From the get-go
Almost every post points to an identifiable disconnect — enough to know that something’s not right with people you put on a pedestal.
You could skip the post and go straight to the doc — and watch one at a time for 7 days, 7 weeks or 7 months. You could watch clips and ask questions — exploring in a piecemeal pursuit of the truth in whatever way works for you.
You do nothing of the kind.
You skim my site and breeze on by clips at the crux of the story — as you’re not looking to learn, you’re looking to respond.
And entire industries are engineering that need.
We get rewarded by hearts, likes, thumbs-up — and we conflate that with value, and we conflate it with truth.
“I think we have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works,” . . . Palihapitiya’s criticisms were aimed not only at Facebook, but the wider online ecosystem.
“The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops we’ve created are destroying how society works,” he said, referring to online interactions driven by “hearts, likes, thumbs-up.” “No civil discourse, no cooperation; misinformation, mistruth.”
My generation got off easy
All we were called to do was weigh information — but even that was too much of a burden. As we got more, we became less.
Merle’s sorrowful song has an uplifting twist at the end, and without that final 45 seconds — you’d miss the meaning of the message.
The underlying meaning in mine: Your beliefs should be backed by your record.
I’m old-fashioned that way too
How can you expect anyone to admit when they’re wrong if you won’t? And every time you allow emotion to run roughshod over reason, you further calcify habits at the other end of the spectrum from these:
Rather than assert that all opinions are equal, students in seminar learn to judge opinions on the basis of the reasons given for those opinions.
Nobody ever had to explain that to me. I’m sure you all feel the same:
And yet here we are
From the fountains in the mountains
Comes the water runnin’ cool and clear and blue
And it flows down from the hills
And it goes down to the towns and passes through
When it gets down to the cities
Then the water turns into a dirty gray
It’s poisoned and polluted
By the people as it goes along its way
Don’t go near the water children
See the fish all dead upon the shore
Don’t go near the water
Water isn’t water anymore
What does it say about a country that can’t even establish that much — on a matter of world-altering magnitude?
And the party that recognizes that:
Has no qualms about denying this . . .
To conform to fact
We must agree that it was watermelon and consider what it means: Maybe nothing, maybe everything. But you pollute the debate when you won’t even acknowledge the irrefutable.
Worse than that — you poison your purpose:
On that front — and this one
As I said in my doc
At the heart of why we fail to live up to our potential as a society is because we excel at polluting even the purest form of fact. How can we possibly solve serious problems when we refuse to adhere to some semblance of the fundamentals of making sense?
— Richard W. Memmer: Epilogue
Debunking the WMD delusion & Trayvon tale is a conduit for showing how this nation systematically derails debate.
“Everybody believed Iraq had WMD” is not a valid argument any more than “armed only with Skittles.” By the way — how many of you know what Trayvon actually looked like?
It’s not the kid on People magazine I assure you.
I’m not interested in defending Zimmerman — my aim is to expose the irrational behavior of blindly defending Martin and the damage you did by doing so.
I think what’s amazing . . . to give you a sense of the lack of danger here — is that the kid weighs 140 lbs . . .
— Cenk Uygur
Lemme tell you what’s amazing, Cenk — you guys making 2 key factual errors in 33 seconds:
The cops made an honest mistake in calling his watermelon drink “iced tea” (simply because of the brand).
That the media advocates reported it the same way at first is understandable. That they never corrected it is unforgivable.
Is their motive to hide the watermelon because of the stereotype and/or the Lean connection? Likely both, but either way — it’s a watermelon drink and dishonest to say otherwise.
A few years ago, I looked into the stereotype and wrote a bit about it on Way of the Watermelon. I love the process of discovery in the origin of things — as you might have noticed.
Speaking of discovery
I made a mistake
In my video montage that captures the essence of my doc.
Years later, I was looking around and discovered that the picture on the right is a different Trayvon Martin.
At the time, I just grabbed the graphic without giving it much thought . . .
Which is precisely the problem!
My endless efforts to get it right on everything else — doesn’t excuse my carelessness.
It’s bad enough that it’s the wrong Trayvon, but big, bold letters of “The truth Should Not have an agenda!” is not my style. More importantly, I would never purposely paint anyone in an unfair light.
I made a mistake and I’m embarrassed by it.
None of that goin’ around
That slip-up is nowhere near my standards — which bugs the hell out of me and always will. But it’s an opportunity to show how this can happen — even to those with the most unwavering commitment to truth.
And that when you make a mistake — you say so.
All that aside — to this day, I doubt most people know what Trayvon actually looked like.
