Saturday’s Forum

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


  1. EddieInCA says:

    For the first time in 21 months, I felt human tonight.

    My wife and I went to the Hella Mega Tour concert at Dodger Stadium. The Interrupters. Weezer. Fall Out Boy. Green Day.

    Yes. I’m too old to be at these concerts.
    No. I DGAF!
    Yes. Someone asked “Who brought their dad?”
    No. I DGAF!
    Yes. It was Hella fun. (see what I did there)
    The Interrupters are a band to watch. Very, very good. Lead singer sounds like Joan Jett, acts like Miley Cyrus.
    Weezer was…Weezer. Bleh….
    Fall Out Boy put on a great, great set. Top notch. The pyrotechnics were ridiculous.
    Green Day played nonstop for almost two hours. They still have it. Billie Joe was on freaking fire!

    I would say 80% of the audience was masked full time. I wore an N95 (not KN95) and it never came off. I didn’t eat or drink the whole six hours I was there. As exhilarated as I was, I was equally terrified, despite being vaxxed and being tested 3x per week. It’s going to take a long time for me to feel “normal” around any crowds. And I might just keep wearing a mask to avoid the flu or common cold. I wear my masks so much now that it feels weird when I’m not wearing them out in public.

    Damn. I’ve missed live music. John Williams at the Bowl Sunday. Erykah Badu after that.

    Unless Covid kills it all again.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Laurie Garrett

    Sep 2
    Poll on #COVID19 finds, “among those who admit they will not get the #vaccine , 70% either identify w/or lean toward the #Republican Party while just 6% align with the #Democrats.”
    “It was all lunacy. It is all lunacy. This should never have happened.”

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:


    From late June to mid-August, there was a 10x increase in the rate of hospitalizations among children ages 0-4 with #COVID19 while the #DeltaVariant was widely circulating. It is critical for children to #maskup and get vaccinated if eligible. Learn more:

    New @CDCMMWR report also found that hospitalization rates among unvaccinated adolescents (12-17 year-olds) was 10 times higher than among fully vaccinated adolescents. More:

    Laurie Garrett

    Children are four times more likely to need emergency room care for #COVID19 in States with low adult vaccination rates, versus those where more than half of adults are fully immunized, according to @CDCgov./

    When Jesus said, ” Suffer the little children…” he didn’t mean make them suffer.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    kilgore trout, horse paste suppository

    the cops finally found something they won’t shoot

    FRIGHTENING STATISTIC: COVID-19 has become the No. 1 cop killer and “the most important officer safety issue of our lifetime”

  5. sam says:

    GoDaddy Is Booting A Site That Sought Anonymous Tips About Texas Abortions. Seems that ratting out your neighbors violates GD’s terms of service. And I suspect every other hosting service’s.
    Other news:

    Lyft And Uber Will Pay Drivers’ Legal Fees If They’re Sued Under Texas Abortion Law

    I can hear the yelps of Senator Foghorn Cornpone and Congressman BillyJimRayBob right now.

  6. Sleeping Dog says:


    Saw this AM that Nico Case cancelled the remaining dates for the tour she started in mid August due to Covid. So yes the Rona will likely spoil our fun. While I’m not much for national acts or large venues, I was really looking forward to the smallish local venues and clubs opening up again. But now with Delta…

  7. de stijl says:


    Man, that sounds like a damn good night out!

    I wish I were there too.

    It took me a year or so, but Green Day won me over. My idiot neighbor blasted Dookie at inappropriate hours and she was not my favorite person to begin with. And we had thick brick walls.

  8. Sleeping Dog says:


    Nah, it’s just big tech discriminating against conservatives and religion. :man_facepalming

  9. de stijl says:

    I am at a little park watching ducks paddle around a half acre pond at dawn. It soothes me and makes me happy.

    They’re not little anymore. In duck years they are teenagers. Still pretty adorable. They can fly now. In early summer they were so tiny!

  10. Sleeping Dog says:

    Scary thought for the day.

    Out on the motorcycle yesterday, under positively wintry looking skies in NH’s White Mountains. Passed a house with the typical trumpist blue flag, but this time not for TFG but for junior. I cringed.

  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I honestly don’t think Junior will ever get anywhere near any kind of elected position. I just don’t see any kind of enthusiasm for TFG’s children.

    Caveat: My exposure to right wing sentiment is limited to several local news outlets as I stay far away from Lucianne, the Gateway Pundit, and their ilk.

  12. de stijl says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Before the 2020 election I was walking through a pretty pricy block and the expensivest* house on the block was sporting a Wu Tang 2020 banner. Made me proud. Brought a patriotic tear to my eye.

    I would seriously consider RZA – that man is squared away in general.

    *expensivest is indeed a word. There was a show with that title – “Most Expensivest” w/ 2 Chainz that was quite amusing at times.)

