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Sunday, March 31, 2013

OTP: April 2013: Daily Caller: Baseball and the GOP: To rebrand the party, think like a sports fan

This week’s GOP autopsy report, commissioned by RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, is a great start in the much-needed task of rebranding the Republican Party. As the chairman acknowledged, “the way we communicate our principles isn’t resonating widely enough” and “we have to be more inclusive.” The report contains 219 recommendations to “connect people to our principles.” To achieve that goal, the party will need a strategic vision of how voters think about politics, which is something that the report lacks. For that, the GOP can learn a lot from another American passion: baseball.

This year, about 75 million Americans will go to the baseball stadium to watch a ballgame, about the same number as those who will vote in next year’s election. We rarely think about why someone becomes a baseball fan, or why they root for a certain team. Nor do we usually think about why someone chooses to vote for a certain political party. But it’s actually a very useful exercise.

When it comes to baseball, fan loyalty has almost nothing to do with the brain, and almost everything to do with the heart. In all of history, there’s never been a baseball fan who rooted for his team because it had the lowest ticket prices, or because it had the most taxpayer-friendly stadium deal, or because its players did the most community service. For the vast majority of Americans, rooting for a baseball team — not to mention, voting for a political party — isn’t really a rational choice; it’s more of a statement of personal identity — a statement telling the world, “This is who I am.” And for most people, defining “who I am” starts with family and community, before branching out into areas like race, age, gender, and class.

Family is pretty straightforward. If your mom and dad are Yankee fans, you’re almost certainly a Yankee fan. The same is true in politics. If your mom and dad are Republicans, you’re almost certainly a Republican.

Community is also pretty straightforward. If you grew up in, say, Philadelphia, chances are pretty great you’re a Phillies fan. Likewise, someone who grew up in Republican territory like, say, suburban Dallas or rural Indiana is much more likely to become a Republican than a nearly identical person from Seattle or Santa Fe.

Cities with more than one baseball team, like New York or Chicago, show revealing breakdowns by race and gender. The racial split in Chicago between Cubs fans on the North Side and White Sox fans on the South Side is well-documented. In New York, there’s an intriguing gender gap between Mets and Yankee fans, with women gravitating a lot more to the Yanks. While there’s a few theories out there trying to explain that, one obvious answer leaps out: Yankees heartthrob Derek Jeter.

In sports, as in politics, people’s convictions can’t be conveniently reduced to who their parents are or what they look like. But those things are an important foundation, upon which more rational sentiments come into being. Once you’re attached to your team on an emotional level — seeing them as a personal reflection of who you are and what you care about most — a rational exterior comes into being through phrases like “the Red Sox are the best team because they have the most heart” or “the Republicans are the best party because they know how to create jobs.”

Tripon Posted: March 31, 2013 at 10:52 AM | 6544 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1001. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: April 05, 2013 at 03:10 PM (#4405444)
In my state, less than 30% of the population supports gay marriage, as of December 2012.


Dunno where you are, but I'm sure the same is true here in Alabama.

I wish we could all be effete Eastern elitists like Ray, but any number of factors make that impossible.
   1002. spike Posted: April 05, 2013 at 03:10 PM (#4405445)
his future in pro sports is going to be a lot less pleasant than it formerly was before his bigotry was outed.

That is a very cogent point. It's going to be a lot harder to be Dixie Walker in 2013*



*Not to denigrate Walker's eventual embrace of Robinson as teammate and ultimately his own personal and public rejection of Jim Crow.
   1003. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: April 05, 2013 at 03:18 PM (#4405455)
I will grant that you have a very good knowledge of how your parents would react to your sister's boyfriend. I hope you can see how these two situations are different.

They aren't that different. The lesson is that the person who is personally affected or potentially affected by reaction to something they do may not be the best judge of that reaction. I don't see that observation as even controversial, much less "arrogant" or "moronic."

But WRT homosexuality, you appear to be claiming that being on the oustide of it makes you and Ray better able to analyze probable reactions of groups and individuals.

Yes, my claim was limited to society generally. It would indeed be arrogant and (highly) moronic to say I know more about the guy's workplace and immediate social/work circle. I think the reaction from society -- admittedly a broad term -- will be distinctly positive.
   1004. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 05, 2013 at 03:19 PM (#4405456)
No one said we know better what it's like to be homosexual. I'm every bit as able to judge the likely reaction of society of an NFLer coming out as a homosexual would be, likely more so than many of them, for the reasons previously stated.

No, you're not, and it's ####### moronic and arrogant to suggest otherwise.


So we're back to standing, then.

Tell me: Do you also believe that African Americans and other minorities, homosexuals, and women are in no position to assess what life is like for straight white males? Funny I never see you or any of your fellow high-fivers advancing this argument.

In my state, less than 30% of the population supports gay marriage, as of December 2012.


Well, you support it, so that's 31% right there.
   1005. rr Posted: April 05, 2013 at 03:22 PM (#4405460)
I think the reaction from society -- admittedly a broad term -- will be distinctly positive.


Perhaps, but if I am a 20-year-old college guy in say, Alabama, in gef's town, whatever it is, being told that people in Manhattan would be cool with me is probably not all that helpful.


for straight white males?

One amusing thing about you, to use one of your favorite words, is that you are, actually, a hardcore identity politics guy. This is about 20th time you have played this card, or a similar one.
   1006. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 05, 2013 at 03:23 PM (#4405461)
Here is what Merriam-Webster on-line has as the defintion of marriage:


a (1) : the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law (2) : the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage <same-sex marriage>


And what was their definition in 1975? Or 1995?

Let's compare them to see whether anything has been... changed.
   1007. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 05, 2013 at 03:24 PM (#4405463)
Yes, I am and it's neither moronic or arrogant to suggest otherwise. The fact that I'm not a homosexual means I have no personal stake in the matter and can therefore judge it more dispassionately.


Exactly true.
   1008. rr Posted: April 05, 2013 at 03:26 PM (#4405470)
And to answer your question, sure, being a straight white(well-educated, from a strong, supportive family, in good health--let us not forget those if you want to go all meta and all demographic here) male is not something that people in those other groups would, in some respects, be able to relate to.

But for obvious sociohistorical and economic reasons, that have been explained to you probably 100 times on this site, it is not really the same thing.
   1009. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 05, 2013 at 03:30 PM (#4405476)
One amusing thing about you, to use one of your favorite words, is that you are, actually, a hardcore identity politics guy. This is about 20th time you have played this card, or a similar one.


You might do better to read the thread before commenting. My usage of straight white males in a reply to formerly dp was precisely because he kept bringing it up on the last page:

960. formerly dp Posted: April 05, 2013 at 12:42 PM (#4405257)

Newsflash: Nobody cares about this other than people who are bizarrely obsessed with the issue.

Newsflash: Straight white male declares his indifference to identity politics.

****

968. formerly dp Posted: April 05, 2013 at 01:32 PM (#4405299)

American society by and large does not care anymore about this issue, does not care who is gay, does not care whether a professional athlete comes out,

A straight white male living in an affluent neighborhood of New York City is surely in an excellent position to comment authoritatively on this issue. You don't have to drive too far up 87 to get a different view of attitudes toward homosexuality.

Edit: Coke and a high five to Lassus.


And I think it's highly relevant - and goes to his good faith and honesty - whether he believes that African Americans and other minorities, homosexuals, and women are in a position to assess what life is like for straight white males. Given his comments above, if he answers that they are, I will happily and immediately accuse him of being intellectually dishonest.
   1010. formerly dp Posted: April 05, 2013 at 03:38 PM (#4405492)
Yes, my claim was limited to society generally. It would indeed be arrogant and (highly) moronic to say I know more about the guy's workplace and immediate social/work circle. I think the reaction from society -- admittedly a broad term -- will be distinctly positive.
That's your mistake-- you think you know better, because of what? How is your finger on a pulse that those consulting the NFLer can't read? Again, what are you basing your conclusion-stated-as-fact off of? I don't doubt that the *media reaction* to the NFLer would be almost universally positive. But that does not make it "no big deal" as Ray claimed. That does not mean that the player's decision does not take courage, and that the decision comes without risk, and that those assessing the risk are not more intimately aware of it than you are. I think you are making the mistake of conflating what you see on TV and some aggregated poll numbers for the on-the-ground attitudes toward homosexuals in the workplace.
Yes, I am and it's neither moronic or arrogant to suggest otherwise. The fact that I'm not a homosexual means I have no personal stake in the matter and can therefore judge it more dispassionately.