And that — is by design
It’s as apples & oranges as it gets to compare my efforts against the transactional nature of news and social-media norms. As the problems that plague America are interrelated — I draw parallels and make correlations that don’t compute in a culture that craves information formatted to your liking:
Nice and linear, easy to swallow, short and simple, and effortless to spread:
Bonding in bumper sticker branding
So when someone comes along and says:
Wait a minute — there’s a ton more to this story
You’re all torqued up to tap a Tweet on what you’ve been told for 20 years. As I wrote on Without Passion or Prejudice in reference to its opening image:
Half the country is with me on this — and I just lost the other half. Had I started with the image below — it would be the opposite half.
Understanding how seemingly unrelated events impact one another takes time and effort to digest.
It involves thinking ahead & looking back.
By just recognizing that the challenges I face are different from the standard fare in America — you might find some appreciation of what I’m up against.
When taking on the entire country — you can’t just lay it all out in a linear fashion. I faced this same problem in structuring my documentary and even in the naming of it.
What’s with the different names of your doc?
What’s with your mindset that necessitates massaging it with harmonious headlines? Alas, I have to account for this “having said that” culture we’ve created — where you’ve gotta pamper your audience to pave the way for what you really wanna say.
And after you’ve soothed their minds with some degree of shared scrutiny — that goodwill goes right out the window the moment you mention anything that challenges their calcified convictions.
How do you convey fair-mindedness in a culture that instantly supports or scorns on lickety–split perception alone?
You can rattle off personalities you perceive as fair-minded, no doubt.
But how many of you have dealt with any of them one-on-one? And of that group, how many have put their principles to the test on matters practically woven into their DNA?
Stick around — and you’ll see how some household names of the fair-minded behaved in the face of irrefutable fact.
So I will ask you once again . . .
How do you expose the whole charade — when bona fide fair-mindedness is not welcome here?
When you figure that out
Lemme know — but in the meantime:
Forget the mile — I’ll settle for just putting on the shoes.
If the Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan said, “Trayvon was carrying a watermelon drink, not iced tea” — he’d be telling the truth. His motives and reprehensible history do not change that reality, but because you have a “higher purpose” — you wanna make up your own.
The Right rolls the same way.
America has gone totally off the rails in its worship of the wildly undeserving — and that includes the so-called Rock Star running the show right now.— Richard W. Memmer: Epilogue
While I had Obama and Bush primarily in mind — my message was about that behavior no matter who it is.
My doc was prompted by the aftermath of the Zimmerman verdict. I had just returned from interviewing that world-renowned nuclear scientist as research for my book — when I saw this scene below.
we should listen past where the other person has finished. We should even pause before answering. Let them get their point, their story, their compliment, and even their criticism out. Completely. . . .
Hannity perfectly framed his “profile” inquiry.
It was so good it gave me the idea for how to frame his flagrant failure to apply the same principle on the war — particulary to Dr. Houston Wood (the gold-standard scientist I just mentioned).
HANNITY: Does this fit the profile of a person with racial animus — a guy that took a black woman to his prom? He mentored black children and after the program concluded he continued mentoring them, brought minority children into his home, and then stood up for a black homeless man against the Sanford police. Does that fit the profile of a man that’s racist?
TAMARA HOLDER: It may or may not. It may or may not.
Keep the Faith
The only logical answer to Hannity’s question is ‘”NO!” Due to the confines of the question, the answer would still be “no” — even if he were a racist.
That seems counterintuitive, but the parameters of the probe were restricted to the domain of specific behavioral patterns.
Tamara Holder contaminated the discussion by refusing to separate her support for even a second — to simply answer a question with integrity.
— Richard W. Memmer: Prologue
You can say, “No, but . . .”
And by doing that alone, you’ve done your part by answering with integrity. Then you can proceed to make your argument (without poisoning the debate in the process).
On the Trayvon tale, Hannity floated questions with a cross-examiner’s skill, and yet he never applied that “profile principle” to Iraq by asking:
Does this fit the profile of a top-tier nuclear scientist — a guy with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering with an ancillary role in the uranium enrichment industry?
While at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the 1980s, Joe Turner tested and operated centrifuges, but he has no design or development experience in their incredibly complex theory.
Does it stand to reason that this engineer-turned C.I.A. analyst would become the arbiter on the aluminum tubes intel — trumping all the true experts — including the world-renowned nuclear scientist, Dr. Houston Wood — who actually created and ran the centrifuge department at Oak Ridge?
— Richard W. Memmer: Prologue
“Does it stand to reason?”
