November 5, 2007

"Unforgiven: Why is Clarence Thomas so angry?"

That's the title of this Jeffrey Toobin piece in The New Yorker. I don't think that's a very accurate title and suspect his editor was hot to spread the Thomas-is-angry-meme. What concerns Toobin is Thomas's attachment to conservative politics. Here's the concluding paragraph (which you can see isn't about anger at all):
The tenor of Thomas’s memoir, as well as his judicial record, suggests that he will continue to display his brand of “courage”—that is, to serve the interests of a conservative élite, and hearten Vice-President Cheney and his ideological kin with his exhortation “Be not afraid.” As Thomas has often said, it is a credit to the country that a man from Pin Point can be given the opportunity to serve on the highest court in the land. “As a child, I could not dare dream that I would ever see the Supreme Court, not to mention be nominated to it,” he said on the day he was selected. There is less to celebrate in the way that Thomas has used the opportunity to speak power to truth.

68 comments:

Maxine Weiss said...

Take a gander at this Chick:

http://admin.deadlinehollywooddaily.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/11/wgaphotos10.jpg

Norma Rae she ain't.

Apparently they picket the same way they write.

Maxine Weiss said...

""Grow Up Writers." Where is your compassion? I suggest you watch Marlon Brando in "On the Waterfront" to get a clearer picture. Have you never quoted a line from Seinfield or SNL? Been touched or moved by a scene from a television movie, from Roots to the Sopranos to the War? Been educated by a show on history, health, or economics? These ARE real jobs, and they need your support. Their words make us smile, laugh, cry, and think. They are part of the American Dream, and they should be supported and respected for what they do."
---LA Times

B said...

When an avowed liberal cannot understand the reasoning of a conservative, the liberal brain must assign a "cause" for the conservative reason.

In the Thomas case, liberals comfort themselves with the view of, "well he's angry."

In the case of Hillary liberals - those offended that her feet are held to the fire like everyone else - they comfort themselves with the view that she is being "piled on".

This way, they never have to wrestle with thinking about actual ideas and policies. It's simply easier to label and move on to something less trying.

Mortimer Brezny said...

"Why is Jeffrey Toobin such a punk-ass bitch?"
-- Clarence Thomas

Titusdj said...

Clarence Thomas does sound angry based of your blogging his book.

He is also physically one ugly man. Maybe that is why he is angry?

I would be angry if I had a puss like his.

Titusdj said...

I would do a woman before I would do Clarence Thomas.

Revenant said...

Clarence Thomas is ugly?

See, this is why being a heterosexual man is inconvenient sometimes. I have *no* idea what people who are actually attracted to men find attractive. If I could be gay just long enough to dress myself I'd probably do a lot better dating.

The Vault Dweller said...

I agree with you revenant. It is difficult for me to understand what women find attractive and unattractive in men. I can tell at the far ends of the spectrum (Danny DeVito and Brad Pitt) but differentiating between men in everyday ranges is difficult.

I also think that the legend of the female orgasm is really just a feminist conspiracy designed to strike a blow at the male ego.

rhhardin said...

In the same way, real dog trainers are angry at what Wm. Koehler calls ``humaniacs.''

Koehler :

[These are] ``kindly'' people, most of whom take after a ``kindly'' parent or an aunt ``who had a dog that was almost human and understood every word that was said without being trained'' ... They often operate individually but inflict their greatest cruelties when amalgamated into societies. They easily recognize each other by their smiles, which are as dried syrup on yesterday's pancakes. Their most noticeable habits are wincing when dogs are effectively corrected and smiling approvingly when a dozen ineffective corrections seem only to fire a dog's maniacal attempts to hurl his anatomy within reach of another dog that could maim him in one brief skirmish. Their common calls are : ``I couldn't do that - I couldn't do that,'' and ``Oh myyyy - Oh myyy.'' They have no mating call. This is easily understood.

It's a Nietzchean anger, where dignity and significance is at stake.

Tubin can't train dogs, I'd guess.

