Linky Friday: It Bleeds, It Leads


Will Truman

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

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105 Responses

  1. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Slate had an interesting interview about the supernatural beliefs of the Third Reich. They believed in all sorts of crazy pseudo-scientific and outright supernatural theories.Report

    • Avatar aaron david says:

      When I was working in used books still, we would get in, and sell, a surprising number of books on this subject. Always struck me as really weird.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        This book is more academic than other books on the matter but its really fascinating. The Nazis basically did believe in out there supernatural theories and did try to perform ancient magical rituals like their movie depictions often show. Its just that they lived in the real world.Report

        • Avatar Brent F says:

          When you’re talking about that subject, you’re going to need to be awfully specific about which Nazi’s you’re talking about. They were a pretty big group for a while there.

          If you want to claim there were a whole bunch of Thule society kooks running around in the Nazi apparatus, that would be accurate. If you want to claim Hitler himself was motivated by mysticism, that’s dubious. If you want to make the dodge that a lot of Christians want to make, that Nazi Party members were a paganistic throwback and not overwhelmingly Christian of either Protestant or Catholic varieties much like contemporary German society from which they sprung, that would be disingenous.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq says:

            I’m reading the book Hitler’s Monsters: A Supernatural History of the Third Reich right now. It’s thesis is that a lot of the Nazi ideology originated in the occult thinking that permeated German society in the late 19th and early 20th century and that this sort of thinking ran through the Nazi party.Report

            • Avatar Brent F says:

              Nazism ended up being a pretty big tent by the time it got into power. You can find a lot of strains of thinking in it. The occultist stuff is pretty easy to notice in retrospect because of how weird it was but one shouldn’t overstate how important it was too it.Report

          • Avatar PD Shaw says:

            I think it depends on the time period. Aside from some eccentrics and the persistent cult of Wagnar, the initial phase was marked by efforts to nazify Christianity, or at least the Evangelical Church. When those efforts failed to give rise to a unified state Church, a distinctly anti-Christian message was promoted through party rallies and education of Hitler Youth. Some of this was specifically aimed at seeking to abolish Catholic youth organizations, but the general thrust was that the NAZIs did not want any aspect of life to be beyond total control of the State. The third phase was a turn towards invented neo-paganism that borrowed from everything and had Himmler as its most significant proponent.

            The process may be gradual and overlap, but NAZI policy went from trying to get party members into leadership positions in churches, to forbidding party members from holding office in any church, to forbidding members from wearing uniforms in church services.Report

            • Avatar Brent F says:

              This is all true enough. They were helped in this instance by having little by the way of coherent ideology or doctrine to confine them, so the Nazis were pretty free to be mercenary to the needs of the particular moment. Priests could be persecuted for being independant powers at one moment, while at another they could present themselves as the heroic defenders of Christian civilization against godless Bolshivism.Report

            • Avatar LeeEsq says:

              One of the thesis of Hitler’s Monsters is that Late Imperial Germany was marked by wide spread appearance of occult and pseudoscientific theories that contributed directly to Nazi thought on nearly everything and influenced the Nazis from their founding to their destruction.Report

  2. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Cr1: It would have been better for Mr. McLean if he realized that 30 RMB is not a lot of money and its not worth getting into a fight over.

    Cr2: So now governments are going to engage in semi-legal or even illegal activity in order to buy lethal injection drugs? The enforcers of the law should not act as outlaws. If a law can not be enforced legally, it should not be enforced at all.

    Cr4: How is this a crime?Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

      Cr4: Depends on who you talk to in Seattle.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

      Amazon fights the crime of high prices!!!Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain says:

      Cr2: Assuming other states will run into the same problem, Oklahoma is one to watch. Sometime in the last couple of years Oklahoma added inert-gas asphyxiation as their alternative if they can’t get/use the drugs. Their first attempt will have to make a run up to the Supreme Court for approval of the method, but that seems straightforward. People routinely die from inert-gas asphyxiation because they didn’t notice it was happening. At my granddaughter’s birthday party this past Sunday I was talking with a couple of guys who are welders and they said their company had recently ramped up enforcement of the safety rules for handling tanks of inert gases.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        They could just drop legal injection and hang people if they really want to have the death penalty.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          Hell, they could use opiates.Report

        • Avatar Michael Cain says:

          But supporters of the death penalty — and I am not one — are properly worried that every time a new method, or an old method that hasn’t been used in 20+ years, is appealed to the Supreme Court there is a chance the Court will say that in today’s world said method is not reliably pain-free. Hanging is subject to error resulting in strangulation. Electrocution has been known to fail. Ditto firing squads. All of the supporters hold their breath when an alternate drug cocktail goes before the Court.

          Oklahoma’s change didn’t put inert-gas asphyxiation at the end of their list of methods, it went into the list after the approved drug cocktail and before electrocution and firing squad. I’m sure that wasn’t an accident — if the Oklahoma AG has to defend something other than the drug cocktail that the Court has seen many times, he wants to defend something that is sure and painless.Report

  3. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Fo3: I never heard of clean eating until this week, so I didn’t fall for it.

