Morning Ed: Politics {2016.08.07.Su}

Will Truman

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

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34 Responses

  1. Kazzy says:

    Did this go up prematurely? Or did I sleep a whole day away?Report

  2. Richard Hershberger says:

    The Alex Nichols piece on Hamilton is kind of fascinating, in a train wreck sort of way. The writer starts by describing a group of white guys (actually, he overlooks the white part) doing a bad pirate rap, and concludes from this that rap is unsuited to a historical musical theatrical production. Huh?

    I’m not a rap guy. I am about ten years the wrong side of being of an age in which white guys listened to rap. But I also recognize my not appreciating rap as my failing. Rap pretty much all sounds the same to me, but this is in exactly the same way that all gamelan music sounds alike to me: I didn’t grow up listening to it, and I haven’t made the effort as an adult to learn to appreciate it. That all rap (and gamelan) sounds the same to me says something about me: not about rap (and gamelan).

    Nichols is nothing like this self aware. He can’t tell the difference between four white guys doing bad pirate rap and, well, any other rap. So if four white guys doing bad pirate rap is stupid, it logically follows that Hamilton is stupid. QED.

    This is followed by such profundities as the observation that most people don’t attend Broadway musicals. But my favorite bit is where he uses the “stuff you did” cliche of lazy writers:

    “The musical even somehow won a Pulitzer Prize this year, alongside Nicholas Kristof and that book by Ta-Nehisi Coates you bought but never read.”

    then follows this in the very next paragraph by sniggering at the use of the “stuff you did” cliche of lazy writers:

    “One of the publications to enter swooning raptures over Hamilton was BuzzFeed, which called it the smash musical “that everyone you know has been quoting for months.” (Literally nobody has ever quoted Hamilton in my presence.)”

    Self-awareness, thy name is not “Alex Nichols.”

    Finally, about halfway in, we get to an admission that he hasn’t actually seen Hamilton, and is merely blowing smoke out his ass. I acknowledged this admission by not reading the rest of the piece. I will abstain from rectal smoke emissions, however, by not commenting on the unread portions.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

      What is interesting about the Hamilton essay is that it seems to be the left-wing version of the “Damn the culture of the elites” essay. There is a left-wing Palin or Fox News sneer in the essay.Report

    • The Alex Nichols piece has many, many flaws, but perhaps the worst is that it seems to be more-or-less entirely oblivious to the fact that people routinely enjoy Broadway musicals without seeing them. He may not be aware of it, but it is possible to make recordings of sounds–such as the songs the cast of a musical sing–and then reproduce those recordings, potentially allowing millions of people to hear those sounds despite the fact that they never came within a thousand miles of the place where they were originally made.Report

    • PD Shaw in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

      And yet somehow from such an elevated station, Alex Nichols clearly has not yet found time to read the Pulitzer Prize winning book by Annette Gordon-Reed on the Hemingses of Monticello. Certainly it must rest spine uncracked with all of the other books he imagines his co-conspirators collect for ornamentation.Report

  3. Saul Degraw says:

    The second to last link does not work! The second to last link does nothing!!!!

    Trump losing Texas seems like a long shot. I suspect that the red-states with the strongest chances of going for HRC are Georgia, North Carolina, and Arizona. Maybe Utah but only because Gary Johnson does really well there.

    The Orange One seems to be putting more and more down-ballot Republicans at risk. The Times has a front-page story about how many down-ballot Republicans are trying to walk the fine line between distancing themselves from Trump while not alienating the GOP base.

    It is Trump’s party now though and you can see this as evidence from the Cruz blowback everyone else or almost everyone else seems to have fled for now. Maybe they will go back to the GOP after an epic Trump lost but what do you do with the people Trump has awoken? They can’t win a Presidential election but they exist. A 20-25 percent of the country that is authoritarian, unreconstructed racist, wants to destroy the world economy, etc.Report

    • Lyle in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      I might add for Utah, that because of the history of discrimination against the LDS church, it has spoken out strongly against Trumps views on Moslems. Recall that in the 1850s the LDS were one of the twin pillars of barbarism in the US (slavery was the other). I believe this might by why Johnson is doing so well.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Lyle says:


        Utah seems too socially conservative to go for HRC and there are enough Cliven Bundy types in Utah who would like Trump.Report

        • Utah, like most western states, is overwhelmingly urban/suburban (per the US Census Bureau, <10% rural and ninth least-rural in the country). The Bundy types may get a lot of attention from the national media, but they are a very small number of actual votes. Utah goes conservative because of the heavy Mormon population in the suburbs along the Wasatch Front. If Trump can offend enough of that suburban population, HRC can end up winning.Report

    • George link fixed.

      The Barro link brought up something interesting, which is the degree to which Trump is running weaker in the South compared to Romney and McCain, relative to other reasons. The southern Republican majority was built on a political alliance between degreed and undegreed whites. If the educated whites do bolt in the upcoming realignment, that could put the South in play.

