backers of the nutcase on Duck Dynasty, his position as employee or employer is immaterial. They agree with what he said, so everything else — including their supposed principles — is quite elastic.

22

Peter K. 12.28.13 at 10:52 pm

@ 7 Sancho – yes, reminds me of a funny tweet I saw recently

“the Republican Party is a direct-mail fraud scam gone horribly awry.”
https://twitter.com/elsaul/status/416268495421472768

@20 JML, it remains to be seen. I would bet otherwise with, for example Utah and Ohio legalized gay marriage continuing a trend. Funny how the Utah judge, Shelby, trolled Scalia over Windsor.

The Tea Party was a reaction to Obama and the financial crisis. The 2010 Republican victory was a result of the financial crisis and “throw the bums out.” If the economy improves I could see the Democrats winning in 2014 and 2016.

23

Plume 12.28.13 at 10:56 pm

Now, me? I’ve never watched the show. Never will. But I did read his comments and they were disgusting. Do I think he has the “right” to say them? Yes. He doesn’t have the right to a TV show or an electronic megaphone. But he does have the right to go to any street corner in America and voice his racist and homophobic views until the cows come home.

I’m also not one who believes businesses should be able to fire people for things they say outside of work. And there should be a high standard for judging that statements made outside of work are harmful enough to the business to warrant termination. The onus for that should be on the employer. As in, they should have to make a strong case of cause and effect. I despise what the guy said. I think he’s an idiot, and anyone who defends what he said is an idiot. But firing him for saying it outside the confines of work — that worries me. Business interests already have far too much control over our lives as it is — far more than the government that works to perpetuate their power.

My issue is with the hypocrisy, not “rights.” The political right simply has a history of manufactured outrage without a shred of consistency or logic behind it. This is yet one more case.

24

roy belmont 12.28.13 at 11:10 pm

parse at 9:08 pm-
Maybe “purse” would be a better fit. You completely passed over the death threat part of the comment you responded to, in favor of bank stats.
We’d have to ask her directly to be certain, but my guess is Natalie Maines had more anxious moments from people threatening her life than from the impact on her already substantial bank account.
Without any documentation or other concrete evidence I’m thinking the occurrence of death threats toward media-designated hate objects is much more prevalent than we’re seeing from outside the virtual walls of security. “Shh, don’t want to feed the lunatic fire” kind of thing. It’s a handy intimidation technique, where the threat is made independent of real hierarchical power, whose hands are blamelessly clean.
And the incidence of those threats is likely to have a major skew, from the right, at the left.
The polarity of hate’s artificially built and maintained and seductive across the spectrum.
Phil Robertson’s presented as Nature’s Firstborn Son rising out of the swamp, but the swamp’s on TV. He’s Natty Bumpo for frightened angry plebes. They need a figurehead and they’re being supplied with one. On TV.
It isn’t reality television, it’s the replacement of reality by television. And evidently lots of Americans can no longer tell the difference.

People already heavily invested in fighting and despising each other will have big trouble uniting against a common enemy, should one appear.

25

Belle Waring 12.29.13 at 3:25 am

Plume: weak effort. I’m sure you can troll harder than this. A popular television show firing someone for having done or said something that might tank ratings needs to be considered in the steely-eyed light of the ordinary worker’s right to say as he pleases without being punished by The Man? Weak. Sauce. -10. Get more misty eyed about how, while you decry the GOP, the firing of the Duck Dynasty Patriarch for saying that he never saw a black person mistreated in Jim Crow Louisiana, and that that black people were “happy” before civil rights–so much so that they were a-singing in the fields as they worked, and they weren’t singing the blues–firing him for that would just set a precedent under which Cinnabon workers would get fired after getting tagged on social media as part of an Occupy protest, and you’re too much of a purist to go there. Way too much of a purist. C’mon. I did better than you just now, and I think that’s total bullshit.

26

Philosofatty 12.29.13 at 4:35 am

Daily Kos drew a bead on the conspiracist angle before A&E had yet unclutched its pearls. Indeed, it doesn’t seem like they were ever not going to run an xmas marathon of the thing…

27

Hey Skipper 12.29.13 at 6:52 am

[Belle Waring:] Get more misty eyed about how, while you decry the GOP, the firing of the Duck Dynasty Patriarch for saying that he never saw a black person mistreated in Jim Crow Louisiana, and that that black people were “happy” before civil rights–so much so that they were a-singing in the fields as they worked, and they weren’t singing the blues …

Oh, for pete’s sake. Here is what he actually said:

I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field…. They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’—not a word!… Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.

It is obvious to anyone without an axe to grind that he never saw blacks being treated any differently than he was, and that they had a nobility that welfare and entitlements destroyed.

Now you may disagree with his assessment of the Great Society et al; although it is worth keeping in mind he is echoing Patrick Moynihan, among others. But you have absolutely no basis upon which to disagree with the factual elements of what he said; to do so amounts to, on precisely zero evidence, calling him a liar.

Very classy.

28

Ed Herdman 12.29.13 at 7:50 am

Ah, our old friend Subjectivity (aka My Perceptions Are Best and Most Worthy) slides its bright tentacles back into the discussion – so here we are going from “never saw a black person mistreated” to “never saw blacks being treated any differently than he was,” and even more amazingly to taking seriously Phil’s statements as useful information about the lot of black Americans, and about “entitlements and welfare” destroying the black people’s resolve (nevermind that entitlements and welfare have not been targeted solely at black people) or something.

I imagine the guy isn’t a member of the nastiest class of bigot, and has just formed this opinion with a bit of misty-eyed nostalgia for the old days in ignorance, and that combined with a jump to conclusions. But the statement is still pernicious and wrong.

I have to ask – are you being facetious when you try to draw a distinction with what Belle said? If anything you have only served to highlight how ridiculous it is for a guy with an obvious axe to grind against the positive forces of “entitlements and welfare” (which I guess catches everybody – because entitlements are, y’know, not welfare, but things you typically have already personally physically paid for, hence the entitlement – as opposed to the other prices black Americans have paid in misery over the years) to expound extremely thin theories about what it is that black Americans need and don’t need today.

I have to ask you to reconsider your use of the phrase “factual elements.” There is no fact (independent of Phil’s Mind) revealed by his statement that black Americans – even those he remembers in those fields – actually got “separate but equal” treatment. And your insistence that people who disagree are actually calling Phil a liar would seem to imply that if somebody saw the same thing Phil did but took a different message out of it, you’d have to call them a liar (because that contradicts Phil’s Testimony, which you have already stipulated as an independently factual account). I don’t have to call the guy a liar; he might have been ignorant of what was going on more broadly, either due to blindness or just good fortune in that situation.

The point isn’t what he saw (or thought he saw) but rather whether he should make the claims he does. Perhaps there is something interesting in what he said, but there is also a useful principle behind taking the whole statement and tossing it out as being dangerously ignorant and completely out of touch with all our other information about what happened at that time.

Exactly why somebody who is spreading this dangerous nonsense should be on the dole – from A&E’s advertisers – instead of the many other worthy people who could actually spread the good in Robertson’s message without the bad is beyond me. America is a meritocracy, right? At the very least I’d like if we could push back against the wrong-headed parts of his message without being called liars.

29

Opie Elvis 12.29.13 at 7:54 am

Hey Skipper@25
You can read it that way if you try hard enough but as a Southerner who is from what was a very Jim Crow part of North Carolina I can tell you that the Robertson speech is a very common example of the speech of justification and absolution. The “our coloreds lived alongside us and were treated just like us and happy to boot” is a self serving lie. One had to be blind, deaf, and dumb not to know the differences and the underlying fear and hate that governed relations.
Robertson’s Louisiana was no exceptional example so he has either engaged in the common version of rationalization and self-deception or is more likely willingly dissembling to advance and support a world view rife with cognitive dissonance.
Classy or not, I call bullshit on him and you in the bargain.

30

Hey Skipper 12.29.13 at 9:26 am

Ah, our old friend Subjectivity (aka My Perceptions Are Best and Most Worthy) slides its bright tentacles back into the discussion – so here we are going from “never saw a black person mistreated” …

What does this have to do with subjectivity? He said he never saw a black person mistreated. Who the heck are you, or Belle, to contradict him? After all, he only has first hand evidence upon which to base his assertion.

The reason I added “… treated any differently …” should be obvious to progressives, who are apt to see class warfare everywhere. Robertson was of the same class as the blacks he worked with; he was living life as he knew it, and didn’t view their treatment as any different than his.

As for his statements being useful information, he is just as entitled to his opinion as you are yours, and his opinion echoes the very prescient Moynihan.

His clear position is that black culture is worse now than it was under Jim Crow. That may well be debatable, but to accuse him therefore of racism is outrage mongering of the very first degree.

You and Belle Ware, among others, have baselessly accused him of lying, and witlessly accused him of racism.

Robertson never uttered one word about separate but equal; rather, he described his own very first hand experience which you and Ms. Ware, et al do not have. You weren’t there, you didn’t have his experience. It is the height of hubris to insist he isn’t relating his life accurately.

Even worse, you suggest he shouldn’t be able to make the claims he does. Based upon what? One thing: he believes that the welfare state corrupted black culture.

That contradicts progressive truth, therefore it must be delegitimized.

31

John Holbo 12.29.13 at 10:55 am

Hey Skipper, what point do you think Robertson was making by saying “I never, with my own eyes, saw a black person mistreated”?

Two points, presumably. Civil Rights-era legislation marked a turn for the worse for blacks. And Jim Crow was not really bad for blacks, contrary to what you might read in the history books. Right?

32

John Holbo 12.29.13 at 11:05 am

Also, he isn’t really making the Moynihan point. Robertson is, I take it, suggesting that welfare breeds resentment of whites, where before there was none. Moynihan never proposed that model, to say the least.

33

Hey Skipper 12.29.13 at 11:56 am

Hey Skipper, what point do you think Robertson was making by saying “I never, with my own eyes, saw a black person mistreated”?

Simple. Blacks with whom he worked as equals were treated no differently than he was. At the risk of repetition, the way in which they were treated as people and workers was, in his experience, no different than the way he was treated.

So the question you have to answer is this: upon what basis do you wish to declare him wrong?

Civil Rights-era legislation marked a turn for the worse for blacks. And Jim Crow was not really bad for blacks, contrary to what you might read in the history books. Right?

I defy you to find anything in what he said, implied, or hinted, that he thinks it was OK that blacks faced barriers on account of their skin color. You can’t do it, because it isn’t there. I have no idea what questions the interviewer asked, and you don’t either. Yet what you are presupposing is that if the interviewer had asked “Do you think Jim Crow laws were fair to blacks?” his answer would have been something along the lines of “yes”.

I can’t find a shred of evidence for that presupposition, yet you assert it as a given. Why?

The grotesque impositions of Jim Crow laws are an entirely different kettle of fish than the Great Society legislation that was intended to ameliorate them. It is entirely possible to strongly disapprove of both.

Also, he isn’t really making the Moynihan point. Robertson is, I take it, suggesting that welfare breeds resentment of whites, where before there was none. Moynihan never proposed that model, to say the least.

At the extreme risk of speaking for Robertson, my interpretation of the meaning underlying his words is that various welfare programs, no matter their intentions, in effect created a culture of dependency and grievance. And to extend my risk, that if asked the direct question, he would have said that Jim Crow laws were awful, and that the best response would have been to eliminate them and then do nothing else.

You are right, Moynihan never proposed that welfare, in and of itself, bred resentment of whites. But I’m suggesting that Robert’s clear opinion is that welfare created a culture of dependency, which is very much Moynihan’s model.

As for grievance, Lord knows blacks have plenty of reasons. You have precisely no evidence to conclude Robertson thinks otherwise.

Yet despite plenty of evidence that he held his class peers who happened to have different colored skins in high regard — the words he used say as much as clearly as one could hope — he became in the eyes of progressives a virulent racist.

34

Sancho 12.29.13 at 12:16 pm

Regardless, “Subjectivity’s Bright Tentacles” is a cool album title.

35

John Holbo 12.29.13 at 1:07 pm

“Yet what you are presupposing is that if the interviewer had asked “Do you think Jim Crow laws were fair to blacks?” his answer would have been something along the lines of “yes”.

I can’t find a shred of evidence for that presupposition, yet you assert it as a given. Why?”

Well, if blacks were happy, godly, content, altogether disinclined to sing the blues and treated basically equally with whites, under Jim Crow, I think it’s fair to say that is an argument that Jim Crow wasn’t as bad as the history books make out. Some of the laws may look like they could have been harsh (I’ll bet Robertson would grant that much). But I guess he is saying that wasn’t a big factor. Blacks were treated basically fairly in the Jim Crow-era South. That’s his point, no?

“As for grievance, Lord knows blacks have plenty of reasons. You have precisely no evidence to conclude Robertson thinks otherwise.”

Well, presumably they have – or at least should have – grievances against the likes of MLK and LBJ, for bringing the relatively socially idyllic Jim Crow era to end. But why should Robertson think they have grievances beyond that? By hypothesis, they were happy and treated with respect. They had no grievances against white people back then. Why should they start manufacturing grievances against white people back then now, retroactively? Makes no sense, right?

36

John Holbo 12.29.13 at 1:25 pm

I guess I would add that Robertson presumably thinks that Southern whites have a serious and ongoing grievance against blacks: namely, blacks (and liberals!) have falsely tarnished the basically good name of Jim Crow by implying the pre-Civil Rights Era South was a time and place were blacks were often ill-treated. If this frequently-made charge is basically untrue, then it would seem to follow that blacks (and liberals!) have a lot to atone for, regarding Jim Crow. (Robertson doesn’t say so, but I doubt that he is a man who takes false accusations that besmirch the honor of the South lightly.)

37

John Holbo 12.29.13 at 1:27 pm

I am, just to be clear, rather (ahem) skeptical of Robertson’s revisionist civil rights history. But if he himself believes it, which I don’t doubt, then presumably he thinks a few things that obviously follow from it.

38

Layman 12.29.13 at 2:04 pm

@Skipper

I’m not entirely sure what you’re complaining about here:

‘Yet what you are presupposing is that if the interviewer had asked “Do you think Jim Crow laws were fair to blacks?” his answer would have been something along the lines of “yes”.’

Didn’t Johnson say: “I never, with my own eyes, saw a black person mistreated”?

So Johnson asserts that (A) he observed black people living under Jim Crow laws, and (B) he never once saw them mistreated. Since they were not mistreated, the laws didn’t mistreat them. Thus the laws weren’t unfair. What else can he mean?

The ‘with my own eyes’ bit is the best part. Sure, some people today claim that black people were treated unfairly, but no one actually saw it happen. It’s a myth!

39

Mao Cheng Ji 12.29.13 at 3:14 pm

But he is specifically blaming ‘entitlement’ and ‘welfare’ for the decline in happiness and the rise in racial animosity. ‘Entitlement’ and ‘welfare’, whatever they are, it sounds like they are orthogonal to racial segregation (Jim Crow). I can imagine both of them with segregation intact. Or an absence of all three.

40

Theophylact 12.29.13 at 3:38 pm

Mao Cheng Ji: Your imagination is not at issue here.

41

Plume 12.29.13 at 4:12 pm

@Belle Warring, #25:

Troll? What an absurd response to my posts.

I said his (Robertson’s) words were disgusting, racist, homophobic and I condemn them. We are on the same page regarding what he said. He’s an idiot, and anyone who defends what he says is an idiot.

But I also think it’s wrong to be fired from a job for something you say outside of work. As you mention, being fired for going to Occupy rallies — which I attended — is the equivalent for those of us on the left. And, yes, I’m waaaay to the left of center in my politics and philosophically. The radical democratic, egalitarian, ecosocialist left. The non-orthodox, non-doctrinaire Marxist left. Tell me exactly for whom do you think I’m “trolling,” please.

42

Barry 12.29.13 at 4:18 pm

John Holbo 12.29.13 at 1:27 pm
“I am, just to be clear, rather (ahem) skeptical of Robertson’s revisionist civil rights history. But if he himself believes it, which I don’t doubt, then presumably he thinks a few things that obviously follow from it.”

He’s a liar, pure and simple, or so naive and dumb that he could not have built a multi-million dollar/year business; he’d have traded it for magic beans :)

43

Mao Cheng Ji 12.29.13 at 4:35 pm

“Mao Cheng Ji: Your imagination is not at issue here.”

Should I read it as “your imagination is not at issue here”? Why does everyone else’s imagination belong (after all, there is no mentioning of Jim Crow in the quote), but mine doesn’t?

44

Marc 12.29.13 at 4:51 pm

@33:

45

Marc 12.29.13 at 4:56 pm

@33: Well, we can start with the facts of what life was like for blacks in the South in the pre-civil rights era. You know – lynchings; no right to vote; consigned to separate, and very inferior, public services – everything from water fountains to hospitals and schools.

I suppose that it’s possible that someone could have been utterly blind to these things at the time. It’s less likely that they could be utterly ignorant after the fact unless they were willfully so.

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/12/phil-robertsons-america/282555/

Might possibly be educational.

46

mrearl 12.29.13 at 5:20 pm

I’m almost the same age as Phil Robertson and grew up in an adjacent state. I’ve chopped cotton (just long enough to know that hoe didn’t fit my hand) and I saw something like what he says he saw. I also saw a public beating with pick handles while cops watched. He may have been fortunate enough to miss sight of that kind of thing, so that he can claim “with my own eyes” and not be a liar.

Or, like many people, perhaps he just remembers what he wants to remember and is not, like some of us, subject to unbidden memories.

47

dn 12.29.13 at 5:26 pm

Plume: but unlike most people, in a certain sense Phil Robertson is never “outside of work”. That’s the glory of “reality” television. The whole point of it is to present a slice of the ostensibly real, unscripted, uncensored life of “Phil Robertson”. It’s a bit like kayfabe in pro wrasslin’, where keeping up the illusion that the in-ring personalities are real was traditionally part and parcel of the business. (Contrast with, say, The Colbert Report, where “Steven Colbert” the TV character is plainly meant to be understood as a fiction, despite sharing his name with Steven Colbert the human being.)

48

Eric Titus 12.29.13 at 5:46 pm

@Plume
The fact is that employers can (and do) fire employees for non-work reasons, and don’t even need a proper justification. And I’m willing to bet that this Duck fiasco won’t change a thing on that front.

49

Plume 12.29.13 at 5:55 pm

@dn #47,

That is a good point. Again, I’ve never seen the show. But apparently it’s extremely popular. And since capitalism (via TV) is always with us, follows us everywhere — as Norman Mailer noted in Dissent back in the 50s — you may be right. There is no outside.

Still, I think the better way to answer disgusting speech is with the power of the better argument. Notice the reaction to the firing hasn’t resulted in a thoughtful conversation about race and class in America, but to circle the wagons around Robertson. Among those who did circle the wagons, no one learned a lesson, it would seem. Their false sense of victimization was confirmed. No one learned about the real history of slavery and oppression of blacks and other minorities in America. They just dug in to defend their tribe, their team (team Robertson).

Take away the firing and substitute that discussion, and perhaps people will learn. There is then no reason to circle the wagons and miss the entire point. There is no reason to concentrate solely on what is deemed an unfair action against Robertson, and to instead discuss how stupid, ignorant and racist (and homophobic) his comments were.

I’d also like to see a major discussion about class take place along with the one on race. Of course, the two things are intertwined. But class in the sense that it isn’t enough for blacks, women and minorities to achieve some kind of “equality” with the rest of the nation — though that is a necessary foundation. What we need is to start dealing with the massive inequality by reason of class and the economic system that creates economic apartheid:

Capitalism.

Reading a very good book on the secret history of primitive accumulation right now, entitled The Invention of Capitalism (Michael Perelman, author). Robertson told a fairy tale about the treatment of blacks in America. Adam Smith and other classical political economists told fairy tales about the advent of capitalism and its likely future. In both cases, the truth was violence, atrocity, massive coercion and destruction — which is ongoing.

Apartheid. Capitalism creates the economic kind. We need to do away with all forms.

50

NMissC 12.29.13 at 5:56 pm

Jim Crow was being torn down through my adolescence in Mississippi. I was a ninth grader when the schools here were truly integrated, and had the eye-opening experience of being assigned to the previously black school, which had been built 30 years before (no school in the white system was older than 9 or so years). I remember realizing between roughly 2nd and 6th grade the little details that Jim Crow imposed– a side window at the ice cream shop, the only non-paved road in the middle of town was through Freedman Town, or learning from an elderly black man that his part of town got electricity in the 1960s. And then there was that riot in my hometown, with people killed and everything, when a black man enrolled in the local college, and tales of the concerted and organized efforts to make his life and the life of anyone at the college who befriended him miserable.

And I know people I grew up with who have the capacity to pretend it all away and talk as if things just weren’t that bad, or weren’t even bad, or that the violence and resistance was from outsiders attacking “us.” Exactly the sort of willed blindness expressed in the Duck Dynasty patriarch’s remarks. And, without exception, everyone who claims to hold those sorts of views that I know accompany those views with the worst sorts of racism you can encounter.

It’s a not-terribly complicatedly code the man is speaking; anyone should be able to detect the beliefs that lie beneath it, even if you didn’t grow up seeing the things he claims to have never seen.

51

Plume 12.29.13 at 6:09 pm

Eric,

Well, working with what we have, with the system we have, I think we need to roll back those powers. Optimally, the means of production would and should be held by all of us, democratically controlled, with rules established to prevent the kind of willful terminations you speak of. There would be no such thing as “right to work” states any longer. Worker/Citizen owned, instead. But as long as we have economic apartheid, we’re going to have to do whatever we can to check those powers.

Of course, the dynamic in this case is bizarre. Robertson is a part of the upper class, at least economically speaking — a multi-millionaire. To me, if one has a workforce and makes their money through that workforce, they can’t possibly “earn” their millions. It’s mathematically impossible. So it’s likely that both Robertson and A&E are in the exploitation business.

I don’t feel sorry for either party in this mess.

52

roy belmont 12.29.13 at 7:10 pm

I was wrong. Not Natty Bumpo, it’s the guy at the end of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. The guy who has the only way forward, the guy who’s going to survive because he has his surviving shit together. The angel Gabriel in full-dress camo.
Only instead of moving through the magically real landscape of well-written literature, he’s in the mechanically unreal bad-wizard landscape of the TV.
Up ahead like a Judas goat. “Follow me guys!”
A real man, doing real man things, being used to accomplish unreal things. On TV.
Divert into a controllable construct the scary recognition that men who can feed themselves with minimal societal support are coming back into style, in some areas of the demos. It’s a polarizer. It makes people who couldn’t possibly do that very uneasy.
Package the unease-resolution. In a way that intensifies the polarity.
Militia movement energy piped into facebook-style plebe modernity. Run it like the beer concession at a chili cook-off.
It’s an extension of that laughable disgusting attempt by the men behind the curtains to run thought problems of eugenic social-darwinist filtration as a game show – Survivor!
Vote em off the island and eat reptiles! Forget about those cameras and the network brass on satellite uplink.
Robertson’s like Toby Keith, eh? Basic good-hearted good ol boys gettin blindsided by their own strength of position in a completely degraded context of oppression and manipulation. Gettin back to them real values and down home decency, by God. Only when was that stuff ever here? When we were kids. And it had a lot of mostly fake in it.
The racist bilge is awful easy to invert symmetrically, and this crap where poor whites take the most heat for the active traditionally sanctioned bigotry of the world they’re born into is getting irritating. It’s the thing racism really is, which is mass dumping on people who are just born there, like that, that matters. The socio genetics, not the bio. And superiorly blaming them for just being who they are. That evil is evil even when it isn’t about race.
Crack cocaine wasn’t introduced and supplied voluminously to the urban ghettos of the US by poor whites.
All us smart folk was supposed to scorn the morans who thought Saddam took out the WTC and so rah-rah’d the Iraq debacle. And a lot of us did.
E pluribus nada.
Contempt is the signifier.

53

Barry 12.29.13 at 7:32 pm

Eric Titus
“@Plume
The fact is that employers can (and do) fire employees for non-work reasons, and don’t even need a proper justification. And I’m willing to bet that this Duck fiasco won’t change a thing on that front.”

And it’s a cold day in the Infernal Regions when the people on the right have the
slightest problem with this. Their only complaint in this case was that the guy being fired was a celebrity on their side. If he had been fired for supporting gay marriage, the rigth would be screaming ‘free market!’ at the top of their lungs.

54

Ed Herdman 12.29.13 at 8:12 pm

@ Mao #39:

My point is that we have absolutely no reason to think that Robertson is that keen a social observer that he can begin to disentangle the rise of welfare and entitlements from the end of the Jim Crow era.

I agree with what roy said – people like Robertson do get dumped on due to regional and class snobbery beyond what they arguably deserve. So I don’t feel any kind of vindication or happiness at Robertson’s treatment. All the same, when he’s filling the role of “public intellectual” I still expect more.

55

Collin Street 12.29.13 at 8:25 pm

Still, I think the better way to answer disgusting speech is with the power of the better argument.

This is an empirical claim and testable, remember.

56

Hey Skipper 12.29.13 at 9:00 pm

[John Holbo:] “Yet what you are presupposing is that if the interviewer had asked “Do you think Jim Crow laws were fair to blacks?” his answer would have been something along the lines of “yes”.

I can’t find a shred of evidence for that presupposition, yet you assert it as a given. Why?”

In your first response to me, you said this:

… what point do you think Robertson was making by saying “I never, with my own eyes, saw a black person mistreated”?

Two points, presumably. Civil Rights-era legislation marked a turn for the worse for blacks. And Jim Crow was not really bad for blacks, contrary to what you might read in the history books. Right?

I can’t fathom why you think his quote, or any underlying meaning, has anything at all to do with Jim Crow or Civil Rights legislation. His comment specifically refers to entitlements and welfare onlyl; both are entirely separate from dismantling Jim Crow and Civil Rights legislation.

He was talking about chalk, and you accuse him of hating cheese.

Well, if blacks were happy, godly, content, altogether disinclined to sing the blues and treated basically equally with whites, under Jim Crow, I think it’s fair to say that is an argument that Jim Crow wasn’t as bad as the history books make out. Some of the laws may look like they could have been harsh (I’ll bet Robertson would grant that much). But I guess he is saying that wasn’t a big factor. Blacks were treated basically fairly in the Jim Crow-era South. That’s his point, no?

So, no, that’s not fair. What is fair is to look at what he said from his viewpoint. He was a white share cropper working alongside black sharecroppers. What effect did Jim Crow laws have on his life? Jim Crow laws obviously operated to keep blacks impoverished, but as an equally poor white, how could he have seen it?

All he said is that, in his experience, black sharecroppers were not treated differently than white sharecroppers. Insisting he was making points about Jim Crow or civil rights legislation is your, and Layman’s, et al invention.

Mao Cheng Ji has it right. It is entirely possible to gladly see the back of institutionalized discrimination while rueing the effects of welfare policies. Robertson was talking about the solely about the latter, and had not a word to say about the former.

If you are going to make serious accusations about somebody based upon what they said, it is only fair to base those accusations on what they said.

57

Layman 12.29.13 at 9:42 pm

@Skipper

“I can’t fathom why you think his quote, or any underlying meaning, has anything at all to do with Jim Crow or Civil Rights legislation. His comment specifically refers to entitlements and welfare onlyl; both are entirely separate from dismantling Jim Crow and Civil Rights legislation.”

You can’t reasonably mean this quote:

“I never, with my own eyes, saw a black person mistreated”

If you are, please relate it to welfare or entitlements. I’ll wait.

58

Ramanan 12.29.13 at 9:50 pm

Hey, your latest post on buying a house is a blank, although I can read it on my RSS reader.

59

Alan White 12.29.13 at 9:51 pm

My father was a white sharecropper in north Alabama, and I did my own share of picking cotton by my mother’s side as a child. (Can anyone else here remember cotton-picking school vacation in the Fall?) And I can tell you absolutely that my dad’s socioeconomic status at the time didn’t allow identification with African-Americans in any way, shape, or form. There was only one horrible term used for African-Americans, and I’d wager the Duck Dynaster used it too. Robertson’s re-imaginations of yesteryear’s South make him demented, a liar, a fool, or all three.

Thank heavens we had to pick up and move, Grapes Wrathing style, to California when I was 10. Plunged into fully integrated and solid public schools. Saved me in more ways than I can count.

60

Opie Elvis 12.30.13 at 12:29 am

Alan White: Yes, and days off in the Spring to get crops in the ground. And thank you for the rest of your comment.
As for “I never saw with my own eyes the mistreatment….”
Hate to go all Bill Clinton parsing but without Robertson’s definition of mistreatment of blacks we may be left with the rather perverse proposition that he’s telling the truth at least technically for in his eyes behavior that most would consider to be mistreatment may simply have been well deserved “correction”.

61

Alan White 12.30.13 at 12:59 am

Plenty of people have never personally seen mistreatment of others. Hell–that’s the departure-gate for Holocaust-denial flights of fancy. There is no force of argument there for any supposed cogent point that Duckster wished to make. But at least OE you recall the two-week “cotton-pickin’ vacation” as we used to call it.

62

Hey Skipper 12.30.13 at 1:59 am

[Alan White:] And I can tell you absolutely that my dad’s socioeconomic status at the time didn’t allow identification with African-Americans in any way, shape, or form. There was only one horrible term used for African-Americans, and I’d wager the Duck Dynaster used it too. Robertson’s re-imaginations of yesteryear’s South make him demented, a liar, a fool, or all three.

I’m sure your experiences are universal, therefore Robertson is not entitled to his own, unless they agree with yours.

And I’m not at all clear where any terms he might have (OK, must have, since your experiences are universal) used are relevant to what he said.

[Layman:] “I never, with my own eyes, saw a black person mistreated”

If you are, please relate it to welfare or entitlements. I’ll wait.

Huh? Who the heck are you to tell him, or us, what he saw? By what train of logic, other than one that has completely left the rails, do you stretch what he says he saw into his opinion of Jim Crow laws, about which he said exactly nothing?

63

Alan White 12.30.13 at 2:25 am

Hey Skippy–at least I can use my own name. Hiding behind pseudonyms is so comfortable when defending the indefensible. I pity you if you actually believe your nit-picking sputum. Why do you feel it necessary anyway to defend the thinnest veiled racism and loudest proclaimed homophobia?

64

Ben 12.30.13 at 2:43 am

As Fat Tony says, “Dis ain’t ov-ah.”

The Pater Duck is a preacher. There’ll be more video surfacing like this:

Women with women. Men with men. They committed indecent acts with one another. And they received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. They’re full of murder, envy, strife, hatred. They are insolent, arrogant, god haters, they are heartless, they are faithless, they are senseless, they are ruthless, they invent ways of doing evil!

That’s what you have 235 years, roughly, after your forefathers founded the country. So what are you going to do, Pennsylvania? Just run with them? You’re going to die. Don’t forget that.

And this:

“Make sure that she can cook a meal, you need to eat some meals that she cooks, check that out,” he said. “Make sure she carries her Bible. That’ll save you a lot of trouble down the road. And if she picks your ducks, now, that’s a woman.”

“They got to where they’re getting hard to find,” Robertson remarked. “Mainly because these boys are waiting until they get to be about 20 years old before they marry ‘em. Look, you wait until they get to be 20 years old, the only picking that’s going to take place is your pocket.”

The Duck Commander company founder added: “You got to marry these girls when they are about 15 or 16, they’ll pick your ducks. You need to check with mom and dad about that of course.”

First one’s evil. Second one’s just . . . weird.

65

MPAVictoria 12.30.13 at 2:54 am

Hey Skippy,
I am happy to call him a liar. I would stake my life on him growing up using the n word and on him witnessing African Americans being mistreated. He grew up in the SOUTH during JIM FUCKING CROW. How dumb do you think we are?

66

John Holbo 12.30.13 at 3:01 am

“If you are going to make serious accusations about somebody based upon what they said, it is only fair to base those accusations on what they said.”

Well, I guess in a way I’m just more charitable to him than you are, insofar as I am assuming he’s thinking things through at least a few steps. I assume he’s aware of the implications of what he’s saying, on at least a very basic level. You are pointing out, in effect, that he might not be. But does that really seem likely?

67

bt 12.30.13 at 3:06 am

Here’s what I found unusual about this media flareup:

Everyone settled on the comments about ‘the gay’ and treated that as the ‘scandal’. I think that really misses the worse piece: his comments about ‘the blacks’.

Say what you want about gay rights, but the Duck Man is perfectly allowed to have his crappy feelings about gay people. It’s a free country.

But the comments about blacks in the south pre-civil rights were plainly hugely catastrophically wrong, and go to the heart of what the GOP is really about, way down south. It should have been AT LEAST as big an issue as the gay. I still can’t figure out why no one seemed to pick that up, out there in media land.

68

John Holbo 12.30.13 at 3:12 am

OK, I’ll try to spell this out a bit more fully, as your comments suggest this is necessary.

“By what train of logic, other than one that has completely left the rails, do you stretch what he says he saw into his opinion of Jim Crow laws, about which he said exactly nothing?”

He said he never saw a black person mistreated. This suggests he believes it didn’t happen or happened rarely, or in isolated areas or in exceptional circumstances or something. (It doesn’t sound as though he is saying he just led a very sheltered or lucky life, to have missed all that stuff by some miracle. Like being the only guy on the beach on D-Day to emerge without a scratch.)

Jim Crow is generally believed to have been a legal/social regime that led to the systematic mistreatment of blacks. This creates an obvious connection between what he said and Jim Crow. In fact, it generates a tension. If what he says is true, that is reason to believe the conventional wisdom about Jim Crow is wrong. It really wasn’t a big deal, despite what you may read in the history books. Presumably it follows as well that what is said in the history books is largely just progressive propaganda.

69

Alan White 12.30.13 at 3:27 am

One more comment about my “personal experience.”

The last southern town I lived in as a kid had a sign posted on the town limits: “African-American: Don’t let the sun set on you here.” Except the sign did not use that term.

My mother worked at the Dairy Bar there, and one day a bus of African-Americans stopped for food. Her boss had her lock the door.

Of course, that’s just my experience.

70

John Holbo 12.30.13 at 3:27 am

Admittedly, I am assuming that Robertson can spot obvious implications of what he says.

71

Hey Skipper 12.30.13 at 3:48 am

[John Holbo:] Well, I guess in a way I’m just more charitable to him than you are, insofar as I am assuming he’s thinking things through at least a few steps.

You put thoughts in his head using words he didn’t say. That’s not charity, that is fantasizing. And it certainly isn’t charitable to level a real insult, a serious charge impugning his moral character — he somehow approved of Jim Crow laws — based upon such vanishingly thin tissue.

It is amazing, no appalling, that the collective conviction here is that he is a racist, despite not saying one thing, not even syllable, disparaging of any race.

He said he never saw a black person mistreated. This suggests he believes it didn’t happen or happened rarely, or in isolated areas or in exceptional circumstances or something.

Here is what He said he never saw a black person mistreated suggests: he never saw a black person mistreated. That. Period. Nothing more. The sentence structure and the words could hardly be more simple. To get from there to he believes it didn’t happen, etc … is pure fabrication, and puts him in the position of not being able to mean or think anything until your inventive parsing says he can.

Jim Crow is generally believed to have been a legal/social regime that led to the systematic mistreatment of blacks.

Yes, of course. But the word mistreatment can mean many things depending not only in context but whether it is used as a verb or a noun. He used it as a verb, you as a noun. Then you presume to judge him based your word choice, not his. Used as a verb, in the context of a sentence, he clearly means that he never saw blacks physically abused. Now try re-reading what he said using his words, his meanings, not yours.

Which makes your condescending lecture both misplaced and telling. Your failure to distinguish noun from verb, or between a grotesque legal regime and instances of physical cruelty, morphs into my ignorance of Jim Crow, or some evil desire to view what history books saw about that period as progressive propaganda.

So just as you put thoughts into Robertson’s head, you put them in mine.

Thanks, but all the same I’d rather you didn’t.

72

Hey Skipper 12.30.13 at 3:51 am

[MPAVictoria:] Hey Skippy, I am happy to call him a liar. I would stake my life on him growing up using the n word and on him witnessing African Americans being mistreated. He grew up in the SOUTH during JIM FUCKING CROW. How dumb do you think we are?

I think you are far better at thoughtcrime than reading.

73

MPAVictoria 12.30.13 at 3:56 am

Skippy,
You are an apologist for a racist homophobe. You are a disgrace. Hang your head in shame.

74

MPAVictoria 12.30.13 at 4:07 am

Here is a list of some of the Jim Crow laws in Louisiana

“1868: Blacks and whites are not to have different schools.

1869: The passenger trains are not segregated

1870: People can marry whoever they want

1873: All people can use anything in Louisiana no matter of race

1894: Different passenger trains are for blacks and whites

1898: Schools are to be segregated

1908: Interracial marriage is prohibited

1908: Blacks and whites cannot purchase goods on the same premises.

1921: Black and Negroes are not to live in the same neighborhoods.

1932: Blacks and whites are to not live in the same apartment building.

1942: Blacks and whites are to have the same things in an old age home but not have the same building

1951: Interracial adoptions are forbidden

1956: Blacks and whites are not to compete in recreational events on the same premises

1956: Whites and Negroes who work in the same place are to have separate bathrooms

1956: Public parks are to be segregated to “protect the public’s health, morals, and peace in the state of Louisiana and not because of race”

1958: All blood donated was to be labeled “Caucasian”, “negroid”, or “mongoloid” to indicate race of donor.

1960: The races of candidates are to be designated on the ballot.”

Now let us note that 355 blacks were lynched in Louisiana between 1882 and 1968.
You expect us to believe that during this period Mr Robertson never saw ONE black person mistreated? Not one? Exactly how dumb are you? Or how dumb do you think we are?

75

Collin Street 12.30.13 at 4:10 am

You put thoughts in his head using words he didn’t say.

Your words are shaped by your thoughts and experiences. And we can work through that backwards: based on your words and your experiences we can work out what your thoughts are.

People don’t say everything they think. I’m thinking things about you right now that I’m not saying… but I think you can understand what I’m thinking even though I haven’t said it, and you wouldn’t be putting thoughts inside my head if you were to conclude the obvious natural conclusion.

Same principle lets us get inside [man]‘s head and work out that he’s thinking things that he hasn’t put into words.

76

John Holbo 12.30.13 at 4:36 am

“You put thoughts in his head using words he didn’t say. That’s not charity, that is fantasizing.”

But this is a perfectly normal part of interacting with other human beings. They say and do things, and you infer what they think on the basis of what they say. Someone asks ‘do you have any milk?’ and you infer that they want milk. It’s true that they might not want milk, and they didn’t actually say they did (fair enough!) Perhaps their interest was purely academic. But if you assume that someone who asks this question wants milk, you are not ‘fantasizing’. You are making a reasonable inference. If you rule out all drawing of reasonable inferences about the minds and motives of our fellow human beings as ‘fantasy’, how do you propose to conduct human life?

Turn the point around: your parsing of Robertson’s mental life is more scholastically elaborate and speculative than mine is, by at least an order of magnitude. I’m assuming he sees the obvious stuff (which he might not be, admittedly, but you have to start somewhere.) You, by contrast, are assuming – on the basis of what evidence? – that he draws a fine verb/noun distinction regarding ‘mistreatment’. The noun means something. The verb means something else. This is not a standard English distinction. You have invented an idiolect and attributed to Robertson.

“Used as a verb, in the context of a sentence, he clearly means that he never saw blacks physically abused.”

Why assume he isn’t using the word more or less in its ordinary sense, which would cover physical abuse or any other sort of mistreatment?

77

Hey Skipper 12.30.13 at 4:36 am

[MPAVictoria:] Skippy, You are an apologist for a racist homophobe. You are a disgrace. Hang your head in shame.

No, I’m appalled at progressives’ thoughtcrime reflex, the immediate delegitimizing of thoughts that don’t adhere to your worldview, to the point where you even disallow someone of his own experiences.

Your snarky listing of the glaringly apparent demonstrates this thoroughly. It is completely irrelevant to what he said, yet he is somehow guilty of thinking in the way you insist he is. The arrogance is palpable. The list of people here who insist the guy is lying about what he saw is nearly endless.

Generally, outside thoughtcrime world, that is, calling someone a liar comes with proof. Calling someone a racist comes with proof. They are, after all, serious charges.

Yet you trot out those virulent charges on nothing more than your say so: “I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once.” = racism!

If that constitutes racism, then you have drained the concept of any meaning whatsoever.

And that is exactly how dumb I think you are.

Your calling him a homophobe puts the icing on the cake. In progressive thoughtcrime world, he is not allowed to dislike homosexuality, he isn’t allowed to have religious beliefs that condemn homosexuality (along with many other things, including my failure to accept Jesus Christ as my savior.).

The totalitarian impulse is strong in you, MPAVictoria.

[Colin Street:] People don’t say everything they think. I’m thinking things about you right now that I’m not saying… but I think you can understand what I’m thinking even though I haven’t said it, and you wouldn’t be putting thoughts inside my head if you were to conclude the obvious natural conclusion.

You must love being wrong.

78

MPAVictoria 12.30.13 at 4:42 am

Skippy,
So is denying blacks the right to live in white neighborhoods mistreatment? Is a black person hanging from his neck until dead mistreatment? I am curious just how racist you are.

79

roy belmont 12.30.13 at 4:44 am

Holbo at 3:01 am-
Well, I guess in a way I’m just more charitable to him than you are, insofar as I am assuming he’s thinking things through at least a few steps. I assume he’s aware of the implications of what he’s saying, on at least a very basic level. You are pointing out, in effect, that he might not be…
Hmmf.
Possibly, because far be it from me to make assumptions about other people’s thinkings just based on what they’re actually saying, but possibly Hey Skipper is really trying to assert, through his defense of Robertson, the basic humanity of the last demographic in the US it’s still okay to ridicule and insult in a public place. Besides Muslims, by those other guys. Or it was until yesterday or so.
“Hillbillies” “rednecks” “white trash”. It’s no accident those insults are turned into prideful assertions, just like “nigger” is, by those with a claim to them. What else can you do with that shit?
That affirmation of pride in who you are seems to be what Robertson and the providers of Robertson to us are working off. It was certainly core to the WBush election nonsense. The voicelessness of poor and lower-class whites, their absence from any kind of approving representation in the media, the lack of any programs or concerted efforts in the educational system to redeem anything about them at all, cultural or historical.
After a pretty solid 4 decades of black progress upward (key phrase coming!) in the mediated environment where most Americans now think they live – Condie Rice! Susan Rice! Obama! Michelle!, keeping in mind of course the massive detention statistics the poverty statistics the death-by-violence statistics and the just general constant bad news of being especially a young black male, simultaneous with p.c. idiots using the nauseatingly infantile construct ” the n-word” or just sidestepping any referrant completely out of sophisticated timidity, poor whites especially southern poor whites have seen near-vertical declines in any metrics of well-being except obesity.
Lynndie England’s mediated stoning and consequent psychological destruction, at the hands of people not much different in their online affect from some of the commenters here, was out of that same “we’re not sick they are” sickness.
“Hey, they deserve it, those racist homophobic assholes.”
It’s okay to be hateful to haters. Only, whoops, what if you hate on someone who isn’t a hater but you thought they were, then aren’t you…I mean… by those rules, isn’t it…
A lot of these people sound like they think slavery and its social consequences in the southern US were racist pure and simple, and the doings of uneducated mostly Scots-Irish proto-rednecks.
So now that we’ve driven racism into its isolated little low-rent caves there can’t be anymore slavery. How could there?
Too much adoption of the hyped-up polarity on offer. And the overtones of that go right to issues of survival, and people get scared.
People are scared, and that makes them even more vulnerable to these manufactured goadings. Of course Robertson’s playing that, but he may well be honest when he says he didn’t see any mistreatment of the blacks he worked beside. Which is a path toward his humanity. Even if he’s lying to himself about what it means, and what effects his saying it will have.
Hey Skipper is bridging that volatile chasm a little, his attackers are fine with it getting wider, as long as they’re looking like to be on the winning side.
Adding to what I said above, crack cocaine wasn’t injected into urban ghettos by poor whites or poor blacks either one, and the unconscionable rates of imprisonment for black male Americans is not a result of redneck bigotry. At all.

80

John Holbo 12.30.13 at 4:45 am

“It is completely irrelevant to what he said”.

We have all been making arguments about why it is relevant. What is your argument that it is irrelevant? You seem to be just insisting that it’s wrong to infer what someone thinks on the basis of what they say. But that’s obviously absurd.

81

MPAVictoria 12.30.13 at 4:46 am

“Your calling him a homophobe puts the icing on the cake?
just curious what he would have to say before you would admit he is homophobic? Comparing them to people who have sex with animals apparently isn’t enough, so what would be?

82

John Holbo 12.30.13 at 4:53 am

“That affirmation of pride in who you are seems to be what Robertson and the providers of Robertson to us are working off.”

Yes. I think that’s quite right. Daniel Davies quoted Nietzsche in his recent thread. “Memory says I did it. Pride says I didn’t. After a while, memory yields.” That’s the way people are.

83

Alan White 12.30.13 at 4:56 am

So Skippykins. Duskster’s use of “saw” is incorrigible and cannot be subject to epistemic analysis and criticism? So as Tycho “saw” the sun actually rising over an unmoving earth, and Galileo “saw” the earth moving with respect to an immobile sun, neither is to be preferred as closer to being true? I have a feeling likewise Duckster’s world-view as you call it informs his “seeing”, and his world-view is more like Tycho’s, except for being morally abhorrent as well as just plain wrong. Slave-owners “saw” no abuse in whipping obedience into their “property”. Wanna defend them too on the basis of entitlement to “world-view”?

