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Thread: Backroom Errata

  1. #121
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    Default Re: Backroom Errata

    Quote Originally Posted by Philippus Flavius Homovallumus View Post
    Usable Cryo would also be helpful.
    This century is as much Biochemistry's as the 20th was for Physics and the 19th for Chemistry.

    By 2100 we will likely have much better insight into stabilizing the effects of aging and managing diseases through gene therapy, novel molecules, and controlling our environments. Cryo may not be needed.
    In all these papers we see a love of honest work, an aversion to shams, a caution in the enunciation of conclusions, a distrust of rash generalizations and speculations based on uncertain premises. He was never anxious to add one more guess on doubtful matters in the hope of hitting the truth, or what might pass as such for a time, but was always ready to take infinite pains in the most careful testing of every theory. With these qualities was united a modesty which forbade the pushing of his own claims and desired no reputation except the unsought tribute of competent judges.

  2. #122

    Default Re: Backroom Errata

    Time to play "Guess the ethnicity."

    Make your best guess and assign an ethnicity to each of these persons.

    DO NOT SEARCH FOR THE ANSWER OR REVEAL IT HERE.

    You have one week.

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  3. #123
    Mr Self Important Senior Member Beskar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backroom Errata

    Quote Originally Posted by Montmorency View Post
    Time to play "Guess the ethnicity."

    Make your best guess and assign an ethnicity to each of these persons.

    DO NOT SEARCH FOR THE ANSWER OR REVEAL IT HERE.

    You have one week.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    What do you define as Ethnicity in this context?
    Americans only have 5 categories. "White", "Black/African", "Mexican", "Muslim" and "Chinese". (I jest)
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  4. #124

    Default Re: Backroom Errata

    Quote Originally Posted by Beskar View Post
    What do you define as Ethnicity in this context?
    Americans only have 5 categories. "White", "Black/African", "Mexican", "Muslim" and "Chinese". (I jest)
    They don't have to be American; they could be Kurdish and Hmong, respectively. If you prefer, you can assign a nationality.
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  5. #125
    Ni dieu ni maître! Senior Member a completely inoffensive name's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backroom Errata

    Quote Originally Posted by Montmorency View Post
    Time to play "Guess the ethnicity."

    Make your best guess and assign an ethnicity to each of these persons.
    AMERICAN
    In all these papers we see a love of honest work, an aversion to shams, a caution in the enunciation of conclusions, a distrust of rash generalizations and speculations based on uncertain premises. He was never anxious to add one more guess on doubtful matters in the hope of hitting the truth, or what might pass as such for a time, but was always ready to take infinite pains in the most careful testing of every theory. With these qualities was united a modesty which forbade the pushing of his own claims and desired no reputation except the unsought tribute of competent judges.

  6. #126
    Voluntary Suspension Voluntary Suspension Philippus Flavius Homovallumus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backroom Errata

    American.

    Second one may be a bit Dutch, first one might be a bit native American.
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  7. #127

    Default Re: Backroom Errata

    First one is a Danish Dane. Second one is an American Jew.
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  8. #128
    Mr Self Important Senior Member Beskar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backroom Errata

    Quote Originally Posted by Montmorency View Post
    First one is a Danish Dane. Second one is an American Jew.
    I went with American White possibly Jewish for second (kind of looks like someone I know who is an American Jew).

    The first I was thinking European, but it was too vague. But probably North Eastern area which would include Denmark (along with others like Estonia/Baltics).
    Last edited by Beskar; 09-10-2019 at 15:52.
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  9. #129

    Default Re: Backroom Errata

    Quote Originally Posted by Beskar View Post
    I went with American White possibly Jewish for second (kind of looks like someone I know who is an American Jew).

    The first I was thinking European, but it was too vague. But probably North Eastern area which would include Denmark (along with others like Estonia).
    lol the whole point of the exercise is to register your guess before the reveal. I hoped for a couple more posters.

