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August 25, 2012

Cheer up
Posted by Patrick at 06:57 PM * 77 comments

Tired? Discouraged? Convinced that the assholes are going to prevail in all things?

Yeah, me too. Fortunately, the Internet has the power to drive us both crazy and sane.

Start here, with this clip from MSNBC’s “Up w/Chris Hayes,” featuring Ta-Nehisi Coates discussing that essay I was telling you about, along with Melissa Harris-Perry, W. Kamau Bell, and the incomparable Jay Smooth. It’s like talking-heads TV from some better, smarter planet.

Then listen to this audio clip of (now-) President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins, back in 2010, reducing some Tea Party radio hack to flinders on the guy’s own show. I’m reminded of the story told by the late, great Irish fanzine writer Walter A. Willis, about “a speech by an Irish MP in the late 19th Century. He was making an impassioned attack on Irish absentee landlords when someone shouted ‘Treason!’ Quick as a flash he retorted: ‘What is treason in England is reason in Ireland, because of the absentee.’” Moral: Really and truly, right-wing radio dudes, do not get into fights with Irish politicians.

Comments on Cheer up:
#1 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2012, 07:00 PM:

I've been reading Hayes's Twilight of the Elites, which is extremely smart; I'm amazed to discover that not only is he about fourteen years old, but also they let him have a show on the teevee. Yes, I'm old, I don't keep up.

#2 ::: Steve Buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2012, 07:42 PM:

We'll have the most erudite and insightful conversations as the assholes burn down our economy.

#3 ::: Steve Buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2012, 08:07 PM:

Sorry, went with "yes" on those first three questions.

#4 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2012, 08:13 PM:


#5 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2012, 09:48 PM:

Everyone may have seen this already, but my wallpaper at work is one of the shots from this set of Oscar Pistorius with Ellie May Challis, who a couple of years ago became the youngest person to be fit with "Cheetah" prosthetic legs. This whole set makes me smile and smile.

#6 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2012, 10:09 PM:

(Keeping my head down and focusing on incremental improvements in society is what brings me cheer during an election cycle).

(Well, that and Jon Stewart).

#7 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2012, 11:49 PM:

Patrick - thank you. I had no idea there was discussion like this on TV.

Awhile ago on another thread someone asked what this "dog whistle" phrase we were using meant. Romney's birth certificate "joke" is the purest illustration I can imagine.

#8 ::: Larry ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2012, 10:17 AM:

This was a good discussion to watch. We need more of this kind of thing on TV. It his show like this all the time? I may need to start watching more TV.

#9 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2012, 12:53 PM:

Patrick, I followed instructions, listened to Higgins, enjoyed the sane and strong commentary on Chris Hayes's show, read the whole of TNC's essay (and I do agree it's terrific) -- and I'm still tired, discouraged, and fearful that the assholes outnumber us. I haven't lost hope, but then, as all my friends know, I'm an unrepentant optimist.

Medicine not working. But thanks for trying.

#10 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2012, 01:46 PM:

Higgins has real testicular fortitude, and a nice finish.

#11 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2012, 01:49 PM:

Coates's essay is one of the most brilliant pieces of political journalism that I've ever read.

I have been saying, for months now, that there is a designated adult in American politics. Fortunately, he's the one in the White House. I'm hoping the American electorate keeps him there.

#12 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2012, 03:43 PM:

Fragano, from your lips to God's ear.

As far as I can tell, Mitt Romney thinks it's his turn to be President, and we should therefore vote for him because -- well, because he's Mitt Romney and we're not.

As for what he wants to do, how he plans to tackle the problems the country faces, what he even thinks those problems are, I have no clue, except that he wants rich people like himself to have more money. Evidently they don't have enough.

I cannot take this seriously. I cannot take anything he says seriously., and I'm frightened.

Okay, I'm stepping away from the keyboard now.

Medicine not working.

#13 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2012, 07:07 PM:

I agree, Coates' article is one of the most insightful I've read on any subject, let alone politics, in a very long while. It doesn't make me any happier, because he doesn't have solutions for the problems he describes, but he does make me feel that there are people in the public arena who are going to bring up those issues that have been under the elephant in the room, so that maybe there will finally be some discussion of them, not just denial.

