Morning Ed: United States {2017.06.05.M}

Well, I suppose it makes sense for somebody to make some money off the Big Sort.

This is interesting. It’s not often the Great Plains converge with BosWash.

And here’s a map of the closest top-tier college football program to your county.

In case you ever wanted to know what happened to all of those emails sent to Hillary Clinton.

Gillian Brockell writes about the racism that flight attendants have to put up with.

Harsh!

Virginia Postrel says we need some new stories.

You will never guess why Mary Kay Letourneau and her husband are getting a divorce.


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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 →

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280 thoughts on “Morning Ed: United States {2017.06.05.M}

  1. Making money off the Big Sort seems like a continuation of the Long Con.

    California has fewer households where both spouses work than I thought it would.

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    • The areas in California with both spouses in the labor force look like the SF Bay Area, San Diego metro area and the LA Metro area. So the wealthiest and most expensive parts of the state.

      The areas with deeper purple are more economically depressed and sometimes very depressed so I wonder if those areas just as both spouses outside the traditional labor force.

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      • Yeah… I’d overlay some other “qualitative” metric like job fulfillment… I’m guessing both spouses working are probably very different phenomena in different places.

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        • Employment is pretty depressed in those areas and the map said one or both spouses is not working. It did not tell us how many were one income households or no income households.

          The map doesn’t even tell us whether men or women are staying at home.

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  2. Conservative Move: for every possible need, there is someone willing to sell it to you. sniff. I love ‘merica! But really, isn’t almost anywhere in texas, outside of austin, conservative?

    My area is green, just as expected, but wasn’t was when me and the now ex moved into the “marital estate” and found that, in our court, we were the only couple that both worked. Everyone else, the wife stayed home. Fair to say though that everyone have 2 or more kids…so…..

    Clinton: God, what shitty job. First to waste a decade doing this in the hopes to be doing it for a president, then to have to respond to each and every letter, reliving that night. Wonder if he’s still dressing in all black.

    Flight racism: Seems more ignorance than racism.

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  3. The “flight racism” one also just seems to be a “when you work in a service-oriented industry, you have to cater to the whims of people who think they’re special/regularly deal with ignorant people.”

    It is hard to know “what’s potentially a threat and what’s just a ‘different’ person going about their daily life” and I think sometimes the people who are a little “different” in some way wind up dealing with more trouble. I’m a quiet loner and I rail every time there was a shooting where everyone talks about how the shooter was a quiet loner and that’s like TOTALLY a red flag….

    Part of it may be the metastasis of the “if you see something, say something” encouragement that we’ve been given since 2001 (Wasn’t there a plan afoot at some point to allow people to anonymously snitch on their neighbors for a lotta stuff? Like THAT is never gonna be abused….)

    But also, those kinds of mindsets have existed FOREVER. Doubtless during WWII Chinese-Americans got harassed because people thought they were part of the “Japanese threat” and during WWI there were German families who changed their surnames in order to avoid trouble (“No, we are….Swedish….”)

    I remember almost 20 years ago driving to an Amtrak station in a town a little while away to see if it would be feasible to drive there and leave my car while traveling to visit family. I ultimately didn’t, because it turned out to involve changing trains and was more hassle and longer than going to a more-distant station where I wouldn’t need to make a change, but while I was checking out the area, a guy (of the same complexion as I am) came up to me and said:

    him: “Are you thinking of taking the train?”

    me: “Yeah. I want to go home for Thanksgiving but I don’t want to fly. I was checking it out to see about leaving my car here, if there’d be a fee….”

    him: “There isn’t, but you should know that this part of town gets awfully…..dark….at night.”

    (I looked around and then said): “Huh. It seems like they have plenty of streetlights in the parking lot here so seeing to get to my car shouldn’t be a problem.”

    Him: “No, it gets awfully DARK here at night….”

    It wasn’t until about 10 minutes later I figured out what he was on about. I mean, if it was a high-crime area he should have just said, “Your car might get broken in to because the police don’t patrol much here” or something… I assume that’s what he meant, or that he assumed “people of a particular skin tone” = higher crime rate. And he assumed I’d know/believe that too.

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  4. Conservative Move: I am curious whether this is simply cheesy marketing for a real estate agent offering the usual services at the going rate, or if this a grift, fleecing the rubes.

    Either way, this seems to me a peculiarly conservative thing. Sure, liberals tend to congregate too, but it seems to be more of an amenities thing. If you pitch a city as having an active music scene, micro breweries, walkable neighborhoods, great bookstores, etc., then yeah, you are pitching to liberals. But this is because those are the sorts of things liberals want, at least stereotypically. It would seem weird to me to pitch a city on the basis that you won’t have to suffer frequent contact with conservatives. But this is what this Conservative Move is pitching. It doesn’t even bother with the ritual denunciation of taxes. It is just assumed that moving to a conservative area is the same as moving to “a better life.”

    I see the same thing in the church. I belong to more liberal Lutheran church, “liberal” meaning we have had female clergy for decades and we are OK with gay marriage. But until recently there was a conservative wing. You could find congregations that never called a female pastor and where gay marriage was out of the question. And that was OK. They were a minority, but they was never a movement to purge them. They have mostly left over the past ten years or so, mostly over the gay marriage issue. But they left us. They weren’t pushed out. They found it intolerable to be members of an organization that allowed gay marriage, so off they went. The more conservative Lutheran church, on the other hand, purged their liberal wing almost fifty years ago. It seems a characteristically conservative attitude that coexistence with people who disagree is impossible.

    See also: MSNBC: the “liberal network” because it has both liberal and conservative hosts.

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  5. The NY Times has an interesting article on the rise and fall of Bleeker Street:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/31/fashion/bleecker-street-shopping-empty-storefronts.html?_r=0

    The basic story seems to be:

    1. Bleeker Street was a charming, semi-Bohemian West Village street with local businesses like the Biography Bookshop, some indy fashion boutiques, antique stores, etc.

    2. Magnolia Bakery opens in 1996 and is just another Bleeker Street business.

    3. Magnolia Bakery is featured on Sex in the City four years later.

    4. The crowds go wild and tours are organized. I went to grad school around here when the tours were very big in 2005-2006.

    5. Lots of mega luxury brands decide to rent/lease storefronts on Bleeker Street and this drives up rents.

    6. Turns out that people on Sex in the City tours either can’t afford expensive clothing or don’t want it. They just want to gawk at celebrities.

    7. The fiscal crisis.

    8. The mega luxury brands close up shop largely except now the landlords are greedy for huge rents they extracted short term and won’t lower accordingly and you have empty storefronts.

    I’m not sure what can be done here because I seem to be largely in both worlds where I don’t mind nice things and also like a good bookshop but the bookshop crowd treats the fancy clothing brand as the enemy uber allies because no one knows how to get over middle and high school. I don’t think it is a contradiction to like nice clothing and to like a good bookstore or reading but many people seem to. My ideal urban hood would contain both nice clothing stores and a good bookshop or two. Maybe an arthouse movie theatre.

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    • ” no one knows how to get over middle and high school”

      Oh Lord is this true.

      So much of calling-out culture resolves to “now that I have a thousand followers I can finally tell those popular girls what I really think about them! With a hundred retweets on my side I can finally stand up to that bully!”

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      • One of the things I was least prepared for in adulthood (in general: not just on the internet) is how some folks never seem to have moved past junior high or high school.

        It’s especially weird to realize that that’s the dynamic behind some of the micturational combat that goes on in university departments/administrations.

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        • This is especially true the closer people live to their high school. The people who move far away from where they grew up seem to have a much easier time letting go of the past.

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          • I’m not so sure on this one. What I think happens is that people develop a lot of taste tribe identities and they decide “this is for me” and “this is not for me.”

            Symbolism seems to matter a lot for many people and the symbolism that people care for is a very myopic “this is meant for me” and if something is not meant for them than they oppose it even if that thing can benefit them tangentially.

            I’ve come around on the housing crisis issue and think the best way to lower housing costs is to build about as much of it as possible as quickly as possible while still being safe and not-shoddy. But a lot of people still refuse to believe that building yuppie condos is going to lower the rent despite evidence that it does. The only thing I can surmise that when people see yuppie condos they see “you are building housing for people who are not like me and people I don’t like.” Maybe my hope is that building enough yuppie condos will let me buy a place because I am part-yuppie too (or HENRY as the new term). And I am one of those weirdos who likes modern architecture over traditional styles usually.

            I came to be interested in clothing a bit late in life (my late 20s) but in reading the comments to the Bleeker Street article, I see a lot of people angry that their neighborhood became popular with tourists and rich people and a lot of book lovers seem to were anti-fashion as a badge of honor.

            I do think that if you live in a city like NY, SF, LA, Seattle, and Portland tourism is just something you need to get used to.

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            • It would be really nice if the up-zoners took a moment out of their day to understand that up-zoning isn’t easy, especially in old built-out cities.

              Besides assisting the developer in assembling the footprint, the local govt needs look at all the impacts to local services: traffic, public transit, parking, schools, parks, water & sewer service, police & fire, etc.

              Then you have to persuade the existing residents who bought into a particular zoning regulation that the upzone is appropriate.

              All politics is local, but land use is perhaps the most so.

