Freddie: no one has the slightest idea what is and isn’t cultural appropriation

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Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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118 Responses

  1. Avatar gregiank says:

    This was a really good piece by Freddie.Report

  2. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Cultural appropriation is a thing and it isn’t exactly a victimless crime. Pat Boone made millions by singing bowdlerized versions of songs originally written by African-Americans while the original artists starved. Defining what cultural appropriation is though isn’t an easy task though. Another complicating factor is that some cultures seem to mind more than others. The Japanese don’t seem to mind that Westerners are eternally intrigued about samurai, ninja, geisha, sushi, and anime. They generally seem to see it as a way to make money. In contrast, Arabs seem quite annoyed about the entire Arabian Nights fantasy.Report

    • Avatar gregiank in reply to LeeEsq says:

      I agree it’s an actual thing. I’ve heard many Native Americans be pissed off about white folk selling native american themed jewelery. The white folk take precious symbols and make money off them while the originators have no say or get any of the profit. It’s a real thing. However where to go from there is hard since its a very complex topic. Some people care more than others and some degree of CA is good. It’s not that CA doesn’t happen, its just that the term is mostly useful as a simple descriptive term that needs a lot of context to figure out if its an actual problem.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to gregiank says:

        We are in agreement about it. My general thought is that cultural appropriation is a thing, see Messianic Jews as a really prime example of it, but that you really can’t do anything about it besides raise awareness.Report

      • Avatar Brent F in reply to gregiank says:

        The thing is, our society has pretty clear ideas about who owns ideas and one of the foundational ones is that traditional ideas from sufficiently long ago belong to everybody now and everyone can use them. Universal access to the public domain.

        As such, the idea that a “culture” owns their traditional ideas isn’t a good foundation for a moral argument in our society. It doesn’t at all line up with how we do things.Report

        • Avatar greginak in reply to Brent F says:

          I agree with that. I also understand why some people are irritated at seeing their precious and deeply meaningful symbols used by others. I don’t think there is a good solution for the people who are irritated other than patient explanation of what bothers them and hoping people listen. And then dealing with being irritated when some people don’t listen to their concerns.Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Brent F says:

          As such, the idea that a “culture” owns their traditional ideas isn’t a good foundation for a moral argument in our society. It doesn’t at all line up with how we do things.

          I think there are two ways our culture (and by that I mean Merkin culture) does things: a) freely mix flavors into a melting pot of cultural practices from which all and everyone can freely sample, and b) disproportionately reward white folk for eating from, rather than contributing to, that pot.

          Seems to me the cultural appropriation complaint ultimately reduces to economic issues and all that that entails.
          Add: And even if the above is so overly-generalized as to be useless, or just plain wrong, I STILL think that the cultural appropriation grievance only has bite if it reduces to something material in our world. Like cash or power.Report

          • Seems to me the cultural appropriation complaint ultimately reduces to economic issues and all that that entails.
            Add: And even if the above is so overly-generalized as to be useless, or just plain wrong, I STILL think that the cultural appropriation grievance only has bite if it reduces to something material in our world. Like cash or power.

            I largely agree. I find most forms of cultural appropriation that I’d call wrong are usually wrong for other reasons in addition to (or instead of) the fact that it’s appropriation. I’d probably go beyond the material, though, and say that things can be offensive or wrong even if it’s not a question of someone making money.Report

          • Avatar Will H. in reply to Stillwater says:

            Pretty much where I’m at with it.