Koehler's dog training book was banned in Arizona, which apparently had an influential New Yorker of its own around 1960.

Pogo said...

"The opportunity to speak power to truth"?
A cute inversion, but does it actually mean anything at all?

In any event, Toobin misunderstands power when he says the courage to speak unpopular truths, was telling some of the most powerful people in the worlds of government, business, and finance precisely what they wanted to hear.

No need to read further. Toobin simply declares his liberal bias by declaring that Thomas is wrong when affirmative action is so clearly good, that black people obviously want and need help, and government always does more good than harm.

No need to defend that string of liberal aphorisms, which apparently require considerable 'courage' to state, and restate, and teach, and indoctrinate, and publish, and elect, and mandate, because Lord knows you won't read those words anywhere else in the US.

Such courage Toobin has, sticking his neck out like that.

rcocean said...

Of course the whole article if full of "Toobinisms" i.e. phrases that are illogical, nonsensical, and defy rational analysis. But with "speaking power to truth" Toobin has outdid himself.

First, how does one speak "power" and who is "truth"? And don't all SCOTUS justices speak "power"? And what "Truth" is toobin referring to?

Of course, its supposed to be a "clever" inverse of the liberal phrase "speaking to truth to power". The problem is it isn't clever and it doesn't make any sense. Further, the original phrase itself made little sense, especially when spoken by people like Big Dan the Reporter Man.

MadisonMan said...

I wouldn't say that Clarence Thomas was ugly. But his choice of eyewear back when he was nominated was lamentable.

rcocean said...

Jack,

What does "jewish" got to do with it?
Liberals are liberals. Reid's a Morman, Kennedy's catholic, and Boxer is Jewish.

So what?

JackDRipper said...

Oh, Toobin wrote "speak power to truth"?

Jeez, what a goofball.

AJ Lynch said...

Anyone ever seen a story about how angry Gore was? It's MSM liberal meme- conservatives are angry and unhinged and we,the MSM, must point that out to help the Dems get in and stay in power.

Here in Philly, the MSM writes story after story about what the Dems have to do to take over the row offices in the Philly suburbs. The next time the MSM writes a story about what the Reps have to do to win the mayor's race in Philly or the governmor's seat will be the first time.

And Ann- do the NYT errors surprise you?

Henry said...

Will Munny: I ain't like that no more. I ain't the same, Ned. Claudia, she straightened me up, cleared me of drinkin' whiskey and all. Just 'cause we're goin' on this killing, that don't mean I'm gonna go back to bein' the way I was. I just need the money, get a new start for them youngsters. Ned, you remember that drover I shot through the mouth and his teeth came out the back of his head? I think about him now and again. He didn't do anything to deserve to get shot, at least nothin' I could remember when I sobered up.
Ned Logan: You were crazy, Will.
Will Munny: Yeah, no one liked me. Mountain boys all thought I was gonna shoot 'em out of pure meanness.
Ned Logan: Well, like I said, you ain't like that no more.
Will Munny: That's right. I'm just a fella now. I ain't no different than anyone else no more.

Henry said...

Can anyone keep Jeffrey Rosen and Jeffrey Toobin straight? They need to join forces -- Jeffrey Rosentoobin, law dramatist. Either that or I need a mnemonic.

paul a'barge said...

Maxine, you babbling raving lunatic, she's out walking a picket line, probably for about 4 hours at a time.

So, she's wearing comfortable shoes with her very tasteful black outfit.

Could you please go away? G-d, you are really the most tedious thing on the block.

paul a'barge said...

Toobin is on an Angry Thomas jihad.

Toobin is a knob.

mtrobertsattorney said...

"Speaking power to truth" can mean only one thing: it must refer to the ability to replace, by sheer force, truth with false beliefs.

Pogo said...

Ah, yes, that makes sense.
The NYT/New Yorker belief that they are right, and having the might can make everyone do the right thing.

From now on I'm speaking power to to truth, that compliant reed.

AllenS said...

There once was a reporter named Toobin,
Who was said to be born on a goatskin,
He went to New York,
and then reported like a dork,
And now complains that they took more than his foreskin.