I’m done with your sophistry.

84

roy belmont 12.30.13 at 5:10 am

Holbo at 4:53 am-
And? And? There’s nothing to the affirmation of pride because? Or it’s meaningless or something? Because nothing to be genuinely proud of?
Isn’t that where it starts going wrong? Are we trying to fix this, or are we trying to find excuses for voting people off the island?

Alan White at 4:56 am-
There’s something Freudian about that “Duskster” there.
Maybe your unconscious is talking to you. But maybe you’re not listening to it.
Let me help.
Dusky=colored=Negro=unfairly persecuted victim of irrational bigotry.

85

MPAVictoria 12.30.13 at 5:19 am

“Are we trying to fix this”
how is this ever going to be fixed if one side refuses to believe there is a problem?

86

MPAVictoria 12.30.13 at 5:22 am

Actually I know how to fix the problem, long term intense social pressure. Eventually they will get the hint or at least their kids will. It seems to be working for the gay community.

87

John Holbo 12.30.13 at 5:30 am

“And? And?”

Well, if you’ve done someone wrong and then you rewrite your memory so that you didn’t do it – because your pride can’t stand for you to have been in the wrong – then you also have to take the additional step of accusing your accusers of bringing false accusations. You don’t just erase the scene of the crime, you reverse the roles of victim and perp, in your mind, so now you are the victim of a moral frame-up. (Oh what a tangled web we weave.) It isn’t exactly surprising, then, that people would be bothered by Robertson just ‘reporting his personal experiences’ like this. It amounts to falsification and denial of important stuff. So it makes sense to come down on this sort of prideful revisionism, like a ton of moral bricks, even if it really just is pride. Even if, in some sense, it expresses a genuine desire to be free from racism. It isn’t right to turn the desire to be free from racism into a belief that one has always been free from racism. Because that actually breeds racism. Life is complicated, I think. I don’t really have a fix. Not one that fits in a comment box, anyway.

88

Ed Herdman 12.30.13 at 6:12 am

It’s that whole “ton of bricks” thing that doesn’t get paved into a neat row. It would be nice if sheer force of emotion or argument would cause pride to crumble, but as we know – it doesn’t. The best I can come up with is to constantly praise the good faith intentions of the other party, but in this case it feels like it isn’t earned at all. A student wouldn’t expect a good grade when they didn’t do their research. But that’s just an unrealistic expectation to go along with the unrealistic epistemic worldview.

Whether Robertson is or isn’t a good social observer isn’t very interesting to me – that’s a tall order for anybody, anyhow. What is interesting to me is how you go from the Jim Crow era to blaming “entitlements and welfare,” and furthermore how pride gets in the way of learning a lesson.

Still, it doesn’t bother me to acknowledge that there are brittle souls all around in this story, and to tiptoe carefully through. And part of that is, I think, about separating the pride from the “prideful revisionism,” which seemingly implies something more sophisticated than what’s going on.

89

John Holbo 12.30.13 at 6:18 am

“It’s that whole “ton of bricks” thing that doesn’t get paved into a neat row.”

That is certainly true.

90

John Holbo 12.30.13 at 6:19 am

“… from the “prideful revisionism,” which seemingly implies something more sophisticated than what’s going on.”

I don’t think there’ anything terribly sophisticated about moral confabulation. It’s primal and instinctual as anything in our moral natures is.

91

roy belmont 12.30.13 at 6:45 am

Okay so it’s a binary, and he’s either a victim or a perp, in that view, which is yours, seemingly.
And there’s no room in that 2-D place for something like the actual mess we’re all in, the human complexity of it.
Victims become perps, and their victims become perps, and pretty soon it’s one big family reunion.
Plus the further dimensions of inherited wrong, either side of the binary, where the Indian Wars were great-great-grandpa’s bad, and my 2000 acres of hard-worked and barely hung on to cropland are mine, cause I’ve got the deed, clear and simple.
The real nightmare of what’s being rejected, whatever you call it, slavery, racism is so horrifying it isn’t brought, just glimpses of it, sanitized and declawed, any of which are still ghastly enough to close the door on further understanding,
The people who loved Robertson as a boy, the entire cultural social matrix of his raising, are what I’m pointing to as the nucleus of the reaction, not action, of pride asserted. That it’s being played, and the people jumping into the matrix of polarizing energies are being played, powerfully, in a tense moment, means resistance is important. How do you resist the goad toward polarized hate, or scorn or whatever? By finding something redeemable about the Other.
Expanding the context of him reporting his experiences from his perceived context to ours is a good way to get the real pathology visible, but locating Robertson’s utterances solely in the racist timeline elides the rest of what’s there, now.
It’s treating the whole problem like it’s just one of its own parts. As though the problem of racial incarceration disparity is just in the police, or in the courts.
This reminds me of all the flame-crap around evolution back in the oughts. Same disdain and superiority, same provable wrongness on the loser’s side, and the same willful ignorance of the actual lived reality from where the disdained on were speaking.
The difficulty for me, real me not character in thought problem analogy me, is I keep seeing everyone in these polarized shit-storms as pathetic and deserving of compassion.
Having a fix available and trying to fix something by comprehending it are really different things.

92

John Holbo 12.30.13 at 7:26 am

“Okay so it’s a binary, and he’s either a victim or a perp, in that view, which is yours, seemingly.”

Not logically, but psychologically this is natural (not inevitable). If you are telling yourself some story about how you didn’t do this thing you really did, because it’s too psychologically painful to admit; and if there are people out there telling the story that you did this thing you have now convinced yourself you couldn’t possibly have done, your revisionism can’t stop short of inventing some story about how they are all lying. They’ve got it in for you. You are the victim here – the victim of them casting themselves as the victims! This isn’t some logical binary. It’s just a natural dynamic by which the cover-up has to cover-up more and more things if it is going to work to cover the thing it was originally supposed to cover. The cover-up is often worse than the crime, as they say. I think in Robertson’s case that’s possibly apt. Possibly he’s personally very decent in all his interactions with African-Amerians. I don’t know. But it’s still highly objectionable to say things that imply denialism about past injustice. I’m sure lots of Germans, after the war, played down Nazism, not out of sympathy with it, but out of shame and a desire to forget a painful episode. (All those jokes that, after the war, the denazification efforts suddenly couldn’t find any Nazis. They’d all flown back to Mars, apparently.) But it’s pretty important not to let that humanly understandable impulse to forget distort the record.

I do agree that one can probably go this far: this is a raw nerve. You don’t want to admit your parents, grandparents – honored ancestors, all that – were on the wrong side of history, morally speaking, in this really important way. So try to be as gentle as possible in insisting that people not lie or delude themselves about the past. But that’s sort of hard to do, effectively.

93

Hey Skipper 12.30.13 at 7:28 am

[MPAVictoria:] Skippy, so is denying blacks the right to live in white neighborhoods mistreatment? Is a black person hanging from his neck until dead mistreatment? I am curious just how racist you are.

I already can tell how snotty you are by your foolish questions. But they do cause me to be curious about how bad your reading comprehension is:

#33 The grotesque impositions of Jim Crow laws …

As for grievance, Lord knows blacks have plenty of reasons.

#56 Jim Crow laws obviously operated to keep blacks impoverished …

Mao Cheng Ji has it right. It is entirely possible to gladly see the back of institutionalized discrimination …

#71 … a grotesque legal regime …

Isn’t that clear enough for you?

94

Hey Skipper 12.30.13 at 7:54 am

[John Holbo:] We have all been making arguments about why it is relevant. What is your argument that it is irrelevant?

Because you are making stuff up. Compared to context, word meaning, and sentence structure, what you imagine him to mean is irrelevant. I don’t think it is wrong to infer what someone thinks based on what they said, provided you have evidence with which to do so. Do you have any other instances where he said or did something racist? Pattern of conduct, anything? If no, and I’m betting big on no, then you have convicted him of thoughtcrime on the basis of nothing. Pardon me if I find that neither compelling, nor admirable.

Did you, or any of the others who are so good at detecting thoughtcrime, even think to write a letter to Esquire, or A&E, asking Mr. Robertson something along the lines of: Based on your comments in your recent interview, we are concerned that you do not believe Jim Crow laws were a horrible stain on our country’s history. Would you please go into more detail about what you meant when you said you never saw blacks mistreated? Also, would you please explain your thinking about the proper place of blacks in American society?

No, instead, you (collectively) just went off high order.

[Hey Skipper:] Your calling him a homophobe puts the icing on the cake?

[MPAVictoria:] Just curious what he would have to say before you would admit he is homophobic?

Again, I’m curious whether you read what I write, or what you want to see. In progressive thoughtcrime world, he is not allowed to dislike homosexuality, he isn’t allowed to have religious beliefs that condemn homosexuality …

The question isn’t whether he likes homosexuality; clearly he doesn’t, and just as clearly I acknowledge that. Rather, the question — although it really isn’t difficult to answer — is whether progressives will allow him to dislike homosexuality, find anal sex repellant, or talk about the reasons for it.

Pope Francis, Time Magazine Person of the Year

Mr. Robertson, unconscionable homophobe.

Discuss.

95

Mao Cheng Ji 12.30.13 at 8:08 am

John @76 “They say and do things, and you infer what they think on the basis of what they say.”

Yes, but the context matters. His context is: these days blacks blame whites, but back in the day blacks and ‘white trash’ used to work together on fields, side by side, and there was no animosity between them. I don’t know to what extent it’s true, but this is, apparently, how he remembers it. If it’s true, it’s interesting, btw. Reminds me of the movie called Matewan, but I’m not sure to what extent that one is true either.

Now, you choose to ignore his context and place this one phrase in the context of Jim Crow. And from that you infer what he thinks. For all I know you may be right, but the method seem a bit tendentious.

96

John Holbo 12.30.13 at 8:16 am

“place this one phrase in the context of Jim Crow.”

?

Sorry, was I supposed to imagine, counter-factually, that he was talking about growing up in the South, during the Jim Crow era, but not under Jim Crow? What would be the point of imagining that?

97

John Holbo 12.30.13 at 8:21 am

Skipper, what is wrong with inferring that Robertson is probably aware of the basic implications of what he says? If his experience was typical; if he is right, therefore, that, by and large, blacks weren’t treated differently from whites, based on the color of their skin, that’s huge, right? It overturns everything we think we know about the South in this period? Right?

98

Mao Cheng Ji 12.30.13 at 8:26 am

Fine, but still: you’re ignoring his context. He’s talking about something, you hear one phrase in the middle, you discard the rest, and you say: this is terrible because Jim Crow. It’s a tendentious (or highly polemical, if you prefer) approach.

99

John Holbo 12.30.13 at 8:43 am

“you’re ignoring his context.”

I’m ignoring his context by … paying attention to the context? I don’t get it. What do you mean by ‘his context’ if not the social context he grew up in?

100

Mao Cheng Ji 12.30.13 at 9:12 am

The context where the phrase appears, the subject of his rant. Oh, whatever. What do I care.

101

John Holbo 12.30.13 at 9:17 am

How does the context in which the sentence appears make a difference?

102

Hey Skipper 12.30.13 at 10:03 am

Skipper, what is wrong with inferring that Robertson is probably aware of the basic implications of what he says?

Because that requires him to have mad mensa-level prediction skills. And it gives progressives prior restraint on his speech, because what you ask of him is to not say anything on Certain Topics without effectively clearing it with progressives first. It is preposterous, and a bit sinister, that you think he should consider your powers of invention when he makes a simple, straightforward, declarative statement about his personal experiences.

And there are yet more reasons why it is wrong. There are no apparent limits to your inferencing, nor any reason for anyone not already in the choir to give your inferences any authority beyond the evidence upon which they are based.

You have, as I expected, none. Yet despite that, you think it is just fine to call him a racist, or a liar, or a moron.

I can’t help but notice his reinstatement came after a mere 9 days. Which he got after submitting this apology:

Before you resort to money as the reason, perhaps you should consider that there was a huge number of people letting A&E and the Cracker Barrel know that they considered GLAAD and progressive outrage both baseless and nasty.

103

John Holbo 12.30.13 at 10:28 am

“Because that requires him to have mad mensa-level prediction skills.”

Why should it take mad, mensa-level prediction skills to be aware of the basic implications of the things one says?

104

GiT 12.30.13 at 10:46 am

So much for my ability to use tags.

From the Atlantic. Link exists in the colon above.

“There is never only a single story about a place or a people that tells the whole truth, she argues. The truth emerges upon hearing many stories, and one story taken alone is at least a partial falsehood.

Contrary to Robertson’s assumption, his single experience in Louisiana—however true it may be—doesn’t tell us anything about the realities of the Jim Crow South.”

The deception inherent to Phil’s folksy recollections isn’t hard to grasp.

105

GiT 12.30.13 at 10:48 am

Uh oh, I think I might have broken something. Throwing in a tag to fix things, hopefully

106

Hey Skipper 12.30.13 at 10:54 am

Why should it take mad, mensa-level prediction skills to be aware of the basic implications of the things one says?

“Basic implications”. Hmmm. On account of whose say so, yours? I believe you have created a tautology: your basic implications are the justification for your basic implications. One would think a philosophy professor would twig that problem sooner than a heavy equipment operator.

Worse, perhaps, you show no sign at all of even considering that your basic implications might, just might, be wrong, despite the fact that a great many other people find them vile fabrications. (I’m sure the A&E mail department can fill you in on the details.)

That is a charge you could handily refute with some evidence other than your mad basic implications skillz.

Which you don’t have.

107

dsquared 12.30.13 at 11:15 am

And it gives progressives prior restraint on his speech, because what you ask of him is to not say anything on Certain Topics without effectively clearing it with progressives first.

I can see how that was irresistible, but it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Up until that point I thought there was a small chance that this guy might be for real.

108

John Holbo 12.30.13 at 11:16 am

I just unapproved the troublesome comment, since I couldn’t seem to fix it otherwise. Here is the link that somehow caused the trouble:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/12/the-real-em-duck-dynasty-em-scandal-phil-robertsons-comments-on-race/282538/

Skipper, I have stated what I think are the rather obvious implications of what Robertson said. It’s pretty simple and there isn’t any tautology. (I’m not using what I see as the implications of Robertson’s statements as premises in my own argument that his statements have those implications.) The argument is pretty simple. He mentions his experience because he thinks that it goes to show something. (He doesn’t mention it because he thinks it shows nothing at all.) Well, what could it go to show? Presumably, that blacks were not typically treated differently based on the color of their skin. The stuff that people think was the Jim Crow norm was, presumably, the exception. If he isn’t making that argument, on the basis of his own experience, then what was the point of what he said?

109

Collin Street 12.30.13 at 11:30 am

Up until that point I thought there was a small chance that this guy might be for real.

You notice how there’s this continuous linking thread in all the posts about people are black boxes and we — that is to say, “Hey Skipper” — have no way of guessing what goes on inside other people’s heads?

He’s for real. This is how the world appears to him, because this is what he can do and he believes he’s normal. They’re always for real, and it’s always the same problem.

110

Mao Cheng Ji 12.30.13 at 12:52 pm

“Well, what could it go to show? Presumably, that blacks were not typically treated differently based on the color of their skin.”

In the context of his remark: that out in the farmland white trash people like himself were not mistreating blacks, they were all getting along well, and therefore cursing the whole category of white people is uncalled for. Isn’t it right there in the text? What am I missing here?

111

John Holbo 12.30.13 at 1:50 pm

“white trash people like himself were not mistreating blacks”

OK, that’s clearly not what he says. He isn’t saying that the blacks around him were mistreated by rich white farmers but NOT by poor white trash. But I guess you could read him as having meant to say that.

But I’m still going to have to insist on injecting some common sense into the interpretation, like so: there’s just no way to read what he said as anything but a consciously contrarian expression of the view that the conditions for black people were generally better than we think they were. He’s telling us we have got it wrong, and not just about a few isolated pockets. He’s not saying he lived in some weird ideal environment where everything worked differently than the South worked generally. If the poorest sharecroppers had it pretty good, getting basic respect from whites, it would have to follow that economically better off blacks couldn’t have been so much worse off. Seriously, there’s just no way to argue that the worst off folks had no grievances without it following that there weren’t serious grievances, generally. He’s saying this because he wants it to have all been ok, I guess. Nothing wrong with wanting it to have been ok. But it’s not exactly surprising that people would not give him a pass, saying that. Maybe you want to say that it’s not such a big deal that he said something wrong. But then the way to say that is not to deny that it was wrong, or invent some way in which he was really saying something that it doesn’t seem like he was saying.

112

Marc 12.30.13 at 1:52 pm

Well, we have decades of practical experience in what the words that he used mean in the South. The straightforward verbal racism backfired, so racists retreated into code speech in public. It would be one thing if there was genuine remorse: this attitude is very clear in how contemporary Germans, for example, deal with the legacy of Hitler.

But Southern whites somehow have twisted things around to claim that they were the real victims. I grew up in the South and this is not a new game. In the 60s we heard that the local terrorized blacks didn’t want things to change – it was “outside agitators” responsible for the Civil Rights movement. The image of blacks as dangerous criminals excused Jim Crow-like laws – to protect the local whites, especially women, from peril. Attacks on “welfare” and “entitlements” are part of a long chain of racist grievances about lazy, shiftless blacks. These are the tools used to pit poor blacks and whites against each other.

Under these circumstances maintaining a false history – that blacks were not mistreated – is maintaining a lie. You’re not going to find a lot of African-Americans who lived under Jim Crow who would agree. So we’re left with only a few choices: that the minorities who claim to have suffered under Jim Crow were lying; that Robertson is lying to us; or that he’s lying to himself.

113

Ronan(rf) 12.30.13 at 1:57 pm

It seems to be a standard enough statement from a specific type of conservatism (as TNC wrote about among African Americans as well – without the ‘there was no mistreatment’, obvs)

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2008/05/-this-is-how-we-lost-to-the-white-man/306774/

It seems wrong and stupid to me, but I dont see why people cant be wrong and stupid without the outrage machine being turned into overdrive. I agree it’s not a free speech issue, but its (to my mind) just another example of the tiresome phenomenon of everything offensive becoming the object of a boycott/letter writing campaign/ten minutes of hyperventilating.
It’s like that time people became offended that Islamic Jihad (!!) engaged in an anti semitic protest; people expect an ex sharecropper from the Jim Crow South who gave up drinking after he kicked his family out of the family house in a drunken rage, found God and now stars in a reality TV show with no clear point on some marginal TV channel to be a figurehead for racial enlightenment?

114

MPAVictoria 12.30.13 at 2:07 pm

“The question isn’t whether he likes homosexuality; clearly he doesn’t, and just as clearly I acknowledge that. Rather, the question — although it really isn’t difficult to answer — is whether progressives will allow him to dislike homosexuality, find anal sex repellant, or talk about the reasons for it”

So you admit he is homophobic? Also i never said he isn’t allowed to be homophobic. He is allowed to believe whatever he wants. Just as I am allowed to call him a bigoted, homophobic idiot. You see how this works?

115

John Holbo 12.30.13 at 2:15 pm

“I dont see why people cant be wrong and stupid without the outrage machine being turned into overdrive.”

I can agree with that. Even so, when a celebrity who is held up as a kind of cultural exemplar by the right fires his mouth off in an interview, a certain amount of push-back from the left is to be expected. When influential people say wrong stuff, their wrongness should be duly noted.

116

MPAVictoria 12.30.13 at 2:18 pm

Let us look at what he actually said
“I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person, not once”

So he didn’t say that he never saw other poor white farmers mistreating black people. He didn’t say that poor blacks were treated poorly by the government but that poor whites treated them with respect. He said that he NEVER, not ONCE, saw the mistreatment of any black person. In Louisiana. During Jim Crow. This is an obvious lie.

117

Mao Cheng Ji 12.30.13 at 3:05 pm

“Maybe you want to say that it’s not such a big deal that he said something wrong.”

I want to say that I read his rant and I sort of get it; a part of it anyway: dunno about ‘everybody happy and singing ode to joy’. But the white trash and the poor blacks, I don’t see any reason for them to despise each other; not then, not now.

118

John Holbo 12.30.13 at 3:09 pm

“But the white trash and the poor blacks, I don’t see any reason for them to despise each other; not then, not now.”

Sorry, you are saying the rest of the race hatred thing makes moral sense to you except for this part? Surely not. What?

119

Mao Cheng Ji 12.30.13 at 3:16 pm

But that just what changes it from race hatred to some different kind of hatred. The things you wrote above ‘whites’ grievance against blacks’, ‘blacks’ grievance against whites’, it exposes it as bad framing.

120

Marc 12.30.13 at 3:37 pm

Poor whites could feel as if they were better off than somebody else because of the color of their skin. It’s simple, it explains a lot of otherwise puzzling things about Southern politics, and there is a lot of evidence for it. The alternative is to cram everything into a Marxist economic class = everything framework, which then can’t explain the same things.

121

John Holbo 12.30.13 at 3:40 pm

“that just what changes it … it exposes it”

Sorry, what is ‘that’ and what is ‘it’? What are you saying?

122

Alan White 12.30.13 at 4:15 pm

John (if I may) I just wanted to note that I appreciate your patience and care in response. Having grown up in the racist rural south in the late 50s into the 60s as what would be called “poor white trash,” I can tell you that skin color made all the difference. My parents, who never got to high school, taught me not to harm anyone–but clearly that I was better than others with darker skin and to avoid them as much as possible. I could relate some of the myths my grandfather truly believed about African-Americans, but it’d probably just produce the good old incredulous stare. Anyway, again thanks for your careful and prudent criticism, especially in the face of much on this thread that is neither.

123

Mao Cheng Ji 12.30.13 at 5:01 pm

The fact that some of the whites are, basically, in the same situation, working the same field, so they are not the issue. So, then, it’s not the black vs white, but something else.

But I see that the premise of ‘the white trash used to be getting along the blacks fine’ is being challenged now (surprisingly late in the thread), if only to the extent of “avoid them as much as possible”, which is unpleasant but perhaps still better than bitterness the what’s-his-name guy is complaining about.

124

John Holbo 12.30.13 at 5:49 pm

“The fact that some of the whites are, basically, in the same situation, working the same field, so they are not the issue.”

Again, I don’t really understand what you are saying. What do you mean ‘they aren’t the issue’? The whites aren’t the issue in what sense? The white issue? What’s that?

In general, I would say that Marc expresses the conventional wisdom on the subject, to the extent there is one. There wasn’t class solidarity across racial lines, by most accounts. Assuming the contrary as a ‘fact’ would be distinctly unsafe.

125

Mao Cheng Ji 12.30.13 at 6:17 pm

I guess I’m just very bad at explaining.

But what about the story of the battle of Matewan, and similar events? Granted, it’s not the deep South. 1920s, West Virginia. I googled it and found this:

According to David Corbin in his classic study of the West Virginia miners, Life, Work and Rebellion in the Coal Fields:

Armed and organised, the striking miners unleashed their rage upon the Baldwin-Felts guards. They hid in the hills and sniped at individual guards, and squads of miners attacked companies of Baldwin-Felts men. In one instance, miners surrounded a camp of guards during the night, cleared away the underbrush, and silently waited till dawn. When the guards awoke and began preparing breakfast, the miners opened fire, killing 13 to 15 of them… The miners blew up the tipples of operating mines and the trains carrying coal that had been mined by scabs. They met trains that were bringing strikebreakers to the strike zone and forced the potential scabs to evacuate–an action that often pitted black strikers against black strikebreakers and immigrant strikers against immigrant strikebreakers. The solidarity of black and white, Protestant and Catholic, immigrant and native miners was unbreakable.

Is it all BS, commie lies? I don’t really know, I only watched the movie. Or maybe the conventional wisdom is not entirely true.

126

bt 12.30.13 at 6:28 pm

Here’s a great quote from Chris Rock from a few years ago:

“you got kids? Kids always act up the most before they go to sleep. And when I see the Tea Party and all this stuff, it actually feels like racism’s almost over. Because this is the last — this is the act up before the sleep. They’re going crazy. They’re insane. You want to get rid of them — and the next thing you know, they’re fucking knocked out. And that’s what’s going on in the country right now. “

This just cracked my up, I wonder if it’s going to be true. Racist and sexist biases are strongly correlated to age and vicinity to the Slave States. It’s all about time…

127

Hey Skipper 12.30.13 at 6:31 pm

John, as simple as you think your argument to be, all you are left with, absent unfounded inference is that, based on his personal experience, life in general was no worse for black sharecroppers than white.

You ask why he would bring it up in the first place. Of course he has a reason, but just because you infer what it is doesn’t mean you know what it is, no matter how simple the argument.

I know I’m repeating myself here, but I infer — and hey if you can do it, why can’t I — that he is contrasting the the moral fibre of African Americans now vs. then, and he thinks in that regard, as counterintuitive is it may seem, African Americans were better off then, and that our welfare policies, intended to ameliorate our past sins instead made things worse by creating a culture of dependency which always brings with resentment.

That implication is obvious to me, requires reading absolutely nothing into his words that isn’t there, and doesn’t put me at risk of falsely accusing someone of something particularly nasty. (A reluctance that MCAVictoria obviously, among others, obviously doesn’t share).

As progressives, I understand you disagree with his conclusion. But regardless of the truth of what he said, none of it is racist.

Unless you are bound and determined it be.

128

The Modesto Kid 12.30.13 at 6:36 pm

the nauseatingly infantile construct ” the n-word”

This

129

Ronan(rf) 12.30.13 at 6:36 pm

“Even so, when a celebrity who is held up as a kind of cultural exemplar by the right fires his mouth off in an interview, a certain amount of push-back from the left is to be expected”

Yeah that’s fair enough, though I think if this is the rights idea of a cultural exemplar then the left are on an ever quickeing march to victory ! tbh

130

MPAVictoria 12.30.13 at 6:49 pm

“the nauseatingly infantile construct ” the n-word”
Personally I don’t see anything wrong with avoiding the use of racial slurs when possible.

131

Ed Herdman 12.30.13 at 7:27 pm

Hey Skipper @ #127
“based on his personal experience, life in general”
Don’t you see the problem with this? You can’t generalize from limited personal experience.

My initial response to reading Robertson’s comments was kind of “well, that wasn’t as bad as I thought,” but when I read it carefully and noticed the stuff about welfare and entitlements, then I realized he was specifically saying “I can generalize from this” which actually is objectionable.

John Holbo @ #90

Exactly – my point is that even calling moral confabulation (a nice term which, in this case, indicates perfect analysis wouldn’t be adaptive – it certainly seems to be working for Robertson right now!) a “revision” would seem to indicate to some that it’s intentional. I know you’re not saying that, but throughout this thread we’ve had people insist that calling something a non-truth implies lying – So.

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bt 12.30.13 at 7:55 pm

Hey Skipper,

How about the ‘black resentment’, if it exists, being based on just a little bit of anger towards Whitey, once Whitey stopped lynching you and all that. They are still waiting for their 40 acres and a mule. And so on.

I think if I was a black guy, yeah I would be a little pissed about whitey. Whitey going on about reverse discrimination and all. It’s like 400 years of slavery, then 5 or 10 years of affirmative action, and now Whitey’s all pissed off about the blacks taking all their jobs away.

Seriously have you ever considered how minorities might actually have a reason to be aggrieved? Your comments suggest you have not thought about it at all.

133

roy belmont 12.30.13 at 8:29 pm

Well unfortunately MPAV we’re stuck with defining “use” of racial slurs.
It’s still in there, in “n-word”, being used, just there’s no evidence in the transcript.
The algorithm won’t find it.
Given any symbolic descriptor (N) in any semiotic construct (U), we can determine its effectiveness as container of thought by how well it carries thought across the isolating divides that separate individual consciousnesses.
So from “nigger” we get, depending on the user, forms of cruel hierarchical identification, or assertions of rejection of those hierarchies.
Strom Thurmond v. NWA. What’s behind the word carried to the hearer.
From “the n-word” we get distance only. Still carrying thought, just a little farther away. It’s fine with me that you don’t want to use the word in normal conversation, I approve of that actually, not that that matters.
But if you want to bust somebody for being racist in their speech, you should be able, in my view, to say “He said ‘nigger’!” without squirming. And then proceed.
You say “F you” I say “Fuck you”. We both said the same thing, only yours required a little puzzle-solving before we got to it.
“Caca” which is actually baby-spanish for “shit”, “shoot” which is actually “shit” with its Sunday school dress on.
The people most likely to have avoided the use of the word “nigger” during the abysmal days of legally institutionalized racial discrimination were the people most directly responsible for the power hierarchies maintaining that peculiar condition. One of a few reasons it’s nauseating and infantile to pretend you’re doing anything about the suffering inherent in racial injustice by avoiding the word itself while using a euphemism that still expresses the word..
It’s the semantic version of having a mixed-race president. As if that’s tangible progress. Which it is, but…
Making people – not the noun’s people the users – feel better about themselves in regard to things that otherwise make them feel bad. That’s its euphemistic purpose.
It’s like that little hand-waving thing people used to do, at least in California, around smokers smoking. An empty signal of cultural superiority.

134

Ronan(rf) 12.30.13 at 8:49 pm

Just remembered this old Steyn post

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/231619/spirited-israeli-government-policy-discussion-mark-steyn

worth bearing in mind given the context here

135

Will 12.30.13 at 8:50 pm

@Hey Skipper

“I lived in Democratic Kampuchea throughout the Pol Pot years, and I never saw a single person mistreated. Not one.”

“I was in the USSR the whole time Stalin was party leader, and I never knew of anyone who died of anything but natural causes. Not one.”

“I was a Girondist pamphleteer in Paris during 1793 and 1794, ducking conscription due to disagreements with the authorities, (so you know I’m not a Jacobin shill), while the French turned the war with Austria completely around. I never saw anybody get mistreated. Not one. Not even on the battlefield.”

You honestly think that these could be the words of anything but an apologist for a terror regime? Why else would they bother to say that they saw “not one” person mistreated, if not to say that the accusations of wrongdoing are not justified? I mean, jeeze, it’s not like mistreatment of people is such a rarity in the world.

136

Will 12.30.13 at 9:10 pm

Also, @Hey Skipper, could you kindly share a scholarly reference — say, a dictionary like Merriam-Webster or a usage guide like the Chicago Manual of Style — regarding the alleged difference in meaning between “mistreat” and “mistreatment”?

137

roy belmont 12.30.13 at 9:35 pm

Holbo-
Not logically, but psychologically this is natural (not inevitable). If you are telling yourself some story about how you didn’t do this thing you really did, because it’s too psychologically painful to admit
You’re ignoring my response to this, already delivered repeatedly. What Robertson’s delivering is an expression of a people’s grievance, not with the accusations of racism alone, but with the ensuant treatment of them, by those who feel no complicity, and identify exclusively with the victims.
In the case of Robertson, blacks under the detritus of slavery codified in Jim Crow. Which I don’t think you’re incorporating into your view. Can’t get at them racists of yore, so we’ll get their children. Unless they express remorse, to a certified panel of remorse experts.
-
and if there are people out there telling the story that you did this thing you have now convinced yourself you couldn’t possibly have done
Or, more aptly, done in the manner you’re accused of, for the reasons you’re accused of. With the contextual background that’s assumed in the narrative of accusation. And again, with the ensuant action that comes from, and gets justified by, those assumptions. Which again, I don’t think you’re interested in, because they make the story too complicated.
-
…your revisionism can’t stop short of inventing some story about how they are all lying. They’ve got it in for you. You are the victim here
Lying and believing at the same time they’re telling the truth. Because the truth is complex and won’t fit into a simple binary-produced package. And they do have it in for the target of their contempt, clearly.
You ignore the “victims become perps” because it deflates all that righteous disdain, it’s the same with most of the heinous things people get up about – the abused become abusers til the cycle’s broken.
Sadistic punishment can break the cycle sometimes, but it has to be so thoroughly incapacitating it becomes something else. Execution’ll do it too. But healing’s the one, the only way through that doesn’t stop at cathartic immediate gratification.
Watching someone suffer who’s harmed you is fun! Who cares what happens to him otherwise?
Which is pretty much the original perp mentality.
-
the victim of them casting themselves as the victims!
Or in this case the victim of their audience accepting the casting design, and more or less passively acting on it, or refusing to step in.
You don’t think there’s ever been legitimately grieving people, blinded by grief, who fucked up in their reaction to its perceived cause, and created further suffering, with all its attendant justifications for further suffering, and on into the dark…? Plus sympathetic supporters backing them up. Straying a little from Robertson’s utility as symbol, where the reaction, as Hey Skipper keeps insisting, is mostly from what he calls progressives, and my friend Jim calls liberals. I don’t call em anything.
I think there’s been some literature around the idea of legitimate grief as motivation leading to deepening shit.
-
This isn’t some logical binary. It’s just a natural dynamic
Getting tarred and feathered tends to make the tarree inarticulate for a while. A continuous threat of further t&f-ing helps sustain that, to the delight of those gratified by the visible suffering of the, in their minds and hearts, deserving.
Inarticulate testimony is still pretty much considered a sign of guilt.
The righteous responders to Robertson don’t just want him to shut up, they certainly don’t want him to get enlightened any further than they are, they want him to suffer, and it’s frustrating for them if he isn’t. So they vent.
Someday maybe there’ll be software that will give people access to the private lives of cultural villains, and that sick hunger for catharsis can satiate itself on their degradation.

138

Plume 12.30.13 at 10:18 pm

The “culture of dependency” wasn’t created by the welfare state. The welfare state was an all too weak answer to the culture of dependency created by the triumph of capitalism. Through force, it (capitalism) destroyed the independence of the masses to fend for themselves. It threw people off their land, stacked the deck against their self-provisioning, rigged laws, privatized the commons and otherwise did away with families and individuals living on their own labor.

All of that was done to force people into new factories. And then to continue the primitive accumulation process, companies overwhelmed small producers who made their own products and sold them directly to neighbors. Eventually, virtually everyone had to go to work for someone else to pay for things they once produced themselves, at home, or together with neighbors.

Ironically, the biggest cheerleaders for capitalism are also the most strident opponents of any attempt to counter its drive to force and enforce dependency on the masses.

All too few Americans understand the real source of their “dependency” and on whom they remain dependent. It’s not the government. It’s capitalists, capitalism and “free markets.”

The Duck guy just continues the charade and the con.

139

bob mcmanus 12.30.13 at 10:38 pm

Belmont you’re on a roll, and I am loving it, but you probably said it all up at comment 52.

Contempt is the signifier

As the air to a bird or the sea to a fish, so is contempt to the contemptible —William Blake

It’s about establishing a community that sneers. The sneering, the disguising of the contempt behind the skillset of analytic philosophy, the appreciative audience. Some people just like to sneer at inferiors.

Besides being perhaps the ugliest of expressions (but the complicity in sin builds communities), I have always considered it a horrible waste of time and a self-degradation.

140

Marc 12.30.13 at 10:40 pm

@137: Does the self-pity ever get old?

141

Marc 12.30.13 at 10:41 pm

Or, to put a finer point on it:

Get off the cross. We could use the wood.

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Collin Street 12.30.13 at 11:31 pm

The “culture of dependency” wasn’t created by the welfare state. The welfare state was an all too weak answer to the culture of dependency created by the triumph of capitalism.

Not capitalism as-such. Dependency on private actors [rich relatives, employers, patrons, feudal overlords, clan/house heads] significantly predates capitalism.

[and the need to maintain patterns of dependency in the face of threats from capitalism significantly affected southern-US economic policy and is a large part of why the south is so poor even now...]

143

nick s 12.30.13 at 11:37 pm

The welfare state was an all too weak answer to the culture of dependency created by the triumph of capitalism.

I’d offer a slightly different take:

“White folks who got cheap homes and cheap educations out of the GI Bill? They earned it. Black folks who couldn’t get into segregated suburbs and segregated universities? Well, they got welfare later and it screwed ‘em up.”

The idea that the economic advancement of white Americans in the post-WW2 years — the Papa Duck childhood years — wasn’t through a massive amount of government handouts is absurd. It’s hidden behind the fact that this welfare system handed out cheap homes and cheap degrees.

144

js. 12.30.13 at 11:52 pm

I know I’m repeating myself here, but I infer — and hey if you can do it, why can’t I — that he is contrasting the the moral fibre of African Americans now vs. then, and he thinks in that regard, as counterintuitive is it may seem, African Americans were better off then, and that our welfare policies, intended to ameliorate our past sins instead made things worse by creating a culture of dependency which always brings with resentment.

That implication is obvious to me, requires reading absolutely nothing into his words that isn’t there, and doesn’t put me at risk of falsely accusing someone of something particularly nasty.

I can’t believe I read the whole damn thread to get to this dumb anti-climax! Seriously, dude? How the hell do you think you’re getting shit about “moral fibre” and what not while “reading absolutely nothing into his words” etc.? I’ve read the words too—pretty sure my eyes aren’t failing me so bad that I missed the “moral” and the “fibre”.

145

Consumatopia 12.31.13 at 12:12 am

The idea that the economic advancement of white Americans in the post-WW2 years — the Papa Duck childhood years — wasn’t through a massive amount of government handouts is absurd. It’s hidden behind the fact that this welfare system handed out cheap homes and cheap degrees.

This is what makes talk about the descendants of poor whites as victims is absurd. Sure, victims can also be perpetrators, but not beneficiaries. Even taking into account whatever treatment is “ensuant” to accusations of racism, whites (including myself) are materially better off today because of past racial discrimination.

Admittedly, whites descended from yankees tend to be as ignorant of that reality as their southern counterparts.

146

Consumatopia 12.31.13 at 12:38 am

The righteous responders to Robertson don’t just want him to shut up, they certainly don’t want him to get enlightened any further than they are, they want him to suffer, and it’s frustrating for them if he isn’t. So they vent.

I have enough of a redneck background myself that I’ve been in environments when talk a lot worse than Robertson’s met no “righteous response” at all. And it was always because those of us who knew it was wrong were too apathetic to say anything.

Sure, a lot of the arguing in a culture war is just people making clear which side they’re on. Counting heads. Racists cheer on Robertson to show they aren’t afraid of anti-racists, anti-racists condemn him to show they aren’t afraid of racists. It’s not about airing grievances, it’s about testing boundaries.

147

Zephyurs 12.31.13 at 2:20 am

Hey Skipper,

Presumably you’re beyond shame, but maybe it’d do you well to read this article, courtesy of TNC:

“The corpse of 16-year-old Freddie Moore, his face showing signs of a severe beating, hands bound, remained hanging for at least 24 hours from a metal girder on the old, hand-cranked swing bridge spanning Bayou Lafourche.

Hanged by the neck the night of Oct. 11, 1933, in a mob lynching, the black youth had been accused in the death of a neighbor, a white girl …

Arrested Oct. 10, 1933, in the slaying days earlier of Anna Mae LaRose, a 15-year-old girl who was his friend, Moore was pulled from the parish jail in Napoleonville the next night by an angry mob of 50 to 200 armed and unmasked people who had the prison keys.

Some accounts say the lynchers were unknown and from out of town, as far away as New Orleans, while others say the mob was known to authorities. A coroner’s jury, impaneled by then-parish Coroner Dr. T.B. Pugh, said Moore “met death by a mob of unknown persons,” according to news accounts.

After being hauled from the jail, Moore was brought to the field where LaRose’s body was found, according to an Oct. 14, 1933, account in the black-owned New Orleans newspaper, The Louisiana Weekly. With a rope around his neck and clothes stripped to his waist, the teen was then marched, while being beaten, from the murder scene to the bridge and subjected to a branding iron whenever he fell.

Hanging from his body, a sign offered the final indignity: “Niggers Let This Be An Example. Do-Not-Touch-In 24 Hr. Mean it.”

As white people reviewed the scene on the bridge and black residents were warned to stay away, Moore’s body remained within sight of a school and the venerable St. Philomena Catholic Church, its spire above the fray.”

So, when your friend says he ain’t never seen no negro ever done any wrong, please stop for a second and please, please try to consider that maybe, just maybe, he’s attempting to whitewash some of the United States’ most horrific people?

Otherwise, you come off as the type of person who, when MLK was shot, went “well, he was a black man who was doing things that upset people. Just an observation.” Statements, even ostensibly descriptive ones, are chosen for a reason, and you shouldn’t try to feed people bullshit and expect them to take you seriously.

148

MPAVictoria 12.31.13 at 2:23 am

Roy come off it. There is no reason to use the word in this thread. We aren’t in court and this isn’t a college sociology class discussing the implications of racial theory. This is a blog post about a bigoted homophobic reality tv star. Use the slur if you want but quit pretending you are “speaking truth to power” by having the “courage” to write it out because I am not buying what you are selling.

149

John Holbo 12.31.13 at 2:36 am

“Some people just like to sneer at inferiors.

Besides being perhaps the ugliest of expressions (but the complicity in sin builds communities), I have always considered it a horrible waste of time and a self-degradation.”

Thank goodness the internet has Bob McManus, Nietzsche’s own little Eternal Yea-Sayer, to keep us from slipping into sneering negativity! You are a peach and a sunbeam, Bob, and we are in your debt. (But you knew that already.)

But more seriously: Roy Belmont makes some valid points. Although, as Marc says, he’s laying on a bit thick. (But maybe my admitted non-response to his points earlier encouraged him to turn up the volume.) Scalp-collecting is a kind of compensation for general frustration and powerlessness. Part of a cycle of violence. That’s unhealthy, and it’s hard to separate that bad aspect from the good aspect of preserving memory. As Nietzsche says, it’s hard to be sure what the right balance of remembering and forgetting it is that will allow you just to live your life happily. (We can’t all be Bob McManus, striding forth like an angel on the edge of knifeblade. But we can aspire!)

As to Skippy, “as simple as you think your argument to be, all you are left with, absent unfounded inference is that, based on his personal experience, life in general was no worse for black sharecroppers than white.”

Well, at least you are conceding that he was generalizing to ‘life in general’, based on his experience, not just reporting his experience a propos of nothing. It’s the generalizing move that bothered people, so perhaps now you can see at least a bit of what was bothering people, even if you still aren’t bothered by it yourself – for better or worse.

150

Alan White 12.31.13 at 3:59 am

I come not to praise Roy, but to condemn him. I’m with Victoria here, despite Roy’s Rousing Rhetorical Ruses. Roy’s entire reaction to my argument about the Duckster’s use of “saw” based on a classic point about the observation/theory distinction was a condescending childish word-play and no engagement of the point. (Skipper didn’t either, but hey, I am nobody after all.) Really, Roy@84 is an embarrassment; and complexity of an issue is no excuse for dismissive condescension wrapped in self-satisfied superiority–in this case it is in fact amusingly mirroring the point at hand. If one were just an utter subjectivist about values, it might be justified. But I ain’t getting that vibe from Roy. Duck-boy is wrong, wrong, wrong in multilayered ways. Humanizing his fallibility is one thing, and understandable; backing his point of view is utterly reprehensible unless moral anti-realism is true.

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John Holbo 12.31.13 at 4:47 am

“dismissive condescension wrapped in self-satisfied superiority”

Well, Roy’s horse is every bit as high as even Bob McManus’, I’ll grant. But I do think it’s important to admit it when people have at least half a point, even if it is handed down in a high-handed manner. What Robertson said was wrong, wrong, wrong, and that needs to be said. But it is also true that the 10 minute media outrage at his wrong, wrong, wrongness was overdetermined by a kind of scalp-taking impulse. There’s no hope of separating those strands out cleanly. One shouldn’t speak of either aspect as if it shows the other isn’t real.

152

MPAVictoria 12.31.13 at 4:56 am

“But I do think it’s important to admit it when people have at least half a point”

I think you are being generous. Maybe a quarter of a point…

153

John Holbo 12.31.13 at 5:10 am

“Maybe a quarter of a point…”

Well, one way to think about it might be this. Suppose someone had told MLK, in 1960: in the future, African-Americans are going to still have a lot of problems [now you read out a list of all the ways that things are very messed up]. But: there’s going to be this weird thing, whereby people like Paula Deen and this Robertson guy get painfully and publicly raked over the coals for about a week each – basically just for saying objectionable stuff. Using the n-word. Stupidly implying that things were better back in the good old days of Jim Crow. Stuff like that. MLK would presumably say: what a world, that we will have the power to scourge people for verbal offenses, without having the power to – you know – actually fix stuff.

There’s something quite crazy about these media eruptions, no doubt.

154

MPAVictoria 12.31.13 at 5:23 am

“There’s something quite crazy about these media eruptions, no doubt.”
Fair enough John. Though I for one am not going to spend much time feeling sorry for a bigoted millionaire. Plus I think one of the best ways we fight prejudice is by calling it out when we see it.

155

Consumatopia 12.31.13 at 6:00 am

Maybe it’s just me, but my impression from the start was that the media response to Deen and Robertson was very different. The Robertson backlash-to-the-backlash was much louder than the backlash. The final outcome was the most likely one from the start, and everyone knew it. Critics seemed to be more motivated by a sense of obligation (and, sure, ratings and page views, but the other side was getting more of both) than any thirst for (unattainable) vengeance. It’s like the response to Westboro Baptist Church–counter-protestors have no hope that WBC is going away, they just think that hate should be met with something other than silence–to let them know that the rest of us aren’t going away either.

Deen seems like a much better example of scalp-taking. Especially since Deen paid a higher price for a lesser sin–she stumbled into racism, while Robertson was intentionally looking to start trouble.

