I first observed that Big Left was devaluing the term “Holocaust” – redefining it as “any social change Big Left doesn’t approve of” – over 30 years ago. To be fair that one never really took off – at the time, when people still took “Never Forget” seriously. I’m less sanguine about Big Left’s next attempt to sandbag that word.
Next came “Fascist”. “Anti”-Fa was only the latest among decades of hijacking, during which “Fascism” became equated with “any idea I, a member of Big Left, disagree with on any level” (as opposed to “Socialism combined with nationalism”).
“Hitler” and “Nazi” started taking it in the shorts during the George W. Bush administration, but their devaluation in the not-very-informed minds of a generation is proceeding apace.
Likewise “Racist”, “Misogynist” and pretty much any socially-loaded “-phobia”.
Culture is shaped, to a disturbing extent, by people who want to try to influence it.
And it’s been a cultural cliché for generation that television in its many forms has an overwhelming influence on society.
And as someone who spent way more time in Ramsey County family court, and dealing with culture’s assumptions about fathers and children, the subject of how media treats fatherhood has been of far more than casual interest to me for a long time.
I’ve observed since the early days of this blog that much of modern culture’s perception of fathers seems to be derived from Fred Flintstone (if you’re lucky – the cartoon rendering of Jackie Gleason was much preferable to the neutered George Jetson, albeit similar in every other way).
The good news – sociological reasarch  shows I’m right.
…we studied how often sitcom dads were shown together with their kids within these scenes in three key parenting interactions: giving advice, setting rules or positively or negatively reinforcing their kids’ behavior. We wanted to see whether the interaction made the father look “humorously foolish” – showing poor judgment, being incompetent or acting childishly.
Interestingly, fathers were shown in fewer parenting situations in more recent sitcoms. And when fathers were parenting, it was depicted as humorously foolish in just over 50% of the relevant scenes in the 2000s and 2010s, compared with 18% in the 1980s and 31% in the 1990s sitcoms.
At least within scenes featuring disparagement humor, sitcom audiences, more often than not, are still being encouraged to laugh at dads’ parenting missteps and mistakes.
Thing is, as more children are raised in single-parent housholds (a majority, in many communities), and given that the vast majority of those households are female-led, popular entertainment is going to have a disproportional role in shaping how children feel about what fathers are supposed to be.
I don’t watch a lot of current network TV, so it’s fairly academic to me at the moment.
But I’ve also noticed, again for over the past twenty-plus years, that the way fathers are portrayed in commercial is equally condescending  – but that there’s a pattern to this.
Remember – nothing in major media advertising, least of all on network or cable TV, is accidental. Every ad, down to the lowliest 10-second sweeper spot, is focus-grouped to a fine sheen before it goes near a broadcaster. The subtext of every ad is as carefully tuned as the messages themselves.
And I’ve noticed  that there’s a pattern:
Spots aimed at products most commonly aimed at guys (the social group, as opposed to “men”, the sex), products like beer and athletic gear, tools, blue-collar workers’ tools, vehicles bought for work (as opposed to lifestyle accessories), tend to portray women (if at all) as improbably attractive, but not as the focus of the spot/s.
Products aimed at women (by inference, women who lead or co-lead households, especially with children) are the ones that tend to show husbands as bumbling, dubiously competent, and very frequently not in their wives leagues, if you catch my drift.
Remembering that nothing in big-dollar advertising is accidental, what other conclusion is there than “Evidence tells advertisers that men see their women as ideal and attractive [which is sort of an evolutionary tautology], and women who spend money want to think that men – in general, and maybe their own – are hapless buffoons who’d be lying in their parents basements in a puddle of their own waste without them.”
Not sure that’s a great message for the young women or the young men of tomorrow.
 And yes, I now – sociology, like all soft sciences, is not a science. Soft science produces soft data, at best. And soft data is good enough for the point I’m making.