Exactly true.
And Ray, this shows how you (and SBB) don't understand the first thing about identity politics. Straight white males have *always* claimed to be able to speak for other groups-- they've always made the "objectivity" claim, because to them, straight white male is not an identity with its own set of subjective orientations-- other people have those. "Straight white males" get to just be, while those with "identities" are too blinded by their subjectivity to see the truth. Hell, the celebration and exultation of empiricist rationality itself is a commitment to a particular European Enlightenment notion of knowledge, without an acknowledgement of its origins.
   1011. Blastin Posted: April 05, 2013 at 03:48 PM (#4405513)
DP is on point.
   1012. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: April 05, 2013 at 03:52 PM (#4405519)
That's your mistake-- you think you know better, because of what?

Asked and answered, but I'll repeat: A combination of (1) lack of personal stake, and (2) lack of marination in the narratives of identity politics, each of which would tend to cause biased, nonobjective perspectives in the people we're talking about.

That does not mean that the player's decision does not take courage, and that the decision comes without risk,

I haven't claimed, and wouldn't claim, anything else.

Straight white males have *always* claimed to be able to speak for other groups

Maybe, but no such claim is being made here. All that's being claimed here is an accurate assessment of society's reaction to something. It's little different than predicting that the Astros won't win the World Series this year, something you don't need to be either straight or white to predict.

Hell, the celebration and exultation of empiricist rationality itself is a commitment to a particular European Enlightenment notion of knowledge, without an acknowledgement of its origins.

Plenty of white people want nothing to do with empiricist rationality.
   1013. formerly dp Posted: April 05, 2013 at 03:56 PM (#4405524)
And I think it's highly relevant - and goes to his good faith and honesty - whether he believes that African Americans and other minorities, homosexuals, and women are in a position to assess what life is like for straight white males.
The straight white male perspective is easy to make general claims about, simply by fact of its overrepresentation, and it being a majority identity.

Part of the project of identity politics is to call attention to SWM as an identity, because straight white males try to simply deny that their identity comes with a particular vantage point-- and obviously, they get their undies in a bunch when you attempt to point out that it might.

And hey look, it's happening again:
Asked and answered, but I'll repeat: (1) A combination of lack of personal stake, and (2) lack of marination in the narratives of identity politics each of which would tend to cause biased, nonobjective perspectives in the people we're talking about.
So, by dint of being an SWM you know better than people with access to actual empirical data on how different demographic groups react to representations of homosexuals? That's bold, and also, again, arrogant.

Maybe, but no such claim is being made here. All that's being claimed here is an accurate assessment of society's reaction to something.
OK, but you're doing the equivalent of saying "my spider-sense is tingling, and it tells me the Astros are going to win the WS."
   1014. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 05, 2013 at 04:04 PM (#4405536)
And I think it's highly relevant - and goes to his good faith and honesty - whether he believes that African Americans and other minorities, homosexuals, and women are in a position to assess what life is like for straight white males.

The straight white male perspective is easy to make general claims about, simply by fact of its overrepresentation, and it being a majority identity.


You are being intellectually dishonest. I can't say I'm shocked. I won't need a fainting couch.

So the standing argument doesn't work both ways. That's about as surprising as the latest Mark Prior comeback setback.
   1015. formerly dp Posted: April 05, 2013 at 04:09 PM (#4405539)
That does not mean that the player's decision does not take courage, and that the decision comes without risk,

I haven't claimed, and wouldn't claim, anything else.
That's what Ray claimed above.
===
You are being intellectually dishonest.
So IOW, bleep bloop, does not compute.
   1016. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: April 05, 2013 at 04:10 PM (#4405543)
The straight white male perspective is easy to make general claims about, simply by fact of its overrepresentation, and it being a majority identity.

Straight white males aren't a majority. They probably aren't even a plurality -- straight white females probably are -- but I'm not going to bother looking it up since the assertion it was embedded in is so inane.

   1017. rr Posted: April 05, 2013 at 04:14 PM (#4405548)
You might do better to read the thread before commenting


Dead wrong. I have read the thread. But I wasn't even talking about this thread; you have played that card many times. You may not remember stuff that you say--in many cases, actually, you have shown that you don't--but I too have a "pretty good memory."

If you want to now say that you are not really into playing this card, and have been doing so facetiously up to now, and I am misunderstanding, fair enough.
A combination of (1) lack of personal stake


This point comes up in many areas and is always tricky. It is certainly true that in many situations, a detached, outside perspective can be invaluable. At the same time, however, outsiders will also have their own biases and subjective viewpoints (as fdp suggests) and people whose boots are on the ground, so to speak, or are "in the trenches", to use another common war expression applied to other areas of life, will always know stuff that people on the outside do not and cannot.

   1018. formerly dp Posted: April 05, 2013 at 04:15 PM (#4405550)
Straight white males aren't a majority. They probably aren't even a plurality -- straight white females probably are -- but I'm not going to bother looking it up.
Look at the race/gender/sexual orientation of those who hold power in US society-- economic, political, and cultural*-- and you'll find the vast majority are still SWM. You'll deny that this is important, of course, or deny it altogether, but I'm not sure how you do so without some pretzel-twisting.

*We can talk about who holds political office, who owns and directs in Hollywood/the media industries, who holds religious authority, or who is running the major US corps-- they're fairly consistently SWM.
   1019. rr Posted: April 05, 2013 at 04:19 PM (#4405555)
Straight white males aren't a majority.


Perhaps not, but it isn't just a numbers question. It is a question of which group has controlled and still controls most/many of the mechanisms of social, economic, and discursive power. That doesn't mean that you and Ray and me and fdp are all evil a-holes because we are educatted straight white males or that should be blamed for all the oppression of the past etc. But it does mean that we should try to be aware of that context and how people in other identity groups may see both it and us, and the infornation that they have that we don't, when we are talking about, say, being gay or being black in comtemporary America. It is not at all complicated.
   1020. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: April 05, 2013 at 04:20 PM (#4405556)
Look at the race/gender/sexual orientation of those who hold power in US society-- economic, political, and cultural-- and you'll find the vast majority are still SWM.

And the vast majority of SWMs possess little to no economic, political, and cultural power and probably less so than they did 30 or 40 years ago. Which means other SWMs have disenfranchised and disempowered them.

So I'm not sure what the point is. The entire construction is misguided and pointless.
   1021. rr Posted: April 05, 2013 at 04:21 PM (#4405558)
Coke to fdp.

And man, your team wears some weird f'ing hats.
   1022. rr Posted: April 05, 2013 at 04:23 PM (#4405563)
So I'm not sure what the point is.

That is pretty clear.
   1023. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 05, 2013 at 04:24 PM (#4405565)
So I'm not sure what the point is.

That is pretty clear.


It's pretty clear that long statements which have no point have no point, yes.
   1024. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: April 05, 2013 at 04:26 PM (#4405568)
But it does mean that we should try to be aware of that context and how people in other identity groups may see both it and us, and the infornation that they have that we don't, when we are talking about, say, being gay or being black in comtemporary America. It is not at all complicated.

Of course. That part isn't complicated.(*) The complicating fact is that only a small number of SWMs hold the kind of power you're talking about and use it to screw over other SWMs (and non-SWMs, of course).

(*) I don't subscribe to the idea that the power structure is that monolithic, but I'll accept it for discussion's sake.
   1025. formerly dp Posted: April 05, 2013 at 04:29 PM (#4405572)
It's pretty clear that long statements which have no point have no point, yes.
Bleep-bloop.
==
So I'm not sure what the point is. The entire construction is misguided and pointless.
Of course, as a member of the majority group, you don't know what the point is. That's the point. You get to not know what the point is, because when you speak, you speak as an individual, not on behalf of a minoritarian group. When you perform straight, you're just being yourself, not representing the entire straight community. That's the point. The gay NFLer doesn't have the option of not thinking about the politics around his sexuality; the straight NFLer considers his own sexuality not to have a politics. That's the point.
   1026. Blastin Posted: April 05, 2013 at 04:31 PM (#4405573)
You get to not know what the point is, because when you speak, you speak as an individual, not on behalf of a minoritarian group.


Yep. The ability to opt out is part of being the majority (or the influential/empowered group).
   1027. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 05, 2013 at 04:34 PM (#4405578)
Looks like Obama has been swept up in the silliness:

WASHINGTON - President Obama called California Attorney General Kamala Harris Thursday night to apologize for commenting favorably on her looks, a White House spokesman said.