I can report a bit of sanity in the news today that makes me feel better about the world: Chris Christie, the (perhaps ex-) Republican ex-governor of Florida has announced his endorsement of Obama for president, saying that he and his administration have been working to solve the problems we face while the Republicans have been spending all their energy on forcing highly unpopular extreme social policies on the rest of us.

#14 ::: Marc Mielke ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2012, 07:26 PM:

Hayes' show is really incredible, and he's about the farthest left I think you can find on TV these days. His show runs Saturday and Sunday, and he's a frequent guest on Rachel Maddow as well.

My only problem with Hayes' show is that it's two hours long and I don't often have the attention span for that. I watch online and take long breaks between segments.

#15 ::: MacAllister ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2012, 07:28 PM:

Bruce @13,, did you mean Charlie Crist, not Chris Christie?

#16 ::: Marc Mielke ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2012, 07:28 PM:

@13: That was Charlie Crist, former Florida governor, being the Republican for Obama.

Chris Christie endorsing Obama would have been much bigger news, seeing as though he's a favorite GOP presidential candidate and speaking at the convention.

#17 ::: Lenny Bailes ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2012, 07:43 PM:

I'm not following this. Who's only fourteen years old? (I'll admit that I didn't listen to the clips, just did a quick check to see what you were linking to.) I know you're not talking about Chris Hayes or Ta Nehisi Coates.

Here's what I see in current polls for the Presidential Election on a quick Google search. Obama's holding his own in a number of states. Romney is just Romney. No one I know is voting for him.

Can you unpack this? (I'm not an economic expert, but the stock market is doing OK. I'm almost even on my Google shares, again.)

#18 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2012, 07:50 PM:

Lenny, yes, I was making a joke about Chris Hayes's youth. (In fact he's 33.)

#19 ::: Lenny Bailes ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2012, 07:50 PM:

FWIW, I tried posting the comment above with my Google+ blog listed as my home URL, and it rejected.
My Google+ blog is at

[We've removed the filter; not many spammers link to G+. But any link to will continue to be filtered since we get scores of out-and-out comment spams per day linking to one twitter account or another. -- Morois Norc, Duty Gnome]

#20 ::: Lenny Bailes ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2012, 07:52 PM:

FWIW, I tried posting the comment above with my Google+ blog listed as my home URL, and it rejected.
My Google+ blog can be found if you search on my name. I can't enter the URL anywhere without being gnomed.

(Abi, No need to ungnome all of the failed comments, but I'm not sure what's going on with your tech gnome security, these days.)

#21 ::: Lenny Bailes ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2012, 07:53 PM:

Patrick, thanks for the clarification.

#22 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2012, 08:29 PM:


**World Exclusive**
**Must Credit DRUDGE REPORT**

#23 ::: Chris W. ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2012, 08:39 PM:

Avram #21: Turns out the Constitutions says you can't be President before your 35th birthday, and Obama was born on February 29th.

("A paradox! A paradox! A most ingenious paradox!" darnit, now I'm never going to get that out of my head.)

#24 ::: DonBoy ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2012, 11:22 PM:

Fun Fakt: if Obama were two years older, he would have been born just before Hawaii became a state, and would thus have been in a sense "too old to be President."

janetl @7: I think the birth certificate thing can't be a dog whistle, because everyone knows what he's talking about, and the point of the dog-whistle metaphor is that others don't pick up on it. By its nature, current examples will be hard for people outside the target group to identify. A previous example that comes to mind is W's invocation of Dred Scott in the 2004 debates, which is the anti-abortion's go-to example of a Supreme Court decision that is now considered deeply immoral, as they think Roe v Wade wil eventually be. But to most pundits, at the time, he just seemed to be rambling.

#25 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2012, 01:19 AM:

MacAllister, Marc Mielke:

Oops, you're right. Wishful thinking cross-connected to my fingers, I guess.

#26 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2012, 01:43 AM:

The New York Times and other news sources have reported on the list of things you can't bring into the Republican Convention conference facility.
No firearms (sorry, NRA), no umbrellas (sorry, Tropical Storm Isaac), no whole fruit (sorry,, no pointy sticks (in case of whole fruit), no containers (sorry, Jack Daniels), ...

#27 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2012, 03:11 AM:

One of my friends thinks that the Republican party's better potential candidates (Huntsman, Christie, Jeb Bush, maybe some others) are sitting out this election. Do you think this is plausible, and if so, why might they be doing it?

