Like many of you (I hope), I’ve been whipsawed by the events at the University of Missouri this week. Every time I feel somewhat heartened by a student body that has managed to look up from its phones and get exercised about something important, they do something to make me think they’re only the left’s version of the tea party, angry and intolerant and unrealistic and unbending.
Lately I’m thinking the latter. There’s the professor shutting down the photographers with a call for “muscle,” the Mao-esque list of demands, all of it. Today the campus virtually shut down because some cowardly dipshit was on Yik Yak calling down thunderbolts of violence. Stop acting like such fucking morons, you morons.
It’s depressing. But every movement has its embarrassments. This is just the left’s turn.
It’s a Wednesday (Thursday as you read this), and despite some storm clouds on my fair brow over Missouri, it’s been a pretty good week. I’m (so far) evading the cold that felled Alan earlier a few days ago. Getting stuff done. Thinking of the future, a rare treat in anyone’s work schedule — mine, anyway. I dare not say I am crushing it, because that would invite bad karma, but things are going well. How often do I say that?
A little bit of bloggage, then:
I have felt this way for many years: It’s wrong, and unhealthy for everyone, to pay too much attention to your children and not enough to your marriage — if you are married. See what you think.
Interesting take on Missouri-related issues by Jonathan Chait.
Do the One Million Moms even exist? Neil Steinberg considers their, er, influence.
Outta here. The downslope of the week, already.
Brandon said on November 12, 2015 at 1:35 am
(It’s Wednesday night in Hawaii as I type this.) I’m glad I went to college where and when I did.
chuckie said on November 12, 2015 at 1:52 am
The most significant thing in all this Mizzou hoo-hah is that it’s very likely all based on bullshit, as an old platoon sergeant in my army past used to say. To say the grievances here are flimsy seriously understates the case, as well as not so much as an i-phone snapshot (the poop swastika) or corroboration of any kind, makes this whole episode seem to smell like another in a long list of hoaxes lately involving campuses all over the country. I’d like to add more, but it’s late.
Sherri said on November 12, 2015 at 2:19 am
If you don’t pay attention to your marriage, then when the kids are gone, what are you going to do? I’ve seen a spate of divorces among friends and acquaintances as empty nesthood approaches.
The One Million Moms are a creation of the American Family Association, which has been calling for boycotts and protesting TV shows and movies since the days of the Moral Majority. Within their world, I guess they have influence; they do own about 150 radio stations, mostly in towns you’ve never heard of unless you’ve lived near them.
Deborah said on November 12, 2015 at 4:06 am
I’ve been busy with company the last few days and haven’t kept up with current events. I managed to find out that the president and chancellor at the U of MO resigned as a result of students protesting about racial issues and that the protestors included football players. But what else is going on there? Something to do with suppressing journalists? I don’t understand??
alex said on November 12, 2015 at 7:07 am
I have some trouble with Jonathan Chait’s assessment that the Mizzou brouhaha constitutes an intolerance of dissent.
The Black Lives Matter movement is genuine dissent. It arose in reaction to the cynical (and widely successful) efforts by right-wing media to exploit racial animus, first by their recasting of the Trayvon Martin story as a victory of white over black, then the same with Ferguson and every other white-on-black police brutality incident that has emerged since. Fox et al. now pretend that the police are victims of the PC left and deny Black Lives Matter any legitimacy whatsoever in a further cynical effort to fan the flames that they ignited. This is hate speech, disingenuously and convolutedly camouflaged, but hate speech nonetheless. It should not be conflated with such an honorable thing as dissent. It does not deserve a place at the table as far as I’m concerned.
Even as misguided as some young people on the left may be, I find it heartening that there is a growing backlash against the sort of creeping hate speech that society has passively allowed to become the new normal.
Wim said on November 12, 2015 at 7:21 am
Save for the fact that he’s writing about an event occurring in 2015, Chait reads like he’s writing for an issue of National Review in 1985. If “interesting” means doctrinaire legacy whining about “p.c.” then, yeah, it’s an interesting take.
