Morning Ed: North America {2017.01.04.W}


Will Truman

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

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175 Responses

  1. Avatar Murali says:

    I cannot speak for canadians, but Prince Charles’ coronation will exacerbate republican sentiment, not lessen it. Prince Charles is disliked for reasons other than being the Prince of Wales. Very simply, we can analogise the situation to what happens to mutual friends when a couple divorces: they pick sides. Those who side with one partner will see the other as the source of all evil. For a whole generation, Diana captured everyone’s hearts and in the aftermath of their separation and her tragic death, everyone basically took her side. So, Charles will always (perhaps disproportionately) be hated and Camilla will be absolutely reviled. If Charles took the throne, there’s a not insignificant chance that Canada, Australia or New Zealand will go republican.

    What will it take for them to stay in? Charles renounces the throne and hands over to his son William.Report

    • Avatar North says:

      Slightly over determined. Republicanism isn’t an enormously appealing replacement. Charles would probably need to screw up a bit before republicanism really mustered much of a head of steam; especially with William and his highly popular family waiting in the wings to succeed a man who will be a highly elderly monarch.

      That said I hope that God(ess?) saves HRH the Queen for many many years yet to come.Report

    • Avatar Aaron David says:

      “Those who side with one partner will see the other as the source of all evil.”

      I think you are pushing peoples feelings out of proportion. Charles might not be the most loved person, but I cannot see the death of his ex-wife as reason for republicanism. Also, as someone who has a few divorced friends, indeed is divorced himself, rarely do you see the other person as evil, unless they did something truly evil. Divorce is a pretty well known object at this point, not grounds for moral severing in most societies.Report

  2. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    High Speed Internet: I agree. The problem as I see it in the United States is that this becomes just another issue in the culture war where people go into their trenches and make no concessions. Maybe it is a bit frivolous for liberals to declare high-speed internet as essential for quality of life but maybe this reflects a growing divide between how many liberals and conservatives live. If liberals are more likely to be urban, do work that involves needing an internet connection whether it is high-paid white-collar work or just piecemeal freelancing that requires 24/7 access/notice. A Goldman Banker and a just getting by freelancer is going to depend on high-speed internet for similar yet different reasons.

    Perhaps many conservatives live in areas where it is harder to get high-speed access to the Internet and/or they work in industries where high-speed internet is not as necessary.

    The issue as I see it is that conservatives especially in the U.S. are loathe to admit that life is more complex than it was when they were children and loathe to expand necessary for quality of life beyond what was necessary for an Arkansas farmer in 1835. This does not ring true to me. I am perplexed by the appeal of the homesteading ideology. Which is based on not understanding history anyway. Little House on the Prairie does not sound romantic or fun. It sounds brutal and miserable.Report

    • Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

      The problem as I see it in the United States is that this becomes just another issue in the culture war where people go into their trenches and make no concessions.

      As an interesting counter-datum, the solidly Republican municipality I live in, in a solidly Democratic state, is installing city-wide fiber optic cable. I should be getting mine late this year, if the schedule holds. I haven’t seen any culture war posturing about it. It is presented as a way to make the city more attractive to businesses, which I guess is kind of culture-warish if you believe that liberals want to drive away businesses. But we plebs are getting it, too, and I haven’t seen any complaints about the evil government preempting free market pixie dust from bringing us fast internet. Maybe it helps that a private company is administering the system under a government contract. Speaking as one of those business-hating libtards, this seems like a pretty good idea. I don’t see this as being within my town government’s competencies. (On the other hand, they do just dandy with water and sewer and trash pickup.)

      I think that as a culture war issue this is situational. In red states with comparatively liberal cities, the state legislature girds its loins for a fight. With the situation reversed, the local Republicans feel no compulsion not to be sensible.Report

    • Avatar veronica d says:

      Honestly I don’t get why anyone would oppose more high speed internet for more people. I’ll admit calling it “essential” is overstating the case, but golly it’s a big deal. Certainly it has become pretty foundational for much of modern culture.

      I dunno. It seems obvious that internet access is one of many things that is denied to people in rural areas, and that this is bad, and that we should work to fix it.

      People disagree with this?


      • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

        It depends, are we talking about making sure that everyone can get broadband, or that everyone has broadband?

        The house my parents owned when I turned 18 was 14 miles from the nearest large town. It had landline phone service, but no ISDN, DSL, etc. It was a few years after I left before DSL was available, and years later a local ISP built a bunch of WiFi nodes throughout the area so people could get high speed broadband (with limits). Putting in that infrastructure was very expensive but could be done because a handful of nodes on towers (piggybacked on the existing radio towers the government used for rural comms) was a hell of a lot cheaper than running fiber to every address.

        One thing I could certainly see government doing is a regulation freeing up cell phone tethering. It’s an obvious cash grab by cell companies that I have to pay extra to allow my cell phone to be a wifi hotspot for my laptop.Report

        • Avatar Will Truman says:

          One thing I could certainly see government doing is a regulation freeing up cell phone tethering. It’s an obvious cash grab by cell companies that I have to pay extra to allow my cell phone to be a wifi hotspot for my laptop.

          Depends. If they have a meter running, then they don’t have a great argument. If they have unlimited data, though, then I think it’s fair to limit access to devices that would use a whole lot of data or charging a fee for it (provided that they are not deceptive in doing this).

          I used to have an unlimited data plan and Verizon blocked tethering until some lawsuit said they couldn’t. Now I’m metered and completely unblocked.

          Verizon stopped charging for tethering a while back. I think this might have been court-mandated, but can’t recall. It was also uponReport

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        I think high-speed Internet for everybody is a worthy goal, but calling it “essential” or “a human right” leads to poor prioritization. Especially when we’re defining “high-speed” as 50mb/s. I’m a bit of an Internet fiend, and I don’t have that, and I don’t think my rights are being violated. It also leads to blindspots where tens of millions are spent to provide access to hundreds of households.

        My goal would be high-speed enough and reliable enough for everybody, even if that means that there’s a subsidy involved. But BFE doesn’t need the same sort of access as Seattle. I think we’d be better served getting ruralia pretty basic access and urban areas (including smaller cities) even faster, allowing for a considerable gap.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq says:

          Opponents of rural electrification made the same arguments. While electricity might make life a lot better, it isn’t “essential” and it is not in the governments business to provide electricity to areas that can not or will not be provided by private companies. You can make that same argument about any infrastructure based on the majority of human history.

          The Internet is part of the global infrastructure and it is a massive part of the modern economy and communication network. People without reliable and fast Internet access are going to be worse off than other people just as those without electricity were worst off because of the lack of lighting or power for refrigeration or doing laundry by machine rather than hand.Report

          • Avatar Kim says:

            Really, seriously, you think that the problem with lack of electricity was “lack of lighting”??? Jesus fucking christ, you’re sheltered.

