October 5, 2018

"To think, just a few short weeks ago, we were getting lectured about how unfair, sexist, and racist it was to judge a woman for expressing anger during a tennis game."

Wrote Lyssa in the comments to yesterday's post "The intemperance of the law professors' 'judicial temperament' letter."

I had to go back to see what I'd written about Serena Williams back on September 9th:
I felt that Williams was trying — very hard — to intimidate the umpire. She was actively bullying him. Hey! That reminds me of Trump. People say he's lost it and is raging when he's using a style of emotional manipulation.
As I've already written (somewhere in the Kavanaugh posts and comments) that I think Kavanaugh made a decision — after his calm, bland interview on Fox News — to allow his experience of emotion to be visible during the Senate hearing. He's getting criticized and mocked for letting emotion show, but that doesn't mean he'd have been more successful if he had maintained a stoical front.

As I said, above, about Serena Williams and Donald Trump, I think the emotion is displayed as a means to an end. The emotion isn't completely fake, but it's not out of control. There's real emotion, but it is also performed, with an idea of getting something the emoter wants. We need to be careful not to get conned, so we're right to be somewhat skeptical of those who let emotion show. But everyone's trying to get something they want, and people who suppress their emotion aren't inherently trustworthy.

Someone who truly loses control belongs in a different category. But you have to watch out for the accusation that someone has truly lost control. The accusers — like everybody else — are human beings with a will to get something they want. Sometimes their game is so obvious — like the lawprofs' "judicial temperament" gambit — that no one is fooled (though many are fooled into thinking that others will be fooled, because what they want is for those others to be fooled).

IN THE COMMENTS: Noting my statement, “But you have to watch out for the accusation that someone has truly lost control," Kevin writes: "Because those accusations are civility bullshit." Yes. Thanks for reminding me that this is the "civility bullshit" problem I've written about so many times. Calls for civility — don't get angry and emotional, speak only with cool rationality — are always bullshit. In our present-day American political discourse, it's always an effort to get your opponents to unilaterally disarm. When the tables are turned, and expressing emotion is what the people on your side are doing, you'll vaunt their passion and commitment and scorn your opponents for their bloodlessness.

ADDED: Remember when liberals thought this was exactly what was needed:

68 comments:

Mr. Majestyk said...

Serena showed more emotion about a tennis call than Kavanaugh showed about being accused of sexual assault and gang rape.

Shouting Thomas said...

It's called performing. And it's useful, if sometimes dishonest.

Bob Dylan was not really a rambling, gambling poor boy carrying on the battle of the poor Oakies begun by Woody Guthrie.

He was a son of a prosperous shopkeeper in Hibbing.

He sure conveyed the poor boy routine brilliantly, didn't he? Do you think the outcome, for him and for us, justified the artifice of performing?

Does his phony posturing discredit "The Times They are Changing?"

Kevin said...

“But you have to watch out for the accusation that someone has truly lost control.”

Because those accusations are civility bullshit.

Bob Boyd said...

There were endless emotional displays from those attacking Kavanaugh, but that was all the good kind apparently.

Phil 3:14 said...

So if you spend you whole adult life containing your emotion because it will hurt your career and not help the issue at hand and then this one time, when faced with the destruction of your career and utter public humiliation, you allow yourself to fully express your anger, in which instance we’re you “performing”?

etbass said...

Agree completely, Althouse.

And glad to see you back. You sounded yesterday with the grits post, like you could have decided to take a lengthy break from us.

Ralph L said...

I've long heard TV called a cool medium, which I guess means losing your cool ain't cool.

Do many guys get worked up on "reality" TV shows, or is it mostly female histrionics?

Unknown said...

Simon Sinek points out in "The Golden Circle"

we decide with with our limbic brain

say based on vocal fry and "sincere" looks showing "something happened"

then rationalize to support our instinctual conclusion

Inside out rather than outside in

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4ZoJKF_VuA& Start with Why

Ann Althouse said...

"And glad to see you back. You sounded yesterday with the grits post, like you could have decided to take a lengthy break from us."

