Monday’s Forum

Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    8 dead in the Dallas mall and now this:Eight dead in Texas after car drives into crowd outside migrant center

    Shelter director Victor Maldonado told the Associated Press that upon reviewing the shelter’s surveillance footage, he saw an SUV run a light and plow into the crowd of people who were at the bus stop. The majority of those who were injured or killed were Venezuelan men.

    “What we see in the video is that this SUV, a Range Rover, just ran the light that was about a hundred feet away and just went through the people who were sitting there in the bus stop,” Maldonado said.

    Sandoval said the driver was arrested and booked on a count of reckless driving. More charges are likely to be filed in what officers suspect may have been an intentional act, Sandoval added.

    “It can be three factors,” Sandoval told the Associated Press. “It could be intoxication; it could be an accident; or it could be intentional. In order for us to find out exactly what happened, we have to eliminate the other two.”

    He added that the driver was transported to a nearby hospital for injuries he sustained after the car rolled over and that no passengers were with him.

    “He’s being very uncooperative at the hospital, but he will be transported to our city jail as soon as he gets released,” said Sandoval, adding that the detained driver had given officers several different names. “Then we’ll fingerprint him and [take a] mug shot, and then we can find his true identity.”

    The Ozanam Center is the only overnight shelter in Brownsville and manages the release of thousands of migrants from federal custody, and it offers free transportation for migrants.

    “In the last two months, we’ve been getting 250 to 380 a day,” Maldonado told the Associated Press, adding that even though the shelter can hold up to 250 migrants, many who arrive also leave on the same day.

    “Some of them were on the way to the bus station, because they were on their way to their destination,” he said.

    I guess Texas heard Serbia’s challenge and replied, “Hold mah beer, watch this!”

  2. CSK says:


    Oh, and there was a shooting aboard a Dallas rapid transit train. Two injured, one dead.

  3. ptfe says:

    @CSK: Guess he took the words right out of your mouth

  4. CSK says:



  5. Sleeping Dog says:


    Ah, but it’s god’s will…

  6. Neil Hudelson says:

    After roughly three years and two months of this pandemic thing, our house has finally gotten hit with COVID for the first time (that we know of). My wife brought it back with her from a trip to Florida for a bachelorette party. A day and a half of snuggling with the kids, bath times, dinners, marital relations–lots and lots of exposure, in other words–yet luckily she is the only one to test positive. Vaccines, man, they work.

  7. Mikey says:

    @Neil Hudelson: Wait a day or two and test yourself again. My wife tested positive on a Sunday, but I didn’t until the following Thursday.

    Hopefully your wife has a mild and uneventful case.

  8. CSK says:

    This is interesting, and not just for the writers among us:

  9. MarkedMan says:

    Over the weekend there was a post and discussion about the Catholic Church’s position on the Ukraine/Russia conflict, and it got me thinking. Years ago I accepted that what people and organizations say means virtually nothing and the only way to evaluate them is what they actually do. When you go in with this attitude their actions usually make much more sense. The Catholic Church talks about Christianity and promoting Christ-like behavior, but their actions for 16o0 years is a fairly simple and straight forward effort to gain and hold political power. Their attitude towards the Russian conflict makes no sense if their purpose had anything to do with Christianity, but is completely predictable if you view them as a non-State political force intend on building up their power and influence by alligning themselves with State level actors.

    We often discuss here the motivations of this or that political party or individual, with frequenting hooting and pointing at all the “hypocrisy”, but that’s only because we evaluate them on their verbally expressed values. Joe Manchin’s voting pattern makes no sense with regard to what he says he stands for, but if you view him as a moderately corrupt back room politician with his own inherited wealth and whose actions revolve around staying in power so he can best protect him and his buddys, his actions are completely understandable. And we’ve all long observed that the Republicans talk about fiscal conservatism or small government doesn’t in any way, shape or form match their actions when they are in power. That’s because all that is just talk. Their actual agenda is to promote the interests of their wealthiest patrons and to distract from that by sowing discord and setting groups against each other. Almost everything they do makes perfect sense when you start from that propsition.

  10. Scott says:

    As a volunteer docent at the local zoo, I had to handle snakes.

    Never got comfortable with that job.

    This would be a nightmare to me.

    A Colorado mom spent her life savings to buy her first house. Days after she moved in, she found 10 snakes living in the home’s walls

    A woman found snakes in the walls of her new home in Centennial, Colorado, per Denver7 News.

