Friday, March 14, 2008

100 percent of TV's top-rated black talk-show hosts like him, too.

First off, I know that some of you have grown a bit weary of "the race thing." And it's not even the first time I've made that apology in advance. Well, again, I'm sorry, people. I couldn't let this one slide.

I invite you to read this front-page story from my local paper, The Morning Call. In fact, I urge you to read it (and regular SHAMbloggers know that I almost never presume to use such importunate language). The story, titled "Dems' Race Could Come Down to Skin Color,"* is about Barack Obama and the "racial divide" that still plagues America, yes, even in 2008 AD. I read it with my mouth agape, astonished that this unabashedly one-sided agenda-mongering had survived the editing process in the name of honest "political analysis."

Looking at data from Obama's primary win in Mississippi, the Call reporters tell us that nine out of 10 black voters supported Obama, whereas seven out of 10 white voters opposed him. So far so good. But then, zeroing in exclusively on the "race-based resistance" of the latter group, the reporters conclude that we still have a ways to go before we reach true colorblindness.

Question: Why is the fact that 90 percent of black voters favor Sen. Obama not at least as suspicious and potentially indicative of racism as the fact that 70 percent of white voters oppose him?

I say again: In matters of racism (and the pursuit of colorblindness that Dr. King espoused), "race-based support" is the same as "race-based resistance." Both constitute racism. Supporting or rejecting a candidate based on such surface characteristics as race and gender is always some kind of "ism." The women who, whether they admit it or not, favor Hillary "because it's time to give a woman a chance" are just as culpable as the angry white men who reject both Hillary and Obama.

More to the point: Why does none of this occur, seemingly, to the reporters themselves?

See, I'm fairly sure that what happened in this story was unintentional; the reporters don't see this as "agenda-mongering," as I allege above. I bet that if you asked them, they'd tell you they're just being reasonable, responsible, civic-minded Americans. They see their story as an instance of the so-called "social journalism" I mention in my recent piece for eSkeptic. If you do read the Call story, notice, too, how the reporters repeatedly use the word Confederate, with all the loaded overtones thereof, in describing the challenge Obama faces in the Deep South. (Of course, the blacks who grew up in the "Confederate" South, and perhaps harbor some lingering animosity towards the white regimes that once suppressed them or their forebears, are just making a "logical" choice when they vote for a Barack Obama.)

The argument I make here is the very same one that Bernie Goldberg makes about mainstream media in his tell-all books: It's not that the media are purposely twisting the facts; it's that their world-view presupposes that this is just how sophisticated, enlightened people think. Goldberg himself puts it this way: "....[I]n their opinion, liberalism on a whole range of issues, from abortion and affirmative action to the death penalty and gay rights, is not really liberal at all, but merely reasonable and civilized."**

Interestingly, the continuation page for the Call story also features this item under the headline, "Philly Black Clergy Group Endorses Obama." No doubt the black clergy based their endorsement strictly on merit. After all, men of God couldn't possibly allow matters of race to influence their political decision-making. Right?

* The Morning Call doesn't actually capitalize its titles, but lower-case titling has always looked odd to me, especially when dropped into the middle of a graph, as here.
** And it behooves me to point out here that my personal sympathies are aligned with many of the causes noted in that quoted sentence. But that doesn't mean I want to see my personal biases reflected in the media's default view of life!


Anonymous said...

Steve, I salute you for repeatedly bringing this issue up, even though it's bound to bring (in your case, totally unwarranted) accusations of racism in its wake. I'm a woman who acknowledges that I support Hillary both because I think she'd make the best president of the three major candidates in the field *and* because I think she's the only woman with a shot at becoming president in my lifetime, that I oppose Obama both because I feel that he'd make a much better president in eight years, when he has more experience, than he would today *and* because he's opposing the only woman with a real chance at becoming president in my lifetime, and that I oppose McCain because the thought of a pugnacious little cockerel with known loose-cannon tendencies coming within reach of the red button could put an end to my lifetime (and everyone else's)and he terrifies me. Yet, as you see, even though I'm simply commenting on your post, I'm doing so anonymously for fear of provoking ad hominem attacks from folks who hate Hillary, love Obama, and/or think McCain is the greatest presidential candidate in history. Craven, eh? Makes your comments stand out for what they are--a brave and lonely stab at telling the truth, and damn the consequences.