156

John Holbo 12.31.13 at 6:11 am

“The Robertson backlash-to-the-backlash was much louder than the backlash.”

That’s true. The ‘the only intolerance is intolerance of intolerance!’ brigade really outshouted the ‘intolerance!’ brigade this time.

157

roy belmont 12.31.13 at 6:37 am

John Holbo at 5:10 am-

You used “the n-word”, otherwise thanks.

158

Hey Skipper 12.31.13 at 9:13 am

[Ed Herdman:] “based on his personal experience, life in general”
Don’t you see the problem with this? You can’t generalize from limited personal experience.

… I realized he was specifically saying “I can generalize from this” which actually is objectionable.

But was he? (And plenty of others here generalized their personal experiences onto him.) There wasn’t anything racist about his observations, and there is nothing racist about thinking welfare policies have contributed to the breakdown of the black family. He wouldn’t be the first. You might not think it logical to contrast personal experience with a general observation, but going from there to libeling him as a racist is a leap in illogic far greater than any he made.

Illogical, perhaps. Objectionable? You have a lot of explaining to do there.

[bt:] How about the ‘black resentment’, if it exists, being based on just a little bit of anger towards Whitey …

Your comments suggest you have not thought about it at all.

I neither said, nor even hinted, that black resentment is not unjustified. (So, no, my comments suggest nothing in that regard; blame yourself for that.) However, it would take a profound ignorance of human nature to create a dependency relationship and not expect whatever resentment is already there to get even worse.

If I was to run down this thread, I could probably count the number of times I have — without even a hint of irony — been accused of being a racist by suggesting progressives’ accusations of Robertson’s racism are groundless, morally suspect, and speak to a progressive reflex to delegitimize dissent.

Really, how does building an argument refuting charges of racism make me a racist? MVAV? John Holbo, how does that warrant a condescending lecture on Jim Crow?

[Will:] “I lived in Democratic Kampuchea throughout the Pol Pot years, and I never saw a single person mistreated. Not one.”

You honestly think that these could be the words of anything but an apologist for a terror regime?

Oh for pete’s sake, not the moral equivalency brigade. If you are going to resort to hypotheticals, it is best to keep them at least in shouting distance of reality.
Do you honestly think Jim Crow, at its worst was even remotely like Pol Pot? Or that the South was even remotely as horrible as the USSR? I visited the place once. Left the day before the coup; even now I wonder if it was something I said. Worst place I have ever been, by leagues, and I’ve been all over the world. That you could even, for a fleeting second, equate the South with the USSR is all the proof I need that you have no idea what you are talking about.
Pol Pots death toll was in the millions. During Robertson’s life as a kid and a sharecropper, there were nine lynchings, period.. Get a grip.

[Will:] @Hey Skipper, could you kindly share a scholarly reference — say, a dictionary like Merriam-Webster or a usage guide like the Chicago Manual of Style — regarding the alleged difference in meaning between “mistreat” and “mistreatment”?

One is a noun, and the other is a verb. You need a dictionary for that?

[js:] I can’t believe I read the whole damn thread to get to this dumb anti-climax! Seriously, dude? How the hell do you think you’re getting shit about “moral fibre” and what not while “reading absolutely nothing into his words” etc.? I’ve read the words too—pretty sure my eyes aren’t failing me so bad that I missed the “moral” and the “fibre”.

I can’t believe you have read this whole thread and missed the point by about as much as waiting at the train station for your ship to sail.
Let’s say Robertson is completely wrong, that actual physical abuse was widespread, and welfare is completely irrelevant to the widespread social breakdown of the African American family.
Please, define “racist” and then explain to me how what he said fits the label. You won’t because you can’t, just as John Holbo can’t come up with any evidence beyond his own inferences inferencing his inferences.

[Zephyrus:] Hey Skipper,
Presumably you’re beyond shame, but maybe it’d do you well to read this article, courtesy of TNC:

Hanged by the neck the night of Oct. 11, 1933, in a mob lynching …

Not presumably, but definitely, you are not only beyond irony, but also time.

I’m dying to hear why suggesting that your accusations of Roberts’ racism are baseless and vile makes me a racist. Even if I turned out to be wrong, how does that make me a racist? Or beyond shame? Given the the promiscuous use of the word here, there are at least a few people who need to get better acquainted with shame.

BTW, Robertson was born in 1946.

[John Holbo:] As to Skippy, “as simple as you think your argument to be, all you are left with, absent unfounded inference is that, based on his personal experience, life in general was no worse for black sharecroppers than white.”

Well, at least you are conceding that he was generalizing to ‘life in general’ …

Wait a minute, and stop inferencing. By “life in general” I meant day-to-day life. The daily life of people who share my life circumstances, regardless of their race, in general is the same as mine. There is no other way to read that, yet somehow you manage to. Robertson was saying no more, and no less: they were treated in no particular any different than he was. You have no grounds on which to dispute that.

It just occurred to me that should I ever have trouble with the concept of non sequitur all I have to do is remember this thread: “You accuse of us of libel? You racist!”

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John Holbo 12.31.13 at 9:24 am

Skipper, you keep saying my simple argument is really bad. What is bad about it, if I may ask? (I’m a philosopher, I can take it!)

160

Mao Cheng Ji 12.31.13 at 10:28 am

“Stupidly implying that things were better back in the good old days of Jim Crow. “

Would it be stupid to imply (or state directly) that you believe that some things were indeed better back in the day? Or is Jim Crow looming so large that it can’t possibly be true?

You say “African-Americans are going to still have a lot of problems”, as if those are the legacy problems. If that’s the case, then your logic is sound. If not, it seems to me it should be possible to analyze the new vs the old days, looking for the source of new problems, without necessarily being a Jim Crow symp.

Is it clear enough, what I’m trying to say?

161

Layman 12.31.13 at 1:42 pm

@Mao

“Would it be stupid to imply (or state directly) that you believe that some things were indeed better back in the day?”

In this context, yes. I mean, you could observe that climate change was less advanced and more reversible in 1960 than now, and that as African Americans suffer the same ill effects of climate change as do others, they must therefore have been better off than they are now, but frankly that would be asinine. Waxing nostalgic about blacks picking cotton and singing happy songs is racist nonsense, and I can’t see why you’re so determined to find a defense for it.

162

Mao Cheng Ji 12.31.13 at 2:31 pm

This sounds like a very dogmatic view, Layman, and it provides no explanation to the scenes we see in, say, The Wire. It leaves one bewildered, in the same way as, say, ritual pronunciations of some Communist Party: ‘yes, of course we have some occasional problems and shortages, but it’s nothing compared to the horrors of the tzarist past.’ And yet some things get worse than they used to be in the horrible tzarist past.

It’s like the recent discussion of South Africa: the racial component is taken down, but things don’t change much: poverty and despair are still there, and it can actually get worse, if other factors intensify. Other factors, that may prove to be far more relevant to the conditions. Myself, I don’t blame welfare, but if you really care about the conditions and not just mostly symbolic rights, you shouldn’t be afraid to look into it from different perspectives.

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MPAVictoria 12.31.13 at 3:03 pm

Shorter Skippy: I am not the bigot! YOU are the bigot!

164

MPAVictoria 12.31.13 at 3:05 pm

Mao the Wire is a tv show.

165

bt 12.31.13 at 4:00 pm

TO THE SKIPPER:

At one point do you want to step out from the stance where you are inferring this and that about he Duck Man, and therefore you are not being ‘racist’, but merely are inferring things from this 3rd party. You insulate yourself from him. Sort of a version of “some people say (but not me)”.

So to clarify, what do you believe:

Have government programs destroyed the american family? Especially poor people’s?

Would a higher minimum wage help the poor?

Are gay people going to hell? Are they disease-carrying vermin (you know what I mean, carrying on like animals, and bestiality and all)?

Does the lack of ‘Moral Fiber’ in our poor people explain their circumstances?

Would poor people be better off if the went to church more often and were more godly?

I want to know what YOU believe, at some point. I think we are all clear about what the Duck Man believes.

166

Cranky Observer 12.31.13 at 4:29 pm

Hate to quote Fox News, but sometimes you just gotta do it:

= = = http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2013/12/31/phil-robertson-seen-in-new-video-saying-men-should-marry-girls-when-are-15-or/
In a new video that has surfaced online, “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson tells a crowd at a Georgia Sportsmen Ministry event that it’s a good idea to marry girls when they are young.

“You got to marry these girls when they are 15 or 16. They’ll pick your ducks,” he can be heard saying in the video from 2009.

Of course, Robertson literally means that the girls will remove the feathers from ducks.

“Look, you wait until they get to be 20 years old, the only picking that’s going to take place is your pocket,” he tells the audience, who can be heard laughing during his speech.

167

js. 12.31.13 at 5:10 pm

I can’t believe you have read this whole thread and missed the point by about as much as waiting at the train station for your ship to sail.

Nah. I made a pretty simple point, re your ongoing strictures against “inferencing” [sic], and your subsequent claim about what you can get out of what Duckie said while “reading absolutely nothing into his words that isn’t there”. See, like me here: just quoting you straight is all. I’m still wondering how you’re abiding by that standard and still managing to shit out something about “moral fibre”.

168

Layman 12.31.13 at 6:03 pm

@Mao

“Myself, I don’t blame welfare, but if you really care about the conditions and not just mostly symbolic rights, you shouldn’t be afraid to look into it from different perspectives.”

I’m perfectly happy to look at conditions from different perspectives; but surely not from ALL different perspectives. Perspectives which begin by praising the happy, singing, cotton-picking Negros of one’s youth are not likely to be particularly good starting points. Phil Robinson isn’t offering a meaningful exploration of the plight of modern African Americans, he’s mouthing racist, conservative talking points, and he should not be taken seriously by you or anyone else.

169

Hey Skipper 12.31.13 at 6:28 pm

Skipper, you keep saying my simple argument is really bad. What is bad about it, if I may ask? (I’m a philosopher, I can take it!)

I know you are a philosopher (coincidentally, I happened to be in Singapore a few weeks ago), so I am sure you can take it.

I don’t have time at the moment to construct my response fully, but it will follow from this, which is my heavy equipment operator definition:

An argument is a connected series of statements in order to establish a proposition.

I think your statements are not connected, are self-referential, assume facts not in evidence, and reject fact in evidence.

170

Hey Skipper 12.31.13 at 6:28 pm

… facts …

171

Cranky Observer 12.31.13 at 6:53 pm

= = = HeySkipper @ 6:28 PM – …assume facts not in evidence… = = =

Eagerly awaiting the facts in evidence concerning “moral fibre”.

Cranky

172

roy belmont 12.31.13 at 9:06 pm

blacks picking cotton and singing happy songs is racist nonsense
Okay.
And its inverse?
That black misery under slavery and its residual consequences was universal, constant, and all-pervasive? Southern fields filled with the groans of the suffering, nothin but the blues all day long.
No happiness, no comfort, no laughter, no joy certainly. None. Because slavery, because racism.
Since it concerns the racial-ness of the events and conditions and social geographies pertinent, and since it’s equally bogus and shallow, it’s racist as well, though not actionably so.

It’s not racist to talk about the causes behind the demographics of imprisonment in the US. Horrendously skewed toward locking up black men and boys.
It is racist out on this garbage-strewn playground to talk about the demographic skew of blacks in the NBA, and its causes. Unless the only cause is an athletic response to racism. Which is nonsense.
No, fool, racism is not nonsense. I didn’t say that.
Getting to why that intentional selective blindness is so common and so commonly acceptable is hard. Not least because the blind folks start yelling at you.
Too many of the commenters here are acting exactly like those mindless idiots who send death threats to lawyers who represent defendants the threateners don’t like.
It is not a defense of racism to point to the necessity of accuracy in confronting possibly racially offensive statements, and to point to inaccuracy in that confrontation, where it exists.

173

spacekase 12.31.13 at 9:57 pm

I’ve watched the show a few times and had a few chuckles. It’s a funny show! And it was always obvious to me that there was something a bit more sinister beneath the surface.

What’s fascinating to me about this thread of comments is that the back-and-forth with Skipper (and to some degree, Ron) is like a microcosm of many white peoples’ failure to grasp the basic concepts of white privilege and structural/institutional racism. Skipper’s continued insistence that Phil’s comments can in no way be construed as racist is a textbook example. He (and I am rather sure he is a “he”) doesn’t want to acknowledge the cultural context of Phil’s remarks, or the impact of his childhood as a white kid in the Deep South.

All whites, even poor whites in Louisiana during Jim Crow, benefited from white privilege. Phil strongly implied that there was no difference between growing up black or white in Louisiana, which is a ludicrous implication. This is simply obvious. It is plainly what he meant, and it is at the very least ignorant and dismissive, if not an outright lie.

It’s probable he would also think Newt Gingrich’s remarks a couple years a go about telling the NAACP they should be demanding paychecks (i.e. jobs) instead of food stamps utterly non-racist also. Or Reagan’s famous “strapping young bucks buying T-bone steaks”.

I am sure Phil is fun to hang out, drink beer and hunt with. That in no way means he does not hold racist/denialist beliefs.

Why does Skipper feel such a strong need to defend an obviously ignorant or disingenuous statement such as Phil’s? He even seems to defend Phil’s manifest disgust with gay people as non-homophobic. Why do so many backflips and contortions in order to defend a multi-millionaire?

Also, to label condemnations of racism with the Orwellian term “thoughtcrime” seems a bit much, isn’t it? It’s not like Phil faced any really negative consequence other than strong condemnation. He’s just fine. And racist.

174

Layman 12.31.13 at 10:09 pm

If you’re going to quote me, quote the entire sentence. I realize doing so makes the rest of your response irrelevant, but, really, that’s the point.

175

Collin Street 12.31.13 at 10:48 pm

I think your statements are not connected, are self-referential, assume facts not in evidence, and reject fact in evidence.

+ If you accept an argument it’s because you can’t see any flaws in it.
+ if you reject an argument it’s because you can see flaws in it.
+ if an argument is false it has flaws
+ if an argument is true it does not have flaws.

But there’s a gap. “you can [or can't] see flaws” is not the same thing as “it has [or does not have] flaws”. This is where mistakes creep in: people make the leap from “can’t see flaws” to “doesn’t have flaws” or from “can see flaws” to “does have flaws”… but sometimes people see things that aren’t there, or don’t see things that are there.

And you check the same thing again and you’ll see the same thing again. Whether what you see is what’s there or not.

… my point is, “what you think of an argument” is the same damn thing as “whether you think the argument’s true”.

[how, then, do you spot your own errors, given that if you could see your errors you wouldn't have made them? with extreme care and a careful ear to what others tell you. If you move your head just right you'll be able to see the faint glint where the error catches the sun at just the right angle. Otherwise they're invisible.]

176

Sebastian H 12.31.13 at 10:55 pm

Yes it is possible that some things were better for blacks under Jim Crow. Perhaps the incidence of skin cancer was lower because enough people got lynched before melanoma hit. But in general it was bad enough that for most things it was worse. The generality is large enough that if you don’t want to seem like a racist asshole and you have something particular in mind you should specifically call it out.

177

MPAVictoria 12.31.13 at 10:56 pm

Shorter Roy: Was Jim Crow racist? Who can say? I am however extremely brave to raise the question.

178

MPAVictoria 12.31.13 at 11:16 pm

“The generality is large enough that if you don’t want to seem like a racist asshole”
Oh I think that ship sailed about a hundred and fifty comments ago.

179

roy belmont 01.01.14 at 12:36 am

Layman-
Waxing nostalgic about blacks picking cotton and singing happy songs is racist nonsense
Perspectives which begin by praising the happy, singing, cotton-picking Negros of one’s youth are not likely to be particularly good starting points
Kay? Doesn’t change anything at all. Relevance-wise. For me.
MPAV-
My mom was in the NAACP. My dad was a liberal from way back, and before that kind of a wobbly-sympathetic socialist.
I love both of them for their principles, and the way they put them in front of me without dogmatic force.
It’s probably why I keep trying to stick up for people I think are getting unfairly picked on. As opposed to fatuous smug fools pimping thoughtless dogma.
My own awareness of the horrors of inhuman mistreatment, in the world of today or in the past, aren’t really an issue here, but there’s no reasonable logical way to get to something that doesn’t exist in me from anything I wrote above.
Unless you’re already pretty much just making things up higgledy-piggledy, in order to make yourself feel better.

180

MPAVictoria 01.01.14 at 12:50 am

I stand by what I said Roy.
The fact that you see the response to what Mr. Robertson said as “picking on him” and not as fair criticism, combined with your inability to see why some people might object to the casual use of the n word pretty much confirms my opinion of you. Being a long winded contrarian and saying that Jim Crow wasn’t really all that bad doesn’t automatically make you some kind of brave truth teller.

181

godoggo 01.01.14 at 1:13 am

I think there tend to be good reasons for political correctness, bad reasons for incorrectness, with genuine funniness being one of the few good ones, but I know that a lot of black writers say desegregation harmed black communities. You can google it!

182

godoggo 01.01.14 at 1:21 am

I don’t actually know what Robertson said, btw. Presumably something stupid and offensive.

183

Marc 01.01.14 at 1:52 am

@178: And you’re bending over to ridiculous lengths to defend bad things, and grossly insulting a hell of a lot of people in the process. We’re supposed to take insult after insult from you – because we talked in a way that you didn’t like about someone not in the (virtual) room?

184

John Holbo 01.01.14 at 2:31 am

“I think your statements are not connected, are self-referential, assume facts not in evidence, and reject fact in evidence.”

You haven’t, so far as I can see, tried to argue that my reading is implausible or flawed in any of these ways – and I assume you know better than to think just having a feeling I’m ignoring evidence is actually evidence I’m ignoring evidence – so I guess maybe your point is this: one shouldn’t attribute morally objectionable bad thinking to someone if it’s logical possible – even if it is rather implausible – that they are innocent of thinking in the alleged bad way. Is that basically it? Just a very very very very very very strong ‘innocent until proven guilty’ standard. Period. Since it’s logically possible Robertson is using ‘mistreat’ in some non-standard way, as you hypothesize, we shouldn’t presume to read his mind otherwise?

You are basically proposing suspending our ordinary ways of interpreting what people say where charges of racism are concerned. Because those are considered such serious charges?

185

Hey Skipper 01.01.14 at 3:31 am

John: I’m on the road, and my travel hasn’t left me enough time to put together a full reply, but here is one way I believe your argument to be weak: you are entitled to your own opinions, but you are not entitled to your own facts.

Mr. Robertson is a devout Christian. Your implications — which amount to invented facts, completely ignore that.

One of Christianity’s main tenets is to love thy neighbor as thyself (NB: I am not a Christian).

Your argument, as presented so far, completely ignores that fact, yet to be complete your argument requires taking it into account, or explaining why not.

If I was in your philosophy class and was to try to pull such a thing on an exam, I wouldn’t expect to get a good grade.

186

Hey Skipper 01.01.14 at 3:40 am

[Cranky Observer:] Eagerly awaiting the facts in evidence concerning “moral fibre”.

When I typed that, I realized that wasn’t the most felicitous phrasing, but at the time I couldn’t quite figure out what was better.

Keeping in mind that you should not heedlessly disregard Robertson’s Christianity, then from his point of view monogamy and nuclear families are central.

Equally, from his point of view, back in the day sharecroppers, white or black, were not sexually promiscuous and had nuclear families.

Fast forward 45 years: nearly 74% of African American children are born to unmarried parents, and most of them won’t have a meaningful father in residence.

I’ll bet you aren’t willing to argue that is a good thing.

Just as I’ll bet Mr. Robertson sees it as a moral travesty, with horrendous consequences.

He said as much, and for that you (collectively) libel him as a bigot.

187

MPAVictoria 01.01.14 at 3:40 am

“One of Christianity’s main tenets is to love thy neighbor as thyself (NB: I am not a Christian).”
obvious troll is obvious

188

Collin Street 01.01.14 at 3:41 am

On the one hand:
+ black people claim that they were mistreated under Jim Crow
+ Robertson says that he never saw this happen [with the implication that the black people are lying about their experiences]
+ this is fine, and Robertson shouldn’t

On the other hand:
+ Robertson claims that he never saw
+ CTers, using statistics, say that this is sufficiently implausible as to not be credible [with the implication that Robertson is lying about his experiences]
+ and this is no good, because you shouldn’t call people liars without incontrovertible evidence.

… is this about the shape of it?

189

John Holbo 01.01.14 at 3:44 am

But surely most white people in the South during the Jim Crow era considered themselves to be Christians. We don’t take that to be an argument that Jim Crow never happened, since Jim Crow is inconsistent with this well-known tenet of Christianity. Nor do we conclude that they weren’t Christians, after all.

190

John Holbo 01.01.14 at 3:46 am

Incidentally, my proposal that in effect there are different evidential standards in effect is a serious one. I think many people think that charges of racism should be judged according to a ‘civil standard’ you might say: preponderance of the evidence. But other people think it should be more of a ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ kind of thing, because calling someone a racist is basically accusing them of a hangin’ crime, rhetorically.

191

godoggo 01.01.14 at 4:02 am

What do you want, a cookie?

192

roy belmont 01.01.14 at 4:11 am

MPAV-
The fact that you see the response to what Mr. Robertson said as “picking on him”
No. Nonononoooo. Not Robertson!
Here. People here, on this thread. Especially mostly the erudite and uncommonly patient H.S., receiving all that base insult, here.
Not Robertson, not even so much me.
You can’t pick on Robertson, unless he shows up here as an identifiable presence, which seems unlikely.
That’s why you and others, are so frustrated.
And not particularly rational, some of the time.

193

MPAVictoria 01.01.14 at 4:28 am

Roy hey Skippy just said the reason Robertson was telling the truth is that Christians love their neighbors. I simply can not make fun of him enough.

194

Alan White 01.01.14 at 4:35 am

John–there’s a third standard, as my work on the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s Office of Lawyer Regulation uses to assess lawyer maleficence: clear and convincing evidence. And that is a good standard between the lowest rational standard of proof and the legalist high PBRD one.

195

John Holbo 01.01.14 at 4:39 am

“That’s why you and others, are so frustrated.”

Roy, if we are judging frustration levels then, by all evidence, yours and (and Skipper’s) are through the roof. (“No. Nonononoooo.” People type the word ‘no’ repeatedly out of frustration. That’s just psychological fact.) I’m not sure why we should be interested but if ‘who is most frustrated’ is interesting, then we have to try to be reasonable about judging who is more or less frustrated.

Also, it’s not right to say that Skipper is on the receiving end of the insult and leave it at that. If it really matters to you, then you should note that he has called everyone else stupid liars and thought police and such Orwellian stuff. That sort of thing is insulting and I wouldn’t call it especially ‘patient’. (It all seems to me completely unreasonable, if you want to know; but I’m a pretty patient guy so I put up with it. This is the internet and people call each other names.) Again, if you want to keep score – then keep score. Skipper can call people names as good as he gets, point for point. And he has.

196

John Holbo 01.01.14 at 4:45 am

Alan, I think it actually would be sort of an interesting thing to ask people: when you judge whether people are being racist, what do you think is the legally appropriate evidentiary standard (even when it isn’t a legal constant). I guess ‘clear and convincing evidence’ works for me.

197

Alan White 01.01.14 at 5:02 am

John: as it does for me. Actually the Feds now use that to judge insanity in US cases. And it has worked well in my 15 years of judging lawyers on malpractice. You would not believe how many. Eliminating the effect of reasonable doubt but balancing that against a skeptical assessment of preponderance is interesting but surprisingly effective in making findings as reported to the WI Supreme Court. You can pretty much know what the evidence supports, even if some doubts remain.

198

roy belmont 01.01.14 at 5:12 am

John Holbo-
Uhm…no.
The staccato reiterative no doubt begins, or began, or is most often used as frustration-vent, yes, okay, but!
Butbutbut, the use of it can be humorous. In intent. Reception and interpretation of humorous intent may vary by reader.
I’m not able right now to reread the whole 195 comments, but my sense of the brouhaha is that the first insulting stone was cast toward the aforementioned. Correct me if I’m wrong, I guess. And yeah there’s a bias in my acceptance of his use of the insulting-to-the-sensible “thoughtcrime” etc. because
A. I think he’s right about it, as opposed to gratuitously slapping at the disagreeing with anything he can get his hands on; and
B. what he’s said has been consistently part of a larger rational reply.
It’s startling and unpleasant to have someone call you “stupid” in a thread like these here are, mostly, (me! I know this!) but it is a kind of term of analysis. And for all its unpleasant judgment of the recipient’s mental abilities, not as seriously hurtful, in my view, as being accused of being okay with the suffering of lots of undeserving people.

199

Lee A. Arnold 01.01.14 at 5:14 am

Devout Christian? Next time someone interviews Phil Robertson, please ask him whether he thinks his soul will pass through the eye of a needle.

200

Plume 01.01.14 at 5:49 am

Hey Skipper,

What exactly does being a “devout Christian” mean today? Given the massive diversity in opinion on that subject, can you honestly claim it as a defense? That diversity of opinion negates it as a defense. It’s virtually meaningless as a term, because it has a thousand different meanings.

And given the history of “devout Christians” in leading the slaughter of millions during the Crusades, the Inquisition, the forced conversion of indigenous peoples across the globe? The pogroms against the Jews, etc. etc.?

What does being “devout” actually mean to you, and do you think there is only one way to be devout?

As for central Christian tenets. No other religion, if taken literally, is as bloody or sadistic, or exacts such an awesome revenge on unbelievers. The End of Days, for example, if one believes in that literally, guarantees the horrific death of at least 5 billion humans now living, and every non-Christian who has ever lived as well. And not just death, but eternal torment. Again, no other religion, if taken literally, is as bloody, sadistic, cruel or vindictive.

And people like Robertson tend to take it literally. They also tend to ignore the only part of the New Testament worth a damn: The Sermon on the Mount. In it are the words of Jesus which counter everything a right-wing Christian holds dear. Jesus, of course, never talks about homosexuality, or abortion, and no rich person can be a Christian if you take his words literally — or the words of quite a few of the earlier Jewish prophets, who excoriated the rich. So-called “devout Christians” like Robertson go against the central message of the person they claim to love by being rich, period, as he told his followers to give it all away and join him.

Jesus, was, in fact, an ur-communist, before the word was invented. A small c communist. He and his merry band of leftist hippies went from town to town with nothing but the robes on their backs, healing the sick, sharing food, water and shelter, taking absolutely no monetary compensation. They owned nothing. They took no wages. They hoarded nothing. Jesus would have despised capitalism with every fiber of his being, and despised Robertson for getting rich and saying what he said.

Regardless of one’s conception of “devout Christian,” it can never be used as some qualifying defense. Its history is too barbarous, too murderous, too cruel for that, and the numbers of people who actually walked in the master’s sandals far too few.

201

John Holbo 01.01.14 at 5:56 am

Sorry, Roy, you think the thought-crime accusations actually make sense? How so?

202

John Holbo 01.01.14 at 6:00 am

Just to clarify: we haven’t been arguing about whether it was right to fire him, just whether the accusation against him was warranted.

Are you seriously maintaining that all left-wing attempts to morally critique others are tantamount to imposing some illegitimate ‘thought-crime’ regime, a la “1984″. Because I have to say: that’s absurd.

203

Plume 01.01.14 at 6:19 am

John Holbo @202,

Isn’t Roy engaging in that moral critique of your critique? It works both ways. It’s a subtle form of suppression — at least the attempt to suppress. Similar to those who scream it’s racist to discuss race in America.

That bubbled up from the underbelly of America massively in the aftermath of the Martin/Zimmerman trial.

The mere discussion of America’s history of racism is called “racist” by likely racists in an attempt to silence critique of their pathologies.

We shouldn’t fall for it.

204

John Holbo 01.01.14 at 6:27 am

I guess Plume’s question is fair, Roy. Do you think it’s a thought-crime, per se, to engage in moral critique from the left? I assume not. But if you are serious about the thought-crime charge, then I can’t think what else you could be thinking.

205

John Holbo 01.01.14 at 6:31 am

Let me just add that I think Skipper wasn’t serious about the thought-crime stuff. I’m not including him in this. I think that was just a bit of gratuitous snark because he was annoyed at what he thinks is an illegitimate critique. He wasn’t seriously saying it is illegitimate to critique.

206

MPAVictoria 01.01.14 at 6:51 am

“Let me just add that I think Skipper wasn’t serious about the thought-crime stuff. I’m not including him in this.”

I read him as being 100% serious John.

207

John Holbo 01.01.14 at 6:53 am

Hmmm, you may be right. I was assuming he was just being snarky.

208

MPAVictoria 01.01.14 at 6:59 am

“what he’s said has been consistently part of a larger rational reply.”

It is rational to say, as Skippy has, that Mr. Robertson can’t be a bigot because he is a Christian? You are starting to be more than a little ridiculous Roy.

209

MPAVictoria 01.01.14 at 7:02 am

Well it was aimed at me I believe so maybe I am not impartial but it seemed to me that he was 100% serious.

210

John Holbo 01.01.14 at 7:18 am

Well, ok, we can wait for Roy and Skipper to say whether they were actually serious about the thought-crime accusations, and, if so, how they thought that made a lick of sense.

211

jrb 01.01.14 at 7:49 am

I’m not sure what Hey Skipper is up to, but I’m a bit surprised that no one else seems to have noticed that his definition of an argument (“an argument is a connected series of statements in order to establish a proposition” [currently 169]) comes verbatim from the Monty Python argument sketch.

212

John Holbo 01.01.14 at 8:02 am

I did notice, but I gave him a pass on that because it’s actually a perfectly good definition, at least for rough and ready purposes! I’ve used it myself when I teach. Referencing the skit, of course.

213

roy belmont 01.01.14 at 8:44 am

Maybe I’m reading too much fiction these days. And reacting emotionally first and intellectually second. My take on his use of the term “thought-crime” was as a means of rejection of knee-jerk, accusatory responses and the misreading of, first, Robertson’s position and intent, and secondly, his, H.S.’s, on the part of the alleged thought-criminals.
He was being attacked by commenters who seemed, to me, and assumedly to him, to be operating almost solely from dogma and cant and behaviorist models of ethical comportment. Plus hunger for negative catharsis.
I don’t think he’s using it as pure Orwellian exposition, nor as a handy cudgel, but more like a wake-up device.
And I’d like to say that in addition to getting to sharpen some disused typing and composition skills, the real serious point of me being over here and yelling at y’all over there is I think polarization is dooming us. Us little folk anyway.
It’s been zapping around like a downed power line for years now. And people keep grabbing it. Without gloves on. And it looks more and more like intentional sabotage than an act of nature to me. Keep them hate-fires burning, and let’s you and him fight.
People who should be finding common ground are publicly disdainful of each other, and privately dismissive of the humanity of their opponents in this faked-up moral brawl. Robertson brings some of that stiffened by a sense of unjust attack assertion into the light, and zzzap! Here it is again.
Sooo, when somebody steps up to say an ameliorating word for the current negative terminal, I’m encouraged.
And when he’s met with all the previously iterated too many times crap above for essentially saying don’t scapegoat the dude for something he didn’t say, I’m discouraged.
And prompted to enter the fray in that corner. While trying not to get pinned there. Because it isn’t my corner, exactly. It’s his.
Look how swiftly and facilely I kept getting pushed into the racists’ locker room.
Personally, I’d rather go out onto the field buck-naked than put on any of the uniforms on offer.
I’m not defending either Robertson or H.S.because I agree with their beliefs about race or sexual morality. In Robertson’s case because I don’t agree with him about homosexuality and because he didn’t say anything in GQ that I saw that made it certain how he sees race, specifically American black/white race relations.
And in H.S.’s case because he didn’t say anything about either of the flammable topics everybody’s throwing lit matches at, directly. All it was was he started off saying people are putting hate speech in Robertson’s mouth and then busting him for hate speech.
The rest is internet history.

214

Asteele 01.01.14 at 9:16 am

1.it is not a “faked up moral brawl”

2. Your only telling us why you are not defending them, why are you?

3. the last thing that is dooming us is polarization.

215

John Holbo 01.01.14 at 9:22 am

It is rather interesting to review the record and see who snarked first. In this case, I think it is fair to say that there was a gradual escalation on both sides.

See this study for an account of the likely neuroscientific basis of snark escalation.

http://www.guajrat.sex.satori.com/BodyBotique/Modalities/SheBayFriWol-Science-2003.pdf

216

John Holbo 01.01.14 at 9:36 am

More seriously, I think you are protesting a bit too much, Roy. Skipper didn’t accuse us of thought-crimes to wake us from our confusions. You don’t un-confuse and de-knee-jerkify people by making kneejerk, inaccurate, inflammatory, unfair, confusing accusations – as he did (but I’m sure he didn’t mean it!) He accused us of Orwellian offenses because he was annoyed about something else entirely. That’s not the biggest deal in the world. This is the internet, after all. But it’s hardly laser-pointer pedagogy to blast away at everyone with a rhetorical shotgun.

217

John Holbo 01.01.14 at 9:58 am

On the other hand, if he did mean it, then I’ll feel a bit silly, saying he didn’t mean it.

218

Layman 01.01.14 at 2:49 pm

Perhaps no one needs a refresher, but I’ll post it nonetheless. Here’s what Phil actually said:

“I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field…. They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’—not a word!… Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”

Read More http://www.gq.com/entertainment/television/201401/duck-dynasty-phil-robertson#ixzz2p9qtuNTd

How to summarize? The farmers were naturally white, while the field hands were naturally black; of white folk, only the white trash would pick cotton with blacks. There was no mistreatment of blacks, and no blacks offered any complaint about their treatment by whites. On the contrary, they were singing and happy in those days. These were the happy days before welfare, which must therefore be the cause of any mistreatment of or unhappiness among blacks.

Does that capture it?

219

bt 01.01.14 at 3:27 pm

@ Plume 200:

I like your comment about Christianity. I have often noted that Conservatives love Christianity in the following manner:

They love the Old Testament, with all of the blood and guts, and crime and punishment. And the good Lord from time time to time slaughters non-believers from above and provides guidance on who one is allowed to kill and for what reason.

Then they skip over the Jesus parts.

And on to revelations where the Bloodbath returns and our Good Lord begins slaughtering the non-believers from above.

————————–

But for some reason, no one seems to follow the dietary laws…

220

John Holbo 01.01.14 at 4:02 pm

This sort of thread is fascinating. It’s like there’s a pea on the 50 yard line, and each team is lined up, maybe 10 feet back from the pea, trying to blow on the pea from a distance, to make it move. But it almost never moves, naturally. If anyone ever managed to blow it all the way to the other team’s endzone, they would win a point. It’s kind of an amazing spectator sport.

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Hector_St_Clare 01.01.14 at 4:27 pm

Re: It’s like the recent discussion of South Africa: the racial component is taken down, but things don’t change much:

Not really. It can at least be argued, in good faith, that South African Blacks were better off in the apartheid era. I think that argument is *wrong*, but in itself it’s neither risible nor racist. There are concrete ways in which Black people in SA are worse off today (their life expectancy is shorter, for one). In America, the case is very different. On just about every actual indicator, Black Americans *are* much better off today than in the Jim Crow south. Not only are they more free and able to participate in society, but they have also made major socioeconomic advances. In America, you actually can’t say what Phil Robertson said, about race, and have it be at all credible. It’s symptomatic either of severe ignorance, or racism.

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Hector_St_Clare 01.01.14 at 4:31 pm

Re: Or that the South was even remotely as horrible as the USSR? I visited the place once. Left the day before the coup; even now I wonder if it was something I said. Worst place I have ever been, by leagues, and I’ve been all over the world

In that case, your sense of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ is seriously warped. The Jim Crow South was absolutely a terrible place to be a Black person. The Soviet Union, in the 1980s, was actually not that bad a place to live unless you were a political dissident (and even there, by the 1980s, they weren’t sending their dissidents off to gulags anymore). I cannot imagine any serious minded person saying that Blacks in the Jim Crow South were better off than Soviet citizens in the post-Stalinist era.

223

Hector_St_Clare 01.01.14 at 4:33 pm

Re: Jesus, of course, never talks about homosexuality, or abortion,

He never talks about nuclear war either, but it’s inferable from things he did say (specifically, the ‘thou shalt not kill’ bit), and so is his opinion about abortion. Such was certainly the opinion of his followers starting in the middle of the first century. Some of the earliest Christian texts we have do explicitly condemn abortion.

I confess to not knowing what he thought about homosexuality.

224

Plume 01.01.14 at 5:30 pm

@bt 219,

Very well said. And even with the Old Testament, they cherry pick. Most seem to have never read Deuteronomy or Leviticus, where you’ll find the god of the Old and New Testaments condemning anyone to death who:

Eats the wrong (non-orthodox) foods
Wears the wrong clothes
Uses the wrong farming techniques
Talks back to parents
Works on Saturdays
And, if you’re a woman and raped in the city, if you fail to scream out loudly enough . . . .

There are more, of course.

The thing is, homosexuality is but one of hundreds of “abominations” in the eyes of this terrible ogre god of the Levant. It doesn’t hold center stage among those abominations. It’s just one among an incredible number of things that spark the death penalty. Perhaps the biggest no no is not worshiping that god.

Right-wing Christians cherry pick what their own biases tell them to cherry pick. Being “devout” in that sense is hardly a get out of jail free card.

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Plume 01.01.14 at 5:43 pm

@Hector St. Clare 223,

Hmmm. Interesting argument. So, anything Jesus did NOT mention is fair game to label as an abomination?

That’s pretty weak. One would think that the single biggest obsession among right-wing Christians would have chapter and verse to support it.

Yet, Jesus never says word one about it.

As for abortion. Millions and millions of zygotes are lost each year due to “natural” abortions — miscarriages, etc. etc. If one takes it literally that the god of the Levant intervenes in our lives, he is the mother of all abortionists. And, if one takes the books of the bible literally, the mother of all murderers. He killed Lot’s wife for merely turning around to look at the genocide he had already committed on the cities of the plain. He ordered Joshua to kill every man, woman and child in Jericho for simply failing to bow down before his greatness. He slaughtered tens of thousands of Egyptians just to glorify himself, as he “hardened Pharaoh’s heart” so he would change his mind and NOT let the Jews go.

As in, he already had won. Pharaoh said go. But that wasn’t good enough for the ogre god of the Levant. He needed to teach the Egyptians — who were his creation as well, right? . . . . he needed to teach them a lesson they’d never forget.

In short, if you take a look at the bible, read it “literally,” see the mountains of blood, gore, the jealous, vindictive rage, the irrational, full-on insanity and lack of rationale for most of what its god does . . . . it’s incredible that anyone would have the gall to use it to justify their hatreds, bigotries and ignorance. It’s actually laughable, given the text.

OTOH, if you read the bible poetically, as allegory, myth, metaphor, you can garner beautiful things, wonderful things, the stuff of great art and literature. But take it literally, which fundamentalists do, and you’re in a trap of madness. As in, it’s completely mad to use it as a moral or ethical guide in the 21st century.

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MPAVictoria 01.01.14 at 6:04 pm

“OTOH, if you read the bible poetically, as allegory, myth, metaphor, you can garner beautiful things, wonderful things, the stuff of great art and literature. But take it literally, which fundamentalists do, and you’re in a trap of madness. As in, it’s completely mad to use it as a moral or ethical guide in the 21st century.”

Well said!

227

Ronan(rf) 01.01.14 at 6:38 pm

“There wasn’t anything racist about his observations, and there is nothing racist about thinking welfare policies have contributed to the breakdown of the black family.”

Meh.
There are surely sophisticated, well thought through arguments on the role welfare dependancy has played in family breakdown – so if Robertson offered an intelligent, qualified argument of course he could make that case without being racist. That doesnt seem to be what he has done though, afaict. (Ya dont think increased incarceration has played a role in family breakdown !!!!?)
I would assume he’s pretty racist, by any reasonable contemporary standard – but even leaving that aside he appears to be an idiot. Why should we treat rich, well educated (he has a masters degree afaik) idiots with kiddy gloves?
Good for him if he can get away with it, and I understand that roy b and all the other class warriors will never see a rich, white bigot they dont want to cover in bubble wrap. But I dont understand why everyone else should take his opinions or nostalgia seriously, or pat him on the back for managing to get stuck on the *first* track in a train of thought ?

228

Plume 01.01.14 at 6:40 pm

I’m also interested in “proportional response” which I think is a core tenet for a just, humane, evolved society.

The god of the Levant kills Lot’s wife for merely looking back. He wipes out every living thing from the face of the earth, with the exception of Noah, his family, and two lottery winners for each species . . . . why? He thought humans, his creation, were too wicked to live. His creation. And he was supposedly all-knowing and all-powerful. So how did he create such wickedness in the first place, or allow it to spread, and why was his response near total annihilation? . . . . as opposed, to, oh, seminars on behavior modification?

Or Adam and Eve? Eating an apple gets you thrown out of Paradise, with the burden of immense pain in child-birth thrown in for good measure? Eating an apple does that? And what was the context? Adam and Eve, the first humans, had no parents to teach them right from wrong, no schooling, no peers to learn from, no way to learn over the generations through trial and error, strong oral traditions, much less books on philosophy and ethics . . . .

The god of the bible tended to go all medieval on the unfortunate denizens of bible-world at the drop of a hat. Full-on apocalypse for the slightest “infraction,” and often the victims didn’t even know they had done anything wrong. See the story of Onan, for example.

Proportional response. That’s the core of any strong ethics/morality. The god of the bible teaches hyper-extreme overreaction to the slightest provocation. We still see this mentality all too often on the right, even with policy like the ACA. Everything is the End of Days. Everything is Armageddon.

We all would have been far better off if the Romans had picked a different religion to spread throughout their empire. Or, better yet, no religion at all.

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Plume 01.01.14 at 6:44 pm

@Ronan,

Well said.

There are a host of “degreed” idiots in this country. Ted Cruz strikes me as a good example. All the blessings of an elite education and he still doesn’t know how to think through the implications of ideology. IMO, no one would be a right-wing ideologue if they could do that.

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roy belmont 01.01.14 at 6:46 pm

To quote, in my own translation from the Spanish, the famoso boxeador Roberto Duran:
“Can we please stop doing this? It’s not really working for me anymore.”
A little reread and I see now that (I can’t get myself to write that name over and over) H.S. went up first, and somewhat harshly, against Belle, who is your wife John Holbo.
The emergence of the snark from its fetid lair does seem to have come in wisps rather than overt one-sided assault, with “classy” sort of pretty much kicking it off.
But as it devolved, the thread, as it went yammering obstinately, blindly, from scrim-thin wall to breakaway window, as the balsa wood furniture collapsed around the heads of the combatants, as the prop guns fired their blanks and the spring-drawn knives spurted their scarlet oils, as the A.D. and the cinematographer vanished into the caterer’s r.v., as the female lead started walking into the desert alone with a book in her hand, and the camera drones lost power and began to fall out of the sky…
Trayvon Martin and Phil Robertson are both, across the generations, products of whatever that was that you guys are calling “Jim Crow”. The stark binary of fate should make the imbalance, and its lack of rectification, clear enough we don’t need further examination to proceed to the healing part. Which probably won’t involve finding someone to beat on for being stupid or mean or both.
Maybe it’s debriding the wound, what we’re doing. Just scraping through all the necrotic flesh and scabbed over bits and ignoring the hurt to get to the place where the system can begin its healing work ?
Yeah, I know.
Jesus leaves the Bible at exactly the cusp of puberty,disappears completely with no explanation or cover story, then at 30 re-enters the narrative orbiting the scene of his eventual torture and public execution.
Sex is how the soul moves up out of what I’m calling the sub-Planck. Into the sperm, into the egg, and away! Not from nowhere, from somewhere we don’t understand how to see yet.
So no wonder there’s all this pathology and control around sex in these massive social architectures. Plus the breeding program needs distinct guidelines.
Plus circumcision has to, has to be incredibly traumatic for male infants only one week old. The nerves, the nerves!
Plus I’m done.
Thanks where appropriate for your tolerance.

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Plume 01.01.14 at 7:06 pm

@roy 230,

That was a lot of rhetorical fluffing just to say you think we shouldn’t discuss race in America. Methinks you need a good editor. Maxwell Perkins is dead, but there should be someone out there who can slice and dice to get down to a recognizable core.

It’s quite obvious that we still have a ton of work to do in digging through the history. Not just on race, but class, too. IMO, the latter is actually more important right now than the former, because it encompasses it and would be the very definition of inclusiveness.

We should start with a reevaluation of the shift to capitalism itself. Start with the secret history of primitive accumulation, show how and why Adam Smith and other classical political economists told fairy tales to help the rich, and then reverse engineer it.

When it comes down to it, “exploitation” is the real problem. And the most vulnerable are the most exploited. Blacks and other minorities, like First Nation peoples, were and still are the most vulnerable, and still the most exploited. But with capitalism being THE main weapon against the vulnerable, and the main system of exploitation, it makes sense to concentrate on its dismantling and replacement with systems that do NOT exploit — the vulnerable or anyone else.

Right there, you’ve solved a goodly bit of the race problem in America and removed the hammer from the hands of the exploiters. You’ve basically ended them as a class, period.

232

MPAVictoria 01.01.14 at 7:11 pm

Good lord Roy. You never use one word when ten will do.

233

bt 01.01.14 at 7:49 pm

“We all would have been far better off if the Romans had picked a different religion to spread throughout their empire. Or, better yet, no religion at all.”

And well said Plume. We seem to be on the same wavelength.