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              • And it would be really nice if people realized it isn’t going to be 1967 or 1978 forever and nothing is going to prevent people from moving to SF or NYC or any other cool city.

                It would be really nice if people realized when they were acting in their own biases and for their own good and that maybe there is not a good reason to have farmland in Marin, Alameda, or San Mateo counties.

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  6. Clinton letters – Strange article. It seems to think it’s a story about personal connections (in the sense of people reaching out and making sense of their experiences) but it’s a story about personal connections (the network of paid staffers who make a politician look good).

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  7. Postrel’s new stories – (Hyeesh, can we get these things numbered? I don’t want free content spoon-fed to me; I want free content conveniently spoon-fed to me.) It doesn’t sound like she wants new stories. She says we’re telling more stories than ever. She’s looking for us to focus on different stories. I’m all for that, although it’d be nice if she’d identify which stories those should be. But I think the problem is something I brought up on the Everything Is Political thread: we don’t have a good tool for disengaging from topics. We don’t have a meme-closer, or media that steer the conversation away from garbage.

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    • “we don’t have a good tool for disengaging from topics.”

      And so long as “I don’t want to talk about (thing)” is interpreted as “I don’t care about (thing)”, “nobody should care about (thing)”, “(thing) is not a problem”, or “I actually support (thing)”, we will not have a good way.

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  8. Flight Attendant Racism: Part of the problem is that, in order to fight racism, we’ve gone to Zero Tolerance codeword-style enforcement. If certain phrases are uttered then there is an Objective Standardized Response, a Procedure which must be followed. Judgement is assumed to be suspect, informed by bias and prejudice.

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  9. So Trump wants to privatize Air Traffic Control with (what sounds like) a GSO non-profit? Given the FAAs inability to make any headway at modernizing ATC, this doesn’t seem like a bad idea.

    The DNC complains:

    By privatizing our nation’s air traffic control system, Trump is once again putting the interests and the pocketbooks of airline executives before the safety and well being of American workers and passengers

    I’m not sure how, since the airlines will still be paying fees to run ATC. I’m sure that airlines are hoping that a privatized ATC will be more efficient and thus they will save money either through lower fees paid to ATC, or through improved flight times and corridors (saving on fuel and time), but that strikes me as a win for everyone.

    So exactly how would an ATC that is responsive to airline interests be bad for everyone?

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      • Setting aside that I don’t trust the Trump administration to be able to do something like this, as it is more complicated than spellchecking a tweet, I’m looking for something more.

        The Delta report makes an awful lot of claims, but offers no real analysis regarding why Canada and the UK experienced cost increases. It also seems to make the assumption that there is no way to control for or regulate potential negatives so as to avoid the problems other countries have experienced. It also hand waves away the raft of problems the FAA has running the ATC as it is.

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    • So exactly how would an ATC that is responsive to airline interests be bad for everyone?

      I agree that the DNC is missing the point. (And it’s a terrible political message as well, further evidence that the DNC remains incompetent.) But your question is a bit beggy as phrased. It’s similar to asking “So, how exactly would a prison system responsive to prisoner’s interests be bad for everyone?” when discussing privatizing our prison system.

      I think the worry – or at least the worry I have – is that corporate culture in these types of PPPs has a history of not WAI. So I’d want it heavily regulated, so much so that tweaking the current structure makes more sense.

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    • “exactly how would an ATC that is responsive to airline interests be bad for everyone?”

      If I had to come up with a reason, I could guess that a privately-funded ATC would be incentivised to accept a higher passenger risk in order to keep operations tempo (and revenue) high. Closer spacing between aircraft, allowing takeoffs and landings in marginal weather conditions, that sort of thing.

      Not necessarily things that would themselves cause crashes, but things that could contribute to the overall “this went wrong, then this went wrong, then that went wrong, and because the planes were close together and the weather was bad the pilots couldn’t see each other, and that’s when they crashed” story.

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    • As I said on Twitter, this has been floating around for a while; Trump didn’t come up with this ex nihilo. It’s interesting in that the people you’d expect to be against it – the unions – are for it.

      But that said, the proposals I’ve seen don’t make it seem to be the best policy, on balance, and, as you and others have said, I don’t trust Trump enough to want to deviate from the status quo on any system design.

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      • Oh, yeah, Trump is not the President I want anywhere near this. He’s far too likely to just hand it off to some guy who laughed at one of his jokes and call it a win.

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      • That really depends on how it is structured. If the leadership of the PPP ATC is all or mostly air line execs or lobbyists, that could be bad (or not).

        The thing to keep in mind is that ATC is not a regulatory body, it’s a service. The FAA is still publishing and enforcing regs, and if the regs say stuff like “all aircraft must maintain 5 miles horizontal separation”, a PPP ATC isn’t going to be playing fast and loose with the rules, at least not any more than they do now (ATC data is logged, so if there is an incident, the FAA/NTSB is going to know if an aircraft was instructed or otherwise allowed to get too close).

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    • A bit harsh on the kids… but, hey. This is the future now. Put this on a poster and put it in every single high school in the good part of town in the country.

      “WHAT YOU DO ON FACEBOOK CAN KEEP YOU FROM GOING TO COLLEGE”

      Put it next to the posters about bullying.

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      • How is it harsh on the kids? Harvard set up a facebook group for the class of 2021 and a bunch of kids decided that they would start a more X-rated group to do the same. The kids were kind of dumb though and they said “Hey, do you want in on our secret group? You gotta post a meme to the Harvard-sponsored and monitored group that will offend about 100 of your fellow soon-to-be froshes!” And people went for it.

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        • It’s not like the kids are *ENTITLED* to go to Harvard. Harvard is a private business and they can accept (or deny (or withdraw acceptance from)) whomever they want.

          I imagine that there are 10 waitlisted kids who are very happy indeed.

          But when it comes to “harsh”, I’m sure that they’re blindsided and would claim something like they “had no idea that posting a meme to facebook could get them dropped from acceptance to Harvard”, in the same way that a lot of people in recent years are finding out that their tweets, facebook posts, and whatnot are being sent to bosses, parents, spouses, and so on and finding that they have to apply for new jobs or find themselves having to explain themselves.

          Maybe the kids aren’t reeducatable.

          Better that they’re replaced with those waitlisted kids. The waitlisted kids will appreciate it that much more, I’m sure.

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          • I’m certain that tens of thousands of Harvard students have gotten away with edgelord crap every bit is gross as what these students posted in their little FB group.

            The difference? They didn’t do it in a goddamn FB group.

            Also, roughly 300 million Americans haven’t been to Harvard, and some of them manage to lead happy and productive lives. I’m pretty sure these idiots will be fine.

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            • Fired from their jobs. Their bosses should be told about what they did and told that there will be a boycott of their business if this person is not fired.

              Their parents should be told. “Your child said *THIS*.”

              If nude photos of the people can be found, if they’re over 18, these photos should be publicized.

              Their home addresses should be published in the newspaper along with regular schedules.

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              • You understand, , when you go off on silly rants like this, nobody actually listens to you anymore, right?

                I mean, I understand you think speech should have zero consequences, especially when comfortable middle class or above people say not nice things and all…

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                • My original point was that what happened was a bit harsh but indicative of the way reality is now and that they should be the poster children for children in high schools everywhere on how posting on social media will have consequences.

                  The problem that people had with what I said was not the part where I said “indicative of the way reality is now and that they should be the poster children for children in high schools everywhere on how posting on social media will have consequences” but on the part where I said it was “a bit harsh”.

                  If you want to read that as “he said that this was a bit harsh! THAT MEANS THAT HE THINKS THAT SPEECH SHOULD HAVE ZERO CONSEQUENCES!”, you’re not exactly understanding my argument.

                  But that’s cool.

                  I’m down with my boss reading what I’ve written here.

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                    • I stand by the whole “this was a bit harsh but indicative of the way reality is now and that they should be the poster children for children in high schools everywhere on how posting on social media will have consequences” thing, for the record.

                      I think that arguing against the “a bit harsh” thing is to argue against the least interesting part of the statement, but, hey. Whatever.

                      If that’s what we’re arguing against, is the position that you’re arguing that it was perfectly calibrated or is it that it was not harsh enough?

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                        • They’re arguing against the least interesting part of the clearly stated position as if it were followed by “and that’s why I support people who get accepted to Harvard… but only if they’re white! Once Accepted, Always Accepted!” rather than “we should make these kids poster children for what they did”.

                          (And, no. I’m not mad. I promise.)

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                          • They’re arguing against the least interesting part of the clearly stated position

                            Heaven forbid they argue over the least interesting bit. Maybe someone should bold the bits you want them to argue over?

                            It’s so hard to railroad players these days!

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                          • Maybe you’re misreading people.

                            Maybe you’re not as good at 12th dimensional chess as you like to pretend.

                            Saul said: “How is it harsh on the kids?”
                            Greg said: “What should happen if the kids said those statements to people in meatspace? If at the cafeteria or a football game they said those things?”

                            Who, exactly, acted like that and where?

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                  • The thing is most kids knew social media use had consequences years ago. So these kids are outliers in good ( getting into Harvard) and bad ( clueless) ways.