A little of that goes a long way
Minutes into my doc — you’d realize I didn’t randomly inject race into a story mainly about Iraq. Few cared about WMD anymore and the country casually moved on.
I didn’t — as I knew then what few know now:
The immeasurable value in the willingness to be wrong, understanding why, and looking to learn from it. And that not doing so — increasingly compounds the consequences of no accountability.
What I’m calling “The Trayvon Travesty” embodies the ubiquitous behavioral patterns of apologists who defend their position purely on faith — and the “Saga of Self-Deception” is the debauchery of platform politicking that has become America’s pastime.
— Richard W. Memmer: Prologue
The title of The Trayvon Travesty: A Saga of Self-deception — was the best I could come up with at the time.
On all-things Iraq, conservatives were in lockstep — just like liberals for Trayvon Martin. By intersecting these topics, I show no favoritism in illustrating how emotion runs roughshod over reason.
That was the whole idea
But if I had it to do over again — I would have gone with what came to mind later for the promo clips: The WMD Delusion: Timeless Deceit by Democrats & Republicans Alike.
Trayvon would still be the hook into the whole thing — I just wouldn’t have used his name in the title if I had a better idea.
If I had it to do over again . . .
Is nowhere to be found in politics — and this is how you treat the truly fair-minded:
Say, we can go where we want to
A place where they will never find
And we can act like we come from out of this world
Leave the real one far behind . . .
We can go when we want to
The night is young and so am I
And we can dress real neat from our hats to our feet
And surprise ’em with the victory cry
Say, we can act if we want to
If we don’t, nobody will
And you can act real rude and totally removed
And I can act like an imbecile . . .
On that note
Your camp doesn’t know jack on monumental matters as crystal clear as this — and what’s worse, proudly refuse to allow anyone to explain it to you.
You’re dead certain you see it all on the 6th — and EVERYTHING you think.
You have no original ideas and no questions or courtesy for those who do. I have to spoon-feed you like a child while you spit it out and cry about being hungry. You have no imagination and are utterly devoid of any virtue that would allow for actual conversation to take place.
With just a little inquiry and an ounce of decency — you could gain some insight into why my material is arranged in ways you’ve never seen.
And when you’re seeing it for the first time — you’re unaware of the endless efforts to reach your kin who came before you:
It is as though with some people — those who most avidly embrace the “we are right” view — have minds that are closed from the very get-go, and they are entirely incapable of opening them, even just a crack.
There is no curiosity in them. There are no questions in their minds. There are no “what ifs?” or “maybes.”
— Laura Knight-Jadczyk
So spare me your cries that my site is at fault for your failure to find the truth. I’ve heard it all and I’ve seen it all — as your kind always has an excuse laced with self-satisfied scorn.
100% of the “everybody believed” crowd couldn’t craft a sound argument on the subject to save their lives. If you think you can challenge me on that, I invite you to try.
I’ve been inviting you for a really long time:
You don’t really need to find out what’s goin’ on
You don’t really wanna know just how far it’s gone
Just leave well enough alone
Eat your dirty laundry . . .
We can do “The Innuendo,” we can dance and sing
When it’s said and done, we haven’t told you a thing
We all know that crap is king
In the Crap is King culture we’ve created:
Infantile insults are celebrated. The doubt-free who don’t do their homework are the experts. Those who belittle and outright reject correction — are the righteous and wise. The ones with courage to admit when they’re wrong — are the weak. Tireless dedication is mercilessly mocked — while intellectual laziness is esteemed.
Original thinking and uniqueness are bashed — while conforming to the trite is trumpeted. Depth is discarded with disdain — while shallowness is embraced with love.
The honest & sincere are shunned — while manipulators & liars are welcomed with open arms.
This is my story — and if you read it in full, you’ll find it’s part of your story too. You’ve all dealt with the same behavior I have — the difference is that I get it from every direction:
When are you gonna come down?
When are you going to land? . . .
Dealing on the moment is what America does best. Even those I agree with — don’t look at the totality of a problem (and exacerbate it by failing to do so).
They isolate issues within their wheelhouse — without understanding the dimensions that derail their efforts outside of it.
Just picking the root that works for you doesn’t get it done — you’ve gotta look at interconnected causes across the board.
The solution to this problem is more truth, not less.
“More” won’t make a dent in today’s trench warfare between armies of unreachables. You make it nearly impossible to put a pinprick through the envelope of intransigence encasing your brain.
There’s no willingness to say, “I’m wrong.” I mean, you have to take a 2×4 to these people, basically — to get ’em to, sorta, knock ’em down and admit they were wrong.
That physicist is talking about the people pushing the aluminum tubes fantasy that took us to war.
