The Seekers


Aaron David

A fourth generation Californian, befuddled.

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34 Responses

  1. Avatar veronica d says:

    This is an insipid analogy. Opposing Trump has nothing to do with “finding ourselves.” I found myself long before Trump — at least in the important ways. My opposition to Trump is about the hatred, violence, and bigotry that underlie American society, and how they are expressed through him. These are facts in the world, not a lack within myself.

    Not everything is psychological. Some things are brutal facts.Report

  2. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Reality Bytes was about the 1992 election.

    While, sure, stuck-up folks would think that Winona Ryder should have dated Ben Stiller, Ben Stiller’s executive status (a representation of Perot) threw a wrench in the works and made Winona date Ethan Hawke instead.

    You know, when I first started writing that, I thought it was funny. Now I’m thinking “huh… what movie came out in 2002 that I could use to explain the 2000 election?” So I go to the Wikipedia… oh, jeez. Man, 2002 was a dog of a year… Remember when LL Cool J was in Rollerball?

    Hrm. Maybe I could do something with My Big Fat Greek Wedding…Report

  3. Avatar Kolohe says:

    I agree with the notion that the Mueller report wasn’t going to be some magical enchanted epic quest item that would bring down Trump

    But this whole thing is at best a Scottish verdict, not an exoneration. There was certainly smoke, even the smoldering pile of the tangled mess didn’t catch on fire. .Report

  4. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    I’m with Veronica, this is a really pathetic analogy. Look, I get it. You used to identify as Democratic and now you don’t. This seems to result in something akin to a romantic break-up way of thinking in many people. You are looking for everything wrong with the Democrats and/or Democratic-leaning voters to justify your feelings of alienation and dislike from your former party.

    There are plenty of very valid reasons to oppose Trump with or without the Mueller Report as a smoking gun. The man is petty, vindicative, mecurial, authoritarian, vastly stupid, racist, xenophobic, and despite any pseudo-populist pledges on the campaign trail rules like a typical ancien regime Republican.

    Do I think there is a snowball’s chance of hell in Trump resigning or being impeached? No. He is more likely to die in office before 2020 than anything else. This does not make my opposition to Trump about being a special snowflake.

    Anti-anti Trump manages to be worse than pro-Trump because it seems to be mainly about trolling Democrats or liberals over anything else. Trump was “exonerated” by a summary of his report from his own selected Attorney General. The same Attorney General was heavily involved in “exonerating” people for Iran-Contra decades before. Yet somehow, this doesn’t matter if it means getting to poo poo on liberals.Report

  5. Avatar Doctor Jay says:

    Frankly, I stopped reading at “joyless sex”. Sexual shaming of people you don’t agree with is pretty much out of bounds for me. I have no interest in debating the point.

    As to the report, let’s talk after we’ve read it.Report

    • Avatar pillsy in reply to Doctor Jay says:

      I made it half a paragraph further, but noped out with this.

      Dory’s friend Elliot is the young man in the center of every room who just can’t wait to tell you he is gay. As if you didn’t figure that out from his intensely affected mannerisms.


    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Doctor Jay says:

      Eh. I’ve had a handful of friends who have had, for lack of a better word, “lifestyles” that would have been far more suited for people with different personalities.

      They found themselves settling for things that they didn’t really want because many of their friends and/or role models really, really wanted such things.

      Not that sex is a matter of morality, of course, but I’d compare to someone who does not like olives going around and eating olives all of the time because they, for some reason, thought that they should enjoy olives.

      When they stopped eating olives and went back to eating stuff that they preferred, they were much happier.

      Proverbially, I mean.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

        While driving to get some kale from the deli, I remembered a great line from Steve Buscemi in Ghost World: “Well maybe I don’t want to meet someone with my interests. I hate my interests.”Report

      • Avatar Jay L Gischer in reply to Jaybird says:

        @jaybird you make a fine point about lack of authenticity. You made it with olives. Talking about olives is more accessible, makes more sense, and punches a lot fewer triggers when you talk about olives, rather than sex. Yeah, people do that.

        So when someone makes it about sex, there’s more of a hmmm with me. It could be innocent. It could be reflexive, and unreflective. Or it could be some hostility leaking out, which would be better out in the open and processed. Or it could be with full knowledge. It could be someone’s attempt to frame opponents as “less than”. There’s a long history of using sexual humiliation to do exactly that. There’s a lot of baggage there. A LOT of baggage.

        If this was an “innocent” use, then the writer is better off knowing how it lands on some people. Which, for me, is “talking to someone who would use that metaphor isn’t worth it.”Report

        • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Jay L Gischer says:

          Er. I think you used your normal nameReport

        • Avatar Maribou in reply to Jay L Gischer says:

          We know this is a real show, right? Like he didn’t make up this show in order to create the analogy….