"He called her last night and spoke to her," White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters on Friday. "He apologized for the buzz this has created."

Obama caused controversy and a debate about treatment of women in politics, and his male-dominated senior staff when he said during a San Francisco fundraising trip that Harris, "happens to be, by far, the best-looking attorney general."

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/obama-apologizes-kamala-harris-comment-article-1.1308887#ixzz2Pch1s8k2


   1028. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: April 05, 2013 at 04:34 PM (#4405580)
Of course, as a member of the majority group, you don't know what the point is. That's the point.

Oh, now I see the point. You get to write anything you want, and when people try to decipher it, and criticize it, it's only because they're straight white males.

Pretty convenient, huh?


The gay NFLer doesn't have the option of not thinking about the politics around his sexuality


That's identity politickers fault, not society's. You're the ones insisting on encrusting things like sexuality with politics.
   1029. Dr. Vaux Posted: April 05, 2013 at 04:39 PM (#4405588)
Hell, the celebration and exultation of empiricist rationality itself is a commitment to a particular European Enlightenment notion of knowledge, without an acknowledgement of its origins.


This is the kind of stupid and frankly morally damaging statement that has made me consider leaving academia. Whether certain people like it or not, it was empirical rationality that made anyone, ever, realize that all human beings have feelings and inalienable rights, and deserve to be treated that way.

It took a long time. A lot of people mistook arrogance and blithe assumption for observation, logic, and reason. But ultimately, empirical rationality was behind the end of slavery, the end of colonialism, and our contemporary clear trajectory toward the ending of racism, sexism, and sexual orientation-ism.

Actual, complete objectivity, without influence by one's own identities and affiliations, however unconsciously, is most likely impossible. No one denies that. I doubt if anyone would have ever denied it, if the question had been actually put that way. But the attempt to be as objective as possible, without giving in to identity politics, is the surest route to the degree of fairness that can ever exist in a society of imperfect animals like ourselves.
   1030. rr Posted: April 05, 2013 at 04:40 PM (#4405590)
It'
s pretty clear that long statements which have no point have no point, yes.


Basic rule of life: just because you don't agree with or understand something, that doesn't mean it's not at least partially true.

The complicating fact is that only a small number of SWMs hold the kind of power you're talking about and use it to screw over other SWMs (and non-SWMs, of course).


Even if we accept that, and you want to focus on the power structure alone, it is still historically, and at present, in large part controlled by straight white males and in both the distant and recent historical past was pretty much controlled exclusively by straight white males. You can argue, I suppose, that all of that doesn't matter now or affect things now, but one basic issue that I have with the kind of stuff that you guys say, as has been pointed out to you by Andy and others, is that a lot of it is simply IMO ahistorical.

And, if you want to focus on the screwees, the people getting messed with by the power structure, even if a lot of them are straight white males, their status among those classes may in many ways be different tnan that of other groups, and they will have power within them. Real plurialistic societies are a lot mor complex than haves/have-nots.

Also, no one other than you used the term "monolithic." But if you look at, say, CEOs and the US Senate of the 1960s or 1970s, well, there you go. Of course it is different now, and it is changing now, and things are better in many ways. But the arc of history, is, as we know, long.
   1031. Steve Treder Posted: April 05, 2013 at 04:41 PM (#4405594)
Kamala Harris is, in objective fact, by far the best-looking attorney general. (Not a real high bar there, of course.)

But still that was a stupid thing for Obama to say. He is among the most blooper-averse politicians of all time, selecting his words with near-obsessive care, so this one was quite unlike him. Biden, sure, but Obama rarely lets one of these out.
   1032. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 05, 2013 at 04:43 PM (#4405597)
That does not mean that the player's decision does not take courage, and that the decision comes without risk,


I haven't claimed, and wouldn't claim, anything else.


That's what Ray claimed above.


That is not what Ray claimed above. Please show me where I claimed this, formerly dp.
   1033. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 05, 2013 at 04:46 PM (#4405600)


But still that was a stupid thing for Obama to say.


Serious question: Why?
   1034. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: April 05, 2013 at 04:49 PM (#4405603)
Serious question: Why?


Because a professional politician on the national stage should know better than to throw out physical appearance as a barometer of value for another professional politician on the (semi-)national stage. It's the sort of thing that makes the PUMA's fume about "sexism" in the Obama admin.
   1035. Morty Causa Posted: April 05, 2013 at 04:51 PM (#4405605)

that doesn't translate into "American public at large," because there are huge swathes of the American public at large that would still beat the #### out of a gay player or fire a lesbian teacher for being who they are. Flyover country still exists.

Here's a dispatch from flyover America
   1036. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 05, 2013 at 04:52 PM (#4405606)
Because a professional politician on the national stage should know better than to throw out physical appearance as a barometer of value for another professional politician on the (semi-)national stage. It's the sort of thing that makes the PUMA's fume about "sexism" in the Obama admin.


But all you're saying is that it will cause a stir. I'm asking why it was wrong, not whether it would cause a stir.

And he didn't throw it out as a "barometer of value," either.
   1037. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 05, 2013 at 04:53 PM (#4405608)
Do you also believe that African Americans and other minorities, homosexuals, and women are in no position to assess what life is like for straight white males? Funny I never see you or any of your fellow high-fivers advancing this argument.

Some people, regardless of their status, are always going to be more perceptive about others' life situations than other people. But in the case of women and minorities such perception of the SWM POV is often far more necessary to avoid stepping into pitfalls caused by majority prejudices and misconceptions. Or to put it in fewer words, necessity is often the mother of perception.

----------------------------------

The gay NFLer doesn't have the option of not thinking about the politics around his sexuality


That's identity politickers fault, not society's. You're the ones insisting on encrusting things like sexuality with politics.

As Wanda Sykes might have replied: That's right, Larry, blame it on the gay man!
   1038. Dr. Vaux Posted: April 05, 2013 at 04:53 PM (#4405609)
Oh, now I see the point. You get to write anything you want, and when people try to decipher it, and criticize it, it's only because they're straight white males.


Sadly, that's a big part of what passes for humanities discourse nowadays, and a key reason why those fields are contracting in size and influence.

And another thing: what about straight, white males who aren't educated, and even more importantly, aren't financially privileged? They really do have less voice in our society than anyone else (any other major group, anyway), because if they speak up about the issue, they're immediately slapped down as being "privileged" even though they're not, or because their ancestors, whose actions they had nothing whatsoever to do with, may or may not have perpetrated past injustices. It doesn't help that straight, white males who aren't financially privileged are concentrated in the parts of the country that are considered culturally backward. Many of the positions they tend to hold are, of course, culturally backward. But lack of either economic wherewithal or social sympathy from any quarter (certainly not Republicans, who care less about this group than anyone else, because they're poor and there's no political correctness pressure to pretend to care about them, either) is what leads to their regressive cultural tendencies in the first place. The fact that rednecks are the last group that it's okay to make fun of is the reason why they so frequently remain conservative belligerents.
   1039. GregD Posted: April 05, 2013 at 04:53 PM (#4405610)
But still that was a stupid thing for Obama to say. He is among the most blooper-averse politicians of all time, selecting his words with near-obsessive care, so this one was quite unlike him. Biden, sure, but Obama rarely lets one of these out.
+1

Serious question: Why?
Because it draws attention to her looks not her abilities, and one can't escape the context that professional women are discussed in terms of their looks not their abilities much more than (though not to the exclusion of) professional men. It sounds like locker room talk. It's presumably well intentioned but is not a respectable public comment in this context. He should have apologized for what he said, not for the public attention it generated. That's a disrespecting the Bing-type apology.
   1040. Morty Causa Posted: April 05, 2013 at 04:58 PM (#4405614)
But still that was a stupid thing for Obama to say. He is among the most blooper-averse politicians of all time, selecting his words with near-obsessive care, so this one was quite unlike him. Biden, sure, but Obama rarely lets one of these out.


The more important consideration should be as to this , who gives a ####? And if you do, why do you?
   1041. Steve Treder Posted: April 05, 2013 at 04:59 PM (#4405616)
Serious question: Why?


Because it draws attention to her looks not her abilities, and one can't escape the context that professional women are discussed in terms of their looks not their abilities much more than (though not to the exclusion of) professional men. It sounds like locker room talk. It's presumably well intentioned but is not a respectable public comment in this context. He should have apologized for what he said, not for the public attention it generated. That's a disrespecting the Bing-type apology.

