October 26, 2016

"I’ve never had this much fun in one year. I’ll be sad after election day, no matter who wins."

"Unless I am literally insane. In that case I’ll probably keep enjoying myself."

Trump's "speaking style is more feminine by far than any other candidate in the 2016 cycle, more feminine than any other presidential candidate since 2004."

According to "Donald Trump Talks Like a Woman," by Julie Sedivy in Politico Magazine. Sedivy is a linguistics and psychology expert who is looking at statistical research that shows "clear... differences" between men and women:
[M]en are more likely to swear and use words that signal aggression, while women are more likely to use tentative language (words like maybe, seems or perhaps) and emotion-laden words (beautiful, despise)." But other patterns are far from obvious.... [W]omen are heavier users than men of the pronoun “I” whereas the reverse is true for the pronoun “we”; women produce more common verbs (are, start, went) and auxiliary verbs (am, don’t, will), while men utter more articles (a, the) and prepositions (to, with, above); women use fewer long words than men when speaking or writing across a broad range of contexts....

But Donald Trump is a stunning outlier. His linguistic style is startlingly feminine, so much so that the chasm between Trump and the next most feminine speaker, Ben Carson, is about as great as the difference between Carson and the least feminine candidate, Jim Webb. And Trump earns his ranking not just because he talks a lot about himself or avoids big words (both of which are true)... he also shows feminine patterns on the more subtle measures, such as his use of prepositions and articles. The key then is not what Trump talks about—making Mexico pay for the wall or bombing the hell out of ISIL—but rather how he says it....
Much more at the link. I'm very interested in this because Meade and I have often talked about how feminine he is (even as he has some obviously masculine things about him). I'd also point to his gestures and the tone of his voice.

Trump's use of language is a great mystery. Obviously, some people react very negatively to it, perhaps because they have a prejudice against women and instinctively feel that human beings who are too emotional and relationship-oriented should not be trusted with power. Others respond very enthusiastically to him, even way out of proportion to their alignment with his policy issues. I'm thinking of the religious social conservatives but I'm also thinking of myself. I don't agree with much of what he says and he strikes me as ridiculously underprepared for the responsibility of the presidency, but I am strangely drawn to him. What is it with very unusual man? Possible answer: He's so womanly.

"The polling data in 1980 had Jimmy Carter nine points, winning by nine points, four or five days out."

"I will never forget that election night, folks. In 1980 it was so bad for the Democrats — they got skunked so bad — Jimmy Carter conceded before 10 p.m. Eastern time.  Those three networks, you should have seen the long faces and all of the reporters that were at various campaign headquarter locations...."

"President Obama ridiculed on Snapchat by daughter Sasha."

But that's only something we know because Obama talked about it. That is, he ribbed her.

"Africans chuckle at ugly US election."

A BBC headline.
Under the hashtag [#Nov8AfricanEdition], Nigerians and other Africans have been flipping the script and imagining how events in America would be reported if they were happening in Africa, with fake "breaking news" headlines and sarcastic support.

Man gives half his liver to a complete stranger, and now he's marrying her.

"'I heard a co-worker talking about his cousin who needed a liver transplant. I just thought to myself, I would want someone to help me or my family in that situation.' The 38-year-old decided to get himself tested and discovered he was a match for the then Miss Krueger, now 27...."
In the weeks leading up to the transplant, they began to spend increasing amounts of time together as Mr Dempsey and his motorcycle club threw themselves into fundraising.

"We were going out looking for donations for a benefit, and I just started thinking, she's a really nice girl, she is somebody I would like to get to know."...

"If the Cubs would’ve won it when I was, say, 3 years old, the rest of my fandom wouldn’t have been imbued with a greater, Sisyphean meaning."

"So, on my deathbed, yes, I should want nothing else than to cash in [on the 'American option — a piece of paper we Cubs fans carry around in our pocket and turn in at the bliss counter one day when they Win the World Series']."

