Sick White Middle Class Children Are Our Most Precious Commodity

As one sees on occasion in the news, there was a local story of a child with a disease that was being treated. The purpose is to elicit sympathy and/or inspiration, which is unsurprising and worthy. But it gets one thinking when considering the details and narrative frame. The reporting is often about how the community came together to raise money or otherwise help the child and the family. It’s a feel-good story that follows a particular kind of script. As important is picking the right child for the lead role in the drama.

In this case, the child was a cute, white, middle class girl. She was photogenic according to what our society deems good looking, even with her hair loss from chemotherapy. That is the basic profile of nearly every human interest story of this sort. It’s not just any kid that becomes the focus of a human interest story. There has to be hundreds of sick kids in the area that are some combination of less attractive, impoverished, and non-white. But rarely does a major news media outlet tell their stories of suffering and struggle, of overcoming the odds.

That is assuming they overcome the odds. No one reports on the poor kid who died because the parents couldn’t afford healthcare, who was slowly poisoned from lead toxicity because they lived in a poor industrial area, or some other sad demise. No one reports on the black kid who when sick the community didn’t come together because the community was majority white and the family had been excluded and isolated. What we don’t see in the news tells us as much as what we do see.

It reminds one of the studies done on news reporting of criminals. Black criminals are more likely to have their photographs shown than white criminals. This creates the perception that almost all crime is commited by non-whites. The news media teaches and trains us in thinking who deserves sympathy and who does not. The world is divided up as innocent well-off whites who must be saved and criminal poor blacks who must be condemned. News reporting is a morality tale about maintaining the social order.

27 thoughts on “Sick White Middle Class Children Are Our Most Precious Commodity

  1. I would also describe this phenomenon as moving the public narrative from the macro to the micro scale, from real issues like water in flint to the anecdotes you described, I also find it fascinating how an entire shows premise can be based on giving houses or what have you to the single black mom with seven kids, or how Ellen gives ten people a few thousand dollars and thats supposed to make us feel good for Christmas.
    The even bigger macro scale is the one the US plays on the international stage, helping starve millions in Yemen is a war crime of the highest order.
    It is both absurd and a tragedy.

    • That is a good point. That relates to my previous post. It is reporting things in isolation, rather than in context. This young white girl in the United States is sick with cancer. But with all the spent uranium used by the US in war, how many Middle Eastern children die every day from cancer? How many more die from other war-related causes?

      Yemen offers a broader view. We don’t only export overt mass violence but also more hidden slow violence. The starvation in Yemen is one example, but an even greater example is how factories are offshored to countries that have weak environmental regulations. Because of pollution, environmental destruction and climate change, the consequences are hundreds of millions of people worldwide who are sick and dying, not to mention the droughts, wildfires, floods, superstorms, and refugee crises.

      The thing is most of the most horrific and unnecessary deaths, directly and indirectly caused by a sociopathic America Empire, are poor brown people in foreign countries and so they are as if invisible, as if of no value. Even poor brown people and quite a few poor whites in the US are likewise of little value. There is a reason toxic dumps are mostly located in poor communities, disproportionately poor minority communities.

      “total avoidable Afghan deaths since 2001 under ongoing war and occupation-imposed deprivation amount to around 3 million people, about 900,000 of whom are infants under five […] Altogether, this suggests that the total Afghan death toll due to the direct and indirect impacts of US-led intervention since the early nineties until now could be as high 3-5 million. According to the figures explored here, total deaths from Western interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan since the 1990s – from direct killings and the longer-term impact of war-imposed deprivation – likely constitute around 4 million (2 million in Iraq from 1991-2003, plus 2 million from the “war on terror”), and could be as high as 6-8 million people when accounting for higher avoidable death estimates in Afghanistan.”

      “About 40 percent of deaths worldwide are caused by water, air and soil pollution, concludes a Cornell researcher. Such environmental degradation, coupled with the growth in world population, are major causes behind the rapid increase in human diseases, which the World Health Organization has recently reported. Both factors contribute to the malnourishment and disease susceptibility of 3.7 billion people, he says.”

    • I’m in the middle of writing another post about the obsession with abortion. I get the moral concern and I don’t dismiss it. There are hundreds of thousands of abortions in the US every year, but most of these are done early term, closer to fertilized eggs than fully developed fetuses. Still, if that bothers people so much, why are they so unconcerned with the possibly millions of already born babies dying every year from war, economic sanctions, pollution, anthropogenic climate change, and on and on?

      Anyway, if one actually wanted to lessen the number of abortions, the only proven way of doing that is through liberal policies (full sex education, contraceptive availability, family planning, etc) that prevents unwanted pregnancies in the first place. But obviously, it’s not really about reducing death, harm, and suffering. The corporate media will report on the abortion debate every now and then, if never with any depth, whereas the mass global deaths caused by US governmet and corporations largely goes unreported.

