Friday: Hili dialogue (and Mietek monologue)

Welcome to Friday, June 5, 2020, the one-month anniversary of Dorothy’s brood jumping to the pond (they now, of course, belong to Honey).

It’s national Ketchup Day, and my father taught me, correctly, to buy only Heinz regular ketchup (that was the only one made at the time, but now there are many varieties of the classic Heinz formulation). Here’s one:

But does it contain GMOs?

It’s also National Doughnut Day, Sausage Roll Day, National Veggie Burger Day, National Gingerbread Day, and, on the non-food front, Hug an Atheist Day (I’m game, but hugs are verboten during the pandemic, National Gun Violence Awareness Day, World Day Against Speciesism, and World Environment Day.  A lot of good holidays!

News of the Day: I can barely stand to watch the evening news any more, but I soldier on.

In journalism, Republican Senator Tom Cotton wrote an op-ed in the New York Times calling for military occupation of U.S. cities during the latest protests. I disagree violently with his views, but many of the Times‘s own journalists objected, saying that even publishing his views endangers black NYT staffers. Sound familiar? That’s the result of the paper hiring staffers right out of college.

The paper then backed off, saying that the editorial didn’t meet its standards. It was a misguided piece, but of course that’s what you get when you seek a diversity of opinions. And Cotton’s suggestion won’t be implemented, so its publication doesn’t create palpable dangers.

I believe it should have been published to show how both some Republicans and how Cotton thinks (it “outed” him), and to enable us to see what arguments could possibly exist for sending in the military. The New Woke Times, which first defended publishing the op-ed, has backed off, which is not good for freedom of speech in their op-ed section. Bari Weiss discussions the divisions within the newspaper (though she thinks that maybe Cotton’s piece crossed the line); read her whole thread.

Today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 108,187 , an increase of about a thousand from yesterday. The world toll now stands at 390,771, a one-day increase of about 6,000.

Stuff that happened on June 5 includes:

  • 1851 – Harriet Beecher Stowe’s anti-slavery serial, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, or Life Among the Lowly, starts a ten-month run in the National Era abolitionist newspaper.[6]
  • 1883 – The first regularly scheduled Orient Express departs Paris.
  • 1893 – The trial of Lizzie Borden for the murder of her father and step-mother begins in New Bedford, Massachusetts.

Borden was acquitted and lived the rest of her life, ostracized in the town (Fall River, Massachusetts) where the murder took place. Here she is:

  • 1916 – Louis Brandeis is sworn in as a Justice of the United States Supreme Court; he is the first American Jew to hold such a position.

Brandeis was a great liberal and an advocate of freedom of speech and the right to privacy; we could use his like on the court now. Here he is:

Do you think this is “suggestive”? It’s the Milton Berle performance:

  • 1968 – Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy is assassinated by Sirhan Sirhan.
  • 1981 – The “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report” of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that five people in Los Angeles, California, have a rare form of pneumonia seen only in patients with weakened immune systems, in what turns out to be the first recognized cases of AIDS.
  • 1989 – The Tank Man halts the progress of a column of advancing tanks for over half an hour after the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.

Tank Man, not identified (but see below) was carried away by police and the tanks moved on. History says this:

The Sunday Express, a British publication, reported that summer that his name was Wang Weilin, a 19-year-old student arrested for “political hooliganism.” Varying reports suggested the student was either imprisoned or executed.

Chinese officials have refused to confirm his name or whereabouts in response to numerous queries from Western journalists in the years since the incident. In fact, they claim they were unable to locate him.

  • 1995 – The Bose–Einstein condensate is first created.