Ben said...

If Thomas's first case wasn't a situation of speaking truth to power, I don't know what is... (He turned a potential 9-0 decision into a 5-4 one.)

rhhardin said...

Might is right, and right is might, seem to be opposite doctrines.

Yet truth is beauty, and beauty is truth seem to be the same.

You have to know how to take things.

knoxwhirled said...

If I could be gay just long enough to dress myself I'd probably do a lot better dating.

It is difficult for me to understand what women find attractive and unattractive in men.

Don't sweat it. Most women don't like meticulously groomed or styled men. It's off-putting when a man spends a lot of time on his personal appearance. That's our territory--who wants a man who acts like a woman?

(and keep in mind that the standards for looks and physical upkeep can be much higher for gay men than straight women)

Just be clean and not slobby and in reasonably good shape, and your probably OK with most women.

P.S. Don't wear shorts.

Titusdj said...

"Don't sweat it. Most women don't like meticulously groomed or styled men. It's off-putting when a man spends a lot of time on his personal appearance. That's our territory--who wants a man who acts like a woman? "


Most gay men would agree with this.

Fen said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Titusdj said...

The art of it is looking messy and not put together when you really are put together.

Finn Kristiansen said...

Toobin does the typical thing of suggesting that without affirmative action, Thomas would not be where he is today. Thus Thomas, and people who think like him, should be grateful, and support the very policies that allow Toobin to write awful pieces like this.

In essence Toobin is saying, "Thomas, you need affirmative action because you cannot succeed on your own, and white people on the whole are unable to act justly".

It's a low view of everyone's capabilities and human nature.

Toobin could have done a piece analyzing Thomas' actual judicial record, but that would be too much to ask. It's so much more convenient to reduce Thomas down to a racial policy symbol.

Titusdj said...

Fen obviously takes joy in saying the n word.

reader_iam said...

Titusdj:

Three other commenters used that word before Fen got around to it. Personally, I wish none of them had or would, and far be it from me to defend Fen, but to be fair ... .

reader_iam said...

At least Fen had the grace to surround his usage in ' ', which I strongly doubt was an accident.

Luckyoldson said...

I love the way the wing nuts here whine and cry about anything they don't want to hear about their "heroes" of the right wing court we have right now.

Clarence Thomas is an asshole, always has been, always will be...and his book was nothing more than a bitch session about how mistreated he's always been.

Oh, and by the way; And Anita was telling the truth, too.

Luckyoldson said...

Why would you expect anything less from Fen?

He's a bigoted, racist, redneck.

reader_iam said...

What about jackdripper, tmink and invisible man, Luckyoldson?

I'd be interested in your distinctions.

Invisible Man said...

Fen,

I'll just never understand how you and your party can't convince more African-Americans to join the fold. It perplexes me.

Luckyoldson said...

reader,
I base my comment on Fen's continuous stream of asinine comments regarding anyone with whom he disagrees. (Liberals are traitors, global warming is a joke, Democrats are un-American, etc.)

I don't follow the others you mention, nor do they attack everything and anything I ever say.

I don't like anybody calling people of color or otherwise, names that reflect on their race, heritage, etc.

Notice I didn't call Clarence a "black" asshole.

Just an asshole.

Invisible Man said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Luckyoldson said...

reader says: "At least Fen had the grace to surround his usage in ' ', which I strongly doubt was an accident."

Yes, that certainly is a "graceful" way of putting it.

So...here you go: I think Clarence is an "asshole."

Feel better now?

reader_iam said...

Oh, come off it, Luckyoldson. I think the use of the word in question is always wrong and never graceful. That was not my point, and you're not dumb enough not to realize it, or to have gotten the sour tone of my original comment.

Or are you?

reader_iam said...

your colleagues

Bullshit. And in regular reader knows that, or ought to.

reader_iam said...

Your use of that phrase, especially with the word spelled out, is offensive. Period.

It's offensive from the left, right and center. Period.