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 12, 2015 at 7:27 am
“One Million Moms” is like certain church people who come to the pastor, not infrequently by anonymous note, to tell them about what “many people are saying.”
Or as our chair of the elders said when I passed along my latest unsigned missive, “That’s what we have that shredder for in the office, Jeff. Use it.”
coozledad said on November 12, 2015 at 7:43 am
Tim Wolfe stood in front of a group of students and told them point blank that “systemic racism means you people don’t believe you already have equal rights” The vaunted free press isn’t running that over the airwaves because it makes a white authority figure look like a puddle of unregenerate sixties cotton state dogshit.
I don’t know why a (White) media professor decided she’d step in and ask for the press to be removed, but if anything, it was a great white father overreaction to the hatchet job American media took to the protests in Ferguson, and the narrative of “look at these darkies running wild in the streets” to sell dick pills on TV and a new level of comfort with Republican politicians who are gutter racists. A “let us return to the frontier days of unquestioned white racial authoriteh” just in time for the election.
I can understand the students’ desire to control, insofar as possible, the narrative. You could compare it to the Republican’s inability to face simple questions in an already tightly controlled debate format, if you were willing to make the kind of stretch we’ve become accustomed to from Wolf Blitzer, but not if you’re a sentient being.
But we’ve already made that stretch, so let’s go ahead and stretch some more, and say that in this bloody year, it’s an overreaction to suggest that some white lowlife would turn a gun on some kids in the confines of a school. Let’s stretch it some more to say when they find a white punk making the threats, that it’s just another day, and why can’t these black kids grow up. Let’s even stretch it some fucking more, and suggest that the black kids have set the whole thing up by being blackity blacks, and wanting a shred of power, like blackity blacks do.
And while we’re at it, buried under what CNN or Fox wants you to hear, is the truth, which is that many whites will fight every effort at a power sharing arrangement with blacks, and when blacks have exercised political power, it raises the hackles on the necks of the folks holding the TV cameras.
I spent a day marching with a group that had walked from Selma Alabama and would end up in DC a few days later. Not a single local news organization turned out to film that day. A couple of days later one of the marchers died before they reached their destination. There was coverage of it in the UK press.
There is no Tea Party equivalent on the left. There is no Klan, Christian Identity, Aryan Nations, or Concerned Citizen’s Council equivalent on the left. These are all creatures of a craven, violent authoritarian right whose membership consistently caucuses with your “moderate Republicans”.
The groups on the “Left fringe” are demonstrating for the right to vote, for fair wages, and for equal access to education. They’re not waving guns around like Republican trash. But whatever.
This is going to be at best, a Yahoo comment thread. Chuckie’s begun it.
coozledad said on November 12, 2015 at 7:59 am
This isn’t a black problem. It’s a white problem:
Where does this guy fit on the Republican scale? Moderate? Tea Party? Oath Keeper?
Part of the problem is the media’s struggle to define terror as a nonwhite phenomenon.
brian stouder said on November 12, 2015 at 9:02 am
I think the Missouri story drives the rightwing a little crazy, because the mechanism by which positive change occurred was a classic oligarchic powerplay! The right practically has a registered trademark on power-elite command and control mechanisms….but in Missouri, the football team and their coach flattened the otherwise non-responsive head of that institution.
To which I say – Huzzah!! Huzzah!!
nancy said on November 12, 2015 at 9:20 am
Needless to say, if these were white folks protecting a geezer rancher in Nevada who doesn’t feel like paying his grazing fees, the narrative would be different. But I persist in wanting my side to be better than the other side, and that list of demands made my head hurt. It’s possible to work toward a more inclusive, diverse campus and not sound so…North Korean.
