January 23, 2019

"Are you really trying to write one of your pretend-evenhanded, both-sides-do-it, 'let’s all get together and learn something' columns about this incident?'"

Said Ross Douthat's conscience, as told by Ross Douthat in "The Covington Scissor/Welcome to another controversy algorithmically designed to tear America apart."

The term "scissor" refers to "a statement, an idea or a scenario that’s somehow perfectly calibrated to tear people apart — not just by generating disagreement, but by generating total incredulity that somebody could possibly disagree with your interpretation of the controversy, followed by escalating fury and paranoia and polarization, until the debate seems like a completely existential, win-or-perish fight."

Got that? The idea comes from a short story that identified a few "scissors":
... the “ground zero mosque,” the N.F.L. and the national anthem, the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings... that baker who wouldn’t make a cake for a gay wedding....
We used to just say "wedge issues," but I guess "scissors" connotes greater precision on the part of the cutter and greater flimsiness on the part of the people getting divided.

Douthat has conversation with his conscience. Here's how it ends (with the "conscience" (?) in italics):
I still don’t know what really happened with Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, and neither do you.

Cuck.

O.K., I think we’re done here.

Done? We’re just getting started. This was only the 40th worst Scissor, you said it yourself. Wait till we get to No. 20, or No. 5. You don’t agree with me yet, but you’ll get there. You’ll get there.

I don’t think so. I’m not as vulnerable as you think.

Oh, are you planning to delete your Twitter account?

What? No. I mean, I need it for my job.
The top-voted comment — by a lot — isn't about Douthat's struggle against divisiveness. It's the left side's digging in:
Remind me where in the Bible does Jesus condone mocking an elderly man — with offensive tomahawk gestures, wearing smug smirks and provocative political hats? Those weren't inclusive, friendly cheers, they were jeers. Seems to me the only person following the example of Jesus was Mr. Phillips, trying to diffuse the situation. If there were chaperones accompanying the boys, they stood back and let it happen. The children of Covington Catholic are not pious innocents in this incident, though the press release carefully crafted by a PR firm hired by the parents would have you believe otherwise — ridiculous and even more offensive, privileged whitewashing.

84 comments:

David Begley said...

Nathan Phillips is EXACTLY like Jesus. As if Jesus would go to the DC Basslica with a crowd to disrupt Mass.

The Left has gone completely insane. So insane that they don’t realize they are insane.

Quayle said...

Remind me where in the Bible Jesus holds himself and his teachings out as a stick provided to you with which you can hit others.

The only course of action he gives us forward is "Father, have mercy on me, a sinner." The minute you are looking at the other guy next to you and making comparisons, you're off the path.

Or put another way, the Book of Mormon has Jesus stating, "...I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.

Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away."

Shouting Thomas said...

My favorite comment of all time from you, prof is (I paraphrase): "Feminism should lead to more freedom."

In practice, however, it leads to the exact opposite. Your grudge battle over women and gays is leading us toward ever increasing government monopolization of our lives and an escalating desire for revenge from the purportedly oppressed.

These something beyond logic here... the human condition and human experience.

Feminism and gay worship are incompatible with freedom. Both are inescapably totalitarian.

rhhardin said...

It needs paper and rock.

rhhardin said...

He overlooks the business aspect that's driving it all. They're selling eyeballs to advertisers, nothing else.

The more disturbance, the more audience.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

"As if Jesus would go to the DC Basslica with a crowd to disrupt Mass."

No but he would go to the Temple and disrupt the money lenders.

Biotrekker said...

The fact that this is the top voted comment and that it is based on categorically and demonstrably false assertions that can be easily refuted w/multiple videos is the most chilling thing of all.

Daniel Jackson said...

I guess this is one of those times where you can fool all the people some of the time.

alanc709 said...

It's better to be "morally correct" than factually accurate.

Lyssa said...

What an excellent, disturbing article.

I know I’m young(ish). I keep trying to tell myself that we survived the 60’s, we survived the Civil War for crying out loud. But I just can’t see how we walk back from these disagreements. I try to grasp the other side, to at least understand why we disagree, but it’s getting harder and harder. I hope this fades, and we learn to get each other as a country again, but I’m losing hope.

Phil 3:14 said...