  13. Sleeping Dog says:

    Over lunch yesterday, a friend and I were bemoaning the current state of Covid. We were in agreement that in 2020, the government of the state of NH had done a good job and the R guv, had shown leadership. My friend pointed out that NH’s 2021 response has been teetering on disaster. I agreed, pointing out that the most significant change has been the replacement of a Dem legislature with an R legislature and before I could expound on that he interjected, that the legislature was in effect bat shit crazy, If the R’s are losing voters like my friend, the will be in trouble.

  14. de stijl says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    “Virtue signaling” from the American right in 2021 means anti-mask, anti-vaxx (or close enough to it to count), and pro-alternative to Covid vaccination.

    How you can be be pro-Ivermectin and anti-vaccine is beyond my ken to comprehend let alone explain.

    And, yes. The right can virtue signal. Been doing it for centuries.

  15. CSK says:

    I don’t detect a great deal of enthusiasm for Donny Junior at (which incorporates a lot of material from Gateway and Tree House, saving me from the necessity of visiting those sites myself). There’s no special animus against him, but no raving enthusiasm as there is for his appalling sire.

    Ivanka appears to have dropped out of sight, and Eric’s a total non-starter.

  16. CSK says:

    @de stijl:
    Ivermectin is a sure cure. The globalist deep state Commies don’t want you to know about it. The vaccines, on the other hand, are useless at best and poison at worst.

    If you’re a loon, it makes perfect sense.

  17. de stijl says:

    @de stijl:

    I guess Cleek’s Law explains the Ivermectin fad. And the HCQ one last year to some extant.

    Inventing a magic bullet of that type out of whole cloth is just so bizarre to me. Oklahoma and and South Dakota bought millions of dollars worth of hydroxychloroquine last year because of RW swamp fever hype and obstinate denial. Utter foolishness. Defiant absurdity.

    Maybe unprocessed guilt is exacerbating their response. Seriously, please process your precious fee-fees quickly – so you called it wrongly in the beginning and viewed it as a political problem / opportunity rather than as a public health emergency. That is your fault.

    Boo fricking hoo. Get over yourself. Grow the fuck up. It is pretty dire. We could use your help, please. Soon. Now.

    And if not, get the fuck out of the way.

  18. grumpy realist says:

    @de stijl: let them poison themselves….this is the equivalent of people running out into rush hour traffic without looking. At some point it’s just not useful trying to rescue people from the consequences of their own stupidity.

  19. Jax says:

    @CSK: There’s a local guy I went to high school with claiming on Facebook that he got COVID, took Ivermectin for humans, and it cured him in a day. Encouraging everyone to run on down to Mexico like he did for the Ivermectin. I wouldn’t be surprised if he suddenly becomes the Ivermectin drug dealer around these parts.

    It’s funny, though, cuz up until he got it, it was a hoax, don’tcha know!! (eyeroll)

  20. de stijl says:

    @grumpy realist:

    I am a community minded person.

    I do not want my neighbors to die. I want them to help prevent that from happening. Making it worse is just fucking maddening.

  21. Sleeping Dog says:

    @de stijl:

    Culling the herd can improve the community. There is nothing wrong with trying to talk sense, but it is important to triage those who are hopeless and work on those who can be convinced.

  22. Michael Reynolds says:

    I love the Interrupters, love that singer’s whiskey voice.

    Green Day is the band that got me to start paying attention to music again after the Rod Stewart and Disco eras. Dookie, Smash (Offspring) and Out Came the Wolves (Rancid) powered Animorphs. Recently we’ve been looking to do a new ‘KA Applegate’ concept in that voice, and I was dragging – writing styles evolve, even mine. Then I realized what I was missing. Added some Foo and some Eilish some Interrupters some Hollywood Undead to the usual Three R’s (Ramones, Rancid, Rolling Stones) playlist base, and yes. . . yes, I could do sound effects! Tseeew! I could ignore basic. Rules of punctuation. Also grammar.

  23. charon says:

    2) Dr. McElyea said patients are packing his eastern and southeastern Oklahoma hospitals after taking ivermectin doses meant for a full-sized horse, because they believed false claims the horse de-wormer could fight COVID-19.

    4) Same thing happening elsewhere recently with spikes in poison control calls for ivermectin in Mississippi. This ivermectin misinfo is a nationwide trend!

    5) 70% of calls to Mississippi poison control calls are for ivermectin!

    11) Notably the Argentina study by Carvallo is extremely suspect, reports
    , who is one of the internet’s sharpest fact checking reporters. She does an in depth background on this dubious Argentina ivermectin study.

    There are, apparently, many right-wing radio hosts pushing this stuff, so now a fashionable way to own the libs.

  24. charon says:

    Pediatric covid hospitalizations by state fully vaccination per cent, past 30 days

    Florida, an off-the-chart outlier

  25. Sleeping Dog says:

    @charon: Risking, poisoning yourself to own the libs?? Well this lib is just shaking his head and thinking, whatever. Just die quickly.

  26. de stijl says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Four Rs.

    Replacements on the list.

  27. Beth says:


    I’m going to my first music festival since 2001. I was a kid for the last one, an old for the next ones. This is going to be great though. Two days of House and Techno.

