Morning Ed: Diversity {2018.01.15.M}

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Will Truman

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

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  1. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Di1: One thing that the American Left seems to miss a lot about the new American racists is how much Jew-hatred drives everything. A lot of the racist propaganda at Texas State really blames Jews for what the racists hate. We are seen as the leaders of non-whites. Many anti-racists tend to ignore this for some reason and prefer to put Jews in the white camp.

    Di2: This falls under what were they thinking?

    Di4: Has it ever occurred to the Professor that foreign exchange students from Asian countries might not have a generic Asian identity but an identity defined by their country?

    Di8: Goes to an article about PD James.Report

    • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to LeeEsq says:

      ne thing that the American Left seems to miss a lot about the new American racists is how much Jew-hatred drives everything

      I think this is because that sort of bigotry doesn’t resonate with the typical American liberal. If a black guy is the only black guy in a room full of white guys, everyone in the room is aware of this. Similarly with the only white guy in a room full of black guys. This is embedded in the American psyche. There was a time when this would apply to Jews as well, but no longer. The lone Jew in a room full of goyim might be aware of this, but everyone else generally is not, even if he is named Eli Cohen and has a large nose. So anti-black racism is intuitive, even to those appalled by it, in a way that Jew-hatred does not.

      In related news, when Obama nominated Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court there were complaints about his nominating a white guy. Jews count as white guys now, at least in some circles. Progress!

      In unrelated news, I had lunch yesterday at Attman’s Deli in Baltimore: a potato knish the size of my fist and a corned beef sandwich the size of my head. I managed to make my way home and flop down on my bed gasping. I might have died, but I would have died happy.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

        I also think that a lot of younger Jews view themselves as white. This has been my experience at least.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          You see a similar phenomenon with Italians (and I think Irish, though can’t speak first hand about that).

          Many older Italians — like my grandma’s generation and before — didn’t really get full white status in America. And, as a result, cloistered themselves off in ways as a form of self-preservation. I remember telling my grandma that I was considering going to Duke University and she got incensed. “The rebels will hate you for your Catholic blood!” This was in 1999 or 2000. She was born in 1932.

          You also saw some pushback against the criticism of the “Jersey Shore” show and its cast on the grounds that it was a form of whites bashing people of color and a non-white culture. It didn’t make much noise amidst all the other criticism and laughing done at JS’s expense, but it was an interesting perspective if nothing else.

          I often look at my own experiences growing up and marvel at how un-white they were… at least as I understand whiteness today. Skiing? Golfing? Hiking? Camping? We didn’t even talk about those things! And yet they seem like sort of the standard for white folks… or, really, wealth white folks in certain parts of the country. I’ve also learned that there really is no singular “white experience” in America, which seems really important to acknowledge.

          All that said, I am undeniably white in America in many, many ways. But my experience was different than that of many white folks in part because much of those who shaped my family culture were not really white in America or questionably white in America. It’s really fascinating to think about but it is really hard to have these conversations stay on the rails.

          One thing that strikes me as different about the Jewish experience is that they never seem to be allowed full assimilation. They might seem to get there but then quickly are turned on if/when it is convenient.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

        The important thing though is that many of the White Nationalists do not perceive Jews as white and see us as the most dangerous element in their world.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Will Truman says:

      Thanks. My argument to Di8 would be that even though White Canadians might not have been self-conscious of their whiteness until recently, there immigration policies before the 1960s demonstrated a sub-conscious white identity. Like America’s policy after 1924, it favored Europeans and barred non-Europeans for the most part and desired Christians more than Jews. This sub-conscious white identity is just entering into the foreground.Report

      • Avatar George Turner in reply to LeeEsq says:

        White Canadians are the only ones who can survive the lack of sunlight up there. The lack of pigmentation also gives them a major survival advantage when hiding from polar bears on the ice and snow.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Will Truman says:

      Although Canada is more homogeneously “white” than the United States, Canadians are only half as likely to identify as “white.”