Rage is a fire that needs fuel. And so it goes to twitter to find some outrageous tweet from some unknown. “SEE!!!!!!”

We love to rage. It motivates. It fills our day. it confirms that we ARE one of the good ones or at least that we’re “WINNING!”

Tommy Duncan said...

"...wearing smug smirks and provocative political hats?"

I guess the pink pussy hats weren't provocative and progressive smirks aren't smug.

gilbar said...

Mr. Phillips, trying to diffuse the situation.

in the immortal words of Inigo Montoya; “You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means”

mccullough said...

Phillips is an asshole. Let’s stop pretending he’s anything but a jagoff provocateur. The guy got caught lying like the jagoff he is.

But the media need their dime-store Spokesmen. He’s a media creature.

Jeff Brokaw said...

Well, the media has clearly brainwashed half the country with their unrelenting propaganda, and continues to gin up the outrage every day.

The Left is now unbelievably pissed off based on a mass ongoing delusion.

So here we are. Now what?

johnhenry100 said...

Seems to me the only person following the example of Jesus was Mr. Phillips, trying to diffuse the situation.

Diffuse, according to Dictionary.com means "1. to pour out and spread, as a fluid.
2. to spread or scatter widely or thinly; disseminate."

Is this what that joker was trying to do?

Maybe it should have been "defuse"? But that doesn't make sense either. Remove a "fuse" and you leave everyone in the dark.

Probably he meant "defuze" which would mean removing the exploding device from a bomb.

And this is a person who makes his living writing words. Sheesh.

John Henry

rhhardin said...

Diffusion is the important term in dissipative structures.

johnhenry100 said...

I listened to about half of the Rogan/Weiss interview yesterday. It took some will not to turn it off.

The main impression I got from Weiss was that she was sorry that the story was not true. She really, really, really thought it should be because that would drive the "Orange man bad" meme forward somehow. Because of course it is all his fault. Even if it didn't happen, it is still as much his fault as even if it had.

She also seems to think it should be a crime to wear MAGA hats in public.

Rogan seemed to have a better position but I would have liked him to push back a bit more. Not really an interviewer's job though so I can't be too upset with him.

I was also left wondering what planet Weiss lives on when she can say "I am a super social liberal" but that she is also a "centrist"

Sad.

John Henry

Lezer said...

“What would Jesus say/do?” is one of the most annoying memes around. Especially when used against Christians.

Angle-Dyne, Samurai Buzzard said...

I don't understand. We can assume that people who comment at the NYT read the NYT, no? And I have been assured that all of the misinformation flying around is the fault of "social media" and "opinion" writers and celebrities and wannabe celebrities, while real journalists (reporters) at Serious Media Outlets are doing their job properly and getting the facts out to the public without fear or favor.

So I'm bemused by this top-rated comment. I was told that crazy true-believin' groupthink like that was for the Fox News crowd, not educated, open-minded, well-informed NYT subscribers.

On a cheerier note, there do seem to be a number of (but not nearly enough) commenters opining that the NYT and the rest of the msm really screwed the pooch on this one. Sadly, most of the "reader picks" are from cat-lady central.

It would be interesting, but I bet there's no sociologist out there interested in doing a study of the people represented by "Brunella", and how they come by their bizarre world views. Too busy "studying" those crazy deplorables, I guess.

Freder Frederson said...

What is really pissing me off about this debate is that so many people think that "diffuse" means the same as "defuse". Especially in this instance, the use of "diffuse" is especially egregious. Everyone claims that by doing what they did they were trying to calm the situation or de-escalate (defuse), not scatter or dilute it (diffuse).

traditionalguy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
traditionalguy said...

This is all damage control.

The damage is the effect of the unedited video. It reminded us of the old Raid Bud Spray ads. When the beautiful boy's smile lighted up a dark kitchen floor, it caused all the roaches to scatter and run screaming in panic "Catholic believers are here."

The Media are reduced to begging us to pity the Soros paid professional provocatures.

Freder Frederson said...

As if Jesus would go to the DC Basslica with a crowd to disrupt Mass.

I wouldn't put it past him. He got pretty pissed off about the money changers in the temple.

Lyle Smith said...

We are headed for violence if not ultimately a war. Madison could become an untenable spot to live. Look at the school board and where it is now.at

MayBee said...

