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Linky Friday #132: Showtime!


Ron Perlman as Norman Arbuthnot in "The Last Supper", Four Stars

Ron Perlman as Norman Arbuthnot in “The Last Supper”- Four stars

[Me1] So, as some suspected, it turns out that Tanya Cohen was not real after all.

[Me2] Kevin D Williamson writes the editor notes that he wishes the New York Times foreign desk editor had written.

[Me3] Matt Lewis argues that conservative commentators need to better assimilate.

[Me4] It’s not just the US! Journalists all over Scandinavia lean heavily to the left.

[Me5] … which, a British sort, is perhaps what gives rise to outfits like The Daily Mail.


John Glover as Daniel Clamp in "Gremlins 2".

John Glover as Daniel Clamp in “Gremlins 2” – One Star

[Mo1] Publishers’ success in getting Amazon to raise prices may have backfired, as people buy fewer ebooks. It’s possible that they’re making it up in dead tree editions, but I’m not sure how substitutable these really are anymore.

[Mo2] Using mobile phone data to to study the economic shock of mass-layoffs.

[Mo3] A play that turns its liberal hipster audience in to tyrannical capitalist participants.

[Mo4] This bothers me more than the pig.

Religious Liberty:

Wynona Ryder as Abigail Williams in The Crucible

Wynona Ryder as Abigail Williams in The Crucible – Zero stars

[R1] Big Mountain Jesus emerges victorious against some atheists who wanted it gone.

[R2] In case there was any uncertainty, Kim Davis’s cause is a political loser, and actually threatens more credible cases.

[R3] So when can we start donating to Brian Mason’s County Clerk campaign? The slogan writes itself: “Mason ’18: He does his job.”

[R4] Meanwhile, a different Kim in a different office is not Kim Davis.


Phil Hartman as The President in The Second Civil War - 3.5/4

Phil Hartman as The President in The Second Civil War – 3.5 Stars

[P1] I was wondering about this: Deez Nuts may have committed a campaign violation.

[P2] The folks at 538 discuss their bets for the GOP nomination. For my part, I’d Buy Cruz (a lot), Rubio (a lot), Kasich (a little). Sell Jeb (some), Trump (to almost 0), Fiorina (to almost 0), Carson (to 0), Huck (to 0).

[P3] Before Donald Trump ruined everything, Jeb Bush ruined everything.

[P4] Even before the Trump mess, Jeffrey Anderson and Jay Cost believed that the GOP primary process needs to be revamped. Right now it seems prophetic. {More}

[P5] The City Journal suggests that California’s blanket primary system could cost Democrats.


Tim Robbins as Andy Dufresne in "Shawshank Redemption"

Tim Robbins as Andy Dufresne in “Shawshank Redemption” – Four stars

[C1] Some industrious Russian youths did not accept their prison walls. Also, they wanted a Jaguar.

[C2] Those Ashley Madison leaks sure were funny, weren’t they?

[C3] ICP vs FBI, cntd.

[C4] A Detroit neighborhood is looking for a few good squatters.

[C5] There are some stories with happy endings of people who use technology to locate their lost or stolen smartphone or laptop. This is not one of those stories.


Dylan Baker as Bill Maplewood in "Happiness" - Four stars

Dylan Baker as Bill Maplewood in “Happiness” – Four stars

[F1] I wonder what would happen if a kid took this clock to school.

[F2] Zaid Julani passes on a story of some Georgia cops refusing to move to a racist call, and explaining that no, they won’t investigate cases of a single white kid in a car full of non-whites.

[F3] Here’s a nice story of a dog that went missing in Yellowstone National Park for 42 days before being found.

[F4] A look back at the Unabomber’s manifesto.

United States:

Sandra Bullock as Angela Bennett in "The Net" - Two stars

Sandra Bullock as Angela Bennett in “The Net” – Two stars

[U1] Median household earnings for African-Americans are lower in Minnesota than Mississippi. This could be related to the refugee debate see also, Maine).

[U2] Some folks in Sunnyvale, California, are suing a family with an autistic child to have said child declared a “public nuisance” and kept out of public. The family moved out, but the neighbors have not dropped their case.

[U3] Anthony Weiner lasted only a couple weeks at a PR firm, only to be canned. The PR firm being a PR firm, they tried to minimize the conflict by suggesting it was mutual, but Weiener was having none of it.

[U4] Things to do in Denver When You’re Dead. Rather, things to do in California when your bank thinks you’re dead.

Coming Soon: Education, Society, Health, Copyright, and Energy.

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Will Truman is a former professional gearhead who is presently a stay-at-home father in the Mountain East. He has moved around frequently, having lived in six places since 2003, ranging from rural outposts to major metropolitan areas. He also writes fiction, when he finds the time. ...more →

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265 thoughts on “Linky Friday #132: Showtime!

  1. Me1: I just looked up “duh” in the dictionary, and found this revelation. As I said on Twitter, believing Cohen was real said more about the believer than it did about the ideas Cohen was lampooning.

    F3: I was really hoping that the dog rode back into town on the back of a brown bear, but I can’t find out, ’cause the link doesn’t go to the story.


      • That’s more understandable than some of the other justifications for believing she was real, to say nothing of the belief that she was representative of some segment of an imaginary, creeping fascist left. Don’t get me wrong, there’s stupid shit on the “left” and the left, especially among young people who know shit all about the world, but it tends to follow a particular pattern (see, e.g., the post about boycotting the paper).


        • to say nothing of the belief that she was representative of some segment of an imaginary, creeping fascist left.

          And really, you should say something about this since, in the context of previous discussions here at the League, that was the belief expressed by folks who quoted “her” views and defended their legitimacy.

          Edit: well, of course, I’m aware that you personally HAVE said things about that specific issue.

          Edit2: man, those were some interesting discussions, now that I reflect back on them. Just crazy.


            • Well, one individual was certainly leading the charge, but quite a few (like, manymany, surprisingly many!) adopted the exact same mindset and offered other evidence to support the creeping fascist left thesis. It was actively pushed!


              • The initial discussion (the one the Tanya Cohen discussion keeps referencing) was one of the ugliest moments in this blog’s history, I think. Some long-time regulars basically accused some other long-time regulars of some pretty heinous stuff, and it was only walked back, tentatively, after drawn out discussions about how unfair the accusations were. I don’t look back on it fondly.

                I admit experiencing a bit of both schad and freude when confirmation that it was a hoax came a week or two ago. But then I remembered that the one participant in that conversation who was upset at me calling it a hoax was once a productive member of the OT community, and I felt a bit sad at his being consumed with bitterness.


                • I think much or most of that discussion and meta-discussion, the especially offensive part anyway, must have taken place offscreen. It does seem to have been the last of Hanley or around the time of it for this here site, but the comments of his I can find are mostly low-grade Hanley, not even three or four Hanleys of aholiness on the universal scale.


                    • If only there were a site historian of some type, you’d be able easily to link me, for what would be the second time today, to an explanation. Not sure whom or what you’re protecting by not mentioning names, but I now feel I know even less about whatever it is I don’t know.


                      • After a brief search, I can’t find the first one or two CH posts, and I’m not to keen to revisit them anyway. You’ll know you’ve found the correct one when you’ve found the one in which North has the first or second comment (North isn’t to blame, but it was his comment that launched a thousand ships, so to speak).


                          • I’m no less confused now, since Hanley’s not even on that one, and Cohen is only mentioned once, parenthetically, by Will?

