Quick Takes

A few notes from the beach.

We spent most of yesterday driving down to the Outer Banks for our first vacation as a family, so posting from me will likely be pretty light the rest of the week. But a couple of quick observations that don’t merit a post of their own.

  • Tom Nichols‘ latest column is worth a read. It’s a tale of humility and the power of social media to do good. I remember the initial controversy quite well and was mostly amused people cared, much less were offended by, Tom’s dislike for Indian food. And, in his defense, if I didn’t like spicy food or a particular spice found in the handful of Indian places I’d tried, I would draw the same conclusion he had. (I thought I hated Thai food the first time I tried it; I just don’t like some of the spices and hate coconut milk.) That there are wonderful Indian dishes available at high-end Indian joints in Manhattan may or may not be reflective of what’s available in close proximity to Providence, Rhode Island.
  • Similarly, I thought the pile-on of Michael Reynolds’ response to my post on the Fed and the Founders a bit much. His explanation for why people don’t like language scolds is doubtless useful. I myself thought “political correctness” was at best silly when it was first a thing in the 1990s. While I’ve come around so far that I’m willing to eschew “niggardly,” even though it has nothing to do with race at all, I’m sure there are lots of otherwise decent folks who will dig their heels in at being scolded for using language they’ve always used with no evil intent at all. I just don’t think the Fed memo was an example of that. But, yes, in general I think it’s both perfectly reasonable to work to shape the language and that we should use gentle persuasion rather than insults toward that end.
  • I’m a bit befuddled by President Biden’s decision to name the Pulse nightclub a national memorial. The shooting was a tragedy. But the initial story that the site was picked because it was known as a gay establishment seems not to be right. Beyond that, I think we should limit these sorts of recognitions to places like the Twin Towers or the USS Arizona—sites of attacks on the United States as a whole. If we’re going to commemorate every place where an outrageous crime was committed, we’re going to be putting up a lot of plaques. And cheapening the recognition in so doing.
FILED UNDER: Quick Takes
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. JohnMcC says:

    Have a great vacation!

  2. CSK says:

    I’ve tried to access the Nichols piece a few different ways, but it appears to be subscriber only.

  3. James Joyner says:

    @CSK: Weird. I saw the link at memeorandum and it let me in.

  4. CSK says:

    @James Joyner:
    I did finally get in via Preet Bharara’s link on Twitter.

  5. Mimai says:

    I thought the pile-on of Michael Reynolds’ response to my post on the Fed and the Founders a bit much.

    Interesting you considered that a pile-on. A quick scan yielded approximately 8 people who clearly disagreed, 2 who expressed agreement, and a few who engaged with the topic but didn’t clearly agree or disagree (I put myself in this category).

    Is that a pile-on? Seems rather mild compared to some of the other “discussions” that regularly occur around here…….many involving (directed at) you.

    [Side bar: I enjoy the fact that I’m questioning the use of “pile-on” in a post about comments to a comment about a post on language. Turtles I say.]

    3
  6. Stormy Dragon says:

    I remember the initial controversy quite well and was mostly amused people cared, much less were offended by, Tom’s dislike for Indian food.

    People weren’t offended that he didn’t like Indian food. They were offended by his assertion that it’s objectively bad and that everyone who does like Indian food are liars who just want to be PC

    Feeding in to your MR comment, you, MR and Tom all have the exact same problem: you think your personal aesthetics are somehow objectively superior and that so you can’t just have a different opinion about something. But also everyone who thinks otherwise is either lying or stupid and you make sure you go into detail about exactly how stupid and dishonest you think they are.

    Indeed, many of Dr. Joyner’s recent articles here spend a bigger chunk of their word count going into detail about how contemptuous he is of his own readers than whatever the supposed central point of the article was supposed to be.

    And then, when it turns out that people don’t react well to being called stupid or a liar to their face, you want to pull this “surprised pikachu face” routine where you pretend that every is being mean to you just for having a different opinion.

    6
  7. Lounsbury says:

    It rather objectively looks like a pile on re Reynolds. Queer to quibble about that….

    1
  8. Mimai says:

    @Lounsbury:

    Haha….guilty as charged! I am a queer quibbler. A quibbling queer.

    Perhaps prompted by an open forum topic, this phrasing makes me think of a band I used to sit in with. Really talented group. But damn were they persnickety. And they were all self-identified queers. The Quibbling Queers would have been a perfect name for the band. Damnit I hate missed opportunities like this.

    Oh, and what kind of quibbler would I be if I let your use of “objectively” pass without at least a side-eye? Or maybe you were trolling me with that……if so, I tip my hat to you.

    1
  9. Kurtz says:

    @Mimai:

    The turtles are legion.