                    Harsh? Eh. It would be harsh for Mexican classmates to sit next to Sir Meme-A-Lot who makes those pinata jokes.

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                    • Hey, Justine Sacco got fired in 2013. So those kids were freshmen when #HasJustineLandedYet was trending.

                      They should have known. We should assume that they were smart enough to put 2 and 2 together, anyway.

                      Sure.

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              • Hmmm Fbook is sort of public. The kids had to post something in the public group to get into the private group. So how do the targeted groups feel about those memes? Is that worth a thought?

                Just to get ahead of you. Yup people make mistakes and should be able to get on with their lives without being forever tarred. Agree completely. But some mistakes also have consequences for the target and the person in err.

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                • But some mistakes also have consequences for the target and the person in err.

                  I think that we should have a *BIT* more leeway for kids than for adults and that it’s likely that a stern lecture, a handful of demerits, and a probationary period would have been sufficient.

                  But, hey, maybe it wasn’t. Hell, maybe the kids hammered their First Amendment rights when questioned about it.

                  As I said, I’m sure that there are 10 waitlisted kids who are over the moon right now.

                  And I’m sure that they know better than to post memes. They’d better, anyway.

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                  • Knowing when you can make off color comments is a pretty basic social skill. Most college know it already or learn it in a less painful manner. I’m sure most of their peers, even those that are fine with the memes, are gobsmacked these kids were this publicly stupid.

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                  • So, their actions exposed those kids as uncultured roughnecks who clearly aren’t Harvard material. Why isn’t that account sufficient? Why doesn’t the story end there? As far as I can tell, there are no cultural or speech related issues here except that you are looking for an angle to make this into a cultural and speech issue. Which ironically is exactly what you’re cautioning people against doing.

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                    • Dude, I’m saying that they should be made poster children as warnings to *ALL* high school students in the good part of town as to what will happen if you act foolish on social media.

                      School guidance counselors can use these kids as examples in the beginning of the year assembly for at least a decade.

                      “Don’t be foolish on Social Media! It will get you booted from Harvard before you even start going there! Now for a sketch from the Drama Club about marijuana being bad.”

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                      • Ahh. Ok. That’s the position I thought you were leaning into at the beginning, but this comment

                        I think that we should have a *BIT* more leeway for kids than for adults and that it’s likely that a stern lecture, a handful of demerits, and a probationary period would have been sufficient.

                        seemed to go in a different direction more closely aligned with free speech absolutism and so on.

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                      • I’m saying that they should be made poster children

                        ???

                        So they’re not humiliated enough; it needs to be spread around even more?

                        What the hell is wrong with you?

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                        • “Perfectly calibrated”. Gotcha.

                          (Fine, use shadow faces and say “these 10 students” and not “John Smith”, “Mark Jones”, “Matt Thompson” and so on.)

                          Just make the point big and loud that this happened, it happened to 10 kids, they got accepted to Harvard, and now they had to go to Some Other College because of their memeing.

                          Because, let’s face it, if they only got a stern talking to and a handful of demerits and a probationary period, we never would have heard this story in the first place.

                          We want high school kids to know that they are all Justine Sacco now. They are the guy who made jokes about dongles in front of Adria Richards. They are Kathy Griffin.

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                            • The direct circumstances under which Adria got fired were bullshit (because of a DDOS holding her company hostage? Come on!), but “tech evangelist” strikes me as being a job somewhere on the same spectrum as “PR person” and making a huge (avoidable) stink is a good way to demonstrate that one is doing a poor job evangelizing. I would not have been surprised if she had gotten fired without the DDOS.

                              It stinks to high heaven that she got fired with it, though.

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                                • I usually find plenty to disagree with Freddie, but he’s spot on here. I’ve seen it in action too many times.
                                  The central idea is that the people-at-large are “the eyes and ears” of the police (from the community policing model), and the police urgently need any information they can get– any information at all, without regard to whether it is legitimate police business– so they can make a determination on it.
                                  The issue is that it doesn’t mesh well with the intelligence-led policing model, because the tools to drill down that information are lacking. Those tools are definitely there alright, but they’re being used for their own purposes rather than mundane matters. The end product is the generation of a vast amount of noise in the system.
                                  Nonetheless, many police will tell you that they would rather know about it than not know. Police are like that, generally. Part of their training is to home in on the “magic words” that justify everything, e.g., “I felt threatened.”
                                  The noise in the system itself is a hobble on legitimate police work, but its true detriment is in the deployment of police (i.e., deadly force) where there is no legitimate police work to be had. Of course, the police unions are all for this (they are labor organizations of law enforcement, and not a law enforcement organization for labor), because it makes it look like more officers are needed; i.e., it is purely self-serving. The shift in police function occurring following the Bush administration’s refusal to reauthorize the Byrne grants is quite likely the single biggest reason why there are so many police shooting deaths these days. They are performing tasks that are not traditional police work, and for which they are only marginally trained to perform.

                                  It reminds me of Mussolini’s model, that of passing out uniforms and making people police and employees of the state. Our model does not involve a uniform or a payout, but is otherwise identical.
                                  This desocialization of society, combined with ubiquity of digital tools, e.g., cell phones, makes for an unpleasant end. Not to say that the end is undesirable, as certainly there are many who apparently *DO* desire it, but it is distinctly unpleasant nonetheless.

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                                    • Not the Byrne grants themselves, but the actions surrounding them.

                                      Two reasons:
                                      1) Much of the disbursements were misspent, and lots embezzled. There was a decision not to prosecute, because there was a shortage of prospective officers, and depleting the ranks more by removing the criminal was found to be counter to the objective of “putting more cops on the streets.”
                                      This gave the green light to those types of acts, and, as a result, criminal conduct became embedded in many departments, which had formerly been seeing a decline in officer misconduct since the mid- to late-70’s.

                                      2) Despite the evidence cited by the Bush administration showing that greater numbers of police officers are terribly inadequate at controlling crime, the leadership at many municipalities and counties felt it would be “sending the wrong message to criminals” were they to lay off police officers. Shortly after the Byrne grants got shot down, municipalities and counties began shifting services traditionally provided by other agencies to the police to justify maintaining a bloated police department. The unions were all for this, because it increased their numbers, which increased payroll deductions to the unions, which increased political activism in favor of maintaining bloated police departments.

                                      Wherever you look, one-third to one-half of all police shooting deaths involve victims described as “mentally ill,” “mentally unstable,” or “mentally disturbed.” Functionally, this could mean that someone was prescribed Prozac or Ritalin at some point in their lives.
                                      Police are trained to act with deadly force. They are not there to negotiate, other than with deadly force.
                                      They are not trained to interact with people who are “mentally ill,” “mentally unstable,” or “mentally disturbed.”

                                      This is changing though.
                                      I was talking to a state cop recently who is certified to deal with mentally disturbed persons.

                                      Granted, that is the state police, who are more well-trained anyway.

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                                • Why wouldn’t she? Sacco made a sarcastic comment about no one in particular that offended the pretend sensibilities of the internet hive mind.

                                  Richards decided to play junior G Man and put two real people on the internet for making off-color comments.

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                                    • To clarify, I don’t think firing Sacco cuz her joke missed was fair.

                                      I think firing Sacco because she made a questionable joke on social media and then logged off for however many hours… seemingly unaware of how that would play out… showed a lack of basic competency for a social media strategist or whatever.

                                      She did not deserve the targetted hate she got.

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                                      • Shaming is a very, very important social tool.

                                        It’s used to punish all sorts of slights, perceived and real, for issues that the law (for whatever reason) does not have the breadth to cover.

                                        We’ve seen it used to police sexual deviancy, for example.

                                        And, as you say, it’s exactly how free speech is supposed to work.

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                                          • This is one of those areas where I feel as if I inhabit a completely different world than some other folks, because never in my world have I ever been tempted to play social media snitch.

                                            Don’t get me wrong. I am and have always been a law-abiding citizen (most laws, at least). If my house gets broken into, I’m calling the police. If I witness a crime being committed against an innocent victim, I’m going to cooperate with the law. But tattling on people to whatever random authority figure or trying to publicly shame them for some perceived slight is so far outside of the realm of things that I would ever think to do.

                                            If Adria Richards weren’t a woman at a tech conference, but instead some person at a mega church. And that person had turned her camera at a couple of people in the pew behind her who were telling slightly sacrilegious jokes during the preacher’s sermon and Tweeted that photo out with a comment about how disrespectful they were being to the baby Jesus, all the people applauding Richards would be calling the church lady a self-righteous, holier-than-though prig.

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                                            • Why can’t both be true? If you wanna shame, shame. And if you wanna shame the shamers, shame the shamers.

                                              And if you don’t want to, you don’t have to.

                                              What’s the alternative? Ban shaming?

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                                              • I don’t want to ban anything and I don’t really want to tell other people what not to do. Sure, people should take whatever actions that they feel are appropriate and other people should in turn react as they see appropriate.

                                                But yes, I would like to live in a world with fewer cops and snitches.

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                                              • Part of the problem with internet shaming is there is horrific effects, and essentially zero accountability. The mob can rise up and destroy a person, and if they got it wrong, the destroyed person has zero recourse except to spend resources trying to salvage their reputation.

