Tuesday’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. sam says:

    Good lede:

    Noted local criminal Mark McCloskey played host to a barbecue/political rally on Sunday afternoon, drawing tens of admirers to the sweltering parking lot of a closed outlet mall in St. Louis County to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the time he pulled a gun on a crowd of people who otherwise would never have noticed or cared he existed. [Source]

  2. CSK says:

    And the second paragraph is even funnier.

  3. Sleeping Dog says:


    One of the glories of the alternative press is that they will print what most are thinking. If they give any thought to it at all.

  4. Jen says:


    Grievance and untethered delusion topped the menu at the event,


  5. de stijl says:


    That was a well written piece I read yesterday. Amusing and charming.

    Whoever wrote that deserves a raise and a shit ton of followers.

    At least pink polo hubby had the decency and common sense to maintain muzzle control. Kept his long gun pointed at the ground.

    Wifey was waving her pistol around pointing at the people walking past their house she seemingly picked out at random.

    Her behavior was extremely disturbing. Spooky. I seriously hope it was unloaded and safety on. That was extremely fucked up.

    Do not point a gun directly at someone unless you intend to pull the trigger! Crikey!

    And if you do intend, then extend your arm fully and lock the elbow. She displayed total ignorance on top of some weird pathologies I am no where near enough educated to puzzle out.

    He is lucky that he is still not in county or on work release sporting an ankle bracelet.

    White (and rich) privilege personified.

    His bona fides and qualifications? I needlessly and foolishly brandished at peaceful protesters filing past my house on their way to the Mayor’s. Literally, that’s it. That’s his full quiver.

    Right now, RWs are insisting that white privilege is not a thing and that we are going to make it illegal for you to make that claim by passing unconstitutional laws.

    And they call us special snowflakes demanding safe spaces.

    ” … drawing tens of admirers…” cracked me up.

  6. sam says:

    Quelle surprise: Cyber Ninja CEO Leading GOP’s Hoax Audit of Arizona Election Appears in QAnon ‘Documentary’

    On a side note: The Maricopa County Election Commission is going to replace all the voting machines in the county due to possible (probable, actual) contamination by the “auditors”.

  7. CSK says:

    @sam: @Sleeping Dog: @Jen: @de stijl:
    The photo of “throngs of sup[porters” had me rolling in the aisles, too.

  8. CSK says:

    You’re harvesting a bumper crop of goodies today.

  9. Jen says:

    Yikes. This loon was responsible for working with children.

    As a friend said, “tell me you are a fragile snowflake without telling me you’re a fragile snowflake.”

    I hope this resignation letter follows him for a long time.

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @sam: A friend of mine went to law school with him. He’s even more of a sociopath in person.

  11. sam says:

    @de stijl:

    Il stiletto:

    The event kicked off around 2 p.m. with a pig roast and photo op with the McCloskeys, Mark clad in his pink-shirt finery and Patricia sporting the Hamburglar costume for which she is best-known.

  12. CSK says:

    What’s wrong with “his or her”? It’s a perfectly correct locution.

  13. Jen says:

    @CSK: He thinks he’s being clever, as it excludes the use of singular “they.” I detest people like this.

  14. de stijl says:

    I want someone to explain Glenn Greenwald to me.

    Even back in the aughts back when he was purportedly “on my side” I pegged him as super sketchy. Extraordinarily thin-skinned and vengeful. Wore petty and mean as a badge of honor. Scorched earth tactics.

    I read a handful of his pieces and decided not my speed and not my style. Nope. I quit. Outta here now. Due diligence done.

    I get that rhetorically stacking the deck in your favor while also proclaiming fierce independence and objectivity can work. If you are subtle. Greenwald is the antithesis of subtle. Dude is a proud walking contrarian hammer.

    Anyone who tells you he is the last pure truth -teller on earth is selling something. Invariably a bad thing.

    Taibbi was a lost cause day one. Bill Maher? Pah! Give me a fucking break!

    People peddling bullshit who are purportedly on your side are still peddling bullshit. People who do it on purpose are assholes.

    I must admit Mamet was a blow I took hard. You always knew that guy was probably a prick, but I had hoped he was a menschy prick. Kvetchy. Larry David.

    Nope. Straight prick. Extremely talented prick with an undeniably incredible and fascinating writerly understanding of compelling speech tics.

    The signs were there just as they were IRT Frank Miller (fuck him). Oleanna is very troubling. The subtle implied cant towards the professor dude as the wronged party. Power dynamics.

    Mamet did not do face-heel turn so much as did a heel-heel turn.

    There is a big difference between “Here is my take. Feel free to disagree.” and “Here is my take and if you disagree you are a commie who should be killed.”

    Mamet went option 2. Miller too.

    The intersection of contrarianism and assholishness.

  15. CSK says:

    Oh. Well, the joke seems to have backfired.

    By the way, the slideshow accompanying the McCloskey article (the link is about midway down the right-hand side of the page) is a real thigh-slapper.

  16. CSK says:

    This happened yesterday in Winthrop, just slightly north and east of Boston:


    Nathan Allen went to the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth along with Dzokhar Tsarnaev, which I’m sure is a distinction the school would rather not have.

  17. sam says:

    This reminds me of a Laurel and Hardy movie.

  18. Kylopod says:

    @de stijl: The biggest problem with “contrarians” is that they’re almost always people who are full of themselves. And the people you mention are largely famous people past their sell-by date, trying desperately to stay relevant. They want you to think they’re independent thinkers not following the herd. That’s just part of the grift. It’s branding.

    Bill Maher was always an insufferable twat, and he always had weird ideas on certain matters (particularly on medicine and health, we just tended to ignore this before the pandemic). It’s to his credit that, despite all his flaws (and there were many), he was once capable of producing content worth watching. Of course, not all liberals agree that was ever the case.

    A lot of people seem to forget that his first show was called Politically Incorrect. Then they act surprised that he (like Sam Harris did a while ago) seems to be falling down an anti-woke rabbit hole. “Woke,” is after all, the new PC.

    Greenwald is in a different category–he has some background as a libertarian (don’t forget he was a member of CATO back in the aughts), then he started to find common cause with the left–albeit from a fiercely anti-Democratic Party standpoint. (Not that all his criticisms were without merit, but it was done in a very destructive manner in my view that tended to enable the right.) I found that even when I agreed with him, he showed some really bad tendencies–anytime he got into an argument with someone, he accused the other person of being part of some neocon, neolib conspiracy against him. Again, consistently insufferable personality, regardless of his positions on issues.

  19. de stijl says:


    “il stiletto”

    Dude, your shit is on point. Kudos. Perfectly chosen phrase. In Italian. That is meta.

  20. KM says:

    If I lived there, I’d be checking for identity theft constantly. You *know* they made off with people’s personal info and if it hasn’t been sold or hacked yet, it will be. Smart lawyers need to be prepping as there’s gonna be lawsuits a-plenty…..

  21. de stijl says:


    Smooth Criminal.

    Not an Alien Ant Farm guy myself, but I do know that I trust Michael Jackson waay less than AAF.

    As far as I know nobody in in AAF was a kiddie diddler specializing in grooming techniques and invited the target to move into his home. That also sported a zoo.

