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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 24,979

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All history should be subjected to a high level of scrutiny

President worship in general is in the spirit of monarchy, not democracy. How particular individuals may live up to "the test of leadership" is, in general, a mystifying concern. It doesn't usually interest me. What actually happened is much more interesting.

Events should be commemorated in all their complexity. I'm arguing for a different historical culture. Princeton should host a Woodrow Wilson museum that tells all these stories. But building names suggest honor without caveats. (Building names also don't actually recall history, often people have no idea who a given personage is.)

Anyway, I suggested Debs (spell his name right, for chrissakes) just to anticipate a possible "what's your alternative?" move. My real alternative would be history education, museums, sponsored research, cultivating a nuanced view with room for debate and evolution. No need to put this guy's name on a building.

I agree that some objections are anachronistic, so your LGBT example with regard to Debs (or Wilson, or anyone else from the time) would a red herring. However, the accusation that Wilson was a committed and published scientific racist and actually made things worse for black people is not anachronistic. Alternative ideas were in circulation at the time, and he was regressive for his time. He doesn't get that excuse.

No one's questioning Wilson's historical importance.

It's a question of the way in which it should be commemorated in public. A straight endorsement of any individual "great man" is almost always going to be a whitewash. This case is no different. I vote for more historical research and popularization of historical complexity, and less in the way of bullshit heroic monumentalization. There should be forms of memorialization that present such figures in their full contexts.

Wilson was a committed "scientific racist" who gave his presidential endorsement to the pro-Ku Klux Klan blockbuster, Birth of A Nation. Deal with it. Why do you want to forget such things? What is your identification with this particular imperialist, as opposed to any other? The League of Nations by the way was an attempt at a concordance of European empires, to maintain these and manage their affairs in a way that avoided future European wars, but did not question European dominance of their colonies. For example, it legitimated the French-British carve-up of the Middle East. Then again, this white man's club was better than the alternative that followed its breakup. Here as well, we would all be served by not heroizing and turning everything into these simplistic narratives of good or bad. Sorry that history's not simple enough.

But if you want it simple, I'd like to see a monument for Eugene Debs, of course. Or the International Workers of the World. Or the dead of Ludlow - appropriate at Princeton with all its buildings named after Rockefellers! You want a hero, look up Louis Tikas. He too was a man of his time - and yet nothing like Professor Wilson. Fancy that.

"Arab Muslims"

You've got your general category, and it's wrong.

These are citizens of Syria, Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan -- all countries in which your government conducted wars -- fleeing from current war zones, in which (1) conditions are deadly (due to the war, the bombs, including those made and delivered by your government, and the resulting health and ecological conditions) and (2) where there are forces who want to murder them, often on the basis of their ethnicity, race or religious grouping. Some of them aren't Arab, and some of them aren't Muslims. You want to debate the particular definition of "genocide" devised to suit the Great Powers of 1948, but this denies that whatever the definition, many of those you want to turn away will die from intentionally directed violence as a result.

Also, it's pogroms, not pograms.

Also, the 12 million undocumented people are a separate issue. (They should be legalized, of course.) You are employing the fallacy of "whatabouttery."

And the environmental legacy, "sterling." I missed something, did the US ban the blowing up of mountains and the poisoning of waters in order to extract hydrocarbons to burn and further fuck up the climate? Did the emissions level go down to conceivably sustainable levels? How about the coddling of BP and the failure to ban drilling on the ocean floor?

Anyway, fuck presidential "legacies." There are bigger issues.

Duane Clarridge (CIA) is a Bush mob consigliere.

So he took his Carson paycheck as a consultant, and has now demonstrated his enduring loyalty to the Family.

Notwithstanding that it's true!

And an implosion of Carson may benefit Trump but it ain't going to Jeb!'s benefit.

Schadenfreude all around.

This is what I was thinking.

These are pungent, loud and insulting (because so incredibly stupid).

I wish Schneiderman had made a precedent by prosecuting these companies not for gambling, but for fraudulent advertising. At no point do they mention odds, or how much gets paid in to produce the supposed weekly payout. Everyone's just making a million on a $10 bet, or whatever bullshit they're saying.

These ads are not just stupid but very clearly pitched to working the stupid (who are indispensable to the business model).

Of course, if they went after the private sector for doing this, they'd have to admit what a scam the state-run lottery is. They're running equally penetrating and stupid ads all the damn time. It's an interesting contrast, all the state/city moralistic lifestyle ads (be polite, don't eat fatty foods, be watchful for terrorism, protect yourself, avoid frottage on the subway, blah blah) combined with the Lotto ads from the same government: "Oh yeah, when you get that quarter billion you can say FUCK YOU to everyone and act like the dumbest most corrupt asshole and get away with it because money -- fuck yeah!"
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