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                                                • I agree and I liked Freddie’s we are all cops article despite my usual reservations on Freddie.

                                                  But there is something about people who go against internet shamming cultures where they pick the worst hills to die on. Justine Sacco proved herself to be bad at her job as Kazzy pointed out. The guys who made the dongles were being juvenile and unprofessional (and Adria Richards lost her job and received rape threats.)

                                                  Can’t they see how this makes them look like defenders of the Mad Men era when most elite institutions were filled with white men whether it was a college campus or a successful corporation? This isn’t 1962 anymore. You can’t call your secretary “babe” and slap her ass or tell really sexist or racist or anti-Semitic jokes around the water cooler anymore.

                                                  I believe in Free Speech but I also believe that society changes and equality means that this kind of boorish behavior is no longer acceptable at the workplace or in Welcoming Groups for College Freshman.

                                                  I don’t think today’s advocates of Free Speech Uber Alles think about how minorities are supposed to respond to boorish and offensive jokes in the workplace. So the Free Speech Uber Alles crowd does come across as wishing it were 1962 and they didn’t have to deal with a Black woman as a Vice President of Marketing or whatever now cause that really cramps their style.

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                                                  • I’m not sure I agree with your views on free speech absolutists. Personally, I think you’re conflating two types of FSAs: the real ones and those who adopt the view for instrumental political and personal purposes. A racist who invokes free speech absolutism to yell nasty things at people of another color is looking for political cover to normalize their abhorrent, otherwise inexcusable behavior. A principled FSA merely says that saying those things is a protected right which should not be abridged.

                                                    We’ve gone round and round here at the OT about whether the principled FSA position is coherent (spoiler: FSAers think it is!) but leaving that aside, the arguments justifying the principle in the two cases strikes me as very different.

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                                                    • I cover this below. I am largely still a FSA if only because the solution is worse but I am trying to deal with my polite tea party problem. And I am willing to say “Okay the price of your free speech is that someone might sucker punch you” or complain to HR.

                                                      Not everything is going to be a center-left wonk arguing with a center-right wonk. A lot of FSAs seem to think it can be though but the reason speech is powerful is because it is emotionally intemperate. If everyone was a centrist wonk, we would not need free speech laws because no one would say anything “offensive”. But sometimes intemperate speech needs to be met with intemperate speech in reaction. Or at least a strong show of defiance.

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                                                  • I don’t think today’s advocates of Free Speech Uber Alles think about how minorities are supposed to respond to boorish and offensive jokes in the workplace. So the Free Speech Uber Alles crowd does come across as wishing it were 1962 and they didn’t have to deal with a Black woman as a Vice President of Marketing or whatever now cause that really cramps their style.

                                                    That’s not quite right. In fact, it’s a pretty big error in differentiating between folks who have very strong preferences for free speech and expression norms and conservative culture warriors who opportunistically invoke the language of free speech to use as a weapon against progressives.

                                                    It’s not particularly hard to tell those groups apart. The folks screaming about political correctness one moment and then calling for laws against burning the flag the next are the conservative culture warriors.

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                                                • I still largely think of myself as a Free Speech absolutist but what has struck me a lot about many Free Speech defenders over the last half year is that there is something very Pollyannaish about their defenses of free speech.

                                                  The thing that I can’t get around is what I call the “polite tea party” problem in Free Speech. That is that a lot of free speech above all defenders seem to think that all of our hotly debated issues can happen in the terms and tones of an exceedingly polite tea party. This only really works among a company of bookish wonks with a Vox-esque orientation who manage to create a way to debate each other for a living. Ezra Klein and Avik Roy probably disagree a lot on policy but they are both highly educated wonks who are really good at reading and writing. They are also nerds.

                                                  However, the more extreme your position, the less likely you are going to be prone to temperate rhetoric. If Richard Spencer truly believes that Jews are evil and Blacks are less intelligent than whites, than why would he use temperate language to make his point? Even if it was just a grift for money and power, why would he shy away from inflamed rhetoric.

                                                  What the Free Speech defenders also seem to want is a kind of subservience from minorities who are the victims of inflammatory rhetoric like it is a kind of moral high ground. I’m not sure this subservience is a kind of moral high ground IIRC there is evidence that the authoritarians do moderate or shy away when met with a “Fuck you, we belong here too. We are human too and are not going away.”

                                                  In the 1930s, the British Fascists wanted to march through the then Jewish East End of London. They were met with resistance from Jews, Labourites, and Communists in what became known as the Battle of Cable Street. The fascists had bottles of piss thrown on them (among other things) and dispersed and never came back.

                                                  I get that Free Speech Uber Alles defenders would tsk tsk this resistance but it worked. The Fascists went away and never came back. They also became politically irrelevant in Britain after the Battle of Cable Street.

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                                                  • What the Free Speech defenders also seem to want is a kind of subservience from minorities who are the victims of inflammatory rhetoric like it is a kind of moral high ground.

                                                    No. What does that mean? How can you be subservient to speech? That makes no sense.

                                                    The whole idea of “free speech over all” makes no sense, because pure speech is never in conflict with anyone else’s rights or safety or humanity. Speech can be used as part of a larger effort to attach those things, but it’s never the speech. If someone deploys a racial slur at me, they have in no way taken away from my humanity. They’ve only demeaned their own humanity. If someone uses a racial slur while harassing me at work or trying to intimidate me or while physically attacking me, well, yes, they’ve done something wrong. But it’s not the speech part that’s wrong. It’s the harassment and the intimidation and the assault that are wrong.

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                                                    • “What the Free Speech defenders also seem to want is a kind of subservience from minorities who are the victims of inflammatory rhetoric like it is a kind of moral high ground.”

                                                      “What does that mean? How can you be subservient to speech? That makes no sense.”

                                                      What he means is that he doesn’t think that people who talk about Free Speech mean it. He thinks what they’re really saying is that they’re not-so-secret racists who want moral protection for saying the awful racist things they’re just dying to say but are worried that they’d lose their job for it or have people say nasty things back to them.

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                                                      • More of what it means is that FSD’s need to speak to the concerns of the targets of the hostility. That is in short supply but should also be part of the conversation.

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                                                        • ” FSD’s need to speak to the concerns of the targets of the hostility. ”

                                                          Any statement with a “but” in it will be seen as a defense of the hostility, though.

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                                                  • Also, after the ACLU won their case for them, the Nazis decided that they didn’t want to march through Skokie after all, because they’d have gotten their asses seriously beaten if they did.

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                                                • I agree but, like so many areas of free speech, I don’t know what we can do about it that isn’t worse than the issue itself.

                                                  Do our best to avoid being part of the mobs and push back against them whenever possible.

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                                              • I’m seeing a growing trend where groups of people overreact, people call out the overreaction, and then people who support the overreaction say, “But [insert whatever was done in the overreaction] is a legitimate free speech tool.”

                                                Protests are a legitimate tool, but we don’t use them all the time at every opportunity. Shaming is a legitimate social tool for correcting misbehavior, but it’s not necessarily required or even OK at every juncture.

                                                I had a conversation not long ago about whether the Yale Halloween costume affair constituted bad behavior on the part of the students. The argument was basically that what they did was OK because their protest was just more free speech, and that’s how it should be done. Free speech vs other free speech, right?

                                                My point is simply that there are times for protests and trying to get people fired and there are times when you write just a pissy letter to the student newspaper and call it a day. We seem to be losing our ability to tell when which one is which. We roll out the doomsday weapons as early as possible and use them at every opportunity.

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                                                • Proportional response is important and I 100% agree that it is a lost art.

                                                  I don’t know that Richards’ act was disproportionate, especially when looked at in context. She’s a woman in the tech industry and while at a professional conferences, some guys were making jokes that made her uncomfortable. She called them out on Twitter using their face but not their name (presumably because she didn’t know their names).

                                                  Probably not the best way to handle it. But also far from the worst.

                                                  Then all shit went to hell.

                                                  And everyone wants to point at her when, among the various actions and reactions and whatnot, she was probably the closest to offering a proportional response.

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                                                  • I don’t necessarily think her response was wrong, but it’s important to remember now that your social media page isn’t just a conversation with your friends anymore, especially if you have hundreds or thousands (or more) followers. Her instincts were probably right, but the tool isn’t great for that because our shaming instincts are built for a handful of our peers, not millions of angry strangers.

                                                    We know how mobs behave. There’s a weird psychology there and we know that mobs can’t be trusted to behave proportionally. Twitter is basically a bunch of people simmering in the just-below-mob state, but our monkey instincts treat them as a close circle of our friends and we send stuff to them accordingly. It’s probably going to be a while before we figure out new behavioral norms and get good instincts for how the social media beast differs from a real village.

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                                                    • What’s weird is that in one case (Sacco) the supposed do-gooders were the mob and in another (Richards) the mob descended on the supposed do-gooder. In both case, I’m sure some in the mob were well intentioned while others were ne’er-do-wells.

                                                      Yet all the focus is on the supposed do-gooders.

                                                      If mobs are the problem, why are we discussing Richards?

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                                                      • I think in the Richards case, two different mobs descended on both sides, as often happens on the Internet.

