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Linky Tuesday: Love & Politics

Relationships:

via Pixabay

[R1] Amy Wax writes of he joylessness of hookup sex.

[R2] A look at the history of the single vote. The connection to “woke” is tenuous, but the “Wide Awakes” name cracked me up.

[R3] Elizabeth Bruenig looks to a new sexual ethic. I really like her thinking in that the ethics of puritanism and the ethics of consent have both, in and of themselves, failed us.

[R4] Millennials are conducting their relationships differently… and pretty much exactly in the ways you would expect for good or for ill.

[R5] Universities offering courses on dating actually sound like an interesting idea, though the reasons for doing so in Korea are disconcerting.

[R6] If you are going to consider cohabitation these seems like pretty good questions to ask even if you don’t have any philosophical objections or resistance.

Politics:

partisan media photo

Image by sfmission.com

[Po1] I’m not sorry to see this, to be honest.

[Po2] Nationalist populism finally hits Germany, putting Merkel in a pickle.

[Po3] If anything should be public domain, the laws we live under should be.

[Po4] The Rise of the Robots section of Hillary Clinton’s book was one of the more interesting parts. She’s still at it. Now that she is (I believe) out of the political game, she should spend more time talking about the things she wanted to talk about because it seemed wrong for a politician to be talking about them.

[Po5] An oldie but goodie on how The West Wing is warping foreign perceptions of American products. Maybe Trump destroyed that?

[Po6] On the Internet, can anyone tell you’re a bot?

[Po7] A look at the neuroscience behind political stubbornness.

Media:

Fox News photo

Image by mariopiperni

[Me1] Even apart from the sexual harassment allegations, Eve Fairbanks says that Mark Halperin’s influence on modern political media has been devastating.

[Me2] I swear 2016 and 2017 is being written by hack screenwriters. While I think the award was excessive, and while they are enjoying a bit of a renewed appreciation, I still don’t lament Gawker’s passing.

[Me3] This was bound to happen at some point: An ousted reporter is suing back.

[Me4] A few years ago Gabriel Rossman wrote about the niche partitioning of media and how economics of scale don’t apply to media.

[Me5] As Twitter has revealed over and over again, when newspeople are free to speak their minds, they say everything they thought they had been taking pains to conceal.

[Me6] Step 1: Vox Unionizes.
Step 2: Stike!
Step 3: Conservative scabs walk through the picket line.
Step 4: Vox is a conservative media organization now.

[Me7] Well this didn’t work out as well as intended.

Business:

black friday photo

Image by Neon Tommy

[Bu1] Karl Smith explains how Walmart is becoming another specialty retailer.

[Bu2] Do you believe in magic? UK water companies do!

[Bu3] DRM was, perhaps, doomed from the very beginning.

[Bu4] What cities are doing to win Amazon over. The biggest innovator? Fresno!

[Bu5] Is Black Friday dead? Or has it been shifted to Thursday? I was at Walmart on Thanksgiving night because I needed some melatonin and a toothbrush and there were about 10,000 people. I have a proposal: How about instead of everybody shopping on Thursday, we start the sales on Friday instead?

[Bu6] The beautiful chaos of the bike-rental business in Europe.

[Bu7]

Food:

Taco Bell photo

Image by JeepersMedia

[Fo1] A look at the potential environmental benefits of deep fat frying!

[Fo2] Taco Bell always one step ahead of society.

[Fo3] Rethinking fishery policy by looking at effort instead of haul.

[Fo4] The Curse of Jared? What’s happened to Subway?

[Fo5] I’m game, but I think we’ve probably gotten all we’re going to get from food labeling (which turns out to be next to nothing). This might have some possibilities, though can’t really be forced.

[Fo6] The weird thing isn’t the apparent fraud, but how out-and-out lazy some of the apparent fraud appears to be.


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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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257 thoughts on “Linky Tuesday: Love & Politics

  1. R1: The comments are predictable. My guess is that the amount of joyless hookup sex has a much simpler explanation than hypergamy. People get a picture of what their love and sex lives should be drilled into them from a very early age through the media. This picture states that people should have hookup sex during their teens and twenties. Since people generally try to conform to societal expectations, they end up doing a lot of things they don’t like and that includes hookup sex that might not be that fun.

    R2: Its not really about the single vote but the youth vote and if the article is correct, young people used to vote with greater frequency because they were politicized into the importance of voting by politicians and teachers years before they could vote. When political campaigns grew more professional, they lost elements that appealed to kids and kids stopped following politics. Schools also taught politics in a way less appealing to kids, no bickering arguments in the class room. A more raucous political culture would get kids interested in politics.

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    • R2: The article passes over the violence and booze and physical stunts like creating giant wooden poles in the town square, large enough that when they collapsed they would kill people, and overstates the ubiquity of schools during the Jacksonian era. I think voting before the secret ballot was introduced made election day more of a social event, and in some places you might want to bring fellows to make sure you were allowed to vote by hostile groups guarding the doors or help make sure the ballot hadn’t been tampered with.

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    • The linked piece is misleading. Georgia statutes are available on-line for free, what they are arguing about are annotated versions of those statutes mostly used by lawyers that contain short descriptions of court cases, law review articles or other legal resources that discuss a particular section. Those annotations require someone (here Lexis-Nexis) to regularly review legal developments and draft legally accurate summaries. The annotations are not official. These annotated statutes take up more than 120 books, whereas that portion which is just the statutes probably takes up less than 10 books. What the person did here was upload the annotated statutes so that people don’t have to pay for them, which in the long run would result in nobody paying for the work to create the annotations.

      There is a technical point in that Georgia officially licensed the annotated editions, whereas in most states the government only licenses a publisher to reprint statutes and court cases. But if for some reason the federal district court is reversed, then Georgia will just redo its arrangement so that the annotations are entirely private.

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      • I’m not understanding this then. Are the annotations important legal information that citizens should know, or merely technical details only lawyers care about, because this strikes me as a key distinction?

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          • I guess what I am getting at here is, the legal code is a work product that is paid for with public funds. I assume the annotations of that legal code is also something that is a work product that is paid for by the public, ergo it, like the un-annotated version, should be in the public domain.

            Now if the state wants to charge for a print version of the code, more power to them. But if the code, either version, is online, and it was produced and hosted using public funds, I fail to see why the annotated version should get to charge extra?

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            • I think the arrangement was that the State gave Lexis a license to publish “official” annotated statutes, on the condition that Lexis make the unannotated statues available on-line on its website for free, in return for which the State received a licensing fee. I cannot find pricing for the Georgia annotated statutes, but it might cost something like $4,000 for a new set, and $1,000 a year to receive quarterly updates. Georgia receives about $80,000 per year from the license.

              The licensing arrangement is not that unusual. Most judicial and legislative bodies at one time had to find a way to get their work to the public in an organized fashion and they contracted with a publisher to do that. Sometimes the publisher might change with political control.

              I would just emphasize that while the ACLU is stoking the outrage machine to get donations, the reality of the situation is almost certainly the same in every state. If you want to see annotated versions of statutes, you will either need to pay to purchase them in book form or through an internet subscription site, or go to a law library that has them.

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              • I’m still not seeing how this is justified, though. If the annotations are a public work product and contain information that is pertinent to the public understanding of the law (and, to take the ACLU example, information regarding the fact that judicial rulings have rendered a law null and void strikes me as very pertinent), then the public should not have to pay again to access that information.

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                • The annotations were created by Lexis, a private company, they are not public work product and they wouldn’t exist if they were free. What the plaintiff is arguing is that because they are bundled in an “official” reporter, the annotations lost their copyright status that they would have as an unofficial reporter.

                  And I’m annoyed at the ACLU because this argument goes nowhere. The court decision is either going to be affirmed by the Court of Appeals or reversed, and if it’s reversed the annotations will either cease to exist or be published in an unofficial reporter. In no perceivable situation are these annotations going to become free.

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                  • Ah! OK, got it.

                    Thank you for your patience in walking me through this.

                    As an aside, I’m still a bit irked that a state law that has been struck down by the courts can still appear in the code in such a way that it appears to still be legitimate law.

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                        • There’s also the case where something is working its way through the years-long court process, and sometimes the law must be enforced and sometimes it must not be, depending on the most recent opinion — not quite a Schrödinger’s statute, but sort of. Or consider it a separation of powers issue — courts can’t write (or delete) statute. Certainly legislative majorities can be childish: “You can make the law unenforceable, but you can’t make me strike the text.”

                          Most years the last bill passed by the Colorado General Assembly is the revisor’s bill. Often it is used to strike text where the end state in court was reached and the law’s not enforceable. Less often the GA sends a referendum to the people asking them to do the same thing with the state constitution.

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                        • Lincoln said that the SCOTUS would reconsider Dred Scott once its errors were pointed out to it, but the chance never came.

                          On sodomy, the issue can be that the term was used to describe a wide range of disapproved conduct that may not have been addressed in Lawrence v. Texas, particularly non-consensual same-sex intercourse that may not be covered under the existing rape/sexual assault laws. Yeah, the states that have not addressed this are engaged in social signaling, but legislatures don’t prioritize removing laws that cannot be enforced anyway regardless of the culture wars.

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                    • I think this plaintiff group (Public.Resource.Org) brought a more interesting challenge regarding technological documents incorporated into binding regulations. There are regulations require people to comply with specified ASTM standards, building codes, standard specifications, etc., and these can be expensive to obtain, but they have the force of law.

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                  • Annotations to the Colorado statutes are freely available, but only because General Assembly staff maintain them.

                    That said, none of the online freely available materials are certified. The only certified copies are the print and CD-ROM versions sold by the printer (currently Lexis-Nexis). As I recall, certification requires write-only media, approved work flow processes, and assumption of certain liabilities by the printer. The CD-ROM edition is slightly cheaper. I want to say that it is pressed, rather than burned, but that may no longer be true. Personal copies of the statutory text (without annotations) can be downloaded anonymously. Copies of the entire data set (including annotations) are freely available, but require registration. Registered users can republish freely, but are only allowed to say that the material is derived from official sources, not that it’s a certified copy.

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                    • That’s interesting; I was wondering if other states did it differently. Georgia basically got Lexis to pay it approximately $85,000 a year to do something Lexis would do anyway.

                      In Illinois, the State Bar Association wanted to make sure the statutes were published in an affordable format with a common citation system, so back in the 30s they voted to make one publisher the official “Illinois State Bar Association” version, which ended up giving West publishing a copyright in the citation system it developed. Which left West in the position to profit from any unofficial annotated statutes that were published, because they would have to pay for a license to use the numbering system from West. The legislature created a new organizational system about 25 years ago to end West’s control with a different, official citation system.