 Although somewhat less so if the fathers in the ads are black or Latino. And it seems that the fathers in mixed-race couples, who seem to make up a disproportionate number of couples in TV advertising these days, get portrayed pretty neutrally-to-favorably, although both of those observation are just that – impressions from a guy who doesn’t watch a whole lot of TV. Now, that would be an interesting study. And one ad that stuck out at me – the morning-TV spot for Hi-Vee supermarkets featuring the 1983 song “Our House” – indicates, albeit with a sample size of one, that even being a stay-at-home caretaker while the improbably gorgeous mom runs off to her office job doesn’t protect dad from that same level of condescension.
 Yep, anecdotally, not a controlled experiment bla bla bla.
Modern American “progressivism”, like all its many forebears in the past 200 years, has been all about rallying people against boogeymen. From “monarchists” in the French Revolution, to “Wreckers” in Stalin’s USSR to the Wobbly’s “Bosses”, up through “the patriarchy” and “the man” and “counterrevolutionaries” in Red China and San Francisco in the sixties and seventies, and if you have a hard time distinguishing between ’em, join the club.
Today, the boogeymen…er, boogiepeople on the left are pretty much all the things that people who are included are told to be “anti”. “Anti-Racism” “Anti-Misogyny” (not just sexism, anymore – it’s the more active, more malevolent noun these days), “Anti-Fascism”, “Anti-Transphobia”, and on and on – all of which sounds like good things to be “anti”…
…and, unsurprisingly, when you dig into the “Root Causes” of all those nouns, all things trace back to “Western Civilization” in all its particulars: the Judeo-Christian value on the individual and their worth, value, rights and responsibilities and potential of each and every person, as a person with a mind, a point of view, and at the end of the day an indivisible soul of personal, societal, political, intellectual and metaphysical worth.
Those aspects of humanity are anathema to progressivism in all its flavors. The focus is on the group – the Marxists “classes”, the Nazi’s irreducible focus on race, the modern academic Left’s obsession with a byzantine network of intersectional identity groups. The individual is nothing but a vote (for now), an appetite, a widget to be moved through the production line of life (like Obamacare’s awful caricature of Progressive humanity, “Julia”). Progressivism is “Materialist”. Souls, individual intellects and thoughts and reams, all are ephemeral; humans are widgets that consume and produce, and whose worth and value (to those in power) is expressed via their membership in the collective.
Those widgets have a term. “Bodies”. Not people. Not brains. Not souls.
She’s “a gun owner herself” – which might be seen in several ways. Is “P”M moderating? Are they realizing that the culture war has slipped far enough away from them, especially over this past year, that they have to start speaking to people who need to be convinced?
And she’s apparently incredibly famous, since she apparently just goes by “Rashmi”. I’ve turned “Protect” Minnesota’s website, Facebook feed and other social media upside down, and not been able to find any reference to a last name, which is Seneviratne, by the way.
But even during the reign of the serial fabulist the Reverend Nord Bence, “Protect” MN wasn’t nearly extreme enough in its hatred of guns and (law-abiding) gun owners, enough for some people.
“P”M spawned a breakway group, “Survivors Lead” – basically a woman, Rachel Joseph, with a long history of progressive activism and a story; an aunt who was murdered, according to Ms. Joseph’s story, by a gun.
Quick aside: I don’t minimize anyone’s trauma over having a loved one murdered. But in the many times I’ve heard Ms. Joseph’s story, she’s never once mentioned a perpetrator, someone actually holding and using the gun that killed her aunt; that persons evil motivation, the legal fallout from the murder, whether that person was sentenced or not. It’d be wrong to crack wise – “what, did the gun animate itself?” – but omitting a perpetrator, his/her motives and the like from the conversation is incredibly intellectually dishonest.
Anyway – “Rashmi” and her apparent moderation are not going over well with “Survivors Lead”:
The extreme heckling the not-as-extreme about getting less extreme. That qualifies as “dog bites man”, at the very most.
Rather less so? There followed some more, er, ethnically pointed traffic on one social media feed (from which I’ve long been blocked) or another.
After which “P”M – operating through its usual social media persona, the omniscient third person that used to be Martens and Nord Bence – responded:
On the one hand, watching the agents of Big Left eating each other is one of my favorite spectator sports.