I sometimes mention to Christians that the Roman Empire adopted the Christian Faith at the time of Constantine, and that failure to worship the Christian God after that time was often punished by death. And at that point, Christians were not a persecuted minority whose faith was spread across Europe by some act of God by the devoted. Their faith was pushed out to the reaches of the empire at the end of a roman sword.

If there were no Roman Empire, there would be no Christianity as we know it.

Needless to say, many Christians are not aware of any of this. They like the parts where the Romans fed them to the Lions, and that’s the part they’ll keep, thanks.

234

godoggo 01.01.14 at 7:55 pm

This all reminds me of something I was thinking about Zora Neale Hurston’s autobiography, that she grew up in the Jim Crow South and there’s not a single white racist in the whole damn book. Seems unlikely to me. She was a wonderful writer in many ways and her treatment by people like Richard Wright (who couldn’t touch her as a writer, to my thinking) is rather sad, but I can see their point. But I digress.

235

Consumatopia 01.01.14 at 7:57 pm

That was a lot of rhetorical fluffing just to say you think we shouldn’t discuss race in America.

Emphasis on the we. The other side is allowed to talk about race. Our side isn’t.

236

godoggo 01.01.14 at 8:03 pm

Haven’t read the book and don’t have the chops to argue one way or another, but this recent review seemed to give a pretty good defense of Christianity vs. Roman civilization.
http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2013/dec/19/rome-sex-freedom/

237

godoggo 01.01.14 at 8:08 pm

you know what I mean

238

Plume 01.01.14 at 8:18 pm

@godoggo 234,

I recently read her Their Eyes Were Watching God, and really loved it. Though I have to admit to loving her narrative voice more than her exposition of dialect. It was a bit too uniform to my ears, and didn’t factor in regional differences enough.

Regardless, she had an amazing gift. Recently purchased a bio to go along with it, by Deborah G. Plant, but haven’t read it yet.

239

godoggo 01.01.14 at 8:23 pm

I have the same problem with the phonetic spelling. I’m not sure (I’ve only read the 3 books I found in thrift stores), but I believe she used it only for the 1st 2 of her 4 novels and the 1st of her 2 anthropology books, then dropped it.

240

Hector_St_Clare 01.01.14 at 8:29 pm

Re: As for abortion. Millions and millions of zygotes are lost each year due to “natural” abortions — miscarriages, etc. etc. If one takes it literally that the god of the Levant intervenes in our lives, he is the mother of all abortionists.

Yes. God is the author of our lives, and He can choose to end them at His pleasure. He doesn’t owe you, or me, or any of those miscarried zygotes the ‘right’ to live a healthy, happy 80 years on earth. It’s wrong for us to kill innocent people precisely because we *are not* gods, and what we cannot create we have no right to take away. As the Latin proverb says, ‘Quod licet Jovi, non licet Bovi’. Or, what is permitted to god is not permitted to the cow.

241

Hector_St_Clare 01.01.14 at 8:36 pm

Re: Hmmm. Interesting argument. So, anything Jesus did NOT mention is fair game to label as an abomination?

Christians who believe that gay sex is a sin generally do so on the basis of natural law, on the basis of the Letters of Paul (which definitely mention certain homosexual practices) and the Letters of Jude (which may), and on the authority of church tradition. There’s a lot that Jesus didn’t specifically express opinions on, but fortunately we have other sources to inform our moral reason. (Again, I’m more or less agnostic about the moral status of homosexuality, per se, and I don’t consider it really my business to opine on it).

242

Plume 01.01.14 at 9:02 pm

@Hector 240,

Which god? Whose god is the supposed author of our lives? Since humans have worshiped so many across the centuries, choosing one among countless divinities is an arbitrary act, to be generous. And anyone who makes that choice should never expect others to follow suit, or believe in the same things he or she believes in, much less expect public policy to be based on those totally arbitrary beliefs.

There is no Christianity without a host of accidents and historical pivot points that could have gone in a multitude of directions. Why should anyone settle on one concatenation of accidents among a multitude? Worse, why should anyone accept the kind of total abrogation of your own personal responsibility to use your brain in a logical manner, just in order to follow that arbitrary trail? Worst still, why would we do so and accept the idea that some god gets to kill billions of us for disobeying him? Why would anyone want to “worship” such an evil creature, much less try to build some “morality” from that foundation?

Also: Do you see the irony in this?

It’s wrong for us to kill innocent people precisely because we *are not* gods, and what we cannot create we have no right to take away.

Obviously, the parents of that zygote did create it. Using your “logic” they have the right to take the life of that creation.

We are not “gods” is quite correct. But we did create them. Therefore we can take away their lives as well, which we have done for thousands upon thousands of years.

243

Hey Skipper 01.02.14 at 12:58 am

MVAV (et al):

You provide a perfect example of the dangers of promiscuously slanging people; you do it often enough, and you stop thinking about what the terms mean.

Already I have presented you with the irony of accusing someone of being a racist for arguing that someone else isn’t. To review:

racist |ˈrāsist|, noun, a person who believes that a particular race is superior to another.

Seems a pretty clear, straightforward, definition. So to call me a racist, a pretty serious charge, I must have said something to demonstrate that any particular race is superior to blacks.

And, what, precisely, would that be?

For that matter, what, precisely, and please, by all means do not stint on justifying your response, did Robertson say to that effect?

You then further indulge your reflex towards delegitimizing insults by accusing Robertson of being homophobic.

Again, to review:

homophobia |ˌhōməˈfōbēə|, noun, an extreme and irrational aversion to homosexuality and homosexual people.

Perhaps a little less clear and straightforward. After all, it implies there is a rational aversion to homosexuality and homosexuals.

Now how could that possibly be? Robertson would probably note that without promiscuous anal sex, the AIDS epidemic does not exist. (over 15,000 deaths in the US alone in 2010). Perhaps, just perhaps, you might understand that, from his point of view, that is problematic. Indeed, from his point of view all sexual promiscuity is problematic. You might want to argue that he is wrong, but I suspect doing so successfully would be difficult. Particularly in light of this NYT article: A Resisted Pill to Prevent HIV. Given the monetary cost to society, and hecatombs of lives lost, that many gay men still fail to take even the most basic steps to avoid getting and spreading AIDS should make you wonder — at least it does me — whether an aversion to the promiscuous anal sex side of homosexuality is at all irrational.

Moreover, you wholly ignore what he explicitly said: that judging gays is Gods job, not his, and that he no more hates gays than any other sinners whose conduct will also put themselves at eternal risk.

Before you dismiss that with another thoughtless slur, consider this.

I hate smoking. It makes rooms and cars stink, which is bad enough. But if I am in the presence of smokers, it makes my clothes and hair stink, as well. Given that so few people smoke these days, I wouldn’t be surprised if you share my opinions. Certainly, many people do if you don’t.

Now, by your logic, that makes me a, oh, I dunno, a smokerophobic. I hate smoking and smokers.

But the latter doesn’t follow the former, does it? After all, it is entirely possible to hate smoking, but not hate smokers in the least.

Yet somehow you insist that Robertson, having said he hates homosexuality, also hates homosexuals. You have done that without any evidence, and at the same time completely disregarding analogous situations.

Please explain what seems to me to be a blatant contradiction.

244

Hey Skipper 01.02.14 at 12:59 am

(I do so wish there was a preview function here.)

245

Hey Skipper 01.02.14 at 1:01 am

(for some reason my previous comment did not post, and my re-attempt got flagged as a duplicate.)

246

Ronan(rf) 01.02.14 at 1:21 am

” Robertson would probably note that without promiscuous anal sex, the AIDS epidemic does not exist.”

And he’d be wrong

http://www.whiteoliphaunt.com/duckofminerva/2012/01/learning-from-histories-of-aids-crisis.html

247

bt 01.02.14 at 1:35 am

You can’t really look at the Duck Man without understanding the context of the comments, and the racial/social dog whistles that they send out to their fellow travelers.

This quote below is from December 19th. It is a press release from the League of the South:

“The League of the South, the premier Southern Nationalist organization, supports Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty in his Biblical condemnation of sodomy”

The League of the South is this very interesting southern secessionist group, who are dedicated to the idea that the South was in the right during the Civil War, and would like to secede and restore the Confederacy. One of the most interesting defenses of Slavery in the 1800′s was that it was frequently mentioned in the Bible and so was therefore OK.

Is the Skipper going to allow me to infer that the League is a racist organization? Or am I being unfair to them, and making unfair inferences?

(by the way, I like the Skipper, he’s very game for this stuff!)

248

GiT 01.02.14 at 1:37 am

“Obviously, the parents of that zygote did create it. Using your “logic” they have the right to take the life of that creation.”

‘If ~create, then ~right-to-kill’ is not equivalent to ‘if create, then right-to-kill.’

that doesn’t make the initial phrase any less silly, though, as people kill things they didn’t create with moral right rather often (plants, animals, &etc)

249

bt 01.02.14 at 1:41 am

And here are some fine books you can find on these Southern Subjects:

http://dixienet.org/rights/all.shtml

“A Southside View of Slavery” may even be one that the Duck Man has read!

250

Layman 01.02.14 at 1:46 am

“racist |ˈrāsist|, noun, a person who believes that a particular race is superior to another.”

That’s an incomplete definition. Find a better dictionary.

Even this online dictionary has much more to say.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/racist

251

MPAVictoria 01.02.14 at 2:25 am

Wow Skippy. Just wow.
You need counselling.

252

MPAVictoria 01.02.14 at 2:31 am

Roy this is the guy you were willing to type thousands of words to defend from “slander”. I hope you are suitably ashamed of yourself now that he has fully revealed exactly what kind of person he is.

253

LFC 01.02.14 at 2:52 am

Browsing/reading this thread has been, um, quite an experience…

Two unrelated things:
1) It’s about slavery, not what came after, but I recently saw Twelve Years a Slave. Quite powerful.
I’ve never seen ‘Duck Dynasty,’ know almost nothing about it and nothing about Robertson, but that *anyone* said what he said, as quoted by Layman @218, whether couched in autobiographical terms or not, is pretty astonishing. The whole tone of his remark, the images conjured (“singing and happy”), it’s like something one would expect to hear 50/60/70 years ago (and before that). It has resonances that go well beyond (supposed) reminiscence, and you have to be tone-deaf not to hear them. As for the rest of what Robertson said, I haven’t even bothered to find it. As to whether the entire media shd have come down on him as it apparently did, I’m not sure (I refer to JH @153), but that’s a separate issue.

2) OT (if there is such a thing on this thread): re Plume’s remark @231 on the perfidy of Adam Smith (the actual one, not the CT commenter of that name) — a journal that arrived in my mailbox the other day carries a learned article about Smith being opposed to severe inequality and high profits. I must confess I’ve read rather little of Adam Smith himself, but fwiw…

254

Plume 01.02.14 at 3:18 am

@GiT 248.

Obviously, I don’t agree with the original assertion, about a god creator having some “right” to annihilate the things he created. I actually don’t believe in a god creator at all, but that’s a different issue. My point was the absurd belief that it’s okay for the Christian (and Jewish) god to destroy the earth and all therein — and we shouldn’t think the worse of him — because he supposedly created it, etc. etc. In fact, fundies basically think we don’t even have the “right” to question what that god does, ever.

Ever.

Which folds right back into the issue of extremist authoritarianism amongst those proclaiming the love of “liberty and freedom.”

I much prefer the anarchist creed of No gods/No masters. Question everything. All authority, etc. etc.

And while we’re at it, right-wing libertarians are authoritarians because they accept the idea of masters — business masters. They mistakenly think they’re freedom fighters because they oppose a powerful federal government — not states, btw . . . . Not private tyranny. Just federal.

Etc. etc.

255

Plume 01.02.14 at 3:27 am

@LFC 253,

I’m reading The Invention of Capitalism right now, by Michael Perelman. He just demolishes Smith. It’s a really important book, and a sadly neglected one. In it you’ll find a Smith who contradicts himself quite a bit, but shows that his true allegiance was to capitalists and the rich, and sought legal protections and market structures to assure their privileges. Primitive Accumulation being the tool to that end, with its kicking people off their lands who once could self-provision. Because that just wouldn’t do for capitalists or capitalism. If people can grow their own food, make their own clothes, build their own homes, etc. and produce their own commodities when needed, there are no workers in the factories or consumers for capitalist goods.

Dependency. Again, capitalism created mass dependency on its products and services, and was and still is dependent on the lack of independence among the masses. And it, unlike all previous economic systems, survives only so long as consumer demand (dependency) increases.

The more we can fend for ourselves, the less power capitalists have over our lives. The more we control our own energy, our own food, water, clothes, etc. etc. . . . the less power they have over our lives. It’s not the government that creates dependency. It’s the people who managed to destroy self-provisioning, with the aid of government, all to drive the so-called “peasants” from their lands and home production spheres.

Smith was one of the people pushing hardest for that change, for the end to self-provisioning.

256

bt 01.02.14 at 3:35 am

to skipper @ 243:

there you go again:

“Already I have presented you with the irony of accusing someone of being a racist for arguing that someone else isn’t.”

If you are defending a racist, you probably are one, otherwise why would you?

So drop the victimhood and try to convince us why someone should believe that Blacks were better off back in the lynching days. And try to convince us that if they had more ‘moral fiber’ they wouldn’t be so badly off. That’s where you really are on this, aren’t you?

You are hiding behind Phil Robertson, you are, you slippery devil. Your neutrality is fake. Drop the mask and tell us what you believe.

257

LFC 01.02.14 at 3:37 am

@Plume
I don’t know the Perelman book; thanks for mentioning.
(I won’t get into the substance of your comment, at least now, b/c I’m shutting off the computer for the night.)

258

P O'Neill 01.02.14 at 3:40 am

There is at least one hypothesis for situations where two apparently separate contributors to a thread play so perfectly off each other …

That one week CT thread comment shutdown can’t come soon enough.

259

godoggo 01.02.14 at 6:10 am

fwiw I’m not a big believer in racist vs. not racist. It’s really more do you try not to be.

260

GiT 01.02.14 at 8:09 am

racist vs. “not racist” vs anti-racist, maybe,

261

Ed Herdman 01.02.14 at 9:05 am

It is a good thing that Hey Skipper has pointed out the average CTers love of “slanging,” I hear it’s the hip and extreme thing for kids to do, these days! It’s certainly a lot better than making some similar-sounding and unwarranted accusation of potential legal import.

Getting back to this after losing CT for a couple days, my argument against what Robertson is doing is simply that he’s generalized from from his own experience to things he cannot possibly generalize against. Hey Skipper’s contention that people are generalizing their own experiences onto him is just flagrantly failing to engage with the argument.

Let’s look at that rhetorical trick also.

If I say “I don’t see an orange in this room” and somebody else says “I do see an orange in this room,” does not the record of an observation in the one case carry more weight than the simple failure to observe? (Please put aside the very serious and profound question of whether the orange is really an orange.) Does the “reasonable person” test in a court of law not count if one person is Special? We’re not talking about just generalizing our experiences to Robertson’s; we’re talking about the impact his comments make. The privilege we afford Robertson in making account for his experiences does not translate into a privilege in defining the situation for other people (the “happy blacks”), let alone the right to define it against countless other observers.

I agree that failure to observe alone doesn’t suffice to condemn, but when you consider the full context of Robertson’s statements, we can imagine that he wants them to be respected as cultural and political observations. Basically my reaction, right along, has been that this guy is not so harmless in that he seems willing to be reasonable. It’s harmful in the way that “not keeping weapons from one who is unwell” is harmful, though here the problem is merely a bit of obliviousness mixed in with a poor choice of targets. More concerning is the way in which people are falling over themselves to try to put a fig leaf over this sorry episode.

262

Plume 01.02.14 at 5:37 pm

If you see black in that room it’s the same thing. After all, Orange is the new . . .

263

Hey Skipper 01.02.14 at 6:42 pm

[Collin Street:] On the other hand:
+ Robertson claims that he never saw
+ CTers, using statistics, say that this is sufficiently implausible as to not be credible [with the implication that Robertson is lying about his experiences]

From MVAV #74: Now let us note that 355 blacks were lynched in Louisiana between 1882 and 1968.

That is the closes thing I can remember to a relevant statistic. Why MVAV is citing a period the vast majority of which is before Robertson was born is a real mystery. The relevant number is nine. What do you suppose the odds are that Robertson would witness a lynching?

264

Hey Skipper 01.02.14 at 6:50 pm

[Collin Street:] On the other hand:
+ Robertson claims that he never saw
+ CTers, using statistics, say that this is sufficiently implausible as to not be credible [with the implication that Robertson is lying about his experiences]

From MVAV #74: Now let us note that 355 blacks were lynched in Louisiana between 1882 and 1968.

That is the closes thing I can remember to a relevant statistic. Why MVAV is citing a period the vast majority of which is before Robertson was born is a real mystery. The relevant number is nine. What do you suppose the odds are that Robertson would witness a lynching?

[HS, #185 to John Holbo about a weakness in his argument:] Mr. Robertson is a devout Christian. Your implications — which amount to invented facts, completely ignore that.

One of Christianity’s main tenets is to love thy neighbor as thyself (NB: I am not a Christian).

Your argument, as presented so far, completely ignores that fact, yet to be complete your argument requires taking it into account, or explaining why not.

[John Holbo:] But surely most white people in the South during the Jim Crow era considered themselves to be Christians. We don’t take that to be an argument that Jim Crow never happened, since Jim Crow is inconsistent with this well-known tenet of Christianity.

But your argument isn’t about Christianity during Jim Crow, you are making an argument about Robertson in the here and now. Your argument completely excludes the facts about his Christianity. If those facts, which presumably are available, complement your inferences, then those inferences are on firm ground. But until you get those facts, your inferences are a merely a consequence of your biases.

MVAV is a extreme form of that bias — MVAV convicts Robertson based upon a caricature of Christianity (i.e., MVAV won’t make the distinction between what Christianity teaches and what people do), and is far happier to make serious accusations rather than lift a finger to learn about Robertson’s Christianity. MVAV is all inference, and no foundation.

See also #200. Plume insists Christianity as too many different meanings to be used a a factual reference for Robertson. Yet it isn’t Christianity’s history, or diversity of interpretations, etc.

Robertson is a preacher, it is his instantiation of Christianity that matters here, not everything that could conceivably be stuck in that box, and certainly not Plume’s opinions about Christianity.

265

Hey Skipper 01.02.14 at 7:03 pm

[John Holbo:]Also, it’s not right to say that Skipper is on the receiving end of the insult and leave it at that. If it really matters to you, then you should note that he has called everyone else stupid liars and thought police and such Orwellian stuff.

I called everyone else — or even anyone else — stupid liars? Please do one of two things: quote me saying that, so I can apologize. Or, failing that, I will happily accept your apology for attributing to me things I did not say, or even hint.

I will cop to the “thoughtcrime” accusation, because it goes to what I believe is the very dark side of progressives: your notions of how society should be organized are correct because you hold them. Therefore, all disagreement with progressive notions can be laid to three causes — ignorance, stupidity, or evil (all of which have been on prominent display here). Therefore, when faced with someone who does not agree, there is a very strong tendency to delegitimize the speaker as evil. There is a reason why, for a great many people who aren’t progressives, “Orwellian” is associated with progressives. (see #77; I should have used more temperate language in making my point; I regret that I didn’t.)

As a non-progressive, I am continually amazed at how often progressives labeled criticism of Pres. Obama’s policies as racist. Just as here, with Robertson. He used his experiences to conclude that progressive policies caused a great deal of damage. He cannot be right, since progressive policies are, by definition, right. Therefore he must be either ignorant, stupid, or evil (where evil in this case is being racist, despite not having said a single syllable that in any way demeans blacks, or suggests whites are superior.)

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Plume 01.02.14 at 7:07 pm

@Hey Skipper 264,

You made the claim that Robertson’s being a “devout Christian” was enough, all by itself, to change opinion here. You did not go into “his instantiation” of Christianity to make your case for that bizarre assertion. You just threw out the absurd idea that being “devout” gets him off the hook, or is at least a mitigating factor.

Why? Provide some detail for that. Why should anyone care about his supposed “devoutness” in the face of his ugly, reactionary, racist and homophobic comments, not to mention his ugly, misogynist comments about marrying 15-year-old girls.

Details, please. What is it, exactly, about his supposed “devout Christianity” that should make one iota of a difference to anyone, when it comes to this subject.

Remember, you made the claim without the slightest attempt to back it up. I merely responded with several reasons why it doesn’t make a difference.

History tells us it can’t be used as an excuse or a shield. The history of massive bloodshed, Christian atrocities, the Inquisition, the Crusades, the forced conversion or death of Native peoples around the world, etc. etc. . . . all in the name of Christianity . . . . not to mention the centuries of wars between Christians themselves. No doubt both Protestant and Catholic believed they were “devout” through it all. No doubt when Christians went to war over the tiniest difference in interpretation over the trinity, for example, both sides in the melee thought they were “devout.”

And, finally, the texts themselves. Any “literal” reading of the End Times tells us that Christianity is the bloodiest, most sadistic of religions, with the highest ultimate death count. No other religion comes close, nor do they add both billions in deaths with eternal torment. Only Christianity calls for that.

Now, again, how is Robertson’s supposedly “devout Christianity” any kind of mitigating factor. Please explain.

267

Plume 01.02.14 at 7:34 pm

No one said that progressive policies are always right. Not even close. As a former progressive, who now IDs well to the left of that, I can speak with confidence to the lack of confidence in any categorical “rightness” among liberals and progs. In fact, one of the most frustrating aspects about the center-left is its inability to firmly, without embarrassment, actually cop to the rightness of its own policy ideas. Liberals and progressives, in general — obviously, exceptions exist — seem to Woody-Allen their own beliefs to a degree we just don’t see among conservatives. They do nuance, complexity, uncertainty and neuroses. Conservatives do manicheanism, authoritarianism and psychoses.

In short, where the Dems are “liberal” you will find all too much hand-wringing about their liberalism. They even run from the word. Oftentimes, to borrow the bible again for a moment, you will find a lot of Peter claiming he didn’t know Jesus.

Where the Republicans are “conservative” you will find all too much apocalyptic certainty in their own righteousness. A certainty in their own sense of the apocalyptic. You rarely see any “conservative” worrying him or herself to death about the word and they don’t run from it.

Their policy ideas are for shit. But they at least commit to them without apology.

As for Robertson and the welfare state. He, of course, can’t make the case that it has hurt blacks or made them “dependent” upon anything, nor can he make the case that they were somehow better off under Jim Crow. Which is why he never even tried. Conservatives tend to just make statements, without bothering to actually pull up the data to support it, or show cause and effect. That’s a part of that “certainty” thing for them. It’s enough to just make the comment, etc. etc.

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MPAVictoria 01.02.14 at 7:42 pm

“The homophobe accuses you of sexual immorality and damns you to hell, while preaching a gospel which would make wives of children. “

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/12/the-myth-of-western-civilization/282704/

269

MPAVictoria 01.02.14 at 7:43 pm

“I will cop to the “thoughtcrime” accusation, because it goes to what I believe is the very dark side of progressives”

There is your answer John. He was serious.

270

Plume 01.02.14 at 8:05 pm

@MPAV,

I’ve learned . . . and I’m guessing most here have learned this as well . . . that it is virtually hopeless discussing most of these issues with conservatives. They have made their minds up, after roughly four decades of deep propaganda, that liberals and progressives are fascists. This despite the fact that they, as in, “conservatives,” are the folks on the same side of the aisle with the fascists and the Nazis, and they helped put them into (and kept them in) power when that occurred in Europe.

The left fought against Fascism to the death. The right was and is the home for Fascism.

When I was growing up — I’m in my 50s now — it was rare for people to actually come out and admit they were right-wing. The stench of WWII was still too fresh. But, little by little, as the years went by, with the help of revisionist ideologues, the right turned the historical world upside down and magically transformed right-wingers (Hitler, Mussolini, Franco) into left-wingers. This gave they psychological cover to be out and proud. This process is ongoing.

Bring this subject out into the open online, and you will provoke many a right-winger to show his or her true colors, as they ignorantly claim right-wingers in history were actually on the left. This undergirds pretty much all of their complaints regarding “Orwellian” and “thought-police,” etc. . . . forgetting, of course, that Orwell made his critique from the left, and as a socialist.

Until the right goes back to school, reads firsthand accounts about the Nazis, Fascists and the Resistance groups who fought them (dominated by communists and socialists), they will never cop to the fact that they share ideological space with Nazis and Fascists. Until they read contemporary letters, memoirs, essays, newspaper accounts, minutes of political parties, etc. etc., they will never get that the Nazis and Fascists themselves ID’d as right-wing.

Etc. etc.

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Plume 01.02.14 at 8:09 pm

And, yes, I know about Godwin’s law. But, sometimes, subtext just needs to become text.

272

bt 01.02.14 at 8:26 pm

So I think that Skipper has started to boil his arguement down, and to show a little bit of what he believes:

–>That Phil Robertson is a Christian and a Preacher. So he could not possible have any bad intentions. And since we have never met him, and don’t know him, we cannot possibly know anything, or draw any inferences from what he has said.

It seems that only the Skipper’s generalizations and inferences are correct. While Liberals are prone to defective logic and don’t really understand how uninformed and biased they are.

Personally I’m very biased and opinionated. So is the Skipper; but he wants to act like he is a dispassionate and good-minded referee who it sticking up for a 3rd party, when he is really peddling a full line of beliefs and conclusions that he won’t directly admit to having or defend directly.

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Plume 01.02.14 at 8:41 pm

@bt 272,

Another observation: I often read conservatives online complaining about people on the left wanting to “impose” their views on others. Which, apparently, conservatives never do. You see, when a conservative tries to make a case for something, it’s only for the neutral, perfect, naturalj norm, so they don’t have to cop to attempting that imposition. It’s just the way things are and should always be. They already start at the First Ground, so any deviation from their views is an attempt to impose from left field, from waaay out there. Conservatives just “referee” as you mention.

Capitalism and free markets? They don’t have to justify what is naturally right, right? Even though capitalism and those so-called free markets are rather late on the scene to be considered “natural law.” Even though humans lived communally for their first 200,000 years, it’s just “natural” that we aggressively compete with one another over scarce goods, commercially, and divide the world among the haves and the have nots.

Marriage? Since it’s always been between one man and one woman — forgetting, of course, the thousands of years where it was between one man and many women, who had zero choice in the matter — they don’t have to justify their definition. Anything but their definition is an assault of decency, morality, natural law, the perfect and neutral ground of grounds.

Of course, there is no such thing as that perfect starting point of pristine neutrality. Everything is a position, contingent, subject to change and is change itself. Conservatives might believe that any deviation from their ideas goes against their god’s will, but that isn’t supported by logic, common sense or history.

Oh, well.

274

Ed Herdman 01.02.14 at 9:34 pm

I agree with Hey Skipper that talking about lynchings is a sideshow – and we should be careful to notice there’s many harms which aren’t so spectacular but still reinforce and propagate misery.

Again, why Hey Skipper and Robertson presume to speak about the experiences of black people or attempt to use their personal experiences as justification for a meta-narrative against random things that annoy conservatives is beyond me.

275

GiT 01.02.14 at 10:24 pm

“I called everyone else — or even anyone else — stupid liars? Please do one of two things: quote me saying that, so I can apologize. Or, failing that, I will happily accept your apology for attributing to me things I did not say, or even hint.”

Well, this isn’t very tough. Let’s just look at the first 5 or so sentences you wrote in this thread.

“It is the proper response to manufactured outrage.”

Implication – the outrage expressed is not genuine, but artificial. Read: in giving outrage, people are lying about their actual feelings and motivations.

“It is obvious to anyone without an axe to grind”

Implication – not seeing things how I see them means you’re either stupid or lying to advance your own position.

“But you have absolutely no basis upon which to disagree with the factual elements of what he said; to do so amounts to, on precisely zero evidence, calling him a liar.”

Implication: you’re lying about him lying.

Stupid liar indeed…

276

Layman 01.02.14 at 10:34 pm

Hey Skipper,

I’ll try to make this as simple as I can.

You say criticism of Robertson (e.g. that he’s a racist) is irrational in light of your claim (or is it Robertson’s claim?) that he’s a devout Christian. In other words:

– Robertson says he’s a devout Christian
– Devout Christians can’t be racist
– Therefore Robertson can’t be racist

These are assertions subject to scrutiny. If some people call themselves devout Christians but are in fact not, then perhaps Robertson is one of those people. If some people are devout Christians while also being racist, then perhaps Robertson is one of those people.

If we look to the history of racism – say, under Jim Crow laws in the South – we find many people who said they were devout Christians and yet were clearly racist. So there can be such people, and it’s possible Robertson is one of them.

How can we know? Perhaps by their fruits, to borrow an expression from somewhere. If he says racist things – for example, that happy, contented, well-treated blacks picked cotton while singing joyous songs under Jim Crow laws, before welfare came along and made them unhappy – that would tend indicate he’s one of those people.

277

js. 01.02.14 at 10:38 pm

“It is the proper response to manufactured outrage.”

Implication – the outrage expressed is not genuine, but artificial. Read: in giving outrage, people are lying about their actual feelings and motivations.

There you go “inferencing” again. It’s just not done, you know.

Also, though, skipper-dude, here’s a thing that you wrote:

One of Christianity’s main tenets is to love thy neighbor as thyself (NB: I am not a Christian).

Your [Holbo's] argument, as presented so far, completely ignores that fact, yet to be complete your argument requires taking it into account, or explaining why not.

Hardly a Biblical expert, me, but I seem to have heard that this tenet of Christianity existed prior to 1965 just as much as after it. So two questions:

(1) Why does it not apply to devout Christians that supported segregation in exactly the same way that it applies to Phil Robertson, who of course is horrified, horrified!, at the injustices of Jim Crow?

(2) If it does apply in the same way, what follows? (Or is this one of those cases where all that follows from A is A?)

278

js. 01.02.14 at 10:41 pm

Cross-posted with Layman, who makes the point better.

279

Plume 01.02.14 at 11:01 pm

Remember, part of the Ten Commandments says Do not covet thy neighbor’s slave. It was assumed then that slavery existed. The god of the bible doesn’t condemn it.

Christians in America tried to use the bible to support slavery and anti-slavery positions. We should be able to assume that at least some Christians on both sides of the issue thought of themselves as “devout.”

Again, the conflict itself negates the use of the term as shield. The diversity of interpretation as to what constitutes “devout Christian” also negates the use of the term as shield. It has so many interpretations as to become meaningless. There are so many conflicts, battles, wars over doctrine, riots over doctrine, interpretation, heresy, orthodoxy — and a multitude of changes through the centuries regarding what is heresy and what is orthodox — its use as shield is absurd.

Try again.

280

djr 01.02.14 at 11:38 pm

HS in 71 limits “mistreatment” to physical abuse. By 264 it seems to be restricted to lynchings only. Is the argument that there isn’t a correlation between lynchings and other forms of mistreatment, both physical and otherwise?

281

Hey Skipper 01.02.14 at 11:56 pm

[bt:] So I think that Skipper has started to boil his arguement down, and to show a little bit of what he believes:

–>That Phil Robertson is a Christian and a Preacher. So he could not possible have any bad intentions. And since we have never met him, and don’t know him, we cannot possibly know anything, or draw any inferences from what he has said.

If you are going to boil my argument down, the least you could do is boil my argument down, instead of making something up out of whole cloth and attributing it to me.

Here is what I really said:

[HS, #185 to John Holbo about a weakness in his argument:] Mr. Robertson is a devout Christian. Your implications — which amount to invented facts, completely ignore that.

One of Christianity’s main tenets is to love thy neighbor as thyself (NB: I am not a Christian).

Your argument, as presented so far, completely ignores that fact, yet to be complete your argument requires taking it into account, or explaining why not.

[On re-reading, I see I fell prey to ambiguous reference. The fact that I am referring to is Robertson’s Christianity, not one of Christianity’s main tenets. However, I’m not sure how much that matters, since Dr. Holbo used inference to create facts, while neglecting to use any significant facts about the man; one of which is Christianity as the non-denominational Robertson practices it. Indeed, Robertson might be manifestly guilty of failing to love his neighbor, but that is how one would demonstrate the validity of the inference, not the other way around.]

I’d love to know how you get from my pointing out what I believe is a weakness in John Holbo’s argument to my insisting “… we cannot possibly know anything, or draw any inferences from what he has said.”

Similarly with Plume: You [HS] made the claim that Robertson’s being a “devout Christian” was enough, all by itself, to change opinion here.

Really? Where? Surely you will be able to quote me on that, right? Heck, it doesn’t have to be a claim, even a hint will do.

No wonder you are so willing to succumb to Godwin’s law, because — just as with collectivists did with calling for Robertson’s defenestration — the only thing that matters is what you want to hear.

[Git:] Well, this isn’t very tough. Let’s just look at the first 5 or so sentences you wrote in this thread …

Both A&E and the Cracker Barrel quickly and completely caved without getting so much as a hint of an apology, not even an ifpology (h/t Harry Shearer) from Mr. Robertson.

Which indicates to me that a great many people decided that there was nothing there, that becoming outraged about what Robertson said required deciding for him what he meant, and insisting that certain opinions simply cannot be voiced. So when I said “manufactured outrage” I mean that the self-appointed censors created their own outrage.

Pope Francis, Time Magazine’s Person of the Year. Phil Robertson, unconscionable homophobe.

Discuss.

But you have absolutely no basis upon which to disagree with the factual elements of what he said; to do so amounts to, on precisely zero evidence, calling him a liar.”

Implication: you’re lying about him lying.

Here is a perfect example of why you (collectively) need to stop it with inferencing and implicating. The only thing you succeed in doing is placating your own biases. I very clearly, explicitly, and frequently, said the accusations are baseless, that is say, you have no available evidence other than your inferencing and implicating to call him a liar, yet that is exactly what many here have done.

That is the very definition of a baseless accusation. And try as I might, I can’t find anywhere in my dictionary where I can get from “baseless accusation” to liar.

Based on your comment, in which every sentence starts with “implication”, doing so is positively addictive.

Unfortunately, it robs me — as it did to Robertson — of the ability to possess any meaning you do not grant me. That is how you manufacture outrage.

[Layman:] I’ll try to make this as simple as I can.

You say criticism of Robertson (e.g. that he’s a racist) is irrational in light of your claim (or is it Robertson’s claim?) that he’s a devout Christian. In other words:

– Robertson says he’s a devout Christian
– Devout Christians can’t be racist
– Therefore Robertson can’t be racist

How about making it simpler for both of us and doing as I do with all of you here: quoting directly, and responding directly to your quote. Because, as I said above, I am certain I made no such claim.

Indeed, even a superficial reading should be sufficient to understand I have never made any claim about Robertson’s state of mind regarding race, only that the outraged, based upon that interview, and allowing words to have the meanings they were born with, have no grounds for their outrage. That’s it. Period. Not that such grounds do not exist, only that you do not have them.

I’m sensing a pattern here.

Robertson may indeed be one of “those” Christians, I really have no idea. But since you have no evidence of that, and if there was there would be no trouble finding it, then there is at least the possibility that absence of evidence is, indeed, evidence of absence.

[js:] Hardly a Biblical expert, me, but I seem to have heard that this tenet of Christianity existed prior to 1965 just as much as after it. So two questions:

(1) Why does it not apply to devout Christians that supported segregation in exactly the same way that it applies to Phil Robertson, who of course is horrified, horrified!, at the injustices of Jim Crow?

I’m sorry, did I miss the part of this thread where the subject became about … devout Christians that supported segregation … ?

And I don’t know what … in exactly the same way that it applies to Phil Robertson … even means.

282

bt 01.03.14 at 12:12 am

So once again, the Skipper has made clear. He believes in nothing that he will state. Only that we have made groundless conclusions after groundless conclusion. There is no point he will concede he has made, except to say that we are all wrong.

Its like arguing with a child. Every time you engage, the retort is “that’s not what I said”.

Skipper has no real thesis, other than we are not allowed to comment on Phil Robertson and by extension, Him.

283

Tyrone Slothrop 01.03.14 at 12:12 am

Give ‘em hell, Skipper!

284

Plume 01.03.14 at 12:26 am

Hey Skipper @281,

Please address this: Why should it matter if Robertson is a Christian or not, when it comes to assessing his statements? What is it about being a Christian, specifically, that leads you to think we need to factor that in when we talk about his comments? Be specific.

Again, given the fact of nearly two thousand years of bloody Christian history, wherein they committed atrocities in the name of their god . . . and, given the multitude of interpretations regarding what it means to be a Christian, a good Christian, a devout Christian . . . with people who ID as such falling into the pro-slavery and anti-slavery camps, along with all the battles, wars, inquisitions, etc. etc . . . . how could it possibly be a factor?

I have asked you several times now to address this, and you’ve run from it each time. Please address why anyone should care that Robertson calls himself a Christian or not.

Also, what kind of “collectivist” are you referring to? The right-wing kind who loves capitalism, which can’t function without collectivism . . . or the left-wing kind that realizes collectivism exists in a complex, modern society but just wants the collective to reap the rewards of the collective — instead of just ownership. Right-wing, capitalist lovin’ collectivists want the tiny group at the top to benefit from the work of the collective, not the collective itself.

Details, man. We need details.

285

GiT 01.03.14 at 1:52 am

Ah, so evidently accusing someone of making “baseless accusations” isn’t meant to communicate anything about a person’s intelligence or character. Who knew? So I guess if I were to say, “Hey Skipper is a prodigious fount of bullshit,” I wouldn’t actually be communicating anything about his willingness to engage in prevarication or willfully ignore, or at least unwillingly fail to comprehend, the obvious.

286

roy belmont 01.03.14 at 1:53 am

It’s like a fishhook in my kiester, some unseen hand just keeps reeling me back in.
I leap from the boat with all my might, swim as fast as I can away, yet here I am again.

It’s not unreasonable to assume that H.S. is a conservative racist, if your radar is programmed to identify those before your base all belong to them.
But there’s literally nothing in his comments here to point to as evidence for that. Just assumptions. Which meta-ironically was his original position, that that was being done to Robertson.
He’s clearly stated his non-Christian identity, at the same time he defends Robertson’s corner – from unwarranted attack – from the standpoint of Robertson’s Christianity as the legitimate place from where his (Robertson’s) unmodern opinions about sex and marriage proceed. H.S. doesn’t refer to the Christian bible to support his position.
He’s also clearly implied a recognition of the human suffering inherent in slavery and Jim Crow and racism generally, but you are attacking him as a defender of racism, so, a reasonable observer – me! – can only conclude that there’s something other than fact and rational analysis motivating you.
You’re attacking him for asserting “progressives” etc are prone to knee-jerk p.c. reaction with no substance in their rebuttal but a desire to insult and semantically reject. And you’re proving him right right down the line.
If this thing was divided more equally in terms of presence and intensity I’d more than likely sound real different. But as it stands, this is a lot like watching Gregory Peck defend Boo Radley while the snorting ignorant townspeople shower him with hate.
Just the race thing’s rearranged, and the victim isn’t headed for the headsman’s axe if Peck loses the case.

“It is the proper response to manufactured outrage.”
-
Implication – the outrage expressed is not genuine, but artificial. Read: in giving outrage, people are lying about their actual feelings and motivations.

Read: undisciplined minds can pretend to be logical on the internet, even when they come off like illiterate fools.
-
Hey Skipper and Robertson presume to speak about the experiences of black people or attempt to…
Lawyers aren’t always in sync with their clients’ actions or motives, they don’t have to be, and in a pure justice system they aren’t supposed to allow their personal beliefs to influence their practice.
But his defense of Robertson, against what he says repeatedly he sees as biased attack, is evidently all the permission you need to conflate their too very different positions, and proceed accordingly. Only like I said, you don’t have Robertson here to throw this crud at, so you dump on his lawyer.
Dude never once said things were fine in the Jim Crow South, never said his experience of racism was as Pollyanna as Robertson’s. What he said and maintained steadily in the face of sometimes egregious frequently baseless and often illogical assault, however much he applied and thus permitted the use of insult and semantic scorn, was Robertson’s stated opinions about welfare and entitlements, and his relating of what he says was personal experience, were not observably racist, and la! they aren’t.
They may be founded on a racist view of black Americans, they may be delivered in a secret code recognized by racists, they may be being dictated to him by evil slavers hiding on the back side of Mars, but there’s nothing in the statements themselves that is overtly racist. No one here has refuted that, because it would involve rearranging the world too drastically, to make things that aren’t actually real, real.

287

simon orang 01.03.14 at 1:56 am

It is me, roy b.
Two comments awaiting moderation, one edited for possible spam filter objection, which didn’t get through either.
Otherwise…?

288

Leroy 01.03.14 at 2:06 am

It’s like a fishhook in my kiester, some unseen hand just keeps reeling me back in.
I leap from the boat with all my might, swim fast as I can away, and there it is again.

It’s not unreasonable to assume that H.S. is a conservative racist, if your radar is programmed to identify those before your base all belong to them.
But there’s literally nothing in his comments here to point to as evidence for that. Just assumptions. Which meta-ironically was his original position, that that was being done to Robertson.
He’s clearly stated his non-Christian identity, at the same time he defends Robertson’s corner – from unwarranted attack – from the standpoint of Robertson’s Christianity as the legitimate place from where his (Robertson’s) unmodern opinions about sex and marriage proceed. H.S. doesn’t refer to the Christian bible to support his position. So you can’t ridicule him or insult with the arsenal of rejection on that basis.
He’s also clearly implied a recognition of the human suffering inherent in slavery and Jim Crow and racism generally, but you are attacking him as a defender of racism, so, a reasonable observer – me! – can only conclude that there’s something other than fact and rational analysis motivating you.
You’re attacking him for asserting “progressives” etc are prone to knee-jerk p.c. reaction with no substance in their rebuttal but insult and semantic rejection. And you’re proving him right right down the line.
If this thing was divided more equally in terms of presence and intensity I’d more than likely sound real different. But as it stands, this is a lot like watching Gregory Peck defend Boo Radley while the snorting ignorant townspeople shower him with hate.
Just the race thing’s rearranged, and the victim isn’t headed for the headsman’s axe if Peck loses the case.

“It is the proper response to manufactured outrage.”
-
Implication – the outrage expressed is not genuine, but artificial. Read: in giving outrage, people are lying about their actual feelings and motivations.

Read: undisciplined minds can pretend to be logical on the internet, even when they come off like illiterate fools.
-
Hey Skipper and Robertson presume to speak about the experiences of black people or attempt to…
Lawyers aren’t always in sync with their clients’ actions or motives, they don’t have to be, and in a pure justice system they aren’t supposed to allow their personal beliefs to influence their practice.
But his defense of Robertson, against what he says repeatedly he sees as biased attack, is evidently all the permission you need to conflate their too very different positions, and proceed accordingly. Only like I said, you don’t have Robertson here to throw this crud at, so you dump on his lawyer.
Dude never once said things were fine in the Jim Crow South, never said his experience of racism was as Pollyanna as Robertson’s. What he said and maintained steadily in the face of egregious baseless and illogical assault, however much he applied and permitted the use of insult and semantic scorn, was Robertson’s stated opinions about welfare and entitlements were not observably racist, and la! they aren’t.
They may be founded on a racist view of black Americans, they may be delivered in a secret code recognized by racists, they may be being dictated to him by evil slavers hiding on the back side of Mars, but there’s nothing in the statements themselves that is overtly racist. No one here has refuted that, because it would involve rearranging the world too drastically, to make things that aren’t actually real, real.

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Plume 01.03.14 at 2:08 am

A dead horse, perhaps. Or just one end of it.

But I’ll try another angle here:

There is no evidence, in the present or the past, that demonstrates Christian superiority in moral or ethical matters, nor as human beings in general. There is no evidence that shows them superior to atheists, agnostics, secular humanists, Taoists, Buddhists, Wiccans, Pagans, Hindus, Jews, Jainists, Deists, etc. etc.

It
doesn’t
exist.

The evidence doesn’t exist to demonstrate moral or ethical superiority for Christians. Nowhere. Nada. Zilch.

So why do you think we should factor in Robertson’s faith when it comes to assessing his comments? Why? Please bring the data, for once.

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bt 01.03.14 at 3:16 am

to Plume:

I’ve always said to myself, humorously, what is about religious people, that they need all of the moral guideposts to set their course:

It’s as if without the 10 commandments, they might just all go off on a killing spree. Or that it we allow homosexuality to exist in our society, we’d all go gay and civilization would end. Of course, by coincidence, a lot of anti-guy types do tend to end up being repressed homosexuals, so maybe that one is just projection.

291

Ed Herdman 01.03.14 at 4:54 am

Now Leroy is making the same mistake as Hey Skipper. How, exactly, does one person’s line of response to Hey Skipper prove all his unwarranted accusations towards progressives in general?

I’ll save you the response and note the answer here: It doesn’t.

292

Marc 01.03.14 at 5:57 am

@286: The homophobic crap that he spewed about anal sex and AIDS is a pretty strong clue. But you’re too determined to embarrass yourself and defend the indefensible to notice the obvious.

293

godoggo 01.03.14 at 6:06 am

Henry Rollins really nailed this topic in his column today. You can google it!

294

GiT 01.03.14 at 6:11 am

Ah, yes, it’s illogical and illiterate to read “manufactured” as meaning artificial, inauthentic, not genuine. Of course.

295

zbs 01.03.14 at 6:15 am

I have to say I have much enjoyed watching this particular species of sophistry tangle up otherwise much more seasoned comment-thread warriors.