            We’re talking serious burns here, all up and down people’s arms (LBJ’s slogan was “no more sad irons”). We’re talking higher rates of stomach cancer (Yes, this is how medical people see “lack of refrigeration”).

            Can you say a damn thing quantitative about High Speed Internet? One drop of blood, even.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

            But that isn’t the argument Will is making. What do people need in order to be connected? Enough pipe to run email and a responsive internet connection for job hunting/other research? Maybe SD video streaming? That can be done over a long range wifi.

            A fiber connection to every residence is overkill. Fiber runs are still very pricey.Report

            • Avatar Will Truman says:

              HughesNet offers 5mbps just about anywhere in the country. That’s going to be similar to 3G which isn’t great but will get people through the day as long as they’re not wanting to game. They do have significant bandwidth limitations, and that might be a concern, but I’d prefer work with them on that than lay a whole bunch of cable for a few hundred residents.

              As a national priority, making sure that Boise has reliably high speeds is more of a priority than switching St Anthony from satellite to fiber.. A lot of that is going to depend on what’s necessary. If the cables are already laid for TV, but they just need some upgrades, then that might be something to look at. But putting the floor at 50mbps (or even 15mbps) limits our options pretty greatly.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine says:

                Point of order… 3G is typically 1.5mb, and all the satellite companies have data caps… Hugesnet is 60GB/mo.

                I live in an internet null-zone. Completely surrounded by High-speed internet, including, ironically, one of *the* internet backbones making its way to Ashburn, VA… and I can’t get anything faster than 1.5mbs (without data caps).

                I can get 5-10mbs from 4G reliably, but again, the data caps make it a work lifeline, not a service.

                I won’t argue that I’m “entitled” to 50mbs, but I would argue that I should be enabled to pay for the companies that have negotiated monopolies in my county to have to give me a price to hook me up (whether that price is subsidized, or capped is another question). As of now, they (Comcast) won’t even give me a price. And the actual cable at the end of their service area is visible to me as I type this.

                Basically, I’m hoping that 5G makes 4G go unlimited (like some 3G plans) so I can move into the 5mbs world without caps. That or Google’s 1GB Satelite system can’t come fast enough.

                If there’s a conservative/liberal divide it has nothing to do with Arkansas 1865, but everything to do with corporate contracts negotiated at the county level… and protected at the State level.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                If there’s a conservative/liberal divide it has nothing to do with Arkansas 1865, but everything to do with corporate contracts negotiated at the county level… and protected at the State level.

                Even more than that: The Great Internet Divide is about practicality and function, not ideology. People want their stuff.

                Richard H wrote about his red city adopting a gummint-sponsored city-wide internet service without any howls of “socialism”. Here in Boulder County, the city of Longmont (purple) engaged in the same thing – a PPP where a private contractor installs fiber optic to bring HSI to everyone at an affordable price. No howls, from anyone.

                On this issue at least, folks are mostly non-partisan pragmatics. They just want their HSI (or even low, as the case may be).Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine says:

                Yeah… and its complicated further by State protections for incumbent businesses against Municipal HSI. Virginia (where I live) has an outright ban.

                Now, I’m not 100% sure that my town/county could build and maintain HSI, but having read the contracts we’ve negotiated I do know that we’ve been fleeced by the private provider who has. Even after commissioning a survey that revealed 75% disapproval ratings for the speeds provided, they renewed the contract.

                The problem is only exacerbated at the edges of the counties, because neighboring counties have different providers, so outside the juicy middle, there’s [limited] reasons to expand the network to the edges.

                There’s no need to go all partisan on it… I could make a progressive argument that we need strong government oversight and regulations to guaranty access to all people for a reasonable set-up fee; or, I could make a free market argument that many of the State and Municipal contracts are unfairly negotiated to provide rents to incumbent enterprises at the expense of locally granted rights-of-ways and even some locally owned infrastructure/poles; and that rural counties should outsource their negotiation with the professionals at Comcast to the professionals at Better Municipal Broadband Deals inc.

                The only thing that is clear to me is that what started as a consumer luxury good 15 years ago has fundamentally changed into an infrastructure requirement and that the old deals need to be renegotiated under new auspices.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Interesting link. Shit like that will make libertarians of us all.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                I was being generous to 3G with my comparison. They boast 7mbps as an upper limit, but that’s higher than typical.

                Hughesnet data caps (what I meant when I said “bandwidth limitations”) vary from place to place. It’s 50-60 in VA, but 10 or so in Montana and Idaho. 50-60 isn’t bad, though they rely pretty heavily on peak/offpeak hours.

                I should be enabled to pay for the companies that have negotiated monopolies in my county to have to give me a price to hook me up

                I don’t disagree with this.Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain says:

                What’s the actual throughput for TCP? Round-trip delay is almost 500 milliseconds and traditional TCP throttled back in the face of that much latency. I don’t pay attention to the low-level details any more, but IIRC the TCP extensions require that both ends of the connection understand that the high latency is not due to congestion in order to work well.

                Not to mention what the worst-case behavior looks like for some web pages that require several sequential DNS queries, each of which would introduce a half-second delay.Report

            • Avatar Michael Cain says:

              Dense wavelength division multiplexing and passive optical network technologies are changing the costs pretty dramatically. A friend who works for one of the big equipment providers tells me that they are selling a lot of this stuff to cable companies to use for business services (eg, 1Gbps symmetric).

              We’re finally getting to the point where some households may actually outgrow my long-standing statement that “for the foreseeable future, no household needs more than good 100Mbps full-duplex switched ethernet”. Multiple 4K and 8K video streams may possibly push beyond that — if the backbone networks can deliver that much dedicated bandwidth.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                Running fiber in rural areas can still be an issue. Copper runs are less of an issue, but IIRC copper is starting to outprice fiber (i.e. running copper is easy & cheap, but the copper wire is getting pricey; whereas fiber lines are getting cheaper, but running it is still a significant capital cost).

                But my data is old, I could be very wrong on this.Report

            • Avatar Michael Cain says:

              What do people need in order to be connected?

              And what will people need to be connected? Daily print media appears to be a dying business. State governments are starting to impose sizeable surcharges to file actual (rather than virtual) paperwork*. One of my avocations requires shopping online, as there are no retail outlets for the devices in the metro area. To be honest, I’m not sure whether Apple will sell me an installation disk for the latest version of MacOS, or whether they require me to download gigabytes. I’m reasonably sure that the development tools (>1GB these days) can only be downloaded.