    I swear to Tyr, do not repeat this to anyone! I will bleeping murder you as you sleep, but Alien Ant Farm’s version of Smooth Criminal does not entirely suck.

    The guitar line might actually rock a bit. I might not hate it as much as I claim to.

    This is a “to the grave” sharing. No backsies and on your honor. Do not tell a soul.

  22. KM says:

    I don’t think he’s being clever – I think he genuinely didn’t recognize it as a normal way to phrase things in English and his little white boy pain got triggered. These kinds of nuts have no idea how language works – they are just angry. Frankly, “his or her” is the traditional gendered way of speaking about a possible male or female employee that was likely in the school’s HR documents for years. It’s something he should have approved of because it forced a person to pick one or the other – you’re a “him” or a “her” and nowhere in the sentence does it imply you can switch between the two. I mean, he might be pissed we’re acknowledging women as separate beings but that’s a different rant….

  23. Kylopod says:

    @KM: John McWhorter, a big singular-“they” advocate for years, has argued that “he or she” is inherently sexist because it puts the masculine pronoun first.

  24. Beth says:


    Sooo, that guys got a whole basement full of Nazi and Confederate memorabilia, right?

    That’s like one of those meme where they say something like “tell us you’re a racist homophobe that makes their co-workers uncomfortable without directly saying it.”

  25. CSK says:

    I use them alternately: she/he, he/she. Half the time I use one, the other half the other.

    I really hate the use of “they” to refer to a single individual. I prefer Marge Piercy’s “per” (short for “person”) if you don’t want to make linguistic sex distinctions.

    I also notice that people who want to be called “they” never refer to themselves as “us” or “we,” which, logically, they should.

  26. Kylopod says:


    I really hate the use of “they” to refer to a single individual.

    I’m with McWhorter on this–I think it’s the best solution (and there’s no absolutely perfect solution here). “He or she” (or whatever order you like) has a stilted formality about it. “They” is very natural-sounding and has been part of colloquial English for centuries (you can find it all the way back to Chaucer). It was grammarians in the 18th and 19th centuries who first prohibited it, along with many of the other grammar superstitions they basically invented out of whole cloth and imposed on centuries of schoolchildren thereafter.

    I realize it’ll be a while before it’s broadly accepted in formal writing, and there are ways of getting around the problem, such as pluralizing the noun (e.g. instead of saying “A person must make his/her/their choice,” you say “People must make their own choice”; doesn’t always work, but it’s good to keep in mind).

    I also notice that people who want to be called “they” never refer to themselves as “us” or “we,” which, logically, they should.

    Since when was grammar “logical”? Is it logical that were is a plural verb except when following you? Grammar is always an arbitrary set of rules, and as long as you know what those rules are, I don’t see the problem.

  27. Kathy says:

    Microsoft will release a new version of their OS, Windows 11 soon. You can get a preview already.

    I hope they don’t screw it up like they did with Windows 8*.

    For now it doesn’t look too bad, as apparently one can remove all the junk pinned to the taskbar, and move the start button to the left where it belongs.

    We’ll see.

    If worse comes to worse, I’m confident of a Start11 app to fix it.

    *I came up with all sorts of nicknames for is, including Ballmer’s Folly and, Microsoft Edsel, but finally settled on WINDOS: Windows 8 Is Not a Desktop Operating System. I also suggested instead of Windows 9 (which we thought was the logical follow on number), the replacement should be called Windows AE (Apology Edition).

  28. CSK says:

    “They” is misleading. Again, if the point is to avoid being categorized by gender, wouldn’t “per” do that much better?

  29. grumpy realist says:

    @CSK: “Only editors and people with tapeworm should use the editorial “we”.”

    –from someone 40 years ago.

  30. KM says:

    I was taught to formally write in such a manner and I’m pretty sure it comes across here (I used “they” quite a bit). Perhaps it has to do with the type of formal training – STEM individuals seem to get a more clinical way where “they” is more acceptable because you’re not as likely to have to make gender distinctions. “The patient” can easily be rendered as “they” and the sentences needed to speak about them rarely require he/she unless it’s relevant. I read clinical summaries and articles frequently but never really noticed the lack of attributed gender since it’s supposed to be clinical and third-person in nature. It’s normal in some circles because the formality and impersonal nature of the language requires he/she naturally drop away when you formulate your wording – they’re not people at the moment, they’re subjects of consideration and English doesn’t really work like that unless you use the dehumanizing “it”

    I guess it comes down to the mindset behind the writing. For most people, gender’s just something you need to reference because that’s how you were taught to talk and write. If it’s not needed as a descriptor or attribute, what purpose does it serve?

    never refer to themselves as “us” or “we,” which, logically, they should.

    Yeah, the reason for that is assumed mental illness. Unless you are the Queen, a person who says “we” to refer to their singular self is assumed to be nuts. They think you’re hearing voices, not trying to be grammatically consistent. Most will avoid it like the plague and rather adapt a new pronoun instead.

  31. de stijl says:


    Back when “him or her” was the de facto standard, I would always use “her or him”. And “She or he”. I was a rebel.

    Regular. Standard boilerplate for me. A slight inversion of the norm. A subtle dig of a nuance I’m sure no one even noticed once. But, it was important to me.

    Frankly “they” or “them” is easier. Less typing. Now, some people choose that is their preferred pronouns. No problem with that all.

    The freak-out over pronouns puzzles me. Reactionary in nature and intent.

    I am old enough to remember when we came thisclose to switching over to the metric system. We had specifically designed classes. All pretty simple math except for Fahrenheit to Celsius. Then Reagan got elected. Then that got kiboshed suddenly.

    They is easier. They is simple. A perfectly cromulent indefinite or definite identifier. Way simpler to get than that He and Him used to be the preferred indefinite even if it could refer to a person of any gender. Talk about confusing!

    That usage was blatantly wrong half the time but we internalized that it was the accepted correct usage.

    Language shift happens constantly. The English I spoke as a wee lad has changed significantly since then. And will continue to do so. And that is a very good thing.

    Within my lifespan we have gone from indefinite “he” with an implied asterisk to a more inclusive”he or she” and now to “they”.

    The “he” with an asterisk was an embarrassing relic we inherited steeped in explicit sexism. Good fucking riddance to that nonsense.

  32. CSK says:

    @grumpy realist:
    And when I’m instructed to pick up “them” at the airport, will I be retrieving a group or an individual? 😀

  33. Kathy says:


    Consider a construct like “Per charged $10 per per per day for per services.”

    Translation: “They charged $10 per person per day for their services.” 🙂

  34. CSK says:

    Why would “per” translate to “they”?

  35. KM says:

    @de stijl:

    That usage was blatantly wrong half the time but we internalized that it was the accepted correct usage.

    This. Anyone who complains “they” is vague or uncertain was perfectly fine potentially being incorrect or misunderstood 50% of the time. Accuracy is not the concern, nor is it clarity. It’s understanding your worldview and norms are erroneous more often than not and not liking it’s been pointed out. I wonder if the push had been to make “she” the default norm (as it logically should be, women outnumber men on the planet!!) that “they” opponents would have flocked to it as a reasonable alternative.

