Linky Friday #145: Politics In Everything

Environment:

Bernie Sanders photo

Image by DonkeyHotey

[En1] Mark Begich makes the case for allowing oil exports. Paul Ryan is working on it.

[En2] Eric Holthaus is really, really excited about the new climate deal. Reading things over, well, if existing projections are accurate I still think we’re looking at less of this and more of this. Also skeptical: James Hansen. Not skeptical: Vox. Also not skeptical: journalists.

[En3] Also, Holthaus really likes Bernie Sanders’s climate change plan, except one thing.

[En4] In Los Angeles, the lawns are browner, but not much water was actually saved. Maybe if they ban bathtubs.

[En5] According to a new study, if you want to save the environment, skip the lettuce and go for the bacon. {via Aaron David}

Europe:

Angela Merkel photo

Image by Abode of Chaos

[Eu1] When democracy is a “situation.”

[Eu2] This doesn’t sound like a bad deal for a lot of people: Taste whisky… for science!

[Eu3] YouGov looks at what went wrong with the UK election polling, determining that 2/3 of it was expecting energetic young people to actually vote. Given my fears of a Shy Trumpkin Effect, the less of it being Shy Tory Effect the better.

[Eu4] Christopher Dickey charts out how Marine Le Pen may become France’s next president.

[Eu5] At the New Reform Club, Seth Barrett Tillman asks an interesting question of justice, crime, and citizenship.

[Eu6] Germany and Facebook are teaming up to “put an end to “Hate Speech“. Some Brazilians, however, are taking matters into their own hands.

Immigration:

Donald Trump photo

Image by Abode of Chaos

[I1] “Donald Trump’s noisy complaints that immigration is out of control are literally true. Nobody is making conscious decisions about who is wanted and who is not, about how much immigration to accept and what kind to prioritize—not even for the portion of U.S. migration conducted according to law, much less for the larger portion that is not.” –David Frum

[I2] Fair enough. I’m content to call one part of Trump’s plan unconstitutional while just calling the other part Unamerican. The American Nazi Party chairman isn’t so sure about the feasibility.

[I3] There was some fear of Muslim terrorists trying to get into the US through Texas. Turns out, they were refugee Christians.

[I4] Arguments such as this – that inequality is itself bad for physical health and the like – actually sort of make an argument against unskilled immigration.

[I5] Merkel announces that Germany is scaling back refugee acceptance.

[I6] Uncle Steve wonders, if we had open borders, how many would immigrate here and crunches some numbers. Of course, a lot of them are poorer than Argentina, which considers immigration a human right. There was an interesting article, in Slate, I think, that looked at the number of people who would immigrate to the US and Europe if they could, and it was pretty staggering.

Politics:

Ted Cruz photo

Image by DonkeyHotey

[P1] Perry Bacon examines why the GOP establishment hasn’t gotten behind Marco Rubio yet. I think #2, the kind of campaign that Rubio is running, is cause for concern. But the other options just don’t seem to really be there.

[P2] If Trump or Carson wants to make a third party bid, they have until Spring to try. I’d been wondering this myself, but mostly from the opposite angle: In the unlikely event of a Trump nomination, when can the rest of the party find a John Anderson?

[P3] Sean Trende lays down some odds on the GOP presidential race. I think he overestimates Christie and Trump and underestimates Cruz and Rubio, but it’s among the better that I have seen.

[P4] Michaen Brendan Dougherty explains why people who agree with Ted Cruz hate him, while Amy Walter looks at Ted Cruz and the Missing White Voter theory. Meanwhile, he’s getting some support from the right places.

[P5] From Marchmaine: If only Nixon could go to China, only a French Socialist can reform Socialism to defeat Marine Le Pen… which makes me wonder if only Republicans can do gun control and Democrats regulate abortion.

[P6] Clinton Aide Who Avoided FOIA Insists He Didn’t Want to Avoid FOIA When He Wrote “I Want to Avoid FOIA

[P7] Good news! Jimmy Carter is cancer-free.

Society:

Image from DonkeyHotey and Gage Skidmore

Image from DonkeyHotey and Gage Skidmore

[S1] Former USC coach Steve Sarkisian really needs to keep his head low right now, sober up, and wait for a job to open up at Fresno State in a couple years.

[S2] Men, it turns out, are lazy.

[S3] Scott Weiland’s family would like to ask you not to romanticize his tragedy.

[S4] Unlike Jonathan Last, I have no strong opinion on the fact that the new Hulk is Korean-American other than being vaguely glad he’s American, but I don’t think I like the whole “retains is faculties while The Hulk” thing.

[S5] The National Journal is calling it quits.

[S6] Like Marco Rubio, I also enjoy water. Perhaps if you enjoy the refreshment of water as well, you should consider voting for him.

[S7] From Vikram Bath: In a battle between asymmetric information and overconfidence bias, a startup is offering to pay for your wedding. The catch is that if your marriage fails, you have to pay it back with interest.

And the Tweet of the Week:


Managing Editor
Home Page Twitter Google+ Pinterest 

Will Truman is a former professional gearhead who is presently a stay-at-home father in the Mountain East. He has moved around frequently, having lived in six places since 2003, ranging from rural outposts to major metropolitan areas. He also writes fiction, when he finds the time. ...more →

Please do be so kind as to share this post.
TwitterFacebookRedditEmailPrintFriendlyMore options

215 thoughts on “Linky Friday #145: Politics In Everything

  1. Erika Christakis, the Yale academic who caused a kerfuffle by responding to a Halloween e-mail, has voluntarily resigned, and her husband is taking a semester sabbatical. The school emphasized that this is their choice and they hope she will reconsider and return.

    http://yaledailynews.com/blog/2015/12/07/erika-christakis-to-end-teaching/

    In “I didn’t see THAT coming” news, this article critical of her treatment by those protesting her mail, calling her persecution “undemocratic and right-wing”, appeared on the World Socialist Web Site:

    https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/12/09/yale-d09.html

    The gist seems to be that her protestors are, by definition of attending Yale, The Privileged.

    In The Privileged (even if in this case they happen to be The Minority-Privileged) vs. The Academic, Socialists must side with The Academic, I guess?

    Report

    • To clarify why this struck me as odd, if this had appeared in a righty publication:

      “Those leading the campaign against the Christakises are not taking up a struggle against serious injustice—they are using the incident as leverage in their pursuit of greater privileges for already privileged African American and other minority professionals.”

      There would be some eyebrows raised at the inclusion of the words “African American and other minority” in there.

      And this conclusion:

      “The relentless striving for privileges by a small number of African American or other minority students has a sinister and reactionary logic, as does every movement based on race, ethnicity or gender. The witch-hunting of Erika Christakis is only the first indicator of where this is heading.”

      Would look right at home in a righty publication.

      Strange bedfellows.

      Report

    • Color me unsurprised. I said at the time that even though I didn’t think that the Chritakises deserved to lose their jobs as a punitive measure, that they’d nevertheless put themselves in a position where it would be impossible to actually do those jobs.

      I hope that they both leave Yale permanently, and find nice cushy jobs at a think tank where they can make their case about the creeping danger of academic orthodoxy without doing it on the backs of a bunch of dorm residents who don’t need to deal with that shit.

      Report

  2. P4: Just reinforces my feeble agnostic prayers: “Please God(ess?) let this man somehow get the GOP nomination when Trump doesn’t! We will beat him like a drum in the general.

    P3: Is 90% journalist fantasy. A 25% chance of noone winning the primary before the convention? 20% chance of Trump? I think Thede accidentally transcribed his letter to Santa up online. Dear Santa, for Christmas this year I’d like to have a whole wheel barrow load of improbable political events to write about.

    Report

    • I hate to say it, but the 20% figure sounds about right. Maybe 15%. We’re passed the phase of Near Zero, though it’s still not especially likely. My current pole position is: Cruz (30%), Rubio (30%), Trump (20%), Christie (5%), Jeb (5%), No one (10%).