Things we don't agree on don't have to divide us.

People just have to remember: Nobody has to agree with you. Nobody is obligated to share your feelings.

But--- we shouldn't try to destroy people for our own amusement. That's what's going on. Division is nothing. Callous destruction and de-humanizing is (almost) everything.

Jim Daniels said...

Next up - ask representatives of the Omaha nation how one qualifies to be a "tribal elder" and what exactly Phillips has done to earn this honorific that the MSM attaches to his name like glue.

buwaya said...

There is no point arguing about the potential of being torn apart.

Its done. You Americans are already apart, for good it seems. Nothing in common but commercial relationships or at a professional distance. Even this does not seem like it will last long.

The liberals buy milk and eggs, at several removes, from people who they would hate with a passion should they ever meet in person, which is unlikely. Even the prospect of such a meeting, it seems, is distasteful. And so on across every sphere of life.

The problem spots, the flash points, are where elements of this bitterly divided land are obliged to meet, or, God forbid, where they choose to meet.

Kevin said...

"Are you really trying to write one of your pretend-evenhanded, both-sides-do-it, 'let’s all get together and learn something' columns about this incident?'"

The left isn’t even interested in pretending anymore.

Once you label half the country racist, you’re free to dispense with them.

Molly said...

(eaglebeak)

Well, in Romans 12:20, St. Paul (or whoever the author of Romans was--not clear) wrote:

"Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head."

Coals of fire? Sounds worse than a nervous grin on the face of a teenager.

Dave Begley said...

Bill, Republic of Texas:

Speaking of Jesus and the money changers in the Temple. True story. A classmate of mine was the custodian at St. Cecilia's Cathedral in Omaha. Every year it has a flower festival with a theme. About three years ago the theme was the movies. One of the exhibits was about The Wizard of Oz and the Wicked Witch on a broom was suspended from the ceiling. Other stuff like that.

My classmate takes a bunch of the exhibits down and throws them out onto the front steps! He got fired and arrested.

Gahrie said...

The top-voted comment — by a lot — isn't about Douthat's struggle against divisiveness. It's the left side's digging in:

And how do you feel about that?

Craig said...

Election Day 2018 showed that the left is just going to get away with all of the racism, sexism, lies and hate.

Once Trump leaves office, likely in two years according to the polls Althouse shared yesterday, it's over and these people control everything.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

buwaya said...

Its done. You Americans are already apart, for good it seems. Nothing in common but commercial relationships or at a professional distance.

If there is one thing that has the potential of uniting this country again, it is the prospect of Brady and the Patriots winning another Super Bowl.

Because Brady's the hero America deserves, but not the one it needs right now, so we'll root against him. Because he can take it, because he's not a hero. He's a silent guardian, a watchful protector, a Patriot.

Ambrose said...

Today's talking point is that they hired a PR firm. Not unreasonable when up against most of the establishment media and a host of blue-checked celebrities - but bullies never like a fair fight.

buwaya said...

I have no natural sympathy for one side or another in this. We were brought up as liberals, in our context, albeit a very foreign context. Much of what you Americans get up to is still, to me, in the category of foreign exotica, alien inscrutability, or the, at least at times, charmingly folkloric.

Still, over the years the balance of these things has turned to such a degree that the atmosphere of systematic injustice against your volk grates. This struggle has clear ethical and moral lines, and of "social justice" in the Catholic sense. You are falling into oppression.

In all this I have no personal material stake, as I am in the belly of the blue beast, and I have made a fine living off it. Our children are also well armored, so far at least. But still, to me, the situation is growing more and more oppressive, as a sympathetic reaction perhaps. Its hard to observe what is not right.

Freder Frederson said...

The liberals buy milk and eggs, at several removes, from people who they would hate with a passion should they ever meet in person, which is unlikely.

What a load of bullshit. I am as liberal as they come and I buy my eggs at the farmers' market directly from the farmers who raise the chickens. They are very nice people and we always chat at the farmers' market. I haven't a clue as to their politics but if you made me guess I would say they are probably hard core Republicans (I live in New Orleans and white liberals outside of Baton Rouge or New Orleans are rarer than hens' teeth). I could say the same about many of the people I interact with regularly.

You are just full of hate and love to sow discord.

buwaya said...

