Cancel culture and the failure of imagination

As usual, Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti get to the bottom of whatever it is they're getting to, which in this case is cancel culture:

Well, as a friend of mine says, "antagonism towards free speech and free opinion comes from those who have no logical argument." If you don't like someone's opinion, you're supposed to spend some time learning the arts of argument, to develop a contrary opinion of your own, and to make sure the opinion you develop will survive the challenge of those who are arguing against you. Cancel culture appears as a substitute for that process. With cancel culture, if you don't like someone's opinion, cancel them.

The other easy option is, I suppose, to change the subject, which is cancel culture in a more sophisticated form. Here's Ted Rall:

Which brings us to the point of why bother to promote your own opinions at all. It is not enough for you to voice an opinion; someone must also be listening when you speak, or reading when you type. But it's not just that: they must be listening or reading critically, and responding in a way that reveals that they actually received your communication. Dialogue is a game for at least two, but, to be sure, a fair number of opinions in our society, including those which are being canceled, are not in fact worth our time or trouble to respond to. They are noise, instead of signal. They are so lacking in imagination that they could be computer-generated, and not using a current program, but rather using programs like BASIC, which is what I studied when we did "computer science" in my high school in 1979. If such people are canceled for voicing their opinions, that's a shame; but it's not the shame it would be if the canceled opinion were something we could learn from.

So these are the dominant opinions. Your Trumpy opinions are like this: COVID-19 is a hoax, there's no such thing as white privilege, police lives matter, unborn lives matter, no one owes you anything, distrust the far left, I stand for the flag, Jesus saves, blame China, and so on. Or there are the standard defenses of Biden by his supporters: he wasn't my first choice but now he's the only choice, defeat Trump, there are only two candidates, wait for the VP selection, Biden can be pressured by people who are going to vote for him anyway, Trump is the worst President evah, and so on. You want to tell the people who voice these opinions things like: "if you want to improve the reception of your opinions you might consider, say, addressing those who disagree with you, or relating your opinions to the personal experiences of your audiences," or something like that. If they can't do it, that will present you with evidence of the failure of imagination.

America could, come to think of it, rise up as one mass and reject both of the Presidential candidates who have been selected for it. We could all say: "we reject Donald Trump for his mishandling of COVID-19 and for his general tendency to hire incompetent subordinates like Betsy DeVos; and we also reject Joe Biden for his mental incapacity and for his long record of reprehensible policy moves. Instead, we are going to make the Presidential race about Howie Hawkins and Jo Jorgensen." We could do this, as a people. The fact that practically nobody is entertaining such an idea, that everyone is buckling down to conformist belief in narratives of inevitability spun by the mass media and the voices they privilege, is a first and obvious indicator that the failure of political imagination has acquired the characteristics of a terminal disease.

Ultimately, in your political voices, you want to voice opinions which elicit sophistication, experience, and imagination from your audiences. Cancel culture appears as an attempt to shun those who voice worthless opinion, but as a reaction it does nothing to assure that worthy opinions will indeed be voiced, and recognized as such.

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The Liberal Moonbat's picture

Since when is "there's no such thing as white privilege" a "Trumpy opinion"???

"Privilege theory" is a deeply Orwellian pseudointellectual cult based on one masturbatory editorial from the '80s that half a second of critical thinking and any real degree of global awareness blows out of the water - and it is (if not necessarily the flagship) either the Nina, Pinta, or Santa Maria of the "cancel culture" flotilla.

As for the greater point of the essay:

America could, come to think of it, rise up as one mass and reject both of the Presidential candidates which have been selected for it. We could all say: "we reject Donald Trump for his mishandling of COVID-19 and for his general tendency to hire incompetent subordinates like Betsy DeVos; and we also reject Joe Biden for his mental incapacity and for his long record of reprehensible policy moves. Instead, we are going to make the Presidential race about Howie Hawkins and Jo Jorgensen." We could do this, as a people. The fact that practically nobody is entertaining such an idea, that everyone is buckling down to conformist belief in narratives of inevitability spun by the mass media and the voices they privilege, is a first and obvious indicator that the failure of political imagination has acquired the characteristics of a terminal disease.

