G.L.Piggy [at] gmail.com
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AlterNet reposted a piece from the ambiguously lame due Mark Ames and Yasha Levine about Radley Balko, a libertarian who now focuses mostly on justice/prison/police reform. Ames and Levine wanted to inform unsuspecting social justice advocates who might nod their heads to a lot of Balko’s work on the militarized police that he in fact is not ideologically pure. Balko pushed back on the mindlessness of the Left who focused on ‘stand your ground’ in the Zimmerman case and he’s a small government libertarian all the way down to his desire to revamp Social Security. In other words, he’s Satan.
Mini-McCarthyites Ames and Levine couldn’t grasp the possibility that someone who opposes the police state as strongly as Balko does might also not think that Zimmerman was a murderer (which Ames/Levine repeatedly call Zimmerman in their piece, completely disregarding the jury which not only returned ‘not guilty’ on murder but also on the lesser manslaughter charge – Russia must have made a really strong impression on these two).
The entire piece and all of the cherry-picked grievances Ames and Levine have with Balko stem from his past work under the Koch umbrella. That relationship is what sticks most in their craw. And to extend that pain to readers, they added context in the form of loose assertions of classism and racism. Ames/Levin jump on Balko’s position on the Jayson Blair plagiarism scandal. “Later in 2003, Balko blamed the Jayson Blair plagiarism scandal at the New York Times on affirmative action,” wrote Ames/Levine.
Balko wrote at the time:
“Nearly everything about the Blair case came about because of affirmative action, or at least from the entitlement mindset that comes with support for affirmative action.”
“What’s unfortunate — and what I’m loathe to admit — was my reaction when, a couple of days later, I saw [Jayson Blair’s] picture. ‘He’s black,’ I said as a foul thought emerged from the darker corners of my thinking: ‘probably an affirmative action case.’
“As it turns out, my first, more shameful conclusion was correct. Race had everything to do with this story — and not because bigoted people chose to exploit Blair to further some hateful agenda. Rather, it’s because open-minded, well-intentioned people used Blair’s race to put him in a position he wasn’t professionally prepared for. And in so doing, those open-minded people lent a bit of ammunition and a small sense of validation not just to hate mongers, but to those pestering, nagging thoughts about things black and white like the one that occurred to me when I first saw Jayson Blair’s picture.”
“Balko’s disturbing views on race were not confined to his opposition to affirmative action,” wrote Ames/Levine who went on to point out that, holy shit, Radley Balko once linked to American Renaissance.
Ames and Levine cast aspersions on Balko’s opinion on the Blair fiasco but never actually looked to see if affirmative action did actually help cause it.
The strongly liberal Hendrick Herzberg wrote an essay shortly after the Blair affair and showed from within the belly of the New York Times beast that affirmative action had a strong connection to Blair and his faulty reporting which was done mostly on the Beltway sniper case. Herzberg wrote that the Blair incident was the first “deliberate journalistic misconduct on such a scale” at a major newspaper since Janet Cooke bamboozled the Washington Post in 1981. As Herzberg noted, Cooke was also black. Herzberg wrote of Blair:
And, like the Post, the Times is a socially liberal institution, owned by a public-spirited family sensitive to the imperative of racial justice. The role of race in the present fiasco is anything but clear. But the first instinct of the Time’s executives was to deny absolutely that it had played any role whatsoever. That was absurd. At the meeting, according to the Times, [New York Times executive director] Raines said, “I believe in aggressively providing hiring and career opportunities for minorities.” A moment later, he added, “Does that mean I personally favored Jayson? Not consciously. But you have a right to ask if I, as a white man from Alabama, with those convictions, gave him one more chance too many by not stopping his appointment to the sniper team. When I look into my heart for the truth of that, the answer is yes.”
So there’s that.