We had a long drive yesterday.

Unknown said...

When she did the dramatic reading

(her tone changed when asked questions)

He had to respond at the same level - limbic brain

Smart move

Ann Althouse said...

I'm always taking breaks. It's built into the way I blog that I only go to things I'm interested in.

rhhardin said...

Kavanaugh got lots of support for his performance but can pick up some more women by apologizing without losing many of the other supporters.

Or maybe he actually is such a wimp that he thinks he should apologize.

Women love men apologizing. So much that it's part of the romcom format.

rhhardin said...

Only going to things you're interested in is how women like soap opera and men like science.

Robert Cook said...

I haven't been following the Kavanaugh/Ford affair too much, as I'm just not that interested. The country and the world are in a fucked state right now, and this is just one more detail in the larger tapestry of fuckedness.Kavanaugh will probably ascend to the bench, and, if not, someone as or more objectionable will. So it goes.

In any case, I did see Kavanaugh's tantrum at the hearings when they were replayed later, and I thought, "Either this asshole has come completely unhinged or he's completely faking." I tended toward thinking he was faking.

Either way, it shows him to be unfit for public office. But then, aren't most of them?

Mr. Majestyk said...

"Women love men apologizing."

Can someone tell my wife?

rehajm said...

The country and the world are in a fucked state right now

Sounds awful. You should probably kill yourself.

Lyssa said...

That’s two front-pages in three days. Damn, I am on fire this week.

rhhardin said...

someone as or more objectionable

Name that figure of speech. Zeugma?

Shouting Thomas said...

The country and the world are in a fucked state right now...

We're in the midst of a long term economic boom and damned near full employment.

Commies prefer poverty and economic free fall. That leads, of course, to violence and revolution.

Don't be fooled by Cookie's pretense at reverence for democracy and free speech. He's lying to set you up.

Cookie wants to turn the U.S. into Venezuela.

Kevin said...

“When the tables are turned, and expressing emotion is what the people on your side are doing, you'll vaunt their passion and commitment and scorn your opponents for their bloodlessness.”

Case in point: where are the calls from these same people for the protesters screaming at Republican Senators to remain calm?

Inga...Allie Oop said...

“Case in point: where are the calls from these same people for the protesters screaming at Republican Senators to remain calm?”

Are protestors seeking to sit on the highest court in the land? Or are they out there protesting?

Fernandistein said...

A white man and a white woman kicked that black woman right out of the news.

Shouting Thomas said...

Are protestors seeking to sit on the highest court in the land? Or are they out there protesting?

No, Inga, your guys are out there shooting up the congressional baseball game, making it impossible for Republican senators to dine out, defacing Kavanaugh's house, beating up Trump supporters at rallies, attacking Ron Paul at his home, and murdering cops in Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

This is on you, Inga. Your willingness to rationalize this is despicable and predictable.

The Crack Emcee said...

I find all the talk about the Williams' untrue. It's the piling-on, by whites, that disgusts blacks.

We didn't make sports a racial battleground - whites did - by keeping blacks out of certain sports (or re-writing history so we're not in certain sports) and forcing us to humiliate them when we do enter them. They've been howling ever since, and being disingenuous about it.

That's the horrifyingus part - that and, as usual, how it remains unsaid and unacknowledged amongst whites themselves.

Shouting Thomas said...

I find all the talk about the Williams' untrue. It's the piling-on, by whites, that disgusts blacks.

Crack pretends he's a spokesman for blacks again.

When are you going to cease this dumb shit act, kid?

Your act disgusts me.

Jeff Brokaw said...

IIRC Kavanaugh’s emotions were on display front and center in response to Ford’s testimony that he was a criminal and liar. Althouse thinks he said to himself after the TV interview aired and before the circus that transpired on Thursday, “you know it’s time to show a different side of me, I think I’ll show some emotion tomorrow because it’ll be good for my nomination and my image”? A cool, calm, rational choice?