    Fo7: My vegetarian and vegan friends were up and arms about this on social media. It does seem a bit cruel to kill piglets and turn them into sausage just right after they were rescued.

    Re1: That giant robot spider freaks me out.Report

    • Avatar Marchmaine says:

      Fo7… correct, it is simply wrong to turn piglets into sausage; never waste an opportunity for roast suckling pig.

      So tender you can cut it with a plate.

      We’ve roasted a few piglets this way over the years… one of the perqs of living where one can get piglets… they are very difficult to find retail or even at a good butcher.

      p.s. Don’t click links if doing what the links say might make you squeamish.Report

  4. Avatar PD Shaw says:

    [Hi4] Land redistribution was not sufficient to address the South’s severe economic problems after the Civil War. The Southern economy needed capital; the slaves had been freed, the land had lost value; the only means of obtaining credit was through liens on future crops. Farmers caught in crop-lien arrangements, white or black, owners of fee or tenants, usually found themselves reduced to debt peonage. What was needed was something equivalent to a Marshall Plan for the South, not just to recreate a viable agricultural economy, but also the type of diverse economy that had emerged in the North.Report

  5. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    Me5: interesting. Personally I hate video only sites. I can tolerate sites that provides a transcript with the video, but if it’s just video, I don’t stick around.Report

  6. Avatar Dave says:


    I get the anti-diet mentality and why, but the whole discussion around weight in this society is an absolute mess and I don’t think the anti-diet crowd, however well intended, makes it any better.

    Stuff like this is one of the reasons I’m starting to write about these subjects. Every time I read stuff like this, my bullshit detectors go off.Report

    • Avatar North says:

      Where do you write about it Dave? You should link it from here whenever you do. I shudder in cold horror at the idea of trying to restrict my intake* but I know that it’s mostly unavoidable if I wanna get the figure.

      *As I understand it there’s no such thing as a diet. You either change how you eat -forever- or you just get stuck in the feast/starvation metabolism trap**.

      **Curse our evolved tendency to desperately accumulate and cling to stored calories!!***

      ***Then again all the people who didn’t evolve it died.. so.. umm… yeah.Report

      • Avatar gregiank says:

        The positive view is that the “new way of eating forever” can still be good and fun and filled with stuff you like. It has been for me. If it isn’t than it’s never going to succeed. Now back to my bag of M and M’s.Report

        • Avatar veronica d says:

          Over a ten year period I’ve lost about 100 pounds and kept it off. However, I never really “dieted” in a sustained way. I did change the way I relate to food and fitness. Anyway, it is possible to do. It’s just, it is hard to package it up into some repeatable “program” that you can sell to people.

          Which is too bad, actually. A lot of people wish they were thinner.Report

          • Avatar gregiank says:

            Yeah. There isn’t any money to be made in “eat a bit less and better quality food and get some exercise. That’s about it.” While not always easy it is far more achievable then people believe or are told. Once you get used to it, it becomes a new, better way of life.Report

          • Avatar Morat20 says:

            It helps if you’re a good cook. Like…my wife got told she needed to alter her die.. For her, that’s a PITA but she can adjust and cook delicious food that follows that. A few weeks of experimenting, a few investments in cookbooks and online research, done.

            Quality of food doesn’t suffer. Cost doesn’t really change. There’s no feelings of hunger or want or that you’re missing anything.

            But that’s because she’s a skilled cook (amateur chef level, basically) with a laundry list of cooking and nutrition skills under her belt.

            But my Mom’s looking to change to a similar nutrition plan, and the best my wife can do is…suggest recipes and foods to avoid. My mom’s a good enough cook, but it’s focused on the same things she’s cooked for years. She’s never been experimental, branched out. For her, swapping is a lengthy, year or two long painful affair.Report

          • Avatar Dave says:


            It’s impossible to package and sell because everyone comes to their own results their own way, usually through trial and error and going through numerous iterations and adjustments and constantly having to make them after the fact.

            It requires the kind of patience that doesn’t get packaged and sold in a “Lose 14 Pounds in 14 Days” article in whatever magazines are peddling that crap.Report

      • Avatar Nevermoor says:

        Everyone has different strategies, but the science on that “metabolism trap” is pretty mixed.

        I’m actually gearing up to work through it, so I don’t know where I’ll land, but I can observe that it’s amazing how relatively-easy it is to severely restrict intake (and how insanely effective that is for weight loss).Report

        • Avatar El Muneco says:

          Also complicating is hydration, as Eddie Lacy and other athletes with weight clausws in their contracts can testify.

          I’m watching my weight and exercise pretty closely – miidweek I was down three pounds from last weekend and this morning I was 3.5 up from there. And it’s all water in and out.Report

        • Avatar Dave Regio says:

          Everyone has different strategies, but the science on that “metabolism trap” is pretty mixed.

          I’m actually gearing up to work through it, so I don’t know where I’ll land, but I can observe that it’s amazing how relatively-easy it is to severely restrict intake (and how insanely effective that is for weight loss).

          From what I’ve gathered, the science is pretty straightforward. Resting metabolic rate drops as a result of weight loss, how fast or slow depends on whether or not certain risk factors are mitigated (degree of caloric deficit, protein intake, use of resistance training, come to mind). It’s also not unreasonable to see a dieting person with a RMR below what’s projected as average at a given weight; however, my recollection is that once the person returns to caloric maintenance, RMR can speed up.

