Morning Ed: Diversity {2018.03.15.Th}


Will Truman

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

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164 Responses

  1. fillyjonk fillyjonk says:

    Di5: 30 years ago, when I was a college freshman, my dorm had a “soul food dinner” (traditional Southern soul food, which is mainly considered to originate with, but is not exclusively eaten by, the Southern African-American community). Most of the AA students I knew were Northerners like me, and they were puzzled by it; I think one woman even had to ask what collard greens were.

    I don’t remember anyone particularly taking offense (my African-American RA did PRETEND to be offended, but she was clearly joking), but then again it was a more innocent time.

    The funny thing is, I think of “mac and cheese” as “Depression food” – my older relatives talked about making it as a way to manage when the larder was almost bare, and it was a super common thing we ate in my family in the economically-stressed 1970s. (Then again: both my brother and I were picky eaters but WOULD eat mac and cheese, so….)Report

    • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to fillyjonk says:

      Didn’t they have soul food restaurants in those Northern areas? The Midwest seems to have a lot of them, frequently on the other side of the track from other retail,and sometimes with fading pictures of African-American politicians.

      I was asked to join a friend at one yesterday, but I was too busy. The clientele at that one is typically 50/50 white/black, and middle-aged. So I do wonder if its days are numbered. I’ve never seen watermelon served at one, let alone watermelon Kool-aid.Report

      • fillyjonk fillyjonk in reply to PD Shaw says:

        Maybe in some areas. I’m pretty sure parts of Detroit (nearest large city to our university at the time) had them. But the young women I am referring to came from more of a country-club set.Report

        • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to fillyjonk says:

          I think pretty much any Midwestern city of at least 100,000 people and 10% African-American would have a soul food restaurant. I do wonder if it is a nostalgia food that people are not as connected to as they once were. But then there was a twitter storm a few years back in which Whole Food got in trouble for recommending collard greens prepared with peanuts, which was a vile act of cultural appropriation of Black food.Report

    • Avatar DavidTC in reply to fillyjonk says:

      Most of the AA students I knew were Northerners like me, and they were puzzled by it; I think one woman even had to ask what collard greens were.

      I am continually baffled by the idea of ‘soul food’, which, as far as I can tell, is actually ‘poor Southern food’. I basically grew up on a slightly healthier version of it.

      ‘barbecued ribs, corn bread, collard greens, and Kool-Aid and watermelon-flavored water’ literally sounds like a big meal at my house growing up, except my mother didn’t let us have Kool-Aid like all the other kids…we could have water, or actual juice of the apple or grape variety. (And I have no idea what watermelon-flavored water even _is_.)

      There are people literally describing food from my childhood kitchen table, food that would be from _my_ kitchen table if I cooked, food that is served on my brother’s table, and calling it ‘soul food’ and asserting it is somehow uniquely black. Like, why are you calling my family’s sweet potato casserole ‘soul food’ and pretending it’s something only black people eat?

      And, yes, I’m aware of the claim that slaves must have invented all that food to feed to their white masters, thus making the origins of all it from black people. This is…not supported by any historic evidence and not really how either food or slavery works (Hey, slaves, why don’t you invent some new food for dinner tonight…we trust your judgment.), and non-slave owning households seemed to be eating exactly the same things.

      Also, this origin story is clearly bogus for many things that are ‘soul food’…slaves did not invent mac and cheese, for example. Most of the vegetables are just….boiled or fried in animal fat, which humans have been doing forever. Same with frying meats. Barbecuing meat is probably Caribbean in origin. Cornbread is from the original American settlers saying ‘Hey, since wheat is hard to grow here on the east coast, can we make bread from this ‘corn meal’ that the Natives showed us how to grind?’, and it turns out the answer is yes.

      Sweet potato casserole was _invented by the marshmellow industry_ in 1917 as a way to sell more marshmellows. That is not a joke, that is the actual history.

      It’s hard to point to any ‘soul food’ that we are aware was developed, in the south, _during_ the institution of slavery, much less any that could have been developed by actual slaves.

      Even ‘chittlins’, the thing that everyone is sure was invented by slaves because who else would eat pig’s intestines…are from England, as ‘chitterlings’. (I promise everyone, the English poor were eating all sorts of horrible leftover meat offal long before a single Englishman set foot in America.) Yes, it became a slave’s food because they got the left-over pig parts, but they didn’t invent it.

      Now, of course, ‘the origin’ isn’t how culture works. All those foods, as a whole, can be considered as ‘culture’…and at that point I return to my original point that, duh, which is this is ‘lower class southern food’, not ‘black food’.

      As I have said before in discussions of cultural appropriation, you cannot culturally appropriate food, as no culture holds their own food as sacred. (As far as I know.) If outsiders would be given that food to eat when they came to visit, it is perfectly fine for outsiders to make the same food.

      Thus I, as a Southerner, have no authority to say ‘You cannot make that food, that is _Southern_ food.’ Food, and how to make it, is part of general human knowledge, and we all own that.

      But that doesn’t absolve people of the responsibility to at least name the culture correctly they got the food from.

      It’s sorta the difference between copyright law and proper accreditation. All food is public domain, you can make it and use it however you want…but please stop printing copies of Frankenstein with the author listed as Charles Dickens, even if that is entirely legal. For one thing, that is pretty disrespectful to Mary Shelly, and for another, it looks really dumb.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to DavidTC says:

        Put simply 99.99% of all cultural appropriation claims are bull. I’m not sure if Cultural Appropriation or Microagression takes the prize for the most inane left wing goofiness of this decade but I’m inclined to give the trophy to Cultual appropriation because I can, maybe, see microagression being a very very small thing whereas cultural appropriation claims are but for, 0.01% of the time, merely antililberal idiocy.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to North says:

          “Hey. Let me offer you a microapology.”Report

        • Avatar Maribou, Moderator in reply to North says:

          @north I think both of them are sometimes a thing, but I also see that thing that they sometimes are as “lack of common human decency and/or inability or refusal to use one’s empathy skills”. It doesn’t bother me if people who are more frustrated by those things than I am (usually because it happens to them more) want to use more specific, targeted vocabulary that they feel more accurately captures their experiences – but it also doesn’t bother me if people want to lump them in with all the many, many other examples of such things that exist.

          Either way, eating the same things one’s family has always eaten for dinner is unlikely to be labeled as cultural appropriation by anyone outside of internet media. (Though people are certainly going to be surprised sometimes, most people who didn’t grow up poor and white don’t seem to have much idea what is or isn’t traditional among poor white people in various areas. Constantly getting shocked-face that my mother-in-law and I have many of the same traditions, songs, foods, expressions, etc., in common even though I’m from CANADA and she’s from Harlan County… because surely Canada is soooo much more sophisticated than Kentucky. Sigh.).

          Deciding how to celebrate Black History Month without recourse to your students (especially if compounded by lying about whose idea certain things were as it seems was the case here) is …. pretty thoughtless. Liable to piss people off. And kind of a no-brainer to do it differently. It seems obvious to me that this went the way it did because there were underlying issues, and this was the match that lit the kindling, not because some kid just went off the rails.Report

          • Avatar Maribou in reply to Maribou, Moderator says:

            @north Grar, this also was not a moderator comment. So sorry if it was confusing.

            Apologies guys. Not my best day brainwise.Report

          • Avatar North in reply to Maribou, Moderator says:

            I grant that. My issue with charges of cultural appropriation is that it’s not only overwhelmingly a specious charge but it’s also astonishingly, toxically illiberal. Like one of the best things in the world for fostering understand and appreciation between diverse groups of people is appreciating and exchanging the mores and ways of different cultures and bringing that interchange to as many people as possible often involves it being commercial in some manner. Cultural appropriation accusations stab straight at the heart of that absolutely vital process. Also I have yet to read a simple consistent objective and reliable way to apportion out “ownership” of those various concepts and mores to specific cultures.Report

            • Avatar Maribou in reply to North says:


              ” Also there’s simply no consistent objective and reliable way to apportion out “ownership” of those various concepts and mores to specific cultures.”

              If you give everyone involved a seat at the table, and actually *seek out* people to sit in those chairs and let them speak their minds, you don’t need to worry nearly as much about quantifying who owns what amount of what.

              But part of that has to involve being willing to look past the fact that they like different phraseology than you do…. Most of the folks I know who use the term cultural appropriation are in *favor* of cultural exchange, commercial or otherwise, and see it as the appropriate thing to do rather than appropriating. It’s just that those folks don’t tend to make news.

              (Looking past phraseology applies far more broadly, of course, than to liberals trying to work with folks who are up in arms about cultural appropriation. Far, far, far more broadly. )Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Maribou says:

                For sure! And it is important to remember that the media and the right wing media especially, is extremely vested in left wing nut farming and nut magnification.Report

            • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to North says:

              We’re just getting out toes in the water here, there’s definitely going to be some missteps along the way.

              But really, it wasn’t that long ago that black minstrel shows were cool and acceptable, and it I still wear socks I bought when most festival goers saw nothing wrong with getting drunk in the sun wearing board shorts and a Cree war bonnet.

              We’ll find a common stable place eventually, but when the pendulum started way up there, it’s going to take a bit to settle down.Report

            • Avatar DavidTC in reply to North says:

              Also I have yet to read a simple consistent objective and reliable way to apportion out “ownership” of those various concepts and mores to specific cultures.

              This is because the entire concept is so poorly explained that you don’t have a good grasp of it. (Which is not your fault.)

              The entire premise of cultural appropriation is _supposed_ to be how certain things are restricted in certain cultures. They are ‘sacred’ things, aka, they are ‘set apart’ from normal everyday use, and hence people from outside using them casually is very offensive.