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  2. Me3: Actually, the report is about this guy blustering about suing, not actually suing. On what grounds is left unclear, and whether or not this occurred in an at-will employment (also, hilariously, known as “right to work”) jurisdiction. He also threatens to sue an outlet for reporting on his firing. This suggests that he is not possessed of a keen legal mind. My guess is that he will sit down with a lawyer who, if competent and honest, will explain things to him. Of course you can always find a lawyer willing to file any damnfool lawsuit you want, but this is strictly a cash transaction. I doubt that this guy has the scratch to hire a lawyer for a vanity project.

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  3. Fo4: Is there really any mystery here? Subway sells a reliably mediocre product. I can get a better sub at a convenience store. (Pro tip: if you are in Wawa territory–roughly, eastern Pennsylvania and surrounding regions–its subs are suprisingly passable.) Subway’s strengths are it is cheap, quick, and the aforesaid reliable. It will never be actually good, but neither will it be terrible. There are circumstances where cheap, quick, and reliably mediocre make it an acceptable option, but it will never be a destination spot.

    I didn’t think of Subway this way thirty years ago. I never mistook it for a great sandwich, but thought more highly of it than I do now. I’m not sure whether its quality has gone down, but its competition has definitely upped its game. Lots of convenience stores nowadays also prepare fresh sandwiches, which certainly wasn’t the case thirty years ago. Subway might be able to improve its product to the “good” range, but I suspect that its moment has passed the way of Howard Johnsons.

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    • I thought the key sentence was “Subway still controls 76 percent of the US sub sandwich market space, according to Restaurant Research — but that is down from 82 percent in 2013.”

      My reaction (and perhaps Richard’s): There is no earthly reason for any company to control more than half of the sub sandwich market.

      Stockholder’s reaction: DOOM!!!

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      • I take the “grow or die” stuff as a given in this discussions. If they controlled 95% of the market the complaints would be that they don’t control 100%, and if they controlled 100% the impossibility of controlling 105% would be a sign that it is time to sell. The idea of a company having a stable and profitable market and being happy with said profits? Communism!

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    • I’ve noticed a lot of chains having gone downhill in quality — and not because my palette has improved or anything. Downgrades in quality of ingredients, changing from fresh bread to frozen, basically clear corner cutting everywhere on the food.

      I suspect it’s a push to keep prices the low or the same, but all it’s done has push me out the door.

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      • I rarely eat at chain restaurants, so my experience is limited, but I suspect you are right.

        I occasionally eat at Olive Garden because people inexplicably consider it a great treat and take me there or give me gift cards. My recollection from years ago is that it once was a passable Northern Italian restaurant, with an emphasis on training their kitchen staff to actually cook. My impression now is that the food is mostly pre-packed and microwaved. Cost cutting is the obvious explanation.

        I also occasionally eat at Panera’s. It actually is quite good. I am curious to see how well the market niche intermediate between sit-down casual and outright fast food holds up. As a consumer I like the niche, but I’m not sure it is stable over the long haul.

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        • The Olive Garden really took a nosedive in quality between the time I started eating at it and the time I stopped (which was several years ago, because yuck). There was an expose on the chain’s appalling culinary practices around the same time, and I’ve seen little to suggest things have improved since then.

          Also, this Tweetstorm of the insider account of an Olive Garden manager is dubiously relevant to the question at hand, but hilarious.

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          • Olive Garden’s quality apparently took such a noise dive that the hedge fund people, usually all for cost cutting, suggested that maybe their should be less cost cutting so the food quality can improve.

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            • Yet the local Olive Garden routinely has a line out the door, while you can walk right into the two local Northern Italian restaurants, both vastly superior while comparably priced to Olive Garden. When people enthusiastically suggest Olive Garden as a special treat and I counter by suggesting one of the locals. The people generally think I am nuts. Ah, marketing! It’s what makes this country great!

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                • Once, while visiting my mom and vacationing in New Mexico to see Mesa Verde and Chaco Canyon, someone who PROMISED to make her carne asada but didn’t (OMG!!), informed me that her husband’s family was in town and we’d all go out to Olive Garden–for my birthday. Ugh.

                  It wasn’t the olive garden it was the NO CARNE ASADA! No really, it was Olive Garden. WTF would I want to come 2 thousand miles to eat at Olive Garden? “Cause the brother is a meat and potatoes guy and Olive Garden is about as exotic as they get”. Sigh. :(

                  As to standards going down or quality or such, anyone driving a BMW recently? Quality of components in the cabin seems to have gotten much cheaper looking, at least for the 1-3 series.

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                  • “Cause the brother is a meat and potatoes guy and Olive Garden is about as exotic as they get”. Sigh. :(

                    This is one reason for the persistent appeal of chains, even if it’s kind of depressing in this instance. You can rely on them to have something you know you can eat, which is valuable if you’re traveling and have some sort of dietary restriction (or are just picky).

                    When I was a vegetarian, I would go to Chili’s a lot while traveling because I knew they had a pretty good veggie burger, and was often in places where anything more ambitious was a bit too much to hope for.

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                  • Depends, if there is a local who will vouch for the place, I have a pretty tough stomach (although I swear it’s tolerance for bad food decreases every year).

                    If I’m solo and not on vacation, I’ll go with the safe bet. Suffice it to say, I haven’t eaten at an Olive Garden/Chili’s/Applebees/etc. in years.

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                • True. Or “mediocre is better than bad” in a place where I don’t know the restaurants. Though that’s one of the things I dislike about traveling to unfamiliar places where no one i know has been: having to rely on chains so I don’t get somewhere and get served an awful meal. (Even, once, with a friend’s recommendation, I got a bad meal….but I wonder now if it was partly that I was a solo diner)

                  I dunno. The “chains in decline” thing I just lump under the banner of “The Gradual Crappification of Everything” which is apparently how I get crochety in late middle age. Grocery stores used to be less crappy and annoying, too.

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              • I guess besides what Oscar said about food safety, although Chipotle demonstrates that chains aren’t immune to food safety issues, people who aren’t from places with great restaurants or are quantity over quality eaters tend to perceive chains as the restaurant pinnacle. Safe, affordable, and big portions guaranteed.

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        • Our local Panera’s is one that’s gone downhill. I hadn’t eaten there in a few years, and soup and a sandwich sounded good.

          Microwaved chicken on bread that had been, at least somewhat recently, fresh, but not terribly good bread.

          A far cry from a few years ago.

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    • Subway is facing the same problems that McDonald’s faces but with a little added image problem because of their spoke person’s crimes. McDonalds and other fast food burger places always made acceptable at best food. They thrived because of the commercial environment that existed when they started. Most people in 2017 are willing to spend a few more books at a fast casual place like Shake Shack or Five Guys in order to get a better burger and fries. As a result, the old fast food joints suffer.

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      • McDonald’s hit a rough patch in the 00’s where declining quality and deterioration of the dining spaces led to a decline in revenues and profit. (And stock price)

        They did take active steps to halt the decline and revamp infrastructure and food sourcing, and were one of the places in better shape as the recession hit. (And I believe actually saw a bounce due to people going for the cheapest dining options possible)

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    • Wawa makes great sandwiches. Their wheat bread is real bread (see Troublesome Frog’s comment below). The vegetables are fresh, the meats are better than Subway, the service is pretty quick, and the prices are reasonable. The only downside is that there’s usually a line because word has gotten out how good they are.

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      • It rather depends on what sort of sandwich you want.

        If you want a sandwich constructed only of things things that can be put on a sandwich made a few days ago, then there are convenience stores that sell a good version of that sandwich. And ones that sell absolutely horrible versions.

        When I drive long distances, instead of fast food, I sometime stop at a QuikTrip (a gas station company that is trying really hard to get people to come inside) and buy a sandwich of some sort I can eat while driving. Sometimes a sub, sometimes not. The sandwich is reasonable quality for a sandwich prepared in advance and refrigerated, and it’s just meat and cheese.

        But most of us who eat at Subway, and that includes me, want a sandwich constructed to our specifications. And that’s not just ‘The convenience store doesn’t happen to carry it’…if the convenience store sold what I get from Subway, it would be horrible, because not only would they have a problem with keeping lettuce fresh, but you can’t put vinegar and oil on a sandwich and eat it a day later.

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        • That’s a good point. And I should say that 7/11 sandwiches are actually not too bad, and they serve (for me) the purpose you describe. I just prefer Subway more, but that’s assuming I have time and money to order the sandwich, and it’s hard (for me) to get it and save it a day ahead. #firstworldproblems

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  4. [Me7] Hmmn, I kinda think this is working as intended… kudos to the Post for vetting the source – especially since it sorta confirmed their priors (though maybe the whole pregnancy/abortion thing was a bit over the top and red flag too).

    On the flip side, this is hardly a “sting” operation to uncover journalistic malpractice; clearly this was an attempt to plant “fake news” to discredit “real news,” and that’s not something we should encourage.

    On the buttered side, while I *don’t* think this is a case of exposing journalistic credulity, I can’t say that exposing journalistic credulity should be excluded from scrutiny/stings.

    On the jam side, I’ll get in before the “this proves O’Keefe…” crowd and say, no it doesn’t.

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    • I’ll get in before the “this proves O’Keefe…” crowd and say, no it doesn’t.

      OK, then how about “is consistent with”? With what? That O’Keefe is pretty dumb. He believes his own propaganda, that the Post is eager to print any shit that comes along, and so underestimates what is needed to ratfuck it. Karl Rove: Now there was a good ratfucker. He played Dan Rather like a fiddle.

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      • Heh… well, I won’t get in the way of a good shunning or ratfucking.

        I guess I misplayed the game by assuming what exactly we would all agree it “proves.” But this is fun too.

        On the “dishonestly” part… that’s the interesting question… a sting is, by definition, dishonest. And I’m reminded of RTod’s various posts on ill gotten information and journalistic ethics… which are certainly relevant. At the moment, I’m leaning with Friedersdorf that he’s exhibiting bad faith in that the “sting” turned up not malfeasance, but competence… and if he were a better person/journalist, *that* would be the story.

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          • That’s my problem with O’Keefe. Any “sting” he publishes will, if the full video is dragged out (usually via court order) show that no such thing happened.

            At least, that’s been the history so far, and it’s not a small history.

            His idea of a “sting” isn’t to get undercover video to reveal a truth — it’s to get video he can slice and dice to tell a lie with.

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        • The target of the deception is crucial here.

          It is one thing to mislead the person who is the target of the sting. A degree of dishonesty there is, as you say, necessary.

          It is an entirely different thing to try to mislead the audience for your reporting. That’s the opposite of what a journalist should do [1], and there is plenty of evidence that this is O’Keefe’s real goal here and elsewhere. This time, O’Keefe was trying to discredit real news, as you say, and while doing so discredit real victims of sexual assault.

          I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that, with the requisite dishonesty towards the stingee, it’s all the more important that stinger be completely aboveboard with everybody else.

          [1] Journalists, like all humans, are bound to fail to accomplish their intended actions—I think the Times profile of the Nazi that was very misleading due to lousy execution on the part of the reporter, rather than deliberate deception. The Nazi, of course, was lying his ass off, but what else do you expect?