#28 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2012, 04:01 AM:

It seems quite plausible to me that the Republican party thinks Obama can't be beaten, and are saving their "A" game for 2016.

#29 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2012, 06:42 AM:

Everything sounds better in an Irish accent!

#30 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2012, 09:59 AM:

Nancy Lebovitz #26: Possibly because they're sane enough to realize, and connected enough to see up close, just how crazy their party has gone this year? Anyone who actually tries to talk sense to the Republicans just now is likely to be not just rejected, but have their future political career destroyed. And on the flip side, anyone they run as a candidate will have to wholeheartedly support their current obsessions, which will kill their career if and when sanity returns and people remember what went on this year.

#31 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2012, 10:36 AM:

Dave and David, that's the kind of thing I'm hoping. The worrying possibility is that they're expecting the economy to get much worse, and they don't want to be blamed for it.

#32 ::: Alex Kreis ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2012, 01:58 PM:

"Fun Fakt: if Obama were two years older, he would have been born just before Hawaii became a state, and would thus have been in a sense "too old to be President.""

Wouldn't this standard have ruled out all of the presidents before Tyler?

#33 ::: Howard Bannister ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2012, 02:36 PM:

@32: Nope.

Age and Citizenship requirements - US Constitution, Article II, Section 1

No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained to the age of thirty-five years, and been fourteen years a resident within the United States.

#34 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2012, 03:44 PM:

But Hawaii was a territory before it was a state. If you're born on Guam, don't you have birthright citizenship?

#35 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2012, 03:54 PM:

Apparently so. Another source says that the people of Guam were granted US citizenship in 1950, but apparently Hawaii is different on that one.

#36 ::: Howard Bannister ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2012, 04:23 PM:

@Xopher; well, that gets into the whole 'natural born US citizen' thing--which is kinda nuts, because that term has never been defined.


And never will be, so long as the courts have a modicum of sense. John McCain was born in Panama, on a US military base. Who would dare suggest that makes him ineligible? Just because no court has ever properly defined the question?

So it may not be accurate to say that President Obama would have been ineligible a few years earlier. Better to say "might not have been eligible."

And probably would be, anyway.

Snopes has a good rundown on the McCain eligibility.

#37 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2012, 04:29 PM:

If someone was born by Caesarean, are they "natural born", or from their mother's womb untimely ripped?

#38 ::: Aquila1nz ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2012, 05:20 PM:

Ha, are they indeed.

I foresee that clause causing much trouble when the first clone runs for president.

#39 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2012, 06:09 PM:

Tom @ #37...

"Art suggesting our president is unnatural born?"

#40 ::: LMM ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2012, 07:59 PM:

Upon reflection, the thing that struck me was that this was a panel about race and about the ways that African-Americans see race, with mostly black panelists -- and a white moderator.

I'm not sure that this could have been constructed differently, and I'm torn as to whether this is due to racism (the presence of a white person validates the discussion) or whether this would be true for any similar minority-explains-to-majority panel, regardless of whether the minority is oppressed or not. Either way, I don't think Melissa Harris-Perry could have hosted the discussion.

Speaking of which -- the most interesting moment for me was when Harris-Perry cut off a comment by one of the other panelists about how Michelle would kill Barack if he had an affair. Intersectionality may be overstated in some circles, (1) but there are layers of stereotypes, and most people aren't aware of all of them.

(1) In the worst instances, it amounts to "I'll take my ball and go home." I do think that there's something to be said for accepting that one can promote multiple causes, even if all those causes are not interconnected.

#41 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2012, 08:03 PM:

Apparently (per digby at Hullabaloo) Rush Limbaugh has actually said, aloud, that "the government" and "Obama" deliberately put out false information that Hurricane Isaac's path would impact Tampa, in order to disrupt the Republican Convention. I say apparently because what's quoted on the blog is incoherent, but damn suggestive.

I believe this is what jumping the shark means, no?

Or perhaps I misunderstand.

#42 ::: micah ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2012, 08:55 PM:

Being as generally jumping the shark means reaching to a new level of whatever (in this case incendiary blowhardery) to seem new and special, I'd say that no shark has been jumped, as Rush has been blowharding quite incendarily for quite a while now.

(It seems that logically it should be incendiarily, yet whenever I say it I just have to go with incendarily.)