    I have my own criticism of what Michael does on those topics. But this one is particularly galling to me, because of his frequent rants about the silliness of religion and the emptiness of conservatism.

    He throws shade at Steven’s ‘teacherly voice’ as if that has more effect than blasphemy and accusations of stupidity.

    I’m hardly neutral on the language issue, and Michael could make some valid arguemtns if he was interested in anything but bloviating.

    4
  10. James Joyner says:

    @Stormy Dragon: scrolling through the posts on the front page, I can’t think of a single one (other than the one one comment editing) that even mentions the readers.

    5
  11. Gustopher says:

    @Mimai:

    [Side bar: I enjoy the fact that I’m questioning the use of “pile-on” in a post about comments to a comment about a post on language. Turtles I say.]

    I enjoy the fact that in mentioning it as a pile-on, Dr. Joyner encourages a new pile-on, without even having to wait for the spark of Michael’s brilliance.

    @Kurtz:

    I’m hardly neutral on the language issue, and Michael could make some valid arguemtns if he was interested in anything but bloviating.

    I think there are a number of topics where Michael has written his valid arguments so many times that he has gotten bored of it, but is still passionate enough that he can’t leave it alone. And thus, rants and proclamations from on high.

    I am most amused by his dislike for singular-they (when referencing a known person). It’s not an animus towards non-binary folks, he just thinks it’s ugly and confusing and hates that the language is changing because he makes his living as a writer.

    Meanwhile, in my job as a software engineer, all the tools of my job change on a regular basis and I am constantly being asked to extend and use systems in ways that they were not originally designed for.

    6
  12. Stormy Dragon says:

    @James Joyner:

    As an example from you post yesterday: “I tend to find umbrage over longstanding words that have long since been disassociated from their original meaning rather silly.”

    You don’t mention your readers explicitly, but what is the purpose of this sentence other than to antagonize a reader who disagrees with you?

  13. Gustopher says:

    But the initial story that the site was picked because it was known as a gay establishment seems not to be right.

    The shooter spent time the night of the shooting walking between a gay nightclub and a straight one, picking his target. There are reports from his father of an anti-gay bias. There are reports of others who claim to have gone to gay nightclubs with him. There are reports from his wife that his father used to call him gay.

    What never panned out were the reports of him being on gay “dating” apps.

    The FBI concluded that there was no evidence of a prior plan to attack a gay nightclub. The decision of which to attack was made at the last moment, but given the rest, it seems very likely why he chose the Pulse at the last minute.

    If we’re going to commemorate every place where an outrageous crime was committed, we’re going to be putting up a lot of plaques

    Good time to be in the plaque business, I suppose.

    I’m reminded of the crosses by the side of the road for people killed by (drunk?) drivers. There was a brief flurry of them, to raise awareness of dead pedestrians.

    If there were a permanent mark left behind at the site of every mass shooting, would it be so easy for so many Americans to just let it be background noise?

    2
  14. Gustopher says:

    @James Joyner:

    scrolling through the posts on the front page, I can’t think of a single one (other than the one one comment editing) that even mentions the readers.

    How contemptuous!

    @Stormy Dragon: I wish we had an eye roll emoji. Instead, I will have to settle for trying that flat-mouthed one.

    😐

    (We really need a chart of Usenet smileys to emojis that this site’s creaky old software handles… with the capricious nature of the edit button, emojis are risky)

  15. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Gustopher:

    I wish we had an eye roll emoji.

    U+1F644:

  16. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    And apparently the site doesn’t support that one yet. =P

  17. reid says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Yeah, I got blocked by Nichols on twitter because I commented that he appeared to be in the habit of posting things that were inevitably going to draw a bunch of critical replies. I didn’t use the word “trolling”, but it seemed like a mild form of it. I’m sure I got caught up in a pile of reflexive blocks on his part. Which is a shame, because I liked his posts.

  18. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Gustopher:

    And yeah, I get it’s not a huge deal, I’m just trying to point out the double standard that runs through a lot of these discussions.

    Certain people use provocative language and then are surprised that people have successfully been provoked. Nichols in particular has written about how much he enjoys his “curmugedon” persona, which is to say he deliberately says things he knows in advance will upset people because he finds people getting upset to be entertaining.

    Other people who publicly express their disagreement with a viewpoint, or not even disagree but continue discussing the issue, are “piling on”, because it’s really rude for someone not on the approved list of opinion holders to be publicly expressing one.

  19. Mimai says:

    @Gustopher:

    My brain produced this in response to your comment. Thank you brain.

  20. Kurtz says:

    @Gustopher:

    I haven’t seen him make a substantive argument against the link between power and language ever. Maybe he has, but I haven’t seen it.

