Ordinary Sunday Brunch: Culture Quick Links


Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website Yonderandhome.com

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19 Responses

  1. Avatar Michael Cain says:

    Art/Ar2: USA Today has a sizeable gallery of images.Report

  2. Avatar Aaron David says:

    Re1 – There is an easier way to do this. Either ban all personalized plates or let everything through. The first amendment people, do you speak it!Report

  3. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Mu1: If a society isn’t particularly good at making distinctions between matters of taste and matters of morality, it’s going to find itself splitting between people who tend to treat everything like a matter of morality (and see people who treat things like matters of taste as hypocrites) and people who go nihilist and treat everything like a matter of taste.

    I prefer the latter, but I would.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

      As much as you are fond of the old Latin quote, can you name a society, an actual society, that was good at differentiating between matters of morality and matters of taste?

      I’m not sure it is possible. I fully admit that a lot of my tastes in clothing and art tends towards stuff that is expensive. I did an essay here about going to an art fair that was filled with upper-middle class professionals (so economically comfortable people) looking at art that only really rich people can afford.

      I suppose it is easy in theory to say “Some people like Wayne Thiebaud and some people like comic books and that is okay. Or some people just want to wear a pair of chucks and some people like to wear Paul Smith shoes and that is okay.”

      But then you get into issues of accessibility and affordability. Wealth and income inequality. So that turns an issue of taste into an issue of morality. Or maybe someone just finds Robert Mapplethorpe to be morally objectionable. They would be wrong but people have always objected to art on moral or obscene groundsReport

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        Well, if it’s impossible, then we’re stuck choosing between people who tend to treat everything like a matter of morality (and see people who treat things like matters of taste as hypocrites) and people who go nihilist and treat everything like a matter of taste.

        I prefer the latter, but I would.Report

        • Avatar Maribou says:

          @jaybird Or we can put things on a taste-morality volume slider and deal with it when other people’s sliders are different than our own…Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            Usually, I find that it goes through conceding that it’s a matter of taste *BUT* there is the issue of *AESTHETICS* and then using that slim edge to argue for some kinds of taste being better than other kinds and thus some kinds being inferior to other kinds and going from there to some sort of morality-adjacent stance.Report

            • Avatar Maribou says:

              What I mean is perhaps closer to there being two separate volume sliders.

              Some things are very much matters of taste and very little matters of morality.
              Some vice versa.

              But some things are very much both (and thus very dangerous), some things very much neither (and thus inconsequential).

              And most things are somewhere in the muddy middle.Report

  4. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    City murals. I think these are popular because they provide for instagram moments and are very Chamber of Commerce approved. They often have bland but inspirational messages. This was recently successfully satirized along with outrage culture. A mural went up in LA but you needed to be a “verified” influencer with at least 20000 followers before you could pose in front of it. This caused internet outrage but was apparently publicity for an upcoming comedy show that makes fun of influencer culture.*


    *I admit to being an old 37 year old who really doesn’t understand how influencing via instagram is a viable career yet many people seem able to do it and they get a lot of nice perks out of it.Report

  5. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Speaking of influencers, here is an article from the June issue of the Atlantic on how Instragram Influencers are driving luxury hotels crazy because it is hard for them to figure out whom is the real deal.

    Maybe I am just jealous that I’ve never been able to figure out how to grift like this or am not attractive enough to do so?


    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      You do not have the right personality. I don’t either. You need to possess beauty and high sense of self-esteem and vanity to do so. I know some people who are engaging in a moderate form of this in distinct communities. There have always been influencers in society, people who have a greater power to influence fashion trends then they should. People like Beau Brummell or certain courtiers of the Ancien Regime. The influencers on instagram are a more modern audience of this.Report

  6. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Something that we have not discussed here I think but there seems to be a backlash growing on the left about various allegedly liberal elites praising Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supremes:


    This kind of HYS protects and promotes their own has always been around but the backlash against it is strong this time. I think this is generally goodReport

    • Avatar Murali says:

      That article is too much dripping with hate for Kavanaugh (and Amy Chua) in a way that seems disproportionate to what other things I’ve read about him. Yes, he is an originalist. And even though I think originalism* is mistaken, it is a respectable theory of legal interpretation. In any case, he has acknowledged the right to an abortion and that the government has a significant interest in providing contraception. He is probably going to be the left of Alito.

      By contrast Volokh gives what seems like an even handed review and Ken White gives him full marks (or very nearly) on free speech. Merely noting cui bono does not say anything much. The question of how someone treats those who work for them is important and Chua’s article speaks to that.

      *originalism is one of those things that works only if everyone else since the original statute and the current case was also an originalist. I’m a “most recent widely accepted legal meaning” person myself.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

        Saul was really referencing the rising level of contempt on the left for the economic “meritocratic” elite which forms an interlocking and self serving clique, divorced from the needs and concerns of the other 99%.

        Amy Chua, and the editors who published this, are utterly unself-aware that an article with the contention “He should be on the Supreme Court because he hired my daughter” displays a contempt for how the Supreme Court will affect the lives of millions of daughters. Or maybe they are aware, but are content to let their contempt show clearly.

        It transcends politics and policy because the article reflects the worldview of people for whom the decisions made by Kavanaugh cannot possibly have any ill effect.
        Because the entire worldview is one of mutual protection and backscratching, and knowing the right people.
        If Roe is overturned and young miss Chua needs an abortion, the tiger mom will have a long list of contacts who will have it taken care of discreetly. If a friend needs cheap immigrant workers, an old classmate will arrange special visas.

        Contempt for the self serving elite is like cowbell; you really can never have too much.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


        I think you are missing the point here.

        I fully realize that a Republican President and a Republican Senate are going to confirm Judges and Justices with whom I have substantial ideological and jurisprudential disagreements. This is just a fact of life.

        Eugene Volokh and Ken White probably have more ideological agreements with Kavanaugh but they are talking about his actual views and record. This is fine.

        What people like me and the abovethelaw crowd are angry about is all the articles from ostensibly liberal members of the elite supporting Brett Kavanaugh. None of these articles in support of him mention his decisions as a judge on the Court of Appeals. What they often seem to do is show what seems like flexing of the HYPS defense league. Amy Chua likes Judge Kavanaugh is good because he gave her daughter an exclusive clerkship. Someone else wrote he was a great carpool dad, etc.

        These are admirable but they are not what goes to what makes someone a good Justice or not. It makes it seems like the elite do live in a world different than the rest of us.Report

        • Avatar Murali says:

          Sure there are some articles from liberal elites celebrating Kavanaugh in his non-legal aspects. But those are not the only kinds of liberal defences of Kavanaugh. I remember reading, but can’t currently retrieve articles by liberals which say that Kavanaugh’s views on the Executive branch are not as crazy as has been portrayed. Sure, there’s a Harvard/ Yale defend their own vibe going on, but harvard and yale defending their own does not does not deserve such vitriol unless it is particularly egregious.

          I don’t think its a purely elite concern that judges be all round decent human beings and not overtly sexist or a sexual predator or something. But maybe that’s just me. Seems like questions about judicial and political philosophy are things primarily intellectual elites will be concerned with.Report