Archive for category: Commentary

More proof that twitter sucks. (Updated)

16 Jul
July 16, 2013

A new top to this, apparently:  A reader has informed me that Mr. Podhoretz has apologized for the mischaracterization of the quote.  That was manful, and direct.  So while this post remains as a means of reaffirming the actual intent of what I wrote, it should be acquired henceforth with the knowledge that Mr. Podhoretz appears to have been unaware of the full context when he tweeted.  Mr. Kurtz remains in the wind, but due respect to Mr. Podhoretz.

*       *       *

Willful stupidity or rank intellectual dishonesty?  With these two fellows and their output, there is really no third choice that can be legitimately considered:

             John Podhoretz ?@jpodhoretz1m

  1. David Simon says he would have thrown brick at courthouse if he were a person of color in FLA. Why shouldn’t he attack it as a white guy?

    HowardKurtz ?@HowardKurtz7m

  2. Ugh: Wire’s David Simon: If I were a person of color in Florida, I would pick up a brick and start walking toward that courthouse in Sanford.

    The Actual Statement:

    If I were a person of color in Florida, I would pick up a brick and start walking toward that courthouse in Sanford. Those that do not, those that hold the pain and betrayal inside and somehow manage to resist violence — these citizens are testament to a stoic tolerance that is more than the rest of us deserve.  I confess, their patience and patriotism is well beyond my own.

    Yes, the complete statement is not an exhortation for anyone to riot.  It is instead a statement of admiration for the restraint and civic commitment that African-Americans are displaying in the wake of an appalling betrayal of their citizenship.

    By the time Mr. Kurtz and Mr. Podhoretz practice their intellectual reductions, they have achieved and propagated the opposite.  Perhaps the willingness to convert the skill set that used to be journalism and essaying to 140-character morsels breaks down the human brain.  Or perhaps, the process is readily suited for ideologues and paper-thin media gurus to simply manufacture a quote so simple and corrupted that they can actually wrestle with it.

Trayvon: Calling it

15 Jul
July 15, 2013

Went to dinner last night and I’d managed to winnow the comments down to a dozen or so.  Came back and we were back in the hundreds.  Moreover, I read through all of them and, without exception, they are entirely repetitive of arguments that have already been given a full ride. This is understandable in that many fresh posters are not inclined to review pages and pages of previous commentary, but such brutal repetition nonetheless impairs the commentary as a standing document.  Anyone reading at this point will be distracted to find nearly every aspect argued at multiple points. So as with the previous debate on the NSA that generated so much commentary, there comes a reasonable point at which we have to acknowledge that the back and forth is taking us nowhere new.

I’d like to genuinely thank the great majority of you for your interest, your passion, your honest rhetoric and your willingness to seriously engage with all facets of this case and the large issue of stand-your-ground.  I say so as much for the oppositional voices as for those who offered allied opinions; that’s what makes a debate.  And we are here for a good argument now and then.

For the residual few that continue to mistake this site for say, a Fox News or Huff Post website commentary dump, refusing any level of rhetorical rigor, well, thanks for stopping by. However, while we send no posts to any kill file for being oppositional, we do precisely that with those offerings that lose themselves in simple rage, or that embrace raw and unrestrained ad hominem and/or outright libels. Short of that, posts are published in total.

In several cases here, I actually let a few of the really crazed racist stuff through the gate, simply because it seems relevant to this, a discussion that centers on race and justice. These spasms highlight the simple fact that while this country has made progress at points, there is a reservoir of venality and racial rage that still informs our national dynamic. Normally, such posts would be consigned to the kill file for the obvious reason.  Here, uniquely, they provide some certain evidence of a particular kind. At least, I think so.

Apologies if you offered posts at some point after late this afternoon, but we do close the comments at a given point to preserve the back-and-forth dynamic of the commentary — and to keep that dynamic up front and available to readers of the blog. Rest assured that as many affirming posts were killed as otherwise; slightly more in fact.

The webmistress has posted the usual notice, warning fresh posts away.

Hope to hear from some of you again when it is necessary to once again stir the shit, as serious argument and debate are a core value of any experiment in self-governance.  Either that, or this site is a marvelous opportunity to piss everyone off thoroughly.   Either way, our work here, on this thread, is done.

DS

Trayvon

13 Jul
July 13, 2013

You can stand your ground if you’re white, and you can use a gun to do it. But if you stand your ground with your fists and you’re black, you’re dead.

In the state of Florida, the season on African-Americans now runs year round. Come one, come all.  And bring a handgun. The legislators are fine with this blood on their hands. The governor, too. One man accosted another and when it became a fist fight, one man — and one man only — had a firearm. The rest is racial rationalization and dishonorable commentary.

If I were a person of color in Florida, I would pick up a brick and start walking toward that courthouse in Sanford. Those that do not, those that hold the pain and betrayal inside and somehow manage to resist violence — these citizens are testament to a stoic tolerance that is more than the rest of us deserve.  I confess, their patience and patriotism is well beyond my own.

Behold, the lewd, pornographic embrace of two great American pathologies:  Race and guns, both of which have conspired not only to take the life of a teenager, but to make that killing entirely permissible.  I can’t look an African-American parent in the eye for thinking about what they must tell their sons about what can happen to them on the streets of their country.  Tonight, anyone who truly understands what justice is and what it requires of a society is ashamed to call himself an American.

 

The banality of ideology

09 Jul
July 9, 2013

There’s a fine essay up on the New York Times website reflecting on Hannah Arendt’s “Eichmann in Jerusalem” and the new film about that seminal moment in our understanding of the human capacity for evil. Having read Ms. Arendt once when I was in high school, and then again some twenty-odd years later, I’ve always been at a loss to explain the uncivil meltdown of the New York intelligentsia when it comes to her work. Read more →

Chickens, coming home.

03 Jul
July 3, 2013

What follows is an exchange from the commentary section after I wrote last year that the Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office unwillingness to pursue all but the most winnable murder cases — and a corresponding decline in the number of charged defendants by anywhere from 33 to 45 percent, depending on the time frame — would eventually result in a bump in the homicide rate for the city. Beginning with a certain Mr. Darrow, whose moniker suggests that he may labor at the Mitchell Courthouse, though I have no way of knowing, obviously:

June 18, 2012 at 10:41 p.m.

CLARENCE DARROW says:

One question: if what you say here is true, why hasn’t the murder rate in Baltimore skyrocketed? Nine percent seems like it could be a seasonal/sociological blip.

  • June 18, 2012 1t 11:33 p.m.

    DAVID SIMON says:

    Of what, exactly, are you skeptical?

    Read more →

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