And I’m talkin’ about you
Fighting the problems of today with conventional tactics is colossally counterproductive, dangerous, and even deadly. But almost everyone is operating on faith-based belief that their efforts will prevail (bolstered by the fact that they’ve achieved some fashion of success).
at what cost?
You think the end justifies the means — I say your means make damn sure it will never end. I looked around for what others have said along those lines.
What a gem — mine’s minor league compared to this:
Like many alternatives, however, it was psychologically impossible. Character is fate, as the Greeks believed. Germans were schooled in winning objectives by force, unschooled in adjustment. They could not bring themselves to forgo aggrandizement even at the risk of defeat.
— Barbara Tuchman
Unschooled in Adjustment
Marching to Black Lives Matter with the first black president sitting in the White House — was that a smart move?
The answer should be abundantly clear — and yet the question is not even considered: In a culture too busy Tweeting to pause long enough for “Hmm.”
I’ve been blocked by people on Twitter for just politely suggesting that BLM is a counterproductive cause. Instead of considering how you could fight for justice more intelligently, you act like I’m saying you shouldn’t fight for it at all.
The moment Obama caved on the Democratic Party playbook on race — he put Trump on the path to the presidency.
It’s quite possible that Comey’s cover-his-ass actions in the 11th hour tipped the scales. Given the possibility that a single event like that could alter the atmosphere of an election — what do you think pouring fuel on the fire for years did?
If the indiscriminate approach of BLM pisses me off: What do you think it did for people gunning to bring Obama down?
You overplayed your hand
He had golden opportunities to take the country forward, but instead of leading the way — he followed his base and went backwards. Given the tight margins — there’s not a doubt in my mind that their ploys put Trump in the White House.
And still — you don’t learn
At the core of our country’s decline — is the unrelenting refusal to get to the bottom of anything.
Like this 1619 business: You wanna draw correlations from the past — while flagrantly ignoring crystal-clear connections in the present. Black Lives Matter, monuments, kneeling, and now this?
You’re all over the place — and you’ve got company:
Blind Men Touching an Elephant
As with Kaepernick’s kneeling, Black Lives Matter, and the removal of monuments — what are you really gonna gain out of 1619? Even if you could miraculously get what you want:
And you have a better chance of walking on water.
What’s it gonna take for you to see the unintended consequences that come with it?
Therein lies the folly of it all. This consortium of causes has no chance of achieving anything remotely in the realm of your loosely defined aims — and you’re doing catastrophic damage to the very thing you’re trying to remedy.
Has it ever occurred to anyone in BLM — that simply calling it something else would have served your interests far better?
All Lives Matter . . .
How could you not see that tit for tat in taglines coming? You predictably damaged the debate on the name alone.
And now, even now
The cat . . . TOTALLY out of the BAG!
True folly, Tuchman found, is generally recognized as counterproductive in its own time, and not merely in hindsight. In Tuchman’s template, true folly only ensues when a clear alternative path of action was available and ruled out.
— Russ Hoyle, Going to War
It was a picture-perfect wedding
We had the whole world at our feet
Everyone thought we were
Heading down a lovers easy street
We’d have a house out in the country
A picket fence, the whole nine yards
They said our love would last forever
It was written in the stars . . .
I should have known it all along
When the future looks too bright
Can’t be anything but right
Wrong . . .
The Right wants the Left and the black community to get its act together on matters deeply woven into the fabric of America’s long history of brutality and disgrace:
Slavery, Jim Crow, lynchings, murder, decades of civil rights violations, questionable shootings, and so on.
While the Right won’t even look at the material properties of a tube. What’s wrong with that picture — and this one?
Hmm, so the dimensions exactly match the tubes used in Iraq’s history of manufacturing the Nasser-81mm artillery rocket (a reverse-engineered version of the Italian Medusa)
Be quite a coincidence if they weren’t . . .
Ya know, connected
Oh my god
He used an unrelated movie to make a point and tossed in some comedy for effect. What does that say about the quality of his argument?
It says you need to get your head out of your ass — and stop flailing about like an imbecile incapable of understanding anything.
Preach responsibility and take none
The Left institutionalizes weakness — and the Democratic Party is notorious for lacking backbone. You weaken the very people you’re trying to strengthen — branding weakness to boot.
And right on cue, the Right is ready to pounce.
I don’t blame ’em — except for the part about them being weak while branding strength.
Conservatives have put on a masterclass of complaining for 30 years — but because the intelligentsia on the Left perennially pumps candy into that piñata: They beat the hell out of you — while unconscionably ignoring the debauchery of their own behavior.