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          • Right… that’s what the Friedersdorf article says which I’m agreeing with.

            The fact that O’Keefe is a hack/partisan and a propagandist who believes his project should just impacts what he targets … his results and methods can and should be judged independent of that.

            PETA totally believes their propaganda and totally breaks all sorts of laws to capture videos of industrial slaughter houses… which are (usually) doing nothing illegal… I think they should be allowed (possibly even encouraged) to infiltrate and sting those operations… even though I eat meat and kill my own animals… knowing what exactly goes on (despite gag rules) is perfectly valid. Their targets are legal operations with the force of law behind them. I don’t expect them to expose the unsanitary conditions of industrial vegetable processing…

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      • I don’t think it really proves anything we didn’t already know. O’Keefe is a bumbling propagandist who spends his career squatting over and dropping turds into the pool of human knowledge.

        This just reminded us that he’s out there with a bottomless well of funding and that he’ll try again and again until he inevitably gets enough footage to drop a heavily-edited “bombshell” to get us all chewing on those turds again. And I’m sure most media outlets will pick it up, whatever it is.

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      • Also, non-profits that spend almost all their money in payroll, and especially ones that spend almost all their money in such an absurd level of overpayment are…not real non-profits.

        We can argue what level extremely large and complicated non-profits, like giant non-profit hospitals or the Red Cross, should be paying their president, but the simple fact is that Project Veritas, including their entire staff _and_ board of directors, literally appears to be able to fit in a minivan.

        Paying someone $300,000 a year to operate an organization that size is insane. Especially since James O’Keefe is not only the president, but the chairman of the board, which is pretty much a textbook example of why chairs of non-profits should not be allowed to take a salaried position within the non-profit.

        The entire thing is a textbook example of a small business pretending to be a non-profit (And instead funneling all their profits out in the form of salary.) so they don’t have to pay taxes and can give people a tax break on donations.

        It basically is a very shitty private detective agency that somehow doesn’t have to pay taxes.

        Except, hell, this isn’t even a functioning small business. It only stays afloat by donations, which it then uses to pay their staff.

        Edit: In case people aren’t following me, I ask the question: Has Project Veritas, a supposed non-profit with a mission statement and specific goals, ever considered hiring someone _beside_ O’Keefe, who is both a very shitty journalist and _really_ expensive? Or is Project Veritas something O’Keefe is operating like ‘he owns’?

        The first is how non-profits work, or are supposed to work, not the second.

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        • Though if they were a for profit enterprise, what taxes would they pay? All their salaries are well under the cap for what you can deduct, and the rest of their expenses would likely zero out the rest of the revenue on net. Maybe their locality gives them some sort of property tax exemption, but that’s not universal.

          A guy getting 300k in salary is paying personal income tax at one of the highest effective rates in the current system. Would you rather he get pass thru privileges?

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          • Though if they were a for profit enterprise, what taxes would they pay?

            Considering how they seem to do nothing for years at a time, I assume they are in fact keeping a lot of money year to year, which would indeed count as ‘income’ and cause them to owe corporate taxes. (It’s kinda weird income in that businesses usually aren’t donated money as ‘income’, but whatever.)

            A lot of non-profits operate at such a hand-to-mouth level that they would not owe much corporate income tax even if they had to pay it…but Project Veritas isn’t one of those. We don’t know what they spend their money on, but it’s clearly not all being spent each year, so, yes, that would be profit, and they would owe taxes on it.

            Additionally, a non-profit operating in a dishonest manner such as this one is almost certainly giving O’Keefe things he should be paying income taxes on but isn’t, like paying his airfare to places he wants to go.

            Granted, the same could happen if he was running a business he owned, but weirdly the government pays a lot more attention to businesses that do that sort of thing than non-profits.

            Maybe their locality gives them some sort of property tax exemption, but that’s not universal.

            A property tax exemption for non-profits seems pretty damn universal, in that I’ve never heard of any place in the US that doesn’t have it. (Well, except for places without property tax.)

            Some locations have an exemption to that exemption, in that very large non-profits that have a lot of money pass through them are required to pay something in lui of property taxes, but I seriously doubt Project Veritas is large enough for that.

            Would you rather he get pass thru privileges?

            Right now, here is the tax situation on money that ends up in O’Keefe’s pocket, ignoring any possible corporate income tax:
            Rich donor: $0
            O’Keefe: Taxed as income

            Whereas it should be:
            Rich donor: Taxed as income
            O’Keefe: Taxed as income or passthough

            Even if the passthough rate is lower than the income rate, there’s still a whole nother guy who should be paying taxes on that money, the guy who started with it…and that guy is probably a higher tax bracket for all that $300,000, not just part of it.

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            • I remember Ted Rall went on an epic rant when the American Cancer Society asked him to do some pro bono cartooning. He started listing million dollar incomes given to both working and retired ACS officers, while struggling artists are being guilted into giving their work for free. The impression left was that there are influential people who get high-status positions in some charities because of their ability to raise money from family and friends for themselves a good cause. The plutocratic implications can be significant beyond just the O’Keefe type.

              Other examples: Illinois tried to withdraw a hospital’s not-for-profit status. I believe this was set up by the hospital having colluded with the local physician’s group not to accept Medicaid patients for a period of time in order to push up reimbursement rates. I’m surprised nobody went to jail, but the revocation of not-for-profit status ended with the hospital paying state and local government a large sum in lieu o past taxes and a commitment to provide a certain percentage of free medical care every year in the future.

              Another example, religious organizations in small communities that end up owning a lot of the retail establishments like coffee houses and movie theatres. When communities started using land use / zoning laws to protect the local tax base and commercial enterprise, they ended up getting sued successfully for religious discrimination.

              I think there have been largescale changes to the economy that make assumptions about non-profits naive.

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      • Thanks… I’m not really sure what to make of y’all’s new sexual regime when vague rule #1 is modified by vague rule #2… even if both rules are nifty. Not to spoil Bruenig’s conclusion:

        Some might say: Well, how do I know what’s good for someone? The answer is that you have to know something about them, their intentions and their context, and you have to use your reason and empathy and apply the golden rule.

        How is this not a “The King is dead, long live the King” moment? I mean, I get that you didn’t like the old king, and there are many hopes for the new one…but in the end, you still have a king and his council.

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        • I read that as something along the lines of:

          If all you really want is an orgasm and a chance to feel some boobies, there are some really good sex dolls out on the market now. If you really need to perform the act with a living human of the appropriate sex, perhaps you could take some time to get to know them first.

          I suppose that would pump the brakes on the chance of having one of those legendary animal sex encounters where your chemistries are just so aligned that you can’t keep your hands off each other, but such encounters are legendary for a reason.

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        • Having thought on this a bit longer, I still agree with your basic conclusion, but also think the notion that it should be easy to boil sexual ethics down to a nice sentence or two is a bit nuts. I understand the impulse, but I understand lots of fruitless impulses.

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        • Your phraseology makes it seem as though I own some new “sexual regime”. I expect that is intended to be your disavowal of said mores, since, as a Catholic (if I recall correctly) you likely subscribe to the “consent was given during the marriage ceremony” ethic.

          Have I got that right? I hope that didn’t sound disparaging, I’m just trying to suss out your position.

          I think that particular ethic is workable for some, but not without some issues. For instance, I think that it is possible for a spouse to withhold consent for sex, even while still married.

          And this whole thing illustrates how hard it is to harmonize ethical concerns with legal ones.

          As ethical concerns “Does the other party want to do this?” and “Is this going to be good for them?” seem like good concerns. They are going to hit some areas where the answers aren’t clear-cut, and judgement is required.

          I would be very surprised, , if you didn’t take both of these considerations into account in your dealings, honestly, in addition to a marriage vow. And the considerations are also a lot wider.

          Meanwhile, the legal regime really, really needs operationally defined and observable behavior. Of course we’re going to have problems with this.

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          • My apologies… the actual possessive usage of y’all’s is expansive rather than exclusive. You are correct that as a Catholic I’m viewing the creation of the new dispensation from the outside but I’m not so much disavowing as wondering at the how the new dispensation (at least as described by Bruenig) looks like (or will look like) the old.

            I admit that I am a poor foil for the expected “conservative” response to some of the recent sexual scandals because we horrible “expensive sex” people seem to occupy positions you all are coming ’round to. Admittedly when we arrive at the same spot and we show our work, none of it matches… but we’re occupying [some of] the same ground.

            For example… all this talk of consent… what is consent? When is it really consent, when not? The emerging definitions I’m reading in all these new prayerbooks sound an awful lot like the Cannon Law definitions.

            “(2) The consent must be free and deliberate. Violence or coercion by fear in a degree so great as to deprive either party of his freedom to dissent would invalidate the consent given. The motives that prompt consent may be improper, but still they are compatible with the freedom required, and hence do not nullify the contract. The fear need not be absolute but if it be relatively so strong as to prompt external consent while the party dissents internally, canon law considers the requisite freedom wanting, and the contract null and void (see “Acta Apostolicæ Sedis”, vol. II, nº 8, p. 348, 26 Feb., 1910).”

            Now Bruenig is a Catholic (iirc) so she may be porting some old dispensation language into the new… but ultimately you are correct, we Catholics have little problem with consent as a (or more accurately, one) principle. It is never sufficient… but then, that’s where the article is taking off. What to do when we recognize that consent is necessary, but not sufficient. (Heck we have a whole sub-genre of “necessary” and “sufficient” causes as terms of art you can borrow too)

            If we are truly to consider the well being of the partner, what does that mean? If we grant Bruenig’s point about the Golden Mean (do we, er, do y’all?) then it’s a pretty small step to recognize the animal monkey sex Oscar alludes to above is never really “Good” for either partner. Of course, then we need to start defining “Good” (that’s another area where cannon law has some more stuff you could borrow too, if interested).

            And on we go defining Cheap Sex into Expensive Sex… via rules.

            So I hope that clarifies some…

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  5. [R1] — This is important. It goes to the widespread belief (by men) that women somehow have an easier time in the dating game. We do not. Sure, we have an endless parade of thirsty men coming at us, but so what? They will not satisfy us. They will fuck us, get off, and then bounce. We are then left with a higher chance of STIs and (perhaps) a pregnancy. (I am, of course, immune to the latter.)

    This is why I harp on the subjectivity of women. We have our own desires, our own hopes and dreams. Male resentment against us is a cancer. It is grotesque. It kills.

    I am not sure if I entirely accept her analysis of “campus hookup culture,” inasmuch as I am not convinced she gets it. This is too much another “bah millennials” kind of thing. But still, there is so much this article gets right. Male sexuality is oppressive, in a broad social context. This has a long history. Getting out from under that is bound to be painful, but so it goes. Women do not exist for men. We exist for us. Sex can be such an amazing part of life. Demand satisfaction. Do not settle.