And if the biggest semi-organic anti-gun group in MInnesota (shaddap about Moms Want Action already) is pivoting from pushing Linda Slocum’s gun grab bill to highlighting the inequity of gun control (“Race, class and geography all play into who gets to have a gun and who doesn’t” – which is something every Second Amendment activist has known for 50 years) and speaking in the first “person” to the prudence of victims of violence to arm up, then in culture war terms that’s the sound of the first tank crossing the pontoon bridge at Remagen.
But…”white bodied privilege?”
What the flaming hootie hoo?
I thought for a moment – is this a shot back at the Rachel Dolezals and Elizabeth Warrens of the world, with their flip-flopping identities, by “actual” “people of color”, reinforcing the idea that while you might “identify” with one degree melanin or another, your apparent appearance still wins out in the great privilege lottery (which will, I suspect, get pilloried hard by the Trans crowd, for whom perceived identity is everything? I’ll let the fight that one out).
But no. It’s much less hilarious than that.
It’s “inclusion language” – slang or argot that one class of people use to track who is in, and who is “out” – to be sure. That’s part of it, and people are noticing:
Referring to people as bodies is a reminder, writer Elizabeth Barnes says in an interview, that “racism isn’t just about the ideas that you have in your head.” Barnes is the author of “The Minority Body: A Theory of Disability, The Girl Behind the Wall.” In intellectual discussions, theories about social oppression sound almost disembodied; “we talk about prejudice,” Barnes says, “like it’s just a matter of ideas.” The point is to emphasize the physical violence done to black people through slavery, lynching, and police brutality. In the case of women, the term “bodies” highlights “what happens to women’s bodies in health care contexts, in sexual contexts, in reproductive contexts.”
But behond that?
It’s a nod to the materialism of the left – that the mind, the thoughts, the indivisible soul of the indivisual human being is not merely irrelevant, but inconvenient to the obsession with identity.
Your melanin defines you.
In some ways its a cheap ad hominem – “of course you’d think that, you are (add a reference to your target’s melanin, or lack thereof)”. But pointing logical fallacies out to the foot soldiers of Big Left is a little like arguing salinity with sharks; it’s just part of the water they swim in.
So – gun groups eating each other? Good.
The debate contributing to the ongoing hijacking of the language? Bad.
The whole thing participating, in its own little way, in the further erosion of one of the ideals that’s made Western Civilization the most successful, and humane , civilization in human history?
My hypothesis: “Progressive” politicians can say anything, no matter how outlandish or false, not only because they know the media will nearly never call them on it, but – more importantly – because they know people who are susceptible to voting for them are gullible, lacking in critical thinking skills, and so poorly-informed and in curious that they’ll never know better.
Data point: Alexandria “Tide Pod Evita” Ocasio Cortez claims President “disrespected”  her by calling her AOC.
Experiment: Does she make “AOC” a part of her public persona?
Observation: Why yes, she does! #Unexpected
Conclusion: AOC isn’t a gullible rube. She can merely count on anyone who takes her seriously to be a gullible rube.
 If you use “disrespect” as a verb, I dis-hear and dis-care-for, and have no respect for, anythingi else you have to day. Disrespect is an adjective.
Last night at a prayer meeting one of the members of the group told us that Minneapolis public schools made a change to job titles. This friend of mine is a teacher at Minneapolis South. He said it was announced yesterday that all titles in the Minneapolis public school system with the term Chief in them will be changed. It’s the end of racism as we know it.
Excising a word that existed in a constant context in the English language for hundreds of years?
I keep hearing these words used interchangeably, typically by liberals. That is wrong; they are not the same words. They do not mean the same thing.
Equality is when everyone gets the same. Equity is when everyone gets what they deserve.
You studied hard, went to class, turned in assignments on time. I never cracked a book, skipped class, failed to turn in assignments.
Equality means we both get A’s. Equity means you pass and I fail.
Doesn’t matter that you came from a culture which values education and I came from a culture which does not. Culture has nothing to do with equity or equality of results. That’s just an excuse for lack of individual effort.
Now, it’s gone even farther. Now equity means reparations. Someone whose hair and nose looked like yours had a rough life 150 years ago? Sorry about that, let me adjust your grade . . . here’s your A.
