Made me want to read her work


    Loved this:

    “Yeah. People tend to have a very singular narrative of who someone is, and so people of colour, women of colour, queer people, are only expected to write about identity-based things, and the struggles of that identity. And when you write a narrative that challenges people’s expectations of who you are and your subject’s position, then all of a sudden they get confused and think, ‘This isn’t realistic,’ because they don’t understand that we contain multitudes.”

    She rejects the very phrase “identity politics”: “It’s used like a weapon. What it means is, ‘I don’t want to think about your concerns. I don’t want to have to extend my empathy.’” Instead, she argues, everyone, on all sides, has to try to understand and accept complication, fight against dichotomies, essentialism. “We have to think with nuance, and unfortunately public discourse rarely allows for nuance. And see where that has gotten us.”

    and this: 

    It is hard to read the abuse Gay gets for her size. If there is anything useful in the experience it is, she has said, in the way it engenders empathy, for other lives, for difficult lives, for different lives. Reading, she says now, does the same – fiction mostly, but also non-fiction, “because you just think, ‘Oh my gosh, imagine if that were my life, imagine if that were my children, how would I feel?’ A lot of times when we see narrow-mindedness, when we see racism, when we see xenophobia, these are people who are not well read.” Perhaps we could prescribe fiction classes – “that would be great – give each and every racist in the world a syllabus. Beloved by Toni MorrisonTony Judt on world war two.” As for herself, “I read everything. The No 1 thing I tell my students” – until this autumn, when she announced she was quitting, she taught at Purdue University, Indiana – “is read diversely. And I’m not talking about demographics, though that’s part of it. Aesthetic diversity, genre diversity. It matters because it just makes us better informed, and it protects us from our worst instincts.”

    She reserves a particular ire for those who read only literary fiction. “Oh, but it exactly applies to them. Anybody who tells me, ‘I only read literary fiction,’ I’m just like, ‘Well, you’re an asshole. What are we going to talk about?’ Literary fiction – a lot of it’s not that good! I read good books. And they may not be the best written, but they tell a really good story. My favourite thing to read is spy thrillers, which I just love. I also read romance novels, because they are fun, and they are sweet, and they’ve got a happy ending, most of the time. The world is shit, so – I need that happy ending.”

    Went to her twitter feed for more and found this right away, is so spot on about medicine:

    A friend had half his stomach removed - seemed to help. Short of that, I think all this shaming about fat misses the points - we don't know how to control weight very well, and "self-control" is often missing the reasons for obesity by a longshot.

    But on the literary tip: Spanish academic gets €1.5m EU grant to rescue 'women's writing'

    I obviously agree with her take on identity politics. In the WaPo, E.J. Dionne noes the following:

    What all sides need to acknowledge is that identity politics is, of its nature, highly combustible. In his book “Modernity and Its Discontents,” Yale University political scientist Steven B. Smith offered this in an essay on the philosopher Isaiah Berlin: “Identities are not just things we have, they define who we are. We can compromise and balance interests. We cannot so easily adjudicate our identities.”

    This is important to bear in mind, because political coalitions and democratic nations alike require a degree of solidarity rooted in our willingness to uphold each other’s rights — partly to protect our own rights but also to fashion a more just social order.

    In grappling with the tensions entailed in identity politics, we can do worse than to remember Rabbi Hillel’s celebrated observation: “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I?” Hillel was not a political consultant, but his balanced approach remains sound, electorally as well as morally


    The basic political message is “Do unto others as you would have them do to you. “

    Luke 6:31


    I obviously agree with her take on identity politics

    That hasn't been obvious at all! Nearly just the opposite is what your words have communicated to me for many months.

    Always so much venom.

    That wasn't meant as an attack, that was merely a statement pointing out what you have communicated to this one reader member with your written words here in the past. If you didn't mean the words in the past, your communication has failed. You have very often voiced support for identity politics and tribalism and I have argued that tribalism and the associated identity politics are responsible for some of the worst evils in the world

    Conversely Roxanne Gay argues that ones needs to understand where "the other" is coming from by delving into their sub-culture (to be very clear, an example: including white ladies who read romance novels) to empathize across tribes, to break down tribal barriers. In this article, she sure sounds to me like she is in full support of breaking down tribalism.

    Other people can judge for themselves by reading your comments on this Fukuyama/Appiah thread or this thread on Five Thirty Eight on topic or  this post of yours or this one or this thread on common good vs. identity politics or your comments on my Cultural Appropriation thread

    If you no longer believe what you said many times before, If you've changed your mind on things, say it. Otherwise, it's clear to me that you don't understand what she's saying in the interview.

    Again, it's not an attack, it's a "huh? what the fuck? that is the opposite of what you've said a hundred time before".

    To reinforce, one main meme of identity politics has been "if you're not one of us, you wouldn't understand". Never mind empathy, human capacity for metaphor & shared experience. The rage against coopting & appropriation has been "this is ours, you don't even understand it well enough to borrow it, it's an insult to even try". Humans monkey-instinct to mimic, imitate is sidelined - "don't touch that".