    Oddly enough, we did the NYC show and were in town till August 11. We stayed at the World Trade Center Marriott.

  28. @Sleeping Dog:

    So yes the Rona will likely spoil our fun.

    We had bought tickets to see Alan Parsons in Atlanta back when it seemed like we were headed in the right direction. The tour has now been postponed (and, indeed, it had already been postponed once and the show I had bought the tickets for was a rescheduled one from earlier in the pandemic).

    I am actually glad not to be going to a concert indoors in Atlanta at this stage of things, but am bummed and annoyed that I would be going to that show next week if people had just gotten their damn shots.

  29. de stijl says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Yo! I do not like this “culling the herd” shit. At all.

    Eventually there will be a variant those vaccinated against the earlier forms are vulnerable too. No matter if you had both shots or not.

    Don’t be smug. This isn’t over. This is an on-going public health emergency. Your two shots were the opening gambit of what this will require of us. Yearly or semi-annual boosters. Masks in stores, etc. as lifelong habits.

    Your two shots do not give you a lifetime pass. This is long haul shit. We need community support.

    Viruses mutate. They need a host to replicate. Some are new spins on the OG. If the new ones survive better they replicate and make new copies too some of which might have new survivability aspects.

    Most people think this is get everyone vaccinated problem. That was the first response.

    And yes, that is a huge problem. And very maddening because it would have reduced the pool for mutations.

    In the near future, new scary variants might hit you or yours. Doesn’t care who voted for. Doesn’t care who you intend to vote for. Doesn’t care if you got both shots. The surviving strain will have by random shuffling found a workaround that survives.

    Viruses are really good at surviving.

    We are already seeing it with delta to some extent and with mu. Other variants will follow.

    Bashing the unvaccinated might be cathartic, but it is not helpful. New variants will require new vaccines. This is not a one and done deal.

    And it is unseemly. YMMV, but I find it really distasteful. Community has to care for everybody – idiots included.

  30. @de stijl:

    I guess Cleek’s Law explains the Ivermectin fad. And the HCQ one last year to some extant.

    I think it is more than that. There is just a certain weird gullibility that seems to exists with a certain percentage of the population, especially those who listen to AM radio and cable news. For years and years there have been commercials for all kinds of supplements and remedies for those shows (the latest is “Relief Factor” but I can remember the garlic fad and the various other commercials touting “saw palmetto” and Chondroitin (I have not idea why that sticks in my head).

    There is also the whole line of products that Alex Jones sells.

    Who in their right minds buy boner pills from a dispensary in a men’s truck stop bathroom? (And somebody must be biting on all those spam emails on the same subject).

    I have no unified theory for this and readily allow that it is currently predominantly a partisan phenomenon, but there is a broader issue here.

    It all reminds of the snake oil and tonic salesman of the patent medicine era.

  31. @de stijl:

    . YMMV, but I find it really distasteful. Community has to care for everybody – idiots included.

    Allow me to second this sentiment.

  32. de stijl says:

    @de stijl:


    I have a lot of ink but only one song title on me. Or lyric. Or text of any kind. I came to like visuals as I adulted up, but I have no regrets on my Unsatisfied in ransom note script.

    My second – no check that – third tattoo.

    “Unsatisfied” in ransom note art going down the outside of my left forearm. I like it.

  33. Kathy says:

    It turns out Branson’s “spaceship” may not be safe.

    We’ll have to wait for the investigation. Meantime, safety is as much a matter of practices as it is of design. If you ignore system warnings, you’ll find they’re not of much use. Remember, too, the Shuttle flew successfully two dozen times with unsafe solid boosters, and many more with unsafe shedding insulator foam. Both accidents were inevitable given ongoing practices, and were only a matter of time.

    While the whole Virgin Galactic enterprise is a dead end, good only for giving joyrides to the wealthy, any accident involving its vehicles, especially if they involve loss of life, will be a blow against all other private space companies doing actual serious work on real space travel (and to Blue Origin as well).

    Keep in mind a prototype, Spaceship 2, already had a fatal accident in test phase.

  34. Kathy says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    It’s time they did some serious owning. I can’t think of anything better for that than prussic acid as a COVID prophylactic.

  35. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I think it is more than that. There is just a certain weird gullibility that seems to exists with a certain percentage of the population, especially those who listen to AM radio and cable news.

    I wonder if there are any other factors common to this gullible group? Say, evangelical Christianity? Once you’re convinced that Jonah sat in a whale’s belly, or that the world is only 6,000 years old, why wouldn’t you buy boner pills from Alex Jones? What standard of evidence would you reference in judging plausibility?

  36. @Michael Reynolds: There likely are correlations along those lines, but you ride this monocausal thesis way too hard. I say that not to defend any group, but simply as a matter of social science.

  37. Michael Reynolds says:

    @de stijl:
    Nandi Bushell playing drums, guitar, bass and sure, why not, saxophone on ain’t no sunshine. For when you despair about the future of actual musicians playing actual instruments.

