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AvatarComments by Jaybird

On “The Answer, My Friend, is Blowin’ in the Wind? Perhaps.

"Wow. They were somehow able to gentrify Harlem three times as fast as we thought they'd be able to."


We should ask every Democratic Candidate whether owners of illegal guns ought to have their houses given to The State to redistribute to the less fortunate.

On “The Hedgehog Who Won

It depends on whether Hispanics become as White as George Zimmerman before then.

I give it even odds.

On “On Changing The Subject

A mirror image of sorts:

On “The Answer, My Friend, is Blowin’ in the Wind? Perhaps.

Is there any evidence of gun registries turning into gun confiscation?

Other than that one. And other than that one. And other than that one. These examples are all in Europe!

Well, California doesn't count either.

On “The Hedgehog Who Won

Ilhan Omar, as Ayanna Pressley makes sense to me. For some reason, she got on the cover of Rolling Stone, though.


The only goods worth having are positional.


$10,000, American, to every Greenlander if the Proposition To Overthrow Yoke Of Danish Colonialism passes.

Hey, Greenland! Have you ever seen Puerto Rico? Is that something that'd interest you?


AOC (or her Chief of Staff) was *VERY* good at Social Media. Retweetable as hell. She's also very photogenic. That's a face that moves product. Of course the media jumped in with both feet.


I'm using "point of failure" as an engineering term. I'm not saying that any face that surfaces is a failure, Chip.


Al Franken didn't touch people who were underage and there's no evidence he ever flew to Epstein's island. Are you just setting up this argument as a gotcha against Clinton? Lewinsky was consensual.

And so on.


I would say that someone who argued that Trump was not The Face Of The Republicans was doing so in an effort to build up to how we shouldn't see AOC as representative of anything.

Otherwise, I don't see how (or why) anybody would make that argument.

Hillary Clinton was the face of it in 2016 (but it wasn't quite organic, if you use Bernie as an indicator of discontent).

I suppose that the argument over the Democratic Nomination today is an argument over who should be The Face of it (remember the 14 1/2 minutes we were pretty sure it'd be Harris?) and, fortunately or unfortunately, it seems that The Face Of The Democrats is fixing to be Biden (but who knows? Iowa is still a million years away).

One of the things about being the party out of power is that the role of “face of the party” is up for grabs in the way it isn’t for the party that controls the White House.

This is *ABSOLUTELY* true. And if I'm Nancy Pelosi, I see part of my job to make The Democrats one big amorphous blob of Generic Democrat rather than allow A Face. A Face is a point of failure. You've got this great politician and, next thing you know, a photo surfaces of him grabbing some sleeping chick's boobs and you've got yourself a scandal. You make The Democrats into The People, you don't have that problem. A scandal bubbles up? Just excise the guy and move on.

It's when someone organically becomes the person that everybody is talking about and they're really, really good at being the person that everybody is talking about that, suddenly, you've got a face when what you wanted was a blob. (I googled "blobfish" but decided against linking to a funny picture of it. You get the point.)


“If only we make Rashida Tlaib The Face Of Democrats, America will recoil in Horror!”

Okay. This is the decision in the back room. How do Republicans go on to *MAKE* Tlaib the face?

Scheduling her on a show? They don't run those. Put her on the front page of the NYT? They don't run that.

Ah, make a big deal about how Israel said "you can't come here" and make a joke about how Gramma doesn't have to see her?

Suddenly she's representative of something.

Trump's thin skin! Ha ha! He's an anti-Semite! We'll talk about the 1619 Project tomorrow, I guess!

(As for "The Squad", Seriously, remember this? This was a thing that happened. Tlaib wasn't on it... but two other members of The Squad were. Maybe it's not so simple as The Republicans choosing The Squad... but there does seem to be a "This person bugs Trump... LET'S HOLD THEM UP AS REPRESENTATIVE OF SOMETHING!" dynamic that gives us that magazine cover and such things as these candles.)


Some stuff takes off, some stuff doesn't. Like a pop album, some stuff has all of the talent in the world poured into it to make it a thing but it fizzles and doesn't move at all. (Remember Nicole Scherzinger's 2007 album? I digress.)

Some stuff just comes out of nowhere and stays at the top of the charts despite the best efforts of record execs (Lil Nas X, I understand, did this on the country chart).

While I understand the counter-argument that The Face Of X is best described as a shiny new thing that ought not be seen as representative of, say, The Guts Of X (and I agree with it), there are months at a time when you see The Face Of X every time you turn around. Reblogged, retweeted, scheduled for Sunday Morning, and, yes, above the fold.