                            And for all the implication that that discussion was some sort of bloody cfusterluck, as I skim through it, it seems to me that (aside from one drive-by Anonymous Islam-bashing comment that got slapped down by Tod right quick) all participants kept their level-headed cool remarkably well. Maybe I am missing it, but I don’t see anyone here accusing anyone here of heinousness.


                              • Ah, skimming, I see that’s not the one where I and others were essentially accused of taking the position of Muslim extremists (there were several conversations then; that was the first, and it went downhill from there).

                                Stillwater might be better able to find them.


                                • Oddly enough, a few months after that all went down I re-read a bunch of the comments to clarify to my ownself that people were really arguing as I remembered it. I didn’t trust my memory at that point cuz of the crazification of the discussion. (And they were!)

                                  I didn’t participate in every thread on every post of course (there were, like, 9 posts on the topic over about a week), but I do recall folks basically asserting that anything short of a ROBUST! defense of free speech amounted to a defense of the killings or (alternatively) that a lack of robustity entailed or was code for or was logically equivalent to the view that CH deserved it. (Comma placement, bro! Remember??) But I don’t remember which threads in particular. (It’s all just a big blurry bad memory at this point.)

                                  I’ve never seen so many people lose their heads quite like that, to be honest. It was amazing.


                                  • Well, I just finished searching the innerwebs for all those CH/FreeSpeech posts (I found 12 so far) and read thru waaaay too many of the threads. Just amazing. Mind blowing. The only slightly amusing part was when Hanley suddenly became a Speech Pragmatist by effectively telling me to stop mocking and provoking FSA’s for arguing that mockery and provocation are definitionally valuable. (Heh. I’m not making that up.) Otherwise, some useful discussion but even more hostility. Hostility of a very interesting kind.


                • “The initial discussion (the one the Tanya Cohen discussion keeps referencing) was one of the ugliest moments in this blog’s history, I think.”

                  You weren’t around for the time Tom Van Dyke was here, were you?

                  Oh, or BlaiseP saying that basketball players were monkeys and not understanding why people got mad at him for it.


    • Me1: A couple things.

      1.) Might be worthwhile to remember this guy the next time we are looking at ANY internet cesspool, and wonder how much of the most extreme commentary is being generated or driven by guys just like this, strictly for the lulz and with no real political agenda (or even deeper meaning) whatsoever. After all, there’s no credible way to think this guy simultaneously supported the KKK and ISIS and Israel. He was just messing with people, to see what he could get away with.

      But of course, people who took his sock puppets seriously, either in agreement or in opposition, could unfortunately take actions or view the world in ways that have serious consequences.

      2.) I now have an idea for a Charlie Kaufman screenplay that presents a guy like this as some sort of perverse Christ figure; who upon his exposure as a fraud, metaphorically takes on sins as he makes people of all different persuasions realize that they’ye been demonizing their Others based on a false caricature of their worst members. It would end with men in a keffiyeh, a white hood, and skullcap all sharing a Coke together. It could weave in themes of an unreliable trickster god, only able to save us because He Himself had damned us first.


      • My general assumption with absurdly silly versions of political ideas I disagree with is that they’re shtick (see, e.g., my many comments about notme as someone just role playing), played out by trolls. I think it’s a pretty good assumption. If nothing else, it keeps me sane (“Don’t worry, man, no one would seriously consider shutting down the federal government because of some blatantly deceptive anti-Planned Parenthood propaganda. That’s just too absurd to be real.”). A problem arises, however, when you go to sites full of them. Then what do you conclude? Is it a bunch of trolls unaware that they’re being trolled at the same time they’re trolling?

        The play actually sounds pretty awesome.


        • Is it a bunch of trolls unaware that they’re being trolled at the same time they’re trolling?

          Would the mechanisms by which this could occur, be much different from the way people in any cult or group can delude themselves en masse into seeing reality as other than it is?


          • I suppose not. It’d be pretty interesting, though: A bunch of people sitting around convinced they’re pulling one over on everyone else while completely unaware that everyone else thinks the same thing.

            Or maybe that’s just what the internet is.


              • “Save the house! Burn the surrounding forest!”


                One of the reasons I like this place is that, for the most part at least, it’s easy to believe that y’all aren’t convinced you’re pulling one over on everyone else.


            • Also, this: A bunch of people sitting around convinced they’re pulling one over on everyone else while completely unaware that everyone else thinks the same thing kind of describes most Mamet stories.


            • If you think about it, that’s not really different in kind than a clandestine activist group (i.e. conspiracy), all of whose members are actually agents provocateur planted by the authorities.


            • This thread by and regarding why trolls are trolls even in groups is reminding me of a conversation I had with a sex-crimes investigator last spring regarding child pornography.

              He explained to me that very few of the people they catch with downloaded child porn are in any way sexually attracted to children or even young teens. He said that what actually drives the vast majority of them is an arousal at being shocked. Apparently, if you go through their viewing history over time you see a standard progression from nude to hardcore to gay/lesbian to group to BDSM and so forth, and eventually get to some combination of children, scatology and torture.

              I think this is the way I’ve come to view much of what I see on the internet.

              Most people who gather in places on the internet to say horribly and shockingly misogynistic, anti-semtic, or racist statements, or even those simply who spout burn-it-all-to-the-ground political right or left radicalism in ALLCAPS are, more likely than not, not really driven by those things. Most men’s rights activists don’t really want women to all leave; most Constittuional-fetishizing so-cons don’t really want to go back to the way the world was in 1800; most SJWs who advocate the government demand everyone be taught X and nothing else don’t really want any such thing. Instead, I think the internet is a place where a lot of people choose to act out in highly corrosive ways that they, for whatever reason, find either highly cathartic or thrilling (or both).

              It’s why I think Trump resonates with the people he does, despite people like Jeb correctly pointing out that he’s not actually remotely conservative. It’s because at the deep down, those people never really wanted a conservative government so much as they wanted the cathartic and thrilling experience of shouting for one.


              • Interesting take, . I’m trying to link this to children and role playing/fantasy play… how it often isn’t enough to watch a firefighter show or read a firefighter book or even play with firefighter toys… they have to go to the dramatic play area and put on the firefighter hand and coat and pickup the pretend hose and go, “Shrrrrrsssssshhhhh!” and, “We’ve got a call, boss!” and, “WEEEOOO! WEEEOOO!” They have to try it on to understand it, to satiate their curiosity, to decide if it is for them.

                Maybe we just need dramatic play areas for adults…


                  • I would venture to guess that it isn’t helpful, because the experience is too artificial. One of the reason we aren’t all stark raving lunatics in real life is because we want to avoid the consequences of being such… even if the benefits are really appealing or at least interesting. It is why the porn guys end up with kiddie porn. If they were actually exploring these sexual experiences, they’d reach a point where they’d say, “Yea, seemed like a good idea… but I’m really not into that.”

                    I’m sure for some people it provides an outlet that is sufficient to clear their system (connecting, again, to porn and the evidence that suggests access to porn lowers (but does not eliminate) rape/sexual assault rates). And for them it is good. But for those who just continue to ferment and ferment and ferment without bound… I doubt it is good.


                  • “One of the things I find myself wondering is whether the internet is actually helpful to people in this regard, or if it’s just really, really damaging.”

                    The problem is when you have people doing both things in the same space. It’s hard to tell whether someone’s LARPing a right-wing whacko, exaggerating as a joke, or actually serious. Because there really are people who think that women’s suffrage was a mistake.

                    It’s even harder when someone flips between all three depending on their mood.


              • It’s because at the deep down, those people never really wanted a conservative government so much as they wanted the cathartic and thrilling experience of shouting for one.