That's my stance. No ifs, ands, buts, or other exceptions. Now, many people will disagree with my position, which is fine, but that's what it is. Firm and across the board.

reader_iam said...

For what it's worth, I strongly opposed Clarence Thomas' appointment to the Supreme Court, and I'm still no fan.

That's beside the point, however.

Invisible Man said...

Reader_Jam,

I don't mean to lump you in with some of the b.s. in this comment section, but your defense of Fen is what the colleagues comment was about. His use of the term is definitely more offensive than either Tmink's or jack's despite the fact that its all pretty offensive.

knoxwhirled said...

The art of it is looking messy and not put together when you really are put together.

Oh come on, the most challenging "style" accomplishment to pull off is looking like you're not even trying.... that takes a LOT of time and effort, no way around it.

Pogo said...

"It's offensive from the left, right and center. Period."

I couldn't agree more. But I think there's a generational difference here.

I understand somewhat how the word has been used as among young blacks, perhaps as a way to defuse its totemic power. But that has led young white men in my city to use the word as if it's meaningless.

So it still offends some, grievously, but to others it is tossed off as a trifle. By the time my generation dies off, perhaps it's injurious quality will truly have dissolved away.

jeff said...

"I base my comment on Fen's continuous stream of asinine comments regarding anyone with whom he disagrees."

Two sides of the same coin then. I'm guessing Lucky is "tails".

Invisible Man said...

Pogo,

Young blacks led young whites to use it? Really? That seems like a pretty serious revision of history. And anyway, as ugly as the word is, the sentiment behind it by people like Fen is the real issue.

jeff said...

"Young blacks led young whites to use it? Really?"
Actually, yeah.

"That seems like a pretty serious revision of history"
That would be if someone like myself said I was influenced by young blacks to use that word. I am old enough that I remember when NO ONE used it unless it was derogatory.

Unless your argument is that the young blacks wouldn't use that word had it not been for the white people using it 400 years ago up until people started being a little more enlightened, in which case you have a good point.

Pogo said...

That seems like a pretty serious revision of history.

Not at all; it's happening now, and began in the 1980s.
It's called "Rap music".
Perhaps you have heard of it.

For example, the group NWA wasn't named after jets from Minnesota, and wasn't composed of white kids.

Or ask Bill Cosby:
"His message to black people who say he's exposing the "dirty laundry" of the black community was blunt.

"Let me tell you something, your dirty laundry gets out of school at 2:30 every day. It's cursing and calling each other 'n*****' as they're walking up and down the street. They think they hip -- can't read, can't write -- 50 percent of them," he said."

Chip Ahoy said...

Did we read the same book? Have you ever noticed how sometimes the Cliff Notes are more interesting than the actual book? That's not the case here with this review. The books are much more interesting than Jeffery's reaction to them. Comports with a familiar American archtype -- James Gatz. Ha! Makes me laugh. Oh, dear. I feel another laughing spell coming on.

Back.     That's exactly what an MA in literature would say, not that I'm accusing Jeffery of being one, and it takes this exact sort of élite Thomas describes to make that comparison. Thanks Jeffery, loon, for demonstrating how that élite thing works out in everyday life.

Invisible Man said...

Pogo,

Again, rap invented the word n*****.

Isn't it a little naive to think that white people have ever stopped using that word. Obviously, it was a word that polite society had shunned but it never disappeared. You can admonish hip-hop using it but not for its invention. I'm old enough to have heard it out of the mouth of white people prior to its "rebirth" at the hands of hip-hop.

Pogo said...

Again, rap invented the word n*****.
You misread, intentionally I think. I never once said young black men 'invented' it; that was your own construction, a bit of a straw man.

Young blacks resurrected the word to destroy its power, much as gays took over 'dyke', 'fairy', and 'queen'.

You're being disingenuous.

Invisible Man said...