"A Young Athlete Who Uses Vigorol."

An ad from 1901, when beef tea "fortified health and cured a host of physical concerns."

And in the summer... iced beef tea:

Chelsea Clinton, speaking in Madison to an audience of "a few hundred," said children are getting bullied in school because of the "Trump effect."

We're told — by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Jason Stein — that Chelsea "gave examples" of this "Trump effect" bullying that she attributed to what she called "an almost daily diet of hate speech" coming from Trump.

I could have walked down the street and joined what Stein calls "a young crowd of supporters... at the upscale Overture Center for the Arts." But I chose not to. I'm just a little lazy at night. And the World Series was on. And frankly, I don't like seeing famous people. It feels creepy. Like that waiter playing the role of waiter that we were just talking about.

Anyway, speaking of bullying, I should link to Scott Adams's post yesterday calling the Democrats "The Bully Party":
If you have a Trump sign in your lawn, they will steal it.

If you have a Trump bumper sticker, they will deface your car.

[I]f you speak of Trump at work you could get fired.

On social media, almost every message I get from a Clinton supporter is a bullying type of message. They insult. They try to shame. They label. And obviously they threaten my livelihood.

We know from Project Veritas that Clinton supporters tried to incite violence at Trump rallies. The media downplays it.

We also know Clinton’s side hired paid trolls to bully online. You don’t hear much about that....

Joe Biden said he wanted to take Trump behind the bleachers and beat him up. No one on Clinton’s side disavowed that call to violence because, I assume, they consider it justified hyperbole.

Team Clinton has succeeded in perpetuating one of the greatest evils I have seen in my lifetime. Her side has branded Trump supporters (40%+ of voters) as Nazis, sexists, homophobes, racists, and a few other fighting words. Their argument is built on confirmation bias and persuasion....
One way to bully is to call the other person the bully. Chelsea could be said to be part of that activity.

And as far as that "almost daily diet of hate speech" Chelsea spoke of — where does it come from? Does it come from Trump or does it come from Trump's opponents who are paraphrasing him? I think most of the noise comes from the paraphrasers, and the question is whether they are: 1. Interpreting Trump accurately and getting us to see dog-whistling for what it really is, or 2. Distorting what Trump says into something it's not that they want you to think it is.

Whatever the paraphrasers are doing, they are relying on 2 important beliefs: 1. Listeners hate the idea that the paraphrasers are making so clear, and 2. The hard-core daily beating rained down on Trump will never turn him into a sympathetic character.

That first belief might not be true or not true enough. At some point, on some level, listeners might feel, instead of aversion to Trump, fears and needs that send them into Trump's arms. And that second belief is dangerous: These ham-handed attacks are so crude and exaggerated that they exceed the crudeness usually attributed to Trump. We're told to hate crude brutality by people who look increasingly crude and brutal.

UPDATE: Just this morning a man with a pickax and a sledgehammer, wrecked the Donald Trump star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

"I don’t battle M.S. I relent to its humiliations."

"I’ve already fallen. This is the voice from the swamp."

Said Lucia Perillo, quoted in her obituary. The poet was 58.

"Bob Hoover, a pilot who escaped Nazi captivity in a stolen plane, tested supersonic jets with his friend Chuck Yeager, barnstormed the world...."

"... as a breathtaking stunt performer and became, by wide consensus, an American aviation legend, died on Tuesday in Los Angeles. He was 94.... Even General Yeager, perhaps the most famous test pilot of his generation, was humbled by Mr. Hoover, describing him... as 'the greatest pilot I ever saw.' The World War II hero Jimmy Doolittle, an aviation pioneer of an earlier generation, called Mr. Hoover 'the greatest stick-and-rudder man that ever lived.'... Mr. Hoover’s trademark maneuver on the show circuit was a death-defying plunge with both engines cut off; he would use the hurtling momentum to pull the plane up into a loop at the last possible moment."

Full NYT obituary here.