                Or, perhaps equivalently, they actually DO want a conservative government, but one based on the very same undefined and undefinable – effin ineffable! – emotional sentiments that make demanding it so chathartic and thrilling.


              • Tod Kelly: Instead, I think the internet is a place where a lot of people choose to act out in highly corrosive ways that they, for whatever reason, find either highly cathartic or thrilling (or both).

                I don’t think this quite gets at the core of it, though. It’s not just that they find it cathartic or thrilling. It’s that they find it normal. They assume everyone more or less acts the way they do.

                You can see traces of this in a lot of insular ideological subcultures: Look at the way that fundamentalist Christians often believe that non-Christians are actively suppressing an instinctual feeling of connection with god (That “god-shaped hole in your heart” rhetoric). Or, conversely, look at how Atheists argue that faith is wrong because stories understood by most faithful as metaphor contain technical or historical inaccuracies.

                Goldberg, for example, spent a lot of time focusing on the idea that people are pretending to be someone other than they are. He apparently accused one of his false identities as being the sockpuppet of another of his false identities, for example. He was also the one responsible for the Brietbart article accusing Shaun King of faking his racial identity.


      • Glyph: Might be worthwhile to remember this guy the next time we are looking at ANY internet cesspool, and wonder how much of the most extreme commentary is being generated or driven by guys just like this, strictly for the lulz and with no real political agenda (or even deeper meaning) whatsoever. After all, there’s no credible way to think this guy simultaneously supported the KKK and ISIS and Israel. He was just messing with people, to see what he could get away with.

        I think it’s a mistake to suggest that this guy didn’t have a political agenda. He pretty clearly did. He expressed a pretty coherent set of views through the online identity he linked to his real name, and then sock-puppeted a bunch of other accounts that, while diverse in nature, were all politically/tribally opposed to that core identity.

        While this post by BioWare developer Damion Schubert is written largely in the specific context of GamerGate, I think it does a decent job of describing his political context.

        Goldberg is actually a pretty typical example of his type: white male anti-SJW chan/reddit nerds who rose to national attention via GamerGate, but are older and broader than that one instance. He’s just the latest symptom of an internet pathology: The way that internet microcultures can insulate young people from the social norms they’d otherwise be exposed to, and put them in situations where behaviors that most people would see as bizarre or evil are seen as normal and admirable.


        • That’s a good point, and I shouldn’t have suggested he himself had no views (though of course, someone still could be primarily a prankster or hoaxer, with no real political agenda other than sowing confusion and chaos).

          All I meant to say was we that in the future we need to remember that a “Tanya Cohen” (or anyone who seems totally off the wall, in any internet arena) might not be “Tanya Cohen” at all; and that’s worth keeping in mind when we are judging both “Tanya Cohen”, and whatever venue “she” is publishing in.


        • “He expressed a pretty coherent set of views through the online identity he linked to his real name, and then sock-puppeted a bunch of other accounts that, while diverse in nature, were all politically/tribally opposed to that core identity.”

          So he’s an improved version of the guy who claims that he’s receiving dozens of private messages calling him horrible names and telling him to shut up; he’s able to point to actual public comments calling him horrible names and telling him to shut up. “Look at these awful people saying awful things to me,” he tells us, “don’t you think I deserve your sympathy? And surely I must be right–otherwise why would people get so mad about the things I say?”


    • Me1: I just looked up “duh” in the dictionary, and found this revelation. As I said on Twitter, believing Cohen was real said more about the believer than it did about the ideas Cohen was lampooning.

      I can’t get the Cohen’s piece’s to load but I have seen plenty of people on the left support hate speech laws.


  2. R4: The story is not about the county clerk the next county over. It is about Kim [not Davis] in the clerk’s office of the circuit court in the same county where Kim Davis is the county clerk. They are unrelated offices.


  3. U2: Things may be different in California, and news accounts of lawsuits should always be regarded with deep skepticism since so few journalists have a clue, but… Vague damages and a request for attorney’s fees? Really? Good luck with that. The one thing I am sure about is that the attorney did not take this case on contingency.


  4. F4: I am rewatching Mr. Robot with the wife now, and commented last night how weird it is that our protagonist is, essentially, a Unabomber-type character, hoodie and all – sure, he’s forsworn violence, but he’s a genius, paranoid, mentally-ill loner unhappy with the direction of society and issuing rants and threats to destroy it.


      • I think she was unsure at first (also, she kept asking, “How did THIS end up on USA?”) but she told me yesterday that she’s pretty sure she’s into it, because she found herself thinking about (and worrying for) Elliot at random points during her day, which is a marker we’ve both identified about our favorite shows (We are often mentally-chewing on something from Mad Men or The Americans for days after seeing an episode).


    • I got the same sense from Mr. Robot that I got from that old La Femme Nikita series. There’s just this unmistakeable “USA Original Series” aesthetic about it.

      And, y’know, that sounds incredibly dismissive, but they’re out there making TV shows that people watch. They are definitely transcending the limitations of their budget rather than bumping up against them.


      • I am pretty sure this is the first USA original show I’ve ever watched* (I saw the Nikita film, but not the show).

        I think the production here (in particular, the cinematography and score/soundtrack) is top-notch.

        *Actually, looking at this list, my statement isn’t entirely true – I definitely caught episodes of Night Flight and Silk Stalkings back in the day. But I don’t think that’s relevant.


  5. Me1: The appropriate Yiddish phrase here is a Shanda fur die goyim. Basic translate: Don’t make us look bad in front of people who might have negative opinion about Jews and help prove their point.

    Me3: I am not fully buying it. As far as I can tell, Jennifer Rubin loves being a self-proclaimed conservative pundit. On the other hand, Ezra Klein has gone out of his way to avoid words like liberal or progressive to define himself and prefers to market himself as a policy-oriented/technocratic wonk. Krugman has no problem calling himself a liberal. His on-line column is called “Consciousness of a Liberal.” There are plenty of lefty bloggers who have no time being identified with a phrase like left hook or with the left from Amanda Marcotte to Kevin Drum and beyond. Conor F and McArdle are mainstream but right-leaning writers with neutral blog/column names or no blog name at all. The thing about Conor F is that he loves talking/generalizing about his conservative Orange County upbringing. He writes general sentences about National Review reading grandfathers (note: My grandfather did not read the National Review. My grandfather was so Democratic that he hated the fact that Adlai Stevenson lost to Eisenhower, twice!!!) I am having a hard time coming up with a known blogger/columnist on the liberal side of things that talks about how they come from a long line of liberals.

    Mo1: You would be surprised at how few books most authors sell even authors who can be considered successful. A good number for an author (especially in literary fiction) could be somewhere between 7,000 to 15,000 copies.


    According to Nielsen Bookscan, U.S. hardcover sales for five of the six Man Booker finalists were no more encouraging. (One of the books is not yet available here). Leading the pack, not surprisingly, was Pulitzer Prize winner Anne Tyler, the only writer on the list with six-figure sales for her book A Spool of Blue Thread. A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James and A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara had sales between 15,000 and 20,000. Tom McCarthy’s Satin Island sold 3,600 copies.

    Nigerian writer Chigozie Obioma’s debut novel, The Fishermen, sold just under 3,000 copies, which Charles says is not too bad.

    “For an unknown writer?” he says. “Twenty-eight years old, no presence on social media. We’re not talking Mindy Kaling, here. He’s not sending his tweets to millions every day. Three thousand’s not bad.”