Steve Salerno said...

Anonymous or not, I appreciate your taking the time to contribute to a dialog that is too often constrained by matters having nothing to do with logic and evidence, and everything to do with PC and "racial sensitivity."

I say again: True colorblindness is the only hope here. Racial pride and racial prejudice are simply two poles along an indefensible (and incredibly damaging) continuum that needs to be scrapped. Period.

Steven Sashen said...

This reminds me of the Geraldine Ferraro flack... she believes that people are enamored with and, therefore, voting for Obama, in part, because he's black. After saying that publicly, she's being attacked as racist.

Now, whether she's right or not is unknowable, since we don't have a not-black version of Obama in the race.

But her comment is racIAL -- it's ABOUT race and racism -- not racist. It's actually a comment about racists who vote for him BECAUSE he's black.

Sadly, most reporters can't tell the difference between the IAL and IST.

Steve Salerno said...

Steven: Ibid (or op. cit.; I always get those confused). Point being, we just need to get beyond race. It is not impossible. Right now, I am personally tilting towards Obama. (I'm sure that surprises some people.) I can assure you that his supposed blackness plays no role in my gravitation to him; in fact, it PO's me mightily that he continues to self-identify as black. He's either mixed-race or he's nothing at all, which is how I prefer to see it.

Anonymous said...

You know the funny thing about Obama and Hillary? If you just see their stance on issues, you can't tell them apart! I have taken so many of these online tests to figure out who is my "ideal" candidate. The differences were only in wording and structure, but their views were pretty identical. I do feel sad that it comes down to voting for a “woman” and voting for a “black” man. I think they both deserve better than that and it’s sad that people seem to be taking sides for those reasons. I think this country is great enough for me to see both in my lifetime.

mikecane2008 said...

Today’s Headspinner: Writer David Mamet

Sorry to point to my blog as a speedbump before the link I really want you to see, but I'd also like to find out if your reaction was the same as mine.

Steve, did you happen to witness the priceless moment on live CBS TV when Connie Chung insulted Goldberg to his face during one of those idiotic "newsmagazines" years ago? (I don't know if Goldberg ever wrote about that. On-screen his eyes popped. In front of the screen, my jaw dropped!).

Back on-topic, I read the same stats yesterday. I just shrugged. But I do know the point you're making.

Cal said...

I think I've said this before in the comments about race, but how could a race neutral society come about? I mean race is now taken into consideration for various illnesses. For instance, many doctors now believe African-Americans are more susceptible to cancer because many of us live in climates during the winter where we don't go outside much and are, therefore, deficient in Vitamin D. So we are supposed to ignore race socially, but then have to use it when it may help or hurt our quality of life? And then what about history? Would all of history be deep-sixed.

Personally, I would like Obama to win. But I don't see any major policy difference between him and Clinton. In fact, I really don't much of their policy differences. So much time is wasted on this sex vs. race issue that substantial policy questions are not asked or answered. For instance, how can either them say they are going to void trade agreements with other countries when that is one of the pillars of capitalism? I mean how we can tell other countries about capitalism if we don't practice it. I don't really even know McCain's economic policies that well either because of the lack of detail reporting on it. I know his foreign policy stance.

And I don't understand why their hasn't been reporting on the "white " side of his heritage. I know his mother is deceased, but where is the reporting on the story of her life? What about his family on her side? Other than the grandparents, was he embraced or shunned? I'm not sure he "chose" to consider himself black, but he felt it was just the best way for him to make it in the world and keep his sanity.

One of the authors of the book "Freakonomics" mentioned that he adopted an Asian child. He said he knows that many think that it is racist that whites typically don't adopt black children. But he and his wife didn't want to adopt a black child and then the child gets to be a teenager and basically have to shun his adopted family because he would be ostracized in the black community. There is no similar problem with Asian children raised by whites. I realized that I couldn't argue with his point, and made me aware that other white parents that want to adopt kids make the same decision.

Steve Salerno said...