            I would add that it to me like CA concerns stem from a fragile sense of identity.
            Like a lot of other complaints, if there wasn’t something in the background, it would never have become a complaint.Report

        • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to Brent F says:

          I think what Brent F is saying here is very reasonable, but I am incensed that he has appropriated the letter F.Report

    • Avatar El Muneco in reply to LeeEsq says:

      Cultural appropriation just isn’t a thing as far as Japan is concerned. It’s kind of funny watching westerners latch onto filmmakers like Kurosawa, who was heavily influenced by the West even when he wasn’t directly remaking Shakespeare or Hammett, or anime like Neon Genesis Evangelion, whose background is a dog’s breakfast of bits of western mythology picked entirely for coolness factor and thrown together like a Pro Bowl defensive squad.
      I suspect that it’s no accident that their cuisine is so amenable to culinary fusion – hell, not just the recipe for tempura was stolen from the Portugese, the very name was.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to LeeEsq says:

      Pat Boone made millions by singing bowdlerized versions of songs originally written by African-Americans while the original artists starved.

      Was he not paying royalties, or are you just saying that his recordings were more successful?Report

  3. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    Too bad Cosmo 404’d the article, but the internet never forgets.Report

  4. Avatar Marchmaine says:

    I finally get it; Freddie is like your team’s Rod Dreher… you can’t stop reading him, can’t quite disagree with him, but wish he wasn’t so all over the place whipping up froth and overheating the lattes.Report

  5. Avatar Murali says:

    I think my old comment about the issue sheds some light:

    https://ordinary-times.com/2016/08/23/if-you-want-to-know-who-we-are/#comment-1177449

    I don’t have much to say about this particular case. Charges of cultural appropriation are thrown around very freely, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen.

    Then there are rules 34-36 of the internet which screw everything up.Report

  6. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    I didn’t get to see the Cosmo article before it was 404red so I can’t comment there.

    I think the reason that no one knows what is and what is not cultural appropriation because deep down everyone knows that there is no policy or legislative fix to the issues. The only thing to do is have a lot of discussions and try to change minds.

    Some of these discussions are comical and silly. The Oberlin food debate comes to mind here and the Internet is seemingly unable to let something small like the Oberlin thing go and say “These are just college kids. Let’s chill.”

    On the other hand, there was an essay in the Washington Post about how “ethnic” food is usually also used as a being equal to “cheap” food. People love Chinese food, they might even go out of there way to find the real deal instead of an Americanized version but seemingly few Americans are willing to find the Chinese or Indian equivalent of a Thomas Keller or even a restaurant where entrees cost about 30-40 dollars. So chefs of “ethnic” cuisine are not allowed to experiment or expand or be considered fine dining. The exception here seems to be Japanese food.

    The other example that I have written about with sympathy is the casting of white actors in roles that were originally minorities or could be played by people of color. Why do you need white actors in a movie called Gods of Egypt? Why do we think American audiences won’t show up to see Ghost in the Shell with an Asian actor in the lead role instead of Scarlett Johanson? Asian-American men are still not seen as romantic lead material frequently.

    The only way to change the issues is through conversation after conversation no matter how awkward and painful and whether people want to hear it or not. This is only going to change through the slow drilling of hard wood and that makes lots of people (usually white people and usually dudes) uncomfortable.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      The thing is that these hard conversations are usually conducted on a level that sounds to most people “I am right, you are wrong, and that is that.” There isn’t usually even a conversation. When people try to raise good faith arguments to the contrary than they are at best dismissed. More likely, any argument to the contrary will be denounced as evil. This is not the way to persuade people about cultural appropriation. There seems to be very little leeway with this sort of thing. Its either you are with us or you are against us and you will just listen quietly and agree with what we say if you know what is good for you.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to LeeEsq says:

        I think you are right here. I largely blame this on the nature of net conversation which everyone should get away from. I am not sure what to do about it though or if there are any better options.Report

    • Avatar Murali in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Seriously? There’s no high end Indian or Chinese dining in the US? There’s got to be at least one in the urban centre right?

      BTW when you were in Singapore did you ever get to Song of India? Its really good and very posh*. Another fairly posh indian place is Shahi Maharani.

