Reflections on Reflecting

An artist engages with her critic.

I commend to your attention a feature in today’s New York Times titled “How a Review Changed Both Sarah Silverman and Our Critic.”

The setup:

In 2005, A.O. Scott, co-chief film critic for The New York Times, panned “Sarah Silverman: Jesus Is Magic,” which was based on her one-woman show and involved taboo-breaking jokes about a range of topics including race. Suggesting Lenny Bruce and Richard Pryor as reference points, our reviewer wrote, “She depends on the assumption that only someone secure in his or her own lack of racism would dare to make, or to laugh at, a racist joke, the telling of which thus becomes a way of making fun simultaneously of racism and of racial hypersensitivity.”

The critique “hit me hard,” Silverman later said, and led her to take another look at her act.

It’s rare that a review has that kind of effect, and as part of a series of wide-ranging conversations Scott is having with artists, he and Silverman recently sat down via video call to discuss that moment and why admitting you’re wrong (as Silverman asked our critic to do as well) can be freeing. 

The rest is a lightly-edited transcript of a conversation between the two, in which Silverman reflects on how her approach to comedy and life has changed while Scott admits that parts of his review were unfair and hurtful. I don’t have any great insights to add, really, other than that more of these sorts of dialogs would be helpful.

There’s much to be said of Teddy Roosevelt’s oft-quoted observation,

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

But, done right, critics are extremely valuable, bringing really useful insights and broader cultural understanding to their audience. I’ve lately been enjoying Slate music journalist Chris Molanphy’s “Hit Parade” podcast, which looks at the history of the pop charts in the rock era in a particularly engaging way. (Indeed, I’ve gone back and listened to episodes I initially skipped, about genres and artists I don’t care for, because his treatment is thought-provoking.)

More broadly, we’re particularly bad as a society right now at engagement. Arguments from people with different political, cultural, and class views tend to simply be dismissed altogether making productive dialog next to impossible.

The OTB commentariat is better than most at this and I’ve certainly learned a lot over the 18-plus years I’ve been engaging here. Still, we’ve managed to run off essentially all of the thoughtful conservatives and become something of a monoculture.

FILED UNDER: Podcasts, Popular Culture, Society
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. Sleeping Dog says:

    Or the conservatives have moderated or become authoritarian.

    What distinguishes OTB is that by and large the discussion is civil, while at times heated.

    10
  2. Mikey says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Or the conservatives have moderated or become authoritarian.

    When I started commenting here, a really long time ago (I remember commenting on the Benghazi hearings, but I was probably here even before then), I was pretty much a conservative, at least in my political preferences (I didn’t vote Democrat in a Presidential election until 2016, for example). Over the last 10 or so years my views have changed significantly, and a lot of that is due to discussions here.

    One example is why I remember commenting on the Benghazi hearings because I got into an exchange with commenter Jukeboxgrad in which he/she stated something in a way that made me go “wait, I need to re-think this” and led me to understand my position at the time was wrong.

    There were other instances but that one sticks out because it was one of the earliest in the whole process.

    14
  3. CSK says:

    If you believe that the other side is inherently evil and stupid, then you have no reason to debate with anyone on that side.

    8
  4. MarkedMan says:

    “She depends on the assumption that only someone secure in his or her own lack of racism would dare to make, or to laugh at, a racist joke, the telling of which thus becomes a way of making fun simultaneously of racism and of racial hypersensitivity.”

    Silverman is interesting because a lot of her humor at the time was based on her assuming a cluelessly and casually bigoted character. I remember thinking about what made her different from Andrew Dice Clay, and coming to the conclusion that it wasn’t the humor or the character, despite the stylistic differences, but rather the audiences. Silverman’s audience was what eventually would be called “woke”, while Clay’s was most decidedly not. Silverman’s audience was laughing at the cluelessness and “wrongness” of the jokes while all to many of Clay’s audience was (and still is) laughing because they think that what the character has to say about women or minorities is true. FWIW, I never found either of them funny, nor was I ever much of a fan of Don Rickles standup for much the same reasons.

    In 2005 Silverman got away with it because she was presented in a controlled way. I doubt she could resurrect the character now because, via social media, there would be so many out of context and uncontrolled releases into the online consciousness.

    FWIW, I actually enjoy her humor now that she has turned it inward and focused on herself, her family and her friends.

    4
  5. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: That’s true. But that doesn’t make it wrong. While I don’t believe Republicans in general are inherently evil and stupid, there is a specific subset that there is no reason to ever debate. I feel I have no reason to debate a Trumper, for example. Someone who believes Trump is a successful businessman who never declared bankruptcy, is a devout but “baby” Christian, worked hard all day and night as President and had an astounding comprehension of he details of every issue, etc, is not worth debating. Just as I’m not going to debate someone who tells me Santa Claus is real, or the earth is flat.

    17
  6. CSK says:

    @MarkedMan:
    And a Trumper wouldn’t debate you, because you’re obviously a Godless communist pervert.

    10
  7. Michael Reynolds says:

    ‘Thoughtful conservative” is an oxymoron. Might have been a thing 20 years ago, maybe even ten, but at this point if you are thoughtful, you’re not a conservative. The world changed.

    I read the piece. I’ve been on both sides of the creator/critic line. Used to have the restaurant column for the Maine Sunday Telegram and later for the Richmond News-Leader (subsumed into the Richmond Times-Dispatch). First, I agree with Teddy. I was a son of a bitch to bad restaurants, but I knew where I stood in the moral hierarchy as a critic – somewhere below a Salvadoran line cook pulling a double in a 120 degree kitchen. That dude was a working man, I was snarking from the sidelines.

    Silverman is absolutely right that being wrong is a necessary step in getting closer to the truth of things. But I think she put on the hair shirt a bit prematurely. The tactic she now dismisses – that of playing the ‘cool’ white person, the one who can play with the racist tropes because they aren’t racist themselves – was a perfectly valid approach at an earlier time, with a narrower audience. It was effective in dividing white audiences into cool (not racist) and uncool (racist) and that was an important and useful thing to do at that time, with a white audience. Thousands of little cultural moments like that helped cement racism as foolish, laughable, low class and uncool.

    And coolness, for Boomers and GenX (Sarah Silverman), is key.

    AO Scott, on the other hand, took hypocritical shots at her as he tried to climb Woke Mountain. She was right – for the time – and he was at best right-ish. To reduce it to its basics, Silverman’s message was that you couldn’t hang out with smart, sexy girls like Sarah if you were a racist or sexist. But it’s pretty much impossible to justify that kind of audience manipulation now in this tedious, earnest, humorless era. Like explaining blue to a blind man.

    Sarah Silverman is smarter than AO Scott. She knew what she was doing, he didn’t. Scott’s contribution was to alert Silverman that we were moving out of the era of George Carlin and David Letterman and Sam Kinison, and into an age of performative virtue and hair shirts. Now Silverman is adjusting her game.

    8
  8. Mimai says:

    Stated preference: I want to engage in productive dialogue.

    Revealed preference: I want to gain/cement positional advantage on the status hierarchy.

    Occasionally these align, but not very often.