No true Scotsman, Frederson.

I have seen what happens when North State rural people demonstrate in San Francisco.
Or even when working class Chinese oppose their overlords on the SF School Board.

Online and in the media it is uniform.

The rage is stupefying, frightening.

Amadeus 48 said...

Well, I broke one of my rules and clicked on a NYT column. Douthat's column is pretty good, surprisingly good. I am sure many NYT readers didn't finish it or found it outrageous. His conscience doesn't sound like mine. My conscience sounds like Alexander Scourby on a good day. Douthat's conscience sounds more like the angel duck and the devil duck sitting on Donald's shoulders in that old cartoon. Douthat accuses that voice of being his id, but it sounds more like his super-ego to me.

Anyway, the Scissor rules.

Hunter said...

I don't take much stock in opinions about what Jesus would say/do coming from people who have nothing but contempt for religious belief and have never actually studied the Bible.

Craig said...

Far from being embarrassed, the media accomplished their goal with the Covington story. How many kids are going to be brave enough to publicly support conservative causes after this? It's much easier and safer to follow the herd.

Lyssa said...

Craig, that’s the meat of it, IMO. I said the same about the Kava hearings. Some people are willing and able to deal with this stuff, but most aren’t. I once would have been, but now, with kids, I’m less so. We’ve got lives to live, and politics won’t be worth upturning them for most.

We lose a lot of good people this way. A lot.

Chip said...

A better term than scissor would be "yanilaurel."

buwaya said...

Craig and Lyssa are right.

Thats the point of this, suppression of political expression and participation.

It is an evil thing.

Amadeus 48 said...

My liberal friends have some work to do. We went with a group to a jazz venue on Randolph street for an MLK Day celebration. Great performers. Great night out. We had a friend in the band.

Black people there appeared to take pride in MLK's courage, moral leadership, and vindication by history. Many white people there appeared to believe it was still 1963 in Birmingham, Alabama.

My liberal friends were confused as to why we all stood up for "Lift Ev'ry Voice & Sing." They feel plenty guilty, but they're not woke enough.

I enjoyed the evening.

Leland said...

How many kids are going to be brave enough to publicly support conservative causes after this? It's much easier and safer to follow the herd.

As Lyssa notes; it probably harder for adults, but kids? I seem to recall several generations of young adults heavily motivated by defying their elders and rebelling. I don't think many young adults are persuaded by the "respect your elder" argument and quit dancing in public. Some are trying these arguments on AOC with no negative effect on her.

Ralph L said...

I was going to say the OJ trial was the first really big scissor, but it was the Clarence Thomas hearings.

To me, a wedge issue can be one-sided. The rest of the country doesn't much care.

Daniel Jackson said...

@Molly

Don't know about Romans; however, that phrase was originally included in the Book Of Proverbs, 23:21:

"If your foe is hungry, feed him bread; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; for you will be scooping coals on his head and God will reward you."

Obviously, this a parable conveying Knowledge metaphorically: being kind to your enemies (forcing a smile, for example, in the face of an aggressive elderly person in this case) has its own rewards.

Interesting that you thought of this parable. There is a pun and double jeu on the Hebrew word for what is translated as HUNGRY. With a slight change, it means weak, empty, as well as wicked. Nurturing ones enemies is humiliation enough.

As for Yeshu ben Yosi, he trashed the money lenders at the Temple Gate. There was a long scandal about the offices of the Temple that for several generations had been hotly contested. One of the main reasons the Sanhedrin left the Hewn Chamber in the Temple three years before this event. His concern was over the high interest and exchange rate charges being levied (pun intended) that was both against Torah law and the sanctity of the Temple.

More like Luther and his proclamation nailed to the cathedral doors.

Either way, one of the major take-aways of the Written and Oral Torah is that one can only watch over what the Body of the Other is doing; your soul is your business only.

Moi, this business is neither surprising nor unexpected. We should leave it. Enough coals have been scooped out. The Lord alone knows who shall be rewarded.

President-Mom-Jeans said...

Somebody in one of these interviews with Chief Squatting Bullshit needs to ask him where the fuck his teeth went. Look at the sunken cheeks on that piece of shit, clearly a meth addict.

Bruce Hayden said...