The absence of narcissism in Bob Dylan.

"What really set me apart in these days was my repertoire. It was more formidable than the rest of the coffeehouse players, my template being hard-core folk songs backed by incessantly loud strumming. I’d either drive people away or they’d come in closer to see what it was all about. There was no in-between. There were a lot of better singers and better musicians around these places but there wasn’t anybody close in nature to what I was doing. Folk songs were the way I explored the universe, they were pictures and the pictures were worth more than anything I could say. I knew the inner substance of the thing. I could easily connect the pieces. It meant nothing for me to rattle off things like 'Columbus Stockade,' 'Pastures of Plenty,' 'Brother in Korea' and 'If I Lose, Let Me Lose' all back-to-back just like it was one long song. Most of the other performers tried to put themselves across, rather than the song, but I didn’t care about doing that. With me, it was about putting the song across."

Bob Dylan,  "Chronicles: Volume One" (pp. 17-18).

IN THE COMMENTS: traditionalguy said: "Bob was one hell of a communicator in the 1960s. Even today his silence speaks louder than most." Made me think of this:

"Well, my concern is that they are so ham-handed about it — they're so obvious about it — that it won't work."

Said Bob Wright, early last month, worrying that the media bias against Trump:

(I've blogged this clip before — here and here.)

"There are many decent, ethical highly professional people who work in journalism. I am happy to say that I work with a number of them at the Daily Inter Lake."

"But sadly, the standards that we try to hold ourselves to here in Kalispell, Montana, seem to be foreign to many reporters and editors on TV and at other newspapers around the country. Because of that, I could probably write a column taking my fellow journalists to task every week and never run out of material, but honestly I didn’t expect to return to the theme quite this quickly...."

ADDED: This is an excellent column, which I noticed because it's featured at Real Clear Politics, but I've had a place in my heart for The Daily Inter Lake, ever since I stayed in Kalispell a few years ago. I used to make the "Law Roundup" page a regular stop and blogged it often. I need to get back to that. It's written in a delightful style that makes petty crime seem almost comforting. From today's report:
Someone complained that a “little car” with a loud muffler kept going back and forth on Seventh Street West. An officer was unable to locate the pesky car....

Someone from a bar called to report a man had threatened to come back and shoot the place up.

A man entered a business on West Idaho Street and reportedly threatened to kill two workers before knocking over some beers and leaving. Workers wanted officers to tell the man he was not welcome.

"This race may come down to the independent vote. Right now, they tilt for Trump. By a narrow margin, they opted for Obama over Romney in 2012."

Said the pollster J. Ann Selzer, who oversaw the new Bloomberg Politics poll, which has Trump edging out Clinton by 2 points in Florida and by 2 points nationally in 4-person race (and 1 point in head-to-head race). [ADDED: I think I'm misreading the linked report at Politico and that there is no new Bloomberg national poll, only sentences that seem general but are really only about Florida.]

How is it possible? Last night, I was wondering why Clinton isn't ahead by 50 points, considering the way the press has been reporting lately. But the press is skewed, trying to shape what we do, and we're only entering the last phase when reputations are on the line and media risk looking like fools if something happens that seems to blindside them.

A mere 7 days ago, Bloomberg Politics had Clinton with a 9 point lead. And pollster J. Ann Selzer was saying: "This poll shows movement toward Clinton with all the right groups it takes to win—including men and those without a college degree. Their alignment with Clinton is a formidable change in the algebra."