    The authors that seem to do well have strong social media presences and/or are known for something else besides being a writer. Notice the Mindy Kaling example. Lena Dunham also works. A woman I know from college is a self-publishing or semi-self publishing romance writer (her husband works in finance). Every now and then I see how she interacts with her fans on social media and how other romance writers do. The answer is extremely personal and with maximum overshare. Every sickness, private moments that many might want to keep to themselves but it draws the fans in like heroin.

    Mo4: Interesting

    P5: Theoretically it could but you have plenty of districts where the Jungle primary also just makes the election about the center-left v. the left.


    • Oh man, Satin Island made the shortlist! I was just talking it up here a month or two ago. (Remainder is a book I think many here would appreciate. Men in Space is a book that, if you appreciate it, we’ll probably be very good friends.)

      This is the second year in a row in which an author I really enjoy has made the short list (last year, my guy won!). When did I become literarily hip?


      • I think I may have mentioned how I discovered Tom McCarthy: back in ’07 I was looking at Cormack McCarthy books in a campus bookstore, picked up Remainder thinking it was by Cormack, read the description, though it sounded awesome, and only then realized it was by Tom. When publishing one’s first novel, it pays to have the same last name as a famous author, I suppose.

        I think Glyph in particular would enjoy Remainder, with its exploration of mental illness, authenticity, and art.


    • Me3: I am not fully buying it.

      Me neither. It reminds me of a spat that made the rounds some fifteen or twenty years ago. Some right winger elaborated on the usual “liberal media” complaint by claiming that this was proved by the media’s being more likely to identify a conservative politician as “conservative” than it was a liberal politician as “liberal.” This caught the attention of Geoffrey Nunberg, a linguist who comments on Fresh Air. Corpus linguistics is his bread and butter, and he had ready access to news databases, so he could test the factual accuracy of the claim while his morning coffee was brewing.

      You will be unsurprised to learn that the claim turned out to be bogus. In fact, the tendency ran slightly in the opposite direction. The reaction was pretty much what you would expect. There was a round of claims of flaws in his methodology followed by demonstrations that his methodology was just fine. The eventual response was that whether or not conservative politicians are in fact disproportionately so identified is irrelevant to whether or not the media is biased, and that Nunberg was silly for wasting time on it, just like all those other pointy-headed liberal academics.

      I usually tell this story because one of the reactors was Andrew Sullivan. He jumped in before the final round concluded that the discussion was irrelevant. Midway through the spat, he explained that the media has a liberal bias, so therefore if Nunberg’s analysis did not arrive at the pre-determined correct conclusion, the analysis obviously was wrong and there was no need to spend time looking at why. This was when Sullivan first came to me conscious attention. I have had people assure me that he is a serious person, but I have never been able to get past this introduction to his oeuvre.


      • Sullivan gave a perspective different from mine that often had a connection to the facts on the ground (and was able to admit error and, at least in the short term and specific context, learn from that error).

        That’s a pretty high bar for the internet, his (many) flaws aside. Also a big part of why I like it here.


        • AOL to this, on all counts.

          Thinking of Sullivan reminds me of a quote from Robert Guillaume’s character on the early-Sorkin show “Sports Night”: “If you’re dumb, surround yourself with smart people. If you’re smart, surround yourself with smart people who disagree with you.”


          • Sullivan didn’t cover himself in glory over The Bell Curve, though. A rather awful book that Sullivan defended for a very, very long time.

            Mostly, I suspect, because he felt he was “sticking it to the PC crowd”. It’s amazing what people will cling to if they think the ‘wrong’ people are against it.


            • The Bell Curve was very early on in his career. Blogging Sullivan was basically a very different person than TNR Sullivan. Also conservatism was a lot less devolved in his early days than his latter.

              And talking about Sullivan has brought the Dish-shakes back… god(ess?)damn it I miss that site like an addict misses heroin.


              • Yeah, the Dish era was my principal exposure to Sullivan. What I found valuable was that he had genuine principles (which, admittedly, evolved over time) and his conclusions usually followed from them fairly reasonably. Enough to make me think – admittedly sometimes that thought was “what a butthead”, but the perspective itself was generally valuable to have around as a checkpoint.


              • I’m thinking of Dish-era Sullivan basically refusing to walk back that stuff. I think he was still sticking to his guns and defending it while calling criticism of it PC correctness stifling science.

                It doesn’t take much to say “Well, at the time I thought it was groundbreaking. Turned out to be bad science, bad research, and a lot of hidden stuff that turned into a go-to tome for racists. Knowing what I know now, I’d have canned it as crap.”

                But IIRC, he pretty much refused even to concede that.


                • My reading of his Dish-era defense (which is the only him I know) was that the book was newsworthy, so covering it alongside criticisms of it was fair.

                  True or not, it’s different from your characterization and (if true, which I don’t particularly care to assess because I certainly don’t think he was perfect) a more reasonable defense.


                  • Maybe. It’s been a long time since I thought about it, so I wouldn’t be surprised to find my memory is faulty.

                    OTOH, even by the time the article appeared there was a serious amount of criticism about it.

                    But then, aside from the race aspect, there’s nothing particularly newsworthy about ‘magazine takes wild claims seriously’. :)


      • Interesting thoughts, but the gorilla in the room is piracy and that’s not mentioned. I don’t know how big the gorilla is — and probably no one has any real idea — but any time I look, I’m astounded at how much new content is readily available. Over at LGaM, Farley put up a cover for a new “future scenarios” book. Non-fiction, pretty specialized topic, not something you’d expect to ever sell very many copies. A high-quality pirated version is readily available.


        • I had the same thought. The reason not to pirate an e-book are:

          1. It’s stealing (as almost everyone knows, whether they admit it or not.)
          2. It takes work.
          3. The result is often lower-quality than the purchased version.

          The only reason to torrent it is that it saves money. So the higher the price, the more likely it’s acquired via piracy.


          • #3 is moot, though, isn’t it? Unlike video or audio, text is text.

            There is the advantage I guess of Kindle syncing between devices. It takes some work for me to get that with my Gutenberg books.

            OTOH, with Gutenberg books I can choose my reader. The Kindle reader is good, though, so it’s not like my ripping my Audible purchases so that I can use a different app.


          • 1) Yes, of course. That doesn’t seem to have slowed the availability of pirated music, TV, and movies, does it? Interesting that up to a certain quality level, no one even bothers with trying to stop free music; look at what’s available on YouTube. Most interesting, though, is that despite the claims from 20 years ago (for music) and 10 years ago (for video/movies), neither has gone broke. Rather, judging by this site, there’s more good new music than people have time to pursue, and a golden age of new “TV” content. More about that in a minute.

            2) It does, although it’s getting easier. Film and video is a whole lot easier to find.

            3) Looking recently, the gap between the pirate version and the legal e-book version is narrowing. For some types of content, the quality gap between the e-book and print versions is much larger than the difference between the legal and illegal e-book versions. 9×12-inch good color printing on high-quality coated paper is better than any screen around. Up to the point where you decide to zoom in on some corner of the “painting” to look at brush marks from a 3000-dpi scan :^)

            Both music and TV seem to be settling into a model that’s at least as old as Ben Franklin — the private library. For a monthly fee within reach of almost everyone, you can access enormous amounts of old and new content. The TV end of it appears to generate sufficient cash flow that the “library” can afford to fund new content creation (eg, Daredevil, by Netflix). I’ve said for many years that print will eventually have to go that route, or something similar. Print per se will be something that you sell to aficionados who love the medium; the profits for most titles will come from getting a big enough cut from the “library” membership fee.