      It’s frustrating and demoralizing. If one allows oneself, the sense of outrage could be endless. But it doesn’t seem to do any good. Most Americans don’t see all of this violence, maybe don’t want to see it as it is depressing. Besides some right-wingers who love violence as a way of enforcing social order and excting punishment/revenge, most Americans don’t consciously support mass death and suffering. For example, when given a free choice, the majority supports rehabilitation of criminals over our present punitive system.

      Yet one could fall into the suspicion that many Americans want to be lied to by the corporate media, as to acknowledge the violence of this society would contradict their self-identity. This is where I feel uncertain. How much is the corporate media manipulating the public? And how much are they actually giving people what they want? Going by public polling, one could easily argue that most Americans really would like to live in a just and fair society. So, I’m not ready to blame it on the American public, especially given the fact that most Americans pay little attention to corporate news media.

      The audience of Fox News has the largest viewer numbers of any new media channel. Nonetheless, the Fox News audience is a small percentage of the total population. A major issue is that the regular watchers of corporate news are among the most politically engaged and so they have an outsized influence. It’s similar to what is seen with the small demographic of evangelicals managing to be a quarter of voters. The problem is the vast majority of Americns feel disenfranchised and disempowered, and for good reason. The majority has developed learned helplessness. It may be apathy, but I don’t think it’s outright cynicism in most cases.

      Here is what I keep repeating. The moral majority is a suppressed and silenced majority. They don’t realize they are a majority and so they don’t have a public identity, a populist movement, or a political will. Instead, they act as if they were a divided group of minorities. They have no idea of how large are their numbers. In their sense of isolation, they don’t realize that hundreds of millions of Americans agree with them about almost every major issue. We’d have a revolution over night if the majority ever awakened to this reality. But they never see themselves represented in the media, rarely hear voices like that of their own.

      I feel confident this is an intended result of perception management as social control. And a major method is the propaganda model of news media. Not only the individual American feels isolated, but so much of what they see reported is also presented as if isolated. This creates a schizoid mentality where nothing coheres into any larger meaning. It’s gaslighting, as most Americans know something is wrong while the media obscures what is wrong. Human interest stories are tossed out to appease this profound sense of unease and dissatisfaction, like a malnourished person being given junk food that further malnourishes them.

    • I struggle with why I wrote posts like this. It’s not clear what good it does. Over the coming years, a post like this might get a few hundred views, if I’m lucky. On rare occasion, a post will get some thousands of views. But that is a drop in the bucket of what all corporate media gets combined. I’m not entirely convinced that my blogging about such things is a net gain, especially for my mental health. But part of me feels morally compelled to speak out, no matter who is or is not listening. I feel divided as I don’t merely want to feel righteous outrage for the sake of it.

      There is this sense that I might spend my time and efforts in other ways. I know that my strong moral positions can turn people off and so it can feel like preaching to the choir. It’s like being unheard voice in Weimar Germany trying to explain the possibility of Nazism without any evidence to be able to prove what was coming. I can point to data about death counts and such, but those numbers aren’t real until it becomes personal. The problem is once its become personal, it’s probably already too late. Are we doomed to follow this script to its inevitable conclusion? I really don’t want to believe that.

      • Personal change can only be intrinsic, if a spark lights inside a hopeless person with learned helplessness, they will seek a better understanding of the world on their own.

        In my view, the spark is religion or spirituality or a sense of something greater than ourselves, a sense that whoever put us her didn’t do it out of spite but out of love, only then would we feel worthy of ataraxy going through our daily lives.

        You eat a piece of chocolate, feel good for a few seconds, but then that feeling fades away, the pleasure we felt was transient, so applies to every material possession we have, echt happiness is in love, love of the poor and less fortunate, who are identical to us other than they were born at another time and in another place. Psychopathy and its egoic world view is the worst hell I can imagine, and whatever riches and status these people reach, they remain worthy of pity and mercy… unless their cumulative action beg otherwise.

        • I generally agree with that. My only point of questioning has been my ongoing contemplations of identity. I honestly don’t know what ‘intrinsic’ might mean. One has to first know one’s identity before one can know what is intrinsic to it or not. My sense is that the identity I’ve adopted from this culture is false, illusory, or unhelpful. But seeking anything else puts one into conflict with the rest of society and with almost everyone else around one.

          Also, if the bundle theory of mind is correct (as understood by Buddhists and as lived by many hunter-gatherers), then the issue might be less of what is intrinsic to me than what is intrinsic to the living world I’m inseparable from. The transformative spark that would offer light might not come from ‘within’, per se. As Jesus put it, the Kingdom of God is all around you. I’ve had experiences that confirm that, but those experiences have been ephemeral.

