CSotD: Catcher in the Barley

(Matt Bors)


(Darrin Bell)

Today’s opening Juxtaposition hit me because I was just in a back-and-forth on social media in which (perhaps late) I had a particular revelation.

The topic was not unusual, but what was, was the willingness of the other fellow to hash it out rather than just sling insults and talking points.

His point was that Trump never actually said the George Soros was funding the caravan, and that Trump had not specifically said it was the actual neonazis in Charlottesville who included some very fine people.

And he had specific referents to back up his assertions. He was right.

Except that he was wrong.

Both Bors and Bell have it partially pegged, in that, as Bors says, there are those simply too cowardly to pull the trigger and call it what it is, particularly because, as Bell demonstrates, there is a deniability in that, whatever the tune being played, there is no direct, absolute call to kill.

And you can go back to that oft-replayed string of threats and parse them in a way that lets Trump off the hook — he only offered, for instance, to pay the legal fees of someone who punches someone who tries to throw a tomato.

So if you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you? Seriously. OK, just knock the hell. I promise you I will pay for the legal fees. I promise. I promise. 

He didn’t suggest anyone punch a person who shouts insults or, for that matter, who tries to toss an egg.

Has to be a tomato. And you have to knock the crap out of them before they throw it.

Trump himself plays the game: When he offered Elizabeth Warren a million dollars to take a DNA test and prove she had native blood, and she did, he backed off by noting that he had only made the offer based on his taking the cheek swab. Which was true.

And false.

My revelation was that high school debating clubs seem to be hotbeds of budding conservatives. If you want some quantifiable proof of this, analyze social media and see who is citing “strawmen” and “ad hominem” and various Latin names for logical fallacies.

It’s a mindset trained in value-neutral argumentation, and that overvalues facts, apparently for either an inability to identify with others or out of a need for everything to fit into neat little packets, and I’m not sure there’s a gap between those two factors.

And it reminded me of Matthew 12:1-7:

At that season Jesus went on the sabbath day through the grainfields; and his disciples were hungry and began to pluck ears and to eat.  But the Pharisees, when they saw it, said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which it is not lawful to do upon the sabbath.  But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was hungry, and they that were with him; how he entered into the house of God, and ate the showbread, which it was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them that were with him, but only for the priests?  Or have ye not read in the law, that on the sabbath day the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are guiltless?  But I say unto you, that one greater than the temple is here. But if ye had known what this meaneth, desire mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.

The critical difference between desiring mercy, rather than demanding sacrifice, is so central to Christian values that the story is repeated in Mark 2:23-27 and Luke 6:1-5

Nor is it the only place in which Jesus puts the spirit of the law above the letter, but it’s a place where he specifically calls out the kind of heartless literalist who misuses the law to attack a clearly minor infraction, and, in pointing out their petty objection, he makes a wider point about values.

Note, too, that I’m not making any claims about anybody’s divinity. Still, if you call yourself a Christian, as many American conservatives do, you should make some attempt to follow in the sandals.

And if you are going to talk about Christian values being the basis of our nation, well, stop tinkling the brass and open your hearts.

Also, Dear Leader most certainly has inspired hatred and racism and violence, no matter how carefully his followers may parse his words to wash his hands of the blame.

When I became a mensch, I put away the things of Debating Club.


Other Juxtaposition of the Day 

(Jimmy Margulies)


(Scott Stantis)


(Jack Ohman)

Dear Leader’s latest bit of xenophobic idiocy may have to be walked back, if for no other reason than that the members of the Alex P. Keaton Debating Club know damn well that you can’t change the Constitution with an executive order.

His combination of blatant xenophobia and stunning civic ignorance should put off anyone with half a heart or half a brain.

As for “many Constitutional scholars” who assure the president otherwise, I guess they must be like the many scientists who don’t believe in climate change, because I would think the overwhelming majority of Constitutional scholars know damn well that we’ve already taken this one to the Supreme Court (h/t to Matt Wuerker) and the nativists got their white-supremacist asses kicked 6-2, by a court that had recently ruled 7-1 on Plessy v Ferguson.

If you can’t sneak your sack of bigoted bullshit past that gang, you’d better just leave things alone until you’ve packed a few more justices onto the current bench.


Truth becomes a tragedy limping from the light

Meanwhile, Matt Davies got a grim laff this morning.


Phil Ochs described himself as a journalist, and, having gone South with the Civil Rights workers, he then lived long enough to rewrite this song to apply it to Richard Nixon.

I’m glad for his sake he didn’t live long enough to see how far a country could backslide.

We’re nearly back to the original.


2 thoughts on “CSotD: Catcher in the Barley

  1. As a former debater and Debate Coach, I take umbrage at the aspersions you ascribed my associates!

    I was then, and continue to be a Phil Ochs loving lefty!

    Debate doesn’t make weasels- they were weasels before they started.

  2. Oh, it doesn’t cause them. It attracts them.

    And most debating clubs purposely assign kids to propositions they don’t agree with, in order to teach them to separate logic from emotion. I think the fault comes when you don’t reassemble them when you’re finished. 😉

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