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A-ha! (Scott Adams)
I just read Steven Green’s take on Scott Adams in today’s “Insanity Wrap” on PJ Media, and a light came on. Green makes the very good point that Adams is handling this in a clumsy manner, not his usual style at all. Why would a guy who believes himself to have a solid understanding of human nature put himself in this position? Even if he made the first move by accident, surely he recognized the situation immediately, and could have handled it better?
Green’s theory is that Adams wants an excuse to take Dilbert private without it being his fault. A quote from the piece:
The key to unlocking any remaining mystery is right here in something Adams tweeted on Monday, hours after he released the Kraken: “Now that I have no anchor on my free speech, tomorrow will be fun.”
This is the most reasonable explanation I’ve encountered on the whole matter. Green also notes an interview where Adams says his characters exist only to make him money, and he has probably tapped out the syndication gig, and is quite capable of putting out his own calendars, books and swag. What better way to get out of the contracts preventing him from doing it all himself?
RTWT.Published in General
Personally, I don’t have the impression that Adams is handling the situation in a clumsy manner.
My impression is that he discovered polling data indicating that almost half of black Americans have an outrageously bad view of white people. A view that, if the data was reversed, would be presented as evidence of dreadful white hatred and racism. I think that, if the polling data on this question were reversed, mainstream media and social media outlets would be shouting it from the rooftops as evidence of “systemic racism” and white supremacy, or some such.
It seems, to me, that many people, including many who are on the conservative side, have a Pollyanna-ish view of race relations. The facts may be quite unpleasant, as many facts contradict the established narrative of both the Republicans and the Democrats. The Democrat narrative is something like continued oppression of blacks through systemic racism. The Republican narrative is something like broad devotion to a colorblind vision.
The facts do not seem to support either narrative.
There is systemic pro-black racism in this country, built into policy. There is evidence that blacks have a racial consciousness and solidarity — as do many other groups — that white people are forbidden to have, for some reason. There is evidence of large group differences in the distribution of traits, characteristics, and behaviors, from intelligence to criminality to promiscuity to illegitimacy.
My impression is that most people, including most here at Ricochet, are in a state of denial with respect to this evidence.
So it seems to me that Adams is simply pointing out an unpleasant fact about the attitude of about half of the black population towards whites, and drawing the reasonable inference from that fact, by questioning why a white person would want to have anything to do with a member of a group that has such an attitude.
Of course, not every black person shares that attitude, but you’re probably not going to be able to determine, with confidence, which do and which do not.
We’re in an ugly place right now, in race relations in this country. I am not optimistic about things getting better. It does seem to have gotten worse, and I suspect that Barack Obama bears much of the blame for that, but he was also a symptom.
Looking back, race relations seemed to be at their best in the 1990s in this country. But even then, we had the Rodney King riots and the whole OJ episode.
Maybe both-and? That is, Adams is, by nature, an instigator and iconoclast —like Bill Maher, the makers of South Park, Dave Chapelle and a few others. Like them, he has acquired enough of what is sometimes called “F@#$ You Money,” meaning that he (and presumably his family) are secure enough financially and perhaps in terms of relationships, ego strength, spiritual groundedness etc. for him to feel free to instigate.
I don’t mean that he’s causing trouble for its own sake. Instead, he is trying to provoke a conversation that he believes needs to happen, and that isn’t going to happen unless it’s provoked. The clumsiness may be part of the strategy—if he was less obnoxious and offensive, his point might slide under the radar. He wants it to blow up the radar.
If, at the same time, he can use the resulting kerfuffle to get out of contracts he doesn’t want to be in any longer anyhow…so much the better.
The real question is: Is it working? That is, are people actually discussing his point (that large numbers of black people have a real animus towards white people, and if so, is self-protective separation the only rational course for whites) or are they happy with denouncing him?
As it happens, I don’t really think the Rasmusson poll reveals what it claims to, though I’m open to correction.
Because “It’s Okay To Be White” fairly famously began as a 4-Chan troll (and a brilliant one, IMHO) respondents may have been answering what they believed to be an implicit question, namely “do you agree with 4-Chan and the Alt-Right.”