                                                        In her case, I don’t think she’s totally blameless. I’m cutting her some slack because we’re still figuring out the whole Internet mob thing. But she did decide to make something that started out fairly private and small in scope into a bit of a public spectacle.

                                                        I’ll just say that the more often it happens, the less of an excuse people have for not knowing what might happens when you put up something that might look like the Bat Signal to the mob. Richards gets a pass. Sacco was just an unlucky victim. But what will we say about the next one?

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                                                • That was me on the Yale thing, if the handle didn’t tip me off. Hi!

                                                  I’m seeing a growing trend where groups of people overreact, people call out the overreaction, and then people who support the overreaction say, “But [insert whatever was done in the overreaction] is a legitimate free speech tool.”

                                                  Whereas I’m seeing a growing trend of people seeing an overreaction as an opportunity to delegitimate either the fundamental tactic in question, or the underlying reason to react negatively in the first place. Both trends can exist at the same time, and it seems likely that they will feed off each other to an extent.

                                                  Alice does something kind of crummy, and Bob gets upset by it. So upset, in fact, that he reacts in a way that would be appropriate only if Alice had done something extraordinarily crummy.

                                                  Then someone Tweets about it, or writes a column fretting about it in the Chronicle of Higher Education, or whatever, and next thing you know a zillion people are furiously typing at each other about it.

                                                  Among the positions that various furious typists hold, some think that Alice is entirely innocent of crummy behavior, and others think that Bob did something that’s inappropriate no matter what. Others believe that Alice engaged in the crummiest imaginable behavior, and still others think that what Bob did was totally innocuous.

                                                  Clearly arguing that what Bob did is not absolutely wrong, but is an overreaction to somewhat crummy behavior, is difficult in such a circumstance. Indeed, two people could actually agree that this is the case, and yet exchange thousands of words trying to prove each other wrong, 140 characters at a time.

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                                        • Shaming is a very, very important social tool.

                                          One of the central themes of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

                                          EDIT:

                                          “Do you want me to tell your mother, Billy? What would she say if she knew about what you’ve done?”

                                          Now, everybody go hang a nerd and feel good about themselves, one big Hugfest.

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                              • This seems like a fair position to take.

                                And indeed, if not for the DDoS, I would not be particularly fussed about Richards being fired for her role in Dongleghazi. Maybe it was disproportionate to her error, but then again, maybe it wasn’t.

                                It’s worth at least being clear, so we can have some sense what principle, if any, we’re arguing about. “People deserve to be fired for saying stupid shit, but this shit isn’t stupid enough to qualify,” is a cromulent enough position, but one which many people are reluctant to defend, at least openly.

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                          • We want high school kids to know that they are all Justine Sacco now. They are the guy who made jokes about dongles in front of Adria Richards. They are Kathy Griffin.

                            Now you’re back to creating a Big and Important cultural and speech issue outa the residue of something which just isn’t that important. There are no important lessons here which need to be amplified. The kids certainly to not need to be plastered – anonymously or otherwise – on PSA adverts targeted at HS kids informing them of the dangers social media communications present. The fact that you think they do, once again, escalates exactly what you’re objecting to. It’s incoherent to say that paying too much attention to X is a problem by paying more attention to X than is warranted.

                            But you’ve managed, in your own mind, to have it both ways and resolve the contradiction by vacillating between claiming the future is the worry and that the future is now. If the future is now, then using those Harvard students in a PSA wouldn’t make any sense. Seems to me you’re actually arguing FOR your own worst case scenario.

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                            • “Now you’re back to creating a Big and Important cultural and speech issue outa the residue of something which just isn’t that important.”

                              Well. It was important enough for these kids to not go to Harvard, which will have an effect on lifetime earnings measurable in millions of dollars.

                              “The kids certainly to not need to be plastered – anonymously or otherwise – on PSA adverts targeted at HS kids informing them of the dangers social media communications present.”

                              Okay, so you think that social media and internet postings should not have lasting consequences? That “Rabbit posted awful jokes to Facebook, Bear found out about it and told Otter, and Rabbit did not go to the best university” should not be a modern fable?

                              “It’s incoherent to say that paying too much attention to X is a problem by paying more attention to X than is warranted.”

                              I don’t think Jaybird wants, really, a world where your life can be ended because someone didn’t like a joke you posted on Facebook.

                              What he wants is for people to recognize that they’re building this world. What he wants is for you to recognize the ideals you’re demanding everyone live up to. What he wants is for you to not be surprised when your boss walks into the office with a piece of paper that has a screenshot of a Facebook post and says “stillwater, clean out your desk, security will escort you off the property when you’re done”.

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                              • I’ts like clockwork: I disagree with something Jaybird said or argued and you jump in to explain what Jaybird REALLY meant and why my criticism makes a hash of his REAL view. And that I better be careful what I’m arguing, or else!!

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                                • “I better be careful what I’m arguing, or else!!”

                                  Hey, you’ll get the world you want. You’ll be surprised, I’m sure, to learn that you wanted Trump to be President until 2024, but it will be the world you wanted. You’ll be surprised to learn that you’re the asshole on the internet posting bad things who needs to be taught a lesson that freedom from speech is not freedom from consequences, but it will be the world you wanted.

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                                  • Hey, you’ll get the world you want.

                                    Heh. I know you read my comment (you quoted almost the whole damn thing in your reply) but I don’t think you understood it. In fact, given what you wrote above, I’m almost certain that you didn’t.

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                              • It was important enough for these kids to not go to Harvard, which will have an effect on lifetime earnings measurable in millions of dollars.

                                Compared to the typical reasons that will get Harvard Admissions to round-file an application, this really isn’t saying much.

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                                • Yes. It’s not like Harvard doesn’t have a long queue of super qualified students who don’t post racist stuff online who didn’t make the cut. At that level of selectivity, cosmic rays may be the difference between taking the last spot and not getting in.

                                  This is way more than cosmic rays.

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                                  • Though it’s extremely unlikely these ten students became unacceptably racist some moment after their acceptance, and not before.

                                    So the question arises, why wasn’t Harvard’s screening criteria good enough to filter out these individuals *before* they were accepted. One or even two falling through the cracks may be understandable, but ten?

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                                    • I doubt the Harvard admissions process invests much effort in screening out racist students, beyond looking askance at essays about how misunderstood Adolf Hitler was or rejecting applicants who put the Ku Klux Klan down as an extracurricular activity.

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                                • Jaybird,

                                  What are we to “behold”? That Harvard University took exception to offensive comments made by acceptees on Harvard-based social media platforms? There is nothing to behold in that situation.

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                            • Now you’re back to creating a Big and Important cultural and speech issue outa the residue of something which just isn’t that important.

                              What is the thing that “just isn’t that important”, here?

                              The posting of horrible memes to the internet?
                              The saying of horrible things in public?
                              The fact that saying horrible things in public/posting horrible memes to the internet has consequences beyond people directly replying to the horrible things?
                              The fact that, somehow, kids don’t know that saying horrible things in public/posting horrible memes to the internet can have an impact on them such as “being denied going to the college of their choice”?

                              What just isn’t that important?

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                              • The fact that, somehow, kids don’t know that saying horrible things in public/posting horrible memes to the internet can have an impact on them such as “being denied going to the college of their choice”?

                                Ironic. Here you are, Jaybird, arguing “who’ll think of the children?” Heh. I don’t believe you.

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                                • You didn’t answer my question.

                                  Here, I’ll repeat it:

                                  Now you’re back to creating a Big and Important cultural and speech issue outa the residue of something which just isn’t that important.

                                  What is the thing that “just isn’t that important”, here?

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                                  • You’re phrasing the question as if everything about the Hrvard dismissal letters is important and I’m objecting to a single aspect which you want a more detailed refudiation of. That begs the question. My argument is that none of it is important. Nothing in Harvard’s actions warrants being elevated to the level of significance you suggest. But I’m arguing something else too: that by interpreting those events as if they ARE important you’re arguing in a self-confirming circle. You’re seeing what you want to see – much like an SJWer – and asserting what you perceive as fact. (You’re woke, dude!)

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                                    • You’re phrasing the question as if everything about the Hrvard dismissal letters is important and I’m objecting to a single aspect which you want a more detailed refudiation of.

                                      It’s more that I’m seeing it as representative of a change in society that we’ve been seeing for years and years now.

                                      The “new normal”, if you will.

                                      “Important”? I don’t know if “normal” is “important”. I’m not understanding how you’re using the word.

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                                      • Perhaps the change is just that racist nitwits have more opportunities to broadcast their racist nitwittery.

                                        What would they have done 20 years ago? Post to alt.politics.white-power?

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                                        • “Perhaps the change is just that racist nitwits have more opportunities to broadcast their racist nitwittery.”

                                          Sure! And because of that, it’s easier to track the racist nitwittery back to the source and finally, finally punch Richard Spencer in the face and hit people with bike locks and set women on fire. Finally we can do to those bad people what we, the good ones, have always felt was right.

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                                        • Broadcast. As in put it in a place where it is easily seen/heard by everybody with minimal effort?

                                          Oh yeah.

                                          And the people who are part of everybody who can see/hear it with minimal effort can now respond with minimal effort. They can broadcast it.

                                          Private and public is blurring something awful.