Is Bloomberg Politics a screwy polling operation? I found an article by Nate Silver from last August, "Election Update: When One Poll Makes A Big Difference" — the one poll that made a big difference was Bloomberg Politics and it made a big difference because Silver's model weights the different polls based on their quality, and Bloomberg Politics is one of his high-quality polls:
By “high quality,” I mostly mean a poll with a high pollster rating — which are based on a pollster’s past accuracy and methodology — since the trend line adjustment puts more weight on better-rated polls. Selzer & Company (which also conducts the prestigious Des Moines Register Poll) more than qualifies: It’s one of just six polling firms with an A-plus rating from FiveThirtyEight.
Silver added:
There’s another, more subtle dimension to this also, which is that Selzer hasn’t polled the general election very often this year. (Just the three national polls so far.) The trend-line adjustment is therefore designed to give a lot of weight to a Selzer poll whenever it weighs in. By contrast, it gives less weight to any given poll from a pollster that surveys the race frequently, such as by conducting a national tracking poll.
Well, Selzer weighed in today, and the trend line is wild — an 11-point change in one week. [ADDED: Again, as noted above, I think I misread the text at Politico.]

"For almost a quarter of a century... the Nobel committee acted as if American literature did not exist — and now an American is acting as if the Nobel committee doesn’t exist."

"Giving the award to Mr. Dylan was an insult to all the great American novelists and poets who are frequently proposed as candidates for the prize. The all-but-explicit message was that American literature, as traditionally defined, was simply not good enough. This is an absurd notion, but one that the Swedes have embraced: In 2008, the Academy’s permanent secretary, Horace Engdahl, declared that American writers 'don’t really participate in the big dialogue of literature' and are limited by that 'ignorance.'"

Writes the poet/critic Adam Kirsch (in the NYT). (Here's Kirsch enthusing over Philip Roth, who is, I suspect, in Adam Kirsch's basket of insulteds.)

Kirsch doesn't read Dylan's silence as a response to what Kirsch reads as an insult to to all the great American novelists and poets.
No one knows what he intends — Mr. Dylan has always been hard to interpret, both as a person and as a lyricist...
Don't criticize what you can’t understand...

So Kirsch goes back to Jean-Paul Sartre who refused the Nobel Prize for Literature and, unlike Bob, explained himself (at length, here). And beyond that, Kirsch finds explanation in Sartre's "Being and Nothingness," which talks about "bad faith... the opposite of authenticity":
Bad faith [is] possible because a human being cannot simply be what he or she is... [B]ecause we are free, we must “make ourselves what we are.” In a famous passage, Sartre uses as an example a cafe waiter who performs every part of his job a little too correctly, eagerly, unctuously. He is a waiter playing the role of waiter. But this “being what one is not” is an abdication of freedom; it involves turning oneself into an object, a role, meant for other people. To remain free, to act in good faith, is to remain the undefined, free, protean creatures we actually are, even if this is an anxious way to live.
And I answer them most mysteriously/“Are birds free from the chains of the skyway?”

ADDED: From Bob Dylan's great book "Chronicles: Volume One," here's something that cuts the other way from Kirsch's idea that Bob is about keeping himself for himself and not wanting to be the thing that is meant for other people. Page 16:
I could never sit in a room and just play all by myself. I needed to play for people and all the time. You can say I practiced in public and my whole life was becoming what I practiced.

October 25, 2016

"Paul Beatty’s novel 'The Sellout,' a blistering satire about race in America, won the Man Booker Prize on Tuesday..."

"... marking the first time an American writer has won the award. The five Booker judges, who were unanimous in their decision, cited the novel’s inventive comic approach to the thorny issues of racial identity and injustice... In a review in The New York Times, Dwight Garner wrote that the novel’s first 100 pages read like 'the most concussive monologues and interviews of Chris Rock, Richard Pryor and Dave Chappelle wrapped in a satirical yet surprisingly delicate literary and historical sensibility.'... The novel’s narrator is an African-American urban farmer and pot smoker who lives in a small town on the outskirts of Los Angeles. Brought up by a single father, a sociologist, the narrator grew up taking part in psychological studies about race. After his father is killed by the police during a traffic stop, the protagonist embarks on a controversial social experiment of his own, and ends up before the Supreme Court...."