              Like Native American headdresses, for the ur example. Headdresses are basically civilian/military honors, and it’s rather disrespectful to just make them up and put them on.

              There’s stuff in other cultures that people should show respect to and not trivialize by using however they feel like it.

              It’s the same way that non-Christians, or at least people who are not part of a Christian culture, should probably not wear crucifixes because they think Jesus on the cross ‘looks cools’. That’s a specific symbol that means things to people. (Note the rules change when you’re _part_ of the culture and using it in a subversive and offensive way.)

              However, no one actually seems to understand these sort of sacred things are few and far between. It’s not everything to do with a culture, it’s not even most things to do with a culture. (1)

              The way to check if it’s cultural appropriation is pretty easy: If you, a foreigner to that culture, were to move to the culture, would they be okay with you doing what you are doing?

              And the answer for, for example, food, is always ‘yes’. Of course they expect you to cook and eat their food, hell, they’re probably more comfortable with you doing that then you cooking your weird foreign food. Same with dressing in the same sorts of clothes. Etc, etc.

              Would they be okay with you harvesting some of their sacred plant to get high? Creating a mockery of a religious practice? Making a copy of some ceremony robes that are only worn four times a year by certain people, and wearing those around in public? Survey says…no, no they would not be okay with those things, so don’t do them there…and don’t do them in America, either.

              That very thin slice of things is true ‘cultural appropriation’. The rest is silliness by people who don’t understand the concept.

              Admittedly, sometimes this is hard to figure out from outside a culture…if you find yourself stranded several hundred light years from earth and can’t, you know, just _ask_ them.

              To complicate things, there are also at least two different things that are bad, and get called ‘cultural appropriation’, but are not technically that.

              The first is cultural mockery, where people take stuff that it would be okay to do seriously, but everyone is doing it in a stupid and mocking manner that is clearly making fun of the original culture. For example, if you really were visiting an Native American tribe readying for war, you participating in a war chant they were doing would be fine, as far as I know. I don’t think outsiders would be excluded from that, although admittedly I am not an expert, and obviously there are a bunch of different tribal traditions of the tribes that even have something like that.

              But everyone doing it over-the-top in a parodying manner for a baseball game, however, is something else. Copying non-sacred things from another culture in a serious manner is one thing, copying it in mockery is…not respectful at all.

              And the second is what is better called cultural mis-accreditation or non-accreditation, aka, which is what I am talking in my post. For a more obvious and probably less divisive version of that(2): White people in America have basically, for an entire century, repeatedly stolen newly invented musical genres from black people. That’s almost the entire history of modern music, frankly.

              That’s sucks. That’s bad. Let’s not do that anymore, and let’s makes sure black artists gets the credit they deserve and have a discussion about how, while the music industry is learning (Only after they failed to steal rap.), the rest of the the entertainment industry is still pretty sucky at race relations.

              But…that’s not cultural appropriation. It’s actually sorta the opposite.

              1) As I mentioned way back when we talked about a Japanese-American who was talking about how people were ‘appropriating’ kimonos, which are…just clothes that Japanese people sometimes wear, and they don’t give a damn who wears them. It’s like us getting upset over Japanese people wearing tuxedos.

              2) I always feel like a bit of an ass trying to correct the history on ‘soul food’, even when true, because there’s a boatload of crap black people did invent and didn’t get credit for. But let’s not counter the original mis-attributions with new mis-attributions! Let’s try recording actual history for once.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to DavidTC says:

                So soul food is sacred?
                And while I admire your definition it doesn’t appear to fit with other definitions I see rattling about. Also you seem to imply with your Christian bit that majority cultures can be appropriated from whereas I have seen it widely stated that white/majority cultures can’t suffer from appropriation (a toxic bit of hypocrisy there).
                Which encapsulates the problem I have with appropriation in generally. If defined narrowly it seems to genuinely apply only in the narrowest of circumstances and thus is being massively (and toxically) misused. If defined broadly it’s so hypocritically illiberal/ludicrous/self-defeating that you’d think any ideology would be embarrassed to have anything to do with it. And everyone has their own definition of it along that spectrum.

                And also, as you yourself note, ownership of most cultural things is pretty hard to definitively define. Sacred items are easier but jeans? Dreadlocks? Soul food? Bindis?Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to North says:

                . Also you seem to imply with your Christian bit that majority cultures can be appropriated from whereas I have seen it widely stated that white/majority cultures can’t suffer from appropriation (a toxic bit of hypocrisy there).

                White and Christian is the default background culture in the US, and thus anyone who lives here (Regardless of whether or not they are specifically those things) is almost certainly _part of_ that culture. Thus they cannot appropriate from it.

                It is hypothetically possible that someone from outside this culture moves here and starts misusing parts of it, but we hardly need to worry about any necessity of calling out ‘cultural appropriation’ in those circumstances…almost by definition, if you are misusing sacred things of a majority culture that surrounds you, someone will call you out. That’s a very good way to become ostracized.

                It’s only when people _aren’t_ interacting with that culture, or that culture has no power, that they misuse sacred things from them with no social repercussions. (Until people recently started calling out that cultural appropriation.)

                And, on top of that, most of ‘people are appropriating from white/Christian culture’ claims are just total nonsense, being done by people who have even less understanding of this than the college students that make headline all the time and are either trying to mock the entire concept…or are racist, I guess.

                If defined narrowly it seems to genuinely apply only in the narrowest of circumstances and thus is being massively (and toxically) misused.

                Like most things that people pretend the left is out of control with, it’s really just a valid idea with actual rules and boundaries…that is misused by a few hundred college students and a dozen bloggers that somehow comprise the entire left according to the right wing media.

                And it doesn’t help that the only time it makes the papers is either dumb and wrong claims of cultural appropriation, or when someone is mocking their dumb and wrong claims.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to DavidTC says:

                Just came across on the twitters:

                Stevie Wonder Calls ‘Bullshit’ On Bruno Mars Cultural Appropriation Claim

                From the article:

                Pop star Bruno Mars is getting support against accusations of cultural appropriation from an unimpeachable source: Stevie Wonder.

                TMZ asked Wonder to chime in on a debate that started last weekend, when activist and writer Seren Sensei called Mars a cultural appropriator on “The Grapevine,” a web series dealing with African-American issues.

                Mars, whose mother is Filipino and his father Puerto Rican and Jewish, has made a career with songs based on musical forms that are historically and traditionally African-American, according to CNN.


                As HuffPost has written before, the Cambridge Dictionary defines cultural appropriation as “the act of taking or using things from a culture that is not your own, especially without showing that you understand or respect this culture.”

                TMZ asked Wonder if he thought Mars deserved a “pass” because of the reverent way he treats black-originated musical genres like reggae, hip-hop and funk.

                Wonder dismissed the question, saying no pass is needed because God created music for everyone.

                I’m not sure that Stevie Wonder is “unimpeachable”.

                That’s not the point of the article, though.Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to Jaybird says:

                @jaybird I have seen one article making the cultural appropriation claim, the Seren Sensei one (linked from another article disputing it), and now more than a half-dozen from sources within the same music scene, explaining why the first article is so stupid.

                This explains why I feel the flaws in cultural appropriation claims will be self-correcting over time…Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Maribou says:

                That one single article caused enough of a stir for it to have reached the ears of Stevie Wonder.Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to Jaybird says:

                @jaybird Yeah. But from what I’ve seen the stir was of the flavor “Can you believe this dumb article???” and not of the flavor, “Can you believe what Bruno Mars has done???”Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Maribou says:

                Well, I don’t doubt that you’ve seen what you’ve seen.

                Stevie Wonder doesn’t have your advantages there.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Jaybird says:

                Stevie Wonder doing Innervisions – unimpeachable.
                Stevie Wonder doing Stay Gold Pony Boy – impeachable.

                And that is god’s truth!Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Jaybird says:

                While I don’t really feel like listening to that stupid panel discussion, the article has several quotes that seem to indicate the panelist is very confused about the entire concept of cultural appropriation, and doesn’t even manage to hold the same misunderstanding of it as other people.

                I mean, looking at her quotes: ‘he takes pre-existing work and he just completely, word-for-word recreates it, extrapolates it’

                That’s…not an accusation of cultural appropriation, it’s not even an accusation of cultural misattribution. That’s an accusation of musical _plagerism_.

                And the second is even worse, accusing him of essentially having no song-writing skills at all and basically doing covers. Now, I know literally nothing about Bruno Mars or his music. All this might be completely true (And I am well aware the fact he has a Grammy doesn’t mean anything.) or it all might be lies.

                But…it’s not cultural appropriation.

                It’s not even misattribution, as a very quick Google of ‘Bruno Mars influence’ literally has, as the Google insert thing, an article about him talking about how he was influenced by soul music and James Brown…and, as far as I know, Bruno Mars didn’t claim to or is understood to have invented any genres anyway, he’s not really under any duty to explain where any of it came from anyway.

                It’s people who try to present their stuff as _new_ but actually took it from other cultures is the problem. It’s possible to argue that Elvis Presley had a moral duty, when he showed up with rock and roll, to explain where it was from, and he did not. (Although in reality a lot of that was the music producers who packaged him, and honestly most of the blame for this whitewashing of music to make them acceptable to white audiences happening throughout history belongs on the music industry and very little on the individual artists.)

                But someone who just _sings R&B_ and other existing genres, and everyone knows that, doesn’t have to constantly explain ‘R&B originated from black culture.’ And, on top of that, Bruno Mars seems perfectly willing to give inspirational credit to black artists when asked.