All that, and it’s unsustainable.
Problem is, society may well find that out by the literal and figurative collapse of everything that “equality” built that can’t, in all equity, continue.
“If You’re Not Part Of The Solution, You’re Part Of The Problem”
People who use this statement always use it incompletely. I’ll do it again, filling in and emphasiing the words that are unstated but that actually define the statement.
“If you’re not part of the solution I’m demanding, you’re part of the problem that’s in my way“.
It’s incumbent on you to convince me – everyone – that your solution isn’t worse than the problem. If you are a socialist, if your “solution” can be shown via a rational argument based in fact to be worse than the problem you see, then you’re going to have a tough time of it.
And if you use statements like “If you’re not part of the solution…”, it’s going to be even tougher, because if you knew all that rational, factual, “convincing people” stuff, you wouldn’t have to resort to such twaddle.
Silence – if you catch me silent at all – is me keeping my mouth shut while I figure out what I think, to say nothing of what I’m going to say. Your freedom of speech doesn’t give you the right to tell me what I’m going to say.
If your response to that is “there is only one thing to say”, and that’s to agree with your point of view – then most likely you’re trying to logroll and shame people into knocking off all that pesky thinking, and just acquiescing. If your position is worthy, I may eventually agree with you. Not doing so, in and of itself, doesn’t make me the immoral one.
Logically, it’s Orwellian – silence is the opposite of violence. Morally, it’s worse than Orwellian.
If your response is “that’s how Germans reacted when Jews were getting hauled off” – well, there’s your opportunity to convince me that the issue we face is, actually, that clear-cut.
If it’s not? If there are some facets to the issue at hand over which reasonable people may debate?
If you were to tell a spouse or a significant other “if you’re not verbally acquiescing with my point of view, you are party to evil”, a therapist would call you an emotional abuser.
And they’d be right.
Logrolling is no substitute for a convincing argument.
Unfortunately, people using this form of logrolling, gaslighting chanting point aren’t trying to “convince”, and they’re not trying to provoke thought.
Some Henco Commisioners want to declare racism a public health crisis:
Hennepin County Commissioners Angela Conley and Irene Fernando plan to introduce a resolution on Tuesday declaring racism a public health emergency in the county.
“We need to be explicit about racism,” Conley said. “We need to say that at the root of the disparities is systemic racism . . . and we need to do it now while this conversation is ripe.”
Nearly a dozen other counties across the country have passed similar resolutions, many doing so in recent weeks as governments and businesses aim to address racism within their own organizations in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis…The move to declare racism a public health crisis is symbolic, but would also direct the county to consider racial equity in all of its decision making.
When you mix politics and science, you don’t get scientific politics. You get politicized science.
Let’s say I write an article in which I assert that the mid-day sky is actually bright scarlet red in color.
You might respond “You’re just Mitch Berg. You’re a conservative, so you always think stupid things”. That response is half, maybe 3/4 true – but doesn’t say anything about the color of the sky. What it does is say “your argument is false because of who you are”. The term is “Argumentum ad Hominem” – latin for “arguing against the man”, rather than the facts the Man presented. It’s a logical fallacy. Who I am has no bearing on the facts I present, right or wrong.
You might then respond “You don’t have a degree in meteorology – how would you know anything about the sky?” That’s also true – I’m not a meteorologist. But it doesn’t address the facts presented, but rather my credentials. It’s called an “Appeal to Authority”, and it’s another logical fallacy. One’s credentials might lend authority to a statement – but not truth or falsity, all by themselves.
You could try another tack, something like “you are an idiot”. That’d be called an “Appeal to Ridicule”. Again – I might be actually an idiot, but it doesn’t address my factual assertion in any way. It’s…yep, another logical fallacy.
Maybe you could dig back on Twitter, and find some example of me saying “the sky is blue”, and post a before-and-after saying “Hah! You’re being inconsistent!”. That’s called the “Argumentum Tu Quoque” – focusing on the fact that one has changed their mind on a subject, rather than the facts at hand – which is a really dumb one; the fact that I was a Democrat growing up, for example, doesn’t make me less a conservative today (or vice versa for someone else).