1. Mainstream country music sold out a long, long time ago, but it’s gotten worse. I think one thing that makes the massive selling out of the country genre worse than other genres selling out is that country music has always explicitly honored its forefathers. The OP talks about how George Jones’ death was hardly mentioned at this year’s country music awards ceremony. But country musicians still invoke the names of country heroes like Jones, Johnny Cash, and Waylon Jennings in a way that makes it different from other genres. Rap and country are the two genres – unlike pop or rock – that are self-referential. They focus explicitly on the ways of life that are essential to the musical genre itself. For being so self-referential – being so concerned with roots – country makes the strong move away from its identity so noticeable and bothersome for the types of country music fans that value genre integrity.
2. This week in racism:
3. Michael Barone has an interesting podcast interview. He discusses his new book on migration and talks about how demographics shaped the U.S., the Midwest, and Detroit. He talks race as well.
4. Another article on the causes of Detroit’s demise.
It was always a city built on money. People came to Detroit for jobs, not the natural beauty or the great weather. There was never a commitment to place. It was to money. And then the boom ended.
5. Hugo Schwyzer arrested for DUI. Hurts another driver. Has been asked to resign early from Pasadena City College. He sent out an email to a handful of people in which he said he hears voices but that he is also evil. I asked him if he’s losing his benefits at Pasadena City College, and he said he doesn’t know.
1. A short documentary titled “FIVE/FIVE” that shows that even a short guy can learn how to dunk. Through high impact training and sheer determination. And, oh yeah, it helps if you’re black. The short plays like a parody of an inspirational video on down to the slow-motion filming and the random shot of a dashboard digital clock.
2. Most studies on the link between mental and physical exertion have measured how physical activity impacts mental stamina. New research looked at the reverse:
In simpler terms, exercise simply feels harder when your brain is tired, so you quit earlier, although objectively, your muscles are still somewhat fresh.
The finding is not surprising, but the fact that it hadn’t been studied is. The next question would be which order of activities decreases productivity the most. I find that physical exercise often rejuvenates my ability to think while if I spend a day thinking/writing/reading I’m worthless at the gym.
3. A self-esteem building program in New York City that tells young girls that they’re beautiful even though many of them aren’t.
4. Hugging sucks. I agree with the gist of the piece but wouldn’t be such a whiny bitch about people who wield the hug around as a social tool. If it’s not the hug it will be something else. I’m not a hugger, but sometimes I wish I was because it’s nice to have more rather than fewer weapons.
5. High school sports programs are associated with better academic performance among boys.
6. Howard University president resigns amid budget troubles. I wonder how racism will have caused the school’s possible future bankruptcy.
7. The tension between the movement to save Detroit’s art versus saving Detroit the city is fun to watch.
If you missed it, late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel ragged on Kanye West for a typically vapid interview the rapper gave to BBC. Kimmel spoofed the interview by having a little kid repeat West’s egomaniacal statements which included claims that he introduced the leather jogging pant to fashion designer Fendi and that he is the #1 rock star in the world. Kimmel’s spoof led to an ALL-CAPS Twitter meltdown by West in which he called out Kimmel for being ugly and not getting laid very often.
Slate’s Forrest Wickman weighed in on the situation, which Kimmel bragged was his first rap battle. Wickman wrote, predictably:
But the real problem here isn’t Kanye, it’s Kimmel. If you don’t know the fashion world, then you shouldn’t try to tell Kanye West, who’s rubbed elbows with many of the biggest fashion designers in the world, about fashion. More importantly, if you’re a 45-year-old white dude who apparently doesn’t understand a thing about pop music, you shouldn’t try to tell one of the biggest hip-hop artists in the world about hip-hop.
I want to take this in a slightly different direction than focusing on yet another example of race-baiting by the types of people who get hired to write for Slate. I’ll mention in passing that Kimmel has always targeted the Kardashian’s for ridicule and that West merely entered Kimmel’s wheelhouse by becoming part of that heinous family. Also, I can’t recall Wickman or anyone else complaining that Kimmel routinely skewers the Kardashian clan even though Kimmel seemingly doesn’t know anything about getting famous solely because of a bootleg sex tape.