BTW, what is the African-American enrollment at this school? Since Michigan took race out of its enrollment decisions for higher ed, the population of black kids at U-M, for one, has dropped even lower than it was — and it wasn’t high to begin with. Walk across the drag, and the visible of-color faces are all Asian or south Asian. You see black kids in onesies and twosies, but they hardly reach much critical mass.
brian stouder said on November 12, 2015 at 9:24 am
…and on the other hand, the football team has a racial composition that contrasts with the college composition
john not mccain said on November 12, 2015 at 9:29 am
Yeah, how silly it is for black people to take online threats posted against them seriously. When have bigots ever turned violent?
Judybusy said on November 12, 2015 at 9:35 am
I came across this distressing news today: a Utah judge gave an order for a foster child to be removed from a lesbian household because his research shows kids are better off in het households. Actually, no. Research beginning in the 80s shows kids raised in lesbian households are safer and grow up better-adjusted. The child is also on track to be adopted, with the blessing of the bio mom and the local child welfare agency. Here’s a WaPo article on it: http://tinyurl.com/p56c5r9
Alex and Cooze, thank you. That’s usually my take on accusations of political correctness as well: a phrase created to suppress dissent of all the various forms of oppression.
velvet goldmine said on November 12, 2015 at 10:08 am
There’s an assumption in some quarters that the students are over-reacting; that there’s a kind of mass hysteria taking place similar to Tea Party outrage over a perceived slight. I tend to disagree with that — where I do find an equivalent is the press’ reaction to the professor turning away the photographer.
Where are the cooler heads that understand that this was one heated moment in a chaotic week? That associate communication professors are not the same thing as seasoned press liaisons? That while first amendment/public space conflicts and the “safe space vs. intellectual rigor” question are absolutely necessary conversations to have, they are side dishes to the entree.
“The default for avoiding discussion of racism is to invoke a separate principle, one with which few would disagree in the abstract—free speech, respectful participation in class—as the counterpoint to the violation of principles relating to civil rights. This is victim-blaming with a software update, with less interest in the kind of character assassination we saw deployed against Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown than in creating a seemingly right-minded position that serves the same effect.”
alex said on November 12, 2015 at 10:15 am
Oh, and Chuckie at #2:
Here’s the real poop for those whose heads are up their own asses.
brian stouder said on November 12, 2015 at 10:23 am
Oxy-Rush took a big bite of the rightwing road-apple yesterday, too – declaring the fecal swastika a complete fraud.
brian stouder said on November 12, 2015 at 10:39 am
…and come to think of it, since Thanksgiving is now 2 weeks away, the fecal-matter thing will almost certainly arise, from the cranky brother-in-law (et al)
Sherri said on November 12, 2015 at 10:57 am
I think that before we decide that anybody has overreacted or is being intolerant, we should consider whether we have ever spent a significant portion of time in an environment where we were such a minority, where so few people were like us, where even people who didn’t mean ill felt free to make jokes about us and people who did felt free to be threatening and nobody in power took anything about it seriously or saw anything related about any incidents. In other words, walk a mile in their shoes…
I believe that African-Americans make up about 6% of the students at Mizzou, but over 60% of the football team.
brian stouder said on November 12, 2015 at 11:05 am
….and even when conscience is otherwise quiescent, cash is king.
I’ve read that the institution looked to losing more than a million dollars, if their team boycotted their game
Sherri said on November 12, 2015 at 12:03 pm
Brian, a million dollars was just what Mizzou would have owed BYU, their opponent, for the game. The game is going to be played in Kansas City at Arrowhead Stadium, and I haven’t read anything about the contractual arrangements there and what it would have cost them to cancel that at the last minute, not to mention lost ticket revenues. I don’t know whether they will get any of the concession money or not, either. Presumably, they or the SEC also would have owed money to ESPN, which is televising the game, had the game not been played.
And finally, let’s point out that Gary Pinkel, the football coach, makes $4 million/year, while Wolfe, President of the University of Missouri system (not just that campus, as I understand it), made less than $500K.
