Tuesday assorted links


5. I predict this will generate over 100 comments, mostly by butt-hurt bootlickers

I thought 'bootlicker' was a pejorative for conservatives, not the bigoted progressives made foolish by this incident.

Doesn't seem very genuine.

Did you guys see Reza Aslan's take?


I guess that's what they teach at Harvard Div School, which faces are punchable.

Do they teach Black Israelism at Harvard Div? That is some serious God-tier trolling those guys did.

Genuine isn't the point.

The guys that viralized that video are on the Trump 2020 committee. They have to be.

Really! Going after children . . .

But, remember those people think they’re your moral superiors. So, distortions, fabrications, edited videos are "moral" in that they advance the revolution.

This is approximately the 899,987th piece of evidence that every thing you hear/see in the lying media [redundant] is a lie.

Ergo it's too late to say you're sorry.

Trump 2020.

The guy who "viralized" the video is a blogger from Brazil and is now banned by Twitter. The handle was @2020fight. If the Trump 2020 committee has on their team foreigners looking to divide America through misinformation and influence operations, it wouldn't be the first time.

You believe the collusion lies. [See my shocked face]

If it wasn't for fake news, the media would have no news.

I didn't see it on Twitter.

The "viralization" wasn't the initial tweet, which few people saw. The lying media [redundant] pile-on was seen by millions. This is your culture war.

The school will be closed again tomorrow based on violent threats arising from these liberal lies [repetitive].


I know you are still butthurt about the "collusion lies" so here's some collusion truth that will heal your anus. Plans for Trump Tower Moscow (including a free apartment for Putin):


Trump tried to give a free apartment to Putin.

Russia has never tried to use leverage over me. I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA - NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!

You mean the writer for Vulture who got fired?

I don't have any illusions about groups of young boys, and am surprised how well they behaved in this situation.

It isn't about racism, boys, native americans or drums. It is about the utter uselessness of the media.

I've been predicting that someone will do something based on a media report and seriously regret that they believed what they said. This is one of those situations.

My 3 day media rule stands. A story will come out. I wait three days before reading about it. By then it has either been discredited as nonsense or there is something of interest going on. Before then it is noise, best ignored.

I'd hate to be in a business proposition where you sell trust but the only rational way to consume your product is to wait three days to see if it is rotten.

Uselessness implies something that has no value but is benign. The media is more malignant, more actively harmful.

Yet, here you are on the internet enjoying its malignancy.

he has no control over it, so finding a way to enjoy it is the only sensible option.

Add the fourth group of people - the media covering it as if everything going on what a fully informed rational decision.

"5. I predict this will generate over 100 comments, mostly by butt-hurt bootlickers"

It will be well over 100 comments.

I'd say kudos for Karen Swisher for apologizing. And also an excellent article by David Brooks. Everyone potentially behaves this way, it's not just a Leftie failing.

Granted, most of the press wouldn't have carried it this far, if the politics were switched. But still the point stands, it's always better to realize that you should wait for the story to play out before making an outrageous comment.

Also, this point is potentially an interesting factor:

"Twitter suspended an account on Monday afternoon that helped spread a controversial encounter between a Native American elder and a group of high school students wearing Make America Great Again hats.

The account claimed to belong to a California schoolteacher. Its profile photo was not of a schoolteacher, but of a blogger based in Brazil, CNN Business found. "

"Molly McKew, an information warfare researcher who saw the tweet and shared it herself on Saturday, said she later realized that a network of anonymous accounts were working to amplify the video."


So our own Mr R started this?

Does that make us all famous? "He seemed like a normal guy. Some odd ideas, but we are all surprised."

Yea im sure Ms. " I hope this follows these truly awful teens for the rest of their thus-far pathetic lives." would be quick to forgive them had they apologized.

Latest in the saga, one of the Covington kids says very audibly that "it isn't rape if you enjoy it". I love how social media slowly rolls out the latest videos in drips and drabs. Its like a Netflix series with cliffhanger endings every episode.

Nobody did anything wrong. Everyone exercised their free speech. All you snowflakes need to get a life.

+10. I'm more concerned about NFL officiating on Sunday. That's a way more serious issue to this red-blooded American!

Anybody remember the teenage kid with a Muslim name who brought a clock to school and got arrested and led away in cuffs? I remember when Fox News went after the guy. In fact the same people that went after the kid are the same ones defending these Covington kids. Culture war never stops and just goes and goes.

If Trump would stop his own shutdown he could get federal enforcement officers to crack the faces of that hippie Indian, those punchable, smug white kids and those annoying Black Hebrews. A stick and boot to the face by way of the US of A goes a long way to setting people straight.

We should pass a Law Against those MAGA Hats, too!

#5b "For those of you vacationing on Mars this past weekend, a video went viral showing a group of boys, many of them in MAGA hats, surrounding an older Native American man who was banging a drum."

Or for those of us who choose to do productive, useful things instead of participating in the endless culture war circle jerk.

Ah, apparently it is (or will be .. or whatever) multiple videos. Reality is hard for people to recount in an objective fashion, apparently.

And to think that Rashomon is almost 70 years old, predating our entire electronics age.

A more accurate statement would be "three groups of people on the Lincoln memorial steps engaging in complete and total misunderstandings about what the other two groups were doing there."

if this wasn't real life it would make a pretty good comedy sketch.

No one was hurt, from the looks of it everyone was having a grand old time in their own way.

Free speech is magical in it's ability to expose people for who they are. Lots of people exposed at best a rather shallow character, at worse a vicious ugliness.

I doubt anything will change until they have to pay some settlement for libel. A question. Is someone a public figure if you libel them then talk nonstop about them for a month afterwards?

It seems unlikely that the Black Hebrew Israelites, who were throwing racist, &homophobic insults at a school field trip had a "total misunderstanding".

There's no account that doesn't portray them as vile human beings. It's clear in the videos that they are at fault for their comments.

They were wearing MAGA hats, which sort of invites the interpretation that they were there for some sort of pro-Trump protest event.

Conversely, the kids probably don't know that the Black Hebrew Israelites are a tiny group of mentally ill wierdos. Like 50% of the people randomly protesting in and around any DC monument.

MAGA hats? Oh, no!
They sure are good for getting the assholes worked up.

They sure are good for working up the assholes wearing them too.

How so, it looks like they were just milling around aimlessly, smiling a bit and chatting.

Some people like to wear things that have provcative and offensive statements on them, and then get all offended when people take offense to said statements. So they can have a big competition about who has the right to be more offended. Not that this is necessarily what was going on here, but yes, wearing a MAGA hat is a good way to pick a fight, if your itching for one.