      *Ok, not exactly need to wear coat and tie posh, but we don’t really do that in Singapore. But, its got one michelin star and you wouldn’t look out of place wearing a coat and tie there either.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Murali says:

        There are plenty of more expensive than usual Chinese and Indian restaurants but I can’t think of one that would cost as much as a really expensive French restaurant or really hot restaurant.Report

      • Avatar El Muneco in reply to Murali says:

        The singular of data isn’t anecdote, but I just looked and TripAdvisor lists zero Chinese or Indian restaurants in my city of 200k in the “fine dining” category (there are seven, six modern American, one Argentinian (!?)).
        The same is also true of the 700k population Jupiter that the Callisto I call home orbits (however, Seattle does have five rated Japanese restaurants in the “fine dining” category). The #3 rated restaurant there is Chinese, but it’s mid-priced and serves meals rather than cuisine.
        So, basically, yeah, per anecdata, there’s no truly posh Asian cuisine at all in the Sea-Tac area, home to over a million people, port cities with strong cross-Pacific ties, and one of the largest Asian-American communities outside of California.
        Good restaurants, sure – in fact, Asian cuisines probably punch above their weight where ratings are concerned – but practically none of them are aiming for prestige.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Murali says:

        Fine dining (Michelin stars, etc) is a very risky business. You need a well known chef in a market that can appreciate the fare on its own merits, as well as food critics that can do the same. Then you have to hold onto that rating in a highly competitive market.

        I can see why few try it, and if they do, it’s often a fusion place.Report

        • Avatar scott the mediocre in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

          Michelin doesn’t rate in LA any more, but it’s a common parlor game amongst the local competitive foodies to rate the local cash vortices, generally by comparison to the restaurants in other Murrikn cities (NYC, Chicago, SF, DC) that Michelin does rate.

          The one restaurant that seems to be considered possibly three star grade (Urasawa; never been there myself – I have children and therefore carry no cash) and probably 25% of the consensus list are Japanese; there are a few other ethnicities (e.g. Korean, Chinese) that sometime show up at the one star level.

          Sorry, Murali, no hyper-posh Indian. Oddly, AFAICT no Hong Kong model hyper-posh Chinese restaurants aimed at Mandarin speakers either, which seems a bit odd, and similarly San Francisco, where the only Asian non-Japanese Michelin star is Thai (Khin Khao). I wonder if Vancouver has any?Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Murali says:

        @murali

        Not there. We ate at a very nice new Chinese restaurant that was in a hotel. I can’t remember the name. I want to try Fish Head Curry this time.

        There is really good Chinese and Indian food in San Francisco but nothing on the 80-200 dollar per head thing that you fine in fine dining. Z&Y is a great Sichuan restaurant in San Francisco but I meal with 8 people still came to under 200 dollars and had a lot of food.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Murali says:

        I went to Vij’s in Vancouver. But that one doesn’t even take reservations!
        ;-P
        That’s intentional on the part of the owner. It’s actually quite upscale.

        And I went to a fivestar Chinese restaurant in Birmingham Vermont.

        I will go out of my way to find excellent asian cuisine, but it’s still often cheapsie stuff.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      What would the people complaining about cultural appropriation think of Jews started complaining about how the gentiles of American appropriated the bagel. The bagel is supposed to be savory and eaten with a schemer of cream cheese and some lox. You can find bagels in McDonalds these days. Bagels served with cheese and ham. Why is this less of a cultural appropriation than what happens to other minority cultures and there food? Why do we Jews deserve less protection?Report

  7. Avatar North says:

    Yeah I am with Freddie on this. So much massive heat, so little actual benefit, such nebulous harm, such vitriol.
    And to that vitriol? I posit that only when the stakes are this low can people on the internet get that upset about it.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to North says:

      @north

      Maybe. The other way to look at things is that anger has been boiling over various things for years and decades and is finally coming out all at once. Some of it on low stakes stuff and some of it on high stakes stuff. But it is all coming together in a mess and people seem angry, angry, angry over everything.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        Fine, but it sure looks like the kind of low stakes-send a tweet-raise a ruckus in the quad-return to your dorm to sleep the comfortable sleep of the righteous content in the knowledge that the administration won’t give a shit; kind of thing that only could emerge from the rarefied air of a college campus.