  38. Sleeping Dog says:

    @de stijl:

    Boy are you jumping to many conclusions. I’ll address the ones that is pertinent. Yes a variation will come along that the current vaccines will not provide protection, but like the the variations of the flu, the vax will be modified and we again will be lining up. That the protection could wear off, was suspected from the start, that is why the follow up and continued study of those who have received the vax. That a booster probably would be required isn’t a problem, people regularly receive boosters of such vaccines as tetanus, shingles and pneumonia.

    No covid isn’t going away, but the risk is being accentuated by those who refuse to take the proven effective steps to reduce the risk. My concern is for those who can’t, for medical reasons, receive the vax and for children (and parents) for whom vax approval hasn’t occurred. Coddling the refusniks, only puts those who have a legitimate reason for not being vaccinated at greater risk, while also increasing the risk for those who are vaxxed, by providing hosts for the variations to perpetuate.

    Caring for the whole community is laudable, so perhaps the refusniks could begin caring.

  39. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    I’m looking at the foundation rather than the walls and roof. DNA provides the building materials, then environment steps in. When it comes to intellectual matters, thought processes, analytical thinking, Sunday School precedes AM radio and Fox News by many years.

    So which is the more relevant factor? The teaching that laid the intellectual foundation, or the later habits that grew out of that intellectual foundation?

  40. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    We’ve had season tickets for the Boston Ballet for a few years, the final part of the 19/20 season, all of the 20/21 season, were cancelled. 21/22 will hopefully open in November with the Nutcracker, but we’ll see. Of note, entry will require proof of vax or negative test in the previous couple of days and masked, all the time. It sounds like the bar and concessions will be closed 🙁

  41. de stijl says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Nandi Bushell is by far my favorite person on the planet. By miles and miles.

    She radiates joy and bliss. It’s infectious. She makes your whole day in 3 minutes. She is so happy it makes my face hurt after because I smiled so much.

    And if you want a prompt as to how and when to cry good adult happy tears, Nandi is the freaking bomb expert.

    I am loathe to float this. Future her might not like this amount of attention. She might have regret tomorrow.

    That’s just probably anxiety prone me though.

    I very sincerely hope not.

    Nandi is a goddess or a force of nature. She radiates joy.

  42. de stijl says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    It was you that brought up “culling the herd”.

  43. Sleeping Dog says:

    @de stijl:

    I certainly did and stand by it. If a subset of anti-social individuals become ill and die, the community will be better off. I’m saving my empathy for those who are doing what they can to avoid covid, but still catch it. I no longer care about the refusniks.

  44. @Michael Reynolds: No,you are over-simplifying and in a way that figures into your own worldview.

    I am not saying that religion isn’t a potentially relevant variable, but I am very much saying you cannot make the claims you are making as definitely and completely as you always do.

    I feel professionally bound to point that out for others to consider, even if you are not persuadable. I am open to being proven wrong through actual evidence and analysis, of course.

  45. @Steven L. Taylor: At a minimum, your theory does not explain that many people who believe a lot of the things you find incredible but who otherwise don’t take Ivermectin, are vaccinated, and so forth.

    To go anecdotal, I knew a guy who had a Ph.D. in Astrophysics who taught the appropriate, scientific views of the universe, but would tell you that based on the Christian sect to which he belonged that he also believed in a young Earth. To me, this is difficult to accept, but somehow he did. People are strange and complex.

    And I know plenty of PhDs who are also Evangelicals and their behavior does not fit your patterns.

  46. Gustopher says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I have no unified theory for this and readily allow that it is currently predominantly a partisan phenomenon, but there is a broader issue here.

    People like easy solutions that don’t make them need to back peddle. “Horse dewormer cures it” allows people to minimize and ignore what they don’t want to deal with.

    The fact that this mindset is far more prevalent on the right simply suggests an untapped market on the left — we have the crystal therapy people, but they are such jokes that they don’t get a lot of traction.

    LatinX might be our horse dewormer — useless, moderately harmful, but sounds like a solution to a problem.

  47. de stijl says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I figured out how to throat sing. A lot of it is because of you.

    I was already listening to Heilung and had them on my daily playlist. I added The Hu Wolf Totem because of you. Added Nytt Land later.

    They were front loaded on my list. I like to wake up and get cranked initially in case the day calls for that. Coffee and hard music and a hearty breakfast.

    I played with the sounds while making breakfast absently minded. Tried to emulate the sounds. Went on for months. Me monkeying around while making breakfast.

    One day it happened. It’s impossible to describe how. Relax your throat. That’s the best advice I’ve got. Try. Relax and try until you can.

    Monday I couldn’t. Tuesday I could. I wasn’t even actively trying – just fooling around

    Initially it was tricky to relax enough to do it, but now it’s second nature. Falling off a log easy.

    That first day I could and the next was epic. I narrated my day. “I am goooooooonaaaah wash these dishes.” Playing with long vowels is very cool.

    I played with making interesting sounds because I could.