          All I know is that I feel resistant to the WEIRD bias of Protestant-inflected hyper-individualism. There is no satisfaction to be found in the mythical autonomous self, as far as I can tell. Even the most spiritual forms of this individualism, in marrying Protestantism to Eastern thought, feel alienating and deadening. So, I know more about what I want to avoid than what I’m attempting to find. And my main guide is simply my dissatisaction, dukkha. I’m not sure where that leaves me.

      • As long as we continue to speak of politics in the terms of how politicians speak, we will remain trapped in that rhetorical reality tunnel.

        I’ve been saying that for years, to no avail. 🙂

        “It helps to know that whatever pattern stands out loud and clear is the old one, not the new one.”

        Marshall McLuhan
        1967 Symposium
        University of California, Berkeley

        The patterns are all around and within us and we’re all aware, if not cognizant, of them whether remotely or fully or, more likely, to some degree or other. Patterns of collapse? Loud and clear. Shifting patterns of coalescence? Quiet and nebulous.

        “Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”― Arundhati Roy

        The degree of transparency we enjoy today would not have been possible without the advent of the Internet, imho. (Downsides of the Internet aside.) “The truth is out there,” as they say. Question is: are we ready to face it as a species? To a large degree, obviously not, but I harbor the suspicion that our constant harping about the propaganda models of corporate-owned media, etc. is not particularly helpful in that regard. Ergo, I personally tend to pluck out and display the burgeoning shoots of the possible as opposed to the probable and actual these days.

        If people want to know the truth, they will seek it out for themselves. All the “crying in the wilderness” in the world will not change the fact. If you’re personally struggling to find a reason to continue writing posts to raise the dead (aside from just getting the thoughts off your own chest, which is itself important), those who do seek the truth will find a treasure trove of starting points should they happen to stumble across your blog in the seeking.

        We’d have a revolution over night if the majority ever awakened to this reality. But they never see themselves represented in the media, rarely hear voices like that of their own.

        Couple that with the fact that the decibel level of outrage is so high, pitched and shrill that I believe the vast majority of us merely have elected to tune it out. Certainly, it’s shrill and discordant enough that I feel no compulsion to listen to, but more importantly add to, it myself. I never had before the advent of the Internet, but actually have spent just as much time since attempting to re-master or, perhaps more accurately, learn to master that particular skill on a far grander scale than I’ve ever been called upon to do before.

        I do not want to wage war with the ugly. I do not want to accuse, I do not want even to accuse the accusers. Looking aside, let that be my sole negation! ~ Nietzsche

        It helps to know that the ubiquitous presumptuousness marring our days is not, after all, personal. There are no accusers. Easy to say; hard to remember.

        • As often is the case, you’re expressing thoughts that have been on my mind in recent years. Actually, it’s pretty much what was nagging at my mind all day yesterday, as it has been doings so off and on particularly these past few weeks or maybe months. It’s related to my linguistic experiments, in wondering about a different way of speaking. And to go with McLuhan, the medium is the message. In personal terms, the way we speak influences the way we identify and act, and so shapes the world that is coming into being.

          So, I agree that, “It helps to know that whatever pattern stands out loud and clear is the old one, not the new one.” And it’s good to be reminded of that. But there could be dire consequences if we jump the gun. The past is the present. What is becoming is not yet. We are in the middle of ongoing struggles of power with lives at stake. This public policy or that, cutting social services or funding them further, a war being drummed up or prevented, etc — such decisions could mean the difference between millions suffering and dying or not. The propaganda model doesn’t only control minds but, more importantly, the fate of our lives.

          On the other hand, like you, I also “harbor the suspicion that our constant harping about the propaganda models of corporate-owned media, etc. is not particularly helpful” or might not be, although I’m not confident in this as a final and absolute conclusion. I simultaneously harbor other suspicions that such harping might matter immensely in potentially altering or shifting the new patterns emerging. If enough of us aren’t aware of the old patterns, they are more likely to go on repeating, stunting the potential for something else. Nonetheless, I might be prone to being persuaded that it would be a more enjoyable and satisfying activity to “pluck out and display the burgeoning shoots of the possible as opposed to the probable and actual.” I try to persuade myself of that all the time, but part of me remains not entirely convinced or resistant. So, I find myself divided on this point.

          This next part could be where you and I diverge more dramatically. You suggest that, “If people want to know the truth, they will seek it out for themselves.” I understand that view and have ascribed to it at times in my life. But these days, it simply doesn’t resonate with my sense of identity and my understanding of human psychology. Do most people actually not want the truth? Or do they think they don’t want it, act as if they don’t want it? Maybe they are unaware of the attraction of truth merely because they’ve never heard it, felt it, and experienced it. Truth has not yet been validated in their hearts and minds. The right kind of truth expressed with moral conviction potentally has a power of persuasion all by itself. That is more likely to happen, I suspect, in relationship than in isolation. That is why I’m not a monk, hermit, or recluse.