          I’m not aware of any studies that correlate the decreases in resting metabolic rate with future weight regain. Kevin Hall’s Biggest Loser Study found no correlation. Dieting can cause an overall reduction in energy expenditure and the decrease in metabolic rate is not the largest component of that. It’s usually non-exercise activity.

          What annoys me about the “diets don’t work” crowd is that it obscures the real issue: weight maintenance. Losing it and maintaining require two completely different skill sets and most weight loss plans don’t come with the Plan B to maintain unless you do what you did to lose weight in the first place, and given what I’ve seen out there and based on my own experiences, the sustainability is the hard part.

          Sure, if you have the willpower, you can weigh yourself, multiply by 10 and restrict yourself to that number of calories. If you keep protein levels high enough and want to fight through it, you can lose significant weight. Chances are you won’t be the happiest camper and depending on what’s being restricted, the risk of non-compliance increases with each passing day.Report

          • Avatar Nevermoor says:

            But it isn’t that simple.

            I’m actually right in the thick of this (through a health provider) and they are about do do RMR tests to give us actual numbers. They’ve told us that a lot of people in this process find the number from that test to be too high, but no one knows whether that’s because people it doesn’t work for lie, because the test relies on assumptions that break after significant weight loss, or whether the body actually does perform differently in ways the RMR test can’t track.

            You’re 100% right that the maintenance is harder than the losing, though.Report

            • Avatar Dave Regio says:


              I think we’re on the same page here but I think the complexity on the output side is with total daily energy expenditure as a whole as opposed to resting metabolic rate.

              The real wildcard is non-exercise-activity. That’s been shown to drop more than RMR and has two different components: less activity and increased efficiency.

              I think the main reason that people think the number is too high is because they’re underestimating caloric intake and still not losing weight. Tell someone that believes he/she is eating 1,200 calories a day at 200 lbs (which is 6x bodyweight and an exercise in insanity) that the RMR is 2000 calories and the TDEE is 2,400 calories and they’re more likely to believe that the calculation is wrong before they admit that they aren’t tracking calories correctly.

              The calculations will be correct, at least RMR. You can use any online calculator to estimate and whatever you’re given should be in that range to a reasonable degree.

              TDEE estimates are very hard, which is why monitoring weight is important. You could be complying with a plan based on an estimated TDEE that leads to incremental weight gain because the estimated TDEE is too high.

              The response isn’t to ditch the plan but rather adjust.

              Four plus years later and I’m still trying to figure out the best way to do this, and I’m finding that bodybuilders probably know more about this than anyone else. I’m reading a lot of contest preparation and while no one needs to go to that extent, there are a lot of interesting takeaways everyone can apply if they choose to.Report

              • Avatar Nevermoor says:


                I think at least one of the claims, though, is that someone who just did an extreme weight loss will have a lower RMR than the test measures. Another claim might be that the RMR test measures lower than an online calculator would because of the extreme weight loss. And a third might be that people blame the RMR test when they’re being overenthusiastic/dishonest about the TDEE conversion and their own intake.

                If your series gets off the ground, I’ll have some input for you. The truest thing–though most frustrating from a scientific perspective–is that for maintenance you basically just have to weigh yourself a lot and adjust accordingly.Report

              • Avatar Dave says:


                Sorry, better late than never(moor)…

                I think at least one of the claims, though, is that someone who just did an extreme weight loss will have a lower RMR than the test measures.

                That seems true for anyone with any weight loss, but the debate is over the degree as well as what happens when people move to maintenance level eating at that weight.

                The Biggest Loser Study was criticized in some circles because the model that was used to estimate RMR for the people at their starting weights was the same used to estimate them at their finished weights, hence something to the tune of differences between 700 to 800 calories per day, with the estimates being higher.

                I’ll post this link for now.

                I’d have to look at the research to see what happens to RMRs of people that diet and maintain weight within a certain boundary. My guess is that the RMRs increase and narrow the gap between people that lost weight and people that didn’t, how much I can’t say for sure.

                And a third might be that people blame the RMR test when they’re being overenthusiastic/dishonest about the TDEE conversion and their own intake.

                I think this is the most plausible explanation, at least the overenthusiastic description. I don’t think most people are being willfully dishonest but I guess you never know.

                The truest thing–though most frustrating from a scientific perspective–is that for maintenance you basically just have to weigh yourself a lot and adjust accordingly.

                I’m four and a half plus years into this and I’m still learning the adjustment game. I’ve had some leeway given my fitness interests but data is the name of the game now. I’m not only tracking macro intake but weight, daily…over an extended period of time.

                I can track meals five days a week with little trouble. The weekends may get difficult but I’m pretty good with numbers and pulling down the info I need.Report

              • Avatar Nevermoor says:

                First, that’s inspiring. I’ve just ordered my daily-weight scale, and am going to be working on maintenance vs. loss starting in only a bit more than a month. Glad to hear you’ve kept it up that long.

