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cab67

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Member since: Wed Jul 24, 2013, 01:10 PM
Number of posts: 1,930

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"I'm old fashioned" and "that's how I was raised."

I'm tired of hearing these excuses for bigoted behavior.

I can understand that being brought up in an environment where racism was openly expressed might impress some racist attitudes on you. "That's how I was raised" would thus be a reasonable explanation for racist behavior. But it isn't an excuse. The second clause shouldn't be "so you're just going to have to deal with it;" it's "but I'm working to do better."

It's never been clear to me from which era those who claim to be "old fashioned" came. Racism and bigotry have been widely understood as character flaws for all 53 years I've resided on this planet. Although bigotry has sometimes been tolerated, it hasn't been extolled much. And though we're all apt to look with nostalgia at the world of our youth, that shouldn't keep us from understanding that progress, overall, has been a good thing.

Just my thoughts. I've run into more than one bigot over the past several weeks who tried to weasel out of his or her predicament by referring to the past as though it's a good thing.

When did Bill Maher jump the shark for you?

Added on edit: Some have claimed that it's ok to watch someone with whom one disagrees. This is absolutely true, just as it's true that there is no human being alive with whom I never disagree. I disagree with President Biden on some things. I disagree with Charles Pierce from time to time. I disagree with my wife at times. We're grown-ups. That's allowed.

It's the nature of the things Maher says, not the mere fact that I disagree with them. Downplaying the importance of vaccines? That's not just wrong - it's flat-ass dangerous coming from someone with a loud platform and a large audience. His agreement with Irving Police about the home-made clock was racist; I doubt he'd have supported the police had the kid who made it been white. His fat-shaming can cause damage to people who really struggle with weight. He's not merely wrong - he's offensive.

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Maher often says things I agree with, and he says them very forcefully, but I don't really pay much attention to him anymore.

His regrettable anti-vaccine position keeps me from taking him seriously, but that's not the reason I stopped watching his show.

I stopped watching because of the Ahmed Mohamed clock incident.

Mr. Mohamed was a 14-year-old kid in Irving, TX, who built a digital clock at home and brought it to school, where he showed it to his friends and teachers.

One of those teachers decided it looked like a bomb. That Mr. Mohamed is Muslim almost certainly contributed to that decision. As a result, Irving police were called, and they actually arrested him.

Long story short, his family ended up relocating to Qatar because of the bigotry they faced. It woudn't stop.


That the Irving police should have looked into it was understandable. But anyone with more than a handful of neurons in his or her head would know that a 14 year old who built a something that didn't look like a bomb wouldn't be showing it off to teachers if it was, in fact, a bomb.

Maher supported the cops in this case. It looked like a bomb. The kid is Muslim. That, to him, justified not merely looking into the matter, but actually putting the boy in cuffs.

At that point, I wrote Maher off as a racist. I haven't looked back.

How about others? When did you realize Maher is no friend to us?

a word that must be used when people say they're not getting the COVID vaccine

That word is "selfish."

It's selfish for people to just decide not to be vaccinated. Vaccines only work if a high percentage - 90 percent or more - of a community is vaccinated. This protects people who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons as well as those few who didn't pick up immunity from the vaccine.

That's why I get far angrier with anti-vaccine people than nearly every other class of denialist. They're being very, very selfish.

I'm not necessarily talking about people who've fallen for misinformation - and boy howdy is misinformation out there in great abundance. This goes beyond the "vaccines cause autism" trope - people are told the COVID vaccines are unsafe - they haven't been tested carefully enough. Or that a lot of people are harmed by these particular vaccines. Their fear might be real, even if based on false claims that should be corrected.

I'm referring to people who simply decide, for vague personal reasons, that they won't get the vaccine. Maybe they don't like "big pharma" or think this whole thing is a government plot. Or they take an overly broad stance on "it's my body" or "it's my freedom."

"It's my body" works if the only person physically affected by a medical procedure is the patient. It doesn't work when refusal to participate puts everyone else at risk.

Such a decision is grotesquely selfish. One's sense of personal self-importance does not take precedence over the health of everyone.

I'm serious about this. I recently had an exchange with someone who had decided not to get the vaccine. She didn't specify her reason, though it wasn't medical in nature. When I tried to argue that the vaccine really is a good thing, she said something like "all feelings are valid!"

Really? So if I feel that it's OK to force children to drink rubbing alcohol, that's valid? Am I going to get out of an armed robbery charge if I felt it was both legally and morally acceptable to hold up a bank? Or what if I feel very strongly that I'll fly, Superman-style, if I jump off my roof? Are such feelings valid?

I take great exception to the old adage that "there are two sides to every story." No - not always, anyway. There aren't two legitimate sides to climate change, for example, in the same way there aren't two or more sides to the claim that the earth orbits the sun. Or that vaccines are safe and effective. There's just the one legitimate side.

Thus, I don't care about someone's feelings about self determination. When it comes to herd immunity, we're all in this together, and to withdraw for no good reason is very, very selfish.

The word has to be used. You think you're better than me, and that your sense of personal freedom comes before everyone's efforts to end this pandemic, save lives, and allow us to bring back at least some sort of normalcy? You're selfish. That's that. Don't want to be selfish? Get the damn shot.



(I will concede one place where it might be best to avoid that word: I realize people of color have an additional reason to be skeptical of these vaccines - there's a long history of unethical research involving African American subjects (e.g. the Tuskeegee experiments), and African Americans are infrequently parts of medical trials. And they may have had bad experiences at local hospitals based on race. I totally get it. But I also think it would be wrong to not explain to friends of color that these vaccines really are safe, and that it only works if they also get vaccinated.)

its the obstinacy, stupid

Against my better judgment, I've engaged with some people I knew in high school on Facebook over the decision to stop publishing some Dr Seuss books.

My own opinions on this are mixed, largely because the situation is not as simple as people think. There's a good reason they've decided to stop printing these books - they contain images that aren't just a little off-color; they're flat-out racist. I agree with that decision. But Dr Seuss himself spoke out against racism, bigotry, and anti-semitism, both vocally and through his art. Some of the cartoons in the "Dr Seuss Goes to War" anthology, which includes cartoons drawn as World War 2 was starting, were anti-Jim Crow. Racism continued to appear from time to time - have a look at how he depicted Japanese people after Pearl Harbor, and you'll see a glaring example - but he sometimes edited his books to change content he came to see as offensive. So I remain a Dr Seuss fan while acknowledging the shortcomings of the flawed human that he was.

Anyway - one thing I think we on DU can all agree with is that none of this constitutes censorship. The company holding the copyrights is going to stop printing six of Dr Seuss' books, meaning the other 54 can keep being printed. No one is making libraries take them off the shelves, and bookstores can still sell them, so long as they're in stock.

No amount of explanation can get some of the red-hatters among my former classmates to see this. They continue to post memes comparing this decision with book-burning in Nazi Germany. They cry out against this as an example of political correctness and cancel culture. And they claim people are coming to take their kids' books.

This is different from other conflicts I've had, or so it seems to me. In the past, they stuck with their "facts" regardless of my efforts to correct them. The election was stolen, and the evidence they cited remains evidence in their eyes. COVID isn't that bad. Trump's tax cuts went mostly to working-class people. They wouldn't let them go.

This time, they've come to see that what happened wasn't exactly as their memes portrayed it.
Most of them have stopped claiming all of Dr Seuss' books are being taken off the market. They've even stopped claiming that libraries are pulling them from the shelves in large numbers.

But under no circumstances will they accept that this isn't censorship. They're willing to change the definitions of words to avoid admitting they got something wrong.
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