        And on top of that it’s guaranteed to convince no one but existing allies and either confirm or make plausible to everyone else that the cultural left is out of their minds.Report

        • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to North says:

          @north

          My position on this is a bit more complicated. I agree in a broader sense that it is low stakes in many ways. The whole Oberlin Food Court debate is a nothing burger of silly that gets amplified through the media in their desire for content.

          However, I also think it gets jumbled up and combined into more serious and real world civil rights movements like Black Lives Matter, increasing rights for LBGT people, Undocumented Immigrants, etc.

          I also think there are a lot of internet debates that descend into bad blood and bad faith on all sides because strangers who don’t know each other fight back and forth on the net and no one knows how to back down and be reasonable. This leads to problems with the second paragraph. People who might be conservative but not dogmatically so get accused of “cultural appropriation” or “privilege” and in resentment go further to the right on the serious stuff.

          This is a sort of half-baked theory but I never hear this kind of talk in real life and I live in San Francisco!! I’m convinced 99 percent of it is trench warefare on-line but with real world damage.Report

          • Avatar North in reply to Saul Degraw says:

            Yeah but the thing about microagressions or cultural appropriation and similar such nonsense is that you can cleave those topics entirely away and ALL of the substantive demands and complaints of the real world civil rights movements and BLM etc.. remain intact.Report

            • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to North says:

              Many activists seem to think it is all related.Report

            • Avatar InMD in reply to North says:

              This is exactly correct. One set of issues involves measurable harm and potential policy solutions. The other set of issues boils down to hurt feelings and beg no policy prescriptions that are consistent with a free and multicultural society. Binding resolving urgent matters like the former to more frivolous matters like the latter is at best a waste of time and at worst counterproductive since the latter are such non issues.Report

            • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to North says:

              @north @inmd @leeesq

              I think Leeesq is right. A lot of activists seem absolutely determined to combine the serious and not serious issues. As far as I can tell, these issues are all related in their head.

              I posted Freddie’s essay on FB and a genderqueer person I know from college responded that it might not be the best idea to trust a white guy named DeBoer over what is and what is not cultural appropriation. I responded with some thoughts on how all these debates seem like the Battle of the Somme with everyone screaming “I am right. You are wrong. Disagreement is a sign of immorality. I can’t even.” I think I can’t even is my least favorite internet phrase.

              But there is seemingly no way to get activists to separate the issues.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                All y’all should have spent more time in Charismatic Churches in your youths, I tell you what.

                You would have learned to recognize people who merely started falling down in the aisles and started flopping from those who were overcome with The Spirit.

                It would have given you tools for this kinda thing.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Jaybird says:

                I kind of wish I had. The ruthless Catholicism of my youth never prepared me for the True Believer. How ironic.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to InMD says:

                True belief is a weird thing. I recently attended a friend’s wedding. He and his wife are Protestants and the wedding was held at a Reformed Church. The two pastors sounded very different talking about religious subjects than any Rabbi I listened to and that covers the entire range from very Reform to Ultra-Orthodox. There was a big element of simple, pure faith in the Pastor’s voice that I never noticed from any Rabbi.

                There is an old Sam Harris interview where he noted that he and Hitchens always found Rabbis the hardest clergy to debate with because even when dealing with Orthodox Rabbis it was sort of like debating about religion with somebody who thought more like an agnostic or atheist than a believer. None of the Rabbis seemed to believe in things like the efficiency of prayer or God’s intervention into people’s daily lives or even God’s concern and this through both of them.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to LeeEsq says:

                QAll I am about to say is purely anecdotal but in my experience I’ve found that one of the stronger parts (among many, many weaknesses) of the religion I was raised in is a traditon of rigorous interrogation of one’s own faith. I have found that tradition to be less pronounced among evangelical Protestant faiths, but much more pronounced in the Jewish faith. I’m not sure if it’s cultural or an artifact of religions that are more institutionalized or something else entirely.