Notables born on this day include:

Garrett, of course, was best known for shooting Billy the Kid, who was only 21 when he was killed. Here’s Garrett:


  • 1878 – Pancho Villa, Mexican general and politician, Governor of Chihuahua (d. 1923)
  • 1883 – John Maynard Keynes, English economist, philosopher, and academic (d. 1946)
  • 1932 – Christy Brown, Irish painter and author (d. 1981)

Brown, the subject of the well known movie My Left Foot, had cerebral palsy and could write only with the toes of that foot. Daniel Day-Lewis’s portrait of him in the movie won a Best Actor Oscar, and the movie itself nabbed the Best Film award:Here’s a photo.

  • 1939 – Margaret Drabble, English novelist, biographer, and critic

Those who were released from life on June 5 include:

  • 1900 – Stephen Crane, American poet, novelist, and short story writer (b. 1871)
  • 1910 – O. Henry, American short story writer (b. 1862)
  • 2004 – Ronald Reagan, American actor and politician, 40th President of the United States (b. 1911)
  • 2018 – Kate Spade, American fashion designer (b. 1962)

Meawhile in Dobrzyn, Hili now wants a fancy bed like Szaron’s:

Hili: I think I’ll have have a house like this ordered for me, too.
Szaron: These houses are no longer for sale.
(Photo: Paulina R.)
In Polish:
Hili: Chyba też każę sobie taki domek kupić.
Szaron: Takich już nie sprzedają.
(Foto: Paulina R.)

And in Wloclawek, Mietek is all “TGIF”:

Mietek: Weekend is coming soon, there will be a chance to rest.

In Polish: Weekend niedługo to się odpocznie.

And here’s one of Matthew’s three cats, which came with the note, “Here’s Pepper looking daft. He sat like this for several minutes.” Matthew is writing ANOTHER book!
From Ken: the new Charlie Hebdo cover. Translation: “Police violence. We want equality.”

From Jesus of the Day. I’m betting there is some deli somewhere bearing this name:

I always wanted to open a Jewish/Caribbean restaurant called Bermuda Schwartz. I’ll be here all year, folks!

Also from Jesus of the Day:

From Lenora. Be sure you turn the sound up on the second tweet and watch to the end.  Trump doesn’t even believe in God, I think; he’s a fricking hypocrite catering to his faith-head base.

From reader Ken, who calls this “Shanda of the Week”, and added, “Former G.W. Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer (whose parents are solid liberal Democrats, such that he should know better), going full-bore Fox News Trumpist.”

 Rampant looting in New York City sent by reader cesar. He says, “Watch for the Rolls-Royce.”


From Simon:

Tweets from Matthew. I’m not used to waterfowl feeding their babies, but coots do it. I believe reader/evolutionist Bruce Lyon has worked on this starvation question:

I guess this was a commercially sold watch. . . . NSFW!

Well, I don’t know what a data logger box is, but if I ever see one, I’m not gonna open it:



  1. Ken Kukec
    Posted June 5, 2020 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    Do you think this [Elvis’s appearance on Uncle Miltie’s show] is “suggestive”?

    You damn tootin’ it was. And thank goodness for it. It was one of the incidents that bubbled up from the roiling societal undercurrents below to shake the nation out of the stifling conformity of the Eisenhower years.

  2. Historian
    Posted June 5, 2020 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    As a private organization, the NYT is not obligated to print anyone’s opinion. Obviously, the editors did not expect the backlash to printing the Cotton op-ed. But, they should not have apologized for printing it or claiming it was some sort of mistake. Rather, they could have (and still can) used the furor to eviscerate the right-wing mentality as exemplified by the odious Cotton. The paper could have published one or more op-eds tearing apart Cotton’s assault on democracy, line by line. By doing this it would have upheld its pledge to print “diverse” viewpoints while not condoning or giving tacit approval to the far right wing. The NYT blundered, but it is not too late to fix the problem.

    • Posted June 5, 2020 at 7:58 am | Permalink

      Agreed. But they mishandled this one, first defending and then backing off on the editorial. Plus they responded to social-media pressure, and they should be more independent than that.