I think you've raised the medical issue before, Cal, and it's a good one (though it behooves us to ask: Are the differences truly, genetically racial? Or can they be accounted for in some socially derived way?) I just keep falling back on what the experts say. In a 2001 editorial, the New England Journal of Medicine was forthright: "Race is biologically meaningless." Other scientists who have extensively studied race, or what we call race, seem to agree. Sylvia Spengler of the Human Genome Project once noted that there are greater genetic differences "between tall people and short people than between a so-called black person and a so-called white one." This may sound silly, but I just don't see the need to have race. Why can't we all just be people, some darker than others, some lighter than others? I don't know why we have to codify it.

Steve Salerno said...

In the spirit of giving discredit where it's due, I should also mention that the story at the heart of this post did not actually originate with the Morning Call. It was written by reporters Mike Dorning and Christi Parsons of the Chicago Tribune, which is part of the conglomerate that also publishes the Call.

Anonymous said...

Steve, you are correct about race and genetics. There really is no "race." As far as illnesses are concerned, a lot of that could be environment. The Irish have the same high rate of diabetes as Afro-Americans, but they are not the same "race." Alcoholism is a major problem in Japan, but not as much in China yet they are considered the same "race." Thalassemia was considered to be a disease only afflicting people of Greek descent, but it is now found in people in Malaysia with no ties to the Mediterranean. Environment affects how a genetic predisposition will play out.

ourfriendben said...

I think/hope race may fall by the wayside at some point, hopefully sooner rather than later. We are all descended from the same ancestors, after all, however many twists and turns we have taken since.

I began to be hugely hopeful a while ago when whites were trying to get as tan as possible while Blacks were trying to get paler. Soon, I thought, we'll all just be coffee-colored. But then the whole skin cancer thing made headlines and white people fled from the sun back to a lily-white pallor.

Maybe tanning salons will bring us all into balance again. Or maybe the increasing prominence of black actors, musicians, entrepreneurs, and (dare one say) politicians will finally bring us some balance.

But what a shame that we can't all appreciate the beauty of different shades of skin the way we do eye and hair color, and take it for what it is: a superficial difference.

Still, I know if I were black, I wouldn't be able to take it that way, not with hatred and discrimination still staring me in the face. It's nothing less than a national disgrace that we're still struggling with this issue after all this time. And the same holds true of any form of racism or discrimination, be it of Jews, Native Americans, Asians, women, the elderly, or pick your favorite. Shame, shame on us!

Steve Salerno said...

Those are very eloquent remarks, OFB, that almost make me want to take a few steps backward from the hard line I usually take on race. I do know that it's not easy to be black in America, still today; I'm not stupid. But two wrongs don't make a right. You don't fix an injustice by institutionalizing a compensatory injustice that's really just a variant of the original injustice!

The Crack Emcee said...

Make way! Make way! BLACK MAN COMIN' THROUGH! (LOL)

Man, Steve, you guys can sure crack me up sometimes. I know that's not your intention with this post but, sorry, I can hardly stop laughing at the craziness of race in the United States: It really is the thing that's got America most "stuck" - and as someone who is mostly "unstuck" (Just back away from the Hip-Hop, Homie!) it can be funny as hell to see others kvetching about it.

O.K., let's clear the air:

First, my black ass is voting for McCain. Why? For the same reason Anonymous ain't - He makes everyone nervous - and that's exactly what I want: I want Osama nervous. I want Europe nervous. I want the counter-culture nervous. I want everybody that thinks a-man-who-swears-every-once-in-a-while-is-crazy nervous. (Talk about trying to neuter American men! Where does the madness stop!?!) I want Bush, Part II!!! I want America On The March!!! I want WAR!!! I want it all!!! (LMAOROTF)

Look, folks (I'm going to try - try - and be somewhat serious now) as has already been acknowledged, to vote for Hillary because she's a woman is sexist - we're supposed to be voting for the best person to lead the country - and I don't think a person who gave her O.K. for adultery, attacked the women the adulterer molested, failed at her only big project (healthcare) has her fund-raisers found naked on trains before they're taken to jail (Norman Hsu, along with many others, including Eliot Spitzer) while helping to start the current race-baiting in this primary, is that person. Plus, Billary's a couple of big-ol' NewAgers, which, for me means the door should finally be closing on the Clintons, with my only hope being it doesn't hit Chelsea on the way out, since she just stopped looking like Webster Hubble.