      This could really be the year the establishment blows it. Which is not a huge surprise. I had the framework of a post in my mind early this year about it, though I was imagining Walker toppling Jeb. Cruz is the sort of candidate the right-right lacked in 2012 that really could have taken Romney down under the right circumstances. He would also be a good exemplar of what happens when the GOP nominates a “true conservative.”

      Which I would like to think would be instructive and cause the fever to break. But I can imagine, in 2020, Rubio running again and hearing “We can’t nominate Rubio. We already tried that with Cruz in ’16. Don’t let the establishment do this to us again! Nominate a real conservative!”

      Report

      • “Which I would like to think would be instructive and cause the fever to break. But I can imagine, in 2020, Rubio running again and hearing “We can’t nominate Rubio. We already tried that with Cruz in ’16. Don’t let the establishment do this to us again! Nominate a real conservative!”

        “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”

        Another definition of “insanity” is “a mind divided against itself”. To the degree that a party may be said to have a “mind”, the various cobbled-together and squabbling factions (fiscal conservatives, social conservatives, defense hawks, and libertarian-leaners) of the Republican “mind” have been so fractious for so long that I am not sure a “fever break” is possible.

        To mix medical metaphors, it might be time for the doctor to separate the conjoined patients, for any of them to survive.

        Report

        • Mmmm Cruz has marketted himself very strongly as anti-establishment. I think it’s plausible that him losing could actually pop the anti-establishments in the “Conervatism as currently formulated can win!” conviction.

          Report

        • I know this isn’t a place that thrives on conservative nuance, but for what its worth, Cruz is something of a pure form Evangelical avatar of the Republican party; while he is kryptonite to you all, he actually does not resonate as “conservative” to broad swaths of right… he resonates as a very particular sort of Evangelical Republican. Possibly you see that as a distinction without a difference… but Cruz is a Radical to a certain Burkean segment.

          That the Evangelicals are an important constituency for the Republican party is surely true… but oddly, his brand of Evangelical Republicanism isn’t universally appreciated, and, often runs cross-wise (if not exactly opposite) to a lot of conservative thinking – that’s what M-BD is trying to get at, I think.

          Whether he gets the nomination or not is probably closely aligned to Will’s betting odds above, but I think he, above all, represents CK’s thesis that Evangelical Republicanism is Radical and not really conservative. [No Scotsmen were harmed in the making of this post]

          Report

          • Oh yes, I understand generally how the right views Cruz; basically they think his principles and policies are in the right place but the centrists and establishment respectively think his flaws are that he’s unappealing to the middle and that he’s used the Tea Party moment to basically cut in line in terms of Presidential and Senatorial powers.

            Report

            • Depends on where you are on the right. The establishment and center-right do not believe his heart is in the right place, and whether they “agree” with him or not is beside the point because they don’t think he actually has much of a worldview apart from his own self-interest and a bit of a reactionary instinct.

              Report

                • Not so much liberal or moderate, but transparently opportunistic and only tacking the far right because it’s advantageous of him to. He’s taking a lot of grief right now for his evolving position on immigration. It’s not so much that in 2013 he expressed support for legal status, but that it’s indicative of what many believe are somebody who stands for whatever it helps him to stand for at any given time. That it’s to the right at the moment is a calculation and not a conviction.

                  The confrontationalism and his political style matters, too, but mostly in the sense that “We can’t use that squishiness to our advantage” and why, contrary to what many are saying, the establishment will not likely embrace him as a Trump alternative.

                  Several people (Rubio supporters and liberals) are giggling that “Even Ann Coulter turned against him”… except Coulter never embraced him and never had much use for him. She might come around, or might not, but she backed Mitt and can’t back him. It’s not because he’s too confrontational, nor because he’s not conservative enough (or too conservative). It’s because she sees in him what a lot of her intraparty opponents do.

                  Report

            • I suspect that what’s handicapping Cruz, more than anything, is his ability to tick off everyone he’s ever met or worked with*. I doubt there are many, if any, Republicans actively trying to sabotage them.

              But working at his levels, just having most of the movers and shakers think he’s an a**hole means foot dragging and general lack of enthusiasm, which means it’s a collective drag on him even if nobody is really trying to hurt him. Because a lot of people who could help him are probably finding excuses not to make the effort.

              *Seriously. I’ve read in multiple places that, by and large, the impression Cruz leaves behind on people is “Jesus, what a jerk.” From current co-workers to people he went to college with. Jerks can be darn effective people, but it’s still a factor that works against them.

              Report

              • Agreed. If you factored out the Jerk element I’d actually see him being easily the frontrunner with Rubio the establishment challenger instead of it being the other way around.

                The problem, though, is that if you factored out the jerk element he’d not be running for President nor would he be in the position to try to do so. He’s basically made his national status on the basis of making life difficult for the establishment on his own side as well as their collective opponents.

                Report

      • I’d switch Christie and Trump’s numbers and switch Jeb and No one’s numbers but you otherwise look about right in my mind.

        I really hope the establishment does blow it; it’s time for them to suffer for the plays they’ve consciously made and at this point I think the only way out for the GOP is to go through the crazy and emerge hung over and battered on the other side wondering what the hell happened.

        Report

  3. I1: That’s because the United States immigration system is a lot less unified than people think. Most of the responsibility is split between DHS and the Justice Department. DHS is in control of USCIS, which issues the visas, interviews many potential immigrants, and handles naturalization. ICE, which is in charge of actual physically removing aliens from the United States and overseeing admissions at airports, is also under DHS control.

    USCIS will sometimes get around parts of the INA that they do not like by reinterpreting them or adding requirements that aren’t legally in the INA. For example, if an American citizen or permanent resident is applying for a foreign spouse to get a Green Card, the INA requires that this marriage be bona fide; which means not for the sole purpose of getting an immigration benefit. Immigrants who receive asylum in the United States may also petition for their spouses to receive derivative asylum through filing an I-730. The INA does not use the word bona fide to describe this sort of petition because it assumed that people rewarded asylum would be filing for spouses left behind in their home country. A lot of asylum seekers marry in the United States and apply for their spouses to receive derivative asylum. USCIS is now requiring that these immigrants prove that their marriage is bona fide even though that isn’t a requirement for derivative asylum according to the INA.

    The Executive Office of Immigration Review, the overall body that controls the Board of Immigration Appeals and the Immigration Courts, falls under the Justice Department. Since due process applies in immigration matters and the INA states it is the burden on the government to prove removability from the United States, aliens whom the United States is trying to remove are generally given a hearing in an Immigration Court. Both sides can appeal to the BIA. The Attorney General has power to issue decisions in immigration cases that fall under EOIR jurisdiction.

    The Circuit Courts of Appeal and the United States District Courts can also get involved in immigration by issuing writs of mandamus or handling certain appeals from the BIA.

    This is just a basic overview because for certain type of visas, state family courts or the Labor Department could also get involved. There isn’t really one immigration system but a many ones.

    Report

    • My first 9th circuit case was on behalf of someone who was trapped in a catch-22 between a dumb USCIS action and a dumb law. It took him about two years to break out, and the surprising thing was that we got a big win that kept it from being 8-10.

      Whenever you think you know how messy asylum law is, you’re wrong.

      Report

      • I’m going to be charitable about the you being the generic you. Immigration law is what I do for a living. I know it intimately well in all it’s messed up glory. Asylum, adjustments, cancellations, waivers, O visas, how claiming to be an American citizen at anytime when your not can really screw you, special juveniles, and the really intricate links between criminal and immigration law are things I’m very familiar with. I’ve argued in front of the Second Circuit, including a pre-Supreme Court Sotomayor, several times for my clients.

        Report

  4. S1: Why wouldn’t Steve Sarkisian sue them? What is the downside given that I can’t see anyone hiring him after this? If he cons some gullible Californians into finding for him, he will be set for life.