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    • Saying that women do not exist for men is both true but not exactly helpful when it comes to be building healthy and sustainable heterosexual relationships. Men can also argue that we don’t live for women but for themselves. We see where these attitudes get us. Saying that women live for themselves and that men live for themselves is a selfish and greedy attitude. Selfishness and greed aren’t the basis of healthy sex or healthy relationships. Women and men both have romantic and sexual needs. What modern society seems to want, at least in terms of heterosexual relationships, is to not acknowledge that males have needs but for men who don’t meet snuff to embrace the celibate life.

      Your also kind of implying the arguments of the Red Pillars regarding hypergamy but coming to an opposite conclusion. When the Red Pillars would argue that hypergamy must be restricted for the good of society, you encourage it for the good of women.

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      • Yes healthy relationships require a balance, of course, obviously. However, there is an enormous amount of social momentum that assigns women the role of “sex class.” This remains true, even today. Men still feel this way, a lot of men. The fact that women are done explains so much male resentment.

        Gender relationships are asymmetrical. Understanding this is critical. The resentment that many women feel toward men stems from male violence, sexual harassment, power, and coercion. The resentment that many men feel toward women stems from lack of sexual access. Any attempt at a “tit for tat” style argument must start here.

        Yes, men should exist for themselves, but this does not include control of women. You can date on your own terms, which means saying no when you choose, not demanding a yes.

        Women should exist for themselves, which includes dating on our own terms. We can say no. We cannot demand a yes.

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        • What do you want? The older I get, the more it seems that women are just as unrealistic in what they are looking for as men. Nobody can have their cake and eat it to but everybody, men and women, seems determined to have their cake and eat it to.

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          • Nobody can have their cake and eat it to…

            What does this actually mean, tho? You say it a lot, but it seems like a pretty stale metaphor. Certainly few people can “have it all,” and thus we make trade-offs. For women, we have some men who are sexually exciting, and potentially sexually satisfying (but just as often they are not). However, they are in high demand. Too often they are “fuck boys” and “playas.” Blah. Then we have the men who are good at monogamous romance, but they are rare also, and usually already “taken.” Then we have the men who think they are romantically desirable, but so often they turn out to be clingy, insecure “nice guys” with zero emotional intelligence. On another axis, we have the men who are good at the het-norm lifeplan stuff: good providers, stable, would make a great dad. That is a fair choice, but “dead bedrooms” are a thing, as is emotional distance. Plus, you can wash your own damn dishes.

            We cannot have it all, most of us. We know this, at least most women learn it quickly enough. Much has been written by-women-for-women on these trade-offs. Different women will make a different choice. Every choice has advantages. Every choice has costs.

            Myself, I went the queer-poly route. Lucky me. It is still hard. I still struggle to make my relationships work. It does not help that I am mentally ill. (However, I know that I am mentally ill. I work on it. I am responsible.)

            So what do you mean? Lose the metaphor. Use concrete words. What is the “cake”? What is “eating it”?

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            • From my perspective, the cake is realizing that there are different needs you have and that while not all men can fulfill every need, you might be able to find the right one at the right time. There is a sentiment I’ve encountered in different places that women need sexually exciting men when they are young and the good provider type at another time in their life, etc.

              The eat it to is wanting men to be absolutely fine with whatever roll they are assigned in the romantic order without complaint, especially those deemed non-sexually exciting.

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              • The eat it to is wanting men to be absolutely fine with whatever roll they are assigned in the romantic order without complaint, especially those deemed non-sexually exciting.

                Indeed, men ultimately need to accept their status, as long as they are not being bullied or coerced. This does not mean they cannot complain at all. They are certainly entitled to complain about bullying, about virgin shaming, etc. But the mere fact they do not get sex?

                Well, it is possible to complain in a way that does not come across as bitter or entitled. That does happen. They can justifiably register sadness and disappointment. Likewise, I would encourage people to listen. Empathy is, I believe, a virtue. However, It seems as if many men lack the emotional intelligence to do this right.

                By contrast, when their complaints express bitterness or entitlement — well, they have free speech, but no one is obligated to listen. Plus we have free speech too. We can tell them what we think. Furthermore, when their frustrations metastasize into “gamergate” or “the beta uprising,” or any similar nonsense, then we fight back.

                We do not owe men sex, which means quite literally that some man not getting sex is his problem, not ours.

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                • Do you realize how self-serving this sounds? Its the same sort of “these are the women you have fun with and these are the women you marry and raise children with” dynamic that caused all sorts of havoc in living memory but with the genders reversed. I’m not sure that things will work better with “these are the men you have fun with and these are the men you marry and raise children with.”

                  Maybe there isn’t any real solution to this dilemma and people are going to be stuck with making the best of whatever life hands them. A FYIGM approach to people suffering in this regard doesn’t seem to do anybody any good though.

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                  • This demonstrates a really strange mindset.

                    Self-serving? FYIGM? When any person — man, woman, or otherwise — is pursuing a sexual relationship, whose interests should maintain primacy? Do you really think it should be someone’s other than the person themself? Obviously, they shouldn’t ignore the other person’s/people’s interest. And their interests never supercede anyone’s basic rights.

                    But that isn’t what you’re talking about. You are acting as if there is some obligation, some responsibility to the collective or to the other to provide sex that simply does not exist. Period.

                    No one owes anyone sex. No one is owed anyone else’s body.

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                    • Gender flip what Veronica said so that it reads “women ultimately need to accept their status, as long as they are not being bullied or coerced. This does not mean that they cannot complain at all. They are certainly allowed to complain about bullying, slut-shaming, etc. But the mere fact that they do not get respect?”*

                      That really doesn’t sound so good. It sounds rather callous and amoral at best. A person who wrote something like that would be attacked as a misogynist. The sentiments that Veronica wrote are self-serving because it basically states that heterosexual men are assigned roles and they need to accept that fact. These men are for flings and these men are for raising children. As far as I know she would dispute the notion that women should accept the role they are assigned by men.

                      *Respect isn’t the best word but it was the best I could come up with that would encompass everything from good sex to love and affection or anything a woman might complain about being lacking.

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                      • Because that isn’t an actual genderflip, and equating sex and respect are Really Not Okay, is why it is callous and amoral at best, and yes, misogynist most likely.

                        Equating the two is really messed up, and your caveat that you couldn’t come up with a better word doesn’t help. If that’s the best you can do, don’t.

                        If you did an actual gender flip and left the word sex in there, it would sound *just fine*, and I’ve actually given women I know *similar tough love advice* about that, because guys aren’t the only ones who have very little desirable sexual opportunity and get bitter about it.

                        You need to back off on this and maybe find another venue to figure some of this stuff out before you bring it here. I have, believe it or not, a lot of sympathy for your position, but that comment was incredibly not okay and the fact that you think it is reasonable indicates to me that you’re not capable of being civil on this topic.

                        And that’s not me just telling you what I think as a not-only-male person, that’s me telling you as a moderator, you’re crossing the line big time. Not okay.

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                      • — This might be the most important thing I have said to you. Please bear with me.

                        Let us, at least briefly, set aside our political differences. I believe the following:

                        1. You deserve to be happy.

                        2. For the most part, you are doing the best you can.

                        3. This is not your fault.

                        I also believe in dialectic, so each of those points has an antithesis and synthesis, but I will get to that below.

                        I am going to talk about my experience. I think it might relate to you.

                        As a child I was diagnosed with ADHD. Back then they called it “hyperactivity,” but all the same, it was (and remains) ADHD. At the time “the experts” thought the condition went away after puberty. We now know that it does not. Likewise, the public consciousness on ADHD views it mostly as a cognitive/intellectual impairment, which it certainly is. Less discussed, however, are its emotional components.

                        Should it surprise us that a difficulty regulating thoughts would lead to a difficulty regulating emotions? After all, thoughts lead to feelings, which lead to thoughts, which lead to more feelings, round and round. This is rumination. It is compounded by emotional dysregulation, which is associated with ADHD.

                        Not long ago I happened upon this article, on “rejection sensitive dysphoria.”

                        Suddenly so much of life became clear. So much that I had suffered now had an explanation. It was not my fault.

                        The thing to note, rejection sensitive dysphoria is not only triggered by direct, explicit rejection. It can also be triggered by feeling of exclusion, by seeing others get what I do not have. For me, this was particularly acute when dealing with sex.

                        Does any of this sound familiar? I am not a mental health professional. I cannot diagnose. But still, I can share. I can point.

                        I cannot describe the pain. I truly cannot. It was unbearable. I would read some anecdote, usually from a lesbian, about her love life, usually about sex, and the bottom would drop out. It hurt so bad.

                        Rationally, the emotion I was feeling should have been envy. However, it did not feel like envy. It felt like a yawning chasm of searing pain, of complete hopelessness. I would become suicidal, except I feared the emptiness of death more than the emptiness of life.

                        I am not exaggerating. There are no words. After these episodes, I would be numb for days.

                        Some of this was gender dysphoria. However, it did not go away after I transitioned. Nor did it go away after I started dating more, after I started getting regular sex.

                        My last episode was a few weeks back, although, it was not nearly as bad as what I used to experience. I have learned to deal with it. I understand what is happening. I have tools to mitigate the pain.

                        Rumination is a soul killer. When something bothers me, I cannot stop thinking about it. Thus I feel more. Thus I think more. Thus I feel more. It is the feedback cycle from hell. Learning to break this cycle is hard, but critical.

                        A bad way to address the cycle is to project, to find a villain, a target outside yourself, on to which to map your frustrations. This, however, does not actually eliminate the frustration. The relief it provides is a half-measure. It is a trap.

                        Now for the dialectic I use:

                        1. I deserve to be happy, but so does everyone else. My needs do not create an obligation for others to cater to me.

                        2. I have mostly done the best I could, given my circumstances. However, I can do better. If I want to be happy, I need to do better. The tools are out there.

                        3. My condition is not my fault. However, it is not anyone else’s fault either. No one else made me transgender or have ADHD or [whatever other shit I have]. I can (and do) complain about “outside of my head” stuff, like transphobia for example, but the “inside my head” stuff is mine alone. I am responsible, 100%.

                        On point #3, it is important to understand the difference between being at fault for a thing and being responsible for dealing with it. Those are different concepts. Moreover, it is important to note that being responsible does not mean I need to “go it alone.” I talk to my partners about my problems. They need to know. They deserve a chance to help me, but this happens because they want to help me, because they love me. The point is, I own my problems. They own their problems. We work together.

                        The particulars of your life are clearly different, by I think you can adopt that same dialectic point by point.

                        It is clear to me that you suffer greatly from your circumstances. It also appears that you ruminate and process your frustrations through projection and blame. This does not work.

                        I am nearly fifty years old, but so many of those years were wasted. In fact, most of my insight has come in the last five years, as I struggled through gender transition, but beyond that as I discovered that transition was just the first step on a path. I came to understand that my problems were issues of mental health. I owned them. I took responsibility — but not all at once. This shit is hard. The biggest change came with dialectical behavior therapy.