The NYT reports. And I'll just say:

1. I don't trust the Brits to decide what's best about America, but thanks for the prompt to notice this book. My reading is not usually fiction, but I make some exceptions and I'll make an exception here.

2. Beatty? That's my name too, brother. I'm not a black person, but Beatty is my mother's maiden name, and I revel at the chance to embrace a Beatty.

3. I'm happy with the subject matter — even with the threat of law stuff ("ends up before the Supreme Court"), which I never expect to enjoy. And apologies to everyone who's sent me a law-based novel and waited, unrequited, for me to mention it on this blog.

4. Here's the link to buy "The Sellout" on Amazon. I'm buying the audio version.

At the Late Rose Café....


... you can talk about whatever you like. Feel free to drop links that you wish I'd make into separate posts. Or just amuse yourself. Or talk about the big baseball game.

And if you've got some shopping to do, please show your support for this blog by doing it through the Althouse Amazon Portal. You might say, but what can I buy? Or how can I buy what Althouse bought recently? I can tell you that I bought this turtleneck. And these flexible silicone soap dishes. And this pillow speaker to fend off all remnants of insomnia with my audiobooks. And this excellent camera... which wasn't the camera I had with me when I encountered that rose. That was an old Nikon Coolpix, which I guess these days would correspond to something about like this.

"A whopping 91 percent of news coverage about Donald Trump on the three broadcast nightly newscasts over the past 12 weeks has been 'hostile'..."

... according to a study by the conservative Media Research Center, reports Politico.
For the study, MRC analyzed all 588 evening news stories that either discussed or mentioned the presidential campaign on the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts from July 29 through October 20 (including weekends). Of the total newscasts, the networks devoted 29 percent of their time to the campaign. The study did not include comments from the campaigns or candidates themselves, instead focusing on what the correspondents, anchors, expert commentators, and voters on the street said in order to try and hone in on any sort of slant from the networks....

"Even when they were critical of Hillary Clinton — for concealing her pneumonia, for example, or mischaracterizing the FBI investigation of her e-mail server — network reporters always maintained a respectful tone in their coverage," the study found. "This was not the case with Trump, who was slammed as embodying “the politics of fear,” or a “dangerous” and “vulgar” “misogynistic bully” who had insulted vast swaths of the American electorate."
Personally, I haven't watch the nightly broadcast network news since the 1980s, but this is important.

"I’d always thought of him as a brother. Every time I’d see his name somewhere, it was like he was in the room." Wrote Bob Dylan about Bobby Vee.

Bobby Vee died yesterday, from Alzheimer's disease, at the age of 73. Here's the NYT obituary, which I first saw linked at my son John's Facebook page. John wrote:
I post a lot of obituaries, but this was the rare one where seeing it made me instinctively exclaim out loud: "Oh no!" I've loved his most famous song, "Take Good Care of My Baby," since I was a young child. It's quintessential early '60s, pre-Beatles pop. Bob Dylan fans in particular should read this to the end...
There's a good chance that I was the one the played him "Take Good Care of My Baby," when John was not much more than a baby. I got the idea early on that rock 'n' roll oldies were sort of children's songs. (I know the exact song that caused this idea: "Ya Ya" by Lee Dorsey.) I bought many rock 'n' roll oldies cassettes and we played them in the car all the time, and I guess "Take Good Care of My Baby" was in there somewhere. I wonder if we talked about the lyrics (which were written by Carole King).
Take good care of my baby
Be just as kind as you can be
And if you should discover
That you don't really love her
Just send my baby back home to me
I can imagine myself saying something like Why does Bobby Vee think that the other man has the power to send the woman where he chooses to send her? Wouldn't the woman just go where she wants to go? And why would she want to go back to Bobby Vee when he admits he cheated on her?

As for the Bob Dylan connection, for us big Bob Dylan fans, the first thing we think of when we hear "Bobby Vee" is "Bob Dylan." Here's what Bob Dylan wrote about Bobby Vee in his great book "Chronicles: Volume One":