    7
  9. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    There are still thoughtful conservatives: Tom Nichols, Peter Wehner, the staff of The Bulwark, Rick Wilson. They’re united by hatred of Trump and his brainless, permanently enraged minions.

    In fact, I linked to a piece by Wehner in today’s open forum: It really is worth a read.

    10
  10. Michael Reynolds says:

    @CSK:
    Thoughtful enough to separate from Trump, sure. But what is it that they believe that differentiates them from liberals? Small government, low-tax, low-regulation capitalism brought us huge disparities, an absurd concentration of money and power in very few hands while tens of thousands of people working full time jobs still have to collect food stamps. Conservative economics has been a disaster that threatens stability.

    Their positions on social issues are even bigger fails, they’ve gone down one after another, a domino chain running all the way back to at least 1968. They were wrong on economics, offensively wrong on social issues. A ‘thoughtful conservative’ is a guy clever enough to diagnose the bullet hole in civilization’s chest, but not thoughtful enough to notice the smoking gun in his own hand.

    6
  11. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Mimai:
    It can be both. I like to engage in productive dialog, and I also like to gain advantage. But that advantage comes from getting closer to the truth.

  12. Modulo Myself says:

    I think conservatism has zeroed in on the great mass of little people who want to be on the inside but couldn’t make the cut and played to their grievances.

    It’s not only political though. In 1995, nobody who wasn’t in the business knew how a restaurant ran. Now, everybody ‘knows’ because they’ve seen Gordon Ramsey, so they can practice their plating techniques. And with art, that means that the actual critical work of being an artist has become fodder for people who don’t do anything artistic and who really take to the idea of being unfairly wronged by a critic.

    To me, dialogue now is no different than the stuff I read as a teenager in Spin about who was a sell-out and who was authentic or how being authentic was actually a scam. For whatever unfortunate reason lots of people like me loved being confronted and told off by snobs. That was how you learned. And Scott’s critique of Sarah Silverman is just watered down David Foster Wallace on irony. That was the a thing about how Letterman and Mark Leyner (big then) were the real reactionaries and actual transgression was heartfelt midwestern realism. It was just a middle finger to everyone who read it, and everyone who read it loved being told they were the rubes. A different time.

    4
  13. just nuitha says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Or that the (some?) conservatives don’t really want to be part of conversations where their views will be challenged. Or that some are as much a monoculture as Dr. Joyner is saying we are. Or some are resistant to self-reflection if it will cause them to see the desirability of changing. Or the difference in world view really is so large as to make most points moot. Or, in fact, that we bring the same traits/faults/biases/faiths/dogmas to discussions as everyone else and can be just a inflexible and “evangelistic” as anyone.

    Or even all of the above.

    2
  14. Just nutha says:

    @MarkedMan: Is Andrew Dice Clay still even a thing? I had no idea. I haven’t heard anything about him since… Duce Gigolo…(???)

    1
  15. Michael Reynolds says:

    It will be interesting to see what the post-irony generation actually accomplishes. So far, not much, a fact they might recognize if they were less humor-impaired. Earnestness allows one to ignore actual end results in favor of virtue signaling. The reflexive self-deprecation of Generation Irony may seem out-dated, but that ironic detachment kept them from climbing all the way up their own butts. It was rather less obnoxious than a generation too often defined by whatever hasty publish-or-perish crapola spills out of the Brown University faculty lounge.

    1
  16. Mimai says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    It can be both.

    Indeed, which is why I wrote “Occasionally these align”

    When it comes to “thoughtful conservatives” (I realize you consider this a contradiction in terms), the OTB comments section is often lacking in theory of mind. It’s really quite remarkable. And for such a smart group, we consistently perform poorly on the ideological Turing test.

    Another observation (if I may): In these discussions I often observe a lack of precision and consistency in terms. And I’m not even talking about the political/philosophical labels (e.g., liberal).

    For example, beliefs, behavior, policy, governing, etc are frequently conflated. This is probably due to people rushing to comment in the midst of other life demands. But sometimes I wonder if it isn’t motivated (explicitly or implicitly) in order to score points on the status ledger.

    3
  17. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    A ‘thoughtful conservative’ is a guy clever enough to diagnose the bullet hole in civilization’s chest, but not thoughtful enough to notice the smoking gun in his own hand.

    I like that, and fully intend to steal it.

    2
  18. Modulo Myself says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    American audiences have always loved the positive and bland. I watched Twin Peaks in the first run as a kid and nobody watched that show. I was very annoyed when they pulled it off the air. Mass stuff has almost aways failed at being art.

    What’s happened is this weird conflation of crap with commentary on it, so that everything carries a weight. In 1985 you didn’t have endless content spewing on the latest Cheers episode. It was just Cheers, funny as hell but a show you watched on Thursdays. It wasn’t exactly art and it wasn’t treated like that.

    I really blame The Sopranos. That was art, and at its best it was like Pinter and Gandolfini was amazing–I could watch him stare into his frig forever. But the industry of seriousness that grew around it never stopped growing and has attacked everything in its path.

    1
  19. Modulo Myself says:

    I just imagined the internet attacking Cheers because we never see Vera.

    5
  20. CSK says:

    @Mimai:
    Interesting that you should mention theory of mind, since I’m always slightly startled (and amused) to discover that there are people who don’t realize that not everyone thinks the way they do.

    I’m less startled by this the older I get.

    6
  21. Just nutha says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I think I’ll disagree. The “advantage” comes from being better at persuading your fellow citizens/pandering to their biases or worldviews. Reagan had virtually no truth whatsoever, but wielded great advantage because of how many on both the left and the right wanted to believe that government (in the hands of the opposition) is the problem, not the solution.

    2
  22. Modulo Myself says:

    When it comes to “thoughtful conservatives” (I realize you consider this a contradiction in terms), the OTB comments section is often lacking in theory of mind. It’s really quite remarkable. And for such a smart group, we consistently perform poorly on the ideological Turing test.

    The center of American conservatism is the lack of thoughtfulness. For example, the major defense of banning gay marriage was that real Americans weren’t just ready for it. But that just equals lack of thought. Not being ‘ready’ to accept something that should be acceptable is prejudice. It’s not an alien way of thinking. Everyone has prejudices–the question is how you deal with them. Conservatives had to defend the inability to deal with prejudice as a folksy virtue that elite liberals just didn’t understand. It was total bullshit.

    3
  23. Kathy says:

    It’s hard to have a dialogue with someone who sees obstruction as constructive, or who sees a non-sequitur as essential.

    On the subject of the January 6th Putsch commission, bot the Turd d’Ornage and McCarthy, among others, have suggested either a BLM protests commission instead, or including the BLM protests as well in the Jan. 6 deal.

    That’s exactly like Saddam demanding a settlement of the Palestinian issue before he’d seriously discuss withdrawing from Kuwait. One thing has nothing to do with the other, a classic non-sequitur.

    Not that the BLM protests, and the reasons for them, and how various law enforcement agencies responded, and how agitators tried to disrupt them, are not worth investigating. But as far as I can see, they are not a threat, much less a direct threat, to either democracy or the federal government.