                                          The whole thing about how it “feels” like you’re typing in your basement to a relatively small community of your follows can quickly become something that your boss is reading to you right before you clean out your desk.

                                          And now someone in New Hampshire can hate someone in California and call for their job and feel a small burst of endorphins. 20 years ago? It had to have some kind of physical record to make an impact.

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                                          • The whole thing about how it “feels” like you’re typing in your basement to a relatively small community of your follows can quickly become something that your boss is reading to you right before you clean out your desk.

                                            I’m about 97% sure we agree in this instance, but just to sure, I don’t see a way to put the toothpaste back in the tube. Best to just try to get people to understand that just ’cause they’re typing it in their basement doesn’t mean the whole damn world isn’t going to know about it.

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                                            • I don’t see a way to put the toothpaste back in the tube. Best to just try to get people to understand that just ’cause they’re typing it in their basement doesn’t mean the whole damn world isn’t going to know about it.

                                              Perhaps we could make posters.

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                                      • It’s more that I’m seeing it as representative of a change in society that we’ve been seeing for years and years now.

                                        Yes, I’m aware of that.

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                                    • “My argument is that none of it is important. Nothing in Harvard’s actions warrants being elevated to the level of significance you suggest.”

                                      You don’t think it matters that shitposting is now a reason why you don’t get to go to Harvard?

                                      Because let’s look at that. They don’t just give Harvard admissions out to people who walk in the door. These are, presumably, students subject to a great deal of effort in vetting and interviewing, a lot of work to make sure that they really are Harvard Material. Presumably you don’t invest that degree of effort in someone who you’ll throw under the bus at the first hint of trouble.

                                      But, shitposting, and now that’s all gone; shitposting was enough to negate all of that time and energy invested in those prospective Harvard students.

                                      And, sure, maybe you don’t care. Maybe you think shiposting should get that degree of punishment. Maybe you do think that Not Going To Harvard is the sort of Consequence that Speech is not Free From.

                                      What we want is for you to say it. And when it’s some black kid whose rap lyrics were a little too raw and that’s why he doesn’t get to go to college at all, we want you to keep saying it.

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                                      • DD, I already said that nothing important is expressed by or follows from the Harvard event. The kids were posting on Harvard platforms and said things Harvard thought worthy of rescinding acceptance letters. Everything you’ve written strikes me as looking for facts (which aren’t there) to fit a theory.

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                                      • Do you really think Harvard has some in-depth vetting process beyond, “Can they hack to work?”, “Will the check clear?”, and, “Will they embarrass the institution?”

                                        Now for first timers, they may do some manner of vetting, but how about legacy students, especially if mom & dad pay into the alumni fund?

                                        PS Shitposting on a public page that is associated with the institution fails one of those three tests pretty hard.

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                    • I’d be good money that these kids are not uncultured roughnecks and come from at least upper-middle class families. Potentially higher.

                      The whole 4chan and Pepe the Frog thing is a kind of slumming for Trump. There is a certain kind of kid that knows every few things will truly shock their parents except going hard-right. Stephen Miller is exhibit A.

                      The other possibility is that these kids come from the kind of old money that is horrified by all this liberalism and needs it to be stamped down.

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                      • I’d be good money that these kids are not uncultured roughnecks and come from at least upper-middle class families.

                        Didn’t they proudly proclaim themselves to be “bourgeois”?

                        Anyway, I don’t know if they were Pepes or just run-of-the-mill teenagers trying to be shocking (if there’s even a distinction at that age). It’s not like that’s a new sort of behavior, it’s just that social media provide wonderful ways to be extra stupid about it.

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                        • Wasn’t there a previous thread about how Banning the Box is counterproductive, because employers will just fall back on racist stereotypes once the Box is Banned?

                          In light of that, combing through applicants’ social media histories is surely the only fair approach.

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      • “Put this on a poster and put it in every single high school in the good part of town in the country.

        “WHAT YOU DO ON FACEBOOK CAN KEEP YOU FROM GOING TO COLLEGE”

        Put it next to the posters about bullying.”

        Zero sarcasm here? 100% reflection of your actual beliefs?

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        • “Put this on a poster and put it in every single high school in the good part of town in the country. WHAT YOU DO ON FACEBOOK CAN KEEP YOU FROM GOING TO COLLEGE”

          “Zero sarcasm here? 100% reflection of your actual beliefs?”

          Kazzy, you seem really angry at the idea that what you do on facebook can keep you from going to college, or that high school students should be made aware of this.

          Why does that offend you so much?

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            • You seemed quite incensed earlier that Jaybird would suggest such a thing. You certainly posted about it a whole bunch of times. So now you don’t feel that way?

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              • Jaysplainin.

                The really weird thing is the vehemence with which you attack anyone you think doesn’t understand what Jaybird REALLY means. As if they’re being intentionally obtuse or something. Hell, most of the time Jaybird doesn’t understand what he really means and he even admits it (on a good day).

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                • “The really weird thing is the vehemence with which you attack anyone you think doesn’t understand what Jaybird REALLY means. ”

                  The issue is that you seem like a smart person and it’s really disappointing that you have so little self-awareness.

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    • This is actually kind of awesome! Part of me really wants this to be the brain child of some media guru who is on staff at Harvard. I can just see the pitch:

      Hey, I got an idea on how we can filter out some of the more obnoxious overly entitled idiots in the the freshman class. You know, the ones who truly are dumb as a box of hammers, but have parents who know how to game the system, and taught junior well on that front? So, here is what we do…

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    • I honestly don’t care that some kids got their Harvard admission pull led. Sh*t happens. I don’t even care on any kind of speech/expression norms concerns. That said, I do find it odd the way some people get very worked up over whether people they view as having too much privilege get or don’t get the appropriate level of punishment when they do something wrong.

      People need to decide whether they are for more punishment, more thought policing, more zero tolerance policies or not, because you don’t get a great deal of precision with these things. In other words celebrate it now, because it’s happening to a bunch of relatively privileged kids, but don’t be surprised when those same norms end up getting deployed at much higher rates against the underprivileged.

      The wealthy and the connected will almost always be able to evolve fast enough to keep from getting caught up in these kinds of traps. It’s not so much the case for everyone else.

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      • The wealthy and the connected will almost always be able to evolve fast enough to keep from getting caught up in these kinds of traps.

        And yet here we are, with the (presumably) wealthy and (almost certainly) connected getting caught up in a “trap” that’s been blatantly obvious for years. Nor are they the sort of wealth and connected person who is old enough to believe that the Internet is a series of tubes.

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        • Why pull out that one random sentence and ignore the rest of the comment?

          And why ignore the words “almost always?”

          Here is what I believe:

          People need to decide whether they are for more punishment, more thought policing, more zero tolerance policies or not, because you don’t get a great deal of precision with these things. In other words celebrate it now, because it’s happening to a bunch of relatively privileged kids, but don’t be surprised when those same norms end up getting deployed at much higher rates against the underprivileged.

          If you think that is wrong, if you think that we can, in fact, selectively punish the privilege will simultaneously going easier on the underprivileged, then we have drastically different life experiences and world views. And we can agree to disagree.

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          • Why pull out that one random sentence and ignore the rest of the comment?

            Because it was the concluding sentence, and the one which evidently provided a mechanism of how the privilege was going work in the favor of the privileged.

            And because “almost always” or not, it’s the opposite of what happened here, and frankly I don’t really believe it’s true. And, intentionally or not, it tends to equate stuff like, “Don’t crack jokes about lynching Mexicans,” with, “Don’t use the wrong fork when you eat your salad,” as if not being a gross asshole is, itself, an expression of privilege.

            If you think that is wrong, if you think that we can, in fact, selectively punish the privilege will simultaneously going easier on the underprivileged, then we have drastically different life experiences and world views. And we can agree to disagree.

            I do not.

            I just think that one of the ways this kind of privilege plays out is that a privileged person gets caught doing something shitty and suddenly there just happens to be a barrage of reasons that they shouldn’t face consequences for doing so. One of those consequences being, “Well, this means that the less privileged will face those consequences, too,” but if the less privileged are facing those sorts of consequences already, then going easy now just entrenches the privilege further.

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            • ” a privileged person gets caught doing something shitty and suddenly there just happens to be a barrage of reasons that they shouldn’t face consequences for doing so.”

              pillsy you agree with him

              you agree with him

              you are angrily declaring that he’s wrong, he’s WRONG, and the reasons you state for why he’s wrong are the reasons he already stated

              what are you people even doing here

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              • Dude, when I angrily disagree with someone around here, kindly moderators tend to come along to [redact] my post.

                As for why I think I disagree with him, well, I think that’s explained adequately in the rest of my post. But maybe I’m wrong. WRONG.

                [insert elaborate ASCII art “WRONG” that would probably be [redacted] here]

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        • Thanks.

          That article was… weird.

          It talks about the “cultural elite” eschewing consumerism and the buying of things… then lists all the things they do buy. It makes reference to the contempt they exude… then gives no examples of actual contempt being exuded.

          Basically, that article simply confirmed a bunch of priors without actually offering any data.

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          • It was right to the extent that polling showed that education more than income predicted whether you voted for Trump or not. The more education (really credentials) that a person has, the more likely they were to vote vote for HRC followed by Stein and Johnson over Trump.