    I don’t buy your defense in general either. He often says a lot without saying much when the topic shifts to Lefties. And if he’s so tired of it, why post the same thing repeatedly?

    He even admitted that he bullshits regularly. But do you think if someone called out every one of his posts as an instance of him bullshitting, he wouldn’t defend every single one of them with the same infallible attitude?

    1
  21. Teve says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    People weren’t offended that he didn’t like Indian food. They were offended by his assertion that it’s objectively bad and that everyone who does like Indian food are liars who just want to be PC

    That was indeed the offensive part. Myself, when I saw it I thought, “he can’t actually be that stupid, he just tried to make a joke and fell on his face.”

    Of course, last week I had Tikka Masala once and Curry Chicken twice, and tonight I’m probly gonna make Curried Lentils, so the idea that anyone would not like Indian food is unpossible.

    4
  22. Kurtz says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    As an example from you post yesterday: “I tend to find umbrage over longstanding words that have long since been disassociated from their original meaning rather silly.”

    You don’t mention your readers explicitly, but what is the purpose of this sentence other than to antagonize a reader who disagrees with you?

    I sort of agree with this. But it seems it may be vestigial of his 90s views. Reflexes die hard.

    2
  23. Kurtz says:

    @reid:

    Skip Bayliss/Colin Cowherd Syndrome.

  24. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Gustopher: In my county, most of the crosses have been commemorations of youthful drivers who shot their cars off the road and into trees, ditches, lamp posts, guard rails, etc. driving while intoxicated. The commemorations of dead pedestrians are outraging; the commemorations of dead teenagers are merely sad. The waste of a life, and all that.

    2
  25. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker (and Gustopher–no edit for me 🙁 ):

    If there were a permanent mark left behind at the site of every mass shooting, would it be so easy for so many Americans to just let it be background noise?

    Probably. I’m reminded of the moral philosopher/wag/troll who opined that one death is a tragedy whereas a million deaths is a statistic.

    2
  26. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kurtz: Once or twice (actually more than that probably), I’ve called out MR on something that I thought was BS and he owned that it was. Not frequent, though. Mostly, especially recently, he doubles down. In some ways it’s entertaining in the same ways that Guarneri and HWMNBM used to be.

  27. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Wa! Apparently, there are more “who must not be mentioned”s than I realized.

    1
  28. Gustopher says:

    @Teve:

    the idea that anyone would not like Indian food is unpossible.

    Indian food does not like me. In fact, it seems to have turned on me and betrayed me.

    Luckily, Seattle has terrible Indian food, so if there was going to be a cuisine that was going to turn on me quite as harshly as Indian food has, I’m glad it was that one.

    (Note: If someone has found the mythical good Indian restaurant in Seattle, please let me live in ignorance… unless they deliver to Fremont, in which case, my bathroom is right there, so it might be worth the risk)

    2
  29. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: I’m not a big fan of Indian food, but I take it as a matter similar to my not liking menudo–the food or the boy band. Not something to make value judgements about others over.

  30. Lounsbury says:

    @Mimai: Queerly pedantic I suppose. Or oddly tediously pedantic but that has less a sense of panache. And while “Quibbling Queers” is a fine name, and has some panache although it uses queer in quite another sense of course.

    @James Joyner: Impressionistically you have evoked readers perhaps a bit in the past months, although the idea of contempt or anything like that is quite silly, but some of your audience take poorly to deviationism from correct attitudes and thinking.

  31. Gustopher says:

    @Lounsbury:

    Impressionistically you have evoked readers perhaps a bit in the past months, although the idea of contempt or anything like that is quite silly

    I believe it is the word “silly” that our friend @Mr. Dragon finds so contemptuous. You make it a lot more contemptuous than our friend Dr. Joyner does. You silly git.

    4
  32. Lounsbury says:

    @Gustopher: I have rather more panache than Joyner who has grey military bureaucratic tendencies in expression.

    But one really does need to be quite the special thin skinned whinger to find silly to be contemptous, or indeed that Joyner has been anything more than moderately frustrated from time to time with the hand-wringing precious Lefty segment of his readership. But then for said segment, only the right kind of open-mindedness is really acceptable, else one is quite the unacceptable deviationist. It is passing queer really.

    2
  33. Gustopher says:
  34. James Joyner says:

    @Stormy Dragon: It’s just an acknowledgment that my visceral reaction to things isn’t always aligned with my reasoned judgment. The duality of man and all that.

    Being offended by “blacklist,” which has nothing to do with race, is objectively silly. But, given how much of our society has been influenced by racial discrimination, it’s understandable that some think otherwise and, given that there’s no real harm in finding a synonym that doesn’t trigger that response, I’m inclined to think we should just go ahead and do so.