Your raising of hand is noted.

They weren't even there for pro-Trump anything. They just wanted to deny women their right to choose to have an abortion. It was a March For Life event.

Maybe the dumbest meme of this whole event. "Well, just like 50% of the country (including a large minority of Democrats), they were pro-life, so basically they should die anyway, regardless of whether they did anything wrong"

Yes, my point is that wearing MAGA hats might cause some people to *misunderstand* what they were doing there. I.e. the two other groups, including the lunatic Hebrew Israelites and the Native Americans who has the site permit. You may not like it, but many people will interpret a MAGA hat, rightly or wrongly, as support for Trumps immigration policies. If you don't want people to think you support a border wall, don't wear a MAGA hat, simple as that.

"but many people will interpret a MAGA hat, rightly or wrongly, as support for Trumps immigration policies.

OK, so what's wrong with that?

Yet no one (that I've seen) is calling them out, demanding they be doxxed, assaulted, etc.

The media hasn't repoirted on the fact that the black people involved are members of a tiny sect of mentally ill wierdos.
Cue group 5- the general public.

Here's how marginalize the black hebrew israelites are:
The Southern Poverty Law Center denounced them as "black supremacist" in 2008.

Well, I'm not sure if you're qualified to be diagnosing mental illness.

And does the size of the sect somehow change the nastiness fo what they were saying?

So many people out there claiming to want to fight racism tooth and nail. When confronted with real racism, suddenly it becomes explained away. While others simply project it onto a teenager with a hat and a smirk.

Which tells you that this really isn't about racism. It's all about politics. If the kids had been wearing "F* Trump" hats and they were being harassed by some obscure White Racist fundamentalist sect, the reactions would be completely different.

Are schools sending busloads of kids with "f Trump" hats to DC? That would be news indeed.

Depends, in coverage of the reaction, are they described as defenseless children, or as adult women?

Hmm. I don't remember them being described as adult women. Nor as defenseless children.

No one has called these kids defenseless either. The quick deletion and apologies suggest that defenseless isn't coming to many minds.

The parents of the kids hired a GOP-affliated PR firm called RunSwitch that's why there was that coordinate counterattack by Fox News and Reason. We're looking at information warfare 2.0, folks.

"and Reason. We're looking at information warfare 2.0, folks."

Yes, it had nothing to do with the much longer video that actually showed what happened. Instead, It was all the GOP and their weird Jedi mind tricks.

Are schools sending busloads of kids with "f Trump" hats to DC? That would be news indeed.

MAGA caps are sold as souvenirs in DC, and it's a reasonable inference that's why some of the young had them and most did not.

Read this and find out https://www.campusreform.org/?ID=8418

"...useful things instead of participating in the endless culture war circle jerk"

I used to think like this too until I came to the realization that it is becoming the only game in town and is on track to getting worse. This is about more than just harsh words and deplatforming. The hate these people have in their hearts for these boys and the people like them is very real. The intentions these people have to hurt them is very real.

I very much anticipate one of these scenarios turns into a mass shooting one of these days, maybe kicking off something larger.

Like I said it really feels like these manufactured crises are the only game in town. They can no longer be ignored and the media certainly won't let you.

If you look at the first video. Not much happened. At worst, this was a group of teenage boys jeering at an old Native American. Unseemly and rude, but hardly National news. They would have been just a group off jerks.

But the reaction was over the top.

Now imagine what would have happened if we didn't have the longer 2 hour video. If the person who was making the video decided to spike it or just didn't care enough to post it, these kids would be undergoing a terrible vilification.

To David Brooks point, everyone (not just the Left) needs to avoid demonizing the other side. To the topical point, the Left is just as full of hate as the Right, but they are in denial.

Even with the 2 hour video, the school is closed today due to threats. It's not hard to find folks online doubling down on how horribly racist these kids are, regardless of the video evidence.

"these kids would be undergoing a terrible vilification."

They are undergoing terrible vilification. There were tweets from people (now deleted...) saying they should be killed. Others saying they should be physically attacked.

Of course the reaction is over the top. That's the whole point. There are people trying to turn this into something else.

The country is divided. There is no reconciliation between these two sides. Neither can afford to lose face now. It's becoming a battle for the soul of the nation.

Like I said, this gets worse.

"The country is divided. There is no reconciliation between these two sides. "

True, the two sides are "those who think the culture wars are the most important, all encompassing thing evar!" and "those who wish the previous group would go away."

Agree with MOFO. The 'battle for the soul of the nation' is mostly a bunch of FB and Twitter obsessed yahoos (both liberal and conservative) getting upset online at each other. Most of the country doesn't give a shit. When elections roll around every 4 years (2 for some) they pay some attention, vote their feels, and then go back to their lives. Relax, derek.

Only about 15% of the country is really nuts like that.

The problem is that 15% will be fine destroying any one of us for a momentary advantage, or just for sport.

How can they destroy you, or me?

If you stay at home and never talk to anyone and never get involved in anything, ever, probably not. Someone could still mis-google and mis-identify you as a Nazi, though.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/So_You%27ve_Been_Publicly_Shamed lists examples of people torn apart by the mob in modern days. Yes, yes, they are not literally destroyed, but all the modern trappings of what people want today can be upended.

If you are a partner at a law firm or sold your IT startup for a few million dollars you might not depend on a job, but most people still do, and if 1% of people get obsessed with you and decide to start calling your boss nonstop about what a freak you are, lots of workplaces just let you go to make the harassment end. And the mob can follow you to your next job and repeat the same thing there.

Ignoring this all is great, in theory. I ignore lots of things. The Covington story got even past my filter bubble that excludes all Twitter and Facebook.

It wasn't any better when it was happening to the Parkland kids, either, just so I'm clear.

I know that I COULD be destroyed in such a manner, but since I don't go to political rallies and am not on Twitter and don't opine using my real name anywhere on the record, I'm about as much at risk as of getting hit by lightning. So I don't worry.

And you are correct, these things happen to both 'sides'. I just don't see how it helps to get worked up about any of it. The culture is evolving, and all will be well.

Still isn't foolproof. A college girl had a picture taken while she was wearing an exfoliating mask. It made it onto social media. A third party later elected to caption it about "blackface". That was eventually picked up by the outrage mob. Cue the death threats and online harassment ... and petitioning her university to expel her. And that one didn't even make national news.

Other folks have been put through the wringer for the offense of things like "being named George Zimmerman" and the twitterati not being able to correctly differentiate people with the same name.

