A word about comments.

Everyone is welcome. Well, just about. If you’re selling cures for That Guy Problem That Dick Butkus Gets Paid To Talk About, take it somewhere else. But honestly, I don’t mind a healthy debate, even a healthy swordfight, as long as it doesn’t get personally abusive. I’ve only banned one commenter on those grounds, and I felt so bad about it I unbanned her a few hours later.

I’ve been a columnist, and at least one of the conservatives who comments here was a loyal reader back in the day, so he’s welcome here. Most of the rest of you found your way here via a different path, and you’re all welcome, too. One of the things that most amuses me about this site is its multi-leveled anarchy. It’s all id. Sometimes it’s worth your time, sometimes it isn’t, sometimes it makes sense, sometimes it doesn’t, and so on. I guess, if I made it About Something and beat the same drum every day I could get more traffic, but then it would bore me. I prefer to have NN.C stick close to its original idea: Let’s you and me have a cup of coffee. Here’s what happened here today. Here’s something interesting I read. How about you?

That said, here’s something I tried to post in the comments of the thread below, about federally funded abstinence programs. I got banned, and for the life of me I can’t figure out why. Huh. Anyway, y’all can take it away:

As the religious right settles in for its long reign of terror (yes, I’m being snarky), I’m really worried that we’re going to go backwards in some alarming ways.

It wouldn’t bother me a bit if more teenagers — if all teenagers — choose to abstain from sex, but I want them to do so for the right reasons, not because they’re convinced they can get HIV from kissing or pregnant from touching the opposite sex’s naughty bits. As the Faber College founder said, “Knowledge is good.” Ignorance is bad.

I read the other day that a majority of Americans now doesn’t believe in evolution. (“It’s just a theory!”) What does it mean when they get their mitts on school boards all over the country? What happens when an evangelical Christian world view starts to inform social studies on a national scale? We’re getting a taste with this stuff.

Posted at 8:55 am in Uncategorized |
 

17 responses to “A word about comments.”

  1. juan said on December 4, 2004 at 10:27 am

    While you are, by-and-large, fearmongering, Ms. Nancy, you make good points, and I agree with many of them.

    Unfortunately, the Abstainence/Sex Ed question is just the straw man for the pushback against 30 years of unchallenged liberal brainwashing in acedemia. It’s a goofy place to make a stand, I’ll grant you, but it’s just the bright line around which the opposition can gather.

    How about we strike a compromise, though? Can we do that? You give me the right/the portablity to take my tax dollars to the school of my choice, and THEN, instead of being one of those mouthbreathing idiots calling for a specific teachers job at the School Board Meeting, I can just quietly take my kids to a school where the message agrees with my values?

    Wouldn’t that be cool?

  2. juan said on December 4, 2004 at 10:35 am

    You know, the more I think about it, the more I’m reminded of that brilliant line from Ang Lee’s Civil War epic, “Ride With The Devil.”

    When the two Missourians (ahem, blush) are discussing the inevitablity of the coming war, one asks the other why he’s so sure that a civil war is coming.

    His response: “Because we don’t give a damn about how them Yankees teach their children, but they aint gonna rest until they damn sure tell us how we’re gonna teach ours.”

    That says it all. Historically pithy, and yet… prophetic!

  3. Danny said on December 4, 2004 at 7:48 pm

    Juan, regarding your first post, I agree with all of it, excepting your supposition that Nance is a fear monger. I find her logical and reasonable and though I may disagree with some of her politics, I think she and many here are willing to see another side to the story.

    Regarding the second post, great quote and I think it applies somewhat. One problem. I am loathe for anyone to use the rallying cry of the antebellum South as an example of how we ought to frame the current political conversation in the US.

    First, though rhetoric can get hot, I do not think that our liberal friends here are our enemies. Kind words deflect wrath.

    Second, the South of the past has no moral highground…why resurrect that abominable specter? I do not in any way associate modern conservatism in the US with that and anyone who does is just being silly. Note, I am not calling you silly. I am just thinking of how in the past two election cycles, the DNC has trotted out these foolish, groundless comparisons of the GOP to the Jim Crow south.

