October 21, 2021

It's been a long time since I've done a Sentence of the Day — diagram it if you dare! — but this one dropped out of the sky and cried for attention.

"If certain forms of Republican insouciance about Covid are forged in the fires of cultural resentment, in which you reject Faucian micromanagement by ditching masks and refusing the vaccine, certain forms of liberal overregulation seem forged in fear of red American contagion — in which we just have to mask our kids indefinitely, even though many other developed countries aren’t doing it, because we need to set an example of seriousness to shame all those red-state anti-maskers."

That was written by the redoubtable Ross Douthat, in "How Will Blue America Live With Covid?"

60 comments:

PB said...

Hemingway he's not.

Kevin said...

Vaccination has become the national United Way Campaign.

No one gets the additional paid day off unless we get 100% participation.

Owen said...

I admire “insouciance.” Not because it’s the apt word, but because it shows how hard Ross worked to dress up his little idea.

Nancy said...

Note use of "you" and "we".

Mike Sylwester said...

Some people like to write long sentences.

Some people like to mash several paragraphs together into one long paragraph.

Howard said...

Fighting covid is like a war. The government has called out the militia which is well regulated and part of those regulations include mask mandates and vaccination mandates not dissimilar to military requirements for recruits. Is it no wonder that a tribe of people who worship a draft dodger are themselves dodging this draft into the militia?

Ipso facto, anyone refusing to wear a mask or refusing a vaccination should have their firearms immediately confiscated for their dereliction of duty.

Dave Begley said...

Shorter version: The Libs want to control your life.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

Funny how the left are not curious at all about the Lab Virus

why is that?

Why would the collective left be so touchy about protecting the Chi Coms?

gilbar said...

Florida, in their foolish folly, has decided
NO MASK MANDATES
NO VACCINE MANDATES
about a month ago, people were running deathporn commercials; about Florida's "Forever Purge"
Which, was THE SCARIEST, MOST HORRIFYING thing ever!!!!
EVERYONE, not just in Florida, but EVERYWHERE! Was GOING TO DIE! because of Florida

Serious Question
How are things going in Florida, NOW? I'm Assuming, that the virus is OUT OF CONTROL?
That Most People, are dead or well on their way to dying???
Certainly, they've GOT TO have, The Highest Rates in the country??
Right? I mean, Right? Because, otherwise....

mccullough said...

Douthat should have written “be forged” not “are forged.” Subjunctive tense.

I like the word choices “insouciance” and “contagion.”

Because he uses Republican in the first subordinate clause he should have used Democratic not “liberal overregulation.”

Forged in the Fire is a dead metaphor.

Steve Schainost said...

Won't diagram this (haven't diagrammed a sentence since I was in grade school some 60 years ago) but did run the Gunning's Fog Index which was 38+. i.e. as fogs go, this one is thick pea soup.

Chuck said...

I don’t mean to go off topic, but whenever I see an appearance of Ross Douthat, I think of his being interviewed on C-SPAN by Brian Lamb. (The best television interviewer of our time.)
Lamb’s first question was about the headline announcing Douthat’s hiring as a NYT columnist; the headline was essentially that “Times Hires Conservative Columnist.” Lamb’s question to Douthat: “When has the Times ever announced the hiring of a “liberal” columnist?

Video here:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJ9r27CRF9w

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

Even without a diagram it is clear that Ross is discussing POLITICS and not MEDICINE, being the driving force here. COVID has been politicized to the point we do not trust our government to deal with us honestly. Who can take a "Faucian" statement at face value anymore? I wasn't even really vaccine-hesitant until the government started the hard-sell on it, forcing it on populations NOT at risk, and insisting that even then masks were "necessary." Almost zero actions taken by the Feds and States over the last year regarding COVID were actually necessary, and they were in sum counter-productive to public health and more importantly to continuing trust in our Public Health apparatus. What to make of CDC director saying that "even if FDA approves C-19 vaccine" for kids she wants them wearing masks. Masks that do not actually stop the virus, just keep it hanging around so you can rebreathe it over and over until one gets good and deep inside.

Science!

tommyesq said...

How will Blue America live with Covid?

In fear and tyranny.

Sebastian said...

"How Will Blue America Live With Covid?"

It won't "live with Covid" as long as it can be exploited in the culture war and used to amass Dem power.

Leon said...

Subject=we
Verb=set example

Did I get it right? It's been over 30 years since I diagrammed sentences.