                I’ll be interested to see how my RMR measurement compares to the one FitBit autocalculates, and how both compare to my most-honest-possible tracking. I’m both interested and nervous about it.Report

      • Avatar Dave Regio says:


        I am trying to get a series going on OT. I have the intro post and the first three or four posts anywhere between 50-95% complete with the exception of a post on exercise and weight loss which is done. I’m desperately trying to kick this off.

        It’s like I’m sitting here at a point where health, fitness, nutrition, culture, media, politics, public health, etc. all converge. Not a fan of a lot of what I’m seeing.

        Anytime I read an article discussing the anti-diet mentality, body positivity, fat acceptance, Health at Every Size, etc., the first thing I try to ascertain is the author’s background. If it includes years of yo-yo dieting, body dysmorphia and eating disorder issues, then I know what I’m getting is a biased perspective.

        The beatdown I put on the anti-GMO crowd a couple of years ago would pale in comparison to what I would do here. Some of what’s in here really pisses me off. It’s a puff piece trying to sell the more bullshit dogma that fat acceptance tries to sell, the kind of dogma that ensures it will remain a fringe movement.Report

        • Avatar aaron david says:

          I am also waiting for this with baited breath @dave-regio. At 46 am for the first time looking to go on a diet and exercise seriously. A big part of my problem is a massive back injury a few years ago, which took 3 years to heal from. And at this age that is a killer.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          For what it’s worth, I’m pretty sure that whatever you’d write would be of use to me.

          I’m dieting. Kinda. I’m working out. Sorta.

          The gains I’m making are… well, really nice people say that they’re “good”. I can’t help but notice how really nice the people saying such things are.Report

        • Avatar North says:

          I’ve been lifting (and burning with hatred for lifting) for closing in on 20 years now.. ugh… but I’ve been pretty lax on input so obviously I’m greatly interested as well.Report

  7. Avatar Marchmaine says:

    [Cr6] Hmmn… what started as “common” fraud is maybe bigger than common fraud. My controversial unsubustantiated comedic tin-foil hat wearing comment for the day, is… what if wikileaks is telling the truth, and the DNC hack wasn’t originated from russian hackers, but rather Pakistani mercs inside the beltway?

    [Me5] I suspected as much… too many weird videos of talking heads saying things that they are good at writing, but terribad at saying.

    But, internet clickery on that link took me to this interesting TPM article on What’s Wrong With Our System Of Global Trade And Finance which is a leftist critique of what Trump got right (but still ultimately wrong). 100% guaranteed to piss of site libertarians, but 100% guaranteed to be the next political economics that powers [insert party here] to electoral victory(s) — whomever grabs it first. Ready, set, go!

    (it’s kinda old, all the way back in June… did I miss the slap fight on this? Or did the neo-liberaltarian consensus here simply take for granted its obvious wrongness?).Report

  8. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Re2: The most recent “real” (ish) (Western(ish)) religion that I can think of is Rastafarianism.

    Well, I suppose “Scientology” might qualify as a “real” one but, quite honestly, that strikes me as one hell of a MLM scam.

    It’s hammered out most of the big things that a good, old-fashioned, Western(ish) religion needs:
    Feast days that include pleasurable substances
    Messiahs who will lead us to the Promised Land any day now
    Prophets who sing the praises of the messiah

    It kind of stumbled when it got to the whole “what happens when the Messiah dies and doesn’t come back in any reasonable time” thing but that’s a test that, if you can get through it, will carry you forward for centuries.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      I mean, unless you want to discuss the evolution of Universalism post-birth-control-pill.Report

      • Avatar dragonfrog says:

        Waitaminnit, are you suggesting
        progesterone :: Unitarian Universalism
        ganja :: Rastafarianism and wine :: Catholicism?

        UU doesn’t seem like an old fashioned Western-ish religion – if anything, more in line with old fashioned Eastern-ish religion. Zen C&E Christianity, like.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          Hah, no. I’m not that clever.

          I’m more saying that with the removal of a particular predator, the prey species on a particular island grew and evolved by leaps and bounds (and with new and interesting branches!) that they wouldn’t have evolved had that predator remained.

          Birth Control allowed for Universalism to leap.

          From what I understand in Rastafarianism, “the Wisdom Weed” is seen as something to partake in lightly rather than heavily. When it comes to Christian takes on alcohol, the biggest pro-alcohol voices say something to the effect of “enjoy the first glass of wine, delight in the second, but don’t get drunk. Jesus. It ain’t about being drunk.”

          So too with ganja. The goal is a [3] or a [4], not an [8] and certainly not a [10].

          Commune with God. Don’t get twisted.

          UU doesn’t seem like an old fashioned Western-ish religion – if anything, more in line with old fashioned Eastern-ish religion. Zen C&E Christianity, like.

          It struck me as Enlightenment Protestantism without all of the hokey deity mumbo-jumbo. We can talk about Jesus and Mohamed and Gandhi being great teachers without getting into the whole Virgin Birth or Angel Gabriel crap.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        But the relationship between, say, Protestantism and Catholicism is arguably not the emergence of a new religion.

        Or, at least, as someone who was raised Protestantism it seems that way.

