Matt Bors reflects the battle now raging over whatever happened at the Lincoln Memorial, which seems at this point to be outrage over young people being used as political pawns, which seems to involve using the young people as political pawns.
And as Bors suggests, it’s less about what happened than about politics, and let me just interject here that I wish a giant Monty Python anvil would fall on any jackass who says, “Confirmation Bias.”
As noted before, when you hear terms from logic class being thrown around on-line, you can bet the thrower embraces logic because it doesn’t require empathy. Putting a label on something — “straw man” or “ad hominem” or, now, “confirmation bias” — means you can focus on mechanics and ignore the intention.
But if you want to see about two hours of raw footage from the day, here it is, shot by one of the Black Hebrews, which means you’ll hear their voices louder than anyone else’s, but you can notice some details, including the fact that the kids chose to engage with a handful of flamboyant cultists, that their chaperones did very little to push them back much less stop them from the confrontation and that, BTW, the majority of kids were not wearing MAGA hats. But they did chant racist mockery of Native Americans.
Still, there’s this: They didn’t video themselves and post it. Whatever dumbass things they did, they didn’t do with the intention of becoming viral symbols of what’s right with America or what’s wrong with it.
Too late, because now, as Adam Zyglis points out, the kids have been invited to come to the White House and be used as pawns, and I hope they get more than lukewarm Big Macs out of it.
And about the time I finish proofreading and post this, the Today Show will have aired what I’m sure will have been a penetrating and deeply probing interview of Nicholas Sandmann, the kid at the center of things, by hard-hitting journalist Savannah Guthrie.
Right between the latest tips from Marie Kondo and some great recipes for National Blonde Brownie Day.
It has been pointed out that Trayvon Martin and Tamir Rice did not have family friends who ran major public relations firms, but they also were dead before they needed the aid of spin merchants so it doesn’t much matter.
And while we’re talking about “confirmation bias,” I’d also like to drop the term “white privilege” and just call it “privilege,” because there are plenty of underclass white kids who can’t connect with PR firms after they’ve done something stupid.
Anyway, Bors is right: The system has managed to turn this thing on its head.
Meanwhile, Jeff Stahler illustrates something that just popped up on my personal Facebook feed, which is that a well-organized, mathematically gifted friend sat down to do her income tax and discovered what we’d been warned about months ago:
Trump’s semi-mythical tax cut was inflated by lowering withholding before the details had been worked out, with the result that, while we all got some extra money in our paychecks, more people than usual will have to dig into their savings to pay the balance of their income tax this year.
The good news is that it’s not as many people as were projected when the cuts were announced.
The bad news is that the net benefit of this “tax cut” is about 1.6% more disposable income.
I’m old enough to remember when your annual cost-of-living increase was better than that. But, then, I’m pretty old.
Straining at gnats, swallowing water
Frazz is in the middle of a story arc about bottled water, and, fortunately, is finding it more complex than the usual ecoplatitudes. These are the two most recent strips.
Start here: If the company is simply rebottling tap water, then they’re paying the local municipality for the water, same as a homeowner or any company that has plumbing.
If they’re bottling spring water, the question becomes what would happen if they didn’t? If they’re pumping from a fossil acquifer, they’re taking water than won’t be replaced. If they’re taking it from springs, it’s often replaced by rain and snow and, if they didn’t bottle it, it would run off into the nearest river and hence to the ocean.
If it’s the Colorado, that could be impactful. If it’s the Androscoggin, it’s not.
In Maine, Poland Springs provides a whole lot of jobs and pays a whole lot of taxes, so that’s an answer to who they pay for the water.
For my part, I like that a lot of public buildings have nozzles on their water fountains where you can refill your eco-friendly water bottle.
And I don’t like that, if you add corn syrup, coloring, flavor and CO2, you can call it a soft drink and pretend the rest of it isn’t water that somebody pumped out of some place, bottled and shipped to your local 7-11.
Frazz is a very thoughtful strip. I hope this arc continues, because I’d like to see where he takes it.
And now the sports
There have been several cartoons about the blown call at the end of the Saints/Rams game, most of them based on referees needing Seeing Eye dogs or consulting eye charts.
Which gags go back nearly as far as the writings of Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) who was, as Existential Comics points out in a comic significantly longer than the above snippet, a loyal fan of the Cleveland Browns, in stark contrast to Max Stirner and Jeremy Bentham, whose methods of selecting a team to root for were clearly inferior.
And I for one would rather giggle over a mythical argument on the topic than listen to some self-proclaimed genius take pride over not knowing anything about sports.
Ignorance is nothing to be proud of.
Besides, I admire Theodore Roosevelt’s ability to compete joyfully in sports, write well-respected history books and propose and enact responsible, thoughtful legislation.
And, FWIW, a true Renaissance Man would never use an empty, dismissive phrase like “Confirmation Bias.”