    42-year-old Amber Hall found 10 snakes in less than two weeks.

    She spent more than $1,000 to hire a snake wrangler to humanely remove the snakes.

    A woman was shocked to discover that her new four-bedroom, two-bathroom home in Centennial, Colorado, was infested with snakes, per Denver7 News on May 3.

    In less than two weeks, Amber Hall found 10 snakes slithering within the walls of her garage.

  11. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: I think twenty years from now it will be generally accepted that we are living in a time of ne0-puritanism where society rigidly proscribes thought and behavior. I’m anxiously waiting for the ne0-Enlightenment. Or at least the neo-Flapper Age.

  12. Sleeping Dog says:


    I guess no one will ever again be able to write a coming of age story about two adolescents, best friends from kindergarten, one black one white and tell the tale from both perspectives as to how their relationship changed. No more fiction about marriages etc.

  13. CSK says:


    If it’s starting with fiction, it will creep into everything.

    @Sleeping Dog:

    I was wondering who’d be permitted to write about interracial marriages. The black spouse or the white spouse?

  14. Tony W says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I have been using this site lately to keep track:

    Only in America do we need to crowdsource reporting on mass shootings.

    My hope is that before I die, some tiny progress is made in this area.

  15. MarkedMan says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Publisher’s have long shied away from “difficult” works, but what is considered difficult has changed. While I empathize with North-Patterson’s plight, part of his distress is simply finding out that a guy who has been not only a best selling author but an airport-convenience-store-best-selling-author (the ultimate in “best selling”-ness) suddenly finds his work being considered difficult. But lots of authors throughout history have found themselves on the wrong side of this equation, for all kinds of different reasons.

    As a side note, I wonder if the reasons for publisher’s shying away from his work are as clear cut as they seem. It seems to me that airport convenience store levels of sales must surely mean attracting a very diverse audience. So he just wrote a book that the anti-woke crew won’t want to read, and that will also be attacked by the racial puritans. Publishers might feel that what sales are left aren’t worth the promotion and advance payment that a North-Patterson book commands.

  16. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK:Nowadays, there more and more works that can only be described as modern versions of the medieval morality plays, the ones where the characters had names like “Purity”, “Virtue”, “Sloth” and “Avarice” and behaved exactly as you would expect them to act?

  17. gVOR08 says:

    John Cole at Balloon Juice says,

    I am sick to death of watching the coverage of mass shootings on television, and I have decided that one of two things needs to happen:

    1.) We stop fucking covering it, because clearly Republicans do not give a fuck and will not be shamed into doing he right god damned thing.

    2.) We start really covering it and start showing the bodies and the blood and gore. No more blurring shit out. Show them what fucking guns do to a toddler. Let them live with that fucking image in their brains.

    They will stop covering it. At some point multiple victim shootings won’t be newsworthy. Also I see a disturbing trend toward conservatism in the supposedly liberal MSM, particularly NYT and WAPO.

  18. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Scott: You know, I really want to know now: what kind of snakes?

    It matters. Growing up, our yard (not our house, to be fair) was full of garter snakes. I’d see one or two every day. It was maybe scary when I was 5, but by the time I was 10, it was funny, and by the time I was 15, no big deal. The snakes would lay on the asphalt driveway and sometimes get run over by cars. Or get run over by the lawnmower – this was undesirable because it gummed things up.

    So, if the snakes were rattlesnakes – then yes, that’s a big, big problem. If they were some other smallish, rodent eater, then well, I’d be less concerned. And uhh, snakes in the walls can’t really come out of the toilet.

  19. gVOR08 says:
  20. gVOR08 says:

    @gVOR08: Dang. This trick of posting another comment always gets me Edit. I wanted to add the above Reply link to@gVOR08: . Well, it almost always works. No Edit for Geevor today. Is it maybe phase of the moon?

  21. CSK says:


    Another blank answer. It must be catching.

  22. Kathy says:


    Well, since Republiqans are so hung up on prayer after every gun massacre, I think it appropriate then to as them about their prayers.

    For instance: Senator Cruz, do you pray God will forgive you for not doing anything at all to help reduce or ameliorate the incidence of gun massacres and the deaths of so many innocent, law-abding citizens, including children, when you have the power to do so?

  23. MarkedMan says:

    @MarkedMan: Why oh why does autocorrect add an apostrophe almost every time I make something plural?!