          He’s describing a show that exists and an analogy he sees between that and the Mueller thing.

          (I haven’t seen the show so I have no idea if it’s an accurate description or not. Mostly my reaction to this piece has consisted of “WAIT ALIA SHAWKAT WAS IN A MULTI-EPISODIC SHOW AGAIN?” followed by hunting for it in another tab.)

 if anyone else wants to start watching tonight…Report

          • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Maribou says:

            Maribou, that was my reaction when I heard about it a year ago. I think you especially would really like it.Report

            • Avatar Maribou in reply to Aaron David says:

              Yeah, I’m looking forward to watching it – as I said, starting tonight. Appears to be up for free on TBS.

              (This is a total tangent but it is amusing to me how much streaming TV I end up watching for free on the websites of the channels… Fox, The CW, NBC… there’s at least half a dozen more… I think I watch more network and basic cable TV now than I ever did back in the olden days when websites didn’t do that and I actually had a cable subscription. Better stuff, too, because I’m picking and choosing more.)Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jay L Gischer says:

          I imagine that a television writer who experiences joyless sex will discuss this sort of thing in their show (assuming being given leeway to talk about sex at all).

          I mean, I imagine that that’s what writers do. They self-insert their own monologues into their characters (or, I suppose, the monologues of their acquaintances who then become grotesques in whatever show they happen to throw together).

          Sex is fun, sex is awesome, sex needs to be acrobatic, sex needs to hang from the chandeliers, yay sex is a story that needs and needed to be told.

          But, sometimes, joyless sex happens. Erica Jong’s novel “Fear of Flying” discusses how she’s searched for a particular act of sex that she describes as being a “unicorn” because never found it. (Holy crap. Her sister married Peter Daou. This planet is crazy.)

          In the eternal search for the Zipless act, many have experienced the Joyless one instead.

          I admit, until 10 minutes ago, I had thought that Erica Jong’s “Zipless” term refers to an act without “zip”. That is to say, an act that merely happens without being particularly exciting. But that’s not what it means at all! It refers to a “pure” act. Huh. You learn something new every day.

          Anyway, here’s a copy and paste from the Wikipedia section right below that one:

          Jong says that today, women are no longer shocked by the Isadora’s sexuality and the depiction of sex and fantasy as readers were when the book was first released. Instead, she sees that book mirrors the lack of pleasure that many young women experience in sexual interactions. She cites the TV show Girls as an example of media that is depicting sexually liberated women but without attention to female pleasure. Just like Isadora, the women on television and alive today struggle to reconcile the empowerment of sexual freedom with the disempowerment of sex without pleasure.

          There is, indeed, a lot of baggage there.Report

  6. Avatar North says:

    What bemuses me about this line of argument, however whimsically read, are all the assumptions and especially the projections from the right onto the left that get smuggled in bundled with the truthful observations like a cartoon villain under a table cloth:
    That an element of the media went overboard on l’affair de Russian is not a hard argument to make but under that fig leaf of a fact blushes an utterly absurd assertion that the entire media or the entire left or, even more ludicrously, the entire Democratic Party was involved which is far from the truth.

    That Hillary Clinton had political deficiencies is clearly the case and she’ll always be the politician who let it get that close to a creature like Trump. But the whistling past the graveyard and pretending that she simply lost the election under normal circumstances is pretty rich. Shoving not only the foreign power interference (which I deem the smaller issue personally) but also Comey’s violation of FBI and justice department rules and norms with his last-minute letter to congress under the bed is a lot to swallow.

    I especially love the one where the Democratic Party has been involved in some kind of unprecedented politically motivated hatchet job. This is ignoring, of course, how Pelosi herself (presciently) has spent the last year pouring cold water on the voices crying out for impeachment. This ignores, also, the utter lunacy of the republicans from the former administration with their invented scandals and endless trumped up investigations.

    And the projections, I mean the projections are too cute by half! Like the assumption that since Fox and Right-Wing media are an incestuous propaganda arm of the GOP (or perhaps the other way around?) that the main stream media in this country must have the same relationship with the Democratic Party. As if 2016 didn’t definitively prove that projection wrong.
    Or the assumption that just because he beat the living tar out of the libertarian and neocon poohbahs for mastery of the right that Trump is some unstoppable political force. As if he didn’t win by a hair’s breadth with right wingers sacrificing every principle and every last ounce of credibility, they had left to get him over the finish line.