Possibly, but mainly it looked to me like a completely normal and human reaction, in the moment, driven by raw anger but understandable - I was angry just watching him being attacked - after being falsely accused in public by a vicious liar who is trying to destroy his life, career, and family, and after shameless Democrats piled on with more vile lies and stupid questions.

He probably didn’t go to law school and work his ass off for 30 years for that “reward”.

To me and apparently most Americans, Kavanaugh became a more sympathetic character after that chaotic and embarrassing mess, not less. Anger is not just okay in that situation, it’s expected.

Shouting Thomas said...

It's damned near a full employment economy out there, Crack, that has been particularly beneficial to black men.

Great time to find a job. I'm 68 and emerging from 6 years of retirement and I'm getting plenty of interviews for part time work.

Of course, you're quite busy in your self-appointed job of Grand Spokesman for All Blacks and All Around Big Man, so you don't have the time, right?

The Crack Emcee said...

Shouting Thomas said...

"Your act disgusts me."

Shouting Thomas never acknowledges how repulsive he is, starting with that lame-ass avatar.

Speak up when you get some taste, you has been.

Gahrie said...

The country and the world are in a fucked state right now,

Poverty and hunger are at all time lows worldwide, even as population is higher than ever. Millions of people in Africa and Asia are using cellphones instead of starving.

Employment and standard of living are at historic highs in the United States.

Yeah I guess to a Commie things do like pretty bad.

Shouting Thomas said...

... starting with that lame-ass avatar.

That lame-ass avatar was designed and painted by a black woman artist, Cathera Lane, who died some years back from cancer of the liver.

She never pretended to be a spokesperson for blacks.

Roy Jacobsen said...

Seems to me that Williams was not criticized for "showing emotion" per se, but for losing her temper (or acting like it, take your pick) after being penalized for cheating and arguing with the umpire.

In other words, it's not "showing emotion," it's the circumstances surrounding the emotion.

So the whole "You were hard on Williams for showing emotion but supported Kavanaugh for showing emotion which PROVES with GEOMETRIC LOGIC that you're racist" is just another tiresome lie.

Ken B said...

Great wiener catch.

Yes, people are relentlessly strategic. This is why I tend to harp on expressed vs revealed preference.

Bob Boyd said...

Uh Oh! A fresh accusation against Kavanaugh.

Hillary says he touched her penis.

Shouting Thomas said...

Speak up when you get some taste, you has been.

I'm out performing music and making money two or three times a week at the age of 68.

Of course, I'm humble enough to do service jobs, like church organist, choral accompanist, etc.

That would be beneath a Big Man genius like you, right Crack? (Besides, you don't have any skills.)

DKWalser said...

Kavanaugh displayed righteous indignation. It's an emotion I've seen several judges display when someone was way out of line in their court -- particularly when that someone was trying to abuse due process to achieve a preordained result at the expense of the potentially innocent. Judges shouldn't remain passive when confronted with such abuses. They should become angry, and we should want them to be filled with righteous indignation -- just as Judge Kavanaugh displayed.

Andrew said...

K's reaction was entirely authentic, even if it was his decision to give the Senators a taste of their own medicine. I believe he could have maintained his composure if he wanted to. But that doesn't make his anger or grief less legitimate. Sometimes you have to fight back against bullies.

By the way, Trump's new tweet about the elevator protesters is an instant classic.

Caligula said...

"In any case, I did see Kavanaugh's tantrum"

BUT I don't think anyone else did. We saw Kavanaugh expressing controlled anger, not a "tantrum." Unlike Serena Williams.

(BTW, men expressing emotion can be a form of Kafkatrap in that they're criticized if they don't but ridiculed and belittled if/when they do.)

Andrew said...

Larry the Cable Guy (a greater genius than Dylan) isn't really a hick. It's all an act.

Kirk Parker said...

Mr. Majestyk,

Women *say* that....

etbass said...

"Kavanaugh got lots of support for his performance but can pick up some more women by apologizing without losing many of the other supporters."

I saw an editorial he wrote, forget which publication, where he did just this yesterday.

mccullough said...