    I did this because reverse-searching either of their photos includes results for the other, which is amusing. Melinda Katz is one of the more Europeanized looks. Somewhat less so is someone like Valerie Plame, then someone like her (the Youtube animator).
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  10. #130
    Mr Self Important Senior Member Beskar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backroom Errata

    Quote Originally Posted by Montmorency View Post
    lol the whole point of the exercise is to register your guess before the reveal. I hoped for a couple more posters.
    I found out the answers before your reveal. Since I thought I was rather close, I decided not to post.
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  11. #131

    Default Re: Backroom Errata

    Holy shit, the Sinaloa cartel just went ISIS-mode and defeated the Mexican government in a pitched battle over a mid-sized city. Pretty sure this is what we were warned about when foreign policy scholars said criminal organizations could transition to feral government organizations in a world system of weak states and strong commerce.

    (Given the record of the 1990s, the US federal government would probably preemptively retreat and cede the territory in a similar situation)

    But on Thursday in the Sinaloan city of Culiacan, the cartel gunmen were everywhere. They openly drove in trucks with mounted machine guns, blockaded streets flashing their Kalashnikovs and burned trucks unleashing plumes of smoke like it was a scene in Syria. They took control of the strategic points in the metro area, shut down the airport, roads, and government buildings and exchanged fire with security forces for hours, leaving at least eight people dead. In contrast, everyone else had to act like ghosts, hiding behind locked doors, not daring to step outside.

    And in this unusual battle, the Sinaloa Cartel won. Their uprising was in response to soldiers storming a house on Thursday and arresting Ovidio Guzman, the 28-year old son of convicted kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. In February, the U.S. Justice Department announced it had indicted Ovidio Guzman on trafficking cocaine, marijuana and meth. But after hours of cartel chaos, Mexico’s federal government gave soldiers the go ahead to release him. It capitulated.
    Last edited by Montmorency; 10-21-2019 at 20:36.
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  12. #132

    Default Re: Backroom Errata

    Fuck.

    Here are some actual things that white US Army Air Corps officers in 1945 said about the African American airmen serving with them at Freeman Field, Indiana.
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  13. #133
    Praefectus Fabrum Senior Member Anime BlackJack Champion, Flash Poker Champion, Word Up Champion, Shape Game Champion, Snake Shooter Champion, Fishwater Challenge Champion, Rocket Racer MX Champion, Jukebox Hero Champion, My House Is Bigger Than Your House Champion, Funky Pong Champion, Cutie Quake Champion, Fling The Cow Champion, Tiger Punch Champion, Virus Champion, Solitaire Champion, Worm Race Champion, Rope Walker Champion, Penguin Pass Champion, Skate Park Champion, Watch Out Champion, Lawn Pac Champion, Weapons Of Mass Destruction Champion, Skate Boarder Champion, Lane Bowling Champion, Bugz Champion, Makai Grand Prix 2 Champion, White Van Man Champion, Parachute Panic Champion, BlackJack Champion, Stans Ski Jumping Champion, Smaugs Treasure Champion, Sofa Longjump Champion Seamus Fermanagh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backroom Errata

    Quote Originally Posted by Montmorency View Post
    A sad era on that issue.
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  14. #134
    Darkside Medic Senior Member rory_20_uk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backroom Errata

    Quote Originally Posted by Seamus Fermanagh View Post
    A sad era on that issue.
    It always seems to be framed as a bygone era (and you chose to describe this as "sad??!?") - definitely not a problem now... Sure, it might have somewhat improved (the bar was set very, very low) but the USA still manages to be an extremely racist country to anyone not Nordic white. Those who are rich get something of a pass.

    The first step towards change is acknowledging what something currently is. Hanging on to this "best country in the world" / "land of the free" seems to enable many to ignore all the many examples why this is far from true.

    An enemy that wishes to die for their country is the best sort to face - you both have the same aim in mind.
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  15. #135
    Member Member Greyblades's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backroom Errata

    5 years ago I think I would have agreed with that without reservation. Now I find myself on the other end of dissilusionment. Too often racism has been inferred and/or manufactured rather than shown by those who provide us outsiders windows into america. Thugs turned into lanky kids, self defense turned into unprovoked murder, innocence become intent and just enough genuinity to make the farces less blatant, while the why for the portrayal is a mix of ideology, viewchasing and simple ignorance of the spin they regurgitate.