                        Not everyone has a great sex life. Some accept this and remain happy. Others, such as yourself, suffer. Likewise, some people have a decent sex life, but they remain unhappy. Short version: happiness and access to sex are not the same thing.

                        There is another dialectic I have hinted at, but not made explicit. It is this: there is a tension between seeing a problem as a collective issue, with a social justice solution, and as a personal issue, with a psychological solution.

                        The extreme points of every dialectic are false. The truth is in the synthesis. Treat this post as antithesis.

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          • Speaking as (another) straight, cis dude, I have no idea if this is true.

            The way I am presented the two sets of expectations are so radically different comparison is difficult. I could fall back on social science, but I know that this is one area where a lot of the data is dubious, or may well not point where it seems.

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    • It’s not like you’re wrong.

      And yet she says things like this:

      On average, women’s desires mature later than men’s, so many young wives were probably far less ardent than their husbands. And for much of human history, most women were continually pregnant or nursing. Recent and frequent childbearing often depresses libido.

      This might well be true historically, but probably isn’t true today. I think that women peak at around age 22 these days, just like men do. I am aware of a woman who bragged to us that some really hot pregnancy sex is what started her labor for her first child as well.

      In short, I don’t think the writer has caught up with the reality on the ground.

      It kind of feels like a rationalization for them having bad sex: “All those young people can’t possibly be actually enjoying the sex they are having”

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      • — Probably. She certainly comes across as a bit of a fuddy-duddy. But still, the core concept, a lot of women have a lot of sex that they don’t actually enjoy, seems important and true. If we are not enjoying the sex, then why are we having it? Furthermore, should we not expect better? Can we have better? What must we do to get it?

        There really are a lot of men who think, because women can easily access banal, high-risk, orgasm-free sex, that we are somehow better off, that the dating game is “rigged,” that they are losing — it is toxic bullshit, really seriously toxic bullshit that these days fuels a hate movement.

        I am fucking sick of it. Women fight back.

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        • Veronica, if there is a certain type of man that gets casual sex more frequently than other type of men, the type you deem sexually exciting; wouldn’t a logical conclusion be that the former type of men aren’t as good in bed as advertised? What you seem to want is for the sexually exciting men to meet up to the advertisement rather than realize they might not need to because they have many more opportunities than other men.

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          • — Part of sexual attraction is simply, “does the person look good?” It matters. Looks cause arousal. Arousal makes sex better. That said, other things matter too. Fitness matters. Sex is a physical activity. If a person is in good shape, they will be better at many of the physical aspects of sex. (I do a lot of glute exercises.)

            However, sex is also psychological. It benefits a great deal from empathy, connection, understanding. Myself, I am a “sexual sadist,” meaning I incorporate causing pain into my sex, not always, not for every partner, but it is something I enjoy.

            When doing BDSM, empathy and calibration are key. You want to cause just the right amount of pain at the right moment with the right ramp-up. To do this, you must read your partner. The better you read them, the more satisfaction you can provide. Likewise, even for vanilla sex, there is a thing about keeping your partner just “on the edge.” It is a skill. It comes with practice, and sensitivity, and a beginner’s mind.

            Plus there is simply the commitment to work hard to bring your partner to orgasm (if they want that). However, you have to balance that with the frustrations if they cannot. Each person is different. Each sexual encounter is different. What do you do if she cannot cum?

            Sex is physical and mental. It involves vulnerability and sharing. The emotional part matters a lot.

            I promise you this: I know chubby, short bald guys who wear utilikilts who get a lot of sex, because they have a reputation of doing it well. I also know women who get very aroused by a tall attractive man who projects an easy self-confidence. It is not just his cheekbones, it is also his gentle manner and the fact he seems to listen.

            That said, we probably do overemphasize looks. The halo/horns thing is very real. It clouds judgment. This, in turn, is one of the reasons that older women become less focused on looks. They have learned to seek out other things.

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        • What women have easier than men is the ability to have meaningless, commitment-free sex of uncertain quality. If that’s what they want. Generally, it isn’t. Men are more likely to find it acceptable, if not optimal, so they think women have it easier.

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          • Men are more likely to find it acceptable, if not optimal, so they think women have it easier.

            I suspect lack of properly including the downsides — like sexual assault.

            And if they do, they’re not really internalizing it. They’re just thinking “It’d be exactly like if I had a lot of women interested in my all the time” and going no further.

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            • Over Thanksgiving weekend, NPR had a segment about a young Australian woman who in attempt to understand cat-calling and make it stop, started to respond to men who cat-called and confront them about. She also recorded her conversations with them. There were some issues that I had with her experiment like the fact she did it a night life district, which is sort of like going to a battle field and being surprised people are shooting at you, but it was a fascinating segment.

              One of the men she interviewed said that he cat-called women because he believed he would like it if women made public compliments about his looks in public or if they slapped him on his rear end in public because it would be a sign that he was desirable. I’m not sure if he would like this if it happened all the time but he had something of a point. Getting an outright compliment on your looks or even getting checked out is a rare experience for many men. I can remember the details of the few times I’ve been called handsome because they were rare. Its also why I have a firm memory of the one time I was asked out on a date.

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              • Saying that going to a night life district and not wanting to be catcalled is like going to a battlefield and not wanting to be shot at …

                should give you pause.

                Large pause.

                Do you know where I never got catcalled in Montreal? Night life districts. (It was a problem sometimes, mostly walking past bus stops in the middle of the day if a bunch of guys were hanging out together waiting for a bus.) Do you know where I get catcalled here all the time? Walking down the street in the middle of the day.

                Not because that’s how things usually happen everywhere, do I mention this, but because it shows that it is not actually *necessary* for night life culture to include cat calling *at all*. And somehow people in Montreal had just as much meaningless hookup sex (and for that matter stupid inebriated yelling in the street) as anywhere else. It just wasn’t necessary for women to be targeted and made to feel unsafe in the streets, for that to happen.

                I’m not saying any individual’s intent is to make women uncomfortable and/or afraid, I’m saying any individual who doesn’t show enough empathy to understand that the outcome of what they are doing *is* to make women uncomfortable and/or afraid, could stand to learn some empathy and change their behavior.

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        • Ok, I recall a link here in the past month or so where a woman advocated “sex is about sex, and nothing else”. I think that was a good take.

          I think it makes all kinds of sense for women to insist on sex that they find pleasurable. This has a huge impact on any person’s sense of well-being. This is a bedrock principle for me and always has been. Any kind of sexual interaction, even if it’s very low intensity (a smile and eye contact, even) has to be mutually enjoyed, or I walk away. It’s stupid to tell someone to smile, but it’s great if you say something funny and/or interesting and they smile. It’s their choice. I don’t really understand any other approach.

          AND, it is also clear that no amount of being a good friend to someone is going to have any impact at all on whether they want to have sex, or even swap spit, with me. (This is wisdom from my sophomore year in college.) While women often describe what they want as “a relationship”, I don’t think the potential for a relationship is what gets people revved up. That’s less about “am I attracted” and more about “will I be safe”, I think.

          it seems like what they want is “someone who makes my teeth sweat AND who wants to stick around and hang out with me when we aren’t having sex”. Honestly, that’s what I always looked for myself.

          Am I an aberration? It doesn’t seem like it to me.

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      • “This might well be true historically, but probably isn’t true today. I think that women peak at around age 22 these days, just like men do.”

        Uhhhhhhhhhhhh. That is not my experience or that of many of my peers, purely hormonally speaking. I don’t discuss this thing with my current students but I have some friends who are former students, so 24-30 age range, and what they’ve told me also indicates that they are on an upward curve and did not much enjoy most of the sex they had in college, compared to where they are now, for reasons that don’t reduce purely to technique / situational issues.

        The last time I checked the medical literature, twas also not the case. *at all*

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    • For some reason I feared that would be horrible, and it wasn’t, so that’s good!

      I do think her final prescription may simultaneously be unworkable and lead one further into fraught ethical territory around sexual power dynamics. But a piece that asks good questions is allowed some crummy answers in my book.

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  6. Fo3 – His plan seems to me to be replacing one bureaucracy for another. It may be more technological and agile, and even ‘better’ for multiple competing value judgements, but it’s still a bureaucracy.

    Fo4 – Like said above, Subway was kind of innovative at its market niche when it started, but then got passed by superior competitors (though the one thing from their competitors that they got on board with is what almost destroyed Quiznos).

    Also, based on the subway franchises that have openned up (and since closed) near me, the business model for most of their franchises relies on their lunch rush to be profitable, and we’re still in a bit of a commercial real estate office worker slump, economically.

    Bu7 is exactly what I think state and local goverments should be doing special for Amazon.

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    • I’m not sure you can get away from some manner of bureaucracy when it comes to fisheries management. Even if you grant specific rights to given areas and make the fishermen responsible for maintaining the health of their corner of the ocean, you need a bureaucracy to manage those rights.

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      • In the mid 00’s they had (per wikipedia) nearly 5000 locations. My take is that a quirky marketing campaign got people in the door, but the fact they toasted subs (and Subway did not) started to permanently eat at Subways market share. But then Subway introduced their oven* to finally toast their sandwiches, leaving Quiznos with fewer distinguishable characteristics (and was more expensive). Then the great recession happened knocking down a lot of players in the fast casual and fast food world, including Quiznos, which was closed thousands of story and entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2014.

        That’s my take, it might not be the most correct story. (i.e. other large chain restaurant operations went under in the 00’s even before the recession due to mismanagement and just getting beat by competitors. Bennigans probably being an exemplar of this)

        *one thing about subway franchises I’ve observed is that their food service footprint is probably among the smallest, and doesn’t require a lot of the plumbing and electrical equipment (and the appliances themselves) that most other food service operations require, Their ‘oven’ is more of a toaster microwave than a real oven.

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        • Thank you. I have little mental impression of Quiznos. I ate there a couple of times, found it pretty meh, and didn’t give it much thought after that. I would go to one under pretty much the same circumstances as I would to Subway: when other considerations make “meh” acceptable.

          Edit: a check of Google Maps shows that the one Quiznos I have eaten at, in downtown Baltimore, is still there. I walk past it occasionally. This further explains why the collapse of the chain did not impinge on my consciousness. The one store I have reason to notice is still there.

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        • My understanding is that Quiznos had bad franchise arrangements. A popular downtown Quiznos here closed in the 00’s and complaints from the owner about the franchise arrangements were published in the papers with references to similar complaints from other owners around the country. For awhile he reopened the sandwich shop under some other name and continued to operate, but worker quality had deteriorated toward the end and the makeshift signage sort of cast an unpleasing aesthetic. Maybe some of what you suggest is a factor, but I do think there is a balance in franchise arrangements that need to balance quality and national identity concerns with the ability of businesses to make money. McDs does this well, as presumably does Subway.