                I mean, maybe I’m misunderstanding this, like I said I don’t know anything about Mars at all, and maybe what appears to be some sort of cross-genre musical career is being misunderstood as a new genre or something, and people are worried he’s not giving credit to the genres it came from…but, honestly, I only know about this cross-genre stuff exactly because Wikipedia has sentences like: Mars’ music has been noted for displaying a wide variety of styles, musical genres, and influences, including pop, rock, reggae, R&B, soul, and hip hop.

                ..and then goes on to talk about how Mars has repeatedly said that.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to DavidTC says:

                I am not sure that I want to have the argument over what truely (“true” as in “Scotsman”) deserves to be called “Cultural Appropriation” vs. what doesn’t.

                I *DO*, however, want to point out that terms evolve after they get out into the wild and “cultural appropriation” doesn’t necessarily mean only what you want it to mean anymore.

                This is, of course, a prescriptivist/descriptivist argument and that will get resolved somewhere around Doomsday but, in the short term, the phrase seems to have gathered a life of its own.

                As the term gets used out there in the real world? It’s not referring only to the stuff that you say that it only should refer to.

                It’s referring to all kinds of stuff.Report

      • fillyjonk fillyjonk in reply to DavidTC says:

        I THINK “watermelon water” is water with cut-up chunks of watermelon in it to slightly flavor it. (I have also seen lemon water, and blech, cucumber water. I am allergic to cucumbers and likely to watermelon so….I really prefer my water plain)

        I’m not going to get started on my having some Irish heritage and how I feel about St. Patrick’s day and mass quantities of beer (green or not) and corned beef (it’s not really that Irish)….but yeah.

        (And my mom makes a very nice marshmallow-less sweet potato “puff,” I think she modified the recipe from one in the Fannie Farmer cookbook)Report

      • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to DavidTC says:

        Sweet potato casserole with marshmallows on it, I can unquestioningly accept as an invention of marshmallow companies. But I’d want to see some kind of evidence they weren’t just adapting an existing popular dish that didn’t feature marshmallows before believing the broader claim.

        Cornflake breaded fish might well have been invented by breakfast cereal companies, but folks have been frying fish for longer than that too.Report

        • Avatar DavidTC in reply to dragonfrog says:

          But I’d want to see some kind of evidence they weren’t just adapting an existing popular dish that didn’t feature marshmallows before believing the broader claim.

          The dish was basically a pudding before that, usually a dessert. Of course, they also ate plain candied sweet potatoes.

          Now, the recipe _did_ adapt an existing dish…but it wasn’t popular.

          Around that time, casserole recipes can be found that included sweet potatoes and layers of brown sugar, and that is probably where the Angelus Marshmallows got the idea of their marshmallow-covered recipe. But the marshmallow one is the one that became popular. (There are still brown-sugar-layer recipes you can find, although most people skipping the marshmallows are trying for ‘less sugar’ so go with pecans or more spices or something.)

          Weirdly, this is my example that seriously _could_ make a claim to an African-American origin, not because the food had one, but because at that exact moment George Washington Carver was running around the south popularizing the growing of sweet potatoes and recipes to cook them, including one for a brown-sugar-layered casserole. Yes, he did sweet potatoes just as much as peanuts, it’s weird we only remember him for peanuts.

          Thanks to Carver, the south was primed for some new and interesting sweet potatoes dishes, something to do with all those sweet potatoes besides just making pies, candying them and eating them with folks, or candying them and mashing them as a ‘pudding’.

          And the south decided, when faced with a new sugar-based casserole or a new marshmallow-based casserole to cook all these new sweet potatoes it was growing, it liked the marshmallows. (I suppose we’re just lucky Bayers didn’t introduce a heroin-layered casserole.)Report

  2. Avatar Damon says:

    [Di1] So let me get this right….a ruler of a black country is more concerned about the welfare of his people and keeping them safe than the welfare of people not of his country. Not only is that racist, it’s also anti socialist/communist!! The horror!

    [Di3] I suspect that the SPLC’s data is rather “thin”. Where’s the actual evidence and why can’t they show it? “Stand by our results”. Prove it. That might reduce the ability to generate funds. I see now. “These people hide in the shadows.” Yah, racists are like chameleons. What a load.

    [Di5] So “black employees planned the menu” was that true? If so, can black folk be racist against black folk? If the Irish cooks plan a meal of corned beef and cabbage and beer, are they being racist to other Irish folk?Report

    • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Damon says:

      I predict that SPLC will not show any data and will also not change its assessment.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Damon says:

      Di1: Personally, I found Killmonger to be both tragic and highly sympathetic. Lebron’s complaint falls flat to me, because it’s a complaint that the villain is not sufficiently enlightened to satisfy Lebron’s preferences. And honestly, if Killmonger was written the way he wanted, I don’t think he’d necessarily be a believable villain without a lot more backstory. A black kid, left to fend for himself in the depressed parts of Oakland in the, what, late 80’s, early 90’s? Yeah, that is not a recipe for an enlightened person without some kind of intervention. That’s a recipe for a kid to be angry, and violent, and to be honest, the fact that Eric joined the military and entered special forces and was a success there says a lot about how disciplined he was despite being left to fend for himself.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        That’s a recipe for a kid to be angry, and violent, and to be honest, the fact that Eric joined the military and entered special forces and was a success there says a lot about how disciplined he was despite being left to fend for himself.

        He was half-Wakandan, remember.Report

      • Avatar KenB in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        I don’t think he’s criticizing the movie itself, as a movie, as much as he’s criticizing it as a vehicle for a message of “black empowerment to effectively challenge racist narratives”. In that context, it’s rather unfortunate that the one black American man in the movie is the hyper-violent villain.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        Killmonger is also violent because he is supposed to be the villain. At best the screen writers wanted him to be seen as a well-intentioned but morally wrong Revolutionary. Malcolm X to T’Challa’s Martin Luther King. He is also violent because villains in superhero movies need to duke it out with the hero at various plot points. Very few people are going to want to see the Black Panther debate Killmonger to defeat.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        Killmonger was violent, but not hyper-violent. He wasn’t going on killing sprees or causing widespread death and destruction. His violence was generally quite targeted. He really was the hero of his own narrative.

        As for the message, the message I got was, you can have an action superhero movie with a black hero* and a nearly all-black cast, centered mostly on other continents, and it will do well. People should be careful assigning purpose to things that are not the intended purpose of the creators.

        *First attempted with Blade, which IMHO doesn’t get nearly enough credit.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Damon says:

      Re: Di5

      It seems like there are some unanswered questions here and a lack of clarity around exactly what happened.

      Who planned the menu? What was their intent? Regardless of their race, if their choices proved problematic for their customers, what is a reasonable recourse?

      Doesn’t seem like we have enough info to draw much in the way of conclusions.Report

  3. Avatar Long Time Listener says:

    [Di1]: I’m not sure how much the Afro-futurist Wakanda could ever offer much to African Americans. As a rich black nation, it acts like … a rich nation. Which is to say that it assumes it knows what groups it doesn’t have much contact with need because it trusts its own spies. Then it attempts to meet those needs by becoming an absentee landlord thousands of miles away.

    Per the article, the road not taken in this case was to heavily arm those assumed to be rebels on the side of justice and cross fingers that there won’t be blowback. I don’t see that as coming from some wholly different global affairs playbook.Report

    • Is Wakanda the “Trump Paradise?” It’s got an all-powerful king (we didn’t see Panther act on that very much, but Killmonger was immediately able to destroy vital resources and basically attack the world). Lots of unquestioning, beautiful, savage warrior women surrounding the king. Everybody is rich and has flying cars. And the Wall! The best Wall ever! What a beautiful Wall! The world can’t even see through the Wall!Report

      • Avatar Maribou in reply to rexknobus says:

        @rexknobus The women are most definitely neither unquestioning nor savage, so that’s a pretty big minus from the Trump perspective. Depicting them that way after seeing the movie gets you a pretty big eyebrow raise from me, also and unrelatedly.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Maribou says:

          The women might not be unquestioning but the did decide to pull their support behind the rightful King rather than the usurper. Thats kind of an aristocratic value in itself that sort of neutralizes any feminist value. Strong, independent women that fight for the true King is not exactly even pop feminism.Report

          • Avatar Maribou in reply to LeeEsq says:

            @leeesq There’s a lot of daylight, imo at least, between “not even pop feminism” and “unquestioning… savage.” You’re the one bringing feminism into this particular conversation.Report

        • Avatar rexknobus in reply to Maribou says:

          @maribou Well, I was going for a bit of “comic overstatement,” but I get your point. “Unquestioning” is not the right word, but the warrior women did, at least for a while, stick with the throne and its nasty new occupant rather than the obvious morally correct choice. They had questions, but they stayed loyal to the office. It is a comic book movie, so they got it right in the end. And “savage” could have been a bad choice, but people fighting with blades flashing (even in relatively bloodless PG-13) will probably always send me down that path. Maybe I’m trying to say that, to me, “warrior” and “savage” are pretty close to synonyms, given the tasks at hand. But then, that means that it was superfluous to use both words. Mea culpa indeed.