I had to laugh when Retired Justice Stevens came out against Kavanaugh yesterday because of his “lack of temperament.”

Stevens was the last nominee to the Court that didn’t have a televised confirmation hearing, It was 19 days firm nomination to confirmation for him.

He wouldn’t survive a confirmation hearing these days. He was fucking his neighbor behind his wife’s back. After four years on the court he divorced his first wife and married his mistress shortly after.

So the woman who raised their four kids and helped build his career gets kicked to the curb for the neighbor.

But it was the 70s. That’s what people did then.

Deep Runner said...

Civility is sort of like free speech--we're all for it until we demonstrate otherwise.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

With Weiner - there was all sorts of ... actual proof of his deviant behavior... circa - not high school.

The Cracker Emcee Rampant said...

Women are the Blacks of gender. Middle-class culture doesn’t expect them to be fully up to snuff. So you can well imagine how this applies to Black women.

The Crack Emcee said...

Shouting Thomas said...

"That lame-ass avatar was designed and painted by a black woman artist, Cathera Lane,...She never pretended to be a spokesperson for blacks."

She shouldn't have pretended to be an artist, either.

tcrosse said...

"In any case, I did see Kavanaugh's tantrum"

Cook lives in NYC, but calls that a tantrum? Please.

The Crack Emcee said...

Shouting Thomas said...

"I'm out performing music and making money two or three times a week at the age of 68.

Of course, I'm humble enough to do service jobs, like church organist, choral accompanist, etc."


That caveat says it all - you're not humble, you suck, and they take what they can get.

"That would be beneath a Big Man genius like you, right Crack?"

Yeah, that's why my title's "Crack" - because I'm so high-and-mighty in my own head.

"(Besides, you don't have any skills.)"

No, but, as you'll soon see when I finish The Crack House portion of The Coal Train, I've got 32 CDs to my name - and countless recordings - with no caveats to offer for any of them (I'm working on The Coal Train for promoting other's work now) so take your old ass somewhere, where you still count, because that ain't here.

I've done and do things - and know what that is -lso I need to see and hear more from you than lip.

Shouting Thomas said...

She shouldn't have pretended to be an artist, either.

Cathera was widely exhibited in Woodstock and NYC and, in fact, throughout the NE.

She operated a little shop in town and sold her stuff and did pretty well.

The Crack Emcee said...

Shouting Thomas said...

"Cathera was widely exhibited in Woodstock and NYC and, in fact, throughout the NE.

She operated a little shop in town and sold her stuff and did pretty well."

But she ain't The Crack Emcee.

Shouting Thomas said...

I've done and do things - and know what that is -lso I need to see and hear more from you than lip.

You're a music illiterate, Crack.

Zero skills. You don't know how to play an instrument or how to read music.

You're a lazy, ignorant, undisciplined motherfucker. You earned your poverty and distress.

The Crack Emcee said...

BTW - The part of The Coal Train for promoting other's art is called The Art Garage.



The Crack Emcee said...

Shouting Thomas said...

"You're a lazy, ignorant, undisciplined motherfucker. You earned your poverty and distress."

There is not a single person reading this who can't tell I'm more content than you.

Including you.

William said...

Re righteous indignation: Between the cases of Thomas and Kavanaugh, there have been several other episodes of sexual misconduct by high placed government officials. Clinton, Weiner, Conyers, Ellison, Franken. I never read about any of these men or their supporters being confronted by angry, indignant women.

Shouting Thomas said...

But she ain't The Crack Emcee.

No, she was an industrious, productive, intelligent woman.

You got that right. She wasn't a bum like you.

The Crack Emcee said...

"I'm wise to testosterone lies about how girls are nas-stay!" screams lead singer The Crack Emcee in a voice whose edge manages to call to mind both Taj Mahal and Axl Rose. "Here She Comes," a womynist sex rap that first came to my attention as a song from Crack's raw, underground electronic album Newt Hates Me, comes off straight-up pretty in the hands of Little White Radio's two guitarists and astride the cajoling beat of Kevin Carnes, widely acknowleged as the best drummer in San Francisco.