    Report

    • If he’d just kept his head down and gotten dry, he almost certainly have been hired again by some Mountain West program.

      He might still get hired again, though this will make it take longer if it’s not settled quickly.

      Report

      • “If he’d just kept his head down and gotten dry, he almost certainly have been hired again by some Mountain West program.”

        Maybe it’s just my conservative nature but I would think a school would have to be hard up to hire someone with a history like his. It doesn’t seem worth the potential trouble.

        Report

        • Very few people are banished forever. Even Michael Haywood got another job, which I was starting to think would never happen. There’s been a fair number of success with disgraced coaches really helping out programs in a pinch, with Mike Price at UTEP and George O’Leary at UCF. That’s what I suspect that Fresno State or Nevada will be thinking when they hire him. Now… it’s probably more likely to be Idaho State.

          Report

        • College football and basketball coaches aren’t quite like pro athletes, but there are similarities. If they’re viewed as being talented enough to make a team a winner, someone will hire them, personal baggage notwithstanding. There are risks, of course, but the upside is a hell of a lot of money. (Which is why I’m convinced there was collusion among MLB teams not to hire Barry Bonds in 2008. He would have been one of the top DHs in the American League, and without pressure from the top someone would have taken advantage of that, especially after he offered to play for the minimum salary.)

          Report

  5. S2 misses a big point: men aren’t lazy in general. Like, last I checked most major construction projects were largely built by men. Go look at some big bridge or dam or whatever. It does not look like the product of lazy people.

    But there is a really weird asymmetry in the “domestic sphere,” and things such as holiday gifts, thank you cards, party organization, and so on, all fall more heavily on women. Women, by the way, notice this, and they (many of us) dislike it. Furthermore, it is a social expectation, which is to say, if a couple fails to send out holiday cards or organize trips or whatever, the wife will be blamed, even by his family.

    At least, I hear this sort of complaint often enough. It’s definitely a thing.

    Anyway, blah blah blah. Sexism is sexism.

    Hey dudes! We ain’t here for you. Step up!

    And no, it’s not my job to clean up your mess in the kitchen. I’m a fucking engineer you presumptuous asshole.

    Report

    • I suspect, from outside amateur observation, that tolerances of mess are a large part of this.

      Take my hubby and I and our other coupled up gay friends.
      I always do the vacuuming in our house. Do I do this because sexism? No. I do this because my tolerance for dusty floors is lower than his is. So the floors become dusty and it bothers me long before it bothers him and there’s this psychology that says “if it’s only bothering you hectoring him to clean it is a bad battle to pick”. Same for dishes only in reverse- I’m like “eh, so there’s a plate or two in the sink, lets save up for a full dishwasher load.” But he washes them compulsively muttering about how “this is how we get ants”*. Fortunately for our domestic bliss our general tolerances are mostly in line with each other.

      One of my gay friends, though, has a bad disparity of tolerances: his husband is a slob, he’ll contentedly wallow in moldering pizza boxes and empty cans up until there’s flies or smell at which point he’ll clean. His husband’s tolerances are at about my level so the less tolerant of messes partner ends up cleaning constantly with only desultory aid from my buddy.

      Now I grant there’s a social element to cards and the like that doesn’t factor in with SS couples. The wife is apt to be blamed for non-communication and messiness etc. but that’s bullshit and now days a good solid Fish you could deal with it. It’s not like you have to worry about being ostracized socially over it. The hard iron core of the problem, I suspect, is that by and large women have lower tolerances for mess than men do so they end up cleaning it up long before the husband even begins thinking they should.

      *Note: we have never had ants. Shawn has a horror of us getting ants. I think it’s crazy, I mean it’s not like ants are moths**.
      **The silent, poisonous, evil killers.

      Report

    • But who is more likely to be bothered by an apparent social faux pas?

      Family A neglects to send Family B a card. Perhaps it is true that the woman in Family A is blamed. But who is offering that blame? Is it more likely to be the woman in Family B or the man?

      There are certain things that seem to be things women do for women*. If it is important to women (generally speaking) that they be done — if it is important as both giver and recipient — than invoking sexism feels a little misplaced. But maybe I’m missing something.

      * And also things men do for men and women do for men and men do for women…

      Report

      • — Anecdotally, it often seems to be a mother-in-law.

        But that’s kind of the point. Men left to their own devices would …

        Well, I believe in freedom, so yeah. Place your bets, live your life. But let’s look at my ex-wife’s dad, a divorced man living alone, unemployed, barely stringing along, afraid to go to the doctor — so he lets his cancer fester — afraid to reach out to family, and so on. Last month he attempted suicide.

        Okay, so I’m generalizing a lot from one anecdote, but “making plans to get together” scales out over the course of a life, and without it, over the years, you end up with an isolated, socially-dysfunctional person. And should it be the “woman’s job” to prevent this for her husband? Should a man never learn these skills?

        I mean, each marriage gets to set its own terms, but don’t be surprised if women start to notice this imbalance. What’s in it for us? I mean, women were taught the best we could hope for is that chubby slob who watches football all day, or else putters around with his overpriced and underpowered tool set, long on plans and short on achievement. But that’s pretty boring, actually. What’s in it for us?

        It’s not just about holiday greetings cards, which I do not send and do not plan to. It’s about all of that stuff. I know so many guys who simply don’t know how to reach out socially, whereas women seem broadly to have less trouble with this. This comes at a cost. It’s a subtle cost, that simmers over the years.

        This stuff is work. It’s underpaid, not respected, and sexist as hell. What if we stop doing it for you?

        #####

        Some context: http://the-toast.net/2015/07/13/emotional-labor/

        For this one, read the comments.

        Report

        • I do think you are overgeneralizing. If you are talking about “connectedness”, I do not see a gender imbalance. Not in the way you do. What of “crazy cat ladies”? And I’m pretty sure hoarding is more prevalent among women then men.

          If anything, greeting cards and the like seem to be something many (not all!) do in lieu of genuinely connecting. “Hey, let’s send the Christmas cards out so we don’t have to actually talk to people!”

          Report

          • — I mean, I don’t have a ton of studies at my fingertip, in which to overcome skepticism. But it does seem to be a thing: in general, men live shorter lives than women, and that occurs in every age bracket. (Like, this is not only about men who die young.) In turn, I think you’ll find that married men outlive non-married men, and in a way that does not happen to married-vs-unmarried women. I’ve read quite a few things about social disconnection among older men, and while many things probably contribute to this, I would be surprised if gendered social expectations were not among them.

            The point is, social connectivity is valuable work.

            I repeat, social connectivity is valuable work.

            But more, it is undervalued work, and it falls disproportionately on women. We can add, there is probably a connection between what work is undervalued and what work falls to women — but that is another topic.

            In any event, each relationship is unique, and how you relate to the men and women in your life is up to you and them. I’m not throwing rocks.

            But still, I wonder, what emotional labor are women doing for you, in your life, that you take for granted? What if they stopped? At what point would you notice?

            I’m not going to answer that. I’m really not trying to throw rocks at you. But all the same, we gals are talking about this stuff. We’re noticing. You can choose to listen or not.

            Report

            • Thanks for your response, .

              Noticing what, though? The work you do towards social connectivity? Is it possible that men are similarly doing unnoticed work? This might be as much about perspective-taking and empathy — or collective lack thereof — than anything else.

              The woman thinks, “I send the thank you’s. I plan the holiday cards. I keep us connected!
              The man thinks, “I mow the lawn. I break down the grill in the fall and reassemble it in the spring. I keep us connected!

              The woman knows her work keeps them on everyone’s good sides and ensures they are invited to next year’s events.
              The man knows his work leaves them in position to host some of next year’s events.

              But the man looks at the woman and says, “She wastes all that time with those silly things. What purpose does it serve?”
              And the woman looks at the man and says, “He wastes all that time with those silly things. What purpose does it serve?”