          I enjoyed the film. Certainly never thought of Donald while watching it; and most assuredly do not think that was anything approaching the filmmakers’ intent — it just seemed a fun bit of irony to play with. T’Chaka is certainly nothing like our Current Curse, and his character arc took him toward tearing down the wall. But mostly I liked the car crashes, the armored rhinos, and the popcorn. Good time at the movies!Report

          • Avatar Maribou in reply to rexknobus says:

            @rexknobus Understood about the comic irony, that bit just really flattened out the joke for me. Thanks for considering. (And agreed the car crashes were a lot of fun.)Report

  4. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Vox interview a sociologist in Princeton about his experiences in interviewing rural Americans:

  5. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    The problem with how the NY Times seeks “ideological” diversity:

    • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      The problem is that the train derails itself as it tries to round the corner towards making a point:

      There cannot be an intellectual Trumpism — a Trumpist philosophy, a Trumpist argument — because Trump is devoted only to Trump, only to bringing himself glory and defeating his perceived enemies

      Right… so who, other than Trump does NYT hire to represent Trumpism? There isn’t a Trumpism, only Trump (as I’ve pointed out before).

      There might almost be an emerging Trumpism of Opportunity… but he keeps shooting the opportunists.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Marchmaine says:

        Who would they hire indeed, other than Jim Hoft, John Hinderaker, Joe Arpaio, Ted Nugent, Scott Baio, the Ace o’ Spades guy, the guys at some MRA blogs, some other guys on mil-con blogs, or those guys who hang around the gun shop talking smack about urban thugs.

        See, the problem is that the NYT prides itself on a uniformity of quality for its columnists. That is, it demands that whatever their politics, they be respectable, with intellectual credentials and able to converse with ordinary people.

        There are no Trump supporters who fit this bill, which is the point that the article is making.
        Trumpism isn’t about ideas, but only about resentments, specifically white male resentment.

        So really, the ideal columnist to represent Trumpworld would be virtually any angry middle aged white guy ranting about minorities, snowflake kids, and broads.You could just exchange them on some rotation, and no one would notice.Report

        • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Chip Daniels says:


          Of course it is a given that the NYT doesn't really want the LCD of Trumpism… but they also don't publish the LCD of Leftism either. That's just some weird hand-wringing that I don't really get.

          So Vox voxes that they can't get authentic Trumpism because there isn't a "Trumpist Philosophy"

          The problem then, as Will points out, is that "respectable" Trumpism isn't really Trump because Trump keeps changing what Trumpism does. Consistent Philosophical "Trumpism" occupies adjacent spaces… like Reformicons or RedTories.

          They could hire conservatives that can translate/critique/comment on Trump from the right and Douthat is probably the best they have right now… but that's the model you'd target (if you are the NYT). I agree that the David Brooks', Peggy Noonan's, David Frum's, and George Will's (to name a few) of the world have seen their ships sail, but its weird to go from them to Joe Arpaio or Quinn Norton and skip a whole RedTory set of writers who would potentially make intelligible where Trump is tracking and where Trump is failing.

          But if the assumption/goal is to show the entire right side of the spectrum as a freakshow… then Arpaio, Nugent, Baio and others were available before Trump too. I don't think that's the NYT's goal…Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Marchmaine says:

            The Lowest Common Denominator of Trump…

            Who would be the Highest Common Denominator of Trump? Names, please.

            Aren’t we all saying the same thing, that there is no Trump ideology, but rather just a Trump Mood and Tribal affiliation?

            I assert that to the contrary, it never changes or wavers one bit, but remains laserlike focus on its resentment of nonwhite people and uppity women.Report

            • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Chip Daniels says:

              Aren’t we all saying the same thing, that there is no Trump ideology, but rather just a Trump Mood and Tribal affiliation?

              Well, I think we very nearly would be, except for

              I assert that to the contrary, it never changes or wavers one bit, but remains laserlike focus on its resentment of nonwhite people and uppity women.

              And that’s maybe why it would be beneficial for the constituency of the NYT to find better representatives from the right. Else I fear your laserlike focus will give us another 4 years of Trump.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Marchmaine says:

        The problem with Trumpism that it seems to exist in nothing more than full trolling modes of “Hold My Beer.”Report

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          I hate to play the, “This is why we have Trump” game but… this is why we have Trump.

          If you believe the entirety of support for something is motivated by people trying to piss you off, you’re probably wrong.Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Kazzy says:

            What evidence is there to suggest it isn’t just resentment?

            Isn’t history filled with political movements which were nothing more than “We hate those guys”?

            Because right now it really does seem like there is a strenuous effort to conjure up an imaginary “respectable Trumpism” that isn’t based on resentment, but which also can never quite be described by its actual adherents.Report

          • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Kazzy says:

            I disagree. I think a lot of people voted for Trump because he said the quiet parts loud including a lot of bigoted and racist remarks. One area where Trump is delivering is unbridled xenophobia and deportation.Report

            • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Saul Degraw says:

              Do you think they’re racist and bigoted to troll you?Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Kazzy says:


                I think they are going to be racist and xenophobic but the fact that it annoys liberals seems to be the icing on the cake. I’ve mentioned before that the 4chan crowd does seem to get a thrill out of shocking bourgeois and middle-class liberals.

                What seems to be happening is that a lot of people in the media and public sphere who aren’t necessarily racist seem to want to blame the left and/or minorities for the racism on the right. It is a kind of reverse causation, “These racists wouldn’t be so racist if you liberals were less smug.”

                This also dovetails into broader fights in the left between the Social Democratic side who thinks everything is economics and class based and we could get Trump Voters but putting forth hardcore Social Democratic policy proposals. And those who think many or most Trump voters are a lost cause.

                I am in the second group. I think most Trump voters were voting for him because of his open bigotry and racism, not because he was blowing up Republican orthodoxy. He clearly isn’t.

                There us another tendency in the pundit class to think all the bad faith and ill-will is just a matter of simple misunderstanding and we can all be hugs like an afterschool special.

                This is long and rambly. I suppose what I see is people defending 4chaners and the like by saying “They aren’t really racist. They are just pretending to be because it upsets smug liberals and then smug liberals just double down on their smugness. If liberals stopped being smug, 4channers would end.” I don’t agree with this assessment.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                How can we better get the proletariat to see the point of view of the bourgeois and not see them as their opposition?Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Jaybird says:

                Why does 4chan have the monopoly on the proletariat and not say working-class Democrats who are people of color?

                Again, Trump voters had a higher than median annual income and we are supposed to see them as the proletariat? Why? How much of 4chan is really working class?

                You have a lot of defenses for people who let their bigotry freak flags fly. Why is that Jay Jay?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                Oh, Saul. I’m as much a member of the bourgeois as you are.

                You have a lot of defenses for people who let their bigotry freak flags fly. Why is that Jay Jay?

                Don’t call me “Jay Jay”.

                To answer your question, it’s more that I’ve merely been lucky enough to have gone through a period of religious indoctrination where I was told that I was on the side of Good in the great battle of Good vs. Evil and I came out the other side.

                It gives me a different perspective on Evil than I had before.

                And I do have to admit: your certainty reminds me of the certainty that I had before.

                (Also, I think it’s hilarious that there are members of the left today that would use the phrase “bourgeois and middle-class liberals” in a sentence where these same people were *THE GOOD GUYS*. Oh, jeez. Seriously, that shit is *FUNNY*.)Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                I think it’s hilarious that there are members of the left today that would use the phrase “bourgeois and middle-class liberals” in a sentence

                I can’t get over reading the phrase “monopoly on the proletariat” without any accompanying snark tag.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                “Man. I really wish that everybody I argued with online wasn’t someone who read Marx all the time.”

                *monkey’s paw twitches*Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

                But if you sympathize with Chotiner, then it’s hard to take what Mangu-Ward keeps pointing out.

                I think this is the argument for [saying], “OK, maybe these people who we are talking about here, these Trump voters, it is not that they are confused about their own interests, but simply that I am not looking at the world the way they look at the world. How can I do better at that?” It’s an Oprah thing to say, but it is nonetheless the answer.

                Its too bad Oprah has said the wrong things about stuff in the past… she’s the antidote to Trump. 2Oprah2O

                [Maybe not a cure, but an antidote]Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine says:

                In thinking about this more and more and more, the obvious answer just might be the right one:

                The Republicans are awful and the main thing that they have going for them (and have had going for them) is that they are Not The Democrats.

                Trump managed to leverage this during the primaries by telling the primary voters that he not only wasn’t a Democrat, but he wasn’t a Republican.

                The ultimate “None of the Above” vote.

                And then, during the main campaign, Hillary Clinton was an awful, awful candidate who made a whole lot of mistakes and suffered from an unfortunate seizure and passed out in October, of all months, and so couldn’t campaign during a period in which campaigning was the most important thing that she could have been doing.

                Trump mastered the art of getting into the heads of the Mass Media (mostly held in contempt by everybody) and controlled every single news cycle.

                And he won because he squeaked by Clinton (like magic) and exposed a lot of the little hypocrisies of Warshington DC.

                I don’t know how the Democrats are going to do in November but, if things stand the way they do today, they’re going to take back the House and, at least, maintain their position in the Senate (when, this time last year, I’d have told you that the Dems were likely to lose seats in the Senate).

                (Looking at my earlier yardstick of how I think that the Democrats will need to win 150 seats to merely catch up to regression to the mean, I think that the democrats are likely to exceed that come November. But that is still a hundred news cycles from now so, still, I know that anything can happen.)

                All that to say: I’m not sure that Trump won as much as “None of the Above” won.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

                I would agree with all of that.

                I’ll also go on record (again) that 2018 will be a Republican bloodbath…

                …this might not benefit the Democratic party.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine says:


                It’s not going to be read that way, though.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Jaybird says:

                I think that’s an interesting thought. Do you mean as in the way winning in 2010 didn’t help the GOP when you say that or in some other way?

                From where I’m sitting it looks like Trump enabled the GOP to eke out a win in 2016 despite their policies and history and HRC enabled the Dems to eke out a loss despite theirs. On of those elements is easier to get rid of than the other.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to North says:

                Well, I’ll bring this up again, 2010 was the beginning of a very large pendulum swing during which the GOP won 1000 seats.