    Democrats could call their bluff and propose legislation for a commission to investigate systemic racism in law enforcement, including the causes and responses to the BLM protests. But, of course, the GOP will complain about bias or something else, because this, too, makes them look bad.

    5
  24. CSK says:

    @Kathy:
    Since you like to refer to Trump as le Turd a l’Orange, shall we refer to his Big Lie as Canard a l’Orange?

    5
  25. @Modulo Myself:

    American audiences have always loved the positive and bland.

    Isn’t that a function of the larger the mass, the more the appeal has to be bland? Is it uniquely American?

    4
  26. @Kathy:

    have suggested either a BLM protests commission instead, or including the BLM protests as well in the Jan. 6 deal.

    It may be the worst attempt at bothsiderism of all time.

    2
  27. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Modulo Myself:
    I hadn’t identified it, but yes, TV at least started taking itself seriously with Sopranos and The Wire (two shows actually watched by about 10% of the people who now claim to have loved them). The thing both shows had in common (along with brilliant writing, acting, etc…) is that they weren’t trying to make points, they were just showing: this is what organized crime really is, this is what drug dealing really is, (Breaking Bad likewise) draw your own conclusions. This has always been my preferred approach: show and trust.

    @Just nutha:
    I should have qualified that by saying it was my advantage, what I got from an exchange of views. If the goal is to approach truth, you’re less interested in counting coup, the pay-off comes in understanding something you didn’t previously understand. Incremental movement toward a truth you can never fully grasp. Kind of like speed of light: you can get closer and closer and yet…

    2
  28. Kurtz says:

    @Mimai:

    When it comes to “thoughtful conservatives” (I realize you consider this a contradiction in terms), the OTB comments section is often lacking in theory of mind. It’s really quite remarkable. And for such a smart group, we consistently perform poorly on the ideological Turing test.

    :ahem:

    Yes. That failing is, partially, a result of partisanship. At least least partially.

    If I understand you correctly, you’re arguing that we assume a sort of zombie aspect to ideological opponents. I take your point, but isn’t that why ideology is a problem in the first place?

    2
  29. Kathy says:

    @Mimai:

    When it comes to “thoughtful conservatives” (I realize you consider this a contradiction in terms), the OTB comments section is often lacking in theory of mind.

    The snark just writes itself. Meaning I don’t have to.

    I have noticed more than a few posts lambasting conservatives and/or Republicans in the same way these groups go after liberals and/or Democrats. No question.

    And yet, there is more to picking a side than the style of governance and rhetoric. What do conservatives and Republicans hold as policy objectives?

    Suppression of minorities, including voter suppression
    Eliminating abortion
    Cutting taxes for corporations and the wealthy
    Keeping labor costs low for said corporations and wealthy

    What else?

    When it comes to infrastructure, they seem to think its ok to spend tax money on roads and bridges, but nothing else. Not on the electric grid or internet access. That’s incredibly short-sighted and contrary to their own interests.

    So if I were to pick a side, it won’t be the Republican party.

    3
  30. Modulo Myself says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I think so. Horatio Alger is uniquely American and so are Westerns. All the anguish about YA and diversity is tied to the fact that art has to be positive and useful. Not all westerns are bland obviously, but the myth takes the actual American West of genocide, labor violence, and empire and reduces it to cowboys and indians and redemptive good and bad. There’s a Robert Coover story where the sheriff walks into a saloon and kills the town villain in the first page and everyone is aghast. “You done fucked up,” I think the line is.

    2
  31. Monala says:

    Speaking of debating Trumpers, Sarah Silverman did so with one named David Weissman—and managed to change his mind.

    Link

  32. wr says:

    @Modulo Myself: ” I watched Twin Peaks in the first run as a kid and nobody watched that show. I was very annoyed when they pulled it off the air.”

    Actually, it was an enormous hit in its initial, eight-episode run. And it came back big, too. But then the audience figured out that the show Lynch and Frost were making was not the same as the show they were watching — and when it became clear that there wasn’t going to be an answer to the question of “who killed Laura Palmer” — at least one that hewed to the rules of traditional mystery narratives — people turned away by the millions.

    4
  33. Teve says:

    Suppression of minorities, including voter suppression
    Eliminating abortion
    Cutting taxes for corporations and the wealthy
    Keeping labor costs low for said corporations and wealthy

    What else?

    denying 150 years of chemistry so Exxon and friends can keep selling carbon with impunity.

    1
  34. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    ‘Thoughtful conservative” is an oxymoron. Might have been a thing 20 years ago, maybe even ten, but at this point if you are thoughtful, you’re not a conservative.

    They exist. But you have to understand 2 things:

    1) Today’s conservative would be a moderate in the 80s and a radical in the 60s. What is “conservative” shifts as we progress.

    2) The thoughtful conservatives aren’t Republicans. They call themselves libertarians or independents or right-of-center Democrats, or something else.

  35. CSK says:

    @Monala:
    Thanks; that was interesting. My only question is how the guy came to be taken in by Trump. I’ve known exactly what Trump is all my adult life.

    I never watched The Apprentice nor Celebrity Apprentice. I’m not sure I’d even heard of them till six or seven years ago. Did the people who watched it believe it?

  36. @Modulo Myself: I don’t see what you are describing as evidence that bland mass appeal is an American thing. You seem to be talking about other stuff entirely.

  37. @Steven L. Taylor: I mean, reality TV is big in the UK, and that strikes me as bland and built for mass-appeal. I am not sure I have other great examples off the top of my head (maybe Japanese game shows?).

  38. Kathy says:

    @wr:
    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I wonder how widespread American TV is worldwide.

    Growing up, about 95% of what I watched on TV was American (dubbed into Spanish). Shows like Bewitched, Get Smart, Time Tunnel, Star Trek (reruns by then), Lost in Space, etc. and cartoons also from the US, like Looney Tunes, Tom & Jerry, and a lot more WB and Hannah Barbera stuff. All broadcast on local channels.

    These days it’s more like 100%. I don’t think I’ve tuned into a local channel for anything other than news or NFL games in decades. I’m an outlier on this, I know. So I can’t say what’s on local TV now, but many US series are still popular. Dramas more than comedies.

  39. Kurtz says:

    @Kathy:

    Suppression of minorities, including voter suppression
    Eliminating abortion
    Cutting taxes for corporations and the wealthy
    Keeping labor costs low for said corporations and wealthy

    In my view, the last two are the only true policy objectives. Anything else is policy aimed at electoral advantage.

    Until Roe v. Wade is actually overturned, I’m skeptical that any professional pol wants it to be gutted. It’s become too important as a wedge issue and the potential replacements are short-lived, because culture moves faster than politics. But murder is murder and it’s seen as slaughter of an innocent.

    But I could be wrong.

  40. Mimai says:

    The conservative position is frequently presented around here…..by non-conservatives. The exact flavor differs depending on who is doing the presenting, but the primary ingredients tend to be “stupid” and “evil” – please correct me if I left something out. And these primary ingredients tend to be delivered via mind/soul-reading.