      “Although” seems like the wrong conjunction to use there. Canadians are less likely to identify as “white” and more likely to identify as a specific European ethnicity precisely because outside of Ontario, Alberta, and BC it’s almost a given. Just like in Japan and China, nobody identifies as Asian. The US is more race-conscious because we have a large enough minority population that we pretty much have to be.Report

      • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        There are a couple of black secondary characters (and one white guy who thinks he is black) in Trailer Park Boys, set in Nova Scotia. The show is absurdist,with verisimilitude not the point, but is clearly a very local production and I would expect them to get this sort of thing right.Report

        • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

          I was actually going by some out-of-date statistics; since 2001, Canada’s population of visible minorities has grown from 13% to 22% (and another 5% aboriginal, who apparently aren’t considered visible minorities), and there are now 5 provinces that have at least 10% visible minority population with BC and Ontario each at over 25%. Nova Scotia’s still one of the whiter provinces, though, at 5% visible minority.Report

  2. Avatar Damon says:

    [Di4] I stopped reading after “We problematize this schema”. “Problematize”? WTF is that?
    “To her dismay, Kwon discovered that despite such efforts at integration, many international Asian students preferred to spend time with classmates of their own nationality, and that most didn’t express concern over the matter.” THE HORROR. Folks like spending time with their own kind, since, you know, they can RELATE to them. My god, let’s force these people to live and study in statistical racially mixed environments for their own good!

    [Di7] What we can learn is that we shouldn’t ascribe traits to animals that they can’t have. Neither definition of “racism” applies to rats since they can’t think like that. But they can identify the “outsider”, so the real interesting question is whether or not when humans identify the “outsider” is it racism or is it just a animal reaction?Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Damon says:

      Di4: I wonder if the researcher looked at how much faculty contributes to international students not integrating? I knew lots of international professors (Korean, Chinese, Indian) who had cliques of students from home and who encouraged those students to stick together. Common language, common experiences, it’s easy for them to form a clique.

      (I was doing end user support and was called upon to support student laptops – I had to stop supporting those students because they refused to use English on their laptops, which was against Uni policy, but which their professors excused)Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        And that word, “clique” is why diversity is important.

        Whether it is high school or a professional setting, cliques are warm and wonderful and affirming, when you are in one.
        When you are excluded, they are a source of rage and lead to violence.Report

        • Avatar Damon in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          “When you are excluded, they are a source of rage and lead to violence.”

          OMG so true.

          1) Like when I wasn’t on the foot ball team, I raged out and murdered the whole team, and the band.
          2) Like when the popular girls wouldn’t talk to me, I planted a bomb in the girls bathroom of the highschool

          So much rage…and it was all THEIR fault.

          /end sarchasmReport

      • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        I had to stop supporting those students because they refused to use English on their laptops, which was against Uni policy

        That seems like an odd policy. Were the laptops university-issued and -owned? And was the policy that you couldn’t change the UI language, or just that it voided your eligibility for free support?Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Brandon Berg says:

          It was the policy for all student laptops that were operating on campus networks. It was meant to foster collaboration and cooperation by having everyone working in a common language, and all international students were supposedly fluent in English (a requirement I seriously questioned as being legitimately met quite often…), so it should not have been difficult. Also, students could load any secondary language/character sets they wanted, but the OS had to be installed in English. What usually happened was the international student would load the US language set over a native language install. Which was fine if I was troubleshooting why Word wasn’t working. But if the OS itself was misbehaving, it could be rather tricky to get things to a place where I could get the English language up.

          Now, if the students had strong ESL skills, it might not be much of an issue, as we could work together to find the issue, but a bad translation from a student who is not computer savvy and really bad at English… I think the worst example was a student who, after reading the error message on the screen, told me the Ultraviolet port was configured wrong. It took me half a day of research before I figured out the student had somehow convinced his laptop to turn off the wifi card and attempt to use the IR port for wireless data communication. That was also when I asked the department chair if I could begin refusing to fix laptops that weren’t installed in English.Report

  3. Avatar fillyjonk says:

    Di2: I’m guessing they didn’t have any actual nursing instructors review/evaluate that book beforehand because yipes.