    Your dumb-ass brilliant The Hu comment drop eventually caused me to to figure out how to throat sing 4 months later. Cause and effect. Unintentional. You put a thing out into the void and someone heard. Acted on it.

    It’s super fun. Your throat vibrates viscerally. I enjoy it immensely.

  48. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @EddieInCA: Glad you enjoyed it! I’m not quite back to there yet. (And Luddite might say that I’ve never actually been “there” for the past 35 or 40 years, but that’s another story entirely.)

  49. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I would guess similar numbers among those who will not admit to having received the vaccine, too. Maybe I’m too cynical, though.

  50. de stijl says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    If a subset becomes ill and dies we are not better off.

    Viruses don’t care.

    You are making a category error here. The enemy is the virus.

    A subset will always be idiots. Even if we cull the present set. Doesn’t solve the problem.

    Those idiots are part of us. Brothers or nieces or friends. Us, too.

    Seriously not a fan of “cull the herd” rhetoric. Unhelpful on many levels.

  51. charon says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    To go anecdotal, I knew a guy who had a Ph.D. in Astrophysics who taught the appropriate, scientific views of the universe, but would tell you that based on the Christian sect to which he belonged that he also believed in a young Earth.

    Just because he knows the science well enough to teach it does not show that he really believes it, clearly he does not.

    I have picked up and understand a lot of vampire lore from watching shows like “True Blood,” “The Vampire Diaries” and “Let the Right One In.” I do not really believe in vampires though.

    My SIL has a degree in geology, but she still is able to regard the Bible as “inerrant.”

  52. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @de stijl: As we used to say when I was young, not only is it beyond my ken, it’s also beyond my Barbie.

  53. de stijl says:


    Is she “young earth”?

    That would be unprofessional.

  54. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: No, loons are waaaaaayyy smarter than people who read, Tree House, and Gateway. (Present company excepted, of course.)

  55. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: @de stijl: While I get and appreciate the sentiment, this is something society can’t fix. Up until now, various patent medicine type scams (and my mom subscribed to a lot if not most of them, starting with customized vitamins marketed at “Nutri Bio” back in the 50s) have been innocuous for the most part (at least post FDA) with the most desperate (at least in my opinion), Laetrile, limited to people who were likely dying anyway. This doing stupid health regimens that can actually kill you thing that is happening now is territory we haven’t encountered since the 1890s. We’ll need changes in how society responds to them, but enough people that “I” care about (whoever “I” is in each individual case) will have to be dying before society gets off the dime. It’s the American human way.

  56. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Well, “loon” seems to be a convenient shorthand way for me to designate them. What term would you prefer? Semi-literate religion-addled morons?

  57. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Michael Reynolds: No. You’re preaching to yourself. (Lord knows–no pun intended–it has to be you you’re preaching to given the number of people who’ve stopped listening.) In my tradition, we preach to our selves (the choir, if you will) because we believe that our “defaults” are set toward willfulness that has to be overcome by reminding ourselves of who we are in relation to our reality (and our eternal future, if you will, again).

    Why do you preach to yourself and what defaults are you working at overcoming?

  58. Sleeping Dog says:

    @de stijl:

    The virus is the enemy and the anti-vaxxers are its fellow travelers and enablers. Why waste concern on them?

  59. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: That is where the problem comes in. We have no beings/phenomena to compare these folks with that isn’t an insult to the beings/phenomena. Call them what you wish, just apologize to the (actual) loons when you see them in the wild, lest they attack you.

  60. Mister Bluster says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:..given the number of people who’ve stopped listening.

    Since you seem to know what that number is let’s see it.

  61. Teve says:
  62. de stijl says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Because they are our friends or neighbors or our family. Because they are alive. Because they are human.

    I want to save idiots from stepping in front of oncoming traffic.

    Rhetorically wishing a class of people dead is not helpful. At all.

  63. de stijl says:


    God Damn These Vampires

    The Mountain Goats

  64. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    If by loons you mean the birds that hang around bodies of water, I quite like them, and would never denigrate them.

    “Loon” denoting a crazy person, on the other hand, has a time-honored history going back to the 14th century, when it mean “rogue” or “idler” or “lout.”

  65. dazedandconfused says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    Seems to me the shared foundation is the ability to have abstract thoughts. Eve bit that apple, not the one of knowledge. Intellectualism, and the ability to conceive and craft a Clovis spearhead, are the disciplining that ability.

  66. @charon: People have weird and often contradictory ways of compartmentalizing things.

    Indeed, isn’t there a notion that a sure sign of intelligence is the ability to hold two or more contradictory notions in your head at the same time?

    I am not endorsing any particular set of behaviors or beliefs by what I am saying, but let’s not pretend that it is impossible for people to somehow have contradictory views and still somehow manage to hold them just the same.

  67. @Sleeping Dog:

    Why waste concern on them?

    Because that way lies dehumanization of one’s opponents and history (not to mention basic morality) tells us that that path is a very dangerous one.

    One can lament the foolhardy behavior of others, and even be angry at them for their poor choices, without also turning to callous disregard (or, worse, casually accepting or cheering their demise).