Has anyone else actually TRIED to bring this up? I have. I've tried telling people that (as I've said before on here and elswhere) reality in politics is determined entirely by fiat (hence, don't listen to ANY politician trying to sell you on "pragmatism", they are either bad at their job or complicit in the scam) - results have never been encouraging. One person on DailyKos's response was incredibly belittling, and someone else I know (in real life, independently of "politics") actually compared the idea to people's clothing spontaneously shifting 3 feet to the left.

Preaching to the choir notwithstanding, nobody listens to me. I don't understand why. I try to empower others, and instead they disempower ME. It's the goddamned crab-pot. All it makes me think is Ayn Rand had a point (to be fair, she probably did, given that everyone I know who has actually read her has a far more nuanced view than "you're either with Paul Ryan or Pol Pot").

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9 users have voted.

In the Land of the Blind, the one-eyed man is declared insane when he speaks of colors.

movement would be nice. How to start it rolling, I don't know. Social media people, bloggers...? I still can't figure how Putin and Xi managed to discredit our democracy by engineering Trump/Biden as our, so to speak, choice. One guy with dementia and the other delusional.

Cancel culture springs from the same root as fascism: the desire to compel the manifestations of others to conform with one's own vision. One of the ironies of self-styled anti-fasciism.

Remedies not even hinted at by anyone would start with a massive all-Media (broadcast and social) campaign to thoroughly teach how to reason, investigate and verify, and to recognize false arguments and propaganda and rhetorical tricks. Of course that (an educated public) would result in the overthrow of damn near everything.

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Orwell: Where's the omelette?

The Liberal Moonbat's picture

@jim p ...but there is now one very scary obstacle: Basic epistemology itself has now been politicized.

Hopefully, a strong showing by people who know actually what they're talking about could defeat that. Has it been tried? Things like the "Milk Tea Alliance" (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-thailand-china-internet-idUSKCN21X1ZT) give me some hope...but personally, I'd rather see some heroic terrorist take an EMP-nuke to FeceBook and Shitter's central servers. "Social media" is nothing but steroids for the worst pitfalls in both ordinary human psychology and (specifically, if not exclusively) American culture, and should never have been invented.

As for your first paragraph, I'll do you one better: RANKED. CHOICE. VOTING!!! There is no excuse on all of god's green Earth not to have it.

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7 users have voted.

In the Land of the Blind, the one-eyed man is declared insane when he speaks of colors.

@The Liberal Moonbat I'm talking about. There's urgency on getting these imbeciles out of the game immediately. Ranked choice happens .... a decade from now, two?

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Orwell: Where's the omelette?

The Liberal Moonbat's picture

@jim p Changing the course of this election would be a miracle. Maybe I misunderstand; are you talking about policy, or (I guess this must be it) getting people to change their planned vote?

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2 users have voted.

In the Land of the Blind, the one-eyed man is declared insane when he speaks of colors.

@The Liberal Moonbat A massive and undeniable rejection of both half-wits. Force discussion.

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2 users have voted.

Orwell: Where's the omelette?

The Liberal Moonbat's picture

@jim p

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In the Land of the Blind, the one-eyed man is declared insane when he speaks of colors.

Not Henry Kissinger's picture

@jim p

MAD-Magazine-Neither_.jpg

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The current working assumption appears to be that our Shroedinger's Cat system is still alive. But what if we all suspect it's not, and the real problem is we just can't bring ourselves to open the box?

I think you're really into something with your recent posts on vision and lack of imagination. This should be the stuff of a million posts on the internet. Thanks.

My mind is blown, for instance, by the fact that oceans are dying, desertification grows, drought and locusts abound and not one -- not one fucking public figure -- has raised the issue of what to do about the inexorable trend toward food scarcity and ever-rising costs for food. Nothing. No vision, no imagination, no fucking common sense. And they call it Democracy.

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11 users have voted.

Orwell: Where's the omelette?

The Liberal Moonbat's picture

@jim p I'm being buried alive and ignored.

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5 users have voted.

In the Land of the Blind, the one-eyed man is declared insane when he speaks of colors.

Cassiodorus's picture

@jim p In a comment I wrote in the last diary, I said:

What's amazing are their excuses.

On COVID-19: "Just get used to it." To which you want to ask: really? Is that the best you can do?

Or on single payer: "It costs too much." Yes, please, parade a debunked calculus before us and expect us to believe it.

Shouldn't there be a voice in the background screaming "can't you do better?"

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8 users have voted.