    The only thing I’d ever call a “side hustle” that I’ve done is review/ fact-check textbooks for a couple publishers. This includes pointing out typos (which I seem to be good at finding) but also questioning things that seem to be in error. I remember one stats book I did that referenced a driver with a “0.8 BAC” level and I KNEW that couldn’t be right (I daresay that not even Horatio Nelson, on his final journey home, had that high a level)….so yeah. I’d hope if it had been reviewed, SOME instructor would have gone “Wait a second…” first.Report

  4. Avatar George Turner says:

    Di9:

    If we consider adults age 25 or older, born in Africa and living in the U.S., 41.7 of them have a bachelor’s degree or more, according to 2009 data.

    We have 1.6 million African immigrants in the US, but only 41 of them have a college degree?

    Thanks for the info, Bloomberg!

    *Maybe Bloomberg is hiring writers from the Daily Mail.Report

  5. Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

    Di3: Some of these critiques of Friends were made at the time. The eternal whiteness of Friends’ New York City was pretty widely mocked. The homophobia is a particularly interesting element. This was about as late as a mainstream show could get away with this. Its run overlapped with Ellen and Will and Grace, and it wrapped up about the same time that gay marriage entered the discussion as a practical question, as contrasted with mere idealism.

    There is an approach to Friends to treat it as a show about a group of truly horrible people. The show itself was intermittently aware of this, but never embraced the idea even to the extent that Seinfield did.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

      Its run overlapped with Ellen and Will and Grace, and it wrapped up about the same time that gay marriage entered the discussion as a practical question, as contrasted with mere idealism.

      In fact, the final episode aired less than two weeks before the Massachusetts Supreme Court issued the ruling that made same sex marriage legal in that state.Report

    • Avatar Pinky in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

      The longer I live, the harder it is to dismiss any kind of slippery slope argument. The left always wants more. Friends pushed the gay-rights agenda. They laughed about it – it was a comedy; they laughed about everything – but they pushed it. Now we look back and complain that they didn’t push it enough?

      But life isn’t always a slippery slope. There’s a pendulum effect too. In one way, Friends was more liberal than today’s zeitgeist. Monica and Richard was “any two people who find love is ok”. But now we’re re-recognizing that there’s such a thing as inappropriate relationships. How long will that last? Is it a temporary thing, part of the current witch hunt? Or, as some people speculate, is this one of the early signs of a new Victorianism?Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Pinky says:

        Serious question:
        If we enter a new Victorian era, which side will conservatives be on?Report

        • Avatar InMD in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          Whichever one pisses off people in blue zip codes the most.Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to InMD says:

            Which would be considerably difficult!
            I think I have mentioned here before my belief that we are in need of a new etiquette, a broad cultural consensus on how we should behave towards each other, with norms that are negotiated and agreed upon.

            Because right now we do have a lot of unresolved conflict with regards to sexual behavior, torn between the pornified sex-on-demand and the need for emotional connection and intimacy.

            I deliberately use the word “etiquette” because the legalistic, rights based approaches favored by many seems to be inadequate to cope with the complexity of human relationships and behavior.Report

            • Avatar Damon in reply to Chip Daniels says:

              It’s not really all that hard. Empathy, understanding, graciousness. Just need some of that.

              And this is from a dude who has a history of saying unintentionally hurtful things. If I can do it, anyone can. (you just gotta let me know I you’re upset)Report

            • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Chip Daniels says:

              @chip-daniels

              But one of the problems with living in a large and diverse society is that it is hard to come up with agreed upon norms and what not. Even in so-called liberal/blue-state/secular society coming at odds. See Aziz Ansari now.

              There is a guy I vaguely know (largely through social media), he is married to someone I know from college. I agree with his political stances but I think he is super-naive. Every now and then, he will post some liberal line of thought along the lines of “I thought we collectively decided” or “Issue X should not be a partisan issue.”

