…so the story goes [DOT 24/11/22]

provided that you read it...

…I confess I have a bit of a problem this morning…in that it’s thanksgiving…but I generally litter these with things I’ve found in the headlines I browsed my way through in the early stages of becoming sufficiently caffeinated for human consumption…&…well…those aren’t particularly things that I feel make gratitude an appropriate response…I mean…I guess I’m thankful that a lot of the election-denying, pro-insurrection asshats lost their elections…but on balance that isn’t my strongest emotion where that stuff is concerned?

A study by the non-partisan government watchdog organization Accountable.US, based on the latest filings to the Federal Election Commission, reveals the extent to which big corporations were prepared to back Republican nominees despite their open peddling of false claims undermining confidence in democracy. Though many were ultimately unsuccessful in their election bids, the candidates included several prominent advocates of Donald Trump’s lie that the 2020 presidential election had been stolen from him.

At the top of the list of 20 corporations backing election deniers through their political action committees (Pacs) is a familiar name in the world of rightwing agitating – Koch Industries. […]

Koch Industries is the second-largest privately owned company in the US. It is notorious for using its largely oil-related profits to push conservative politics in an anti-government, anti-regulatory direction under its owner brothers, Charles Koch and David Koch, the latter of whom died in 2019.

…if that were a problem halved I guess you could claim that might be something to be grateful for…but…there are a few ways in which that seems like an equation with a different result

The $8m contributed by the top 20 corporations was just a slice of overall corporate giving to election deniers in the 2022 cycle. An earlier analysis by Accountable.US found that, in total, election deniers benefited to the tune of $65m from corporate interests.

…for whatever reason I was reminded that once upon a time there was a chap with something of a way with words who, among other things, had this to say

It isn’t that they can’t see the solution. It is that they can’t see the problem.

G.K. Chesterton

…well…I say whatever reason but I guess there were mostly two…one being that I’ve heard the argument that encouraging the GOP to run wingnut assholes for office is a cunning electoral ploy to guarantee they’ll lose…&…well…sometimes you get what you pay for

Among the individual candidates whose bid for federal office was supported by top corporations was Derrick Van Orden, who won a close race to represent a swing district in Wisconsin with backing from Koch Industries. Van Orden, a former Navy Seal, was inside the Capitol grounds on January 6.

Scott Perry received support from the Kochs, AT&T, Boeing and other corporations in his successful campaign to hold onto his House seat in Pennsylvania. Perry was deeply involved in attempts to block Biden’s victory in 2020, and in the weeks after January 6 sought a presidential pardon from Trump.
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/nov/23/us-corporations-donate-midterm-campaigns-election-deniers

…& even when the assholes lost…what do those campaigns wind up being about…& where does that leave the overton window for those electorates? …because that certainly seems like a loadbearing element of the problem to me…& who knows…maybe gilbert would have agreed with me, even

Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another.

G.K. Chesterton

…still…if I’m still trying to err towards gratitude I guess it would have to be based on the part where society still has a soul…rather than the state it seems to be in

The midterms offered fresh evidence that voters with bachelor’s degrees and those without them are diverging.

In the 2018 midterms, 56 percent of voters with college degrees and 51 percent of voters without them voted for Democrats, according to the Associated Press’s VoteCast survey — a gap of five percentage points.

This year, the gap widened to 10 points: 52 percent of voters with college degrees supported Democrats while 42 percent of voters without degrees did so. The split echoed the gap between college-educated and non-college-educated voters’ support for Biden in 2020.

Voters with and without college degrees were more likely to support Republicans this year than in 2018 — a stronger year for Democrats. But voters without college degrees shifted more sharply toward the GOP than college-educated ones across racial and gender lines
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/11/23/educational-divide-between-voters-is-growing/

…& isn’t just at the ballot box that I find myself questioning the decision making process of the ones rendering judgement

A Tuesday ruling by John Sinatra, a US district judge in Buffalo, struck down a provision in the law that made it a felony for a licensed gun owner to possess a firearm on private property [in the state of New York] unless the property owner allowed it with a sign or express consent.