Yet another fundamental aspect of modern-day social/political reality about which Ray expresses Mr. Spock-like puzzlement.
   1042. Morty Causa Posted: April 05, 2013 at 05:01 PM (#4405619)
What's your answer to the widows and families of American soldiers lost in Iraq when we could have accomplished our war aims by dropping nuclear weapons instead? That probably sounds rather flip, but it really isn't. There's always a more potent weapon that could be used in lieu of boots on the ground. That doesn't provide a whole lot of moral instruction.


No, it isn’t the same. Iraq is not a life and death struggle between peoples. Those soldiers are volunteers who have to, or should, know they are to an extent pawns in a geopolitical chess game.

The answer to the hypothetical widows and families in 1945 is what it always is. "Your husband/son served honorably, made the ultimate sacrifice for his country, and his sacrifice will never be forgotten."

No, that was not the deal proposed to that multitude of men that went to war. To put it later into those terms is to change the terms of the covenant. Of course, we do that all the time. And we’re called on it all the time. And people lose elections because of things like that.

   1043. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: April 05, 2013 at 05:01 PM (#4405620)
As Wanda Sykes might have replied: That's right, Larry, blame it on the gay man!

I wasn't blaming it on the gay man, I was blaming it on identity politickers who have likely distorted the perceptions of the gay man.
   1044. Morty Causa Posted: April 05, 2013 at 05:08 PM (#4405624)
Which is to say, the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 were people first. They happened, by accident of time and place, to have been trapped within the borders of a combatant nation. It's hard to see how that makes them morally acceptable recipients of a nuclear blast.

This is a really interesting dilemma. And one that is probably, at least in most instances, unsolvable. How much to concede to your opponent on humanitarian grounds. Especially if it requires on your part a sacrifice in life and limb. You cannot engage in war if you worry more about the damage you inflict than the damage you are likely to get. As for those civilians, as Monty Burns would say, hard cheese: you should have thought of that when you were trying to beset us with poison monkeys. True, it a feudal-fascist society like Japan that doesn’t leave much leverage for the average citizen. Still, why is that our problem? Conflict between nations is hard enough to deal with—if you have to cut slack to the people you are at war with because of their internal conflict, that’s absurd and a good way to sabotage your cause and your cohesion.
   1045. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: April 05, 2013 at 05:09 PM (#4405625)
And another thing: what about straight, white males who aren't educated, and even more importantly, aren't financially privileged? They really do have less voice in our society than anyone else (any other major group, anyway), because if they speak up about the issue, they're immediately slapped down as being "privileged" even though they're not, or because their ancestors, whose actions they had nothing whatsoever to do with, may or may not have perpetrated past injustices. It doesn't help that straight, white males who aren't financially privileged are concentrated in the parts of the country that are considered culturally backward. Many of the positions they tend to hold are, of course, culturally backward. But lack of either economic wherewithal or social sympathy from any quarter (certainly not Republicans, who care less about this group than anyone else, because they're poor and there's no political correctness pressure to pretend to care about them, either) is what leads to their regressive cultural tendencies in the first place. The fact that rednecks are the last group that it's okay to make fun of is the reason why they so frequently remain conservative belligerents.

This times eleventy billion.

The identity liberals' lack of concern for these people is an abject embarrassment.
   1046. Morty Causa Posted: April 05, 2013 at 05:11 PM (#4405627)
Americans have a way of removing their suffering from any context, and exalting it beyond any context. The same thing happened with 9/11. Terrorist atrocities had been successfully aimed at almost every other Western nation, yet only the United States deemed it sufficient to start bombing and killing and warring and torturing almost without aim.

I don’t think so. The United States is no different in this regard. However, because it is the 800-lb. gorilla, others take notice when it truly gets pissed. You don’t react the same when the 90 lb. bookworm loses his temper with you as you do when 250lb linebacker.

Not only that, but we had allies and sympathizers when we started this war on terror—and they and many others were glad we decided to clear the room.
   1047. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 05, 2013 at 05:16 PM (#4405630)
The identity liberals' lack of concern for these people is an abject embarrassment.


Compassion only extends so far. These people are straight, white, and male. That ought to be enough. That really ought to be enough.
   1048. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 05, 2013 at 05:16 PM (#4405631)
The difference is that Obama mentioned the Atty Gen's looks as almost an afterthought. It wasn't as if he said, "Hey, boys, lookit this here fox I got up here with me." He's known Kamala Harris, and I doubt if she was offended in the slightest by his comments. It may have been politically stupid on his part, but its effect will last for about one news cycle.

This is more along the lines of the faux-controversy that surrounded a recent NYT obituary about the rocket scientist Yvonne Brill, which (until it was changed) led with these paragraphs:

“She made a mean beef stroganoff, followed her husband from job to job and took eight years off from work to raise three children. ‘The world’s best mom,’ her son Matthew said.

But Yvonne Brill, who died on Wednesday at 88 in Princeton, N.J., was also a brilliant rocket scientist who in the early 1970s invented a propulsion system to keep communications satellites from slipping out of their orbits.”


Anyone who's even the slightest bit familiar with good obituary writing, not just in the NYT but in other papers as well, knows that this sort of "reverse" lead has been a staple of such writing forever; that it's used in obituaries of men as well as women; and that it's obviously not intended in the slightest way to diminish or demean the subject. Of course you'd think that the obituary's headline MIGHT have given someone a hint, since it read, "Yvonne Brill, a Pioneering Rocket Scientist, Dies at 88".
   1049. Morty Causa Posted: April 05, 2013 at 05:20 PM (#4405636)
This argument against polygamy is akin to arguing that all hetero-marriage should be illegal because it encourages lack of consent.
Are arranged marriages illegal? Only sort of! (you can't legally force your son or daughter to marry x, but you can heavily pressure them).


No, that is not the argument against polygamy. Everyone is letting individual rights define societal good. The argument against polygamy is that some males won’t have mates—and that’s bad. For them and for us as a whole. The great cultural advance history has been away from this (the extreme being the harem mentality). It makes for a more stable, safer society. It gives everyone a stake, a much more equitable one.

Gay marriage is a redefinition of marriage, and it may be right and necessary, but that doesn’t mean the change doesn’t come with problems, and that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be wary of what it might lead to. Historically, and pre-historically, marriage is a special contract, a compact or covenant like no other, and that’s because it deals with the basic unit of a society. Much flows from marriage without expressed rules and laws because it is viewed as having its base in our natural statue. If it isn't a special contract revolving around a man and a woman creating a family, then where does the logic meet the wall? That many are so blithe when it comes to playing fast and loose with it is not comforting to many, even if they do not articulate it as I do.
   1050. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 05, 2013 at 05:20 PM (#4405638)
As Wanda Sykes might have replied: That's right, Larry, blame it on the gay man!

I wasn't blaming it on the gay man, I was blaming it on identity politickers who have likely distorted the perceptions of the gay man.


The problem with that is that it isn't the "identity politickers" who are the original sources of the bigotry. If the straight majority hadn't treated gays and lesbians so negatively over the years, the chances are that the "issue" of gay sexuality---or the phenomenon of gay "identity politickers"---wouldn't have arisen in the first place.
   1051. GregD Posted: April 05, 2013 at 05:21 PM (#4405639)
And another thing: what about straight, white males who aren't educated, and even more importantly, aren't financially privileged? They really do have less voice in our society than anyone else (any other major group, anyway), because if they speak up about the issue, they're immediately slapped down as being "privileged" even though they're not, or because their ancestors, whose actions they had nothing whatsoever to do with, may or may not have perpetrated past injustices. It doesn't help that straight, white males who aren't financially privileged are concentrated in the parts of the country that are considered culturally backward. Many of the positions they tend to hold are, of course, culturally backward. But lack of either economic wherewithal or social sympathy from any quarter (certainly not Republicans, who care less about this group than anyone else, because they're poor and there's no political correctness pressure to pretend to care about them, either) is what leads to their regressive cultural tendencies in the first place. The fact that rednecks are the last group that it's okay to make fun of is the reason why they so frequently remain conservative belligerents.

This times eleventy billion.