              Whenever I see these, I always wonder when did we decide and what?* One of the biggest issues I see with left politics is that the ultimate end-goal is a post-political universe with no fights over who gets what and when. Maybe I am a cynic or just an inherent Schmiditian but to me there will never really be a broad universal consensus.** We are too diverse. It is Pollyanna kindergarten to pretend otherwise.

              *As I get older, I become more and more irritated by declarations of We even if it is just clickbait marketing. I loathe the Internet tendency to write “X is the Y we all need right now” because I see it as enforced conformity. My immediate reaction is always “Excuse me. How dare you presume I need this.”

              **One of the things that libertarianism and/or neo-liberalism seems to tacitly go for is “we can never get every one to agree on anything except making money. Let’s make everyone all for maximizing profit.”Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                Yes, social norms have always been difficult to establish because the universal human nature is to want to be part of a group, and yet free to pursue our own desires, which leads to conflict.

                But the fact that this is universal is the key. You mention that essay over the weekend about that woman’s date with Aziz Ansari.

                It was written by a sophisticated, educated First World woman. Yet couldn’t we find similar stories written by young women in Asia, Africa, South America?
                Couldn’t we find similar stories written in the 19th Century, 15th Century, or Bronze Age?
                The medieval codes of chivalry were devised precisely because men behaved badly.

                I think the folly of modern thinking is to view us as empty vessels, blank slates upon which we imprint our own will.
                The degree to which our deeper primal instincts of self preservation and sexual hunger affect our decisions and behavior is largely ignored or downplayed.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                I get this “I thought we all decided x issue needs y solution” on my news feed to. The most usual manifestation is people in the sex positive, enthusiastic consent school of thought going about that all women have the same beliefs on these things that they do. My personal belief is that “all right minded people” is a way to shape social norms. People really don’t believe it. They are trying to force an issue into belief.Report

          • Avatar Pinky in reply to InMD says:

            I assume you’re saying that at least partially in jest, but you may be surprised how little time conservatives spend thinking about liberals. We’d mostly like to be left alone. That includes not really minding if a work of art has a liberal bent, as long as it’s not too propagandistic. Di3 is about hand-wringing from a leftward perspective, which is the dominant form of hand-wringing (at least these days).

            As for Chip’s question, to the extent that the new Victorianism is made up of college consent checklists, it’ll be left-leaning, but there is a viable pre-second-wave-feminist view of the sexes that’s going to have appeal to the right. I’m not sure what Chip was going for, actually, unless he’s making reference to the latitude that many on the right have given to Trump. There’s an element of the Jacksonian mindset that’s very quick to forgive infidelities, focusing instead on fidelity to one’s current spouse.Report

            • Avatar InMD in reply to Pinky says:

              My comment to Chip was indeed mostly a joke. To the extent it wasn’t it was a reference more to conservative media, which I do think is focused on pissing off a certain strain of progressive (BSDI, etc.).

              My read on conservatism, and you can tell me if I’m wrong since I’m not one, is that Christian piety about sex is in near total retreat. It’s still out there but is mostly trying to negotiate terms of surrender that allow it to exist on the margins without being considered ipso facto bigotry. The dominant conservative view I see is what I’d call a non-liturgical belief that, generally speaking, people reap what they sow. As applied to sexual relations I’d see it as saying do what you want (which when behind closed doors at least is none of my business) but don’t cry to me about the consequences. But that’s just an outsider’s perspective.Report

              • Avatar J_A in reply to InMD says:

                The dominant conservative view I see is what I’d call a non-liturgical belief that, generally speaking, people reap what they sow. As applied to sexual relations I’d see it as saying do what you want (which when behind closed doors at least is none of my business) but don’t cry to me about the consequences.