              * Eg, my Colorado LLC is $10 to file the annual paperwork online, $100 to file it on paper.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                Oh, I remember the days of torrenting pirated DVDs across DSL. It took a while (usually all night), but it did happen.

                Alternatively, the latest MacOS upgrade could be downloaded using a public library computer.

                I have a hard time justifying the cost of deploying fat data pipes to areas with extremely low density.

                Now, if we want to talk about piggybacking a data pipe inside the electrical lines that are already there (powerline networking)…Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

            Also, last I checked, utilities don’t run new lines on the taxpayer dime. If a new residential development is going up, the cost of running utilities to the location is on the developer. Likewise if I build my dream house miles from the nearest power line, I don’t get a free extension to my driveway.Report

        • Avatar DensityDuck says:

          The kind of people who talk about “rural high-speed internet” are generally using a mid-90s concept of “high-speed”. By that standard, all the internet you can get today is high-speed.Report

      • Avatar Damon says:

        “People disagree with this?”

        Yes. I grew up in a part of the country where we couldn’t get over the air TV broadcasts–well, it was very very poor reception. If you wanted to watch TV you got “cable”, which was all the over the air channels from Portland Oregon shoved into a coax cable and run up to our city..or at lease a cable from where ever the closest point was they could get the over the air signal. My parents paid monthly to get about 8 channels.

        Internet access is not denied to rural folks. High speed IS. There is a difference. Under your logic, big city Opera and various arts are denied rural folks. This is something we need to fix. Living in rural america has it’s amenities and negatives, just like living in the big city. It’s not like they are being denied the “necessities of life”.Report

    • Avatar Kolohe says:

      Saul Degraw: The issue as I see it is that conservatives especially in the U.S. are loathe to admit that life is more complex than it was when they were children and loathe to expand necessary for quality of life beyond what was necessary for an Arkansas farmer in 1835

      And the issue as I see it are that liberals have been eager to subsidize rural living for nearly a hundred years and are surprised and dismayed when that leads to the sprawl liberals hate.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

      If liberals are more likely to be urban, do work that involves needing an internet connection whether it is high-paid white-collar work or just piecemeal freelancing that requires 24/7 access/notice.

      There’s a perfectly good market solution for this, which is that employers who employ remote workers who need high-speed Internet access pay them enough that they can afford high-speed Internet access. If they don’t, they won’t get the workers they need. Is your argument that the government needs to subsidize low-wage employers?

      I suspect that this is less about urban workers who can’t afford high-speed access than about people living in sparsely populated areas where it isn’t economical to build out the infrastructure for high-speed Internet access at prices which consumers are willing to pay (i.e. 99% of Canada’s land area). The thing is, if it’s not economical to do on the consumers’ dime, then it isn’t economical to do on the taxpayer’s dime. The government can force taxpayers (or other customers of the ISP) to pay for it, sure, but the end result is still that you’re spending more money than it’s actually worth to the consumers.

      Also, the claim made by the politician—that this can’t be handled by the market—is wrong. My father lives out in a rural area, and he has at least satellite and wireless options for high-speed Internet access. It’s not 50Mbps, but it’s good enough for most applications.

      There’s no obvious market failure here. It’s just a bizarrely specific subsidy that may not even be particularly well-targeted by income.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC says:

        There’s a perfectly good market solution for this, which is that employers who employ remote workers who need high-speed Internet access pay them enough that they can afford high-speed Internet access.

        Erm, *how*? Via magic?

        I’m getting very confused by this entire discussion.

        People are aware that there are parts of the country where literally the only internet option available is 6 meg DSL, right? (Well, that and satellite, but satellite has such horrible latency it’s not an option for quite a lot of stuff, not to mention the caps.)

        This is *in a town*. Other places, not as close, are only 3 meg.Report

        • Avatar Morat20 says:

          Offhand, I believe you’d need to pay my in-laws about 20 million dollars to get them high speed internet. (Way out in the boonies).

          They don’t have cable (literally not an option), they do have satellite, but the internet options there do not qualify as “high speed”. They’ve recently got cell phone coverage sufficient to occasionally make a phone call, so…progress?Report

    • Avatar Pinky says:

      This is another example of you mis-describing the conservative mindset.Report

  3. Avatar Damon says:

    Morning Glory Pool: It’s a gorgeous pool. Frankly, anyone who does something stupid in a National Park runs the not small chance of dying. I, err, have some experience in that regard. That’s why there are signs all over the place warning you. And every year someone dies and someone else bitches that there should be a safety rail on the grand canyon. And for the same reason I oppose it. Err, it’s a natural park. Don’t be stupid and walk to the edge and look down. You’ll only serve to reduce the surplus stupid population.

    KKK: I read that someone else. It IS a reality based TV show, so ergo, it’s fake. Kinda like that fake anti gun documentary/movie by Katie Couric.

    Rubi: Jeezs what a CF.Report

    • Avatar Troublesome Frog says:

      Dana Gould had a good bit about reality TV that went something like, “You’re watching people who aren’t actors act out scripted scenes written by people who are not writers. Basically, you’re watching an amateur production of nothing.”Report

  4. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    To show I am also critical of my side, I’ve been largely dismayed by how easy we can fall for some cons and hucksters in order to make us feel better about our guilt and affluence.

    That said, the Safety Pin Box is a very interesting glimpse at a certain strain of woke white slacktivism. This is a form of slacktivism which holds that if only privileged white people were better educated and more conscious of their own privilege, racial progress would ensue — in many senses, it puts liberal, privileged white people and their own inner battles at the center of the struggle. This form of slacktivism doesn’t, as a rule, talk all that much about power structures or even power, really, except at the level of individual privilege.

    In a certain sense, it’s a form of slacktivism perfectly constructed for an age in which politics feel futile, inequality is rampant, the prospects for meaningful redistribution are moribund, and a lot of liberal white people who are the winners in the winner-take-all economy are performatively conscious of racism, but also not all that into the idea of living in truly integrated neighborhoods, or sending their kids to truly integrated schools. This form of slacktivism allows white people who live in wealthy enclaves of Brooklyn, technically surrounded by black people in every direction but thoroughly disconnected from them sociologically, to feel like part of a broader struggle — and to broadcast their enthusiasm about that struggle — without actually giving up anything much materially. It’s all very consumer-friendly.