Or even this incident where the mob picked the wrong Covington High School boy, doxxed him, and for good measure began attacking the parents of this misidentified boy via their family business. And the kid did not even go to DC; but hey it is his fault that he receives violent threats for something another kid actually did not do.

The CIA sometimes cannot correctly identify people. Expecting Twitter to be even half as accurate is absurd. You cannot protect yourself from the mob by keeping your head down. Odds are being hit by lightening are actually substantially less than the odds the twitter mob will descend.

And God help you if you decide to do things like sign petitions (e.g. putting Gay Marriage up for a referendum in Maryland meant that you were unemployably homophobic, not that you believed in direct democracy), contribute to campaigns (because you are on the hook for whatever is said by anyone every affliated with the the campaign), or say anything that grows date (I personally have had people harangue me for using the word "Negro" in a direct quote and somehow "Walk on the Wild Side" became transphobic).

And that latter thing is the most worrying. What do I tell my Aspie patients? That you're definitely F'ed if somebody hears you use something literally that has negative connotations? The we should have people with psychiatric diagnoses waste vast swathes of lives "learning" whatever is going to be the new trigger?

What you are describing is that life is not always fair, and difficult for many (for example, Aspies). Sometimes people have unfair things happen to them.

Not sure what you expect to be done about it. All we can do is not be a part of it, not harm others, and not put ourselves in harm's way. And even then a few of us will be struck by lightning.

"Not sure what you expect to be done about it."

What a constructive analysis! "Things are changing, not much can be done, get used to it, just look out for yourself, and even then you still might get your head cut off." Sounds very stoic. Hmm, "stoic"... haven't I heard that's a sign of toxic masculinity? You probably protested against the Gillette ad.

Lotta syllables, no solutions. What would you do about it?

In a perfect world? Learn to tolerate people and let the offensive have their jobs and lives (I'm silly, but I'd prefer to have people with hateful personalities or beliefs to have a McJob rather than stewing over their "persecution" and following the script that too often ends in violence).

In the actual world, I am beginning to favor some changes in the libel and slander laws regarding the bar for "negligence". Particularly if you are a "journalist", you should not be getting a free pass for not contacting the individual(s) in question to at least attempt to report both sides. If you claim any sort of business expense for using social media (e.g. actors, influencers, activists) you should have to do some sort of due diligence.

I like both of your suggestions. I'm all for tolerance, and I'm all for making journalists do better due diligence. So we agree.

All we can do is not be a part of it, not harm others,

These are both great points. The way some people decide to heal the world by attacking others is nuts. Starting with the man in the mirror is excellent advice and one each of us, me included, should put onto ourselves more.

and not put ourselves in harm's way. And even then a few of us will be struck by lightning

There are differences between acts done by nature and acts done by human agents. People feel very strongly about this, which is why comparing deaths by terrorism to deaths by falling out of a chair is only done by the aspies.

The mobs are doing this pour encourager les autres. There is agency at place to "teach them a lesson." You are right that the chances of this happening to anyone is small. The chances of a black man being lynched in the Jim Crow South were also small (about 50 a year), way smaller than death by accident from farm equipment, yet it would be extremely dense to suggest black people should just ignore it. It is a social problem, and even if the only way to stop it is by asking everyone to be better people, then we should still do that.

Agreed, especially with your last sentence.

You could have made the very same comment prior to British Civil War, the American revolution, the French revolution, and the Bolshevik revolution. In none of these events, and other social cataclysms, was the damage done by a majority. Votes are not taken. Ordinary folk watch and listen but are bystanders.

I'm really not worried about it. Try it sometime.

Yeah, I mean that always works right up until it doesn't, right?

Hasn't failed for me yet. Nor most others. Ignoring nonsense is usually the right call.

Yeah, well that's how it works, right? It doesn't fail you until it does. It only takes one time. You can choose apathy or you can choose action, but I wouldn't try to make a virtue out of apathy.

Fair enough. So if I choose 'action', what should I choose to do?

I'm shocked that a fascist like you hates free speech.

death threats are not covered by free speech are they?

Jokes are free speech. Saying someone has a "punchable" face is not a death threat. Neither is just "wishing someone dead". Would it kill you to have a sense of humor? No that's not a death threat :-)

all good points but that doesn't change the fact
that there were actual multiple non joke death threats
that resulted in canceling school.

"The hate these people have in their hearts for these boys and the people like them is very real. The intentions these people have to hurt them is very real."

True, but the only power they have is what you give them. This is news because everyone chooses for it to be news. Ignore them and they become noise.

It's news because the incident is representative of something much larger than the incident itself. It represents the cultural zeitgeist. It is not just noise. It's important and it matters in viewing how someone - seeing the lay of the land - should react and plan for a future where this is the new status quo. People are creating these impressions because, as I said, they are trying to get something that is not just noise to happen. It is planned. It is motivated. There is money behind it.

My gut is that we're to the point now where it cannot be ignored. They will continue to manufacture additional crises, of ever more shocking value, until you pay attention. If that is the case I'm going to start paying attention now, and planning accordingly.

That seems like a measured, reasonable, not at all crazy way to live. So what is your plan?

You are completely clueless. New status quo? Have you heard of the 2016 elections? Charlottesville? Russian Meddling? The Midterms? It maybe new to you but for the rest of us its old like gym socks.

It could be argued that if this had been ignored, then the full video would have never been recently and the boys' vilification would still be going on..

If it had been ignored the vilification would have been contained to a hand full of blowhard assholes on twitter. Likewise with EE's cultural zeitgeist claim, these things become part of the cultural zeitgeist *because* we react to them, not the other way around.

Its like trolling on a grand scale, it will only end when we ignore it. Any reaction is a victory for the trolls, which, in this case, is a small cadre of morons and their butt-sniffing sycophants in the media.

The traditional media was carrying the story about racist, MAGA hat wearing kids bullying a Native American. It was not limited to a hand full of folks on Twitter.

Despite the new video evidence, there is still a protest at the school today, which shut down due to threats of violence.

The traditional media was carrying the story because we react to it. We click and click and click and comment ad nauseum. It wasnt limited to a hand full of folks on twitter but it started there. The sooner we reject media stories that are just twitter powered, culture war bullshit, the sooner we can move away from this destructive cycle.

+1 again to MOFO. And RG, this will blow over and that school will reopen soon and no one will be harmed in the end.

I’m not sure. Maybe you’re just much older than I am; maybe I’m a pessimist.