        Going back and reading the thoughts of the Catholics at the time, you’re struck by words like “heresy”.Report

        • Avatar Marchmaine says:

          To me?

          Perhaps, perhaps not. The Church is always sloughing and reabsorbing sects… so in that sense, yes nothing to see here. But that’s why Herbert’s Orange Catholic Bible is so intriguing… it hints that the proddies and papists came up with something kinda-sorta-new; how new and in what ways, we’re not really sure owing to the fragmentary use of the notion in his books; but we can also infer that the fusion included things that were specifically non-christian… so somehow the fusion was something we think we get, but clearly we didn’t.Report

    • Avatar Marchmaine says:

      The future in alternative religions is likely to be dusting off old ones.

      Perhaps, but I’d speculate that serious syncretism if not more likely, is more probable to signal the entrant of a new religion.

      And by serious, I mean the sort of diamond creating pressure of competing cultures rather than the a’la carte dilettantism of individuals.

      I always wished that Herbert had spent more time really contemplating the implications of his new religions… instead they are mostly a pastiche of artistic notions that he never fully develops. If only he had been a philologist.Report

    • Avatar North says:

      I suspect that, barring some kind of calamity that knocks us into an earlier information era, we’re past the age when mass religions can develop. We see the existing mass faiths both shrinking in reach and thinning in depth. There aren’t any direct replacements but we’re seeing that humans can find a kind of ad hoc spiritualism in just about anything (anti-vaxx, clean eating, Anti-GMO, etc…) but those spiritualisms can’t translate into a mass religion. The internet has fragmented everything*. We’re not even having the same level of mass popular songs; let alone a new mass religion.

      *And frankly I suspect that it required only pre-internet levels of information connectivity to kill the emergence of new mass religion stone dead. Telecomm seems to be the cut off level.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        The last mass religion to really develop was either Sikhism or Bahai depending on where you put the population limit for mass religion. Maybe the Church of Latter Day Saints or Jeovah’s Witnesses if you believe those groups are sufficiently removed from Christianity to count as their own religions.

        Even during the much more religious times of the 19th century, lots of people found Joseph Smith’s claims completely unbelievable and thought he was nothing more than a con man. In a scientific era, even religious people often can’t cope with claims of prophecy or talking to angels. You really need to go back to an age where humans did know a lot less about the universe.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        Well, this goes back to the whole definition of what a religion is, I guess.

        I you haven’t read Moldbug’s “Gentle Introduction” by now, you probably never will.

        But I still find it insightful from time to time.

        We will probably not have another religion that we would recognize as a religion in our lifetimes.

        But we’re probably swimming in religions that we don’t recognize as religions right now.Report

        • Avatar George Turner says:

          You are overlooking one of the most dynamic new religions out there, one with 25 million fanatical believers who worship a deity that walks on Earth.

          Long Live General Kim Jong-un, the Shining Sun!Report

    • Avatar dragonfrog says:

      I guess one answer to the question in Re2, “why are there no new major religions?” is simply: There has never been a new major religion. New religions are by nature not major, and major religions are by nature not new.Report

  9. Avatar notme says:

    ESPN Pulls a Broadcaster, Robert Lee, and Encounters a Storm

    Poor Asian guy suffering b/c of his name and ESPN’s idiocy in not wanting to offend liberals.Report

    • Avatar PD Shaw says:

      General with known connections to Confederacy may be exhumed from New York City:

      De Blasio Won’t Say If Ulysses S. Grant Statue Is A Hate Symbol

      Signs not good for FDR either.Report

    • Avatar El Muneco says:

      Of course, liberals are pretty unanimously facepalming, but ignore that because it would break your “libs [sic] are the root cause of everythong bad” narrative.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        “Nobody is arguing X! X is a strawman!”
        “(real life example)”
        “Everyone is really embarrassed by that, for the record.”Report

        • Avatar dragonfrog says:

          So, what is X in this instance?

          What exactly is the thing that someone is arguing, that others claim is a strawman, such that this ESPN nonsense proves that it’s real and not a strawman?

          Is ESPN notably “liberal”? Was someone notably liberal, external to ESPN, lobbying to have Mr. Lee moved to a different game?

          Or does this mostly just demonstrate that large and bureaucratic public relations departments tend toward Chinese room implementations of a Markov chain without real understanding of the meanings of words?Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            The problem with sufficiently large and bureaucratic PR departments demonstrating behavior that suggests they’ve turned themselves into Markov chains without understanding the meanings of words is that when crazy people say that “Soon, corporations will be Xing”, the counter-argument of “that’s absurd!” eventually looks identical to a counter-argument that is agreeing with the crazy people instead of a counter-argument that is disagreeing with them.Report

            • Avatar dragonfrog says:

              What is the value of X here?

              Who claims liberals are arguing X? (or, if it’s not liberals, substitute whatever group)

              Who claims that the above claims are a straw man?

              How is ESPN reassigning a commentator named Robert Lee to a game not happening in Charlottesville in late August 2017, an instance of X?Report

            • Avatar dragonfrog says:

              (I’ll also note that “soon corporations will be Xing” is a bit different from “soon one corporation will X and then everyone will point and laugh, and other corporations will take away the lesson ‘whatever you do, make sure it’s not X because everyone pointed and laughed at that one company that did X'”)Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            Oh, but to answer your original question, X, in this particular instance, would be “sports corporations covering sports games in the South will deliberately pull announcers who have coincidentally close names to the names of people associated with the Confederacy despite there being no relation.”