    When I read these things, I try and ask myself whether a conservative would look at these presentations and say “Nailed it – that is exactly what I think.” Or even “That’s not exactly it, but it’s pretty close.” And almost 100% of the time, my answer is “no.”

    Now of course, I expect the immediate reaction to contain a lot of “well that’s because they’re ignorant” (stupid ingredient) or “well that’s because they’re lying” (evil ingredient), with the expressed or implied understanding that “I know them better than they know themselves” (mind/soul-reading).

    To make this even more concrete (or to make it concrete at all), ask yourself if Yuval Levin, Reihan Salam, Ramesh Ponnuru, Deidre McCloskey, Arthur Brooks, Michael Strain, or Veronique de Rugy would identify with the typical characterization of conservative (or libertarian) thought/policy put forth on OTB.

    2
  41. Kathy says:

    @Teve:

    Well, the list wasn’t exhaustive. I could include reducing/eliminating regulations, for instance. or waging war on science, because that rational method of understanding the universe has killed their myth-based religion with facts.

    @Kurtz:

    The thing is they can’t keep dialing up the rhetoric and never deliver. Either they outlaw abortion or that base of support will collapse.

  42. Monala says:

    @Kurtz: at Lawyers, Guns & Money this week, they argued that at one time abortion was just a convenient wedge issue for most Republican pols, but over time they have been replaced by true believers who really want to end it.

    2
  43. Kurtz says:

    @wr:

    when it became clear that there wasn’t going to be an answer to the question of “who killed Laura Palmer” — at least one that hewed to the rules of traditional mystery narratives — people turned away by the millions.

    I think this is also why The Wire didn’t do well until after its run. And even then it’s probably better described as achieving cult status.

    I recommended it in my early days commenting here. I think it was @Mister Bluster, who resisted because he hadn’t even made it through all of Law and Order. But they’re not comparable in the least. One is a novel, the other is a ham-handed serial with an approach to morality similar to an after-school special.

    I think this may explain why people hate the ending of The Sopranos as well. And why its underlying themes about America, many of which are also present in The Wire, are lost on many fans of the show.

    Shows that are easy to digest fit with what many want from their cinema. If they want heavier material, it’s usually in the form of history that reinforce a one-dimensional emotion. One of the reasons The Sopranos was so popular is that it is entertaining on a superficial level but managed to raise questions for those wanting to look deeper. It bridged a divide that few shows and movies have done.

    2
  44. Mimai says:

    @Kurtz:

    If I understand you correctly, you’re arguing that we assume a sort of zombie aspect to ideological opponents. I take your point, but isn’t that why ideology is a problem in the first place?

    That’s not really the point I was trying to make, though that assumption is rather pervasive… at least it seems to be [trying not to mind-read what others are assuming]. I think I clarified my point in a subsequent comment where I name names.

    I don’t think this is a problem of ideology per se. People can (and do) disagree on what society ought to look like….that is, what are the policy goals. And they can recognize each other’s different perspectives without bastardizing their position.

    People can also agree on the goals but disagree on the methods. And they can recognize these methodological differences without bastardizing them and without impugning motives.

    My point is that when it comes to conservatives and the OTB commentariat, there is near universal bastardization of both goals and methods of conservativism. And in some cases there is the denial of one or the other (ie, conservatives have zero principles/policies). And this is not simply due to ideological differences.

  45. Kurtz says:

    @Mimai:

    Sure. That’s true that the typical post here involves that. And I agree it’s a problem and that liberal and progressive positions get described the same way among RW crowds.

    I mean, I do my best to be fair to both Conservative and Libertarian ideas. Part of it is that I see the logic from the ones who are more rigorous in their approach. In fact, I find those easier to engage because there is a consistency to them.

    One can’t really debate Trumpism as a whole, because it doesn’t follow those patterns. A lot of times when I say Libertarianism, I am referring to certain strains of it that would fall under the same umbrella. They are best described as AnCap and adjacent philosophies.

    But that’s a little different from trying to engage the current GOP. I think a lot of smart people revert to evil, ignorance, and stupidity as descriptors because it takes so much work to untangle something so inconsistent.

    I agree with your criticism, and the resistance here to being called out on motivated reasoning is plenty of evidence of it.

    I submit that a lot of the commenters here do read things from conservatives, but I suspect that the bias comes in selection rather than reflexive rejection. Secondly, some of it may be a reaction to being called anti-American for years, whether via alleged Marxism or via providing aid and comfort to the enemy during the war on terror.

    Two questions:

    1.) Do you have a solution? A process to suggest to catch those moments of unfairness?

    2.) Do you take issue with the way I characterize conservatives and libertarians? I ask, because I place a great deal of value in being able to defend a position before I criticize it rather than reverse-engineering a position into a series of straws.

  46. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Kurtz:

    Shows that are easy to digest fit with what many want from their cinema.

    I willing admit that I want my entertainment to be entertaining*. I love (most of) the MCU movies because they show us uncomplicated heroes doing heroic things and making quips as they do it. And because they’re FUN.

    If I want bleak reality, I’ll turn on CNN.

    ====
    *That being said, I do appreciate speculative fiction that makes you think about serious topics–just not in a depressing way. Ex Machina is great. As is Man from Earth. There are a few others out there on NetFlix like Electric Dreams (PK Dick short stories).

  47. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: I watched 2 or 3 seasons and one and a part of Celebrity Apprentice. There wasn’t much to “believe” per se–at least not about FG. He was simply a relentless promoter. The background of the “project” was always some commercial for how amazing he was (a product I had no idea that anyone would ever be interested in, TBH), but I watched because the people competing were interesting–at least for a while.

    My favorite scene from Season One, I think, was when FG was trying to needle a guy who was about to be eliminated by asking him what he’d do when he got eliminated. The guy replied that he’d go back to his old job in Montana where he was doing what Trump does–“only on a smaller scale”–developing and constructing industrial, commercial, and residential projects and selling and financing them through his own real estate brokerage and mortgage bank. The camera just caught FG’s jaw drop choke-take before FG got his composure back.

    I got tired of the “C,” “D,” and “E” list pseudo-celebrities on the next version quickly, though. For the early seasons, most of the contestants on Apprentice were actual business people and people who did marketing. For Celebrity most of the contestants were simply buffoons–and obscure buffoons at that.

    1
  48. DrDaveT says:

    @CSK:

    shall we refer to his Big Lie as Canard a l’Orange?

    Or perhaps “Crap Suzette”.

    2
  49. DrDaveT says:

    @Kurtz:

    But murder is murder and it’s seen as slaughter of an innocent.

    As has been noted before, if the point were really to reduce the slaughter of innocents, conservatives would favor moderate-cost public policies like “free birth control for all females” that would greatly reduce the number of aborted fetuses. They do not, in general, support such policies, which makes it pretty clear that it isn’t about murdered babies.

    4
  50. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    I was assuming it was Trump’s vision of himself as the ultimate powerful and successful businessman that he was selling. And the rubes bought it.

  51. DrDaveT says:

    @Mimai:

    When I read these things, I try and ask myself whether a conservative would look at these presentations and say “Nailed it – that is exactly what I think.” Or even “That’s not exactly it, but it’s pretty close.” And almost 100% of the time, my answer is “no.”