You could go on the offensive, and claim that if I believe the sky is scarlet with “Sooooo, what you’re saying is you want old people to die”. That’s called a “Straw Man Argument” – trying to make someone defend an argument they never made. I said the sky was scarlet – nothing about Grandma at all.
You could write “the sky is blue, because as I noted above, the sky is blue”. That’s called “Begging the Question” – perhaps the most mis-used phrase in the quasi-educated dialect of English, which people usually use to refer to “asking a question again”. It means “using your conclusion as proof of your conclusion”.
Or – here’s a radical thought, you could post a picture of a bright blue, or dull gray, sky and tell the world “Look! The sky above is blue! It’s not even a little bit scarlet!”. That would address the actual facts of my assertion that the sky was bright scarlet.
And the technical term for that is “a factual argument”.
I’m writing this not because I’m trying to go all Jordan Peterson on you, but because our society would be a lot stronger, smarter and BS-proof if more people learned how to make a logical argument, and to spot and call out an illogical one.
“That’s just NPR!” or “That’s just National Review” or “that info came from people allied with “the swamp”” and many other arguments…aren’t really arguments at all. They are illogical deflections.
I can listen to people scrape their fingernails on chalkboards (kids, ask your parents) all day long.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t sounds and words that make my teeth hurt and make me nauseous.
My example I have always hated the word “Document”, and all its uses and derivatives. Document? Documentation? Documentary? All of them. The only exception is the sentence “I just watched someone who overused the word ‘document’ get eaten by mice”.
My worst boss ever was a (I’m not making this up) near-functional illiterate QA manager to whom the company’s benighted tech writers had to report. And she once described the tech writers’ job as to “document the documentation in the documents”. It wasn’t *that* episode, or the fact that she advocated changing the job title to “Documentalist”, that made her the worst boss ever – oh, Lord, no – but it put a cherry on top of the crap sundae that was that job.
Which is one of the reasons I tune out the radio when impeachment talk comes up Part of it is because Adam Schiff justifies retroactive bullying – but largely because if I hear another smug, sanctimonious voice saying “documents documents documents documents documents…” again I’m going to kick a puppy.
It has literally gotten to the point where the politicians and pundits of Big Left don’t even bother trying to convince people with any basis in fact or critical thinking skills; their entire message is repeating Big Lies often and loudly enough to convince the invincibly ignorant and browbeat the underinformed and insecure.
The mission today: add to the list. What are the lies, one line at a time, that Big Left gets the ignorant and the authoritarian to believe?
I’ll start below – but leave more in the comments.
“Trump’s election was illegitimate!”
“We’ve got more ‘gun violence’ now than ever before!”
“The ‘Republican War on Women’”
There are 57 genders
America is a racist nation
America is an antisemitic nation
America’s past is a uniquely terrible thing
Trump supported neo-Nazis at Charlottesville
Socialism lifts people from poverty; the free market does not
Obamacare benefitted more people than it harmed
Slavery in America was uniquely more terrible than slavery elsewhere
“Nixon won because all the racists came over to the GOP, and stayed”
“Nobody’s coming for your guns!”
Boys and girls are identical in every way.
“White privilege”, rather than class privilege, is a suffocating force in society.
“We’ve got twelve years to solve manmade global warming!”
“Increasing public school funding directly benefits The Children!”
Racism is in America’s very cultural DNA
Religious faith is ignorance – it has nothing to do with meaning, merely a crutch for the intellectually vacant.
Blacks are more likely to be shot by police than whites
Voter ID = “Voter Suppression”.
The Second Amendment was intended to defend slavery
Rape culture dominates colleges – 1 in 5 women at colleges are raped or otherwise sexually assaulted
Women are paid 3/4 as much as men for the same work
“Children! In cages! It’s Trump’s fault!”
LIfe only begins when the baby emerges from the birth canal.
“90% of the people want “universal” background checks on guns!”
“Abortion is about womens’ health!”
“Trump attacked women!”
UPDATE 12/18: Adding reader comments.
Trump trying to appeal to black voters is voter suppression!