When I was a kid, as my mom slalomed through the aisles at Sack N Save, I could rack up rounds against the older kids on the solitary Street Fighter cabinet at the front of the supermarket. Just keep pressing the same move. Slide-kick. Over and over again. You might handily outlast people who actually were trying to play the game.

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roy belmont also leroy 01.03.14 at 7:30 am

it’s illogical and illiterate to read “manufactured” as meaning…

H.S.:
So when I said “manufactured outrage” I mean that the self-appointed censors created their own outrage.
-
To qualify as lying, the censorous expressor of self-created outrage would have to be conscious of doing that creation, then conscious they were delivering something to others they’d only made up.
He doesn’t say anything further, however, about how conscious the censor is of that process.
Therefore, no accusation of lying.
The rest of you guys’ team’s moves are like that too, for the most part.

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John Holbo 01.03.14 at 8:29 am

Goodness, what a thread! (Just so you all know, I’m too exhausted to contribute any further.)

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MPAVictoria 01.03.14 at 11:09 am

“@286: The homophobic crap that he spewed about anal sex and AIDS is a pretty strong clue. But you’re too determined to embarrass yourself and defend the indefensible to notice the obvious.”

Oh so much this. You are a fucking joke Roy.

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Ronan(rf) 01.03.14 at 12:27 pm

Roy Belmont is Atticus Finch?

300

MPAVictoria 01.03.14 at 12:41 pm

“Roy Belmont is Atticus Finch?”

It is even worse. I think Roy/Leroy/Simon is saying that Skippy is Atticus.
/Gregory Peck is spinning so fast in his grave that if we hooked up a couple magnets to him we could end our dependence on fossil fuels.

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Layman 01.03.14 at 2:08 pm

Hey, Skipper,

“Which indicates to me that a great many people decided that there was nothing there, that becoming outraged about what Robertson said required deciding for him what he meant, and insisting that certain opinions simply cannot be voiced.”

“Here is a perfect example of why you (collectively) need to stop it with inferencing and implicating.”

In the first instance you infer things not said about A&E’s decision to reinstate Robertson. In the second instance, you say we must all stop inferring things not said. Both quotes are from the same post, 281.

Which is it? Are no inferences permitted? Or are they permitted for you, but not for others? Or are inferences with which you agree permitted, but other inferences not permitted?

In 185 you wrote:

“Mr. Robertson is a devout Christian. Your implications — which amount to invented facts, completely ignore that.

One of Christianity’s main tenets is to love thy neighbor as thyself (NB: I am not a Christian).

Your argument, as presented so far, completely ignores that fact, yet to be complete your argument requires taking it into account, or explaining why not.”

Several people, including me, have responded to this to show you that you’re wrong. Far from ignoring Robertson’s espoused Christianity, we have (at least provisionally*) accepted that espousal as fact, taken it into account, and discussed how it factors in considering Robertson’s remarks. What we say is, given the history of, and our experience of, people who claim Christianity, Robertson’s alleged Christianity isn’t much of a counter to his actual words here.

The reasonable thing for you to do at this point us to acknowledge that your criticism has been addressed. You don’t have to agree with the conclusion, of course.

* It occurs to me BTW that if inferring can’t be permitted, I’ve seen no reason to believe Robertson is a devout Christian. You say he is, but how can you know? Aren’t you just inferring it?

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Ronan(rf) 01.03.14 at 2:37 pm

“It is even worse. I think Roy/Leroy/Simon is saying that Skippy is Atticus.”

Ah. Roy is Harper Lee. Or the court stenographer.
In fairness, roy would make an amazing court stenographer.

303

Consumatopia 01.03.14 at 3:11 pm

“To qualify as lying, the censorous expressor of self-created outrage would have to be conscious of doing that creation, then conscious they were delivering something to others they’d only made up.”

That’s called lying to yourself. The outrage expressor or the accuser tells themselves that they have genuine reason for their outrage, or that their accusation has some factual basis. But they (according to HS and you) don’t have any such basis, nor did they make an an honest mistake. That’s the only way for a false statement to avoid being a lie, it must be an honest mistake. If the statement is the product of deception, even ideologically-motivated self-deception, it is a lie.

To put this more simply, our unconscious mind is perfectly capable of generating lies without conscious intervention.

Also note 77 “You must love being wrong.”–your defense doesn’t work there, in order to love being wrong you would have to know that you were wrong.

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Consumatopia 01.03.14 at 3:16 pm

“Ah. Roy is Harper Lee. Or the court stenographer.”

Wait, what if someone else shows up to defend Roy? Who do they get to be?

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Consumatopia 01.03.14 at 3:29 pm

but there’s nothing in the statements themselves that is overtly racist.

No one said that his statements were “overtly racist”. That would be a baseless accusation on your part–at least according to Ctrl-F on my web browser.

(He is, obviously, overtly homophobic. .)

All people are saying is that it’s hard to come up with any innocent set of intentions that would result in Robertson making the juxtaposition of statements that he made.

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MPAVictoria 01.03.14 at 7:18 pm

“It was later revealed that Robertson also once said gay people are “full of murder, envy, strife, hatred. They are insolent, arrogant, God-haters. They are heartless, they are faithless, they are senseless, they are ruthless. They invent ways of doing evil.””

http://www.salon.com/2014/01/03/gops_duck_dynasty_problem_why_phil_robertson_was_a_hugely_important_political_story/

/You ashamed of yourself yet roy?

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Substance McGravitas 01.03.14 at 7:22 pm

You know, some of those black people who were always happy and fulfilled were gay.

308

Consumatopia 01.03.14 at 7:30 pm

In fairness, that description at 306 sounds like a pretty cool supervillian.

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Hey Skipper 01.03.14 at 8:22 pm

[bt:] So once again, the Skipper has made clear. He believes in nothing that he will state. Only that we have made groundless conclusions after groundless conclusion. There is no point he will concede he has made, except to say that we are all wrong.

So, once again I shall reiterate the recommendation that you quote what I said, then respond to what I said, instead of your inventions. (NB: this parenthetical is not sarcastic. When composing comments, I find it far easier to use a text editor, and the autocorrect function for html tags; e.g., .bq becomes [blockquote], ..bq [/blockquote], etc. Another hint — turn off smart quotes, because they completely goon up embedded links.)

I never said you were wrong, only that what you read was wholly insufficient to justify your very serious accusations. He may, in fact, be a world class racist, but you have absolutely no information upon which to base that conclusion. Instead, since he embodies everything you hate — fundamentalist Christianity and a conservative point of view — you jumped to an insupportable conclusion which you justified by irrelevant statistics and denying the man his own experiences.

That is what’s wrong. Along with making, without any sense of irony, the same grotesque accusations about someone who is merely pointing out the profound shortfalls in your reasoning.

So my real thesis, not the one you cooked up, is that progressive outrage does not stand up to even superficial scrutiny. It might, with some additional facts, stand up. But until then you collectively are exposing, again without a hint of irony, your own intolerance.

Hey Skipper @281,

[Plume:] Please address this: Why should it matter if Robertson is a Christian or not, when it comes to assessing his statements? What is it about being a Christian, specifically, that leads you to think we need to factor that in when we talk about his comments? Be specific.

Dr. Holbo insisted his argument about Robertson being a racist was strong, and challenged me to identify weaknesses in it. I suggested that he was relying solely on inference to get to his conclusion, which essentially made his argument self-referential, because he had no facts at his disposal, even though there must be some available; it isn’t as if the man’s life is exactly a closed book.

Robertson’s Christianity, in particular, is both prominent and relevant to his life. Therefore, in order for Dr. Holbo to support is inferences (because fact free inference is just another way to say pure guesswork), about Robertson, certainly one place he could look to support his inferences is a prominent feature about the man: Robertson’s Christianity. Not the history of Christianity, not the failures of Christians, because with regard to whether Robertson deserved the avalanche of progressive indignation, only his Christianity matters.

So, no, I haven’t run away from it each time. I was quite specific that, to contradict charges of fantastical opprobrium, one place to look would be what else he has said and done. Certainly, since there is so much of it, you would be able to find all manner of things to support your accusations.

You know, something like this. Because, after all, that is exactly what you’d expect racists to do.

Also, what kind of “collectivist” are you referring to?

The collectivist I’m referring to is the kind that characterizes progressives: submission of the individual into groups, and the denial of individual choice where it contradicts progressive notions of reality. Such collectivism strongly tends towards ideological conformity, and marginalizing or eliminating dissenting views since they are, by progressive definition, either ignorant, stupid, or evil.

As responses on this thread have redundantly demonstrated.

[GiT, #285] Ah, so evidently accusing someone of making “baseless accusations” isn’t meant to communicate anything about a person’s intelligence or character. Who knew?

No, not evidently. A baseless accusation is precisely what it says: an accusation without foundation in fact. My accusation that progressives made a baseless accusation is either right, or wrong. As such, either conclusion is a matter of fact that stands on its own.

If you can find anywhere that I used that to indict intelligence or character, please, by all means, quote me so I can humbly apologize. Otherwise, you are condemning me for a conclusion to which you leapt on your own.

My theory is that progressives succumbed to confirmation bias.

[Plume:] A dead horse, perhaps. Or just one end of it.

But I’ll try another angle here:

There is no evidence, in the present or the past, that demonstrates Christian superiority in moral or ethical matters, nor as human beings in general. There is no evidence that shows them superior to atheists, agnostics, secular humanists, Taoists, Buddhists, Wiccans, Pagans, Hindus, Jews, Jainists, Deists, etc. etc.

Since I made no claim in that regard, I’m at a loss as to what your point is.

@286: The homophobic crap that he spewed about anal sex and AIDS is a pretty strong clue. But you’re too determined to embarrass yourself and defend the indefensible to notice the obvious.

I strongly suspect you are thoughtlessly using the term “homophobic”, and failed to take on board my argument why disliking certain aspects of homosexuality is not irrational (which means it is, by definition not homophobic); moreover, you are insisting that others must either conform, or at least stop voicing their opinion on the matter. Robertson must either learn to approve of anal sex, or at least shut up about his disapproval.

Pope Francis, Time Magazine Person of the Year. Phil Robertson, unconscionable homophobe. Discuss.

Given the outcome, it seems that progressives and GLAAD were outsmarted by a bunch of stupid, duck shooting, rednecks.

310

Plume 01.03.14 at 8:59 pm

@Hey Skipper 309

This is just a silly cartoon, and an unfounded projection. It could just as easily be said of conservatives:

The collectivist I’m referring to is the kind that characterizes progressives: submission of the individual into groups, and the denial of individual choice where it contradicts progressive notions of reality. Such collectivism strongly tends towards ideological conformity, and marginalizing or eliminating dissenting views since they are, by progressive definition, either ignorant, stupid, or evil.

Ever talk to kids who go to conservative religious schools, even at the university level? Want to see what you describe above? Go to one. Oh, say, Liberty or Patrick Henry College. Or, just watch the talking heads on Fox. Conservatives are all about “groupthink” and seem to read from the same script. War on Christmas. Benghazi!!!! IRS!!! ACA will destroy civilization as we know it!!!

Their reps in Congress, their media figures, and their ditto heads seem always to push the same memes, the same phony scandals, the same lies, and those who don’t agree? Well, they’re just not “real Americans.”

Have you ever worked in a corporation? They are, by nature, “conservative.” Want to be an “individual” in a corporate setting? Good luck with that. Good luck going your own way (or dissenting), against your boss or the corporate culture he or she tries to implement.

And American marketing? It’s all about creating conformity. Always was. Always will be. They’ve even gotten quite good at make mass conformity look like rebellion. Remember the Apple ads, or those for Dr. Pepper? Basically, be a “rebel” by joining with tens of millions of others to buy one of tens of millions of the same, massed-produced item.

There!! That shows my “individualism”!!!

Come on. All you’ve done here is set up (and project) a scenario you don’t like and then stick a label on it. You use a word, “progressive,” that covers people you obviously don’t like, but you could, if you were objective, just as easily use a host of other words . . . . like, “capitalist” or “corporatist” or “conservative” or “propertarian.” etc. etc.

And, still, you run from any attempt at rational explanation for why Robertson’s Christianity should matter. You just say it should because it’s supposedly important to him. Again, why should it matter? Why? Not, that we need to include it in our assessment. You’ve already said that. Repeating your premise doesn’t explain its rationale.

Why should it matter?

311

Substance McGravitas 01.03.14 at 9:03 pm

Therefore, in order for Dr. Holbo to support is inferences (because fact free inference is just another way to say pure guesswork), about Robertson, certainly one place he could look to support his inferences is a prominent feature about the man: Robertson’s Christianity.

My mind-reading is better than your mind-reading.

312

MPAVictoria 01.03.14 at 9:14 pm

“I strongly suspect you are thoughtlessly using the term “homophobic”, and failed to take on board my argument why disliking certain aspects of homosexuality is not irrational”
Does this sound “rational”?
“gay people are “full of murder, envy, strife, hatred. They are insolent, arrogant, God-haters. They are heartless, they are faithless, they are senseless, they are ruthless. They invent ways of doing evil.”””

/Not sure why I am even bothering you nutbar.

313

bt 01.03.14 at 9:40 pm

So the Skipper has finally, at last, at that last minute, stated his Thesis, in so many words:

We can know nothing about Phil Robertson at all. His words are sitting there, and we are not qualified to infer pretty much anything at all. He said it, and that’s that. No one is qualified to make any conclusion whatsoever. It is what it is, no more, no less. No one may judge this prince of God’s creatures.

And no one may express a different opinion of what’s right and wrong here, and thereby disagree with our victim, Mr. Phil Robertson.

I don’t hate the man. I hate what he stands for. There’s a familiar construction for you, Skipper.

314

Plume 01.03.14 at 9:50 pm

@bt,

Well said. And, ironically, it’s Skipper who wants to implement “group-think” when it comes to assessing Robertson. We must not judge him, apparently. But judging those pesky, supposedly obsessively conformist “progressives”? That, for Skipper, is an entirely different matter.

It’s often the case that those who decry “imposing your views” on others, or “imposing group think” on others . . . . themselves angle for just that situation. Round about. Through misdirection and supposed victimhood.

IMO, no one does this better than conservatives. They have refined the practice of martyrdom to an art.

315

Ragweed 01.03.14 at 10:08 pm

Mao -

Matawan was a fictionalized movie by John Sayles. It was a good one, and there was a lot of history in it, but it was fictionalized. A little more in-depth research would be in order before citing it as an example.

But even taking the story in the movie as true, you are forgetting a bit about the racial dynamics. Remember how the white miners attacked the Black and Italian workers brought in by the mine operators? And initially refused to allow the Black miners to join the union until the IWW rep shamed them into putting aside racial difference for the cause of the union? That solidarity did not grow naturally from the soil of shared worker-dom, but had to be actively striven for as part of a political organizing effort.

But even the real Blair Mountain / Matawan story is irrelevant on several grounds. The social context of the Appalachian coal fields was extremely different from the cotton fields of Louisiana, where Jim Crow and racial violence was a deep social force. There may have been some successful efforts to forge multi-racial alliances, but deep racial animosity was more often the rule. Citing Matawan is like citing the general strike in Seattle – it has nothing to do with the rural working-class whites in the deep south.

316

Hey Skipper 01.03.14 at 10:20 pm

[Plume:] And, still, you run from any attempt at rational explanation for why Robertson’s Christianity should matter. You just say it should because it’s supposedly important to him. Again, why should it matter? Why? Not, that we need to include it in our assessment. You’ve already said that. Repeating your premise doesn’t explain its rationale.

You seem to have profound immunity to the glaringly obvious.

Dr. Holbo is basing his argument on inference. I suggested he get some factual evidence, one significant component would be what Robertson preaches, and if he practices what he preaches. If, for example, he both preaches and practices “love thy neighbor”, then that would be a counterfactual to Dr. Holbo’s argument. On the other hand, of course, it is possible that Robertson does neither in a way that evidences racism. That would support his inference.

That is a rational explanation because it is entirely dependent upon the facts at hand.

Speaking of which …

[HS: ]I strongly suspect you are thoughtlessly using the term “homophobic”, and failed to take on board my argument why disliking certain aspects of homosexuality is not irrational.

[MPVAV:] Does this sound “rational”?

[gay people are] … full of murder, envy, strife, hatred. They are insolent, arrogant, God-haters. They are heartless, they are faithless, they are senseless, they are ruthless. They invent ways of doing evil …

Wow, this appears to be an actual fact to support the accusation of homophobia, which means that, if true, I would have to concede the charge is not baseless.

It took me awhile to find the actual audio, instead of quotes (because it took a long time to find one that, unlike MVAV’s included a link to the source.)

Please note that instead of directly quoting MVAV’s comment, I put quotes around what Robertson actually said, and what MVAV created.

Replace [gay people are] with “They”, because that is what he actually said. Then note that the audio clip does not ever say “gay people” or any form of the term. Also note that there is a great deal more to what Robertson said than the para MVAV quoted.

If MVAV had done so — and whether that failure is due to laziness, incompetence, credulousness or dishonesty I’ll leave as an exercise for the reader — it is clear that the “they” “they” refers to are people who are actively seeking to destroy religion.

The first sentence from what Robertson said is this:

First they say, ‘There is no God. Get him out of your mind. Then they bow down to birds, animals and reptiles, and each other. And the first thing you see coming out of them is gross sexual immorality …

How about relieving us of our suspense, MVAV, which is it? Are you lazy, incompetent, credulous or a liar?

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Plume 01.03.14 at 10:45 pm

@Hey Skipper 316,

You’re kidding, right? You think Mr. Holbo’s argument, or anyone else’s here, is based simply on “inference”?

No. It’s based upon what Robertson actually said. His words. And they are plentiful on the subjects in question.

Those are the “facts at hand.”

Your absurd idea that we need to find out if he practices or preaches “love thy neighbor” is obvious in its attempt to distract, deflect, misdirect and reroute the conservation into the totally irrelevant.

First, because discovery whether or not he preaches or practices “love thy neighbor” involves subjectivity to the nth degree, and that one can “love thy neighbor” and still despise gays, blacks, women and other minorities. It can and has been interpreted to mean the literal — and fundamentalists are famously literal — neighbor, the people, the tribe, the group you belong to. The tribe you ID with. Your tribe.

Assuming it means “everyone” is absurd, again, based upon present and past Christian experience. The original reference did not include “gentiles,” for example. It meant love thy (Jewish) neighbor.

Then, of course, we get into the meaning(s) of “love” . . . which can take nearly infinite form. Christians, especially right-wing Christians, often believe (so they tell us) that “love” means conversion. They show their “love” for the supposedly sinful gay person by attempting to transform them into heterosexuality. They believe they show their “love” for gay people by letting them know how sinful they are, etc. etc.

Bottom line: You’ve repeatedly spoken in vague generalities, without offering any substance, explanation, data, facts or evidence to support your rather desperate defense of Robertson, all the while demanding that we bring “facts” to the table instead of “inferences.” Sorry, but you are the one guilty of “inferring” — in this case, that Robertson’s potential to “love thy neighbor” is a mitigating factor and that we must go off on a wild goose chase looking for its presence or absence.

No sale. Stop repeating your silly premise as if it’s an explanation. It’s not. It’s just a silly premise.

318

Plume 01.03.14 at 10:49 pm

typos:

Should be “conversation and discovering.

319

bob mcmanus 01.03.14 at 10:56 pm

Searching for Vampires at The North Star gives 8 articles and several hundred comments, but is not complete There is more on the front page.

Starts with Mark Fisher “Exiting the Vampire Castle” November 22

The Vampires’ Castle specialises in propagating guilt.

It is driven by a priest’s desire to excommunicate and condemn, an academic-pedant’s desire to be the first to be seen to spot a mistake, and a hipster’s desire to be one of the in-crowd.

The danger in attacking the Vampires’ Castle is that it can look as if – and it will do everything it can to reinforce this thought – that one is also attacking the struggles against racism, sexism, heterosexism. But, far from being the only legitimate expression of such struggles, the Vampires’ Castle is best understood as a bourgeois-liberal perversion and appropriation of the energy of these movements. The Vampires’ Castle was born the moment when the struggle not to be defined by identitarian categories became the quest to have ‘identities’ recognised by a bourgeois big Other.

My emphasis

“Firstly, Fisher accuses the British left, especially on Twitter, of a certain miserablism: “an atmosphere of snarky resentment”, in which the calling out of individuals is more important than establishing some popularity for left-wing ideas. “

from Matthijs Krul, “Gothic Politics: A Reply to Mark Fisher”

And good god, at least the British Left is engaged in internal critique rather than bothering with the bottom-dwellers

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Plume 01.03.14 at 11:31 pm

@mcmanus 319,

Good points. America does seem to go after low hanging fruit, in this case Robertson, and I’m guilty of that as well.

Our only defense is that we can multi-task. We can do both/and. Unfortunately, the America left has been bogged down for some time in chasing after low-hanging fruit instead of going after the root problem:

Capitalism. Class has been all but abandoned, even though it is now a greater problem than ever before.

Many seem not to get that by ending a system based upon apartheid, one that creates apartheid, one that needs apartheid to function — and even classical political economists admitted this . . . . if we replace it with a fully democratic, egalitarian system, we also end racial apartheid in the process.

The flip side of that is not true. Ending racial apartheid (while obviously essential) does not necessarily end economic apartheid — and no sphere is more dominant in the modern world than the economic. Pretty much all of our pathologies and maladies stem from the gross and obscene inequalities due to that dominance, and the dominance of a system that, by nature, creates obscene inequalities.

321

Consumatopia 01.03.14 at 11:50 pm

If you can find anywhere that I used that to indict intelligence or character, please, by all means, quote me so I can humbly apologize.

“You and Belle Ware, among others, have baselessly accused him of lying, and witlessly accused him of racism.”

“And that is exactly how dumb I think you are.”

“You must love being wrong.”

“How about relieving us of our suspense, MVAV, which is it? Are you lazy, incompetent, credulous or a liar?”

How many more do you need?

Then note that the audio clip does not ever say “gay people” or any form of the term.

Good thing you stopped quoting right before the sentence that falsifies your claim:

“First they say, ‘There is no God. Get him out of your mind. Then they bow down to birds, animals and reptiles, and each other. And the first thing you see coming out of them is gross sexual immorality. They will dishonor their bodies with one another, degrade each other. Uh, is that going on in the United States of America? Look around. God’s not there. We have all the answers. Don’t hurt a little bird or an animal. And boy is there some immorality going on around here. Does it get worse?”

Women with women, men with men, they committed indecent acts with one another, and they received in themselves the due penalty for their perversions. They’re full of murder, envy, strife, hatred. They are insolent, arrogant, God-haters. They are heartless, they are faithless, they are senseless, they are ruthless. They invent ways of doing evil. That’s what you have 235 years, roughly, after your forefathers founded the country. So what are you gonna do Pennsylvania? Just run with them? You’re doing to die. Don’t forget that.

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Ronan(rf) 01.03.14 at 11:55 pm

FFS Skipper.

323

Ed Herdman 01.04.14 at 12:16 am

Tertullian’s Apologeticus makes the point that it is wrong to judge Christians (as a group) in ignorance of what they actually do. Hey Skipper attempts the argument (as far as I can see) that it’s wrong to judge somebody so long as they are a Christian, without knowledge of what they actually do, as if the label is more useful than direct knowledge. This seems two or three spins around what Tertullian actually said; only one of these arguments works.

Why does this matter? Tertullian, in the waning days of the second century, knew that Christians could only convince the Romans by breaking through common tales. So as in Tertullian’s time the caricature of baby-eating Christians was a disservice, today the caricature of the saintly Christian should not be taken in place of the actual evidence.

Sending a shout-out to John Holbo for some very patient and thoughtful attempts to engage with the other side, which were all ignored.

324

Marc 01.04.14 at 12:21 am

I guess that the Sophists will always be with us. Skippy really should adopt a Greek nym.

325

Plume 01.04.14 at 4:00 am

Another thing to keep in mind, when it comes to making the plea for Christianity as a shield, a reason to temper any criticism of a Christian:

Of all the major religions, it is the least focused on ethical conduct in this world, in the here and now, especially amongst the religious right. It has the least rigorous moral and ethical code for living in the here and now, bar none. Buddhist ethics and morality put Christianity to shame, for instance. Buddhism is all about the way one lives in this world, now, today, as opposed to Christianity, which focuses on the next life and one’s own personal “redemption.” Not the whole world’s — which is key to the ethics of Kabbalah, for instance. Just that single Christian’s. And what is the sole criterion for Christian entrance into the next world — at least according to Born-again Christians?

Acceptance of Jesus as your savior. Belief. Not right-conduct or “good deeds” or anything like the Buddhist Eightfold Path (or the precepts):

http://secularbuddhism.org/2013/05/03/what-is-the-eightfold-path/

Unlike Judaism, which involves “right-practice (like Buddhism),” Christianity diverged from that by putting “faith” first and foremost. This, of course, is not what Jesus taught, but what Paul and others taught after Jesus died, and you can see some of that evolution by reading through the four accepted gospels and noticing how the emphasis changed. Jesus was all about ethical conduct and “good deeds,” especially toward the poor. But modern day fundamentalist Christians insist that those things are not necessary. All that matters is “faith” and “belief” in Jesus as the one and only savior.

This is perhaps the logical outcome of the Pauline revolution and break with Judaism. To make Christianity far more appealing to converts, Paul and his followers radically de-emphasized adherence to Jewish law and morality and substituted “belief” and “faith” in Jesus in its stead. Now, one did not have to live according to strict regulations, but just had to “believe.”

Modern, right-wing Christianity, especially evangelical, fundamentalist Christianity, runs with this to the limits: That only faith in Jesus, that Jesus is lord, matters. So we get “Christian” singers using the metaphor of “Jesus, take the wheel” to drive home that idea. This makes Christianity the most “faith-based” faith, and the least concerned with ethics and morality, the least concerned with one’s personal responsibility for one’s actions now, today.

Of course, Christianity also has a long history of writing about and preaching ethical living. But the Christian Right has been quite successful in demonizing most of that as “socialist” or “communist” or “collectivist” or some such epithet. A Glenn Beck tells his flock to run away from any church that would put “social justice” on its walls, for instance.

To make a long story short, Robertson may be a Christian, but the Christian religion is the least ethical-centric of all the major religions, and fundamentalist Christians the least concerned with the study and practice of ethics among their fellow Christians.

It is not a shield. In fact, it’s more likely to be a flashing, neon sign, calling for further scrutiny.

326

bt 01.04.14 at 3:59 pm

I will say again that Phil’s words about black in the Jim Crow days are of a much worse nature that the comments about gays.

Because Phil is allowed to have his religion, and Phil is allowed to think his crappy thoughts, it’s a free country. And we are allowed to disagree with him, and loudly, whether the Skipper likes it or not. And take comfort that Phil’s sort is part of a declining demographic, however painfully slowly.

But to state that the Blacks were all happy and he never saw anything bad going on in the south in the old days is ridiculous. It’s wrong. Just totally, factually wrong. Try to find any black person who lived through it who will agree with that. It leaves us with 2 choices: Phil is lying about it; he knows that Blacks were treated like shit, and he’s pretending otherwise. Or two, he is simply an idiot, a stupid man who has perhaps never read a newspaper or left the house.

I think I’ll be charitable about it, give him the benefit of the doubt, and assume that he’s a pretty smart guy who does know a little about the South and Southern History, as most Southerners do. That makes him a liar.

Sara Palin and the League of the South demonstrate this whole thing can only enhance his appeal to ‘certain demographic’. Perhaps Phil is now qualified to run for public office as a …. wait for it …. Republican.

327

Hey Skipper 01.04.14 at 8:25 pm

If you can find anywhere that I used that to indict intelligence or character, please, by all means, quote me so I can humbly apologize.

Consumatopia followed with these cites:

You and Belle Ware, among others, have baselessly accused him of lying, and witlessly accused him of racism.

Since witlessly is an adverb, it isn’t an indictment of intelligence or character, anymore than “thoughtlessly” or “reflexively” would be.

However, I try to always type as if I was talking face-to-face. I failed in this case, because “witlessly” is clearly pejorative, whereas “thoughtlessly” or “reflexively” (esp. the latter) would have avoided being pejorative, while far more accurately conveying my argument.

You are right, I was wrong. I’ll do my best to let it happen again.

And that is exactly how dumb I think you are.

That was in response to MPAV, who precipitated my response with this: Exactly how dumb are you? Or how dumb do you think we are?

I was just answering MPAV’s question.

You must love being wrong.

Seriously? That was in response to Colin Street (#75) thinking things about me. He was right, based upon his tone he bet I had a pretty good idea what he was thinking. He was right, I could guess what he was thinking, but his thinking was wrong.

How about relieving us of our suspense, MVAV (sic), which is it? Are you lazy, incompetent, credulous or a liar?

MPAV (sorry, don’t know how I got MVAV stuck in my head) presented a quote that was materially and significantly altered from the original. It could be that MPAV didn’t take the time to check it, or was too willing to believe someone else, or doesn’t know how to clearly indicate where a direct quote has been changed, or willfully changed it hoping no one would notice.

Some explanations are innocent, others not so much. Nevertheless, making a significant change to a direct quote is a foul, and begs an explanation.

[HS:] Then note that the [Robertson] audio clip does not ever say “gay people” or any form of the term.

[Consumatopia:] Good thing you stopped quoting right before the sentence that falsifies your claim …

There is a paragraph break between Women with women … and They’re full of murder …

Accurately quoted, Women with women … clearly expands upon And boy is there some immorality going on around here … And They’re full of murder and hatred … refers to all those who … say “There is no God …”

Why did you alter the quote by removing the break? Doing so, which you must have been intentional, because it is in the transcript and a simple copy & paste would have preserved it, changes the reference of “they” completely. It even changes the meaning of the whole passage.

[Plume, #317:] You’re kidding, right? You think Mr. Holbo’s argument, or anyone else’s here, is based simply on “inference”?

See Dr. Holbo, #76.

The assertion that his GQ quote is prima facia evidence of racism requires stretching the word beyond recognition. There is nothing in what he said that denigrates blacks, or indicates any belief in white superiority.

Therefore, Robertson’s racism, absent any other evidence, has to be inferred, because the interview provided no other facts. If he had a pattern of conduct or speech that showed he is a racist, then the inference would have some factual basis. I suggested one way to find that factual basis — his practice of Christianity, since that is abundantly documented. I’m not inferring anything one way or the other, since I have no idea what his Christianity entails; for all I know, it could substantiate the racist inference. (That you keep insisting I’m using his Christianity evidence against charges of racism means you are reading what you want to see, not what I typed.)

Clearly there are other possible sources of facts, like the fact the family includes a mixed race adopted child. Which doesn’t seem to be particularly helpful to you.

Yet no one has adduced any evidence at all to back up the inferred charge of racism. Why is that?

328

Consumatopia 01.05.14 at 12:02 am

Since witlessly is an adverb, it isn’t an indictment of intelligence or character

You were thinking very witlessly or dishonestly when you typed this.

Anyway, your other responses just amount to admitting that you indicted character and intelligence, but claiming that the indictment was merited. You’re not telling me that you didn’t indict character, you’re giving me (poor) evidence that the indictments were merited (in your absurd view). You want to call people stupid liars, that’s fine, it’s just comical to see you and leroy make a tone argument afterwards.

I note that although you are wrong about “they”, my post doesn’t depend on that at all. You claimed: ” the audio clip does not ever say ‘gay people’ or any form of the term.” “Women with women…” refutes that immediately, pronouns or not.

Why did you alter the quote by removing the break?”

My quote does not differ from the video. I watched the video and there are no words in between those sentences you refer to. Paragraph breaks are a matter of interpretation (I don’t think that quotation was transcribed by Robertson himself.) In any event, both

Women with women, men with men, they committed indecent acts with one another, and they received in themselves the due penalty for their perversions.

and the immediately following (paragraph break or not)

They’re full of murder, envy, strife, hatred. They are insolent, arrogant, God-haters. etc.

include the word “they”, referring to the same people.

Doing so, which you must have been intentional, because it is in the transcript and a simple copy & paste would have preserved it, changes the reference of “they” completely.

The quotation you linked (not full transcript) omitted some of Robertson’s words, some of which I added. I listened through the video to verify that that “Women with women…” comes immediately before “They’re full of murder…” I think I might have looked for another another site to give me the more of the quote. Looking around on Google, some sites include the paragraph break, some don’t. Neither way changes the meaning.

re:Christianity, I think you might be trying to use some really advanced substructural logic there. There’s definitely a couple places where you’re refusing to accept weakening and contraction. Maybe excluded middle as well, though that’s not a structural property and you haven’t refused it consistently.

329

Consumatopia 01.05.14 at 12:23 am

Off the subject of having too much fun with HS, I am a bit surprised to see supposed radicals embrace the old “What’s the Matter with Kansas”/”We worship an awesome God in the blue states” narrative. People watching Duck Dynasty (on cable tv or broadband internet) and purchasing Duck Commander products are not your class allies. That narrative Phil is telling (welfare and entitlements as the main cause of black problems) is incompatible with any kind of class struggle that you would want to fight.

If there’s anything the Tea Party should have taught you, it’s that there’s nothing the matter with Kansas, at least if your plan is to end all of capitalism. In America, per capita gdp is about $51K, median white GDP is $55K. All else being equal, white Americans will tend to oppose or be indifferent to redistribution.

330

godoggo 01.05.14 at 12:29 am

Even if they are made to understand that it will benefit most of them?

331

Consumatopia 01.05.14 at 12:52 am

Their median is higher than the overall average. If most of them make more than average, how does downward redistribution benefit most of them?

332

godoggo 01.05.14 at 1:22 am

Redistribute only the money that’s in the hands of those who have way way way more than average.

333

Consumatopia 01.05.14 at 1:44 am

Yeah, you can make some imperfect redistribution so that 51% and below get more money, 49% and below get less. OTOH, the plutocrats can just give that top couple (49-51) a bit more and ignore everyone below. You go for the 99%, Romney tries to go for the 53%.

The plutocrats can offer something the good guys can’t–a narrative of superiority. They can tell the median white that they’re richer than average because they’re better than poorer people. That’s the point of Robertson’s narrative. He–and the people rallying to him–are not ignoring the class war to fight a race war. To them, it’s the same war–the attacks they launch on both are interchangeable. (How often today are “white trash” in the fields “singing and happy”?)

Bottom line is that looking at income numbers alone its no surprise that whites vote Republican. Race issues make that a bit worse. Culture issues more broadly (especially the “war on women”) probably make it a bit better.

334

Consumatopia 01.05.14 at 1:45 am

49% and below get less

should be above, not below. I mean everyone from 51% to the top gets less.

335

bt 01.05.14 at 1:55 am

My god Skipper.

you are a tireless hair-splitter aren’t you?

Are you ever going to reveal your point in all of these meticulous postings? I’m rather impressed by the way. You argue exquisitely. But for no apparent purpose, beyond obfuscation.

Do YOU believe anything? Why do you defend Phil? Is it because you believe as he does?

Is Phil lying when he claims to have not seen (nor heard of, I will infer) mistreatment of Blacks during Jim Crow? Can you imagine how this could be possible? Does he not read papers, books, watch TV? Is he marvelously unaware of the world around him or is he lying, and playing to a racist audience? Sooner or later you need to draw some conclusions, Skipper.

This is not about ‘splitting participles’ or arguing about whether a camel can fit through the eye of a needle, though you seem well equipped to do so.

336

godoggo 01.05.14 at 1:58 am

Well, I’m talking about ideally. But it seems fairly arbitrary to say that the median income should be the cutoff above which people shouldn’t benefit, especially when distribution is as bad as it is currently.

337

godoggo 01.05.14 at 2:10 am

I mean, just cutting taxes for the middle classes while raising them for the upper would be a sort of benefit, and a popular one, I should think.

338

Consumatopia 01.05.14 at 2:22 am

You argue exquisitely.

Not really. His schtick is to invent weird new restrictions on how reasoning is supposed to work, then declare your argument broken because it fails to pass his bizarre rules. It’s not like there is some set of assumptions you could grant HS, and then his arguments would make sense–he’s just making noise. There’s another troll here sometimes that does the exact same thing, but he usually posts about a couple narrow topics, and I’m not sure race or gays were among them.

But for no apparent purpose, beyond obfuscation.

For the same reason everyone else argues on the Internet–nothing better to do. (Or procrastinating from better things to do). The distinction between us that it doesn’t bother him to defend the grossly immoral or the simply false (or the rationalizations he offers here are actually convincing to him, which is…oh wow, I hope that’s not the case, I’d feel pretty bad about myself if I found out that all of this was genuine, and I was picking on someone with real problems.)

339

Consumatopia 01.05.14 at 2:25 am

We can cut taxes for the middle and raise them for the upper.

They can cut taxes for the middle and cut welfare, food stamps, Medicaid, etc.

340

Collin Street 01.05.14 at 3:12 am

I was picking on someone with real problems.

Severe unmanaged asperger’s.

http://www.autism.com/index.php/understanding_theoryofmind

“By not understanding that other people think differently than themselves, many autistic individuals may have problems relating socially and communicating to other people.”

… note that one of Skip’s most consistent themes is that noone can know what another person is thinking. Actually, the whole autism/theory-of-mind stuff is fascinating particularly when you think about how it might potentially affect someone’s politics.

341

MPAVictoria 01.05.14 at 4:42 am

Aww wow. Yeah I would feel pretty bad if Skipper is actually suffering from some sort of disorder. It would make sense in a way though.

342

Plume 01.05.14 at 5:38 am

The median income for a single worker in America is roughly 27K. A lot of people confuse “household income” with single worker.

A few decades ago, they were almost always the same thing. One person worked per “household.” Today, it’s at least two. And that still isn’t enough to buy what a single paycheck could back in the 40s, 50s, 60s and very early 70s.

Things started going downhill rapidly with Reagan, and we’ve never regained that buying power. Wages for the rank and file, across the ethnic and racial spectrum, have been flat or have fallen for forty years. So, today, we need two workers per household, plus credit cards, and recently, second and third mortgages, just to keep up.

But the tea party folks think this is all about intrusive government and “liberalism” instead of capitalism’s natural tendency to concentrate/hoard wealth and power at the very top. They think that if we just give business even more power and “freedom” than it already has, everything will be golden.

History tells us the more “freedom” we give business, the worse it gets for the rest of us — workers, consumers and the planet. And, historically, there are no exceptions to that rule. None. Zero. Zilch. Since the advent of capitalism, and especially with its global dominance, there have been no periods in which “laissez-faire” has worked better than New Deal or Social Democratic style checks and balances. Logic tells us that more, not less regulation will spread prosperity to a greater degree.

Logic also tells us that full democratic control — not via political parties, but the real thing — would increase quality of life for all but the richest of the rich. As in, a fully democratized economy wherein the people own the means of production, not in name only, and ownership by political parties or some new ruling class taking over for the old one, but actual democracy.

That’s the logical trajectory. The more democratic checks on business and the markets, the better for the vast majority of humans and the planet . . . and if we get to full democratic control, we all hit the jackpot — except for plutocrats.

343

Plume 01.05.14 at 5:45 am

To clarify the poor wording above:

A fully democratized economy, meaning the people actually own the means of production together. Not political parties, not some new ruling class, not some representative system that makes it so “the people” have ownership in name only.

But the actual, concrete, existing ownership of the means of production by all citizens, together, communally. That’s the best possible way to ensure equality, true freedom, liberty and the chance for everyone to reach his or her potential on this earth.

Of course, working with the system we have, instead of the one some of us want, our best bet is a social democratic set up similar to the Scandinavian countries. But that should be a means to an end. The end being democratic control over the economy.

344

Hey Skipper 01.05.14 at 7:29 am

[Consumatopia:] Anyway, your other responses just amount to admitting that you indicted character and intelligence, but claiming that the indictment was merited.

No, it doesn’t, and I’m the authority on what I meant. Which is this: sometimes people do things thoughtlessly, or because a situation seems to confirm their expectations. Unless you are perfect, which is asking a bit much, even for a progressive, you have made that mistake, we all have.

To persist in character assassination, though, in the absence of any evidence that doesn’t originate in your fevered imagination, is a different thing altogether. No one here has found anything Robertson said or did that demeaned someone on account of race. His family has adopted children of other races, including one that is half African American.

Yet despite the complete lack of evidence for your braying mob, and evidence to contradict it, you bray nonetheless.

I note that although you are wrong about “they”, my post doesn’t depend on that at all. You claimed: ” the audio clip does not ever say ‘gay people’ or any form of the term.” “Women with women…” refutes that immediately, pronouns or not.

You deleted a para break without noting it. Doing so makes a complete hash out of what Robertson said, because it requires ignoring the first paragraph. You are setting an entirely new bar for “tendentious”, while confirming what I said earlier in this thread: words have no meaning that progressives do not allow.

Removing the para break, which the gay website to which I linked did not do, because it would have been, at the very least, disingenuous, entirely changes the meaning. Para breaks are not some arbitrary device to be used at random. Surreptitiously deleting it, as you did, amounts to pure axe grinding.

re:Christianity, I think you might be trying to use some really advanced substructural logic …

No, nothing other than the readily apparent, no matter how reluctant you are to take it on board.

Three hundred thirty some odd posts in, and no one has provided a shred of evidence that Robertson is a racist, besides a quote that says nothing racist.

Yet you are happy nonetheless to continue making a vile accusation.

And that, bt, is my point. Progressives are the least tolerant people around. They demand it, but do not practice it. When Robertson uses his personal history to illustrate his opinion that welfare and Great Society policies were not an unalloyed good, then racist. Where Robertson’s faith collides with progressive orthodoxy, so much the worse for his faith.

MPAV and Consumotopia can engage in what would otherwise be considered intellectual dishonesty, but feel no need to justify themselves, so long as it is in support of their narrative.

You insist that he is lying about seeing mistreatment. Did you take my suggestion and read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks? You weren’t there, you didn’t walk in his shoes, and you didn’t walk in Henrietta’s, either. If that book does not describe mistreatment while she was growing up, then maybe, just maybe, Robertson didn’t see any. But since only your narrative matters, then I’m sure Ms. Lacks experiences don’t matter.

I know nothing about Mr. Robertson. I have never seen the show, and hadn’t even heard of it before this kerfuffle.

I’m not defending him, I’m accusing you.

345

Consumatopia 01.05.14 at 3:39 pm

No, it doesn’t, and I’m the authority on what I meant.

Doesn’t matter what you meant, it matters what you repeatedly said. We’re the authority on that, because you have huge problems with thinking, language, or honesty.

You repeatedly indicted someone’s character or intelligence. When called on that, you invent nonsense rules like “Since witlessly is an adverb, it isn’t an indictment of intelligence or character”.

You deleted a para break without noting it.

Listen to yourself. I can’t delete a paragraph break from Phil Robertson’s spoken remarks! There are no paragraph breaks in the video!

Doing so makes a complete hash out of what Robertson said, because it requires ignoring the first paragraph.

Let me quote the sentences again:

Women with women, men with men, they committed indecent acts with one another, and they received in themselves the due penalty for their perversions.

They’re full of murder, envy, strife, hatred. They are insolent, arrogant, God-haters. They are heartless, they are faithless, they are senseless, they are ruthless. They invent ways of doing evil. That’s what you have 235 years, roughly, after your forefathers founded the country. So what are you gonna do Pennsylvania? Just run with them? You’re doing to die. Don’t forget that.

You can imagine paragraph breaks wherever you want, but there is no spoken text in between those passages, and “they” is referring to the same people throughout.

No, nothing other than the readily apparent, no matter how reluctant you are to take it on board.

It’s some weird kind of Relevant logic. It denies the use of weakening–you can refute an argument by a adding additional premises that the argument didn’t use. Obviously one can refute an argument by providing new evidence, but that’s not what you’re doing–under your logic, you don’t even have to explain how Phil Robertson’s Christianity or Willie Robertson’s adoption of a child changes the set of plausible guesses of Phil’s intentions.

Three hundred thirty some odd posts in, and no one has provided a shred of evidence that Robertson is a racist, besides a quote that says nothing racist.

We have the fact that in 344 posts no one has proposed a plausible non-racist motivation for Phil Robertson making the particular set of comments that he did.

When Robertson uses his personal history to illustrate his opinion that welfare and Great Society policies were not an unalloyed good, then racist.

But what would that personal history have anything to do with welfare or Great Society policies, unless his personal experience said something about the treatment of blacks more broadly? 344 posts, no one has given any answer to that, despite that being the first thing Holbo asked of you.

I’m not defending him, I’m accusing you.”

To do that, you would have to point out some I said or did that was wrong, which you have absolutely failed to do at any point in your remarks towards me. (Which is kind of weird–I make lots of mistakes, but you’re terrible at finding them.)

346

Consumatopia 01.05.14 at 3:45 pm

“A lot of people confuse “household income” with single worker.”

Ouch, yeah, I can’t believe I forgot about that. I rescind basically the entire set of comments I made along these lines from 329 onwards.

347

Layman 01.05.14 at 4:06 pm

Hey, Skipper,

“His family has adopted children of other races, including one that is half African American.”

Now you can infer things about Robertson based on the actions of other people?

“You deleted a para break without noting it. Doing so makes a complete hash out of what Robertson said, because it requires ignoring the first paragraph.”

You can even infer Robertson’s meaning from the editorial choices of his transcriber?

You’re like some sensei of inference, aren’t you? That must be why you’re permitted to do it but no one else may.