Instead of talking about that, let’s focus on what Wickman doesn’t seem to understand about today’s pop culture. First I’d pose the question, if another rapper infantalized West for his bloviation would Wickman or anyone else think twice about it? Did any prestige press writers jump in the middle of the Tupac-Biggie beef to deconstruct each rappers’ points? Would any really serious writer devote legitimate web space to analyzing how much authority the shots-firing rapper had on the subject at hand? If Kendrick Lamar spent a verse eviscerating West would anyone outside of a rap message board dissect it or attach any other larger social significance to it? Probably not.
Jay Z is BFF’s with the President. Kanye West cited Vogue chief Anna Wintour as a friend. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak was interviewed by Piers Morgan recently and said that he hangs out with West and Kardashian sometimes. Hollywood and celebrity society in general is incestuous as it was when the Rat Pack palled around with JFK, if not more, but for some reason people like Wickman seem to think that rappers are off-limits from the type of ridicule that mainstream celebrity invites.
So as rappers and musicians cross over into other realms of pop culture – an effort undertaken to increase the status of their personal brands – it’s ridiculous to place a limitation on someone like Kimmel from clowning on someone like West. Wickman’s argument seems to be that only rappers can crack on rappers, or, worse, that only blacks can crack on blacks.
Rap has become mainstream, and its artists come along with it, and so they should and will be treated like all other mainstream acts. Nobody is punching down towards them. They are not the underdogs they like to pretend they are.
Rappers are used to cracking on other rappers within the genre, but how about freshening it up a little? Pit a comedian against a rapper, and see who wins. So far, given West’s schoolyard response to Kimmel’s shot across the bow, the comedians are winning. When a track featuring Kendrick Lamar was released a couple of months ago in which the up-and-comer stepped on the heads of lesser rappers, it was hailed by many as the essence of rap. A rap battle and some creative destruction was what the genre needed, and what it was founded on. West and Wickman seem unable to adapt, then, to a changing celebrity culture in which the lines of beef are blurred.
Maybe I took too many words to state the best retort to Wickman: Kimmel made a joke; that’s his job; no deeper analysis or explanation needed.
1. Jason Richwine writes at National Review Online about the latest release of SAT scores. They are being touted as “grim” by some even though they are about the same as they’ve been for a while now. Richwine focuses on bigger issues with the company behind the SAT, The College Board. They’re essentially pushing their other products like the AP and PSAT tests saying that these tests will improve SAT scores.
2. A literature professor at the University of Toronto explains why he doesn’t teach female authors – “I’m not interested in teaching books by women.” (h/t Marginal Revolution)
4. British zoo bans patrons from wearing animal print clothing because it confuses the animals.
5. Josiah Neely writes at The Federalist on why Hollywood continues to make movies based upon disproved and outdated environmental theories. Neely is a good follow on Twitter, btw.
Checking in with Oberlin Microaggressions – a site dedicated to bitching and moaning about ways in which white cis males hurt peoples’ feelings – because it’s been a while. A Latino student received an email about a talk being given for Latino Heritage Month from a white teammate on their co-ed soccer team which read “Hey that talk looks pretty great, but on the off chance you aren’t going or would rather play futbol instead the club team wants to go!!”
Here’s why the Microaggrieved Oberlin student was upset:
Ok. 1. Thanks for you thinking that the talk is “pretty great”. I appreaciate [sic] your white male validation. I see that it isn’t interesting enough for you to actually take your ass to the talk. 2. Who said it was ok for you to say futbol? It’s Latino Heritage Month, your telling people not to come to the talk, but want to use our language? Trick NO! White students appropriating the Spanish language, dropping it in when convenient, never ok. Keep my heritage language out your mouth! If I’m not allowed to speak it, if my dad’s not allowed to speak it, then bitch you definitely are not supposed to be speaking it. Especially in this context.
You’ll notice the hypocrisy here. The Latino student who doesn’t want his “heritage language” coopted used black ghetto talk with the word “trick”. The Latino students continued, using concepts he could only have been indoctrinated with at Oberlin College:
1. Your [sic] not latino, call it soccer. You don’t play futbol. Futbol is played with people (LATINO) who know how to engage in community soccer, as somebody who grew up on the cancha (soccer field) I know what playing futbol is, and the way you take up space, steal the ball, don’t pass, is far from how my culture plays ball.