Annie C. said...

I read that this morning and thought to myself, "I hope Althouse sees this!"

Achilles said...

Ross Douthat is a good German. He is the "principled" conservative.

His job is to misrepresent the issue so that fascist violent democrats can justify their open hypocrisy and hatred of freedom.

Governments and Corporations working together to force individuals to toe the line is the definition of National Socialism. This is straight out of 1930's Germany.

People claim they would have fought the Nazi's.

Well, now is your chance.

They have taken off the masks and they are standing right in front of you.

Cue Chuck and Howard to bleat and scream about how the Jews need to kneel to the good people running our government.

mezzrow said...

That was written by the redoubtable Ross Douthat,

I see what you did there... Take the bonus points.

cf said...

i read the sentence perfectly and i LOVE the point he is making, but of course I would also thoroughly enjoy seeing the talented Althouse using her irrepressible diagramming talents on this one - it's been a long while since she did one!

mikee said...

Putting concepts into an "if/then" format does not create a causal effect, or describe one with any rigor. The premise that liberal behavior and conservative behavior are at opposite poles on COVID is a narrative, not the truth. The current president and vice president both favored anti-vaccination less than a year ago. The past president expedited the vaccines, and still supports their use very strongly.

If Ross Douthat had a functioning brain and a penny's worth of honesty, he wouldn't have written that sentence. See, that is an if/then statement that is supported by the facts.

Achilles said...

Howard said...

Fighting covid is like a war. The government has called out the militia which is well regulated and part of those regulations include mask mandates and vaccination mandates not dissimilar to military requirements for recruits. Is it no wonder that a tribe of people who worship a draft dodger are themselves dodging this draft into the militia?

Ipso facto, anyone refusing to wear a mask or refusing a vaccination should have their firearms immediately confiscated for their dereliction of duty.


Howard has his jackboots on.

Looks forward to stomping some necks it seems.

Thank you for taking your mask off. It will be so much easier to deal with you people now that everyone sees you for what you are.

Ann Althouse said...

"I admire “insouciance.” Not because it’s the apt word, but because it shows how hard Ross worked to dress up his little idea."

I love being required to picture "insouciance" being "forged."

"Insouciance" is something light, and forging is something done to metal.

Ann Althouse said...

"Note use of "you" and "we"."

Yes, he's on the blue side, but he's the NYT idea of red.

M Jordan said...

“ redoubtable Ross Douthat”

Redoubtable my ass. But I detect irony there so we’re good.

Peter said...

Have you seen the comments at the article? Top “Readers’ picks” are anti Douthat and massively PRO masking in all circs, masking toddlers till vaxxed, etc. Scary, and depressing …

Ann Althouse said...

"Subject=we Verb=set example Did I get it right? It's been over 30 years since I diagrammed sentences."

That is an independent clause connected to the stuff before with the conjunction "because," but there's another independent clause with "forms" as the subject and "seem forged" as the verb.

Ann Althouse said...

The root of "insouciance" means "caring." The word means the quality of not caring. Imagine forging the quality of not caring. Seems to me, if you're forging, you'll end up with something much more substantial.

Here's a Pinterest collection of "things to forge."

Kai Akker said...

It's a good sentence, though teetering toward overweight on the spectrum. Nicely structured contrast, a good attempt to be logical.

But --

"we need to set an example of seriousness"

--on the meaning side, this is risible, to employ the fashionable word of this week. How is doing something so unscientific an example of seriousness? It's the opposite; it's virtue-signaling.

If a certain type of liberal certainty about one's seriousness is forged in the fires of status-seeking, in which the appearance of a virtue is the only requisite precondition to claim the possession of said virtue, certain forms of liberty-loving "conservatism" are hammered out on the anvil of Founding principles -- in allegiance to which, we must state the case against the illogic and "magical" thinking of blue-state liberals, whether the rest of the world can recognize it or no, because we must still honor the truth despite the great social costs currently charged against those doing so.

Kevin said...

Imagine forging the quality of not caring.

Imagine foraging for the quality of caring.

That's the predominant state of people when told about what's in the NYT.

Will Cate said...

My only contribution here: never use the phrase "just have to" when the single word "must" will suffice.

wildswan said...