348

bt 01.05.14 at 4:11 pm

Again Skipper Phil is an idiot or a liar about Southern Living.

We thinks he is lying. We don’t know what you think Skipper, you just won’t make a declarative statement.

Phil has has said that life was better for Black people back then. You have a few options on this:

1) You agree that Life was better for Blacks back then, then you agree with Phil.

2) You don’t agree with Phil that life was better back then, and you are supporting his right to be wrong.

You do have another option, let’s call it nullification. You don’t really know if Phil is right or wrong. And you don’t really know if things were better in the South in the Old Days. And since we can’t know anything, we can’t really talk about this. You could also call it the Global Warming defense method.

349

Hey Skipper 01.06.14 at 7:35 am

[Consumotopia:] Listen to yourself. I can’t delete a paragraph break from Phil Robertson’s spoken remarks! There are no paragraph breaks in the video!

Bollocks. TheGailyGrind itself, certainly no friend of Robertson, provides the complete transcript of what is sending you to the fainting couch:

First they say, ‘There is no God. Get him out of your mind. Then they bow down to birds, animals and reptiles, and each other. And the first thing you see coming out of them is gross sexual immorality. They will dishonor their bodies with one another, degrade each other. Uh, is that going on in the United States of America? Look around. God’s not there… And boy is there some immorality going on around here. Does it get worse?

Women with women, men with men, they committed indecent acts with one another, and they received in themselves the due penalty for their perversions.

They’re full of murder, envy, strife, hatred. They are insolent, arrogant, God-haters. They are heartless, they are faithless, they are senseless, they are ruthless. They invent ways of doing evil. That’s what you have 235 years, roughly, after your forefathers founded the country. So what are you gonna do Pennsylvania? Just run with them? You’re doing to die. Don’t forget that.

There are three paras there, not two. The passage makes absolutely no sense when you take upon yourself to mash the two together. Not only does it make no sense in and of itself, it doesn’t begin to track what he said in the GQ interview, or numerous other times.

In general, when trying to decide between malice or incompetence, the latter is more often correct. However, when it comes to eliding an entire paragraph, as you did, or vandalizing someone else’s words, like MPAV, it is a real close call.

We have the fact that in 344 posts no one has proposed a plausible non-racist motivation for Phil Robertson making the particular set of comments that he did.

So you have gone from his remarks being racist, to being racistly motivated? If that is true, then you must know what his motivation is. Of course, you don’t, without resorting to your fevered imagination.

There is a clear, absolutely non-racist point to what Mr. Robertson said: Welfare has caused many things to be even worse for blacks now than under Jim Crow.

That is completely consistent with what he said, and doesn’t require super inferring powers. Whether he is right or wrong about cause or effect is beside the point. It is transparently clear that he was indicting welfare policies because of (to him) their consequences. Nowhere did he demean blacks, or suggest whites are somehow superior, without which you don’t get to racism.

At least without a great deal of determination.

And this is where you,bt , along with Consumotopia et al continue to miss the point. It isn’t whether he was lying or not when he said he never saw blacks mistreated (and if you were to read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, I doubt you would reach for “liar” as the first explanation). Rather, you are accusing him of racism because he thinks welfare has been a disaster. You are standing at the train station hoping to catch a ship.

That’s bad enough. But rather than counter speech you don’t like with speech of your own — although to do so might have put you at risk of actually addressing his point — progressives and GLAAD sought to silence and ostracize him, not only to remove his speech and his viewpoint, but as fair warning to anyone else thinking about criticizing progressive policies, or foolish enough to have and speak about their own religious beliefs.

The New McCarthyism: same as the old McCarthyism.

The irony is delicious.

Even better, though, is that progressives and GLAAD have used both barrels, one for each foot.

You, the self anointed intellectual elite, got yourselves completely outwitted by a duck hunting redneck.

And, as if that wasn’t enough, it is going to be a very long time before anyone takes your bleating about “racism” or “homophobia” for anything other than the totalitarian impulse it is.

350

John Holbo 01.06.14 at 9:43 am

Sweet Sally!

OK, I’m the host here so let me try to extract something productive from the mud. Hey Skipper, suppose it were true that Robertson said something that could reasonably be construed as racist or homophobic. (I realize that, for some reason, you don’t accept that this actually is true. I find that strange. But I have come to recognize you aren’t going to change.) Would it be wrong – totalitarian – to criticize him morally, for either or both of those transgressions? That is, do you think that they are merely alleged transgressions in only one sense – i.e. he is innocent as charged. Or are they merely alleged transgressions in another sense – i.e. there’s nothing wrong with it, because guy has the right to say what he thinks. (Plus he didn’t do it. I know, I know.)

351

Plume 01.06.14 at 6:48 pm

@John Holbo 350

I agree. There is no persuading Hey Skipper that Robertson said anything racist or homophobic. But what should be open to the better argument is his stance here (I bolded some words for emphasis):

That’s bad enough. But rather than counter speech you don’t like with speech of your own — although to do so might have put you at risk of actually addressing his point — progressives and GLAAD sought to silence and ostracize him, not only to remove his speech and his viewpoint, but as fair warning to anyone else thinking about criticizing progressive policies, or foolish enough to have and speak about their own religious beliefs.

The New McCarthyism: same as the old McCarthyism.

The irony is delicious.

This is perhaps the heart of the problem. I don’t know if Skipper actually believes progressives are doing as he says, or if he’s just saying it so progressives become the subject, instead of Robertson. I suspect the latter. Because those of us criticizing Robertson’s words are doing exactly what Skipper says we should do. We are meeting ugly speech with more speech. We are engaging in “free speech” to meet Robertson’s “free speech.” We don’t have the power to silence him or ostracize him, and we know this.

(I’m guessing Skipper knows this too.)

We do not control the levers of power. The center-right does. Capitalists do. Conservatives do. They are the establishment. Progressives are on the outside looking in, and those of us to the left of progressive are even further away from the centers of power.

Me thinks he dost protest too much.

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bt 01.06.14 at 6:57 pm

@350

Skipper is never going to go on record about believing in anything. Even though he clearly has some strongly held beliefs, and he seems to agree with Phil.

We are just very mean people. For daring to criticize Phil.

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Plume 01.06.14 at 7:09 pm

@bt 352,

Well put.

Basically, Skipper is using a lot of confusing verbiage to mask his passive-aggressive desire to “silence” us and our criticism. By attempting to turn the tables, he is trying his damndest to end criticism directed at Robertson and people who agree with him.

By whining endlessly about supposed meanies having the nerve to be critical of such speech, using more speech . . . . he hopes to make the generally neurotic left question itself and fold. We all have enough Woody Allen in us to make this happen.

This has been a tried and true method used by righties and it works all too often. It’s like the bully, beating the hell out of the guy on ground, crying out “You made me do this to you!!” The guy on the ground then undergoes deep contemplation, changes his stance and agrees with the bully. “My bad. I won’t do it again.”

The left is in general disarray and woefully ineffective for many reasons. But one of the biggest is its inability to get tough, steel itself for battle and tell the right to F off without apology or remorse.

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Hey Skipper 01.07.14 at 12:44 am

[Dr. Holbo:] … suppose it were true that Robertson said something that could reasonably be construed as racist or homophobic. Would it be wrong – totalitarian – to criticize him morally, for either or both of those transgressions?

(To start, apologies for a long winded answer, but that’s what you get for asking serious questions.)

Of course not.

But there was rather more to it than mere criticism, wasn’t there?

And criticism requires rather more than just shouting “racist!”.

… do you think that they are merely alleged transgressions in only one sense – i.e. he is innocent as charged. Or are they merely alleged transgressions in another sense – i.e. there’s nothing wrong with it, because guy has the right to say what he thinks.

I think you have presented me with a bit of a false dichotomy on the one hand, and asking for acquiescence to an implicit conclusion on the other.

First the false dichotomy. For those who have called him a racist, they have concluded there is proof he is guilty of a very serious moral deficiency. I think that before pulling out the big gun, it pays to be really, really, sure that the charge is very firmly based, because the consequences can be very serious. (Justine Sacco is a perfect example. I’m not bringing her up to discuss what she said, or the merit of the charges, but only as an example that shows how life-changing such charges can be.)

I don’t know if he isn’t a racist. My assertion is that a comment that wasn’t about race, but rather the effects of government policies upon a race, cannot be racist if it doesn’t include disparaging a race, or saying one race is superior to another.

Clearly, you do not agree with my reading. That’s fine, but without being able to demonstrate that an alternative reading is not unreasonable, then I believe the basis for the charge is inadequate.

That doesn’t mean I think he is innocent, because I have nowhere near enough knowledge about the man to reach that conclusion. For the same reason, I don’t think you have anywhere near enough information to even allege the racist transgression, never mind be certain. Many people have based their charge upon his not witnessing any mistreatment of blacks — unless he is a racist, he is either an idiot or a liar. Yet if a book about a black woman who grew up in southern rural poverty thirty years before Phil Robertson doesn’t include any instances of mistreatment, then how safe is this criticism of Robertson?

Which is why I think you presented me with a false dichotomy, because there is more than one alternative to guilty. Asserting he was badly charged doesn’t mean I have to demonstrate he is innocent.

As to whether he is homophobic, that is problematic in a very different way. There is no denying he strongly dislikes homosexuality (and a great many other things).

Hence my suggestion, several times repeated, to discuss the fact that Pope Francis can be Time Magazine Person of the Year, while at the very same time Robertson is pilloried as an unconscionable homophobe.

After all, regarding sexuality in general, and homosexuality in particular, they both believe the same things, for the same reason.

And therein lies the problem. GLAAD, by metaphorically demanding Robertson’s head on a pike, insisted that his religious beliefs, the same as the Pope’s, needed to be silenced. That verges on the totalitarian — their belief is the only correct belief — and certainly fails to extend the same tolerance that they demand.

Had they put up a reasoned criticism of his beliefs that would have been fine. But your question has contains within it an unspoken assumption as true that which you haven’t demonstrated: his criticism of homosexuality and fornication is, in fact, immoral. Regardless of what you think about any religion, or the existence of some comprehensible supreme being, I think you would have a very difficult time arguing that sexual incontinence has not caused a great deal of harm. Since that is so, in what regard is his criticism immoral?

To summarize: criticism is fine. Had there been a rebuttal letter to Esquire, republished as Op Eds in the NYT, LAT, WSJ, etc, that would have required addressing what he said and countering it. But what progressives and GLAAD did went far beyond criticism, beyond the evidence, and essentially demanded the suppression of core Christian beliefs.

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Ronan(rf) 01.07.14 at 12:54 am

Yes, the Pope is quite clearly homophobic. Its pretty much built into the governing institutions of the Catholic Church. That question, i assume, wasnt answered, b/c it didnt really mean anything. It was just a very poor attempt at a gotcha. And I really dont mean that snarkily skipper..

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Substance McGravitas 01.07.14 at 12:57 am

GLAAD and progressives control Time magazine and therefore must answer to the charge of misguided popery.

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roy belmont 01.07.14 at 1:01 am

…and tell the right to F off…
The rhetorical ferocity of this phrase is stunning.
Metaphors, or is it analogies, are stacked up around my head like planes at a snow-bound airport.
Your assumptions about Hey Skipper’s politics may not be accurate, you know.
They sure aren’t about me. I’m so much farther to the left of most of you you can’t see me.
It’s the integrity of the discourse that matters, against the childish refusal to play fair in argument that undermines that integrity, that needs calling out.
The disheartening prospect that twits are all that’s available now for real social change, besides the sleeping fascists of the right, and their cartoonish front line.
There’s something healthy in Robertson’s image, something outside that linear binary choicelessness, along with a whole lot of Hollywood marketing muck.
Separating that out would have been fun.
But instead procedurals. Semantic pillow fights, and then loogie spitting contests.
I don’t care about Hey Skipper’s personal individual actual political posture.
His rhetorical integrity is superior to yours in virtually every iteration.
And I saw that as worth defending.
Still do, apparently.
From the snorting villagers in TKAM you guys have morphed, collectively, in my (metaphorical? analogous?) imagination, to the killer shrews in that eponymous film.
The myopic shallow confidence that you’re right, and that that justifies anything and everything you come up with no matter how vicious and stupid, the degradation of discourse to an idiot’s snarl, it’s so futuristic, so dystopian.
Holbo says “Hey, it’s the internet.”
But you know, maybe the internet’s a little more connected to reality than we thought.
Put down your torches and pitchforks and go look in a mirror.
It’s over, you lost.

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Collin Street 01.07.14 at 1:02 am

Clearly, you do not agree with my reading. That’s fine, but without being able to demonstrate that an alternative reading is not unreasonable, then I believe the basis for the charge is inadequate.

Of course you believe that the arguments that convince you are convincing. Of course you believe that the arguments that do not convince you are unconvincing. Tautology, man! Jesus.

What you’re asking for is essentially, “To convince me that my beliefs are wrong, you must present me with an argument that demonstrates that my beliefs are wrong without contradicting anything that I believe to be true”. Ain’t gonna work, is it. Seriously.

Suppose a person has a tape measure. Just the one. How can they check to see if it’s correct?

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Plume 01.07.14 at 1:53 am

@Hey Skipper,

GLAAD condemned Robertson’s remarks, understandably. How is that “totalitarian”? Is it because they were certain his remarks were wrong? Is certainty the key? Well, isn’t Robertson also quite certain that he’s correct in what he said? If you are consistent, you would then have to call Robertson totalitarian.

And how much moreso is it when someone tries to claim a god agrees with him, or that he is just echoing the memo handed down to him from on high?

Which seems more “totalitarian” to you? A small organization, made up of people long demonized and oppressed in America and elsewhere, which speaks out against hate speech? Or a very rich man, with his own TV show, who preaches hateful things about gay people, using the bible as his foundation? Christians being the vast majority in America, of course, while gays are a tiny minority.

So, in your mind, it is that tiny, oppressed, demonized minority that is “totalitarian” if it condemns certain speech, but a wealthy member of the majority religion who condemns an entire group of people is not. Do I have that right?

Again, glaad just condemned his speech. Robertson condemned an entire group’s very existence on this planet.

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MPAVictoria 01.07.14 at 2:18 am

Roy your reading of this thread is insane. Did you see Skippy’s comments about homosexuals and AIDS? You should be embarrassed for defending him.

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John Holbo 01.07.14 at 2:20 am

“For those who have called him a racist, they have concluded there is proof he is guilty of a very serious moral deficiency. I think that before pulling out the big gun, it pays to be really, really, sure that the charge is very firmly based, because the consequences can be very serious.”

This takes us back to an earlier point in the thread. I was asking whether we were operating with something like a legal ‘innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt’ standard.

“My assertion is that a comment that wasn’t about race, but rather the effects of government policies upon a race, cannot be racist if it doesn’t include disparaging a race, or saying one race is superior to another.”

Do you think it’s wrong – totalitarian, even? – for Jewish groups to object to Holocaust denial as anti-semitic? After all, merely saying the Holocaust didn’t happen is not, per se, tantamount to saying one race is superior to another? Furthermore, many Germans – and others – who wish to deny the Holocaust probably do so, in part, out of a wishful sense of shame. They don’t want to believe they, or their ancestors, could have done this thing. So they confabulate a story according to which it didn’t happen. This is thought by Jewish groups to be dangerous, to be fed by anti-semitism, and to foster anti-semitism. That seems to me to be reasonable, so I’m inclined to say it’s ok to be highly morally suspicious of Holocaust denial. It’s ok to call it out. Do you disagree? More to the point, would you apply your standard to the Holocaust case: anti-semitism is a very serious charge, so we should bend over backwards not to accuse people of it if there is any conceivable – even if far-fetched – explanation of what else could have motivated them.

If that is our standard, pretty much no one will ever be morally criticized just for Holocaust denial. Are you ok with that?

You are going to object to the Nazi analogy. But it is serious and appropriate. Denying the bad effects of Jim Crow – or substantially playing them down – is Holocaust denial-lite. The cases are structurally identical even though, obviously, the Holocaust was absolutely worse. Something truly awful happened to a group of people and Robertson would really prefer not to think that it did, to the point of talking about it as though it didn’t happen, or wasn’t really so bad as all that. (He isn’t just saying welfare sent us all to hell in a handbasket, as you suggest. He’s saying things were good before.)

To sum up: if it is totalitarian to critique Robertson, morally, why isn’t it totalitarian to criticize Holocaust deniers, morally? (I am going to presume that you don’t find the latter morally objectionable.)

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MPAVictoria 01.07.14 at 2:22 am

“and go look in a mirror.”

You go look I’m the mirror. I think you will be shocked to find that you have spent thousands of words defending a racist and a homophobe. I for one will remember.

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Consumatopia 01.07.14 at 2:48 am

There is a clear, absolutely non-racist point to what Mr. Robertson said: Welfare has caused many things to be even worse for blacks now than under Jim Crow.

Doesn’t work–it can’t just be “many” things, but enough that things must be worse overall. Otherwise, why compare the amount of complaining or “singing the blues” he hears now with what he heard back then? Like Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote: “The belief that black people were at their best when they were being hunted down like dogs for the sin of insisting on citizenship is a persistent strain of thought in this country.”

I guess you could argue that Phil Robertson’s remarks on race were the result of irresponsible, callous ignorance rather than simply liking white people more than black people. But my definition of racist includes both of those. If you say hurtful, false things about a race when you ought to know better, I call that racist. You are being unfair to another race in a way that greater empathy and decency on your part would have prevented. That’s a form of discrimination.

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js. 01.07.14 at 2:52 am

Yowza! This is still going?

Pope Francis can be Time Magazine Person of the Year, while at the very same time Robertson is pilloried as an unconscionable homophobe.

Why do you keep saying this like it’s some kind of killer counter-argument? Obviously, the head of the Catholic church is, institutionally speaking—i.e. insofar as he represents the institution that is the Church—a homophobe. (Francis, or whatever his name was last year, as a private person may or not be a homophobe, but that’s neither here nor there.) I mean, the Catholic church can be pretty fucking unconscionable! What of it?

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Consumatopia 01.07.14 at 4:36 am

Apologies for my last post, didn’t mean to step on Holbo’s toes. Preview function! ;-)

I would like to take another look at something roy belmont wrote way up above, comparing this to “let’s you and him fight”.

He was almost right. But what roy misses is that Phil Robertson isn’t “you” or “him” in this situation. Robertson, and perhaps A&E, are the ones who said “let’s you and him fight”. They’re cashing in big time on this. It’s not like Phil Robertson and any of us are in a common class. That dude is hella rich. He didn’t get tricked into attacking Great Society because he’s resentful of blame for Jim Crow. He wants other people to fight over Jim Crow because he hates the Great Society. Someone of his class has every reason to oppose Great Society, even if our country were racially homogeneous.

Furthermore, I don’t think roy understands the dynamics of a “let’s you and him fight” situation. If the other guy is up for a fight, then your choice is either to fight back, or to lay down and die (by throwing gays and blacks under the bus in pursuit of greater redistribution, FDR style, I guess). I can shout all I want “wait! there’s a pareto improvement where you quit trying to deny the horror of Jim Crow and tear down the welfare state, and I admit that my ancestors were racist too, your barbecue is a bajillion times better than mine and bluegrass is under-appreciated!” but I think you’ll find that once the fight starts that never works. And we didn’t start this one.

I guess belmont’s position (maybe HS’s) is that GLAAD should have kept it’s mouth shut. No one has any business telling insulted minorities that they’re obligated to bite their tongue for the good of social harmony, progress, or the goals of a political coalition. And besides, some people who favor gay equality probably agree with the Republicans on economic policy! It’s not an activist’s job to stand down on their issue when it’s convenient for your larger strategy.

And I think they achieved something important. Duck Dynasty was going to stay on the air no matter what. The question is, do we see homophobia as simple entertainment acceptable to all, or as a political contentious? I have a lot of conservative Facebook friends and family. Months ago some of them told me how great this show was. I never watch any reality TV, so I just shrugged, “yeah, that sounds kind of amusing, rich dudes with huge beards hunting ducks all the time. sounds like they’re living the dream”. Well, since this started, I haven’t seen any of them say anything about it. They might well still be watching it or watching it more. But they don’t talk about it in polite (read: mixed politics) company. And if “the [media]’s a little more connected to reality than we thought.”, that probably matters. How open we are willing to be with homophobic beliefs is going to effect the norms that gay people have to live under. If people are out there spewing the same bile that Robertson is about gays (without or without paragraph breaks–if you listen closely you can hear him whisper “¶”) and everyone finds that perfectly acceptable, gays have good reason to remain in the closet. That’s why, when someone publicly expresses the kind of sick filth Robertson coming out of Robertson’s mouth, intimidation is usually their goal. The least the rest of us can do is to point out–publicly–that their hate is both insane and evil. To remain silent is to let them completely isolate the targets of their hate. That’s the ultimate “it’s over, you lost” moment.

It is, of course, comical to hear roy talking about HS’s “rhetorical integrity”. I have no idea what politics either of them have. I do know that no one with any sense would take either of them at their word for anything.

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John Holbo 01.07.14 at 6:45 am

Just so you all know. The thread is going to close soon, due to the natural healing process of threads closing after a certain period.

Last call! You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here!

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roy belmont 01.07.14 at 7:32 am

Consumatopia:He was almost right. But what roy misses is that Phil Robertson isn’t “you” or “him” in this situation. Robertson, and perhaps A&E, are the ones who said “let’s you and him fight”. They’re cashing in big time on this.
-
Me at comment 24:
Phil Robertson’s presented as Nature’s Firstborn Son rising out of the swamp, but the swamp’s on TV. He’s Natty Bumpo for frightened angry plebes. They need a figurehead and they’re being supplied with one. On TV.
It isn’t reality television, it’s the replacement of reality by television. And evidently lots of Americans can no longer tell the difference.

People already heavily invested in fighting and despising each other will have big trouble uniting against a common enemy, should one appear.

Me at comment 52:
A real man, doing real man things, being used to accomplish unreal things. On TV.
Divert into a controllable construct the scary recognition that men who can feed themselves with minimal societal support are coming back into style, in some areas of the demos. It’s a polarizer.
-
MPAV-
Nothing human is alien to me.

cheers all

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Plume 01.07.14 at 7:43 am

Self-provisioning is a great thing. It’s what we did before primitive accumulation kicked in and brought us the scourge of capitalism. People were coerced by the millions to end their self-sufficiency and march into the factories to work as virtual slaves.

But we don’t need bigots like Robertson to carry the torch for a return to nature and a break with the markets. He got filthy rich through the markets and no doubt exploited his workers to get there. We don’t need to settle for narrow-minded idiots like Robertson, and we don’t need his ugly, reactionary version of Christianity to guide us. In fact, it’s among the worst things possible for our nation to embrace.

And a strong critique, without apology, of his hate speech is not “totalitarian.” It’s dissent and free speech.

That said, there are far more important things to concern ourselves with. But some of the tangential arguments here did open up space for further discussion, some lively, some just frustrating. It’s what kept this thread going. Robertson alone wasn’t enough for that.

G’night, all.

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godoggo 01.07.14 at 7:54 am

Happy birthday Zora, according to Google.

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Hey Skipper 01.07.14 at 8:09 am

[Dr. Holbo:] This takes us back to an earlier point in the thread. I was asking whether we were operating with something like a legal ‘innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt’ standard.

Phil Robertson is a public figure. If he was to bring a libel suit, no matter its merit, it would be dead in the water. Yet if the progressive & GLAAD character assassination campaign against him had been successful, the costs to him would have been huge. To me, that asymmetry is so pronounced that as a moral and strategic matter, real-darn-sure-beyond-the-possibility-of-scoring-an-own-goal should be the standard. (Also, IANAL, but so far as I know, “beyond a reasonable doubt” only applies to criminal cases. For civil cases, which in some hypothetical world is where this would fall, preponderance of evidence is the standard. Even with that very lowered bar, I don’t see where there is a case against Robertson.)

Do you think it’s wrong – totalitarian, even? – for Jewish groups to object to Holocaust denial as anti-semitic (sic)?

Provided that the denial actually occurred, no, it isn’t wrong. As a logical matter, denying the Holocaust occurred says nothing about hating Jews. However, in practice, the correlation between the two is so iron clad that they may as well be twins separated at birth. Therefore, Holocaust denial is prima facia evidence certainly of Jew hatred, and possibly of underlying mental illness. (Emphasis added for the glaringly evident impaired, which, btw, does not include you, Dr. Holbo.)

By injecting this argument by analogy, you are trying to show that since Holocaust denial and Jew hatred go hand-in-hand, then Jim Crow denial and black hatred do the same. Unfortunately, in that regard I must claim total ignorance, because I don’t know of anyone who has made that claim. Such people may well exist, and I would be a fool to bet they don’t, but they don’t seem to be very common on the ground. Drawing a parallel between the two seems strained, and runs the risk of proving my case by exception.

(So, no, I don’t object to the Nazi analogy, because I am quite certain that there is a common pathology between those who hate Jews and those who hate blacks. But I do very much object to extending that analogy to Mr. Robertson, or anyone, on such thin gruel as this GQ interview.)

You make several more mistakes. Despite never saying the words “Jim Crow”, nor anything one way or the other about that pernicious regime, you infer he is denying its very existence. Yet sometimes absence of evidence is, indeed, evidence of absence. Then you compound that problem by denying his personal testimony, for which there just might be first hand evidence from the other side of the racial divide. Finally, you omit the possibility that the quote in question isn’t about African Americans per se, but rather government policies as they affected African Americans. In that regard, even if you could prove to everyone’s satisfaction he was wrong, that only means he is wrong about government policy, not that he hates African Americans; the two concepts are on entirely different planes.

Further, by way of a different debate, your bringing up Holocaust denial is an admission against interest. Way at the top of this thread, I asserted that when throwing the “racist” and “homophobe” bombs, the goal is to delegitimize and silence those at whom the bombs are thrown.

So when you bring up Holocaust denial, the very first thing that occurred to me is how progressives use that exact terminology to delegitimize and silence those who don’t buy into anthropogenically generated CO2 climate disruption. [Just as with Justine Sacco, I have no interest in debating one side or the other.] The “denier” label, so intimately connected as it is with the Holocaust, is used to expel those to whom it is applied beyond the realm of civil discourse. Examples are practically beyond numbering.

That is what I mean by totalitarian — “racist”, “homophobe”, “denialist” are labels whose intent is to suppress without addressing opposing viewpoints.

It has happened here, frequently. Somehow, my argument that applying “racist” to Mr. Robertson is an accusation without evidence makes me a racist.

Really?

To sum up: if it is totalitarian to critique Robertson, morally, why isn’t it totalitarian to criticize Holocaust deniers, morally?

It isn’t totalitarian to criticize Robertson. It is totalitarian, though, to assume as true without argument that your critique is moral, and his statements aren’t. Your position is circular, in precisely the way I noted way at the top of this thing: progressive ideas are true and moral because progressives hold them. Robertson does not hold progressive ideas, ipso facto, what he says is immoral. Yet I’m sure he could provide sexual promiscuity’s list of awful particulars. Critiquing Robertson morally is a lot harder than you think it is.

And while we are making moral arguments, it is worth wondering where morality lies in case progressive inferencing is wrong. For that matter, GLAAD’s accusations are so farcical and totalitarian that there is scarcely enough time in a week to cover the territory.

I don’t expect GLAAD to like even a syllable of what Robertson has said. But what is insufferable is their demand that Robertson adhere to what “true” Christians believe, or (further down the same link) the HRC’s insistence that Phil Robertson toe their line for what constitutes a positive example. If that isn’t totalitarian, then the word has no meaning.

[HS:] Clearly, you do not agree with my reading. That’s fine, but without being able to demonstrate that an alternative reading is not unreasonable, then I believe the basis for the charge is inadequate.

[Collin Street:] Of course you believe that the arguments that convince you are convincing. Of course you believe that the arguments that do not convince you are unconvincing.

Oh for Pete’s sake. No. If P is indistinguishable from not(P), then there is basis other than whim to prefer one over the other.

[MPAV:] Did you see Skippy’s comments about homosexuals and AIDS?

Promiscuous anal sex spreads AIDS. Promiscuous sex spreads STDs. Promiscuous sex destroys families. Promiscuous sex creates fatherless families.

Which part of that did I get wrong? Which of those do you think we need more of?

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John Holbo 01.07.14 at 8:37 am

“However, in practice, the correlation between the two is so iron clad that they may as well be twins separated at birth.”

I guess I just wonder why you don’t see apologies for Jim Crow as similarly linked with racism. Also, while it is true that he didn’t use the phrase ‘Jim Crow’ while talking about the Jim Crow era, it would likewise be possible to deny that the Holocaust occurred without actually using the word ‘Jew’ or ‘Jewish’. In short, I don’t see how talking about Jim Crow without technically mentioning it by name gets you off the hook.

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Mao Cheng Ji 01.07.14 at 8:41 am

JH: “Do you think it’s wrong – totalitarian, even? – for Jewish groups to object to Holocaust denial as anti-semitic? “

Hah, this reminds me of one of the Chomsky’s comments on the Faurisson affair (why “for Jewish groups” btw?).
Here it is, easy to find:
http://www.chomsky.info/letters/1989—-.htm
Is it OK if I quote a big chunk of it? Because it seems relevant:

“…In that context, I made a further point: even denial of the Holocaust would not prove that a person is an anti-Semite. I presume that that point too is not subject to contention. Thus if a person ignorant of modern history were told of the Holocaust and refused to believe that humans are capable of such monstrous acts, we would not conclude that he is an anti-Semite. That suffices to establish the point at issue.

The point is considerably more general. Denial of monstrous atrocities, whatever their scale, does not in itself suffice to prove that those who deny them are racists vis-a-vis the victims. I am sure you agree with this point, which everyone constantly accepts. Thus, in the journal of the American Jewish Congress, a representative of ASI writes that stories about Hitler’s anti-gypsy genocide are an “exploded fiction.” In fact, as one can learn from the scholarly literature (also Wiesenthal, Vidal-Naquet, etc.), Hitler’s treatment of the gypsies was on a par with his slaughter of Jews. But we do not conclude from these facts alone that the AJC and ASI are anti-gypsy racists. Similarly, numerous scholars deny that the Armenian genocide took place, and some people, like Elie Wiesel, make extraordinary efforts to prevent any commemoration or even discussion of it. Until the last few years, despite overwhelming evidence before their eyes, scholars denied the slaughter of some 10 million native Americans in North America and perhaps 100 million on the [South American] continent. Recent studies of US opinion show that the median estimate of Vietnamese casualties [resulting from the Vietnam War] is 100,000, about 1/20 of the official figure and probably 1\30 or 1\40 of the actual figure. The reason is that that is the fare they have been fed by the propaganda apparatus (media, journals of opinion, intellectuals, etc., “scholarship,” etc.) for 20 years. We (at least I) do not conclude from that fact alone that virtually the whole country consists of anti-Vietnamese racists. I leave it to you to draw the obvious analogies.

In these and numerous other cases, one needs more evidence before concluding that the individuals are racists. Thus in the case of Wiesel, it is quite likely that he is merely following the instructions of the Israeli government, which doesn’t want Turkey embarrassed. In short, denial of even the most horrendous slaughter does not in itself establish the charge of racism, as everyone agrees. Since that is obvious and undeniable, one naturally questions the motives of those who deny the truism selectively, and produce charges such as those you relay. “

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roy belmont 01.07.14 at 9:09 am

Promiscuous anal sex spreads AIDS.
So did blood transfusions, until the filtering protocols were established.
It’s not a universal condition. It’s promiscuity within the civilizational and social contexts of Judeo-Christian west.civ. nuclear families in atomized communities whose focusing moral compasses center on external to the community authority.
So that women are either bonded to one dominant male figure while they breed out, or they’re soloing in an uncaring organized jungle. This morphs eventually to the contemporary version, where independent women can career up, baby up, and get it all on their own. Sort of. But at the lower end of the money tree it’s not so easy.
Fatherless families in a social hierarchy that has no continuum past the Biblical cleavage of man and woman, singular, means if the woman has no financial status of her own, and she’s bearing and raising children, she’s struggling, and that tells on her young.
It began tribally for all of us, but it’s gone progressively(!) to a granular couple in a growth medium of full-strength society, with nothing organic in between. Fatherless children in tight nomadic communities probably didn’t suffer for it much. Don’t.
All it takes is one click up from the mom and dad family web, but our way goes right to the mass and its attendant isolation of the individual. With nothing in between to catch the children who get unmoored from the nuclear home.
Bigger families, not numerically so much as cross-generationally big, exist all over the place, but they tend not to have “fatherless” children either, even where bio-dad isn’t around. Because of that dynamic continuum, from the child through the parents seamlessly into the next level of integration, the extended family, the tribe, the clad, the small group community which is I believe the real basic unit of human living, and has been attacked atomized and virtually eliminated in order for the external authoritiy previously mentioned to assume its centrality in our modern lives.
The sexual pathologies of Judeo-Christianity are responsible for a lot of what the specific governance of Judeo-Christian sexual morality claims to remedy.
Sex spreads disease, therefore sex is bad. The only sex that won’t spread disease is virgin on virgin sex. Therefore virginity is good.
Creating a false and unnatural criterion of sexual good makes the rejection of it, and the consequent problems of no sexual governance after rejection of it, inevitable.
Just as beating people and keeping them from education makes them at least act child-like and simple, which then justifies the denial of equality and opportunity. And further beating and miseducation.
I think there’s room to talk about crack whores in the urban ghetto of today being no better off in any true measure than if they were slaves in ante-bellum anywhere. I’m not ready to accept an argument that trying to do something about prior mistreatment is invalid because of that, or that it was ever better than this just because it wasn’t like this.
This isn’t better just because it isn’t Jim Crow.
Jim Crow wasn’t better just because it wasn’t this.
There’s reputable research indicating syphilis and AIDS both increase libido in the afflicted. Like how the Guinea worm makes its host, by localized fever and nerve irritation, want to put their infected leg in water. So it can lay its eggs there
We’re in a world where a lot of what threatens us is invisible, and hard to understand because of that.
Which is why we should talk to each other, with respect.

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Ronan(rf) 01.07.14 at 10:17 am

“I think there’s room to talk about crack whores in the urban ghetto of today being no better off in any true measure than if they were slaves in ante-bellum anywhere”

If you’re going to work at this level of specificity, of course you could make some sort of semi plausible claim that for some very particular hypothetical individual life hasn’t improved. That doesnt say anything about how the system of laws and norms that disenfranchised blacks under Jim Crow compares to now, and it doesn’t say anything to Robertson’s ‘no mistreatment’ remarks.

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MPAVictoria 01.07.14 at 11:02 am

Oh Roy, Roy, Roy. I would love to see you actually respond to a point as opposed to obfuscate. I guess it is beyond you.

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Consumatopia 01.07.14 at 11:42 am

Phil Robertson’s presented as Nature’s Firstborn Son rising out of the swamp, but the swamp’s on TV. He’s Natty Bumpo for frightened angry plebes. They need a figurehead and they’re being supplied with one. On TV.
It isn’t reality television, it’s the replacement of reality by television. And evidently lots of Americans can no longer tell the difference.

Wrong. He’s not “being supplied”–he’s a very wealthy person, he has a very popular show, he understands business, there is no evidence he doesn’t understand media. And he’s constructing a narrative about why it’s okay to blame the victims of capitalism for their own problems “Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”

“People already heavily invested in fighting and despising each other will have big trouble uniting against a common enemy, should one appear.”

Phil Robertson is a common enemy of the poorer classes. Some members of the lower class might rally to him and other wealthy, disingenuous enemies of the poor. This is a problem, but it is not one to be solved by either denying that Robertson is an enemy of the poorer classes, or by betraying minority groups, for all the reasons I gave @365, which you completely ignored because that’s how you are.

“This isn’t better just because it isn’t Jim Crow.
Jim Crow wasn’t better just because it wasn’t this.”

Yep, which makes it all the harder to find any benign explanation for Robertson’s remarks.

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Consumatopia 01.07.14 at 12:21 pm

“Wrong. He’s not “being supplied”–he’s a very wealthy person, he has a very popular show, he understands business, there is no evidence he doesn’t understand media”

To clarify: what I mean is that he’s not being supplied because he’s the supplier. He’s not a pawn in someone’s master plan to trick the rubes, he’s the one tricking the rubes. And not even that is entirely true–a large portion of his fan base, if not the majority, are also natural opponents of the poor. Your talk of a “common enemy” is completely off base.

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Mao Cheng Ji 01.07.14 at 12:48 pm

“And he’s constructing a narrative about why it’s okay to blame the victims of capitalism for their own problems”

This sounds like an even more tendentious interpretation than that he’s a racist longing for racial segregation. ‘Welfare’, which is what he is blaming, is a set of government programs. How does it fit into ‘blaming the victims’? Rather, it seems to be the garden variety conservative postulate about handouts destroying the moral fabric, etc. Very trivial, and much less strenuous interpretation.

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MPAVictoria 01.07.14 at 12:57 pm

“Rather, it seems to be the garden variety conservative postulate about handouts destroying the moral fabric, etc.”

The moral fabric of those no good, shiftless blacks who were oh so much better off (and happier!) when we wouldn’t let them vote, swim in our pools or marry our women.

Yep, no racism there.

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Consumatopia 01.07.14 at 1:24 pm

‘Welfare’, which is what he is blaming, is a set of government programs. How does it fit into ‘blaming the victims’?

If you look at poor people and say that what caused most of their problems is not that they are poor, or the original injustice that made them poor, but that some foolish entity gave them money, that’s blaming the victims.

Rather, it seems to be the garden variety conservative postulate about handouts destroying the moral fabric, etc.

Garden variety conservatism is victim blaming. Garden variety conservatives are our class enemies. It’s not necessarily racist. But take the racism and homophobia out of Phil Robertson and you still have a class enemy.

Very trivial, and much less strenuous interpretation.

It’s the same interpretation.

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Consumatopia 01.07.14 at 1:25 pm

First blockquote should have ended before “If you look at poor people…”, of course.

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Consumatopia 01.07.14 at 2:01 pm

“This sounds like an even more tendentious interpretation than that he’s a racist longing for racial segregation.”

Ugh, I should clarify that I didn’t say anything about two competing interpretations, that is Mao’s misreading. What Phil Robertson said was racist.

But even if you ignore the racism and homophobia, Phil Robertson is also blaming poor people for their own problems.

Weirdly, the phrase “blaming the victim was coined in response to Moynihan, but whether or not that’s fair, Robertson’s position is much worse than Moynihan’s even if you ignore Robertson’s racism. (And the intervening four decades!) Robertson wants to get rid of welfare and entitlements. Moynihan wanted different entitlements–he backed a guaranteed annual income, provision of jobs, training, etc. Moynihan, unlike Robertson, recognized that whether or not AFDC has problems, poverty is still a real problem that calls for some kind of government redistribution.

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Consumatopia 01.07.14 at 2:21 pm

Ugh, ugh, ugh, sorry, but just to anticipate a probable misreading, I’m not saying that it’s somehow illegitimate to argue that we should get rid of entitlements and welfare (in the same immediate way that racism and homophobia are wrong). Just that if you then start talking about a “common enemy”, you had better be talking about al Qaeda or Daleks or something, because as far as domestic politics goes, the common enemy that I seek allies to fight against is those who want to get rid of entitlements and welfare.

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Mao Cheng Ji 01.07.14 at 2:30 pm

I still don’t see how, in what possible sense of the phrase, blaming a government program is ‘blaming the victims’. One could say, for example: ‘instead of monetary payments to the poor/unemployed, the government should’ve built, I dunno, military equipment factories in their neighborhoods and hired them. That would’ve created a different, healthier culture, etc.’ Does this still sound like blaming the victims to you?

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Consumatopia 01.07.14 at 3:19 pm

If you believe, as Robertson does, that poor people were happy before welfare and entitlements, then they could have simply refused welfare and entitlements and avoided the Moynihan-type problems with incentives. The government put bad incentives there, they didn’t have to respond to them.

Note that this doesn’t apply to Moynihan’s position, or to what you just said, because both of those realize that there is some underlying inequity that pre-dates welfare and entitlements that requires government action to address. Both of those admit that poor people had grievances that required public redress, even if you claim that government offered the wrong redress. Robertson does not.

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godoggo 01.07.14 at 4:11 pm

Regarding the Holocaust denial thing: I happen to have read a fair amount of the stuff a while, because a large, reasonable-looking site on Israel-Palestine turned out to be a holocaust denial site at base. A point about it is that is based on the deliberate promulgation of lies meant to create the impression that the holocaust is a fraud perpetrated by a Jewish cabal. Holocaust deniers are either liars or dupes. I suppose it’s possible for the latter not to be Jew-haters if they haven’t gotten too deeply into it, but it really isn’t equivalent to what Robertson said, for reasons that have little to do with the nature of the holocaust itself.

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godoggo 01.07.14 at 4:13 pm

I like Chomsky, but of course he can be a bit of a clever bastard at times.

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godoggo 01.07.14 at 4:18 pm

btw http://www.nizkor.org is excellent on this stuff

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Mao Cheng Ji 01.07.14 at 5:12 pm

Consumatopia, you’re accusing someone of having a pretty sick state of mind – by connecting the dots from what he really said to where you want him to be. And sometimes in quite a weird way: ‘he says that welfare is to blame, but they could’ve refused free money, therefore he’s really saying that they are to blame’ (did I get that right?).

I don’t get it. Wouldn’t it be a fucking shame if everyone was afraid to say anything other than precise socially approved talking points, in fear of being accused, ruining their career, losing their job. Incidentally, at some point someone is bound to accuse you of anti-southern-whites bigotry, to which you’ll reply: ‘yeah, right, liberals are the REAL racists!’ But isn’t it the same thing you’re doing?

godoggo: “…either liars or dupes. I suppose it’s possible for the latter not to be Jew-haters…”

And what about the liars? You don’t see any possibility for any motivation other than Jew-hatred? What about Elie Wiesel’s Armenian genocide denial, from the Chomsky quote; is he an Armenian-hater? You need to use your imagination. Or do you feel that Jew-hatred is so natural it always has to be the most likely explanation?

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godoggo 01.07.14 at 5:40 pm

It is completely dependent on accepting the idea of a secret all-powerful Jewish cabal perpetuating a massive fraud, putting it in the same tradition as things like the Protocols. This isn’t to say you can’t find similarities between holocaust-denial and other things, but there is that fundamental difference.

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godoggo 01.07.14 at 5:43 pm

And if you start reading this stuff it leads to ideas like there’s really no such thing as antisemitism, because Jews are just bad.

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Plume 01.07.14 at 6:14 pm

@Hey Skipper 370,

We could go round and round about this. You claim, without providing a shred of evidence, that glaad and “progressives” have engaged in a “campaign of character assassination.”

Again, without evidence. Using your own logic, it is you engaging in that campaign, not glaad. You accuse them of doing something they have clearly NOT done. What they have done is criticize Robertson’s actual words, using his actual words to demonstrate that he engaged in hate speech. His own words.

A “character assassination” must entail lies about someone. Which you’ve just done with regard to glaad and progressives more generally.

And, again, we can go round and round about your contention here:

It isn’t totalitarian to criticize Robertson. It is totalitarian, though, to assume as true without argument that your critique is moral, and his statements aren’t. Your position is circular, in precisely the way I noted way at the top of this thing: progressive ideas are true and moral because progressives hold them.

Robertson assumes that what he says about gay people is true, that his hate-filled critique of them is based on his version of Christian morality, and he does so without argument. He does so with moral certitude, and offers a moral critique without argument, support or hesitation. He offers no proof, no evidence to support his claim. None. He just states it with certitude — as if it’s the word of his god. Again, if you believe that asserting something with moral certitude is totalitarian, you can not help but say that Robertson has engaged in totalitarian speech.

Robertson’s hate speech is nothing but a moral critique. If glaad and progressives argue against that critique via their own moral certitude, they are only matching moral certitude with moral certitude. But you have picked just one side to call “totalitarian.”

That’s the real argument here.

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MPAVictoria 01.07.14 at 6:20 pm

Just curious if Mao, Roy and Skippy find Jesse Helms’ famous Senate ad showing white male hand crumpling a rejection letter while the announcer explained that “racial quota” laws cause “them” to give a job to a less-qualified minority to be racist or not:

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roy belmontr 01.07.14 at 6:51 pm

Mao Cheng Ji at 2:30 pm-
What “blaming the victim” means here mostly is “making people feel bad who don’t deserve it”.
You can get to it through: making people feel bad=punishing them=necessity of blaming them first.
There’s an emotional truth there that I think is more accurate than not, that people who enter the arena against things like entitlements for the poor generally don’t care at all about the suffering, they care about the crime and the social decay and disorder, and they want it stopped whatever the consequences for the folks at the bottom.
So the heartlessness is what’s being attacked.
With flung peanut-butter sandwiches and half-empty glasses of milk.
-
Holbo et al-
“Holocaust denial” in current iteration means denial of intensity, denial of statistical fact – ultimately, denial of the stature of the horror.
It’s degree.
But as I mentioned on another thread, I was 28 years old before I even heard about the queer victims of the Nazis, Roma on the radar yes but way out and down there somewhere, and still later when I started realizing, because of reading about it, how truly extensive the atrocity was. Freaks. Mengele’s experiments.
Extensive into the margins and depths of sub-populations that are still unacceptable to many.
One of the reasons I didn’t hear about queers getting rounded up by the Nazis and put in camps was, evidently, the people in charge of informing me about the Holocaust thought that was mostly okay. To do that to queers. And freaks. Etc.
So we’re denied a name for what that is overall, since most people’s interpretation of “Holocaust” is sole and entire what the Nazis did to the Jews.
Because most people don’t understand what they were trying to do there, those Nazis. Which was clean up the race and the land of anyone they deemed undesirable or unacceptable. Which is really different from going around exterminating one particular ethnicity.
So instead of a lesson that could help prepare us for the next time some “master race” decides to eliminate the unfit from all around them, we’re taught that bad stupid people hate Jews and that that irrational hating sickness can build up if allowed to into things like the nightmare of mid-twentieth century German eugenic violence.
Partial truth replacing a larger more threatening truth.
A kind of denial.
Concerning the Holocaust.

