Satire *is* dead.

Mike Schilling

Mike has been a software engineer far longer than he would like to admit. He has strong opinions on baseball, software, science fiction, comedy, contract bridge, and European history, any of which he's willing to share with almost no prompting whatsoever.

Related Post Roulette

51 Responses

  1. Jesse Ewiak says:

    But a writer at The Nation once said something kind of mean about Jamie Dimon, so liberals on the exact same path.Report

  2. RTod says:

    “And I don’t for a second think that Bowman really is OK with slavery, or wouldn’t agree in an unguarded moment that it was a horror and an abomination.”

    I dunno. Probably. But I sure have been noticing an uptick in slavery semi-apologetics this past few years.

    I really had thought that it was one of the few issues we had all universally put to bed.Report

    • KatherineMW in reply to RTod says:

      Let’s see, what’s happened in the past several years that could push racists over the edge into openly-voiced public derangement?

      I think there were a couple elections….remind me who won, again?Report

    • Patrick in reply to RTod says:

      I really had thought that it was one of the few issues we had all universally put to bed.

      Remember the Georgia Secessionist decree thread?Report

      • Tod Kelly in reply to Patrick says:

        @patrick Yeah, sadly. That was the very first time i was aware we weren’t.

        I really kind of hate that thread for exactly that reason.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Patrick says:

        I don’t. Do you have a link to it?Report

      • Chris in reply to Patrick says:

        Ah, I remember that thread. I’m like Plinky therein, in that I’ve known people who think precisely the way Bob does, and I’ve known them all my life. Hell, the old folks when I was a kid were the last generation to really know Civil War vets, and many were still remarkably strident in their secesh sentiments. For many of them, the war was the North’s fault entirely, and it really was started because They were Down Here, and the result of the war was a great tragedy. Remember, this generation (and their children, who would be my grandparents’ age, the “Greatest Generation”) didn’t vote Republican until the 90s, not because they disagreed with modern Republicans, but because of Lincoln and the war. That might seem incomprehensible to us, and even to many southerners of my parent’s generation and younger, but it was a different time and a different place. That South doesn’t exist anymore for the most part, except in a few pockets here and there.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Patrick says:

        What’s weird about that thread was Bob’s stubborn insistence that all yall had the story wrong. It was something he was apparently mystified by. He just couldn’t quite get his mind around how you all kept denying the obvious.Report

      • Chris in reply to Patrick says:

        I’m pretty sure he chalked it up to us being Yankee (or Yankee-sympathizing) progressivists eschaton immanentizers with gnostic world-views.Report

      • Chris in reply to Patrick says:

        Looking for that thread last night, I also read the one that ultimately got Bob gone, and had a brief moment of nostalgia for the times when Bob would say something that would instinctively cause my blood to boil for a brief moment, and immediately after feel completely stupid for being so obviously, though certainly skillfully, trolled.

        I mean, even if Bob wasn’t performance art, he was old and experienced enough to know exactly what the reactions to what he was saying would be. And he clearly enjoyed it.Report

      • Glyph in reply to Patrick says:

        Dammit, if I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a hundred times, quit immanetizing the eschaton.

        Also, don’t tease the dog.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Patrick says:

        I don’t think he was doing performance art, he just played to the audience. He enemy-tized their scat.Report

  3. Kazzy says:

    There was a weird strand of conservative opposition to “12 Years”. This is just another part of it.

    Well, maybe it’s not so weird.Report

  4. J@m3z Aitch says:

    It’s not just stupid, it’s a lie. The first owner depicted in the movie is a relatively good owner. That’s drawn from the book itself, where Solomon Northup expresses real fondness for the guy.Report

    • KatherineMW in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

      But he also chooses to sell Solomon to someone who he knows is brutal and horrible. In short, the movie portrays slavery as it was – even the slaveowners who liked to consider themselves decent people were corrupted by the institution.Report

      • NewDealer in reply to KatherineMW says:

        This is a good point.Report

      • J@m3z Aitch in reply to KatherineMW says:


        Oh, yes. There’s no glossing over the reality of slavery. The first owner had to sell Northup as a pure financial matter, but sell him and sell him to a mean sonuvabitch he did.