2. I’m not playing intramural once again this semester because you and your cis-dude, non passing the ball, stealing the ball from beginners, spanish-mocking, white cohort has ruined it (for the second time). Unless I find another team you won’t be seeing me.
1. I went dumpster-diving with my dad once because we were poor and bored. None of the items we retrieved stuck in my memory, but the exploration itself did, and that’s worth a lot. I never would have thought to wear a bicycle helmet as a kid because it seemed like a prophylactic against the fun that was the whole point of riding a bike in the first place. I doubt I had a car seat as a kid, but I can’t remember. I do remember standing up on the bench of my dad’s pickup truck – the bed of the truck full of paints and thinners – and then sometimes sitting on his lap to steer the wheel. I doubt kids do that anymore. I started cutting the lawn at a pretty young age because I liked seeing each tiny cliff of grass go under the machine and come out a uniform length. There was something satisfying about keeping track of the progress of the job in such an orderly manner, and I still enjoy watching an overgrown lawn recede row by row. The machine’s throttle and loud roar made its young pusher feel mature and useful. I cut grass also because one of my grandmothers had a bum hip but still wanted to keep a nice yard.
Thoughts based on this article about our Safety First Society.
2. Possible drawbacks to academic redshirting.
3. Tim Wise posted on Facebook in a mocking-black-voice tone against those blacks who complain to him that he, a white man, is taking the place of a black race thinker on the Get Whitey circuit. He’s been accused of displaying his white privilege, and since he believes in that shit, he has.
4. 2007 called, it wants its articles on the scientific basis of pick-up artistry back.
The cynical truth is that the Navy Yard murders — we’ve yet to agree on the shorthand name for this event — had neither the kinds of victims nor the story that sustains media interest and public revulsion.
Those who study crime can tell you what excites and interests the public, which is not just about titillation. Outrage is important. Sustained public interest stirs the outcry for change. The Navy Yard murders had only one of these dimensions: They occurred in the District, in the midst of the national media, making them instantly visible.
Beyond that, ennui.
Sandy Hook’s sheer number of dead and the fact that most of them were children carried that story. But the Navy Yard shooting took place at a military installation, in D.C. no less.
If the story had garnered wall-to-wall coverage for the week I wouldn’t have been surprised. But as of yesterday, coverage had slowed to the trickle of an octogenarian’s piss stream.
Farhi leaves out that the AR-15 story bust had a lot to do with this. Not only the fact that the news giants misidentified the weapons Alexis used, but also that the AR-15 wasn’t used at all. Alexis used a shotgun which isn’t something that even the most strident anti-gun activists will be able to ban access to. So the media got the story wrong and was embarrassed, and to make it worse for them, the gun they wanted to have been used was not. That’s like finding out that your girlfriend was cheating on you, and that she was actually a man. And so the media just turned away from the story and started talking about other stuff.
There’s another aspect to this besides the absence of a big bad wolf of a gun, and that’s Alexis’ race. Even though Mother Jones made themselves look stupid by publishing an article pointing out that there have been four times the number of white mass shooters than black mass shooters (MJ failed to notice that there are 5-6 times the number of whites than blacks in the population) it still raises an eyebrow or two that the shooter was black. Now, how many deep think articles were posted at websites like Slate, The Atlantic, The Nation and other outlets like them focusing on the whiteness of past shooters? David Sirota didn’t have much room to work with on this latest mass shooting. Those types of articles which generally focus on how white privilege laid the groundwork for the white shooters to act add at least a day or two to the story. They’re like a 5-hour energy drink to the news cycle.
But noted criminologist James Alan Fox sees it completely differently:
He was also African American, and this apparently matters, says eminent criminologist James Alan Fox. “It’s not nice to say it, but white America tends to be more intrigued about the minds and motives of white murderers,” said Fox, who is a professor at Northeastern University. “There have been black [mass shooters], but it’s hard to remember who they are. The D.C. sniper is an exception.”