                Whenever I read Rod Dreher or Ross Douthat I don’t get any of “do what you want, and the consequences are on you”. I still see a lot of “you are destroying society and civilization unless you stop having gay sex right now”Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to J_A says:

                They’re representative of those who I think have already lost the cultural battle.Report

    • There is an approach to Friends to treat it as a show about a group of truly horrible people. The show itself was intermittently aware of this, but never embraced the idea even to the extent that Seinfield did.

      The characters at the time were understood to mostly doofy (in slightly various ways) but with basically good hearts. Two (Phoebe and Joey) were more explicitly clueless; the others were basically self-centered, cynical and sarcastic, and generally uncomfortable and defensive mingling outside of their little clique. And we were to love them despite these flaws. That’s how they were to be understood at the time. It’s a little easier in retrospect to understand that we were to love them despite their flaws because the stories were always told from within the clique’s perspective; only rarely when outsiders were brought in as doomed-to-fail romantic partners could we see how the collective closed ranks and brought out the defensive xenophobia.

      Which is at least congruent with the writers’ choice to throw one character into an obviously inappropriate relationship. Beyond Monica dating her parents’ friend Richard, we saw Chandler’s annoying girlfriend Janice, Phoebe’s doomed engagement with David, Ross’ engagement and failed marriage with Emily. Ross and Monica both had doomed relationships that ended before the series even began (Ross’s engagement to Carol failed when she fell in love with Susan; Monica nearly married that orthodontist guy before he ran off with Monica’s maid of honor). The only relationships that worked were the ones within the group: Monica and Chandler, Ross and Rachel (and that one, despite being in the works for all ten seasons, wound up costing Joey a massively broken heart).Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

      Cracked has a funny article that looks at a small “reserved” sign placed on the table they always occupied at the coffee shop and uses it to frame an argument for just how awful they are.

      http://www.cracked.com/video_19324_6-friends-characters-who-are-actually-terrible-people.html

      Googling that also led to these:
      http://www.cracked.com/blog/the-one-where-joey-was-sexual-predator/
      http://www.cracked.com/blog/everyone-friends-terrible-person.-heres-proof/Report

    • Avatar Pinky in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

      Comedy is classically about fools stumbling into good fortune, just as tragedy is about noble people falling victim to their weaknesses. Chandler and Ross could easily have hung out at Cheers, or at the Raccoon Lodge with Ralph and Ed.Report

  6. Avatar Chip Daniels says:

    Di8
    If they aren’t aware of their whiteness Then why did they call it the Great White North?
    Take off, hoser.Report

  7. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    I agree with Richard on Friends. This was discussed at the time but the 1990s were a weird moment politically.

    On the one hand, I think that a lot of people around my age became less homophobic because of the quiet radicalism of the Real World especially seasons 2 and 3. I wonder how many people were introduced to homosexuality through Beth and Pedro. Season 2 of the Real World made a big deal out of the guy from the South (presumably conservative) bonding with the Lesbian named Beth.

    But homosexuality was still largely a taboo and DOMA was perfectly acceptable. Hell as late as 2004, homophobia helped Bush II secure reelection.Report

    • Avatar InMD in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      I always thought Friends was a really lame, milquetoast kind of show but I did and still do like Seinfeld. This conversation reminds me of the episode where Jerry and George are mistaken by a journalism student for a gay couple (‘not that there’s anything wrong with that’). I think that’s a better marker for where a lot of the culture was. Slowly dawning on many (but not all or probably even most) that the status quo treatment of gay people was wrong but not quite sure what to do with that realization. Friends handled it clumsily compared to some of its contemporaries, but then a lot of people were handling it clumsily and still are. We should expect better now but I think the burn it/banish it for being a product of its times stuff is pretty silly.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to InMD says:

        Friends was like the movie Singles but a bit latter and dumbed down for a mass market audience.Report

        • Avatar InMD in reply to LeeEsq says:

          Gotcha, I don’t think I have ever actually seen Singles but I am vaguely aware of its existence. I always thought Friends really floundered in its big network sitcomness. The jokes seemed so audience tested as to blunt any bite and the really sentimental way the ongoing romances were handled made it feel like you were suddenly in a soap opera. At a time where you also had Seinfeld and golden age Simpsons I could never figure out why people thought Friends was so good.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to InMD says:

            Friends was basically a porto-hipster comedy of young people trying to make it in the big city and have adventures.Report

          • Avatar Murali in reply to InMD says:

            Its like when it comes to friends, everyone has become a hipster. Just last year, my wife and I rewatched all the friends episodes. It was audience tested, meaning that most people will find it reasonably funny. You just have to shut the PC part of you off. Seinfeld on the other hand is not so much unfunny as only barely funny enough to get a smile. In terms of aging, it seems that seinfeld has aged worse than friends because friends is still genuinely funny while seinfeld is mostly boring.Report

            • Avatar gabriel conroy in reply to Murali says:

              I’ve never really watched Friends, except for a few episodes here and there. But I think I get what you mean about Seinfeld. It was, and still is, one of my favorite sitcoms, but it hasn’t aged well, at least for me, and while it’s still one of my favorites, I don’t like it as much as I used to. The humor, at least some of it, also seems cruel to me whereas it didn’t when I first watched it. And I agree, it’s not quite as funny as I had found it.Report

            • Avatar InMD in reply to Murali says:

              This is interesting to me because I encounter the sentiment you and @gabriel-conroy are expressing at times, and yet I’m the complete opposite. I’ll still laugh at a Seinfeld re-run, especially if I haven’t seen it in a long time, but Friends does nothing for me, at least on a comedic level (insert inappropriate joke about Jennifer Aniston and/or Courtney Cox here).

              Just a matter of taste I guess!Report

            • Avatar aaron david in reply to Murali says:

              I have to disagree with you on Seinfeld, I think it is still the funniest, best aging comedy. The reason (for me at least) is that the jokes aren’t predicated on current events. They work from tropes as old as time, jealousy, greed, laziness and so on.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      That is one plausible and possibly subconscious interpretation on why many people want to draft Oprah for the Presidency, although I’m not sure if this would apply to African-American women who want Oprah to run. I think the real motivation is that many of the women pressing Oprah to run is that they are either people who mis-learned the lessons of 2016 because they don’t think about politics correctly and wrongly believe only a celebrity can beat Trump and/or that they see Oprah as a sort of anti-Trump and believe him getting defeated by her would have some potent symbolism.Report

  8. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    No one’s gonna bite on Di0, are they? It left me shaking my head in slackjawed amazement.

    I like the guys singing the jingle. Notice the length of the their ties: if you average out the two of them, they both got it right!Report

    • Avatar fillyjonk in reply to Burt Likko says:

      my problem is I can’t quite tell if they’re 100% in earnest (about how non-racist their store is) and don’t realize how odd the ad looks, or if they’re doing a subtle parody of the “look how inclusive we are” signalling in some ads.

      Local furniture store ads, though…..they’re quite a thing. (One where I used to use promise that if you came in, they’d give you an onion. I don’t know why. But I think they did actually hand out onions to customers….)Report

      • Avatar InMD in reply to fillyjonk says:

        Where I live we used to have some really bizarre ones for a mattress place called Bedding Barn. I think discount and regional furniture stores are all a little bit shady and fly by night. Nothing should be presumed earnest. They all have basically the same merchandise and will do anything they can to get you through their door instead of Ikea’s.Report

        • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to InMD says:

          @inmd @fillyjonk @burt-likko

          The crappy production values of local commercials for local businesses is a bit of a mystery to me in 2018 especially because it is easier to make good and sleek productions more than ever because of technological advancement.

          Nothing beats this wowser though aka the 9/11 mattress sale ad (take this as the warning because it is one)

          Report

          • One of those situations where you wonder if it could really be true that **NO ONE** stopped to say, “Maybe this isn’t such a good idea, guys…”Report

            • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Burt Likko says:

              I’ve long stopped wondering about this and I have just started assuming that most people are kind of dense and don’t have the ability to ask such questions. They don’t necessarily mean badly.