The internet lives forever. The red hat teen’s fate is sealed indefinitely. Every potential employer or school Adcom will google his name, and what will come up is a thousand think pieces on why he’s a racist monstrosity deserving of physical abuse and more. And those will be written by both a NYTimes author/journalist and a tenured Harvard Divinty Professor. Yikes.

Vox is leading the way by issuing a strict non apology.

His name is in the headline. This will never die. There will be people on a first name basis with Senators and President Obama who are on the record as wanting this child destroyed for the crime of smiling. Vox isn’t apologizing or issuing retractions. They’re doubling down and accusing him of sexual harassment, based on literally no evidence.

He can change his name i suppose. But we’re <5 years away from employers reverse image searching your photo.

I think I'm a little older than you, and you are definitely a pessimist. The red hat teen will be fine in the end, might even get some benefit from it. The Duke lacrosse players ended up fine, and with a decent payday to boot. Remember, there's the event, the over-reaction, the backlash to that, then the backlash to the backlash, until we move on.

Future googling will pull up all of it. He might even get some fans out of it.

I am sure it all washes out with cycling lashing ... unless you happen to be Sgt. Gottlieb whose life was so bad with the backlash that he committed suicide.

Do let me know what I should tell parents when their son commits suicide over something like this. I was not able to find anything constructive the last time it happened.

OK you've correctly identified that shitty things happen to good people. Now what's your plan?

Dunno. As noted, I am starting to think we may need to change the terms of negligence with regards to slander and libel. That is a difficult question that is outside my realm for particulars.

At the very least, I think anyone who takes themselves seriously should not participate, not condone, and no dismiss. Ultimately we may need to adopt some sort of social media MAD - shun those who shun to get rid of this terribly destructive social dynamic.

Agreed! That's always been my take on these things, as technology creates these changes, society will eventually develop social rules for how to handle it. It always does.

The older you are the more you look at these new things and say "oh god what a life" but younger people, it's just the world they grow up in. People always say 'oh gosh don't put up any pictures of yourself partying and drinking and so on, your employers will see'. Well, the millenials are increasingly the employers, and guess what most of them did the same partying. So it won't be a big deal after a while.

Norms will develop about this too. And yes increased due diligence should become one of those norms, if not a new law.

My point is most of this thread is people saying 'oh no those poor boys what a tragedy' but no one is saying what exactly is to be done about it. Because for most the yakking is the whole point, until there's something else to yak about.

Bad things will happen to good people, as always, and sometimes online. But that's life. Society will be fine. Our job is to not be one of the jerks making those bad things happen, and to support better norms and laws.

"support better norms and laws"

Well, yes, exactly. Stand up for yourself, stand up for others, shame those who engage in this behavior, support worthy initiatives.

I think we're all in agreement then.

+1. The next generation of adults need to learn how trolling works and why 99% of the time ignoring it is the best move. MOFO, keep educating these people cuz I have no patience for slow thinkers.

2 re cultural revolution as signaling game


Gee, she has child abuser Baldwin right there on the set.

toxic matriarchy?
if only there was
a lady parts razor ad
to raise our awareness
bet the American psychological association
is gonna sit this one out


"Governmental bodies, think tanks, and corporations around the world employ teams of experimental researchers to answer their most pressing questions."


What "pressing" economics problems have so far been ignored by economists ?

What immediate "answers" does the world need ?

6. A research paper which is nothing but exhortations of what should be done (more of)?

And some still wonder why physicists don't actually consider economics an experimental science.

Much that's claimed to be Physics isn't an experimental science either.

An interesting point, in the age of string theory or the multiverse.

However, physics has a long history of actually using experiments to dismiss beliefs that claim to be physics. Or at least offering guidance in ways to test their theories, as Einstein did.

#2 is good.

#4: interesting, but it would have been better if the piece discussed how and why such arbitrage opportunities existed. Are these all just clearance products that are being sold by retailers at/below cost to free up shelf space? Seems like the margins shouldn't be as high as what's discussed in the piece, either way.

I'm just stuck in a mental loop, wondering who in the hell spends $75 on Millennial Monopoly?

And I just gave away a Star Trek Next Generation Monopoly as a Christmas gag gift. I'm afraid to look at the Amazon pricing for it now.

I kinda glossed over Millenial Monopoly when I read it, but yes, the jokes really write themselves here.

If he sold the lightbulbs at $9 on Amazon, he'd have to pay 15% to Amazon, so he's at $ 7.65. then he has to pay FBA shipping fees. Lowest fee is 2.41 but that's for an item under 0.75 in. thick. So, its more like 3.19 and maybe more. So, he's now at $4.46. He had to pack them all up and ship them for $65. One hour of labor at $ 20. Don't know how many he did but let's 1,000. That's say 10 cents each. So, he's making $2.30 each or so, not including time to search and find them and drive to all Walmart stores, etc. So, I highly suspect he's exagerating about his profits. Why? Because he's really making money on his youtube channel and he might have a "system" he sells to gullible people. See, normally if you're making money, you don't tell people how you do it.

Exactly so. People do make money on retail arbitrage but it's a very saturated market and there's just no magic formula for finding profitable items. It doesn't scale at all, but like drop-shipping there is a cottage industry in selling people on the dream of doing it.

Well said Harun. Anyone telling you how easy it is to make money doing something is either exaggerating how easy it is or selling you something.

A few years ago I wanted to learn more about using APIs and machine learning, so I wrote a Python program that would download data on tickets for sale on Stubhub for a particular MLB team, look for low-priced outliers, buy them and re-list them at just below market.

Generated quite a few transactions but the only entity to make money was StubHub - transaction fees neatly ate all the profit. I did get "stuck with" a pair of nice seats so I went myself.

5. What occurs on social media, stays on social media. I wish. If the NFL can't call the action on the field correctly, why should anyone expect social media to do it.

+1, an excellent point rayward

It would have been OK if the slanders stayed on crazies' social pathologies sites, except all the lying media [redundant] outlets ran with it 1,000%. Fake News on steroids.

In addition, does anybody besides me think Chief Nathan should appear on the cover of GQ?

And, if calling him "Chief Nathan" triggers you, you're welcome.

The Covenant Catholic students are meeting with Trump at the WH in the next couple of days. The Chief has not been invited. No Beer Summit.

Given that he’s done multiple national media interviews and lied, he should be ignored.

We have the full video now. It’s clear nothing he said in the resulting national exposure was accurate. He’s changed his story as longer videos have come online.

And yet it’s still lies.

obvious this was not just on social media it was
mostly mainstream media and cable news that fubared
this narrative

Cult Rev and virtue signaling: Mao, vicious communist oh so shrewd. Thucydides, on what happens when someone perceives their power to be ebbing, prescient as always.