              And because the woman talks to other women and the man to other men, instead of with one another, everyone feels unappreciated and overburdened. When, odds are, both of their efforts contribute to their social connectivity (or lack thereof).

              So, yes, I agree that there might be unique social pressures on women to engage in certain ‘connecting’ tasks. But I also think there are unique social pressures on men to engage in other ‘connecting’ tasks. And we can argue about who has it worse or which things really connect us and blah blah blah… but I’m confident neither you nor I are interested in that. As, more than anything, I agree that each unit ought to decide for themselves, collaboratively, how they want to divvy up responsibilities. And if one party feels overburdened or unappreciated, they should address that with their partner(s).

              To that last point, it is entirely possible that there is greater social pressure on women NOT to do that very thing. Which is definitely something worthy of unearthing.

              Report

              • — Um…

                Obviously there are significant social pressures on men to conform to masculinity, along with significant pressures on women to conform to femininity.

                Like, you’re brining out really basic feminism 101 stuff to try to argue against feminism 101 stuff. Which suggest you aren’t really understanding me in a meaningful way.

                If men want to talk about the pressure they are under to conform to masculinity, please do. Talk about that. But that’s not what I’m talking about right now.

                (Plus, saying “things aren’t sexist cuz we’re all under crazy gender pressure also” is a silly thing to say. Imagine: X isn’t sexist cuz this other sexist thing.)

                (Clue: the harmful pressures of masculinity are also sexism. See how that works?)

                If women say, “This work we do is undervalued,” saying, “Well so is this hypothetical situation that I’m pulling out of my ass…”

                Maybe, but I’m not fighting “gender war” right now. You are. Instead, I’m talking about a thing that happens to women in a way significantly asymmetrical to how it happens to men. If you don’t want to talk about that, then don’t.

                What you are doing is bog-standard derailing. Cut it out. You’re better than this.

                Report

                • — Let me add, literally the first thing I said in my first post in this thread was this: men are not lazy in general. Men make significant contributions, but not so much in areas that code as “domestic.”

                  I mean, this is the lingering reality of long-term sexism that has not been stamped out. Men are active in the public sphere. Women are passive and domestic. Men make history. Women stand behind their man.

                  This is not reality, but it is believed, and it shapes our lives, how our actions are interpreted, how value is assigned to our labor, and so on. It still carries on today, where women get to nurture, while men engage.

                  Which fine. But what if we don’t want to nurture?

                  Men gonna men. Or something. I dunno. Be happy with your shorter lifespans or some shit.

                  Gah!

                  Report

                  • I don’t think you are understanding me.

                    You are simultaneously arguing different things and when I respond to one argument you then hammer the other.

                    If your argument is that there is a subset of tasks that women are uniquely pressured to do and that this is the result of sexism, I’m not sure I’d argue with you. I initially offered some pushback regarding from whom those pressures emanated, but you and others correctly pointed out that does not mean sexism is at play.

                    If your argument is that women are uniquely pressured to maintain social connectivity, I am arguing against that, stating that both genders have different pressures towards that end. And while gendered pressures is problematic and likely sexist, that does not support the initial thesis that “Women are uniquely pressured to maintain social connectivity,” from which you then argued that men whither and die without their women.

                    As succinctly as possible, which point are YOU arguing?

                    Report

                    • — I don’t know what to tell you. If you claim that men have different tools for social connectivity that work in other ways, then what are those ways? Are they valued? By whom? How do they work?

                      I mean, I know men who dislike sports and other “male bonding” stuff, and who in fact are very lonely. I mean, I’m thinking of a few specific guys.

                      And yeah, anecdotes ain’t data, but I know a bunch of these guys, and it does seem to be a point in nerd-culture-space without an obvious female equivalent.

                      Funny thing, a number of these men actually envy women and (in fact) feminism, since we have better tools to deal with this stuff.

                      So anyway. I don’t know what to tell you. These particular men — I mean, they’re my friends. (So yeah, selection bias), and they have fairly complicated relationship with feminism. My point is, the guys don’t undervalue emotional labor. They wish they could do it.

                      Note: back before the trans thing, I was one of these guys. It’s how I can be their friend, cuz I fucking get it.

                      It’s so much easier as a woman. OMG.

                      But I also know a number of women, typically heterosexual women, who are very resentful of the men in their lives, because the men lack these tools, and furthermore expect the women to provide these tools — plus who seem willing to “go to seed” if they are not provided. Anyway, it comes off as a kind of laziness. Many women are fed up. It’s like, these guys want their wife to be mommy-part-two.

                      This seems true to me. I’ve been in too many houses and seen it play out in too many ways. Again and again. A ton has been written about the woman who works full time and is also the “housewife,” to a man who works full time and expects to take his shoes off and settle each night in his “mancave.” He can watch Breaking Bad reruns and do not much else. Anything else would be “woman’s work.”

                      Blah! Fuck that shit. Not for me.

                      So these women — yeah, their choice. They could leave the fuckers. They could build the wall, demand payment. What-evs. Did you read the article I linked? Those women have a right to their own time and attention.

                      But isn’t that kind of a shitty choice? Do you like that kind of choice? If your wife felt that way — not saying she does, or whatever, I mean this hypothetically — but anyway, would you want to be that guy?

                      I assume not. So what the fuck are you arguing?

                      Report

                      • I’m arguing that “social connectivity” — your term — can be achieved by many means. And focusing solely on the means that tend to be foisted on women offers an incomplete picture. Saying men can’t/won’t/don’t do that subset of things and therefore they do not pull their weight ignores the things men do tend to do.

                        But now you’re arguing about domestic chores and the like — a topic undoubtedly ride with sexism but also fairly far afield from what I thought we were discussing.

                        So, to your initial point (men rely on women to remain socially connected), I disagree.

                        Report

                        • So what are these methods of “social connections” that men use, that women do not, and that are broadly undervalued by society? Get specific. Let’s talk about it, cuz if men are getting a raw deal we should know.

                          It’s not that men and women do different things, but that the things we do are valued differently, and “social connectivity” has clear value. That is the statement. Do you disagree with it?

                          Say the wife always arranges travel, family time, visits with extended family, and so on — and in fact this seems to be a common situation. So what happens if she stops?

                          Does he pick up the slack? Or not? What happens if he does not?

                          If she asks that he help, since she finds the work tedious but valuable, and he refuses, what should she do?

                          Is there a point where things become unfair?

                          Many women say, yes, there is a point where it is unfair, and they get stuck with it a lot, and he’d just “go to seed” if she didn’t step up —

                          — and here is where we insert the analogy to domestic chores, because it is the same pattern, and in fact I think it is a member of the same species: unpleasant domestic work falling to women, in a situation where they both work full-time.

                          You say that maybe he is doing other stuff. Okay, maybe he is. But what? Is it valuable? Has he negotiated with his partner, found a fair balance of labor? Is she aware of his work?

                          If this is a thing, then why are men not talking about it?

                          I mean, every relationship is different, but I hear this a lot from women, and no, they don’t think it is a fair balance of labor, so what do you think these women are missing?

                          Or could you maybe entertain the idea that these women are correct, and that this is fairly common, and that’s is taxing for women?

                          How do we know it is taxing? Because women say it is. They say, “Hey, I end up having to do all the social planning and I complain but he won’t change, and if I stop doing it, he just sits around.”

                          Which, blah!

                          And here I mention the social science — which look, I collect a lot of links to feminist research, and thus “men’s issues” are not my thing. Anyway, the research is there. I’ve seen it. The point is, men do suffer more than women, and many who study this point to lack of social connectivity in men. Like, the point is, this is really a thing. Likewise, I’ve heard this issue mentioned as a reason for the difference in life expectancy between married and unmarried men.

                          Which, social science is always a bit sketchy. I’m sure it’s all very ambiguous, but all I can say is anecdotally it seems to be true. There are a lot of lonely, disconnected men out there.