Jolene said on November 12, 2015 at 12:35 pm
Off-topic, but delightful: Julia Child’s cottage in France is for sale for not much more than a home in a moderately upscale American suburb might cost. A sweet story of how it came to be, how it changed hands when she and her husband could no longer easily travel there, and how it’s been used since then.
I haven’t read any bios of her, but, from the outside, it seems like she made herself a lovely life. She found both love and work, the keys to happiness according to S. Freud. And her friends were James Beard and M.F.K. Fisher.
Suzanne said on November 12, 2015 at 12:44 pm
If I start a GoFundMe account, will you all contribute to help me buy Julia’s house? It looks lovely!
Jolene said on November 12, 2015 at 12:50 pm
Perhaps we could buy shares and take turns vacationing there.
Actually, I don’t expect it to stay on the market 24 hours. I’m surprised they could get an article written and published before it sold. There are a lot of people in the world who can easily write a check for 880K.
Bitter Scribe said on November 12, 2015 at 1:34 pm
Those Missouri kids lost me when they turned on the student journalists. WTF? They protest in public but think the public hasn’t any right to know about it?
Jolene said on November 12, 2015 at 2:18 pm
They protest in public but think the public hasn’t any right to know about it?
At a public institution, no less. I didn’t actually find their demands especially off-putting. Basically, they are asking for more input, more transparency, more support for minority students, and more focus on recruiting of minority students, faculty, and staff. The phrasing is somewhat petulant and not always grammatical, but all universities worry about these issues.
What is rarely acknowledged is the length of the pipeline, even to produce students capable of graduating, but especially to produce tenure-track faculty. Such jobs generally require at least four years of postgraduate education, often more. Any member of a minority group who satisfactorily completes a PhD is almost guaranteed multiple offers for faculty jobs. Also important is that faculty jobs, at most schools, are very demanding and not especially well paid. Minorities who finish college may have opportunities that are more readily available and more attractive than becoming faculty members.
Of course, the unavailability of minority faculty has its roots in other societal problems, but the idea that any university could recruit more minority faculty if only it would is just wrong.
Scout said on November 12, 2015 at 2:22 pm
There is nothing on the left that comes even close to the hysteria and nuttiness on the right. I’m on the students’ side on this issue, even if they are not doing everything exactly right. It is not PC to expect that intolerance will not be tolerated, and Chait sounds like he has been drinking from the David Brooks cup of fake centrist koolaid.
Sherri said on November 12, 2015 at 2:33 pm
A different perspective on the students and the student journalist: https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/erik-wemple/wp/2015/11/12/journalist-on-mizzou-clash-photojournalist-tim-tai-clearly-escalated-the-situation/
Jolene said on November 12, 2015 at 2:34 pm
Just after posting the comment above, I found this article about the grad school experience in my Facebook newsfeed. Could explain why minority students, who may already feel isolated and burdened, look elsewhere.
nancy said on November 12, 2015 at 2:37 pm
The poop swastika almost beggars belief, but I’ll take the cops’ word for it. There’s just something so, so vile about handling human feces, my immediate response is pix-or-it-didn’t-happen. Plus, feces were part of the Tawana Brawley story, and that absolutely was a hoax. It’s almost like shit is the shiny object that makes everyone recoil, say UGH and immediately leap to the conclusion that WHOEVER DID THIS MUST BE A MONSTER. It just trips my (sorry) bullshit detector.
Kirk said on November 12, 2015 at 3:23 pm
I’m glad to see the dipshit communications professor at Mizzou who was trying to keep the press from doing its job has lost her courtesy status (whatever that is) on the journalism faculty. She actually is a professor of pop culture bullshit. For the press (which, as we all know, is a monolith; just ask everyone who pisses on it whenever it’s convenient) not to make note of her role in the confrontation — on the campus of what long has been known as the top or one of the top jourmalism schools in the country — would have been negligent. No over-reaction there, nor did any reporting I saw make it the central issue.