    Gay seems the opposite - she wants to reach across the divide, to taste & feel. "That could be me!". Indeed, it could. We do walk a mile in each others' shoes every day - perhaps not the same exact size & color & tread, but close enough to get the gist of the journey. If we couldn't, we'd still be Japanese thinking non-islanders as monsters; Anglos thinking of dark-skinned people as sub-human; Africans thinking of white people as ghost spirits (much like the Cantonese "gweilo" or "foreign devil").

    While it's easy to stay focused on the rampant injustices that abound, it's also easy to forget that blacks and other minorities now have more outlets, more of a voice, more opportunity, more routes to appeal injustice and often win. They have hope if they can grasp it, which is of course not the same as assurance. And they now have the right to exist, to stake their claim, to fight back, perhaps to prevail, to take part in and own the system. However that's attacked, it's a far cry from earlier subservient and marginalized and mostly helpless status.

    "You're fired!" - something few of us question.

    Identity politics is generally defined as doing the white thing. Blacks are supposed to reach across the aisle to the other, usually the white working class.

    Here is Roxanne Gay on the white working class

    When a lot of the mainstream media talks about the working class, there is a tendency to romanticize, to idealize them as the most authentic Americans. They are “real” and their problems are “real” problems, as if everyone else is dealing with artificial obstacles. We see this in some of the breathless media coverage of Trump voters and in a lot of the online chatter about the “Roseanne” reboot. What often goes unsaid is that when the working class is defined in our cultural imagination, we are talking about white people, even though the real American working class is made up of people from many races and ethnicities.

    During a Television Critics Association panel promoting the show, Ms. Barr said, “it was working-class people who elected Trump.”

    This myth persists, but it is only a myth. Forty-one percent of voters earning less than $50,000 voted for Mr. Trump while 53 percent voted for Hillary Clinton. Forty-nine percent of voters earning between $50,000 and $100,000 voted for Mr. Trump while 47 percent voted for Mrs. Clinton. The median income of these voters was $72,000, while the median income of Hillary Clinton voters was $61,000. A significant number of middle-class and wealthy white people contributed to Trump’s election.

    In the show, during an exchange about their political disagreement, Roseanne tells Jackie one of the reasons she voted for Mr. Trump is because he “talked about jobs.” And that was all the political ideology we got. If we are to believe the circumstances of this character’s life, a few vague words about “jobs” was more than enough to compel Roseanne, with inadequate health care, with vulnerable grandchildren, and struggling to make ends meet, to vote for Mr. Trump.

    How do you reach people who make dangerous political choices grounded in self-interest? When Roseanne and Jackie finally reconcile, Roseanne never apologizes or concedes. She merely tells Jackie, “I forgive you,” and Jackie acknowledges how hard that was for Roseanne. Clearly, we cannot reach people who make dangerous, myopic political choices. We concede, as Jackie does, or we resist, as hopefully the rest of us will.

    Her advice.....Resist


    My comment on the use of the term identity politics which Fukuyama wants to replace with a national creed.

    Identity politics is simply a technique used to attempt to silence marginalized groups. I’ll take the identity politics of W.E.B. DuBois, Martin Luther King Jr, Fannie Lou Hamer, Malcolm X, and William Barber over Fukuyama’s never to be agreed upon national creed any day of the week. The national creed was in full operation during the Civil Rights, Women’s Rights, and Gay Rights movements. Identity politics is a call for maintaining the status quo and wait for the national creed to magically decide that you are a person worthy of respect.

    by rmrd0000 on Tue, 08/28/2018 - 11:13am

    Edit to add: Here is a more complete discussion by Roxane Gay about identity politics 


    Lorretta Ross, co-founder and national coordinator of the SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, asked Gay to speak about the “white tribalism” of the left, and how white liberals have thrown out discussion of identity politics to focus on the economic anxiety.

    “White people on the left, especially those who are into politics, are using identity politics as an offering and say ‘Hey, we’re going to blame identity politics and get on board with Bernie Sanders and economic populism, so that we can get forward, and then we’ll come back to you,’” Gay said.

    According to Gay, the biggest disservice to people of color and marginalized groups is the phrase “identity politics.”

    “It allows people to dismiss really important issues, and that people are so willing on the left to know better and to be better to throw queer people, people of color, working class people…[anyone] not white under the bus just shows so that white tribalism supersedes all.”







    You're making a mess of the term "identity politics", and who knows why the whole Roseanne bit. Identity Politics is simply paying attention to the issues surrounding and emanating one's particular characteristics - ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disabilities, age, etc., maybe religion - things one cannot change or separates one from the whole. The dismissal of Identity Polutics started largely as a Bernie Marxist "class covers it all, who needs to worry about identity?" followed post-election with shirt-rending/pearl-clutching over the fate and whims of poorer whites in flyover country - the other Identity Politics. 

    In any case, in the original piece, Gay notes she can take in and understand the plight of these different people - I.e. easily empathize with "the other". It may not be perfect, but it's generally good enough, and many of these identity pieces are core to what rankles or drives people, vs a more generic cillective issue, though somethink like health care might cut across the divides to be a more common and solidifying issue (though obviously not completely, as the GOP has turned healthcare into a dirty word).