    Not that its much of an improvement to do away with those mainstream; the alternatives themselves are either merely pointing out on the mainstream's spin or spinners in a different direction. There's a vaccum in journalism for impartiality while the right to define the state of the union to the biggest audience is fought over by partisans of various levels of hackery.

    Still, I suspect that to say its as bad or close as 45 would find major pushback across most americans, even among the progressive hotspots. About as hard as an outsider saying britain is the same would encounter here.
    Last edited by Greyblades; 11-01-2019 at 12:14.
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  16. #136
    Darkside Medic Senior Member rory_20_uk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backroom Errata

    Yes, better. Than an appalling time of overt segregation, racial profiling by the police / housing boards / doctors / college admission / right to carry laws enacted to target minorities / border patrol and of course all-cause incarceration.

    Now it has been improved to merely a raised risk of stop and search / incarceration / execution by the police, services affected by historic abuses and so on and so forth. And the system has become self-sustaining, enabling race to be removed and poverty added.

    Ignore the media. The government stats on outcomes speak for themselves and yes whilst many laws have been (in some cases incredibly reluctantly) overturned thus improving things (some Southern state flags even continue to have those of the Confederacy FFS), this has to be taken in context of a country that prides itself in being "land of the free" rather than a colonial power presiding over the indigenous population.

    An enemy that wishes to die for their country is the best sort to face - you both have the same aim in mind.
    Science flies you to the moon, religion flies you into buildings.
    "If you can't trust the local kleptocrat whom you installed by force and prop up with billions of annual dollars, who can you trust?" Lemur
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  17. #137
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    Default Re: Backroom Errata

    Quote Originally Posted by Montmorency View Post
    Source looks unreliable - the final quote is cut off mid-stream. There could be a number of reasons for this, but the most likely is to make it seem ambiguous in order to present a universally negative view of American army racism during World War II
    "If it wears trousers generally I don't pay attention."

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  18. #138
    Praefectus Fabrum Senior Member Anime BlackJack Champion, Flash Poker Champion, Word Up Champion, Shape Game Champion, Snake Shooter Champion, Fishwater Challenge Champion, Rocket Racer MX Champion, Jukebox Hero Champion, My House Is Bigger Than Your House Champion, Funky Pong Champion, Cutie Quake Champion, Fling The Cow Champion, Tiger Punch Champion, Virus Champion, Solitaire Champion, Worm Race Champion, Rope Walker Champion, Penguin Pass Champion, Skate Park Champion, Watch Out Champion, Lawn Pac Champion, Weapons Of Mass Destruction Champion, Skate Boarder Champion, Lane Bowling Champion, Bugz Champion, Makai Grand Prix 2 Champion, White Van Man Champion, Parachute Panic Champion, BlackJack Champion, Stans Ski Jumping Champion, Smaugs Treasure Champion, Sofa Longjump Champion Seamus Fermanagh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backroom Errata

    Quote Originally Posted by rory_20_uk View Post
    It always seems to be framed as a bygone era (and you chose to describe this as "sad??!?") - definitely not a problem now... Sure, it might have somewhat improved (the bar was set very, very low) but the USA still manages to be an extremely racist country to anyone not Nordic white. Those who are rich get something of a pass.

    The first step towards change is acknowledging what something currently is. Hanging on to this "best country in the world" / "land of the free" seems to enable many to ignore all the many examples why this is far from true.

    Are you surprised that some of the history of my country evokes sadness from me? I have been an advocate for the special character of American my entire adult life -- this does not mean that I am unaware of our flaws either past or present.

    Or are you one of those who must assert that we always were, are, and always will be racists in our entirety? Perhaps if we all shout mea culpa for the rest of our existence as a nation...
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  19. #139
    Headless Senior Member Pannonian's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backroom Errata

    Quote Originally Posted by Seamus Fermanagh View Post
    Are you surprised that some of the history of my country evokes sadness from me? I have been an advocate for the special character of American my entire adult life -- this does not mean that I am unaware of our flaws either past or present.