    That dumabass, Bob Herbert, on the NYT editorial board was pissing and moaning for several months about how Republicans were seeking to “suppress the minority vote.” Now, of course, he hasn’t a damn thing to say about that (because he was full of crap). But he and those like him will start up the BS next election cycle.

  4. juan said on December 5, 2004 at 7:37 pm

    One of these days, Danny, do yourself a favor and comment on the post that I actually wrote, and not the one you wished I wrote.

    Another byproduct of liberals in acedemia is the pervasive belief that the Civil War was fought over the issue of slavery.

    Slavery was an afterthought. The emancipation proclamation didn’t come into the picture until well into the war when the North was losing and Abe needed to motivate Northern troops fighting on “foriegn” soil.

    The American Civil War was started for the same reason that the Rawandan Civil War was started, and every other Civil War in the history of the world has been fought. Values. Differering values. And usually exacerbated by one faction forcing their values on the other.

    What qualifies as the “dominant culture?” How important is that distinction when there is a 5% deviation in two disparately different visions of the “dominant culture?” Yikes!

    The small “c” civil war over values has already begun. 40% of the electorate absolutely HATES their President, and it isn’t for who he is, it’s for the success of the values that he champions… Values that were always so easily dismissable before they had a figurehead.

    You don’t need to defend (**COUGHasskissCOUGH**) Ms. Nancy. She’s plenty brilliant and articulate to defend herself. That’s why I’m here. And, Danny, if “As the religious right settles in for it’s long reign of terror…” (however passive-agressively tongue-in-cheek that it’s offered) doesn’t qualify for fearmongering in your world, that’s cool. Say hello to the lollipop gend’arms and cottoncandy fairies for me, brother.

  5. brian stouder said on December 5, 2004 at 8:44 pm

    Juan, I do not subscribe to your point of view.

    As for the American Civil War’s origins, I subscribe to Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address.

    an excerpt, wherein he addresses the exact point of the relation of slavery to the origins of the war.

    “One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war, while the Government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. “Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh.” If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”

  6. Nance said on December 5, 2004 at 8:47 pm

    Yeah, me neither, Juan.

    Jeez, Brian, did you just type that whole thing? Tell me you found it somewhere, cut and pasted. One of — no, the best political speech ever. Spare, unsparing, pure poetry.

  7. Danny said on December 5, 2004 at 9:07 pm

    juan, thankfully some others responded before I got a chance. Your very first statement that I did not comment to something you actually wrote is one of the least ridiculous things you have typed to date.

    I s’pose you call it the war of “N’awthn Agression.”

    [snort]

  8. juan said on December 5, 2004 at 10:07 pm

    No, you are showing your ignorance yet again, Danny. The North didn’t start the war. Read a book, brother. Fort Sumptner was a pre-emptive pushback from the South.

    Yet another popular misconception. Lincoln didn’t attact the South to free the slaves, folks. The South seceeded. Lincoln said no. Well into the war, abolition became the cause juste.

    You know what my second grade teacher told us? When asked whether Missouri was a slave or free state, she told us that in Missouri, people “could do whatever they wanted.” Sheesh.

    Lincoln’s second innaugural address was given in 1865… AT THE END OF THE WAR. Brian, you are only stoking the fires of my assertion. The Civil War was not about abolition. The Civil War was about values. Sorry.

    I respect your collective right to be wrong… but you are (collectively) wrong.

    I’m not defending the South, Brainiac. I hate no one for their ideology. But after years of cringing with embarassment every time Pat Buchannon opened his mouth, I’m starting to wonder if his “culture war” wasn’t as overstated as it seemed 10 years ago. You are the one that extrapolated that a movie quote was somehow an endorsement of slavery.

  9. ashley said on December 6, 2004 at 12:39 am

    Holy cow.

    It is really bizarre when I find out with whom I agree!

    “Because we don’t give a damn about how them Yankees teach their children, but they aint gonna rest until they damn sure tell us how we’re gonna teach ours.”: Nice quote, Juan. Definitely prophetic.