At stage right, Michael Cavaseno dreams up guitar solos that sound like sunspots and heavy blues riffs that contrast sharply with the metallic '80s pop of guitarist Patrick Simms. Almost absurdly buppified in a sweater vest and wire-rim glasses, Simms looks as though he's been dropped down from an outfit practicing above the club - a band that might have been formed in a cyberspace connection of urban professionals who miss Killing Joke. At the heart of the stage, The Crack Emcee and blond bassist Ubi Whitaker form the axis of Little White Radio's onstage energy. As the singer reels from a tiptoe above the crowd to butt-bump with Carnes' drum kit, Ubi threatens to run him through with the neck of his instrument. Repeatedly, serendipity intervenes."

Experiences Shouting Thomas will never have: Playing with, and being respected by, the best artists in San Francisco - they actually played MY COMPOSITIONS - though I GOT NO SKILLS!!!!

It's like I was a guitar-less Frank Zappa or something. You know - a real composer and band leader. ANYWAY.

Does it make it more or less impressive, since I don't play, that REALLY GOOD MUSICIANS respect me and my work?

Only a giant like Shouting Thomas knows, with his shitty avatar.

tommyesq said...

"Kavanaugh got lots of support for his performance but can pick up some more women by apologizing without losing many of the other supporters."

Hope he has gotten better at picking up women since high school!

Robert Cook said...


More evidence that Kavanaugh is a liar.

Yancey Ward said...

I thought Williams was truly irate- intimidating the umpire is meaningless these days with the use of high speed imaging cameras for calling the shots correctly. I was pretty damned certain her anger was unjustified and real. I thought Kavanaugh's anger was justified, and I am all but certain it was real.

Winning or losing a US Open final won't affect your personal reputation for character the same way that the accusations threaten Kavanaugh's.

Yancey Ward said...

Robert, Kavanaugh appears to have upheld the regulatory decisions of the EPA in that case. Was the EPA anti-environment in 2014? What he seems to have done is rule against the Sierra Club and other environment activist groups.

gahrie said...

What he seems to have done is rule against the Sierra Club and other environment activist groups

That's the problem...those guys are Comrade Marvin's Commie buddies.......

Jim at said...

Serena Williams throwing a temper tantrum because she was getting her butt kicked isn't even remotely close to expressing righteous anger at being falsely accused of attempted rape.

Jim at said...

Are protestors seeking to sit on the highest court in the land? Or are they out there protesting?

They're sending ricin through the mail to people whose politics they don't support.

You should be proud.

Unknown said...

Robert, that article is junk. It's about the outcomes, not the law. What matters is whether or not he was legally correct, not whether he insulted frogs. The article doesn't address the point - at all.

Unknown said...

When did I become "Unknown"? I'm signed in w/Google and have posted here before.
-mrsizer

Michael Fitzgerald said...

Robert Cook @7:21 "the country and the world are in a fucked state right now".

I can't remember when there was such a state of peace and prosperity in this nation or the world. Certainly it's been decades.

MB said...

The US Senate has not played an umpire role for the past two centuries, if ever. They don't even have a duty to be impartial.
So Kavanaugh's criticism of some of the senators criticizing him is fair game; it's all part of the confirmation process.
Serena Williams' criticism of some umpire is not part of the game of tennis as it is traditionally played. If we can expect this to be a normal part of tennis, maybe with players taking lessons in umpire influencing and intimidation, then I'm not looking forward to it.
US senators are more partisan than tennis umpires and tennis is far less political than the US Senate.
Sure, from a certain point of view, everything is political, everything is a struggle, a sports court is the same as a battlefield, but please leave tennis out of it. The pleasure you will get from ruining tennis will be gone soon, but we'll never have tennis back as it used to be.

Kevin said...

“Are protestors seeking to sit on the highest court in the land? Or are they out there protesting?”

“When we do it, it’s different” is exactly the point I was making.

Thanks for immediately demonstrating it.

Arthur Pece said...
This comment has been removed by the author.