#43 ::: rm ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2012, 09:41 AM:

DonBoy @24 on dog whistles:

I agree that there are better examples of dog whistles (and that W. was a master of dog whistles that were really, truly inaudible to the political press . . . more on that below). But in reading all the responses to Romney's birth certificate comment, I think way, way too many voices are unwilling to call racism racism. They are pretending they can't hear the whistle, or they have chosen to stop up their ears. This should be as obvious as an elephant in the room, so I'm discouraged that there is anyone at all in the press who will say, well, that's not really racism racism.

Yes, W.'s whistles were better because he made them convey TWO OPPOSITE MESSAGES to TWO DISPARATE AUDIENCES. I put this in caps because I am still so flabbergasted he was able to do it. For instance, in 2000, "compassionate conservatism" and his promises to do warm & fuzzy things to social welfare services -- this said to center/liberal suburban middle class swing voters that he would be a moderate nonpartisan, and said in the very same exact friggin' words to conservative evangelicals that he would dismantle the Godless welfare state and put all charity in the hands of churches.

I guess the fact that the assholes are showing themselves more blatantly is . . . either good or bad, but it's progress in one direction or another.

#44 ::: rm ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2012, 09:48 AM:

Speaking of people making the world better, I recently had occasion to read about this person. And, on the one hand, I am cheered by the example of someone who is doing something good and is so smart and adorable. And on the other hand, I am filled like Milton's Satan with envy and despair at seeing someone who is, like, 14 years old do so much more good than I'll ever do. I feel pathetic in comparison.

#45 ::: Fred Garven ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2012, 11:58 AM:

What the girl is doing is laudable but i wish she wasnt using the un food project for goodness sakes. A lot of controversy with their operations, and lets face it, its the freaking un. not a lot of things they dont screw up. She could find better food distribution agencies.

#46 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2012, 12:05 PM:

Hi, Fred. Welcome to Making Light.

Both of your recent posts were caught in the spam filters due to grammar, spelling, and punctuation issues.

Sorry about that, but the filters stay.

Is there any chance that you write poetry?

#47 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2012, 01:30 PM:

rm @#44: When I get to feeling this way I remind myself that I didn't get to pick my early battles - I just got to decide how to fight them. Now that I'm middle-aged and have achieved a certain level of stability and functionality I can look around and see what I'd like to apply my energies to, but in my younger days I didn't really have that option. I suspect this is true for a lot of people.

And you never know which thing you contribute is going to be the one that ultimately makes a difference in the world. It's nice to be able to make change on a large scale, but small scale improvements contribute to the whole, too.

#48 ::: Mary Dell, engnomed ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2012, 01:33 PM:

Perhaps the gnomes dislike my habit of using a hyphen with spaces when I should properly use an em dash. Mercy, gnomes! I know it's wrong, but it just looks better to me and I can't help myself.

[The problem wasn't with your post, it was with our filter. This has been corrected. -- Moro Rix, Duty Gnome]

#49 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2012, 04:38 PM:

This article may be cheering for some people. It suggests that this is the Republicans' last chance to run what amounts to a white-supremacy campaign, because by 2016 the base that can be attracted by it won't be large enough to carry an election. So maybe the explosion of Racism Crazy we've been seeing is something like an extinction burst.

However, it also suggests that they are well aware of this, and therefore determined to win this election by any means necessary* and then spend the next 4 years gutting the economy** in the world's biggest blowout scam ever and destroying every social advance of the past century. After which the fate of America won't matter to the People Who Matter any more; they'll have theirs, Jack, and sucks to be us.

* Side note to the dog-whistle discussion: the phrase "by any means necessary" definitely qualifies as one, being a Nazi reference that doesn't trigger most Godwin filters but is still very clear to the target audience.

** As in, even more than they already have.

#50 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2012, 05:12 PM:

Lee @49: Side note to the dog-whistle discussion: the phrase "by any means necessary" definitely qualifies as one, being a Nazi reference that doesn't trigger most Godwin filters but is still very clear to the target audience.

Unless you're a B5 fan, in which case it's a double-dog-whistle, and leads one to ponder ... creative solutions.

#51 ::: rm ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2012, 09:39 AM:

Lee @49: I always associated the phrase "by any means necessary" with Malcolm X, perhaps erroneously.