    Or are you one of those who must assert that we always were, are, and always will be racists in our entirety? Perhaps if we all shout mea culpa for the rest of our existence as a nation...
    The US has a more liberal history than most on its own merits, as seen in its attractiveness to outsiders, and their belief in the American myth. There aren't many countries that have independently, without imposition from the outside, reached this level of liberalism. Western Europe, and in most of that it has come from weariness from extreme violence.

    Edit: Anyone who thinks the US is especially racist needs to witness the world outside the west.
    Last edited by Pannonian; 11-02-2019 at 01:06.

  20. #140

    Default Re: Backroom Errata

    Quote Originally Posted by rory_20_uk View Post
    It always seems to be framed as a bygone era (and you chose to describe this as "sad??!?") - definitely not a problem now... Sure, it might have somewhat improved (the bar was set very, very low) but the USA still manages to be an extremely racist country to anyone not Nordic white. Those who are rich get something of a pass.

    The first step towards change is acknowledging what something currently is. Hanging on to this "best country in the world" / "land of the free" seems to enable many to ignore all the many examples why this is far from true.

    The sad thing is, there are There a lot of people who make their bones spinning the transgressions of police onto their black victims. There ought to be a word for that...

    On the other hand, the fact that there are more of us who don't like racism than those who do is a continuing source of comfort and hope. And I've had a Guyanese Social Studies teacher and a Jamaican chemistry teacher, where else in the world could I - I'll come in again.

    Quote Originally Posted by Philippus Flavius Homovallumus View Post
    Source looks unreliable - the final quote is cut off mid-stream. There could be a number of reasons for this, but the most likely is to make it seem ambiguous in order to present a universally negative view of American army racism during World War II
    It's a photo of a page in a book bro. It's sourced from army unit histories. Check the tweet stream.

    But I shouldn't need to explain the concept of primary sources to a historian.

    Quote Originally Posted by Seamus Fermanagh View Post
    Are you surprised that some of the history of my country evokes sadness from me? I have been an advocate for the special character of American my entire adult life -- this does not mean that I am unaware of our flaws either past or present.

    Or are you one of those who must assert that we always were, are, and always will be racists in our entirety? Perhaps if we all shout mea culpa for the rest of our existence as a nation...
    Or we could deal with it? Again this potential solution flies over your head. Seriously, it's like a sitcom.

    "Seamus, when are you going to return the leafblower I lent you?"

    "Ohhh, is that all you can talk about Fred? Yes, I'm sorry that I used your leafblower to keep my beautiful property clear of debris. What do you want me to do, get on my knees and beg for forgiveness? Should I go become a monk and dedicate my life to serving God that my sins be cleansed?"

    "You can start by giving back the leafblower..."


    Quote Originally Posted by Pannonian View Post
    The US has a more liberal history than most on its own merits, as seen in its attractiveness to outsiders, and their belief in the American myth. There aren't many countries that have independently, without imposition from the outside, reached this level of liberalism. Western Europe, and in most of that it has come from weariness from extreme violence.

    Edit: Anyone who thinks the US is especially racist needs to witness the world outside the west.
    'The US is not especially racist because ethnic cleansing exists in the world' is not a good argument. Don't lower the bar when it suits you, or one could point out that Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn can't be complained about when considering some of the other politicians elsewhere in the world.
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  21. #141
    Praefectus Fabrum Senior Member Anime BlackJack Champion, Flash Poker Champion, Word Up Champion, Shape Game Champion, Snake Shooter Champion, Fishwater Challenge Champion, Rocket Racer MX Champion, Jukebox Hero Champion, My House Is Bigger Than Your House Champion, Funky Pong Champion, Cutie Quake Champion, Fling The Cow Champion, Tiger Punch Champion, Virus Champion, Solitaire Champion, Worm Race Champion, Rope Walker Champion, Penguin Pass Champion, Skate Park Champion, Watch Out Champion, Lawn Pac Champion, Weapons Of Mass Destruction Champion, Skate Boarder Champion, Lane Bowling Champion, Bugz Champion, Makai Grand Prix 2 Champion, White Van Man Champion, Parachute Panic Champion, BlackJack Champion, Stans Ski Jumping Champion, Smaugs Treasure Champion, Sofa Longjump Champion Seamus Fermanagh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backroom Errata

    Quote Originally Posted by Montmorency View Post
    ...Or we could deal with it? Again this potential solution flies over your head. Seriously, it's like a sitcom.