    1
  35. Kurtz says:

    @Lounsbury:

    some of your audience take poorly to deviationism from correct attitudes and thinking.

    Then why argue MR was getting piled on? That’s exactly what he’s doing. Worse, allowing that you may be correct sometimes, I don’t think it’s the case most of the time. Let me explain…

    @Stormy Dragon has a point about James using the word “silly.” But at the same time, James was talking about a very specific category of words that weren’t rooted in disdain toward an Other.

    He acknowledged that he has changed his views over time, and defended preferred pronouns, etc. @Stormy can be criticized for a hair trigger while also be kind of correct that James could have used a word that doesn’t imply worthy of instant dismissal.

    What Michael was doing is wholly different from either James or Stormy. He is entirely dismissive of something that he doesn’t seem to understand. If he did understand it, he would make substantive arguments instead of layering unsophisticated (and wrong) electoral punditry as justification for his negative assessment.

    I doubt you saw it, but the other day, I included you on a list of commenters I wish posted more. It’s because when you post substance, it’s usually something that adds perspective or something interesting I didn’t know.

    But when your contribution is “leftists do ____” it’s useless. Especially in my case, because almost everytime you referenced an argument I was making, you mischaracterized it. I will admit that I’m sometimes not as clear as I could be. But when it becomes a pattern from a responder, it becomes clear it’s reflexive. You’re better than that, and smart enough to not need to resort to sniping.

    1
  36. Kurtz says:

    @James Joyner:

    Being offended by “blacklist,” which has nothing to do with race, is objectively silly. But, given how much of our society has been influenced by racial discrimination, it’s understandable that some think otherwise and, given that there’s no real harm in finding a synonym that doesn’t trigger that response, I’m inclined to think we should just go ahead and do so.

    I was thinking about that. Maybe there is an argument to pre-empt potentially discriminatory words.

    As I noted above, I understand both sides of this particular criticism. I think silly carries a connotation of summary dismissal, and can easily be taken as provocative.

    I haven’t been here as long as most of the regulars, but I’ve read enough of your work to know that you don’t argue in bad faith. And contextually, it’s clear you’re not dismissing the importance of language.

    2
  37. Mimai says:

    @Gustopher:

    Bellevue (not Seattle…I follow instructions) used to have a really south Indian place. Though if you’re insides are that sensitive, you probably are wise not to make that trek across the water. Still though, south Indian is the best Indian.

  38. Kurtz says:

    @Mimai:

    south Indian is the best Indian

    I can attest to this. I’ve dated two women whose parents were from different parts of South India. The food was delicious.

  39. Kurtz says:

    @Mimai:

    Though if you’re insides are that sensitive, you probably are wise not to make that trek across the water.

    I can’t resist

  40. Mimai says:

    @Lounsbury:

    Queerly pedantic I suppose. Or oddly tediously pedantic.

    Oh yeah! I definitely can be those too. Though I do take some issue with the “tediously” part.

    That said, I was not being either of those in my initial comment. Rather, I asked whether “pile-on” was an apt characterization. “Pile-on” is not a neutral term. It is value laden. So, questioning James’ (implicit?) judgment that what happened was unfair (ie, a “pile-on”) is not pedantic.

    What was pedantic was my side-eye to your use of the term “objectively.” That term has a clear, ahem, objective meaning to it. Hence, your use of it to characterize what is inherently a subjective matter (ie, whether what happened was a “pile-on”) is incorrect. And my pointing that out – subtly at first, now not so much – is indeed pedantic.

    No hard feelings either way. I rather enjoy these back-and-forths…..especially when they have panache!

  41. Mimai says:

    @Kurtz:

    Good on you! I’m most familiar with Tamil cuisine. I’ve always been a sucker for rice and sauce. Am I right to suspect that your girl friends’ parents assaulted you with food?

    ps, thanks for not resisting…..that was a good scene.

  42. JohnSF says:

    @Mimai:
    Ooh-hoo, that would be fightin’ talk in Birmingham (UK).
    Local population is about 1/5th “Asian” (in British usage) and predominantly northern.
    One Sikh of my acquaintance: “Why do Karnakatans have to put coconut in everything?”

    Incidentally, the entire “Balti” variant of South Asian cuisine is actually (well, arguably) a Pakistani/Brummie hybrid. And utterly fab.

    1
  43. Lounsbury says:

    @Mimai: I did say my dear that the second has less a sense panache.

    Otherwise, I should say that academic maundering on about subjectivity is typically fairly boring in the end. But I am otherwise confident given the clever framing you have there that you are clever enough to not take any statements of a person using the word panache excessively seriously, but perhaps you can examine what parameters you may wish to put on excessive in conjunction with serious… It might well display some panache.