Twitter mobs: as close to the Cult Rev as we’ve come in this country?

Those kids definitely had punchable faces tho.

5. One of the great benefits of not following popular news too closely is that when you finally do tune in, all the immediate overreactions to incomplete information have passed and people have started to figure out what actually happened.

I'd love to have seen some of the "immediate overreactions" when Fox ran that "RBG 1933-2019" slide. Comic gold, I bet.


Could the model be improved by adding future periods? Suppose there are two people, A and B who could be included in a cycle triggered by a new donor. A and B are the same except that B's relative has both the potential to participate in a small cycle today or a large cycle in the future if only one more person joins the cycle. In contrast, A's relative can participate in today's small cycle but not the future large one. If the last remaining link in the large cycle is likely to appear, should A be given priority over B for today's small cycle, keeping B's relative in the pool in the hopes of completing the future large chain?

It is sad to see that, while President Captain Bolsonaro, presents in Davo a new, bright vision for a stronger and united Brazil under the motto "Brazil above everything, God above everyone", Americans are being consumed by their petty differences.

#5. Fess up! You're the Brazilian connection!

Anyone else see the obvious ties between #2 and #5?

If the Left continues to rely on people such as Nathan "I saved the Black Hebrews from those teenage beasts by chanting ancient hymns of peace" Phillips, then we are truly headed for civil war.

The proper reaction is just to laugh at the old activist's lies and ignore him. But yeah, that's probably not going to happen.

Phillips certainly picked the right people to drum at. Better to teach the children than the angry mob yelling at them.

5. For those with memories longer than last week, they might recall that the right (a la Breitbart) pretty much invented the practice of drawing first blood in the framing wars via hyperbolic hot takes, fraudulent video editing, and cherry picked gotcha cuts.

You'll thus forgive my Schadenfreude, and lack of empathy that they are now the victims of it.

Not that these cretins deserve any empathy. If you let grown-ups bus you up to DC, for a controversial protest, and wear provocative hats, and generally roam around acting like asinine teens amidst a sea of cameras. Well, welcome to the show, boys.

Wearing MAGA hats was definitely a bad idea.

Safer to wear a rainbow t shirt in the back woods. You find way more generous and understanding people there.

Wearing that short skirt was a bad idea. See, victim blaming is fun!

Indeed. It's like wearing a Black Lives Matter shirt on the National Mall. You deserve what you get, Amirite?

If "what you deserve" means having your face used in the social media wars, then: yes.

#MAGAkids go screaming, hats first, into the woodchipper,” Morrissey tweeted with a photo of a woodchipper.

"Jack Morrissey, a Hollywood Producer who is known for projects such as Beauty and the Beast and the Twilight Saga, called for minor teen high school boys to be murdered in a violent, gruesome manner."


Well sure:
I'm mean if someone on the Right was advocating throwing some teenage black kids into a woodchipper, because they failed to get out of a 65 year old Vietnam Vets way on the National Mall, that would be totally fine.

I'm sure McMike would be perfectly fine with the outcome.

Let's play another fun right wing meme game: dueling outliers

RIPM, as McMike notes, you can find plenty on 'the Right' advocating awful things be done to blacks, Jews, Hillary Clinton, and Democrats in general. So let's skip that part of this particular meme cycle.

Sure, and I've said so in this very thread. Both sides have been guilty of bad behavior. That doesn't mean you don't call it out when somebody does it.

msgkings, to your larger point, I think you are making some very good comments and observations on this thread.

Thanks, this one feels like common sense. We're gonna need lots of that to deal with the emerging paradigm, as this incident shows.

The National Mall is a special place where people go to be angry about stuff. Hence any sort of political statement displayed there is bound to attract angry people itching for a confrontation.

+1, that's an excellent point.

Which makes the media's motive particularly heinous. This story should have been just ignored. Instead, there was an attempt to craft a narrative about racist, white Trump supporting teenagers engaged in outrageous behavior.

Then the facts came in and the narrative blew up in the media's face. Not just the Leftwing media's face. There were plenty of Rightwing media figures who condemned the boys without actually waiting on the full story. They were part of the virtual lynch mob too.

It's part of the process isn't it? Has the press never done this before? Of course not, if anything the retractions and apologies come much more quickly now. Really don't see the problem here, if one just ignores it.

If the wearing of a hat or other garb will provoke a reaction, a teenaged boy will very likely be the one to don it. MAGA hats being in shockingly poor taste to many people, does not an exception to this rule constitute.

Perhaps parenthood, completely or de facto, has eluded eluded many members of the media as they rose in their profession. Here are some other things about teenaged boys that I have observed that might come in useful: teenaged boys can be rowdy and rude. Prolonged periods of inactivity (as a 2-hour wait for a bus) may especially contribute to rowdy behavior. If expressed through mutual hitting and shoving of one another and the singing of school fight songs, you are unlikely to have anything to fear. Teenaged boys are "open" and will tend to engage with segments of society that most of us have learned to ignore. Teenaged boys, especially on the younger end, often tease each other about being gay; this may be a deflection of the worrying topic of sex in general. It may upset adults, but is going to be pretty hard to stamp out. Crazy grown men shouting gay slurs and talk about sodomy, hell, and white devils at them, on the other hand, is not something for which a typical teenager will have a ready response. Teenaged boys have a need to stand upon their dignity, not lose face, even in awkward situations such as when a Native American with a camera in tow comes up and unceasingly bangs a drum 4 inches from your face. [It should be obvious that] there was no one within a hundred yards who felt as uncomfortable as that boy whose face was splashed across the media this past weekend. The expression he wore at that moment offers no clue as to his personal virtue, but suggests he is striving for a kind of self-preservation, even if the result was ludicrous. This is classic boy behavior.

Another not infrequent teenaged-and-just-beyond boy activity is getting ordered to go off to war; many went to Vietnam and many died there, but time has passed and even the guys on the streetcorner have stopped writing "Vietnam veteran" on their signs as they know the math doesn't work. The media should update to a more convincing "Gulf War veteran" or "Cold War veteran" or just "veteran" if military service can no longer be checked.

I have known a whole lot of teenaged boys and few - on further reflection, none - were Nazis. One of my son's friends took a slightly-eyebrow-raising interest in the Third Reich, as part of a more general fascination with military history; he was feuding with his Jewish father after his parents' divorce, trying to get his attention while also alienating pretty much everybody else as well. He was "mixed-up," as many kids are: turned out fine, not a Nazi, but presumably still knows quite a bit about them.