                The Democrats winning a huge election in 2018 might be the beginning of the pendulum starting to swing back… but it might not be. Whether or not it is, however, the Democratic Leadership will see it as a foregone conclusion that whatever they’re doing, it’s working, and thus they will merely need to do more of it.

                Which, quite honestly, I think that the main thing that the Democrats have going for them is that they are Not The Republicans.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

                Right, and if I can confuse matters a bit, I’d add this:

                As long as the Not The Republicans are doing battle with the Not The Democrats we’ll see electoral chop. Each victory energizes the opposition more than soothes the middle.

                The question is what happens when The Neither Republicans Nor Democrats party emerges.

                {and what shape that takes}Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine says:

                If you were wondering if I was still on my “divorce or war” bullshit:

                I am.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

                I’m holding out hope for a temporary separation while we sort out our differences.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Marchmaine says:

                I think you guys are overstating the worst case scenario here. Apart from Ossof, Dem candidates haven’t been running on the “not a Republican” platform, but on issues which are important to their local constituencies (apparently, they keep winning). If Dem *candidates* keep doing this, and lawd knows the national level party institutions will try their best to eff it all up, the Dem party that emerges very well *could* be centrist enough to capture folks in the middle. Not all those folks, tho. Certainly not either of you guys. 🙂Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                If the *candidates* can keep that sort of thing up, we could very easily see the pendulum swing back and every single one of those 1000 seats that were lost between 2008 and 2016 could be won back.

                I agree wholeheartedly with you on that.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Stillwater says:

                There’s truth there… but the most recent example with Connor Lamb is interesting… I’ve read from the left that he is both a sell-out *and* an exemplar of true progressive beliefs… AND that any observation that his personal views aren’t perfectly correct by progressive standards is Trump mania.

                So did he win by running as a Not Republican, maybe not… maybe he won as a Not Not Democrat. Either way its a path forward of discontinuity.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Marchmaine says:

                Either way its a path forward of discontinuity.

                Depends on your time frame since political parties evolve over time while retaining continuity. If you’re saying that a Lamb-like candidate couldn’t succeed in every Dem district so his policies/messaging doesn’t generalize, then I agree. But the suggestion on the table is that Dems don’t take Lamb (or anyone else) as a blueprint for national-wide success.

                Maybe your concern about discontinuity is that there are more political factions than can comfortably fit into two parties?Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Stillwater says:

                Maybe your concern about discontinuity is that there are more political factions than can comfortably fit into two parties?

                I wasn’t thinking about it that way, but that’s probably a good observation… I’m good with that.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Marchmaine says:

                Well the thing about Lamb is that the usual suspects in the Media and RWM constantly say that the Democratic party was/is too liberal and too centralized to ever tolerate a Lamb like candidate running and winning under their label. Now, lo and behold, a Lamb like candidate has run and won and the national Dems are just hunky dory with it and lent no inconsiderable support to his candidacy. So either the Dems are not as liberal as we’re being told or are not as centralized as we’re being told.

                As to the Not-Republican and Not-Democrat angle I think there’s a lot more BSDI to that line of thought than the evidence supports. If we look at our past decade of legislative activity, at least on the national level, we have the GOP getting power and flailing about frothing about evil liberals; normal expected behavior for a party that’s operating only as negatives to the evil other. When the Dems have gotten in power, however, they’ve enacted their preferred policies; to a historic level even. I think the aloof “well both parties just run as not being the other” position is over determined.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to North says:

                Yes and no… but I think you are overlooking a real “breakthrough” in Democratic strategy by retconning some sort of notion that this is what Democratic strategy has been all along. It wasn’t and hasn’t been; and I’m not sure it is or will be. Maybe… that’s what makes some of this worth noting.

                Plus, I’m curious to see how it really does play out past 2018. On the one hand, there’s always room on the bench for another vote from a quirky district; I’m not sure what happens if the quirks fill up the bench and how quirky is Lamb compared to the quirkiness required in other places?…but, as Stillwater says… parties evolve.

                As for negative partisanship… eh, what are you disputing? Because arguing that when Democrats gain power they’ve got their shit together (at historic levels no less), and look out! Might just be the single biggest reason people I know voted for Trump. Hoping for a (mostly) useless, incompetent president vs. an onmi-competent democrat was a plus.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Marchmaine says:

                I suppose we can debate strategy which is akin to debating angels dancing on the head of a pin but it’s not like Dems were actually dedicated to the hard liberal strategy that the GOP and the nut farmers ascribed to them. I mean, for fish’s sake, if anyone actually reads the famous “Basket of deplorables” speech that HRC gave it’s pretty obvious that she was making a plea for understanding that not all Trump voters and supporters were xenophobic racist etc… in a very tin eared way. Nor do the college campus CNTRL left loons have even a twig of their ideology reflected in the actual platform of the supposedly rabidly commie left Democratic party. How many Democratic congress folk or senators have been successfully primaried from the left? I just don’t buy into the right wing game of accepting the oppositions marketing materials on the Democratic Party nor the arch mournful declarations of equivalence from the BSDI crowd. It’s always had Lamb like members and hopefully will soon have a whole lot more of em.

                If there’s a whole lot of Lambs in the party perhaps Pelosi won’t remain majority leader. She’s done an incredible job shepherding that horde of cats and probably deserves to keep it but if she needs to be replaced with someone else so the GOP has to start over with their branding campaign (which they will) so be it. Since Lamb is not, substantively, much different that where the Dems as a party actually govern I just don’t see the disruption. If one gets all ones news from Fox then I can understand one being shocked to see Lamb being accepted by the “party of social justice socialists” but it’s not remotely shocking to me. Obama would have gotten on perfectly fine with Lamb and did get along fine with congress folk just like him. This isn’t retconning, it’s historical fact.

                My only point on negative partisanship is that if ones party is animated exclusively or near exclusively by negative partisanship then they tend to end up baffled when they actually win. They fracture and flail about because they want to stay on top but they don’t have any party wide agreed on positive program to try and enact to achieve that goal. The current GOP meets that behavioral descriptor so it seems reasonable to describe them as motivated entirely by negative partisanship. The Dems, when they got into power, did not match that profile- at all-, they had a very good idea of what they wished to do and they organized and worked together to achieve that agenda. So describing the current Democratic Party as being motivated entirely by negative partisanship as you and Jay did above seems inaccurate to me (and unfair, but fairness and politics go together like oil and water so meh to that, lets focus on the inaccuracy).Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to North says:

                @north I see your point now about negative partisanship… I think its a good rebuttal circa 2008 and maybe even now… though I’d suggest that 2018, 2020 and beyond are seeing rapid acceleration even on the democratic side. I guess that’s one of the things I’m warning your team about. If you wanted to put it in that framing (as you sort of do) maybe Lamb is a 2008 democrat and not a path the 2018 democrat DCCC was heading.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

                Man, this seems like one hell of an effort to make Trump into some inscrutable cipher.

                Trump voter: “I laughed when he made fun of that crippled reporter, like all, errk errk erkk.”

                NYT: “So, you are saying you suffer from economic anxiety?”
                Trump voter: “Yeah, and he really got my vote when he said Mexicans were rapists and murderers

                NYT: “So what you really mean is the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement disadvantages rural working class communities?”

                Trump voter: “And let me tell you about those Jews- They will never replace us!”

                NYT: “Oh, so what you want is a greater emphasis on blue collar issues?”

                Trump voter: “Hey, all men talk about grabbing women by the pussy- its just how we are and the broads shouldn’t get their panties in a bunch about it- Oh and looky here at this meme of Pepe pushing Hillary into an oven- Haw Haw!”

                NYT: “I see, so you think that due process for those accused of crimes is an American institution.”

                At this points it’s like Luther the Anger translator, for bigots.Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to Chip Daniels says:


                Living surrounded by Trump voters as I do (it’s Colorado Springs! They’re everywhere!), your comment sounds like one hell of an effort to make Trump voters containable and dismissible, so as to avoid having to deal with their actual existence.

                I mean, the man literally still triggers me to the point where I can’t watch video of him without childhood abuse flashbacks. I think electing him was a collective moral failure on the part of the many many people I know who did so. (And they know this, especially the people I care about who did so.)

                But I can also handle the idea that plenty of people who voted for him also find him distasteful, and have complex reasons for having done so. And may well do other things that I also find morally bothersome in the future, without having been reduced to a caricature of themselves. And I try to accept that, as upsetting as it is on a daily basis, and work toward something better without resorting to Trumpian tactics myself.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Maribou says:

                I also know Trump voters, who I personally like and find to be warm wonderful loving people…and at the very same time, perfectly happy to engage in ugly racism and callous disregard for their fellow humans.

                These two traits always exist intertwined in every person, flaring up or receding at different times.

                Racists are like the troubled members of the American family- the family drunk, the family ne-er do well. We can love and accept them for their good qualities, but we don’t help ourselves by turning a blind eye to their faults.

                The first step for every family is to speak the truth and call it by its true name.Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                @chip-daniels I don’t disagree with what you just said, although I also don’t find it descriptive of every Trump voter I personally know – maybe about a third of them.

                But regardless, if I think just about the people about whom we seem to mostly agree, I don’t find your previous comment that I was responding to to be at all an example of “speak[ing] the truth and call[ing] it by its true name.” Rather it comes off as lowering oneself to a similar level as those whom one condemns, albeit temporarily.

                You must mean it differently than it sounds to me.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Maribou says:

                I don’t know what it sounds like to your ears, that’s true.

                But I made a point of using actual examples of stuff that Trump supporters actually support.