    @Gustopher: Why yes my dear provincial, why yes.

    @Kurtz: Why? Simply he was, silly and precious to deny it. Clear enough. Merits you maunder on about are quite another question beyond the observation of pile-on. As for better, well… I shouldn’t think so personally. Of course I don’t take blog commenting so very seriously any more.

    Of course since you lot are going on about the negative connotations of “silly” with some evident actually serious and earnest hand-wringing concern, well …. unlike wryly ironic pedantry, boring.

  44. Mimai says:

    @Lounsbury:

    Spicy! And yet tender (“my dear”). Are you south Indian by chance?

  45. Pete S says:

    Back to the first line of your post. Our last two trips to Rodanthe had to be cancelled, one for a hurricane in September of 2019 and then the makeup March Break trip in 2020 for obvious reasons. We are hoping to get back there next year

  46. Mimai says:

    @JohnSF:

    Yikes! I’ve spent enough time in your neck of the woods to know better than to get on the wrong side of a Birmingham resident…Indian descent or otherwise.

    In my defense, Aston Villa was my favorite team as a wee lad. First, because of their kit. Later, because of “ooh ahh Paul McGrath ooh ahh Paul McGrath.” Also, my dad’s side of the family traces lineage to Warwick Castle.

  47. Kurtz says:

    @Mimai:

    Yes. Food all the time.

  48. Gustopher says:

    @James Joyner:

    Being offended by “blacklist,” which has nothing to do with race, is objectively silly. But, given how much of our society has been influenced by racial discrimination, it’s understandable that some think otherwise and, given that there’s no real harm in finding a synonym that doesn’t trigger that response, I’m inclined to think we should just go ahead and do so.

    Given that 95% of things that sound a little racist end up being so much worse than expected, I think I can forgive anyone who hears “blacklist” and thinks “whitey is being racist again.” Not going to even call it silly.

    The arguments of “if you look at the etymology…” have a whiff of “well, actually, he’s an ephebophile not a pedophile.” Possibly accurate, but missing something big.

    I was going to make a joke about how soon we will have to rename Lynchburg, VA, but Wikipedia informs me:

    John Lynch, the founder of the city of Lynchburg, Virginia, was born August 28, 1740, in Albemarle County, Virginia, and died on October 31, 1820, in Lynchburg.

    […]

    Lynch’s father was Charles Lynch, who was born in Galway, Ireland, but immigrated to Virginia in 1720 and prospered. Charles Lynch married Sarah Clarke in 1733 and moved near the present site of Lynchburg. John Lynch was one of six children they had, another of whom was Charles, a judge believed to be the namesake of lynching.

    Yup, pretty much always worse than expected. (John Lynch freed his slaves during his own lifetime. But for a quirk of fate, “lynching” could have had a very different meaning)

    Ok, it’s a little funny that people have found the one thing that actually isn’t racist… How does that happen?

  49. JohnSF says:

    Incidentally, to stick a tentative toe back in the shark infested waters.

    re. my scepticism regarding CRT. A lot of people assume that’s an outlook from the “right”.
    Or that doubts about CRT as a theoretical analysis imply disregard for the realities of racism.
    In fact my main exposure to “critical theory” dates back to the 1990’s.
    Several teachers back then were highly critical of critical theory 🙁 from a left perspective; they saw it as originating in the whole Frankfurt School/Lukacs/postmodernist approach which they saw as flawed.

    Their disagreements were hardly right wing, being mostly marxist and/or communist Labour Party members
    Note: you could be communist and Labour, but not Communist and Labour; also marxist and not communist of either sort: see European marxist social democracy.
    (Though my politics don’t really match any of these categories)

    My long-winded point?
    Scepticism about CRT as an anthropological/political analysis does NOT necessarily indicate anything about said sceptics political priors.

    My argument would be CRT is based on “substructure determines ideology” concepts which are not necessary for an anti-racist politics.

    1
  50. Kurtz says:

    @Lounsbury:

    Why? Simply he was, silly and precious to deny it. Clear enough. Merits you maunder on about are quite another question beyond the observation of pile-on. As for better, well… I shouldn’t think so personally. Of course I don’t take blog commenting so very seriously any more.

    Of course since you lot are going on about the negative connotations of “silly” with some evident actually serious and earnest hand-wringing concern, well …. unlike wryly ironic pedantry, boring.

    You missed the point. Your premise was that Michael was getting piled on because he wasn’t displaying “correct thinking.” That is utter bullshit, at least in my criticism of what he’s saying.

    I find it curious that you’re engaging someone well to the left of most of the commentariat here, one who does his best to point out when those well to the right of that median have valid points yet still:

    a.) lump me in to some imaginary, smooth lefty lot;
    b.) be insulting even when we are mostly in agreement; and
    c.) engage in the same behavior you criticize without an apparent speck of self-awareness.