          That isn’t to say that I’m necessarily right, of course. All I can say is that it doesn’t feel right within my own core sense of truth, coming from my Myers-Briggs Introverted Feeling as an INFP. Instead, to my perspective and in my experience, that feels akin to the WEIRD bias of Protestant-inflected hyper-individualism (or that it so easily could become that), even as it apparently doesn’t seem that way at all to you — not exactly a point to be argued, just a difference to be noted. All I can say is that I have strong doubts about the hard separation of ‘I’ and ‘they’, and those doubts have grown stronger over time. The truth being sought, to my understanding, is not a mere personal mission or quest. It involves all of humanity, in some way, not that I fully understand the implications of such a truth.

          As such, I’m less down on “crying in the wilderness” and it’s supposed impotence, even as I complain about it in nourishing my self-pity. Did the more well-adjusted perceive the outrage of the ancient prophets as high, pitched and shrill? Probably. Did those voices in the wilderness cause any noticeable and immediate change to the world with their jeremiads? Not usually. Was that necessarily the point? No. Yet their words have powerfully echoed down the millennia and still impact us to this day. They were not screaming and ranting in a void. My own small contributions to humanity, if less impressive, hopefully have an effect on some people and hopefully adds force to this echoing righteousnes of old. The power of many voices is greater than one alone. Such is what I’d like to believe.

          That leaves me still not knowing how to go forward. And I admire your principled stance. “Certainly, it’s shrill and discordant enough that I feel no compulsion to listen to, but more importantly add to, it myself.” With that attitude, you are wise. And I admire not wanting to wage war with the ugly, not wantng to accuse, not wanting even to accuse the accusers. That sounds lovely and inspiring, but I don’t know if I have that in me. I’m so highly attuned to the suffering in the world and I lack the talent to turn it off. It may not be personal, especially in the Buddhist sense of the non-self, but I must admit it feels personal after decades of depression.

          That gets to the heart of the issue. If my identity shifted, how I think and feel about all of this would likewise change. I’m not trying to figure out in advance the right position to hold but a wiser way of being and relating. And surely there are many options of useful means. There is nothing wrong with being a prophet crying in the wilderness, if that is what one feels called to do. Nor is there anything wrong with doing the complete opposite by embracing the monastic tradition or its equivalent, if that instead feels right in your heart. The question is what do I feel drawn toward, what feels most true. On the practical side, I’m not sure how to be different, on how to go down a different path.

          • I think you should not stop writing for fear of not being heard, true impotence lies with the monks who opt to withdraw into their own shells without helping anyone else, what selfishness!
            Noah preached to his people for 950 years, not that you’re a prophet, but well meaning people should not despair.

          • The chances of me going silent are fairly slim. There is no need to worry too much about that. But I do think about how I influence others. Being depressed in the past often made me a miserable person. And I wasn’t always acting in ways that contributed to the overall happiness in the world.

            Even though my mood is better these days, talking about certain topics like politics can bring out an irritability in me. When that happens, I tend to become impatient and unforgiving. I sense all the suffering and I feel this urgency. Then I feel frustrated when others just don’t get it. I wish I was better at communicating effectively and relating well.

            It seems like there should be a point of balance between engagement with the world and not being overwhelmed by it. But I have not yet figured out such a balance. And I’m not sure I ever will. Humans didn’t evolve to live in large complex societies with their endless stress. We aren’t operating under normal and healthy conditions.

        • There was another thought related to Marshall McLuhan, Arundhati Roy, and the American majority. You know the term I coined for a specific minority. It was ‘Ferengi’ as an extension of the acronym FER (Fox News viewers, white Evangelicals, and Republicans). Really, it’s two specific demographics in the PRRI data: 1) Republicans who trust Fox News and 2) white evangelicals.

          What is common about these minority groups within public opinion is that they are both very old. It’s essentially a certain segment of the senior citizen vote among aging Boomers and Silents. They are a small minority but have the majority of wealth and power, position and influence. This is largely because lifespan and healthspan increased so vastly. Many of these people are refusing to retire, at an advaced enough age that in the past few lived to see. Look at how many of the leading politcians are in their 60s, 70s, and 80s.

          So, it may be true that “pattern stands out loud and clear is the old one” and that “Another world is not only possible, she is on her way.” But the old pattern of the present world is still ruthlessly dominant. That will quickly change, though. Most of the Ferengi will probably be retired, senile, or dead before the end of this decade. Yet they’ve held onto power for so long that consequences of their rule won’t easily be undone. For generations after they are gone, we might still be dealing with the results of those World War and Cold War generations, especially as my own generation has become so demented in the process.

          The new world maybe can be heard breathing on a quiet day. But that might be the breathing of an infant world. It could take a century or centuries for it to come to maturity. We can live in the future. We can’t sustain ourselves on what might happen later. We can’t save ourselves by placing our faith in saviors not yet born. So, even as we could and should look to those emerging potentials, we have to deal with the here and now. The insight we might gain, though, from discering where the world is headng could inspire us to be better than we otherwise could envison ourselves to be. Even if we will never experience the fruits of progress, it has to start somewhere.

