Re: I have newfound respect for The Editors

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I imagine you can now understand why he opted to stop reading him, as well.

On the other hand, now there's a The Editors Jr., so give it a decade or two and we can probably bribe the tyke with Twizzlers and he'll take the gig.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-20-09 12:56 AM
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Ta-Nehisi Coates gently pointed out that Holder probably meant, you know, everybody in the nation, not just the white people.

But I prefer to think he just meant Jonah Goldberg, and by "cowards" he meant "crimes against the good name of nepotism".


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-20-09 12:58 AM
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I could not read it past a the first few paragraphs. The stupid burns too badly.

So then I surfed around the Townhall site, and it's all the same. Blocks of text that look like arguments, but on examination turn out to be just blocks of wingnut lorem ipsum. Cartoons . . . my God, the cartoons . . . the Onion cartoons are not as crazy. No joke, no argument, a picture that looks like a metaphor, but on examination just turns out to be a bunch of lines, and always in reference to some obscure bit of innocuous news no one should care about.

I've always know that place was there, but I had no idea, really. It's a collective mental illness in there.


Posted by: rm | Link to this comment | 02-20-09 7:14 AM
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Have you met Kaye Grogan yet, rm?


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02-20-09 7:20 AM
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It's not clear to me that people calling for a national conversation about race have a coherent idea of what exactly that would entail. I can't envision such a thing that doesn't start with racists setting aside their racism before joining the conversation, and that seems a little unrealistic.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02-20-09 8:29 AM
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can't envision such a thing that doesn't start with racists setting aside their racism before joining the conversation

Or, alternatively, the non-racists setting aside their anger/disgust at racist ideas. Also somewhat unrealistic. I think the conversation, though, is meant to be directed mostly at the people who consider themselves non-racists and think that racism isn't really a problem anymore.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-20-09 8:40 AM
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It's not clear to me that people calling for a national conversation about race have a coherent idea of what exactly that would entail. I can't envision such a thing that doesn't start with racists setting aside their racism before joining the conversation, and that seems a little unrealistic.

Some days on the bus I overhear bits of the "national conversation about race". I try to bury myself deeper in my book, because I am a coward.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-20-09 8:41 AM
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And indeed, non-racists setting aside their non-racism in order to remove any hint of bias.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-20-09 8:44 AM
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People will stand up for racism as long as they perceive the alternative as "being politically correct". There needs to be some good-cop, bad-cop action going on.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02-20-09 8:49 AM
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In truth, it was a pretty lame bit of pablum from Holder, just vague enough to let the mouth breathers add it to their quiver of grievances. You sir, are no Barack Obama. Leave the visioning to your boss and get to the nuts and bolts of trying to reverse the damage done to DOJ as quickly as possible.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-20-09 8:56 AM
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I just read my first Jonah Goldberg column.

Like one's first sip of strong liquor, it produces an unpleasant burn and, possibly, mild nausea. Keep at it for a while and you'll build some tolerance. But overindulgence softens the mind, so use caution.

Or, you could just skip the Goldberg columns and reach straight for the whisky. A better outcome all around.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 02-20-09 9:23 AM
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I like what Togolosh said; what *would* it look like? Instead, it seems like "conversation about race" is just a fetish object which is going to magically dispel all the nonsense people used to think for some reason.


Posted by: zunguzungu | Link to this comment | 02-20-09 9:41 AM
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I like what Togolosh said; what *would* it look like?

It looks like a grumpy conversations with a bunch of defensive 18-year-olds about why Malcolm X is so angry in this excerpt, and why can't he just get over it already, and stop complaining, and I'm not a devil just because I'm white and if they want to go rewrite history they should just stop.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-20-09 9:47 AM
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9: People will also vilify "being politically correct" as long as they perceive the alternative as being called "racist" by those who are "politically correct".

(OK, maybe that horse has stopped breathing.)

But seriously, sometimes we just have to grow up a little. Pretending that race doesn't matter in everyday life & avoiding any discussion of its implications are way too easy, and I'd rather take a chance on looking like a fool by arguing (in civil fashion!) with someone who has a different perspective.