    Unlike most places to comment, this is a great place to learn about different views. I may be wrong, but I suspect you’re quite a bit older than I am and also quite well educated. I figured out years ago that one can learn something from anyone they meet.

    What’s your excuse for your lack of maturity in that regard? Is it excessive pride that won’t allow you to admit you’re hypocritical in your commentary? Or are you just so satisfied in your own viewpoint that begging the question is a fallacy only to be applied to others?

    1
  51. JohnSF says:

    @Mimai:
    Well, I’m a Coventry kid by origin; so Aston Villa are normally beyond the pale!
    (Won’t hold it against you, LOL)
    Then again so are any other West Midlands clubs (Coventrarians being a surly crew).
    And currently live in Bromsgrove, and Rouslers think anything north of the Lickey Hills is marked “here be dragons!”

    Warwick Castle is lovely though.
    Though my favourite local castle is Kenilworth.

  52. Kurtz says:

    @JohnSF:

    Scepticism about CRT as an anthropological/political analysis does NOT necessarily indicate anything about said sceptics political priors.

    My argument would be CRT is based on “substructure determines ideology” concepts which are not necessary for an anti-racist politics.

    Yes.

    My thought:

    I can’t speak in terms of the UK.

    In the US, part of this is two-party partisanship, and a widespread lack of understanding about the breadth of political thought. We have a seriously narrow window of politics here.

    It’s interesting you raise the issue of Marxists criticizing critical theory from the left, because commentary on this side of the Atlantic treats the M, C, and S words as if they mean one thing. Ditto Capitalism, even if the deified Founding F*&%!^s clearly didn’t understand it that way.

  53. JohnSF says:

    @Mimai:
    Well, I’m a Coventry kid by origin; so Aston Villa are normally beyond the pale!
    Then again so are any other West Midlands clubs (Coventrarians being a surly crew).
    And currently live in Bromsgrove, and Rouslers think anything north of the Lickey Hills is marked “here be dragons!”

    Warwick Castle is lovely.
    Though my favourite local castle is Kenilworth.

  54. JohnSF says:

    @Kurtz:
    I’ve said before: from an older Europeans point of view, American politics is odd .
    I’ve been known to tease American “conservatives” that from our POV they’re no such thing, but a weird variant of liberal (plus lotsa other stuff evangelical/race/Sumner/Spencer/”businessism”: more joke than analysis 🙂
    Let alone US “conservatives” conflation of socialism, marxism, communism, social democracy, syndicalism, the labour movement, radical liberalism, distributism etc into a mush of “damn pinkos”.
    I vaguely recall an anecdote about a British Labour politician in the 1950’s visiting the southern USA and being enduring public speechifying on the the virtues of NATO and the evils of socialism, and asking an aide “Do you think we should tell them about Clause 4?”
    C4 being then part of the British Labour Party constitution:

    To secure for the workers by hand or by brain the full fruits of their industry and the most equitable distribution thereof that may be possible upon the basis of the common ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange, and the best obtainable system of popular administration and control of each industry or service.

    Not to mention the number of times I’ve seen some Trumpublican refer to Angela Merkel as a “socialist” when the CDU are mainstream European conservatives; their name “Christian Democrats” is a pretty huge clue!

    2
  55. JohnSF says:

    Hmm. Replicating comments. Most odd.

  56. Hal_10000 says:

    I didn’t comment but agreed with Michael’s comment. Last summer was a perfect example of how the Left has lost the plot. A moment when the whole country was briefly behind BLM. And we used it to … get rid of a few statues and rename a few things. Precisely because the statues and names things got Republicans foaming at the mouth and getting the other side foaming at the mouth seems to be the end goal of 90% of politics these days.

    3
  57. Kurtz says:

    @JohnSF:

    Hehe. I grew up in the Deep South and to that I attribute being able to navigate between the different viewpoints. But even then, it took a couple people pulling me aside and pointing out persons whose minds they knew I respected might believe the thing I just treated with disdain.

    I still slip into that sometimes. But I do think it’s deserved if two conditions are met:

    Tonally overcharged rhetoric
    Apparent ignorance of the object under assault

    But that’s the salient reason for me to engage here. If I just read on my own, my ability to truly engage with the world would likely be compromised.

  58. Kurtz says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Maybe. But does that assume substantive reform was really on the table? To ask a slightly different question, does that assume a certain model of political capital that requires a price model that doesn’t exist?

    I’m skeptical that statues would truly be the reason that people turned away. Images of burning buildings…?

    Ray Rice knocks out Janay. A few murmurs in the crowd. Video appears. Massive outcry followed by action.