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  7. Can’t link now but The NY Times received backlash this weekend for their soft peddle profile of an Ohio Neo Nazi.

    I am generally more forgiving when these profiles come out but The NY Times one was really awful. The author of the piece kind of admitted it but the managing editor at the times is Doubling Down in their defense of the piece. The article was all about “Nazis like Pandera too!!” instead of discussing how the Nazi goes around the darker corners of the Net discussing how the race war needs to start now and Jews like me need to be gassed.

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    • This is one of those conversations where, no matter what, you’ll have some people defending the piece (on the grounds that it is an important sort of reporting in the abstract) and others who attack it (because it’s important that Nazis be shunned) without engaging with the piece itself. This one was awful, but other pieces along those lines need not be.

      IMO, that reflects worse on the Times, since they got rolled by a Nazi due to journalistic and editorial failures beyond simply embarking on a project that is fundamentally misguided. And they did it at a time where a lot of people (entirely justifiably, IMO) really want assurances that the norm against being a Nazi is still operative. The very existence of that specific sort of credulous, soft-focus profile, complete with all sorts of hedging around the Nazi’s Nazism, is yet another sign that the norm is failing.

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      • I don’t think people were saying don’t write about Nazis but don’t soft peddle them. The Atlantic has an article in their December issue about a man’s path to Nazism.

        The Times just looked like a puff piece on a movie star except about a Nazi

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                • So I read the one from The Nation, and then I read the Times article again. I wouldn’t say the difference is day and night, but it is at least, say, dusk and midnight.

                  There was a lot more skepticism brought to bear on the ISIS fighter’s claims [1], and there was also considerable detail about the steps they took to try to get around them. When he volunteered how much he was motivated by anger at the American occupation and the loss of security that came along with it, they didn’t just take it at face value but correlated it with dozens of interviews, and argued that he fit a profile. That’s exactly the kind of context that didn’t appear in the Times piece.

                  You see this again when they compare ISIS fighters’ view of Islam with the salafism that is the official ISIS line, and they based that on more than just this guy’s say so.

                  The conservative complaints of leftist hypocrisy I’ve seen [2] focused on how the Left would be willing to take an ISIS fighter’s claims of hating America and wanting security at face value, while they would reject the Nazi’s claims of white victimhood out of hand. This is a plausible account of the reactions, but the idea that there’s some sort of equivalence between the claims—necessary for it to be hypocritical—is so bizarre I’m not sure what to say about it. If someone truly believes that there’s just as much reason to believe that a worldwide Jewish conspiracy is perpetrating hashtag-white-genocide as there is to believe the US invaded Iraq in 2003 and touched off more than a decade of civil war, I doubt anything I could say could possibly reach them.

                  Some of the differences are more unavoidable, like the fact that they were interviewing this guy on Death Row, not the local Panera, because they would get their heads chopped off if they went into ISIS-held territory [3]! They also said they couldn’t really engage in small talk, and the Times piece is mostly small talk.

                  Finally, I do think the piece in The Nation did a bad job of accounting for the human costs of that ISIS fighter’s actions, and that is indeed a weakness it shares with the Times Nazi article.

                  I may read and compare the TNR article, but… that took a while.

                  [1] With the reporter occasionally interjecting words to the effect of, “Well, of course he’d say that.”

                  [2] On the Twitters, so salt to taste.

                  [3] Also, there probably aren’t many Paneras in Iraq, but that’s secondary.

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                  • but correlated it with dozens of interviews, and argued that he fit a profile

                    They’d need to talk to dozens of Nazis to pull this particular stunt off.

                    As for the reasons, the arguments that I’ve seen take the form that the profiles of ISIS fighters all take the form “hey, the jerk really has a good point here” rather than “can you believe that they are okay with (list of atrocities)”.

                    Say what you will about the NYT article, it didn’t give us any “the jerk really has a good point here” paragraphs.

                    Would it be better if it did?
                    Would it be worse if it did?

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                    • They’d need to talk to dozens of Nazis to pull this particular stunt off.

                      This is true. The fact that a lot more work went into the ISIS article is an important distinction, and one that, I believe, supports my argument that it’s a distinct improvement over the NYT Nazi piece.

                      As for the “jerk has a really good point” bit, wouldn’t that depend critically on the quality of the jerk’s point? This last is a real flaw with many appeals to hypocrisy. Even if you’re skeptical of the ISIS fighter’s claims about how it’s all America’s fault, the stuff he said happened really happened.

                      This stands in stark contrast to the Ohio Nazi’s Holocaust denial and vague appeals to the US being “anti-white”.

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      • IMO, that reflects worse on the Times, since they got rolled by a Nazi due to journalistic and editorial failures beyond simply embarking on a project that is fundamentally misguided. And they did it at a time where a lot of people (entirely justifiably, IMO) really want assurances that the norm against being a Nazi is still operative. The very existence of that specific sort of credulous, soft-focus profile, complete with all sorts of hedging around the Nazi’s Nazism, is yet another sign that the norm is failing.

        Rolled? Trolled?

        I’m really not getting the train of thought here, what exactly is the complaint? I can see a resource issue, but that seems like something small beer to complain about. It’s really the idea of a failure of quarantine, ie not merely the failure of society at large to quarantine against Mr Hovater, but more topically the failure of the Times to quarantine the libs’s mind against anything inconvenient. If libs had the capacity for embarrassment, they ought to be embarrassed.

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        • “If libs had the capacity for embarrassment, they ought to be embarrassed.”

          “If (whomever) had the capacity for embarrassment” is a rude formulation no matter what the group in question, and given that you’ve made it clear over and over that you consider “libs” to be a group that contains the left-er participants of the comment section, it remains an uncivil way of participating.

          It’s really not that hard to avoid those potshots, so every time you make one you’re signalling that you care less and less about the consequences.

          Next time I’ll quit nagging and suspend you instead.

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        • It’s really not that hard to avoid those potshots, so every time you make one you’re signalling that you care less and less about the consequences.

          Maribou, I was not anticipating that you or anyone would object to that or anything else along the lines that you have. I suspect that you should probably be reading me a bit more literally than you tend to do.

          But in any event, that’s kind of ancillary anyway because my overwhelming response to most of the things you write is “Wtf is she thinking?” Not in the pejorative sense, “This is stupid” but in the literal sense “~scratches head~”. I should also mention that this is mostly about your interactions with other commenters, since your interactions involving me are a very small piece of the pie.

          This is the commenting policy at the League. I don’t know if you ever bothered to read it, but you should if you haven’t. From what I’ve read, the vast majority of your complaints against the commenters here have nothing to do with violations of the comment policy, and for that matter you really don’t pretend otherwise.

          But far more important than that, even if what you are doing were justified by the comment policy, it’s still an obvious abuse of trust on its own terms. This site has always been driven by its comments. The writers here are, almost all of them, former commenters who wanted to take a more active role on the site. There has to be an active comment section or else there’s no audience. And if the site were moderated the way you are doing now from the beginning, there would be no League. All of us would have gotten into some pissing match or another with Erik or Jason Kuznicki in the first week and either we’d be banned or have left.

          For me personally, if there were some obvious landmines that I could simply avoid and be kosher, I probably would. But as it stands, the whole thing is too arbitrary to be worth trying to figure out.

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          • ” if there were some obvious landmines that I could simply avoid and be kosher”

            “Libs (thing that is clearly a blanket negative judgement that has nothing to do with politics per se)” is a pretty obvious landmine. FWIW, “Cons (thing that is clearly a blanket negative judgement that has nothing to do with politics per se)” is a pretty obvious landmine, “Libertarians (thing that is clearly a blanket negative judgement that has nothing to do with politics per se)” is a pretty obvious landmine, etc. Given that I’ve spelled that out for you in about 15 different ways, it should be extra obvious to you by this point.

            As for the rest of it, you’re just flat wrong as far as I can tell, about what would have happened were the site moderated the way I am doing it now. For one thing, the site *has* been moderated this way before, and sometimes far less patiently than I do. I’ve banned exactly 2 people, for the record, one of whom was actually almost certainly a reban of someone who has been banned multiple times before; and suspended Kimmi for a year – otherwise the worst I’ve doled out is a two week suspension.

            Moderation is one of those things that has fluctuated a great deal over the years, so your description of it as some constant which I have violated is incorrect; for another, I’ve been around, though not always commenting, very close to as long as you have, and I’ve seen you get into arguments with moderators before over whether you’re violating community norms of civility or not.

            Some of which arguments were spurred by behavior that resulted in other people leaving the comments section. Who had every bit as much to contribute as you do.

            So I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing, and you will be suspended the next time you trip over an obvious landmine.

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          • As for the rest of it, you’re just flat wrong as far as I can tell, about what would have happened were the site moderated the way I am doing it now. For one thing, the site *has* been moderated this way before, and sometimes far less patiently than I do. I’ve banned exactly 2 people, for the record, one of whom was actually almost certainly a reban of someone who has been banned multiple times before; and suspended Kimmi for a year – otherwise the worst I’ve doled out is a two week suspension.

            Moderation is one of those things that has fluctuated a great deal over the years, so your description of it as some constant which I have violated is incorrect; for another, I’ve been around, though not always commenting, very close to as long as you have, and I’ve seen you get into arguments with moderators before over whether you’re violating community norms of civility or not.

            No no no no.

            I know this because I’ve read your comments related to moderation (quite a few more than I want to really) and I know that your problems as a moderator go well beyond me.

            For example just yesterday, before you replied to any comments of mine, this (or more precisely your reply to it and the subsequent drama) set me off.

            At no point in the history of the League would any moderator have replied anything remotely like what you have done (until September or October or whenever it was that you started moderating), to the very best of my memory. I’ve read that comment a few times and I can see reasons why you might disagree or disapprove of it, but I can’t see anything at all that should be leading you to moderate it, and your explanation doesn’t help.

            This happens over and over and over again, regarding commenters and comments that have nothing to do with me. During the slow periods, your moderation related comments and the associated replies and drama might be over half the comments. It’s like I’m trying to read an article about North Korean ballistic missiles, and you are an autoplay ad for HomeDepot that I can’t turn off.

            Likewise, your idea that you’re not really negatively affecting things until you ban people is oblivious to what’s going on here, considering the number of commenters who have more or less directly said that they are leaving due to your various moderations. And presumably there are others who have just quietly made their exit.

            The moderation of the League may have fluctuated in various ways over the years, but to the best of my memory it has never been like this.

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            • “your reply to it and the subsequent drama”

              There was zero subsequent drama to that reply. Zero.* People (including me and the person I told that he had crossed a line) did keep discussing related topics. This strikes me as evidence against your claim, not for it.

              There are more commenters that have directly said they are coming back due to my various moderations than have directly said they are leaving. There are also commenters who have said they are leaving, who came back anyway (and thanks to them for doing so).