Sinatra, who was appointed under Donald Trump, found that the provision violated the second amendment right to “keep and bear arms”.
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/nov/23/new-york-gun-restrictions-private-property

…seriously…I don’t get how you get to have that logic be taken seriously…if the onus is on you as the one carrying the gun on someone else’s property to make sure that the owner is ok with that before you do it…in the absence of which affirmation you still get to tote that thing about providing you don’t do it on their property against their wishes…in what misbegotten world does that constitute an infringement on your right to keep or bear said arms?

…because an armed person bringing a gun into my house against my wishes sounds like one way to describe a home invasion that would be absolutely criminal…by way of a for instance…& if you think something about you means that coming into my home puts your life at risk to an extent that you need a gun for personal safety…but you still don’t think I’d agree to let you…then you don’t sound like you’d have an invitation in the first place…so again…already in illegal territory…& for the love of all that is holy don’t try telling me you need to be able to override your employer’s belief that guns don’t belong in the workplace

…not today, motherfucker

A night shift employee at the Walmart where six people were killed late Tuesday night in Chesapeake, Va., said she witnessed the shooting, and identified the gunman as the store’s overnight manager.
[…]
“I just watched three of my friends killed in front of me,” she said in a text message to The New York Times.
[…]
“I was directly in front of it,” she said in a brief, tearful phone interview. She added, “None of us deserved to witness that.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/11/23/us/walmart-shooting-employee-coworkers.html

…not any fucking day

When the shooting was over and five bodies were removed from a Colorado gay bar that a gunman had turned into a killing zone, yet another sad statistic went into the books: This is the third straight year that there have been more than 600 multiple victim shootings in America.

The figure was recorded by The Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit that tracks the spread of what has been called an American disease and which defines a mass shooting as a single incident in which at least four people — other than the person wielding the gun — are shot.

The difference, [Christopher] Herrmann [an assistant professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City] said, is that mass shootings, mostly by disgruntled men armed with deadly weapons, are much more common now than they were six years ago.

“Scary to think that in 2016 we recorded 382 mass shootings and now we will probably end 2022 with an estimated 680 mass shootings,” said Herrmann, who based his estimate on the fact that there has been an average of 13 mass shootings a week this year. “That would give you a 2016 to 2022 increase of 78%.”
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/third-straight-year-america-hits-grim-milestone

…but particularly not today

As Americans grapple with three major shootings in less than two weeks, many are expressing a combination of fear, anger and resignation that gun violence now has become part of normal life in the United States.
[…]
One reason recent violent events are having a powerful impact on many people’s mental health is that they happened in spaces where people typically feel safe, said Pooja Sharma, a clinical psychologist in Berkeley, Calif.
[…]
Therapists note that violent events can be traumatic even for those who are not directly affected by them, particularly for people who have experienced past trauma. And many people haven’t had time to process recent events, and may begin to do so over the holiday break.
[…]
Lakeasha Sullivan, a clinical psychologist with a private practice in Atlanta, said it is important for people to feel emotions such as despair.

“On the other side of despair is justifiable anger and rage at the situation. These are the emotions not to turn off because we can use them constructively,” she said. “Using anger in this way helps us to continue to push for change and helps us to enforce boundaries around how we allow ourselves and others to be treated. And that is the most powerful way to cope with situations of this magnitude.”
https://www.washingtonpost.com/wellness/2022/11/23/gun-violence-shootings-trauma-coping/

…something to think about

…&…as it happens…chesterton had some thoughts about thought, too…he also, as it happens, had one or two things to say on the subject of gratitude

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.

G.K.Chesterton

…& he also said that

When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.