  24. Sleeping Dog says:


    Forget about interracial marriages, this categorization, taken to its logical extreme, would say that you, as a female, couldn’t write about a man’s perspective in a marriage. And I have a vague recollection from about 30 or so years ago, a want-to-be writer, a woman, informed me that men writing from a women’s perspective was illegitimate, but it was OK for women to write male characters. For the life of me, I can’t remember her name. Wish I could, so that I could see if she ever got published.

  25. Jen says:

    @CSK: This is EXACTLY what I was getting at some earlier point in time when we were discussing American Dirt. I noted that Chris Bohjalian had authored a book years ago from a trans perspective and I wondered if that would even get published now. I guess I have my answer.

    I enjoyed reading Mad Honey, but I don’t think that author collaboration on every piece that tackles a topic will work.

    Hopefully this will be short-lived.

  26. Franklin says:

    @MarkedMan: And why does it put an apostrophe in were only when you don’t want it?

    Seemingly, at least. I mean, it does seem to use some history so I don’t have to keep correcting my own real name, which uses a less common spelling. But I’ve never bothered to learn about the world’s most annoying algorithm.

  27. Kylopod says:

    The other day Ted Cruz posted a fundraising text against his potential Democratic opponent in the 2024 Senate race, Collin Allred, except the photo he used wasn’t of Allred–it was of Alvin Bragg.

    I have to say that this might be one of the most extreme examples I’ve ever encountered of “They all look alike to me.” The two men don’t look even remotely similar, and it’s especially striking given that Allred is a well-recognized celebrity.

    Frankly, I don’t believe for a second this was an unintentional error on Cruz’s part. I think it’s more in the category of those ads which darken the skin of a black candidate–it’s a direct appeal to the racist views of Cruz’s voting base. He’s trying to associate Allred in their mind with the hated Bragg simply because the two are black.

  28. CSK says:


    The novel Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eumenides, won the Pulitzer Prize in 2002 and was a huge bestseller. It’s about an intersex individual named Cal. Eumenides is not intersex himself.

    Would Middlesex be published now 21 years later?

  29. Modulo Myself says:

    James Hannaham published Didn’t Nobody Give A Shit What Happened To Carlotta last year. It’s about a trans woman who gets out of prison and returns to the neighborhood she left before she transitioned. He’s not trans and it was up for a bunch of awards, so I guess it’s fine.

    My memory of Middlesex is that it felt inauthentic and sensationalized being intersex as a theme, both of which would probably not go over well now for obvious reasons. That book seemed rather overmarketed and maybe one of the last of its kind to go big. I also remember being bored, but Eugenides has always been lame to my tastes.

    Re: Richard North Patterson–technically speaking, he’s not a writer and his audience can’t readers and the books aren’t books. Whatever calculations were made were bottom-line for an audience which is at the level of Harlequin romance.

  30. daryl and his brother darryl says:


    2.) We start really covering it and start showing the bodies and the blood and gore. No more blurring shit out. Show them what fucking guns do to a toddler. Let them live with that fucking image in their brains.

    I’ve been saying this for sometime.
    The ONLY way anything changes is if the carnage becomes real, and not some abstract idea that can be wished away by the hopes and prayers of NRA sponsored Congress-critters.

    “The first girl I walked up to … I felt for a pulse, pulled her head to the side, and she had no face.”

    If you want real change just show the American people that little girl with her face blown off by an assault rifle.
    Show the kids at Uvelde who had to be identified thru DNA.
    Then watch how loud the gun fetishists scream.
    I understand that doing this would be incredibly painful for the families of the victims, but better that these kids don’t die for nothing.

  31. MarkedMan says:

    @MarkedMan: As if on cue, here is an editorial by David French in the Times (no subscription needed) that illustrates how ridiculous it is to accept people’s professed motivations at face value. He spends most of it rending his garments over how Christians could have been led astray by Tucker Carlson. But aside from the fact that they call themselves Christians, what evidence is there that any of Carlson’s followers are or ever were Christians?

  32. MarkedMan says:


    And why does it put an apostrophe in were only when you don’t want it?

    Too true! I’m a bad enough speller as it is. I don’t need autocorrects help to make it worse!

  33. Mister Bluster says:

    I just found another shed snakeskin in the bathroom last week. It wasn’t 18 inches. The last shed skin I found a year or so ago by the kitchen sink faucet handles was at least 6 feet. I have seen several snakes in my old trailer house over the years. Maybe three or four. Some I have been able to escort out but several get behind the refrigerator or the stove or a bookcase. I just let them be. They found their way in, they can find their way out. Maybe they will catch a mouse and earn their keep.