    I’ve been trying for years on this site to get a self-professed conservative to explain to me what their policy goals really are, so that I can stop trying to read their minds. I’ve had very little success. If you consider yourself a conservative, or have a pipeline to one who would be willing to answer the question, I’m all ears.

    3
  52. CSK says:

    @DrDaveT:
    Or Barf Bourguignon.

    1
  53. Kurtz says:

    @Kathy:

    The thing is they can’t keep dialing up the rhetoric and never deliver. Either they outlaw abortion or that base of support will collapse.

    I’m not so sure about that. For one thing because those voters don’t have an alternative other than withholding votes. For another, we are already seeing some of them turn on Roberts or Gorsuch or Kavanaugh if they don’t vote the expected way. Scapegoating can be powerful.

  54. DrDaveT says:

    @Kurtz:

    One is a novel, the other is a ham-handed serial with an approach to morality similar to an after-school special.

    I have discovered over the years that my interest in TV series with a planned story arc is very, very limited. I don’t want to watch an 8-hour movie. The major advantage of non-arc series is that you can catch an episode and it stands on its own; you don’t have to find time to fill in the ones you missed because you were doing something else. Streaming video has made the content creators think that binge-watching is the default mode of consumption, but there aren’t enough hours in a day for me to binge-watch even a fraction of the content being produced.

  55. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    As a rule, I stay away from “reality” TV. Not because there’s nothing “real” about it (very little), but because it tends to be very boring.

    I did watch Pawn Stars for a few years. It was clearly fake, but the dollops of actual history that went with some of the items presented were a bit interesting, in a shallow way. History light (very light).

    I’ve been to Vegas many times, and I’ve never visited the shop where the show takes place. I’m just not interested.

  56. DrDaveT says:

    @CSK:

    Or Barf Bourguignon

    If your boeuf bourguignon is orange, send it back to the kitchen.

  57. CSK says:

    @DrDaveT:
    And do the same if your Suzettes look like Crap.

  58. EddieInCA says:

    I am recusing myself from this discussion as I have worked with both Dice and Sarah, and have some very, very strong opinions on both, based on those work experiences.

    But I will say…

    Both are less than stellar human beings. That is all.

    7
  59. EddieInCA says:

    @Kurtz:

    In my opinion, “The Wire” was the best show on television during it’s run. Although I loved “The Sopranos”, “The Wire,” to me, stood above it.

    2
  60. Mister Bluster says:

    @Kurtz:..I recommended it in my early days commenting here. I think it was @Mister Bluster, who resisted because he hadn’t even made it through all of Law and Order. But they’re not comparable in the least. One is a novel, the other is a ham-handed serial with an approach to morality similar to an after-school special.

    Ouch! You sure know how to hurt a guy!
    As with all my TV viewing my selection of what to watch hangs on the fact that my TV doesn’t get any channels. I use it exclusively for DVDs which I rent from Netflix at $4.99 for two discs a month. And a limited movie library. Cassablanca, Double Indemnity, M*A*S*H, The Player and others.
    No cable. It’s not available at my address. (I knew that when I bought the place). Discontinued DirecTV years ago when I was still traveling for work and never home. And now I have dropped my DSL internet service ($748/year) since I am retired and on a fixed income yet my expenses keep increasing. Electric, water, Medicare, car ins. and gasoline.
    The last time I ever binge watched anything was when I was working in Texarkana TX. I was married at the time. My wife and her cat (Princess Pi) traveled with me. We rented an apartment (cable included? I don’t remember). She had never seen The Wonder Years and it was on several hours a day. She loved it!
    As for The Wire. I may get to it after I check out the episodes of Homicide: Life on the Streets that crossover with L+O.

    1
  61. Kurtz says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Fair enough. But I really only recommend two shows often, the ones I named.

    I also really like Homicide: Life on the Street, but I recommend it much less, because I think it is probably more interesting to cinephiles. My response to Mu may also be relevant to you.

    @Mu Yixiao:

    The thing that The Sopranos and The Wire do really well is levity. The former became much colder and darker as the seasons progressed, but it still retained its humor. The Wire, while at times heavy, is also funny. If not as often as The Sopranos, often enough to keep you from feeling like you’re watching 60 hours of a realistic hellscape.

    The Wire does something unique: it takes a panoramic view of a city that hasn’t really been done on screen before. To me, it has value in how it connects different institutions in ways that are inobvious to the point that they likely get missed in narrow academic research.

    It’s like a well written think-piece by an authentic intellectual, but more entertaining, visual, and equally thought-provoking.

    Dr. Dave’s criticism is certainly fair, as is yours.

    But I recommend them so often, because they managed to capture what’s great about the best novels–storytelling and insight into the human condition. Whereas the prestige shows that came afterward have certain high-quality aspects, they’re deficient in other areas; those two managed to maintain a similar quality across every aspect.

    I should note that I actually enjoy Law and Order for various reasons.

    Same with Blue Bloods. It is particularly well crafted in certain areas. Because of that, I can overlook some of the ideological sniping and myopic views of certain social issues to appreciate a show that at least attempts to explore ambiguity and does a decent job presenting characters who fundamentally disagree.

    Plus, Selleck is excellent, something I would never have expected to say before I watched it. He represents a strain of Conservatism, in contrast to his father, who seems to implicitly understand that as the world changes, one must seek a way to adapt to it rather than impose one’s will. Pragmatic conservatism, so to speak. And yet both he and his father remain likable to someone who mostly disagrees with their policy preferences.

    3
  62. Mister Bluster says:

    @EddieInCA:..But I will say

    You don’t have to. We get it.
    You’re a good guy Eddie.

    3
  63. DrDaveT says:

    @Kathy:

    As a rule, I stay away from “reality” TV. Not because there’s nothing “real” about it (very little), but because it tends to be very boring.

    I will admit that I have become quite addicted to “Forged in Fire”. No matter how contrived the challenges, in the end it’s about skill and physics and history. The hot metal doesn’t care what the producer wants, and the laws of physics have the final say. And the judges’ prejudices are a lot less important than in, say, a cooking competition like “Chopped” or “Iron Chef”.

  64. Kurtz says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Haha. It wasn’t meant to be insulting. I get a lot of the reasons why people choose the entertainment they do. I reserve the insults for people who use their taste as a means of showing how unique and opposed to mainstream they are. (Or for people who think Snoop Dogg* and 50 Cent are great rappers.)

    *I see him as a guy that made a classic album, but is mostly just really charismatic and cool. His best work largely holds its appeal due in large part to its production and Snoop’s personality rather than his mic skills.

    PS. I just mentioned Homicide. Unique show and a serious detour from programs of its era and it can be seen as a prelude to the creativity of later premium cable shows. The first few seasons of Law and Order were really good–rooted in a gritty NYC that wouldn’t exist a decade later. As the City changed, the show did as well. And while still good, it didn’t have some of the elements that made the first few so good.

    I also recommend David Simon’s book that led to Homicide, the TV show and was the source of most of the first couple seasons and other smaller storylines throughout its run.