    “I am just thinking of how in the past two election cycles, the DNC has trotted out these foolish, groundless comparisons of the GOP to the Jim Crow south.” Exactly. The party of Kerry was also the party of Clinton and Kennedy and Lester Maddox. The party of W was also the party of Lincoln and Nixon and Reagan. What have you done for me lately, everybody?

    And juan, I am shocked and amazed that I agree with your opine about the origin of the war between the states. Go figure.

    Although, I think you’re stone cold wrong to blame this on liberals in academia. I’m one of the farthest left of anybody that posts here, and I think I’m the only university professor. This just came about because the yankees won the war, and the yankees write the history books. By making it sound like the yankees were valiantly carrying the flag of the just, they’ve succeeded in rewriting history.

    Hate to tell y’all this, but the USA had slavery since the USA was founded. Way, way before the CSA existed. Please note that I am not defending slavery in any way, shape, or form.

    My big question to you juan, is why do you think that liberals dominate academia? According to a NYT article last month, it is along the lines of 10:1.

    I’ll tell you why. Because people that read become liberal. At least, that’s if they understood what they read. Conservatives typically do not value doing anything for the public good unless it lines their pockets. Conservatives don’t believe in art the sake of art, or social justice, or any of the other “tree hugging” causes that the liberals champion. People that get PhDs usually have a higher purpose than the acquisition of wealth.

    I just detest the whole “school vouchers” debate. If you don’t like the school in your district, then either 1) move, and contribute to “white flight” (oh, and you’ll have to move again in 7 years), 2) change it. Raise teacher salaries. Become a teacher yourself. If you take your tax money out, then you’re widening the chasm.

    Like a friend of mine said: “Re-elect Bush. Accellerate the revolution”.

  10. brian stouder said on December 6, 2004 at 9:15 am

    First, sorry for the long post – but when I read

    “This just came about because the yankees won the war, and the yankees write the history books.”

    I had to chuckle.

    Yankees like Douglas Southall Freeman, or Shelby Foote, or for that matter, Margaret Mitchell & Hollywood?

    Juan moved the ball. He says “Well into the war, abolition became the cause juste.”

    Fair enough.

    But that sidesteps that the institution of slavery was still a fundemental cause of the war, leaving aside that the Union war aim moved from preserving the Union (as opposed to Greely’s “Erring sisters, go in peace” solution to the secession crisis) to emancipation and “henceforth, forever free”

    Just finished Allen Guelzo’s book on Abraham Lincoln; met him when he was at the Lincoln colloquium here in good ol’ Fort Wayne’s Lincoln Museum (he looks and speaks very much like Kelsey Grammer of “Frazier”!) – and I highly recommend it to Ash and Juan, if they really are interested in this issue (as opposed to “trolling”!!).

    And Juan, Harold Holzer (who was also here in September, and with whom one could have a lively and humorous discussion, if one mentioned the city he loves [NYC] and the hated GOP convention!!) wrote a great book about Lincoln’s speech at Cooper Union.

    The Cooper Union speech is lengthy (a 90 minute oration) and hugely consequential. He delivered it in 1860 (note to Juan: BEFORE the war), and it was the first look that a New York City audience and the big eastern press establishment got of this odd looking, oddly compelling prairie lawyer and political wannabe; in fact it was the formal beginning of Lincoln’s presidential campaign (or trial balloon, really), and it was followed be a half dozen stops in other east coast venues where he repeated the speech.

    That speech, and the Brady image he had snapped while in NYC, as much as any other single thing, made Lincoln president.

    And from beginning to end, it addresses one issue…. and I’ll grant Juan that fundementally slavery IS a “values” issue, but nonetheless, slavery in particular, and how to deal with it so that it would be “in the course of ultimate extinction” was what acctuated and animated Abraham Lincoln from the Kansas/Nebraska act (aka- the repeal of the Missouri Compromise) onward…!!!

    btw Nance – the 2nd Inaugural excerpt was indeed a copy/paste!! And agreed, that speech is, to me, Lincoln’s greatest. It has to warm the heart of an editor such as yourself when he OPENS by saying that the occasion is even LESS fit for an extended address than his first inauguration; praising that economy with words that is your stock in trade!