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Mao Cheng Ji 01.07.14 at 7:12 pm

@390, I believe you that read what you say you read. You argue convincingly that some denialism is motivated by antisemitism. But no one claimed the contrary.

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bt 01.07.14 at 7:15 pm

To quote the Skipper:

“Unfortunately, in that regard I must claim total ignorance, because I don’t know of anyone who has made that claim”

NOW I think I understand what Skipper is getting at. He is totally ignorant, and unable to comment on things, and here’s the part I’ve not seen clearly enough, we need to be made aware that we are as Ignorant as he is! We might even be more ignorant than him, I suppose that is very possible.

And we should as a consequence of our ignorance just stop talking about Phil at all because saying mean things is slanderous. That might cost Phil some money! And leave the Jews out of it for heaven’s sake.

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GiT 01.07.14 at 8:34 pm

“What about Elie Wiesel’s Armenian genocide denial, from the Chomsky quote; is he an Armenian-hater?”

If you’re willing to perpetuate the denial of massacres because it’s politically convenient, you clearly don’t really give much of a shit about the people massacred, and your own supremacist attitudes about your particular “tribe” or whatever are being put on prominent display.

I don’t see much reason to really invest oneself in distinguishing depraved indifference from malicious intent when it comes to that sort of thing. Depraved indifference is a species of racism.

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Mao Cheng Ji 01.07.14 at 8:55 pm

“Depraved indifference is a species of racism.”

It could also be a species of politics, or careerism, or any number of categories of things.

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godoggo 01.07.14 at 8:57 pm

mao: it’s just that I know how seductive it all is, so that when I see someone nibbling at it a bit, to quote my gramma Goldie: “Sometimes I worr’ ’bout you, boy.”

I’ve no interest in defending Ellie Wiesel. I don’t know anything at all about the trial you mentioned, but I know he’s the #1 bete noire of people who talk about the holocaust industry and the like. That said, if you google holocaust any general-information site will include something about the million or so Roma that were murdered. And you’ll also find the sneaky, annoying neo-nazi stuff.

But we digress. Anybody else who wants the last word may have it.

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godoggo 01.07.14 at 9:04 pm

Not quite done! Personally I learned about the gypsy holocaust in Hebrew school at my conservative temple. Done!

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Consumatopia 01.07.14 at 9:09 pm

Mao, let me try again. I’m making two points here:

1.) The simple one, very little dot connecting. Robertson is a racist because he’s generalizing from his experience to say black people were “happy” and “godly” ( “no one was singing the blues”, “‘These doggone white people’—not a word”) during Segregation than during today (otherwise what would his experience have to do with welfare and entitlements?) At best, someone who makes a statement like that is callously, irresponsibly ignorant.

2.) The simpler one, no dot connecting at all. Suppose, implausibly, that Phil isn’t a racist. Phil and I are still extremely unlikely to have the sort of “common enemy” that roy is talking about. If Phil is opposed to welfare and entitlements , we have no common domestic enemy.

That’s all. What counts as “blaming the victim” isn’t related to either of them–I simply put it that way because that’s the most obvious way to put it: you’re saying that it’s because of their own choices that poor people are poor (or unhappy/ungodly). Society is to blame only insofar as government encouraged their bad choices. Blaming the victim doesn’t mean that you are racist, conservative, or even wrong–some poor people obviously do indeed bear some responsibility for their own misfortune.

And sometimes in quite a weird way: ‘he says that welfare is to blame, but they could’ve refused free money, therefore he’s really saying that they are to blame’ (did I get that right?).

Not quite. He’s saying that entitlements and welfare are to blame, and that the only response justice requires is to get rid of those entitlements, that there is no underlying injustice to poverty other than intended consequence of government aid. To reiterate, Robertson is going a lot further than Moynihan did.

Wouldn’t it be a fucking shame if everyone was afraid to say anything other than precise socially approved talking points, in fear of being accused, ruining their career, losing their job.

It’s not actually any sort of shame if the figureheads of corporate brands watch what they say to maintain their image. Or at least any world where things were otherwise is unimaginable to me. It’s inevitable–the only way to stop that is to get rid of corporate brands. You’re inventing rules (that what a reality tv star says in interviews should have no effect on their ratings or ad revenue) that no one ever proposes except when its time to protect a right-winger who has denigrated someone.

(Interestingly enough are all the people–mostly Phil’s defenders!–objecting that A&E should have known that Phil was a homophobe before they gave him the job. I think that reflects a naive understanding of A&E’s motivation (they have every incentive to want controversy) but more than that seems like it would be even worse as a set of norms. It means that anyone who wants a career in media in the future would have to police themselves–that wannabes would have to stick to talking points even before they make enough money to afford someone to craft talking points for them.)

Incidentally, at some point someone is bound to accuse you of anti-southern-whites bigotry, to which you’ll reply: ‘yeah, right, liberals are the REAL racists!’ But isn’t it the same thing you’re doing?

Not at some point, now. roy belmont has accused us all of anti-southern-whites bigotry. But it’s not the same thing because he’s full of shit, as amply demonstrated above.

“Depraved indifference is a species of racism.”

It could also be a species of politics, or careerism, or any number of categories of things.

No, actually, you might take a racist action for political or careerist reasons, but that doesn’t make the action itself any less racist.

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Mao Cheng Ji 01.07.14 at 9:26 pm

Thank you for your concern, godoggo, but unfortunately I don’t understand what you’re talking about, at all. Nibbling at what a bit? You made some strong claims (although you may not see that way) and I challenged them; what did you expect?

What trial? So what that I’ll find information about Roma? I don’t see how it helps you. So what if I find neo-nazi stuff?

You may be laboring under the impression that you’re saying something here, but the fact that you have to turn to silly insinuations demonstrates that you got nothing. Just some sort of a gut feeling, truthiness. That’s your problem, who cares.

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Plume 01.07.14 at 9:43 pm

Another angle here:

Personally, I think it can be a healthy thing, in a way, that Robertson says what he says in public, as opposed to under some slimy rock, under cover of darkness. The more Americans — especially young Americans — hear such hate-filled rhetoric from a supposed “preacher,” the less inclined they’ll be to choose his version of Christianity. Or any religion whatsoever.

(This, in fact, has been happening quite dramatically in recent years. Yaaaaay!!!)

That’s a very good thing, indeed.

We should have outgrown the need for worshiping deities thousands of years ago. But, unfortunately, we haven’t. And when that worship is also tied to a reactionary, backward, bigoted, narrow-minded, prudish, unconscionably self-righteous version of religion (right-wing Christianity), it’s all the worse for wear. I’m hopeful that if people like Robertson continue expounding their ugly views long enough, out in the open, the day will come when we put down childish things, grow up and claim independence from all superstition. So I’m in favor of letting him and others like him hang themselves with their own rope.

Their ugly speech should be met with strong critique, and without apology. But silencing them — which no one here is suggesting, of course — just gives them more power, turns them into the martyrs they’ve always wanted to be. As is the case when you hear some KKK cretin speak, their own words condemn them. Their own words damn them, etc.

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Mao Cheng Ji 01.07.14 at 9:45 pm

Consumatopia, obviously I haven’t done enough research into the subject, nor have I read all the comments here. Sounds like you have more context than the first quote upthread (that started the discussion), so you may very well be right about everything.

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Mao Cheng Ji 01.07.14 at 10:02 pm

Actually this: “you might take a racist action for political or careerist reasons, but that doesn’t make the action itself any less racist” I definitely disagree with.

One may be denying a genocide because one is (for example) paid for it, and I don’t see anything racist about it whatsoever. Calling it racism just confuses things; it’s an obvious misuse of the word.

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godoggo 01.07.14 at 10:17 pm

I’ve seen it argued, essentially, that racism equals institutional racism, that anything else is a misuse of the word. That isn’t what the dictionary says, but it is out there.

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Substance McGravitas 01.07.14 at 10:33 pm

One may be denying a genocide because one is (for example) paid for it, and I don’t see anything racist about it whatsoever.

“I was only following orders” has a hallowed history.

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Collin Street 01.07.14 at 10:43 pm

Also, I’m not certain that it’s irrefutably/indisputably categorically “wrong” to describe as “racist” acts motivated not by personal racism but to enact/enable/defend the racism of racist third parties.

Calling holocaust-denial-motivated-by-money “non-racist”, say, also confuses things. Quite possibly more than calling it “racist”, even?

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Mao Cheng Ji 01.07.14 at 10:49 pm

Following orders can make you a criminal, but how can it make you a racist if you’re not?

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Substance McGravitas 01.07.14 at 10:53 pm

Following orders can make you a criminal, but how can it make you a racist if you’re not?

I dunno, how can following orders make you a murderer if you’re not? It is a hazy mystery.

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Collin Street 01.07.14 at 10:58 pm

But your 404 was explicitly talking about whether or not the actions could be described as racist. That was only an hour ago, Mao.

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Ronan(rf) 01.07.14 at 11:04 pm

If you adopt a position that might be construed as ‘racist’ or ‘anti semitic’ by the standards of the time and place you live in then someone has the right to assume you’re racist/anti semitic – whether you’re adopting that position out of careerism or for money or for contrarianism really isnt here or there.
If I walk down the street and start shouting racist abuse at people, even if its part of a dare (and Im due to make £20), it doesnt mean that everybody elses initial assumption should be ‘oh I bet he’s not racist, id say he’s getting paid for it.’ There is no way of proving this particular line of reasoning in any meaningul way – short of carrying out extensive research into every assumed racist.
I mean for fuck sake why does it matter? What about common sense?

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MPAVictoria 01.08.14 at 12:31 am

You guys are just playing in to Mao’s game. He does this in pretty much every thread.

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roy belmont 01.08.14 at 12:43 am

Roy Belmont is being prevented from responding to people who are saying things about him that are somewhat nasty and definitely untrue.
Possibly the cause is machine=automatic moderation, but what that means in the current techno-surveillance climate is beyond poor silenced Roy.

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Substance McGravitas 01.08.14 at 12:47 am

Yes. You should always regret writing a response longer than Mao’s troll. Whispering: Because he’s a racist!

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roy belmont 01.08.14 at 1:07 am

Mao Cheng Ji at 2:30 pm- comment378 and on:
What “blaming the victim” means here on this thread mostly is “potentially making people feel bad who don’t deserve it, not least because they already feel bad”.
You can get to it going backward through:
making people feel bad = punishing them = necessity of blaming them first.
There’s an emotional truth there that I think is more accurate than not, that people who enter the arena against things like entitlements for the poor generally don’t care at all about the suffering, they care about the crime and the social decay and disorder, and they want it stopped whatever the consequences for the folks at the bottom.
So the heartlessness is what’s being attacked.
With flung peanut-butter sandwiches and half-empty cartons of milk.
-
I was taught early on that defending someone’s right to speak should not be confused with defending what they’re saying. Many serious thinkers have addressed this distinction.
-
Holbo et al-
“Holocaust denial” in current iteration means denial of intensity, denial of statistical fact – ultimately, denial of the stature of the horror.
It’s degree.
But as I mentioned on another thread, I was 28 years old before I even heard about the homosexual victims of the Nazis, Roma were on the nightmare extinction history radar yes but way out and down there somewhere, and it was even later when I started realizing, because of reading about it, how truly extensive the atrocity was. Freaks. Mengele’s experiments. First to go the often the commies. So many who weren’t part of identifiable groups at all, unremembered but just as gone.
The atrocity extensive into sub-populations that are still unacceptable to many now today.
One of the reasons I didn’t hear about queers getting rounded up by the Nazis and put in camps was, evidently, the people in charge of informing me about the Holocaust thought that it was mostly okay. To do that to them. And to freaks. Etc.
So we’re denied a name for what that is overall, since most people’s interpretation of “Holocaust” is sole and entire what the Nazis did to the Jews.
Because most people don’t understand what they were trying to do there, those Nazis. Which was clean up the master race and the fatherland of anyone they deemed undesirable or unacceptable. Which is really different from going around exterminating one particular ethnicity.
So instead of a lesson that could help prepare us to defend ourselves and our vulnerable brothers and sisters the next time some “master race” decides to eliminate the unfit from all around them, we’re taught that bad stupid people hate Jews and that that irrational hating sickness can build up if allowed to into things like the nightmare of mid-twentieth century German eugenic violence.
Partial horrifying truth replacing a larger more horrifying and more threatening truth.
A kind of denial.
Concerning the Holocaust.

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Collin Street 01.08.14 at 1:14 am

I was taught early on that defending someone’s right to speak should not be confused with defending what they’re saying. Many serious thinkers have addressed this distinction.

I don’t think people have a “right” to speak, or at least not an endless one. I don’t think anyone reasonable can think that: speech channels are rivalrous — only one person can speak at a time — and setting up a new one, while possible, requires access to a pre-existing one and thus has the same rivalry problem. Rivalrous goods need to be regulated.

Or, sometimes people are going to have to shut the fuck up and let others be heard. Even if they don’t want to. And we need to act to make sure that that happens, same as all the other regulations/processes we put in place to make rivalrous goods — property for example — useful.

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Ed Herdman 01.08.14 at 1:20 am

How much does “intent” matter when talking about something that feeds into an ‘institution’ or a great force? Usually when we talk about the importance of intent in the law, it’s clear that we’re looking at intent for the sake of the individual. While it is psychologically important to understand the motives of a person for doing what they do, the harm of racism is one which is there in large part because of its aggregate effects.

In other words, sometimes intent excuses mistakes – other times it appears that the calculation swings in favor of changing behavior even if “I was just following orders,” “it’s traditional,” “I didn’t mean anything bad by it, it’s just the way I am,” and so on.

“It is a hazy mystery” :D

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MPAVictoria 01.08.14 at 1:26 am

“I was taught early on that defending someone’s right to speak should not be confused with defending what they’re saying. Many serious thinkers have addressed this distinction.”

Someone now has the right to a national tv show? Or, if you are talking about Skippy, someone has the right to post on another person’s blog?

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roy belmont 01.08.14 at 1:52 am

MPAV-
Good God.
Okay… so what it really means is more “the right to be heard clearly” or something. Rather than the right to make some speaky noises somewhere.
I’m not going to enter a discussion about where physically the right to speech should be “granted”, it reeks too much of “zones” and barricaded little allotments of freedom.
I was a big fan of “writers” or “taggers” as they were sometimes known, back in the when. Grafitti artists using the blank canvas of public spaces. Before it became hipster performative exercize.
No legitimacy in those venues, nunh-unh. No rights at all.
But I defended it, them, then. Now.
The truth is less likely to emerge from comfortable discourse. I say this with no evidence or documentation.

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MPAVictoria 01.08.14 at 2:00 am

Roy I have NO idea what you are trying to say.

Also just read this and thought of our earlier discussion regarding the n word.

“Rightwing morons always want to say it (why?) and it pisses them off when they can’t. Of course not knowing a damn thing about history is one of those privileges that we white folk can afford. The word identifies a class of person to whom the law is blind. For 90% of American history calling someone that word carried the literal, explicit message that you could hurt them any time you wanted. Protest and you might get beaten. Resist and get lynched (or get lynched just because). Fight back in any organized way, even symbolically by doing well on your own and making the neighbors look bad, and they will burn your neighborhood and kill everyone in it while police stand by in case any white homes catch fire. And that is after slavery. During slavery it just meant that even free folk could get a bag thrown over their head, sent down the river and that would be the last anyone hears of you.”

http://www.balloon-juice.com/2014/01/07/nice-face-youve-got-there/

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Alan White 01.08.14 at 2:21 am

While this thread is an attempt by some to demonstrate the existence of perpetual e-motion, it unfortunately is a phenomenon that extracts energy instead of providing it.

And like its non-existent doppelganger, does not change the laws of truth. The bloviating Duskster is an indefensible jerk.

423

GiT 01.08.14 at 3:12 am

“It could also be a species of politics, or careerism, or any number of categories of things.”

Well no, not really. The underlying argument here is that not being racist requires fulfilling a positive duty to avoid fomenting racist acts and outcomes. It’s a failure to render care. If you don’t want to be a racist, you need to demonstrate an effort to render care in how one considers and treats others.

“One may be denying a genocide because one is (for example) paid for it, and I don’t see anything racist about it whatsoever. Calling it racism just confuses things; it’s an obvious misuse of the word.”

Well no, it’s not a misuse. There’s a contest over scope and meaning at work. The stakes are whether or not saying, “I do racist things just because I don’t give a shit, not because of any explicit belief about the hierarchy of the races” is actually a defense against an accusation of racism. It’s a contest over whether “I can’t be racist; I don’t see race,” is a punchline or a legitimate defense.

So it’s a contest about complicity, culpability, positive vs negative duties, and inaction as a species of action.

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Collin Street 01.08.14 at 4:02 am

I am reminded that — racism being by-definition irrational — racists themselves are by-definition irrational, at least on the topic of racism.

And so there’s no point rationally discussing racism with racists because if they could benefit from the rational discussion they wouldn’t be racists.

[how do you treat racism? the same way you treat any other mental-health condition.]

425

Hey Skipper 01.08.14 at 6:20 am

[John Holbo:] I guess I just wonder why you don’t see apologies for Jim Crow as similarly linked with racism.

Since I don’t accept your premise, or any evidence for it, then I have no reason to read what Mr. Robertson said as an apology for Jim Crow.

Going only on what he said, as opposed to what you insist he meant (presuming he isn’t too stupid or ignorant to know) no mental strain, flights of imagination, or Derrida-esque deconstruction is required to take his intent as not an apology for Jim Crow (which he leaves completely unmentioned), but rather an indictment of welfare policies (which he explicitly mentioned) as the federal government applied them to African Americans.

Your reading is even more strained when a near-contemporaneous African American experience of share cropper life (qualified by the fact that “near” means a couple decades earlier, when discrimination could hardly have been any less awful than it was in the 1950s) evidences no more mistreatment than Mr. Robertson said he didn’t see.

I could be wrong — it has been six months since I read “Immortal Life” (a book that persuasively makes a case for the many ways in which Henrietta Lacks was mistreated), but if I’m not, then your primary reason for disregarding Mr. Robertson’s testimony of his own experience looks like springing a hole below the waterline.

Instead of reading what he said as you insist he meant it, try reading it the other way: narrowly, relying only upon the words on the page, without the burden of your pre-conceptions of what he must have seen if he wasn’t in denial / a rabid racist / an idiot / a liar. Everyone of those perfectly awful insults must be read in, which may say something about the reader.

[HS:] Promiscuous anal sex spreads AIDS.

[Roy Belmont:] So did blood transfusions, until the filtering protocols were established.

And telling members of high risk groups their blood isn’t welcome. (Full disclosure: I lived in England when BSE was making headlines. That makes me a member of a high risk group, still. Which blood blanks make perfectly clear, still.)

Also, please note that niggling little thing called “tense”. Procedural changes have long since stopped the passive spread of AIDS.

The active spread of AIDS is still quite effective.

It’s promiscuity within the civilizational and social contexts of Judeo-Christian west.civ. nuclear families in atomized communities whose focusing moral compasses center on external to the community authority.

Perhaps you could name a post-neolithic society where promiscuity has been a good thing.

(OT, but I am continually amazed how leftist prose is so often the literary equivalent to eating a dozen yards of rope. And even further amazed at how whole tracts addressing intimate human relations can be completely devoid humanity.)

With regard to whether Mr. Robertson is a racist, your critique of J-C civilization is not only beside the point, but it also substantiates my accusation of leftist totalitarianism. The reasons for his beliefs lie completely outside your critique; moreover, your critique is really nothing more than a recitation of your beliefs. The supposition that your beliefs trump his is totalitarian to the core.

[MPAV:] Oh Roy, Roy, Roy. I would love to see you actually respond to a point as opposed to obfuscate. I guess it is beyond you.

I’d love to see you take ownership of your vandalizing a direct quote.

[Consumatopia:] Phil Robertson is a common enemy of the poorer classes.

Of all the things that are off putting about progressives, perhaps the greatest is the self anointed presumption of heightened consciousness, while all those who don’t see it your way are too benighted, or stupid, to understand.

It is a conclusion based upon a vacuum where an argument, no, a great many arguments, should be.

(Also, I’m waiting for you to take ownership of your elision.)

Rather, it seems to be the garden variety conservative postulate about handouts destroying the moral fabric, etc.

[MPAV:] The moral fabric of those no good, shiftless blacks who were oh so much better off (and happier!) when we wouldn’t let them vote, swim in our pools or marry our women.

In case you ever have a problem explaining what a non sequitur is, you could hardly expect a better example than this.

Unless, of course, Ugh, I should clarify that I didn’t say anything about two competing interpretations, that is Mao’s misreading. What Phil Robertson said was racist. is ahead by a nose at the post.

He said nothing demeaning about blacks; he never suggested superiority of one race over another.

My son, a college student, has been reading some of this thread. He told me something he overheard when leaving the supermarket en route to his dorm:

Student 1: “Darnnit, I forgot the beer.”

Student 2: “Racist!”

If you believe, as Robertson does, that poor people were happy before welfare and entitlements …

That requires complete, and by now willful, ignorance of what Robertson believes. His faith specifies certain requirements for a worthy life, a life that creates happiness by the way it is lived, rather than being dependent upon outside circumstances over which one has little, or no, control.

So, for him, the things that matter most are those things one can control: faith, continence, living for one’s family and community rather than one’s self, aspiring to meet God’s standards for the proper way to treat other people.

Until you get that — even if you don’t agree with it — then your comments amount to nothing more than a dog criticizing logarithms.

[Plume:] We could go round and round about this. You claim, without providing a shred of evidence, that GLAAD and “progressives” have engaged in a “campaign of character assassination.”

What else should one call accusations of racism based on reading way too much Derrida, or demanding that others truckle to GLAAD’s demands?

Accusing Mr. Robertson of somehow justifying Jim Crow laws is leagues beyond the realm of normal discourse. Occam’s Razor is an outstanding reason to read what Mr. Robertson said with the fewest possible assumptions. Instead, you read into it whatever suits your narrative, and insist everyone else agree.

My evidence for character assassination is your complete lack of evidence to support your wildly creative reading of what he said.

Robertson assumes that what he says about gay people is true, that his hate-filled critique of them is based on his version of Christian morality, and he does so without argument.

His version of Christian morality is 1 Corinthians 7:2; Galatians 5:19-20; Jude 1:7; 2 Corinthians 12:21; Romans 13:13; 1 Corinthians 6:13, 18; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5; and Matthew 5:32. Among others.

If you weren’t so willfully ignorant, you would have ascertained by now that Robertson, in his view, isn’t entitled to his version of Christian morality. He bases it all upon the Bible.

Of course, you are entitled to disbelieve, even hate, the Bible. But you are not entitled to insist he bow to you and your beliefs, or that he approve of anal sex.

[MPAV:] Just curious if Mao, Roy and Skippy find Jesse Helms’ famous Senate ad showing white male hand crumpling a rejection letter while the announcer explained that “racial quota” laws cause “them” to give a job to a less-qualified minority to be racist or not.

I’m just curious if you find decisions based solely upon race racist, or only the ones of which you do not approve.

And I’m still curious to learn whether you think vandalizing other’s words is OK.

[HS:] Unfortunately, in that regard I must claim total ignorance, because I don’t know of anyone who has made that claim.

[bt:] NOW I think I understand what Skipper is getting at. He is totally ignorant.

Yes, I have to admit I’m completely ignorant of a worthwhile hypothetical that has no basis in reality.

[Consumatopia:] I’m making two points here:

The simple one, very little dot connecting. Robertson is a racist because he’s generalizing from his experience to say black people were “happy” and “godly”

Would you please do me, at least, a favor and provide us with a definition of “racist”, even the least common usage, under which that falls? Otherwise, there is at least a whiff of Consumatopia making stuff up.

Not quite. He’s saying that entitlements and welfare are to blame, and that the only response justice requires is to get rid of those entitlements, that there is no underlying injustice to poverty other than intended consequence of government aid.

Never mind, you killed the suspense. You are making it all up.

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John Holbo 01.08.14 at 7:04 am

“no mental strain, flights of imagination, or Derrida-esque deconstruction is required to take his intent as not an apology for Jim Crow”

Since we’ve now gone full Derrida, I would just like to note for the record that the only practical deconstructive philosophy in the thread was practiced by you, Skipper, when you devised an argument based on the notion that it was possible Robertson was speaking some variant of English no one has ever spoken, in which there’s a sharp mistreat (noun/verb) distinction. Without that sort of deconstructionist gambit (if you want to call it that, which is fine) there’s no way your defense gets off the ground. So it’s both inconsistent of you (and also false) to accuse me, of all people, of Derridean practice in this thread. You are, for better or worse, the closest we’ve got to that sort of continental extravagance. By contrast, I’m playing the ‘aw shucks let’s speak plain English and use common sense to figure out what people are probably thinking’ role. That is as far from Derrida as it gets. (If we’re going to keep up the act, let’s at least stay in character! You be you. I’ll be me.)

Fair enough? (I would also like to propose a new term. A thread in which people are accused both of being fascists and Derrida is a Godwin double-lutz.)

On we go:

“rather an indictment of welfare policies (which he explicitly mentioned) as the federal government applied them to African Americans.”

This makes no sense, Skipper. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. The notable claim he makes is not that African-Americans were miserable and godless after they got welfare. (That’s notable enough, to be sure.) That could be explained by welfare. No, the truly notable claim he makes is that African-Americans were happy and without grievance before welfare, despite all the reasons you might think they weren’t. Now how could welfare have traveled back in time and made them all happy, under Jim Crow, when they otherwise had reason not to be?

That is to say: obviously he isn’t saying that welfare, later, caused them to have been retroactively happy earlier. The arrow of time doesn’t work that way. Do you see the problem here? In saying that African-Americans were happy and without grievance, under Jim Crow, he isn’t implying anything about the effects of welfare, which hadn’t happened yet. So: what do you think he thinks is the reason why African-Americans were happy and had no grievances, under Jim Crow. Presumably it has to be: Jim Crow was, by and large, not a cause of unhappiness, nor a source of legitimate grievance. Because that only came later with welfare, by hypothesis.

So don’t say: welfare. There wasn’t any welfare yet. Welfare, even if it made everyone miserable, after it passed, did not travel back in time and make them all happy, before it passed. It’s not a time traveler.

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GiT 01.08.14 at 7:05 am

“Going only on what he said, as opposed to what you insist he meant (presuming he isn’t too stupid or ignorant to know) no mental strain, flights of imagination, or Derrida-esque deconstruction is required to take his intent as not an apology for Jim Crow”

Ok, this is pretty simple:

“Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”

Is the time period “pre-entitlement, pre-welfare” contained within the Jim Crow period? De facto end of Jim Crow is 1964. Great Society is 1965. So “pre-entitlement pre-welfare” and “Jim Crow” are more or less co-extensive.

So, Robertson is literally, explicitly, no inferences saying: During Jim Crow no black people were singing the blues; they were happy.

The language is ambiguous between no black people he saw were singing the blues and no black people, period, were singing the blues, because Robertson appears to just equivocate like that in his sermonizing.

So give it the constrained reading Hey Skipper demands: ‘No black people Robertson saw during Jim Crow were ‘singing the blues’ or not-happy.”

How is ‘I never saw any black people who weren’t happy during Jim Crow’ *not* an apology for Jim Crow? How is he *not* intending to communicate something about what it was like under Jim Crow?

Please avoid all mental strain, flights of imagination, or Derrida-esque deconstruction in concocting your answer.

428

GiT 01.08.14 at 7:10 am

Whoops, look like I just repeated John. We must both be expertly trained in the exact same school of wild Derridean ‘interpret anything from anything’ confabulation.

429

Steve Williams 01.08.14 at 7:30 am

I finally made it! What’s my prize?

Actually, I can’t resist:

Hey, Skipper @424:

First of all, for someone who is accusing others of ‘vandalizing other’s words’ based on where they put a paragraph break in a transcript of spoken words, your last comment was bizarrely badly formatted, so I’m not 100% certain these are your words, and not those of someone else, but I’ll assume they’re yours:

>i>”Of course, you are entitled to disbelieve, even hate, the Bible. But you are not entitled to insist he bow to you and your beliefs, or that he approve of anal sex.”

I can’t be bothered to go through the 200 comments I’ve read this morning to find exactly which 3 or 4 people specifically made comments along the lines of ‘of course he’s entitled to say what he wants’ but I can assure you I’ve read them. Everyone’s entitled to say what they want. The issue is whether celebrities are entitled to a) the avoidance of any criticism based on what they say, and b) no corporate pushback from their employers as a result of bad PR. It’s perfectly obvious that they are entitled to neither of these things. Just too bad, pal, get over it.

“Would you please do me, at least, a favor and provide us with a definition of “racist”, even the least common usage, under which that falls? Otherwise, there is at least a whiff of Consumatopia making stuff up.:

All of what you’re saying seems to be that what Robertson said doesn’t meet your definition of racism. If instead, I describe what he said not as ‘racist’ but as ‘completely ignorant, totally misleading and strongly suggestive of a lack of both perceptual awareness and the conditions of others outside his own small world’, would you be happier with that?

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godoggo 01.08.14 at 7:34 am

What’s wrong with singing the blues?

431

Mao Cheng Ji 01.08.14 at 7:36 am

“But your 404 was explicitly talking about whether or not the actions could be described as racist.”

OK, this is fair. But even the actions: to call them racist, as explained by Git in 396, sounds like quite a stretch. These actions often seem quintessentially political.

Ronan(rf) @411 “I mean for fuck sake why does it matter?”

There seem to be a lot of confusion and misunderstanding surrounding this, and I just want to understand what people mean when they say these things; how they think about it.

432

Steve Williams 01.08.14 at 7:37 am

Haha, made a comment about bad formatting and can’t form an HTML tag correctly. I am vandalising Skipper’s words, and my own, and therefore I am the real racist.

433

roy belmont 01.08.14 at 8:26 am

Perhaps you could name a post-neolithic society where promiscuity has been a good thing
Why? Who cares about societies exclusively, neo-lithic or proto-Neanderthal?
Human beings have been enjoying each other sexually to the culmination of offspring for at least a half million years, or a couple million depending on where you draw the lines of human-ness. Very little of that enjoyment has been under the sanctioned tent of marriage.
So if you think of human existence through time as a good thing, a debatable assertion at best, well, we owe it all to promiscuity. Then.
The genetic data on nuclear family paternity seems to indicate promiscuity isn’t always a matter of public record. Seriously. Now.
What I think you’re really talking about is the public disavowal of sexual governance for the consumer ideal of constant personal gratification.
And my response to that is wait, this hypocritical institutional sexual morality has harmed generations so thoroughly we can’t separate our selves from the damage.
bold – That doesn’t mean I’m advocating hedonistic sexual anarchy. – unbold
-
Also, please note that niggling little thing called “tense”. Procedural changes have long since stopped the passive spread of AIDS.
The active spread of AIDS is still quite effective.

See here’s where I get the sense your exceptional logical ability blinds you to the parts that won’t fit neatly into compartments.
All that needs is one miracle anti-viral drug, and your whole anti-sodomy house of cards comes down. “Tense” indeed.
My view, not a leftist view at all, is that possibility’s already extant, here with us in other medical versions, just not as electrifying because mostly no sex. We don’t have to alter our behaviors, or our environment, to avoid polio, we have vaccines.
We undercut the personal immune system in ways that make lots of us dependent on external prosthetic immunity to survive.
My view, as described above, is we’re just at the edge of understanding how much of the world is invisible to us, and how little prepared we are for what’s there. Where we really are. Because we’ve been misled by anthropocentric nonsense for so long.
And this is all sideways from the real point I was making, that the moral pathology comes in to treat the damage it’s caused with clean hands, because that damage is a result of ungoverned and rebellious behavior, because the pathology gave the ungoverned rebels no way forward but submission to the pathology, or feral behavior. Then once that ferality doesn’t work out, here comes the gotchas. Again.
Also your seeming inability to respond to the fact, not theory, that some infectious diseases can alter the behavior of their hosts. Toxoplasmosis is a big one as well, though not an STD.
I realize that that knowledge completely undercuts the foundation of J-C moral judgment, and punishment – intention is all and everything – but it’s real true fact.
This goes into the forces at work on moral decision-making in the traumatized, in the malnourished, in the myriad pits of hindered living. How responsible for their decisions are those people whose pain you can’t even begin to imagine?
Making people take responsibility for their own choices and actions is a mantra of the immediate past, still very popular in public consumer “justice”, and it comes right out of Biblical right/wrong. But it isn’t enough, and it doesn’t work well enough.
I’m not belittling genuine faith or the real need for moral constraint in society, but there’s some eliding going on on both sides here.

434

Steve Williams 01.08.14 at 8:28 am

godoggo@429

“What’s wrong with singing the blues?”

I can’t understand this either, and I can’t understand what Robertson was hoping to achieve with the claim “nobody was singing the blues”. I’m not a music historian, but even I know that this is precisely the time period, geographic location and ethnic group when, where and by whom blues music was created. More of it was sung in this place at this time by these people than every other time and place put together.

Possibly this is the proposal for a new philosophy text for next semester: ‘Blues Music Didn’t Happen’, by Phil Robertson. Foreword by H. Skipper Esq, unless any religious groups happen to sanctify the book first, in which case Michael Gove is standing by.

435

Steve Williams 01.08.14 at 8:37 am

“bold – That doesn’t mean I’m advocating hedonistic sexual anarchy. – unbold”

Oh don’t tease us Roy. I’m in the mood.

436

MPAVictoria 01.08.14 at 11:13 am

Skipper I reject your claim that I vandalized Robertson’s words. Other people can evaluate for themselves who to believe.

437

Mao Cheng Ji 01.08.14 at 12:59 pm

“You should always regret writing a response longer than Mao’s troll.”

Others mix sarcasm with some substance, but you, Substance, you only do sarcasm. It’s fine, as far as it goes, but complaining about trolling is a bit too much.

438

MPAVictoria 01.08.14 at 1:54 pm

“Others mix sarcasm with some substance, but you, Substance, you only do sarcasm. It’s fine, as far as it goes, but complaining about trolling is a bit too much.”

Oh please. You just spent a couple hundred words arguing about whether racism for hire is actual racism. And you do that kind of bullshit in EVERY thread you post on. Don’t act all offended when someone calls you on it.

439

Consumatopia 01.08.14 at 3:49 pm

Would you please do me, at least, a favor and provide us with a definition of “racist”, even the least common usage, under which that falls? Otherwise, there is at least a whiff of Consumatopia making stuff up.

Maybe it would help if you had not cut off what I said in midsentence, leaving out a few modifying phrases? Bit rich you doing that after lecturing me for deleting an imaginary paragraph break from a video.

440

Plume 01.08.14 at 4:46 pm

@Hey Skipper 425,

Basically, your entire argument boils down to this: You can’t stand that progressives (and glaad) have been critical of Robertson and are morally certain in their criticism. But you back and defend Robertson and his criticism of gays and blacks, which, in his mind (and yours) is morally certain, too. But his critique, unlike our critique of his hate-speech, tries to use a “higher authority” and impose that higher authority on others. Cram it down their throats, so to speak. How much more “totalitarian” is that than the critique of such an attempt?

And then there is this:

My evidence for character assassination is your complete lack of evidence to support your wildly creative reading of what he said.

This was in the context of your unfounded accusation that glaad and progressives had engaged in character assassination, which I called you on. Skippy, in order for your sophistry to work, you at least need to stay in command of your own labyrinth. You are saying here that you’ve proven that glaad has engaged in character assassination because I have supposedly misread Robertson! To make it all the worse, you have me mixed up with other posters here.

And, finally, this:

His version of Christian morality is 1 Corinthians 7:2; Galatians 5:19-20; Jude 1:7; 2 Corinthians 12:21; Romans 13:13; 1 Corinthians 6:13, 18; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5; and Matthew 5:32. Among others.

If you weren’t so willfully ignorant, you would have ascertained by now that Robertson, in his view, isn’t entitled to his version of Christian morality. He bases it all upon the Bible.

Yes, it is his version of Christian Morality, as there are tens of millions of people who see the texts otherwise. And the NT texts themselves were written by dozens of human beings, with known forgeries included (like the ending of Mark and several of Paul’s letters), which were then copied by hand thousands of times, with errors and edits and mistranslations of those errors and edits included. Those copies don’t sync up with one another, either. And those texts contradict each other, and they contradict much of the OT, which has the same problem of contradiction with itself.

In short, there can be no such thing as one “Christian Morality”. There can only be interpretations.

Of course, you are entitled to disbelieve, even hate, the Bible. But you are not entitled to insist he bow to you and your beliefs, or that he approve of anal sex.

It’s interesting that you keep insisting that I and others here are asking that you or Robertson bow to our beliefs, when it is so obviously you asking that. I am arguing for a multitude of interpretations of the bible. You, just one. Robertson’s.

How ironic.

441

js. 01.08.14 at 5:17 pm

But even the actions: to call them racist, as explained by Git in 396, sounds like quite a stretch. These actions often seem quintessentially political.

Umm, people are arguing with someone who thinks that ‘A is a political action’ implies that ‘A is not racist’. This is hopeless.

442

Mao Cheng Ji 01.08.14 at 5:55 pm

Fine: quintessentially political sans obvious racist motives.

The Ottoman government circa 1915 clearly had racist anti-Armenian (and anti-Christian in general) motives. But it doesn’t appear to be the case with the Turkish government today. They have their motives: to avoid the embarrassment, I guess. Same with Japan vis-a-vis the Nanking massacre. Is there any evidence that Turkey is run by anti-Armenian racists? Japan by Chinese-haters? I don’t think so. Just standard national politics.

I agree that this is probably hopeless, though. You guys just have to, for some reason, have this terrible suspicion (quickly turning into a certainty) that almost everyone you disagree with must be a racist. You connect the dots (common sense!) and demonstrate how. But not you, never you. If someone connects your dots in the same manner, that’s simply ridiculous, doesn’t deserve a reply. This is a fascinating phenomenon, I must say.

443

MPAVictoria 01.08.14 at 6:19 pm

Js just don’t engage with him and maybe he will go away?

444

roy belmont 01.08.14 at 6:23 pm

Steve Williams at 8:37 am:
When I was a kid they gave us these SRI reading comprehension unit test things.
I got way off the scale I guess, and these guys came around kind of hinting that later, if I did that good in the upper grades as well, there might be a spot for me in the place those nifty little units were coming from.
You know anything about that?

445

Substance McGravitas 01.08.14 at 6:38 pm

Others mix sarcasm with some substance, but you, Substance, you only do sarcasm. It’s fine, as far as it goes, but complaining about trolling is a bit too much.

I’m not complaining, I’m admiring the art. I win!

446

js. 01.08.14 at 6:39 pm

The Ottoman government circa 1915 clearly had racist anti-Armenian (and anti-Christian in general) motives.

Huh. So every Ottoman government official ca. 1915 had racist motives? Or is it that you can straightforwardly describe certain institutions or patterns of behavior as racist without first having to determine the mental states of all individuals taking part in those institutions or engaging in those patterns of behavior? It’s got to be one or the other if the government had, as you claim, racist motives.

447

GiT 01.08.14 at 9:40 pm

“almost everyone you disagree with must be a racist. You connect the dots (common sense!) and demonstrate how. But not you, never you. If someone connects your dots in the same manner, that’s simply ridiculous, doesn’t deserve a reply. This is a fascinating phenomenon, I must say.”

I doubt anyone in this thread (other than Hey Skipper and yourself, bless your hearts) thinks they are “never” racist or sexist &etc. We all likely manage to do a pretty good job not obfuscating Jim Crow or talking about how disgusting we think butts are, though.

448

Mao Cheng Ji 01.08.14 at 10:33 pm

Right, obfuscating Jim Crow. But then perhaps you should look deep into your soul and find out why you’re using Jim Crow to whitewash the crack epidemic, mass-incarceration, and police brutality in LA. I’m getting a strong vibe that you endorse all those things. Tsk, tsk, tsk. All right, I’m bored with this.

449

bt 01.08.14 at 10:37 pm

The skipper is a very resourceful writer, and I’m not kidding here, it is impressive.

Here is a quote from the Skipper, letting us know that we need to do the following with Phil’s words:

“Instead of reading what he said as you insist he meant it, try reading it the other way: narrowly, relying only upon the words on the page, without the burden of your pre-conceptions of what he must have seen if he wasn’t in denial / a rabid racist / an idiot / a liar.”

This may be the defining statement (I know I keep doing this, but since Skipper won’t, I must). In order to not offend the Skipper, we must accept what Phil has said as being true. We must ignore anything we might know about History or Politics. To disagree with Phil is not allowed.

It all right there, we must accept Phil and what he believes, or we are mean, foolish, intolerant and nasty. So many words, such a simple premise!

450

MPAVictoria 01.08.14 at 11:19 pm

“But then perhaps you should look deep into your soul and find out why you’re using Jim Crow to whitewash the crack epidemic, mass-incarceration, and police brutality in LA.”

Swing and a miss!

451

Niall McAuley 01.08.14 at 11:41 pm

Mao says: All right, I’m bored with this.

My hole, you post for precisely this kind of attention.

Which this internet age sort of helps with, because who cares if you enjoy these discarded electrons? You’re a blowfly of the internets: loud, colourful, disgusting, bbut just an insect. A foul one.

452

GiT 01.08.14 at 11:47 pm

Indeed.

453

godoggo 01.09.14 at 12:44 am

heh.

454

godoggo 01.09.14 at 12:47 am

That’s what’s supposed to come after “Indeed,” right?

455

godoggo 01.09.14 at 12:51 am

Although that was actually kind of an obnoxious comment. No, really.

456

godoggo 01.09.14 at 12:57 am

Sort of thing that would likely lead to physical violence if one said it in person, in fact.

457

Steve Williams 01.09.14 at 1:03 am

I’m not aware of many people actually suffering bodily harm from impersonating Glenn Reynolds, godoggo, but I don’t think it’s a highly-demanded tribute act.

458

Steve Williams 01.09.14 at 1:04 am

That wasn’t meant as a criticism of you, by the way!

459

js. 01.09.14 at 4:51 am

Mao says: All right, I’m bored with this.

My hole, you post for precisely this kind of attention.

I think for once he knew he’d entirely lost. Worth cherishing, for it may never happen again.

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Mao Cheng Ji 01.09.14 at 7:21 am

Well, not precisely this kind of attention. I want to understand the psychology of these denunciations, of their intensity, tenacity. This kind of attention helps to reproduce, but it doesn’t help much to understand.

461

Hey Skipper 01.09.14 at 8:36 am

[John Holbo:] “No, the truly notable claim he makes is that African-Americans were happy and without grievance before welfare, despite all the reasons you might think they weren’t.”

He doesn’t make that claim, you made it for him. Which is why I threw down the Derrida card. You deconstructed Robertson’s comments in such a way as to include more than just what the text said.

Here it is again, so no one has to go on memory:

“I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field…. They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’—not a word!… Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”

His claims are, or should be, clear: 1. The lives of black sharecroppers differed in no significant way from their white counterparts. 2. There was no racial animosity between white and black sharecroppers. 3. Welfare and the consequent culture of dependency caused the descendants of black sharecroppers to suffer widespread sociological pathologies that the descendants of white sharecroppers did not. 4. African Americans then had dignity they no longer possess because welfare has created a culture of dependency.

Perhaps I should re-phrase “His claims are, or should be, clear”, and add “… to me (and probably to all the people that caused A&E to retreat so ignominously)”. There must be something in what he said that contradicts at least one of what I think his claims to be. If there isn’t — and really, I’m all eyes here — then there is no basis to prefer your reading over mine. Except of course, that I prefer mine, and you, yours.

But if there is nothing other than that, then progressives’ denunciations of him as a racist rest only upon their own desire to declare him and his ilk as racists. James Taranto has a great term for this: Oikophobia.

“No, the truly notable claim he makes is that African-Americans were happy and without grievance before welfare, despite all the reasons you might think they weren’t.”

Here is where I think you go off the rails. To me, Mr. Robertson is saying that, at the time, sharecroppers are sharecroppers, no matter the color of their skin, and that whatever grievances black sharecroppers might have had, they weren’t any different than white sharecroppers. Indeed, your view of happiness must be completely materialistic. No wonder you don’t understand what he is saying: he is speaking of spiritual happiness, his notion of a life well lived; he isn’t talking about baubles, or race.

He can’t be held guilty for your failure to understand his values.

“That is to say: obviously he isn’t saying that welfare, later, caused them to have been retroactively happy earlier. The arrow of time doesn’t work that way.”

Welfare later didn’t make them happy earlier; your invoking the “arrow of time” proves you are imposing upon his words your meaning, not his. To him, welfare created a culture of dependency that robbed them of the human dignity they possessed before welfare. In Robertson’s view, his black counterparts lived in intact families, fathers didn’t abandon their children, there wasn’t generational unemployment, the criminality among the black sharecroppers was no different than their white counterparts. In his view, the lives of most African Americans are worse now in fundamentally important ways than before welfare.