Sailing away on Scot-Free . . .
Then there’s this
America obsessively concerns itself with symbols — fixating over a missing flag pin on a politician’s lapel, for instance.
So — these people can:
- Incessantly lie
- Manipulate the hell out of you
- Start dumb wars and never finish them
- Drag their feet forever
- Obstruct as if not doing your job were a virtue
- Take off all kinds of time after accomplishing nothing
- Waste mountains of money while touting concerns about spending
- Spend enormous amounts of time & energy assailing the opposition while absolving their own at every turn
- Broadcast beliefs that have no bearing on their record or yours
- Rile you up with red meat to savagely scorn the other side — as you sail Scot-Free on an ocean of bottomless lies and hypocrisy . . .
Never in doubt — while you fret over flair:
I didn’t write this poem from my imagination
It’s not anti-war — it’s pro-thinking:
Conservatives control the narrative about responsibility and think that magically translates to taking responsibility. Republicans pounce on the Left day in and day out — as if the Right’s record vanished off the face of the earth.
It’s all about framing the narrative — and the Left institutionalizing weakness is a gimme for the Right to rail on ’em.
That the Left brings it on themselves is another matter.
And the icing on the cake
Sincere intellectuals justifiably calling out universities, woke ways, racially rigged incidents and such: Providing endless fodder for the Right to rip people for behavior that pales in comparison to what they’ve done for decades.
The Right delights in ridiculing the Left for burning buildings to further the cause. Yet they went batshit crazy after 9/11: Setting the world ablaze — and browbeating anybody out of line in their March of Folly.
That — is faith-based belief at its best . . .
The Left’s anti-racism religion, woke, and whatnot — they’re amateurs. I didn’t write Mariana Trench of Mendacity from my imagination either.
But the Right is not always wrong
And the smart move is to agree with them when they’re making sense. It’s also the right thing to do.
The right thing tends to be the demanding thing — the difficult that can’t be captured in slogans, kneeling, and knocking down monuments. I don’t care if Kaepernick kneels — I care that you can’t solve multidimensional problems with one-dimensional gestures.
I ask a different question . . .
I do that a lot:
What if Kaepernick kneeled and acknowledged that they need to do their part while asking the police to do theirs?
Hold the phone — you want us to share some responsibility?
You wanna solve the problem or protest about it?
Chris Rock didn’t come up with this sketch out of thin air. But for me to suggest this is the entire problem — would be as preposterous as you denying it’s part of it.
But no, you wanna debate that too
Even a multi-millionaire like Don Lemon’s got a chip on his shoulder.
I am one who always says that you should comply with police officers — especially as a man of color. When I’m stopped by a police officer: “Officer, why are you stopping me?” Yes, officer or whatever. Now, I’m an American — I shouldn’t have to do that.
I shouldn’t have to be “Yes, sir” to anybody. I’m a grown, ‘you know what’ man.” But I do it because I want to stay alive. That’s why I do it. I shouldn’t have to.
How about just doing it out of courtesy and respect?
How hard is it to just put yourself in their shoes — and consider the crap that cops deal with day in and day out? Yeah, they signed up for it — but you can do your part to make the situation go as smoothly as possible.
And Don — your audience blew right by that bit about complying and seized on “I shouldn’t have to.” Nice work! I’m glad someone brought up Castile though, as it reminded me of what I wrote in 2017:
My view of police officers these days: They’re overly protective of their own safety — in a job that by definition, comes with a certain degree of danger.
If you’re unwilling to take that extra split-second to ascertain a threat — you have no business being in that job.
We all have a responsibility when dealing with the police. If you cop an attitude (especially in today’s climate) — you are radically increasing your chances of getting gunned down.
Yes, you can find examples where blacks did everything right and got killed anyway. But I’m betting that number pales in comparison to the times where they didn’t follow instructions.
In many cases, they didn’t deserve to be shot — but they played a role in what happened. Properly following instructions would have most likely produced a different outcome.
This officer in Castile’s case was clearly out of control. Even if Philando didn’t do something exactly as the officer expected — the slightest misunderstanding is not grounds for shooting someone (not to mention the absurd number of shots).
By that standard, you could justify anything — like invading a Middle Eastern country because you feel like it.
Imagining a threat is not enough
And it’s all the more outrageous given that the guy acknowledged he had a weapon. This person’s comment nailed it:
If someone is trying to get the drop on you, I don’t think they would calmly say, “I just want to let you know that I have a gun”
Yanez stated that his justification for the shooting was based on fear for his own life because he believed that Castile’s behavior was abusive toward a young girl passenger (Reynolds’ daughter) in the car.