But while probably not young Goebbelses, the video'd boys are categorically guilty of the sins imputed to them by the NY Times and the razor company. So everybody wins, which is good, since not wanting to save face is not confined to teenaged boys.

So: are nutty soapbox types and hollering full-time Mall denizens going to be driving the news from now on? 'Cuz we could have been enjoying this sort of thing a lot sooner - maybe there was some reason we didn't?

"Perhaps parenthood, completely or de facto, has eluded eluded many members of the media as they rose in their profession."

ding ding ding

Yes, the teenaged boys weren't aware that they were being heckled by marginalized Mall wierdos, and didn't have the life experience to know that you should ignore crazy people when they yell at you. And the Native Americans weren't aware that the teenaged boys were just waiting for a bus, so they thought there was some sort of conflict going on. Which wasn't helped by the fact that the boys were wearing MAGA hats. Nor were the boys aware of the fact that the Native American guys thought that they were there protesting, and not just standing around waiting for a bus. So they thought that the Native guys were trying to confront them about something, which led to the now famous film and bemused smirk. Mad cap misunderstandings all around.

D.C is hard on chaperones - and those boys seemed rather lightly-chaperoned. Maybe the ubiquitous phones are supposed now to supercede the need for them. On the first day of our weeklong school trip to D.C., our harried elders (mostly moms) tried to shepherd us all onto the right Metro train. A knot of boys, at the last moment, elected not to board. We didn't see them again the rest of the day. They were indeed smirking as they remained on the platform, with the doors closing.

Bullshit. The senior activist effectively lied. The video was taken without (or taken out of) context. There was no effort to verify it. Then bloggers who "should" know better (but obviously don't) jumped on. Then the 'echo chamber' effect took over. You don't want to be poisoned, then don't drink from the poisoned well. Easier said than done. As a start: don't lie, don't listen to those who do. Arguably, our tolerance that our information sources are misleading and often intentionally slanted is one of our most serious social problems. Just another example of how poorly Americans are educated.

Based on the Native America guy's statements it sounds like he thought there was a confrontation going on between the teenagers and the small group of black activists. He's probably also from out of town and maybe didn't pick up on cues that the black activists were crazies, and didn't quite realize that the chanting was school slogans. I'm not going to prejudge an elderly veteran as a scheming liar without some pretty strong proof that he knew otherwise. I think he was just confused.

That was his second narrative, which is quite different from his first narrative. If you familiarize yourself with the whole story it's clear he's a liar and provocateur who intended to provoke a reaction from the boys. Remember, the boys were harassed by the black guys for over an hour before Philips decided to get in their faces. It's crystal clear form the video that the boys are just standing around and not aggressive in the least.

Apparently the Native Americans had permitted use of the site while the teens and the black activists did not. That might have had something to do with it, too. And the teens have said they were shouting out school chants to drown out the black activists. I can see how someone could have interpreted that as some sort of "confontation" especially if the third party is the one who is supposed to have official use of the place and the chanting is disrupting their business.

Sure, you can imagine that happening, it's just not what happened. If the American Indians wanted the boys to move out of their space they would have just asked the adult chaperones to do that, right? Easy-peasy. Instead they walked right up to a boy and started banging a drum in his face and recording him with cameras while screaming racist taunts like "go back to Europe", then told the newspapers that the boys were beasts and the black HI were their prey and that the boy was blocking his escape. The guy has a history as well.

The adult chaperones were nowhere to be found. In fact that is what the less screechy parts of social media are scrutinizing. To be honest, this is easily the most overrated thing to have happened ever. There's nothing there. Nobody lost as much as a fingernail. Sure some things were said but so what? Its free speech. Moral of the story is don't let social media play into your favored narrative. Trolls are smarter than you because most people aren't aware of their own biases and don't know how to defend against hostile manipulators.

Again, said native American probably had no ideas what the boys were doing there. He was probably annoyed that all the shouting and chanting was disrupting their own protest and made some (incorrect) assumptions based on the fact that some of the boys were wearing MAGA hats. So for whatever reason he thought that they were there as part of some sort of racist activism, and he decided that banging a big drum in their face might be a good way to get everyone to shut up. it's really a stretch to say "no, he totally knew this was a bunch of high school kids waiting for a bus and just decided to make a big stink and lie about it for the media attention." There are all sorts of plausible reasons why an elderly Native American at a protest march might bang a drum in someone's face if he thinks they are there for some racial reason. You don't know what was going on in his mind.

Boys will be boys indeed. And if you send busloads of them to DC for an abortion protest with MAGA hats on, some might even end up on the internet.

Poor kids, just trying to win daddy's affection. Now they're labelled Nazis.

The internet, sure ... but the paper of record, in a matter of hours? No, I can't accompany you that far.

Is this going to be the defence used in the libel suits? They are public people because they were wearing MAGA hats in a public place?

5. For those with memories longer than last week, they might recall that the right (a la Breitbart) pretty much invented the practice of drawing first blood in the framing wars via hyperbolic hot takes, fraudulent video editing, and cherry picked gotcha cuts.

Correct the Record should hire people who offer remarks that aren't incomprehensible word salads dreamed up by obsessives.

So, no position for you in that case.

Funny, I remember how they replayed Ford falling down the steps of the airplane, and how they went on for months about Jimmy Carter's brother.

What I don't remember about any of these situations are the threats of violence. Or that the vicious coverage was aimed at kids.

If you are a supporter of that, you should be ashamed of yourself.

"threats of violence." uh-huh. That's new here for sure.

Also vicious coverage aimed at kids. Haven't seen any of that before.

Didn't the Parkland kids come up against a lot of abuse from Fox News, et al.?

Indeed. Including threats and conspiracy theories, coming from "mainstream" right wing sources, which accused the survivors of a mass school shooting of being paid opportunistic frauds.

Agreed. That was ridiculous.

And that sums up this whole 'debate'. This incident was a shitshow, but one in a long line of shitshows, suffered by both 'sides', and it won't be even close to the last.

So, let's skip it.

There's nothing new about yellow journalism. For all we know, early cave drawings were fake news too.

What is novel is its application in the internet age. And the political right has the distinction of being eager innovators and pioneers here.

Friendly advice, my man: quite digging.

What, did I just trigger cavemen?

That's about the level of self-awareness I was expecting.

What we saw this weekend are media personalities in full exposure without editors. Oddly one of the rationales for journalistic institutions are a gatekeeper function, and we are finding that the gatekeeper is there for the people inside, not outside.