"I know I’m young(ish). I keep trying to tell myself that we survived the 60’s, we survived the Civil War for crying out loud. But I just can’t see how we walk back from these disagreements. I try to grasp the other side, to at least understand why we disagree, but it’s getting harder and harder. I hope this fades, and we learn to get each other as a country again, but I’m losing hope."

My theory is that we have an elite, who are in it for the power (and resulting money), the sheeple NPC who listen to them, and include their crazies like this Indian, and it's violent thugs, like Antifa, and there is everyone else.

I read last night about how the Crooked Hillary campaign sold their Trump/Russian collusion hoax to the DoJ and FBI starting in maybe June of 2016, and continuing well after the election. The DoJ and FBI people were getting bombarded from all sides by various connections yelling Russia, Russia, Russia. If someone associated with Clinton had met someone at the DoJ or FBI at a conference, etc, they were approached by the Clinton associate with their mostly bogus information. After awhile, the drumbeat got overwhelming, and they got their FISA warrants, Mueller Investigation, and now Congresssional investigations for the next two years, attempting to destroy Trump with their Clinton created Trump Russia Collusion hoax. They seem more than willing to destroy the country and societal norms in order to regain the power they had over the rest of us when they lost in 2016 when the country failed to coronate Crooked Hillary as our rightful queen.

They bought and cheated their way back to power with their taking the House this last election, and we should be scared, really scared, with where they have told us they want to go, when they retake the Senate and Presidency in less than two years. We can expect massive tax hikes (and tge resulting recession, if not depression), elimination of as much of our 2nd, and then 1st Amdt as they can, final destruction of our national healthcare system, open borders, welfare for anyone crossing those open borders into this country, etc.

My only suggestion is to hope for the best, and plan for the worst. Continue buying guns and ammo, while hoping upon hope that the need for the 2nd Amdt that it's drafters saw never arises. Stockpile food and fuel. Contribute to conservative causes and candidates. Organize. Walk the streets and knock on doors next election. Be prepared to help prevent the guaranteed attempts at cheating in that election. Etc.

DavidUW97 said...

64 is elderly?

exhelodrvr1 said...

Jesus would be turning over the tables and kicking the media out of "the temple" right now, and telling parables where the Pharisee is replaced with the liberal "elite".

Bruce Hayden said...

"Craig, that’s the meat of it, IMO. I said the same about the Kava hearings. Some people are willing and able to deal with this stuff, but most aren’t. I once would have been, but now, with kids, I’m less so. We’ve got lives to live, and politics won’t be worth upturning them for most. "

Obviously, many of us here are beyond that in our lives now, as we approach our dotage, and have the time and money to worry about this sort of thing, and to maybe do something about it. Our two oldest grandsons are rapidly nearing six foot now, and the oldest has to work after school to put gas in his car. He and his next brother are charming enough that we worry about the next generation, before they get out of HS. Of course, their parents are the ones really petrified, while our job seems to continue to spoil them. The parents of #3 and #4 clearly don't have the bandwidth to do much more than worry about what is going on in the world late at night. Those kids are in middle school, doing extremely well scholasticly, are well headed toward college, likely on performing arts scholarships. Luckily their father seems to thrive on less than eight hours of sleep a night. Still, when the subject of politics come up, our kids and their spouses just stare at us blankly.

Chuck said...

Blogger gilbar said...
Mr. Phillips, trying to diffuse the situation.

in the immortal words of Inigo Montoya; “You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means”


I’m not going to argue this point with you; it’s a fair question. But moreover, isn’t it “de-fuse the situation...”? I don’t understand the meaning of “diffusing” a situation. But this blogger at least tried:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/jeremybutterfield.wordpress.com/2014/12/08/1861/amp/

I’m a bit surprised that Althouse hasn’t attacked that misusage, which I have now seen in multiple places regarding Nathan Phillips. Diffuse versus defuse.

buwaya said...

Leland,

Kids these days know very well what the cursus honorum requires. Ambitious or responsible 16 year olds are on college tracks and doing what they can to be employable at the end of it. So many are remarkably mature about that part of their life.

Now, it is also well known that online notoriety - of a certain sort - does not help with getting past university admissions and definitely hurts employability.