          • Most people — at least most Americans — don’t pirate because (1) they’re vaguely aware it’s stealing and (2) it’s a PITA to find safely (always worried about viruses, fake sites, malware, etc, trying to get it).

            So as long as you make purchasing the content hassle free with a price point people find ‘reasonable’ they won’t turn to piracy. Unless, of course, they’re poor and 16 in which case they weren’t going to buy it anyways because they’re 16 and broke.

            I’m quite capable of finding cracked versions of music I like or ebooks I want. I don’t bother, because it’s a hassle and I can pick up what I want reasonably priced and very easily through Amazon, iTunes, etc.

            Not that this stops the screaming, even from people with the raw numbers at their fingertips who know darn well that they’re still making a nice profit, and that sales lost to piracy aren’t really sales they were going to make.

            Now games, that’s a fun combination of high price point, fairly technically literate users, and an age range that includes “teens and college kids” (ergo no money) and even then, the real threat is second-hand sales not piracy. Basic methods against cracked copies are sufficient to deter most people (anti-cheating methods are more of an issue) but those resales are hurting the profit margins.

            Of course, perhaps if their prices were a bit more sane…*shrug*. I buy very few games on release. I either wait months until they drop to a reasonable price or buy secondhand a few weeks after release. There’s a handful of games or companies that hit the sweet point of (1) quality and (2) interest and (3) past reputation where I’ll buy at fairly close to full price (I’ll shop deals, yeah) a few weeks after release.


            • I used to pirate things back in the day (FTP, then torrents), but nowadays, it mostly isn’t worth the hassle. Steam & GOG have managed to make games unattractive to pirate if you are willing to be patient for a sale. And being able to get music for $1/title or stream a movie for $3 takes the incentive to pirate those down a lot.

              Occasionally I’ll grab a textbook that looks interesting but whose cost isn’t justifiable (I miss having access to campus libraries sometimes). But that’s about it.


              • Oscar,

                I used to pirate stuff too. I think I fell for the prevailing argument offered at the time: that taking the stuff for free actually inclined folks to spend money on recordings and shows by exposing them to new music. Now I pretty much reject that view in my own case (even tho I still see some legitimacy in it). I think part of the reason I’ve changed my mind is that we’ve all heard and engaged in so much discussion about IP and The Music Industry and whatnot that my own views have been clarified a bit. At least to the extent that I want artists to get some damn money for entertaining me. And that means not stealing their stuff. I’ve purchased quite a few albums after they’ve been shared with me to maintain good transaction karma.

                Alsotoo, Youtube has created a forum where people can taste before purchasing, which is what the Napster logic was based on.


                • I’m pretty staunchly anti-piracy. I think it reeks of entitlement. I often site The Oatmeal comic that seeks to justify piracy as a perfect example of everything that is wrong with the attitude employed by those who indulge in it.

                  made a good point that folks who exploit IP rights can probably be justifiably pirated. But I am not sure these folks actually exist beyond the hypothetical and, if they do, they are rare.

                  If you don’t think something is worth paying for, you don’t get to have it. It really is that simple.

                  And this says nothing of the people who literally spend hours trying to pirate stuff that is cheap and readily available.

                  To ‘s point about pirating encouraging purchases, I don’t really buy it. Nowadays, you can find legit free versions of most things to ‘sample’. A ton of music is available on YouTube through legit channels. And even when it isn’t, I think there is a difference between saying, “Let me give this song a listen. Ooo, I like it, I’ll buy the album,” and, “Let me download this whole album, put it on my player, listen to it for a few months, and if I really like it, maybe I’ll buy their next album.”

                  Yea… really. Don’t pirate. It’s that simple.


                  • I make an effort to pirate only things I can’t obtain legally – games that were never translated/ported to an english version, or cartridge rips being used as engines for hacks I want to play, or books that are years out of print.

                    I will also pirate things that are secondary to a company’s profits, like a rulebook for a tabletop miniature game (the profits there are in me buying the miniatures, not in me buying the book). Those game books are also covered by my other exception – books (or other things) that I need to share extensively in order for them to be useful. An rpg sourcebook that only I have access to is fundamentally useless. I need a pdf that I can stick in dropbox so that my players can make use of it more than once a week.


                • With libraries embracing the web and linking their catalogues, they have really reemerged as a huge asset. I live across from a library that is part of a county wide system. I can request a book and usually within a day or two have it arrive with an email notice going to my phone. It can be faster than Amazon and is free! Libraries don’t get nearly enough love. Shout out to Maribou!


                  • Over the last few years, the network has delivered me books from all of the U of Denver, the U of Colorado, the U of Wyoming, Colorado State, and the Colorado School of Mines. While all of those are within (western) driving distance, and would let me buy a membership so that I could check things out, doing it through the county library is a whole lot cheaper.

                    The one thing I can’t get easily is the technical journals since so many of them are now online-only resources. The DU librarian explained to me that the standard contract limits access to students and faculty. No one minds an occasional alum or even general public coming into the library and accessing the journals, but providing off-site access to people outside of the institute is not allowed.


                    • I use the library when I can (I should check if I can access campus library selections through ILL, it’s not always possible). Amazon now has book rentals for digital texts, usually for the price of a paperback you can read a textbook for a few weeks, which again drives down the incentive to pirate. It’s an affordable way to review a text. If it’ll be useful I’ll buy it. These days, well I like getting paid for my efforts, I imagine others do as well.


    • “Every now and then I see how [the romance writer] interacts with her fans on social media and how other romance writers do. The answer is extremely personal and with maximum overshare. Every sickness, private moments that many might want to keep to themselves but it draws the fans in like heroin.”

      It’s the sense of community. The fans aren’t just random people who happen to have bought a book; they’re members of a family.

      This is, incidentally, one of the best defenses against piracy. If you feel like you’re personally supporting a friend, then why in hell would you steal from them? Or enable others to do it, or let it pass without comment when someone does?


  6. [U4] IANAL, but I do have access to Wikipedia:

    There are several ways a person must go about proving that libel has taken place. For example, in the United States, the person must prove that the statement was false, caused harm, and was made without adequate research into the truthfulness of the statement. These steps are for an ordinary citizen.

    Saying someone who is alive is dead is clearly false. These things create great harm. The seven hours a week thing is only one harm, and it can be quantified.

    The “adequate research” bit is perhaps the hardest to overcome, but once you have sent a letter from the Social Security Administration saying you are alive and they keep insisting you are dead, I think that bar has been cleared as well.


      • This would make a great short story. In my version, he would take them to court for Libel on the obvious grounds that he is not dead; but, finally having proof of his living, the administrative change from “Dead” to “Live” would simultaneously correct the problem, and, this is important, absolve them of guilt.

        For, they would argue, theirs is not an ontological statement of Life/Death, but an administrative one. So, while administratively dead, he was dead. He now isn’t Live (what is life anyway?), but rather administratively Un-Dead. QED.


        • The trial would be delayed for moths, as the question of whether a legally dead person has standing to sue for damages makes its way through the court system. When the trial finally starts, both sides would have a set of expert witnesses: doctors, philosophers, theologians, to argue his status based on their specialized knowledge. Being presumed dead, he would not be allowed to testify himself.


            • “Mr. Perstin, are you with us? Rap once for yes.”

              “Of course I’m here. I’m two seats to your right.”

              “Mr. Perstin, there is a way these things are done. Now,rap once for yes.”

              Perstin’s lawyer makes encouraging gestures, Perstin rolls his eyes, and raps once.

              “Good. Now Mr. Perstin, is there anything you’d like to tell us?”

              “Yes. I’m still alive, you morons.”

              “What did he say?”