Well, Colin Ferguson sticks out in my mind. Omar Thornton is there too. Regardless, it’s only my opinion that white people are actually more intrigued by black mass shooters. We’ve heard all of the stories about what makes white mass shooters tick – usually they are completely mentally deranged; they look schizophrenic or autistic or like they’ve never been laid. We’ve not had much of a deeper dive into the mindset of the black mass shooter – perhaps there isn’t that much difference in what makes them lose it versus what makes white shooters go off the rails.
But it seems much more plausible, contra Fox, who seems to be asserting that all of a sudden the public decides which news stories get coverage and which don’t, that the media would prefer *not* to discuss any sort of crime perpetuated by a black person if they don’t have to. There are plenty of instances where the media just won’t report on the crimes committed by blacks, or notice patterns of those crimes, but when they can’t avoid reporting on crimes committed by blacks they merely shorten their coverage. Independent of each other, journalists slowly turn away from the story. They realize they can’t press the gas pedal too hard. They shy away here and there in small ways for fear of leaving the impression that they’re focusing too much on the shooter’s race. The woman who was interviewed on Fox who said that Alexis was “dark-skinned” is a prime example of this thinking which pervades both the polite public and also the media.
1. The politicians and media outlets who were wrong about Aaron Alexis using an AR-15. The story is losing steam since a few important elements are missing (white shooter;
automatic semiautomatic rifle; dead children) that usually make mass shootings worthy of coverage for the prestige press.
2. Evolutionary roots to nesting habits of pregnant women. (h/t Ray Sawhill)
Anil Dash called for the entire tech industry to blackball a man he never met until that day for years until Anil says it’s okay to do business with him. Blown. Away. Not only does he get the guy fired. He then calls for an entire industry to freeze out a guy he doesn’t even know over some tweets. He wants to destroy a guys livelihood, take food off a family’s table, and ruin a guy forever over tweets he found offensive. Getting him fired wasn’t enough, he must pay for not repenting at the knees of Anil Dash. He also put in this tidbit.
That goes back to Popehat’s question about what the outrage bots wanted to happen to Dickinson or anyone else they’ve convicted in their kangaroo court. Let’s accept for a second that there would be good reasons for Business Insider to let Dickinson go. As someone pointed out on some blog I was reading, Dicksinson’s tweets would be damning to the company in the unlikely event that they were sued for discriminatory practices. That was BI’s reality, sadly. But what should the world do with Dickinson? Would the outrage bots be OK with him getting a lower-level tech job? Would they be cool with him selling insurance in the Midwest? Bussing tables in a Queens diner? I’m willing to bet that Dash wouldn’t have pushed this blacklisting for a convicted felon even. But that’s how prog-borgs work – being mean or uttering impolite thoughts even in a social medium that is very conducive to sarcasm and crudity is a heinous crime worthy of its own kind of death.
4. Research on child prodigies supports nature over nurture.
Recent research, however, demonstrates that child prodigies’ skills are highly dependent on a few features of their cognitive profiles, including elevated general IQs, exceptional working memories, and elevated attention to detail.
5. Geoffrey Miller has a brief paper explicitly citing The Red Pill. He doesn’t cite any blogs though. (h/t Heartiste)
6. Polish woman on a quest to have sex with 100,000 men.
7. Following up on the George Zimmerman domestic dispute. Lake Mary police recently said that there’s only a 5% chance that they’ll be able to retrieve video from the iPad that Zimmerman destroyed. The local police chief had also said in an email that Zimmerman was a “Sandy Hook” or “Aurora” waiting to happen. The chief had also said other irresponsible shit like that he wouldn’t want to live next to Zimmerman. You see these types of idiotic statements from these small town cops. As a public official he has no business spouting off in that way, especially when dealing with such a high-profile case. I pushed and pushed to get the chief to comment about his comments. I was told by a spokesman that he was going to respond but then I was told that the chief was heading out for the weekend and would get back to me on Monday. Then I was told he wasn’t going to comment on his first comments. Weak.
White woman muzzles up about the race of the Navy Yard shooter when asked by a black reporter to describe the shooter while in the presence of her black co-worker:
(h/t Vince Coglianese)