    Here's how two Duke U psychologists suggest we fix the problemwink (article @

    P.S. Aum.

    Like the Buddhist going into a Subway shop, "Make me one with everything".

    Gay says

    How do you reach people who make dangerous political choices grounded in self-interest?

    and concludes

    Clearly, we cannot reach people who make dangerous, myopic political choices. We concede, as Jackie does, or we resist, as hopefully the rest of us will

    Marginalized groups have grievances. We can empathize. When a group is willing to make choices that directly harm marginalized groups, there will be resistance. When MLK pressed for access to jobs and equal pay., white working class viewed that as a threat and was willing to cast votes that specifically limited minority access to jobs and education. White voters are willing to vote for a party that suppressed minority votes. Gay notes that there is no outreach to those people. The response is resistance. In Georgia, Stacey Abrams is headed back to court.She is not making a futile effort to break bread with Kemp.

    Identity politics is used to suggest that marginalized groups seeking justice can “cause” whites to feel put upon. Whites get to decide when minorities are asking for too much. Marginalized groups wind being asked to respect the plight of white supremacists, for example. Roxane Gay does not agree with that. Gay and E.J. Dionne put the burden on the majority community to change. Identity politics suggests that there is a “ both sides do tot problem. Gay says that she may empathize, but is not bending to the desires of the opposition. She calls for resistance.

    To be clear, blacks voted for Marion Barry in his crack years, for Jesse Jackson Jr, for Mugabe, backed Winnie Mandela, etc. People make bad decisions all the time, including unprincipled ones (such as supporting a woman who supported tossing burning tires on her opposition)

    I simply refuse to let you hijack her for your tribalist all-black-people-think-and-act-alike agenda by cherry picking a few quotes to take all the nuance she loves out of her work in order to make her a member of your (imagined) tribe.

    Instead, here's what she's advertising on a banner on her Twitter home page:

    A Pop-up magazine by Roxane Gay & Medium on what it means to live in a human body today: bodies

    Created by best-selling author Roxane Gay and Medium, Unruly Bodies is a month-long magazine exploring our ever-changing relationship with our bodies - the emotional, the psychological, the cultural, and the scientific. Gay has brought together 25 writers to expand upon the conversation she started in her memoir "Hunger," releasing a batch of new features and essays every Tuesday this April.

    The site explores our relationship with our bodies. She discusses obesity. I linked to articles where she discusses politics.

    This is a diversion.

    Obesity is part of identity. There's a whole class of discrimination based on being heavy, and fat black women have it much much harder than trim black women, I'm sure. And if you discuss say black access to healthcare or black employment without taking obesity into account, I imagine you miss some useful lessons and quandaries.

    Your statement does nothing to counter the fact that Liberals use the term identity politics to dismiss grievances. 

    You gave an example of a man kicked out of a hotel for talking on his phone in the lobby. The fact that people were fired is not a point of celebration. A segment of white people need to be trained to treat people of color with respect..

    There was an incident involving a high school wrestler who had his dreadlocks cut off to prevent forfeiting a match. The young man won the match despite the humiliation. The referee who forced the dreadlocks removed has been suspended. This is not a victory. No one in the crowd at the match protested the abuse. This is chilling.

    Identity politics suggests that this is a”both sides do it” issue, that is a lie.

    Trump saw bad people on both sides and compared Nazis to Progressive activists. Nonsense.

    Tossing too many things in the blender. Did liberals kick the guy out of the lobby? Did liberals dismiss his grievance? Did liberals think firing someone closed the case? What is this °segment of white people° who need to be trained, and a) how will you recognize them, and b) how will you force them to attend class?

    More hair anecdotes - I had the school bitching about my hair all through high school, as it was the time of pushing hair limits. I've been pulled over by cops for both long hair & driving a van, and been heavily checked at customs because of my hair & a stamp from a suspected party/druggie country, even though I had an executive position and an office in that country (my business card seemed to tone the bastard down a bit). Welcome to the world of hair discrimination - I was there several decades before y`all. But my cases didn't make the papers, nor do I worry about it, but I am surprised that you`re continually surprised there are hair codes in this world. Hat-tip: restaurants will make kitchen help wear hair nets. Them damn liberals again...

    I told you that most Democrats were supportive of Identity Politics, i.e. paying attention to people's problems stemming from their different attributes, and that it was Bernie who led the  °it;s all class warfare at heart° dismissal - and he certainly doesn;t speak for all liberals.

    Special kudos for the Godwin Award - I didn`t see the Nazi ref coming over a haircut or getting thrown out of a room/lobby.

    I figured you wouldn’t get it. Daily crap is why marginalized groups express complaints. Whites call it identity politics 

    BTW, Mark Lilla’s NYT article “The End of Identity Liberalism” was the tip of the spear on Liberals who blamed Hillary’s loss on identity politics.

    Steve Brannon and others on the right have run with the term to energize the base.