This is about the media, pure and simple. The normal people with differing opinions about things at the event conducted themselves quite well. I would be a hypocrite to condemn someone for using foul language in expressing their opinions. There were lots of people and lots of opinions and nothing happened. Nothing.

A very interesting situation. Anyone who believes what they see on TV or read at some reputable media site is a fool.

If you are trying to justify what people said because of what someone else said or did at a different time, what can I say. My mother disabused me of the utility of that argument when I was about 5 years old.

I am not trying to justify anything, only provide relevant context, a radical act in this day and age.

And the fact that it was the left who in this case who overreacted, does not change the fact that the deceptive hot take is the stock and trade of Breitbart, and Fox News for that matter. Breitbart made it okay to do this. Now they reap what they sowed.

And I certainly agree the blame for this lies at the feet of the media, who weren't able to say word "lie" until Trump arrived, and are all too happy to pile on the goat du jour. And who seem mainly interested in profiting from the current social media phenomena.

"If you are trying to justify what people said because of what someone else said or did at a different time, what can I say."

You can say that McMike is like the Energizer bunny.

4. Sure, Amazon is primarily a marketplace for small business to sell their products. Don't encourage people to buy stuff at Walmart and Target with the expectation they can sell it at a profit on Amazon. This kind of phishing is no better than the MLM schemes.

It's a bit of a sideshow I think. (I remember when ebay was about people getting rid of their stuff).

The cracks are starting to show. I have learned to check who is doing the fulfilling, because the arbitrage stuff is often poorly packaged, late on shipping, and has less generous return policies (i.e. there's no "no questions asked" returns, and a 20% restocking fee is added).

I had something I ordered recently go AWOL. The vendor - some offshore outfit presumably Chinese - begged me to lie on my return claim, because she was afraid Amazon would kick them off the platform for screwing up. The contacted me like five times about this, including a phone call.

" The vendor - some offshore outfit presumably Chinese - begged me to lie on my return claim, because she was afraid Amazon would kick them off the platform for screwing up. "

Some Chinese vendor repeatedly attempted to get me to remove a bad review, because the product didn't work. They sent me second piece of equipment. ... It didn't work either.

#1 -- Just about everyone could use a little music therapy right now. (Maybe cool it on the Native American percussion for the moment, though).

Culture wars were not this bad in the 60s, 70s or 80s because people just wanted to rock. And of course because there was no social media to ignite a new crisis twice a week.

Anyway, I'm hoping that the proper mix of metal and classical is the brain-healthy musical equivalent of that Okinawa diet

"Culture wars were not this bad in the 60s, 70s or 80s because people just wanted to rock. And of course because there was no social media to ignite a new crisis twice a week."

Yeah... those riots in the 60s that burned down swathes of many cities, plus the Kent State shootings and police fire-hosing citizens... man... what a gas!


" In a single eighteen-month period during 1971 and 1972 the FBI counted an amazing 2,500 bombings on American soil, almost five a day."

Yes it was not all groovy, true. But riots and bombings are real warfare, not today's culture war as now practiced by any overcaffeinated person with a blog or a phone

Ah I see your point. I think it was really worse in the 60's and 70's. Take this story for example. A very large amount of outrage, but nobody was hurt.

The culture wars of that era involved bombs and terrorism. It was way more toxic then. Today its just tough guy keyboard warriors tweeting their rage on iphones.

I'm currently living with my grandma who has dementia. She's not really able to maintain a conversation when family visit but I'm grateful that she took piano lessons starting in her 40s because now she can play the piano in the living room for everyone. It gives her a way to contribute and bring a smile to everyone's face, including her.

#2. A Straussian reference.

I'm thinking something akin to the Riot Act is necessary. People act foolishly in a mob, and we are finding that they don't need to be in the same location, simply using the same network.

Wave 1: Kneejerk condemnation.
Wave 2: Contrarian reactionaries.
*More Information becomes available*
Wave 3: 'It's complicated' takes
Wave 4: There is plenty to condemn on *both* sides.
*X is on Twitter*
Wave 5: The initial condemnation was right but for the wrong reasons.
Wave 6: All this demonstrates the importance of my original ideological stance.
*Hours pass*
Wave 7: We all need to stop discussing THAT event.
Wave 7: Here is my thinkpiece about THAT event and waves.
Wave 8: Event becomes a legend endlessly cited by culture war talking heads.

I found it kind of obscurantist itself. Mao discredits his enemies in odd, indirect ways they couldn't have easily foreseen, leaving them defenseless? But we'll call that a signal because he stopped short (for a time anyway) of having them killed? And his enemies have to find some way to signal their opposition to one another - but not to him - as well? (He didn't elaborate on that.) Current relevance: someone(s) will decide one of these candidate needs to be eliminated, so a piece of information will "come to light"? And that too is a signal, because backhanded?

5. A Black Hebrew Israelite lives across the street from me.

I can't read the Brooks piece (okay, I don't know that's true, I've used up my articles but I've noticed the Times makes certain things free, that presumably they believe to be edifying - maybe this is one). Did Brooks explain why the Times didn't bother to contact the kids, if only in the interest of providing further "color" to the story, or in search of still more "damning" video?

I remember there used to be complaints about the "evenhanded" nature of news reporting. Everything had two "sides." It was kind of tedious, and often absurd - but I see now it served as a crude heuristic. Has that sort of reporting gone completely by the way?

"Did Brooks explain why the Times didn't bother to contact the kids,"

No, Brooks didn't hold the media accountable at all.

"Many news organizations ran one of these accounts. Before you judge the reporters too harshly, it’s important to remember that these days the social media tail wags the mainstream media dog. If you want your story to be well placed and if you want to be professionally rewarded, you have to generate page views — you have to incite social media. The way to do that is to reinforce the prejudices of your readers."

He blamed it all on the prejudices of the readers. Because apparently, major media can't be held accountable for actual fact checking.

Also, kudos to Reason for actually being one of the few sane media voices.


#5) "If you've been vacationing on Mars..." is the latest lame update of "If you've been living in a cave..." -- announcing that a columnist is about to pad his inch-count by needlessly recounting The Story Thus Far, before boldly removing thumb from mouth and getting to the point.

Besides, no one goes to Mars anymore; it's too crowded.

Presumably a wise and habitual flattering of his own readers, before going on to the "prejudices" of consumers of other media outlets, as per RiPM above.

5. I just read a post from a left wing news site proving the MAGA kids are trained crisis actors

The left under Obama was at least interesting and somewhat original. It must be the education system. They now read some alt-right site and do exactly the same thing. How boring.