              FWIW, I don’t get what counts as humor and entertainment to most people especially if it is of the shock variety. I don’t get why Swatting is supposed to be funny. I don’t even find the more harmless prank calls that you can hear on mainstream radio to be funny.* I don’t get the Jackass style pranksters either. But lots of people love this stuff and it makes a ton of money so what do I know?

              *And they are universal. When I was in Malaysia in December I heard one on an English-language radio station while in a cab. The call involved a DJ pretending to be a male model and getting a store clerk in a tizzy over an alleged fashion show that was supposed to happen at the store that evening. The poor store clerk had no idea. When she got the reveal, she hung up. American ones are much worse.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                Many people get an idea or an impulse in their head and stick with it. A Facebook friend posted this weekend on a group of parents in the Mid-West that thought it might be a good prank to blind fold a bunch of the strapping young student athletes and amorously kiss them on the lips. The results weren’t as expected or rather they went as sensible people thought they should go.Report

            • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Burt Likko says:

              This might be where I become a conservativish liberal though like Chip. I think we have a generation or more than grew up constantly exposed to “funny” but offensive t-shirts, TV shows like South Park, Family Guy, and many others that reveal in being adolescent miscreants and as lowest-common denominator as possible, shock jocks, etc. All this has done is trash any concept of wisdom and tact and compassion. We have a mass generation that doesn’t understand otherwise and they might be a majority, they are certainly a large plurality.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                I remember SNL did a skit where a psychic would ask dead celebrities questions from viewers.
                John Belushi played Elvis, and of course all his responses revolved around drug use.
                It was only a short time later Belushi himself died of a drug overdose, but SNL never did any jokes about that.
                It occurred to me how easy it is to mock the pain of others, while holding our own sacred.

                “He jests at scars that felt no wound.”Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                @chip-daniels It occurred to me how easy it is to mock the pain of others, while holding our own sacred.

                Was it that, or was it mocking his own pain through one of the few outlets that would keep it still hidden, because he was ashamed?

                The sacred and the shameful are related, but quite different, in the human psyche, ennit?Report

            • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to Burt Likko says:

              My working assumption is that the commercial was produced in an environment where, once an idea has been floated, people aren’t permitted to suggest it is anything less than wonderful, lest they be labeled as negative or Not a Team Player. I have worked in places like that. There really isn’t anything you can do to stop the stupidity.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

            I wonder the same thing. You have a lot of actors looking for at least some work and cheap but sleek production values thanks to CGI and other computer related technologies these days. It shouldn’t cost that much to make a good looking, witty local commercial. It won’t have Super Bowl level quality but it would be good enough.Report

          • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Saul Degraw says:

            Most local business commercials are filmed in the parking lot, but this was clearly an inside job.Report

      • Avatar KenB in reply to fillyjonk says:

        I was struck by it too, and so I looked it up — not 100% in earnest. It was specifically created (in 2009, I’m surprised I hadn’t seen it before) to look like a cheesy local ad and to generate clicks.Report

        • Avatar fillyjonk in reply to KenB says:

          Oh, I see.

          So, kind of like the much-loved “Butt Drugs” ad wasn’t really a totally earnest local effort….I think I feel a little better about it knowing it was made with a wink.

          In fact, the duo that did the Red House ad may have been the same guys who did the Butt Drugs ad….Report

    • Avatar Anne in reply to Burt Likko says:

      This commercial is one of Rhett and Link’s creations.

      Rhett and Link? Good Mythical Morning? I can’t be the only one here who knows of them….

      Report

  9. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    I’m not getting the dig at inappropriate relationships in the Friends article. Relationships like Monica dating her parent’s friend might have issues but stuff like that happens all the time. There seems to be something Victorian going on there, “Just because it exists, doesn’t mean you have to depict it.”Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Perhaps there wasn’t enough explicit condemnation of their relationship.