    • E.A. Blair
      Posted June 5, 2020 at 8:12 am | Permalink

      The Daily Beast published a piece by Dmitry Gorenberg called I Fixed Tom Cotton’s Op-Ed, a heavily redacted version that does eviscerate the right-wing mentality of Cotton.

      • Posted June 5, 2020 at 8:14 am | Permalink

        Sadly, Gorenberg’s piece seems to be paywalled.

        • Historian
          Posted June 5, 2020 at 8:32 am | Permalink

          I was able to view the Gorenburg article without any problem. It is quite good.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted June 5, 2020 at 8:31 am | Permalink

      I for one would rather have Tom Cotton unmask himself in the pages of the nation’s newspaper of record for the quasi-fascist authoritarian he is than have him skulking around the the Capitol harboring these views in secret.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted June 5, 2020 at 8:53 am | Permalink

        I read an article in the WP concerning the NYTs and the article in question. It is true the Times first approved and then reversed on the article but so what. Internal pressure at the firm seemed to cause the change but there were also claims made in Cotton’s piece with no back up. No evidence for the claim. This also is a problem with any op ed. If another paper is not getting twisted out of shape about what the Times did, it’s probably not that important.

        • GBJames
          Posted June 5, 2020 at 9:30 am | Permalink

          I don’t think Op-Ed articles are subject to fact verification since they are opinion pieces. No?

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted June 5, 2020 at 10:02 am | Permalink

            I don’t think the editorial side has a team of fact checkers, and the NYT famously maintains a strict church-state separation between its Editorial and News divisions. (People can complain that the Times news reporting as become polluted with opinion, but that opinion is coming from the reporters themselves, not from the editorial side or from the publisher at the top of the organization).

      • Posted June 5, 2020 at 10:19 am | Permalink

        Tom Cotton definitely makes no secret of his views on a number of things. You may recall that he was the one who sent that letter to Iran’s leaders back in 2015 that placed the Senate GOP in opposition to then President Obama’s Iran policy. Cotton has reliably and consistently bad takes on things.

    • eric
      Posted June 5, 2020 at 10:42 am | Permalink

      I’m ambivalent. I wonder how many op-ed submissions they receive, and if Cotton’s was really at the top in terms of quality of argument or relevance. I don’t necessarily agree that they should publish an op-ed merely because the author is a Senator, nor do I think they should publish an op-ed merely because it’s “diverse.”

      The woke vs. liberal conflict bothers me, and I hope the liberals win. However even if they do, and there’s no weight given to whether an op-ed will make someone “feel unsafe” or whatever, that doesn’t necessarily mean publishing Tom Cotton every time Tom Cotton submits a right-wing screed. In fact, I’d be much more interested in reading the opinion of a conservative whose job *isn’t* dependent on toeing the party line and supporting the President.

  3. Ken Kukec
    Posted June 5, 2020 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    That Donald Trump was not struck with a bolt of lightening while holding that bible aloft in front of St. John’s is all the proof I’ll ever need that we inhabit a godless universe.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted June 5, 2020 at 8:07 am | Permalink

      I have to say that clicking on the news to observe the latest antics of the Orange Shitgibbon has become one of my regular diversions. A bit like Idi Amin in his day, but with less of the angst that overshadowed watching Idi (because, being in the US, we know that El Presidente’s lunacy will likely be curbed by what’s left of your country’s social institutions before any massacres take place).
      And hopefully there’s the satisfying prospect that the more he goes completely off the rails like a banana republic dictator, the stronger the chances that he won’t be there next year.

      And to put it very cynically, much better that he makes an ass of himself with domestic lunacy than that he destroys some benighted third-world country.


      • rickflick
        Posted June 5, 2020 at 8:47 am | Permalink

        In a recent poll, 42.1% of USians said they preferred the entertaining president over the Nobel Prize president.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted June 5, 2020 at 9:46 am | Permalink

          As Mr. Mencken noted, nobody ever went broke underestimating the tastes of the American public. That 42.1% represents, in Honest Abe’s words, the some of the people who can be fooled all of the time.