Young Mr. Sandmann, and many of his classmates also, most likely, is facing an uphill life at this point. You have to wonder what selective university would let him in, how he would be treated in the program he chooses even if he gets past that, and how he will fare against the activist university mob. One can assume he will be a permanent target of politically motivated lawfare or rulefare.

And then what prestigious firm will want the notoriety of hiring him?

Not Sure said...

Douthat's conscience sounds a lot like Ace of Spades.

Earnest Prole said...

Rashomon effect.

Angle-Dyne, Samurai Buzzard said...

MayBee: Things we don't agree on don't have to divide us.

People just have to remember: Nobody has to agree with you. Nobody is obligated to share your feelings.


That depends on what we're disagreeing about, and at how fundamental a level the disagreement is. It simply isn't true that you can have a stable, functioning society without a shared core of basic beliefs about "the way things are 'sposed to be". "Tolerance" isn't infinitely elastic, and will rapidly run up against its limits as real cultural diversity increases.

At the time of the Civil War American society was far more culturally homogeneous than it is today, and even then there was a disagreement about one of the fundamental things that ended in a blood bath. Now the fundamental disagreements are as deep but far more numerous. However it ends, it won't end in a "brother's war" - a phrase that points to eventual reconciliation and unifying narrative about "who we are". I don't think that deep sense that there really is a "we", that all of us squabbling with each other still unquestionably comprise a people, exists any more.

Cacimbo Cacimbo said...

"Unlike some media figures on the right, and unlike our president, those gatekeepers also correct the record and walk things back when they get things wrong."

This is obviously not true, yet Douthat actually believes this. Never-Trumpers share the lefts religious like belief in their own goodness.

Cacimbo Cacimbo said...

Do the white leftists who keep promoting the white man bad narrative imagine they will be safe when the culling begins?

EDH said...

"Oh, yeah... this is hot scissoring!

"SCISSOR ME TIMBERS!
"

Michael Guarino said...

I find the "Twitter made us do it" argument lame and unsatisfying. If all it took was a follow graph and a 256 character limit to make virtually every journalist a complete asshole, then they were broken to begin with.

EDH said...

Did you notice, again and again, the "voice" heard by Douthat details specific incidents attached to the depredations of the left:

Voice (examples):

1.) 1.) Oh, O.K., so if a teenager wears a cap associated with the president of the United States he’s asking to have media figures fantasize about punching him, to be doxxed and harassed, to have adults from his school temporarily stampeded into talking about expelling him, even to have half of Catholic Twitter, priests included, briefly damning him as a racist? Blame the victim much, do we?

2.) The “nonpartisan” media took what felt like years to discover that some of the Women’s March organizers had an anti-Semitism problem, but some teenagers get rowdy at the March for Life — while they’re being yelled at by black nationalists, for God’s sake — and it gets covered like Kristallnacht. Pro-life activists get video of Planned Parenthood suits talking about chopping up unborn babies for their parts, and we have to hear claims about how they’re “selectively edited” repeated in the press forever — but a clip of an anonymous teenager smiling while someone drums in his face is a five-alarm “fascism in America” fire!

Meanwhile, on the other hand, Douthat feels he only has to allude to what can only be described as unspecific negative tendencies and throw out a name on the right in order to blow the left wing dog whistle.

Douthat (examples):

1.) You know I think the press has a serious problem with bias on anything related to religion and social issues. But a lot of the cultural right has spent the Trump era wallowing in conspiracy theories and race-baiting — it’s not entirely surprising that liberals are conditioned to expect that kind of stuff when MAGA hats show up. Have you watched any “Hannity” lately, or gone down other #MAGA rabbit holes?

2.) Unlike some media figures on the right, and unlike our president, those gatekeepers also correct the record and walk things back when they get things wrong.

Is it about coulumn space and Douthat believing he needs to actually inform NYT readers with detail about what they choose not to know?

Birkel said...

The Left means to turn us all into Green Grocers.

Yancey Ward said...

"What? No. I mean, I need it (Twitter) for my job."

This tells one all one really needs to know about Ross Douthat, doesn't it? Seriously- why is Twitter necessary to his job?

PM said...

btw, you either tear something apart or you use scissors.

Yancey Ward said...

Douthat's conscience was correct- he is a cuckold.

Yancey Ward said...