        • I must admit that I really do find your viewpoint appealing. It speaks to something in me, part of an old debate I’ve had with myself. That Nietzsche quote is a good one. I’ve randomly come across it over the years, and each time I see it impresses me, but it’s easily forgotten again.

        • Let me return to some of your points. You describe the “decibel level of outrage is so high, pitched and shrill” and state that you “feel no compulsion to listen to, but more importantly add to, it myself.” I totally get that. It’s true that so many have tuned out. But it feels like something is missing from the equation.

          Maybe few, if anyone, has any issue with outrage itself. Instead, what if it is that our outrage has come to seem impotent? It has become a point of frustration and anxiety. And in having no moral outlet, it easily becomes destructive and self-destructive. That isn’t necessarily to blame outrage, though.

          One might argue that outrage has always preceded major eras of progress and often been a powerful moral force in making those changes happen. Maybe some have tuned out because so many of us have developed learned helplessness. We can’t handle any further stress and have lost the capacty for healthy outrage.

          All we have left is rage that appears threatening. In the past, outrage might be expressed by the prophets of Judaism or by a minister like Martin Luther King, Jr. There is a long history, particularly in America, of the jeremiad. If not for righteous outrage, the United States would never have existed because there would have been no revolution.

          We no longer know what to do with outrage. It’s similar to how dysfunctional shame has become in our society. In strong cultures of trust, though, shame plays an important role for maintaining a healthy society. But in America, shame has become suppressed, dysfunctional, and paralyzing for so many while others have become so cynical or sociopathic as to be shameless.

          And there is often a link between shame and outrage. Along with stress, anxety, and trauma, these are what underlies our reactionary age. But it’s more about how they have become overwhelming and misdirected, how they take on distorted form. We find ourselves in a constant state of social and psychic disturbance that humans weren’t evolved to be able to handle.

          The challenge on the personal level is that I’m all too typical in my dysfunctional relationship to outrage. There might be a better way of expressing such things, but those aren’t skills that I was ever taught or modeled. Plus, there is plenty of irritability that gets mixed in with genuine moral righteousness.

          In general, the American population is extremely unhealthy. It’s easy to see how unhappy and stressed so many are. This shows up in rising rates of mood disorders and more serious mental health issues like psychosis. Also, there is so many of the diseases of civilization that just make people feel crappy in their own bodies. It’s getting worse with each generation.

          That has been part of my struggle. I’m trying to learn what it means to be healthy. Also, as a typical American, I never grew up knowing what a healthy diet and lifestyle was like. My depression, thought disorder, learning disorder, autism-like issues, etc are likely related to diet and nutrition, maybe along with early exposure to toxins (as GenX had the highest lead toxicity rate of any living generation). I was born in a factory town that spewed lead pollution into the air.

          I’m emphasizing the point that it might have little to do with outrage in a broader sense. What we call outrage in present American society might be something far more basic. Most people are simply unhealthy and stressed beyond capacity. It’s a problem of the larger society, not exactly about the individual, although our social Darwinism forces it back onto the indivdual.

          This is why so many tune out or otherwise retreat and escape from it all. It’s a coping mechanism. And it sometimes might be a smart action to take under these harmful conditions, if only to maintain one’s sanity in order to survive a little bit longer. But one would hope to eventually find something more than mere coping and surviving.

          Whatever may or may not be helpful, I’m drawn to the focus on “the possible as opposed to the probable and actual.” My doubts toward my own ranting on the propaganda model is more a question of where I place value and how I use my time. But clear vision of what is meaningfully possible remains out of my range.

          Maybe that is why I concern myself with language. I can’t in my present position know much about the extent of such possibilities. What I might be able to do is choose my speech more wisely so as to dislodge old thinking patterns. What might result from that can’t be predicted in advance. So, I’m left with experimenting.

          The problem as a writer is that I find few people are interested in such experiments. It’s hard to convey what makes them so interesting and promising. Whenever I mention my linguistic experiments, I’ve noted how rarely I get a response. I sense that few comprehend what I’m talking about or its relevance.

          How I communicate and what I communicate are tied together. About topics like the propaganda model, I wonder if there is something about the language we use that creates difficulties. There is a certain way of speaking about politics I’ve been pondering and it has to do with the intellect and abstract thought.

          It feels like the modern mind is caught in a trap. And I’m fairly certain language plays a major role. I’m writing a post about linguistic recursion. Now that is a fascinating area of study, seemingly related to linguistic relativity. Recursion has much to do with abstraction and narratization. That is the position I’ve been taking and I’m working out its significance.