  36. Kylopod says:


    “They” is misleading.

    So is were after singular-you. If you’re looking for consistency, you ain’t getting it either from traditional grammar or any of the proposed reforms.

    Again, if the point is to avoid being categorized by gender, wouldn’t “per” do that much better?

    Good luck getting others to adopt that neologism. Do you realize how hard it is to invent an entirely new pronoun that gets broadly accepted by the masses? It’s virtually impossible. Even if corporate America were to get behind it, I suspect it would fail.

  37. CSK says:

    “Ms.” got adopted fairly quickly. Yes, yes, I know it’s different.

  38. KM says:

    You’d ask for their names or descriptions, especially if you didn’t know who you were looking for. Kind of a tip-off to get more than one answer. Or you stand there with a sign so they find you.

    Again, this is how language works. It worked just fine for hundreds of years with a singular “they” just like it did with “you” being the formal second-person pronoun encompassing both the singular and plural senses. Everyone here easily understands “you” to mean singular in modern times – no more “thou” or “thee” like it should be. The rules we grew up with have changed and will change because language does.

  39. Kylopod says:

    @CSK: “Ms.” isn’t a pronoun. There are plenty of new words that enter the language every day–sometimes naturally, sometimes imposed on us by corporations and media. New pronouns? Almost never.

    Fun fact: You know the last pronoun to enter English? It was in fact they–brought by the Norse invaders to the British Isles over a thousand years ago, who had such a profound impact on the language some linguists believe the English that emerged underwent some level of a creolization process.

    The point is, it’s highly unusual for a new pronoun to enter wide usage, and it’s certainly not something that cannot be done by fiat.

  40. CSK says:

    I know language changes; I have a Ph.D. in English. I’m reminded of a former student (not one of mine; at the college where I taught) who caused a brief uproar by insisting that the signs on the men’s and women’s rooms excluded her/him (this was before the advent of singular “they”) because he/she identified as male during parts of the day and female at others. It was suggested to her/him that he/she use the men’s room when identifying as male and the women’s room when identifying as female.

  41. de stijl says:


    I wrote my final paper in Linguistics on the impact of Norse on English.

  42. Teve says:

    @Kathy: I have a mental list of all-time stupidest business executives, and Steve Ballmer is on that list. My favorite thing about his tenure is how they had a funeral for the iPhone when they released Windows phone 7 in 2010 because it was just going to crush Apple.

  43. Sleeping Dog says:


    A couple of weeks ago, I was reading an article where the writer used they to reference one of 3 or all 3 individuals who the subjects of the article. Damn was that confusing. You could determine which individual or individuals the writer was referencing to determine what ‘they’ meant at each use.

  44. Kylopod says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I can think of endless times when a piece of writing has used he or she where it’s not immediately clear who it refers to. (Example: “Alice told Mary her paper was late.”) Usually you can figure these things out from context, but misunderstandings happen quite often from this sort of thing. There’s always a potential for ambiguity in communication, and in particular it’s a risk inherent in pronouns. A good writer or editor will spot ambiguity in a passage and try to remove it whenever possible.

  45. Michael Cain says:


    Out of curiosity I downloaded MS’s software for testing if a machine is suitable for a Windows 11 upgrade. The virtual machine to which I downloaded it runs Windows 10 without a hitch. I let it install every patch MS releases — it does that more cleanly than any physical box I’ve ever had. The underlying hardware was new four months ago.

    The test software immediately told me that the hardware is not capable of running the tests and exited. I understand that MS has since pulled that test application, and only said that there will be a different one available sometime much closer to Windows 11 release.

  46. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    I usually refer to people by name and or by title to avoid that, and to avoid the kind of confusion to which @Kylopod: refers.

    Traditionally, it was considered rude to refer to people in the third person in their presence, which is why names and titles are preferable, as in Sleeping Dog or Mr. Sleeping Dog.

    Most people posting here assume I’m male, which I’m not, but the mistake doesn’t bother me at all.

  47. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: Ms. got adopted quickly? Is it adopted? When was the last time you saw it in print?

  48. sam says:
  49. de stijl says:


    Thanks for the call-out. I stumble onto truth every now and again. Usually by accident.

    Language is. Tomorrow, language is slightly different.

    It really doesn’t matter if individuals hate that or love that new word or twist. If enough people adapt and adopt it happens.

    Language is.

    The sheer amount of change to American English between when I was a kid and now is fascinating and astonishing. Recently accelerated by social media neologisms and recontextualizations.

    I now regularly use words and phrases utterly novel to past me.

    I entered a field chock full of neologisms. That was fascinating. It is actually de facto required to learn them. If you want to advance professionally. A shibboleth.

    If you are a DBMS person you need to know what RAID means.

    Neologism star schema was my favorite: a radical redefinition of accepted practices on third normal form data rationalization implementations. Combined with hashing and a deep indexing DBMS a star schema can improve query resolution by a full factor.

    That sentence looks like gobbledygook to 99% of you. To pros it is extremely grokable and makes perfect sense. It is, actually, basic stuff everybody already knows. Kindergarten knowledge.

    Knowing cant and jargon establishes you as in-group member.

    Programming languages while esoteric have hard and fast rules. If you are a prescriptivist, you will fucking love programming languages.

  50. CSK says:

    On every piece of mail I’ve gotten for decades, for one thing. Any news article. I practically never see “Miss” or “Mrs.”

  51. Kathy says:


    Because you posted earlier: “They” is misleading. Again, if the point is to avoid being categorized by gender, wouldn’t “per” do that much better?” (emphasis added).

    Thus: They=Per

  52. wr says:

    @de stijl: “Oleanna is very troubling. The subtle implied cant towards the professor dude as the wronged party. Power dynamics.”

    Oleanna is troubling — deliberately so. I don’t think there’s an implied cant towards the prof, though — what makes it so troubling is that you can never find solid ground to choose one side or the other.

    I do think it was the end of Mamet as a playwright, though. Because he seemed to have discovered real joy in pissing off his presumably liberal audience. Here it was in service to a cause, a story, characters and ideas. But he quickly dropped all those and just started cranking out plays that were essentially Facebook posts aimed at owning the libs. His writing got lazier and lazier, and now even when Pacino stars in one of his new plays it closes in weeks.

    But in his days, he not only wrote some great plays, but wrote and directed several of my favorite movies. And he is (well, was) the best writer on the art and craft of writing that I’ve ever found…

  53. Mu Yixiao says:


    Most people posting here assume I’m male, which I’m not, but the mistake doesn’t bother me at all.

    You mean there are…. GIRLS on here?? Oh my. I may have to set a spell and recover.

  54. wr says:

    @CSK: “And when I’m instructed to pick up “them” at the airport, will I be retrieving a group or an individual? ”

    I don’t know. Perhaps you could enquire of the person sending you. It doesn’t seem to be that heavy a lift.

  55. CSK says:

    It was a joke. Admittedly, a feeble one. I’m usually much better.
    @Mu Yixiao:
    We get everywhere. Can’t keep us down. Or out.
    “Per” means “person, ergo, a single individual. Are we talking about two different things?

  56. Teve says:


    The End of American Politics
    Everything you think you know about how our democracy functions is about to change.

