Which is more depressing….?

Nob Akimoto

Nob Akimoto is a policy analyst and part-time dungeon master. When not talking endlessly about matters of public policy, he is a dungeon master on the NWN World of Avlis

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26 Responses

  1. greginak says:

    Well reading the comments was a really lousy way to start a monday. I’m not sure how much worse Stormfront would be.Report

  2. Mike Schilling says:

    Will their obit of Dick Cheney mention that he was no angel?Report

  3. Jacob says:

    Straw man to end all straw men.

    The NYT does not claim “Michael Brown liked rap music, and was therefore ‘no angel’ and deserved to die by a policeman’s hand.”

    The NYT claims that “Michael Brown was observed on security footage stealing a box of cigars, had dabbled in drugs and alcohol, got into a scuffle with a neighbor, and produced contemplative and vulgar rap lyrics”, the sum total of which rendered him “no angel”.

    But actually clicking through two links to the original material and parsing the sentences found therein doesn’t make for a good, snarky bloglet.Report

    • NobAkimoto in reply to Jacob says:

      If you’re not understanding why this isn’t a problem you probably don’t understand why the snark is necessary, either.Report

      • Pinky in reply to NobAkimoto says:

        I don’t get where Jacob is wrong. If they said he wasn’t an angel because he liked rap music, that’d be worth calling out. If they said he wasn’t an angel because he stole, fought, and listened to rap music, even then I could understand your point. But they brought up rap music presumably to mention the vulgarity. Amidst all the commentary about him being a gentle giant, then the stealing and drugs and vulgarity are all worth citing in order to give a fuller, more accurate picture of him.

        As for the comments, well, I’m sure some of them were terrible, because it’s a comment thread. A quick sampling on my part didn’t reveal anything out of bounds.Report

      • greginak in reply to NobAkimoto says:

        When people use the term “no angel” what are they usually meaning? It isn’t usually just a straight descriptive as in ” he doesn’t have blond hair” or ” he doesn’t have six fingers on his right hand.” It is usually with the connotation of being a problem or even a “thug.” Vulgarity and drugs and drinking are widely common among teens. hell even shoplifting isn’t that odd in that age group. Plenty of nice kids did some or all of those things but would be either described differently “just sowing his wild oats” , “high spirted”, “all man” etc etc. But somehow in this case these things he has done are said in reference to how it lead to him getting shot.Report

      • Pinky in reply to NobAkimoto says:

        Greg, I don’t really believe that people are equating “not an angel” with “deserves to be shot”. (OK, we’re talking about a comment thread here, so there probably are people saying just that thing, but I’m talking about non-trolls.)Report

      • greginak in reply to NobAkimoto says:

        Pinky, plenty of people are passing around a lot of judgment that his, thugish/fairly typical teenage behavior has a lot of bearing on the shooting. Even if we just look at comment thread i bet i could come up with hundreds of comments suggesting that. But public figures are saying the same thing.Report

    • dragonfrog in reply to Jacob says:

      Do you know anyone who, by that standard, is an “angel”? Do you enjoy their company, or are they dull as dishwater?

      Heck, substitute the specific misdemeanours and prose forms I got up to as a dumb-ass teenager, and use a rather stronger word than “dabbled” and that would be me, and really pretty much everyone I know.

      And I kind of feel like we didn’t deserve to be shot dead at 18 either.Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to Jacob says:

      OMG, a teenage boy doing what other teenage boys do.*

      *I realize that plenty of teenage boys are perfectly well-behaved, law-abiding citizens. I was one of them. Many of them, along with most teenage girls, do try to get away with various acts of rebelliousness that include breaking the law sometimes. That doesn’t mean they are bad kids.Report

    • Mike Schilling in reply to Jacob says:

      I can deal with the rest of it, but “contemplative” is unforgivable.Report

      • El Muneco in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        “Contemplative” rap lyrics? I’m kind of at a loss for an archetype – Snoop Dogg?Report

      • Coolio, maybe. Or even, in a perverse way, Eminem.

        Snoop is cynical, ironic, and self-aware, but I don’t know that means the sobriquet “introspective” fits.Report

      • Glyph in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        I’m the wrong guy to ask, because I’m not as big a hip-hip head as some around here, but this came up on shuffle the other day while I was doing yardwork:

        I’d say that this fits exactly the definition of “contemplative”, since it describes the experience of growing up on decaying, crime-ridden council estates (something that as a white American is somewhat alien to me), and internalizes that into the paranoid voice of his mind gnawing on itself (something I *am* very familiar with).

        “Wagwan” is patois for “What’s going on?”; but in the context of this song, the nearly-homophonic “Why go on?” would fit just as well. The song sounds like depression, or a panic attack.

        Of course, if I wanted to be silly, I’d just post this:


    • notme in reply to Jacob says:


      Thanks for posting what I was going to say. What’s really depressing is that folks occasionally post misleading titles.Report

  4. KatherineMW says:

    Query: Why must a person be “an angel” in order for it to be unjustified for the police to murder them?Report

    • notme in reply to KatherineMW says:

      Murder is a legal determination. If there isn’t a legal determination, the most that one can say is that there has been a homicide.

      (Trigger warning for snark)
      But then again if we ask Chris, it was a execution by a racist white cop for which he is disgusted and ashamed of.Report

  5. zic says:

    Once again, there’s Coates to the rescue, also taking the NYT (and all of us) to task for lack of empathy for a not-angelic victim.

    The “angelic” standard was not one created by the reporter. It was created by a society that cannot face itself, and thus must employ a dubious “morality” to hide its sins. It is reinforced by people who have embraced the notion of “twice as good” while avoiding the circumstances which gave that notion birth. Consider how easily living in a community “with rough patches” becomes part of a list of ostensible sins. Consider how easily “black-on-black crime” becomes not a marker of a shameful legacy of segregation but a moral failing.


  6. Murali says:

    It also appears that Brown was more angelic than Ferguson cops are saying: He did not steal those cigars.

    Of course people everywhere make the mistake of saying that he listens to rap music. But that cannot be the case. Why? because there is no such thing as rap music. Rap is poetry sometimes (or maybe often) performed against a musical background. Its like calling a chocolate milkshake food.Report