            The issue is whether we are at an impasse and the answer seems to be yes.

            That impasse is whether the grievances of the Trump voters need special heeding and comforting or not. I gotta say that I am getting increasingly impatient with all this eggshell stuff that the Trump and Palin set seem to go through. The merest sign of being different from them causes an outbreak of hives and insecurity and a trillion cursing of the elites and the insistence that it is impossible for them to find solidarity with other low-wage workers because of this.

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            • That impasse is whether the grievances of the Trump voters need special heeding and comforting or not. I gotta say that I am getting increasingly impatient with all this eggshell stuff that the Trump and Palin set seem to go through. The merest sign of being different from them causes an outbreak of hives and insecurity and a trillion cursing of the elites and the insistence that it is impossible for them to find solidarity with other low-wage workers because of this.

              One of the games in economic experiments is “The Ultimatum Game“.

              From the wiki:

              The first player (the proposer) conditionally receives a sum of money and proposes how to divide the sum between the proposer and the other player. The second player (the responder) chooses to either accept or reject this proposal. If the second player accepts, the money is split according to the proposal. If the second player rejects, neither player receives any money.

              It’s a game I’ve been thinking about a lot, since 2016.

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          • The assumption that everybody with a college degree (or more), even from a high profile school, lives in Manhattan or the Bay Area is… kind of dumb. Not as dumb as talking about the enviable financial security of adjunct professors, though.

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          • These cultural elite types sound like terrible people.

            Hopefully once we’re finished burning everything to the ground, their bodies will be in the ashes along with everybody else’s. That’ll teach them to order stuff with Dijon mustard on it.

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            • This discussion (and related from DanD) reminds me of that scene in In Cold Blood where Rich Elitist Snob says something which Low Life Scum robbing him views as demeaning and because of that slight Low Life Scum feels compelled to shoot Rich dude and everyone else. I’m not very clear on the mechanisms involved in that particular cultural dynamic but it seems to me that being snobbed at shouldn’t be grounds for slaughtering an entire family.

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      • Firefox and the RefControl add-on, tell FT that it’s a referral from Google or Twitter. Or equivalent software for the browser of your choice. FT, like quite a few other sites, is telling you, “Despite the fact that there are perfectly legal ways for you to get our content without paying, we ask that you don’t make use of them.”

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    • A) ignorant official made a bad call based on incomplete information & refused to admit error (a government official in the ready, if that isn’t already their day job)

      B) the girl is a soccer rockstar & the official was encouraged/paid to find da way to get her out of the tournament

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        • I don’t think it’s a jerk move at all to want to restrict sports by sex. And if we can’t trust people to represent the sex of their children, then the door is open to this kind of mistake.

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          • “And if we can’t trust people to represent the sex of their children…”

            Why can’t we trust people to do this?

            Do we have a rash of people misrepresenting the sex or gender of their children such that an 8-year-old with short hair who insists she is a girl, who is on a girls team, and whose parents insists she is a girl cannot be trusted because she has short hair?

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              • I assume you are referring to kids who are trans, which is not only something other than parents lying about sex/gender, but has no relevance here.

                It seems your argument is that since some people wants kids who are trans to be recognized as such, how can we not expect girls leagues to suspend teams that have short-haired players. Is that correct?

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                • I didn’t say that parents were lying; I said that they couldn’t be trusted to represent the sex of their children. It’s not a massive outbreak, but it is a real thing that is relevant. Ten years ago, if you asked a parent if a child was a boy or a girl, he might lie to you, but he’d know the answer. These days a ref can’t be sure what a parent means when he answers that question.

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          • Or, you know, you could remember it’s a kids league, and if you think something hinky is going on, you can petition the league to look into it later, but for today, just shut the hell up and let the kids play.

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  10. Totally off topic, but I need to say this somewhere…
    Best funny quote RE trump…

    the mad bull elephant of the Republican herd, majestically swinging his trunk against everything breakable in the political china shop while trumpeting “Covfefe! Covfefe!”

    I swear politics is now more enjoyable to watch than TV.

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  11. (Threading is getting thick, bumping down here)

    I am, for the most part, an FSA of the ‘Pollyanna-ish” bent, in so far that while I think people are accountable for what they say, that accountability needs to proportional.

    Here is my problem with Mob Shaming – It’s the cowards path. It isn’t just a handful of people who happen to know person X through social media objecting to something posted and shaming X for it. That I can handle. My cousin says something racists, the rest of the family will metaphorically pile on to beat the rhetorical stupid out of him. And then we all have to get along at the next family cookout. If we let things get out of hand, if we unleash our Id, that next cookout may involve punches being thrown.

    But the mob, the mob are anonymous strangers, the mob is piling for the sport of it – quite literally. They have no investment in the person at the bottom of the pile, it’s not a friend or family member or coworker or acquaintance. That person is just a paper target they can take a shot at. And if that isn’t bad enough (and it is more than bad enough), the mob will drag in some manner of authority to render punishment [1] (judgement is already forgone, because The Mob). So when the employer is notified, or the police, or celebrities, or political figures, etc., we start crossing into dangerous waters. And sure, legally, the Government will likely take no action, because of the first amendment, but the fact is, as people are so found of saying, government is us, and apparently the mob is A-OK with doing an end-run around the institutions and procedures that were all put in place specifically to avoid permitting this kind of injustice.

    So yes, it’s fine if X says something stupid and people engage X directly to call them on it. But once the thing goes viral, and there is doxxing, and authorities are notified to bring them into the fray, it’s gone to far. As for what we can do? What did we do when mobs would form to enact physical justice? How did we stop lynchings and the like[2]? What we need to do is define some kind of threshold, a standard that indicates when the mob gets out of hand and ISPs and platforms are obligated to cut it off at the knees and/or notify law enforcement. Perhaps create a new bit of Tort law so a victim can go after platforms, ISPs, and identified individuals who enabled the mob. Either way, pretending that the mob isn’t dangerous just because it’s virtual will continue to allow it to punish people in ways that far exceed the severity of their transgression.

    [1] This is a bit trickier for public figures, at least for those who actively seek the spotlight (celebrities, politicians, public servants, etc.).

    [2] In the case of the Harvard students, AFAIK no mob was formed. The page was associated with Harvard, Harvard acted upon that information when it was discovered, and (again, AFAIK) Harvard has not publicized who had their letters withdrawn, only that 10 letters were withdrawn. This is all, IMHO, perfectly acceptable. Now if Harvard was mining private social media accounts of prospective students, that might be questionable, depending on how it was done.

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    • So this is one of the times that I don’t have a solution but I admire the problem.

      The reason being, of course, that as right as you may be about The Mob, it seems to very much be an, “I know it when I see it,” kind of thing, and no matter how sure you and I are that we see it, once we start trying to stop it with lawsuits, things are going to get very tricky.

      When it comes to lynching, well, what you’re actually doing is really, really illegal, and should be. Individuals don’t have any sort of right to mete out violent punishment for supposed crimes. On the other hand, pretty much every step in the whole “Mob Shaming” process involves people exercising their rights, one way or another. This makes unravelling things using legal tools really hard. We can (and almost certainly should) be really vigilant about people crossing the lines–you sure don’t have the right to SWAT them, or threaten them with rape and murder, but those happen far too frequently.

      But that still doesn’t resolve the question of how to stop the other harms, of lost jobs, damaged reputations, and the like, which may well be all out of proportion with the initial offense.

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      • Well, if it was an easy fix…

        Not that I trust congress to fix it, since they all seem to think it’s OK to threaten teenagers with federal prison for taking dirty pics of each other.

        But still, we are going to have to find a way to bring the online mob to heel.

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        • One of the things I wondered about, for example, the Kathy Griffin incident.

          Before she created her, erm, art, she had a number of upcoming gigs at various casinos around the country in which she’d have, presumably, made a handful of people who wanted to see her laugh and sell a handful of her new books and basically did the Kathy Griffin thing On Tour.

          After she held up the head, all of these gigs cancelled her appearance. Like, *ALL* of them.

          I mean, on one level, fair enough. Casino sees picture. Casino says “oh, crap, we wanted good publicity, not bad publicity.” Casino cancels appearance. Easy peasy decision to make, right?

          Well… one of the things that *I* saw immediately following the, erm, art was people posting the phone numbers of the various places where her gigs were taking place.

          It makes me wonder “how many of the people who called these casinos had any plans to go to these casinos (let alone any plans to see Kathy Griffin)?”

          I mean, hey. The relationship between the entertainer and the Casino is a pretty straightforward one. “You make us money, we’ll make you money.” One hand washes the other. The fact that she created bad press meant that she cost these casinos money.

          But these people who called the casinos in outrage (assuming they existed, of course) influenced something that they weren’t going to participate in in the first place. They weren’t going to the casinos, they certainly wouldn’t have spent an evening with Kathy Griffin. Their impact on whether Kathy Griffin was booked was disproportionately huge when they weren’t the target audience.

          And, even now, if Kathy Griffin booked a gig in a new place in upstate New York tomorrow, people from (not New York) would call this new place and demand answers.

          And that’s messed up.