      • enl
        Posted June 5, 2020 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

        based on his comments with respect to George Floyd this morning, it appears that his orangeness is actively trying for a 25th amendment section 4 removal.

        Or, worse yet, not trying.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted June 6, 2020 at 6:56 am | Permalink

          When I saw his comment about ‘a great day for George Floyd’ I couldn’t restrain myself from yelling at the TV “He’s f*cking DEAD, you f*cking cretin!”

          tRump not only has no sense of decency or dignity or decorum, he doesn’t even have any sense of irony.


          • merilee
            Posted June 6, 2020 at 9:53 am | Permalink

            No sense at all😖

          • merilee
            Posted June 6, 2020 at 9:59 am | Permalink

            Bret Stephens in NYT today:

            “With malice toward all; with charity for none: eight words that encapsulate everything this president is, does and stands for.“

      • Posted June 6, 2020 at 6:34 am | Permalink

        we know that El Presidente’s lunacy will likely be curbed by what’s left of your country’s social institutions before any massacres take place

        I admire your optimism.

        Having said that, the death toll in the US from COVID 19 stands at nearly 110,000. I think the ship has sailed.

    • max blancke
      Posted June 5, 2020 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

      Pelosi posed with one as well, and I was a bit surprised that neither of them burst into flames.

  4. DrBrydon
    Posted June 5, 2020 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    I honestly laughed-out-loud when I saw this story on The Hill yesterday: Sharpton knocks Trump: ‘We cannot use Bibles as a prop’. Hasn’t that been Sharpton’s whole career?

    • GBJames
      Posted June 5, 2020 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      It is every (Christian) religionist’s career.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted June 5, 2020 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

      Main difference is, Sharpton has at least a passing familiarity with the words between the book’s covers; the Donald, absolutely none.

  5. EdwardM
    Posted June 5, 2020 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    I’ve seen a video on a coot killing one of its young – it pecked the chick to death while several others floated, seemingly unconcerned, nearby. The caption with the video said it was a common practice among coot to “cull” a brood when food stressed.

    Nature sometimes demands cruelty and is always indifferent to suffering.

  6. kraeuterbutter
    Posted June 5, 2020 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Oh, the Charlie Hebdo cover is intense and mean, but in a good satirical way.

  7. merilee
    Posted June 5, 2020 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    WTF is the thing with a beak in the cup behind Mietek??

  8. ivan
    Posted June 5, 2020 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    There’s a drummer who works with weird Al Jankovic named Jon Shwartz, his nickname is Bermuda Schwartz.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted June 5, 2020 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

      I think somewhere along the family tree, Weird Al’s surname got anglicized to a spelling beginning with “Y” — as did that of that other American accordion virtuoso, Frankie Yankovic. 🙂

  9. Posted June 5, 2020 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    Is it just me, or would Amy Adams be an excellent choice to play Lizzie Borden in a movie?

  10. Roger
    Posted June 5, 2020 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Why would anyone even believe Trump is sincere about the Bible shtick? Wishful thinking I guess.

  11. Todd
    Posted June 5, 2020 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    The Times has published an opinion piece about the decision not to publish Cotton’s call for war against US citizens. It’s worth reading.

    • Posted June 5, 2020 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      An interesting article but it didn’t change my opinion. I believe they were right in publishing the article but should have run a rebuttal or fact-check alongside it. Let Tom Cotton have his say but show immediately and directly the problems with his arguments. For example, explain that a “no quarter” order would amount to a war crime, as mentioned in this article. If the Times is worried that many will read Cotton’s article but miss the rebuttal, intersperse the rebuttal comments in the article itself. Doing so may discourage other op-ed contributions but so what? If they can’t stand the scrutiny, they can take their garbage somewhere else.