The identity liberals' lack of concern for these people is an abject embarrassment.
It is remarkable how every Democratic program that helps the working poor discriminates so effectively on race. Health insurance? For me, but not for thee, honky. Raising minimum wage, no whites allowed. Job protections at work, not for you, Mr. Johnson. Job creation? Everyone knows that's only for black people. Marriage rights? Not for you, hetero-honkies. Only gay people and people of color can marry, now.

What's especially amazing is that they also bribe every statistician to produce report after report that says middling whites have bounced back economically much better than middling blacks. You have to give them credit for their amazing abilities.
   1052. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: April 05, 2013 at 05:23 PM (#4405640)
The problem with that is that it isn't the "identity politickers" who are the original sources of the bigotry.

And the problem with that is that it isn't the "orignal sources of the bigotry" who are the current interpreters of the bigotry. That would be the identity politickers and, as we all know, they aren't remotely up to the task.
   1053. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: April 05, 2013 at 05:24 PM (#4405641)
But all you're saying is that it will cause a stir. I'm asking why it was wrong, not whether it would cause a stir.


no you didn't ask why it was "wrong" you asked why it was "stupid."

   1054. Morty Causa Posted: April 05, 2013 at 05:27 PM (#4405643)
Germany was not nuked. (Although it was firebombed extensively as discussed above, this did not result in any surrender or even weakening of the political will... and in 1944 Germany produced more war material than 1939-1943). And no matter what FDR and Churchill decide, it ain't stoppin Stalin from rolling forward anyway.

Germany was beaten into submission from both sides. It suffered more deaths and casualties than did the Japanese. Not only was the surrender unconditional, but Eisenhower did not even give the field commanders the satisfaction of surrendering to him. He let it be known that they could surrender to Allied commanders in the field or they could keep being killed.

Jesus, is there nothing some of you will not second-guess out of ignorant bigotry against your own country?
   1055. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: April 05, 2013 at 05:27 PM (#4405644)
The fact that rednecks are the last group that it's okay to make fun of is the reason why they so frequently remain conservative belligerents.

This times eleventy billion.

The identity liberals' lack of concern for these people is an abject embarrassment.


This is so, wrong I don't even know where to begin.

First off, yes liberals sometimes see "rednecks" as the but of jokes, but as far as being "powerless"
seriously?
One of our two major political parties spends half its time pandering to these "voiceless" and "powerless" downtrodden class.

   1056. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 05, 2013 at 05:28 PM (#4405647)
And another thing: what about straight, white males who aren't educated, and even more importantly, aren't financially privileged? They really do have less voice in our society than anyone else (any other major group, anyway), because if they speak up about the issue, they're immediately slapped down as being "privileged" even though they're not, or because their ancestors, whose actions they had nothing whatsoever to do with, may or may not have perpetrated past injustices. It doesn't help that straight, white males who aren't financially privileged are concentrated in the parts of the country that are considered culturally backward. Many of the positions they tend to hold are, of course, culturally backward. But lack of either economic wherewithal or social sympathy from any quarter (certainly not Republicans, who care less about this group than anyone else, because they're poor and there's no political correctness pressure to pretend to care about them, either) is what leads to their regressive cultural tendencies in the first place. The fact that rednecks are the last group that it's okay to make fun of is the reason why they so frequently remain conservative belligerents.

To the extent that that's true, it's indeed a problem. But I don't think that that sort of contempt is universal, even if the contempt for the bigoted views of some of those men is rightfully directed.
   1057. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: April 05, 2013 at 05:30 PM (#4405649)
And another thing: what about straight, white males who aren't educated, and even more importantly, aren't financially privileged? They really do have less voice in our society than anyone else (any other major group, anyway), because if they speak up about the issue, they're immediately slapped down as being "privileged" even though they're not, or because their ancestors, whose actions they had nothing whatsoever to do with, may or may not have perpetrated past injustices. It doesn't help that straight, white males who aren't financially privileged are concentrated in the parts of the country that are considered culturally backward. Many of the positions they tend to hold are, of course, culturally backward. But lack of either economic wherewithal or social sympathy from any quarter (certainly not Republicans, who care less about this group than anyone else, because they're poor and there's no political correctness pressure to pretend to care about them, either) is what leads to their regressive cultural tendencies in the first place. The fact that rednecks are the last group that it's okay to make fun of is the reason why they so frequently remain conservative belligerents


They also smell.
   1058. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: April 05, 2013 at 05:32 PM (#4405651)
It is remarkable how every Democratic program that helps the working poor discriminates so effectively on race.


I know, it's really amazing isn't it?

It's also amazing how discrimination ended overnight on July 9, 1968, then it magically ended overnight again on May 17, 1954

Basically discrimination has magically ended just before every Government initiative to address past discrimination

I mean, boy was Congress late to the party when on July 2, 1964 the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was enacted, I mean, obviously it was unnecessary.


   1059. zenbitz Posted: April 05, 2013 at 05:33 PM (#4405652)
And it did work in terms of making sure the Axis powers accepted that they were beaten. In terms of Japan, preserving the Emperor but in a clearly symbolic, clearly subordinate position helped in the post-war period.


N of 1, aka results based thinking. We got the outcome we wanted, therefore all decisions leading up to that outcome were correct.

   1060. Bitter Mouse Posted: April 05, 2013 at 05:33 PM (#4405653)
Serious question: Why?


I agree with others, but I have a rule of thumb. If what someone says would never be said about someone of an other race/gender then it is likely offensive/inappropriate.

Would Obama have ever said anything about "best looking" in the case of a male appointment? Nope he never would have. Thus what he said was not a good idea.
   1061. Morty Causa Posted: April 05, 2013 at 05:33 PM (#4405655)
The rationale for unconditional surrender was primarily the belief that they were at war again because Germany never truly accepted that they'd been defeated in 1918. (Pershing -- among others -- predicted another war. One senior French general called it to within a year, saying they'd be back at war in 20 years if they didn't take the war all the way to Berlin)

This time there were going to be no "stabbed in the back" myths. All of the Axis powers were going to unambiguously accept they were beaten.


And it would probably have been the better thing if the same unyielding conditions had been applied to the Confederate states after the Civil War. The rest of the country, and the national government, has been fighting a hemorrhaging Cold War with it for 150 years now, and I’m not sure if it isn’t gaining momentum (its views, at least).
   1062. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: April 05, 2013 at 05:34 PM (#4405656)
First off, yes liberals sometimes see "rednecks" as the but of jokes, but as far as being "powerless"
seriously?


Pretty much, yes. Who could possibly believe the average white guy hasn't lost much of the not-great-to-begin-with power he possessed?

One of our two major political parties spends half its time pandering to these "voiceless" and "powerless" downtrodden class.

Yes, pandering. Pandering on content-free grounds -- "Vote for me, at least I'm not one of those effete liberals." Then shipping their jobs overseas and otherwise damaging their communities. Did you miss all the books and commentary about appeals to these people to vote for what turns out to be the opposite of their economic self-interest?
   1063. Morty Causa Posted: April 05, 2013 at 05:35 PM (#4405658)
965:

Very well put.

And an unconditional surrender was really something only the United States could impose. It had the will and the means. It had the resources and the manpower if needed. Thus, when it wag its tail, the other dogs followed. What was the choice? It excluded the USSR from the occupation of Japan and the USSR did nothing.
   1064. Publius Publicola Posted: April 05, 2013 at 05:35 PM (#4405659)
It doesn't help that straight, white males who aren't financially privileged are concentrated in the parts of the country that are considered culturally backward.


They're not financially privileged because they pursue a lifestyle and share voting practices that retard socioeconomic advancement and they're culturally backward because of choice. In most cases, they're proud of being culturally backward. In other words, it's their own damn fault.
   1065. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 05, 2013 at 05:36 PM (#4405661)
I wasn't blaming it on the gay man, I was blaming it on identity politickers who have likely distorted the perceptions of the gay man.

The problem with that is that it isn't the "identity politickers" who are the original sources of the bigotry. If the straight majority hadn't treated gays and lesbians so negatively over the years, the chances are that the "issue" of gay sexuality---or the phenomenon of gay "identity politickers"---wouldn't have arisen in the first place.

And the problem with that is that it isn't the "original sources of the bigotry" who are the current interpreters of the bigotry. That would be the identity politickers and, as we all know, they aren't remotely up to the task.


So, the solution is what, to let the bigots interpret their own bigotry? I get the feeling here you didn't really mean to put it that way, which is an interpretation on my part that I hope isn't being merely overly kind.