I'll stop there but anyone with even a passing knowledge of the Clinton story knows I could go on, for some time, in that same, twisted, vein. Why anyone would want to inflict more of that on America - just to put a woman in the White House - is beyond me: We're supposed to be voting for the best person to lead the country.

I can't vote for Barack Obama because, frankly, he's an undistinguished one term Senator running on nothing but air. Geraldine Ferraro is right: he's an empty suit filled with "Hope" and anybody that reads Steven Sashen knows how that's bought and sold. I'm no longer alone in acknowledging The Cult Of Obama and think he ought to be ashamed of himself for allowing his campaign to be co-opted by Oprah's freakazoids this way. I don't know about anyone else, but I want a bit more out of my presidential candidates - including a little integrity - and Barack's sold his to Rhonda Byrne already. Plus, his mom was a NewAger, he's confused about who he is, and his wife is ungrateful. As with Billary, that's not the example I think we should setting: We're supposed to be voting for the best person to lead the country.

Looking to the other side of the ledger, I don't think there's any way I can deny that John McCain has earned his place at the top of the ticket. For the Republican Party, he has been "change" - and all you have to do is listen to all the belly-aching Rush Limbaugh, etc., have been doing to prove it. Not only that but (except for the Keating Five Scandal, where his hand grazed the cookie jar) he's as clean as whistle - after 30 years in public office - an outstanding record. He's lived through war; shown incredible courage while doing so, and he's never lost faith in his country, or sight of it's values, in all this time. He's stood up to the Right, worked with the Left, and tried to be fair to the concerns of both. I really don't know what more we could want in a president: We're supposed to be voting for the best person to lead the country.

So he's a "white guy" - big deal. To have that bother a so-called "rational" person is to expose their irrationality: Race doesn't matter. So he's gotten mad before - big deal. If Krishnamurti got mad, and Muhhamad got mad, and even Jesus (supposedly, if he ever existed) got mad, why are such petty, unrealistic, superhuman expectations being foisted on this man? I say if it's O.K. for Billary to cry and get a vote - which we've already seen a lot of this campaign - then a man who gets angry shouldn't be disqualified either. As a matter of fact, if we get attacked again, the last thing I want to see is anybody blubbering to the nation from a secure channel. Sex doesn't matter. But temperament does, and if Billary was more like Jean Kirkpatrick she'd have my vote in a heartbeat - but she ain't. She's a hippie, in every sense of the word, and our enemies know - not think, know - they can defeat a hippie. (Hell, I can defeat a hippie.) We're supposed to be voting for the best person to lead the country.

John McCain is that man.

Cal asked "How could a race neutral society come about?" How about we start calling BS on the BS? I accept our history, warts and all, but I don't let it rule my life. Our Friend Ben thinks my days are filled with "hatred and discrimination,...staring me in the face" but it's not. It's usually just like his, 99.9% of the time. And that other 00.1%? That's this conversation right here and I ain't hurt one bit by it.

I now work for a place where a certain identity is super duper important (that's a technical term, y'all). And, one day, I was working with a person from another background when he started lamenting that there was no place where his particular identity was treated in a super duper way. He wanted me to help him start a super duper identity club for people who looked more like us. I kept my mouth shut, though, because I'm already part of a super duper identity club and it's called (get this:) The United States of America. We've got a flag made and everything. We even got money in the bank - a whole lot of money, too: Got it from some rich white guys who didn't want to share.

All we need now is more members.

ourfriendben said...

Crack, you're a breath of fresh air, and no mistake. Keep it coming, man.

Elizabeth said...

Steve, you say, "This may sound silly, but I just don't see the need to have race. Why can't we all just be people, some darker than others, some lighter than others? I don't know why we have to codify it."

This is a noble wish, Steve, and one I share in my "childlike naivete." :) But we are nowhere near colorblindness here in the US (or in other parts of the world). And we won't get there until we honestly acknowledge the lingering legacy of discrimination (racial and gender) -- a mightily difficult task in its own.

I do not know if it is possible, or even desirable, to strive for colorblindness (or gender-blindness) at this time in our history. We may yet evolve into a color-blind and gender-blind society, but it won't happen until we have at least a couple of generations living without the cloud of prejudice and discrimination based on both.