    "Seamus, when are you going to return the leafblower I lent you?"

    "Ohhh, is that all you can talk about Fred? Yes, I'm sorry that I used your leafblower to keep my beautiful property clear of debris. What do you want me to do, get on my knees and beg for forgiveness? Should I go become a monk and dedicate my life to serving God that my sins be cleansed?"

    "You can start by giving back the leafblower..."
    No shit, Sherlock. And I would have thought you would recognize the sarcastic tone in my comment.

    I work in an academic department which aggressively seeks to provide opportunities to persons from traditionally marginalized groups and/or who come from other cultures. I have lodged complaints when a pre-school classmate of my child was using racist language learned from her parents, I told off my homeowners association president for using racist "code" language. I taught my children to not care about race and to think less of those who stupidly continue to do so. I discuss racism and its problems in community conflict etc. as part of teaching in my degree program.

    I simply think that those who dismiss the USA as "racist" and ignore the improvements made over the last half century are painting with too broad a brush. Still more racism about than there ought to be? Absolutely. I intend to continue working against it. I am proud that it recedes and has continued to recede throughout my life.
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  22. #142
    Headless Senior Member Pannonian's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backroom Errata

    Quote Originally Posted by Montmorency View Post
    'The US is not especially racist because ethnic cleansing exists in the world' is not a good argument. Don't lower the bar when it suits you, or one could point out that Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn can't be complained about when considering some of the other politicians elsewhere in the world.
    Do you know what it's like outside the US and western Europe? Even the westernised bits of east Asia, which your average western tourist would feel relatively welcome in, has attitudes that would be anathema in the west (eg. blackface, normalised acceptance of stereotypes, hierarchies of different ethnicities).

  23. #143
    Headless Senior Member Pannonian's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backroom Errata

    Quote Originally Posted by Seamus Fermanagh View Post
    No shit, Sherlock. And I would have thought you would recognize the sarcastic tone in my comment.

    I work in an academic department which aggressively seeks to provide opportunities to persons from traditionally marginalized groups and/or who come from other cultures. I have lodged complaints when a pre-school classmate of my child was using racist language learned from her parents, I told off my homeowners association president for using racist "code" language. I taught my children to not care about race and to think less of those who stupidly continue to do so. I discuss racism and its problems in community conflict etc. as part of teaching in my degree program.

    I simply think that those who dismiss the USA as "racist" and ignore the improvements made over the last half century are painting with too broad a brush. Still more racism about than there ought to be? Absolutely. I intend to continue working against it. I am proud that it recedes and has continued to recede throughout my life.
    Evidence from the 1940s is not an indication that the US is heading in the wrong direction. There may well be good arguments using contemporary evidence that the US is heading in the wrong direction. But Monty's presented evidence is not it.

  24. #144

    Default Re: Backroom Errata

    Quote Originally Posted by Seamus Fermanagh View Post
    I simply think that those who dismiss the USA as "racist" and ignore the improvements made over the last half century are painting with too broad a brush. Still more racism about than there ought to be? Absolutely. I intend to continue working against it. I am proud that it recedes and has continued to recede throughout my life.
    The argument is more like: There has been less progress than mainstream white culture acknowledges - not nearly adequate - and what progress there has been (in this and other domains) faces acute peril from the forces of reaction where it hasn't already been retrenched. The necessary level of action to bring America out of disgrace demands the building of a national consensus and consciousness on race leading to appropriate economic and political reform, somewhere most white people are not yet comfortable going.