I think you probably meant to say that it isn't the actual victims of the bigotry who are doing the interpreting. If this is the case, then the simplest resolution would be to ask the actual victims of the bigotry---no third parties allowed---to do the interpreting. Cut out the middlemen.
   1066. zenbitz Posted: April 05, 2013 at 05:37 PM (#4405663)
Everyone is letting individual rights define societal good. The argument against polygamy is that some males won’t have mates—and that’s bad.


What? There are plenty of males now who don't have mates. females too. And you are assuming that it's always 1 husband many wives. The polys I know tend to be N x M. But I have known both FFM and MMF troikas. They didn't last very long - but neither do most marriages.

They can always go find them some gay mates. Or in this day and age just sex select towards more women.

I will grant, however, that perhaps women don't quite have quite the economic standing to go mano-a-mano in multiple marriages. Yet.
   1067. rr Posted: April 05, 2013 at 05:38 PM (#4405664)
Compassion only extends so far. These people are straight, white, and male. That ought to be enough. That really ought to be enough.


Like I said, Ray, you are basically a heart-on-sleeve identity politics guy. So is SBB.

My roots are in what might be called redneck territory, so in one respect, I see Vaux's point to an extent, in a cultural sense. OTOH, his assumption that the politics of what is a large and non-monolithic group of people are based on the fact that it is "OK to make fun of them" is a shaky genralization at best, based mostly on his emotional reactions to what he sees as ugly PC-academia. Those folks are free and able to make their own choices about who they support politically and why they do so. As a citified pro-gay marriage liberal wuss, I may not like those choices, but that is about as far as I would go.
   1068. Publius Publicola Posted: April 05, 2013 at 05:38 PM (#4405665)
That probably sounds rather flip, but it really isn't. There's always a more potent weapon that could be used in lieu of boots on the ground. That doesn't provide a whole lot of moral instruction.


Sugar, I don't think this analogy applies. Even leaving aside the political considerations, there was no tactical way we could use nukes in Iraq. Once the Iraqi army had been crushed (which took about 2 weeks with minimal casualties) Iraq became a political problem, not a military one. We were trying to rebuild the country, not crush an opposing army. You can't rebuild a country by killing everyone in it.
   1069. Morty Causa Posted: April 05, 2013 at 05:38 PM (#4405666)
Actually, the practice of polygamy is probably a problem in and of itself, in that it tends to create a social structure where rich and powerful men "horde" all of the available women in large multiple marriage households (and treats women as commodities to be horded), creating an extremely volatile, angry, underclass of younger/poorer/less powerful men who are *extremely* frustrated with their positions in life and far more willing to do crazy things like strap a bomb to themselves in service of a harem of "virgins" in heaven.

Exactly. And seeing this only in terms of individual preferences is not conducive to combatting the harem mentality that results in the exclusion of men from mating and men and women from marriage.
   1070. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: April 05, 2013 at 05:42 PM (#4405668)
I think you probably meant to say that it isn't the actual victims of the bigotry who are doing the interpreting. If this is the case, then the simplest resolution would be to ask the actual victims of the bigotry---no third parties allowed---to do the interpreting. Cut out the middlemen.

That's a better idea than leaving it to the identity polickers, clueless about practically everything.
   1071. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 05, 2013 at 05:42 PM (#4405669)
Would Obama have ever said anything about "best looking" in the case of a male appointment? Nope he never would have. Thus what he said was not a good idea.

Of course it wasn't a good idea, but as a side remark about a woman he's known previously, it's no more offensive than a Republican woman's making a positive comment about Arnold Schwarzenegger's body type. Slightly gauche and a bit awkward, but hardly worth more than a mild groan in reaction.
   1072. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: April 05, 2013 at 05:47 PM (#4405673)
My roots are in what might be called redneck territory, so in one respect, I see Vaux's point to an extent, in a cultural sense. OTOH, his assumption that the politics of what is a large and non-monolithic group of people are based on the fact that it is "OK to make fun of them" is a shaky genralization at best, based mostly on his emotional reactions to what he sees as ugly PC-academia. Those folks are free and able to make their own choices about who they support politically and why they do so. As a citified pro-gay marriage liberal wuss, I may not like those choices, but that is about as far as I would go.

So are mine and I'm a citified pro-gay marriage wuss, socially liberal, but certainly not an identity liberal. Nor do I, at least on purpose, miss an opportunity to mock a cracker for being a cracker.

Vaux's remarks ring entirely true. It's not the mockery, it's the lack of concern and disdain about their place in the system -- and the comical attribution of derivative "power" to them because the Senate and CEOs are mostly white. White CEOs don't give two shits about those people and have spent the last 35 years taking their jobs and giving them to non-whites in other countries.

We should empathize with the non-privileged shaft-recipients of all races.
   1073. Publius Publicola Posted: April 05, 2013 at 05:49 PM (#4405676)
Of course it wasn't a good idea, but as a side remark about a woman he's known previously, it's no more offensive than a Republican woman's making a positive comment about Arnold Schwarzenegger's body type.


Or one making a positive comment about her own rack (cue Palin).
   1074. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 05, 2013 at 05:50 PM (#4405678)
I think you probably meant to say that it isn't the actual victims of the bigotry who are doing the interpreting. If this is the case, then the simplest resolution would be to ask the actual victims of the bigotry---no third parties allowed---to do the interpreting. Cut out the middlemen.

That's a better idea than leaving it to the identity polickers, clueless about practically everything.


Glad to see you've now restated your position, but as a next step you might want to consider the thought that the group you call "identity politickers" (or "race men" and the corresponding terms for women and gays) encompasses a broad spectrum of opinions, and by no means do they always agree with one another on every issue.
   1075. Publius Publicola Posted: April 05, 2013 at 05:51 PM (#4405679)
Vaux's remarks ring entirely true. It's not the mockery, it's the lack of concern and disdain about their place in the system -- and the comical attribution of derivative "power" to them because the Senate and CEOs are mostly white. White CEOs don't give two shits about those people and have spent the last 35 years taking their jobs and giving them to non-whites in other countries.


And yet, they keep voting for the people who sell them out election after election. What are you to do?
   1076. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: April 05, 2013 at 05:52 PM (#4405681)
And yet, they keep voting for the people who sell them out election after election. What are you to do?

Emphathize with that stupidity and decry the people who pander to it.

And decry the identity politics that marginalizes them, makes them perceive themselves as marginalized, and drives them to vote for the wrong people. Vaux hit that point very well already.
   1077. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 05, 2013 at 05:53 PM (#4405682)
Or one making a positive comment about her own rack (cue Palin).

Did she really do that? Or is that one of those apocryphal stories? I have to admit I don't follow her with that much attention, and you could probably lie in either direction and have me believing you.
   1078. Bitter Mouse Posted: April 05, 2013 at 05:56 PM (#4405684)
So I think the argument about objectivity (from SBB) got a bit of a short shrift. There are pretty obvious benefits to being impartial. Of course with that impartiality comes less knowledge (in general and certainly in this case) so some decisions are helped and some hurt.

However to Ray's objections about standing I think a huge point has been missed in all the discussion on power, Straight White Males and so on.

(Analogy, be patient) There is a reason the US does poorly on average diplomatically. A few months ago we talked about how almost all Pakistani politicians know more about the US than US politicians know about Pakistan. The same is true for nearly every country. They have to know more because the US is so big (important, whatever) everyone knows about it. So while the US has Pakistan experts, Pakistan is filled with politicians who know about the US.

Pakistanis are going to be more adroit at handling the US, at understanding the US, at putting themselves into the shows of the US and knowing how the US will react, much more so than the US in understanding Pakistan.

(Second analogy) I do a bunch of role-playing(as in D&D and other such games). It is a hobby largely dominated by White Males (As a group they are accepting, but still the demographics are pretty skewed). Pretty much every understands that the non-White Males do a better job of role-playing SWM than the reverse. Not a little better, but a while bunch better, because they practice at it, they almost have to be better on average.


So it works similarly with SWM and non-SWM. The non group exists in a society where they end up understanding the SWM viewpoint much much better than the reverse. It is not that SWM are evil or sheltered or stupid or anything else, they are just not "forced" by circumstance to learn as much about them.
   1079. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 05, 2013 at 05:56 PM (#4405685)
And yet, they keep voting for the people who sell them out election after election. What are you to do?


Emphathize with that stupidity and decry the people who pander to it.