"Scab of a nation, driven insane" -- Frank Zappa

No he's not. George W. Bush takes that prize and I stand firmly behind my worthless opinion. So CANCEL me...go ahead!

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"Without the right to offend, freedom of speech does not exist." Taslima Nasrin

TheOtherMaven's picture

@Fishtroller 02

blow off an incipient Civil War. James Buchanan did exactly that. QED: Buchanan is still the Worst President Ever.

I won't argue if you want to call Bush the Lesser the worst of modern times - he's probably that, or at least a close contender.

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There is no justice. There can be no peace.

@Fishtroller 02
He was never really President. To be President you have to actually be elected. Slowly we are discovering that Obama was the worst President. He might not make it past Reagan and Wilson though. Trump is a weak fourth or even fifth. Buchanan barely makes "also stank". Let's talk reality - America has had a boatload of really bad Presidents.

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A PROUD Hillary hater since 1993

Not Henry Kissinger's picture

@Fishtroller 02 @Fishtroller 02
For all his massive faults, Trump didn't kill a million Iraqis, displace 5 million more, lose 5000 US troops, leave tens of thousands more with scars they'll be carrying to their earli(er) graves, and waste 5 Trillion US taxpayer dollars - all on a phony War for oil that remains the biggest foreign policy blunder in American history.

And let's not even get into black sites, War on Terror color codes, mass surveillance, and oh yeah 9/11. And while Trump's shameful pandemic response has been right out of the disaster capitalism playbook, Bush's Katrina response was no better.

Trump's got a lot of catching up to do in his second term to top Bush. But right now, it's no contest.

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8 users have voted.

The current working assumption appears to be that our Shroedinger's Cat system is still alive. But what if we all suspect it's not, and the real problem is we just can't bring ourselves to open the box?

or pulled out of the WHO and tried to throw millions of people off their health care plans during a pandemic, so neither holds a candle to the Orange Ape (as Mike Malloy calls him) as worst president. Andrew Johnson and Woodrow Wilson came close to Trump in terms of overall malice, as did Andrew Jackson with his genocidal policies . . . but even so, the Orange Ape stands alone with his mixture of incompetence, stupidity, and arrogant criminality.

Another 61,000 cases of the Trump Pandemic just today. And he demands that all schools hold in person classes in the fall. (The school shooters need new targets? Betsy DeVos needs some more on-campus rapists to cuddle?)

And no, I won't throw my vote away on some third party lark. Not without ranked choice voting, where the Orange Ape wouldn't even make the list. I would vote for Cthulhu over him.

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Cassiodorus's picture

@SancheLlewellyn when the Commander in Chief is going after you and yours, doesn't it?

The common, unimaginative "smart" Dem word for The Donald, "proto-fascist," can be hefted atop the heap of failures of imagination. Everyone recognizes "fascist" as a swear-word, and the prefix "proto-" is added on to make the accuser sound intelligent. Ooh, I can borrow from classical Greek! (I'm not going to address "Orange Ape" -- if the best we can do with our imaginative faculties is invent clever epithets, we're screwed.)

The death toll from The Donald's mishandling of COVID-19 is still only a fraction of what W. did to Iraq, or of what LBJ and Nixon did to Vietnam (in which the resident ethnographic expert, Nick Turse, is now quoting a study saying two million deaths, although he was quoting a study saying 3.8 million deaths for a reading audience who weren't Americans). But it hurts worse when it's you and yours, doesn't it? In this regard The Donald can be described as an "idiot," for this is what you are in politics when you tell your own followers to die for nothing. It's really amazing that nobody has sat The Donald down and told him, "political ruin is what typically happens to leaders who do what you do." LBJ and Nixon were more politically intelligent, because they mostly killed people who didn't have US citizenship, though they managed between them to get 55,000 Americans killed for nothing anyway.

The Democrats are of course lying in wait. They're not going to stop The Donald from spitting himself on COVID-19, since they (at least in their own minds) stand to gain politically from all this death and disease. The Democrats think, so let's see the death tolls pile up so that we can win in November despite our refusal to promise anything substantive or (for that matter) to say anything true. Nobody asks, gee, if American lives were really valuable to the Democrats, wouldn't they pull out all the stops in an attempt to SAVE some of them? Oh, that's right, Congress is on vacation right now. Hey Congress! I hear that Florida hospitals are a great summer resort destination!