    The busts of 43 presidents sit abandoned in a field in Virginia.
    It’s hard to think of an issue that’s inspired broader center-left consensus than the Republican threat to the right to vote. Jacobin informs us that “There’s Less Than Two Years to Save American Democracy.” A piece in The Atlantic keeping us to a tighter schedule says we’ve already arrived at the “Last Chance to Save Democracy.” “American democracy,” CNN concurred in early June, “is about to show if it can save itself.” I myself called our political moment “Democracy’s Moment of Reckoning” not long ago. Joe Biden is worried. Ilhan Omar is worried. And Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom have let us know that they’re worried, too. In a recent ad called “Transmissions From the Future,” they play haggard versions of themselves in 2055 urging the passage of the For the People Act as jackboots from an unnamed regime ram at their door. “This future doesn’t have to be,” Bloom says. “Save democracy while you can.”

    Heeding Bloom’s harrowing warning, Senate Democrats finally moved to advance the For the People Act last Tuesday. They failed. Republicans used the filibuster to prevent the opening of debate; Democrats have yet to assemble the votes to eliminate or significantly modify the filibuster. Publicly undaunted, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer insisted in a floor speech that the quest to save American democracy would continue. “The fight to protect voting rights is not over,” he said. “In the fight for voting rights, this vote was the starting gun, not the finish line.”

    That specific fight is obviously important, and Democrats may well find some way to pass voting rights legislation between now and the midterm elections. But the broader project of “saving American democracy” is doomed for one fairly straightforward reason: America is not a democracy. At the federal level, we simply don’t have a democratic system to save.

    One needn’t take a particular position on America’s origins or the meaning of American republicanism to see this; the statement holds true as a characterization of our current reality. The political outcomes produced by our federal institutions do not broadly and reliably correspond with the preferences of most Americans. And they fail to correspond because our federal institutions flout, to a comical degree, political equality in a one person, one vote sense.

    If they didn’t, the For the People Act, a bill with broadly popular provisions, would have already passed and passed easily; the failure of the voting rights push thus far is entirely attributable to the rules and basic design of the United States Senate, which have disproportionately empowered a handful of pivotal senators representing a fraction of a fraction of the population and a Republican minority that represents 43 million fewer people than the Democratic majority it’s blockading. And the anti-democratic politics the For the People Act was crafted to combat can partially be understood as a consequence of these and other structural disparities. Largely insulated from public opinion and the political costs of public disapproval, the Republican Party has continued a steady, unchecked march to the right; its advantages have seemingly convinced many voters and policymakers that the electorate is more conservative than it is, bolstering the party’s sense of entitlement to rule.

    It’s bent on making things worse. But as things already stand today, the Republican Party can return to power in Washington without the support of the majority of the American electorate. Democrats, by contrast, had to win more than simple majorities or pluralities to gain the power they tenuously hold now—if Joe Biden had defeated Donald Trump by any less than 3.2 points in the popular vote, he would have lost outright in November. None of this is privileged information; these and other related facts have been widely disseminated in recent years by academics, analysts, and journalists who also tend to imply, nevertheless, that an undemocratic America is merely a hypothetical looming ahead of us. It isn’t. It is the quicksand we’re already in.

    (More at the link)

  57. de stijl says:


    That particular ambiguity freaks @Reynolds out.

    He is convinced we need the status quo or no one would be able to write a coherent understandable scene again.

    Bullshit! Use proper names. Problem solved. Replace he with Ethan replace she with Jo replace they with Moira or they with “the three”. Seriously, problem fucking solved. Deal, my dude!

    The freak out over pronouns is revealing at least.

  58. CSK says:

    @de stijl:
    I suggested the use of proper names (or titles) up thread. It does solve the problem. And it’s what I generally do.

  59. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: Interesting. I’m fairly oblivious but what I’ve noticed with my kids female teachers is that most that were married went by “Mrs.” and the single ones seemed to have swapped “Miss” for “Ms.” I’ve also noticed that mail that comes to our house usually doesn’t employ Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms anymore, but rather just first and last names. Same for newspapers. Oh wait. I may be completely wrong about this. I had it in my head that the NY Times had given up with the whole Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms thing, but I just checked and sure enough they still do it, and Naomi Osaki goes by “Ms.” in a particular column, and a bunch of chowderheads (referenced in an article about some kind of internet famous group of young men which I didn’t actually read) are all referred to as “Mr.” But then in an article about Helen Mirren and Vin Diesel smooching (a stan-ing article, not reportage) Mirren was just “Mirren”. And the next article I clicked about a 70 year old bat girl (of the baseball variety rather than the spandex and cape variety) also just referred to her by her last name. So now I’m confused.

    I’m going to check with my wife. My recollection is that the only mail she receives with a title on it say “Mrs” and then proceed to use her first name and my last name. These usually come from close but elderly relatives who can’t seem to process the fact that she never took my name. but in any case, she will be much better able to clue me in.

  60. Kurtz says:


    Gizmodo must be pretty strict on their moderation policies. Not a single comment from anyone defending the audit.

  61. CSK says:

    “Aunt Jemima’s” great-grandson is very unhappy that his great-grandmother has been erased.


  62. CSK says:

    Yes, I’ve noticed (with considerable amusement) the tendency to use “Ms.” as a synonym for “Miss,” but revert to “Mrs.” once a woman is married. But I still see “Ms.” more frequently than anything else. Maybe it depends on what part of the country in which you live. YMMV, I suppose.

  63. Mu Yixiao says:


    These usually come from close but elderly relatives who can’t seem to process the fact that she never took my name.

    At least we’ve gotten past the days where mail came to “Mrs. {husband’s name}. Like… Mrs. Joseph Biden.

  64. de stijl says:


    All of us English speakers know that “you” can mean either an individual or a group and we rely on context to differentiate and ascertain the meaning.

    Late stage toddlers understand the distinction and ambiguity.

    Given the way we use “you” routinely, “they” is an easy add to the vocabulary.

  65. Kurtz says:

    @de stijl:

    I only vaguely remember reading a few columns from Greenwald back in his Slate (was it Salon…Slate…?) days and he just struck me as a dude writing.

    Then he became GREENWALD. I listened to The Intercept’s two podcasts regularly for a while. And during the Trump-Russia saga, one of them had James Risen and Greenwald debating the merits of it.

    I had never heard Greenwald speak. But I instinctively wiped my face after a sentence that contained many plosives. I mean, I’m not one to be superficial, but when one’s annunciation of voiced air-stopping consonants matches your personality perfectly, it may be time for some self-reflection. I felt like I needed a poncho.

  66. Jen says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    At least we’ve gotten past the days where mail came to “Mrs. {husband’s name}. Like… Mrs. Joseph Biden.

    This particular naming convention was the source of at least one claim of “dead people voting” during the 2020 election. It turned out that the (male) voter had died, but his widow went by Mrs. [His Name] and had voted, leading Republicans to cry foul until it was all sorted out.

    Yet another reason to stay away from that! 🙂

  67. Kurtz says:


    But in his days, he not only wrote some great plays, but wrote and directed several of my favorite movies. And he is (well, was) the best writer on the art and craft of writing that I’ve ever found…


    His book On Directing Film is excellent.