  34. Stormy Dragon says:


    The article presents its flaw in the first couple of paragraphs:

    Nor did such Americans as Mark Twain, Upton Sinclair, Stephen Crane, and Tom Wolfe shrink from novels that examined race and class.

    When Mark Twain wrote about race, he didn’t presume to try and get inside Jim’s head and portray what the experience of being a slave was like, because Twain knew he had no idea what being a slave was like. He wrote about it from the viewpoint of a young white boy, an viewpoint he did have direct experience with.

  35. Michael Reynolds says:

    One of the several reasons I got in trouble with the YA community was by pointing out like 8 years ago that this would happen. You didn’t have to be Nostradamus. I also pointed out that Lefty book-banning would leave us weak in the face of the inevitable Right-wing book banning. And that trigger warnings were more likely to be harmful than helpful. (Since confirmed by actual research).

    I also ‘prophesied’ that CRT – which everyone kept reassuring me in loud all cap voices was just a college thing – would be in public schools very quickly and cause a Right-wing meltdown and fuel the book-banning push. Happened faster than I thought it would.

    The one thing Right and Left agree on is that we must do all we can to discourage kids from reading.

  36. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    I knew you’d be along to offer something clueless. Too bad you were not around to cancel the seminal American novel before it could be published. Think of all the many great works of literature and of course movies, TV, songs you could have prevented with your ignorant, stick-up-your-ass Puritanism.

    Shakespeare was none of the characters he wrote about. Not a king, not a prince, not young girl, not a madwoman. Not even Italian. Or Danish. And if you tell me, ‘but they were all White,’ I’m gonna have to call you a moron, and I am resisting that.

  37. Mister Bluster says:

    Is there some final authority as to who is a Christian?
    If someone tells me that they are a Christian I do not argue with them and say that they are not.
    I am not a Christian. I am not one to be the arbiter of their claim.

  38. CSK says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Sure, but Huckleberry Finn has been banned by one group or another ever since it was first published. Public commissioners in Concord, Mass., banned it on the grounds that it was “racist, coarse, trashy, inelegant, irreligious, obsolete, inaccurate, and mindless.”

  39. MarkedMan says:

    @Mister Bluster: I’m not the final arbiter of classical ballet either, but that doesn’t mean that if a linebacker calls himself a ballerina I have to accept him at his word.

    It’s a free country, and they can call themselves Christians if they like. But Christ left behind pretty explicit instructions and they aren’t making any attempt to follow any of them, and their actions and words make that obvious.

  40. grumpy realist says:

    Grace Bumbry, the opera singer, just died. R. I. P. for a woman with a fantastic voice. I still have her performance of Gluck’s Orfeo.

  41. CSK says:

    @grumpy realist:

    She was spectacular. RIP.

  42. gVOR08 says:

    @MarkedMan: Rather like conservatives, who are in no way conservative per dictionary usage. Except the part dictionaries often add to the effect of ‘follower of a political party calling itself conservative.’ The Republican party is generally thought of as conservative, and calls itself so. Republicans are actually reactionaries, but they’re the only conservative party we’ve got. And they’re what we have to deal with as conservatives.

    And like all conservatives, they’re defending the wealth and power of the currently wealthy and powerful, even though they don’t realize it. I mean, elect a New York billionaire as the defender of blue collar white people against the elites? Say what?

  43. Sleeping Dog says:


    I took from French’s essay, that among individuals that he has considered good Christians, that they are ignoring the broad Christian teaching to be MAGAts and he has generalized that across the broader group of MAGAts that claim to be Christians.

  44. MarkedMan says:


    Rather like conservatives, who are in no way conservative per dictionary usage.

    I mostly agree, but would add that there is no meaningful definition of “Conservative”, “Liberal” or “Progressive” that is generally accepted.

  45. Kathy says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Is there some final authority as to who is a Christian?

    Not a real one.

  46. CSK says:


    The support of the MAGAs for Trump has nothing to do with policy or ideology. It has to do with Trump being a churl and a vulgarian, i.e., a real American, unlike those RINO globalists who’ve acquired the ability to speak proper English and behave like civilized beings.

    And he’s so good at owning the libs, of course.