Yanez said: “I thought, I was gonna die, and I thought if he’s, if he has the, the guts and the audacity to smoke marijuana in front of the five-year-old girl and risk her lungs and risk her life by giving her secondhand smoke and the front seat passenger doing the same thing, then what, what care does he give about me?”
That’s an awful lot of analysis for something that happened so fast.
I don’t buy it for a second.
You cannot make sweeping assumptions like that in ascertaining a threat. And it’s absurd that an officer would fear for his life over the perception of a person’s character regarding secondhand smoke.
I’d rather go to prison than come up with such a stupid excuse.
Speaking of excuses
This notion that compliance and respectability can save someone’s life in an encounter with police is not the reality for black men in this country
— Charles Coleman, Jr.
Worked out well for this guy . . .
To be sure, “compliance and respectability” doesn’t always pan out — but it’s the smart move, the right thing to do, and it gives you the best shot of walking away unharmed.
When you act like the one on the right below, you’re not only endangering yourself — you’re helping to create the atmosphere of confrontation for others by putting the police on edge.
The attitude on the left would do no such thing. Charles Coleman, Jr. is dead wrong — as the importance of attitude cannot be overstated.
What’s wrong with this picture?
Nothing in the atmosphere of America is improving on any front:
But hey . . .
We’ve got 24 million visitors to our website, an email list of 2 million & growing, fundraising on the rise, and a million actions taken.
If you wanna start solving problems instead of perpetuating them . . .
It’s gotta get ugly — or as ol’ Bill perfectly put it:
Kneel, but couple your message with Kobe’s — and you change the dynamic of the debate.
I won’t react to something just because I’m supposed to, because I’m an African-American. That argument doesn’t make any sense to me. So we want to advance as a society and a culture, but, say, if something happens to an African-American, we immediately come to his defense? Yet you want to talk about how far we’ve progressed as a society? Well, then don’t jump to somebody’s defense just because they’re African-American.
The Right would still fuss over it — but they might cut ya some slack if you’re kneeling with a shared purpose.
Protesting in a wholesale manner shows you’re not serious about recognizing the realities of a problem. It says you want to see it only from your perspective.
That — will never work
And lo and behold — neither will this:
You wanna solve problems or protest about ’em?
Repeatedly rehashing issues is not the mark of problem solving — it’s the mark of a market.
Like Black Lives Matter — they’re just pounding away at problems without any examination of the efficacy of their efforts.
These communities operate under umbrellas of interests that don’t account for complexities outside of them.
And this — is where my Clear the Clutter framework comes in:
We’ll get to that
Why? Why is that impossible?
You’re so concerned with squabbling for the scraps from Longshank’s table . . . that you’ve missed your God-given right to something better.
Arrival is a movie that makes you think
And that’s a gift that keeps on giving.
Their efforts to develop a conduit of communication is in striking contrast to how we talk to each other today. With the word “HUMAN” written on a whiteboard, they were able to build on that by seeing patterns in indecipherable symbols.
We have the most sophisticated communication tools in history — and we can’t even talk to each other in the same language.
Instead of listening and learning — slinging snippets of certitude has become America’s pastime. We’ve created a knee-jerk nation where discernment is derided and negligence is in vogue. What was beyond the pale in the past is now perfectly acceptable.
There was a time when adults acted their age, but those days are long gone — as the internet and the cable clans paved the way for the onslaught of the utterly absurd. We’re in perennial pursuit of ideologies — warfare waged with:
opinions lightly adopted but firmly held . . . forged from a combination of ignorance, dishonesty, and fashion
Even timeless truths are outdated
My quest for clarity in a nation having none of it:
All day I’ve faced a barren waste
Without the taste of water, cool water
Old Dan and I with throats burned dry
And souls that cry for water
Cool, clear water
The nights are cool and I’m a fool
Each star’s a pool of water
And with the dawn I’ll wake and yawn
And carry on to water
Cool, clear water
Excerpt from I Don’t Do Slogans on The Yellow Brick Road — a piece Glenn Loury called “brilliant”:
That was then — this is now
When I told someone that Anti-Racism has Become Religion — But Fighting that Religion has Become Another Religion — instead of considering the case:
He opted for the standards of social media:
Where you can apply a follow-the-facts standard in one breath and abandon it the next.
The individual believer must have social support. It is unlikely that one isolated believer could withstand the kind of disconfirming evidence we have specified. If, however, the believer is a member of a group of convinced persons who can support one another, we would expect the belief to be maintained and the believers to attempt to proselyte or to persuade nonmembers that the belief is correct.