  68. @Teve: Alas, the grift is everlasting.

  69. Mimai says:

    Emotional awareness and expression is fundamental to humanness. And sometimes we get stuck and/or restricted – intentionally and not.

    Emotional exploration can be helpful. Not just exploring one’s own well-traveled internal terrain. But also envisioning and then exploring possible new terrains.

    The emotional landscape is vast. There are endless alternatives to feeling {insert “favorites”}. And none of these must involve feeling the opposite of one’s “favorites.”

  70. de stijl says:

    @Sleeping Dog: @Steven L. Taylor:

    Wishing ill on others is not healthy psychologically. And it is super bad politics.

    Crazy bad policy.

  71. de stijl says:


    As a Minnesotan (ex) I will defend loons to my dying breath.

    A loon call across a remote lake up north is chilling, invigorating, lonely, stirring.

  72. CSK says:

    @de stijl:
    As I said, I like them too.

  73. de stijl says:


    Let The Right One In and the US remake are hella great.

  74. CSK says:

    Starting Sept. 16, Florida will impose a $5000 fine on any school, business, or govt. agency that requires people to show proof of vaccination again Covid.

    I assume, possibly incorrectly, that this is a fine for each “offense.”

  75. de stijl says:


    There are loon night call audio samples that freak me out a bit because they transport me in time and space.

    I remember exactly where I was and when. Up near Ely a billion years ago.

    Such a haunting sound.

  76. de stijl says:


    Watching R governors react to Covid-19 and the ramifications is like watching a slow burn version of Candide. All is well. This is the best of all possible worlds.

    The willful obtuseness.

    I currently live in a R run state. Legislature and Governor.

    It is not inattentiveness or naivete. In real life, it is grotesquely evil.

    They view this as an opportunity.

    Candide was satire.

  77. CSK says:

    @de stijl:
    The R governors in New England have been responsible about Covid. But they’re a much different breed from the R governors in the south and midwest.

  78. Jax says:

    @de stijl: I don’t “wish” them dead, nor do I plan on actively “culling” them, but the level of empathy I feel towards those who choose to cull themselves is at exactly zero. This is their choice, and maybe they ARE doing the herd some good if they choose to remove themselves from it. We can’t force them to live if they’re determined to off themselves via COVID.

  79. Gustopher says:

    @Jax: Most of them are victims of a disinformation campaign. Do you also have zero sympathy for those who fall prey to telemarketers or some other scam?

    People who live in food deserts and end up having crappy nutrition as a result?

    Those who believed doctors when they said margarine was better for you than butter or vice-versa? (I have no idea which is supposed to be worse now)

    Germans who were told repeatedly be their government that all their problems were the result of the Jew?

    Ok, I threw that last one in for fun to mess with the message. But no one deserves to die because they have trouble figuring out good information from bad when they are being fed a diet of bad. Maybe they deserve to shit their pants because of horse dewormer though.

  80. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Even at my age, I learn things. My understanding of the history was that such people acquired the sobriquet loon from the type of howling the regulars at places like Bedlam engaged in. But I am glad to know that you weren’t demeaning the birds.

    Now if we can only move away from demeaning genuinely insane people by comparing them to FG’s supporters… 😉

  81. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Gustopher: People who fall prey to telemarketers and other scams? Ayup, no sympathy or empathy.

    People who live in food deserts? No, those I feel sadness for.

    People who believed doctors about butter/margarine? That one’s exactly the situation I was talking about earlier where the advice was pretty innocuous. The disadvantage isn’t eating one over the other, it’s eating too much (of either, in fact).

    How did I do? Am I sociopathic enough to make it in the modern world for a few more years?

  82. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Given that I have genuine sympathy for those suffering from mental illness, and no sympathy whatsoever for Trumpkins, I’ll have to work on that terminology.

    P.S. I’m a medievalist. 🙂

  83. Jax says:

    @Gustopher: Most of the ones I know are not “victims” of a disinformation campaign. They are actively CHOOSING the mis/disinformation out of tribal loyalty, despite those of us who believe in the “greater good” trying to show them the truth. Their tribal loyalty also requires that they believe the rest of us are actively evil, demons and/or the devil incarnate, and they actively spout rhetoric indicating they do not care as much for my life as I (used to) for theirs. Nope, my give a damn is broken for those people.

    Now, that said, there are a certain number of them who are actually not smart enough to be able to determine the difference. I do feel a tiny smidgen of empathy towards them, but never forget that THEIR tribal loyalty is just as strong as the aforementioned group, and if they get told all Dems and Trump non-believers are going to the camps, there’s not much daylight between the two groups. The whole damn group has already indicated exactly what their empathy level is towards anyone not of their tribe. I don’t feel bad at all for not caring if they choose to die a preventable death to own the libz. (shrugs)

  84. Teve says:

    @Jax: several vids online right now with Antivaxxer dipshits yelling about DEMONIC POLICIES etc.