  65. Kurtz says:

    @EddieInCA:

    I oscillated on my preference over the years. Finally, I just settled on a tie at first with a giant gap between them and anything else. People can point to either one as better for x, y, and z reasons, and I can say “cool, I get it.”

    Just don’t try to tell me any football player is better than Jim Brown. I could maybe see why someone would argue Rice or Taylor or to a lesser extent Brady, but I would have to squint pretty damn hard. And I would never say “cool, I get it” to them.

  66. Mister Bluster says:

    @Kurtz:..I reserve the insults for people who use their taste as a means of showing how unique and opposed to mainstream they are.

    I think it was that attitude by the big kid down the block, Richie Gruenberg*, that got me to switch from Howdy Doody to The Mickey Mouse Club back in 1955 when I was 7 years old.
    It was a real dilemma for me as I was solid for Howdy and both shows were on at the same time. But once I got a glimpse of Sharon and Karen in their Mickey Mouse ears my loyalty vanished and there was no going back to a block of wood.

    *I have no idea how I remember that name yet constantly forget the names of servers in restaurants that I see all the time who wear name tags.

    1
  67. Mimai says:

    @Kurtz:

    Part of it is that I see the logic from the ones who are more rigorous in their approach. In fact, I find those easier to engage because there is a consistency to them.

    I agree that it’s easier to see the logic of and engage with outgroup people who are more rigorous/consistent. I suspect most OTB commentators do too. Because we are all highly rigorous/consistent ourselves. Amirite?

    But most people are not rigorous/consistent. And rigor/consistency is not a reliable indicator of intelligence, morality, etc.

    And yet, when I see the conservative/libertarian (C/L) position presented here, not only is it bastardized on policy and methods (see previous comment), but its adherents are faulted for lacking rigor/consistency. And this is held up as a fatal and inherent flaw of C/L as opposed to one of all humans and all ideologies.

    One can’t really debate Trumpism as a whole, because it doesn’t follow those patterns.

    Agree. You may have noticed that I don’t talk about Trump or Trumpism (in this post or others). Not because I don’t loath it, and not because I don’t think it dangerous. But rather because I find that topic to bring the worst out of me and the people I’m engaging with about it. If ETTD, then I don’t want to volunteer my brain or self-concept (fictional as it may be) to be next in line for execution.

    But that’s a little different from trying to engage the current GOP.

    I don’t really talk about the GOP much either (“what am I even doing here?”). But one thing I will note, and this harkens back to a previous point, is the conflation of GOP (political party) with GOPers (politicians) with Republicans with Conservatives with the different adjacent philosophies etc. When one is seeking status and not dialogue, this conflation is a useful tool whether one knows they (heh) are using it or not.

    I think a lot of smart people revert to evil, ignorance, and stupidity as descriptors because it takes so much work to untangle something so inconsistent.

    Yes, that is one reason. And it is understandable, if not commendable. A different option and one that I think is better for self and others: Don’t label. (You said “descriptors” but I don’t think that is right…..there is definitely judgment going on here, hence my use of “label”) But this is not a palatable option if one is seeking status.

    I submit that a lot of the commenters here do read things from conservatives, but I suspect that the bias comes in selection rather than reflexive rejection.

    I’m not entirely sure what you mean by “selection” here. Perhaps it refers to the C/L writers that OTB commentators select to read. I think this is a big factor, hence the frequent references to the folks at lucianne et al. Note how those commentators are held up as the paragons of C/L philosophy and policy. I suspect the C/L folks I listed in a previous comment get much less traffic from OTB commentators. I wonder why…

    Secondly, some of it may be a reaction to being called anti-American for years, whether via alleged Marxism or via providing aid and comfort to the enemy during the war on terror.

    Probably so. This too is understandable, if not commendable. But damn is it corrosive and corrupting – to self and others. And if you do/say something enough, even if it was initially as a self-aware reaction, then you become that thing. Who’s the reactionary now?

    To your questions:
    1) Do you have a solution? A process to suggest to catch those moments of unfairness?

    Oh man, anything I say here will be self-congratulatory and grating. Most of all to myself. (hey Gustopher, you asked about how to get better at punching….I learned by punching myself in the face…..it taught me technique, but more importantly, it taught me that punching sucks and so too does getting punched)

    Sorry, back to you Kurtz… One thing that has worked for me is to find/cultivate a community where things like steelmanning, thinking in bets, searching for caveats, etc. are prized and afforded high status. I’ve written a lot about status, so I need to be clear that I too am very much a status seeking animal. Knowing and accepting that, I have tried to rig the game so that I score status points by being a good interlocutor. And by “good” I mean humble, self-critical, other-generous, etc.

    2.) Do you take issue with the way I characterize conservatives and libertarians?

    TBH, I haven’t tracked closely nor do I have a sufficient sample size to judge (at least, not in the way I want to judge….see above). But I haven’t encoded you as an egregious bastardizer of C/L if that’s worth anything. I have encoded you as someone who can get heated, and excessively so at times, and also someone who has self-awareness and the integrity to apologize and commit to do better. That’s quite a lot in my book, fwiw.

  68. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: He was certainly shooting for that. The big problem seems to me to be that there are too many genuinely successful Americans that can buy FG, lock, stock, and barrel several times over. Fork, Vince McMahon has more wealth from WWE than FG–even allowing for the “imputed value” of the FG “brand.” Even Shane McMahon may have, and he’s not reputed to be particularly successful at having gone out on his own.

    You have to be yuuuuuuugely rube-like to buy FG as a MOU type.

  69. Kurtz says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    It’s obviously because Richie Gruenberg had a massive impact on you.

  70. Mister Bluster says:

    @Kurtz:..massive impact

    He was the one who told me that there was no Santa Claus at a very young age. I’m not sure if I was in the first grade yet. And he had an impressive model train layout that his dad built for him in the basement. American Flyer. More realistic as it was true to life with only two rails unlike the Lionel set like mine that had three rails.

  71. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @DrDaveT: “…but there aren’t enough hours in a day for me to binge-watch even a fraction of the content being produced.”

    To my thinking (and TV watching style), that’s the advantage of the current technology shift to streaming. With my long-term goal and pattern having been mindless entertainment and having lived in a foreign country with a vibrant media climate, there’s oceans of stuff out there that I’ve never seen or wish I’d seen more of than I did. Tubi, Roku, Hulu (the only service I pay extra for at the moment) and Cracker (no relation 😉 ) have more stuff than I can watch in the couple of hours a day (sometimes 3 or 3 1/2) that I watch TV. All stuff that I’ve never seen. And if I wait long enough, GoT, The Sopranos, The Wire, whatever will show up one or another of those places if I ever have the inclination to watch any of them. (I didn’t care for Homicide: Life on the Streets, so I’m guessing that The Wire is probably not for me either.) When my current TV dies, I may decide to by a tablet with cellphone capacity and stream whatever video I then consume from my phone service (at my most recent estimate, cutting my cost for entertainment by another 50 or 60%). If I still lived in Korea, I’d probably be at that point now and cable and internet combined ran me ~$150/year. (My cell phone bill was higher than cable and internet into my apartment and I used no data service on my 2G flip phone.)