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          • Is this a general principle that no one should ever do this in response to speech, or do you believe this was just an overreaction given the scope of Kathy Griffin’s transgression?

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            • No one should ever do what?

              If someone is living in Green Bay, has never left Green Bay, and has no intention of ever leaving Green Bay, then they shouldn’t call a comedy club in the Catskills demanding answers for why in the world the booking guy thought it would be a good idea to book Kathy Griffin and telling the booking guy “I’m never going to spend a dollar at your comedy club!”?

              I think I’m willing to say that, yeah, the guy who is doing that shouldn’t be doing that.

              “WHAT? ARE YOU SAYING THAT HE DOESN’T HAVE THE FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHT TO CALL THE”

              “Let me stop you right there. I’m not talking about whether he has the right to do it.”

              “SO YOU’RE SAYING THAT HE SHOULDN’T DO THAT?!?”

              Yeah. I’m saying he shouldn’t do that.

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              • I’m saying he shouldn’t do that.

                OK, fair enough. I’m not sure whether I agree, but at least I know what I’m not sure I agree with.

                Also, it would nice if there was punctuation that meant, “This isn’t a trick question,” but even if there were, it wouldn’t mean that for long.

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                • “Also, it would nice if there was punctuation that meant, “This isn’t a trick question,” but even if there were, it wouldn’t mean that for long.”

                  Seriously. I’m not even joking.

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              • Ugh… I has a long response that disappeared.

                In short, I agree and think such folks are aiming to punish rather than actually promote their own values (with much confusion/conflation between these two things all around).

                I’m reminded of folks who want to call Congress people who aren’t their own to complain.

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                • I’ve thought about what said some more, and I think he’s wrong, in the sense that I think sometimes it is justifiable to use every lawful means to ensure that someone is shunned and powerless.

                  But… I think it would be good to have, “Don’t step out of your lane to join a mob to wreck someone’s life,” as a social norm people take seriously. I’m pretty sure that we would have to push very, very hard in that direction to go too far, and tossing in a lot of caveats or saying, “Well, if they’re really bad it’s OK,” makes it a lot more likely we won’t push far enough.

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                  • Of if the norm was a far more general: Don’t be mean to other people. Don’t say hurtful things. That would include the original shitposters and the people who get into the mob scene.

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                  • I think he’s wrong, in the sense that I think sometimes it is justifiable to use every lawful means to ensure that someone is shunned and powerless.

                    The problem I had with the sentence “It’s okay to punch Nazis” was not on whether it’s okay to punch Nazis but on whether the Nazi-detecting abilities of the speaker were up to snuff.

                    Same here.

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          • Sure, the people complaining wouldn’t have gone to a Kathy Griffin show. But they may have gone to the casino. And the people who protested The Dixie Chicks were definitely the ones who would have been listening to the country stations.

            Corporations have to make sound judgments. These days, boycotts are one of the factors they have to take into account in calculating costs and benefits.

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          • In the raw, yes, that is going too far, they shouldn’t do that, and in my mind it’s borderline harassment and actionable.

            Except…

            Kathy Griffin is public figure (celebrity, if you stretch the word far enough) who did a VERY public bit of performance art for the sole purpose of getting attention. It’s a pretty safe bet the Casino bosses didn’t need people calling them to know that she just became toxic, because they have Facebook, and Twitter, etc. So while those people should not be calling her gigs to complain, chances on the damage was done before they even picked up the phone.

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    • I’m largely with you. But I see the polite tea party problem as being something very real and I am not sure that the back turning option has any good chance of succeeding.

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      • I’m not asking for a polite tea party, I’m saying just because the tea party is getting a bit heated doesn’t mean other people get to smash down the doors, trash the place, tear a persons life apart, and drag them through the streets.

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        • @j-r

          How do you solve the Battle of Cable Street issue? Back then, the police were also harder on the counterprotestors than they were on the Fascists marching into the Jewish East End but the Fascists turned out to be cowards and never came back. They largely lost momentum after Cable Street.

          So this kind of meeting resistance does work and it does send the message “We are here too. We exist. We aren’t going away. Sod off.” Can you present evidence of a time when allowing loathsome idiots like the British Union of Fascists or the KKK to peacefully march taught them not to mess with a certain area?

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          • I’m not entirely sure of what your are arguing about? I’m all for engagement. If I say something stupid on twitter (because if I ever suffer a serious brain injury and join twitter, I might find myself saying something stupid), and I get piled on by 10,000 people telling me I’m stupid, hey, that’s engagement, go nuts.

            But the first person who doxxes me, and uses it to call my boss, or my school, etc., or distributes that to those 10000 and tells them to do, that person crossed the line, as did everyone who followed suit.

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            • To be fair, it’s not so much that someone called my employer that I’d be concerned about (although I would be curious as to how they’d managed to track them down.)

              I’m more worried at the idea that my employer might consider the opinion of some randoes off the Internet worth consideration.

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    • Great comment!

      The only thing that I have to add is to say this whole idea of Pollyannish support for free speech is suspect, at best. I’m a pretty big supporter of free speech and expression norms and I certainly don’t view the word through any rose colored glasses. Quite the opposite.

      Free speech norms have always been on the side of the powerless. Before any movement – civil rights, women’s rights, LGBQT rights – becomes action, it starts as speech and expression. And before any of those movements came anywhere near political power or legal recognition their main modes of action were through acts of speech and expression.

      The argument that you can get to more social justice by suppressing speech and expression norms is, at best, an argument for political expediency. It’s a very bad argument. And it’s one of the worst ideas of the present social justice movement. If there is a workplace that has problems with sexual harassment or a university campus that has a problem with racism, you don’t solve those problems by attacking speech. You solve those problems by rolling up your sleeves and attacking those problems directly. You get to the root and you pull it out and you fill the hole with something better. If you’re not doing that, you’re not doing real work.

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      • A few years ago, a well intentioned colleague hung up two posters. Aimed at curbing the use of the terms “retard” and “gay” as perjoratives, it offered a variery of alternatives.

        It stood out to me that the message wasn’t, “Think before you speak and try not be nasty.” It was, “Think before you speak and opt for other forms of nastiness.” Which is a wierd message for kids.

        It’d be naive to think you’ll stop kids (or adults) from being nasty. And banning words is problematic for many of the reasons offers. But if you’re going to attempt to influence what people say when they interact with one another, isn’t a loftier goal to encourage actual thoughtfulness and respect than simply a list of no-no words?

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      • Thanks.

        Just to clarify, and maybe bring Freddie back into this, we need to counter offensive speech by engaging it directly with better ideas. If you are calling employers, or schools, or people/orgs affiliated with a person, or otherwise whistling for the mob, you aren’t engaging in the marketplace of ideas, you’re a chickenshit engaging in harrasment and using the mob for cover.

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        • I think you’re going to lose a lot of people by saying that the right approach is engaging with better ideas, because… well, it doesn’t work, because to the extent that the “marketplace” is a good analogy, ideas that “sell” aren’t necessarily (or even usually) good ideas, instead of ideas that flatter the listeners’ prejudices, or piss of the right people, or whatever. Hell, a lot of the stuff that draws the most outrage is barely an idea, unless, “Hey, fuck you!” is an idea.

          And if it is, it’s a hard one to engage with better ideas, unless, “Fuck me? No, fuck you!” is a better idea.

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          • By that logic, my local organic co-op (PCC) should wage a campaign of borderline harassment against McDonalds, calling for protests outside their location, spreading caltrops over the drive through, etc.

            The world is full of things that appeal to our baser senses but aren’t good for us. If you can’t express an idea in a way that appeals to people and engages their intellect over their emotions, then perhaps public discourse is not your thing. I mean, for all their fire & passion, one of the things that your run of the mill college SJW is supremely bad at is messaging to the unconverted, which is why they so often resort to screaming and other in-your-face tactics.

            Actually, a lot of the alt-right has this problem as well, but they also have some very slick talkers (who are helped, admittedly, because they can appeal to emotional biases over reasoned intellect). That and the fact that their unrefined speakers seem to stay out of the media and stick to message boards and comment sections.

            Still, just because your bean and kale burger is good for people doesn’t mean you have the right to knock the fast food burger out of somebody else’s hand.

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            • I think there are more kinds of engagement than just, “aggressive campaigns of harassment,” and, “engaging them with better ideas.”

              For example, non-violent protest rarely involves a reasoned appeal that engages people’s intellects over their emotions, but it is sometimes effective, and frequently justified.

              For another example, there’s a wide, wide chasm between appealing to people’s emotional biases (which is hardly limited to the alt-right, though they sure do a lot of it) and trying to get people fired for being Wrong on the Internet.

              “Our bean and kale burgers taste better than McDonald’s yucky Big Macs!” is a pretty ordinary message for a business to convey, and is clearly an appeal to irrational optimism, not reason.

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                • Right. And if people think the only two choices are “reasoned argument rooted in the fait good ideas will win out” and “aggressive online campaigns of harassment”, well, they’ll probably go with aggressive online campaigns of harassment.

                  Fortunately there are many other options. Embracing them and illustrating them is, I think, an important part of defending our freedom to express ourselves in a world where people who think Sandy Hook was a hoax have huge platforms and audiences.

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