    The term is now meaningless




    So an article the month of Hillary's defeat is the definitive word on Identity Politics, even though there was a huge outpouring of female marchers a couple months after & a wave of females and minorities in the midterms a month ago - good to know. How's Bannon's European tour going? Not too swell, eh? The right can run with all the terms they want - their base is splintering. But sure, throw "News of the Day" at me as if that's going to settle something.

    The Mark Lila article was the source of much debate at the time.

    Gay says that identity politics allows Liberals to dismiss grievances. I gave an example of the child abuse inflicted upon the young wrestler, you said that is was no different than your experiences. Classic dismissal. 

    The term identity politics does not impart information. Rwandan genocide = identity politics. Demanding voter’s rights= identity politics, marching for justice = Nazis carrying tiki torches. 

    Gay notes


    All politics are identity politics—except the politics of white people

    1:31 PM · Sep 7, 2017 · Twitter


    Identity politics is generally defined as doing the white thing

    No it's not. It's been pointed out to you many times, including again here on this thread by PP, how you use the word differently from most people, in a confused and confusing manner where you end up arguing contradictory things. This kind of imprecise use of language is the death of communication.

    Generally it is used to describe a political ethos long used by activist marginalized minority tribes of all kinds having been recently hijacked by Trump fans to represent a white group. When traditionally in identity politics white was considered the majority enemy. And that the hijacking of identity politics by Trump types just shows the fatal flaw of the ethos as it is practiced by other tribes: it ramps up divisiveness.

    We've gotten to where we've nearly "them"ed ourselves to death. Them and them and them. But this is America. There is no them; there's only us. ~ Bill Clinton

    I gave direct quotes from Roxane Gay. She criticizes the term identity politics and says it is used by white Liberals to dismiss complaints of marginalized groups.

    Identity politics starts of with the statement that groups have been marginalized by the white majority. Both Fukuyama and Appiah start with this premise. Instead of constructing methodologies to stop the marginalization, they say that at some point segments of the white majority feel aggrieved and then form white supremacy groups as a response. They both agree that white supremacy is abhorrent, but they ask the marginalized groups to find a solution. The solution is changing the hearts of white people.

    In nation elections, blacks, Latinos, and Asian majorities vote for the least racist candidates. Whites elected Trump. Roxane Gay clearly states that you cannot reach out to Trump supporters. Decent people have left the GOP because they cannot abide the racism. 

    You created a post that lamented that the “Left” would not give credit to Trump for supporting justice reform. The truth is that this is a bill that should have been passed before, but was blocked y the GOP. It is a rational bill that could have been passed earlier but was blocked. Trump gets not thanks. LBJ helped pass Civil Rights legistion. The next think LBJ did was criticize the Vietnam War. The struggle continues.

    The post is about Roxane Gay. I point to her words about identity politics. She does not sugarcoat her feelings. You try to whitesplain her words.


    yes, it's very clear what you did, you went and googled "Roxane Gay identity politics" in order to cherry pick some quotes from her to fit your closed mind single repetitive narrative. All I see is that once again you want to take every writer with black skin and mold them to your single repetitive jihad. To use them all as a foil. We actually get rmrd's-view-of-the-world splainin' over and over and over

    I was not trying to 'splain her. Because I not trying to fit her work into a narrative. This thread is actually because this article intrigued me, back to the top of the page, what I said

    MADE ME WANT TO READ HER WORK: Roxane Gay: ‘Public discourse rarely allows for nuance. And see where that’s gotten us’

    So I am not at all interested in rmrd's revisionist version of Roxane Gay's work as judged by a few cherry-picked quotes. Judging by your past and current commentary, I am highly suspect of it. Did you ever think of doing nuance?

    Did you ever think of framing your commentary this way: This quote by Roxane is interesting and then being open to more input from others on what she might be addressing with additional examples of her work? Instead of just trying to demagogue what a writer is trying to say, and use them as foils for your own favorite memes about "black  people", and actually try to honestly discuss what a writer is trying to say? You know, nuance. As in artful nuance, art, complexities of the human condition. I suspected, from The Guardian headline, that she wanted some nuance in reaction to her work. Just sayin', has nothing to with whitesplainin', has a lot to do with respecting an artist's integrity as an individual. And liking the idea of public discourse allowing for nuance rather than constantly plugging a political narrative, now that's something that really appeals to me.

    Yeah pointing out exactly what she said about identity politics and white Liberals lacks nuance. More whitesplaining. 

    Here are Gay’s words on how to deal with Trump.

    Gay cited the adoption of Michelle Obama’s oft-cited “They go low, we go high,” statement, the use of “nasty woman” by Hillary Clinton supporters as a slogan and “love Trumps hate” as understandable but misguided attempts to find comfort or solidarity.

    “Millions of people went on to parrot these words with no understanding of the world and how it really works,” Gay said. “Too many people were and are invested in this idea of purity and infallibility to realize that there can be no purity in fighting fascism. There is no high road with a man who has appointed a white supremacist as his chief strategist in the White House. When they go low we have to be willing to go lower if we have any hope of resisting their greedy, shallow and insular brand of fascism.”

    Her words are much different than those of Corey Booker who preaches love. I suggest you actually read Roxane Gay before commenting on what she said.