Or better yet, try to engage them in real non-accusatory conversations whenever the opportunity arises. Over the course of the past 50+ years, I've seldom found "them" to bite or draw their guns when you speak to them one-on-one.
   1080. Amit Posted: April 05, 2013 at 05:58 PM (#4405686)
Would Obama have ever said anything about "best looking" in the case of a male appointment? Nope he never would have. Thus what he said was not a good idea
Maybe not "best looking", but he has often introduced men as "good looking guys". Cabinet members Shaun Donovan and Ken Salazar, for example.

NPR Story
   1081. Amit Posted: April 05, 2013 at 06:01 PM (#4405687)
Double post
   1082. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 05, 2013 at 06:01 PM (#4405688)
So I think the argument about objectivity (from SBB) got a bit of a short shrift. There are pretty obvious benefits to being impartial. Of course with that impartiality comes less knowledge (in general and certainly in this case) so some decisions are helped and some hurt.

To the extent that "impartiality" is even possible, it's acquired not by being from any particular "impartial" group (that concept is absurd), but by reading and listening and more reading and more listening to perspectives from outside one's own demographic group.** Repeat as often as necessary, and look for understanding rather than argument. It's an ongoing process that sometimes works up to a point.

**How do you think Barack Obama got elected? By listening only to Reverend Wright?
   1083. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: April 05, 2013 at 06:08 PM (#4405691)

The more important consideration should be as to this , who gives a ####? And if you do, why do you?

I don't speak for whoever this question was addressed to, but when I saw the comment by Obama, while I didn't think it was the worst thing ever, I did find it inappropriate. Certainly if I made that comment about one of my subordinates or co-workers it would be inappropriate. They were effectively in a work environment and Obama should set an example.

Perhaps I am overly sensitive to it because my wife is an attractive woman who works in finance and has dealt with this kind of stuff throughout her career.
   1084. Bitter Mouse Posted: April 05, 2013 at 06:15 PM (#4405697)
To the extent that "impartiality" is even possible, it's acquired not by being from any particular "impartial" group (that concept is absurd)


Well part of it comes from not being someone directly part of the issue. I never claimed he (or anyone) was from an impartial group, but (for example) a Pakistani can be impartial about Iceland in a way they can't about India; even though they have talked and know much more to and about India than Iceland (for obvious reasons).
   1085. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: April 05, 2013 at 06:16 PM (#4405698)
Yes, I was a being slightly lazy (and thus a little bit unfair). Instead of "all", I should say "way, way, way more than was feasible without punting on trying to win the war." I think the question of how it's more ethical to round up three hundred thousand American teenage boys, give them a gun and a uniform, thereby magically transforming them from civilians to soldiers, and send them to Japan to die, than it is kill three hundred thousand Japanese civilians (well, and soldiers in some ratio I don't know - doesn't matter). I don't see it.


Good, I guess. Nobody else sees it, either.

I notice some posters are asserting that the only way to do a better job wrt not committing war crimes where those are avoidable is to either endorse President Hirohito or cheerfully send hundreds of thousands of American men to slaughter in order to not harm the hair of one Japanese civilian's head. Those are not the only choices. Or, as the DA said so well in 886,

Yeah, no one is saying that all civilian death is unacceptable. And no one is saying that unintentional civilian death is unacceptable, if it is in fact unintentional. At least in these WWII examples, we are talking about something totally different: The missions were designed to wipe out the civilian populations of large cities.

I see people seemingly honestly arguing that all war should be total war and there are no war crimes, and yet I really can't help thinking that's it's an attempt to be more cynical than thou. Can you seriously believe that? If your brain was able to let that conclusion in, I doubt I can talk you out of it, but good lord, that's horrible and I couldn't disagree more.


Thanks for the Lincoln quote in 886, btw. Interesting how he parses his official v his personal stance. Just like a politician. And thanks to everyone who participated in the follow up. Great stuff.

I think it is very legit to debate dropping "the bomb", but personally I tend to side with the 'apologists'. I think it a bit too easy to, in the comfort of today, suggest there were other better actions they could take in the moment.


I think in these debates it's essential for one side to posit, in real detail, a scenario or scenarios where not bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki works out. I'd love to hear that scenario.

Every war has war crimes (whether acknowledged or not), it is one of the many reasons to avoid war. Picking out which horrific action is a crime and which is not from 50+ years away without a huge amount of work is suspect, though clearly those things thought of as war crimes at the time are much easier to accept as such. The trouble with that being contemporaneous war crimes get tagged to the losers much more often than the winners (for obvious reasons).


Doesn't matter, or at least it doesn't matter enough to cause us to not note war crimes where they occur. One of the better ways to reduce the incidence of war crimes is to note their occurrence, and hold them up to the light of day. Don't let the incomplete and uncertain be the enemy of the Good.

I think this is quite debatable, but I would hope that a late-night east coast post by a poster who is not terribly popular with the left doesn't mean that someone won't challenge the claim here. Clearly a lot of people have this opinion, so clarifying the logical flaw would be instructive.

The point was made, at least once and probably more and then ignored just as many times that polygamy frequently pushes and then rather often completely ignores consent, both for the adults and the minors forced into it.


This makes no sense. This is no more an argument against polygamy freely entered into than the fact that a small percentage of homosexuals force themselves onto minors is an argument against gay marriage.

In any case, once we extend the right to marry to everyone, we should acknowledge that we're extending the right to marry to everyone. Gay marriage probably does make legalizing polygamy easier. So what? Free contracts, and all that.

Polygamy no more encourages abuse than does gay marriage. Or straight marriage. The laws on consent in marriage today are adequate to protecting the rights of people in marriage with more than two partners. Add a quiz before a notary if you feel the need for additional protection.
   1086. Lassus Posted: April 05, 2013 at 06:21 PM (#4405702)
They also smell.

Swamps are stinky.
   1087. formerly dp Posted: April 05, 2013 at 06:32 PM (#4405714)
And the problem with that is that it isn't the "orignal sources of the bigotry" who are the current interpreters of the bigotry. That would be the identity politickers.
Yeah, you can keep repeating this as often as you want, it doesn't make it accurate. If the gay NFLer doesn't want their sexuality politicized, that choice is not left to them. By performing their sexuality, it becomes political. It would be awesome if it were not like that, but it is-- and you're mistaking the progress made on this issue *because of identity politics* for progress that would have occurred naturally on its own. You're claiming that if it weren't for the activists, it would be safe for an NFLer to come out. And that simply ignores all of the hard work that went into changing consciousness on this issue, and all of the microlevel political decisions that got made and continue to get made around how to market and sell "gayness".

===
Whether certain people like it or not, it was empirical rationality that made anyone, ever, realize that all human beings have feelings and inalienable rights, and deserve to be treated that way.
Maybe, I'm not so sure-- that is certainly Habermas's argument, though he attributes it more to discursive rationality than to empirical rationality. A guy I studied with, who is a big critic of western paternalism, always makes a point to say that he takes the Enlightenment project seriously, he just wishes that the west would do the same-- in other words, that the west would adhere to the standards it insists others live by. At any rate, what's happening here is Ray and SBB are denying that their subjectivity influences their perspective while making highly subjective claims that are themselves highly dependent on the interpretation of evidence (which is why I asked SBB repeatedly what evidence informs his opinion about the NFLer-- his response was that his identity [not an affected group] gives him an insight unavailable to the closeted player; IOW, he knows better than the player does what it's like to inhabit that identity-- this is the same thing that SWMs have claimed about minority groups pretty much forever).
===
That is not what Ray claimed above. Please show me where I claimed this, formerly dp.
Ray, you claimed that the NFLer coming out was not a big deal to anyone expect people who "obsess" about the issue. Are you saying it's not a big deal, but would still be a courageous act? Moreso than a straight player performing their sexuality in public? If everything's as awesome as you say, why would the gay player performing his sexuality be any more or less courageous than the straight player doing so?
   1088. Yardape Posted: April 05, 2013 at 06:45 PM (#4405726)
And it would probably have been the better thing if the same unyielding conditions had been applied to the Confederate states after the Civil War. The rest of the country, and the national government, has been fighting a hemorrhaging Cold War with it for 150 years now, and I’m not sure if it isn’t gaining momentum (its views, at least).