  72. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mister Bluster: Another fixed income guy. How do you keep in touch with us? What are you connected to the internet by? “Enquiring minds (or is that enquirers lacking minds? hard to say) want to know.”

  73. Kurtz says:

    @Mimai:

    I have encoded you as someone who can get heated, and excessively so at times, and also someone who has self-awareness and the integrity to apologize and commit to do better. That’s quite a lot in my book, fwiw.

    EDIT: Holy code failure Batman! Fixed my blockquote mishap.

    Yeah. That’s been a long process and I am better than I was when I was younger. But always more work to do on that. I mean, I’ve often spiked some particularly angry, unfair phrases or deleted whole responses before posting.

    I rarely at this point wonder why I got angry afterwards. Often it’s me blowing off steam and it’s entirely inappropriate.

    Also entirely inappropriate: I take issue with certain tones or phrasing and bypass the little techniques and reminders I’ve picked up over the years to chill my my overheated emotions.

    It took me years to internalize something my Dad seems to do naturally–remember that external things don’t make you mad, you allow those things to control your behavior. Seriously, in almost 4 decades, I have never heard my Dad yell even once. I’ve only seen him angry a handful of times and it’s a strange sight because it’s so mild.

    It does help that I just don’t hold grudges and I find it hard to hate anyone even if they hate me. That shit with @HL will always bother me, just as every recurring mistake does. I have a good memory, that seems to love imprinting shit that I’ve done wrong.

    As for your points not personal to me, those are pretty close to how I think about things and people in general. At the same time, heuristics are necessary in a complex world, so I try to understand the people I interact with as much as I can rather than fault them. And when I fail at that goal, look out and expect an apology for my failure. 😉

    1
  74. Mimai says:

    @Kurtz:

    Quick follow-up addition to my last point (other life demands had me rushing to finish a way too long comment):

    I also meant to say that I’ve encoded you as having read deeply and widely on political philosophy. I think another commenter mentioned something about this several weeks ago (“we need to get Kurtz’s perspective on this”). And that comes through in a lot of your comments. And I enjoy those comments…length and all. (glances sheepishly at my own comments)

  75. Kurtz says:

    @Mimai:

    (“we need to get Kurtz’s perspective on this”).

    I missed that. Hmm. If I recognize I’m in a foul mood, I mostly avoid OTB. Now I wonder, because this is the only place I get to expose my thought process to worthwhile criticism.

    2
  76. Kurtz says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I didn’t care for Homicide: Life on the Streets, so I’m guessing that The Wire is probably not for me either.

    Other than setting and association with David Simon, they’re different enough to give it a try. I’ve done enough selling on this today.

  77. Mister Bluster says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:..contact..
    Panera Bread Company. I joined the Coffee Club. All the mud I can drink for $10.05/month tax included. They don’t care how long you hang out.

  78. charon says:

    @Kathy:

    Hannibal ran for 3 years on NBC with almost non-existent ratings. It was viable because it had lots of overseas viewers.

    1
  79. DrDaveT says:

    @Mimai:

    And yet, when I see the conservative/libertarian (C/L) position presented here

    You lose me completely when you say things like this. Conservatives tend to support preservation of existing power structures; libertarians tend to oppose them. Conservatives are generally willing to sacrifice a great deal of freedom for security; libertarians are exactly the opposite. The idea that one could lump these groups together as having a consensus position seems as bizarre to me as claiming that you could lump Jews and Christians and Muslims together as having a consensus “People of the Book” theology.

    3
  80. Mimai says:

    @DrDaveT:

    I do not consider myself a conservative. I do know several who could give different perspectives on conservative policy (like any ideology, conservatism has more than one flavor). But I’m not inclined to ask them to parachute into this comments section to explain.

    Fortunately, there are several books and publications that do indeed offer up some policy. Here are a few off the top of my head……these are truncated titles as I forget the post-colon parts (and mind you, I’m no political junky, so if I can rattle these off I’m sure the google genie can give you much more and much better):

    A Time to Build
    Grand New Party
    The American Dream Is Not Dead
    Room to Grow
    The Fractured Republic

  81. Mimai says:

    @DrDaveT:

    You are, of course, correct that it is silly – bizarre even – to lump them together. I was merely using C/L out of convenience because my points applied to both. That is, C and L positionS are presented in bastardized form. I assumed that would be obvious, but there I go assuming again (bad Mimai, very bad).

  82. Michael Reynolds says:

    I have a particular memory of Homicide: Life on the Street. André Braugher as Frank Pembleton walked on screen for the first time and I immediately thought: that guy’s a star. He was one of those actors who, just in the background of someone else’s shot, made you watch him.

    5
  83. EddieInCA says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Mister Bluster says:
    Thursday, 20 May 2021 at 20:23

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:..contact..
    Panera Bread Company. I joined the Coffee Club. All the mud I can drink for $10.05/month tax included. They don’t care how long you hang out.

    When I living/working in South Florida on “The Glades”, I was always amazed how crowded Panera was – all the time. Until I found out about the coffee club. Then it made sense. If anyone is on a fixed income and like a morning cup of coffee, that’s the way to go. For the price of two Starbucks Venti Cappuccinos, you can drink all the joe you want for $9 a month (then).

    I used to love going their for my morning coffee, hanging out outside, listening to the 70, 80, and 90 year old guys and gals talk about life. Man, those were some entertaining discussions I was able to hear. Everything from WWII stories, to stories about various jobs, to complaints about social security and medicare.

    Good times.

    1
  84. Kurtz says:

    @DrDaveT:

    You lose me completely when you say things like this. Conservatives tend to support preservation of existing power structures; libertarians tend to oppose them. Conservatives are generally willing to sacrifice a great deal of freedom for security; libertarians are exactly the opposite. The idea that one could lump these groups together as having a consensus position seems as bizarre to me as claiming that you could lump Jews and Christians and Muslims together as having a consensus “People of the Book” theology.

    @Mimai already clarified his intent. I read it the way he intended, but I’ve had a ton of interaction with them since they started posting.

    But I should explain why they are sometimes lumped together. How the three of us would define Libertarianism is probably somewhere in the following range: Nozick’s minarchism on one edge to Huemer’s An-Cap and Hayek’s spontaneous order on the other. But that’s probably a little at odds with the following.

    First, most Libertarians who vote for one of the two major parties vote Republican. (2020 was an exception; as a bunch of people who voted for the Libertarian ticket in ’16 voted for Biden.)

    Second, this was historically true as well. Rothbard extensively criticized his fellow libertarians for allying themselves politically with the right wing. This retrospective is worth reading. And his disputes with Buckley led to his split from Cato, an organization he co-founded, and is still associated with Libertarianism.

    Third, the high-profile contemporary libertarians, the Pauls and Gary Johnson, are associated with both libertarianism and the GOP.

    All of their homes are within the GOP when they desire to win office. Paul the Elder was LP until he ran for Congress as a Republican, then switched back upon retirement. Johnson switched to the LP after his term as Gov. of NM. Rand in public life, has always been a Republican and has played politics with identifying as Libertarian. Cato strikes again!*

    But that’s part of the problem, right? Bob fucking Barr both authored DOMA and won the LP nomination for President in a span of just a few years.