              “He said ‘I will arrive tomorrow.'”

              “No, you big jerk, I …” Now Perstin’s lawyer makes a quelling motion. Perstin glares, but quiets down.

              “It sounded to me like he called us all ‘morons'”

              “Communications from the spirit world are often difficult for the layman to interpret. Mr. Perstin is telling us that will be ascending to a higher plane of existence soon. We are fortunate we contacted him today.”

              “I’ll send you to a different plane of existence, you stupid …”

              “You will cease these outbursts immediately, or I’ll hold you in contempt! Continue your statement, sir.”

              “Please don’t be too hard on him, Your Honor. It is in the nature of spirits to be mischievous As I was saying before the interruption, it seems that Mr. Perstin’s spirit will soon be entirely beyond our reach. All that is within our power is to wish him Godspeed.”


    • Its certainly a creative argument.

      First, the law will vary state-to-state in ways that are likely to effect what is a fairly creative edge-case-y set of facts.

      As I understand it, for this guy his bank reports him as dead to credit agencies, who trust the bank. Apparently the Social Security Administration has him listed as alive.* It also sounds like some agencies have taken individual action to mark him alive, then killed him again when they get further updates from others with the error. Whether that’s reasonable or not is going to be a close question, and one that requires a detailed understanding of the ratings agencies’ software to answer (for example, are they pulling SSA data and overriding it? Not pulling that data? Can they pull that data?).

      That investigation would be expensive, this guy’s damages would be low compared to legal fees (so he’ll have a hard time getting contingency work), and it’s hard to see a class action. I think, therefore, this is one that has to be solved by government, which NYAG already has the ball rolling on, no matter how little it helps this guy today.**

      *(Government 1, Private Industry 0).
      *(Government 2, Private Industry 0).


    • My office turf. There is some small scale gentrification around the edges of Chinatown in New York but the article is basically accurate on why it hasn’t been in total. Chinatown has been aided by a lot of different factors that keep it kind of the same. The fact that new immigrants keep coming and Chinatown serves as a sort of CBD/headquarters for a lot of them helps. Its probably one of the few 19th century ethnic enclaves left in the United States. Little Italy also served a similar function when Italians came over in large numbers and fanned out to work in construction sites, mines, and other industries across the United States.


  7. Me2: It used to be that conservative outlets focused almost exclusively on opinion, but recent years have given rise to outlets like The Daily Caller, the Washington Free Beacon, and The Federalist, which have focused on investigative reporting and cultural commentary.

    Yup, nothing right-wing-ghettoish about the Federalist or the Daily Caller.


    • Me2: It used to be that conservative outlets focused almost exclusively on opinion, but recent years have given rise to outlets like The Daily Caller, the Washington Free Beacon, and The Federalist, which have focused on investigative reporting and cultural commentary.

      Yup, nothing right-wing-ghettoish about the Federalist or the Daily Caller


    • Me3, I think you mean (adding string for those who text search discussion).

      It’s unfathomable to imagine a Republican of equal stature reinventing himself in such a manner. (Sure, conservatives are invited on roundtable discussions on network Sunday Morning shows to talk Washington politics – but almost always with their ideological status defined as “guest.” They are never granted the moral authority or credibility to frame the discussion that comes with the label “moderator.”

      O Rly?


  8. Freddie linked to this.

    There are a great many things to yell “WHAT THE HELL?” about when reading this article (hell, when reading the headline) but, yes, the insertion of the word “hipster” is choice.

    Anyway, I’m sure we all remember the Atlantic’s article on “apartheid schools”.

    One of the things that I thought was most interesting about the Atlantic article was the rather precise wording in places that served as a red flag for me that something else was going on. As it turns out, the phenomenon being described in the South was actually not as bad as in the Northeast and the Midwest (and, for some reason, this fact was elided in the article).

    Articles are now noticing, hey. Brooklyn is doing this sort of thing too.

    Well, rawstory, anyway. One wonders if the Atlantic will write anything about it.


  9. [Mo1]: I read someone (via Scalzi’s blog, I think) who noted that there’s a very simple explanation: Ebook adopters have by and large bought up back catalogs. Books they wanted, didn’t have, but were easily available on ebook. Now they’re just buying new books.

    I’ve had a Kindle for years, and my buying pace has slowed down greatly (well, until I discovered Bujold, wherein Bujold got about 20 book sales in two weeks). It’ll probably pick up again as I’m slowly ditching a lot of my bound books, and will eventually replace them on Kindle. Eventually being the key word.

    I’m unlikely to ever buy a new book bound again, not unless it’s something particularly special that I want a physical copy of. But my ebook buying pace has slowed drastically because I’ve picked up 90% of the “must haves” on Kindle and now just….have reverted to my previous pace of book buying.


    • I think there’s a new market that is mostly being missed by publishers.

      With the advent of Digital, I actually want a much higher quality bound book to accompany my purchase (for some books). Right now if I want to accomplish this I have to buy it twice (which I don’t). But I would pay a smaller upside premium to get both. For me, the Trade paperback which was supposed to provide the middle price-point is what I don’t need.


      • Often these days when you buy the wood-pulp book you get a complimentary as well as complementary e-book.

        BTW, am around halfway through AFTER VIRTUE. Much enjoy his way of getting at a problem that sometimes seems to be THE problem. Resisted the temptation to introduce a passage or two into the recent/ongoing discussion about discussion in these parts.


        • Often? I’ve seen it on and off, and as a promotion… but it hasn’t seemed to filtered down as common place – at least not for the reactionary royalist comic books I read (or should I say graphic novels?).

          On MacIntyre, there are lots of times he seems apropos, but I’m trying not to be *that* guy. Now Voegelin on the other hand…

          {Ok, that may be both too obscure and not kind}


          • Recently bought some books on coding, and was included with two out of four, but haven’t checked for sure that the other two didn’t also feature/offer something similar. Of course, web dev and software books have been including downloadables for years and years, so is maybe a more natural step.

            I generally much prefer hard copy, maybe because it’s how I was brung up, but I do appreciate 1) (as Will seems to be saying above or below or wherever), searchability, and 2) easier quotation/citation/cutting/pasting. If I were “in school” on MacIntyre, and even if not also dealing with an x-pounds-of-book-to-lug-around issue, I’d want the e-version of AFTER VIRTUE fersure.


            • Oh, I entirely agree… if I had had searchable ebooks when taking his (or anyone’s) class? Much easier. I can still remember sitting at the Apple (before we called them Mac’s) flipping through page after page trying to remember whether his big proposal speech I needed to quote happened before or after the big party (or was it in the carriage, or wait was that a different proposal)? When aggregated the number of hours returned to me would have allowed for a least a full day of Eucre.

              Now that I’m old and rich, I want them both, the ebook access and the hard-cover for contemplation.


    • Ebook adopters have by and large bought up back catalogs. Books they wanted, didn’t have, but were easily available on ebook. Now they’re just buying new books.

      This is a very apt point. The same thing happened with music back in the 1990s. Once CDs became mainstream, the back catalog was released over the span of a decade or so. For particularly popular albums they could do multiple rounds of re-release, first with a crappy CD ripped straight off the master tape. Then a remastered version could be released to breathless press reviews of the better sound. Then they go with a “collector’s edition” with fancy packaging and whatever extras they could scrounge together.

      This essentially was the music industry’s business model for a decade or so. Sure, new releases were nice, too. But they were risky and had higher production and marketing costs. Why do this when you can re-release Sgt. Pepper’s with no marketing beyond a press release? Rather than spending on artist development, sign a bunch of acts, let them market themselves, and see which ones stick.