G.K. Chesterton

…&…as it happens…I came across something of a critque of reading…which also gave me something to think about

We discuss why reading is a fundamentally “unnatural” act, how scanning and scrolling differ from “deep reading,” why it’s not accurate to say that “reading” is just one thing, how our brains process information differently when we’re reading on a Kindle or a laptop as opposed to a physical book, how exposure to such an abundance of information is rewiring our brains and reshaping our society, how to rediscover the lost art of reading books deeply, what [Maryanne] Wolf [a researcher and scholar at U.C.L.A.’s School of Education and Information Studies (her books “Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain” and “Reader, Come Home: The Reading Brain in a Digital World” explore the relationship between the process of reading and the neuroscience of the brain)] recommends to those of us who struggle against digital distractions, what parents can do to to protect their children’s attention, how Wolf’s theory of a “biliterate brain” may save our species’ ability to deeply process language and information and more.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/11/22/opinion/transcript-ezra-klein-interviews-maryanne-wolf.html

…&…speaking of reading…& thursdays…I’m inclined to suggest maybe a couple of things…one of which would be the thursday next books…because they’re a lot of fun…but the other of which is infuriatingly difficult to discuss without spoilers…but tricky to persuade people to give a go without some sort of a case about why they might not regret it

There is no such thing on earth as an uninteresting subject; the only thing that can exist is an uninterested person.

G.K. Chesterton

…& I’d be sorry to spoil it for anyone who might read the thing…which is another of chesterton’s efforts…namely “The Man Who Was Thursday

It is very difficult to classify THE MAN WHO WAS THURSDAY. It is possible to say that it is a gripping adventure story of murderous criminals and brilliant policemen; but it was to be expected that the author of the Father Brown stories should tell a detective story like no-one else. On this level, therefore, THE MAN WHO WAS THURSDAY succeeds superbly; if nothing else, it is a magnificent tour-de-force of suspense-writing.

However, the reader will soon discover that it is much more than that. Carried along on the boisterous rush of the narrative by Chesterton’s wonderful high-spirited style, he will soon see that he is being carried into much deeper waters than he had planned on; and the totally unforeseeable denouement will prove for the modern reader, as it has for thousands of others since 1908 when the book was first published, an inevitable and moving experience, as the investigators finally discover who Sunday is.
[…that’s the intro/preface to the project guttenburg ebook version the above link directs to]

…it is possibly…or even probably…worth pointing out that the subtitle of the book is “a nightmare”…& given that hereabouts in some senses I would “be” thursday…at least for DOT purposes…that might be more fitting than I’d care to admit…but seriously…you could do a lot worse than finding the time…possibly on a sofa after heroically over-indulging to the point of being largely incapable of movement anyway…to give it the once-over

At first glance, The Man Who Was Thursday is a detective story filled with poetry and politics. But it is mystery that grows more mysterious, until it is nothing less than the mystery of creation itself. This is Chesterton’s most famous novel. Never out of print since it was first published in 1908, critics immediately hailed it as “amazingly clever,” “a remarkable acrobatic performance,” and “a scurrying, door-slamming farce that ends like a chapter in the Apocalypse.” One reviewer described how he had read it in one sitting and put it down, “completely dazed.” Thirty years later, Orson Welles called it “shamelessly beautiful prose” and made a radio dramatization of it with his Mercury Radio Theater of the Air. (Unfortunately, he upstaged himself two weeks later with a production of H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds.)

Gabriel Syme is a poet and a police detective. Lucien Gregory is poet and a bomb-throwing anarchist. At the beginning of the novel, Syme infiltrates a secret meeting of anarchists and gets himself elected as “Thursday,” one of the seven members of the High Council of Anarchists. If you think it is paradoxical that there should be a governing body of those dedicated to destroying governing bod[ies], a hierarchy for blowing up hierarchies, you might be right. You might also note that the main reason Syme becomes a detective in the first place is because he is a rebel against rebellion. The policeman who recruits him explains that there is a difference between the real anarchists and the innocent ones who merely think rules are bad and should be broken.[…]

As the story unfolds, Syme soon learns that he is not the only one in disguise. The comparison with the Apocalypse is not unwarranted; this is a book of Revelation, as one symbolic surprise after another is revealed. But even as the masks come off, the biggest question – for both the reader and the characters – is who is Sunday? What is the true identity of the larger than life character who is the supreme head of the anarchists.
[…]
But have no fear, I won’t tell you who Sunday is, even if you think you already know the answer. But I will happily give away a bigger surprise, the revelation that this story is not to be compared with the biblical book of Revelation, but rather with the book of Job, the book which Chesterton considered the greatest riddle in all of literature. And even if you know that going in, it won’t help you one bit.