At a wedding last summer, I was flabbergasted by a perfectly respectable-looking fellow guest who allowed with only the slightest tinge of embarrassment that he was a Democrat but wouldn't be voting for Obama, because he "couldn't see" a black man as President. I'm a little ashamed myself that I didn't try to get him to examine just what the hell he meant by that, as I got the impression that it wasn't an opinion based on rational introspection; my excuse was that it was a wedding, everyone in attendance was white, and this was a relative of the bride whom I hadn't previously met. So socially, I probably made a defensible choice in simply replying something like "Ah." and allowing the subject to be changed.

But now that guy does (presumably) see a black man as President. So what happens to the pretty inarguably racist view he had last year? Will he open his mind to judge the President on "merit", or be easily swayed by wingnut rhetoric into thinking the worst of the Obama Administration at every turn? I'm not likely to run across him, as he's not local, but I hope someone gets the opportunity to persuade him in a more progressive direction. And isn't too much of a coward to try.


Posted by: Rah | Link to this comment | 02-20-09 12:02 PM
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I've observed that Paris Hilton has two voices. She talks with a girly voice, but sometimes a quite dark voice shows through.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 02-20-09 12:15 PM
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a perfectly respectable-looking fellow guest

Racist.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-20-09 12:34 PM
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YOU'RE ONE TO TALK, WHITEY!


Posted by: OPINIONATED BLACK BEAR | Link to this comment | 02-20-09 12:38 PM
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12: Di was right in 6.last; a conversation about race that's at all meaningful and is distinct from what already goes on all the time would involve either shaking some sense into those people - "yes, this stuff actually does still matter in daily life, and if the last six examples we showed you didn't prove it how about the next eight? If you don't trust our usual messengers, who would you believe it from?" - or identifying those of them making bad-faith arguments as such so we can write them off and spend our energy better* - "thank you, your opinion that interracial marriage is 'just wrong' is duly noted. We'll take you off our mailing list."

Racism has almost become taboo in American culture, due in large part to successful and well-intentioned efforts by liberals. The problem is, sometimes taboos make things less common, sometimes they just make things less overt, and sometimes you can't even tell which is which. FWIW, I think a lot of those not-very-racist people who think racism isn't a problem are reachable. If I'm right, then separating them out from the rest would go a long way towards reaching them. If I'm wrong, well, at least we know that we can write them off.

No, I have no idea how to make this happen. I do think it's more than just a fetish object though.

* Obviously, we can't just ignore them, they're still voters and stuff. We'd just have to make appeals to them based on pragmatics or whatever rather than to their warped sense of ethics.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 02-20-09 12:59 PM
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Berube (imagine little accents) made a great point recently about "diversity" in education. It would make a lot more sense to talk about "justice." We need handicapped access and affirmative action in order to justice to all of our students, not really to "bring diversity to the campus." Then the minority students are just "diversity" people. How does it feel to be a problem, again?

The same kind of change would, I reckon, be needed in a conversation about diversity and citizenship. We must do justice to all citizens, and it isn't over yet. The past isn't even past.

In answer to a long-ago question, I only know Kaye the way you do, via Sadly, No! It's a whole different experience to go in without Brad's mediation. Like going on safari without the jeep.


Posted by: rm | Link to this comment | 02-20-09 1:14 PM
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Semi-on topic:

We finally watched Searching for Wrong-Eyed Jesus last week. Didn't live up to my expectations, but I think those were heightened by having wanted to see it for a long time, plus a friend's effusive praise. Anyway, I recently happened upon the long-ago thread where AWB's discussion of the movie came up, and so I was made aware of the race issues in advance. Here's my take:

I agree that a movie about the South that doesn't tackle race is odd, but: it's mostly about religion (far more than I was expecting), and religion in the South is as segregated as it is anywhere else. Furthermore, white Southern religion is like a funhouse mirror version of black Southern religion (and vice-versa) - it's not as if you can illustrate Jim White's experiences of Pentecostalism by going into a black church; they're different environments. Not saying that you were wrong to point it out, just that it's less surprising than it might seem.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-20-09 1:22 PM
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19.last: you should drop those guys a note saying that; it's very flattering and apt.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-20-09 1:24 PM
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we can probably bribe the tyke with Twizzlers and he'll refuse to take the gig until he gets some Red Vines.