                          And what is preventing them from just doing what women do?

                          The takeaway: this kind of “social connectivity” work exists. Women do it more. It matters. Furthermore, many of us don’t like doing it. We feel like we are undervalued, taken for granted.

                          Cuz we fucking are. In fact, you’re part of the problem.

                          Report

                          • I’m part of the problem? Why?

                            Also, you changed your theory. Again.

                            I said nothing of how such work is valued.

                            Let me try to understand your position: Certain social connectivity tasks (e.g., writing thank you’s) are foisted on women. These tasks are necessary to maintain social connections. These tasks are undervalued. This fits into a broader pattern of sexism.

                            My question is this: is there evidence that these tasks are necessary for social connectivity? If men say, “We don’t give a shit about cards,” and women respond with, “But the women do and if I don’t write them we’ll be on the outs!” To which the man replies, “I’m pretty sure Steve will still invite us all to his Super Bowl party,” and the woman replies, “But Jane won’t invite us to the holiday soiree!”

                            If I have that right, WOMEN are determining the value of that task differently than men are and responding in turn. To say something is undervalued implies it has an objective value. You haven’t shown that.

                            Lastly — and here I discard civility — fuck you for presuming to know anything about me and my efforts in relationships. My marriage failed in part because my dogged efforts to achieve a balance with my wife that was mutually considerate and respectful of one another’s needs went unmatched. I live alone with two small children because if my cooking, cleaning, household management, and overtime work were going to be unappreciated under the guise of, “Well, I never asked you to do all that,” then I decided to put my efforts towards those who would value them. And, yes, my thank yous were always done first. Not because of any pressure I felt but because of the importance I place on showing gratitude.

                            If women are nasty to one another about social niceties and men don’t give a shit and this is reflected in their behavior (i.e., treating folks no differently regardless of social niceties), how the fuck is that nastiness and resulting pressure the result of sexism? It could be but show your goddamn work.

                            Report

      • Kazzy: There are certain things that seem to be things women do for women*. If it is important to women (generally speaking) that they be done — if it is important as both giver and recipient — than invoking sexism feels a little misplaced. But maybe I’m missing something.

        Gendered demands enforced upon women by women can be just as much a product of sexism as gendered demands enforced upon women by men.

        Report

        • That is why I included the “Maybe I’m missing something” part. I concede it is possible that sexism factored into this. But I think the person making that claim needs to show their work. I don’t think it can be assumed.

          Report

    • I am not even sure if “men are lazy” is the right conclusion to make from the graph. There is an increase in “gifts for husband” as we approach the holiday as well. There are overall a greater number of searches for “gifts for wife.” Perhaps men are just more likely to use the internet for gift ideas, or any other number of possible interpretations.

      Report

      • tee hee

        One can do both, of course. Right now my project involves applying non-linear convex optimization techniques to polyamorous cuddle piles.

        It’s like, at last we have enough CPU horsepower to achieve maximum cuddle!

        Report

  6. S7: At the risk of nit picking and being pedantic, the bet is not that the wedding will fail but that the marriage will fail. A failed wedding would be one that is called off or which includes the Macarena. A wedding can succeed and the marriage still fail.

    Report

  7. I6: Did Sailer forget to include the point?

    The Gallup number he cites (640 million adults want to immigrate) is a better start than the total number of people in countries with lower per capita GDP (for all his hysteria over Polish plumbers, the entire country has not, in fact, packed up and moved to richer parts of the EU), though expressing a general aspiration to a pollster is quite a bit easier than actually undertaking the social and financial hardships involved.

    Report

    • Is it? I mean, is this even the Memory Hole? This isn’t the government. It is a privately owned media outlet. Fucking Christ… aren’t you all about the private sector? Now we’re going to call a newspaper changing an article (which remains factually accurate, it seems) a “Memory Hole”?

      Explain to me, Jaybird… how is this the use of the “Memory Hole” as that term is commonly understood based on its usage in 1984?

      Report

      • I dunno dude…the NYT calls itself “the paper of record”. If it’s going to substantially change its stories regarding what the Prez said or did (not just correct an errant typo or whatever) while leaving no record of that change (for example, if the quote could not be substantiated, they could note that), then that is, at bare minimum, a journalistic faux pas IMO.

        The Fourth Estate is supposed to be a check on our government, and if it is seen as instead carrying its water (functioning as its arm, and doing its memory-holing for it), then that is not good.

        And it does affect how the body politic remembers historical events.

        Report

        • Was the story changed substantially though? As Chris points out, the quote is pretty insubstantial. It seems to be given MORE weight now that it has been removed than it had while still part of the article. This sort of seems like, “YOU’D ONLY BE WEARY OF SEARCH IF YOU HAD SOMETHING TO HIDE!” type thinking.

          “The NYT took the quote out. It *must* be damaging!”

          Or, maybe, it didn’t really matter and got left — like so many other things — out of the final draft of the article.

          Report

          • The president reporting how he felt about a large event, based on how he chose to learn about it, and how he handled subsequent communications because of that, is by definition sort of historically-substantial, IMO.

            Even if you disagree – if I were the NYT, I’d err on the side of maximum transparency. Pixels are (nearly) free. No reason you can’t note the changes and your reasoning, and head off conspiracy theorists at the pass.

            Report

            • Let’s look at what was actually written:

              “In his meeting with the columnists, Mr. Obama indicated that he did not see enough cable television to fully appreciate the anxiety after the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, and made clear that he plans to step up his public arguments.”

              How did Obama “indicate it”? Maybe the journalists couldn’t back up the statement, overstating or misrepresenting what Obama said? As Schilling points out, this isn’t a direct quote. And paraphrasing is difficult. Especially around what you claim to be a “historically” weighty issue.

              Report

              • Maybe the journalists couldn’t back up the statement, overstating or misrepresenting what Obama said?

                Entirely possible, mistakes get made. It is now their responsibility to correct the record and say that they originally-overstated, or could not substantiate the original claim.

                Pixels are nearly free. So are links to prior versions of the story.

                Report

                • But is that the norm? And if it isn’t the norm, should they cave to conspiracy theorists? This seems like a damned if do, damned if don’t. And maybe that is just the bed they made with an initially sloppy paraphrase. But invoking “Memory Hole” absent more evidence is just silly.

                  Report

                  • is that the norm?

                    I don’t have time to research deeply, but looking here under “Corrections” would be a good start.

                    In case of reasonable doubt or
                    disagreement about the facts, we can acknowledge that a statement was “imprecise” or “incomplete” even if we are not sure it was wrong.

                    Look, I think some people blew Bush continuing to read The Pet Goat to kids, while awaiting further info on 9/11, out of proportion also.

                    But I would ALSO look sideways at an online publication later excising that detail from its original reporting of the story, without a reasonable explanation of why (ex. “not true/couldn’t corroborate it”).

                    Because it is a detail about what the President did, and why he did it, that potentially has an impact on subsequent events.

                    It is not the paper’s job, having thought it was important/correct enough to report the first time, to now decide that it’s not. Not for the “Paper of Record”, in an infinite-space electronic environment (I grant that for lesser news/smaller publications/dead trees, the “rules” could be more lax).

                    If nothing else, what they’ve done here has caused them a headache and caused some people to question their agenda, and there was no need for it.

                    Report

                    • Agreed on the last point. But if people are going to question their agenda no matter what they do, I could understand if they decided to excise that consideration from their decision making process.

                      Report

                      • if people are going to question their agenda no matter what they do, I could understand if they decided to excise that consideration from their decision making process

                        Per their purported mission and desired position as Paper of Record, I don’t think the NYT has that luxury. IMO they have to avoid even the appearance of impropriety. If the heat they are getting for this causes them to think about how to more-transparently handle corrections/changes to online stories in the future, then that’s a good thing.

                        Report

                          • That relies heavily on a misunderstanding of the relationship of the paper to people in power.