        I’m just saying that what the asshat says the movie doesn’t do, both the book and the movie actually do.Report

  5. NewDealer says:

    Satre is also dead.

    More seriously, Tod is right about the uptick in semi-apologetics for the South and the Lost Cause if they ever went away.Report

  6. morat20 says:

    It’s not surprising. The GOP is a rather heavily Southern party, and the South still struggles with it’s legacy of slavery.

    You want a fun conversation? (Fun as in “Bang your head against the wall”) start asking around the south about the causes of the Civil War. “Slavery” will not make the list. They will, in fact, inform you that even thinking that slavery had anything to do with the Civil War is northern historical revisionism and a flat out lie.

    Nope, it was State’s Right’s all the way to the bottom, the North started it, and slavery was a BS excuse invented by Lincoln and the North to justify their illegal, unconstitutional attack on the south. (I can only assume the Confederate Constitution is also revisionist, northern liberal BS. Would be nice to know what the original said then..:) )

    In an interesting and related note — reading the Confederate Constitution is quite interesting, especially if you compare and contrast it not only with the US Constitution, but with the modern GOP. In many ways, the rise of the Texas GOP and their prevailing legal and Constitutional theories is of a party that has confused the US Constitution with the Confederate one.

    Except for Article 4, Section 3. Despite the push to loosen child labor laws, no one has seen fit to try that one.Report

    • Mike Schilling in reply to morat20 says:

      Read 4.2.3 of the US Constitution:

      No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, but shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due.

      That’s not much better. Fortunately, it wasn’t enforced reliably, regardless of the original Fugitive Slave act of 1793 and its despotic successor of 1850 (under which someone accused of being an escaped slave was stripped of any right to defend himself.) The people who wrote the Confederate Constitution were quite unhappy about this. In fact, the refusal of the free states to live up to their agreement to return escaped slaves was one of the most common complaints in the secession declarations. 4.3 of the Confederate Constitution was there to prevent that situation from recurring.Report

      • morat20 in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        Yes, I know. But then we’re both silly northern revisionists, who think slavery was part and parcel of the Civil War rather than a made-up justification by the North.

        States Right’s is a much more soothing rallying cry, though, for modern sensibilities. I mean no one wants to think their ancestors went down to glorious defeat so other, richer men could own slaves. But going down in the defense of Freedom? Now that’s a good bedtime story.

        *shrug*. The whole Civil War was a complex stew of things, to say it was “about slavery” is to be foolishly overly simplistic. To claim it had nothing to do with slavery at all is even worse.

        Because, indeed, slavery was a core part of it — not because Southerners were more evil or less enlightened than their northern counterparts, but because the Southern economy was really invested in it. The slow death of slavery across the North and the West was the writing on the wall for the South. Anything that threatened the institution of slavery at all — even if it was merely a small creep in ratio of slave-owning to free states — was an outright assault on the foundations of much of the southern economy.Report

      • greginak in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        I forget who said it but the best line about the cause of the CW was something like: Those who only know a little about the causes of the CW say it was all slavery. Those who know some about it, say it was complex and about many things. Those who know a lot about the causes of the CW say… was all about slavery.Report

      • James K in reply to Mike Schilling says:


        Not just the economy either. The 3/5ths rule meant that the free members of the Slave States had an electoral edge over members of the Free States.

        I think that’s where a lot of the “States Rights” rhetoric originated from. The South suddenly became a lot less enamoured of Federal power once they lost their ability to control the federal government (as evidenced by a Republican winning the presidency).Report

    • J@m3z Aitch in reply to morat20 says:

      The Confederate Constitution compares most well with the Articles of Confederation.Report

      • j r in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        I don’t know if that’s the case. According to Wikipedia, “The Confederate Constitution followed the U.S. Constitution for the most part in the main body of the text with some changes.” And with a relatively quick scan that seems to be the case.

        The Confederate Constitution established a federal government composed of a popularly elected congress with the power to tax, a president and a Supreme Court. The Articles of Confederation called for delegates elected by state legislatures to meet periodically in congress to conduct foreign policy and mediate disputes between states, but with no power to tax or directly legislate. The congress could appoint officers to carry out its business, but there was no separate executive power.