For the record, the press (all is one, one is all) did report the ex-president’s comment about systemic oppression and is managed to get far beyond Missouri’s borders.
Deborah said on November 12, 2015 at 3:26 pm
The poop story isn’t a stretch to me, I know someone personally who went off the deep end, got really mad at her husband for some reason or another and used dog poop to write a message to him on the outside of their recreational vehicle. She ended up spending a few days in a psychiatric ward. At least we think it was dog poop. She was extremely agitated so who knows for sure.
alex said on November 12, 2015 at 3:30 pm
Anyone who has worn a plastic grocery bag as a mitt on a morning walk is well past the heebies of handling feces. Who’s to say the subject writing utensils weren’t found on the ground outside?
Charlotte said on November 12, 2015 at 5:24 pm
Jolene — nothing in the PhD story surprises me. I finished, but in a program where I didn’t have any real mentoring, and where both my creative and academic interests were considered uninteresting at best, slightly batshit at worst. I ran intermittent fevers of between 99 and 103 for three years, and suffered a health breakdown the summer before I finished the likes of which I’ve not seen in the 15 years since I left academia. And when I returned to Utah a year later on my book tour (with a major publisher) not one single person from the department showed up at my reading. I’ve never regretted finishing, but I haven’t regretted leaving either.
coozledad said on November 12, 2015 at 5:56 pm
Don’t believe things Republicans say. They are liars, and they merely think you are weaklings when you trust them.
Have a good sniff of this:
I guess the next time some piece of white trash rolls up and shoots some black people, we can go through all the fakeass white pearl clutching until we can find a Republican whose ‘change of heart” makes a heartwarmin’ story.
Sherri said on November 12, 2015 at 5:59 pm
Nothing in the PhD story surprises me, either. I left a top notch PhD program after two and a half years, because I couldn’t stand it anymore. My husband finished, but only after taking some time off in the middle, and the whole process took 10 years. That was during the brief window when tenure track CS jobs where readily available and there were multiple industry research labs to choose from. There was a lot of funding for CS, and graduate students were cheap labor, and in my area in my department, the average to finish a PhD was 6 years. There were also only two women on the faculty, and one was in her first year after finishing her own PhD my first year in grad school. The joke about the department was that there were more Daves than women, and it was uncomfortably close to literally true.
I don’t regret going, but I don’t regret leaving. I learned a lot, established myself as worthy of being admitted to the program, which meant something in the CS community, and didn’t kill myself, which as an untreated (at the time) depressive alcoholic, is an achievement itself.
Joe K said on November 12, 2015 at 6:03 pm
The student body president at University of Missouri has apologized for spreading false rumors about a “confirmed” instance of Ku Klux Klan members on campus.
Payton Head, who is black, warned students on Facebook Tuesday to “stay away from windows in residence halls,” because the “KKK has been confirmed to be sighted on campus.” He also purported to be “working with” the University of Missouri Police Department (MUPD), the state trooper and National Guard over the alleged threat.
Mr. Head eventually deleted the post, and @MUAlert, the university’s emergency update system, tweeted the following: “There is no immediate threat to campus. Please do not spread rumors and follow @MUAlert at http://mualert.missouri.edu for updates.”
Mr. Head took to his Facebook page Wednesday to apologize for spreading the rumor.
“I’m sorry about the misinformation that I have shared through social media,” he wrote. “In a state of alarm, I was concerned for all students of the University of Missouri and wanted to ensure that everyone was safe. I received and shared information from multiple incorrect sources, which I deeply regret. The last thing needed is to incite more fear in the hearts of our community.”