                            Remember Judith Miller? In the wake of her columns, it was argued that the NYT was a right-wing magazine.

                            That’s not *EXACTLY* accurate either. If, however, you see the job of the paper to be something-or-other to those in power, the relationship comes into focus.

                            It doesn’t contradict with “Paper of Record”, either.

                            Report

                          • The assumption I am making is that they want to be thought of as The Paper of Record, not A Liberal Rag.

                            One way to do that, is not to unnecessarily give ammo to people who might think you A Liberal Rag.

                            Report

                              • I think Obama’s reaction to a massive terrorist attack in a Western capital, how he consumes his news, his awareness of his country’s mood in the wake of that attack, and how he plans to handle his subsequent communications to US citizens in relation to that attack, to all be more newsworthy and historically-significant pieces of data than whether or not Marco Rubio likes to drink water, anyway.

                                Report

                                • That Obama thinks he misjudged the tenor of the country following the attacks might be considered newsworthy.

                                  Why Obama thinks he misjudged the tenor of the country might be considered interesting.

                                  That the New York Times printed why Obama thinks he misjudged the tenor of the country then, following a minor foofaraw, removed the sentence where Obama said both that he misjudged it and why he thinks he misjudged it strikes me as doing nothing to make the first two potentially interesting things any less interesting and actually makes them a little more interesting.

                                  All without ever once getting into specifics.

                                  Report

                                  • What you’re saying in this thread seems to amount to this: the fact that the NYT fundamentally changed a published story about the Preznit’s moods and views without acknowledging the change is, in and of itself, newsworthy. Meta-newsworthy!

                                    I agree. The NYT has a lot of splainin to do.

                                    Report

                                • If Obama thinks cable news will give him a sense of the country’s mood about anything important and he actually watched those programs he’da already established a special Missing White Girl National Emergency Task Force.

                                  Frankly, I have a really hard time believing Obama thought he could glean any insights into the national mood on San Bernadino from cable news programming. So I don’t know what he actually meant by that remark. Hopefully, cuz I generally think he’s an intelligent person, he meant it more as snark than an expression of Seriousness.

                                  Report

      • Insofar as we have a “4th Branch of Government”, it’s usually “the Press”, of which the New York Times is generally seen as the pinnacle of dispassionate reporting.

        And when they report a fact and then remove that fact from the record without even mentioning that they changed the record… that’s creepy.

        Explain to me, Jaybird… how is this the use of the “Memory Hole” as that term is commonly understood based on its usage in 1984?

        Well, let’s go to the Wikipedia:

        A memory hole is any mechanism for the alteration or disappearance of inconvenient or embarrassing documents, photographs, transcripts, or other records, such as from a website or other archive, particularly as part of an attempt to give the impression that something never happened.

        So I will ask you this:

        In his meeting with the columnists, did Mr. Obama indicate that he did not see enough cable television to fully appreciate the anxiety after the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino?

        If your answer when the NYT first wrote its story was “yes” and if your answer when you read the story as it exists in its current state now is somewhere between “no” and “I don’t know”, I’d say that what we have here is very much an example of an alteration or disappearance of inconvenient or embarrassing documents, photographs, transcripts, or other records, such as from a website or other archive.

        And if the NYT does not have a paragraph explaining that this information used to be in the article but they removed it because it was misleadingly phrased… then it’s pretty easy to see how someone might say that it was part of an attempt to give the impression that something never happened.

        Does that answer your question satisfactorily?

        Report

        • Question:

          Assuming only NYT reporters were present to record the quote, would it have been better, worse, or no different if they simply never reported it as opposed to what they did here?

          Report

          • better, worse, or no different

            How do you mean?

            B/W/ND for the NYT?
            B/W/ND for Obama?
            B/W/ND for readers who want to know what happened in the meeting?

            Arguably, it would have been better for the NYT had they not included it in the first place. Same for Obama.

            As for the readers who want to know what happened, I don’t know.

            Did I answer your memory hole question?

            Report

          • Better in a small way.

            I have a very different reaction than the Federalist, probably because I don’t see the original quote as a bad thing while they do. If you believe that it shows a damning lack of appropriate panic, and you believe that the media is in the tank for Obama, it seems natural to conclude that the NYT removed it to protect him. They may even be right, but I’m betting against.

            What does irritate me is the bad internet etiquette of making unmarked edits to a published story, especially those that involve unpublishing previously published information. If you want a different version on the front page, go ahead and publish a new edit, but don’t change the original version without providing a clear record of what was changed.

            Report

    • What’s odd about that is that the quote doesn’t even seem problematic to me. I mean, in 2015, how else is the president supposed to gauge the “national mood” after such tragedies? That he didn’t have a firm grasp on how anxious those two attacks made people seems, I dunno, pretty normal to me.

      Report

      • Please understand: my criticism is not of Obama.

        So when you see me criticizing the NYT removing a couple of sentences without a trace, it’s not a criticism of Obama. It’s a criticism of the NYT.

        I mean, it might be a criticism of “the Administration” (if not Obama himself) if those sentences were removed at the request of “the Administration”… but my criticism is of the NYT.

        Edit: The official explanation (from the NYT, not from Obama) is that the sentence was trimmed for space issues.

        However, the removed sentence was replaced with more words, not fewer.

        Perhaps we should be charitable and assume they meant “edited” rather than “trimmed” and they wanted the story to take up more space and not less.

        Report

  8. It’s telling on multiple levels that the thing being memory-holed is a lacuna in exposure to broadcast news and resulting lack of sharing in an emotional reaction to an event. It’s not like no one told him what had happened. It’s that he didn’t feel the way the rest of us did because he didn’t watch cable news for three hours about it like the rest of us. Which is a) a knock on Obama, that ice-blooded Vulcan, b) an affirmation that someone apparently in the pro-Obama column buys in to the primacy of shared emotional experience over other possible ways to participate in public life, and c) an example of how Obama can’t win no matter what he does because if he had watched cable news for three hous and got as upset as the rest of us, he’s the f[ish]ing President, man, doesn’t he have more important things to do?

    Report

  9. P5: In other words, French Socialist’s need their own Tony Blair who will totally turn the party into something that only cares about middle class and upper middle class social liberalism! Sounds a great way to lose even more working class votes to the FN and various leftie parties.

    Report

  10. I2: He dismisses the First Amendment argument quite quickly.

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    One could make a plausible court case that using religion as a filter represents either de facto establishment of religion (say we decide that we only let in Catholics) or prohibition of free exercise (by preventing those that wish to enter from freely exercising their religion).

    Report

    • From what I understand, the case law for immigration is pretty clear and there is a lot more constitutional latitude. If there is a first amendment violation, it would be of people already here (Farook, rather than his bride). But that case has yet to be made.

      Report

      • More does not mean unlimited. You can look at religion to determine if an immigrant is being persecuted, but once you start using it as a universal filter, it becomes a change in kind, not magnitude.

        Report

        • As a matter of spirit, I unreservedly agree. As a matter of constitutional law, I’m not sure that’s true. At least not as it pertains to people who are neither citizens nor here. Anyway, here is a roundup of legal opinion.

          Report

          • To be fair, those are cautious opinions because there’s no case on it.

            You can look at all kinds of things to determine persecution for an asylum analysis (if someone is claiming he is persecuted as a Chinese christian, it matters whether he’s christian, etc.). But a blanket religion-based exclusion would absolutely not pass muster (I’d bet good money it would fail 7-2 in the SC, since two of the justices are complete and utter lunatics). That the linked commentary is cautiously optimistic shows only that they are academics and not practitioners.

            Report

  11. En4: The lawns are browner because the grass is gone, replaced by tile. (Or the lawns are greener, because the grass is replaced by various kinds of artificial turf — like I have at my house.)

    Lawn replacement programs are controversial. They’re expensive and the funds tend to go to people who can afford to pay out of pocket. But on the other hand they’re a great way of publicizing the drought, getting community buy-in for demand reduction in other ways (shorter showers, fewer flushes, low-flow fixtures).