    Frankly it was a pretty shocking reveal; how un-socially conservative the social cons have become; how utterly electorally insignificant small government right wingers apparently always have been (basically just lavishly subsidized tax cutting poodles for the wealthy it appears). It flipped my own world view several degrees.

    I’m not even going to get into the whole presumption that Barrs’ summary is cause for all this dismissal or bother laughing at the idea that all future Trump criticisms are going to be dismissed by the electorate. Trumps approval rating sits where it’s sat pretty much the last two years at 538. I don’t mind them odds. The Democratic Party and the Left had the baggage and political deficiencies of HRC and the eight year purity ennui that afflicts the left to contend with in 2016. The former left when HRC did and the latter died the instant Trump got elected. If only the right could get rid of their problems so easily.Report

  7. Avatar North says:

    Well of course and he’s right about it. I mean our own dear community illustrates this as much as the wider internet world. The most articulate conservatives and libertarians aren’t Republicans; they’re “Independents” which is to say they’re functionally republicans and they vote for republicans but they don’t like the Republican party and don’t want to accept the label of being party of it. There seem to be a whole hell of a lot of them, especially when it comes to the population of the politically engaged commentariate (aka the political nerds).

    The Dems simply don’t seem to have that phenomena of mass disaffection. Sure, there’s plenty for people from the center out to the left to complain about when we’re talking about the Democratic Party but the left and the Democratic Party are, generally, in alignment in terms of direction and philosophy. The right and the republicans? If not at cross purposes then they’re definitely perpendicular. The only thing righties have that keeps them even nascently aligned with the GOP is their emotional disdain of the Dems. If some mid-range Dem gets the nomination for 2020 it’ll be fascinating to see if the right-wing machine is capable of turning them into a new devil incarnate. Because if they can’t that whole edifice seems like it could simply implode.Report

    • Avatar Aaron David in reply to North says:

      At now over 100,000 members in its Facebook group and widespread international media coverage, the #WalkAway movement of former Democrats telling their stories about why they left their party has resonated deeply with a core feeling currently in the American people.

      Started by NYC hairstylist Brandon Straka in late May the movement has caught flame because it speaks to how the Democratic Party of today, where far-left sentiments ranging from universal socialist programs to demonizing our first responders and border control, to questioning the very goodness of America itself, are edging closer to gaining a seat at the table.

      We are a far ways away from the Democratic Party that stood as a big tent party that governed America for much of the 20thcentury, and which led us through World War I, the Great Depression, World War II, through much of the fight against Communist aggression in the Cold War both domestically and internationally, and even as a moderate and pragmatic governing force under President Bill Clinton.

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Aaron David says:

        What Pillsy said once you pointed out townhall. Try harder please. Again you sound like a very bitter person about being dumped by an ex-lover.Report

        • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          Saul, try reading the article and rebutting the points made. Until then, calling me an Ex-Lover is simply the same as me calling you bitter about this for REDACTED by aaron.

          (Sorry, I was moving into A-hole zone.)Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Aaron David says:

        It’s an article that doesn’t exactly meet the… high… bar that townhall sets. I mean their glaring example of a Democratic lurch to the left is AOC being elected. Never mentioned, of course, is what the ideological affiliation of the other forty or so elected representatives. Doesn’t fit the narrative of course. Hell, count up the number of Republicans who’ve gone down to ideological extremist challengers and compare it to the same among the Democrats and the comparison is truly lopsided. There assuredly is a party that has lurched to the extremes with disaffected moderates bailing out while the remaining members tread in terror of their wingers primary them; it just ain’t the Democrats.Report

    • Avatar Maribou in reply to North says:

      @north there are a fair number of articulate conservatives and libertarians on our own dear site who vote democrat or 3rd party far more often than they vote libertarian. they tend to argue republican on here because they’re conflicted and/or they think some of us left-leaners are being dumb. i’m pretty sure that means they’re disaffected democrats *at least* to the same extent they are disaffected republicans.
      (I’m not saying it is typical or atypical of the country, I just think you’ve mis-described that group of folks on our site. We have very few people on this site, according to the poll Will took, who vote mostly republican, from what I remember. I’m sure he’ll step in to correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m fairly sure I’m right mostly because it bugs him that it is the case, and I tend to remember the things that bug people I work closely with.)

      I mean, unless they’ve all been lying to me over the years, and the poll was not representative, which I guess is possible – but I sort of doubt that, given the number of IRL friends I have who voted for Trump, or less annoyingly, every Republican except Trump, without suffering much negative consequence for telling me. (Does it irritate me and disappoint me, yes, do I stop going over to their house several times a month and/or buying them dinner, no.) Plus a fair number of said friends and site members seem to derive more positive benefit from irritating me than negative benefit from the consequences of my irritation.