These five conditions specify the circumstances under which increased proselyting would be expected to follow disconfirmation.
Francis Bacon was onto this game a long time ago:
The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion … draws all things else to support and agree with it. And though there be a greater number and weight of instances to be found on the other side, yet these it either neglects or despises … in order that by this great and pernicious predetermination the authority of its former conclusions may remain inviolate.
In one form or another
It’s all religion anymore . . .
And they already belonged to one before that. Stick around — you’ll see.
McWhorter & Loury-like communities are operating on narrative, not principle. It’s a sign of the times that you could celebrate “follow the facts” and refuse to go anywhere near ’em.
I’m sure it’s intoxicating to amass a following and feel like you’re making a difference. But I’m gonna weigh your impact partly as a reflection of your community: How people behave — not what they believe.
If you can’t get that right, I don’t care how big your following gets — you’re taking this nation nowhere. Not in the right direction, anyway.
about that narrative
We’re a university. We should be above whatever the fad or the fashion is of any given day. We should be looking at the deep questions. We should be analytical. We should be emphasizing reason. Instead, it was like a kind of emotional rush — in which . . . the president and provost and the top leadership of my university — wanted to jump on a bandwagon. They wanted to wave a banner.
And I thought to myself, what have we come to at the university — that the first reaction to grave matters — and the rioting in the street after George Floyd died is a grave matter.
That the reaction is not to think it through, not to question, not to assemble facts, not to make arguments — but instead to wave banners and spout slogans such that you could hardly distinguish what they were doing from a manifesto that would come out of Black Lives Matter
— Glenn Loury
Remove the references around George Floyd — and that behavior rings a bell.
Now I Remember . . .
As the patriots “Never Forget“
The aftermath of this
That the reaction is not to think it through, not to question, not to assemble facts, not to make arguments — but instead to wave banners and spout slogans such that you could hardly distinguish what they were doing from a manifesto that would come out of . . .
Tuchman alighted on a root cause of folly that she called “wooden-headedness” — defined in part as “assessing a situation in terms of preconceived fixed notions while ignoring or rejecting contrary information.”
— Russ Hoyle, Going to War
If you’re not gonna do your part and accept responsibility for the damage you’ve done and dishonesty baked into your beliefs — why should the Left?
Why should anyone?
Ripping on woke is all the rage. And outrage industries of dish it but can’t take it — would talk about race and responsibility till the end of time. But heaven forbid we have a single conversation about war and responsibility.
We should be above whatever the fad or the fashion is of any given day. We should be looking at the deep questions. We should be analytical. We should be emphasizing reason.
Only for problems that are popular and easy to perceive? Whatever’s in your wheelhouse? Is that as deep as your questions go, Glenn?
She also saw wooden-headedness as a certain proclivity for “acting according to wish while not allowing oneself to be deflected by facts.”
Wooden-headedness, said Tuchman, was finally — “the refusal to benefit from experience.”
The refusal to benefit from experience
I’m an entertainer . . .
When Rush Limbaugh said that long ago, I didn’t believe him. Now I think it’s the most honest thing he ever said. So when I came across this question below, it really hit home. I had asked a similar question before I found this one.
His was better. Not only was it more direct, but it also shed light on something I hadn’t thought of . . .
And I love that
I wanted to believe — and it’s easy to get lost along the way. But I never get lost for long, and this question kickstarted my turnaround:
My version . . .
Across those communities
I’ve never seen anything with even a hint of the questions we asked. And what they miserably fail to recognize is that their efforts act like a firewall by unwittingly providing an unlimited supply of candy to that piñata.
I’m not suggesting they stop — I’m suggesting they reframe the debate by broadening it. Someone really “looking at the deep questions” — would have the courage to consider mine.
By not deviating from your lane — you don’t understand the roadblocks within it that were created outside of it.
It would be extremely difficult to reach the Left no matter what you do. But by feeding that firewall, you’re building in barricades that block you from reaching them in ways you might be able to without the Right sailing Scot-Free.
By the way
The right often accuses the left of exaggerating victimhood, turning a blind eye to reality, and distorting language to do so. The left, it’s often said, harbors “snowflakes” and the like who are beset by a victim complex. Lately, however, this frame of mind knows no party or political affiliation. Especially since the Capitol riot, assorted conservative figures have embodied a fragility of the right.
Mr. McWhorter — I’ve been in the trenches dealing with these chronic complainers a helluva lot longer than “lately.”
First time I ever heard of John McWhorter was in a 2017 interview with Brian Williams. In talking about take a wild guess, he said . . .