We may wince and moan and keep insisting that "sex does not matter" and "race does not matter," if we wish so, but it is just a denial of reality. Both matter, and hugely so, and especially in this election. It is the first time in history of the US that a black candidate and a woman have a genuine chance to become president. (Read this sentence again, please.) It is huge. Huge. I'm not sure why we would tend to insist on pretending that it isn't so. To me, as a woman, this is a milestone. I imagine that to many blacks (a majority, perhaps?) it is equally a big deal (our friend CMC a notable exception here).

Your points, Steve, on the "reverse racism" and media bias are well taken. But I think these race and gender-fueled discussions (and blunders, if need be) in the media and elsewhere are actually useful and necessary as they help us sort out and understand our own prejudices and blind spots. (I would expect a bunch of critical letters to editors addressing the article you mention in your post.)

Steve Salerno said...

Well, I broke down this afternoon and purchased The Audacity of Hope (which, by all rights, I should've read some time ago). We'll see what Mr. Charisma has to say in his own words.

roger o'keeffe from nyc said...

Just to play devil's advocate to all the noble sentiments voiced here, including those most recently from Elizabeth, where is it written that the races, if they exist, are in fact "equal"? Why is it that we're not even permitted to seriously consider, for example, the work of a William Shockley or the "Bell Curve" team, who demonstrated meaningful differences in intelligence as well as other capacities--such as the capacity for violence. If science brings such racial distinctions forward, then society should be allowed to consider and even act on them. Or are we saying that our lofty ideals should even supersede what science demonstrates to us?

Steve Salerno said...

Roger, to me, while I think you raise some excellent logical points, you also raise one of the gravest dangers of "race-based thinking," and indeed one of the strongest arguments for simply deciding--science or no science--to "do away with" race (yes, even at the expense of scientific accuracy). Because once you buy into the concept of racial differences, who's to say where that inquiry stops? But I'd prefer at this point to hold the floor open to other POVs. If any...?

Elizabeth said...

Roger, good points indeed. Below is my take on the issue.

The differences in IQ *averages* among various ethnic groups are well documented, but we do not understand well what they mean. Do they indeed point to innate differences of intelligence levels, or are they more expressive of difference in cultural and educational opportunities (and pressures), which co-vary (with the IQ numbers) in those groups?

Second, we are talking about average IQ numbers obtained on intelligence tests devised by, well, white males. The inevitable biases have to be acknowledged here. (I'm reminded of the not-so-long-ago American practice of testing new-arriving immigrants with IQ tests and determining, based on those scores, which ethnic groups were the "smartest" and thus deciding individuals' employment opportunities based on their ethnicity (= "intelligence"). The items on those tests included, for example, a picture of people playing tennis -- something that European uneducated immigrants never encountered in their lives. And imagine, anyway, being given an IQ test in a foreign land and foreign language, after spending three weeks or so voyaging in the steerage of your transatlantic ship. Talk about lack of intelligence -- and I do not mean the immigrants.')

Third, these differences in average IQ numbers are not that large to begin with. And fourth, we do not know or understand how these differences really translate into various abilities, life choices/opportunities and such. But we do know that based on exaggerated and sometimes trumped up differences between people (esp. in our race and gender biases), we -- as the human society -- have committed serious sins of discrimination.

So, I'd say, it behooves us to pause when it comes to championing those supposedly innate and significant differences among people. When it comes to IQ, let's acknowledge these numbers but not jump to conclusions on their social implications (esp. let's not use them to justify our own prejudice -- a tall call, I know).

And as far as the innate capacity for violence is concerned... Well, how far back in history do we want to go to demonstrate the white man's innate capacity for violence? (I'm being purposefully provocative here, but only a bit.) If we were to take this argument at face value, then perhaps we should make efforts to curb (white) male access to positions of power, since the damage caused by the-excess-of-testosterone governance is obvious for anyone to see, no?

The Crack Emcee said...

Ahhh, my time is running out (gotta go to the super duper club) but:

Elizabeth, it ain't such a big deal. Only if you buy into the race and gender narrative is this HUGE. It's like the story of "Box" Brown, that black guy whole mailed himself to freedom, back in slavery days: There are wrinkles all through the race narrative. Gender too.