                It’s also possible I’m entirely wrong and my experience is unusual or missing crucial information.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to InMD says:

                The ancient Rabbis decided that every Jewish man had to be a Torah scholar and also decided to place the emphasis on doing things, mainly reading texts, religious rituals, and ethical behavior, over believing in things. That tends to go towards introspection rather than simple faith.Report

              • Avatar El Muneco in reply to Jaybird says:

                to recognize people who merely started falling down in the aisles and started flopping

                I thought soccer was mostly played in Catholic countries.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                My hope is that, to the extent it’s a product of college students getting riled up, it’s something that will die down with maturity. I think the answer is to support them when they’re right and criticize them when they’re wrong. I’m hopeful that eventually most will realize that offense is both subjective and inevitable. Bullets, beatings, and intentional economic exclusion aren’t.Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to InMD says:

                @inmd

                I see plenty of people in their mid-30s having earnest conversations about what is and is not cultural appropriation as well. Maybe it is because I went to a SLAC filled with very earnest lefties and this is how they are fighting middle age though.

                But there are splits. My feed was about 50/50 on the issue of trigger warnings on campus syllabae during that debate.

                I wonder if these small debates are proxies for bigger and tougher battles. Derek Thompson had an article recently about how the jobs with the highest amounts of growth are considered traditionally female and “soft.” These are jobs like nursing, home health aide, retail, call center rep, nurse’s aide, pre-K teacher, etc.

                An infrastructure bill is not going to help a lot of unskilled blue collar guys because a lot of infrastructure work is semi-skilled or skilled labor. I’ve seen a lot of discussion on how people need to be encouraged to go into trades like plumbing and electrical work. What I wonder is what percentage of the population is not cut out for apprencticeships and/or college/university. A dark question I admit.

                So a 40 or 50 something year old guy who spent his life doing relatively well paid but unskilled labor is not going to become a plumber or a electrician or a carpenter over night. Or even a welder, steamfitter/pipefitter, or HVAC worker.

                There seems to be a lot of resistance among blue-collar workers about picking up skills and jobs that they consider unmasculine. Maybe a lot of women in those communities don’t want their men to do that kind of work as well. In my corner of the United States, this is met with rage and questions “Why do you think you are too good to do “women’s work?” Why do you think it is emasculating?”Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                @saul-degraw I see some support for it among the portion of my social group that is involved in the arts or has followed a less traditional path but virtually none among the more professional/traditional office job circle.

                My hope is that this stuff boils down to cultural shibbeloths. If it’s something bigger then I do think it’s a bad sign for broader liberalism, given how it alienates people without driving any sort of policy improvements.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                It isn’t a good thing that they believe it is all related. There are too many people in the United States to get the required level of consensus and the more diversity you have than the less consensus you get. These social justice activists need to learn to focus on the important issues like police brutality, racial profiling, voter suppression, homophobia, and ignore the little issues like General Tso’s Chicken or white people in kimonos.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to LeeEsq says:

                They are serving pulled pork and coleslaw and calling it “Banh Mi”.

                If you don’t see this as a problem, then what *WOULD* you see as a problem?Report

              • Avatar Autolukos in reply to Jaybird says:

                As long as they leave off the vinegar sauce, I don’t have a problem with them not calling that Carolina barbecue.Report

              • Avatar El Muneco in reply to Jaybird says:

                You are a judge on Chopped – probably Scott Conant or Mark Murphy – and I claim my five pounds(*).