Yes, McM sees no difference between Breitbart, 4chan etc on the one side and NY Times, Washington Post, CNN etc on the other. What on earth is he she or it doing on an economics blog?

Actually, the difference is only a matter of degree. Where Breitbart pioneered, NYT followed, albeit with some of the rougher edges polished. And Facebook Twitter ride it to the bank.

There is this sad premise that everything going on now is all new with Trump. Rather than a progression, layered consequences in a long term descent.

Randomly plucking one name out of the past, Judith Miler. Right. There. You cannot understand our current moment without understanding that episode. You cannot understand Trump without understanding Murdoch.

As for what I am doing on an econ blog, you would have to ask Tyler. He chose the topics.

4. Most corner stores do this. There is a branch of the Loblaws group who owns Superstores called Warehouse Club which is a grocery store with wide aisles that targets small retailers.

The small store near my house is owned by a Polish fellow who left Poland a couple years before the fall of the Soviet Union. He was in trouble because he was buying jeans and other popular clothing in the city and selling them in the small town where he lived for a profit. That was illegal under communism.


Also, if you buy and resell from a store, the warranty is voided, and it should be sold as USED-LIKE NEW.

#2; Very useful. Greer's prime question goes unanswered: what makes maneuvering like this possible? I'm thinking of parallels to Trump and MAGA.

#4. Because if you have a profitable knowledge about arbitrage in a market, the obvious thing to do is tell everyone about it, right? #retailarbitrage #amazonfba #howtoretailarbitrage

Painfully obvious that his business model is not retail arbitrage, but selling the dream of retail arbitrage

That link: I got a good chuckle when the NYT described comments as "you are all incest babies", "you are a future school shooter" and "white devil" as "racially charged". What would constitute, in their eyes, hate speech?

That’s easy. Wearing a MAGA hat, of course.

I think the culture has settled on MAGA hats being dumb speech instead.

I certainly wouldn't wear them. But they aren't anymore offensive than BLM shirts. And quite a lot less stupid than Che shirts.

People can wear what they want. Other people don't have a Right not to be offended.

Of course. Just pointing out MAGA hats signal stupidity.

Sure, in much the same way of wearing a BLM shirt signals stupidity.

I wouldn't say 'culture'. MAGA hats are just political support for your home team, unless you are one of the 10-20% TDSers. If a MAGA hat triggers you, seek professional help.

Re #5. https://ultimatephilosopher.blogspot.com/2019/01/progressive-scummery-as-trump-era-norm.html

#5...I don't care if you criticize or mock my politics, but do not denigrate my drumming.

How can you tell a drummers at the door?
The knocking speeds up.

What would have to happen in order to change the rules or your thinking on social media? What would have to happen to change anyone's thinking on gun control? People bring such fixed ideas with them that I don't think any "incident" is going to change the paradigm. I suspect that, in the end, it will all work out. Or maybe not!

5. Someday an anthropologist will have fun with this, but until then it's all turmoil.

I've stayed out of it, which in retrospect seems the smart plan.

One minor detail I do find interesting is the "Brazilian" connection, mentioned a few times above.

I wonder if it was an amateur anarchist, or if that machine was actually a proxy host for a state actor? Will we ever know? Or believe the testimony if provided?

I am gonna do the unpopular thing here, if someone has not done it already. Any well trained 17 year old ought to know to step aside when approached by an obviously older gentleman engaged in a peaceful protest. Basic manners like that ought to have been instilled in the kid. And where was the chaperon? Was he or she not adult enough to tell the kids to stop aside for an older gentleman?

Not for kids with access to a PR crisis management team; manners are for little people.


Teenage kids step aside for older, obviously non-violent older folks. Plain and simple. This kid's grandmother ought to give him a talking-to.

If a guy is trying to get past you, sure. If the guy locks eyes with you and veers out of his way to go right up to you and stand in front of you, despite lots of space for him to go around you, then no. Why would you even think the guy wanted to go around you? He clearly didn't. He wanted to bang a drum in the guy's face and provoke a reaction. The guy is a goddamned hero for keeping his cool in that situation.

and how does the media control their narrative when somebody walks up to a kid and swings a drumstick a foot from his face ?
-the media constructs narrative about the look on the kids face

I love all the piss and vinegar coming out that non-event in DC. It means Americans are mad and angry and they aren't taking it no more. Trump has helped unleash animal (in every sense of that word) spirits in all Americans, energizing his base and his enemies. Yeah, get angry, motherf*cker. Your country is being destroyed by contemptous, condescending ways of the elite establishment. We will take our country back one election at the time and we are winning.

The full hour plus long video of the Lincoln Memorial incident - admittedly filmed by the small group at the center of it - was not a confrontation of the type described by either liberal critics of the Covington students, or David Brooks. It was a long unfolding event pivoting around a small group of men seeking an audience for their ideas. I imagine that most pedestrians in the area quickly dismissed them as crackpots and moved on, but some individuals and groups engaged with them, occasionally at close quarters. At one point, a larger group formed a peaceful prayer circle while the men hurled abuse at the Catholic Church. As for the interaction between a small number of Native Americans and the Covington students, it’s not clear why it happened, but it is clear that the students were responding, not provoking. Reasonable people should regret the nature of the response, but it was limited to words and posturing (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3-pFMZaw5f0).

Certainly, there was heated language, but almost all of it came from the aforementioned crackpots. And yes, people were sometimes in close proximity to each other. But no one hit anyone else, no one yelled into another person’s face, personal boundaries were pushed, but ultimately respected.

Whatever one thinks of the content of the exchanges, the communication process was respectably democratic. David Brooks, however, disagrees: “Everybody involved in the incident was operating in an emotional and moral context that has been set by the viciousness of the Black Hebrew Israelites. Of the major players, the boys’ behavior is probably the least egregious.” In assigning blame, and distributing responsibility, Brooks is suggesting that there is something wrong with a fairly run of the mill example of street level politics. Moreover, he notes that “The incident actually started when members of the hate cult — the Black Hebrew Israelites — started hurling racist and homophobic slurs at the boys.” This is a technically accurate, but still questionable interpretation of the video evidence. The supposed hate cult was simply an unremarkable group of angry men, talking loudly in a public space, using a lot of religious language. In an ideal world, the students would have recognized the situation for what it was, and exhibited a sympathetic attitude.

In his article, Brooks tries to draw deep lessons from the event about polarization and social media. But the real lessons are simpler. First, sometimes people with different perspectives can communicate peacefully through words and body language - democracy isn’t a lost cause. Second, political correctness looks pretty good when you spend an hour watching the alternative.

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