It seems that the subjects are fear and cultural resentment which are forging overregulation and insouciance. It's your laughing which makes us over-serious. And it's all different in Europe.
Note that: "Your" cultural resentment forges your insouciance but "we" overregulate because "we" need to set an example of seriousness in the face of "your" insouciance. So Douthat is aligning against "Jokes are funny", "Let's Go Brandon" in favor of deeply-serious Hunter Biden and his Dad.
And also note that it's all emotional - there's no thought in Red America about science or economics, just "cultural resentment." Then the liberals, sadly, have to take up the liberals' burden and by open speech and simple, a hundred times made plain by the NYT, to show the simple RedStaters, they must mask up again.

Owen said...

If you are careless when forging, you will drop a red-hot hammer on your sorry clueless a**.

narciso said...

I thought dalton grad yglesias was the top idiot, but exeter man douthat is close behind,

Owen said...

Here is Instapundit’s take on the idea expressed in Douthat’s column of deep ponderment.

“… Our political class is addicted to shaming. It was better when they were just a bunch of drunks.”

rhhardin said...

I'd go with peening the sharp edge of insouciance after the whetstone of public opinion has thickened it to uselessness.

rhhardin said...

Insouciance is one of the seven chief French emotions.

StephenFearby said...

Usually try to avoid reading any of Ross Douthat's metaphysical word salads because it would be hard work to decipher them. Even worse to diagram them.

robother said...

Reading between the lines, I would say that Mr. Douthat has been trying to butch up by watching a certain History Channel series.

Yancey Ward said...

If the government, or at least Democrats, told Chuck and Howard to wear a butt plug all day to stop COVID, they wouldn't question it even though the science supporting such a mandate is weak or non-existent. Only a pussy wouldn't wear a butt plug all day if it only saved one life, right? People like Chuck and Howard are to be despised and disrespected at every opportunity- good little fascists they are.

Chris Lopes said...

"Chuck said...
I don’t mean to go off topic, but whenever I see an appearance of Ross Douthat, I think of his being interviewed on C-SPAN by Brian Lamb. (The best television interviewer of our time.)"

While it is a little off topic, it's also quite true.

Critter said...

Not a fan of word salad. Red meat for me.

Narayanan said...

Howard said...
Fighting covid is like a war. The government has called out the militia which is well regulated and part of those regulations include mask mandates and vaccination mandates not dissimilar to military requirements for recruits. Is it no wonder that a tribe of people who worship a draft dodger are themselves dodging this draft into the militia?

Ipso facto, anyone refusing to wear a mask or refusing a vaccination should have their firearms immediately confiscated for their dereliction of duty.
-------------
Howard : you are not making sense - in this war official weapons are masks and fluid filled syringes

if those items need to be confiscated from the refuseniks draft dodgers they would not mind at all - it is the kind offer by draft boards to give them those that is causing ruckus

Drago said...

Non-Combat Veteran Howard: "Ipso facto, anyone refusing to wear a mask or refusing a vaccination should have their firearms immediately confiscated for their dereliction of duty."

Come and take them.

Richard said...

Likely took him a while to put that together. Lots of opportunities to get something backwards. But he's right on. Missed nothing, included nothing beyond the necessary.

Spent some time with folks who voted entirely TDS. Policies and results were foreign concepts. And Douthat's got them pegged wrt the wuflu.

West TX Intermediate Crude said...

The problem for Mr. Douthat and his buddies is that, the farther one gets from 2020, chronically ill, morbidly obese, or elderly, the less useful the vaccines are. Whatever comes after Delta will be even less affected by the vaccines. The healthier one is, the thinner one is, the younger one is, the less valuable the vaccines are as a way of reducing sickness.
As the pandemic proceeds, vaccination becomes more and more theatrical, as masking has already become. It thus becomes paradoxically more and more useful to the anointed as a signal, and as a way of humiliating the untermenschen.
This comment may be unacceptably OT, as it has little to do with sentence diagramming, except that the ability to diagram a sentence is a skill that separates the ober- from the untermenschen just as the ability to command one's servants to wear the mask when one goes unmasked oneself does.

BUMBLE BEE said...

I may have missed something here. Where was his caring while the City of New York was cramming folks into unsanitized subway cars?

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

Yancey Ward said...

If the government, or at least Democrats, told Chuck and Howard to wear a butt plug all day to stop COVID, they wouldn't question it even though the science supporting such a mandate is weak or non-existent.

You mean a second butt plug, in addition to their normal every day wear butt plugs?

BUMBLE BEE said...

I may have missed something here. Where was his caring while the City of New York was cramming folks into unsanitized subway cars?

Larvell said...