He has a rather narcotic joy in dismissal and belittlement
A lot of that goin’ around
The people who consider themselves to be the saviors of black people — are hurting black people, because what they’re committed to is more virtue signaling than actually doing something in the world.
— John McWhorter
It’s not the change in terms that bothers me so much:
It’s the absence of intellectually honest discussion by people preoccupied with victories in vocabulary.
When I am making my edits, “John’s slave” becomes “a person enslaved by John.” “John owned Sally” becomes “John enslaved Sally.” . . .
Consider this sentence: “George Washington owned slaves at Mount Vernon.” It doesn’t agitate our sense of morality as much as the sentence “George Washington enslaved people at Mount Vernon,” does it? To most people, it seems much worse to say, read, or hear that someone “enslaved” other people than that they “owned” other people.
That’s partially because ownership is one of the primary rights and most cherished ideas in the American system — and most Western systems — of government.
I’m not among “most”
And on what basis is she making the claim that “most people” see it that way?
“Owned” has an ugliness that “enslaved” does not — precisely because we know it’s not a “primary right” to own people. Such efforts are really reaching to re-engineer what cannot be undone.
All this over-the-top engineering of sensitivity has gotten totally out of hand. Excessive sensitivity breeds hypersensitivity. When you water things down to be politically correct, our nation’s ability to discern decreases right along with it:
Creating a culture that’s increasingly more easily offended and radically irrational . . .
Across the board
That . . .
Is not the mark of a serious-minded measure for problem solving — nor is renaming teams and pancake products, wiping Indians off boxes of butter, banning Dukes of Hazzard, or Microsoft’s Inclusiveness Checker to program you proper.
In our culture of instant offense, we ban before we think. However, banning isn’t a sign of strength or resolve, but an admission of defeat, of showing how little we have engaged with whatever the bigger issue that belies the ban.
Instead of asking or addressing the roots of violent racism in the South in 2015 — far too difficult, far too intimidating — we focus on symbols. If we take a flag down, if we remove a TV show from the schedules, it shows we are doing something.
It shows our hearts are in the right places.
Elaine’s exasperation x 10 =
How impossibly stupid it is that they banned The Dukes of Hazzard
But the high five is just so stupid!
From as far back as I can remember, I loved the Land O’Lakes Indian. And then they butchered the spirit of it for the sake of sensitivity.
If such measures had any chance of actually making an impact that matters — I’d gladly sacrifice my precious brand of beauty.
For those who would try to educate me by saying I don’t understand the feelings involved in the removal of monuments and wiping Indians off boxes of butter:
No, you don’t understand . . .
And neither do you . . .
They are using science, reason and data to back up their position; something the wokesters steer clear of.
Whad’Ya call this? . . .
“No big deal” — just essential to the science, reason and data debunking the biggest and most costly lie in modern history.
But when it comes to questioning your own, you change the rules — doing a cosmic disservice to yourselves and those you blindly defend (never mind the damage to the country and the world).
I’ve been using science, reason and data for decades — and I’ve been shown nothing but disdain for delivering undeniable truth. My documentary is driven by science, reason and data — and I’m mercilessly mocked by people who won’t watch one second.
How much can we hope to accomplish in a culture that razes reason for fun? Short or long: On any comment that doesn’t conform to the formula on Safe-Space Central — I’m almost invariably met with this madness.
On matters of mathematical certainty, no less.
And this gem
So, on an issue involving the separation of uranium isotopes — you wanna ignore the evidence to show off your math skills by splitting hairs over the meaning of “mathematical certainty”?
by the way
Decorating your points with special punctuation does not make meaningless crap magically have merit.
I wonder if anyone wonders why I blur out their names. This is about accepted behavior across the country — not specifically targeting these people.
My aim isn’t to make you look bad — it’s for you to stop looking bad. Ridicule just rolls right off me anymore. I’m not dealing with individuals — I’m dealing with a collective machine that’s been programmed to put me down.
My job is to jam up the gears — and get these gears going again:
I like the cut of your jib, sir
And then there are those memorable moments when someone surprises you with the simplicity and elegance of a line like that.
In a sea of insults, one kind comment is like wind in your sails.
If you don’t like me spoon-feeding you illustrations — go read the reports for yourselves: And I’ve got plenty more material to add to your reading list.
But that takes work — and why bother when you can just ridicule those who did it for you.
One picture is worth a thousand words
When you don’t want the pictures — and you don’t want the words: What would you have me do?
And once I did it — we both know your next move . . .
About that savagery & religion I alluded to earlier . . .
And how it all comes together to Clear the Clutter: Do You Want to Solve Problems or Protest About Them? — Part 3