      This worked until everything anyone wanted had been released on CD, and everyone who wanted to own this stuff did. This sent the industry into panic mode, but rather than investing in artist development they tried for spiffy new formats. Remember digital audio tape? Yeah, me neither. When Napster came along I had trouble working up too much sympathy for the poor record executives.

      I don’t have real data, but my sense is that the book publishers are handling the transition better. Not that that is a high bar, but still…


      • I always liked those tiny little CDs that only held one or two tracks. It seemed like such a goofy form factor–like, the expense of producing a CD but with even less capacity!–and yet, CD players still have that slight depression in the middle of the tray to accept it.


    • I’m unlikely to ever buy a new book bound again, not unless it’s something particularly special that I want a physical copy of.

      I don’t buy paper books for fiction, especially not for more-or-less disposable fiction. But for non-fiction, there is something to be said for being able to flip back and forth between the index and endnotes and main text, with sticky notes and a finger stuck in one page while I refer to another. Ebooks have tried to replicate this, and largely failed. Even more so if I might want to have three books spread out in front of me simultaneously. Any reference book, defined very broadly, is still better in paper.


          • Sadly, the brain trust at Amazon can’t even build a simple indexing system.

            I love my Kindle to death, but apparently the idea of building an easy way to do indexing/collections on their website (to be downloaded to the Kindle proper) has never occurred to them.

            Nor has pasting in simple, default collections. Like, you know, collections based on author name. (Yes, I know, people might not want them. That’s why you let them TURN IT OFF. Or again, let them do fine manipulations via a website). Or by category.

            And god help the poor souls, apparently nested collections is just a bridge too far. Obviously impossible without super futuristic technology. Besides, what sort of CRAZY PERSON might want to create collections by author, with subcollections based on genre, series, etc?

            Their Kindle OS cannot be that freakin’ stringent.


  10. R1 – Exactly what grounds did they bring suit on? I’m all for getting rid of public religious displays on public ground paid for with tax money, but this was all private, so WTF?


  11. Me2: read these “edits” with reference to Ferguson instead of Palestine. Then tell me that the edits are better than the story where they describe protesters clashing with police.

    Obviously the middle east is more violent (on both sides) so the analogy breaks down, but the concept that Palestinians cannot protest without rioting is, let’s say, revealing.


  12. Me1:
    Went into a little more detail on my reply to Glyph above, but in short: This is what’s wrong with the internet. Not that this guy is a troll or that he’s trying to send bomb plans to Jihadis. But that the reason he’s doing so is he’s getting his social cues from a place where that sort of behavior is normal.

    It’s described as participatory theater, but it’s pretty clearly Live Action Role-Play with all the nerdy identifiers shaved off. I wonder how much of this is actively inspired by Nordic LARP, and how much of this is parallel evolution.

    I said it in an earlier thread. No matter how much people want Kim Davis to be the Rosa Parks of the anti-SSM movement, she’s not going to be. And not because of the real moral difference between the causes or the actions each took, but because of superficial PR concerns. Davis is too ugly, too rural, her job is too governmenty, and her church is too fringe. People who should be on her side won’t be, and people on the other side who should feel sympathy for her won’t.

    In a top-two system, that’s a lot of hype for a candidate that didn’t even make the top three. Mind you, I think the senatorial elections is where we see all of the upside and none of the downside for this system, but I think it’s still a bit early to go crying about doomsday. And as I’ve said elsewhere: In every reasonable universe, CA is a purple state. It’s only in our weird alternate universe where the GOP are comic-book villians that CA is solid blue. It’s weird that we’re more inclined to attribute CA electing a Republican to a broken voting system that we are the possibility that a Republican might appeal to CA voters.

    I’m not saying the FBI’s approach to Juggalos is justified, but the cynic in me is wondering why it took the mistreatment of a White subculture to get this ball rolling. It’s not as though this is the first time the FBI has conflated people who dress a certain way and listen to a certain kind of music with organized criminal activity.

    Good on them. I had a woman come into my work last month and complain about how an out-of-town Black dude was “Loitering in the parking lot” (aka exiting the store with his purchases) and “Harassing Customers” (Talking with the friends he was here to visit). I’m glad a co-worker was the one dealing with her complaint, because I’d have probably said something rude to her and gotten fired.


    • [Mo3] LARPing is supposed to be open-ended, and let the story develop freely. In this one, it seems, all the choices are binary – about as much of a role playing game as a choose-your-own-adventure book. Sounds more like railroading a la Ayn Rand’s Night of January 16 (though probably rather better – Rand’s play was pretty crappy).


      • I disagree. There’s nothing un-roleplaying about making binary choices–and indeed the best work in modern RPG design has focused on the ways restrictions breed creativity. See, for example, tabletop games like Fiasco and Apocalypse World, where character creation is limited by a number of strict choices from a menu, or Witch: Road to Lindisfarene and Montsegur 1244 where all of the action in the game revolves around one or two binary choices.

        What makes it a LARP is that the players/audience take on roles and interact with each other within those roles. That their role-playing is focused around a series of binary choices doesn’t diminish it.


        • Yeah, that’s a good point. Whatever amount of time is devoted to the unstructured making of the decisions, rather than the script that moves the story from one decision point to the next, is roleplaying time.

          I stand by Rand’s play being awful though.


    • R3 – agreed that law enforcement has been known to conflate entertainment choices or subcultures with criminal activity, but the Juggalo thing is a bit different for a couple reasons. One, the FBI made an official proclamation that Juggalos were a gang. To my knowledge, that’s never happened before, not to Slayer fans or the KISS Army. Two, ICP themselves (with the ACLU’s help) have been active in protesting/contesting this state of affairs. As the presumed “heads” of said designated “gang”, they have continuing interest and standing to complain about this state of affairs, which keeps the issue alive.

      Now, all that said, I DO think there’s a bit of a racial element, in a slightly different way. It’s notable to me that ICP’s Juggalos, unlike the other fandoms I named above, ARE a hip-hop derived subculture (even if black hip-hop might be loath to admit it).

      Those signifiers alone seem to make them “scarier” than the KISS Army.


  13. Oscar Gordon:
    I would hope the FFRF would have more disturbing targets to focus it’s resources on than a remote statue that looks like it really wants to strike a Buddy Jesus pose.

    I hope to live to see the day that the FFRF doesn’t have more disturbing targets to focus its resources on. Seriously doubt it, unfortunately.


  14. The advice offered in F2 is pretty godawful. How about we just leave families alone absent evidence of real harm or threat to the child? Black parents/caregivers with white children ain’t that. Don’t dare ask if they are the babysitter!


    • Holy cow.

      Hillary Clinton said Sunday she wasn’t involved in her lawyers’ review of her private server to determine which emails needed to be turned over to the State Department and said the “drip-drip-drip” nature of the controversy makes it difficult to move past.


      • “It is like a drip-drip-drip, and that’s why I said that there’s only so much that I can control,” Clinton said. “I can’t predict to you what the Republicans will come up with — what kind of charges or claims they might make … I can only do the best I can to try to respond.”

        Man. So what she’s done so far is the “best” she can do? YIKES!

        Adding: and the constant dripping is the result of stuff she’s done. Seems weird to blame the GOP for slowly, drip by drop, finding out that her account of things is leaky.


        • “there’s only so much that I can control”

          Granted that there are 15 different ways to read this (and some of them are much less charitable than others), I’m wondering if she’s not complaining about Obama on some level. It’s his FBI, after all.