And it's a phenomenon that exists, even if we don't like the phrase that someone (probably an editor somewhere) picked out to describe it.


That's not exactly how I said OT reflected the Real World. I said that arguments that did well here would do well there. When it comes to policies, well, those have the same limitations as found anywhere.

But if you want to know if an *ARGUMENT* (rather than a policy) works, take it for a spin around here. See what happens.

But to deal with what you said, your recollection of the reparations debate is not my recollection of the reparations debate. Additionally, in 2016, Gary Johnson tripled the best percentage that Libertarians had gotten to that point (beating the record set in 1980).

And Libertarians have disappeared in The Real World similarly to how they disappeared here. Poof.


I have said before that Ordinary Times is a tiny petri dish that contains an important representation of the "real" world out there.

Arguments that flourish here will do well out in the wild.

Arguments that wither on the vine will also do the same Out There.

The conversations that make "the left" uncomfortable here (as represented by The Usual Suspects) will make "the left" in The Real World uncomfortable for similar reasons.

(Now, this representation doesn't *ALWAYS* work. See, for example, 2016. But it's pretty good most of the time.)


“face that represents X” is whoever you want it to be

It's not really who *I* want it to be as much as who the various editors want it to be.

Who is the person in charge of deciding which picture gets loaded first on the page? Who is the person in charge of deciding which story gets an above-the-fold A1 treatment and which story goes in the middle somewhere? Who is in charge of whose face is smiling at David Brinkley from the monitor?

Whoever *I* want it to be? I wish!

It's whoever these people want it to be. (Which is, of course, also driven by clicks, and sales, and ratings, and so on...)

But this isn't something that, to the extent individuals will them into existence, the individuals are not among hoi polloi. They're the editors.

On “Churches In the Hands of an Angry God

As someone who enjoys heresy myself, I'll share this comment from a million years ago:

A purgatorial Hell makes some amount of sense to me.

CS Lewis has a story in which he discusses Heaven as a banquet and The Lord God motions for us to enter and enjoy and partake. We look and see how everyone else is bathed and dressed in the cleanest white… and we look at ourselves and see that we’re caked with mud and tar and whatelse and smell like a sewer.

God beckons us but we say, if you don’t mind Sir, I would like to get cleaned up first.
God says: but it will hurt.
We reply: Even so Sir.

Niven and Pournelle’s Inferno and Escape from Hell used a different idea… Purgatory as an asylum for the theologically insane. Hell is the violent wing. It’s possible to leave Hell (and Purgatory) but, first, you have to get better. The point of Hell (and Purgatory) is that it will help you get better.

When things are painted with those brushes, the idea of Hell is much nicer, perhaps even lovely.

Of course that’s not the *REAL* story of Hell… but, as retcons go, it’s a very well-written one.

With that in mind, I like the idea of Purgatory very much.

I just also know that it's heresy.

On “The Hedgehog Who Won

AOC hasn't pulled any spectacularly dumb crap since she fired her Chief of Staff or whatever it is that Congresscritters have. Conspiracy theorists say that he was the brains behind the Online AOC experience while people who aren't sexist jerks say that Pelosi put the fear of God into AOC and now she's sufficiently demure.

As for "who the face is", I'd say that the face is whoever makes the magazine covers. Whoever gets invited to the talking heads shows. Whoever gets their pictures above the fold on the newspaper. Whoever's face you see first when you open CNN and they're talking about who is opposing Trump's latest dumbassery.

Now, please, this is about trends rather than whatever is going on right now so please don't go to CNN and point out that... (opens CNN) CNN is talking about Liam Hemsworth filing for divorce (I loved him in Expendables 2!).

I'm talking about week after week, who is the face that you see?

Well... that's the face.

And, until very recently, AOC was the face of the resistance. (Though if you want to argue that she's receding, I'd not put up a fight.)

On “Churches In the Hands of an Angry God

Maybe you’re just better off teaching some people not to talk about some things as a prudential matter.

Yeah. They tried that with me, when I was a kid.

On “2019 Time Capsule

I wouldn't go with "too old". I'd go for "senile". Some crap like that. "From another era entirely."

Perhaps even point out the current year.

On “Men Who Help

We also get one with a phone number that tells us who to contact in order to become a member of the undead (one of the sexy ones... think "Twilight").

Occasionally, people interact with the spam.