        • Let me add something else. My thoughts here are partly because I had another post in mind the past few days. I don’t know if I’ll get around to writing the post. So, I’m laying out some of it here in the comments.

          About harping on propaganda model and such, why can it feel dissatisfying? My speculation is that it has to do with symbolic ideology and symbolic conflation. Basically, in relation to such topics, we humans rarely say what we mean, even on the rare occasion that we might know what we mean.

          There are deeper issues at play. But since we can’t grasp them or are afraid to look too closely, we end up talking around what matters most. Let me be clear. I’m not claiming to know what matters most in this context. All that I feel somewhat certain about is that debate doesn’t go anywhere by design.

          That is where my thoughts of language come in. I get the inkling that there is something about the language we use in talking about politics and such. But that is where my thinking gets a bit fuzzy. And that is why I might not get around to writing the post. I might have to gnaw on this issue for a few more years.

        • We often fail to note the full content of something said or written because we already have something else in mind or, in other words, we are actively thinking about something else altogether. I should know. I’ve done it more times in the course of Life than I care to think about.

          Nothing in the original comment suggests “either/or,” dualistic options or absolutes that I can see. It nonetheless appears to have been heard — initially, at least — as overflowing with dualistic options and absolutes.

          Note what was actually said rather than anything thought about — especially “individualism,” Protestant or otherwise — while reading it. Note especially the phrasing: “constant harping”; “tend to”; “em>as opposed to” (and not “instead of”); etc. Do these, in any way, suggest dualism and absolutes or do they suggest emphasis, degree and the coincidence of opposites?

          Did you hear the branch swaying in the wind? Did you speak in response or reaction or both? Did you speak, primarily, about what is already on “your” mind; the subject of “your” next post; etc.? Did you listen with the intent to understand or with the intent to reply? Both? Neither?

          What are we doing when we have these conversations? Speaking in cursive? Speaking in “recursive”? (For what it’s worth, I thoroughly enjoy these con-vers(e)-ations. “Debate” and argu(e)-mentation are not at all my cup of tea. In fact, I don’t even like the sound of those words. They sound like pinning someone to the ground and mercilessly pummeling them in the face until their inter-face is just so much pulp.)

          As per usual, it’s been a fruitful conversation for which I am grateful. We have all, no doubt, grown wiser in the process.

          If you please, while we’re on the subject, let’s consider for a moment what Arundhati Roy actually means when she says, “Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”

          Does “on her way” mean “she” has not yet left or arrived at some point in space and time — whether here or there, “in” the future or “in” the past — as we’re so wont to think? If we can “hear her breathing,” is “she” not here and now; eternally “on her way,” whether we are aware of “her” or not; whether we real-ize “her” or not at any given moment in any given place; regardless of any pre-existent or “dominant” patterns attempting to stand in “her” way?

          There is so much packed in that tiny, little quote, it’s mind-blowing. (Likely by design.)

          PS I, too, am supposedly an “INFP” who can go “INFJ” in a heartbeat given the right circumstances. Of course, even the Myers–Briggs “Type” Indicator is not only frequently wrong, but could never itself begin to contain the multitudes “I” contain, to paraphrase Walt Whitman. 🙂

          • You apprently perceived me as having misread your comment. Now, in reading your comment, I perceive you as having read a lot into my comment that was neither intended nor stated.

            Then, in response to this comment, you might make a further allegation of misinterpretation or whatever. And we could go on and on, ad infinitum. You could be right and I could be right or neither of us could be right.

            That doesn’t seem like a fruitful line of dialogue, much less a fun game to play. I’m uninterested in pursuing this any further. I will graciously bow out.

            I will note that this seems like one of those situations where the overt issue is probably not the real issue. But I honestly have no idea what might be the real issue. Nor do I feel any desire to figure it out.

            Interpret this comment as you desire.

          • I wasn’t aware there was an issue. You spoke a great deal of where we diverge and, even, diverge dramatically about this or that. Perhaps what you call divergence is not what it seems.