Me personally, I think it's best to imagine an America free from the depredations of the Self-Serving Boob Class. If you really want American troops in Caracas next year, though, Biden is your guy, unless he's really got dementia (and hasn't just suffered a stroke), in which case it's likely he won't make it to November.

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"Scab of a nation, driven insane" -- Frank Zappa

@Cassiodorus from his course of self-destruction even if they wanted to. Any more than General Milley could stop him from gassing the crowds in Lafayette Park so he could shamble across, pull out a Bible from daughter-wife's $2500 handbag and hold it upside-down with his trademark scowl, in his vain attempt to broadcast to his base, "Trump not weak. Trump STRONG!"

Whether or not it hurts worse when it's your own, our leaders are not supposed to kill their own. They're not supposed to butcher people in Vietnam either, but Tricky Dick resigned on a technicality, whereas the Orange Ape still commands the reverence of his evangelical death cultists, whose only desire is to die with Trump's name on their lips.

In all fairness to Dubya and his Cheney puppetmaster, a majority of the violent deaths in Iraq resulted from Sunnis and Shia blowing up each other's mosques and such. Though he definitely set the stage, as well as blasting the infrastructure and flooding the ground with depleted uranium, etc. Actually, Poppy Bush set the stage by invading Iraq in the first place. Of course, Trump had to make a bad situation worse by abandoning our only allies in the region, the Kurds. But his brilliant brain and perfect wisdom told him our troops needed to guard "our" oil. If a few thousand ISIL yahoos got loose to chop off heads and throw acid in women's faces, well hey. His buddy Erdogan had to get on with his ethnic cleansing before he would allow another Trump Tower to rise in Turkey . . .

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Cassiodorus's picture

@SancheLlewellyn

I don't think the Democrats could stop Dear Leader from his course of self-destruction even if they wanted to.

They could shut down Congress, stomp on all of Dear Leader's budget requests, and pretty much do everything the Republican Congress did to Obama during his tenure and more. The fact is that they aren't doing anything at all; they're just waiting for Dear Leader to destroy himself so they can make their power-grab. And then, like with Obama, the public will discover who Democrats really all, and a lot fewer people will vote for them and the Republicans will take over again in 2022.

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"Scab of a nation, driven insane" -- Frank Zappa

@SancheLlewellyn

The "Bionic Woman" Lindsey Wagner fell for the bleach drinking thing and look what happened to her...

(warning: graphic)

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wendy davis's picture

As usual, Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti get to the bottom of whatever it is they're getting to, which in this case is cancel culture'

jim p's explanation seems to be pretty right on. guess it'll have to be jo jorgenson, though, given that Lord Chomsky has already cancelled howie hawkins.

i think i'd finally watched all of the video, and enjoyed that krystal ball seemed almost embarrassed about finding the need to discuss it at all. they both seemed to see the wider implications in their analyses, but i'm often uncomfortable about the use of 'Left' and 'Right'.

did they ever say if any of the Luminaries invited to sign the Harpers letter hadn't signed, or tweeted to that effect? one's forced to wonder if just being asked might have conferred some sort of VIP status, which is what i loathe about those sorts of projects.

p.s. when you'd ask me on one of my threads if i'd read your 'failure of political imagination', i'd said yes, then later edited in: 'but i didn't watch your videos'. but depending on which issue/s, i dunno that it's "Imagination" lacking, rather than "Will". it's not that there haven't been plenty of ideas subversive to the the capitalist, ipmerial project for a long time.

but i wish i'd grabbed RT.com's coverage of this last night, it was full of hilarious tweets in response, but: in case the NY/CIA Times hadn't made it clear with their four or five iterations of the GRU bounties to kill taliban (for trump), the moustache of wisdom has figured out ways for dementia joe not have to debate...the incumbent prez. this is a reprint, as the Slimes is behind a paywall for me:

Friedman: Biden should not debate Trump unless...

I worry about Joe Biden debating Donald Trump. He should do it only under two conditions. Otherwise, he's giving Trump unfair advantages.

First, Biden should declare that he will take part in a debate only if Trump releases his tax returns for 2016 through 2018. Biden has already done so, and they are on his website. Trump must, too.