    Fourth, some small percentage of self-ID libertarians fail to correctly define it**. (But I’m curious if some of what you and I know as Left-Libertarians are among those that ‘failed’.)

    *

    The question of whether Rand Paul is a libertarian is irrelevant. As someone who has been deeply involved in the libertarian movement for decades, I know libertarians disagree on the question. We have good reason, given his father and his background, to believe that deep down he is a libertarian who modifies his public positions to remain politically viable in the Republican Party.

    **

    About one-in-ten Americans (11%) describe themselves as libertarian and know what the term means. Respondents were asked whether the term “libertarian” describes them well and — in a separate multiple-choice question — asked for the definition of “someone whose political views emphasize individual freedom by limiting the role of government”; 57% correctly answered the multiple-choice question, choosing “libertarian” from a list that included “progressive,” “authoritarian,” “Unitarian” and “communist.” On the self-description question 14% said they were libertarian. For the purpose of this analysis we focus on the 11% who both say they are libertarian and know the definition of the term.

    1
  85. Mimai says:

    @Kurtz:

    @Mimai already clarified his intent. I read it the way he intended, but I’ve had a ton of interaction with them since they started posting.

    Heh, easter eggs spotted and collected.

    2
  86. Kurtz says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Good call on Braugher. One of my favorite scenes is his interrogation of a white supremacist named Pratt, played by Steve Buscemi, who keeps referencing Plato. Pembleton challenges Pratt by picking a passage out of Plato in the original Greek. Pratt gives a generic response, and Pembleton says, “let me show you what the Jesuits taught me.” And proceeds to translate it.

    I’m pretty firm in my opinion that one of the very best hours of television is the bottle episode that consists almost entirely in the box while Pembleton and Bayliss interrogate a suspect in the murder of a little girl. That case was based on the real-life murder of LaTanya Wallace, who became known as “The Angel of Reservoir Hill.”

    The crime scene and investigation by a rookie detective, IIRC named Rick Garvey, was chronicled in Simon’s Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets.

    1
  87. Teve says:

    Panera started their coffee club February of last year. I’m in Panera on a weekly basis because it’s the only coffee shop left in town after Starbucks became a sonic hell, but I refuse to subscribe to the coffee, because, and I speak as a former coffee gourmet, their coffee is simply awful. It’s so bad I suspect they’re using robusta beans. And I’ve sought out fellow coffee nuts in other states and they report the same thing, it’s terrible nationwide.

  88. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Kurtz:
    Oh, I remember that episode. It was great because: Braugher. But also ten minutes in you realize you’ve never seen this before, and it’s exciting.

    1
  89. de stijl says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    Season one of Twin Peaks. Season two was a smoldering wet garbage fire. It pissed me off so much because this was genre changing stuff in S1 and it just disintegrated in S2 into a combo of irritating and boring.

    At that time, S1 of Twin Peaks was liberating and weird as fuck and expected the audience to either get onboard or switch over to something less challenging.

    S2 was what happens when networks underestimate the audience and want to milk a flash in the pan viral hit.

  90. de stijl says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    @Kurtz:

    I knew first tem minutes that Homicide was worth watching.

    Beyond the cast was the non-procedural way their daily lives were displayed.

    It wasn’t about solving the crime of the week. It was about the people and that particular job and Baltimore.

    1
  91. Teve says:

    We’re 38 minutes into Friday and there’s no Friday open thread yet???

    Shit is Fucked Up and Bullshit.

    So I guess I’ll have to put this here: Business Insider says Trump has told people at Mar-a-Lago that he’s running again in 2024.

  92. de stijl says:

    @Kurtz:

    Very interesting reaction / mindset. I am often of that mind. When I am riled or anxious I avoid interacting here too.

    Sometimes I am just not up for interacting; sometimes I get annoyed at the news and news commenting culture where everybody has a hot take.

    Sometimes I get big picture and know my 2 cents are either bullshit or meaningless or both. The world is perfectly fine in running itself and things will unfold as they will whether I pop in with a jaunty quip or not.

    Engagement is fraught.

  93. wr says:

    @de stijl: “S2 was what happens when networks underestimate the audience and want to milk a flash in the pan viral hit.”

    I’m always happy to play “blame the networks,” but the only creative pressure they put on Lynch and Frost was to solve Laura Palmer’s murder. Frost has said he thought the other storylines they came up with failed to live up to that one. ABC did mess with the ratings once they started to decline by moving time slots and pre-empting the show a lot, but by that time the audience had spoken.

    By the way, Twin Peaks: The Return, which Lynch and Frost did for Showtime a couple of years ago, is one of the best things David Lynch has ever done.

  94. Michael Reynolds says:

    @de stijl:
    Surrealism, magic realism, non-linear story-telling, unreliable narrators, the ‘weirder’ a story is, the shorter the legs. There’s a reason Dick Wolf now controls three full nights of network TV: simple stories, simply told. Some things need to be a single season, two at most. Right, Stranger Things?

  95. DrDaveT says:

    @Mimai: Thanks for the recommendations. I look forward to learning something.

    1
  96. DrDaveT says:

    @Teve:

    It’s so bad I suspect they’re using robusta beans.

    Which is weird. When Panera first showed up in my part of the world, their coffee was delicious. They even had a nice House Latte (nutmeg and honey) to die for.

    Now, their coffee is undrinkable, down in the McDonald’s/Dunkin’/diner range. And no more House Latte.

    I heard a lecture once which noted as an aside that Starbucks had ruined coffee by creating a worldwide demand for a product that worldwide production of high-quality arabica beans cannot meet. There isn’t enough quality bean in the world to produce original-Starbucks-quality coffee for every Starbucks, much less for everyone else as well. I wonder if that is part of what happened.

  97. Mimai says:

    @DrDaveT: Sure thing. Also, just to be clear, I am not necessarily endorsing any of the policy prescriptions articulated in the books. Nor do I expect you to find them compelling….you might, but I’m agnostic/atheist on this (couldn’t help myself). But I don’t think that is what you were asking for. Rather, I think you were asking for ANY policies that might be labeled conservative and/or that are offered by conservatives. And that is what I was trying to address in my list.

  98. DrDaveT says:

    @Mimai:

    Nor do I expect you to find them compelling…

    Not a problem. I’m not looking for things I can agree with; I’m looking for things that I can understand regarding what kind of world conservatives want to live in, and how they think they can get there.

  99. DrDaveT says:

    @Mimai:

    Rather, I think you were asking for ANY policies that might be labeled conservative

    Quick addendum, since no edit button at the moment:

    Even better than a list of policies would be a list of goals. Or, alternatively, an explicit statement that there is no goal, in these sense that they advocate certain policies not for the outcomes that would follow but because the means matter more to them than the ends.

  100. Mimai says:

    @DrDaveT: Good point re the distinction between policies (methods) and goals. I suspect you’ll see both articulated in the books I listed.

    ps, go easy on crepes suzette….I have a fond association with them that I don’t want spoiled.