I think what we've got to do now is get back on track. Get our heads right. Like the French foriegn minister just announced that America's relationship with France will never again be as it was - a frightening thought to "progressives" - but what's not said is France has always hated us, the jealous bastards. It's not our fault they go crazy, like, every winter. To me, we hold firm (McCain) and wait 'em all out, demanding - yes, demanding - to be respected on our own terms, not theirs. Same goes for our work in Iraq, Afganistan, and The War On Terror.

We stepped up - France didn't - just like we always do. You don't go letting punks slap you around (9/11) and then start crying that you want it to stop when the people that said they hated you, and slapped you, start squealing. You fix it. You finish the job. You make sure they never consider hitting you again. And that takes a unified front - which is all we're lacking now - to our eternal shame. Don't blame the president, he did his part and has to cry (a lot) over the bodies. Blame the people this time: That hippie stuff took the fight out of us.

I just put lots of good music up on my blog today. Go check it out. It'll make you feel better: It did for me.

O.K., I'm off to the super duper club. See ya!

ourfriendben said...

Okay, Steve, and don't forget, you *did* ask for it. To go from the ridiculous (a post on Amish friendship cake on Poor Richard's Almanac) to the sublime (the fate of humanity and our world), let me wax pontifical here on the subject of race and other potentially divisive characteristics (and this from such an affirmed individualist that "Libertarian" would not be too strong a label, except that I don't want *any* party or group telling me what to think or do):

We began as one, and we must end as one, if we don't simply want to end, period. There are too many of us, and we have too much destructive power at our disposal at this point, for any other outcome to save us or the marvelous natural world we have so heedlessly co-opted. Can we get there from here? God knows. But if we don't, God help us.

Steve Salerno said...

Elizabeth and OFB: But to play devil's advocate/advocate here--let's leave aside the specific question before us (i.e. whether the data now available can be relied upon to suggest a meaningful difference, in intellect and other areas, between the races) and simply assume, for the purposes of this debate, that at some future point, such meaningful differences are unequivocally documented. Suppose it's demonstrated, e.g., that blacks are more prone to violence (by their essential nature) than whites, and that whites (by their nature) are significantly dumber than Asians, who are smarter than anyone else. What do we do then? Do we hold to the ideal that "all men are created equal" and continue to allow equal opportunity to all? Or do we start "steering" people in certain directions? Do we revise the laws to be more understanding in dealing with blacks--since they "can't help" but be more violent than others? Do we peg the educational curricula to the higher skills of which Asians are more innately capable, and simply grade other kids on a curve, since they can't (generally) be expected to compete at the Asians' level? (And incidentally, such questions are not totally divorced from current reality: Auto-insurance companies set higher rates for boys than girls, under the assumption that boys are--again, simply by nature--more reckless behind the wheel.)

Interesting questions? Or just pointless whimsy?

And people, PLEASE, I shouldn't have to say this--but these are all spurious hypotheticals. I intend no offense to anyone.

Anonymous said...

This repeated debate reminds me of TIME magazine's cover a few years ago. It was a computer composite of a woman who was comprised of every ethnic group. She was white, Asian, black, and everything in between. Obama, in one respect, does look like the future in the fact he is "mixed-race." The future will be comprised of people whose bloodlines cross all races and then we will be truly color blind.

Steve Salerno said...

That is my hope.

Elizabeth said...

Steve, you say, "Do we hold to the ideal that "all men are created equal" and continue to allow equal opportunity to all?"

Playing devil's advocate to your devil's advocate/advocate: Why not?
What do we have to lose?

The idea that all men and women are created equal is new and revolutionary. We still fumble with its applications. We do not know yet fully what it means or what is possible under the banner of equality.

The US had a racially segregated society less than half a century ago, despite the promise of equality in your Constitution. It's mind-boggling and repulsive beyond belief. Yet it lasted well into the 20th century and there are still folks who miss it.

American women got the right to vote less than a 100 years ago, after a long and ugly fight. (The right to vote! Can we fully comprehend the audacity of denying half of human population the right to vote? I suspect not, because if we did, we'd be outraged at the sheer thought of it and the fact that we, human beings, let it continue for so long).