      The incentive to lie to me about that is very low for most folks, except maybe Jay (and his incentives to NOT lie to me are very high).Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Maribou says:

        Oh I certainly believe you and them Maribou. But the directions of their arguments always point reliably in the same direction. And it’s writ nationally too and across the internet as well. Hell, in 2016 a candidate came into the GOP and said, basically, “Every principle that your leadership cadre holds as sacred and central? Junk it all.” And the party nominated him and went on to elect him. And in the same vein when looking at our own site how many full out republicans do we have who argue and vote the same way? I grant that it’s unscientific- true red Republicans presumably sort into their own internet communities.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to North says:

      I’m not quite sure this is correct either. The left never glomped unto the Democratic Party like the right-did. Look Bernie still being an “independent” even as he campaigns to be the Democratic nominee. I think that the liberal-left coalition is broader and more fragile. Young lefties have no problem seemingly going on a leftier than thou bashing of Democratic candidates.* There seem to be endless ways of alleged “lefties” to hop on the right-wing gravy train and bash on the Democrats. The independents that you mentioned lap that stuff up like catnip.

      In the end, they “hate liberals more than they love liberty” and this keeps them in the R line.

      *Though I’ve seen more realism on the left with people saying “The Democratic nominee for whatever is going to believe in things you disagree with and make votes that you find problematic. Deal with it.”Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        Sure, sure, but it seems to me that if you took the vast wobbly mass of the left from the cynical corporate entangled centrists out to the Jacobines, plunked them in a room and asked a wide variety of questions on policy they’d generally point in the same direction. There’s differences about how fast to go, how far to go and how to get there? Absolutely. But the vast majority of the left has a commonality in the direction they want things to go and they think the party, however imperfectly or haltingly, generally is oriented that way. You need to go pretty far out into the fringes and drum up some genuine communists or socialists (not imaginary Republican ones) before they start saying otherwise.

        Do the same thing on the right? Utter incoherence. Their entire party elite apparatus points neocon and small government while their base points populist, isolationist and spendthrift. Their money men are indifferent to social conservative policies so long as they get tax cuts and the voting masses are the opposite. It’s virtually incoherent. I mean crazy Uncle Bernie is a data point but do you think he’s going to do even half as well this time around without Hillary clearing the field for him? I don’t.

        Lord(Lady?) knows I could be wrong- I’ve been enormously wrong before. Maybe we’ll elect an independent genuine socialist or something. We’ll see in the next couple of years.Report

        • Avatar DavidTC in reply to North says:

          Do the same thing on the right? Utter incoherence. Their entire party elite apparatus points neocon and small government while their base points populist, isolationist and spendthrift. Their money men are indifferent to social conservative policies so long as they get tax cuts and the voting masses are the opposite. It’s virtually incoherent.

          Indeed. I’ve mentioned before, I use to try to figure out the conservative moment under the idea they were operating in good faith and just wanted different things. But I kept running into contradictions

          Since the nomination of Trump, I’ve basically realized that not only was I fooling myself, the conservative moment was fooling _itself_. (Which explains why I kept getting confused.)

          Basically, we all know that two-dimensional grid the libertarians keep pulling out?

          Well, it’s a lie. _All_ political decisions are based on social issues, not economic ones. ‘Economically conservative socially liberal people’ do not exist, or are Democrats. They’re socially liberal, they’re 90% Democrats.(1)

          The entire concept of conservativism, as understood by conservative voters is social conservativism. There is no economic conservativism at the voter level _at all_. It does not exist, and is certainly not divided by party. What little amount does exist on the right is merely racism and xenophobia. I.e., it’s not outrage at government spending, it’s outrage at government spending on the wrong sort of people.

          Not only did the Republican party manage to fool everyone into thinking otherwise, that there was this big group of ‘libertarian-ish’ people under their tent that had a huge problem with ‘taxes and government spending’, they managed to fool themselves! For decades!

          And then they ran into Trump, who starts saying the stuff the _actual_ Republican voters have been thinking. Entirely ‘social conservative’ stuff, and very extreme at that. Not a single hint of ‘fiscal conservatism’. Because, again, there is no ‘fiscal’ axis in politics.

          You know, honestly, the idea of ‘fiscal’ as a political position always was an _extremely stupid_ idea. The correct level of taxation in society, is, duh, the amount that matches government spending. The correct level of spending is the amount that accomplishes what we’re trying to do without harming the economy.

          There’s not actually any political positions there. It’s like debating how much gas we should put in the household car and how far we should drive it. Those things are determined entirely by what we actually are trying to do with our car, we can’t stand there and argue those things _independently_. Someone can’t have ‘a position’ that the car should only be driven 100 miles this week and only have 2 gallons of gas put in it.