      I am quite pleased by the Educated Southerner Resistance. I need to poke around more to find out the extent to which it is White Women, and the extent to which it is a good and proper revulsion. And how much of it is specific to Trump’s excesses in particular.Report

  4. veronica tcdod says:

    Can I just say that making jokes about Trump and his daughter is repulsive. I despise Trump, but OMG are we not better than this?Report

  5. veronica d says:

    It’s like, “The facts about Trump and X are repulsive” almost feels like an axiom schema.Report

  6. North says:

    I’m struggling with Clinton, specifically I feel something uneasily like confidence beginning to creep in. Hillary is Hillary for good or bad but her campaign apparatus and parties structures feel like they’re ticking steadily and effectively along. Like the Obama and Clinton machines have merged and the combination is salutary. I’m struggling with it because my biases incline me strongly to think that the Dems are winning in any circumstances but even my beleaguered objective side is uneasily thinking that it really looks like the Clinton campaign is monitoring everything, distributing resources steadily to put pressure on the GOP and relentlessly pressing into the openings as they’re being presented. They next couple weeks hopefully will give us better perspective but could it be that the campaign is turning in an A game?Report

    • Jesse Ewiak in reply to North says:

      Or just maybe, Hillary was always an above average campaigner by political standards, but looked bad because her husband was Bill Clinton and her first major intraparty opponent was Barack Obama.

      If Hillary’s husband was I don’t know Bill Bradley and her major opponent in the 2008 primary was Al Gore, I think we’d look at her lack of “charisma” and campaigning skill a lot differently.

      Throw in the fact that the core of the Obama team has largely moved over to her side and there ya’ go. Sure, it helps that Trump is the nominee but as we’ve seen with Rubio saying women with Zika shouldn’t be allowed abortions or the fact Kasich is one of three governors to sign fetal burial bills, let’s not pretend the rest of the GOP candidates were perfect candidates either.Report

    • Barry in reply to North says:

      “Hillary is Hillary for good or bad but her campaign apparatus and parties structures feel like they’re ticking steadily and effectively along. Like the Obama and Clinton machines have merged and the combination is salutary. ”

      One of the early encouraging signs was that she hired some of Obama’s top people many months ago. As the Sanders campaign sank, she hired his head of college outreach.

      She’s totally willing to work with people who helped beat her.Report

  7. Jesse Ewiak says:

    It’s ironic that the Twitter Left that hates Hamilton for being elitist and such also hates on Internet fandom of things (see Freddie DeBoer’s war on fandom over the past few days on his Twitter feed, because being a Harry Potter fan means you’re a slave to cultural consumerism or something).

    It seems that unless you only care about specific things, you’re not a true member of the Left in their eyes (which is why the Left will never win, because their perfect candidate would’ve turned down doing things normal people like, such as picking a NCAA tournament bracket.)Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:


      I read the Vox essay on fandom just now. I gotta say that it seems like these fights are a lot more heat than light but it just doesn’t seem fun to be involved in fandom but people just fighting over whether X should be with Y or Z like it is deciding whether to storm the beaches of Normandy or not.

      So I disagree about Hamilton but think there is a point on fandom.Report

      • greginak in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        Nothing can drain the joy out of something like true fans.Report

        • LeeEsq in reply to greginak says:

          Part of me really wishes we had some great intellectual with a conservative or Marxist bent to study fandom. The late 19th and early 20th century were great times for the intellectual study of mass phenomenon like Veblen’s Theory of the Leisure Class or the Madness of Crowds. The present not so much. Intellectuals either feel no draw to study and write about fandom or those that do tend to pull their punches too much.Report

    • DavidTC in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

      Freddie DeBoer: The man who is very upset at how fandom thinks people are constantly attacking it, so constantly attacks it.

      Freddie DeBoer: The man who writes long articles about how highbrow stuff and ‘adult books’ are better than sci-fi and Harry Potter, and also is upset when he talks to sci-fi and Harry Potter fans and they defend their stuff.

      Everyone needs to have a persecution complex, I guess. And absolutely no sense of irony.Report

  8. Oscar Gordon says:

    Kinda related to politics (because Common Core),


    1. Encourage children to play math puzzles and games. … Puzzles and games – anything with dice, really – will help kids enjoy math, and develop number sense, which is critically important.

    2. Always be encouraging and never tell kids they are wrong when they are working on math problems. Instead find the logic in their thinking … .
    3. Never associate math with speed. It is not important to work quickly, and we now know that forcing kids to work quickly on math is the best way to start math anxiety for children, especially girls.

    4. Never share with your children the idea that you were bad at math at school or you dislike it – especially if you are a mother. Researchers found that as soon as mothers shared that idea with their daughters, their daughters’ achievement went down.

    5. Encourage number sense … having an idea of the size of numbers and being able to separate and combine numbers flexibly … .

    6. Perhaps most important of all – encourage a “growth mindset” – let students know that they have unlimited math potential and that being good at math is all about working hard… use growth praise such as “It is great that you have learned that;” “I really like your thinking about that;” “You have worked really hard to learn that.”


  9. Alan Scott says:

    on Robert George:

    I don’t really see the evidence that the Black civil rights movement is doing the things he accuses it of: believing racism is stronger now than in the past, failing to take stock of gains, or turning on itself. Those feel like empty claims to justify opposition to the movement.

    For that matter, his thesis is sort of wrapped up in the idea of epistemic closure: that conservatives center their understanding of the world in a media and social bubble. Segregation is certainly capable of providing that to Black people in a social context in the same way that regional polarization does for conservatives. But what’s the Black equivalent of Fox news and talk radio? How do they get into bubbles on the media side?Report