      • Alsotoo, this

        and said the “drip-drip-drip” nature of the controversy makes it difficult to move past

        is a weird thing to say about the topic, substantively as well as politically. I mean, it’s true, but it doesn’t address or attempt to mitigate the substantive issues that are driving the drip, and it doesn’t get outfront of the politics by trying to dry it up. It’s just a politically useless thing to say.


    • The Petraeus emails, first discovered by the Defense Department and then passed to the State Department’s inspector general, challenge that claim. They start on Jan. 10, 2009, with Clinton using the older email account.
      But by Jan. 28 – a week after her swearing in – she switched to using the private email address on a homebrew server that she would rely on for the rest of her tenure. There are less than 10 emails back and forth in total, officials said, and the chain ends on Feb. 1.

      Seriously? One email chain that existed before the migration and three days after? Talk about scraping the barrel.

      Best advice I ever got was from a philosophy professor at a community college. It was something like “Before reading a newspaper article, read the last paragraph. Most people read the headline and the first few paragraphs. Hardly anyone reads the whole story, especially if they have to change pages. The last paragraph is where they place the details and context that makes the whole thing less sensational. Remember, newspapers don’t exist to give you news — they exist to sell your eyeballs to advertisers. Senationalism sells”.


      • Yes, yes. We know that Hillary did nothing wrong and even if she did, it’s the exact same thing that Colin Powell and Condi Rice also did and we didn’t jump down their throats.

        But if the argument is “we only deleted personal emails because nobody wants to read about my yoga pants” then it’s somewhat notable when it becomes “we only deleted personal emails and work-related ones that aren’t particularly relevant to much of anything at all”.

        Especially when the original “yoga pants” argument was given as a defense of the proposition that Hillary shouldn’t have been deleting work-related emails.


  15. [P4] I’m interested to see what a conservative primary process would look like, especially if the authors’ contention that the current one is basically liberal is true. I am immediately suspicious, however, that the authors don’t know what they’re talking about, since they claim to base their method on ” the process that ratified the Constitution” – a committee of radicals exceeding their legitimately granted authority to establish a shadow government and thereby execute a paper revolution. That they correctly addressed a desperate need of the real people both governments allegedly represented and that they succeeded does not by any means make their method conservative.


    • Well, now I’ve read their whole process. It’s an interesting one, though it is fundamentally unworkable, largely because of their proposals regarding the state voting – there’s no way you could convince the state Republican committees (or the states themselves) to bankroll elections on rotating dates; planning the Republican nominating process would become a bureaucratic nightmare subject to all kinds of abuse. Probably the worst mistake they make in the actual process (rather than in making the process palatable) is that they publish the rankings and vote totals of the top ten candidates, who then get winnowed down to the top five. Also, obviously, the candidates who refuse nomination would be public information. This would allow easy, plausible speculation on ordering and vote totals going into the open election phase with or without leaks. In fact, the presence or absence of leaked vote totals could be used to gauge insider opinion on top candidates. The authors are also absurdly optimistic about participation in local Republican chapters – who exactly do they expect to go to the polls two to three times before the general election?

      It might be neat to have this kind of process for a state level election – a revised version of the process could be workable for that population and publicity level. It might also be a good fit for a mayoral election in a large city, if the city is large enough for national parties to care about mayoral politics.


      • The paying for it is the tough part. Which is almost funny because it would stand a great chance of less money being spent in the overall. I’m skeptical of passing the costs on to the states, though. I think that might have been a sop to federalism, but a counterproductive one. The most realistic way to fund it is probably through RNC money. Unless there are some election laws that make it advantageous to say to party donors “We need you to donate money to the state parties, and since they are all separate, you don’t have to worry about spending caps.”

        I don’t really see a problem getting people to vote twice. States do that with runoff systems and it certainly beats the alternative. I’m not sure whether it would be better or worse than an IRV system.


        • Do we have states with runoffs? I know (or at least assume) that the voting-twice thing sometimes does odd things to recalls.

          The problem with the multi-election thing is that I think it would fall into the same problem as the general/primary division – you’d have a set of people who vote in the main election, and a significantly more dedicated core that votes in both, likely with divergent goals. Plus the fact that the first election is hyper-local and in advance of the “main show” so to speak. The elections really are different, in a way that I think would be harmful to the goals of the whole process.


          • Cost might argue – and I would probably agree – that the problem you refer to is a mixed bag that could or would veer towards being a net positive. It being the case that a party might want divergent goals, with the voters who show up in the runoff carrying the day.

            This is an area where a party’s interest might different from a government’s*. Theoretically, at least, a democracy functions best with maximum participation. A party, though, is more of a sectarian affair. There is no inherent reason to want maximum participation, which is why some states have caucuses and parties often favor rules that limit participation to party members. “You must be committed to vote more than once to have maximum input” would be an extension of that.

            Of course, where the rubber meets the road is where the voter profiles might differ. They might differ, for example, with extremists showing up twice and everybody else showing up just once. On the other hand, you might get a more informed, more deliberate electorate.

            I come from a state that had runoffs (yay) and an elected judiciary (boo). The bad ones were typically taken down in the primary runoffs where voter participation was limited. It’s happened with State Board of Education people, too. They’d do well in the general primary only to get knocked off in the runoffs.

            In general, I’m not enthusiastic about runoffs except that I am rabidly anti-plurality. I tend to favor IRV. But I’m honestly not sure how the different electorates would cut. And my desires might be different from the desires of the party decision-makers.

            * – Putting aside the argument that marginal voters are bad in general elections, too, and that it would be better if low-information voters didn’t actually participate.


    • I didn’t read the whole article, but I thought this was interesting:

      The Republican Party’s presidential-nomination process fails to serve the aims of its voters. And this failure results, at least in part, from the fact that the GOP’s process was never designed with conservative goals in mind.

      What are conservative goals other than the goals held by self-identified conservative voters expressing support for various candidates and policies? The whole proposal implies that there’s One True Conservatism lurking in the back of every conservative voter’s mind, one which cannot be expressed within the current primary process. How does that not beg the question at a deep, very familiar, and slightly nauseating level?

      Adding: since I haven’t read anything about the proposal, let me take a guess at its broad contours: does the solution fix the problem of too much democracy?


      • I can’t speak for Anderson, but Cost comes from the GOP equivalent of High Tory tradition. Which is to say, he’s deeply suspicious of populism and believes that populists are to be managed rather than allowed to lead. The criticism of the current primary system is that it allows the party to be lead by populists and non-stakeholders. The plan is geared towards returning the power of the party to its stakeholders.

        Which is an idea that has some merit, in my view. I am neither sold nor sour on their particular proposals, but it’s certainly looking better in the Age of Trump than it was prior to it. It also seems to do an interesting job of trying to walk the line between “open primary system” and “closed convention selection” (though, in High Tory fashion, mostly rejecting the latter as politically impossible rather than undesirable on the merits).


      • What are conservative goals other than the goals held by self-identified conservative voters expressing support for various candidates and policies?

        Insofar as the set of conservative goals is not accurately described as a collection of objectives but a hodgepodge of sentiments, the process is working wonderfully for the self-identified conservative voters.

        The question is why the establishment Republican party itself has lost control of the reigns and is no longer unable to make the process fail in such a way that establishment players are the ones in charge.


      • and do a good job explaining what “truely conservative” means in this context. The solution is actually nice; the gist of it is that they split the convention into two halves, and use the first one to generate a list of candidates who get voted on in primaries before the second one, which is when the candidate is officially announced (this is the candidate who won the primaries; there’s just another convention to formally launch the final candidate’s campaign).


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