            I mean, a week ago? If I had said “ESPN better make sure that Robert Lee doesn’t cover any games in Virginia lest they cause a scene”, I’m pretty sure that that sentence would have been seen as inartful trolling. “Nobody is suggesting that Robert Lee not cover games, Jaybird.”

            If the typist was working him or herself into a lather, they could have run with “And, frankly, it’s offensive that you would conflate the very real and very dangerous levels of racism in this country with something as silly as corporations pulling Asian commentators from calling games in the former Confederacy!”

            Right? We know that, right?

            It’s not like they would have written “Yeah, that sounds like something that ESPN would do… but it’s still better than some hypothetical thing that Fox Sports would do like hire Michael Vick!”


            • Avatar Kazzy says:

              FWIW, both the announcer and ESPN have said it was a mutual decision largely intended to spare him being the subject of ridicule or otherwise unnecessarily garnering unwanted attention. No one wanted #RobLeeonUVATV trending on Twitter. It was not done to avoid offense.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Kinda makes you wonder why liberals would be unanimously facepalming, then.

                What they did was perfectly understandable. Perhaps even commendable.

                Unlike hiring Michael Vick. What’s next? Adrian Peterson on commentary? I understand Ray Rice could use a job!Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                The i itial rwporting was onky on the outcome, not the process. Perhaps people facepalmes too soon?

                Now that you know the facts, does that change the value of X?Report

              • Avatar Trumwill says:

                We know ESPN’s claim. Not necessarily the facts of the story!Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:


                The claims are the facts.

                It is a fact that ESPN and Lee have said the decision was mutual and why they made it.

                You can choose not to believe them.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                Ahhh, yes. That there is a claim is a fact.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:


                Let’s look at what facts we have.

                Lee’s broadcast was changed. This does not seem to be in dispute. And we know this because ESPN made it known.

                Lee and ESPN have said that the decision was mutual and not done to assuage any particular outside group.

                That’s… that’s about it. Now, we can look at those two dots, draw a line between them, and reasonably conclude that the most likely explanation is also the correct one: ESPN acted in its own best interests and those of its employee. If we want to go a step further, we can say they were misguided in what they did and/or how they did it and ended up making a mountain exactly where they were trying to make a mole hill.

                Or we can ignore the latter fact and dream up all sorts of reasons for why this happened which just so happen to align with the political narratives we tend to favor.

                If you want to do the latter, do the latter. But own that you’re doing the latter.Report

              • Avatar trumwill says:

                I honestly don’t know what exactly happened and don’t pretend to. The most likely explanation is that they looked at this, said “awkward” and decided to shuffle things around for a host of reasons. People taking offense was probably one of those reasons, but not the main one.

                But I don’t have any particular trouble, nor do I think it’s a stretch, to believe that ESPN might have been worried the response in more than a memes sort of way. And if they had been, there is nothing they would have said or done differently than what they have said and done since the story broke. Including Lee, who is not going to contradict them.

                So, apart from the fact that claims have been made, “the facts” remain unknown.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                Of course. But how many folks are acting as if the facts are both know AND entirely consistent with their worldview.

                I rolled my eyes when it happened and rolled them again when they offered a reason.Report

              • Avatar notme says:


                Would you like to buy a bridge?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                As onky as the reporting on the outcome was, it seems to have been deliberately and systematically chewed and rechewed by the sufficiently large and bureaucratic PR department after they saw how crappy the i itial rwporting was.

                We know a lot of things but I have no idea how many of them are facts.Report

              • Avatar notme says:


                You really think Lee thought it was a good idea or went along bc that’s what his boss wanted? How naive are you?Report

              • Avatar Kolohe says:

                Heck of job, ESPN, in avoiding unwanted attention and not making one of your employees a meme.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                One upshot is that this has drawn some attention to the Douglas Adler thing.

                That’s not an upshot for ESPN, of course.Report

            • Avatar George Turner says:

              ESPN still hasn’t said whether they’ll pull commentator Robert Ley, their longest tenured employee. He happens to have the same name as another Robert Ley a member of Hitler’s inner circle along with Bormann, Goebbels, and Speer. Among other tracts, the latter Ley wrote The Pestilential Miasma of the World about you know who.

              How many people flip on ESPN and wonder “That guy who’s talking about the Ravens’ quarterback’s leg injury, isn’t he a major Nazi war criminal, or was that someone else?” I’m guessing it’s a lot.Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                He should go by Bobby Lee, lol.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                This is something that is so very stupid and something so very avoidable.

                Sure, have Robert Lee be the announcer. There will be a handful of people who think that his name is funny and it will create a minitwitterstorm for approximately the length of a commercial break.

                There’s even a great handful of counter-arguments that you can use. Assume some idiot makes a joke about Robert Lee and Virginia or something.