  47. CSK says:

    NBC has identified the man who rammed his SUV into a crowd of migrants, killing eight of them, as George Alvarez. He has an extensive rap sheet.

  48. just nutha says:

    @CSK: Interestingly enough, the parallel topic do white Anglo readers have the right/ability to critique/discuss literature from other cultures took up the final chapter of my MA thesis.

  49. CSK says:

    @just nutha:

    What was your conclusion?

  50. just nutha says:

    @Kathy: He will answer that he has no responsibility to prevent others from breaking the law but that he does hold a responsibility to protect the rights of those who obey it.

  51. just nutha says:

    @Modulo Myself: Re: Richard North Patterson
    WA! That was harsh! Not that I can judge. I don’t buy books at the supermarket.

  52. Modulo Myself says:

    @just nutha:

    Well, I made a typo in it and the edit function didn’t work, so maybe the joke was on me.

    Incidentally, American writers have been debating whether white writers can write black characters forever. William Styron had defenders and critics when he wrote The Confessions of Nat Turner, and that was in the 60s. This is not a new debate, and the fact that it’s being presented as new and invented by wokeness rather than a function of race in America is due to cultural illiteracy. That said, what sucks doesn’t need to be analyzed through any lens whatsoever.

  53. just nutha says:

    @Modulo Myself: I read as negatives all along–not an author, not readers, not books. Then again, I have an expansive allowable range for what count as all three and am not a “serious literature” person (don’t let the MA in English fool you). I don’t disagree with your conclusion in your follow up comment to me BTW.

  54. just nutha says:

    @Mister Bluster: @Kathy: Normally, I would say that the direct statements attributed to the founder of the sect would represent the best possibility for a practical definition, but that just circles us back to the top of the reader response theory rabbit hole we’re already in. That makes Bluster’s conclusion about not arbitrating the wisest available choice.

    Then again, I’ve never been a fan of the whole “you’re the only Jesus most people will ever meet” concept. It seems destined to failure to me. Most of the purported authors of the NT epistles appear to agree with me given the effort they expend on encouraging people to change their viewpoints and behavior.

  55. MarkedMan says:

    @just nutha: Do you mean that you concluded it is not acceptable for white readers to critique books written by other cultures/races?

  56. Gustopher says:


    As a side note, I wonder if the reasons for publisher’s shying away from his work are as clear cut as they seem. It seems to me that airport convenience store levels of sales must surely mean attracting a very diverse audience. So he just wrote a book that the anti-woke crew won’t want to read, and that will also be attacked by the racial puritans. Publishers might feel that what sales are left aren’t worth the promotion and advance payment that a North-Patterson book commands.

    And his current publisher is likely terrified that if they do publish it, he will get the Bud Lite treatment and it will hurt the value of his entire catalog of novels, not just his current book.

  57. just nutha says:

    @CSK: After rejecting can’t read/interpret as a non-starter, and rejecting both classic reader response (the dominant mode at the time at least where I was) and reader response moderated by a (usually self-appointed) “cultural insider” as subject to contamination by bias, I was left with allowing readers to make interpretations based on assumptions that people in most societies have similar enough goals so that readers should be able to make sense of what they are reading by considering why they might take similar actions or believe similar things. Fortunately, there were scholars in rhetorical theory making that exact argument who allowed me to refine my thinking and expression.

  58. Scott says:

    @Jay L Gischer: Apparently, they are garter snakes but, by the size of them, experts believe they have been there for a long time.

  59. Gustopher says:

    @just nutha: Ouch. I’m not going to judge people for reading supermarket books, as I struggle to get through any book these days. Attention span of a golden retriever.

  60. OzarkHillbilly says:

    On the subject of snakes, we have plenty of snakes on our 12.5 acres of hill and holler, black snakes, king snakes (several species) rat snakes, ringnecks, garter snakes, timber rattlers and copperheads. When I find a venomous snake on the property, I capture it and relocate it down the road on one of the many conservation areas around here. I do it for the granddaughters. All the others I let roam as they see fit and help keep the varmint #s within reason.

    Only ever found one snake in the house. That was a copperhead in our bedroom that Miss Kitty made short work of. Not too much of a mess either. My newest Lab Billie Jean did come out on the short end of an evening meetup with a copperhead. Got a nice scar on her muzzle to show for it tho.

  61. just nutha says:

    @MarkedMan: No. I mean exactly what I said–that the question was current at the time I was writing my MA thesis and that the thesis topic required addressing it. For further information, consult my answer to CSK, above.