I certainly hope these are the last throes, so to speak, of white supremacy. But my pessimistic side remembers that once Italians, Catholics, Jews, certain Germans (the ones who came after 1848), and many other groups were once the Non-White Furrin Menace Who Will Never Assimilate and Will Destroy White Civilization, but are now Real True Americans, so now we have new Furrin Menaces to contend with. I fear that in 2052 a female Sufi Mexican-Japanese-American politician will run an Authentic American race-baiting campaign against a suspiciously foreign-like opponent using all these white supremacist tropes, and it will still seem like it makes sense to people. And it will work because an economic aristocracy will bankroll it for their own advantage.

#52 ::: giltay ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2012, 12:57 PM:

rm @43: Someone might say that Mitt's ads aren't legitimate racism.

#53 ::: pacific ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2012, 08:05 AM:

Obama was NOT a professor at Harvard. HE simply went on and on spouting typical leftist Irish bullshit and never let Graham get a word in. Leftists like Higgins never discuss. They lambaste and shout their opponents down with slogans.

#54 ::: Lee sees a drive-by ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2012, 10:52 AM:

No history, boilerplate, unrelated to the conversation.

#55 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2012, 11:03 AM:

In more cheerful news, FiveThirtyEight's prediction of Obama's electoral total is back up above 300.

#56 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2012, 11:08 AM:

Not boilerplate, if you mean copypasta; Googling "Obama was NOT a professor at Harvard. HE simply went" gets only this page. Talking points, maybe, but not astroturf spam or anything.

#57 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2012, 11:10 AM:

Lee @54:

pacific is reacting to the Higgins video in the OP. It isn't related to the subsequent conversation, but if someone wants to plaster himself in strips of tissue paper, hand round baseball bats and tie himself to a rafter, well there ya go.

Probably not much candy in it, though.

#58 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2012, 03:47 PM:

abi: Have I mentioned recently how really very much I enjoy your moderatorial comments? Hee hee hee.

#59 ::: Laina ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2012, 09:38 PM:

abi, I just wanted to second Jacque's comment.

#60 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2012, 10:50 PM:

I listened to the Higgins thing and I thought that it was edited so that it was primarily just what Higgins said, with only enough of the host for context. I note that the page had a link to the full program. I'm sure that the host said (or tried to say) much more, really.

#61 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2012, 01:57 AM:

Want to cheer up a bit?

Check out #eastwooding. It appears to have derailed the RNC.

#62 ::: Howard Bannister ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2012, 09:53 AM:

@56--and just to close the loop on the troll regarding whether Obama was a professor, here's to debunk a few fallacies.

Halfway down they have the professor thing. The money quote:

Senior Lecturers are considered to be members of the Law School faculty and are regarded as professors, although not full-time or tenure-track. The title of Senior Lecturer is distinct from the title of Lecturer, which signifies adjunct status. Like Obama, each of the Law School’s Senior Lecturers have high-demand careers in politics or public service, which prevent full-time teaching. Several times during his 12 years as a professor in the Law School, Obama was invited to join the faculty in a full-time tenure-track position, but he declined.

Not that I think anybody here is laboring under any false assumptions about the president. But I like to leave links to the truth whereever a drive-by dropped scattered turds of misinformation.

#63 ::: Eric Walker ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2012, 01:36 AM:

For those seeking soundly done nonpartisan election projections, there are (at least) two good sites besides Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight, those being Electoral Vote, and especially Dr Sam Wang's Princeton Election Consortium. As of the end of August, the various projections for the Electoral College are:

FiveThirtyEight: 304 Obama / 234 Romney (rounded to whole numbers)
Electoral Vote: 332 Obama / 206 Romney
Princeton: 303 Obama / 235 Romney

Electoral Vote has an interesting option: a "Rasmussen-free" count, because Rasmaussen is said to be clearly and defineably biased pro-R (at the moment, though, there is no difference). The "Tipping-point state" table on Electoral Viote is also fascinating. But Dr Sam's looks like the most reliable.

#64 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2012, 03:07 AM:

At first I thought pacific @53 was accusing Obama of "spouting typical leftist Irish bullshit", and I thought "he's got his racial bugaboos a century out of synch!"

#65 ::: Shane ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2012, 06:46 PM:

Coming late to say - *I* always associate the phrase "by any means necessary" with Babylon 5's episode on strike breaking. Spoilers.

The "necessary means" being, in the end, a review of safety procedures, restoring appropriate staffing levels and reduction of expected hours to reasonable overtime. Ends that strike right quick. You betcha.

