CSotD: Not Even Past

According to this Steve Kelley (Creators) cartoon, vaccinated people who wear masks are showing off how caring and thoughtful they are.

I got into a conversation about “Virtue Signaling” and “Social Justice Warriors” the other day, with someone who felt it was wrong to suggest that some people are showing off. Well, some people are showing off.

But there were good reasons to wear the masks before — despite the sociopathic jerks who would bleat about “Freedom!” and refuse to do so — and the vaccines have only moderated that.

I’ve been double-shotted since March, but I still wear my mask in stores because (A) there remains a smaller risk and (B) they’ve asked me to, and I’m not a jerk.

And, by the way, I also wear a shirt and shoes in stores, not to avoid spreading disease but because I’m not a jerk.

It’s not that I want to parade my virtue. It’s that I don’t want to be mistaken for a jerk.

If you think being thoughtful is the mark of a jerk, well, I guess that’s how you were raised. I was taught the opposite.

Different strokes.


Juxtaposition of the Day

(Dave Granlund)


(Dana Summers – Tribune)

I should probably just let the conservatives beat hell out of each other over this one, but the usual back-and-forth over remembering the war dead versus going to the beach has some additional oomph this year.

I agree with Granlund, with this proviso: There’s nothing wrong with having a picnic or heading to the beach this weekend, but you should set aside some time to consider the cause.

We’ll have a parade here tomorrow, but it will be a bunch of old men from the American Legion and some sort of small brass band and about as many people on the curb watching as are in the parade marching. They’ll fire a salute at the park and the Lions Club will sell a few hot dogs.

They don’t even sell poppies here since the pandemic started, and, yes, I know those are for Nov 11 everywhere else in the world.


I’m sorry we don’t do more. We’ve come a long way from the days when thrice-wounded Civil War veteran and Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes offered the best speech ever given on that day and his words are still worth reading, even though nobody — neither veterans nor widows — is left from his war.

But other cultures are known for visiting gravesites and holding picnics there. There’s nothing wrong with having a nice day, even a fun day, as part of a memorial.

But I’ll take some issue with Summers, because people on his side of the aisle are, in fact, griping over the cost of gasoline, loudly and stupidly.

The cost of gas always goes up this time of year, in part because the refineries are still switching over from heating oil to gasoline and in part because of increased demand as vacation season begins. It’s a given, but now the Trumpanzees are blaming Joe Biden.

They don’t explain why, nor do they explain how his economic plans could cause the jump in prices, given that little has yet gone into practice.

These are, however, the same people who insisted that Obama’s rebuild of the economy was W’s triumph, and that finally getting active in fighting, rather than denying, the pandemic is a tribute to Trump’s leadership.

And they are intent on preserving their illogical world view, thus this:

Juxtaposition of the Day #2

(Clay Jones)


(John Branch – KFS)

On this centennial of the Tulsa Riots, Clay Jones offers an uncharacteristically mild essay on the topic of what we teach in schools, and what we should.

He discusses how much he loved history class, and perhaps that’s the best that can come from teaching it. There is a saying that education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire, and it’s absolutely true.

You cannot possibly teach everything. Your goal should be to inspire.

As Jones notes

As noted here before, we teach American History as “the virus that spread from Plymouth Rock,” such that nothing happened in the Southwest, for example, until “we” got there, and, as Jones notes, “we” means “the white folks from England.”

We learned about the black folks he names, but they were taught as “the other,” not as part of “we,” and set aside in boxes on the page, not folded into the ongoing story.

And I recall learning of the near-extinction of buffalo, but not a whole lot about the deaths of the people who also lived on the Plains, who were treated as feathered curiosities, not as part of “we.”

We should do better, but, as Branch and Jones both point out, powerful political forces are determined to mandate the teaching of Manifest Destiny and God’s Will in the New World. And it’s harder to be more stupid than their reality.

Perhaps, as we move to more on-line texts, we won’t be held hostage to the Texas School Board, whose eccentric, race-based quasi-religious view of history, combined with the size of their school-aged population, dictates what can be profitably published.

On-line, small-batch texts can offer localized views of how we got here.

So history for kids in Oklahoma could include the Tulsa Massacre. And for kids in the Southeast, lessons about the Five Civilized Tribes. And for kids in the Southwest, lessons about the Spanish Mission System.

And, overall, lessons in how our history unfolded for the people who lived it, not just for the people who set the policies.

Not equally flawed revisionist screeds (I’m looking at you, Howard Zinn), but responsible history written from a Ken Burns average-person perspective rather than a triumphalist Washington Irving/Parson Weems semi-fictional Great Man approach.

Still, whatever the approach, there isn’t space or time to teach it all.

And adding more requires you drop things. Simply piling on more facts overwhelms students and reduces the knowledge they will walk away with.

Just tell enough stories to light the fire and trust the kids to seek the rest.


It’s out there, and they’ll find it. (Chelsea Saunders, take a bow!)


5 thoughts on “CSotD: Not Even Past

  1. >I was taught the opposite.
    Known in the South as “raised right.”

    But then, I’m so old that I can remember when “politically correct” was known as “being polite.”

  2. Given what they’ve just unearthed (literally) about the Indian boarding schools in Canada – certainly a match to ours.

    “The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee” by David Treuer is an continuing of that particular story…

  3. They call it “virtue signalling” because they can’t imagine people doing to the right thing just to do the right thing. They assume that all motives are selfish.

    Meanwhile, they’re into VICE signalling – showing off to their peers that they’re rude, obnoxious, and uncaring. “Hey, I’m not politically correct!”

  4. There is such a thing. For instance, if someone posts something on Facebook about a TV show, you don’t have to respond at all. It’s not directed at you personally, after all.

    But if you choose to speak up only to say, “I don’t own a TV!” that’s virtue signaling and we’re all supposed to stop the conversation to applaud.

  5. The thing is, I’m 64 now, and sometimes realize that I’ve been virtue signaling for the last mile and a half. I think the switch is kind of broken.

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