  62. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I also ‘prophesied’ that CRT – which everyone kept reassuring me in loud all cap voices was just a college thing – would be in public schools very quickly and cause a Right-wing meltdown and fuel the book-banning push.

    CRT was never in public schools. The right wing appropriated the name and applied it to any teaching of anything with Black people.

    (Ugh, cultural appropriation from the ivory towers of academia!)

    And the teaching of anything with Black people hadn’t really changed much either, it was just that white supremacists found more acceptable language rather than “why is my nephew learnin’ all this n-clang shit.”

    That ends up being a distinction without a difference only because the left never figured out how to counter it — but countering it would have required knowing that difference.

  63. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Scott: Which means her snake problem is secondary to her vermin problem.

  64. just nutha says:

    @Gustopher: Yeah, I’m always saddened when he comes out against teaching Amer. Hist. students in high school that while the emancipation amendments promised former slaves emancipation, the franchise, and citizenship they got sharecropping, poll taxes and literacy tests, and “separate but equal,” Jim Crow, and the Klan because conservatives crackers will get in a snit about it. But being willing to compromise with bigotry has always been a flaw in liberalism, so I’m not surprised.

  65. Jay L Gischer says:

    For the record, the person most authoritative about whether someone is Christian or not is that person. Nobody else. Christianity is defined by acceptance of certain precepts and a dedication of one’s self to work to follow those precepts. It is fundamental to Christian theology that no mortal human is going to be able to do that fully and completely without error, and that some, in fact, are going to fall far, far short.

    (I find it a bit gratifying that this particular stake in the ground aligns with my personal trans-friendly stance – which is that nobody is more authoritative about their internal sense of gender than the person in question. I say this with the knowledge that at least a few people in the grand scheme of things have got it wrong about themselves. It’s not that they are perfect at it, just that there’s nobody who is in a position to do better.)

    It is quite right, and acceptable, to point out things, as French points out such as the Greatest Commandment, and the fundamental of loving one’s enemies, and that so many have lost their way. They are lost because of the fears cultivated in them by certain parties for both the sake of power and of profit.

    The Evangelical community is being rent in two even now, torn between those who wish to keep focus on Jesus’ message and those who wish to be more focused on issues of the day, which is to say, more political. I recall reading about this recently. French’s essay is more evidence of this.

  66. Beth says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Piers Anthony wrote a book in (what the internet tells me is) 1974 called “Rings of Ice”. I read that story when I was a kid and I still have nightmares about it. Not because of the end of the world part, or the cannibalism part, but because he chose to include a character that was a “crossdresser”. In contemporary terms, this character would be trans. The two things I learned from this book were 1. geo-engineering is a bad idea, 2. being a crossdresser (or gender non-conforming if you will) is one of the worst things that can happen to you. I read that book when I was a teenager and can still feel the scar from it.

    I’m not going to feel particularly bad for your or Mr. Patterson not being able to sell a story focused on a marginalized group. The world is set up for you to tell other people’s stories and many many many many White Men got rich doing so. I’m not interested in listening to their screechy complaints or your hectoring when it doesn’t go your way. I remember the way that Piers Anthony made me feel about myself. I remember how the entire culture set itself up to destroy my hope that I could dream of one day other than being a prostitute, a murder victim, a joke or all three.

    And I know how hard is it is for anyone else to get to tell their stories when rich White men’s tears drown everyone else out.

  67. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    One of the several reasons I got in trouble with the YA community was by pointing out like 8 years ago that this would happen

    It’s a pendulum, it will swing back. Making space for authors from marginalized communities to tell their authentic stories is good, even if it means pushing a few white folks out from telling inauthentic, whitewashed versions of those stories.

    Do we think Richard North Patterson is going to write from the perspective of a Black woman fighting voter suppression as well as someone with similar writing chops who has actually faced racism and sexism? I don’t.

    (I hope everyone knows that Stacy Abrams writes romance novels under the pen name Selma Montgomery. I have no idea whether she is any good at it, it’s just a fun thing to know)

    That said, there’s a place for his watered down version — introducing fragile white folks to this experience, fragile white folks who need the training wheels of a white man’s perspective to be comfortable enough to absorb anything.

  68. Kathy says:

    A couple of hours ago I stepped out of the office for a bit, and heard the seismic alert siren go off. It was strange, as it sounded rather faint, and the siren wasn’t followed by the recorded voice saying calmly “seismic alert.”