                (*) There is so much British humo(u)r/reference out there other than Monty Python for USans to culturally appropriate that it’s amazing how many people still(**) take the easy road.
                (**) The last full first-rank Monty Python release was in 1983. Get over it, already.Report

          • Avatar El Muneco in reply to Saul Degraw says:

            I wish people would give proper credit to the culture that originated the nothing burger.Report

  8. Avatar Brandon Berg says:

    Saul Degraw: This is a sort of half-baked theory but I never hear this kind of talk in real life and I live in San Francisco!! I’m convinced 99 percent of it is trench warefare on-line but with real world damage.

    That seems reasonable. It’s easy to apply that logic to the worst people who are, broadly speaking, “on your side,” but can you recognize the same phenomenon on the other side?Report

  9. fillyjonk fillyjonk says:

    I like the “Don’t be a dick” rule; if people applied it it would solve a lot of problems.

    The thing is, this kind of discussion tends to be the thing some take to ridiculous extremes. (Going to ridiculous extremes on things seems to be a trait of the 2010s). For example, someone telling me I am only “allowed” to cook Irish, British, German, and French-Canadian foods, because that’s my heritage. (Never mind that my ancestors left Germany before it was actually Germany….and never mind that food habits have changed since the 1800s or whenever)

    I dunno. Maybe “Don’t be a dick” should be coupled with a non-medical version of “First, do no harm” (e.g., all the whitewashing of records by black singers probably did harm if the originators of the songs didn’t benefit monetarily from that practice….)

    I will also go on record as being slightly bothered by the appropriation of crosses by the likes of late-1980s Madonna Louise Ciccone and others. But because that’s a “majority” culture and also generally seen as OK to mock, no one cares.

    And anyway, I have bigger problems to deal with in my life than some singer wearing a cross for non-religious reasons.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to fillyjonk says:

      filly,
      and nevermind that Germans don’t eat classic German food except on holidays.Report

    • Avatar NoPublic in reply to fillyjonk says:

      Seriously? How does a Roman Catholic girl culturally appropriate the crucifix?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to NoPublic says:

        This goes back to Murali’s excellent comment.

        Of the consumptive acts that are bad, some are bad because they are acts of cultural appropriation. It is a difficult issue to determine what is indeed an act of cultural appropriation what is not. Perhaps it is not a matter of the particular act, but in the manner and spirit in which the act is carried out. For instance, a white woman wearing a sari to a Hindu wedding is not cultural appropriation. Instead it is an admirable and imho very successful attempt to respect the cultural practices of her friend. By contrast, wearing that sari for Halloween is denigrating. Not because saris hold some sacred ceremonial role, but because they can be a person’s everyday garb (for instance my mother wears a sari to work). Firstly because my ethnicity is not something you cosplay as. Secondly because you are doing that thing for your own entertainment.

        Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to NoPublic says:

        Annie Sprinkle did a pretty good job of exactly that. Debatably her performance using the crucifix as a sex toy was intended to express contempt for Christianity, or contempt for the church, or something in that neighborhood.

        So, in a different-but-maybe-not-actually-different way, did Andres Serrano’s Piss Christ exhibition.

        Take the cultural symbol out of its traditional context, now you’re doing something else with it, maybe making it a part of your own message. After all, just because you’re a Roman Catholic girl doesn’t necessarily mean you particularly like the Roman Catholic Church.Report

        • Avatar NoPublic in reply to Burt Likko says:

          I’d argue that that’s not appropriation. When a member of a culture critiques that culture (perfomatively or otherwise) it’s necessarily part of the organic interface of that culture and the surrounding ones and often how growth occurs. Otherwise Luther appropriated Christianity by nailing his Theses to the door and Protestantism is a sham.Report

          • Avatar Will Truman in reply to NoPublic says:

            Right. That would more accurately be described as something like “cultural desecration” or along those lines. The word “appropriation” implies that you have no claim to the symbol(s) or aesthetics being used.Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Will Truman says:

              Masturbating with a crucifix could also be described as being politically incorrect, of bravely standing up to the silly PC police who demand we be “sensitive” to other people’s “sacred totems”.Report

              • Avatar Will H. in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                I wonder about the implications for the “shock the conscience” standard.
                If there is no conscience, there can be no shock to it.
                That whole body of law is eradicated.
                Granted, it’s going that way anyway, but this would hasten it a great deal.Report

              • Avatar Murali in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Wrong target: People who talk about cultural appropriation are the ones likely to be accused of being politically correct.Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to fillyjonk says:

      The problem with “don’t be a dick” is that there are so many ways to be a dick. Some of which weren’t ways to be a dick until yesterday; some of which won’t be ways to be a dick tomorrow. Some of which are only ways to be a dick if you are (or are not) a certain category of person. Some of which only a few people consider ways to be a dick.Report

  10. Before I read the comments, I’d just like to say it’s nice to see that de Boer hasn’t given up on writing his blog.Report

  11. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Another random thought. Matt Y made an observation that we live in an era of high partisanship and weak political parties. This means that the parties can’t control who gets the nomination and once they do, the partisans line up behind said person.

    I wonder if this is why we are seeing so many people demand ideological lock-step.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Matt Y made an observation that we live in an era of high partisanship and weak political parties.

      Thanks for mentioning that. It’s a very perceptive observation, seems to me. What that means wrt out political institutions going forward is that at best it’s only a guess. Seriously. All those institutionally-oriented folks prescribing the remedy for Dems are playing the propaganda game (either clicks or “persuasion”).Report

    • We live in a period of high reverse-partisanship, which is not quite the same thing.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Will Truman says:

        Oooh. Even more perceptive. Tho the rejectionism does fall along partisan lines.

        We live in strange times. Viewing the shifts we’ve experienced over the last 8 years or so up to where we are right now induces something I could only call “political vertigo.”Report

        • Yeah. It still keeps people at their opposing sides of the table. But it sort of explains why we have this “Strong partisanship, weak parties” dynamic. If it were really partisanship, the parties would be reasonably strong. Various factions of each party would be working together for unity and a common goal. But if it’s reverse-partisanship… why? The other factions, like the other party, are something to be *defeated*… as long as you know their reverse-partisanship will carry the day in November. The goal is not forming a consensus and delivering on it, but winning each round.

          And it also creates a dynamic where the rank-and-file don’t especially identify with any of it, don’t act in any mediating capacity, and don’t really get involved until or unless activated (and even then, it may or may not last more than a cycle.) So if you have one faction of 20% that believes along one set of lines, and another faction of 30% that believes along another, and 50% that just want to beat the other team… that’s an interesting recipe for something that’s less likely to occur if we were talking about positive partisanship.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Will Truman says:

            On the stuff that the Deep State cares about, the two parties are, more or less, interchangeable.

            There’s a *LOT* of stuff that the Deep State doesn’t care about, of course… but on the stuff it cares about, it doesn’t matter who gets elected.Report

  12. Avatar Tod Kelly says:

    No one seems to think it’s important that Helin Jung isn’t a a political/feminist/SJW/lefty writer. She’s a click-baiter whose other articles are all things like “Lindsey Pelas Demonstrates 11 Problems Every Busty Girl Has,” “Britney Spears’ Favorite New Swimsuit Looks Awfully Familiar,” and “13 Moves Victoria’s Secret Model Izabel Goulart Does to Get Her Insane Body.”

    I’m not saying I don’t agree with Freddie’s genreal thesis here; I do. But if you’re going to make an argument that something is not only foolish but both dangerous and pernicious, you shouldn’t allow yourself to be trolled so easily. It’s like when some junior Senator warns us about a headline someone forwarded him from the Onion.Report

  13. Avatar Kim says:

    We now must protest “The Good, the Bad, and The Weird”
    … because cultural appropriation, naturally.
    (seriously, a protest is a good way to get people to see a movie!)Report