                When Trump did those things, his popularity with the GOP base didn’t go down- it went up. Those examples I gave were the deciding factor in winning over the GOP base.

                Every single Trump voter..every single one, without exception, saw those things, heard those things and still made the conscious choice to vote for him.

                Now of course there is a concerted effort to wash the past with a coat of warm patina to soften the sharp ugliness into some vague blur of economic anxiety or deficit concerns or anti-PC backlash or something, anything, other than naked white ethnic resentment.

                “White ethnic resentment” is not a casual slur, its the simple unvarnished truth.Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                @chip-daniels If you can’t see the difference between how you’re speaking here and how you were speaking there, and why I think one is being honest and the other is stooping to the level of those you seek to call out as shameful, I’m unlikely to convince you further.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                You’ve contradicted yourself multiple times here. I’m not sure what you think anymore.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

                Something to keep in mind: there are sub-sections of liberalism (or Liberalism? One of those) that is no longer about ideas, but only about resentments.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                Quick question @saul-degraw

                A group of Jewish GOP members just asked seven democratic leaders to step down for ties to anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan. Is anti-Semitism racism? Why or why not? If so, does this mean that racism is on both sides of the poli spectrum? Are they racist for being in the GOP? And if so, is that cancelled out by being jewish?

                Followup question: Was Lenny Bruce a troll, or just a shit-poster?Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Aaron David says:

                The Jewish GOP is a small minority of a minority. I’ve been denouncing the connections between the Women’s March and Louis Farakhan and so have other liberals:


                I also find that people like Lee Zeldin and Stephen Miller are acting contra to their Judaism when pushing anti-immigrant policies.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                I also find that people like Lee Zeldin and Stephen Miller are acting contra to their Judaism when pushing anti-immigrant policies.

                If you Google “Israel Illegal Immigration”, you might see that Judaism apparently has a lot more wiggle room when it comes to how you’re supposed to feel about immigrants than you think.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                So, is it safe to say that at this point, anyone supporting the Woman’s March, or wearing one of the “hats” is a racist? Or should we damn all on the left, as you do on the right?

                Or are some types of racism OK?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Aaron David says:

                It is always safe to say that blacks are the real racists, Jews are the real anti-Semites, liberals are the real fascists, and women are the real rapists.

                Work this up into 5000 word essay, with a blurb by Ann Coulter or Jonah Goldberg, and you might parlay it into a Slate guest post, a Townhall column or even a drop in stint on a Fox & Friends weekday spot.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                So, reading your post, and I assume you read the links I provided, racism is totes cool with some on The Left*.

                *You did call yourself that, right?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Aaron David says:

                You kidding?
                Half of the left routinely accuses the other half of racism.

                Y’know when people complain about lefties getting a pass on racism, I can’t tell if it is outrage or envy.Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Kazzy says:

                But as Chip pointed out, the NY Times is accurately aware that they are seen as a bastion of liberalism and many to most of their readers are center-left. They don’t like this because they want to be a paper of record admired and respected by all. So they invite conservatives in and defend it as “challenging our readers” or “speaking uncomfortable truths.” But the problem is that a lot of really representative voices on the right would either not meet editorial standards. So they end up printing a lot of people who don’t really speak for conservatism and still end up pissing off their liberal readership.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                “NY Times is accurately aware that they are seen as a bastion of liberalism”

                liberalism or Liberalism?

                I’m an outsider looking in, but it smells to me like the NYT is at least contemplating what it means to broker Liberalism in defense of liberalism. The Paper of Record has potentially a better role to play than just caddying liberalism.

                Most likely I’m wrong, and quite possibly they are executing rather poorly, but that’s my hunch on what’s going on.Report

              • Avatar Maribou, Moderator in reply to Marchmaine says:

                @marchmaine could you spell that out a little more for those of us for whom Liberalism-with-a-capital-l means Trudeaus, Joe Clark, Jean Chretien, etc?

                (Sincere question – I think I get what you mean but the conflicting definition in my head is confusing me a bit)Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Maribou, Moderator says:

                Liberalism with a Capital L in this case means the regime not the (or a) party.Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to Marchmaine says:

                Sorry, I really didn’t mean to put the moderator tag on there before! complete accident on my part, I was just personally curious.

                also, calling it a “regime” doesn’t really help me… *wanders off to be quietly puzzled in a corner*Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Marchmaine says:

                I think the right-wing will always accuse the Times of being a bastion of partisan liberalism.

                I don’t think anyone is saying that the Times shouldn’t have different voices. I think they are just screwing up their message and hurting themselves with their core readership while sounding self-importantReport

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                Dude, I said the same thing about Marvel.

                From what I understand, in a decade or so, the New York Times is going to reap the benefits of having had different voices in the op/ed pages and you people who don’t like it can go jump in a lake.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                What’s this have to do with your initial claim?Report

        • Well, then, that brings us full circle, doesn’t it? If Trumpism is a null philosophy, then the solution is to find rightward writers irrespective of their support or opposition of Trump.

          Unless the point is “Liberals and leftists are the only thinkers in the room (who matter).”

          Which is, actually, Roberts’ point. And why it gets so much pushback from people who aren’t liberals and leftists.Report

          • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Will Truman says:

            @will-truman @kazzy

            I have a lot of sympathy with Isaac Chroniter in this interview:


            The #NeverTrumpers don’t have any influence within the Republican Party and/or government. A lot of times politicians like Sasse and Flake try to protest Trump’s vulgarity ends up sounding hollow. They end up voting for “Gorsuch and tax cuts” anyway. Every now and then someone comically bad comes along and they get thrown to the rocks.

            I am starting to think that a lot of our journalist class is filled with overly optimistic Pollyannas. I don’t know if this is a psychological defense mechanism or something else. I’ve said the same thing about free speech fretters like Conor F who seem to think all debate can happen in the dulcet tones of a polite tea party. No matter the issue or existential threat. This is a risible idea.

            Maybe this is true because a lot of these journalists do live in a bubble where the conservatives they know are more like David Brooks and Ross D or our own Dan Scotto than anything else. #NeverTrump is big in the media and not much anywhere else.

            And to a certain extent a lot of people do have beliefs that I find are really out there and are not worthy of being treated with a straight face.Report

            • That NeverTrumpers have limited influence is the big thing I agreed with Roberts about. That Weiss, Stephens, and Brooks represent “the right” at the NYT is actually a problem.

              The issue is where Roberts goes from there.Report

            • Avatar North in reply to Saul Degraw says:

              I enjoyed the piece they’re chatting about and it certainly made good point but the part that really chaps me about it is how smoothly it excludes the mainstream right wingers and their libertarian handmaidens from any culpability. They excoriate the far left (and coincidentally do the normal conservative two step of claiming the far left represents the left of center political spectrum in total) then pivot to excoriating the Trumpian right (and the majority of the right wing that the Trumpian forces have come to dominate) but simply skip over themselves.

              They conveniently ignore that it was mainstream Republicans (and their libertarian* allies) who first started this ball rolling. They’re the ones who rolled out the whole bait and switch of supply side economics, of cuts to unpopular taxes followed by forgetting to cut spending to the popular programs those taxes paid for, of wars with the costs carefully sequestered off the books (to be brought back onto the books by liberals of course), and who- when the bill came due on these things, decided to simply lie, over and over, to cover it up. Now, a decade or so on from that decision the majority of the right aren’t lying anymore since they’ve persuaded themselves the bullshit they’re spouting is true. Queue Trump who has simply moved into their clubhouse by doing their bullshit shtick better than they did. And while the article is on point about liberal smugness it does rankle to have it being delivered as if it’s being handed down from an unrelated disinterested perspective.

              I mean I get it, they’re #nevertrump now and virtually political exiles, but that doesn’t absolve them of the steps they took to get into those straits nor does it exempt them from examining their own role.

              *For a certain given value of libertarian. I prefer to call them republitarians or glibertarians to differentiate them from the powerless but more principled and pure versions you can find hanging around Cato or chatting very reasonably on the internets.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to North says:

                Good comment. I’ve noticed a very tight connection between identifying as a neverTrumper and being a lying neocon shill who’s bullshit politics led to Trump’s presidency. Frum, Rubin, Kristol, Tom Nichols and on and on. They express legitimate worries about the breakdown of democratic norms and institutional restraints on authoritarianism but simply refuse to admit their own roles in realizing their greatest fears.Report

              • Avatar Maribou, Moderator in reply to Stillwater says:

                @stillwater just to clarify, if “lying neocon shill” is about the figures you name, other politicians and media people, whomever, no worries. But if you’re lumping in the neverTrumpers on this site, or even the “meh Trumpers”, rein it in.

                (Pretty darn sure you were aiming at the former, not the latter.)Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Maribou, Moderator says:

                I’ve neverheard anyone here identify as neverTrump, but yes, I was referring to the media figures/etc who created and enthusiastically adopted the term during the ’16 primary. The people whose names I included. 🙂Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Stillwater says:

                Yeah exactly. For peak chutzpa they should roll W Bush out of retirement and have him start offering the Dems unsolicited advice. Maybe Rumsfield could cater a dinner party or something.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to North says:

                *For a certain given value of libertarian. I prefer to call them republitarians or glibertarians to differentiate them from the powerless but more principled and pure versions you can find hanging around Cato or chatting very reasonably on the internets.