There is nothing racist about that observation, even if he is wrong. He does not denigrate blacks. He does not elevate whites. He does not attribute contemporary social pathologies to blacks, but rather to the consequences of welfare.

And given the statistical parade of horribles, on what basis do you wish to contest the point?

[Git:] “So give it the constrained reading Hey Skipper demands: ‘No black people Robertson saw during Jim Crow were ‘singing the blues’ or not-happy.”

I’ll reiterate, in case I wasn’t sufficiently clear before. The blacks Robertson knew lived lives no different than his. Sharecroppers are sharecroppers.

Or perhaps you can show me where in the quote he says otherwise.

[Steve Williams:] “First of all, for someone who is accusing others of ‘vandalizing other’s words’ based on where they put a paragraph break in a transcript of spoken words, your last comment was bizarrely badly formatted, so I’m not 100% certain these are your words, and not those of someone else, but I’ll assume they’re yours:”

Yes, indeed it was very badly formatted. Since there is no preview function here, I have taken to previewing my comments in blogger before posting them. Everything looked fine, then somehow all the blockquote tags vanished when I posted. (BTW, if you are using the Mac text editor in Mavericks, it will insist on smart-quoting trailing quote marks, no matter what you specify in preferences. That screws all kinds of things up.)

Just in case, this time around I have added quote marks in addition to blockquoting.

“Everyone’s entitled to say what they want. The issue is whether celebrities are entitled to a) the avoidance of any criticism based on what they say, and b) no corporate pushback from their employers as a result of bad PR. It’s perfectly obvious that they are entitled to neither of these things. Just too bad, pal, get over it.”

But that isn’t what happened, is it? Progressives and GLAAD did not stop at criticism; rather, they were very much like a mob caricature: Nice network you have here. Too bad if something was to happen to it. I linked to GLAAD’s statement above, BTW.

“All of what you’re saying seems to be that what Robertson said doesn’t meet your definition of racism.”

What I am saying is that nothing Robertson said qualifies as racism, no matter which dictionary you choose. Of course, I could be wrong. If so, provide the definition, and show what Robertson said to put him within it.

[roy belmont:] “All that needs is one miracle anti-viral drug, and your whole anti-sodomy house of cards comes down.”

Does that miracle anti-viral drug make the dead undead? Does that drug require Mr. Robertson to like sodomy? Does it require him to repudiate his religion? Does it suddenly make promiscuity peachy keen?

[Steve Williams:] I can’t understand this either, and I can’t understand what Robertson was hoping to achieve with the claim “nobody was singing the blues”.

Perhaps he was speaking metaphorically; even ignorant, lying, racist oiks can manage it sometimes. Perhaps he was using “nobody was singing …” to mean something along the lines of “they didn’t spend a lot of time complaining about their lot in life.”

[MPAV:] Skipper I reject your claim that I vandalized Robertson’s words. Other people can evaluate for themselves who to believe.

I provided the actual quote. You replaced words without annotation or explanation, and eliminated two essential paragraphs. Again, without explanation or annotation. Vandalism is the politest word I could think of.

They don’t need to believe me, only their eyes.

[Plume:] Basically, your entire argument boils down to this: You can’t stand that progressives (and glaad) have been critical of Robertson and are morally certain in their criticism.

How about doing me a favor and stop boiling down my argument, because when you do, you add a lot of straw.

Here is what I can’t stand: Progressives pilloried Robertson without cause. It wasn’t just criticizing what he said, but rather making an extremely serious accusation based upon your own imaginings, then demanding that his views conform to yours. I linked to GLAAD’s statement above. Their intolerance could not be clearer, nor could their totalitarian reflex — the only true Christianity is the one that meets their approval. GLAAD is certainly entitled to criticize everything he says. What they are not entitled to do is insist he truckle to them.

Yes, it is his version of Christian Morality, as there are tens of millions of people who see the texts otherwise.

Wonderful. Point missed. Of course it is his “version” (shared completely by Catholicism, BTW). How is it that GLAAD gets to ram their version down his spiritual throat?

I am not arguing for Robertson’s interpretation of the Bible, only that he be allowed to have it.

462

John Holbo 01.09.14 at 10:45 am

“He doesn’t make that claim, you made it for him.”

No, but he clearly implied it. Reading for implications is not deconstruction, Skipper. It’s perfectly normal, ordinary human activity. We are interested not just in the meaning of what people say but what they meant by what they say. You yourself more or less admit the Jim Crow-wasn’t-so-bad implications when you say this:

“1. The lives of black sharecroppers differed in no significant way from their white counterparts. 2. There was no racial animosity between white and black sharecroppers. 3. Welfare and the consequent culture of dependency caused the descendants of black sharecroppers to suffer widespread sociological pathologies that the descendants of white sharecroppers did not. 4. African Americans then had dignity they no longer possess because welfare has created a culture of dependency.”

That’s good enough. Or bad enough. If it’s true that the worst off blacks lived lives of dignity that were no worse than their white counterparts then the idea that Jim Crow was a serious problem must be a myth.

463

John Holbo 01.09.14 at 10:57 am

Oikophobia is Roger Scruton, not Taranto, and there is really already a term for the thing – a Greek term, in fact: cosmopolitanism. Whether it is really so bad as he says is subject to doubt.

464

MPAVictoria 01.09.14 at 11:01 am

“Progressives and GLAAD did not stop at criticism”
Oh? Was Phil pulled from his house and hung from a tree by a raging band of homosexuals recently and I some how missed it?

“[MPAV:] Skipper I reject your claim that I vandalized Robertson’s words. Other people can evaluate for themselves who to believe.”

The quote was accurate in that it conveyed his obvious meaning. You are wrong. Again I say that people can decide for themselves.

465

mattski 01.09.14 at 11:18 am

Mao @ 448

I’m getting a strong vibe that you endorse all those things.

You and George W. Bush. You trust your gut.

Mao, you’re not here for understanding, you’re here to be obnoxious. Your ennui is palpable.

466

Mao Cheng Ji 01.09.14 at 12:54 pm

“If it’s true that the worst off blacks lived lives of dignity that were no worse than their white counterparts then the idea that Jim Crow was a serious problem must be a myth.”

Not necessarily. Though not directly related to the Roberson’s grave offenses (again: his meaning is perfectly clear: self-reliant->happy, government handouts->miserable; the most popular conservative mantra after the divine nature of the pharaoh), isn’t it possible the injustices of racial segregation were much more pronounced for the middle-class blacks living in a mixed urban environment? The black sharecroppers were probably physically segregated, living in in their own little village, almost never having an occasion to use common but segregated facilities (like a bus), attend a university, or eat breakfast at a diner. And poll taxes and literacy tests affected their white counterparts as well.
Does this make sense, what I’m saying? Sorry if I’m being racisty, it’s not intended.

467

MPAVictoria 01.09.14 at 1:07 pm

I thought you were bored with us Mao?

468

Mao Cheng Ji 01.09.14 at 1:11 pm

…btw, I was complimented on my trolling earlier, but surely the prize goes to John. Are you aiming for a specific number of comments? Whatever it is, together we can do it.

469

GiT 01.09.14 at 1:21 pm

Either Skipper’s latest is a deliberate attempt to be ironic or it’s a real kick in the face to Roy’s claim that we’re dealing with someone of “rhetorical integrity” here.

I take it the implicit argument is that, by the standards of all us “progressives,” all it takes to support an interpretation of Phil’s words is that it not be inconsistent with the plain text. And so Skipper is giving us a reading that is not inconsistent with the plain text, but obviously imputes a whole plethora of things that aren’t there.

Because, at face, this asserted standard (there’s no discriminating between interpretations that aren’t straight out contradicted by the plain text reading of a statement) is false. And Skipper’s interpretation (3 and 4, specifically) have no textual basis.

(A funny note, to. Skipper’s offered interpretation is actually racist. It claims white and black sharecroppers, though identically situated during Jim Crow, were differently impacted by the Great Society. Since the only distinct thing between the two is the color of their skin, well, guess what’s being asserted as the key causal factor: Race! But not racist man, just racial realist HBD, dudes.)

So in the stunning reversal, one says, ‘but wait, Phil hasn’t said what you say he said” and then, the leftist has no clothes and one says, “Exactly! Don’t you see my point! You’re saying he said things he hasn’t said either!”

So let’s dispense with the ploy and just get to the more or less simple points of agreement: the Robinson quote does claim the following things

“1. The lives of black sharecroppers differed in no significant way from their white counterparts.”

“2. There was no racial animosity between white and black sharecroppers.”

“Mr. Robertson is saying that, at the time, sharecroppers are sharecroppers, no matter the color of their skin, and that whatever grievances black sharecroppers might have had, they weren’t any different than white sharecroppers.”

Sure, we can all reasonably infer Robertson claims these things (though some of these require reasonable inference, not plain text).

And most of us think this is a mis-representation of the experiences of Black sharecroppers (regardless of what you think Rebecca Skloot’s book demonstrates about said experience), and that something pernicious is going on if one clings on to such an anecdotal, biased picture of the experience of others in order to draw conclusions about welfare policy, peddling what amount to, at least, prevarications, if not outright lies.

And lying or prevaricating about the experiences of black people in order to make empirical claims about how they’ve been affected by public policy seems pretty racist, to some.

470

Layman 01.09.14 at 1:34 pm

“I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any Jew. Not once. Where we lived was in the Krupp labor camp. The Jews worked for Krupp. I made armaments with them. I’m with the Jews because we’re Gypsies. We’re going into the factory… They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one Jew, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone Nazis – not a word!… Pre-victory, pre-liberation, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”

What would one think about a person who said such a thing? What could one think?

471

Layman 01.09.14 at 1:37 pm

Shorter Mao: Everyone else has commented enough.

472

Ronan(rf) 01.09.14 at 1:43 pm

“Does this make sense, what I’m saying? “

No not really. Are you saying that someone in the black middle classes *now* might be more dissatisfied than a sharecropper under Jim Crow? Well yeah, I guess that’s plausible. Perhaps someone said something annoying on twitter or something. People are dissatisfied for all kinds of stupid reasons.
There are obviously different seasons of this stuff. I’m sure being a poor white sharecropper wasn’t great, or living in a segregated middle class community in the north, and I guess on some level of inane generality we’re all memebers of an oppressed class forever toiling under the jackboot of transnational billionares. But I’m really not getting this line of reasoning. Could you spell it out?

473

Mao Cheng Ji 01.09.14 at 1:58 pm

See, John writes: “If it’s true that the worst off blacks lived lives of dignity that were no worse than their white counterparts then the idea that Jim Crow was a serious problem must be a myth.”

And I’m saying that it seems quite plausible that the magnitude of Jim Crow manifests in its effect on the middle-class blacks, not the worst-off blacks. And if so, then the idea that Jim Crow was a serious problem doesn’t have to be a myth. A flaw in his logic.

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Ronan(rf) 01.09.14 at 2:14 pm

Well my impression of the Civil Rights movement,which might well be wrong, was that it was driven primarily by middle class African Americans. That seems to be true of a lot of revolutions, or social movements, afaict, that the middle or lower middle classes are those primarily driving change – also I might be wrong. Because the middle classes have the education, space, resources, incentives etc to want to overturn the old regime. So if anything it’s a sign that life was easier, marginally.
But why does this matter, when what we’re talking about are the actual conditions which people lived under, which are historical facts capable of being judge without resorting to specualtion and high theory?

475

bt 01.09.14 at 2:25 pm

So whites were just as bad off as blacks in the day. Except for that lynching business. And don’t look at our white women. In any case, to continue my pursuit of this white whale:

Here I go again, yes / no questions for Hey Skipper:

-Do you believe the blacks in the south were better off during Crow? If yes, you agree with Phil. If not, you disagree with Phil.

-Do you thing that the Gays are going to Hell? If yes, you agree with Phil. In not, you disagree with Phil.

-Do you believe that if black people were more godly, they would not have so many problems? If yes, you agree with Phil. If not, you disagree with Phil.

-Do you think it is censorship to disagree with the statements of a public figure? If yes, you are with Sarah Palin. If not, you disagree with Sarah Palin. I changed it up there.

As I allowed previously, Skipper is allowed to take the 5th, and to let us know that he does not have any opinions on these subjects, or is unsure.

I’m not sure if I have called Phil a racist or a homophobe in any of my posts, but really what’s the point of calling names? Perhaps THAT is why Skipper finds this all so offensive, and we are being mean. I just think that Phil is w r o n g. Am I allowed to do that? Let me take out my little pocket copy of the Constitution and check.

476

Mao Cheng Ji 01.09.14 at 2:38 pm

Ronan(rf), John feels (or says so anyway) that Robertson’s (albeit out-of-context) statement about black sharecroppers being happy is an equivalent to Robertson saying that Jim Crow wasn’t a big deal.

What I’m saying is that there isn’t necessarily a contradiction between the happy sharecroppers and the big deal Jim Crow, if Jim Crow was a big deal due (mostly) to its effect on the urban black middle-class.

477

Ronan(rf) 01.09.14 at 2:42 pm

No, he said if ‘If it’s true that the worst off blacks lived lives of dignity that *were no worse* than their white counterparts then the idea that Jim Crow was a serious problem must be a myth’ .. and they were worse. All evidence points that way. It’s not a question of how ‘happy’ they were, it’s a question of comparing conditions people lived under.

478

GiT 01.09.14 at 3:14 pm

Oh, and since this part was particularly addressed to me…

“I’ll reiterate, in case I wasn’t sufficiently clear before. The blacks Robertson knew lived lives no different than his. Sharecroppers are sharecroppers.

Or perhaps you can show me where in the quote he says otherwise.”

One should note that Robertson actually does not say ‘sharecroppers were sharecroppers’, or that black and white sharecroppers were treated the same. He lists a number of observations about black sharecropper. One can only insert by wild Derridean deconstruction that he thinks white sharecroppers were also ‘happy, not mistreated, godly, not singing the blues.’

The only thing predicated of white sharecroppers in the Phil quote is this: white sharecroppers worked with black sharecroppers. They went into fields and hoed with them. Robertson doesn’t say squat about if the whites were godly and happy and not singin the blues. It’s consistent with Phil’s words that white sharecroppers were treated worse than, better than, or the same as black sharecroppers.

Maybe blacks were happy because the whites were unhappy, and they weren’t singing the blues because, *secret history time*, white sharecroppers are the real inventors of the blues cause they just got so blue seeing all those happy godly black sharecroppers.

So, in fact, by the strict letter of the text, what Skipper says is there isn’t there. In contrast, what I’ve said is there, is. Robertson does, no bones about it, say that the black sharecroppers he saw were happy, not subject to mistreatment, and did not say otherwise to him.

479

Mao Cheng Ji 01.09.14 at 3:17 pm

I know, John says “were no worse”, but that is already an inference, a paraphrase from the comments. The original quote has ‘happy’ and that is what caused the outrage. It also has “never saw a black person mistreated”, so, by inference, they could be mistreated, and that already sounds like being worse off than those who could mistreat you if they wanted to (the whites).

480

Mao Cheng Ji 01.09.14 at 3:21 pm

…that was my reply to Ronan(rf) 477.

481

Ronan(rf) 01.09.14 at 3:28 pm

Na, the major point of dispute was ‘mistreatment’. The happiness was a consequence of not being mistreated .. ‘I never saw them mistreated, and they were happy ‘ He’s arguing against documented cases of systematic exclusion and violence, on the basis of his ‘memories’ of the time. He’s wrong and at best an idiot.
The emphasis on happiness is just something you’ve added to muddy the waters.

482

John Holbo 01.09.14 at 3:31 pm

“isn’t it possible the injustices of racial segregation were much more pronounced for the middle-class blacks living in a mixed urban environment?”

“if Jim Crow was a big deal due (mostly) to its effect on the urban black middle-class.”

No, the effects of Jim Crow did not fall on the urban population more than the rural population. (I admit that, metaphysically, I cannot rule out the possibility that there is a counter-earth somewhere in the multiverse where Jim Crow laws were some kind of urban thing. But we know we don’t live on that world.)

483

Mao Cheng Ji 01.09.14 at 5:14 pm

I’ve learned new things today, thank you.

“In Georgia’s cities, segregation developed as a solution to the problems posed by modernization and urbanization. However, rural Georgia remained a largely premodern society, making many features of segregation unnecessary or even problematic. As historian Mark Schultz demonstrates, rural race relations were typically marked by personal intimacy and a “culture of localism.” Similar patterns of deference prevailed in rural race relations, but local governments in rural Georgia were more likely to depend on custom, rather than law, to maintain white supremacy.”
http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/history-archaeology/segregation

I thought that rural segregation was spatial, but apparently not, at least in Georgia:

“Mark Schultz’s book, The Rural Face of White Supremacy: Beyond Jim Crow, offers a detailed look at how white supremacy worked in the rural rather than the urban South. Focusing on the cotton belt county of Hancock, Georgia, Schulz conducted extensive oral history work, which he interpreted in the context of more conventional archival studies. He concludes that, although white supremacy was as prevalent in the rural South as it was in the cities, it was constructed and functioned completely differently. Rather than being based on spatial segregation, rural white supremacy was grounded in personalism–the white control of blacks through an intricate mesh of economic, political, and social dominance woven from personal interactions.

The Rural Face of White Supremacy falls into three sections. The first, and longest, addresses social interactions between whites and blacks in rural Hancock County. Schultz explains that, unlike in urban areas, the rural South remained unsegregated in many ways. Blacks and whites were neighbors, co-workers, sexual partners, and even, in some instances, friends. They used the same doctors and attended each other’s churches. Even the economic division was ragged: some blacks owned land and some whites were sharecroppers.”
http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=11067
Read the whole thing.

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bt 01.09.14 at 5:28 pm

“Even the economic division was ragged: some blacks owned land and some whites were sharecroppers.”

That is an interesting fact. I don’t suppose the fact that some black people were treated a little more fairly in some places compensates for the other places in the south were black people were lynched for looking at white women or trying to vote. Nor does the fact that some slave owners were a little nicer to their slaves than others were compensate for much morally.

485

Plume 01.09.14 at 5:53 pm

Hey Skipper 461,

Wonderful. Point missed. Of course it is his “version” (shared completely by Catholicism, BTW). How is it that GLAAD gets to ram their version down his spiritual throat?

Wrong. Tens of millions of Catholics disagree with his version. Which is natural, given what I mentioned already. Within the bible itself, you have thousands of internal contradictions. Which is also natural, given the umpteen number of authors, the far more numerous copyists who replicated errors and engaged in their own edits; the umpteen mistranslations into the Greek, which were then copied and miscopied again; and the fact that the NT disagrees with the OT, and the same internal contradictions exist in the OT, etc. etc.

I am not arguing for Robertson’s interpretation of the Bible, only that he be allowed to have it.

No one is even remotely saying he can’t have his own interpretation of the bible. We are saying he can’t ram that down the throats of others, which he does each time he preaches.

Again, I and pretty much the entire left argues for a multitude of interpretations. Fundamentalist Christians argue for one — their own. Christianity itself argues, of course, for one and only one god, theirs, and anyone who disagrees with that dies horribly and is tormented in the Christian hell forever when the End of Days hits. Talk about “totalitarian.”

P.S. It is ironic that Christians break the first of the ten commandments by worshiping Jesus. The Jews had no history or tradition of a man-god or a god-man and their “messiah” was fully human only. That concept is alien to them but quite natural to Pagan Rome, Greece and Egypt. More irony. Jews don’t except Jesus as a god in part because it would break that first commandment. But that’s another story. In both cases, with the Jews and the Christians, they say theirs is the one and only god. Sounds “totalitarian” to me, if we must use the word at all here.

486

Mao Cheng Ji 01.09.14 at 5:59 pm

@484 According to this: http://www.chesnuttarchive.org/classroom/lynching_table_year.html ,
in the decade between 1950 and 1959 there 8 lynchings in the whole of the US. Of 6 blacks and 2 whites.

According to this: https://www.nationalgangcenter.gov/Survey-Analysis/Measuring-the-Extent-of-Gang-Problems , there were 1,824 gang-related homicides just in 2011, in one year. I don’t have any race stats, but I’d guess that probably about a third of the victims were African-Americans.

487

Hector_St_Clare 01.09.14 at 6:13 pm

Re: Wrong. Tens of millions of Catholics disagree with his version

Catholicism agrees with Phil Robertson that anal sex is immoral. (I’m sympathetic to that argument, though I don’t know if I agree with it). They are not in agreement that gay people are ‘idolaters’, ‘haters of God’, etc..

As for various copies of the biblical text disagreeing with each other, you can get around that by saying that *one* version is the most authoritative or reliable, and giving your reasons why. For example, I’d say that the Received Text (used by Erasmus, and by the King James translators) is the most authoritative version of the New Testament, and the Septuagint the most reliable version of the Old.

Re: We are saying he can’t ram that down the throats of others, which he does each time he preaches

That’s silly. By that logic, anyone who tries to convince anyone of anything is ‘ramming it down their throat’. I think it’s certainly *possible* to interpret the Bible in different ways, but I think some interpretations are more true and correct than others, and it’s my obligation to try to convince others of what I think is the truth. For their own good, among other things.

Re: It is ironic that Christians break the first of the ten commandments by worshiping Jesus. The Jews had no history or tradition of a man-god or a god-man and their “messiah” was fully human only.

My position would be that the Jews don’t properly understand the meaning of the first commandment, and that monotheism in the sense that the Jews believe it, is false. (A more refined monotheism, which treats the One Godhead as a community of three distinct Divine Persons, is of course true. Swinburne describes pretty well my view of the trinity, i.e. ‘Social Trinitarianism’, and he doesn’t shy away from saying flat-out that Jewish monotheism is *false*.)

488

Ed Herdman 01.09.14 at 6:25 pm

Your middle point, that disapproving of Robertson’s having a platform to speak from is “silly,” completely ignores the (extremely long) series of fact-based commentaries on what Robertson has said. So no, it isn’t silly at all. It is not silly to argue that an ungrounded demagogue’s right to speech should not be absolute. Even in our American tradition, where his right to speech is given a defense pro forma (which I and everybody else in the thread is OK with), it’s still not against the intent of the rule to demand accountability, and there is also no requirement that others must not only accept but even subsidize his bad speech. That would be tantamount to disallowing any kind of meaningful protest, and *that* would be silly (and lead us to worse inconsistencies).

489

Plume 01.09.14 at 6:40 pm

Ed Herdman 488,

Hey Skipper writes very long posts that can be boiled down to this:

He doesn’t think anyone should criticize Robertson because he agrees with what Robertson says. It’s that simple. So all the elaborate rhetoric, all the sophistry, which he long ago lost control of, is in the service of that one thing. He doesn’t want anyone to be critical of Robertson’s words, because he agrees with them. His strategy is to deflect attention from Robertson to those who criticize him, and he’s scrambling and desperate to find something that sticks. Like “totalitarian.” Which is beyond absurd, as Robertson is the one with the intolerant language, the “my way or the highway to hell” stance, using the ultimate in “totalitarian” thought control:

Recourse to a supposedly “higher authority.”

Nothing says “shut up and clap louder” than to assert that one speaks for “god.”

490

Ed Herdman 01.09.14 at 6:52 pm

Yes, I had some comments about four years ago in the thread pointing to some of the same symptoms. But my post was for #487.

That said I do agree with what Hector said about trying to find a “more true” understanding of the Bible, even if I agree with you that the question may actually be nonsensical in that it isn’t grounded in the way any Christian believes it to be.

That last point, made loudly in some corners of the thread here and there, seems to be a fruitless distraction from what we can actually deal with. I don’t know how to possibly deal with the religious question in ways that are novel or interesting, especially not to those who have faith. But I do feel that we can orient the discussion back towards the bigger question of dealing with bigotry (even that ‘mysteriously hazy’ kind of bigotry that is somehow not bigotry).

491

roy belmont 01.09.14 at 7:10 pm

Gad! I now have to defend the virtues and benefits of anal sex, in a public forum.
I mean the defending’s taking place in a…aaaghhhh
Shoot!
No, wait! Don’t !
“Cram it down their throats, so to speak”!!
-
Does that miracle anti-viral drug make the dead undead?
I would like anyone who reads this to know that as I type these words I am resisting with all my might a discursive tangent involving zombies and swamps and raggedy pants with strategic holes in them.
No of course it doesn’t.
What it does, like the understandings around pork and shellfish, is make clearer the sensible practice of avoidance clear as hygienic orderliness, not displeasing to invisible spirits, not angering the mighty overlord, but dangerous to the scientifically illiterate who had no microscopes.
Pointing out, as is my wont, that the presence of microbial pathogens can be viewed by the open-minded as virtually indistinguishable from the presence of spiritual agency. Both invisible both dangerously unknown.
We advance. We learn.
The rigidity(!) of dogma is replaced by a more relaxed knowing. Though again as is my wont, I’d like to say that the pendulumous swang-return that taught us kids to scorn old ways and traditional knowledges as “superstition” did a lot of harm too. Babies, bathwaters…
Anal sex isn’t “natural”. And nor are automobiles, tooth fillings, or sonograms.
Guys with moustaches lipstick rouge and tight leather hotpants are not going to feed a hungry tribe by procuring wild game, but so what? We have factory farms teeming with undead animals to gorge ourselves upon.
The real issue is back to that idiot’s diversion Survivor, the game show of life/death-metaphor action drama.
Eating is important! Shelter is important! No breeding on TV! Because sex! Is dirty!
Reproduction is central to the ongoing race.
An elevation of that centrality is healthy I think, and needs preservation and defense, but turning that centrality into dogma is only situationally valid, and gets outgrown, or should, where the downside is people getting stoned to death, or marginalized to death, or, the paranoid as heck but very real possibility of biological weapons-grade extermination of a marginalized group being acceptable, because they’re creepy, and evolutionary dead-ends.

492

roy belmont 01.09.14 at 7:15 pm

Stupid moderation robot. Stupid robot moderator. Stupid machine. Stupid.

493

bt 01.09.14 at 7:23 pm

@Mao:

–>http://www.chesnuttarchive.org/classroom/lynching_table_year.html ,
in the decade between 1950 and 1959 there 8 lynchings in the whole of the US. Of 6 blacks and 2 whites.

Is it safe for me to assume that you agree with Phil That life was better for Black People in the south, before they had rights equal to White People? Do you also agree that if Black People were more godly they would have fewer problems?

494

Plume 01.09.14 at 7:39 pm

@Hector 487,

There is a huge difference between “Catholicism” and “Catholics.” I said tens of millions of Catholics (and other Christians) disagree with Robertson’s version of Christianity. The importance of that distinction is in its response to the assertion that Robertson pushes the one true version of Christian morality. It can’t be the one true version when millions see things differently. The assertion then becomes beyond arrogant, beyond hubristic, and verges on megalomania. That multiplicity is argument enough to debunk that contention, and all of this is in the context of Hey Skipper calling glaad and progressives in general “totalitarian.”

What could be more totalitarian than holding oneself up as the voice of the one true version of Christianity?

As for “ramming it down their throats.” I think you missed Hey Skipper’s initial and repeated use of that term to describe those criticizing Robertson. I used it in response, etc.

As for your last contention. First off, I’m a non-believer. I grew up Christian until the age of nine, roughly, when I shed the church. Primarily due to reading mythology, and then studies of mythology, and then studies of comparative mythology and religion, etc. etc. So I now look at all of it as myth, basically. That said, I find it amazing that some Christians have the chutzpah to say the Jews were wrong about their own invention, their own religion, their own creation, especially given its development over the course of many centuries.

That’s akin to saying Tolkien was wrong about the happenings and rationale in his Lord of the Rings. That he didn’t know what he was talking about regarding his own child.

Oh, well.

495

Ronan(rf) 01.09.14 at 8:55 pm

@486
Meh
Again you’re muddying the waters. This doesnt really say anything. If you want to make an argument why not make one?

496

MPAVictoria 01.09.14 at 9:20 pm

“Stupid moderation robot. Stupid robot moderator. Stupid machine. Stupid.”

I for one welcome our new robot overlords.

497

Hector_St_Clare 01.09.14 at 9:24 pm

Re: It can’t be the one true version when millions see things differently.

Uh, people disagree about scientific and historical questions too, which clearly do have true answers, even if we don’t know (yet) for sure what the true answer is. Either Jesus Christ is God, or he isn’t. Both can’t be true. Either Sexual Act X is immoral, or it isn’t, or it’s immoral in some situations but not others, but if one of those three options is true then the other two must be false. Most religious people think their beliefs are the One True Version, or at least the best approximation thereof. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t hold them. That it is more difficult to know if, e.g. Jesus Christ is God than it is to know the melting point of mercury, doesn’t negate the fact that both questions, in principle, have true and false answers.

Re: What could be more totalitarian than holding oneself up as the voice of the one true version of Christianity?

I don’t see what’s ‘totalitarian’ about it (and really, I question how meaningful the word is anyway).

Re: That’s akin to saying Tolkien was wrong about the happenings and rationale in his Lord of the Rings. That he didn’t know what he was talking about regarding his own child.

Except Christians don’t believe that Jews ‘created’ the Old Testament, at least not all of it: we believe that it was revealed to them by a supernatural power. I’m more interested in what *God* meant by “Thou shalt have no other gods beside me” and “The Lord thy God is one”, than I am in what the Jews meant, and I don’t think the Jewish understanding of “The Lord thy God is one” is correct (to put it mildly).

498

godoggo 01.10.14 at 12:37 am

That reminds me of how people in Taiwan tended to be completely bewildered by my contempt for missionaries. The common attitude there is “the more religion the better.”

499

godoggo 01.10.14 at 12:39 am

Of course they can be prejudiced as hell in other ways.

500

John Holbo 01.10.14 at 1:08 am

500!

501

Niall McAuley 01.10.14 at 1:09 am

Hector writes: Either Jesus Christ is God, or he isn’t.

Yes, that kind of nails it. This one guy in Palestine 2000 years ago was the Messiah, the Son of God, born of a virgin, in accordance with the prophets.

Or not.

It’s, like, 50-50.

502

godoggo 01.10.14 at 1:17 am

I wanted to say, “heh,” but I got a “Duplicate comment detected; it looks as though you’ve already said that!” message.

503

Collin Street 01.10.14 at 1:19 am

Pascal’s wager is at very long odds, yes.

Perhaps he should have gone for something simpler than a box trifecta.

504

bt 01.10.14 at 1:37 am

@495

Like Skipper, the argument he is making is that our understanding about the history of the South is wrong, and that Phil is correct.

505

John Holbo 01.10.14 at 1:39 am

Mao, out of curiosity, what is your explanation of the so-called Great Migration?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Migration_%28African_American%29

If rural African-Americans weren’t fleeing the South because of Jim Crow or anything like that – because it wasn’t a major problem except in cities – then why were they fleeing at all? Just better job opportunities up north? But that hardly seems sufficient. There wasn’t a comparable white Great Migration out of the South, after all. (I’m sure there must be an innocent explanation for all of this! I’m sure you are the guy to provide it!)

506

Alan White 01.10.14 at 2:02 am

If the OED ever consents to list URLs as examples of a lexically ordered definition, I’d recommend this thread under “lurid”, as in lurid fascination. I don’t wanna look, but I hafta.

507

MPAVictoria 01.10.14 at 2:04 am

@ 491
Huh?

508

Ed Herdman 01.10.14 at 2:09 am

Please, I don’t want to spend any more time considering what Roy wrote there. Roy understands that was…lurid. (i.e., bad and wrong – sorry, Roy.)

Also, is this the same Mao of the defense of Palestinians? Good grief.
*stalks off in search of a table to randomly upend*

509

roy belmont 01.10.14 at 3:52 am

Herdman-
Excuse me?
On a thread where Phil Robertson’s been quoted and requoted, and re-requoted, linked to, and possibly even channeled through the gifts of spirit-mediums (-media?), and right there in most all of them iterations of his very own speech, creating the nucleus from which the charge against him of homophobic utterance exploded, is the very elements of all that you might find “Causing shock or horror; gruesome/ Marked by sensationalism etc”…
and I’m, me, bringing the lurid?
Bringing the “things aren’t sposed to go in there” anatomically descriptive kind of thing?
Me? No. I am not.
MPAVictoria-
You need to pay attention better.

510

Consumatopia 01.10.14 at 6:19 am

At first it was HS defending Robertson (without defending him), roy defending HS, and mcmanus up above defending roy. But with this latest turn towards schizo free-verse microbiology lessons, is roy aiming to move up in the troll peloton?

511

Mao Cheng Ji 01.10.14 at 7:30 am

JH “If rural African-Americans weren’t fleeing the South because of Jim Crow or anything like that – because it wasn’t a major problem except in cities – then why were they fleeing at all? Just better job opportunities up north? But that hardly seems sufficient. There wasn’t a comparable white Great Migration out of the South, after all. (I’m sure there must be an innocent explanation for all of this! I’m sure you are the guy to provide it!)”

I don’t know how innocent this is, but if rural population in general was migrating into the cities, and moving to a southern city was problematic because of the segregation, then it would probably make sense to move to a northern city, since you are uprooting yourself anyway.

I don’t know to what extend this was the cause, but it’s a possible explanation.

I think I read somewhere that everyday low-level racist attitudes were (and probably still are) worse in the north than in the south. And if that’s true, then the Jim Crow laws would have to be a major factor for you to prefer Chicago to Atlanta.

512

John Holbo 01.10.14 at 8:05 am

“I don’t know how innocent this is”

Not very, I should think.

But let me just ask: if the South was free of low-level racism, why did they legislate high-level racism – Jim Crow laws – at all?

Also, what is your explanation of the apparently radical (and heretofore undocumented) disparity in the degree of racism in the South along urban/rural lines. It is of course a commonplace that rural Jim Crow worked differently than in cities. You didn’t have two drinking fountains in the field, one for whites and one for blacks, because there weren’t any drinking foundations in the field at all. But you are the discoverer of something new – at least possibly. But this new thing makes other things we think we know mysterious. Why should there have been Jim Crow at all, in a predominantly rural society in which the rural part of society was free of racist animus, apparently to a higher degree than anywhere else in the nation, North or South?

513

Belle Waring 01.10.14 at 8:11 am

DNF! DNF DNF God! Don’t break into the old abandoned shack! Don’t split up! Turn on the lights instead of using a single, dim flashlight with old batteries that will fail at a crucial moment! Don’t make out in the creepy upstairs bedroom! Great jumping junipers, people, GET OUT OF THE THREAD ALIVE AND SLOWLY BACK AWAY!

514

Hey Skipper 01.10.14 at 8:39 am

[John Holbo:] No, but he clearly implied it. Reading for implications is not deconstruction, Skipper. It’s perfectly normal, ordinary human activity. We are interested not just in the meaning of what people say but what they meant by what they say. You yourself more or less admit the Jim Crow-wasn’t-so-bad implications when you say this …

Right there is where you show how baseless, and directed at somebody the way it was at Robertson, you powers of implication are. I absolutely did not imply that Jim Crow was not so bad; you could not possibly have been even glancingly comprehending anything I have written to reach that implication. You decided for Robertson what he meant. I think you have implied very badly, therefore, Jim Crow OK.

That’s bad enough, because it gives you the power to charge thoughtcrime solely on account of your implications. In order to do so, though, you have assumed an unstated premise: Jim Crow created circumstances for blacks worse in every respect than all their circumstances today. How many black children born under Jim Crow were born to single teen age mothers? Less, or more, than today? What was the murder rate for black males under Jim Crow? Less, or more, than today? How much generational unemployment was there for blacks under Jim Crow?

If any one of those are worse today than during Jim Crow, your implication falls to pieces. Mr. Robertson doesn’t need to say things were good then to say, and be right, that in some very fundamental ways, they are worse now. For blacks, [illegitimacy] hovers at near 70 percent—approximately three times the level of black illegitimacy that existed when the War on Poverty began in 1964, and six times what it was in the 1940s.

For someone of Robertson’s convictions, that is a disaster. And for that, he is a racist.

Oikophobia is Roger Scruton, not Taranto, and there is really already a term for the thing – a Greek term, in fact: cosmopolitanism. Whether it is really so bad as he says is subject to doubt.

Which progressives and GLAAD are doing their best to dispel. (My apologies to Roger Sruton.)

[MPAV:] Oh? Was Phil pulled from his house and hung from a tree by a raging band of homosexuals recently and I some how missed it?

I guess you are alright with trying to muzzle someone, then. Clearly, that is within the bounds of criticism. They made charges, and demanded action. What could possibly be wrong with that?

The quote was accurate in that it conveyed his obvious meaning. You are wrong. Again I say that people can decide for themselves.

You simply do not get it. By mangling the quote without any sort of attribution, you tried to eliminate for everyone else their ability to decide for themselves what Robertson meant. I can’t think of any case where that is OK; I’m reasonably certain that in any kind of an academic environment, you would get to do a rug dance for doing so.

[GiT:] Skipper’s offered interpretation is actually racist. It claims white and black sharecroppers, though identically situated during Jim Crow, were differently impacted by the Great Society. Since the only distinct thing between the two is the color of their skin, well, guess what’s being asserted as the key causal factor.

That would indeed be racist, if I said, or thought, that the only difference was skin color. I don’t think it is, and neither does Robertson. I think government welfare policies as directed towards blacks actively undermined black family structure.

You may disagree with the cause, but that it has happened seems obvious enough.

And most of us think this is a mis-representation of the experiences of Black sharecroppers (regardless of what you think Rebecca Skloot’s book demonstrates about said experience)

I see no one has countered my impression of the book. Perhaps the mis-representation is in your mind, not his.

[bt:] Here I go again, yes / no questions for Hey Skipper:

Do I believe blacks were better off under Jim Crow? Perhaps you can spend some time discussing murder rates, generational unemployment, illegitimacy, crime. Then you can tell me.

Do I think gays are going to hell? I have said I’m an atheist at least twice. Really, it can’t be that hard to figure out.

Do I believe if black people were more godly …? Epic point missing. Their godliness isn’t at issue, the depredations of dependency are.

And no, it isn’t censorship to disagree with anyone’s statements. But attempting to make them truckle to your beliefs isn’t censorship, it is the totalitarian mind in action.

[Plume:] Wrong. Tens of millions of Catholics disagree with his version.

Then I am sure you can provide some basis for that, other than on account of your say so.

Besides, doctrinal Catholicism (pardon the redundancy, but you seem to need it) and Robertson’s summary are pretty much identical.

[John Holbo:] If rural African-Americans weren’t fleeing the South because of Jim Crow or anything like that – because it wasn’t a major problem except in cities – then why were they fleeing at all?

IIRC, during that time, mechanization was greatly reducing the amount of farm labor required. Most growth in industrial jobs occurred in the North. Just as many whites left farms for the cities, so did many blacks. That is why blacks moved north — there was no Southern counterpart to Detroit, for instance — and whites didn’t move south.

After all, its not as if there wasn’t plenty of racism to be had in the north.

515

Mao Cheng Ji 01.10.14 at 8:41 am

Ed “Also, is this the same Mao of the defense of Palestinians?”

I don’t defend Palestinians. I don’t even know what it means, to defend Palestinians. It’s very similar to what dsquared said recently: one gets annoyed by seemingly rational people defending (massively) an anachronistic occurrence of settler colonialism and painting it as a respectable (sometimes even admirable) situation, presenting armed to the teeth colonialists as righteous victims, and so on. One feels an urge to protest.

And it’s something similar here: one is annoyed by what one perceives as dogmatic ritual denunciations. This is what is going on here, for the most part. If you said something like: ‘I have no idea if the guy is racist or not, but it certainly sounds like he’s exaggerating black sharecroppers’ happiness, when making his point’, it’d be over.

516

Mao Cheng Ji 01.10.14 at 9:17 am

John, I think racism often is a product of a (statistical) gap in economic status. Self-enforcing, of course, in a vicious circle, but in this order nevertheless: first the gap, then racism. Identifiable members of a group that is much poorer than the average are suspect (also for a much richer group, but in a different way). Even those of them who are not poor themselves are suspect, because they are probably connected somehow to the low-class environment, or just by unconscious association with the main group. You don’t want them in your store, in your house, dating your daughter.

But where the economic status is equal (‘white trash’ (the slur indicative of racism, of course, by whites against whites) and black sharecroppers working the same field), there, I think, racist attitudes would have to weaken gradually. The urban and suburban environments (with their steep hierarchy, from ghettos to fancy penthouses) aggravate, the rural environment softens.

Would this work?

517

John Holbo 01.10.14 at 9:47 am

“But where the economic status is equal (‘white trash’ (the slur indicative of racism, of course, by whites against whites) and black sharecroppers working the same field), there, I think, racist attitudes would have to weaken gradually.”

Well, it works in the sense that it might be true on counter-earth. I don’t see that it leads to any logical contradiction. However, it is historically false on our earth, unless the historians are all wrong (I’m not sure whether that matters to you. Perhaps it’s enough for your purposes that there could be some counter-earth, meeting your description.) On our earth, a key aspect and function of race ideology, in the South, was driving a wedge in particular between poor whites and poor blacks. Being white was all you had, if you were poor and white. So you would cling to that like grim death. Despite that, it was a source of concern to rich whites that the dynamic might go the way you assume it would tend to. So there was an inordinate amount of ideological – and every other sort that was handy – pressure applied to that point in particular. And it worked. (I can’t speak for counter-earth, of course.)

Skipper, you are still falling into the time-travel trap. Welfare might explain why everyone was wretched and godless by the mid-60′s. But it can’t explain why African-Americans – especially poor ones – were happy and grievance-free under Jim Crow. But the latter is the striking data point Robertson asserts. So he can’t be making a point about the bad effects of welfare (although I do not deny for a moment that he believes in the bad effects of welfare.)

518

John Holbo 01.10.14 at 9:48 am

My wife is going to make fun of me!

519

GiT 01.10.14 at 9:58 am

“That would indeed be racist, if I said, or thought, that the only difference was skin color. I don’t think it is, and neither does Robertson. I think government welfare policies as directed towards blacks actively undermined black family structure.”

Well then, please present some evidence that Great Society welfare was targeted towards black share croppers in a way that it was not targeted toward white share croppers. They all selected on income (or urban/rural, for some programs), not race. Go ahead and point us to the provisions of these acts which were racially targeted.

Not much in the way of racial targeting going on other than affirmative action and busing.

In any case it’s good to see that you’re not even trying to defend the ridiculous notion that your “interpretation” and arguments have any textual basis in the Robertson quote. Just your own, incoherent version of the Moynihan Report.

You do realize the Moynihan Report, fingering the flaws of black family structure as the cause of black poverty, came out in 1965, right? Doesn’t really fit with the whole, ‘war on poverty caused the ideal Jim Crow era black family to disintegrate’ line. ‘The decline of black family structure in the Jim Crow era proves that post-Jim Crow welfare policy ruined black family structure’. The arrow of time is a tricky thing.

520

Mao Cheng Ji 01.10.14 at 10:38 am

“So there was an inordinate amount of ideological – and every other sort that was handy – pressure applied to that point in particular.”

Sounds plausible. Still, since you don’t dispute the countervailing dynamic of the day-to-day personal interactions, that should’ve affected the the environment, race relations. Here, on this earth.

521

Ronan(rf) 01.10.14 at 11:17 am

“And it’s something similar here: one is annoyed by what one perceives as dogmatic ritual denunciations. This is what is going on here, for the most part. If you said something like: ‘I have no idea if the guy is racist or not, but it certainly sounds like he’s exaggerating black sharecroppers’ happiness, when making his point’, it’d be over.”

Skipper was the fifth comment on this. No one said anything, really, before Skipper jumped in here all self righteously spewing stupidity. Its actually rarely the ‘anti racists’ (or for a more accurate description, those who hold a conventional, supportable view of history) who get worked up about this stuff, it’s the other group, the ones who just have these ridiculous, completely wrong opinions that they feel everyone else should hear and agree with.

522

MPAVictoria 01.10.14 at 11:20 am

“MPAVictoria-
You need to pay attention better.”

Could be. Another possibility is that your…. florid writing style is difficult to understand.

523

Ronan(rf) 01.10.14 at 11:24 am

roys 491 is pretty funny though, if anyone missed it
the money quote, as they say

“Anal sex isn’t “natural”. And nor are automobiles, tooth fillings, or sonograms.
Guys with moustaches lipstick rouge and tight leather hotpants are not going to feed a hungry tribe by procuring wild game, but so what? We have factory farms teeming with undead animals to gorge ourselves upon”

524

MPAVictoria 01.10.14 at 11:28 am

“I guess you are alright with trying to muzzle someone, then.”

No one has the right to a tv show Skippy.

/and round and round we go.

525

MPAVictoria 01.10.14 at 11:55 am

“Anal sex isn’t “natural””

This isn’t even true! People have been having anal sex for about as long as there has been people. It is just as natural as any other sexual act.

526

Ronan(rf) 01.10.14 at 12:05 pm

He has a point about hotpants though, which (iirc) is what happened to the Neanderthals?

527

GiT 01.10.14 at 12:07 pm

“No one has the right to a tv show Skippy.”

It’s an odd world Skipper lives in. You’re entitled to a TV show, and you’re also entitled that no one “insist” on anything to you. Free speech ends somewhere before insistence. Perhaps at “strongly suggesting”. And apparently somewhere there’s a movement to literally prevent Robertson from holding particular beliefs. I guess the pink mafia are using their mind rays to control Phil’s thoughts.

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