Now what I'm showing is how convenient it is to blame the word n**** on young black people. This scapegoating of black people for(I'm guessing) grown adults using that word in a discussion on this blog is pure folly. You could have chosen any number of reasons for the use of n**** in this forum, but blaming it on black people is the easiest way to pass the buck instead of blaming the white racists and bigots who invented and continue to deploy this word to denigrate. If anyone with brown skin was magically denied the ability to mouth the word n*****, it would still be used in millions of homes around this country.

Pogo said...

This scapegoating of black people for(I'm guessing) grown adults using that word in a discussion on this blog is pure folly.
I did nothing of the sort. I specifically cited young white men using this word not about blacks but about other white males in imitation of the rap/hip hop culture that uses the term in songs and videos. You cannot possibly be unaware of this fact.

I was remarking how offensive the word remains to the baby boomers, and how the word seems to have lost its punch among the younger crowd.

it would still be used in millions of homes around this country.
Bullshit.

Revenant said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Fen said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
tc said...

I dont blame Justice Thomas one bit
for the feminist nonsense and drivel that attended his elevation to a US Supreme Court Justice.
However:
I tell you Ann, someone suggested you pose in a tub with soap bubbles over your nipples on a videoblog. As far as I'm concerned, I'd like to see you on a videoblog nude...no tub or bubbles or whatever. Think you can arrange that ?

Fen said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ralph said...

I believe it was in Hillary's autobiography that she and Bill woke up angry every morning for years--not at each other--but because of all the criticism and investigations. What sensible person would knowingly want to return to that kind of life?

Mortimer Brezny said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Invisible Man said...

Sure. That must be why I worked for Micheal Steele's Senate campaign last election. Moron.

Ohhhhh, that settles it. Fen, your logic is beyond even a decent argument. The only reason that you think that Democrats treat black peoples like n***** is because that's how you see them. There are so few African-Americans with even a smidgen of power within the entire Republican party that your claim doesn't even pass the laugh test.

The notion that African-Americans only vote for Democrats because of fear-mongering is sheer lunacy. The reason is that they see a Republican party that has used a Southern Strategy to unite white southerners against policies that might help black people. The reason is that they see a party that thinks that they are so stupid that they haven't judged between the two parties on merit rather than some racist "On the Democratic plantation" drivel.

Invisible Man said...

Mortimer,

This has nothing to do with an Angry Black Man stereotype. Clarence is truly embittered and angry about first being a victim of other black people because they called him ugly, then his sister for being on welfare, then I guess liberals as a whole because they viciously might have helped pave the way for his entry into Yale, then Anita Hill and his "high tech lynching" at the hands of Democrats fighting his nomination. These are common themes from his own retelling of his story. You cannot like Jeffrey, but its Clarence who keeps putting his bitterness and anger out on display.

Revenant said...

The only reason that you think that Democrats treat black peoples like n***** is because that's how you see them.

You treat black people like shiftless, lazy ignoramuses who can't improve themselves, but must instead be "improved" by the governance of the well-meaning rich old white men who run the Democratic Party. You harshly attack any and all black people who reject that governance, usually using thinly-disguised (or completely undisguised) racist language to do so.

Is the n-word appropriate to describe the Democratic Party's view of blacks? Perhaps not. "Property" would probably be a more accurate description for how Democrats think of black Americans. The good ones get a pat on the head and the bad ones get the whip.

TMink said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
TMink said...

After reading what the good Rev wrote above, I should have left it all to him to say.

Amen brother. Amen.

Trey

From Inwood said...

"Unforgiven: Why are Liberals so angry?" And still, still, yet oh, once more, so angry about, um, remembrances of things past?

Here about Clarence Thomas’ confirmation hearing 16 yrs ago.

Usually about the Presidential Election 7 yrs ago.

And of yore about Nixon’s treatment of poor old Alger or that “Checker’s” speech.

Why, indeed?

Because they think that only they should have the privilege of what they see as “speaking power to truth”.

Fen said...

Rev: Is the n-word appropriate to describe the Democratic Party's view of blacks? Perhaps not. "Property" would probably be a more accurate description for how Democrats think of black Americans. The good ones get a pat on the head and the bad ones get the whip.

Echo