    Kaepernick sits. A few murmurs in the crowd. He engages a former Green Beret who suggests kneeling. But instead of being behind the standing players, he’s next to them. Massive outcry followed by CK being blac- (ahem) informally restricted from further employment by any NFL team.

    1
  59. Mimai says:

    @Hal_10000:

    And we used it to … get rid of a few statues and rename a few things.

    Lots of focus on statues and names…..you’ll get no argument from me on that. There have been other changes that you probably consider more meaningful. Here’s some on police reform alone.

    Caveat 1: correlation != causation
    Caveat 2: dated Oct 2020

    getting the other side foaming at the mouth seems to be the end goal of 90% of politics these days.

    Because it’s so simple. And easy. And most of all – effective!

  60. Gustopher says:

    @Lounsbury: I assume you are also Tyrell. No human anywhere uses language like that naturally.

    Now, if you combine your personas, then you will be onto something. Ridiculous parody of upper class English git in Mayberry.

    “We’ve only had three cases of covid in our county, and none were amongst the better classes, so I don’t see what all the fuss is about. I support masks for those people though — I’d rather not see their faces. The cost of imported dishwashing detergent is so high these days we’ve just been throwing out the China after each use. Opioid addicts are going through our refuse, I haven’t seen anything like that since Shanghai at the height of the Empire — silly gits, I shall release the corgis on them.”

    4
  61. Jax says:

    @Gustopher: I actually read all that in the most over-the-top British accent I could come up with. 😛

    1
  62. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    you think your personal aesthetics are somehow objectively superior and that so you can’t just have a different opinion about something.

    OFLTOG – if there was ever a “speck in someone else’s eye” moment, that was it. The whole pushback, IMO, was basically premised on “how dare you question progressive sacred cow #9958765-J2?!?!?! Heresy!! Heresy!!” 🙄

    Sometimes I wonder if you folks truly perceive how smug and obnoxious, truly obnoxious, all of that can be. The reaction speaks to his point, and underlines it, far more strongly than the arguments presented refute it.

    4
  63. @Hal_10000:

    Last summer was a perfect example of how the Left has lost the plot.

    I think people, including MR and you in this case, well over-estimate the degree to which “the Left” can control “the plot.”

    Do I think that “defund the police” was a super smart phrase? No. Do I think it cost the Dems some votes? Maybe (but I haven’t looked at any analysis thereof).

    (Anecdotally, the only people I have heard complain about “defund the police” are from people who were going to vote GOP no matter anyway, but I fully acknowledge that proves nothing).

    More importantly, do I wish (and I use that word very deliberately) that last summer had been 100% peaceful (i.e., no property damage, no looting, etc.). Of course, but there is no one controlling the plot, and human beings are messy.

    Beyond that, I think it is incorrect to conflate a style guide at the Fed with all of that stuff, at least in the way it was done in that other thread, and perhaps you are doing now, because it strikes me as bait-and-swith. In other words, while there is a connection between “defund” and the style guide (both are about language), it is actually harder to argue against a style guide, so to make the case one has to expand the argument to some huge other thing.

  64. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    You’re seemingly missing the point. If the modern day progressive movement, and by association its perceived political arm the Democratic Party, has one overriding failing, it is abysmal messaging. It consistently picks hills like these smug word replacements to die on which not only undermine(if not actively solidify opposition to) what it’s ostensibly trying to accomplish, they also actively antagonize the very segments of society they need if they’re to build the coalitions necessary to bring those goals into reality.

    MR had a very good point that got buried in the garment rending – the DP and progressives seem to be sure in the belief that demographics will save them and eventually deliver the holy land, therefore they can be as smug & obnoxious as they like in the meantime with little to no thought about the short term ramifications. You do not win elections by insinuating that large chunks of the electorate are, by turns, either stupid, racist, antiquated, or some combination of the above – even if in reality they are.

    The DP barely, and I do mean barely, won control of the Senate in 2020, and I’d argue did so solely thanks to amplified turnout because of a uniquely horrific incumbent. Keep up the alienation and attitude of superiority, and 2022 won’t be a simple off year loss – it will be a drubbing.

    2
  65. Kurtz says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    I’ve expressed agreement, and provided studies and analysis, that more or less agrees with what you and MR are saying about leaving race out of messaging of policy proposals.

    But Steven is right about controlling the narrative. We are discussing the protests last summer, that included an absurd number of people. Well more than the ~60k Sherman had to burn Georgia from Atlanta to sea. Yet, we still have to fight back against a narrative that claims cities lost huge swaths of territory to Antifa and that whole cities were burned to the ground.

    The issue with your point isn’t that Dems lose control of a narrative. It’s that the authors of the competing narrative have exactly one standard guiding contruction and it ain’t adherence to reality.