  2. Democracy Now (a ‘left wing ‘ radio show which airs on WPFW–part of Pacifica network) had a show today about the beating up of a young boy by police during a riot in Philadelphia. This didn’t make the news because he wasn’t a young white girl dying from cancer (i’d imagine this cancer was not caused by smoking–she can get that later–takes a while to develop—If she lives in ‘cancer alley’ (also called new orleans next to the mississipi river ) she can get the cancer for free just by breathing the air and drinking the water—unlike cigarettes, these are free. I was born in little rock arkansas just north of cancer alley.
    The little boy in Philadelphia had a ‘welt’ on his head and the police trahsed the car he was in with his mommie..She was trying to turn around to avoid the riot but drove2 slow. Police just trashed her car–she was at the right or wrong place at the right or wrong time She could have remained an anonymous nobody but now is a media star.She may even be able to collect cash from the police dept since she has a lawyer.. (The numebr of succesful lawsuits against police dept in ‘killy philly’ is ‘astronomical’.) Philadelphia (‘the city of brotherly love’ or what some people i’ve met from there call ‘killy philly’) has had 454 homicides this year–my city has only had 189 –up from 183 last week
    there’s a motto similar to an apple a day keeps the doctor. we have ‘a homicide a day keeps the gentrifiers away.’
    One of the ‘homicides this week in my arae i only know about indirectly so i give it 3 hypothesis. (People i know told me about it bcause they know what they know.)
    It was actually ‘self-defense’–justificable homicide.
    Or it was a police shooting. The victim was black. So either the person was shot because he was at threat to Society, or he was shot because he was a black male and this is what the police are paid to do.
    The balck male homicide ‘victim’ was actually in a car driven by his father and was 15 (months old). I consider anyone who is 15 or over an adult and hence responsible for whatever they are involved in–and i’m not ageist—you can be 15 centuries, decades, years, days or months old–so long as you are 15 thats the crtieria. The car was riddled with bullets–maybe the ‘victim’ said something naughty or wouldn’t stop crying–‘you a loud mouth baby, you better shu8t it up or i gonna beat you up’ (or shoot you up). (famous song by the neo-folk band the Ramones.)
    So 3rd hypthesis is this was a drvie by shooting.These have happened around here before. Maybe the baby wasn’t threatening anybody and maybe he wasn’t killed by white polices. These drive bys are caught on security cameras or street cameras and posted on youtube. Another style is the carjackings — you pick up your child at school, get carjjacked , get in a high speed chase ,there’s a crash and carjacker bandona the car with the mommy and child inside who are then dead, and carjack a new car–its always nice to have a new car.(then you make it across the border to ‘ward 9’ –‘free at last’ –its a different jursdiction –(but due to the injustice you get arrested anyway and go to jail.) Mommie hoped the child would be an A(live) student, but he was a D(ead) one (they were both black as well–carjackers unlike the white polices are not racist–they carjack and kill anyone regardless of race, ethnicity rleigion, class or sexual oiientation.) we have these nice entertaining youtube videos about some of my local stores–eg one stars the owners of one of these stores–getting killed on screen.
    i was actually at the store the day before that happennned and saw the people whoare on the video who looked like they were ‘casing it out’. i was wondering how teenagers ciould drive up in a big new expensvie car and split. that car was later found as an abandoned stolen car. i dont think they planned homicide but thats how it turned out. they are probaably still out there . this is why all these BLM people who say ‘defund the police’ don’t have unviersal support (the BLM people are now busy fighting each other over who gets funded as the ‘official BLM movement’–Soros funds some of them and most of them wont step foot in the areas with the homnciies unless its (preferably) a white cop shooting.. If there is one cop involved shooting you will have 100 protestoirs there (many white) soon. If its a regular shiooting noone shows up except the neighbors who puts the ddy bears on the corner. t They work on their PhDs about the police brutality or maybe ‘islamaphobia’. ‘its terrible they criticize me or wont let me dress modestly with only my eyes shwoing—some womyn around here dress this way–NOI or shiites, a few sunni’s’. . if some gay person gets beat up , gang raped because of his sin, or beheaded they say not all muslims do this and ‘this is our culture so dont criticize it’. its caused by the western imperialism which we hate and this is why we are all acadermics in US elite universities;;.

    • Public opinion is nuanced on this issue:

      “Most Americans say that when they hear the phrase “defund the police” they think it means people want to redirect some police department funding to other social services (70%), as opposed to eliminating police departments completely (28%). However, less than four in ten (37%) favor the goals of defunding the police, while 62% oppose the goals. Among Americans who think that defunding the police is about redirecting funding, 49% favor the goals, while 50% oppose them. Among those who say it is about completely eliminating police, just 9% favor the goals, while 91% oppose, including 73% who strongly oppose the goals.

      “Just under half of Republicans (46%), compared to 75% of independents and 88% of Democrats, say that “defund the police” means redirecting funding. Less than one in ten (8%) Republicans (8%), compared to 37% of independents and 62% of Democrats, say they favor those goals. Republicans who trust Fox News most for television news (63%) are even more likely to say that “defund the police” means completely eliminating police departments, and only 3% of them agree with the goals.

      “Compared to the goals of defunding the police, Americans are much more in favor of the goals of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. A majority of Americans (58%) favor BLM’s goals, while 41% are opposed. Only one in five Republicans (20%), compared to nearly six in ten independents (58%) and nearly nine in ten Democrats (87%), favor BLM’s goals. Just 8% of Republicans who trust Fox News most for television news favor BLM’s goals, compared to 27% of Republicans who trust other news sources most.