I've had a similar thought. The "War of Northern Aggression" myth that has built up around the Civil War has been damaging to the country as a whole and to the Confederate States in particular. Though I can't prove any of this objectively, it's just a theory.
   1089. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: April 05, 2013 at 07:00 PM (#4405740)
why I asked SBB repeatedly what evidence informs his opinion about the NFLer-- his response was that his identity [not an affected group] gives him an insight unavailable to the closeted player; IOW, he knows better than the player does what it's like to inhabit that identity

The "identity" response was one of two prongs. You left out the other one.

And your "IOW" literally are other words -- the part after it is completely different than the part before. You must be able to see that, right?
   1090. Morty Causa Posted: April 05, 2013 at 07:05 PM (#4405745)
I've had a similar thought. The "War of Northern Aggression" myth that has built up around the Civil War has been damaging to the country as a whole and to the Confederate States in particular. Though I can't prove any of this objectively, it's just a theory.

Yes, the Union was too easy on the Confederate States, I've come to think. As were the institutions of the United States government. What's worse is the effect or lack of effect of this. Except for the issue of slavery, the was seems to mean little. The Civil War was specifically fought on the grounds that states rights trumped the national government. That side lost; yet instead of disposing of the issue forever, it was reinstated in our political and legal affairs as if the war meant nothing as to that issue. Crazy. We still argue about legal and constitutional principles as if the Civil War never happened--or meant nothing. We are always reverted to how things were in 1787. Things have changed, and those changes have meaning and that meaning should be recognized in law.
   1091. CrosbyBird Posted: April 05, 2013 at 07:54 PM (#4405785)
The fact that I'm not a homosexual means I have no personal stake in the matter and can therefore judge it more dispassionately.

I'm not a homosexual, but I have a personal stake in the matter as a human being. It's a matter of fundamental decency and respect for consensual, loving relationships. I wouldn't say that I'm dispassionate, nor do I think it is appropriate to be dispassionate.

I'll also be very clear that we would be changing the current definition of marriage, for the good. I also favor legal polygamy and polyandry, for the same reasons. The only types of marriage I oppose would be ones where there are issues of consent, although I do think we should stop subsidizing marriage.

By the way, who claims that it wouldn't be a changing of the definition of marriage? This is a serious question, because everyone in my social circle that favors gay marriage not only acknowledges the change, but favors the idea that the current definition needs changing.
   1092. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: April 05, 2013 at 08:02 PM (#4405789)
Of course. That part isn't complicated.(*) The complicating fact is that only a small number of SWMs hold the kind of power you're talking about and use it to screw over other SWMs (and non-SWMs, of course).

(*) I don't subscribe to the idea that the power structure is that monolithic, but I'll accept it for discussion's sake.


There's some useful middle ground in this discussion. The group, "straight white males" is too often used as a substitute for "the wealthy and powerful" or "the oppressors" simply because in the northern hemisphere, and especially in the west, where most people in this discussion live, most of the powerful people have been SWMs.

That's simply opportunity and demographics, though. Anyone who thinks people of color, or women, or any non-SWMs behave much differently--or have significantly different mindsets or ethos--in getting and staying powerful than do SWMs is thoroughly confused about life. Ergo, it's lazy to use "SWMs" as synonymous with "the powerful" or "the oppressors", as "SWMs" is a subset of the latter.
   1093. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: April 05, 2013 at 08:45 PM (#4405830)
No, that is not the argument against polygamy. Everyone is letting individual rights define societal good. The argument against polygamy is that some males won’t have mates—and that’s bad. For them and for us as a whole. The great cultural advance history has been away from this (the extreme being the harem mentality). It makes for a more stable, safer society. It gives everyone a stake, a much more equitable one.


This is not an argument against polygamy in developed countries any more than it is an argument that we should have laws against (especially married men with unmarried women) adultery because it tends to favor the wealthy and remove potential mates from the pool.

In any case, if your main issue is the problem for society of the unaffiliated young, how many desirable women would polygamy in the US remove from circulation? Probably far less than fence-sitting bisexual men who opt for gay marriages for whatever reason, thereby taking those men out of the breeding pool.

Not an argument I personally would want to make against gay marriage.
   1094. Publius Publicola Posted: April 05, 2013 at 09:14 PM (#4405855)
Did she really do that? Or is that one of those apocryphal stories?


It's true. At the recent CPAC, she made a joke about her giving Todd a gun rack but that next year he could get the gun while she had the rack.

Sarah Palin: He's got Rifle, I got Rack; then humiliates Bloomberg by drinking Big Gulp
   1095. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 05, 2013 at 09:16 PM (#4405860)
There's some useful middle ground in this discussion. The group, "straight white males" is too often used as a substitute for "the wealthy and powerful" or "the oppressors" simply because in the northern hemisphere, and especially in the west, where most people in this discussion live, most of the powerful people have been SWMs.

I agree with that. IMO the middle ground comes from not ignoring the lingering effects of history while at the same time not always assuming that the dynamics among various groups are necessarily predetermined. From the vantage point of someone born in 1944, I'm still amazed to contemplate what the formal and informal assumptions that governed the world of not that long ago were like, and just how much they've changed for the better since then. AFAIC (truism alert) the shaking of those prior assumptions and their replacement by new and more humane ones is an achievement that far transcends all the technological advances of the past seven decades put together.

That's simply opportunity and demographics, though. Anyone who thinks people of color, or women, or any non-SWMs behave much differently--or have significantly different mindsets or ethos--in getting and staying powerful than do SWMs is thoroughly confused about life. Ergo, it's lazy to use "SWMs" as synonymous with "the powerful" or "the oppressors", as "SWMs" is a subset of the latter.

Also very true, especially the part about opportunity. Obviously no race or gender has a monopoly of saints or sinners.
   1096. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 05, 2013 at 09:22 PM (#4405874)
Did she really do that? Or is that one of those apocryphal stories?

It's true. At the recent CPAC, she made a joke about her giving Todd a gun rack but that next year he could get the gun while she had the rack.

Sarah Palin: He's got Rifle, I got Rack; then humiliates Bloomberg by drinking Big Gulp


After watching that video, you gotta admit that there's only one Sarah Palin, bless her rack.
   1097. Morty Causa Posted: April 05, 2013 at 09:27 PM (#4405886)
How do I know SWMs are discriminated against? The law. If the law discriminates in favor of certain classes, those classes not favored are being discriminated against. Click click. Why is it that people have no problem understanding that a Jim Crow law was discriminatory, but can't grasp for the life of them that if a different law advantages one class (or gender) over another then that , too, is discrimination on its face. It's the same thing.
   1098. Publius Publicola Posted: April 05, 2013 at 09:28 PM (#4405890)
The Civil War was specifically fought on the grounds that states rights trumped the national government.


I disagree with this. The war was fought over whether we should honor the principle that all men are created equal. The South said they weren't and the North said they were. The South was willing to break up the union in order to contest that principle while the North said they couldn't do that, that they were bound to the Union, its laws and its principles. The South is still in denial that they fought to deny the rights and dignities of their fellow Americans.

There was a thread awhile ago about Shelby Foote. He says the most astonishing things along these lines and I want to revisit them in a bit after I do a little digging. They're very enlightening in terms of understanding the bigotry of the "Lost Cause" advocates.
   1099. Morty Causa Posted: April 05, 2013 at 09:40 PM (#4405905)
That's just relegating it to the slavery issue again, which you have all sorts of testimony (including Lincoln's) denying that was what the war was about. What does Preserving the Union mean? One side said the union was dissoluble and the other said it wasn't. One side fought to get away from the "tyranny" of that other side which claimed to represent the idea of an indissoluble Nationhood. One side won and one side lost. One side occupied the territory of the other side for a period. What does all that suggest to you?
   1100. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: April 05, 2013 at 09:42 PM (#4405908)
Serious question: Why?

I agree with others, but I have a rule of thumb. If what someone says would never be said about someone of an other race/gender then it is likely offensive/inappropriate.

Would Obama have ever said anything about "best looking" in the case of a male appointment? Nope he never would have. Thus what he said was not a good idea.


Given that he has said this about male appointees, where does that leave us?

It doesn't help that straight, white males who aren't financially privileged are concentrated in the parts of the country that are considered culturally backward.

They're not financially privileged because they pursue a lifestyle and share voting practices that retard socioeconomic advancement and they're culturally backward because of choice. In most cases, they're proud of being culturally backward. In other words, it's their own damn fault.


This wasn't a compelling argument when applied to blacks, either.

And yet, they keep voting for the people who sell them out election after election. What are you to do?


Nor this.
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