    She is proud of being buddies with this Debbie Millman babe, I am attempting to figure out what that's all about, haven't yet:

    You can follow the journey on her instagram, starting here: I’m pretty proud yes.

    — roxane gay (@rgay) December 30, 2018

    Edit to add: Christoph Nieman, one of Millman's memes, is a German illustrator/artist working in NY that I don't know much about. It appears he has done one or more TED talks including on visual language and others on fears that the creative have to overcome


    Another I'd like to get around to reading, a philosopher this time:

    The Philosopher Redefining Equality

    Elizabeth Anderson thinks we’ve misunderstood the basis of a free and fair society.

    By Nathan Heller @ for Jan. 2 issue. The money excerpt for me:

     “If you look back at the origins of liberalism, it starts first with a certain settlement about religious difference,” she said. “Catholics, Protestants—they’re killing each other! Finally, Germany, England, all these places say, We’re tired of these people killing each other, so we’re going to make a peace settlement: religious toleration, live and let live.”

    She spread her hands wider. “Then something remarkable happens,” she said. “People now have the freedom to have crosscutting identities in different domains. At church, I’m one thing. At work, I’m something else. I’m something else at home, or with my friends. The ability not to have an identity that one carries from sphere to sphere but, rather, to be able to slip in and adopt whatever values and norms are appropriate while retaining one’s identities in other domains?” She paused. “That is what it is to be free.”

    I read most of the New Yorker piece as referenced in a neoliberal discussion-cum-proselytizing at Emptywheel (not Marcy, Ed), and was quite disappointed with the overt hagiography. Even your quote - how do you separate your various lives when prospective employers ask for social media accounts and off-work activities are grounds for firing. As well as some of the social media postings that are used as "abetting terrorism", counter to free speech? How many actirs and politicians and media figures are getting dinged for past un-PC comments recorded by the eternal Akashic internetz records? Seems like a figure 10 years too late.

    I have trouble seeing why weight-loss surgery is "giving up" - if you're born with a 3rd leg, they'd take it off. "If thy eye offend thee, pluck it out" (a passage I stared at with perverse interest as a kid). If clamping off half your stomach helps, jolly good.

    Great thread with some very cool upcoming projects and creators

    — GodisRivera (@GodisRivera) January 10, 2019

    Note for PP: check out Gurza's self-deprecating handle


    Plus nipples ablaze in his logo. Should I do something similar, "Your fuckwad implacable part-time administrator"? Might make me more popular (hard to make me less...)

    She sounds even more awesome:

    In 'Don't Label Me,' Irshad Manji Has a Radical Prescription for Fellow Progressives: "Stop Shaming and Start Listening"

    In her new book, "Don’t Label Me," author Irshad Manji offers a radical prescription for progressive call-out culture.

    By Mary Kay Schilling @, Feb. 21

    [....] Three decades of debating people ensconced in rigid identity; of coaching others to exercise moral courage (“doing the right thing in the face of your fears”); of the escalating tribalism exposed by the election of President Trump—all of it made her despair. “Wanting a divorce from my species,” Manji writes in Don’t Label Me, “I slumped into pessimism.”

    A blind and aging rescue dog named Lily—Manji’s “mentor and tormentor”—offered her a way out. The book is an imaginary conversation between them, resulting in a passionate, playful and persuasive argument for rejecting dishonest diversity—the categorizing that fixates on biology (white, black, male, female, LGBT, straight, etc.)—and its attendant and unforgiving call-out culture “where asking the wrong question gets you slammed. If derelict systems will ever evolve,” she writes, “people have to risk giving offense.”

    Or as Chris Rock, a Manji fan, put it, “Right now, I’d like to say something biting and controversial but I’m too scared of the backlash it could create. That’s why we need this book. Because nobody should be afraid to speak their mind, not even stupid people like me.”

     Manji spoke with Newsweek about the rise of shaming on the left, and choosing honest over dishonest diversity [....]

    Roxane Gay's new online magazine covering "everything cultural", from a May 1 email

    Welcome, readers,

    Gay Magazine is here.

    Gay is a new publication partnership between me and Medium, and this magazine will deliver some of the most imaginative, heartfelt, and intelligent cultural criticism to be found online. I, along with my team—Deputy Editor Laura June and Managing Editor Kaitlyn Adams—will be publishing new stories weekly covering everything cultural, from what shapes who we are; to the politics that govern us; to the books, movies, and television we consume. We’ll also be releasing ambitious, compelling quarterly themed issues, the first two of which will explore pleasure and pain [....]

    From the site, May 1

    Gay Mag

    [....] I have not reinvented the editorial wheel. I am not disrupting online publishing. I don’t have all the answers.