          1) There are the rare breed of people who call themselves libertarians who think that the most important issues are ones that the Democrats do not go far enough on, like drug and prostitution legalization, and have a couple of disagreement over liberal policies. I don’t want anyone to think I’m not calling those libertarians (1) honest, I’m just saying they’ve sorta wandered into grouping with the wrong party.

          And, no, this isn’t the ‘Democrats should try to make common cause with Libertarians’ that crops up all the time. This is: The Libertarian disagreements with Republicans are based in the fundamental basis of the Republican party that will never change, whereas their disagreement with Democrats are some implementation details. Democrats don’t need to ‘make common cause’ with them, Libertarians need to start actually paying attention to what the two parties think is important.

          2) As opposed to the ‘I don’t want to call myself conservative anymore’ libertarians.Report

  8. Avatar greginak says:

    I agree with a lot of criticisms of this so i won’t go over them. What stands out is the stat that 50.3% think it was a hoax that led to the Mueller investigation. This is one of those ways of presenting a stat that says far more about the presenter and their biases then the actual stat. How does it read to to say that 49.7, half the country, think Trump conspired with the Russians in the election. That on it’s own is a gob smacking stat on it’s own and it the same think as saying half the country thinks it’s a hoax. Half the populace thinks there was serious corruption and conspiracy in the election and somehow that is a nothingburger??? And that is without even seeing the actual report??? How you read that stat is more about your own biases then anythng else.

    I’ve read in many places how it doesn’t matter what is in the report or what any actual facts are since that doesn’t change anyone’s mind. Well there is some truth to that. And buying into that to the point where you don’t’ care what happened or about facts is one way we got trump. Who cares if facts and information will change minds. We should care about it so that we learn and understand. The more you say it doesn’t matter because it doesn’t change minds the more you are helping trump and all his toxicity.Report

  9. Avatar Chip Daniels says:

    I have no idea who or what book or show the essay references, and I’m too lazy to seek it out, but I’m more and more struck by how utterly empty the conservative/ Republican movement is.

    This essay, and almost everything I read from that side of the aisle, defines itself entirely in opposition. But its more than that.
    Negative criticism at least points by implication to something positive.
    “I don’t like blue” means one would like something nonblue, perhaps red or green.

    But I’m not seeing any of this.
    Its that sort of inchoate, empty void which can’t even define or own its own rage.
    Liberals are bad, because…well I don’t know.

    Do we do bad things, are we causing injury or injustice? Its never mentioned or explained.
    Is “conservatism” better? Its assumed but never explained how it would be different or what it even means.

    This is sort of like that Flight 93 thing, where liberals were some sort of existential threat which could never quite be articulated but was felt with acute dread.

    There is an darkness I see on that side, where the greatest joy is inflicting pain and retribution for some imagined grievance. I’ve asked many times here, for a short sketch of some sort of vision of what their idea of a better world might look like, and have never gotten anything other than a squid cloud of slogans and high concept buzzwords.Report

  10. Avatar DavidTC says:

    At this point, a full 50.3% of America are convinced it was a hoax.

    Someone should write an article about how people often believe things they need to believe as they search for something wrong with their life. They could even make an analogy to a TV show.

    Any negative reporting covering the president over the next two years will be greeted with skepticism, whether it is true or not.

    …as opposed to before, when Republicans _did_ accept negative reporting about the President?

    Those media figures who went whole-hog into assuring us of the guilt of the president, of treason, are now busy walking it back.

    I find myself wondering if Republicans state TV will walk anything back when we get the actual thing.

    Or insisting that Mueller has been corrupted by the Russians.

    Or that the guy hired by Trump to cover the thing up and who successfully covered up a previous Presidental scandal wrote a misleading summary. Which, of course, is what people are actually saying.

    ‘Why won’t Democrats admit that someone extremely partisan hired by the president writing a scant letter about the Mueller Report and refusing to cite even a single complete sentence of the thing is the same as the actual Mueller Report?!’

    Man, the threshold for thinking something is a ‘conspiracy theory’ we need to discount is absurdly low these days.

    But it’s good to know that we’re required to just accept people summarizing investigations like that. At least that means the Republicans are finally going to accept the multiple statements made about the Clinton email investigation and that stupid thing is over….*holds finger to earpiece*…they’re doing what!?!Report

  11. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Update: Members of the Mueller team seem to really disagree with Barr’s summary of the Mueller Report:

    Let us remember that Barr was involved in covering up the Iran-Contra scandal and was hired to cover up this scandal.Report