                Thank you! We really do try to only be infuriating in our own, special way, rather than being infuriating like any common republican.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Maybe it’s just me but I don’t find pure libertarians particularly infuriating. They’re awfully useful as a null hypothesis when considering public policy. Also the Libertarian party libertarians are kind of a riotReport

              • Avatar KenB in reply to North says:

                I think the responses to the Rensin essay that are basically “but what about them?” are misguided — the issue shouldn’t be “who’s to blame” but “how do we improve our outcomes going forward?”. Of course the other side will have done things to prevent your desired outcome — that’s mainly because they have a different desired outcome. It’s like blaming the other football team because they kept on tackling you whenever you had the ball.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to KenB says:

                Well there’s merit to the article but in that the authors final conclusion is that liberals should try to be a bit more like the “blameless” libertarians or mainstream conservatives (artfully coded as cosmopolitan republicans) push back is very much merited.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Will Truman says:

            Well, then, that brings us full circle, doesn’t it? If Trumpism is a null philosophy…

            Trump’s philosophy is like a Taoist paradox: the Trumpism which can be spoken of is not the True Trumpism. The NYT knows this but keeps trying…Report

          • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Will Truman says:

            If Trumpism is a null philosophy, then the solution is to find rightward writers irrespective of their support or opposition of Trump.


            I’ve been wondering about that recently.

            It has, as I’ve mentioned before, become very clear to me that the supposed ‘conservative ideology’ of the right was not actually what the right believed. I already believed that was true to some extent, and then we got Trump, which I think made it clear to most people.

            But there is a real conservative ideology out there, some sort of hypothetical thing that people talk about online and people talk about in the pages of newspapers. Sure. That exists, and is real. But here is my serious question: Why should they get any column space at all?

            If they are not _actually_ representing and clarifying the thoughts of a vast group of Americans, why do they get column space and not, for example, communists? Or Nazis? Or anarchist collectivists? Or Branch Davidians?

            There is, presumably, some lower threshold which a political ideology must be believed or followed by the American population before we spend thought and energy on it, before we treat it as a serious thing.

            And ‘conservativism’ looks like it’s way below that. Yes, we had, and still have, a lot of people making mouth noises about how they are conservative, but, uh, they were clearly lying.

            The true conservatives, the people who seem to want outcomes in line with what the conservative ideology says, who don’t vote for people promising literally the opposite thing of conservativism, appears to be, well, smaller than the size of outright seize-the-means-of-production communists in the population, even if conservativism is vastly overrepresented by talking heads.

            I am not trying to offend any actual conservatives here by saying your beliefs should not be taken seriously, I’m just pointing out you guys honestly seem to be a _really small_ minority that was bolstered by a bunch of people lying their asses off, and at some point we probably need to reassess if conservativism is really one of the ‘big players’ in competing political ideologies and if we should actually care if newspapers dedicate space to it. Or if you’re one of the bit players like communism.

            Edit: And this also raises the question of why Trumpism _shouldn’t_ get column space, if it has some sort of large-ish support. We shouldn’t be excluding people from public debate just because they are assholes and everyone would recoil in horror from them.Report

    • There is more truth there than a lot of Republicans would like to admit. His criticisms on the limitations of the conservative writers they do hire are spot-on. I don’t think Stephens or Weiss bring much to the table at all. Brooks did once, but that has played out. Douthat does, but it’s not clear at all Douthat would be considered an acceptable hire by the NYT critics today. Which is one of the mammoth blind spots of his piece: A failure to recognize the criticisms of the New York Times’ hires as they exist rather than as he would have them.

      The New York Times could hire Daniel McCarthy or Robert VerBruggen if they were so inclined, but they would run into more resistance rather than less than Weiss, and Roberts himself would either put him in the same bucket as Shapiro and D’Souza (the fact that he puts those two in the same bucket itself is demonstrative) or declare them inauthentic because neither is a raging lunatic. (Given that he puts Shapiro and D’Souza in the same bucket indicates probably the former. Also the fact that Vox itself straight-up misrepresented VerBruggen’s position in one of the links above to align him with racists.)

      When you consider the defining feature of a Scotsman to be incoherence, then sure all the Scotsmen are incoherent.

      Long and short, while it contains some definite elements of truth that need to be conveyed, it’s at least partially – and maybe mostly – a continuation of the argument from some on the left to others on the left that actually they need not bother with the people they disagree with.Report

  6. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Hat tip to Erik Loomis from LGM but this is about dining diversity. A series of articles from Eater on the slow decline of mid-level dining chains. These are places like Olive Garden and TGI Friday’s.

    The articles range from changing tastes with corporate owners not being able to keep up to blaming wage stagnation, income inequality, and the death of the middle class.

    I don’t think it is quite right to say that chains are dying. People seem to cheer the arrival of chains like Smashburger, Shake Shack, In and Out, etc.

    As for mid-level dining establishments, there are some that are chains of sort. Nopalito has two branches in SF that serve hipsterish Mexican cuisine. Pizzeria Del Fina has a few branches around the Bay Area. There some restaurants that seem to be going for opening branches in the hipster cities of the U.S.

    The difference is that these restaurants are trying to maintain food quality and not just going for chain-supply and distribution issues which make for MBA case studies.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      It also isn’t even really clear that this “slow decline” means anything is dying.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Kazzy says:

        Like bankruptcy, things happen slowly and then all at once. The restaurants are seeing a decline in business but trying to reinvent themselves and hang-on. Last year, Toys R’ Us made up 20 percent of toy sales in the U.S. This week they announced all 800 U.S. stores are closing down.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Fast casual chains like Chipotle or Noodles & Company seem to be taking over the niche formerly covered by Olive Garden and Red Lobster. They are not quite like a formal set down restaurant but they often serve alcohol and slightly more expensive and much better quality food than a fast food chain.

      I’m not even sure whether the chain restaurants are really mud-level. In many places, they were the highest quality dining experience available or really close to it. In places with greater restaurant density, they were places tourists went to or kind of low on the restaurant hierarchy. A mid level restaurant in a major metro area would be a red sauce Italian place like Luigi’s, a favorite spot in our family during our high school years, in Queens or an Asian or Mexican restaurant with mid-level pricing.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to LeeEsq says:

        One hopes they aren’t mud level.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to LeeEsq says:

        Yeah part of their problem is there’s too many fast casual joints now. Do you want a burger and fries? Five guys burgers and fries will beat the pants off the offering at any fast Casual. Burrito? Chipotle is on the corner. And on and on. The sit down mid level restaurants just don’t have anything* to offer that the fast casual joints can’t, in aggregate, offer faster, cheaper and better.

        *Except liquorReport

        • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to North says:

          Shake Shack sells beer and wine as far as I can tell. At least the ones I have been to do this. So do SuperDuper Burgers on the West Coast.Report

          • Avatar North in reply to Saul Degraw says:

            Yeah but the mid-level restaurants have what is functionally full bar. A very different thing than being able to sell some prebottled booze out of your fridge. Obviously this is inadequate- booze is high margin but people who’re interested in booze first and foremost are going to go to a bar; not Applebees.Report

    • Avatar North in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Smashburger, Shake Shack, In and out etc are literally all Fast Casual restaurants and thus not even remotely comparable to mid level dining chains. As a matter of fact they’re one of the major factors cutting the older mid level dining chains off at the knees.Report

      • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to North says:

        Right… the dividing line is Full Service.

        Mid-level Self-Service a’la Chipotle, PeiWei, FiveGuys, and all the other single cuisine, short menu, order/go places are putting the hurt on Full Service Mid-level.

        Plus, the short-menu-high-quality-model is slowly killing the Bennigans everything to everyone model.

        I expect the trend will continue to accelerate through the next decade as more and more mid-level high-quality food places ditch the dining service for grab and go seating.

        In room dining where you are prepared to pay the premium will also separate further.Report

        • Avatar North in reply to Marchmaine says:

          I agree. It’ll be interesting to see how it goes. I’m not confident that mid-service will cease to exist but I suspect that there’ll need to be several deaths in that market segment before there’s enough oxygen to sustain the survivors. If I had to choose I’d bet on Olive Garden being a survivor. Pasta is popular and easily produced at scale in industrial kitchens. Also breadsticks.Report

        • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Marchmaine says:

          Bennigans! I used to go Bennigans as a kid. There was one in my hometown. It went out of business and I didn’t seen it for decades. Then nearly 20 years later and 3000 miles away, I saw a Bennigans near the Santa Clara Convention Center. I was taking the Bar Exam.

          Another issue is rising changes to taste and/or sophistication expectations. There is still a lot of homogeneous food but it is theoretically local and better tasting. It seems like every decent sized city will have a few really good “ethnic” restaurants these days. They will also have a few good sports offering “farm to table” or “local food” or “small plates” in a kind of fancy gastropub local. Plus good microbrews on tap. So nearly every place has something like “cider glazed pork belly” but it is good and made fresh.

          So the culinary trends are national but locally executed. This seems like a kind of inverse where Bennigans and Olive Garden were all case studies in distribution and supply chain management.Report

    • I wonder if it isn’t a Bowling Alone phenomenon. A lot of those places thrive on people going out and “making an evening of it” by going out to eat after a movie at the theater or whatever. If people are watching stuff on their home televisions with stereo surround sound, that’s a lot less business for those kinds of establishments. So the establishments that survive are the ones that people deliberately go to, while the “while we’re out” places suffer.Report

    • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      How much are ethnic family owned restaurants claiming (or re-claiming) market share?Report

  7. Avatar DavidTC says:

    Di2 – The academics speculate that one reason for the drop of female authors, which reversed around 1970, could be the “gentrification” of the novel. In the mid-19th century, novel-writing was not a “high-status career”, but as it increasingly became so, it became more desirable to male writers.

    Congratulations, Sherlock, you figured out what everyone already knew: When a profession is regarded as undesirable, women end up in it. When it becomes desirable, men flood out the women.