#66 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2012, 02:16 AM:

An acquaintance of mine has just published an interesting blog post on Six things America must do to restore democracy. I think folks here would actually find it an interesting set of ideas to discuss.

#67 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2012, 02:20 PM:

Tom: His #1 "Teach critical thinking" has me pondering again this idea: Create and produce a highly popular* TV series which displays critical thinking and all its failure modes in an appealing and interesting fashion.

* how to accomplish this part is left as an exercise for the producer, although in this day and age, the web seems like a sweet target.

#68 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2012, 04:52 PM:

I've only run into dogwhistling once that I noticed enough to look up. The Hub City Stompers are a skinhead band with a biracial singer. They have an appalling (but funny) (but appalling) song called "Little Julie Swastiska". The first four lines, for reference:
Whyvr Whyvr pna V or lbhe zna?
Jr'yy or haqrearngu gur furrgf yvxr gur Xh Xyhk Xyna.
Lbh pna or zl svyyl naq V'yy or lbhe fgnyyvba
Gryy nyy lbhe sevraqf V'z whfg n qnex-fxvaarq vgnyvna.

The refrain has the line "With 88 kisses and 14 words of love". It turns out those words are not "We hold these words to be self-evident, that all men are created equal." (Does self-evident count as two words? It's a good line, I'd hate to lose it.) The 88 is also a white supremacist thing.

#69 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2012, 07:21 PM:

Interesting idea, Jacque! Sherlock seems in the ballpark, but not exactly the series you want.

#70 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2012, 08:58 AM:

Sandy B. @ #68: (Does self-evident count as two words? It's a good line, I'd hate to lose it.)

I would normally count "self-evident" as one word, but there's precedent for counting it however best suits your purposes.

(One recalls the famous occasion on which David B. Wake won a word game by claiming "Hyphenated-words-are-argued-about." as a single word.)

#71 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2012, 12:08 PM:

Tom Whitmore @69: Sherlock seems in the ballpark, but not exactly the series you want.

It probably wouldn't take much—I picked up a lot of mine from Heinlein (as well as much of my basic understanding of physics). The little interludes he drops in (Starship Troopers being only the most obvious example) weren't definitive, by any means, but enough to give a sense of the form, and some of the basic questions.

Paul A. @70: One recalls the famous occasion on which David B. Wake won a word game by claiming "Hyphenated-words-are-argued-about." as a single word.

I am reminded of the Scrabble game in the movie Snow Cake.

#72 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2012, 01:01 PM:

Paul A. @70 -- I don't know that story, and I can only just imagine it involving the David B. Wake that I had as a professor at Berkeley (an amphibian specialist).

#73 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2012, 08:46 PM:

Tom Whitmore @ #72:

I noticed him when I was googling (actually quacking) the details, but I don't think it's the same David B. Wake.

The one I'm thinking of was at Birmingham University in the late 1980s. He was present at the birth of a word game involving telling stories that were exactly 100 words long, and wrote the official rules document, which is itself exactly 100 words long - if you accept that "Hyphenated-words-are-argued-about." is one word.

#74 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2012, 11:31 PM:

Paul, #73: Interesting. You are aware that the "drabble" is a fanfic story which is exactly 100 words long, yes? And the "double-drabble" is one which is exactly 200 words long. Both are well-established in the genre, and take considerable thought to write.

#75 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2012, 01:33 AM:

Lee @74: according to the Wikipedia entry, Wake was probably one of the inventors, as he was a co-editor on the eponymous first collections.

#76 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2012, 05:11 AM:

Lee @ #74:

I have a bad habit, when telling anecdotes, of leaving out details that I think are not immediately relevant. I say it's a bad habit because I'm apparently not very good at judging what's relevant, and half the time I end up with people helpfully telling me things I'd chosen to leave out.

Which is to say that I was aware of all that about drabbles (I myself have written quite a few drabbles and double-drabbles, of varying quality), and that they are the very 100-word stories I was speaking of. On reflection, I think "official" may have been overstating the case, but Wake's "Drabble Rules" drabble with the hyphenated final word was published as a foreword in each of the collections Tom Whitmore mentions @ #75.

#77 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2012, 07:33 PM:

"...because that term has never been defined."

Keith Laumer implied that being unnaturally born was something naughty that did not happen to Retief, thus allowing him the presidency on one planet.

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