  11. TSO said on December 6, 2004 at 11:02 am

    There’s plenty of ignorance on both the right and the left (Communism sounded so good on paper) so it’s only fair that both sides get their chance to inflict pain.

    When ignorance reaches critical mass the pendulum swings & the other side wins gets the chance to screw things up in new, fresh and exciting ways.

  12. juan said on December 6, 2004 at 3:31 pm

    “This just came about because the yankees won the war, and the yankees write the history books.”

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    This was bouncing around in my head after I logged off last night, Ash. “Winners write the history books.” I think that’s what you meant to say. Unfortunately Brian jumped all over a minor mispeak and ran with it at full speed in the wrong direction. Sigh.

    “Hate to tell y’all this, but the USA had slavery since the USA was founded. Way, way before the CSA existed.”

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Yep. The Missouri Compromise was supposed to acknowledge the “right” of the South to keep their slaves. It was Southern paranoia about the expansion of Western states that was their undoing. The North (begrudgingly) gave their stamp of approval to slavery before the war. And now you know… the REST of the story.

    Please note that I am not defending slavery in any way, shape, or form.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Yep. Rational people understand this, brother. Unfortunately, certain dumbasses among us saw the word “slavery” in your post and called the FBI to report you for your kingpin role in a White Slavery ring.

    “My big question to you juan, is why do you think that liberals dominate academia?”

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~“

    Uhm… Good question! I guess it is because academics generally become academics as a result of a constant progression through academia. Not a lot of them come from outside academia, a/k/a the “Real World” a/k/a “The Working World.” Cults breed cultists. That’s a oversimplified response to an interesting question. I apologize for the brusque tenor my response takes in it’s brevity. I’ll think on that one.

    “I’ll tell you why. Because people that read become liberal. At least, that’s if they understood what they read.”

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~“

    …And then Ashley walked into the forest of ad hominem and chewed the trees. Dang, dude. You were so rational there for a minute. Sigh.

    “People that get PhDs usually have a higher purpose than the acquisition of wealth.”

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~“

    I’ll buy that. To their great credit.

    “If you don’t like the school in your district, then either 1) move,”

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~““`

    Ash, if I said “AMERICA! LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT!” it would take you all of two seconds to jump on the specious nature of such a foolish maxim. You’d lecture me about an individual’s right to make meaningful changes to their enviornment. I’ll leave further implication hanging.

    “2) change it.”

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~“

    That WAS the point…

    “Raise teacher salaries.”

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~“`

    Amen. Teachers and Cops should make more than doctors and lawyers.

    “Become a teacher yourself.”

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~“

    Naw. I couldn’t deal with the mouthbreathers doubleguessing me at the school board meeting. My deepest respect to those who choose this path.

    “If you take your tax money out, then you’re widening the chasm.”

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~“

    No chasm in my neighborhood. I’m a rich Republican, remember? My school district is the second best in my state. But I understand your concern. You are talking white flight. I was talking forced values. It’s a sticky wicket.

  13. juan said on December 6, 2004 at 3:47 pm

    Oh good Lord! All of this bloviating because a quote came from a Civil War movie!

    SIMPSONS COMIC BOOK GUY (Walking down the street, reading a comic:) “Aquaman! You cannot marry a woman without fins! You are from two different worlds!” (looks up and sees a nuclear ICBM heading toward his forehead) “Oh. I’ve wasted my life.”

  14. ashley said on December 6, 2004 at 8:55 pm

    “This just came about because the yankees won the war, and the yankees write the history books.”

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    This was bouncing around in my head after I logged off last night, Ash. “Winners write the history books.” I think that’s what you meant to say. Unfortunately Brian jumped all over a minor mispeak and ran with it at full speed in the wrong direction. Sigh.

