Odds and Ends Vol 28

Odds and Ends

Welcome to another Odds and Ends. Herman “Shucky Ducky” Cain just died. Unlike most Republicans, he at least had some charm. In fact, he reminded me a lot of George W Bush in that his conservatism was mostly based on a deep unseriousness. It wasn’t that Cain disagreed with liberals; he just didn’t care. And I have more respect for pure grifters than I do psychopaths. Regardless, he had a net negative impact on the world. And as usual for such people, he had a long and happy life. There really is something wrong with our society.

When Tucker Carlson Whines Freelancers Are Doxed

Last week, Tucker Carlson aired a segment where he accused The New York Times of trying to dox him. This is despite The Times being in communication with him and explaining that this was not happening. But really?

Is it reasonable to think that The Times goes around doxing major celebrities? Of course not! This is just the old conservative trick of keeping everyone distracted from what really matters. Social safety net destroyed and clean water gone? No problem! Just imagine what it’s like for Tucker Carlson with the liberal media literally trying to get his children killed!

Scared Little Rich Man

But Carlson didn’t just go after the evil newspaper. He said the names on air of the freelancers who were writing and photographing the nonpolitical story. According to the photographer, Tristan Spinski, “The story would be about this community, this rural community in Maine that is very small, very rural and very kind of Americana and happens to be the location of this massively popular cable news show.”

And what happened? Well, the writer, Murray Carpenter, had his home address was posted online. Even worse, someone tried to break into Spinski’s house when he was home with his wife. So in the name of countering an obviously mythical doxing, Tucker Carlson got two freelancers (not employees of The Times) doxed.

But there’s good news: Carlson saw that he was wrong and apologized. Just kidding! He doubled down because demagogues can’t admit being wrong. It’s off-brand.

I especially take offense to this because I’m a freelancer. I like my life. But you’re kind of alone. If Spinski or Carpenter get into trouble, none of the people they work with is going to run to aid. Anyway, check out some of their work:

Animal Consciousness

I just found an article in The Atlantic, A Journey Into the Animal Mind. It’s a personal essay about animal consciousness. There’s a great story in there about how fruit flies that don’t have good mating prospects seek out alcohol. Amazing!

But I don’t understand why people have for so long questioned animal consciousness. Humans are so self-impressed! As far as I can tell, the best thing about us is not are ability to think but rather our ability to communicate. So it’s the passing down of information that has been key to our success — not are relatively minor individual insights.

I’ll Go On

Barry McGovern is an Irish actor that I know for the excellent Beckett on Film Waiting for Godot. I’d heard that he created a one-man show based on Beckett’s work called I’ll Go On. I still haven’t seen it, but I did find this selection of scenes. It looks great!

A Good Brain

Stephen Colbert made a trailer based upon Trump’s claims about acing that cognitive test. It’s pretty good. Of course, it also indicates that our president is an international embarrassment.

Sexist Hypocrisy

Digby pointed out an interesting contrast.

At The New York Times

In The New York Times, Peter Beinert wrote an excellent article, The Real Reason Biden Is Ahead of Trump? He’s a Man. He notes:

A major driver of the public’s extreme dislike of Mrs Clinton was its perception of her as duplicitous. In a poll taken just days before the 2016 election, Americans deemed her even less truthful than Mr Trump. By contrast, in a Pew Research Center poll late last month, Americans rated Mr Biden as more honest than Mr Trump by 12 points.

Now, you might be able to dismiss that as the result of decades of conservative fear-mongering about her. That doesn’t really explain the moral outrage that people felt toward her. And not just here:

But the same “moral outrage” that plagued her four years ago also plagued this year’s most prominent female presidential contender: Elizabeth Warren. If Mrs Clinton is far less popular than Mr Biden, her fellow centrist insider, Ms Warren has proved far less popular than Bernie Sanders, her fellow progressive insurgent. The data is striking. Most polls show that a majority of Americans disapprove of the gentlewoman from Massachusetts. By contrast, most Americans approve of the gentleman from Vermont, usually by double digits.

That’s all very interesting I think, although I know what some people will say. They will point to this or that aspect of the women that explains it. But to me, this is like conservatives who complain, “But new immigrants aren’t assimilating like they did in the past!” But of course, they are. The same thing was said about past immigrants.

And so too here where there will always be people who claim, “This isn’t sexism! It just so happens that all these women suck and the only good politicians are old white men!”

Meanwhile, at The New York Times

But none of this is the hypocrisy. For that, we have to turn to an article by Rebecca Traister, The Poison of Male Incivility. It notes that just 3 days before The Times ran Peter Beinert’s article on the way female politicians are treated, it ran AOC Unleashes a Viral Condemnation of Sexism in Congress. Traister characterized the article:

All these words somehow cast Ocasio-Cortez and her female colleagues as the disruptive and chaotic forces unleashed in this scenario, suggesting that they shattered norms in a way that Representative Yoho’s original, profane outburst apparently did not.

The bottom line is that a man acted crudely toward a woman and when she responded, she is the one who is analyzed. It’s disgusting. And this is in a “liberal” newspaper.