    Go ask any of the original computer programmers.

    For those who do not know, when computers first came out, it was ‘clear’ that the serious profession was maintaining the machines, real Men’s Work(TM), and the people giving them instructions were basically just secretaries, let’s just get the women to do that. It’s just typing, right? Typing instructions onto punch cards? Yeah, women should be doing that. And, in fact, the majority of early computer programmers were women. This idea persisted until the 1960s or so.

    Now, in retrospect, this was a pretty silly misunderstanding of the power of computers, and women got pushed _fast_ out of the newly realized field of ‘programming’ when it was realized where the actual work in computers was done.

    Teaching did the same thing in reverse, almost all teachers before 1800 were men, but somewhere around 1850 teaching became less respected and, hey, look, a bunch of women entered the field. Although there it’s possible it was the other way around…teaching became less respected because women ended up doing it.

    It’s happened in pretty much any profession…the respectable, important professions have always had way more men than women, but the oddity of that isn’t noticed until you look at professions that _changed_ their level of importance/respectability at basically the same time their gender balance changed.

    Which is why all those ‘Women aren’t paid less, they just coincidentally like to work in fields that pay less’ studies are nonsense. I mean, they are entirely right, but they have failed to notice the causality that the amount we generally pay people working in any particular field is directly related to how ‘womeny’ we think the field is.Report

    • Avatar Aaron David in reply to DavidTC says:

      I mean, they are entirely right, but they have failed to notice the causality that the amount we generally pay people working in any particular field is directly related to how ‘womeny’ we think the field is.

      Or, simpler explanation, businesses pay based upon how hard the job is too fill to the greatest need. Correlation is not causation.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Aaron David says:

        Or, simpler explanation, businesses pay based upon how hard the job is too fill to the greatest need.

        Yes, that is surely the reason that when men enter a specific jobs market that formerly was mostly populated by women, the wages go up because the supply is higher, and when men leave that market, the wages go down because the supply is lower.

        Wait, no, that’s not how supply and demand works at all. That’s literally the opposite of how it should work, in fact.

        Under the laws of supply and demand, yes, jobs that ‘only men do’ should be paid more than jobs that ‘everyone will do’, but jobs that ‘only women do’ should be even better paid than the men-only jobs, assuming all else is equal. (As there are less full-time female workers than male.)

        Instead, we have a completely consistent pattern of women-only jobs having wages that suddenly start going up when men start working in that field. Instead of the ‘correct’ outcome in which is that more willing employees should cause lower wages.

        Now, we also have the pattern of ‘when women join a field, wages go down’, which is ‘correctly’ in line with supply and demand, as adding to the supply should push prices down.

        But I think the fact it works literally backward for when men join a field and wages inexplicably go up, or when a field transitions from mostly women to mostly men and wages inexplicably go up, demonstrates this has very little to do with supply and demand at all, and is instead based off how much we value the work of ‘the sort of people who do that job’.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Aaron David says:


        Correlation is not causation.

        Eh, why bother? It’s almost impossible to convince someone to think more critically about a story that they are already invested in believing. This is the narrative. Whether or not it is particularly accurate or precise is beside the point.Report

        • Avatar DavidTC in reply to j r says:

          You know what correlation does equal? Correlation.

          There is a correlation between how well a type of job pays, _and_ the percentage of men vs. women in that field. This is really, really hard to dispute.

          Now, as I said, people often justify that with ‘Well, perhaps women just happen to like those specific fields’, which would be a reasonable interpretation…

          …except for the examples I just gave (and the novelist example in the linked article), which clearly demonstrations that both those things change at the same time within a single profession.

          It is really hard to come up with a reason how men just happened to become the majority of novelists at exactly the same time that ‘writer’ became a respectable and well-paid profession, or how computer programming somehow became a men’s profession after a decade of women doing it, and at the same time became very important and well paid instead of being paid like secretarial work.

          And it’s especially hard to argue this a coincidence when this is a persistent pattern for centuries, as, again, a lot of studies have gone in depth on.

          You can’t just handwave and ignore the studies pointing out this always happens and say ‘correlation doesn’t not equal causality’. At some point, enough correlation does indicate causality in one direction or another, or at least indicates something else that is causal to both those things.

          Hey, maybe that’s it. Maybe there’s some external causality, something that causes jobs to become better paid and at the same time causes women to not want to do them. And vis versa. Do you have any hypothetical suggestion for that? (Alien mind control?)

          Barring that external force that causes a specific field’s wages and gender ratio to mysteriously change in sync throughout all of modern history, we’re forced to conclude there is some sort of causality between wages and gender ratio.

          However, we could be backward and causation could be the other way around. Maybe people aren’t judging the job (and the amount people should be paid for doing it) based on the proportion of men in it. Maybe instead the job just became respectable and important via some other means so is better paid (This is an entirely plausible theory for computer programming, at least.) and thus people…started…hiring less women for it.

          Erm, whoops. That’s actually more sexist than my original theory.

          Okay, new theory: Maybe women just don’t want to be paid well, so when a field starts paying well, they leave it, and when they get in a field that previously paid well, they demand lower wages. That seems…plausible?

          Here’s an article for you:

          They found another example of the ‘field shifting to women’ pay drop: A striking example is to be found in the field of recreation — working in parks or leading camps — which went from predominantly male to female from 1950 to 2000. Median hourly wages in this field declined 57 percentage points, accounting for the change in the value of the dollar, according to a complex formula used by Professor Levanon.

          Did we stop valuing recreation less during that time? Actually, from my memory, that was basically the golden age of camps and parks, before we got all worried about kids breaking their toes and everyone got glued to their phones and tablets. So…why did pay drop?

          Because women started doing it. So it obviously was not really worth paying for.

          And, while it’s not technically the ‘same job’, that article also mentions the absurd difference in pay between janitors and housekeepers, a situation where the women-dominated field of housekeeping is paid much less, despite them basically doing the same job as janitors and arguable even more, as housekeepers tend to have a wider range of duties and janitors tend to have a more standardized environment. I.e, a housekeeper has to dust all the stupid knicknacks on the shelf and try to get a stain out of the carpet and pick up crap before vacuuming and wash dirty clothes, whereas a janitor empties identical wastebaskets into a bigger trash can and runs a vacuum cleaner or mop over completely clear floors designed to be cleaned easy.

          For this we think janitors should get paid about 20% more for some mysterious reason that I am sure is unrelated to the fact that 70% of janitors are men and only 15% of housekeepers are.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to DavidTC says:

      My sophomore Victorian literature professor pointed out when the novels first appeared they were considered disreputable as literature. Real serious readers read poetry. Novels were considered very pulpy during most of the 18th century. By the mid-19th century, novels began gaining more artistic and intellectual respect, Jane Austen had a big role to play in this ironically, and men flooded the field. Women novelists lost so much respect that George Elliot, a woman, made fun of many of them in a scathing essay as essentially writing Mary Sue fan fiction. Or like you said, as the novelist profession gained prestige men came in and women were crowded out.

      For teaching I think the situation is more common. I think that women replaced men because mass education started being seen as desirable. Most Western countries began to think that universal literacy and numeracy were desirable by this time. It would make for a more productive citizenry. There were lots of children that needed to be educated because of the population explosion. Since female labor was cheaper than male labor, women began to become heavily represented in the teaching profession at the lower level. Men still dominated the secondary and higher education though.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to LeeEsq says:

        For teaching I think the situation is more common.

        I think what is going on is actually different for men vs. women.

        When women start entering a field previously dominated by men, that is due to, as you suggest, higher demand and a willingness to take previously unacceptable people.

        Which makes it all the stranger that field almost immediately stops paying less. For everyone, men and women included. This makes very little sense, because increases in demand should not result in lower costs.

        When men start entering a field currently dominated by women, I suspect it is because the perspective of the field has shifted, and people see it as ‘more important’ than it used to be. Thus it would probably start ‘paying better’ regardless. (This is so rare it’s hard to generalize, though.)Report

  8. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    McMaster is on the way out. Kellogg might be on the way in or Bolton. Cause they flatter Trump.

    Some game changer eh?Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Maybe the game we changed to is Calvinball.Report

    • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      If Bolton is appointed gird your loins for war.

      I sincerely hope Congress wakes up and becomes a functioning institution… at least with regards war and war powers. Alas.

      I guess we can all file this in the lessons learned category: Those things which would be bad if people other than I have the power to do them ought be circumscribed by me while I have the power to do it.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Marchmaine says:

        Well the election is much less than a year away.Report

        • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to North says:

          Not sure we’ll have a year… and not sure the Democrats are any better on the constitutional issue of war powers.Report

          • Avatar North in reply to Marchmaine says:

            Constitutional issue of war powers? Arguably not but an unpopular President they despise trying to indulge his slavering neocon advisors whom the Dems also despise? I somehow think the Dems could be relied on to let their hearts hate and the political winds be their guide. If there’s no war started by the time they *knock on wood* take Congress then I’m dubious one will happen under Trump. He’ll have much bigger problems on his plate than Bolton feeling his Wheaties if he doesn’t have Ryan cleaning up all his crap for him.Report

            • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to North says:

              I’m honestly not trying to be contrarian… but

              He’ll have much bigger problems on his plate than Bolton feeling his Wheaties if he doesn’t have Ryan cleaning up all his crap for him.

              Is the sort of thing a guy like Bolton would use as a reason why now is a good time for hostilities.

              Look, I sincerely hope that if Bolton/Trump ignite hostilities with NKP or Iran (or anywhere else) without making the case for war that congress impeaches him (or any president)… but the idea that a Democratic congress [at this point in time] could reign him in is missing the point.Report