“There’s evidence that Trump has committed crimes!”
“Impeachment is a serious inquiry into Presidential abuse of power.”
“We must remove Trump to preserve Constitutional norms.”
The “Scandal free Obama administration.”
“Jimmy Carter was a good president.”
Social spending is “an investment”
Immigrants are a benefit to society (as a blanket statement)
Gay marriage is all about love. Not politics.
School choice hurts poor people
Trump had sex with “Stormy Daniels.”
Trump paid Daniels hush money, Daniels did not blackmail Trump
There is 97% scientific consensus on global warming
All of our problems can be solved by raising taxes on the wealthy
That’s not who we are!
We’re on the right side of history
“If ________ saves the life of just one child” then some usurpation, oppression or indignity is “worth it”.
Please respond in the comments.
Responses that are not direct answers to the question – i.e. Democrat chanting points – will be removed.
It’s too confusing to keep track of all the different ways that liberals impugn conservatives. And the words don’t mean the same thing each time they’re used; the meaning shifts depending on the user, the victim, the situation. I would prefer that liberals adopt one general-purpose word to use for everyone and everything they don’t like. How about “poop?” Short, easy for Joe Biden to remember, think how much fun the debates would become. You’re a poop. No you’re a big poop. You’re the biggest poop. Yeah, well your ideas are poop. Your mother is a poop. Fun! Joe Doakes
Orwel posited that the eventual goal of “Ingsoc” was to reduce all language to “duckspeak” – semiliterate grunts that put guardrails on the limits of human thought.
I love languages. I speak three of ’em passably enough not to get made as a Yank, and can order a drink, pay a tab or find a bathroom in a bunch more. If I could learn more full-time, I would. I’m a linguistics geek.
I’m probably an outlier among Americans at large – we’re a big mostly monolingual country, so most Americans don’t need to learn another language.
But the word “hatchet job” means the same thing in an amazing number of languages. That occurred to me while reading this, well, hatchet job from the WaPo, claiming that about half of Republicans get annoyed hearing other languages. According to Pew:
47 percent of such Republicans say it would bother them “some” or “a lot” to “hear people speak a language other than English in a public place.” Eighteen percent of white Democrats said they would be similarly bothered. Aside from politics, age and education are the major predictors of linguistic discomfort. Eighteen percent of whites younger than 30 said they would be bothered by a foreign language being spoken, compared with 43 percent in the 50-to-64 age group, and 45 percent among those 65 and older. Among all racial groups, whites (34 percent) are most likely to be bothered hearing foreign languages, followed by blacks (25 percent), Asians (24 percent) and Hispanics (13 percent). Among Americans overall, 70 percent put their level of unease at “not much” or “not at all.”
And this article is kinda hatchet-y.
For starters, it doesn’t say *why* “half of white Republicans” have that reaction. Oh, the WaPo knows what it *wants* people to think – that’s why they included the utterly unrelated “High profile confrontations”. Racists!
And yet of those Republicans, the vast majority reported being “bothered” only a little bit – which doesn’t seem like it’d be a byproduct of hatred. It doesn’t go into motivations.
I’m to postulate the vast majority of that isn’t racism, but people in a largely monolingual culture reacting to being excluded. Remember the question – they’re reacting to hearing people “speak a language other than English in a public place.” Language is an excluder; it’s a private club. It’s why my grandma never spoke her native Norwegian unless she was among fellow native speakers; it’s why I don’t talk in German or Norwegian in meetings with mostly Anglo co-workers. It’s kind of rude.
The reaction is hardly limited to Americans, much less “white Republicans”. Check out how the French react to groups of Americans talking English sometime.
I’m gonna strongly suspect most of the result comes from social annoyance rather than bigotry or provincialism.
This winter, the news media ran stories about ice dams causing damage to the roof. How do you pronounce the word “roof?” Why don’t all -oo- words sound alike? Try this sentence: While the goofy cook chewed a root and doodled in a book on the roof, a pooch looked at a boot and woofed as a kook took good food out the door. No wonder foreigners have such a hard time with English.
True. English is tough enough to plough through, though, without that.