And speaking of crude men, here’s one who at least is very funny:

Parts: The Clonus Horror

I can always tell if a film is great if while watching it via Mystery Science Theater 3000 I start to get annoyed that they are talking over the movie. Such was the case many years ago with Parts: The Clonus Horror. The first half of it is a great mystery and the second half is the kind of paranoid action that only the post-Watergate era could provide.

It was remade my Michael Bay in 2005 as The Island. The problem was that they never told the original filmmakers. There was a lawsuit and Bay & Co had to pay up. But despite having only 1/200 the budget, Parts: The Clonus Horror is the better film.

It’s playing over at Psychotronic Review. Watch it now! It is really good — like Coma but not boring!

Until Next Time

You know how sometimes you hurt yourself badly? So you go to the doctor and they start treating you? And you feel better just knowing that soon the problem will be fixed? Not knowing if Trump will be re-elected in November is like hurting yourself badly and waiting for a ride to the hospital from your really flaky brother.

I’d feel so much better if I had confidence in the American electoral system or the American people. But I don’t. See you next week.

8 thoughts on “Odds and Ends Vol 28

  1. > Not knowing if Trump will be re-elected in November is like hurting yourself badly and waiting for a ride to the hospital from your really flaky brother

    For me, it’s more like being hurt over and over, and hoping he’ll soon be stopped and that the next guy will hurt me much less

    Wow. that’s depressing!

    • It’s all levels of pain!

      What I was trying to get at was the way that it’s easier to deal with pain if you are in the ambulance on your way to the hospital. Seeing an end in sight is helpful. But in this case, I’m not even sure this is going to pass.

      On a related note, I remember after George W Bush was re-elected, the time before his second term started was horrible. We knew we had another four years of the guy and yet we weren’t even making progress on it.

  2. I have no problem with the idea of animal consciousness. Next you’re going to tell me they have free will and I still don’t. If I do not have free will it seems there is no such thing as “I”. Herman Cain was never going to be the Republican nominee, much less President. Still, his campaign missed a golden opportunity to deploy the slogan “Cain is Able”. There was a TV miniseries of Coma in 2012, and I recall it as being not terrible, and a little weird. I was quite disappointed Elizabeth Warren didn’t do better. The press did their best to pretend she wasn’t there. But since she’s not going to get the top job I would rather have her in the Senate than as VP. I like Harris for that slot. Biden may not finish his term, much less two.

    • Cain Is Able: Brilliant!

      Animal consciousness: I don’t get why it is seen as strange. But then lots of people claimed that Koko didn’t really understand language, which is just crazy!

      Coma: I remember seeing it at the drive-in with my parents. My mother read about a novel a day and so whenever a novel was turned into a movie, we went to see it — regardless how inappropriate it was for us kids!

      VP: I like Harris for the slot because she’s young — we could see her president in 8, 4, or even fewer years. I think Warren would be marvelous in the job (assuming Biden gave her the power, which I think he would). One major strike against Warren is that you never know what Massachusetts is going to do in a special election. But she could be a great Treasury Secretary. I’d love to see her as Majority Leader.

  3. “American electoral system or the American people.” Quite right. If one doesn’t disappoint you, the other has many opportunities to do so. I’m absolutely sure we’re going to see the worst level of voter suppression in 50+ years. That’s part of the reason for jamming through every far-right legal clerk into a federal judgeship that these people could find — well, that, and preventing any business anywhere from being held accountable for its criminal behavior, unless it pisses off a bigger business.

    • The partisan hacks who have been installed on the federal courts represent an existential threat to this country. And they are why the Trump administration brings the craziest stuff to court. Because you never know what kind of nonsense these people will accept. “Only people with melanin below X are allowed to vote”? Why not?! I’m sure there are plenty of judges now that would love to allow that!

  4. And Digby is, as usual, correct. The fact is the media fawned all over white guy unqualifieds like Beto and Mayor Pete (who actually does seem like a bright guy, although his record as mayor of South Bend didn’t inspire great confidence). They absolutely jumped all over Warren for the slightest perceived misstep. Media coverage doesn’t entirely reflect how people see politicians (I’m omitting Fox/Sinclar), there’s a certain degree to which that coverage is shaped by media owners and what sort of writers they hire. Yet while the media was equally dismissive of Sanders/Warren, she’s disliked and he’s not. Not even to mention that Hillary is far more disliked than Bill, even though if what you hate is the Clintons’ coziness with Wall Street, they should be at least equally loathed (plus Hillary never partied hearty on Jeffrey Epstein’s “Lolita Express” private jet that I know of).

    Of course it’s sexism. But in a weird way it partially comes from the centrist left (who do their tea-leaves readings of what “centrist voters” want), it’s not strictly a right-wing thing.

    • I think there is something to that. The hardcore women-haters are going to vote Republican regardless. It’s more the centrists who thought that “her emails” was a big fucking deal in 2016. And many of them have apologized for it even as they continue to make the same mistake with different women and different issues.

      Note that I’m not saying that subconscious bias is as bad or worse than conscious bias — just that the people with conscious bias are lost to us. (It really annoys me that people like Bari Weiss make this kind of argument. “Sure, Nazis are bad but the real villains are people who protest against Israeli mistreatment of Palestinians!”)

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