        The Confederate Constitution also contains a “necessary and proper” clause as well as a supremacy clause. It seems like the idea that the CSA was big on states’ rights is part of its mythology. After all, the CSA instituted a draft and Davis on occasion suspended habeus corpus. And the whole fugitive slave clause isn’t particularly respectful of states’ rights.Report

    • Chris in reply to morat20 says:

      You want a fun conversation? (Fun as in “Bang your head against the wall”) start asking around the south about the causes of the Civil War. “Slavery” will not make the list. They will, in fact, inform you that even thinking that slavery had anything to do with the Civil War is northern historical revisionism and a flat out lie.

      You’re hanging out in the wrong bars in Houston.

      As someone who has had many, many conversations about the Civil War with southerners, I can tell you that this is not true. Now, a good number of them will tell you that States’ Rights was the primary cause, and there are still some who will tell you that the war was caused by the North invading the peaceful, God-lovin’, glorious South (we used to have one around here, but he had a habit of saying nasty racist things, and has never come back after being given a forced cooling off period), but there are plenty, even among Republican voters, who’ll tell you it was slavery that caused the war.

      And it turns out, the percentage of people who say states’ rights was the main cause is pretty much the same in the South and outside of it:

      • Michael Drew in reply to Chris says:

        I actually think it’s a little too simple to say that slavery caused the Civil War. Slavery in large part caused the United States of America. It’s a massive part of the background for every single aspect of our country’s history. In that sense, yes it caused the Civil War, like it caused our economy to have many of the features it has today, caused out politics and culture to be what they are, etc., etc.

        To some degree, I’m willing to allow Southerners the charity of a weak presumption that they’re operating from that assumption just like I do, and that when they’re asked about the causes of the CW, they think they’re being asked about at least slightly more specific causes of the specific courses of that history, not to reduce the question to simply restating the massive background (and causal) role that slavery actually had. Which is not to say plenty of Southerners wouldn’t defy that presumption and prove themselves to be explicit denialists. But if I’m talking to a Northerner and they say they think slavery caused the Civil War and don’t say anything else, while I obviously don’t think that’s wrong, I might think they’re being a little bit glib. Certainly specific political structures and events did play a large part in causing the specific Civil War that we in fact had rather than a different one at a different time – from a background in which the country was being impelled to eventual conflict, or at least a reckoning, over slavery.

        If that’s what I would think of a Northerner who said that – that they might just be being a little more responsive to the question than just giving the glib and simplistic response “slavery caused the Civil War – then I ought to allow that a Southerner has the the same background understanding that the Northerner might have. It’s not denialism to say that (say) the Kansas-Nebraska Act caused the specific conflict we had even though the fact of slavery ensured we were always going to have a conflict over it. That can come out as a statement that the Kansas-Nebraska Act caused the Civil War that doesn’t mention slavery by name (and is the more incomplete for that), but it’s not necessarily a denial of the obviously foundational role that slavery played in all the politics of the age, and thus in causing the War. It might just be an omission of something taken as obvious. It also might be a denial.

        One way to put it might be that, for some, the question “What was the cause fofthe Civil War?” is too small a question to get at the outsized role that slavery played in every aspect of the context of the conflict. Accordingly, it seems entirely possible that for some Southerners, or for anyone, the full understanding that they have of that fact might not be reflected in some responses to that particular question.Report

    • Kim in reply to morat20 says:

      Oh, you ain’t had a Civil War argument until you’ve had one over Lee’s Old War Horse, himself. Fricking lost causers.Report

  7. j r says:

    The point is taken that Republican party has come to be dominated by reactionaries. However, it should be pointed out that there is a difference between being a reactionary and being a conservative, in the modern American sense of the word. They certainly overlap by a fair but, but they are two different things. And more importantly, we don’t know how long this current overlap is going to last.

    Take a look at the neo-reactionary movement on the internet, the so-called Dark Enlightenment folks. They are not particularly enamored with the Republican party.* It’s yet to be determined whether all the reactionaries now calling themselves Republicans will remain as such or this is just one stop on a trip to the development of a legitimate extreme right wing party. Certainly if we had a parliamentary system instead of a presidential one we would already have a party like the British National Party or the French National Front.