A similar thing might happen if a pollster asked me “do black lives matter?” Ten years ago, the answer would have been obvious because the question would seem straightforward. Now, it’s a trick question—as Bernie Sanders, among others, discovered to their cost.
Bold strategy Cotton. Let’s see if it pays off for him.
The easy way to make money was to just take in royalties while doing nothing. The idea of starting over while he is a damaged brand is like swimming up a waterfall. Face it. He is toast. Maybe his weird speech problem led to poor socialization.
What about the millions and millions of people who may have never even heard of 4-Chan, let alone ever interacted with it to the slightest degree?
That’s why I’m open to correction! Maybe I’ll ask a few disinterested persons how they’d answer that question?
Be sure to ask if they the question is confusing or ambiguous. Ambiguous questions are good for starting conversions in a focus group, but crap in an opinion poll. What kind of game are they playing at?
Well, and like “black lives matter” it shouldn’t be ambiguous or confusing. The straightforward, obvious, unambiguous answer to both is “yes.”
I missed the whole Bernie Sanders kerfluffle over Black Lives Matter. (Probably because of my distaste for the man – so I try to avoid anything that could possibly be another glowing article about “But he will run in 2024 – and this time, no matter what, he will win the Oval Office!”)
So what happened?
It’s also important to note that these polls are supposed to be getting top-of-the-head/tip-of-the-tongue answers, not waiting for days of research and reading etc by each respondent to come up with the well-thought-out answer.
It’s important to note that these polls are supposed to be getting top-of-the-head/tip-of-the-tongue answers, not waiting for days of research and reading etc by each respondent to come up with the well-thought-out answer.
Even questions which might be carefully constructed to your standards, might still be somewhat “ambiguous” considering the format and context they’re being used in.
Polling companies that have been at it for a while probably have some good methodology for sorting out some of these issues. And they usually don’t just ask “do you think the country is on the right track or the wrong track?” They ask more detailed questions too, and WHICH detailed questions they ask might be determined by how you answer the first one.
Which also means that, no matter how many times you may have been involved in such a poll, your experience was probably not the same as everyone else’s: just for starters, they probably didn’t ask you all the same questions that they asked everyone else.
With the disappearance of Dilbert from the local rag, its value to me drops to nearly 0. There are better sources of local news. My dad works the puzzles. That’s it. That is what keeps our subscription alive. But their virtue is still shiny bright. They can cling to that as their subscriptions evaporate.
So cancel the paper and get your dad the books/magazines of puzzles. Assuming he’s unwilling to do them online.
Upon reflection I think the polling company was hoping to come up with a click-bait worthy result.
I talked to my husband about this. He’s not a news junkie, so he didn’t know anything about the 4Chan meme, and answered the question “Is it okay to be white” with a shrug and “sure.”
Then he said…”though I might have said…it depends on what you mean…” in other words, he caught the possibility of a subtext. What is it you’re actually asking me about?
All sorts of people routinely pepper their conversations with references to “old white men” “white people problems, amiright” and so on, with no sense that this might be offensive to listeners. And maybe, for the most part, they aren’t offensive? It just sort of wafts by, with everyone understanding that “white” doesn’t mean white. It doesn’t mean you.
If a pollster asks “is it okay to be white,” therefore, the context (a pollster is asking me) is bound to alter the meaning of the word “white” such that the respondent thinks of that mostly abstract, imaginary “whiteness.” “Whites” aren’t people with white skin, they are the ones seldom encountered in real life but understood nonetheless to be powerful and malign, like “The Jews” in Nazi Germany.
And speaking of The Jews…(just throwing this out there) how sure can I be that when people talk about “whiteness” they aren’t actually talking about…Jews?
And then there’s this problem: Lori Lightfoot, Chicago’s first black female lesbian mayor, explained her dismal poll numbers just before the election thusly“I’m a black woman and, let’s not forget, some folks frankly don’t support us in leadership roles.”