  68. Kylopod says:

    @de stijl: No disrespect meant toward Michael, but to a lot of people there is a particular lack of reflection on how arbitrary the established rules are. They aren’t in any way “better” or more logical than colloquial or dialectical usages. They’re just different. But people who have been trained to think of them as almost immutable laws of nature (and I’m not saying that’s Michael’s position–I remember him saying what’s most important is to be understood) then start cherry-picking examples to support their position. I will admit this much: singular-they does heighten the potential for ambiguity compared with never using it. Just not to any degree that would make it unworkable. And it ignores the many examples where colloquial/dialectical English has less potential for ambiguity than standard English, as in y’all and youse.

  69. Commandante Teve says:


    Tuesday, 29 June 2021 at 13:56
    @de stijl:
    I suggested the use of proper names (or titles) up thread. It does solve the problem. And it’s what I generally do.

    I like it!

  70. JohnSF says:

    News from the Old World:
    England 2 – 0 Germany
    After many a long year…

  71. de stijl says:

    One of my favorite songs from The Replacements is Androgynous.

    You have to know it was released in 1984. 35 years ago give or take coming on 40 fairly soon.

    A few of the lyrics don’t scan so entirely well given a 2021 understanding, but as a song from a buncha het white idiots outta Mpls from 1984 it holds up extraordinarily well.

    Westerberg had his head on straight from the get-go which is pretty remarkable.

    The lyric

    Tomorrow who’s gonna fuss?

    struck me as profound then. It still does.

    Man, 1984 me would give 2021 me so much shit.

  72. wr says:

    @CSK: “It was a joke. Admittedly, a feeble one. I’m usually much better.”

    Should have been tipped off by the smiling emoji…

  73. CSK says:

    Is it safe to go out in the streets? I ask only because in Edinburgh we were advised not to venture forth if Scotland won (or lost) a match.

  74. steve says:

    “CSK says:
    I know language changes; I have a Ph.D. in English.

    Wife’s grandmother was a full professor of English in the early 1900s. Absolute grammar nazi, which rubbed off on the wife. I have her proof read my serious stuff. God forbid I mix up lay and lie. Hell to pay!

    On the cis/they/them whatever pronouns I think she is totally befuddled because there are not clear rules and when you have people who want to be called different stuff different times of the day it gets to be a bit much. I think that we have both kind of given up. Have a nephew with whom she is very close who has been going through the change. She has often been his/her only real support. Some of the friends are incredibly, IMO, obnoxious about this stuff. We are just going to try to get it correct but if we cant keep it straight arent going too lose sleep over it anymore.


  75. JohnSF says:

    Pretty safe I’d say.
    Being as lockdown rules are still being enforced.
    Most people watching the match from home, I’d guess.
    Whereas in normal times there’d have been big screens up in the pubs and beer gardens.

    I’m surprised you got that warning in Edinburgh; I’d have thought the biggest risk would have been getting hugged to death by overjoyed Scots.
    But then, I’m not familiar with Edinburgh fan behaviour.

    I’m not much for national fervour; and not much of football fan (prefer rugby and cricket) but for what it’s worth I’m viewing the universe with mellow friendliness this evening 🙂

    (Combination of Harry Kane slotting the second goal and a couple of pints of Shepard Neame)

  76. CSK says:

    I suspect that the young person who claimed her/his gender identification shifted numerous times in the course of a day may have been…an attention seeker.

    He/she never explained why the perfectly reasonable suggestion (to me and numerous others) that she/he use whatever restroom corresponded with whatever sex he/she identified with at any given time was unsatisfactory.

  77. de stijl says:


    I appreciate and respect that.

    Old-school Mamet was a bracing joy. As much as I despair at what he has become now, he was undeniably great before he became MAGA Mamet.

    I underwrote my Oleanna synopsis. In my mind a professor and “naive” (spoiler alert) student who enter into into an intimate relationship have a severe power dynamic issue. Professors should not bang their students (if we believe her take.)

    Macy was absolutely genius there. Masterpiece stuff.

    I know this is me kvetching and she had aged out of that role, but Rebecca Pidgeon would have killed in the filmed version of Oleanna.

    She was due a bigger career than she got. Cool, logical, practical, ruthless, smart, articulate. She was not of a type, she defined a new sort of type. And her affect!

    Perhaps marrying Mamet was a bad call.

    Nowadays The Spanish Prisoner and State and Main get too little love. She rocked.

  78. Mu Yixiao says:

    Over the lifetime of [Starlink], total investments could run to $20-$30 billion, the Tesla CEO told the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. “It’s a lot, basically,” Musk said in a video interview from California.

  79. JohnSF says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    Where’s the SDI kill-sats when you really need them, eh?

  80. de stijl says:


    He was at Salon. Then independent blogging under his name. Then The Intercept. Then shit-canned from The Intercept for repeated bad behavior. iirc.

  81. EddieInCA says:


    I got up at 5am local time to watch the match. Sat down at 6am, in front of the telly, with a proper british breakfast of eggs and bacon, with toast and some darjeeling.

    Sterling and Kane were outstanding, as was Luke Shaw.

  82. Kathy says:

    @Michael Cain:

    There seems to be much confusion in the tech press about what hardware will be required to run Windows 11.

    My home PC was one of the last Win7 machines made. She runs Win10 well. Ditto the personal laptop, which is a Win8 native (for about the time it took me to fix that with Start8 and later a Win10 upgrade).

    My guess is the desktop will be out of luck (or in luck), and the laptop will run Win11. If so, I should sell the desktop and buy a monitor for the laptop.

    At work, odds are nothing will get upgraded. Replacements native to Win11 will begin to appear in a few years.

  83. CSK says:

    Well, it was interesting looking out a fourth-floor window and seeing a river of fans coursing down the street. Probably the danger was in being trampled by celebrants.

    The really intense hostility was between Celtic fans (Roman Catholic) and Ranger fans (Protestant) from Glasgow. I’d never before encountered a religion-based football rivalry.

  84. Kylopod says:

    @Kurtz: Greenwald embodied a tendency I’ve noticed among various people over the years, best described as anti-anti-Trumpism. You saw an example of it here at OTB, with the Bung. This applies to people who once seemed left-leaning, who loathed George W. Bush and his wars, and who took this perspective to such lengths that it somehow ended up landing on a sort of backhanded Trump apologia. These people are singularly focused on the evils of the political establishment in both parties who (according to their account) supported many of the terrible things Bush did. It’s not so much that they like Trump as that they view the anti-Trump crowd with suspicion, especially since it includes some Bush lackies of yesteryear.

  85. JohnSF says:

    Yep, Celtic/Rangers really don’t like each other.
    Greens vs Blues; “Mac’s “vs “Mc’s”.
    Not the only religious/ethnic rivalry in British football either.
    e.g. Liverpool tend Protestant, Everton Catholic; Hibernian (Edinburgh) Catholic/Irish; Tottenham are sort of “Jewish at one remove” (it’s a bit complicated)

    And in English rugby, there are the explicity ethnic (originally) teams London Irish and London Welsh. No history of inter-fan violence there though.
    Rugby tends to confine it’s ultra-violence to the playing field.