And second, Biden should insist that a real-time fact-checking team approved by both candidates be hired by the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates — and that 10 minutes before the scheduled conclusion of the debate this team report on any misleading statements, phony numbers or outright lies either candidate had uttered. That way no one in that massive television audience can go away easily misled.

I worry about Joe Biden debating Donald Trump. He should do it only under two conditions. Otherwise, he's giving Trump unfair advantages.

First, Biden should declare that he will take part in a debate only if Trump releases his tax returns for 2016 through 2018. Biden has already done so, and they are on his website. Trump must, too.

And second, Biden should insist that a real-time fact-checking team approved by both candidates be hired by the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates — and that 10 minutes before the scheduled conclusion of the debate this team report on any misleading statements, phony numbers or outright lies either candidate had uttered. That way no one in that massive television audience can go away easily misled.
.......................................
He should not go into such a high-stakes moment ceding any advantages to Trump. Trump is badly trailing in the polls, and he needs these debates much more than Biden does to win over undecided voters. So Biden needs to make Trump pay for them in the currency of transparency and fact-checking — universal principles that will level the playing field for him and illuminate and enrich the debates for all citizens.

Of course, Trump will stomp and protest and say, "No way." Fine. Let Trump cancel. Let Trump look American voters in the eye and say: "There will be no debate, because I should be able to continue hiding my tax returns from you all, even though I promised that I wouldn't and even though Biden has shown you his. And there will be no debate, because I should be able to make any statement I want without any independent fact-checking."

If Trump says that, Biden can retort: "Well, that's not a debate then; that's a circus. If that's what you want, why don't we just arm wrestle or flip a coin to see who wins?"

and so on.

@RBehrouzDO 'Deranged dude at @nytimes (@tomfriedman) says, “I worry about #JoeBiden debating @realDonaldTrump. He should do it only under two conditions. Otherwise, he’s giving Trump unfair advantages.”

Scared much?'

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@wendy davis okay in the debates, though even better if he could go back to whatever prescription drug he was using in one or two of the Dem debates where he sounded fine. And it certainly wouldn't help him politically to be seen as avoiding them by insisting on conditions being met before he agrees. Friedman if full of it.

Most debates (JFK in 1960 is an exception, probably 1980 with the well-scripted Reagan prepped and rolled out for just one debate) don't matter much anyway. All Biden needs to do is always respond to a Trump comment along the lines of More Lies and Fake Facts, the same thing he's been doing for the past 4 yrs. Biden's debate team has another 3 months to work on something a little pithier and with more humor and wit.

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wendy davis's picture

@wokkamile

i'd stuck up the video of his recent press conference in which he'd roled trump some six or seven times on the GRU paying the taliban to kill amerikans for trump theme, and although i admit i can't handle the vertigo videos give me, i listened as i'd prepped lunch 25 feet away, he sounded pretty compus mentis, so yep: maybe the pharmaceuticals helped.

OTOH, inn his ads on youtube, he sounds more akin to dementia joe; go figure.

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wendy davis's picture

@wokkamile

depending on any 'debate' format, Boss Tweet could bring up joe's racist past and his part of the corruption in the MMF loan to ukraine. but Ka-Boom!

Kavanaugh & Gorsuch rule against Trump in Supreme Court tax returns case
, 9 Jul, 2020, RT.com

Trump’s hotly-pursued tax returns may see the light of day, after the Supreme Court ruled that his financial records can be handed over to a New York grand jury in a decision supported by three conservative justices.

In a 7-2 ruling, the court found that a subpoena issued to Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars LLP, can be enforced, and dismissed Trump’s lawyers’ argument that he is immune from criminal proceedings. The request was part of a criminal investigation by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, and years of Trump’s tax returns will now have to be turned over to a grand jury.

Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, who were both nominated to the Supreme Court by Trump, along with another conservative, John Roberts, sided with their four liberal colleagues in the ruling.
The decision itself and the position taken by the president’s appointees prompted glee from Democrats at the turnaround.

Democrats have been insisting on seeing Trump’s tax returns since the 2016 campaign, and even floated the idea that this should be a condition for his opponent Joe Biden to participate in the debates. But the documents so far will only be available to the jury, and it’s unclear if the public would see them before the November election.
.....................................
The New York probe into Trump and his Trump Organization was sparked by allegations of hush payments made to porn actress Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal, who said they had sexual relationships with him. Trump’s lawyers had argued that he was immune from criminal proceedings while president, and that a sitting president can’t be indicted or prosecuted.