    What I do have is vision. I have a lot of heart. I am ambitious. I am going to capitalize on what I’ve learned after more than a decade of editing and many more years of writing. With Gay Magazine I am creating an online space where writers are afforded the time to produce their best work and the compensation they deserve for that effort. We will publish intelligently provocative work rather than mindlessly provocative work. Representation matters so inclusion is integral to everything we do. We will not tokenize. We will embrace not only diverse writers but diverse voices and aesthetics. Our writers will be supported throughout the publication process. They won’t be expected to cannibalize themselves for clicks. They won’t be abandoned when there is an unexpected critical response. Their work will be treated with an incisive eye and necessary care. We will focus on nurturing talent and publishing work we find compelling and necessary. We will respect our readers’ time and intelligence. We will challenge our readers and ourselves. We will have fun [....]

    same meme:

    Ta-Nehisi Coates is tooting the same meme:

    Why Ta-Nehisi Coates thinks fiction can save America

    @, Aug. 7

    Acclaimed writer Ta-Nehisi Coates thinks a little art could help us all.

    In an interview with Vanity Fair, Coates talked about the limits of nonfiction and journalism when it comes to fixing our country in this era of "tragedy and violence and darkness and horribleness."

    Coates believes that fiction, which focuses on the stories of individuals, convinces readers to be invested in people who live outside their realm of experience in a way that journalism and nonfiction writing are currently failing to do. "Essential stories and constructs of who we are" have the ability to change minds, not lists of facts. Creative nonfiction, he said, "is not up to the task of humanizing. That's not what it's for." Fiction, meanwhile, can provide some much-needed empathizing and even feel truer to life, he said [....]

    What I find hilarious is that you think that Roxane Gay and you are on the same page on identity politics. Your understanding of Gay is extremely limited.

    You read:

    She rejects the very phrase “identity politics”: “It’s used like a weapon. What it means is, ‘I don’t want to think about your concerns. I don’t want to have to extend my empathy.’” Instead, she argues, everyone, on all sides, has to try to understand and accept complication, fight against dichotomies, essentialism. “We have to think with nuance, and unfortunately public discourse rarely allows for nuance. And see where that has gotten us.”

    You read “rejects identity politics” and “nuance” and you are certain that she agrees with you.

    You praise her because you think she is on your side. Here is more detail about her view on identity politics.

    Lorretta Ross, co-founder and national coordinator of the SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, asked Gay to speak about the “white tribalism” of the left, and how white liberals have thrown out discussion of identity politics to focus on the economic anxiety.

    “White people on the left, especially those who are into politics, are using identity politics as an offering and say ‘Hey, we’re going to blame identity politics and get on board with Bernie Sanders and economic populism, so that we can get forward, and then we’ll come back to you,’” Gay said.

    According to Gay, the biggest disservice to people of color and marginalized groups is the phrase “identity politics.”

    “It allows people to dismiss really important issues, and that people are so willing on the left to know better and to be better to throw queer people, people of color, working class people…[anyone] not white under the bus just shows so that white tribalism supersedes all.”

    Gay is saying that white Liberal tribalists are using identity politics to dismiss important issues. She is directly addressing you and your pity olympics and you are not bright enough to understand. You are the white tribalist she describes.


    You are hilarious.

    I don't know Gay so you may be right. I haven't read her so I didn't comment on this thread. But one of the two problems I have with your writing is your use of strawman arguments instead of directly dealing with what people are saying and the lack of complexity and nuance in your arguments. So I'm not all that sure she wouldn't have that same problem of lack of nuance with you.

    What is your interpretation of AA’s use of pity olympics? How is pity olympics not dismissive?

    Your old style black white dichotomy is stuck in the 50's. Racism still exists but it's changed for most of America. You're talking like the fringe element of white supremacists defines the whole of the republican party. That's what I mean when I say your views lack complexity. This article is a good example of how I think about authoritarianism and it's connection to racism.

    The question was about the use of pity olympics.

    I have little interest in discussing the subject in the boring way you discuss it. And you refuse to address my points and simply use strawmen to avoid that discussion. You're just talking to yourself while making a pretense that we're having a dialog. I'm not going to participate in that type of discussion.

    I posed a question. You don’t want to answer that is fine with me. I do find you dodge a using though.

    I've never used the term "pity olympics" on this site ever. I posted a comment. Instead of responding you asked me  a question about something I've never said. Then you claim I'm dodging. I haven't given any thought to the term pity olympics. I'm uninterested in a discussion of pity olympics. That's why I don't use the words.

    I suggest you talk about pity olympics with people who talk about pity olympics and talk to me about the things I post.


    But then we wouldn't be one evil hegemon trying to defeat his clarion message about how to solve everything of import in the world.  the U.S. (forget the world, he doesn't go there, the complexities therein dilute his message.) Where everything of import = racism.

    Of course we don't just agree on every issue, we think about them and write about them in exactly the same way. But it's important to maintain the illusion we're individuals. You know I secretly agree with everything you've posted on art I know you secretly agree with everything I posted on art but we should probably have another fake heated argument on art to maintain the pretense that we sometimes don't 100% agree. It's a side issue of little importance and won't get in the way of our secret agenda to have a united front attacking rmrd.

    eta: oops, did I accidentally post this publicly? PP please delete this comment. It was meant to be a private message to Arta. Thanks partner.