  86. de stijl says:


    I lived downtown when the Twins won the World Series in 87. Four or five blocks from where I lived then. Game 7 was epic.

    The next day my right hand hurt because I had high-fived so many folks. My face hurt because I smiled all night. My throat hurt because I screamed too much. My liver hurt because I drank too much.

    Next morning when I dragged my sorry ass into work an hour late and my boss was less than impressed. I had shaved and showered, but was way short of presentable. Bedraggled is the right word.

    Totally worth it. I have no regrets.

    That old boss can bleep my bleep, quite frankly. He was a bleeping bleep bleeper anyway. Bleep him. God damned Fred – he was always a bleeping shiny little Nazi twerp bleep.

  87. CSK says:

    Thanks. I spent much more time in Scotland than England, so I never got up to speed on the religious rivalries south of Berwick-upon-Tweed.

  88. JohnSF says:

    Though aside from Rangers/Celtic most clubs have largely put those origins behind them.
    Now most of the hatreds are based on sheer bloody-mindedness, local or regional rivalry, or historic wins/defeats.

    Apart from Man Utd and Chelsea, of course.
    Everyone hates them. 🙂

  89. de stijl says:

    Very purposefully not calling anyone out by name, but if you try to rehash Ms. / Miss / Mrs. arguments from 1975 you are seriously undercutting your cred.

    It’s 2021. You might want to set that particular bone down now. Let it slide.

  90. JohnSF says:

    And Grealish; and Pickford in goal; and Saka; and …
    Though Sterling nearly went from hero to zero when his back-pass ended up getting to Muller.
    Muller a few years ago would have nailed that stone dead.

    Luck was with us. (For a change)

  91. CSK says:

    @de stijl:
    I don’t think anyone’s arguing about it.

  92. Kylopod says:

    @de stijl: From a 1994 book by Bill Bryson:

    Most newspapers adopted [Ms.] only fitfully and over the protests of white-haired men in visors. Today, [it appears] routinely in publications throughout the English-speaking world and no one thinks anything of it.

  93. Kurtz says:


    I have a different take on those guys, though I don’t really think it’s something that’s knowable.

    I tend to see Greenwald as concerned with appearing fair rather than concerning himself with fair evaluation. Kind of like the person who reflexively bucks every trend to conspicuously show their individuality.

    That’s not to say I don’t agree with some of his criticisms of Democrats. He just seems inauthentic to me, I guess.

    I can roughly recall a line from Cornel West’s Democracy Matters that went some thing like, “I look around the country and I see [a vibrant, creative] culture, so how do we end up with such milquetoast leaders?” (I don’t have the book at my fingertips, but this is the gist.)

    Thought leaders, political leaders, journalists by and large just seem mediocre to me. Maybe it’s the same as it ever was. I don’t know.

    My 11th grade English teacher, who was excellent, expressed frustration about people who debate whether The Matrix is real. IMO, he’s right about that.

    The brilliance of the concept wasn’t sci-fi as speculative futuristic science, rather high-technology as a metaphor for lo-fi social engineering.

    Ironically, the group that successfully leveraged that metaphor into cultural cache wasn’t the one I would have expected, because it ended up being the ones with views indicted by the Wachowskis and the philosophical projects they drew upon for inspiration.

    What that means, I’m not sure. But it does seem related to the ever-flattening intellectual landscape of America.

  94. MarkedMan says:

    @de stijl: If you are referring to me, I’m not rehashing anything. I’m merely observing that it was never “settled”. American society has mostly just moved on. We don’t address letters “Mr. or Ms. So-and-So” anymore, we leave the honorifics off entirely.

    I don’t have a dog in the fight. If I’m in a sitch where I feel obligated to use a female honrific I say “Ms.” If the person indicates a preference to call them “Mrs” I’m perfectly fine with that. Call people what they want to be called, I say, unless it’s “MarkedMan-is-a-Sh*thead”

    Although I was surprised to see that for some articles the NYTimes still insisted on constantly referring to everyone as Mr. or Ms. Back in the day I got no small measure of amusement when they referred to various loonies and hooligans involved in riotous behavior as “Mr. So-and-so”. Easily amused, I guess.

  95. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: Thumbs up.

  96. CSK says:

    Agreed. I really don’t care what anyone calls me, as long as it’s not “Shithead” or “Fuckwit.” But I make an effort to find out how others like to be addressed and accord with their wishes.

  97. EddieInCA says:


    Agreed. I really don’t care what anyone calls me, as long as it’s not “Shithead” or “Fuckwit.”

    I answer to both of those, regularly. 🙂

  98. sam says:

    When my wife and I play golf, on certain holes, she won’t play from the forward tees, known in the antediluvian past as the “ladies tees”. She doesn’t like their orientation to the fairway. She’ll play from between the whites and the forward tees and line up as suits her. She calls that position the “Ms. tees”.

  99. de stijl says:


    I thought that was Millwall?

    Everyone hates Millwall. Hate might be too strong. Dislikes seems better suited. Disdains.

    And they don’t care.

    Until racist fans screwed it up Millwall was my go-to club. Newcastle now.

    Not really. I barely pay attention. I do like the scrappy underdogs.

    Teams owned by Saudi or Russian multi-billionaires do not interest me much. They buy wins. Too far. They buy talent that gets them wins. Same difference.

    Two aspects of American pro sports leagues I think would benefit Euro football is profit sharing and the pro-rated draft system. A loser team always at the bottom of the standings can suddenly rocket up if they score major talent.

    You need dynamism to keep things fresh and exciting.

    It is off-putting that Manchester of all places became the epicenter of global money and sports.

    I love Madchester. Some of my all-time favorite bands.

    In what universe does She’s Lost Control Again a pronoun dodge about the writer’s battle with epilepsy become a hit? Bitingly cold and intensely haunting. Bracing!

    Specifically, about how having an epileptic seizure in public shamed and humiliated him and changed his course.

    Joy Division and brilliant, beautiful, doomed, fucked-up Ian.

    Me and my friends were like what the fucking fuck is that? Is this real? Am I hallucinating?That is very fucking cool.

    We were utterly blown away. Speechless trying to comprehend an unknowable. Stupid and naive and so very, very young.

    Perhaps my favorite song of all time is Leave Me Alone

  100. Kathy says:


    Work came galloping in, sorry.

    “Per” means “person, ergo, a single individual. Are we talking about two different things?

    As an alternative to “they” in the singular pronoun for unspecified gender, right?

    therefore: “They charged $10 per person for their services,” translates to per as “Per charged $10 per per* for peir services.”

    *I’m not going to use the whole word if we’re abbreviating it, am I?

  101. Kurtz says:

    @EddieInCA: @CSK:

    EDIT: Upon further reflection, I wonder if I’ve posted this before or not. If I did and you remember, move along. Nothing to see here.

    There’s a story relayed by David Simon in his book, Homicide about a sort of understanding between the Baltimore cops and the corner boys.* That the kids can call the cops anything they want; motherfucker, dickhead, pig, whatever. Except for: asshole. One would catch a beating for that.

    *I think it was just the corner boys rather than criminals in general.

  102. CSK says:

    I don’t recall that, and it’s very interesting. Why was the word “asshole” prohibited?