    That being said, an acquaintance from college decided that they wanted to buy a home. Said acquaintance is not the child having type but announced that they were not interested in any NYC neighborhood that was traditionally black or Hispanic like Harlem, Washington Heights and Bushwick, all are gentrifying. I am sure my acquaintance felt like they were not contributing to the displacement of POC by being a middle-class white person but they were also going against integration at the same time.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy says:

      If they were the child-having type, would that have made their decision somehow more defensible?Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      This is the liberal version of the Long Con. Some liberals are very earnest and really do want to to everything they can to help the cause. They don’t want to be part of the problem but feel that because they are white, they will always be. That makes them very susceptible to these gimmicks and cons.Report

      • Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

        From the article:

        It’s important to keep all this in perspective: The Box has only a few hundred subscribers

        If this is the liberal version of the Long Con, this speaks well for liberals. That the far left is as bad as–and indeed well nigh indistinguishable from–the far right is unremarkable to the point of being banal. What matters is that the far left is insignificant. Show me a guy claiming that the means of production should be nationalized and I will show you a guy talking to himself.

        I am not surprised that some are buying into this (though even then it seems more silly than scammy). Given the numbers, I don’t see any larger import here.Report

        • Avatar Kolohe says:

          Richard Hershberger: Show me a guy claiming that the means of production should be nationalized and I will show you a guy talking to himself.

          Like, does everyone at Jacobin and most at Crooked Timber count? Or that hooray for white genocide professor?Report

          • You do know what “white genocide” means, and why that guy cheering for it is like me talking about my plans to collect Christian blood for next year’s matzohs.Report

            • Avatar Kolohe says:

              I’m not talking about the tweet regarding the Haitian revolution, I’m talking about the man’s body of work when it comes to Venezuela’s politics and economics and how awesomesauce things are going there according to him.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq says:

            You can add many posters at LGM to the list. A lot of real Far Left thought has ended up infiltrating liberalism.Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

              Like what?
              (I’m genuinely curious)

              I mean, when I look at the sweep of history since 1900 I see Leftist thought sort of peaking around WWII, then sliding downward in influence and popularity to now.

              Especially since we are even now fighting a defensive action to preserve the New Deal.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Yeah, I’m not seeing it either.

                Of course, terms like “the left” really don’t have a meaning, so if someone thinks eating healthy food is a radical lefty issue, then yeah, I suppose “the Far Left” has infiltrated liberalism.Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


                A lot of people on LGM seem to think that the American concept of free speech is a “bourgeois freedom” and that is a bridge I am not willing to cross. I’m pretty die hard about free speech and I think that means defending freedom for the thought I hate.

                I do see a lot of liberals who complain about a vulgar lyric (and they are usually vulgar and uncouth) and then add “this is why we can’t have nice things.”Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq says:

                On LGM, what Saul said about how free speech and other civil liberties as viewed by certain posters. The approach to history and how they perceive the past is certainly more Far Left than liberal at times, its all about oppressors and the oppressed. The constant criticism of the market and the hope of some for actual socialism to come into existence any day now.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                Yeah that much I agree with.

                I think there is a fringe of any political group that gets frustrated with the slow pace of incrementalism and compromise and wants it all, right now.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq says:

                My broader point wasn’t about incrimentalism but that these are things that are part of Far Left rather than Liberal thought. Modern liberalism came from liberals adopting some of socialisms criticism of capitalism but still finding the idea of public ownership of the means of production sketchy as a proposition. Government was supposed to take the edges off the market but not eliminate it. Modern liberals were still stalwart defenders of traditional civil liberties, due process, and the rule of law along with private property and the market economy. Opposition to these things were from the Further Left. A lot of Further Left thought is seeping into liberalism though. Things that are illiberal are now seen as liberal.Report

          • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

            Has Crooked Timber gone full socialist? I haven’t red them for years.

            Edit: Typo, but it’s staying.Report

          • Avatar dragonfrog says:

            Exactly. Jacobin.

            A fan of the Rebel Media or the more extreme Fox pundits can probably chat with a fellow fan in person multiple times a day – over the back fence, down at the coffee shop, at work, at the barbershop.

            A Jacobin fan is in touch with a couple fellow fans on facebook, and might even see them once a year when they come home for Christmas. So, pretty much, a guy talking to himself.

            (I think I know two Jacobin fans, a few thousand kilometres away from me and about a thousand kilometres apart from one another. Only one of them actually agrees with the nationalization of means of production bits, the other enjoys some of the writing while still disagreeing with the more out-there bits)Report

        • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


          This particular product is relatively new and doesn’t have a lot of subscribers but I suspect that there is a certain kind of wokeness that goes well beyond those few hundred and is silly and risible. A friend of mine defended the product on facebook and I said this in return:

          “No the whole thing is risible and deserves to be mocked relentlessly especially the people buying the boxes. The whole safety pin thing is absolutely silly. First the inspiration seems to have come from a YA novel. I don’t remember this novel and it assumed wide-spread knowledge of the novel. Second, it requires the person under attack or harassment to seek out a person wearing a safety pin instead of help coming to them. Lastly, if you are taking your inspiration from a YA novel, you are the last person in the world who is going to be an effective member of a resistance. Being part of a resistance requires a willingness to get the tar beat out of you and possibly fight physically as well. What is the YA brigade going to do? Give everyone tea, cookies, cozy sweaters, and ask them to watch cartoons?”

          Maybe I just know way too many mama-bear types who think they can use cuddles and hugs and cozy sweaters to create world peace and stage an effective left-wing resistance against Trump.Report

          • Avatar veronica d says:

            @saul-degraw — I don’t have a problem with someone putting a 5-cent safety pin on their lapel. It requires almost no effort and it is nice to see. Likewise there is this “I’ll go with you” thing, where cis folks wear a button that indicates that they will accompany a transgender person into a public restroom, to help us if shit goes down.

            Not that I need them to. I cannot imagine ever asking someone to come with me —

            — well not now. But in fact, the first time I went into a public woman’s room, I did so accompanied by my wife and her g/f. I was nervous. Having them with me helped.

            I’m not sure if I’d ask some stranger with a silly pin. But that is not the point. The point is, it signals to me that this person is on my side, that I am not universally hated.

            I know this intellectually — I can read polls. But still, a visceral in-my-face reminder is nice, just as the visceral in-my-face reminder I received last night was terrible, when a man threatened violence against me for daring to exist in his presence. I know people like that exist. Meeting one is quite something else.

            Anyway, when I go to P-Town, every single business (more or less) has a rainbow flag. It’s kinda nice.

            It is also nice when I in a strange town, one that doesn’t feel so LGBTQ-friendly, and I see that one shop with a rainbow flag. It is a reminder that I matter to at least that one shopkeeper.

            Go ahead and wear your silly lapel pin. It won’t matter too much, but it’s nice to see.


            Regarding “buying indulgences” — that’s idiotic.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq says:

            Isn’t Mama Bear a rightist cultural trope? When Palin referred to herself and women like herself as Mama Bears it invoked howls of laughter on liberal feminist blogs like Pandagon and Jezebel.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater says:

            Lastly, if you are taking your inspiration from a YA novel, you are the last person in the world who is going to be an effective member of a resistance.