His legal team also argued that Congress did not have a valid purpose for going after his records, and that information in the documents would distract him from his duties and compromise his privacy. The House request was made after Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, said the president had inflated and deflated assets on his financial statements so he could pay less real estate tax.

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few out there among the Great Unwashed will have the luxury, given current dire and stressful conditions, to carve out sufficient time to seriously and imaginatively consider the available 3d party options, even assuming they first take the time to read up on who the heck these people are, Connie Hawkins and Jo Jorgensen. (on the latter point, JJ's preference for Open Borders will be an instant non-starter in the current climate for the few who bother to inquire)

Such are the heavy burdens most are experiencing now and likely in 4 months that they will be strongly inclined to just consider the usual two party options -- i.e., this election, far more than ones in the recent past, will amount to an overwhelming binary choice election, an up-or-down referendum on whether to keep the dangerously anti-democratic and mentally unstable Trump in power for another 4 yrs.

And yes, Trump is the most dangerous and evil, callous, uncaring president in our history. As his niece says in her new book, Giving Donald another 4 yrs in office will mean the death of democracy in this country.

Good luck though with trying to promote 3d party efforts this cycle. I just don't think it will amount to much -- maybe 2-3% of the electorate, and about that in the key close states Dems need to win. And I'm including write-ins for the wacko Kanye West in that small number.

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snoopydawg's picture

@wokkamile

And stay home because voting for either candidate is unacceptable. The only thing that will change is that Biden will put the masks back on what this country stands for and democrats will go back to sleep like they did during Obama’s tenure.

EB82C994-54D6-4518-B069-ABAAEC1A2313.jpeg

Now wouldn’t it be damn funny if those 100,000 that didn’t vote last election wrote in Bernie’s name? Lmao this would cause heads to explode.

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"It is remarkable that a sitting president would express less than complete confidence in the American democracy’s electoral process."

Hillary: "I'd be president today if Comey, Bernie, Bros and Putin hadn't stolen it from me."

wendy davis's picture

RT.com gave a link to the Harper's letter and list of signatories. i can't for the life of me think what wynton marsalis has to do with writing, though.

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@wendy davis writes his own music?

Btw, conspicuously absent, imo, is outspoken black academic Cornel West.

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wendy davis's picture

@wokkamile

and do you mean no cornell west on the harper's letter?

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@wendy davis Signatories of plenty of academics and writers, and no Cornell West, teaching at Harvard(?) who is usually not shy about voicing opinions on hot topics du jour, and has probably had his own academic controversies. Haven't googled yet to see what his stance is on this issue of free speech and hope this was just an oversight on the letter writers' part.

(btw, haven't heard from Harper's since about 1990, so thx for the reminder it is still out there, probably with good private funding to stay afloat.)

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wendy davis's picture

@wokkamile

if any of those asked to sign it might have said 'No, thanks'. but this is rich beyond belief, as i've seen the self-same congresswoman demand that her critics be banned from twitter. (and i think a few have been..)

Internet implodes after AOC says only entitled moaners think cancel culture exists (in a post complaining about her critics)’, 10 Jul, 2020, RT.com

but i did find this on brother west's twit account: 'on cancel culture'.

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Cassiodorus's picture

@wendy davis The much tougher task is to ponder the much higher standard which has to be set if free speech is going to mean anything. A lot of the attack on the Harper's letter is about how the people who signed the letter are a bunch of privileged assholes. So be it.

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"Scab of a nation, driven insane" -- Frank Zappa

wendy davis's picture

@Cassiodorus

that's why i brought the text of the letter, but again, it was kinda framed: left, right. where does libertarian fit in that framing? well...it depends, doesn't it? libertarian glenn greenwald's opinion was that the SCOTUS citizens united ruling was just and fair. how about jo jorgenson?

anyway, was the fact that the signatories were attacked as privileged assholes in the video? can't say i knew many of their names, to say the truth.

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The dialogue. The conservative/Establishment person is not going to have meaningful dialogue. They will debate you, not enter into dialogue.

You must think of yourself as a lawyer and they as the person on the stand. You won't get a Perry Mason confession from them.

You put them through the ringer so you can convince the jury. The jury being everyone reading or listening to you.

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