Smart kid.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02-20-09 2:39 PM
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22: You're just saying that because you're black.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-20-09 2:57 PM
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23: She's black where it counts, apo.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-20-09 3:00 PM
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In Zimbabwe?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-20-09 3:17 PM
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25: No, she's black in Japan.


Posted by: M/tch m/lls | Link to this comment | 02-20-09 3:40 PM
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Yeah, but they're all Japanese where it counts.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-20-09 3:46 PM
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I just wanted to make 26 explicit.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-20-09 3:47 PM
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Seriously, I think Goldberg kind of has a point. A "national conversation" isn't some magical Happening where everyone really sits down in a circle and "talks about race" (whatever that really means). It ends up being some sort of group get-together that's coordinated by some relative authority figure soliciting input from the crowd. From the perspective of any white person in that crowd, what qualifies as the unambiguously non-racist position as far as polite society constructs it is pretty much unambiguously defined, and it absolutely doesn't profit them at all to deviate from it in the smallest way. So they end up silent, nothing original or revelatory gets said, and everyone ends up either bored or resentful.

Really, a "national conversation" about anything is a pretty silly idea in general.


Posted by: bbass | Link to this comment | 02-20-09 3:53 PM
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a conversation about race that's at all meaningful and is distinct from what already goes on all the time would involve either shaking some sense into those people [...] or identifying those of them making bad-faith arguments as such so we can write them off and spend our energy better

Eh, I am not convinced that those are the only two options. OK, so the phrase "A conversation about ____" is inherently lumbering and awkward. But I've become increasingly convinced that the challenge in cross-cultural work isn't that people are ignorant or bigoted, but that they're terrified to talk about race/culture/ethnicity except in very clearly prescribed ways.

So "Multicultural Awareness Day" with lots of different kinds of food is fine, and coded conversations about crime and violence are fine [within certain subgroups], but just daily acknowledgment of difference is petrifying to a lot of people.

Anything that gives people a bit of preemptive cover to talk about something that petrifies them is, in my opinion, a good thing. I didn't see Holder's speech and am agnostic about whether it did so.

The alternative -- not talking about it -- lands us right here:

Deedee Rickets, the casting director for the film, said she is looking to cast men and women ages 18 to 65 and children ages six to 15. Casting officials are seeking candidates with military or martial arts experience, athletes, gymnasts and people of various races and cultures.
"We want you to dress in traditional cultural ethnic attire," she said. "If you're Korean, wear a kimono. If you're from Belgium, wear lederhosen."

(The film itself is undergoing heated controversy over the decision to cast white actors as the leads.)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 02-20-09 4:06 PM
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Maybe we could have a national conversation about national conversations and stop the cycle once and for all.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-20-09 6:58 PM
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Belgian lederhosen? Awesome.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-20-09 8:23 PM
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32: I wanted to say something, but was afraid I would only display my ignorance/Österocentrism.

In the spirit of ogged:

Have any of you seen Selma Hayek in a dirndl on the Karl Lagerfeld Show*? Oh. My.

* How weird a concept is that, btw? Like Dieter come to life, or something.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-20-09 9:08 PM
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What about a national race about conversations? That'd be fun! We could have medals.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-20-09 9:21 PM
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What about a conversational race about nations?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 02-20-09 9:24 PM
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What about a national race in converse all-stars?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 02-20-09 9:26 PM
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Or a rational national conversion!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-20-09 9:26 PM
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A confrontational racial Narnia!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-20-09 9:27 PM
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The Voyage of the Blond Dreader


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 02-20-09 9:30 PM
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Have any of you seen Selma Hayek in a dirndl on the Karl Lagerfeld Show*?

They have now.

Google really works: "Selma Hayek in a dirndl on the Karl Lagerfeld Show".


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-21-09 5:02 AM
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