    I mean hell, I'm not totally comfortable myself, but I have to admit the force of the evidence.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pannonian View Post
    Do you know what it's like outside the US and western Europe? Even the westernised bits of east Asia, which your average western tourist would feel relatively welcome in, has attitudes that would be anathema in the west (eg. blackface, normalised acceptance of stereotypes, hierarchies of different ethnicities).
    I am aware. Did you know South Korea was formally an ethnostate until around 2005? And Israel formally advanced ethnostate status just recently?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pannonian View Post
    Evidence from the 1940s is not an indication that the US is heading in the wrong direction. There may well be good arguments using contemporary evidence that the US is heading in the wrong direction. But Monty's presented evidence is not it.
    My post was not in itself making any comment about contemporary America.
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  25. #145
    Hǫrðar Member Viking's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backroom Errata

    In practical terms, creating a USA where the different "races" live together as equals is impossible; for a very simple reason: if people from the different ethnicities truly consider each other equal, they will not have any preference for people of similar ancestry when selecting mates. The different ethnic groups would completely merge over some generations as a result.

    For African Americans as a group (and any other ethnicity, for any country), the only prospect of a future in the US where they at the very least are the equals of every other ethnicity in the contry, is if they take control over the country. This is because the only two other options are 1) different situations that in many ways are similar to the one that exists today, and 2) being absorbed into a future pan-Usanian ethnicity where "blacks" as a group no longer exists. There is significant middle ground between the two options, but think it is very easy to overestimate its extent.

    A complete answer also needs to factor in changing technology, such as the possibility of the curing of ageing and the proliferation of genetic engineering, but the above is the status quo.

    Relatedly, I saw this BBC video yesterday about African Americans travelling to Ghana. One of the people featured was a woman that moved to Ghana on a permanent basis, after first moving there to start her own business (the quote below is from 05:53 and onwards):

    To me, there is no such thing as a black woman in Ghana. I'm a woman in Ghana. We are all black.

    I don't see colour here because I'm part of the majority, and I think that's a privilege and a luxury.
    In more generic terms, this is exaclty how I am thinking about such issues, except that I think belonging to the majority of a country should be closer to a right than a privilege or a luxury.
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  26. #146
    Member Member Greyblades's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rory_20_uk View Post
    Yes, better. Than an appalling time of overt segregation, racial profiling by the police / housing boards / doctors / college admission / right to carry laws enacted to target minorities / border patrol and of course all-cause incarceration.

    Now it has been improved to merely a raised risk of stop and search / incarceration / execution by the police, services affected by historic abuses and so on and so forth. And the system has become self-sustaining, enabling race to be removed and poverty added.

    Ignore the media. The government stats on outcomes speak for themselves and yes whilst many laws have been (in some cases incredibly reluctantly) overturned thus improving things (some Southern state flags even continue to have those of the Confederacy FFS), this has to be taken in context of a country that prides itself in being "land of the free" rather than a colonial power presiding over the indigenous population.

    I have another set of numbers relevant to this: blacks commit a disproportionate amount of crime. With this the inferral of prejudice looks much less plausable does it not? Perhaps the reason for the "raised risk" of stop and search, incarceration and execution by the police is not because of racist oppresion but due to the demographic's propensity towards crime and thus thier "raised risk" is due to requiring higher exposure to the police?

    I hope you see the flaw with my argument here because its important to my higher point: the FBI statistics count arrests not convictions. There is nothing in those numbers to differentiate between innocence and guilt in those arrests. Even if it had, how many were wrongly convicted?

    "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." - Mark Twain

    The numbers are real, the reason is inferred. The same is almost certainly true of the numbers you were presented with that inform your viewpoint, how much of that risk is a consequence of racism? Considering those that presented those numbers I would say very little.
    Last edited by Greyblades; 11-02-2019 at 15:11.
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  27. #147
    Mr Self Important Senior Member Beskar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backroom Errata

    Murder rate of Ghana is 1.68 in 100,000 compared to USA of around 5 in 100,000.
    Now, as a percentage, Ghana is significantly more black than the USA. So if it is a case 'black people are inherently bad', I think we can expect Ghana to have a lot higher than the USA, correct?