  103. Kylopod says:


    I have a different take on those guys

    Maybe different, but not mutually exclusive; we’re coming at it from different angles. I already described Greenwald in this thread from two angles–first as an insufferable guy trying to stay relevant, where I compared him with Bill Maher (whose outlook is very different from Greenwald’s in a lot of ways), then in terms of his ideological path, where his anti-Bush, anti-neocon, anti-establishment views pushed him toward anti-anti-Trumpism. In the past I’ve also compared him with Dershowitz in the sense that both use their self-branding as “principled civil libertarians” in a way that always manages to land on defenses of right-wing authoritarians.

    My point isn’t that any of these people are the same but that these are all mechanisms by which people ostensibly on the left devolve into reactionaries.

  104. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: I really don’t care what anyone calls me, as long as it’s not “Shithead” or “Fuckwit.”

    If I eliminated those and similar options, they’d be saying, “Hey you!” or dawg forbid, “Tom!” I’d hate to put limitations on their creativity. (seriously, when a nurse or some such asks me what I like to be called, I usually answer, ” ‘Asshole’ works for me.”

    What can I say, I got used to it.

  105. CSK says:

    Perhaps you could be “AssholeHillbilly” or “OzarkAsshole.”

  106. Teve says:


    Paul Gosar getting all smoochyface with Neo-Nazis again.

    The odds of the Gosar fundraiser with America First PAC NOT mentioning Critical Race Theory are in negative numbers, somehow. I didn’t think they could do that. Then again, I seem to remember that there are situations in Thermodynamics where an object behaves as if it has a negative Kelvin temperature….so…

    Maybe Wolfram Alpha is broken 😛

  107. de stijl says:

    @de stijl:

    I have been called on several occasions a variation of you all or y’all when having a personal one-on-one conversation.

    Some of it was just sloppy everyday inattention. No biggie.

    Some of it was intentional. When she said y’all to me she referring to a class and group and I was the agent or envoy to that class. She was intending that “as an outlander people like you …”

    Insulting? Not entirely sure. It certainly felt as if I had just been othered. Like when folks say “you people” when talking with one individual black person.

    You become a symbol of the whole.

    Intended? Certainly. Insulted? A bit, honestly, although I pretended her jab never happened like a proper Minnesotan.

    She was pleasant as punch to me, but Southern “charm” can easily mask passive-aggressiveness.

    Minnesota Nice is different. We go noncommittal. Yeah. Okay. Head nodding. Sure. Meanwhile desperately looking for a way to politely disengage.

    Southern Charm very often comes with a hidden sting. Oblique. Coded. Deniable. Passive-aggressive.

  108. Teve says:

    I can tell after reading ~3 pieces from a writer, whether I ever want to read them again, or whether they’re too dishonest, obtuse, sneering, sociopathic, etc. John Derbyshire Nope. David Berlinski Nope. Glenn Greenwald Nope. Megan McArdle Nope. Ross Doot-hat Nope. Jim Hoft Nope…

    Many of my family members have sent money to televangelists, vote for Trump, buy supplements “PROVEN to Cure CANCER that DOCTORS don’t want you to KNOW!!!”, forward transparent nonsense emails about how NASA supercomputers proved that the bible is true, etc. But somehow I got a homozygous recessive double-dose of bullshit detection.

  109. Teve says:

    There’s a fresh billboard on my way home that says


    How fuckin’ clueless do you have to be…

  110. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @de stijl: Glenn Greenwald is a snowflake putz who got intoxicated with what others said about him and now resides in the floating castles of his perception of himself.

    Will that do as an explanation?

  111. Kylopod says:

    @Teve: The other day I was looking back on the incident from years ago where the website Metapedia (a site that imitates the format of Wikipedia but from a neo-Nazi viewpoint–I mean full-blown neo-Nazi, with denial of the Holocaust, praise of Hitler, and so on) mentioned me on one of their pages where they listed Wikipedia contributors they didn’t like. The page (called “Examples of censorship and propaganda on Wikipedia”) no longer exists but is still in the web archive, and I have a copy saved to my computer. I was reading it the other day and I noticed in one of the sections they mentioned critical race theory. This was from 2010 or so. I don’t think I’d ever heard the term at the time. They were complaining about the Wikipedia article on White Americans, and they said:

    “A section is dedicated to the Freudo-Marxist pseudo-study of Critical Race Theory, the obscure communist Jew, Steven Seidman, as part of a Jewish group evolutionary attack on his racial competitors is cited in the section attacking European Americans.”

  112. CSK says:

    What job would that be?

  113. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @KM: My very favorite use of singular “they” was in the sentence “when a woman becomes pregnant their whole life changes.” I used to see such construction occasionally in student writing and always asked “why they?” in the margin.

    About 85 or 90% of diction is so heavily scripted, that there’s no particular correlation between what the speaker intends to say and what comes out of the mouth/onto the paper. One of my grad school instructors termed it “bone-deep usage.”

  114. JohnSF says:

    @de stijl:
    Millwall are a surly bunch, and like to think everyone hates them; but they’re not big enough for hatred, generally.
    Clubs develop rivalries, and hatreds (slightly different) over long periods.
    e.g. West Ham and Millwall have a long and deep (and periodically violent) dislike of each other.
    Largely because they’re old neighbours; four miles from each other.

    The everyone hates Man Utd. and Chelsea thing is because they’re traditionally the richest, most arrogant, most mercenary (well, Chelsea anyway) teams about.
    Owned respectively by American leveraged buyout guys (the Glazers) and a Russian oligarch (Roman Abramovich). Though people can have a grudging respect for Man U.

    OTOH even Chelsea are far from being the most despised team in the world: Real Madrid win that one easily.

  115. Kurtz says:


    “asshole” was taken as a directly personal insult.

    So…now that you mention not remembering it… I’m curious if it wasn’t from the book at all, but from an interview I read. I’ll check.

  116. de stijl says:


    I very much appreciated both takes.

    At what point does anti-anti-Trumpism become pro-Trumpism? Greenwald has appeared many times on the Fox opinion shows slogging Ds for perceived faults. He is, indeed, very independent. And a truth-teller.

    He is also being used by people savvier than him to sell a narrative. He is figuratively a pawn. A mark. A useful idiot.

    Either you or someone else brought up Dershowitz. At one point that man was a legit civil rights hero. After 9/11 he lost it and became a Likudnik shill.

    Here is why Bill Maher infuriates me: when he delivers what he thinks is a killer zinger he takes a half step back and smirks.

    I had a friend and roommate who was a stand-up. He schooled me on tricks of the trade. His schtick was manic but not full-on frantic: the edge between. A spin on Bobcat Goldthwait.

    One of the things he told me was never laugh at your own joke unless it is for effect.

    For pros that is easy. They practice for hours in front of mirrors at home.

    I guarantee, every joke you hear. The patter. The body movement and language has been practiced and plotted out. Hundreds of times maybe thousands. Intonation. Stress. Every syllable. Mannerisms. Stance. Clothes. Hair.

    Practice. Practice. Practice.

    Comedy is brutal and pays shit unless you hit the big leagues and is very stressful.

    Mostly I would just put headphones when needed to practice.