            Man, all those folks defending Galt’s Gulch are gonna be really disappointed when they hear this.Report

      • Avatar notme says:

        They don’t want to be part of the problem but feel that because they are white, they will always be.

        No one should be surprised that they feel that given that is the nonsense some liberals spout.Report

    • Avatar InMD says:

      Regarding your friend’s predicament, I think it’s the natural result of a bunch of well intended but ultimately unworkable and schizophrenic rules that govern urban professional progressive culture. Don’t move into a minority majority enclave and the sin is failure to integrate. Move into one and the sin is gentrification. Make sure to appreciate other cultures but don’t dare get caught listening to their music or cooking their food or doing their stretching routines lest you commit the sin of appropriation. Confess to your own privilege often and loudly… and also to the utter powerlessness of yourself and all people to do anything about their own condition (sarcastically if you can manage it).

      It’s a bad look and I really hope we (as a demographic) grow out of it.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


        I agree with everything you wrote and am starting to get fed up with this schizophrenic rules but I am really tired of it. Yet I see people digging deeper and deeper into this bad look because it makes them feel virtuous.

        I get what she was trying to do but I just disagree with it strongly.Report

      • Avatar Mo says:

        I dunno, it took the Catholic Church a couple of millennia to work out most of the kinks from the mutually contradictory things to feel guilt ridden about.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      You could argue that Washington Heights is just as Jewish as it is Hispanic because its the home to Yeshiva University and a large Orthodox community.Report

      • Avatar Gaelen says:

        I just got back from visiting my wife’s Dominican family in Washington heights and that didn’t ring true to me. It looks like WH has about a 15% percent Jewish population, though the article I saw noted it was growing.Report

        • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


          Washington Heights used to be a super-Jewish neighborhood. A lot of the neighborhoods that are now associated with Blacks and Hispanics were heavily Jewish until the 1960s frequently. My dad grew up in Washington Heights and it was a super-Jewish neighborhood until the 1960s or 70s. Yeishva built their campus there because it meant a lot of students could walk to classes and live at home to save money.

          Sometimes this has led to great strife like the infamous Brownsville Teacher’s strike in the 1960s. Brownsville in Brooklyn was a very Jewish neighborhood. Most of the teachers in the local public schools were Jewish. By the late 1960s, the teachers were still Jewish but a majority of the students were black. The black community decided to fire the Jewish teacher’s en masse based when some measures of community control were introduced.


    • Avatar Kim says:

      All due respect, but you need better shit to get upset about.

      How about this one:
      The people who run this suicide hotline spend most of their time playing video games (answering only around 3% of the calls), spending the money they do raise on expensive trips for staff, and fundraising off the dead people that they haven’t helped due to sheer apathy and laziness.

      Name the group of people!Report

  5. Avatar Kolohe says:

    Burkinshaw-Stanley acted foolishly, recklessly, and she’s lucky she’s not charged with a crime herself.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy says:

      A report I saw said she was fired which set off a shit storm among the extreme right.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

        I’d fire an employee who recklessly discharged a firearm into the air at work, unless it was in an attempt to stop violence in progress.

        Doing it while the guys were fleeing with the cash is just stupid.Report

        • Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

          To expand on this, suppose the falling bullet had killed someone. Would Waffle House be liable? Some enterprising plaintiff’s lawyer would certainly be eager to find out–and rightly so! Or suppose this bullet didn’t hit anyone, and Waffle House didn’t fire the employee, and the next time some employee did the same thing, that is when the fatality occurs. The enterprising plaintiff’s lawyer will have a better argument that this is Waffle House’s de facto policy, regardless of what they have in the handbook.Report

        • Avatar InMD says:

          Yea, the first priority in a robbery like this should be to give them what they want and get them out without anyone being harmed. I wouldn’t want her on my staff anymore either.Report

        • Avatar DavidTC says:

          Doing it while the guys were fleeing with the cash is just stupid.

          …and illegal.

          Georgia might have some stupid gun laws on the book, but you still are not allowed to kill someone fleeing with your stuff. Sorry.

          We passed the stupid Guns Everywhere law so you can carry them into city hall and city office buildings and public libraries and fire stations (Which has resulted in my county having to put some offices inside the same building as the courthouse so we *could* ban weapons from them. My _very conservative_ county was not very happy with that law. No one was actually happy with that law except the NRA.) and you could already have them in bars and God knows where else…but you still aren’t allowed to shoot someone just because they took your stuff.

          Nor are you allowed to shoot in the general direction of people *even if* you’re not trying to kill them.

          This is Georgia, not Texas, guys.

          (All statements apply to white people only. Some restrictions and exclusions may apply to other races. Check your local listings.)Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      These stories aren’t going to change anybodies opinions on guns and gun control either.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        They shouldn’t. She is an anecdote, as well as ipso facto not a responsible gun owner.Report

        • We can never criticize responsible gun owners, because as soon as they do something we can criticize, they’re no longer responsible gun owners.Report

          • Avatar notme says:

            I see, one mistake and you can never be a responsible gun owner ever again.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater says:

            Responsible gun owners cannot fail, they can only be failed.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

            Responsible gun owners don’t perform reckless acts with guns. Irresponsible ones do, all the time*. We just hear about it when it makes the news.

            *Ergo they were never responsible, & there is probably evidence of that if you talk to family & friends.Report

            • Avatar Morat20 says:

              And yet if you suggest insurance requirements so that irresponsible gun owners get priced out of the market, you’re an enemy of freedom and America.

              Toddlers shooting people is just the price we pay for Freedom.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe says:

                Morat20: Toddlers shooting people is just the price we pay for Freedom.

                How many more African American males do you want in prison so there are 60 fewer shootings by children under 3 each year?Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                Or, on the flip side, the idea that requiring insurance would make it too expensive for anyone to own a gun.

                It’s insurance, not a tax. The only way it would be prohibitively expensive for most people is if government tacked on taxes & fees to such policies just because they can.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                Or juries started issuing verdicts in such large amounts that no one wants to insure anybody. (With pricing out gun owners generally – or at least those with kids – perhaps being part of the jury’s intent, or at least being considered a benign outcome.)