If you’re going to use a comma before the first “in which,” don’t change your mind and use a dash before the next one. Have the courage of your convictions.

JackOfClubs said...

Despite its length, the sentence is fairly clear and has a nice parallelism in the two "in which" clauses. My only objection is that those clauses are not punctuated consistently. The first is set off by commas but the second is introduced by a dash. Not incorrect, but a bit sloppy.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Ann, any comments on Charles Blow's piece, also this morning? Basically, he says that unmarried adults are about to outnumber married ones, and maybe we should stop giving tax advantages (he mentions those twice, but never names them) to the married.

Because, obviously, the only purpose of tax policy is to advantage the specific people it does advantage? Blow adds that Black people are especially marriage-resistant, so obviously any policy favoring marriage is somehow . . . racist?

retail lawyer said...

Douthat explains too hard. It was only out of respect for Ann that i read the annoying sentence. Wasn't worth it.

effinayright said...

Howard said...
Fighting covid is like a war. The government has called out the militia which is well regulated and part of those regulations include mask mandates and vaccination mandates not dissimilar to military requirements for recruits. Is it no wonder that a tribe of people who worship a draft dodger are themselves dodging this draft into the militia?

Ipso facto, anyone refusing to wear a mask or refusing a vaccination should have their firearms immediately confiscated for their dereliction of duty.

***************

Howard, the only rational response to your idiocy is:

BLOW IT OUT YOUR ASS.

effinayright said...

rhhardin said...
Insouciance is one of the seven chief French emotions.
***************

"Emmerdeur". It literally means "one who makes me shit".

Skookum John said...

@mccullough:
Subjunctive tense.



Subjunctive mood, not tense.


Familiarity with the subjunctive is fading even among the fussy grammar prescriptivists. I heard a teenage girl use it correctly the other day, and it was as astonishing as if she had said it in fluent Swahili.

Chuck said...

Yancey Ward said...
If the government, or at least Democrats, told Chuck and Howard to wear a butt plug all day to stop COVID, they wouldn't question it even though the science supporting such a mandate is weak or non-existent. Only a pussy wouldn't wear a butt plug all day if it only saved one life, right? People like Chuck and Howard are to be despised and disrespected at every opportunity- good little fascists they are.


...

Achilles said...
Ross Douthat is a good German. He is the "principled" conservative.

His job is to misrepresent the issue so that fascist violent democrats can justify their open hypocrisy and hatred of freedom.

Governments and Corporations working together to force individuals to toe the line is the definition of National Socialism. This is straight out of 1930's Germany.

People claim they would have fought the Nazi's.

Well, now is your chance.

They have taken off the masks and they are standing right in front of you.

Cue Chuck and Howard to bleat and scream about how the Jews need to kneel to the good people running our government.


I offered one single comment on this page. It was a mild tweak aimed at the New York Times' liberal-leaning bias. Mine was making a conservative point, following Brain Lamb's question.

And yet this is the garbage -- the clutter, as this blog termed it -- from the Trumpists on these comments pages.

"Comments need to pass through moderation. Comments should respond to material raised in the post. I encourage brevity and substance and discourage personal attacks and repetition."

Narayanan said...

Owen said...
I admire “insouciance.” Not because it’s the apt word, but because it shows how hard Ross worked to dress up his little idea.
----------
Q: the emperor who went out naked - was he insouciant or was he dressed up?

Drago said...

Pro-marxist pro-CRT Biden voter LLR Chuck: "And yet this is the garbage -- the clutter, as this blog termed it -- from the Trumpists on these comments pages."

Banned commenter LLR Chuck, who was banned from Althouse blog, strongly disapproves of the current blog moderation performance by the blog operators.

LLR Chuck decided to violate his banned status, as he does daily, often to post creepy, treacly and condescending suck up "Eddie Haskell" type missives to the blog hostess, to post and lecture the blog hosts on their failure to properly enforce their moderation policy.

Discuss.

Lurker21 said...

Douthat is trying to say that both sides have their faults and avoid being accused of "bothsidesism" or "whataboutism," hence the awkwardness. If your sentence is unclear or complicated or confusing it won't be attacked, or even noticed.

I think he politicizes the situation too much. Some people are afraid of covid or the maskless or the unvaccinated. Other people are afraid of the vaccines. Whether the political dispute is fundamental or something added on varies from person to person. Douthat also doesn't touch on the reasons each side dislikes or distrusts the other.