  85. Teve says:

    I just had some nectarines so good they’d make you smack your momma. Holy cow. Going back tomorrow for some more.

  86. JohnSF says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    I often preach to myself.
    I enjoy having an intelligent and sympathetic audience, that follows the logic of my rhetoric
    (For a change)

  87. JohnSF says:

    That’s what I miss about not going to France.
    Or Italy. The peaches/nectarines, and melons, etc, even in the supermarkets, are just so lovely.
    In the UK, hope over experience will sometimes tempt me to a supermarket peach or nectarine.
    Like chewing cardboard, dammit.

  88. JohnSF says:

    So, your middlingly evil?

  89. Jax says:

    @Teve: Did you see the dudes in Arizona who showed up to citizen’s arrest a school principal WITH ZIP TIES because one of their kids was in contact with a positive case and they made the kid wear a mask?

    These people do not have the greater good or anybody else’s best interest at heart.

  90. Gustopher says:


    I just had some nectarines so good they’d make you smack your momma. Holy cow. Going back tomorrow for some more.

    My mother is dead. If nectarines are so good that they will make me exhume her corpse and smack her, I think they might not be nectarines.

    Some kind of power hallucinogen that causes a psychotic break from reality, perhaps?

    Sounds good.

  91. Teve says:

    Maybe right-wing violence is being normalized or maybe I’m falling for availability bias, I have no idea.

  92. CSK says:

    No. I am very evil. 😀

  93. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I wonder if there are any other factors common to this gullible group? Say, evangelical Christianity? Once you’re convinced that Jonah sat in a whale’s belly, or that the world is only 6,000 years old, why wouldn’t you buy boner pills from Alex Jones? What standard of evidence would you reference in judging plausibility?

    But, does religion create a gap in people’s intellects, or does it just fill that gap?

    All you “religion makes people idiots” theories never begin to address that. If most of the colossal idiots are religious, it’s as likely because most people are religious as anything else. Like how most covid cases in Israel are among the vaccinated.

    But, if it is religion making people dumber… then we really need to step up our game with non-religious traditions that build a sense of community and shared understanding. Even solace. Because that’s what draws people in to religion and keeps them there.

    Here’s a start: There are a lot of great songs that are explicitly religious. Amazing Grace, Wayfaring Stranger, We Shall Overcome, 666: The Number Of The Beast, Oh, Mary, Don’t You Weep, Jesus Christ Superstar

    Where are the great, moving, explicitly atheist or agnostic songs? The songs about dealing with grief, and coming together, and all the things that people depend on religion for.

    John Lennon’s Imagine barely touches the surface.

    Iris DeMent’s Let The Mystery Be is great, but basically unknown.

    Robbie Fulk’s God Isn’t Real is just deliberately offensive.

    A world filled with wonder, a cold, fathomless sky
    A man’s life so meager, he can but wonder why
    He cries out to Heaven its truth to reveal
    The answer: only silence, for God isn’t real.

    Go ask the starving millions under Stalin’s cruel reign
    Go ask the child with cancer who eases her pain
    Then go to your churches, if that’s how you feel
    But don’t ask me to follow, for God isn’t real.

    He forms in his image a weak and foolish man
    Speaks to him in symbols that few understand
    For a life of devotion, the death blow he deals
    We’d owe Him only hatred, but God isn’t real.

  94. de stijl says:


    You are a medievalist?!

    That is very cool!

    Is there insight about Black Plague that relates to today? Were there malcontents?

    It is my understanding that plague killed about a third of the population and about half of the infected.

    Is that true?

    I love when people finally share their secret thing.
    (Btw, I am very impressed and think that admission was fucking very cool.)

  95. de stijl says:


    I have a very dire desire to attend an ayahuasca retreat. Curated.

    I want to feel it experience it myself. The chemical analog DMT suits me fine in correct dosage.

    Possibly next summer I will go do that.

  96. JohnSF says:

    @de stijl:
    The Black Death was a horror almost beyond our comprehension.
    There’s village a couple of miles from me where half the population died.
    Same in large areas of Europe; and it came back year after year.

  97. de stijl says:



    In Maidjan

    Krigsgaldr obliquely.

    I did not know how to grieve. When my mother died she left me all her shit. As a curse in a way. I kinda liked her when she wasn’t an asshole. I certainly did not love her.

    I swear to God, the estate management was a curse. She found a new way to fuck with me in death. So much shit to deal with! Argh! The memory haunts me still now. Used syringes were everywhere. It was a fucking mess and very emotionally brutal.

    We did not speak for almost 25 years. My choice. I sent cards at Christmas and her birthday some years with painfully awkward notes.

    Growing up under an untreated bi-polar single parent is challenging.

  98. CSK says:

    @de stijl:
    My specialty was the Arthurian tradition, with emphasis on the Arthurian literature of 14th century England and 15th century Scotland.

    This is pretty informative:

  99. de stijl says:


    Roughly 90% of native Americans died from newly imported European diseases. 3 million or so. They had no endemic immunity.

    This got very dark.