    I refuse to do your bidding because that would show we're in lockstep and people would think know we're Deep State. Oh crap, that got posted too. How about I just erase it all, no one's reading Dag on a Sun evening, getting ready for din-din. Except Michael's doing some maintenance so he has admin wipe-down mode disabled for the moment while he's scarfing down borsch and pirogis, will wait for him to come up for air then will deal with it, 'tay bro? thanks for being understanding - I know it's tough for you playing a gruff guy on the internetz, but for the moment you can be yourself. Just like Arty & all that pretend faux art stuff - not sure i've ever met someone who hated art more than i do, but she manages to carry around that pretentious art community guise like a pro, you'd almost think it real. Figger in an hour we'll be all back normal. Will set an alarm so I don't forget to wake up - a bit late over here in socialist Europe land.

    What ever you think is best. But don't forget we have important work to do. Remember how Sanders was about to win the primary and it was only our posts on Dagblog that gave Hillary the win. We need to quickly choose which candidate we're going to support and use the power of Dagblog and our nationwide influence to give her the nomination. There's a lot of candidates and there are other websites that have influence too. Not quite as much as we have with Dagblog but if they get a head start it will be much harder for us to control the election. I might suggest you erase a couple of rmrd's post and claim it was a tos violation. Any post will do. That will marginalize him so we can decide who will win the primary without interference.

    I think the echo chamber seems to be working fine.

    I did not say that you used the term. I was simply asking your interpretation of the meaning.

    Instead of addressing what I actually said.

    and hey, this is exactly the problem Roxane Gay is addressing in The Guardian article. That people like rmrd need to read more literature or something in order to see everything is not black and white, to relate to other humans on an individual level and not to keep politicizing every damn thing. I came back to this thread because I saw Ta-Nehisi is now on board with the literary fiction is the answer thing. I believe this, you see: you cannot change cultures through force of law. You change them with more culture--though I think movies and television are more powerful than books these days.

    Rmrd doesn't see that not trading cultures, sticking to tribalism and not mingling, what is derided as "appropriation", that is the actual problem. His attitude is what feeds Trump. How you get a prejudiced or hurtful culture to change is interacting, not tribe. There is no end game to sticking to your own kind except segregation, the best law and government can do if you are going to take that attitude is:"separate but equal".

    It is amazing that you do not see yourself in her description of dismissive white tribalists.

    The problem really is that he doesn't get that diversity is not a synonym for tribalism and partisanship, but that a diverse society is virtually the opposite of  tribalism.  What I suspect: For some unrelated reason he got a bee in his bonnet that Fukuyama is an enemy, so when Fukuyama started pounding the drum of "tribalism is our main problem in the world right now", he decided that he has to be for tribalism and he somehow has to mesh tribalism with activists groups, even though it makes zero sense. 

    First, labelling whites like that is racist. It's bound toto piss people off, and the worst is it pisses off deplorable Trump supporters the most.

    Second, much of that "identity politics" framing was from Bernie to shut down "voting your uterus/vagina" that favored Hillary as the first female candidate with a chance, as well as dismissing her early wins across the south and actively cultivated a strong connection with black voters. She certainly didn't dismiss gay issues - she single-handedly gave gays in the State Department partner benefits equivalent to married couples, seemed to have decent buy-in from the LGTB community. That she won a majority of votes, and roughly half white women expresses that identity politics wasn't dismissed by "white liberals", despite Bernie trying to claim all of this as unified by a class and economics, falling back on standard Marxist cant.

    You are wrong. Whites of good conscience are not going to become racist because some other whites are labeled racist. Goldwater and Duke lost. People are breathing a sigh of relief now that Democrats are calling Trump what he is, a white nationalist. Avoiding the obvious is cowardice.

    Nobody here said that they would.

    I don't know who you come here to yell at, maybe your co-workers, who knows, but it's not us and you can't seem to understand anything people here say. We are not your co-workers and don't want to role play them just so you can test out arguments against them. We don't even want to hear it, we're not interested. If you want to scream about your most unfavorite whypipple straw men somewhere and get dittoes, this is clearly not the place, they're not here, it makes no sense.

    I do not think it is a wise use of time to decode your language, but one thing easily becomes clear to me with the above comment: People are breathing a sigh of relief really means rmrd is breathing a sigh of relief. You don't speak for others, you speak for one user name,  you're not a preacher and this is not a church. You'd get less flack if you used the first person in your writing. Then it's just your opinion and you're not preaching. It's constantly irritating to read rmrd say what a whole community thinks or what a whole political party thinks, as if he is god and knows exactly what a whole group of people think, and with no qualifiers and in declarative sentences. Whether you like it or not, the people who use this website are all individualists and not eager to be included on rmrd's imagined team. No one here thinks the same way, that's why they spend time here, to get input from other minds.

    See reply below to PP.

    Edit to add: 

    White voters of good conscience will come out to defeat Trump. The racists are maxed out. See the midterms.