Along the way to the final confrontation, we also get a taste of Chesterton’s social philosophy. Barely noticed by most readers is the enormous common sense that a person with property is not an anarchist. But it’s not just bomb-throwers who are the anarchists and the enemy of the common man. There is another class of people dedicated to a more deceitful destruction of society. They, too, think they can live outside the rules. They are the very rich. “The poor object to being governed badly. The rich object to being governed at all.”
https://www.chesterton.org/lecture-10/

…can’t imagine what keeps bringing that to mind…anyway…I might be grateful that some of you are sometimes prepared to actually read all this waffling I’ve wound up doing in this vicinity…but in all honesty I’m entirely more grateful that you find the time to say something yourselves from time to time…so…do weigh in…on whatever might take your fancy…if nothing else it’ll give me something to be thankful for?

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21 Comments

  1. If you would like to see David H. Koch’s beneficent philanthropy in action, you could go to the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center. It is the home of the New York City Ballet, and when it was built in 1964 it was called The New York State Theater, since New York State built it. Then, in 2008, it was (very controversially) renamed the David H. Koch Theater after he pledged $100 million to keep the problem-plagued Philip Johnson/John Burgee-designed structure from falling down. Even if you’ve never been to Lincoln Center you might recognize it: it’s the iconic, spare white-and glass building with the four-story high Palladian windows with the plaza in front.

    It stands opposite David Geffen Hall, which was originally named Philharmonic Hall, then in 1973 Avery Fisher Hall after a huge donation from philanthropist Avery Fisher. In 2014 Lincoln Center announced that they’d auction off new naming rights to the highest bidder. The Fisher family was not amused. In 2015 David Geffen swooped in with a $100 million bid/donation.

    Neither of them really got value for money out of this. Lincoln Center’s promotional literature is littered with their names, but if you’re going to see a ballet performance or something by the Philharmonic you just say you’re going to Lincoln Center. Lincoln Center was named after the “slum” it replaced in the area called Lincoln Square. That is where the characters from West Side Story lived and feuded, until urban renewal drove them out. Lincoln Square was named by real estate developers after Abraham Lincoln, whose name, I hope, will endure far longer than that of David H. Koch or David Geffen.

  2. Mightn’t the growing gap between college-degree-havers voting for Democrats and those who don’t voting for Republicans be somewhat attributable to the fact that Joe Biden keeps extending the COVID-crisis student loan repayment pause and his on-going efforts to provide out-and-out loan forgiveness? Even a Trump University alum might see the wisdom of voting (D) if there were $10,000 on the line.

    • …as someone who remembers a time (now I believe the province only of the scottish) in which it was possible not only to gain a degree without an attached mortgage on the underlying education…the scale of debt for US students has always been up there with the health insurance thing as being an insane way to go about the thing…so I would absolutely expect the loan forgiveness angle to be a vote winner…& that arguing (or voting) against it ought to lose a commensurate amount of support

      …but I fear the point that article was leaning towards making was that in terms of the number of votes out there to court…particularly in places that often seem inclined to vote against their own interests…the ones with less education consistently outnumber the ones with more…so persuading the people who might have a better grasp on the relative merits of the available options might be a necessary element of getting to do something constructive about it…but it’s unlikely to be a sufficient one?

      • Wasn’t the issue that made the Lib-Dems implode in Britain when Nick Clegg was in (very junior) partnership with David Cameron and one of the main Lib-Dem party planks was not to impose or increase university tuition fees and Cameron went ahead and did it anyway? I wonder if Nick Clegg is still Facebook/Meta’s Global Ambassador, or whatever role he is improbably asserted to play.

        • …yup…a not inconsiderable number of folks who were either themselves students or had kids who were or one day might be all voted for the lib dems in the “I agree with nick” moment…& getting them to renege on that commitment was one of the ways that the tories turned their role as the junior-partner-slash-fig-leaf behind which they were screwing people over per their SOP into an electoral albatross next go around…although…I think technically the lib dems might actually have got more votes in the second of that pair of elections than they did before getting in on that coalition…but…first past the post…& gerrymandering isn’t a uniquely american pursuit…so that & less change than you’d expect from a tenner might get you a cup of coffee but it doesn’t buy any kind of significant presence in the commons?