I'd say let's do this experiment -- equality -- in full force, as much as it is possible, and see what happens in the future. Let those chips fall as they may. If indeed we remove all racial and gender barriers, we should expect that "nature" (whatever it really is) will sort us out (or not). I'd rather err on the side of equality than prejudice, plain and ugly or dressed up as science (yes, I know, I know).

OK, hope I make sense. BTW, I have nothing against (white) males. I love'em, in fact. Some of my best friends are (white) males.

Elizabeth said...

CMC, sigh. Something strange happens when I read your writing: I get so absorbed in your passion and directness that I cannot think straight about the content of your posts.

So I end up saying to myself, "Wow, that was awesome!" And only later I regain my judgment, which tells me, "Wait, I do not really agree with it... do I?"


But here I do agree, partially, with you (I think -- I reserve the right to revise my opinion when I can read your post in cooler blood ;). Buying into the narrative of oppression may be one thing -- and a really disabling thing at that; but another is simply your/my own experience, which teaches us, very early on, that, for example, some societal barriers (related to gender, in my case) are also very real. The occasional wrinkles do not necessarily turn the tide.

Will be mulling over the rest of your post; meanwhile, have fun at the super duper club! (Or I should say, "See you there!" :)

Anonymous said...

Being one who has taken many IQ tests, they leave much to be desired. I have gone as low as 131and as high as 176. I have kept steady at 163. It really depends on how they are constructed.

Steve Salerno said...

You must be Asian, then.

(That's a JOKE, people. And Anon.)

Anonymous said...

Let me declare I am a white woman who will probably vote for Obama, if he is a presidential candidate. I am an independent and agree with Thomas Jefferson about political parties, “If I could not go to heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all." That one was for you OFB.

I’m going for Obama, because of his greenest at politics. Abraham Lincoln was pretty green too and did quite well. I think experience is the problem for Hillary and McCain. They are jaded. Hillary is run by the polls and McCain lost his independence.

Since they are all Senators, just go and look at what they voted for in the Senate to see where they stand. Obama maybe all hype, but they all are to some extent. At least he is new hype.

Steve Salerno said...

Look, as noted, despite all I've said on this blog, here and in prior posts, I am leaning his way myself.

The Crack Emcee said...


"Something strange happens when I read your writing: I get so absorbed in your passion and directness that I cannot think straight about the content of your posts.

So I end up saying to myself, "Wow, that was awesome!" And only later I regain my judgment, which tells me, "Wait, I do not really agree with it... do I?"

My ex used to have the same problem: French people would ask her if she agreed with my views on the war and she would say "I do when he says it." Oh man, those were the days. (If only I wanted to be a guru,...)

It became quite clear to me, when I lived overseas, that they think they control us - just as many Leftists, here, seem to think as well ("France doesn't agree!") - while my position, as an American, is they don't get a vote. (Half of their news broadcasts are just about what we do.) It's like what Steve was saying about people looking to others on how to dress: you're not you anymore. All that Maharishi crap was actually religious and racial; all about turning us into Hindus, and, to a large extent, it worked. But screw that - we're Americans - and heaven help us if we let anybody, who doesn't have our interests at heart, tell us what to do with our country.

Anonymous said...

This post raises a good question about labels. Why must everyone be put into a box? You have to be a Democrat, a Republican, a bull, a bear, white, black, or whatever. I wonder if that is part of the human condition to categorize people. If a person does not have a label, do we just get confused?

I just got an election ballot and they want me to take a quiz to figure out which party I belong to. They are under the assumption I do not understand the parties. I understand the parties very well, but I do not believe in political parties. The same goes for being a bull or a bear for investing. I wrote in snow leopard on that quiz.

Is it so hard for people to grasp that maybe each person, subject, idea, investment, or what not, may take individual analysis?

Steve Salerno said...

In a word, apparently: Yes. And oh, how I wish that were not so.

The Crack Emcee said...


I'm a Republican but I ignore the stuff they send me. And, when it comes to labeling people, where they are "spiritually" tells me much more than their political labels. Once I got there, I have seen them as "herds" - or birds - doing that dance where they instinctively turn, this way and that, in flight. It can be worrisome in people, though:

I'm always wondering what the signal is to turn.