    Also, reactionaries do stand for something. They stand for pushing the clock back to some imagined time when their own nostalgia trumped historical reality. In the United States, reactionaries often sound like conservatives and libertarians, because the founding mythology of the United States is classically liberal in nature. If you head to the FSU, a reactionary is likely to sound like a communist. Other places, reactionaries will sound like monarchists.

    * It is fascinating how the far right views the Republican Party as basically a center-left party and views the Democrats as outright socialists in the same way that those on the far left view the Democrats as a center-right party and the Republicans as straight fascists.Report

    • morat20 in reply to j r says:

      I wonder what they call Richard Nixon or Ronald Reagan, if they call the modern GOP “center-left” and Democrats socialists?

      For that matter, what terms to they reserve for actual socialists? Super socialists? Uber-socialists?Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to morat20 says:

        It’s not really clear to me why Nixon is so reviled by the left. Economically, he was a big ol’ lefty. He took us off the gold standard, started the first Federal affirmative action program, tried to establish socialized health care, created the EPA, imposed price controls. He also pulled out of Vietnam and made nice with the Soviet and Chinese commies.

        Sure, he was bad on civil liberties, but Roosevelt stole Japanese Americans’ property and forced them into concentration camps, and he’s the closest thing Democrats have to a god.Report

    • Mike Schilling in reply to j r says:

      Yeah, I’m not a Seminoles fan either.Report

    • Kim in reply to j r says:

      Reactionaries like Koch know pretty well what it used to be like.
      That’s why they want it Back.Report

  8. Will Truman says:

    And I don’t for a second think that Bowman really is OK with slavery, or wouldn’t agree in an unguarded moment that it was a horror and an abomination.

    If Bowman is who I think he is, I am not so sure. There was a guy by that name or something like that name who was really, really out there. Like “I can’t believe someone is putting himself out there under his own name” out there, and I’m rarely so surprised. I want to say that he was the guy defending places like Vidor for actively driving black people out of their community. Either way, I see that name in the context of public commentary and I immediately think “oh, that’s the obscene racist.”

    I’m sorry, I wish I could provide documentation. Perhaps my inability to do so (I just did a quick check on where I thought I remembered the conversation and didn’t find anything) is how he got through the Spectator’s filters (to the extent that they have filters).

    Not that this detracts from your point. I suspect that the editors of the Spectator would fit the description you give, even if Bowman wouldn’t, and they did run the piece.Report

  9. zic says:

    There was a lot of drivel like this:

    What a pleasing scene would the institution of slavery exhibit, were all our servants to yield their obedience in this spirit of the christian religion! It would commend itself to true philanthropy as containing the best system of labor which is allowable to fallen man. But alas! the bondmen whom we own and employ, while occupying the most favorable position for improvement and happiness that is possible to them, are, as yet, far from being imbued with that love to God, which alone can raise their lot to its highest dignity. We thank God that so many of them are pious–that from so many of their comfortable houses comes the voice of prayer and praise–and that so many of them are conscientous servitors of man for Christ’s sake. But we ought to look forward to the time when they will all be what the Bible would make them; a race whose love for the Master above will spread through their rejoicing millions a measure of sanctification which will convert their services into the very first of home-blessings, and their piety into a missionary influence for saving the black man everywhere from the ruin of perdition.

    Source: A sermon by Joseph Ruggles Wilson, Mutual Relations of Masters and Slaves as Taught in the Bible, pg. 19

    The thing that always stymies me is that, with emancipation, surely, God had spoken, and black men everywhere had been saved from ruin and perdition. The Antebellum South’s mission had been accomplished. Those black men should, by all rights, have been put up on a purity pedestal, for they were pure and closer to God.

    There’s a lot more like this; it was, after all, preached from the pulpits all over the South for many decades.

    • zic in reply to zic says:

      Wanted to give you the closing of this particular sermon:

      To vital goodness alone belongs the privilege of understanding and administering the whole authority of a masterhood so responsible. And, oh, when that welcome day shall dawn, whose light will reveal a world covered with righteousness, not the least pleasing sight will be the institution of domestic slavery, freed from its stupid servility on the one side and its excesses of neglect or severity on the other, and appearing to all mankind as containing that scheme of politics and morals, which, by saving a lower race from the destruction of heathenism, has, under divine management, contributed to refine, exalt, and enrich its superior race!