    • It’s simpler than that. Republicans know that they need stupid people to vote for them (in addition to cheating in every way possible) in order to win. So they demonize education and ridicule the educated which makes the stupid people feel better which makes them more likely to vote for them. It’s not just about college—it’s all education at every level, which (in addition to making college prohibitively expensive) is how you perpetuate the stupidity.

      • …pretty much gotta agree with all of that

        …but on the one hand that discussion about how we read is interesting in part for the bits that talk about how we read outside of what you might call formal education…& the way that in turn can shape our thinking…so…if you aren’t shut out of the thing by a paywall & have time (pocket gives that transcript an estimated reading time of close to 90mins so it may ironically be easier to listen to than read) there’s a good chance you’d find some stuff in it you might find worth the time it takes

        …& on the other hand…I know I already banged on about it a fair bit…but…the man who was thursday is not a long book…probably take you more than an hour & a half…but…not long…& I think you might get a real kick out of it

        …always assuming you haven’t read it already…which you very well may have done…but if not…I’m quietly confident you would if you did?

        • Considering that the percentage of Americans who read books after high school immediately drops by 20%, and that increases to 30% as they get older, tells me that these people aren’t counted in that discussion at all.  They revel in their ignorance and wear it as a badge of honor.  Remember Trump’s stump speech where he said he loves the uneducated?

          • …they’re not the primary focus, to be sure…but there’s some consideration given to the ways in which reading things in a digital medium is a different beast…& some ways in which that might shake out would definitely be relevant to those folks, too

            …perhaps unsurprisingly it suggests they may be at an unconscious disadvantage when it comes to being able to take advantage of the wealth of information available to them…but it doesn’t mean they couldn’t also benefit from some of the things that are discussed?

      • Yeah completely agreed.

        The voter maps for Missouri are a great study in this. The districts with the highest percentage of college educated voters vote dem.

    • It predates Biden’s policy by a significant amount of time. It’s easy to say Republicans are stupider, but the reality is that education gives a broader perspective, improves critical thinking, and generally helps you see through obfuscatory Republican bullshit.

      But it’s been studied.

  3. Happy Thankstaking, ‘murricans!

  4. When I saw the excerpt I thought, “I don’t remember writing the DOT.”

    • …it’s sort of a funny thing…but that ezra klein interview from the NYT about reading is arguably all about how sometimes there’s not much else than just the words on the page…but other times that’s almost the least of it…& although I linked to the transcript technically it’s primarily offered as audio…which is still words on a page in the internet sense…but not so much in the reading one…but it’s a really interesting conversation anyway…& one of the things it touches on is an essay klein wrote that I may or may not have thought to cite in one of these back in august with the title “The Medium Is The Message

      …in this case I’m not sure how well the medium manages to convey the message…but the important one today would seem to be the thankful thing…& you would be way up there in the rankings of people I have things to be thanking for…not the least of which being the ongoing existence of this place

  5. Thank you DeadSplinterites! And thank you, @SplinterRIP for this quote, to remind me that a cynical heart is not always the best thing to have: When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.

    • …that chesterton fella was a smart cookie…but I feel like hobbes makes a pretty similar point in that first comic strip…great minds & all that

      …so I’m pretty sure I don’t particularly deserve a share of that credit…but I thank you all the same?

  6. I mistakenly thought the Texas Rockettes (Rangerettes I think was the actual name???) were the whitest thing at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade.

    Nope, it was the blonde white country singer lady on the Wonderbread white bread float.

  7. https://nltimes.nl/2022/11/23/anti-government-extremism-rise-northern-netherlands-study

    can confirm..as i live there….and the gubment sucks…i find it hard to dissagree with them on the anti gubment stuff but they lose me at the nationalistic far right stuff….and the q-anon brigade is beyond saving

    is overthrowing the gubment using non racist or batshit insane people too much to ask?

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