    Racial tensions have a special meaning in the USA. As Greyblades comments, the amount of crime is dis-appropriate for example. The problems go into the reasons why and no, it isn't because they are 'black', it is because black's are treated dis appropriately in life in the USA. Relevant to the Ghana example, to quote from a recent BBC video "In Ghana, I am not a black person, I am just a person".
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  28. #148
    Headless Senior Member Pannonian's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backroom Errata

    Quote Originally Posted by Beskar View Post
    Murder rate of Ghana is 1.68 in 100,000 compared to USA of around 5 in 100,000.
    Now, as a percentage, Ghana is significantly more black than the USA. So if it is a case 'black people are inherently bad', I think we can expect Ghana to have a lot higher than the USA, correct?

    Racial tensions have a special meaning in the USA. As Greyblades comments, the amount of crime is dis-appropriate for example. The problems go into the reasons why and no, it isn't because they are 'black', it is because black's are treated dis appropriately in life in the USA. Relevant to the Ghana example, to quote from a recent BBC video "In Ghana, I am not a black person, I am just a person".
    I can think of a catchy slogan to describe dealing with crime and its root causes. Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime. Deal with the symptoms, and simultaneously deal with the sociological issues that lead to these symptoms. I can't believe no one has ever come up with that before.

  29. #149

    Default Re: Backroom Errata

    Quote Originally Posted by Viking View Post
    Relatedly, I saw this BBC video yesterday about African Americans travelling to Ghana. One of the people featured was a woman that moved to Ghana on a permanent basis, after first moving there to start her own business (the quote below is from 05:53 and onwards):

    In more generic terms, this is exaclty how I am thinking about such issues, except that I think belonging to the majority of a country should be closer to a right than a privilege or a luxury.
    I have no interest in continuing to discuss your ideas of an ethnoseparatist world order - for which there is a specific term that always eludes me - as we do on what seems to be a yearly basis. However, I'd like to point out that the perspective of the immigrant to Ghana you quote is extremely American. Ghana, like many African countries, is highly ethnically diverse, so the concept of "black" would have little internal significance; this woman is almost certainly perceived as an outgrouper by most autochthonous Ghanaians. From her perspective, she is surrounded by similarly-colored people from the 'motherland' and it's not any more complicated than that to her.

    On one hand this makes me feel good as an American, that we have this shared national characteristic of looking down and out at the rest of the world, but on the other hand I know it's not a fair or realistic worldview; it's a form of arrogance.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pannonian View Post
    I can think of a catchy slogan to describe dealing with crime and its root causes. Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime. Deal with the symptoms, and simultaneously deal with the sociological issues that lead to these symptoms. I can't believe no one has ever come up with that before.
    It's a slogan that seems to pay service to the idea that punitive deterrence is equally important to structural reform, which isn't self-evident. Putting everything through the lens of legacy Blairism is not a robust worldview. In abstract it can reinforce prejudiced inferences such as the one that blacks commit a disproportionate share of crime and therefore their harassment by the state is justified.



    PVC, I hope you're geared up to appreciate this.

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    Over a decade ago I sat in a lecture hall and listened to a visiting scholar of English history talk about the end of Roman rule in Britain and the remarkable – it may be fair to say incomprehensible – speed and comprehensiveness with which a previously undistinguished group of people called the Saxons became the cultural hegemon of what is today the United Kingdom. As this is a topic about which I knew (and know) next to nothing I was an easy mark; impressing me was like sinking a half-inch putt. I'm forever indebted to that person whose name I have completely forgotten, though, for giving me one of my favorite examples / metaphors / anecdotes for explaining what is wrong, and I mean what is really, fundamentally wrong, with the way people in the United States view politics and their rights as citizens today: the Churl.

    Aside from being the root of names like Charles and its Germanic cousin Carl, we know "churl" as the root of the regrettably rare adjective "churlish," or "rude in a surly, mean spirited way." This seems unnecessary until you realize that rudeness does not automatically imply the latter part, and in fact a good deal of rudeness is cloaked in politeness or ignorance. But I digress. The word "churl" as a noun is still used by some English speakers of a more antiquated bent to refer to a mean spirited person. Its archaic meaning, though, is for a person of low class. Specifically, in early Saxon England the churls were the lowest class of free people, which is to say they were not nobles nor royalty nor clergy, but nor were they serfs. They were essentially peasants; poor, but with the social and practical advantage of not being bound to a manor as serfs were. They were, in words used by the Mystery Lecturer that I will never forget, "possessing the freedom of the upper classes but without the economic means to take advantage of it." They could go wherever they wanted to and do whatever pleased them, in other words, if only they had any money. Alas, they didn't. So all that freedom was for naught, except inasmuch as it permitted them to look at serfs as their inferiors.