    And, unlike the shorter-shower solution, lawn replacement is a long-term demand reduction. You don’t have to keep nagging people a year or two from now. Las Vegas, for example, would be out of water if not for its aggressive lawn replacement program.

    Report

      • I like xeriscaping in theory, but not in practice when I looked into it. I’m down with turf.

        From what I understand even in arid versions we tend to use particularly water-intensive grass. That kind of irks me.

        I would love for us as a society (where applicable) to figure out what arrangements of grass allow for the least watering to keep it basically alive but letting it go brown (brown is an okay color!) during the appropriate seasons.

        I also take a pitchfork attitude for people with huge lawns that they keep green for aesthetics. That’s a double-whammy.

        Report

        • One of the big things more water gets you is durability. If you want turf thick enough to stand up to kids and pets (large dogs in particular), you’ve got to feed and water it. There are some varieties that will stay green(ish) with little water, but they’re fragile. Ditto for grass that you let go dormant — it’s not growing when it’s brown, and the damage accumulates.

          Report

        • I don’t know if you have experienced Texas coastal grass, it turns a beautiful gold in summer. Usually it will grow about 16-28″ tall which maybe questionable in use for urban scapes. When the wind blows it looks like a sea of gold with waves flowing through it.

          There is another hardy type they call buffalo grass. It grows much shorter 3-6″ and turns a nice shade of red when in drought. The natural type is difficult to grow to uniform coverage, it can be done, as it was one of my great aunts request for that to be planted on her grave site, and the family was able to make it happen.

          The stems/blades are very narrow and as soft as silk when running your hands over a tuft. No problems in growing in poor soils like red dirt.

          I think xeriscaping turf is more about which shade of gold you like that can displace the browns that modern grass turns.

          It might be helpful to see what you find appealing in the natural landscapes throughout the seasons.

          Report

    • Are grey-water systems allowed in California? That might help in some cases.

      I’d really like to be able to have one here, but they’re not allowed in Alberta – so we have to water the garden with water that’s quite unnecessarily pure enough to drink straight, and send to the overburdened sewage plant the shower water that would be just fine for the garden…

      Report

      • yes. but …

        People want what’s called purple-pipe water to be clean. Seriously, the kid can’t drink from the hose? Also, running parallel service lines in residential neighborhoods gets expensive quickly.

        It turns out it’s cheaper and more practical to clean wastewater to a potable standard then dump it into groundwater basins where it can commingle with the water already down there before getting pumped out.

        In San Diego, they don’t have usable groundwater basins. There have been fights for years about dumping “sewer” water into surface reservoirs. The reclaimed water was actually cleaner than the reservoir. Last I heard, the opposition had finally collapsed.

        Report

  12. S4: Last’s argument about originality is somewhat undercut by the fact that Jessica Jones started as an expy for an existing Marvel character that Bendis was denied permission to use. More broadly, I see arguments like that as something that ignores the place of Legacy in comics universes.

    Look, most of my favorite comic book characters are re-vamped versions of existing superheroes with new identities and new origins–but a majority of those are still white men. At some point, Marvel just decided that, as long as they’re replacing characters with new versions every so often, maybe it’s okay that some of those new versions are diverse in terms of race, gender, and sexuality. I’d be upset if this was something that sacrificed book quality for the sake of diversity, but those titles have been really, really good.

    I mean, jesus christ. There was a period of time where Thor was an alien with a horse-skull for a head, and people didn’t flip their lid. Is a female thor really more outrageous than that?

    On Hulk specifically: The real problem with Hulk is that the Bruce Banner story is one that calls out for a beginning, a middle, and an end. They’ve pretty much explored everything interesting you can say about the hulk character that Lee and Kirby created. At that point, all that’s left is off-the wall ideas about what Bruce Banner might turn into besides the Hulk, or who might turn into the Hulk besided Banner. I think Peter David was the first writer to bring that, which is why his Hulk run was so beloved. They had a lot of success with a story where Hulk got to be king of a sword-and-sorcery space planet. For the past while, Hulk has just been Bruce Banner but big and green.

    Since Cho has been a major support character in Hulk Books for a while, and brings a very different personality to the game, I think he’s a really good choice for this. And the distinction they’re playing with seems to be pretty interesting: When he turns into the Hulk, he retains his intelligence, but his actions are dictated by his Id rather than by his reason.

    Report

    • Right. Character reboots are commonplace, and really, is anything as insipid as right-wing drones complaining about multiculturalism? Blah. Whatever. Go shout at the clouds.

      Which, if the story sucks, then the story sucks, and adding a “token minority” won’t help that. But speaking as a (kind of) minority, it really is fucking amazing to see people like me in the media.

      It’s like, why is this hard to understand?

      White-cis-straight-male people are not, in fact, universal. Gender and race (and so on) really does shape how people experience the world. You can’t always take the rich textures of our experience and drop it onto a story about a white-cis-dude.

      Sorry guys, you are not universal. There are things that are, which you are not.

      Which — okay look, I’m rather hesitant to talk about Jessica Jones on this forum, given the number of outright MRA-style rape apologists who post here. But whatever. Those fuckers are easy enough to ignore. But OMG that show!

      You couldn’t tell that story about a man. Nope. Sorry. The “smile” thing wouldn’t work with a man, because men don’t get told to smile the way women do.

      And if you don’t know what I’m talking about — well I’m not surprised actually. You just don’t, and that’s why I knew that a woman made that show, before I Googled it and discovered that, indeed, the show runner was female. And the character was female. And that mattered a lot.

      The “eighteen seconds” thing. OMG! I can’t describe to you how rare that sequence was, how precious and amazing to see such a difficult topic, that lands so hard on women, handled with such insight.

      If this stuff doesn’t matter to you? Fine. It’s not as if there is any lack of shows about guys like you.

      Like, how many shows are about an awkward and cerebral white dude who steps up and gets the hot girl?

      Trust me, the topic is well-explored. Let topics that resonate with me also get widely explored.

      You are not universal.

      Report

      • I know I’m definitly going pretty far out the geek branch in bringing up a kids show but yeah I am that kind of geek. Veronica have you ever seen or read about Steven Universe? I think you might find it very interesting (and since their episodes are so short they can be watched very quickly).

        Report

      • Which — okay look, I’m rather hesitant to talk about Jessica Jones on this forum, given the number of outright MRA-style rape apologists who post here.

        Huh. I guess expectations have reached the point where we’re not even bothering to call her out on her shit anymore.

        Report

    • I largely agree. It wasn’t a particularly strong piece and I wouldn’t have included it if it wasn’t linked to that other piece. He even admits that the Hulk character makes sense, but uses it as a platform anyway.

      I think comic book companies should think pretty long and hard when replacing an identity with a white guy. And putting such a character in an existing costume seems like a generally good idea. To the extent that I have any objection, it’s the degree of back-patting the industry does when this happens. Which is a little obnoxious, but not wrong in any sense, and part of a broader obnoxiousness that isn’t remotely limited to character demographics.

      Report

      • To the extent that I have any objection, it’s the degree of back-patting the industry does when this happens. Which is a little obnoxious, but not wrong in any sense, and part of a broader obnoxiousness that isn’t remotely limited to character demographics.

        This! The self-congratulatory nature of the whole endeavor is really off-putting. It’s like, hey everyone! Look at socially conscious I am! No, look at it! I’m so socially conscious did you notice that? Ain’t I grand!

        I mean, blah. Make me puke!

        But still, if this is what it takes to get minority characters and (this is more) minority characters written by minority creators, then I’ll take it.

        I mean, if the story sucks, then the story sucks. I don’t want a shitty story about a trans woman. I want a good one.

        Obviously.

        But then, 90% of everything is crap, so maybe we can get more than one or two trans-women-written-by-trans-women, so then we can find that juicy 10% worth reading. Makes sense, right?

