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Tony Grist

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Carrying On From Last Night [Nov. 18th, 2016|10:15 am]
Tony Grist
It feels as though all the energy has drained from the left while the right is buzzing.

After she interviewed the sparking young alt-right guy- Milo Yiannopoulos- on Channel 4 News last night, Cathy Newman turned to a young lefty activist. Where Milo was all ideas, ideas, ideas the lefty woman began her statement, "Um, I mean..." and the rest was similarly flaccid. One side has the wit and daring and the other has the jargon. It's no contest.

The left has occupied the intellectual and cultural high ground for a long time now and has grown lazy. Its wisdom is the received wisdom- a set of unexamined doctrines- passed as a package from brain to brain. It despises the opposition and no longer expects to be attacked by smart people- and when that happens it is totally unprepared.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: shewhomust
2016-11-18 10:36 am (UTC)
I didn't see the interview you are talking about, so I won't argue with your interpretation in this case.

But, thinking about debates I am seeing in entirely different areas, I offer the counter-argument that it's easier to be clear and forthright if you are prepared to over-simplify, to discard evidence and propose simple solutions to complex problems.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2016-11-18 11:41 am (UTC)
I think in this case the rightist had simple solutions and the leftist had pieties.
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[User Picture]From: topum
2016-11-18 11:53 am (UTC)
I think it would be quite an over-simplification to suggest that we on the left have not been prepared to over-simplify, to discard evidence and propose simple solutions to complex problems.
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[User Picture]From: puddleshark
2016-11-18 11:05 am (UTC)
Sounds more like a problem of presentation and balance. One experienced charismatic interviewee and one who's out of their depth.

The best of us lack all articulacy...
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2016-11-18 11:40 am (UTC)
On the other hand Newman was giving Yiannopoulos a hard time and was mostly agreeing with the other interviewee.
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[User Picture]From: puddleshark
2016-11-18 04:07 pm (UTC)
I stopped listening to political debate on the radio because I couldn't bear how confrontational it always was - but if you can't even get your answers across to a gentle questioner... That's not so good.

Maybe you're right. The flame has gone out. The next generation'll have to relight it.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2016-11-18 04:17 pm (UTC)
Cathy Newman was getting angry with Milo and talking over him. That's bad interviewing. I wanted to hear what he had to say and she was drowning him out.
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[User Picture]From: topum
2016-11-18 02:29 pm (UTC)
Some of the best of us don't lack it all though.
I like how even when we screw up, it is still because we are "the best" apparently ).
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[User Picture]From: ideealisme
2016-11-18 11:32 am (UTC)
He tells her that the earth is flat —

He knows the facts, and that is that.

In altercations fierce and long

She tries her best to prove him wrong.

But he has learned to argue well.

He calls her arguments unsound

And often asks her not to yell.

She cannot win. He stands his ground.

The planet goes on being round.

- Wendy Cope
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2016-11-18 11:43 am (UTC)
Nice one.

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[User Picture]From: haikujaguar
2016-11-18 12:04 pm (UTC)
Once again, I see people on the left making enormous mistakes in characterizing the people "on the other side," and those mistakes are going to continue to hobble them. They're not going to make any progress if they continue to lump in all those who oppose them with extremist 'haters', bigots, racists, uneducated idiots, jerks, etc, etc.

This election has taught me who the real thinkers are. It's also, accidentally, taught me who my real friends were. So I sympathize with the people who lost. It's never painless to have the scales fall from your eyes.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2016-11-18 01:22 pm (UTC)
There are those who accept an orthodoxy whole- without ever examining it- and those who are prepared to think the issues through. The second group are the ones I'm prepared to listen to- and it doesn't really matter whether I agree with them or not.
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[User Picture]From: tagryn
2016-11-18 01:56 pm (UTC)
There's a danger in extrapolating from anecdotal evidence. MY has a lot of charisma and isn't afraid to mix it up, which can be difficult to confront the first time if one is used to more staid, academic back-and-forth.