              I’m not going to address the rest of your complaints, or further complaints on this topic from you. It’s clear what I’m expecting you to do, and what I’ll do if you don’t do it.

              *OK, you bringing it up here probably does count as subsequent drama, but that is really a gimme.

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        • “Rolled”. As in they went in and repeated a Nazi’s propaganda for him without a lot of important context because… it seems like they just decided it was too much work to listen to the podcasts he put up on the web, or even follow their own style guide.

          The idea that telling the truth about Nazis amounts to a quarantine against “anything inconvenient” is breathtakingly frivolous.

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          • “Rolled” means politically overpowered, not deceived. It’s obviously a small point, but it was confusing me before.

            As far as propaganda goes, I’m not seeing it. Are you saying that his podcasts are all about redoing the Final Solution Act II whereas he conned the reporter into believing it was all about King Of The Hill? Do you have anything in particular for this?

            As far as the extra context goes, that supports my interpretation better than yours. From what I’ve seen, the complaints about the piece is that it needed more editorial condemnation. But to me, it looks to be underreported, even after the reporter worked as much as he did. More editorial condemnation just gets in the way.

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            • “Hey, Nazis are trying to convince you that they’re normal people just like you. We interviewed a Nazi about this, and he’s a normal person just like you.”

              Hence all the signifiers of everyday suburban middle- to upper-middle class life, while leaving very relevant facts unmentioned, and crucial questions unasked. They really did soft-pedal the extremist rhetoric in his podcast, just like they included nonsense in response to his Holocaust denial.

              It’s simply inexcusable not to ask one of the organizers of the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville about Heather Heyer’s murder directly. And if someone engages in Holocaust denial by saying it’s overblown, you nail them down on what they mean so you can call it a lie instead of following it with an asinine “opinions on the shape of the Earth differ” disclaimer.

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              • I don’t think that is going to help you as much as you think.

                We have to be able to figure out his political stance, and he has to be able to explain it his own words. Given that, and his biographical background, it not obvious for me at least that the tone of the piece would have been much different than it was.

                Obviously Mr Hovater is motivated by some version of white racial consciousness. That inherently makes a lot of libs nervous (and not just libs to be fair). We don’t from the article all the contours of that consciousness, and to be honest I don’t necessarily think that Mr Hovater has thought it all through himself. But I don’t think it means that it will necessarily appear to be bad in a context like that article.

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                • We have to be able to figure out his political stance, and he has to be able to explain it his own words.

                  Which is why the Times‘ failure to listen to his podcast is actually important! The sum total of his publicly available words and actions goes beyond what he told the Times reporter.

                  And to be a little blunt, the guy engaged in both Hitler apologism and classic (if not extremely blatant) Holocaust denial in the piece (at the same time), and you’re wondering whether more context would make him look worse. One thing a reporter should be doing is recognizing that stuff and nailing him down on it, so it’s clear that this isn’t just a case of “some version of white racial consciousness”.

                  Like, I was able to catch the Holocaust denialism, but a lot of people don’t immediately recognize it, which is basically fine. Nobody knows everything!

                  But it’s a lot less fine if you’re a reporter reporting on Neo Nazis.

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                  • Yeah, I still don’t think you get to where you want to go.

                    Eg, do we know that the reporter didn’t listen to his podcast, at least some of it? It seems plausible or likely that he did and didn’t find the material to be any more compelling that what he already had.

                    And your point that the Hitler apologies and Holocaust denial made it into the piece seems to go against the grain of your larger argument that those things were ignored for the purpose of making him appear less dangerous than he is.

                    Obviously this guy is not afraid of the mainstream taboos surrounding Naziism. But after reading the piece and everything that has followed since I’m not sure that just barking “Nazi!” describes him better than what was there the first time and may be worse.

                    The guy was for Ron Paul one or two cycles ago. At various parts of the piece, he describes his ideal political culture as a technocratic meritocracy, a landed aristocracy, a white ethnostate, or anarcho-capitalism. Now, those things aren’t all necessarily good or praiseworthy on their own terms, but they are not Naziism. And most important, they aren’t Naziism by necessity.

                    Therefore the idea that this has to be written in terms of Naziism (with suitable editorial condemnation) describes one possible angle that you could start with, but it doesn’t necessarily describe Mr Hovater.

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    • The Times wasn’t helped by the fact that the Nazi they profiled couldn’t offer any insights into how he became a Nazi. He even admittted he didn’t know how he ended up as a white supremacist. Even a simple explanation would be helped. We also live in a partisan age and most Internet readers aren’t going to be impressed by letting somebody hang by their own words. They want vigorous denunciation.

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      • They also weren’t helped that they didn’t do basic due diligence about the other things the Nazi has written or said, called him a “Nazi sympathizer” instead of a “neo Nazi”, contradicting their own style guide, neglected to report on the violence the specific Nazi group he founded is notorious for perpetrating, and didn’t even think to ask him about Heather Hayer despite that group’s presence in Charlottesville.

        A lot of this seems to be sheer laziness.

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        • The thing about an effective article about the banality of evil is that you need to cover some of the evil, not just the banality. Driving home the evil after we’re all lulled by the banality is what gives that genre its punch.

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          • It would help if the reporter wasn’t seemingly clueless to the fact that ordinary and normal people are who make up extremist/vile parties. The actual Nazi’s weren’t filled with Manson’s, they were filled with normal run of the mill German’s. Eating at Applebee’s and playing in bands tell us nothing, they are irrelevant details.

            Also there were statements that might have lead to shedding light that the reporter didn’t seem to the feel the need to dig into. The nazi dude said something about Goebbles really believing in things (I’m paraphrasing). Ok, so what?. Of course the nazi’s believed. Again that sheds exactly zero light.

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    • My take on the NYT Nazi story is that we as a culture are not accustomed to having to actually argue with Nazis, as opposed to simply ignoring or mocking them.

      It used to be that the history and name did all the work, and everyone was just sort of assuming they were awful.

      We can’t assume that anymore. They are out and proud, and have the advantage of a vast pool of young men without bright prospects, and their inherent contrarian nature which has always been a combustible combination.

      On the bright side at least in my opinion, what young people crave is some sense of belonging and group identity. And few people, even racist people, are actually interested in violence.
      So there is room for a counter effort.

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      • I’m not sure how much this true. Maybe not literal Nazis or White Power types but plenty of minorities have whole lives of arguing with sundry bigots. Or at least the ill-informed.

        You are right that Donald Trump unleashed something but I am not sure it is something new over something that was already there.

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        • And yet somehow the NYT never does a profile of minorities who have lived with all of that and the history of societal structures that were actually intended to discriminate against them and yet, somehow, never became Nazis (or whatever the non-white supremacist equivalent would be)….

          That said, there was a very good twitter string critique of the article and what *could* have done to achieve their supposed goal of shedding light on the Nazis living among us:

          What the NYT could have actually done

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    • Yet the people upset about the Times article had no problem when the Times glorified communist dictatorships twice in two months.

      https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/25/opinion/women-china-communist-revolution.html?smid=tw-nytopinion&smtyp=cur
      https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/12/opinion/why-women-had-better-sex-under-socialism.html

      I’ve know some women who lived under communism in Eastern Europe and they did not enjoy it.

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      • The first essay is not a glorification, but a fairly pointed critique that perhaps relies a little too much on the reader understanding irony and juxtaposition as literary techniques; the second article received plenty of negative pushback at the time (I only heard about it when it came out *because* of said pushback).

        (I have no particular desire to defend the Times; but facts do matter.)

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          • The juxtaposition is a a lot more explicit in the essay about China, and it is an essay.

            The piece about how great sexy times were behind the Iron Curtain is pretty awful, though. I can’t speak for other people, but I saw quite a few complaints about it in my extended social network.

            Generally, though, isn’t wrong: way too much of the Left engaged in gross whitewashing of Communism in response to the centennial of the Russian Revolution[1]. It was all the usual stuff: uncritical acceptance of claims about how it was good for women (in stark contrast to the linked column about China), or saying that the USSR was great until Stalin came along, or blaming everything on imperialism.

            [1] Obviously there was a lot of gross whitewashing of Communism before that, too, but the point is hasn’t stopped, and it damn well should.

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    • This seems to me to be kind of embarrassing for libs, really. The backlash that is, not the original piece.

      Ie, the complaint is that the libs should be working harder to control the discourse seems dubious considering 1. the current increase in attention to it and 2. their low state of credibility.

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  8. Po6: Is “frequently retweeted” the same as “influential”?

    I confess that I’m not on Twitter, and also that I tend to research things for myself. I’ll occasionally pass along a bit of nonsense that I read from an unverified source, and there’s bound to be some confirmation bias on my part, but it’s confirmation bias toward something that I’ve already looked into. If I’m being influenced by online nonsense, it’s only putting a lag onto my beliefs, postponing my reexamination of them, rather than creating them whole-hog.

    The more powerful the confirmation bias, the less influence bad information has – because bias by definition interferes with the processing of new information. So how influential can Twitter be? How often do people get persuaded from one opinion to another by a series of tweets? And if tweets mainly influence people on issues that they don’t have strong opinions about, it’s hard to believe that a series of tweets is planting seeds deeply enough to be considered influential.

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    • Linker:

      The trouble is that it’s far from clear why they think this will work. We live at a time when toxic ideas regularly go viral, with the contagion spreading through a wide array of technologies, regardless of what journalists do or say. Clearly those at all sympathetic to Tony Hovater’s white nationalist agenda aren’t going to be persuaded by the thundering disapproval of liberals?

      Also Linker, in the next paragraph:

      Do Fausset’s critics really worry that New York Times readers will be tempted to join in Hovater’s provincial fascist crusade by reading the profile? And do they also think that these same readers can be persuaded to resist this temptation merely by seeing the subject of the profile repeatedly labeled a racist?

      After being pleasantly surprised by several of Will’s links today, I’m glad that I can rely on Damon Linker to live down to my expectations.

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      • Fixed the tags.

        Also, something going viral is not the same as something gaining traction within a person’s internal political framework. As often as not, things go viral for the purposes of mocking, not admiration.

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        • Well, if it’s not, then what’s the problem?

          Linker wants us to believe that racism is super-popular and will inevitably be part of some mainstream political coalition (hence his dismissal of an American cordon sanitaire), while also believing that no one reading the Times piece could possibly find anything appealing about Hovater’s views.

          You need to go through some pretty serious contortions to believe this [1], and even if you take the Times piece at face value, which is kind of necessary for Linker’s defense of it to make any sense at all, Hovater sketches out his transition as going from a vaguely left-leaning denizen of a multicultural environment to eventually winding up full Nazi [2].

          [1] My uncharitable assumption is that Linker assumes that racism is mostly confined to a “white working class” that is remote, culturally and geographically, from the refined readers of the New York Times.

          [2] Which the NYT inexplicably glossed as “a Nazi sympathizer”.

          (Thanks for the tag fix BTW.)