      • darrelle
        Posted June 5, 2020 at 3:26 pm | Permalink


        • Tim Harris
          Posted June 5, 2020 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

          Paul Topping’s proposal certainly sounds attractive, and would certainly have been a great improvement on what the NYT actually did, but Michelle Goldberg’s is surely right in saying that ‘… I don’t believe The Times would have published a defense of family separation by former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen during the height of that atrocity, or a piece by the senior Trump aide Stephen Miller about the necessity of curbing nonwhite immigration.’ Or would they have published, let us say, an op-ed by Steve King in favour of white supremacy and discrimination against Jews? Or a defence by some public figure of Derek Chauvin’s actions?

          I have no time at all, I’m afraid, for Bari Weiss’s dishonest (she has been fact-checked by colleagues) tweeting.

          Cotton was not presenting a serious case that we, in our academic or other enclaves, might reasonably differ with, but indulging in inflammatory rhetoric. And inflammatory rhetoric inflames, and is intended to do so. Look at Trump’s Twitter feed. I cannot help connecting the idea espoused by free-will libertarians and compatibilists that there is some mysterious faculty in the brain that does not differ from one individual to another, stands above the fray, and allows us to make properly moral choices whenever we are faced with a situation that requires them with the idea that everyone possesses a rational faculty, whatever their situation in life, that again stands above the fray and allows them all to make properly rational judgements (if they want to) when faced with rhetoric and propaganda such as Cotton’s. Human beings, as surely the whole of our history shows, do not in fact behave in this ideal way. Facebook’s policy of printing all that is both fit and unfit to print has been an important factor in the massacres and ill-treatment of the Rohingya in Myanmar. I need not mention Nazi Germany, or the attacks on George Soros by Viktor Orban, but may as well end by mentioning them

          • Posted June 6, 2020 at 12:29 am | Permalink

            “I don’t believe The Times would have published a defense of family separation by former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen during the height of that atrocity, or a piece by the senior Trump aide Stephen Miller about the necessity of curbing nonwhite immigration.”

            I think the NYT would and should have published such pieces. Isn’t it better that these things get argued out? Given both of these people are (or were) significant players in the Trump administration, some of his followers might have read these opinions and couldn’t have resisted reading the rebuttals. Such dialogue would be welcome compared to Trump doing everything in secret where we only find out the policies via leaks.

            • Tim Harris
              Posted June 6, 2020 at 3:57 am | Permalink

              I’m afraid I think you are being vastly over-optimistic if you think that such things are going to be ‘argued out’. I certainly believe in dialogue when there is at least a certain amount of good faith and reasonableness on both sides, and some sort of agreement on, first, that there is a problem that needs to be dealt with and, second, to the methods that should or should not be used in order to address them. There does not seem to be now a possibility of any genuine dialogue, as may be seen, incidentally, from Bari Weiss’s almost reflexive reduction of a serious issue to do with police brutality to a quarrel between ‘young wokes’ and ‘(mostly 40+)liberals’ on the one side and their presumably unawakened but nevertheless sensible and more adult elders, like Bari Weiss.

              Police brutality (which exists of course in Britain, too, where I am originally from, but to nowhere near the same extent as it does in the USA, where it is endemic) has been going on for years, decades, and more; there has been killing after killing of black people in the USA, by the police and by ‘concerned citizens’ like George Zimmerman, whose perpetrators have mostly been let-off scot-free, and after a brief flurry of concern and unconcern, in which well-meaning people talk of the need for a dialogue that never happens, things revert to their terrible norm (as they do in the case of mass shootings), a norm that is being made more terrible by the greater and greater militarisation of the police. And all such as Bari Weiss can worry about is the ‘wokes’ and ‘liberals’ whom she dislikes and doesn’t want to listen to. In certain political situations, as history has shown over and over again, the possibility of dialogue is not possible. Dialogue is not possible if the power of one side is vastly superior to that of the other side, as Martin Luther King well understood. What is needed is a serious and courageous political movement that is willing to seriously address the issue, and not well-meaning individuals, and even moderately well-meaning political parties, to make a fuss when some terrible event occurs, talk about dialogue and free speech, and then, once the immediate responses have died down, to put the issue on the back-burner once again.