        And the self-congratulatory jerks? What-evs. Just give me the stories please.

        Report

        • The back patting is necessary though because the entertainment business is a business. Back patting is one of the ways they promote themselves. Its a form of advertisement on how progressive they are as a company. I also disagree with the authors on S4 on how these changes are not business decisions. Making changes to reflect current demographics is most certainly a business decision and a very defensible one.

          Report

          • — Oh I know, but I don’t have to like it. I can’t even sit through the Oscars. It’s like, get over yourselves, fuckers!

            Whatever. I mean, I like a good movie as much as the next gal. Just, can’t we just appreciate without having to laud?

            Report

            • Will Truman:
              That being said, the obnoxious back-patting is good business. But if it weren’t, they’d do it anyway.

              I’m not sure that’s the case. After all, there wasn’t really any obnoxious back-patting when they retconned Loki into a genderqueer pansexual. I’m not sure I recall much back-patting about Jaime Rodriguez’s ethnicity when DC introduced him. The Marvel NOW! changes got the back-patting because that’s what was needed for marketing. Ditto the Alan Scott thing. But other changes go quietly or are primarily notible for fan-reaction rather than industry reaction.

              Report

    • Would have been even funnier if they’d asked about Alderaan, and anytime someone said yes, the questioner yelled into the phone, “Trick question! Alderaan was already destroyed.”

      Report

      • Heh, that would be an excellent question.

        I appreciate Zac putting the Democratic response too. I don’t know anything about putting together surveys like this, but is using a fictional place supposed to be a weird Gotcha! Or is it a useful tool just to measure a generic willingness to do X?

        Those numbers show a pretty solid willingness to just go ahead and start bombing stuff from either party.

        I personally would have had no idea that Agrabah is a Disney place, and with six children, I’d have to consider myself a high-information voter here.

        Report

        • It’s probably also worth noting that 13% of GOP primary voters are against it, as well as 36% of Democratic primary voters. In other words, about half of primary voters in either party just have no idea what the fuck is going on. Shocking, I know.

          Perhaps we need a new, complementary initialism to BSDI. Like BSAFOM: both sides are full of morons.

          Report

          • 57% of the Republicans were “uncertain” possibly they thought the bombs wouldn’t work under the sea? Or perhaps they felt bombing Lions is not a top priority, what with everything else going on?

            But then I would have voted no because I’m a traditionalist, and we like our wars to be hand-to-hand… or at least hill-to-hill. This bombing stuff is all just too impersonal.

            Report

    • From what I understand, many Arabs would agree with this assessment. The Thousand and One Nights has not faired well in the Arab world. Islamists hate it for the obvious reasons, it shows a lusty world rather than the more puritanical one the Islamists see as righteous. Secular Arab intellectuals associate the world of the Thousand and One Nights with how European imperialists perceived the Middle East, as a land of exotic adventure rather than a real place with ordinary people. The hate because they see it as part of orientalism.

      Arab nationalism took a more adamant stance on the these issues than the Japanese, Chinese, or Indian nationalists.

      Report

    • In another big of interesting poll numbers: Since his comment about the Muslim Ban, Donald Trump’s poll numbers have gone up… among Democrats. Down among Republicans.

      Could just be statistical noise, though I’m not going to pretend the words “statistical noise” wouldn’t be scoffed at if the results were the other way around.

      Or could be a reaction to party partisan perceptions. “He’s favor/unfavor him for making them/us look bad” sort of thing.

      Report

    • I love the critics he cites:
      – A British academic medievalist who disses Tolkien – a British academic medievalist who is pretty much in direct social if not professional competition with him.
      – Left-anarchist Michael Moorcock, who doesn’t like Tolkien’s vision of an idealized pre-industrial aristocracy.
      – Atheist Philip Pullman, who might not be favorable about the man who converted C.S. Lewis and in whose work the deity literally exists and affects events through interventionist angels.

      Basically none of whom can be trusted to do disinterested textual analysis…

      Good article, overall, though.

      Report

        • If I was actually getting at anything, it was possibly that you have to be careful of oversimplifying when you cite something.

          Moorcock, for example was probably a quite decent criticism – he was among the best of his era, after all. But if you are citing him in a popular article about Tolkien – especially if you just namecheck him and don’t go into more detail – I’m just going to say “Of course he didn’t have much use for Tolkien, after all, he’s practically Tolkien’s anti-particle”. This hearkens back to the discussion in another thread about Gladwell, I think.

          Obviously, no one is truly neutral – modernism and post-modernism have made it clear that we have to keep in mind the critic when evaluating the criticism, which kind of paradoxically frees up those with an axe to grind, since if they have merit in their argument, we can honor that after filtering out their bias.

          As for the actual content… Yeah, Tolkien over-romanticised what he saw as England’s true agrarian heritage. And he was figuratively, if not literally, shell-shocked after WWI, and quite possibly foresaw that no one would learn from that, leading to WWII. So I agree that his idealized pre-industrial society is false.

          I do kind of disagree about the writing. This isn’t “Eye of Argon”, after all. It’s not for everyone – me, for example… I think the films are a much better expression of the basic ideas than the actual books – but technically, the books are very good. Ironically, they suffer from their popularity. If they were just an academic conceit, in the spirit which they were intended, they’d slot right into an appropriate place in history.

          On the other hand, the story is kind of an archetype. So maybe it’s the case that Tolkien was a good enough writer, but not a good enough storyteller.

          Report

  13. [I1]: Donald Trump’s noisy complaints that immigration is out of control are literally true.

    Frum’s argument doesn’t lead to the conclusion that immigration is outa control, just that it’s not controlled, and in particular, controlled along some measures that are currently not considered (eg, allowing spouses in without considering how doing so serves “the national interest”). But Trump’s about immigration isn’t that it’s outa control either. It’s that the current policy serves a bunch of corporate/etc interests at the expense of some other considerations. The beneficiaries of our current immigration policies and practices will very clearly explain why they’re beneficial. For example, McCain famously said that illegals do the work that Murkins won’t, and that was supposed to settle the matter. Big Business can tell you why liberalizing H-1B visas makes perfect sense. And so on.

    Whether or not Syrian refugees can assimilate into our culture and become economically productive members of society given their education levels (Frum’s worry) is certainly one concern, and one consistent with some of Trump’s rhetoric, tho that reason has not been explicitly stated by Trump as far as I’m aware. His concerns appear to be pointed in a different direction.

    Report

  14. I’m kind of jazzed about the Celebration Bowl, which will be the matchup between Alcorn State and North Carolina A&T of the SWAC and MEAC respectively, which are the two HBCU conferences at the FCS level. I mentioned a month ago that I wish they’d do something like this, not realizing they’d actually lined it up. (I never expect them to do what I think will be a good idea. Now I wish that the Ivy and Patriot Leagues would do something similar.

    Report

    • I’m pretty sure it doesn’t. Some will claim that it does through increased market efficiency and by encouraging investment in otherwise profitable drilling (being concerned about a more volatile US market but would be more active with the confidence of a slightly less volatile world market), but I don’t think it would on any real price-effecting scale. Which, to be fair, Begich doesn’t make that claim. He claims that it will not raise prices (and cites the GAO), which I do think is true.

      Report

    • One of the marginal arguments is that, contrary to popular belief, crude oil isn’t fungible. There’s heavy and light, sour and sweet, varying levels of heavy metal content. Refineries are to some degree specialized in what kind of crude they handle best. For example, Valero opted to emphasize handling heavy, sour crudes at its refineries. At one point when light crude supplies were declining sharply, that appeared to be a brilliant move — until the glut of US shale oil, which is almost all light. There are some (probably minor) efficiencies from being able to match crudes to refinery capabilities more closely. Eg, with US light crude on the global market, Asian refineries that do best with light crude would buy more of that and less heavy crudes, lowering the price of Valero’s inputs.

      Report

Comments are closed.