                There’s the wet blanket option of pointing out that Robert Lee is Asian.
                There’s the sputtering with rage option of pointing out that Robert Lee is Asian and only someone truly racist would make that joke.
                There’s the reverse snowflake option where you can ask if the person who noticed is offended by there being a guy named Robert Lee announcing a Virginia game and if they need a safe space like some Oberlin sophomore. Perhaps go so far as to imply sexual dysfunction or weight problem. Definitely play up the “you’re going out of your way to be offended” angle and make them talk about how they’re not offended.
                Hell, there is even the nuclear option of pointing out that the joke is lame and not particularly funny.

                Instead, we have…

                Well, we have this.Report

              • Avatar FortyTwo says:

                This whole thing is ridiculous. There was a production meeting, someone noticed there would be a lot of jokes (mostly bad), and asked him if he wanted to do a different game. To place any more emphasis on it is silly. I also read on sbnation that the game he’s now calling is closer to his home, for what it’s worth.Report

            • Avatar dragonfrog says:

              Ah, so:

              X is “sports corporations covering sports games in the South will deliberately pull announcers who have coincidentally close names to the names of people associated with the Confederacy despite there being no relation.”

              Who claims liberals are arguing X is “nobody in real life, but what if hypothetical last-week Jaybird had done so.”

              Who claims the above claims are straw men is “hypothetical last-week liberals under the bed.”


              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Well, we’ve since reached a point where it is being argued that *OF COURSE* ESPN did such a thing and *OF COURSE* it’s perfectly understandable.

                “Sports corporations covering sports games in the South will deliberately pull announcers who have coincidentally close names to the names of people associated with the Confederacy despite there being no relation” is a statement where if you change “will” to “should” becomes an admirable position.Report

      • Avatar PD Shaw says:

        I think from that NPR poll on removal of monuments, its certainly not liberals agitating on this, its people that check the box “very liberal.”Report

      • Avatar notme says:

        I’m so glad you can tell us what liberals are unanimously doing.Report

    • Avatar George Turner says:

      What’s ironic is that Bill de Blasio (real name Warren Wilhelm) wants to “examine” the removal of the statue of Christopher Columbus. Christopher Columbus has a bad reputation because the KKK smeared him as an Italian Catholic monster working for genocidal Spanish Catholics.
      Maybe next de Blasio will demand the removal of any images of Jews and Blacks.Report

      • Avatar dragonfrog says:

        Well, that and the Taino genocide.Report

        • Avatar George Turner says:

          The Taino on Hispanola are upset that we keep claiming there was a complete genocide and that they no longer exist. They say it’s yellow journalism from the Spanish American War, and for some idiotic reason we keep putting it in our textbooks. Perhaps the KKK wanted to keep it in our textbooks to show that Spanish and Italians are both mud people who lack morals, and that Catholics are the greatest threat to life and freedom that mankind has ever known.

          There are still Taino tribes that stayed intact in the hills, while the rest blended their own culture with the Spanish, and with us. Caribbean culture is largely native. They taught us to barbecue. Even the word “Cuban” is Taino. About a third of Cubans have Native American maternal DNA, and a majority of Puerto Ricans do. In the Dominican Republic it’s about a fifth.

          But that’s not what the Klan wants you to believe. They want you to believe in a total Spanish genocide, because Indians aren’t a threat to white people, Catholic immigrants are. So no more statutes of mud people, because we must fight racism…Report

          • Avatar DavidTC says:

            So you’re just going to pretend those allegations of genocide are the _only_ problems anyone has with Columbus?

            And not the well-documented _at the time_ claims that Columbus used torture and mutilation as a way to govern the Dominican Republic?


            Note we already knew all this, what they discovered in 2006 was just the _official contemporary Spanish government_ documentation of this.Report

        • Avatar George Turner says:

          Study of Puerto Rican DNA

          It’s interesting because the interview takes you through the history of realizing the Taino weren’t wiped out.

          Considering that the history of Puerto Rico suggests that there were no Amerindians on the island by the end of the 16th century, how did you identify such descendants?

          According to historian Salvador Brau, the censuses of 1777 and 1787 recorded the existence of some 2,000 Amerindians in the areas of Indiera Alta, Indiera Baja and Indiera Fría. These were descendants of a group of Tainos who, in 1570, decided to intern themselves in the mountainous regions of central Puerto Rico in order to protect themselves from Spanish colonization.

          So they got some samples from the few groups suspected of having Taino ancestry and found Amerindian DNA.

          What did the analyses of these samples reveal?

          More surprises. Of the 18 samples from the Indieras, 10 presented Amerindian mtDNA (55%); of the 5 samples from Miraflores, 4 were Amerindian (80%); of the 33 from the UPRM, 25 were Amerindian (76%). The high incidence of Amerindian mtDNA among these three groups was not in itself surprising because we had intentionally sought out those people who had reason to believe they were of Amerindian ancestry; but it was surprising to find that there was a higher incidence among the university students and personnel than among the inhabitants of the Indieras –who were considered pure Amerindians by the census of 1777 and 1787. This led us to request hair root samples from additional students regardless of their ancestry.

          And the students turned out to be mostly Taino. That wasn’t at all expected. So he got another NSF grant to do a representative and random sampling of Puerto Ricans based on the 1990 census.