  100. JohnSF says:

    The interesting thing is, how the literature was (at least initially) an elite thing.
    Arthur of the British vs horrid Saxons = nice narrative from p.o.v . of Norman-French aristocracy.
    But later on the English adopted Arthur!
    (Also, related, Tolkien on the loss of Old English epics and Arthur filling the gap)
    Really funny is, mediaeval Scots adopting Arthur as a hero, when Lothian was an English settlement (re. the name “Edinburgh”).
    Ever read the Y Goddodin?
    He fed black ravens on the wall
    Of the fortress, although he was not Arthur.
    Among those powerful in feats
    In the front rank, a pallisade, Gwawrddur.

  101. de stijl says:


    I am glad you shared your focus. That was very cool.

  102. JohnSF says:

    Vaguely associated with Arthur:
    One of the best views in England: British Camp

    And an interesting intersection: Arthurian legends and psychedelic drugs: Geoffrey Ashe, The Finger and the Moon
    And that was before Glastonbury became hippie central UK. 🙂

  103. CSK says:

    @de stijl:
    My pleasure. Northern Middle English was actually a purer form of the language than the London dialect (Chaucer). But southern England was more heavily populated, so that dialect prevailed.

    I’m sure you can translate the following:
    Tis mery in halle,
    When berdes waggeth alle.


    Too muche huntynge at river and wode
    Maketh a mannes haire to grow thurgh hys hode.

  104. CSK says:

    Oh, the Scots totally co-opted Arthur. See Golagros and Gawane.

  105. Gustopher says:

    @Jax: a lot of people are sharing a story about gunshot victims being turned away from hospitals in Oklahoma or somewhere like that because all the beds are full of horse dewormer enthusiasts who took too much.

    The story is apparently bullshit, but it matches their preconceived notions.

    It has, however made the rounds through all the trusted sources as it has been picked up by other news outlets.

    People get taken in by trusted news sources telling them falsehoods. And they will believe absolutely absurd shit.

    (The media story I was taken in by was more colorful — the headline was “Gordon Ramsey’s Dwarf Porn Double Found Dead In Badger Den”, and in my defense, I don’t want to live in a world where Gordon Ramsey’s dwarf porn double was found just living with the badgers in their den. …Ok, that’s a lie, I would love that. But I thought it was too absurd a story to be fake, and it was picked up by a number of outlets, plus)

  106. de stijl says:


    I recently watched a video of a linguist specialized in Old Norse and another in Old English have a series of role-played conversations for a few minutes and then they pulled back and analyzed what had just happened.

    Most of each others thoughts were pretty clearly communicated and fairly easily understood by the other.

    Eyeball estimate by me was 90% was easily understood by the other although in took some mental effort to suss out the root cognate of a particular usage to figure it out. There were quite a few exchanges where one would ask the other for a quick explanation or to confirm an assumption.

    It had diverged enough to be two separate languages but was close enough to be readily mutually understood. Cousins. They shared the same roots. It was mutually intelligible.

    It was damn fascinating. on Jackson Crawford’s channel.

    I went pretty far down the linguistics path in school until I had to formally declare a major.

  107. de stijl says:

    @CSK: @JohnSF:

    Any thoughts / feedback on The Green Knight?

    I’ve seen a few trailers and my impression was that it looked like well-made, well-intentioned hot garbage.

    I’d heard of the poem before but have not read it.


  108. CSK says:

    @de stijl:
    I read a review of the movie and it sounded so dreadful I passed.

    There are lots of great translations of SGATGK. The classic one is Tolkien’s, but Jessie Weston’s is good, and so are a number of others. You’ll note that it’s alliterative.

  109. wr says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: “It all reminds of the snake oil and tonic salesman of the patent medicine era.”

    Krugman had a column about this just the other day.

  110. wr says:

    @de stijl: “I’ve seen a few trailers and my impression was that it looked like well-made, well-intentioned hot garbage.”

    I thought it was terrific — strange and beautiful and mystifying. Anything but “hot garbage.”

  111. de stijl says:


    I’ll give it an honest shot. It’s playing right now two miles from me. In a theater where they bring beer to you which is awesome.

    I am used to theaters where you sneak in a flask and doctor your Sprite with your adult beverage of choice on the sly.

  112. @Gustopher:

    Where are the great, moving, explicitly atheist or agnostic songs?

    Well: click 😉

  113. @Gustopher:

    All you “religion makes people idiots” theories never begin to address that. If most of the colossal idiots are religious, it’s as likely because most people are religious as anything else.

    That last part is key: most Americans are religious. The vast majority of them believe in many of the things that MR thinks are fantastical (I am not defending either position, but am stating a fact). This creates a huge problem for his thesis as it conflates a lot of variables and makes it impossible to make simplistic claims the X causes Y.

    Like I noted above: humans have a way of compartmentalizing. There are plenty of well-educated, smart people who believe any number of fantastical things. Maybe when pressed they will explain how they believe both an R religious thing and an S science thing, but let’s not pretend like there is a simply causative relationship here (which is all that I am arguing).