              • Tim Harris
                Posted June 6, 2020 at 6:13 am | Permalink

                I should just like to add that the best response to the death of George Floyd and police brutality that I have come across is that of the rapper Killer Mike. It is well worth looking at and listening carefully to. But when even peaceful protests are regarded by powerful people as warranting a violent response, despite the lip-service they pay to free speech so long as it is their speech that is free,what is to be done?

              • Posted June 6, 2020 at 9:10 am | Permalink

                Killer Mike was on Bill Maher’s show last night. I will admit to being unimpressed with what he said. He seems to advocate violence though it is unclear how exactly he justifies it. In past appearances on that show, I’ve appreciated his intelligence and sense of humor. Not so much this time.

              • Posted June 6, 2020 at 9:01 am | Permalink

                “… Bari Weiss’s almost reflexive reduction of a serious issue to do with police brutality to a quarrel between ‘young wokes’ and ‘(mostly 40+)liberals’ on the one side and their presumably unawakened but nevertheless sensible and more adult elders, like Bari Weiss.”

                I believe the quarrel she’s referring to is between factions at the NY Times, not the “serious issue”, assuming you mean police brutality against black people and in general.

                I’m from Britain also so I do understand about how police should act. I have been appalled by US police’s attitudes ever since I arrived in this country. They don’t seem to realize that their us-vs-them attitude is exactly the cause of the disrespect they receive from those who aren’t actual victims of their brutality. Even most of the “good cops” have the wrong attitude toward their job.

              • GBJames
                Posted June 6, 2020 at 9:45 am | Permalink

                “…all such as Bari Weiss can worry about is the ‘wokes’ and ‘liberals’ whom she dislikes and doesn’t want to listen to.”

                Say what? The people who are shutting others up, quite literally in this case, are the woke people.

  12. W.Benson
    Posted June 5, 2020 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    Something light. Something my mom used to recite:
    “Heinz! HEINZ! WHAT’S the matter with Heinz?
    Heinz come wobbling down the street!
    What’s the matter with Heinz'[es] FEET?
    Ach! Mein! That’s the trouble with men(1)?
    HEINZ’s(2) been in 57 bars(3),
    1) ‘Heinz! Heinz! What’s the matter with HEINZ’ in the original
    2) ‘He’s’ in the original
    3) ‘stews’ in the original

    • John Conoboy
      Posted June 5, 2020 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

      Good one.

      Regular (they call Classic) Heinz ketchup is now mostly tomato flavored high fructose corn syrup. Their organic and simply Heinz varieties do not have corn syrup.

    • W.Benson
      Posted June 5, 2020 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

      Here is a link to more info on the H. J. Heinz Co. from a 1926 Time Magazine article. My mom’s family was from a town in western Pennsylvania somewhat north of the Heinz home in Pittsburgh.

  13. rickflick
    Posted June 5, 2020 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Another doozy is Rand Paul holding up a bipartisan bill to make lynching a Federal offense. Cotton and Paul – like evil twins from a comic book.

  14. revelator60
    Posted June 5, 2020 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    * I think only those lacking a sense of humor would regard Elvis’s performance as seriously suggestive. Big El obviously had his hips in cheek.

    * Mention of Pat Garrett prompts me to recommend Sam Peckinpah’s “Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid” (1973). It’s a very messy but often moving film about selling out and moral degradation. The DVD contains Peckinpah’s “Preview version” and a new edit—both are worth watching and comparing.

    * Glad to see Charlie Hebdo going strong. When I was in Paris last fall I made sure to buy a copy. Text editorials took up the majority of the issue and were beyond my poor French but I understood a couple of the cartoons!