    As to Maher:

    1. It is extremely likely he did not write that joke.
    2. Maher is a fucking dick.

  117. CSK says:

    And dickhead, motherfucker, and pig weren’t taken personally??? I’d think that “pig” in particular would be, since it’s so cop-specific.

  118. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: It may well be that the measure has popular support, but that support has no accompanying urgency for passing. As many among out commentariat keep reminding us, there are many we still need to fully persuade and taking hard line stands (and remember, bills to restrict voting rights are pending in 47 states) is just going to alienate the very people that we need to convince. Today simply isn’t a good day to try to force this.

    And tomorrow isn’t going to be either, or the day after that or the day after the day after or…

  119. Kurtz says:


    Aaaaand that didn’t take long. Search term: David Simon interview “asshole.” 8th link…had to skip past all the references to Simon’s asshole qualities.

    From a 2015 interview. Totally worth the read. I’m also now positive that I posted this when I first entered the OTB socialsphere.

    And yet, back in the day, there was, I think, more of a code to it. If you were on a corner, you knew certain things would catch you a humble. The code was really ornate, and I’m not suggesting in any way that the code was always justifiable in any sense, but there was a code.

    In some districts, if you called a Baltimore cop a motherfucker in the 80s and even earlier, that was not generally a reason to go to jail. If the cop came up to clear your corner and you’re moving off the corner, and out of the side of your mouth you call him a motherfucker, you’re not necessarily going to jail if that cop knows his business and played according to code. Everyone gets called a motherfucker, that’s within the realm of general complaint. But the word “asshole” — that’s how ornate the code was — asshole had a personal connotation. You call a cop an asshole, you’re going hard into the wagon in Baltimore. At least it used to be that way. Who knows if those gradations or nuances have survived the cumulative brutalities of the drug war. I actually don’t know if anything resembling a code even exists now.

  120. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @de stijl: Reynolds doesn’t freak out. He only wants to wear the hat with the “Final Arbiter on All Matters of Linguistics/Expert on Characters” badge on it.

  121. Kurtz says:


    Maybe. He didn’t mention pig. You caught me exaggerating, something I rarely do. If I ever meet him, I will ask him. I will say that I’m ambivalent about whether that would be an issue given the way Simon describes it.

    Random aside, and probably another duplicate anecdote. An ex-gf of mine has managed to share an elevator with Larry David at the hospital during her residency. And true to form, he was more anxious about the situation than she was. She said he looked terrified of a 5′ tall lady with a friendly face may interact with him.

    And it’s not like she’s some smooth operator in those situations. During her fellowship, she was in some classroom or conference room waiting for a lecture to start when Wendell Pierce a.k.a. Bunk Moreland poked his head in and quickly realized he was in the wrong room. He apologized and all she could get out was a weak, “hi…uh” before he left.

  122. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jen: Wait.. women can still vote after their husbands die? Who came up with THAT stupid idea? 😉

  123. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @de stijl: IMDB and the innertubes inform me that she’s still married to Mamet, lists her career as “musician/composer,” wrote the film score for Oleanna, and has a Grammy nomination for her last album. Perhaps her career has taken the turn she wanted it to. I dunno.

  124. Teve says:

    I think Mamet wrote this for the movie. https://youtu.be/Q4PE2hSqVnk

    But it’s funny—shitty salespeople think this is inspiring. Good salespeople—like I think I am—think people like this are a cancer.

  125. Teve says:

    I’ve had this job for two months now. I’ve been on all sixty mattresses we sell. I have studied them, and I realized there was one that stood above all the rest. My boss called today and we were just shooting the breeze while we waited on the system to update and I said “hey you know, if you were forced to buy one mattress from us, what would it be?” and he immediately said “it’s the Tempur LuxeAda-“ “I FUCKING KNEW IT WAS THE LUXEADAPT!” I said. He’s an evangelical Christian, so maybe that wasn’t the most polite response. But it’s true. That’s the mattress Jesus is going to buy when he comes back. It’s that baller.

    *disclaimer: I don’t get a dime from them. That mattress is that good.

  126. Kylopod says:

    @de stijl:

    At what point does anti-anti-Trumpism become pro-Trumpism? Greenwald has appeared many times on the Fox opinion shows slogging Ds for perceived faults. He is, indeed, very independent. And a truth-teller.

    And that’s the whole point. Fox needs its “brave truth-teller” renegade lefties to confirm for its audience that Dems are as bad as the righties have been saying. It’s part of the show.

    And frankly, this is one area where both sides do it. MSNBC does the same thing with all its Never-Trump commentators, people who once defended the death-panels lie or argued global warming couldn’t be real because Greenland is covered in ice, now telling its liberal audience that they can no longer support a party that has gone off the deep end.

    I’m sure some people go through genuine evolutions in their views, but in media you can’t take anyone at face value, it’s all about what market they’re aiming for at a particular time.

    The trouble is, overall the market for right-wing grift is a lot bigger and more financially rewarding. So it’s not so both-sides after all. Liberal media does it, but the right does it more. A lot more. Does Greenwald know what he’s doing or is he simply a stooge? What about Dersh? Tulsi Gabbard? I frankly don’t know and don’t care. It has the same effect, either way.

    One of the things he told me was never laugh at your own joke unless it is for effect.

    I’ve done comedy, and believe me, I know. It’s hard. Not laughing at your own material is a skill that requires practice. The comedians on late-night don’t always succeed; every now and then they start to deliver a line and then they lose it. But at least they’re trying. Maher isn’t even trying. As for his smirk, that isn’t just bad form–it’s all on him. I assume he developed these bad habits early on, and yet he still made it big, where part of his reputation is as an iconoclast who’s hard to pin down. He’s not inclined to listen to people who tell him he’s doing it all wrong; the only thing that would stand a chance of reaching him at this point is a slump in ratings (which may in fact happen–anecdotally I’ve talked to several liberals who have stopped watching him; me, I stopped several years ago beyond occasional clips).

  127. DrDaveT says:


    I really hate the use of “they” to refer to a single individual.

    We’ve been down this road before. You’re 600 years too late, and have already lost. Get over it.

  128. DrDaveT says:


    “They” is misleading.

    Do you also feel that “you” is misleading? That when people stopped saying “ye” to mean more than one person, everyone was suddenly baffled about whether the person they were listening to was talking about a single individual or more than one?

    (And did you stumble over the singular “they” in that sentence, or did you slide right by it the way 99% of us do?)

  129. DrDaveT says:


    Ms. got adopted quickly? Is it adopted? When was the last time you saw it in print?

    I used it just last week in some business emails — does that count?

  130. CSK says:

    People asking to be referred to specifically as “they” is pretty new to me, as when they’re asked what their preferred pronouns are. Your experience could be different from mine, of course.

  131. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: I worked for that guy in a boiler room once. He gave the speech, I left, and he followed me out of the room shouting “Where do you think you’re going? Get back here. I need you to make these calls!”

  132. DrDaveT says:


    People asking to be referred to specifically as “they” is pretty new to me, as when they’re asked what their preferred pronouns are.

    If that’s what you object to, you should be specific. That’s a tiny fraction of all uses of ‘they’ as a singular pronoun.