I think the Left will find their energy again as outrage accumulates over this measure and that measure from the Trump administration (regardless of whether it is merited or not). After eight years where the executive branch has been an ally for the most part, it'll take some time for animus to grow again.
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[User Picture]From: topum
2016-11-18 02:31 pm (UTC)
I agree. We will find the energy again. What is happening now is just the cleansing fire we needed for a while unfortunately.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2016-11-18 03:52 pm (UTC)
No doubt the left will come back- hopefully chastened by defeat. I think there's a cycle in these things.
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[User Picture]From: Michael John Grist
2016-11-18 04:40 pm (UTC)
I think what you're talking about is confrontation and entertainment. The left has plenty of witty, charismatic people who confront and entertain, but they rarely try and call what they are doing news. They call it comedy and entertainment. I'm thinking of Stephen Colbert, Sam Bee, Bill Maher, John Stewart, John Oliver. When they do a bit designed to have humor in, as MY claims many of his statements are intended to have, they flag it clearly as humor. People laugh.

Just insulting people in a news forum then saying when you're called out on it- haha, it's a joke, has got a name. Bullying would be a kind interpretation. MY leads a jeering mob. If you don't think a jeering mob can lead to real world consequences, check out 'So You've Been Publicly Shamed' by Jon Ronson. That's not even political, but shows the impact words alone can have.

Also is nonsense that he touts facts as higher than feelings, then says facts alone are not enough, then denies the gender wage gap exists. Whaaat? He's like an aggressive Russell Brand for the bad guys.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2016-11-18 05:35 pm (UTC)
The fact remains that in spite of all those leftish funny men Donald Trump is going to be the next President of the USA.

I'm reminded of something Peter Cook said when he was Britain's satirist in chief. I don't have the exact words but they were to the effect that he was proud to follow in the footsteps of all those wonderful satirists of the Weimar era who had managed to prevent the rise of Hitler.

I think the left has- temporarily- lost the plot. The long ascendancy of liberal ideas has bred a certain complacency- an avoidance of self-criticism, a blindness to the grievances of those who weren't benefiting from the status quo- and now the energy is with the right. If Trump's election were an isolated event one could say it was a fluke- or they put the wrong candidate up against him. But it's not just Trump it's Brexit too- and the rise of nationalism across Europe...

Mind you, I'm no longer happy with the terms "left" and "right". I don't think they fit the facts any longer.
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[User Picture]From: Michael John Grist
2016-11-18 08:56 pm (UTC)
Yes, Trump certainly is the Trump card. In my view there's two things happening there.

On the one side, you've got MY and his ilk (obviously Trump also), who delight in just wreaking havoc, flaming SJWs, trolling the political correctness police. Trump wreaked plenty of havoc- with training right out of WWE. It tends to excite people who a- want entertainment in politics, and b- lean toward one of the bad -isms, like racism, sexism, etc..

And on the other side, often tied up inextricably, there's the economic message. Globalisation has hurt us middle-country whites! Look at us! Make TV shows about us! Help us! I tease, but yes, absolutely. It seems they need looking at. They need help. Bernie was promising them far more than Trump ever has, and perhaps he would have won if Clinton hadn't already had it sewn up.

Two separate sides. The first gets energy from the -ism -ists. The second is pure economy, and brings home the fat white middle. The first doesn't have to be tied to the second, and it shouldn't be in my view. That it is tied now, and Trump will be in the White House, doesn't mean he should be. Bernie would be so much healthier: all the economy stuff with none of the -isms.

So maybe globalisation ought to be slowed down a tad, and those who fell behind helped to catch up. Maybe Bernie had it right. If liberals just started thinking of poor whites as another minority group in need of protecting, then maybe those whites wouldn't be so angry anymore, and we can all go back to shutting out the -ists and MYs of the new world as we should, who've somehow managed to catch ahold of this wave.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2016-11-19 09:19 am (UTC)
That's a good way of thinking about it.

I keep hearing that Sanders would have beaten Trump. I don't know if that's true, but I've little doubt that Hillary was the wrong candidate. I was reading an article by Dave Eggers yesterday where he was talking about going round the country before the election and talking to people who had happily supported Obama but had no enthusiasm for Hillary. I guess, in the event, a lot of those people didn't vote at all. Hillary- rightly or wrongly- was seen as an avatar for all that is wrong and hateful about the establishment. Eggers says he went through Pennsylvania and there were Trump posters everywhere and not a single one for Hillary. It was the same here for Brexit. Our part of the country was plastered in Leave posters and you never saw a Remain one. It's what I was trying to say about energy- sometimes all the enthusiasm is one way- and it's palpable. One side is all fired up and the other- though it may have similar numbers- is only lukewarm.
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