Chuck

"I’m a bit surprised that Althouse hasn’t attacked that misusage"

Althouse generally only turns into Conan the Grammarian when the error is made by someone writing in a professional capacity- an anonymous commenter to an article doesn't qualify.

Known Unknown said...

YAWN.

Mark O said...

“What would Jesus say/do?” Don't know, but have some idea of what He did.

Here’s an example of Jesus “disrespecting” his elders.

Matthew, Chapter 23, and this in particular:

27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.

28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

Sam L. said...

I gave up on NR 3 years ago. Ross Douthat shows me how right I was to do that.

Unknown said...

What would Jesus Do?

It depends, does it not? He was always careful to talk about turning the other cheek in personal situations. But when it came time to criticize society, He and the Prophets never, ever held back. And Jehovah in the Old Testament was never hesitant about cleaning the herd, so to speak, of the wickedness. And He ordered the Canaanites to be "cleansed", down to and including their cattle. And He let His people get captured and Jerusalem destroyed because of wickedness.

No, Jesus is not a big fan of wicked behavior, and He would not hesitate to inflict a little justice where some justice needed inflicting.

--Vance

readering said...

Nothing good comes from wearing a MAGA cap.

Rick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rick said...

with offensive tomahawk gestures, wearing smug smirks and provocative political hats?

After decades of increasingly aggressive protest behavior and the claim "dissent is the highest form of patriotism" the left is now pretending a political slogan is provocative.

There's just no end to how absurd these people are.

funsize said...

edh: right on the money with the SP quote.

William Chadwick said...

These days, unless I'm cutting coupons from newspapers, when I think "scissors" I think Ellen with Portia. If you catch my drift.

tcrosse said...

when I think "scissors" I think Ellen with Portia. If you catch my drift.

Drift caught.

Jim at said...

Nothing good comes from wearing a MAGA cap.

So, kill them right?

Once again, you have no idea of the shit you're stirring.

SF said...

The story the scissors concept comes from, https://slatestarcodex.com/2018/10/30/sort-by-controversial/ , is a good read in the Twilight Zone mold. Specifically there a Scissor is a statement which "half" the people believe is obviously true and correct and only a terrible person would disagree, while the other "half" believe it is obviously wrong and only a terrible person would agree.

Douthat may be right that this is a perfect real-world example -- at least, as of today, I'm seeing lots of commenters who claim to think that Phillips is 100% obviously full of BS, and lots who claim to think he is 100% on the up and up. Needless to say, I think there is an obvious answer...

Static Ping said...

It's a good article, I'll give him that.

I am still trying to figure out what the two sides are here. If the full video had been released originally, it's a complete non-story. Activist tries to cause a confrontation with teenage boys, fails.

Because someone selectively edited the video and this got a bunch of people up in arms about a non-story, I am supposed to find something wrong with the boys... why? There's no getting to that "why." Nothing interesting happened so why do I care? The only reason to focus on the boys at this point is either (a) to cover up your own failures or (b) pre-existing hate. Or is there something obvious that I am missing? Because it keeps coming back around to the same two conclusions.

mockturtle said...

Seems to me the only person following the example of Jesus was Mr. Phillips, trying to diffuse the situation.

Presumably, he meant 'defuse'.

SF said...

Static Ping, the point of the Scissor idea (using this case as an example) is that many people believe, as you say, it is patently obvious from the longer video that Phillips sought out a confrontation, and the kid just stood there smiling while Phillips beat a drum in his face for minutes. It seems inconceivable that anyone could believe otherwise!

-- but the Scissor idea asks you to consider that the "other side" might believe just as strongly that the kid was an aggressive asshole and Phillips clearly the abused party, and it's inconceivable that anyone might think like you do.

That's how it's different from a "wedge issue". I have no trouble understanding the position of both sides on, say, the abortion issue -- that's a wedge issue. By definition, if you can understand the other side (or both sides) it's not a Scissor. I have no clue how anyone could watch the videos of the Phillips incident and come to a different conclusion than I have...

Tyrone Slothrop said...

I'm only going to say this once.

It's DEFUSE, as in to remove the fuse from a potent explosive, not DIFFUSE, meaning to spread or scatter.

Over the last few days I've seen any number of self-styled wordsmiths get this wrong. In fact, without having made a formal survey, I think more have used this imprecision than not.