  66. @HarvardLaw92: I agree that messaging matters. I do think, though, that in these conversations there is a whooole lot of conflation going on. Note above the reference was to “the Left” and, further, a lot of this broader conversation is not the Democratic Party, per se, but a lot of disparate, loosely aligned, groups.

    But you are making a serious overall error in terms of trying to link this as directly as you are to electoral outcomes because you (and MR and a lot of others) talk like the playing field is level and therefore any drubbing is the result of messages being equally weighed.

    As I repeatedly note, that’s not true.

    1
  67. EddieInCA says:

    @Teve:

    I eat Chicken Korma, at least twice a week. With garlic naan, basmati, and a vegetable samoza for an appetizer.

  68. Lounsbury says:

    @Gustopher: What? I don’t know who Tyrell is but I am Collier Lounsbury mate, I was a blogger for years and interacted in those days a bit with these guys (and Dave Schuler in fact quite a lot) . Stopped blogging when I found it too much like working…. but I am not someone else, fucking hell that’s stupid and ado talk. Now of course with Mimai we’re having some fun on purpose, as I said, one should never take a series of comments using the word panache too seriously…

    @Mimai: No my dear I am a rootless Cosmopolitan, the familial flotsam of old empire scattered round the globe. But no Asian Indian, north or south, in the family. Doubtless not for lack of trying of course.

    @Kurtz:

    Your premise was that Michael was getting piled on because he wasn’t displaying “correct thinking.”

    But of course he was. Merely saying it was justified rather doesn’t change at all. Boring really. Your personal views or comments I paid not the slightest attention to in that specific thread, wasn’t interesting enough. But the general take away was clear enough.

    @HarvardLaw92:

    MR had a very good point that got buried in the garment rending – the DP and progressives seem to be sure in the belief that demographics will save them and eventually deliver the holy land, therefore they can be as smug & obnoxious as they like in the meantime with little to no thought about the short term ramifications. You do not win elections by insinuating that large chunks of the electorate are, by turns, either stupid, racist, antiquated, or some combination of the above – even if in reality they are.

    Indeed.

  69. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    That’s precisely my point. The playing field is NOT level. The DP has a geography problem. Sitting back and thinking “well GA and AZ and so on are going blue, so we don’t have to implement effective messaging. We’ll just let AOC and other similarly situated loudmouths define our messaging for us in terms that will alienate anybody who doesn’t border a coast” is a fools errand. They define your messaging for you because 1) they’re the only ones talking, or talking louder and 2) the party doesn’t do a thing about it. AOC is effectively your PR office.

    In a cycle where exploded Dem turnout should have delivered healthy margins in both houses, you lost seats in the House and you only took the Senate by what has to be termed a miracle. See the writing – the US is basically a center right country at heart and you have a far left problem – on the wall.

  70. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Kurtz:

    Which is why it is an exceedingly bad idea to help them do it via shitty messaging and these pyrrhic causes.

    Interesting factoid – pretty much the one universal across the entire electorate, the one thing that just about all of them agree on, is that they detest political correctness. The only demo that likes it is the far left, and they’re already your voters. So, by all means, let serve up PC with a side of preening superiority. You’re doing the RNC’s oppo for it. It’s a recipe for irritating voters you need in order to win across the entire spectrum. Maybe I’m a cynic, but I don’t see that ending well.

  71. Lounsbury says:

    Harvard, can’t have deviationism from the proper morally correct expression. Long tradition on the Left-Left side, sterile moral fights over proper positions, hair-splitting phrases. Much better to make the Proper Moral Point than to actually win.

    1
  72. Kurtz says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Maybe?

    Ideological leanings play a role in how American, British and German adults feel. The ideological gap is largest in the U.S., where 65% of those on the ideological left think people should be careful to avoid offending others, compared with about one-in-four on the right, a gap of 42 percentage points. The left-right difference is 17 points in the UK and 15 points in Germany.

    In the U.S., these ideological differences are closely related to partisanship. Six-in-ten Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents say people should be careful what they say to avoid offending others, while only 17% of Republicans and GOP-leaners say the same. Women in the U.S. are also more likely to think people should be careful what they say than men.

    Pew, 5/21/2021

    It’s more complicated than you and @MR’s frame. Even if the numbers were reversed, it still requires more to assess the salience in the context of elections.

    And a small note on the numbers, some of the people answering a certain way may be doing that out of deference to free speech in an effort to be ideologically consistent.

  73. HarvardLaw92 says:
  74. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Lounsbury:

    Indeed

  75. Kurtz says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    I saw that piece when I was looking for the Pew poll. I don’t recall reading it back in 2018, so I’ll take a look.

    Thank you.