          What do the analyses of these samples suggest?

          The results of the analyses of approximately 300 of these samples identify 62% as Amerindian, 30% as African blacks and 8% Caucasian.

          Prior to his study, the assumption would’ve been something like 0.1% Amerindian, 30% African blacks, and 69.9% Caucasian – because the Spanish wiped out the Taino. But that’s obviously not what happened because they’re only 8% Caucasian.

          The accepted history was a myth, a remnant of a bitter Protestant vs Catholic and English vs Spanish propaganda war, re-emphasized by the yellow press during the Spanish American War, and in part spread by the Klan to make sure Americans rejected Catholics, Italians, and of course Hispanics.

          Tearing down monuments to Columbus is buying the racist lies and being a useful tool for the Klan and their historical inventions.Report

          • Avatar Kazzy says:

            “The Spaniards who arrived in the Bahamas, Cuba, and Hispaniola in 1492, and later in Puerto Rico, did not bring women on their first expeditions. Since the arrival of the conquistadores, Taino women were stolen and some became commodities for Spaniards to trade. The rape of Taíno women in Hispaniola by the Spanish was common, resulting in mestizo children.[6][7][8] Scholars suggest there was also substantial mestizaje (racial and cultural mixing) in Cuba, and several Indian pueblos survived into the 19th century.

            The Taíno became nearly extinct as a culture following settlement by Spanish colonists, primarily due to infectious diseases for which they had no immunity. The first recorded smallpox outbreak in Hispaniola was in either December 1518 or January 1519.[9] This smallpox epidemic killed almost 90% of the Native Americans who had not already perished.[10] Warfare and harsh enslavement by the colonists also caused many deaths.[11] By 1548, the Taíno population had declined to fewer than 500.”

            “Sixteen “autosomal” studies of peoples in the Spanish-speaking Caribbean and its diaspora (mostly Puerto Ricans) have shown that between 10-20% of their DNA is indigenous, with some individuals having slightly higher scores and others having lower scores or no indigenous DNA at all.[67] A recent study of a population in eastern Puerto Rico where the majority of persons tested claimed Taíno ancestry and pedigree showed that they had 61% mtDNA (distant maternal ancestry) and 0% y-chromosome DNA (distant paternal ancestry) demonstrating as expected that this is a hybrid creole population.[68]”


            Genocide does not require the complete elimination of a people.Report

          • Avatar George Turner says:

            So now having too many kids is genocide?

            The Wiki neglects to mention that in other studies, 1.5% of the Y DNA in Puerto Rico is Native American. That must be evidence that the natives raped large numbers of European women, resulting in a sizable fraction of the 8% of European mtDNA in the gene pool. The Taino seem to trace back to the Yanomami of Brazil, who offer their daughters to visitors for sex. Europeans and Africans don’t do that.Report

            • Avatar Kazzy says:

              That’s not a counterargument.

              That’s a bunch of bullshit.Report

            • Avatar Maribou says:

              @george-turner That’s bad genetics, beneath your apparent intelligence to claim as a reasonable hypothesis, and you threw in a return to your familiar ~this non-European group of people was/is Really Really Bad~ implied refrain.

              It’s also really not a sign of good faith argumentation to claim that Hispanic culture is terrible in one thread and that the only reason people have issues with Christopher Columbus is the KKK in another.

              I’m not disputing that the KKK hated Columbus so don’t try to make it about that. I’m establishing that there are plenty of reasons to hate him being celebrated (which I don’t, incidentally, though I prefer Indigenous People’s Day) – and you’re selectively picking the most inflammatory ones. That’s not civil.

              I already warned you. I’m eventually going to get tired of warning you.Report

              • Avatar Maribou says:

                @george-turner Hey, you know what, I just realized I have to look at timestamps better. This was 3 days ago. So, what I said about the comment stands but I take back the part about already warning you. That wasn’t fair of me.Report

    • Avatar Hoosegow Flask says:

      First thing that came to mind when I heard this story was the time when an actor from The Langoliers once lost the starring role in a John Lennon biopic because of his name: Mark Chapman.Report

  10. Avatar DavidTC says:

    Me2 – I saw some post or comment talking about how the media needs to ‘leave Barron Trump alone’ recently somewhere, and, as it didn’t have any context, I went to CNN and MSNBC to see what things they were saying about him…and couldn’t even find them. I wandered off baffled and forget about it until I saw this.

    It’s amazing how a single _right-wing_ news outlet becomes ‘The Media’ when the _right_ wants something to complain about.

    Me5 – It is amazing how stupid corporations can be. They finally realize that ads cannot support what they are doing so they decide to move to…a different ad-supported format!

    Pssst…while there is, indeed, more money in video ads than page ads, videos cost a _hell_ of a lot more time and money to produce. You might be doubling your ad revenue, but you’re surely octtupling your costs. I’m sure that’s going to work out _just great_.

    Hi4 – All of human history has been rich people trying to keep poor people from banding together and asking ‘Hey, wait, why do you guys own all the stuff, anyway?’ Racism works remarkably good at that….it lets the poor white man have someone to look down on, and it makes the poor black man untrusting of any whites.Report