Mr. Head faced numerous calls for resignation over the incident,
In other news I kinda find it ironic that the young man on the hunger strike protesting white privileges has a father that made 8.4 million last year,
Sherri said on November 12, 2015 at 6:03 pm
And, I’d add, I’m a little tired of the pipeline argument, since I’ve been hearing it for 30 years with regards to women in tech. The pipeline isn’t as big a problem as retention; women leave tech before they get to higher positions in industry and academia. Tech is always happy to do things to get more middle school and high school girls interested in tech; they’re less interested in changing things so that women stay in tech.
coozledad said on November 12, 2015 at 6:12 pm
In other news I kinda find it ironic that the young man on the hunger strike protesting white privileges has a father that made 8.4 million last year,
That is because you are as a child to the English language, and utterly alien to social behavior of any kind except sniffing for the scent of authority. There are libraries full of things you will never know, or attempt to know, because you are placid in your stupid hate.
David C. said on November 12, 2015 at 6:28 pm
Surely the Church of St. Broder, Brother Bob Woodward and Sister Cokie Roberts officiating, would never allow anything even remotely like a left tea party, except Elizabeth Warren who is the left’s Ted Cruz, ‘cuz both sides.
Jolene said on November 12, 2015 at 8:15 pm
Sherri, you make a good point about the pipeline argument and women. I think, though, that it may have more relevance as it relates to minorities. With so many minority kids living in poverty and attending underperforming schools, disadvantage takes an early and continuing toll, with higher high school dropout rates, lower college entrance rates, lower college completion rates, and so on. After all that, there aren’t a lot of people ready to take on graduate school and interested in doing so.
Deborah said on November 12, 2015 at 8:22 pm
Why do people (Joe) think it’s weird that one of the protestor’s father made millions last year? What difference does that make?
Today was the day of the crane at our construction project in Abiquiu. Everything went well, everyone was safe and it all got erected in one day which is great because it’s quite expensive to rent a crane and operator per day. It looks really cool, just a frame skeleton of the building, very tall, narrow and long, kind of like a very small cathedral. Our construction window is over for the season the week of Thanksgiving and will go into the final portion in early spring. This has been a couple of years in the works which has been quite frustrating, but the end is finally in sight, and this project is only phase one of the total plan.
Dexter said on November 12, 2015 at 9:15 pm
Guess what the most poopular 🙂 emoji is these days? http://i.huffpost.com/gen/2714370/images/o-POOP-EMOJI-ICE-CREAM-facebook.jpg
Off topic: USA Midwest got the wind today. I drive what is classified as a high-profile vehicle and out on the no-wind-break new US 24 on the way to Toledo today , wow, did I get buffeted around. I felt like I did once on a flight from LA to Monterey, the most non-storm turbulence I ever experienced. No quick 75 mph trip today; I backed it down a little bit.
For some reason the Glass City Dog Park was crammed full of dogs today. It’s usually nearly empty. It made my heart soar to catch a glimpse of so many frolicking pooches.
Joe K said on November 12, 2015 at 9:56 pm
It was windy today, I flew out almost to Kansas City 3.5 hr out and 2 hr back, my ground speed was 100kts faster coming back, bumpy down below 2500 but smooth above in the sun shine.
I don’t know Deborah, why specify a race? Why not just say privalage? He is not considered racist, yet I bet if a white kid held a hunger strike on black privalage which I guess if your dad made 8.5 million a year you are, the white kid would be labeled racist.
Sue said on November 12, 2015 at 10:13 pm
I just hit the like button for David C’s comment.
Sherri said on November 12, 2015 at 10:44 pm
Carly “Free market healthcare” Fiorina should read this article: http://prospect.org/article/bring-back-antitrust-0
Auntie Velvet said on November 13, 2015 at 11:18 am
Bitter Scribe — Not that you’re alone, but I think you’re confusing not wanting to be in a close-up photo, or be pressed for a quote, with not wanting anyone to know about a protest. A sea of people is not a hard image to capture from the edges — you don’t need elbows and nostrils to prove that it existed.
This is painful and personal to many of the students. If you imagine victims of violence or survivors of a disaster wanting to be able to march on a non-responsive entity without cameras in their faces, it might give you a sense of why it’s not crazy to ask for a little distance at certain points.