                I’m not against requiring insurance, though, so long as we can make sure we’re not letting juries and judges do what state legislatures can’t.Report

            • I don’t believe the line is that bright. Responsible gun owners will do dumb things sometimes, just like everyone else. Especially in high-stress situations, which are what people have guns for.Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                So once that responsible gun owner does something you think is irresponsible, can they be re-educated or are they forever labeled as irresponsible with the mark of Cain?Report

              • You really need to work on your reading comprehension.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Forgive me if I’m wrong here, but I think notme just introduced the idea of “re-education camps” for certain types of gun owners.Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                No I never mentioned a camp. You need to work on your reading comprehension. Mike splits the world in the responsible gun owners and those that aren’t. I just want to know if once you cross that line you can ever come back to being a responsible gun owner.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                I just want to know if once you cross that line you can ever come back to being a responsible gun owner.

                How is that even an interesting question in the absence of an antagonistic argument with your perceived “enemies”?

                It doesn’t even make any sense, notme, except in the context of a gotcha.

                Let me say it this way: you want Mike to do all the work, make an argument, spend the effort to communicate with you about his views, put his skin in the game, so that you will … what? Disagree in a cute phrase of nine words or less? Why would he even play that game with you knowing the outcome? It wouldn’t be a discussion, so don’t pretend like it is.Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                Mike is the one that keeps talking about responsible gun owners versus non-responsible ones. If this dichotomy means anything I just want to know if you can ever come back to being responsible.

                Are you covering for mike so he can avoid answering?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                No, I’m not covering for Mike, believe it or not. (You don’t.)

                In fact, the opposite. I’m criticizing YOUR arguments and methods. That you haven’t realized that yet is why I continue to criticize your arguments and methods.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                I’ll add to that: if your goal is to hate on liberals (defined as: anyone notme disagrees with), then you’re doing a great job. We can palpably feel the hate. So keep it up!

                But if your goal is to change people’s minds, and shake them outa their radical-liberal-agenda-takes-over-the-world mind sets, then you’re failing miserably.Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                Actually I don’t define anyone who disagrees with me as a liberal. That’s just your poor reading comprehension. There are, if fact, lots of non liberals that I disagree with.Report

              • Avatar ui says:

                Nice! I’m glad for you, really. You distribute the dislike equally and without bias.

                So, in that comment, I learned that a) you’re opponents aren’t ALL liberals, b) that I have poor reading comprehension skills and c) that you disagree with lots of non-liberals.

                Great to know, notme! This is a good start!Report

              • Re-education makes an unwarranted assumption.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                Which is why I said, “if you talk to family & friends”. If a person does a dumb thing, you investigate to see if this is most likely an outlier, or probably a data point of a trendline.

                Isn’t that why we have police, to investigate such things?Report

              • Responsible gun owners don’t perform reckless acts with guns

                Is there a qualifier missing there?Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                Sorry Mike, I’m not understanding the question?Report

              • Say, “Responsible gun owners don’t usually perform reckless acts with guns”. I’d go along with that.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                Fair enough. I can’t say I’ve never done anything stupid with a firearm. Perhaps the distinction is a responsible owner is more likely to be self aware that what they just did was stupid, and try not to do it again.Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                Isn’t that why we have police, to investigate such things?

                Why would the police care if Suzzy hasn’t been responsible in the past? What would they charge her with? Why do you think her past actions would be relevant to a current allegation of illegally discharging a weapon?Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                Conceded. I’m improperly juxtaposing a social question with a criminal one. Suzzy’s past behavior with a firearm could be salient as part of a larger social study of personal habits & behavior with firearms, but shouldn’t be relevant to a criminal investigation.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Really? Seems to me evidence of past illegal behavior constitutes circumstantial evidence of willful disregard of the law.Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko says:

                You can reason that way, but character evidence is not generally available to the prosecution in a criminal case, and for good reason.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                I don’t believe that Don. Past actions are relevant to determining intent (as opposed to, say, an accident). Eg., if the defense argues that X was an unforeseeable accident of circumstance, presenting a history of negligent behavior undercuts that claim.

                Add: Well, I currently don’t believe that, awaiting an argument otherwise. IANAL afterall.Report

              • Avatar PD Shaw says:

                @Stillwater, from a jury trial perspective, the improper prejudice(*) of the past criminal misconduct outweighs the relevance. There may be some narrow exceptions, such as if the accused takes the stand and says that he/she has never done anything like this before. One of the reasons accused often don’t take the stand.Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko says:

                I mean, there’s lots of caselaw on this. You can’t use past bad behavior to prove a propensity to behave in a particular way except to establish modus operandi, a habit, or to rebut a character argument made by the defense. This is necessary because past bad behavior is very likely to unfairly prejudice the jury against the defendant; they may well convict him of the past behavior or of generally being a bad person, rather than of the act in question.

                On top of all that, if you’re charging somebody with manslaughter or depraved heart murder the level of intent you need to prove is just recklessness or negligrnce, and having done the same thing in the past doesn’t prove that (and isn’t necessary to do do).Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                OK, combining your and PD’s comment I think I get it: the prosecution can’t introduce past behavior unless the defense brings up something which that behavior might be relevant to.

                Is that right?Report

              • Avatar Francis says:

                The short answer is that character evidence, including evidence regarding the commission of prior crimes, is not admissible in the prosecution’s case-in-chief.

                Generic character evidence (e.g., “I know that the defendant is a bad person”) still is not admissible even if the defendant testifies.

                But if the defendant does testify, then prior bad acts — arrests and convictions — are admissible to impeach the defendant’s testimony. The prior bad act is supposed to be related to the charge, ie, a defendant charged with a crime of violence can be impeached by showing prior crimes of violence, but not, for example, a conviction for check kiting.Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko says:

                Well if the defendant takes the stand you can’t introduce character evidence that speaks to his propensity for violence; you introduce evidence that speaks to his credibility as a witness, but felony convictions can often be assumed to involve dishonesty.

                Anyway, @stillwater , it’s not just when the defendant takes the stand, there are other theories you could use, most likely M.O., but they’re not going to apply here. Congrats on setting off the lawyer signal, by the way.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Congrats on setting off the lawyer signal, by the way.

                Thanks! It is, literally, my pleasure. I wish we had more conversations where The Law was the fulcrum rather than the disregardable detail.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                So, if I’m understanding this right, the only evidence admissible is prior arrests and convictions. Yet we hear stories all the time about “associations” with “criminal activity” which impugn the defence’s case and ultimately lead to convictions on a specific charge.

                Am I confused in thinking that “associations” are driving the prosecution and that it actually reduces to evidence limited to that specific case?

                As much as I now agree with you guys about how the law works formally I can’t quite get passed how it seems to work in practice…Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko says:

                Wait, no. I think we’re getting our wires crossed. Arrests and convictions are generally not admissible, and I’m not sure exactly what you mean by associations.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                A not-Stillwater comment on this thread:

                But if the defendant does testify, then prior bad acts — arrests and convictions — are admissible to impeach the defendant’s testimony.