    I looked back at the office building’s entrance. When the alert goes off, they open the garage doors to let everyone evacuate quickly. I didn’t see that. I saw someone ring the buzzer and ask to be let in, at the personnel door.

    It’s happened before that I hear something in the distance that vaguely resembles the alert siren, and I think I keep hearing it even when it’s not there. I figured it was one of those times, and began to head off on my errand.

    That’s when the garage doors opened (I’d say over a minute since I heard the alert), and people did pour out.

    I felt no tremor of any kind as we stood outside. Eventually we all went back in.

    There was no quake. The word is some kind of error during some unspecified maintenance of the alert system. It was pointed out not all the speakers were activated, which explains why I heard it so faintly, rather than loud as is common.

  69. Gustopher says:

    @just nutha: That is, perhaps, the least charitable reading of Michael’s words.

  70. CSK says:

    @just nutha:

    I’m grateful that when I was in grad school, the policy was that anybody could read whatever she or he pleased, and that the only distinctions were between great books, good books, and crap books.

    And…if white readers and critics are prevented from commenting on or praising works by Black authors, then a whole hell of a lot of Nobel Prizes, Pulitzer Prizes, American Book Awards, and favorable reviews are going to have to be retracted.

  71. Modulo Myself says:

    That ends up being a distinction without a difference only because the left never figured out how to counter it — but countering it would have required knowing that difference.

    The left has figured out how to counter it–the problem is that the answer is a bad one. It’s like parents’ rights–you just don’t hear pro-choice people agonizing over whether or not they can force their 17-year old daughter to get an abortion if she wants to keep the baby. Most normal people understand this fear is nuts and self-indulgent. Conservatives do not. This goes for everything–trans people, critical race theory, murdering people on the subway, etc.

    The left’s answer is like any answer regarding ethics or theories of the self. Politics does not make one ethical. It can enforce morality via discipline and punishment. But you can’t make adults tell the truth about what they mean, even if it’s clear that outside of politics telling the truths about one’s desires is good. I.e. politically, using Christianity as a cover for homophobia makes you unimpeachable but the consequences are different when you do this in your life.

  72. Jay L Gischer says:

    Another point on that French editorial. He says this:

    In countless personal conversations with Christians who are staunch Republicans, I heard some variation on the same plaintive question, “What do you want us to do? Hand an election to Hillary Clinton? Or to Joe Biden?”

    Yes. That’s exactly what I want you to do. That’s exactly what’s needed. That’s something that I have done, in point of fact. I stayed home, or voted third party because I thought a candidate wasn’t up to snuff.

    The only thing that forces parties to change political strategy is losing. The only thing. Until you do this, you are the abused partner in this relationship. If you are Christian, you can maybe take the point of view of you are working to God’s timeline, not the electoral one.

  73. Gustopher says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    For the record, the person most authoritative about whether someone is Christian or not is that person. Nobody else. Christianity is defined by acceptance of certain precepts and a dedication of one’s self to work to follow those precepts.

    This strikes me as a very post-Reformation thing to say. Why do you hate Catholics?*

    It is fundamental to Christian theology that no mortal human is going to be able to do that fully and completely without error, and that some, in fact, are going to fall far, far short.

    And some won’t even try, and we can see those charlatans and call them out for the frauds that they are.

    Prosperity gospel, for instance. Or those who believe that one must practice “tough love”upon the poor in a way that just lowers their own property taxes — “if we feed them, or give them shelter, that just encourages a life of dependence!”

    *: I’m not saying you’re wrong to hate Catholics, or at least the Catholic Church. As I wrote yesterday, the Catholic Church is a roughly 2,000 year old lifestyle and branding company which has at times been able to use the power of the state to crush its competition.

  74. ptfe says:

    @Gustopher: I was shaken by a “conversation” that was foisted on me at a bar late last week that laid bare this ideal. The complainant was remarking – as the Right now does – on Bud Light. One of his Strongly Held Beliefs was that black people (yes, the entire race!) were held down by welfare. He said he was born again Christian.

    In addition, he was upset that I guess the acknowledgement of trans and gay people in society was “dragging us down in the gutter with them.” Because he doesn’t judge, he just thinks it’s immoral (so, like, by definition he judges). But, of course, some of his best friends were gay! and black! or, at least, he knew some people who were. Or something. So it wasn’t racist/homophobic/transphobic, just the musings of a person who had thought long and hard while watching Tucker Carlson or something. (I asked him whether he though gay and trans people should just go back to the closet. He did not answer.)