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          • I think your [1] hits the nail on the head with regard to why he doesn’t think the NYT piece would be better served by becoming hyperbolic. It’s preaching to the choir, and as such it might be read by those outside the choir, most will read it to mock it.

            His last paragraph is what I found to be the meat of the issue.

            PS Happy to help with the tags, it was hard to read with them goofy like that.

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            • Yes, and I object pretty strongly to the idea that Times readers are necessarily now and forever parts of that “choir”, who would never be tempted to think of Nazism as something they might engage in for themselves, or count Nazis among their friends and fellow coalition members.

              It just gets worse when the alleged justification for the piece is that Nazis may well appear just like their upper middle class neighbors. “They eat at Panera, love Seinfeld, listen to NPR, and have never once read anything in The New York Times!”

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              • A screed, no matter the form, is not going to convince the opposition, and it is probably going to be ignored or mocked by anyone who is not the faithful.

                Obviously the NYT interview missed and failed for the opposite reason, it was too calm. But that doesn’t mean you have to swing fully to the other extreme in order to make your point.

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                • Well, no, you don’t, but Linker doesn’t notice that at all. He just assumes liberals want a profile of a Nazi to be written exactly the same was as an opinion piece (which is what Serwer says), and completely fails to engage with the actual complaints people have been making about the article.

                  It’s just one of the strawmen marching through his column. Another is the idea that the Serwer piece was written as an electoral argument. This assumption comes up a lot in complaints like Linker’s, and boils down to, “Well, you may be telling the truth, but you certainly shouldn’t say it out loud.”

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        • Also, something going viral is not the same as something gaining traction within a person’s internal political framework. As often as not, things go viral for the purposes of mocking, not admiration.

          Yeah, the viral business is marginal imo. It’s surprising to me that the outraged Twitter people seemingly haven’t considered that libs don’t have enough credibility to maintain what they are being urged to do.

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    • I don’t think Linker realizes the point he makes when he says that it is Liberals vs Nazis at this time. It’s true, but it’s not conservatives or republicans or centrists or whatever( as a generalization) vs Nazi’s.

      What liberals want, i believe, is for more people to take the RW extremists more seriously. The NYT piece seems to make them out as normal and everyday without shedding light on their actual views. I certainly think the word Racism is used far to broadly and sloppily. However the point of criticizing nazi’s is not to change the nazis, it’s to get the people who aren’t nazis or sympathizers to open their eyes to who those people are and take their threat a bit more seriously.

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      • I think somewhere up above actually expressed it best, that what would have made this hit that demographic would not be to spend the piece layering on the author’s disgust, but to lull the reader into seeing the guy as a regular Joe, then slamming the reader with the reality of the guys views at the end, when everyone was nice and comfortable with the guy.

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        • That might have worked if the reporter had done anything to bring out his views. But , as noted, he just didn’t’ do the work. The reporter, himself, has said he didn’t get to the heart of the story or figure out what led this guy to his views. So it’s not like there is disagreement the reporter didn’t really show us anything. Some pieces fail. This one failed and still got printed.

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      • What liberals want, i believe, is for more people to take the RW extremists more seriously. The NYT piece seems to make them out as normal and everyday without shedding light on their actual views.

        Yeah, that was sort of my problem with the piece as well, though I suspect I have the opposite interpretation of that. That is, we can’t learn what this guy actually thinks politically if we insist on spending our energy denouncing him. And after all the words in the piece and its aftermath, I’m still not really clear on what this guy thinks.

        It’s pretty clear that he’s not afraid of the metaphors and taboo of Naziism. He also has some fairly generic right wing beliefs, and also some internet-hip/informed ones. What exactly do they crystallize into? Most importantly, are they coherent for him at least, even if the reporter wasn’t particularly comprehensive.

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    • I think Linker (self-servingly) misses the point in that essay and by quite a bit, actually. He’s criticizing the left for not offering “better ideas” to counter the alt-right when the fundamental disagreement between them is whether racism and fascism are good ideas.

      Did I miss something?

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            • Linker isn’t saying that Democrats need to do a better job of selling their policies to the electorate if they want to win elections. That’s an uninteresting and obviously true claim (one that’s true of every political party which loses an election). He’s saying Dems need to do a better job of that to combat fascism, as if curtailing the rise of fascism is somehow exclusively a problem for liberals.

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                • He doesn’t not think that either… he just doesn’t comment on it in this article.

                  Or, if we wanted to read him charitably in his own terms, “Liberals and Centrists” do in fact include (some) Conservatives… Linker’s schtick is that he’s a big “L” Liberal which in America is an inclusive category in the sense that a Liberal Democracy can have a Loyal Opposition whether it be liberal or conservative.

                  I think we’re veering into “he didn’t write the column I wish he’d written” territory.

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                  • March, I know you’ll disagree but I’m not criticizing Linker for failing to include the role conservatives might play in presenting “better ideas” to potential fascist voters. I’m criticizing him for making a silly argument on its own terms.

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                      • Here’s why it’s silly (the final paragraph of the essay):

                        The daunting truth is that bad ideas can only be defeated by better ideas.

                        Not true: bad ideas are often defeated by worse ideas.

                        Repeatedly denouncing the bad ideas as bad simply isn’t sufficient.

                        No one thinks it is.

                        Liberals need to convince the greatest possible number of voters that liberalism can and will improve their lives, and far more so than the morally heinous proposals of the far right.

                        True, but trivially true. All political ideologies/parties need to do this, including the fascists. More importantly, liberals are already doing this and lots of people *still* disagree. In fact, lots of people disagree precisely because liberals keep reminding them how stupid they are for not being a liberal!

                        Many liberals think they’re already doing this, but the proof is in the election results,

                        By that metric, since conservatives are kicking liberal butt, we’ve established that people do not think liberal ideas are “better”. In fact, they think they are “bad” ideas.

                        which show that they need to do better.

                        Yes, the next time liberals tell people how everyone benefits from neoliberal trade it’ll stick. Same with gay marriage and abortion rights. Next time’s the charm!

                        And imposing quarantines won’t get the job done.

                        Correct.

                        Look, fascism is bad. People should shout that from the rooftops. But the idea that liberals’ don’t hold more power than they do isn’t due to insufficiently conveying those ideas. It’s because lots people know what they are and don’t like ’em. (Which has nothing to do with fascism, btw, and is yet another reason the essay is silly.)

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                        • In this case capital Liberalism isn’t the biggest issue i think. Liberals, and many others, have and are making the case the anti-antisemitism/racism is bad and democracy is better than rule by ethnic elites. Those ideas are pretty darn popular. Are liberals not pushing that enough, i doubt it. Some liberal ideas are so popular conservatives feel the need to consistently lie about supporting them such as reforming/providing health care or protecting the environment.

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                          • I think its not so much that we need better arguments, as it is that we need to understand what sort of fight this is.

                            Liberals tend to like abstracted debates, like economics and the social sciences. Its the sort of battles we know we can win and have rehearsed a million times. Vox is the epitome of this, and Rachel Maddow also a good practitioner.

                            But like generals who want a good conventional tank battle finding themselves in a jungle guerilla campaign, we are in a different sort of battle today.

                            Its not like this guy in Ohio read a few bullet pointed essays that convinced him that the Jews are evil. He read all those books on his shelf stuff after he went down that path.

                            There is this massive pool of idle young men with declining prospects, and an eager choir who whisper in their ear that they would be kings again if it were not for Those People.

                            We are in a battle where we speak in emotional personal terms of who we are and who belongs to our community, and what values we want to enshrine as sacred.

                            Like how gay people shifted the argument from Scripture and psychology, to a personal field of their own dignity and desire for community.

                            Not a better argument, so much as a different one fought on a different plane.

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                            • @greginak

                              I think another problem is that Liberals or maybe the Left broadly seems to have an inherently post-political utopia in mind.

                              Almost everyone I know is liberal. Almost everyone I know at one point has shared something on social media along the lines of “I don’t know how X is a partisan issue” or “X shouldn’t be a partisan issue.” X can be everything from Donald Trump making fun of the disabled or climate change/environmentalism or post-disaster relief, etc, etc.

                              I don’t know what it is about the left that makes us not realize that this is horrible rhetoric but it is not going to convince anyone except the choir.

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                              • Yeah some on the left uses bad ineffective political rhetoric, is in constant outrage mode and can’t understand how people can’t see how correct they are. Some on the right do this. And this is not new, it’s been a feature of our politics for years. The trick is to avoid spending attention on the worst of it, using our brains to focus on real issues and for sporks sake stop thinking it’s just one side that does it. It’s a people thing.

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                                • I think the issue is not quite constant outrage on the left but the inherent issue in left politics is that our ultimate end goal is a post-political society where everyone has their basic needs met and everyone is in broad consensus on how to handle problems.

                                  This is also why the Vox set is horrible at arguing and sometimes anti-democratic. They just read white papers and assume it produces a consensus on what is a problem and that we must act. Or they assume a good in something broad-minded like public health without realizing that other people might have ulterior motives like just wanting cheaper booze.

                                  There are significant arguments to when good policy should be abandoned because it hurts or tries to nudge people away from personal decisions.

                                  But in the end I am sympathetic to the left argument. I want to live in a world where Trump’s cruelty made him political poison but I obviously don’t live in that world.

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                                  • I don’t’ see any real difference in liberals thinking they have the “correct” policies that would lead to good results that most people would be happy and content with the way conservatives, socons or libertarians present issues. No diff at all. Each group thinks they have good ideas, most partisans have trouble seeing how anyone can in good faith disagree with them and people always think their ideas will work out well.

                                    You are getting a bit caught up in the old liberal hobby of self-flagellation. People who believe in ideas always think they will work out great and people will dig it. It’s just more topical to rag on liberals for the perceived problems with their rhetoric then other groups.

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                                    • most partisans have trouble seeing how anyone can in good faith disagree with them and people always think their ideas will work out well.

                                      It’s a bit shifted from that, more like:

                                      most partisans have trouble seeing how other ideas also have value and should be examined to see what could work.

                                      I contribute this to the tendency of partisans to be more focused on the how something gets done, rather than just meeting the end goal, no matter how we got there. E.g. SoCons want to reduce teen pregnancy and abortions, but rather than being focused on that end metric, they insist that it can only be done through abstinence, rather than birth control, education, and counselling.

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                                      • “a bit shifted”??? Burn Heretic!!!!

                                        I’m not sure this is the best example although i think you do have a point. Just meeting end goals and using/testing all available means sounds pretty technocratic to me. Of course i’m more than fine it personally but to socons using the wrong means is deeply wrong and not an acceptable path. I’ll just leave aside the to obvious jibes about socons voting for Roy Moore….ok, i guess i’m not leaving that aside.

                                        But in general i agree that focusing on end goals and using all available methods to get there is good. I wish people focused on obesity would hear that and stop the quixotic focus on targeting one product. They are pissing away their energy and focus for no gain.