    This is such a perfect analogy for the state in which the majority – and I do mean the overwhelming majority – of Americans find themselves today that I can hardly believe I was lucky enough to stumble across it. The great masses of Americans cling so desperately to their own imagined versions of things like freedom of religion and right to bear arms because those are the only freedoms they can claim without deceiving themselves to have. If those are taken away they would be forced to recognize how truly un-free in any useful sense they are. If people are unable to find work that pays a sufficient amount to cover life's necessities and to live in a manner and place of their choosing, then all of their many intangible rights and freedoms guaranteed by law provide only a superficial – important, but superficial nonetheless – freedom. We are free, in short, to do whatever we can afford, which, in the majority of cases, is to say "Not much."

    A few weeks ago I posted about one of the last major manufacturers – Mitsubishi Motors – in the area closing operations in Central Illinois. Last week the colossus of the non-Chicago part of the Illinois economy, Caterpillar, announced that it is laying off 10,000 workers. Ten thousand. The vast majority of those figure to be in Peoria, Caterpillar's already cripplingly depressed, moribund, and crumbling home base. Without going deep into the intricacies of local politics, Caterpillar, along with a few hospitals and one small university, is the only place one can work in this city and hope to make what has traditionally been considered middle class income. In Peoria one is either unemployed, in the low wage service industry, paid to care for the large, old, dying population, or working for Cat and its associated suppliers. There is nothing else here. The people laid off by Cat are not going to find comparable jobs here. Their choices will be to stay here and accept a job hovering precariously above the minimum wage, probably serving food, stocking store shelves, or manning a cash register, or to move to a state devoid of labor laws and accept manufacturing work at a vastly lower wage.

    If those were my options, I would be working overtime mentally to conceive of some way I could define myself as free too. Without implying that the government owes everyone a job of their choosing in the exact location of their choosing, it's fair to say that if you can't find work that pays enough to live a life that gives you real choices and options then you are free only in the sense that you are not imprisoned (although there will be plenty of that as well) and nobody can tell you how many Jesus fish and Rush Limbaugh bumper stickers you can put on your car, nor how many expensive guns you can hoard in your meager home that you struggle to afford. Americans obsess over those largely symbolic freedoms, the threats to which exist only in their own imaginations, because even though we dare not admit it we understand that many of us lack anything better. Like denials of alcoholism are often directly proportional to the probability that one is indeed an alcoholic, the extent to which any people are truly free when they go to such comical excesses with such regularity to declare how free they are is to be evaluated with skepticism. By silent consensus this country has chosen "Fake it 'til you make it" as a coping mechanism in the face of stagnant or declining incomes and a constantly shrinking selection of choices and opportunities beyond at-will, low paid employment at The Company's pleasure. We have a country in which you can buy as many guns as you want but can't count on having a job beyond the end of business today. We can refuse to bake cakes for gay people but we can't decide where and how we want to live. Freedoms are not all created equal, and we content ourselves with the ones that do us the least good.
    Last edited by Montmorency; 11-03-2019 at 02:42.
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  30. #150
    Member Member Gilrandir's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backroom Errata

    Quote Originally Posted by Montmorency View Post

    "Seamus, when are you going to return the leafblower I lent you?"

    "Ohhh, is that all you can talk about Fred? Yes, I'm sorry that I used your leafblower to keep my beautiful property clear of debris. What do you want me to do, get on my knees and beg for forgiveness? Should I go become a monk and dedicate my life to serving God that my sins be cleansed?"

    "You can start by giving back the leafblower..."

    A typical talk between Homer Simpson and Ned Flanders.
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