    It was quite jarring to hear in person, and basically impossible to counter because the crux of it was a guy living in a different reality, with zero facts on his side, spouting off every weird right-wing talking point from the last 20 years and burying it in “I’m a Christian who believes in Morals!”

    Anyway, needed to put that somewhere. So there you go.

  75. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Gustopher: I would agree. Then again, I’m a little fatigued from listening to MR rant. Mostly I just shrug and move on. Today, I lashed out. I’m not sure why though.

  76. MarkedMan says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    For the record, the person most authoritative about whether someone is Christian or not is that person.

    As for the god thing, heaven/hell, etc, I’ll defer to you. But these self identified Christians are claiming more than that. They are demanding to be seen as, well, actual emulators of Christ. And no, they are not the best judges of whether they meet that criteria. They do not. In fact, for the most part they don’t seem to give Christ’s moral precepts any weight at all.

  77. CSK says:


    They have pictures of a blond, blue-eyed, fair-skinned Jesus in their kitchens.

  78. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Well that was mostly my experience in grad school, too. We were even permitted to create our own reading lists for our written exams. (I was a little surprised (but relieved) that my reading list was accepted, to be honest.) The question was mostly a pedagogical question emerging from the unique situation of starting teaching at a time when, faced with a significant migration from the Latin America, the education system was faced with the problem of how teachers were going to be able to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem. And how (or if) we would (or could or should) ask masses of unreconstructed cracker types to teach literature that revealed perspectives and situations Hispanic people faced. Fun times!

    (And just the other day, a teacher friend of mine living in Coquitlam, BC, was asking me if I understood why the schools were cluttering up the lit curriculum with all sorts of stories from foreign countries (such as The Kite Runner). And the beat goes on *and on and on and on and…* )

  79. Beth says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I’m fairly fatigued with Daddy Reynolds rants as well. I’ve got a pretty good idea why since I’ve been chewing on it for a couple days now.

  80. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: So… right after I wrote this I walked out my front door and found a 4′ black snake entering my front porch. After admiring her beatitude, I welcomed her to my humble abode.

  81. Gustopher says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Better than a 4’ Whitesnake. A little people cover band would get quite tiresome after the novelty wore off.

  82. Gustopher says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    The left has figured out how to counter it–the problem is that the answer is a bad one.

    That sounds like the left hasn’t figured out how to counter it, or at least not how to counter it effectively.

    Fundamentally, the right is about selling grievance and an idealized vision of the past — when we didn’t have to think about race, gender, gays, etc. It’s a “bigger piece of the pie”.

    And the left… they have to sell a hopeful vision of the future while simultaneously seeming like it isn’t a threat to the majority. A “more equitable piece of a larger pie, so that very few people are getting less pie.” That’s a much harder sell.

    With purely economic issues, there might be a larger pie — if we can get income and wealth inequality under control. But culturally? You kind of have to trick the white men that they are winning by losing.

    Culturally, we might need some non-hateful entertainment for white men, where minorities aren’t actively excluded, just kind of not mentioned, and where women are treated as both people and objects.

    Something that lets them feel like they are being catered to, but which doesn’t lead to a shithole of resentment. Something that they can point to with pride, and say “you folks got your rap music and your gays or whatever, but we got a new Knight Rider, so we’re all happy” or whatever.

    This is not a well thought out idea, obviously. But right now, what caters to white men is vile.

  83. grumpy realist says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Guess your bar compadre wants to get rid of the works of quite a few Nobel laureates, Shakespeare, Milton, Tolstoy, Colette, Lady Murasaki….and the Bible.

  84. Modulo Myself says:


    Yeah, I think something slipped past regular life a long time ago and we’re heading to a place where impotent dipshits will be explaining in their tedious dipshit way why the left needs to wake up and start contemplating strangling homeless people on subways. The bottom line is that Defund and gun control and everything the moderate left stands for would be extremely popular if a deity snapped its fingers and put these policies into place tomorrow minus the strife. This is just fat white dudes bred to be on their knees by their cunt daddies. Nothing more, nothing less. If you spend your life on your knees, everything is going to be shoved down your throat.

    The left’s answer–not to be on your knees–is going to be understood many dull ways by world’s most boring people. At a certain point, you have to say fuck them, and start working on an actual counterculture.