      As an aside, my fourth-grade teacher was obsessed with Tom Selleck (who played the older man in that episode). It didn’t seem particularly odd to me at the time, but in retrospect, she spent quite a bit more time declaring her love for Tom Selleck than is probably appropriate for a fourth-grade class.Report

  10. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    I’ve updated the musical selection the sidebar in commemoration of today’s sad news.

    She was almost exactly one year younger than me. That’s a very scary thing to contemplate.Report

  11. Avatar pillsy says:

    I’m gonna be the guy who asks why [Di3] matters at all.

    Not just because Friends was a bad show twenty years ago and remains a bad show now, but because… if a younger generation of viewers don’t like a twenty year old show, who cares?

    It seems like fretting over whether people my age like All in the Family (which I don’t think I’ve seen a single episode of) or The Mary Tyler Moore Show (which was pretty great). Friends was cancelled ages ago, the episodes are available in various formats, and the stakes for whether people watch it or not, or even whether they don’t watch it because it’s “problematic”, seem to be essentially nil.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to pillsy says:

      Seems to be the latest woke fad, talking about how bad things were a mere generation ago. It’s ego, a game of “look of advanced we are from those neanderthals that came right before us”.

      We probably did the same thing to the generation(s) before us with regard to using computers, etc.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        I remember something decidedly different from the 90s. On the one hand, most of the people around me had an appreciation that there was a n unprecedented level of social liberalism. We were aware of racism/sexism/homophobia/etc, but also understood that it was less of of an obstruction than it had ever been before. And, at the same time, there was the feeling (obviously not entirely accurate) that the previous generation had a degree of freedom from authority, dealt with less bureaucracy and censorship, and generally partied much harder than we did. There is a reason that Dazed and Confused and PCU were a thing.

        At the time, I understood that things were moving in this direction, but I could have never anticipated the degree to which young people today seem to crave the increase in authority and bureaucracy and censorship.Report

        • Avatar pillsy in reply to j r says:

          Well, it’s not clear how much more censorship they’re clamoring for. It seems like the overall desire for censorship remains more or less constant over the years, and the only thing that changes is what exactly it is that the would-be censors want to see censored[1].

          That said, there are only so many ways to rebel in a culture where stuff like South Park more or less became the norm.

          [1] I remember there was a lot more concern about ordinary swearing and graphic violence when I was growing up. I’ve seen stuff on network TV (after 10PM, but still) that probably would have gotten an NC-17 for violence in the early ’90s.Report

          • Avatar j r in reply to pillsy says:

            It’s not about more or less censorship. It’s about whether censorship is something that concerned parents, school administrators or law enforcement (eg the Broward County Sheriff’s department) are forcing on young people or something that young people are demanding from parents and administrators.

            Back when it was fashionable to dwell on the sexist nature of Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” there were student groups demanding that it be banned on campuses. That is the kind of thing that I’m talking about.Report

            • Avatar pillsy in reply to j r says:

              I mean, it’s been ages since I’ve seen any of PCU, and I never saw more than bits of it on cable, but wasn’t a lot of it exactly about that kind of demand? I seem to remember similar demands from student activists when I was in college; I generally ignored them, as did the administration, but they would occasionally cause a bit of a kerfuffle in the media.

              If anything has changed in the 20 years, it’s the degree to which university administrators take those demands seriously. I don’t know if even that has actually changed, but the shift towards administrative bloat and the increasing drive to treating student relations as a form of customer service would both point in that direction.Report

              • Avatar j r in reply to pillsy says:

                I mean, it’s been ages since I’ve seen any of PCU, and I never saw more than bits of it on cable, but wasn’t a lot of it exactly about that kind of demand?

                Yes, that’s exactly the point. In 1994, a movie like PCU was mocking an exaggerated version of political correctness that, at the time, I never imagined would become a reality. I figured that as people got older and less naive, they would calm the heck down. And for the most part they did. What I didn’t foresee was the subsequent generation.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to j r says:

                Well, the subsequent generation has yet to get older and less naive.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to pillsy says:

                This is the best part of the movie.

                Report

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