      “Nearly nine in ten Black Americans (89%), and more than two-thirds of those who are another race or multiracial (68%), favor the goals of BLM. Almost two-thirds of Hispanic Americans (65%) favor the goals of BLM. White Americans are less likely to favor the movement’s goals overall (48%) but are deeply divided along education lines. Four in ten white Americans without a four-year college degree (42%) favor BLM’s goals, compared to 58% of white Americans who hold a four-year degree or more. Around seven in ten (69%) young Americans ages 18–29 (69%), compared to 57% of ages 30–49, 50% of ages 50–64, and 55% of Americans over age 65, favor the movement’s goals.”

    • As a side note, I could add a thought about Democracy Now. I’m familiar with it and used to watch it. Relative to majority public opinion, it is moderate and centrist. I’d assume that is why you put ‘left wing’ in scare quotes.

      As another side note, let met say something about the little girl. This is a local story here in Iowa. This is a rural farm state, not cancer alley. It’s possible her family lives in a slightly bigger city like Cedar Rapids. But there is plenty of clean air around here. We are surrounded by farmland.

      If anything, she got cancer from farm run-off. But water plants are better at filtering that out today. When I was a kid, the water in the spring smelled and tasted funny. We drank it anyway because it was the only water we had. That might explain many of my mental/emotional/neurocognitive issues: learning disability, depression, etc.

      The whole world is full of pollution at this point. Even if the air is relatively cleaner around here, the pollution from China will end up in the skys on the other side of the planet. And the farm runoff here in Iowa will end up in the Mississippi River and then in the ocean. We all share the same biosphere.

  3. Most people in this area favor ‘redirecting funds’ from police –my area sometimes feels like a police state–cop cars on every corner. but this is partly becasue there’s alot of street crime. (i have been checked out by police a few times–eg ‘open container’ , being in the park after dark, making a fire there when it was a rare 4 degrees F…) . they sort of know me now and leave me alone—i mostly grew up downtown not here so people dont know who i am.. now they may. .
    ideally you abolish the polcie (maybe the state and capitalism too) and the community can take care of it themselve.s most of polce ijncdients involve people calling the police on people they know.(eg a women around hre called the police because she was scared of the gun her boydffirend was carrying– a few people i know around here carry guns.its sort of a ‘drug crew–they hate the police too but also know most of the violence around here is the people they are involved with. abd asioe say ‘police are just doing their job’ as ‘we do our job”.. they basically have a truce—no violence,. no hassles. police just ignore the drugs unless it involves kids. ).
    alot of the violence is actually people not from this area—people dont do the violence in their own neighborhoods in general.this is just olike white kiddle class kids who dont have loud noisy punk rock clubs with broken bottles in their neghboryoods–they put thm in places like this—where their view is noone cares. ‘these people dont care if i throw a bottle on the ground’. ‘if they cared about where they lived they’d move’.
    alot of the very loud BLM people say abolish the police—we can handle it ourselves almost none of these people actually live in or go to the areas where they have the protests apart from the protest,. many probably live in gated communites with private police.

    the polls you cite are interesing but alot of these polls are not very reliable–or rather i’d say they are maybe 80-85% correct. arpund here alot of people (especially the white gentirfiers) have signs saying BM and ‘hate has no home here’. sometimes this is ‘protection’—please dont burn my house down. even the ‘worst’ eople around here dont plan to do that.there are plenty of blakc people that own these houses as well and even (most of) the ‘worst criminals’; have ethics—they dont look for innocent victims. (a small % are total psychopaths— but these are equally common in white/affluent communites).

    anyway i see you are still writing alot–too much for me to read. i do admire the effort (not in the sense of slavish praise–just like if you see someone who can say ride a bike faster than you with seemingly no effort.) often they ride where i woudn’t go but i still admire and respect them.

    • My writing is an effort in some sense, but it’s equally or moreso a compulsion. I write because I don’t know how to shut up. Or rather I communicate in writing because so often in person I feel forced into silence. I’ve struggled my entire life with language and communication, having to do with my learning disability. So, it has led to an overcompensation with a mild case of graphomania.

      It’s not hard to write, in my case. I stuck with my present job as a parking ramp cashier for so long not because I love the work. It’s a decent job for someone without a college degree. But the main thing that I love about it is that it gives me free time. I mostly or entirely write many of my blog posts while at work, in between customers. The last two posts were written each during a single shift at work.

      As for polls, I wouldn’t disagree with you. They are never perfect and can be misleading. But one begins to suspect there is something true and valid being indicated when one sees the same patterns and trends in the polling data from dozens of sources over many years or even decades So, yeah, any single piece of polling data is not necessarily significant taken by itself. It’s always about the context, which is what I wrote about in some of my recent posts about the Fox News poll and PRRI survey.

      That said, we must contend with such things as the crazification factor with around a third of the population being a wild card. Anytime you see about a third of people agree to some absurd or bizarre statement on a poll, you probably can safely ignore it. But that does not apply when majorities, especially large majorities, are involved.

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