                By associations, I mean things like lyrics written in a rap song that helped convict “gang members” in LA.Report

              • Avatar PD Shaw says:

                If you want to see the federal rule, here it is:

                Crimes, Wrongs, or Other Acts.

                (1) Prohibited Uses. Evidence of a crime, wrong, or other act is not admissible to prove a person’s character in order to show that on a particular occasion the person acted in accordance with the character.

                (2) Permitted Uses; Notice in a Criminal Case. This evidence may be admissible for another purpose, such as proving motive, opportunity, intent, preparation, plan, knowledge, identity, absence of mistake, or lack of accident. . . .

                Even if the use is permissible, the judge can still find that undue prejudice may outweigh the relevance. The potential for unfair prejudice is considered high for the reason Don Zeko gave: “they may well convict him of the past behavior or of generally being a bad person, rather than of the act in question.”

                Evidence of gang affiliation cannot be introduced to show that the person has a bad character, but it can be introduced when relevant to establish a pre-existing relationship between people that is relevant to the crime, particularly if there is a multi-party conspiracy.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:


                I’m not in a position to argue what you guys are saying, or even challenge potentially inconsistent views. I’m not a lawyer. (Tho I did sit in on a few classes when I was in grad school stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night…) From what I can tell you’ve all said the same thing in opposition to my initial claim.

                At this point, I’m just wondering where I got the idea that past behavior was admissible…Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                I was going to say something, but then the lawyers showed up and I thought, “I’m just gonna shut up now.”Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko says:

                Probably a good response to most situations in which a bunch of lawyers show up suddenly.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                I hear ya. Don’t be on the wrong side #whenthelawyersshowup.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater says:

              Responsible gun owners don’t perform reckless acts with guns.

              Like open carry at Applebee’s?

              Well, now we’re into the deep weeds re: what constitutes “responsible”, aren’t we?Report

  6. Avatar Kazzy says:

    “The president-elect and his prospective attorney general, Jeff Sessions, have criticized the DOJ’s involvement in local policing.”

    Except in Chicago. Natch.Report

    • Avatar notme says:

      There is a difference between a city asking for help from the fed gov and the fed gov forcing itself on a city via lawsuits.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        The local government is always subject to the national government.Report

        • Avatar notme says:

          I’m not sure what point if any you are trying to make. There is nothing that says the fed gov has threaten to take cities and towns to court after a shooting, etc. to force the local gov to knuckle under to what ever good idea the feds have.Report

      • Avatar Mo says:

        The whole sanctuary cities fight is about Republicans forcing the feds on cities.Report

        • Avatar notme says:

          You mean going after cities that try to subvert federal law? The feds should go after those cites. That is completely different than the feds going after towns like Ferguson, MO after the shooting. The feds came in and threatened to sue them unless they changed their policies and practices simply because the feds didn’t like what they were doing.Report

          • Avatar Mo says:

            They’re not subverting federal law, they are declining to enforce federal laws. They are not obligated to and this is supported by a Supreme Court case where Scalia wrote the majority opinion. However, that case was about if the feds could obligate state law enforcement to perform background checks. The majest of the US is the anti-commandeering doctrine applies to conservative and liberal bugbears equally.Report

            • “Legal” pot is another case of states declining to enforce federal laws. (Believing that that really makes pot legal requires channeling John Calhoun. Being willing to invest in a pot-related business because, hey, it’s legal now, requires channeling Mortimer Snerd.)Report

              • Avatar Troublesome Frog says:

                The “legal” pot thing is an interesting problem for companies wanting to do business with the pot providers. My company was considering the potential for going into the tech/data side of that growing business and a few of us put the brakes on it pretty hard. It’s all fun and games until the feds decide to make an example of the company you’re working with by destroying them and everybody they ever met.Report

              • Avatar Mo says:

                The biggest issue is on the banking side. There’s no real way to have a state only bank that isn’t regulated by the feds, so all cash it is.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                And thats why it’s cannier folks than you that go in on this sort of thing.
                It’s perfectly plausible with enough accountants and lawyers to make a mess that even the federal government doesn’t want to sort out. (Granted, it is far easier to scare the IRS than it is to scare the DEA — the IRS has standards for use of taxpayer money).Report

              • “Shit, we’re never going to get a conviction. Let’s just confiscate all the assets and blow this pop stand.”Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                That would be a lot more funny if it wasn’t literal US Marines blowing up a fucking data center in an allied country.
                [Seriously, that’s a waste of materiel. Did they not realize they could simply wipe the damn computers and reuse the parts??]Report

            • Avatar notme says:

              You are wrong. Cities never could enforce federal law even if they wanted to b/c they aren’t the feds. Those cities have chosen not to cooperate with the feds who are trying to enforce federal law. There is a difference.Report

              • Avatar Mo says:

                The cities are not preventing the feds from enforcing federal law, they’re just not doing anything to help, which is the local municipality’s prerogative.Report

              • Avatar Damon says:

                Just as it is the Fed’s prerogative to say “you are expected to help us or we’re not giving you any more money for all these programs”.Report

              • Avatar Mo says:

                Not really thanks to NFIB v. Sebelius. They can pull a small amount, but anything considered punitive won’t survive a court challenge. What makes the sanctuary city issue so deliciously ironic is that the precedent protecting them are conservative victories in a gun control case and an anti-Obamacare case. The best they could do would be to provide new money to cities conditional on supporting illegal immigration enforcement.Report

              • Avatar Damon says:

                Well, the SC was just damn wrong. Claiming a bill is a tax when it’s specifically identified as not a tax is complete and total bullshit.

                As to the rest of it…meh. Maybe we’ll send that cash next week…or the next. Checks in the mail. I’m sure their are all kinds of ways funding can be slow rolled.Report

              • Avatar dragonfrog says:

                So you’re telling me that municipal police forces only make arrests for bylaw violations in the US, never for state or federal crimes? How interesting. Puts the scale of the NYPD and the like in a new light.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater says:

            You’re notmaking sense, notme.

            The Feds went to Ferguson because of an institution-wide pattern of discrimination that violated federal law. If so, and it is so, the Feds had every right to “pass thru” state and/or local sovereignty to enforce the law. Or get involved, anyway.

            Your argument appears to be that the Feds can’t interfere with local jurisdictions without an invitation. Which is a claim I can’t believe you’re making, actually, given that you’re a lawyer.Report

            • Avatar notme says:

              You’re notmaking sense, Stillwater.

              The Feds went to Ferguson because of an institution-wide pattern of discrimination that violated federal law.

              Sure, the feds decided they needed to interfere because they thought that there was a problem not because anyone asked them to. No matter that the shooting was found to be lawful.