Chicago is an overwhelmingly Democrat city. The last GOP Mayor was elected in 1927. It’s also at least 25% black as well as, presumably, about 50% female. And Lightfoot—who was just as black and just as female back in 2019 as she was when Chicago “folks” went to the polls yesterday, was originally elected with 70% of the vote. She’s now been defeated, having managed to hold onto just 16%. And after the polls closed and the results were in, she doubled down on the “well, I’m black and female” thing. So basically she’s saying that Chicago Democrats have become more sexist and more racist now than they were four years ago? That anyone who voted against her did so out of bigotry, and not because she did a lousy job as Mayor, presiding over huge increases in crime, particularly violent crime? There is so much magical thinking in this…so much mindless recitation and relflexive blindness, that, once again, it can only be compared to the fundamentalist Christianity of the professional atheist’s fevered imagination. It’s bonkers.
Adams has also questioned Holocaust numbers. He does this in a cagey way, putting it out there as merely an inquiry as to how the numbers have been calculated. I see this as something similar.
My guess is that there’s something going on with this guy, some private struggle expressing itself in a public way. It might be as simple as wanting to be the center of attention and controversy.
Why can’t one question the Holocaust numbers?
I think that it’s true that there’s usually invective and ostracism directed at anyone who does so, on a bipartisan basis. It is strange.
I think that it’s well established that some of the Holocaust claims were complete fabrications, like the story about the soap. Though I only know what I’ve read and heard.
I refer you back to #10 and #11.
One could do simple research to see how people came up with the numbers. Then one doesn’t have to gas about it on the internet. Tim Snyder has done some of that kind of research. It was done before he was overtaken by TDS, though I don’t think that matters.
I don’t even like Dilbert. I’m a small businessman and it seems that if any company really were that stupid, they wouldn’t survive. Having said that…I cancelled my subscription to the Albuquerque Journal. I told them that any newspaper that doesn’t believe in free speech doesn’t work for me. I also told them that their thin editorial comment explaining their actions misrepresented the facts. What they should have done was write an editorial explaining why they WEREN’T cancelling Dilbert.
Could you elaborate? What did Snyder say?
Snyder does seem interesting. The Wikipedia summary on one of his books suggests that his Holocaust figure for Jews is about 5.7 million, including 5.4 million inside what he called “the Bloodlands,” meaning the Eastern European areas — chiefly Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine — in which very large numbers of people were killed in the 1930s and 1940s, including but not limited to Jews in the Holocaust.
Some quick online research suggests a somewhat lower Jewish Holocaust figure than the traditional estimate of 6 million that I recall being taught. Estimates seem to range from around 5-6 million. It appears that Snyder — and others — report that fewer than half of Jewish Holocaust deaths involved the concentration camps or death camps, which is contrary to my recollection, though it may be right. So for perhaps 2.5-3.5 million of those deaths, it might be less clear that they were the result of specific anti-Jewish actions, as opposed to other anti-civilian — and anti-Communist — actions in these regions in which very large numbers of civilians, Jews and non-Jews, were killed.
The main point, though, is that it appears that there are some legitimate reasons to question Holocaust figures — yet doing so seems to be almost forbidden in most circles, as suggested by Jean’s initial comment.
I do suspect that this is one of many techniques used to “cancel” people saying things that critics don’t like. Hey, smear them as a Holocaust denier — or at least questioner — or an anti-Semite or a racist or sexist or Islamophobe or misogynist or misanthrope or whatever. It’s probably a bad idea to make such arguments, instead of addressing specific issues on the merits.
That’s helpful. Thanks!
By the way, I didn’t mean to imply that answering “Is it okay to be white” with “no” isn’t racism—I think the casual use of “white male” is racist (and sexist) and unacceptable precisely because it is so casual and meaningless…until it’s not. The whiteness of Derek Chauvin, like the whiteness of Darren Wilson, was considered relevant. Darren Wilson became “white” as soon as he shot a black man. For that matter, the Memphis 5 (or 6 or 7: Whatever we’re up to now) also became “white,” although their “whiteness” seems to be exculpatory rather than an aggravating factor in their guilt.
As with many things, it should be thought of as “concentrated” or something. It’s like, on the show ER, any one hospital ER would be unlikely to have ALL of those things happen in one place, or on a single day… But they basically combine events that might happen city-wide.
I had never made this connection before. The fundamental thinking of militant atheists is — it seems to me — identical with the thinking of militant racists.