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted June 5, 2020 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

      Re Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid: I’ve always found priceless the looks exchanged between the great Mexican actress Katy Jurado and a gut-shot Slim Pickens, set to the strains of Dylan’s “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” at the end of this scene:

      • revelator60
        Posted June 5, 2020 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

        It’s one of the greatest and most mature death scenes on film. Interestingly, Peckinpah’s preview version instead uses an instrumental of the “Heaven’s Door.” I still can’t decided which version of the scene works best.

  15. Posted June 5, 2020 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    Poor Lizzie Borden. Acquitted but forever guilty. Generations of children have skipped rope to the ditty “Lizzie Borden took an axe..”

  16. Abi
    Posted June 6, 2020 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    The post above says: “I believe it should have been published to show how both some Republicans and how Cotton thinks (it “outed” him), and to enable us to see what arguments could possibly exist for sending in the military.”

    Cotton is a US senator and has a big soapbox in any of the dozens of conservative outlets where he can rant about sending in the military. Why does the NYT have to allow him the privilege of using them to launder** his obnoxious views? Would it be OK for an anti-vaxxer or a creationist to use the pages of the NYT to peddle insanities of the sort Cotton is peddling? By the logic of this post, that would be appropriate as well, “to show how both some anti-vaxxers and how <> thinks…and to enable us to see what arguments could possibly exist for <>”. If anything, one might argue that the anti-vaxxer deserves even more consideration than Cotton for the anti-vaxxers don’t already have a big soapbox and prestige that Cotton does thanks to his position of authority in the US Senate. Also Cotton is a truly dangerous person. He has the authoritarian streak of Trump but without Trump’s bumbling incompetence. I won’t be surprised if he is positioning himself to run for the highest office in 2024. But that’s besides the point.

    **there is historical context to consider. just one example: the Times was in fact used very consciously by the Bush administration to slide in articles and opinion pieces to create a drumbeat of support for the Iraq war when majority opinion was against it. Well we know what that led to. The conservatives are very adept at this (there is no liberal equivalent to this tactic). The Times has been used by the people in power as a means to their end and they have been caught napping. It is just a fact that getting stuff published in the NYT puts a veneer of legitimacy even on the most bankrupt ideas possible. The NYT should be more savvy in the future when they allow their columns to be used for these kind of views.

    I think there are some arguments that are so flimsy and ridiculous that they serve no purpose whether they are in the NYT or not. They should be mocked and ridiculed, not elevated to the pages of the most prestigious newspaper in the country. We instinctively get it when it relates to odious things like creationism, anti-semitism, etc. But we have a blind spot when it comes to some other matters because we have reflexively deemed them as so-called “woke” culture. Perhaps this is indicative of the fact that we have more to learn than anything else.

    • Posted June 6, 2020 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

      I disagree entirely. Your arguments seemed to be based on the idea that if the NYT doesn’t give Cotton a platform, then his ideas will somehow not infect its readers. You know that Cotton is a Senator, right? We can also suppose that many others in the GOP agree with him. Same for voters, some of which are undoubtedly NYT readers. It is safe to say, Cotton’s idea are already out there. Instead of letting him peddle his bad ideas unchallenged, NYT gave its readers an opportunity to challenge his ideas. IMHO, they should have challenged them in an accompanying rebuttal article in order to maximize this opportunity.

      Even if the bad ideas are coming from people without individual power and the ear of the President, it is hard to see how, in this age of social media, we can hope to kill them by denying them access to platforms. The only way to kill them is to bring them in contact with good ideas.

      You seem to be arguing for an NYT that only runs opinions with which you agree. Instead of publishing Cotton’s piece, the NYT could have run a piece slamming Cotton’s ideas, perhaps quoting him. I don’t think that would be as effective in outing him. He’d dismiss it as a hatchet job that quoted him out of context. Challenging his ideas in a context he can’t wriggle out of is the best.

  17. Andrea Kenner
    Posted June 6, 2020 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    Today’s post was a laff riot! Don’t forget to tip your waiter!

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