    Yep. That’s exactly what I meant to say. I should have paraphrased it so that it read “textbooks” instead of “history books”, as current HS textbooks make the war between the states about as black and white (no pun intended) as it can be.

    “Cults breed cultists.” Oh yeah. I have seen so many PhD students forced to put the pods in their trunk. Fortunately, my PhD was in a scientific field. They usually aren’t as bad. Many people I knew in the humanities could only “successfully” defend their thesis if it towed their advisor’s line.

    “I’ll tell you why. Because people that read become liberal. At least, that’s if they understood what they read.”

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~“

    …And then Ashley walked into the forest of ad hominem and chewed the trees. Dang, dude. You were so rational there for a minute. Sigh.

    Sorry I forgot to tell everyone that I set the snark-o-meter on “obliterate” there. ;^)

    “If you don’t like the school in your district, then either 1) move,”

    I only mentioned this because in the quaint little town where I got my B.S. degree is the most amazing case of white flight I’ve ever seen. The town is on a county border, and all of the good-ole-boys moved to the other (lily-white) county. The core of the city keeps moving westward, and of course, everyone still works in the other county. So they’ve basically abandoned the schools. It is truly depressing.

    —-

    “Raise teacher salaries.”

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~“`

    Amen. Teachers and Cops should make more than doctors and lawyers.

    Well, lawyers, anyway. I’d keep the doctors up there on the scale.

    —-

    “If you take your tax money out, then you’re widening the chasm.”

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~“

    No chasm in my neighborhood. I’m a rich Republican, remember? My school district is the second best in my state. But I understand your concern. You are talking white flight. I was talking forced values. It’s a sticky wicket.

    Sticky indeed.

  15. Richard N. / Toronto said on December 8, 2004 at 5:13 pm

    Random comments on random comments …

    About abstinence/sex ed., I only have my own experience – I’m a bit older than NN. I saw “Boy into Man” and “Girl into Woman” (I think those were the titles) in “health” class in the mid-60s and they made no sense. Like many, I learned about sex in my girlfriend’s parents’ living room (when the parents weren’t there, I’ll be quick to add!). Decent sex ed., by which I mean something more, um, crisp, would’ve been welcome though, in the end, nothing bad happened to me (or my girlfriend).

    When my daughter, now 24, was going through school, sex ed. was surprisingly practical. Here in heathenish Toronto she & her classmates put condoms on bananas. (I couldn’t resist telling her I hoped they weren’t ripe!)

    But she grew up in an amazingly sex-soaked era. With normal access to TV and movies she and her stepbrother knew far, far, far more about sex than I did at the same age.

    But is there really a big difference? Even in my parents’ era people with good intentions still had pre-marital teenage sex – I recently discovered I have a half-sister older than me, to prove it! It’s my impression (right or wrong) that high-school kids don’t have much more sex than, say, my generation had. But at least they know about condoms.

    About believing in evolution … most Americans (and Canadians, too, I believe) claim they believe in angels, too. But if a pal of theirs showed up at work one day announcing an angel had told them to sell their house and sleep under a bridge, they’d make a discreet call to the employee assistance programme.

    Evolution is, socially, intellectually, totally accepted. How many ads do you see announcing “The Evolution of the Car”? Most folks believe in evolution – they just don’t want to admit it to survey-takers. 🙂

  16. Danny said on December 9, 2004 at 10:05 am

    Evolution is, socially, intellectually, totally accepted. How many ads do you see announcing “The Evolution of the Car”? Most folks believe in evolution – they just don’t want to admit it to survey-takers. 🙂

    I think that what most people believe in is micro-evolution. Your example of the car is appropriate. A given car can turn into a better car or even a truck, but it will never become a battleship. I have a few friends who are geneticists and Christians. To a person, they agree with this understanding.

    One creationist I have heard put it this way. When a text book states something happened billions of years ago, it is like they are saying “long ago and far away.” The evolutionary scientists keep periodically increase the scale of time as they keep making new discoveries that require more time to be remotely reasonable.

  17. Patriot said on July 20, 2005 at 1:10 pm

    Remember, you wanted it this way. No quarter, no mercy.