              Your argument appears to be that the Feds can’t interfere with local jurisdictions without an invitation. Which is a claim I can’t believe you’re making, actually, given that you’re a lawyer.

              Once again, I never said that was that. Sure the feds can interfere but they shouldn’t without a good reason. Please try to read what I write.

              No, I never said that the feds could only come with an invitationReport

            • Avatar dragonfrog says:

              given that you’re a lawyer.

              Dear Odin please let that be a joke.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        Just the other day you argued the Feds should press into Chicago, did you not?Report

  7. Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

    KKK doc: This manages to make everyone look bad. A basic cable “documentary” is faked? Well, I pretty much would assume as much. But these poor innocents were “compelled” to go along. How? Blackmail? Extortion? No: with hundred dollar bills. And not all that many, at that. This, after all, basic cable. They also seem to have only complained about it after the fact, once the money spigot had shut down.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      Even though I was born in 1980, I remember when A&E and Bravo were actually serious about being high-brow television. How the mighty have fallen.Report

      • Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

        So far as I can tell, being high-brow is inconsistent with a for-profit model. Not because you can’t make money in high-brow, but because you can make more money in low-brow. Look at classical music radio stations. There used to be a significant number of commercial classical stations. They have nearly all transitioned to pablum. It’s not that they weren’t making money, but controlling the entire classical market in the city isn’t as profitable as carving off a small slice of the top-40 market. You pretty much have to be a non-profit to play the format.

        Is there anything on cable that can plausibly be considered high brow? Some HBO is very good, but A Game of Thrones isn’t high-brow by any means. PBS? *shudder* People rave about Downton Abbey, but we ought not confuse good acting and production values with being high brow. And the writing is execrable. For PBS generally, it tips its hand when it pulls out the most horrid dreck for pledge week.

        Turner Classic Movies, perhaps. This requires that we reclassify popular entertainment of the past as high-brow, today, but there is ample precedent for that.

        On a related note, my nine-year old has discovered, via YouTube, the genius that is the Three Stooges. I ran some Monty Python past her, but it didn’t click. I’ll try again in a couple of years.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq says:

          Downton Abbey is what passes as high brow for most Americans these days. Its actually middle brow though. Middle Brow provided an important bridge between high brow and low brow but was much more accessible. High brow is stuff you need to struggle with and thing about to understand. Its nothing something that is immediately gettable but stuff you need to look deeply at and think about. There really isn’t much high brow on TV. There is middle brow that tries to pass as high brow but not real high brow.Report

          • Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

            It is worth recalling that when the high/middle/low brow scheme was introduced, middle brow was stuff like Beethoven.

            As for Downton Abbey, my objection is mostly that it is bad. The good/bad axis is orthogonal to the brow height axis. Beethoven, for example, might be middle brow, but is superb. Downton Abbey is a cheesy soap opera. Show an Edwardian manor house and a bunch of people in fancy clothes speaking in posh accents and the PBS crowd gets all wet and tingly in its nether regions. Either they, in their excitement, don’t notice how cheesy it all is, or (more likely) they use those posh accents to cover up that they really want to be watching a telenovela, but don’t what to admit it. These are, after all, the people that gave us Yanni.Report

            • Avatar Kim says:

              Where does the Rite of Spring fit in? Is that high brow, lowbrow or middlebrow?Report

              • Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

                It’s a moving target. It was definitely high-brow when it came out, but the de facto meaning of “high brow” when it comes to music is to be experimental, pushing the boundaries. Most experiments fail, and this is fine. That’s why they are called “experiments.” Because most fail, the audience for experimental music has to be pretty daring (or, to put it in a less flattering way, smugly excusionist: the classical version of that guy who loves an indie band until it gets popular).

                You can be daring and listen to older stuff, but only the older stuff that hardly anyone else wants to listen to. You can be totally into Harry Partch, for example, with little danger of being accused of being middle-brow. But what about the experiments that succeed? The Rite of Spring was daring back in the day, but nowadays it is part of the standard repertoire that the blue-hair crowd will happily listen to. So if Beethoven is middle-brow, then so is Stravinsky, today. Beethoven, after all, was pretty daring in his day.

                We need the daring crowd, both composers and audiences. The alternative is stagnation. The problems arise when they confuse the brow-height axis with the good/bad axis. This goes both ways. A critique of a daring piece that it sounds like crap marks you as a troglodyte (though a critique that a piece is too listenable is just fine).In the other direction, John Cage used to proclaim that “Beethoven was wrong!” No, Beethoven was right: so right that his experiments succeeded.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                If highbrow means experimental, that makes Hatoful Boyfriend a highbrow game?
                well, that’s just an odd thought. For the birds.Report

              • Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

                A careful reading will reveal that I specified “when it comes to music”.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                Of course. What do you think highbrow constitutes when it comes to video games?Report

              • Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

                I haven’t the foggiest. To me, “gaming” involves people sitting around a table with dice. Advanced Squad Leader, perhaps?Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                Thief: The Dark Project.
                Which you totally should play.Report

              • Avatar veronica d says:

                @richard-hershberger — Don’t be silly. The “panzerfaust check” was lowbrow af.Report

              • Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

                Then maybe one of those SPI monster games: War in Europe covered the entire theater, both western and eastern fronts, at a brigade/division level. Boardgamegeek estimates the playing time as 360 hours. This seems optimistic. That sort of game you and your closest friends had to devote a weekend to simply setting up the pieces.Report

              • Avatar veronica d says:

                @richard-hershberger — Oddly, I actually own both the ETO and PTO version of those games. I’ve only played the ETO one, and only the shorter scenarios. It was really cool tho, gave a lot of insight into why things played out like they did, and how easily things could have been different.

                But yeah, great games. At my age there is no way I’d find time to play. That said, they remain on my shelf. (I ditched my ASL stuff ages ago. Too much space.)Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                I think anything that a grognard likes is middle or lowbrow. But I do play rolemaster.Report

            • Avatar LeeEsq says:

              I have some weakness for British historical dramas but basically agree with you. I watched the first episode of Downton Abbey and was bored to tears.Report

        • Avatar Kim says:

          Have you watched “Better Call Saul”? Aside from Vince’s oddball choices in music, I’ll call that high brow.
          Arrested development is certainly highbrow comedy.
          The Wire is another show that’s patient about payoff.
          Simpsons used to do highbrow, along with everything else.

          There’s still a GREAT BIG market for neoclassical stuff. A friend of a friend is a rather famous violinist and dancer (that particular story involves Lloyd’s of London and jamming with insurance adjusters).Report

  8. Avatar Mo says:

    #1: So old school Appalachia is Orthodox or Coptic?Report