    " You are wrong. Whites of good conscience are not going to become racist because some other whites are labeled racist. " -  WHERE THE FUCK DID I SAY THAT? YOU'RE TALKING TO YOURSELF. And then you're off on a traipse down memory lane with Goldwater and Duke, who are entirely different from each other - Goldwater being a fairly mainstream anti-New Deal Republican and Duke being a fringe racist -  and Goldwater's watershed was 55 years ago, but basically passed the mantle to Reagan to win bigly 40 years ago. As for Duke, he had maybe 3 years of relevancy around '89-'91 when he briefly served crappily in the LA State House & strong but failed showing for US Senate & Governor. Since then he's history who tries to pimp himself & stay in the news, but he's gone - yeah, he stroked a headline by quasi-endorsing Trump, but he's irrelevant.

    What I am saying is that white voters of good conscience will overwhelm racist whites voters at the polls. Calling out Trump as a white nationalist is beneficial. 

    Ed Gillespie ran a racist campaign against Ralph Northam in Virginia and lost.

    Obviously, this was before the blackface yearbook was made public.

    The public will reject open racists. Be confident.

    Heck, Steven King just barely won his race.


    I really just have no interest in constant political advice from rmrd. I don't even have any interest in partisanship, I dislike it and I am an Independent. PP and Oceankat (and Flavius and moat and Wolraich and Maiello etc.) have an interest but they read everyday the analysis of many political experts and therefore aren't in need of rmrd repeating his same prescription for how to win elections over and over and over for years. They got it, they got your message and would like to move on to others. They don't need another cut and paste of your analysis of MLK and Goldwater, et. al. Seems to me repetition is not their friend, they are not into amens and dittos and call and response, what they are into is learning new things and writing about them and growing their knowledge and thinking skills, sharing thoughts on the news with other minds. Not a site for pep rally or rousing sermon purposes. Not unless you bring in new members who want that.

    I wrote that I largely agreed with Hillary's "basket of deplorables" framing, even though MSM & pundits decided it was the worst thing ever. Whatevs.

    But I also said I don't think Trump is a white nationalist as much as he's a self-absorbed psychopath. He'll pump up some racism to get his base all excited or distract from another issue, but i think he's simply a white Trumpist, out for himself, everyone else is open for abuse. But if you want to label him a white nationalist to good effect, God speed. I'm just not sure it loses him more votes than it gains him in the end. "white voters of good conscience" is a pretty nebulous term, and after we lose next election we'll decide we didn't have enough of them.

    I don’t see a Democratic message that would to the racists, so I see no reason to avoid calling them out.

    PP's talking to us few on this site, not all Democrats! He's sharing his complex thoughts about Trump with us. He is not presuming the whole electorate is listening. He sees no reason to "call out the racists" on this site every fucking minute. We are just people talking to each other. No call and response thing going on, no preaching, no forming into tribes and labeling "with us or against us". Why can't you get that? You are not talking to the world here and you are not running for office, at least not under the rmrd pseudonym. If you were, you sure are spending a heck of lot of energy on just a few people.Please QUIT BAITING THE PEOPLE ON THIS SITE INTO BEING YOUR ENEMY, we don't want to play straw man, we want to talk with each other and share news analysis.

    The discussion included if calling Trump a white nationalist would energize his base.

    you don't do this, you do the opposite

    everyone, on all sides, has to try to understand and accept complication, fight against dichotomies, essentialism. “We have to think with nuance, and unfortunately public discourse rarely allows for nuance. And see where that has gotten us.”

    to you, nearly everything you have expressed on this site is with the dichotomy: blacks vs. whites.

    So, pity olympics is a unifying message?

    As per the description on google for this site, it was not created to find a unifying message for the electorate or harangue people to join your partisan cause whatever that might be, but Politics, business, arts, sports, satire, etc. One cup liberal politics, two tbsp penetrating analysis, a dash of witty repartee.

    You should try the last one some time instead of making us all into straw men to argue with. We all realize you are angry and passionate about racism and that's all you want to talk about for years on end. But you will never find willing partners here for that unless you bring them along. This site will never change the world, deal with it. The preaching gets tiresome.

    In Defense of Fiction by Zadie Smith for New York Review of Books Oct. 24 print ssue

    [....] I don’t claim I imagined any of this correctly—only compulsively. And what I did in life, I did with books. I lived in them and felt them live in me. I felt I was Jane Eyre and Celie and Mr. Biswas and David Copperfield. Our autobiographical coordinates rarely matched. I’d never had a friend die of consumption or been raped by my father or lived in Trinidad or the Deep South or the nineteenth century. But I’d been sad and lost, sometimes desperate, often confused. It was on the basis of such flimsy emotional clues that I found myself feeling with these imaginary strangers: feeling with them, for them, alongside them and through them, extrapolating from my own emotions, which, though strikingly minor when compared to the high dramas of fiction, still bore some relation to them, as all human feelings do. The voices of characters joined the ranks of all the other voices inside me, serving to make the idea of my “own voice” indistinct. Or maybe it’s better to say: I’ve never believed myself to have a voice entirely separate from the many voices I hear, read, and internalize every day. [.....]

    I'm torn between being Buck Rogers and Gregor Samsa.
    I really don't feel it does them justice to be both.
    [though occasionally a bit of Waldo Jeffers sneaks in -
    that's embarrassing]

    a true empath:

    Latest Comments