The “Black Lives Matter” Edition

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S1: This ad free podcast is part of your Slate plus membership.

S2: I’m Steve Inskeep and this is the Slate Culture Gabfest, Black Lives Matter edition. It’s June 10th, 2020. On today’s show, we will be discussing anti-racist reading. Lists are in fashion now for white liberally readers especially. But on what premise do they proliferate and gets sampled from? We discuss this with born Michelle Jackson. And then cops are just everywhere in popular culture. I mean, they practically make up popular culture. As we understand, it is a time to acknowledge fictional representations of law enforcement are part of the problem here. Should all cop shows be canceled? And finally, the current protests are unthinkable without citizen video footage made from iPhones. They prevent all the apparatuses of denial from kicking in and saying what is clearly happening is not happening. We will discuss the consequences of everyone having a device with which to capture police malfeasance.

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S1: Joining me today is Julia Turner, who is, of course, the deputy managing editor of the L.A. Times, calling in from L.A.. Hey, Julia. How’s it going? Hello, Steve. And, of course, Dana Stevens, film critic for Slate dot com. Hey, Dana. Hello, Steve.

S3: OK, Julia. Well, obviously, this is not a usual week to be doing a show, so maybe talk a little bit about that.

S4: Yeah, I mean, we had said last time that we were going to talk about the great ballet movie center stage this week for all of you who watched the great ballet movie center stage. We will talk about it in a future week. But given the mass protests across the country, in the world in in protest of George Floyds death in Minneapolis and a systemic structural racism everywhere, we wanted to devote all three topics to subjects related to the protests and to the underlying systemic and structural racism that they’re about. Here we go.

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S1: Lauren, Michelle Jackson is a professor of English and African-American studies at Northwestern University. She’s the author of White Negroes When Cornrows were in Vogue and Other Thoughts on Cultural Appropriation. She joins us to discuss her essay, what is an anti-racist reading list for in New York magazine. Lauren, welcome to the podcast. Thank you so much for coming on.

S5: Thank you. Thank you for having me.

S1: Let me begin by quoting from your piece, which is amazing. An anti-racist reading list means, well, how could it not with some of the finest authors, scholars, poets and critics of the 20th century among its bullet points? Still, I am left to wonder, you write. Who is this for? So let me begin by asking you, who indeed what did you discover?

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S5: Who is such a reading list for the list is is for, you know, the person that needs a it’s for a person who is, you know, kind of like desperate in a way. And I don’t mean that in like a mean way. But for someone who is feeling sort of at a loss of like just like what to do to think what, you know, what’s right. And so it’s a person who’s really looking for something to hold on to, a person who’s realizing that they are actually not intellectually equipped to deal what’s going on around them. And really what has been going on around them for for longer than they’ve realized. And it’s like this list is like never it’s like never changing. It’s always the same sort of set of books. And, you know, I think that’s sort of indicative of, you know, I guess we’re actually not reading these books because if we were reading these books, we wouldn’t actually have to, you know, recycle them sort of sort of over and over again.

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S3: I mean, the one thing I’d love to hear is just some names off of that, you know, typical canonical anti-racist list.

S5: Well, OK. So there’s always there’s always going to be there’s always going to be James Baldwin. And it’s not going to be like the Baldwin that, you know, really loved film and was, you know, just such a sharp film critic and critic of art in general. No, it’s can be like the Baldwin that’s going to like, you know, read the racist for filth or whatever. It’s me that Baldwin. It’s going to be the autobiography of Malcolm X. It’s going to be Michelle Alexander. It’s going to be Zora Neale Hurston. But it’s not going to be again is going to be the Zora Neale Hurston. That was a scholar and a folklorist. It’s going to be you know, their eyes were watching God. So, you know, as a as a white reader, you get to see, you know, the tales of the downtrodden or whatever it’s going to be. Tallahasse coats’s between the world and me, even though I think, you know, as a white liberals love Tara as he goes. But I think it’s like if you’re trying to learn about the sort of history of sort of racism or whatever, like you could, you know, would make more sense to like a sign, I don’t know, like one of his long form Atlantic pieces and not this this book that’s, I think, doing something different. But, you know, it’s just it’s a very you know, it tends to be this very stable list. And then you also get these books that I you know, in the piece I call them race readers, which basically just, you know, the books that are actually courting the type of the type of reader that I think would look for an anti-racist reading list, which is to say, like, these are books for people who know that they don’t know anything about race and are trying to learn about race in a in a very quick manner. And I think those books actually serve you know, they serve the purpose that, you know, they’re courting those type of readers, which I think, you know, those books are actually what would belong on something as broadly conceived as like an anti-racist reading lists. But then you have all these other books that are, I guess, about race, about racism. But they’re also, you know, books of varying genres that are trying to are also trying to do something that can’t be reduced to helping white people like be better white people. Yeah.

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S4: One thing I really loved about your essay was the tone like that. There’s a spirit of almost wry exhaustion in it. Like, one thing that the USA made me think about is the way in which I consume management books. Like when I became a boss, I started buying management books. I don’t read them. I just have a pile of them. And it’s almost as though, like, maybe if I just have a stack, it will all absorb it somehow. And and it you know, you didn’t. There’s been reporting, of course, of many of the books you mentioned and some others, including on some lists, your book. I think I’ve seen, you know, being purchased in this moment. And, you know, better for people to buy it. And hopefully some percentage of the people who buy them read them. But I thought the spirit of I don’t know, was I was I wrong in identifying a certain exhausted ness in your essay?

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S5: No, I actually like I write exhaustion is like that is. Yes, but actually, I’m so glad, you know. You know, sometimes you like you write something like this and people are like, oh, she’s really angry. And I’m like, oh my gosh. Like I’m not I’m like never angry. I’m literally just like always tired. So like, I, you know. Right. Exactly. It is. I think hopefully that’s kind of what, you know, what I was trying to admit.

S6: Speaking of wry exhaustion, Lauren, you wrote for Slate last year about one of the books that currently is apparently impossible to get. It’s on back order because so many people, presumably white people, are ordering it. It’s called White Fragility by Robin D’Angelo. And when this book came out, you went to a workshop taught by the author. That was essentially a workshop in a workshop, basically for four white people in sort of confronting their own whiteness. And you have this almost comical sort of first person account of being one of. I gather one of the few people of color at this workshop and getting grouped into a small group with some other people who were supposed to talk about their life experience with race. And it’s a wonderful essay. And at the end, I mean, I would say that to some degree, you draw a somewhat comic conclusion that this is kind of a roomful of people talking to themselves to make themselves feel better, and that that creates a kind of self-perpetuating loop that keeps it from being something that actually influences people’s behavior in the outside world.

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S5: I think what was interesting about actually going to that sort of event or seminar, and I never actually I’ve never been to anything like that, is that, you know, so we’re you know, we’re here to like, learn about and talk about what fragility. And we’re there to you know, obviously it’s mostly geared toward white people with the idea of sort of improving what D’Angelo calls like racial stress. You know, it’s the reaction, the sort of emotional sort of protective reaction that happens with the, you know, the smallest like the slightest amount of being made aware of, you know, you as a white person being white. And yet, you know, sort of the fact of like being in this room and having this conversation and having these really polite conversations, the people around you and some ways is also like a guard against any actual like white fragility, like erupting like in the space or something like that. I don’t know. It was just like it was like one of those things where it’s like the whole point of change and changing your behavior is that, you know, it’s going to be uncomfortable. You know, it’s going to be easier to take the the easy way out the way that you’ve been raised, the way that you’ve been conditioned, and white people are rewarded for taking that route. And there actually are consequences for white people who who don’t take that route. And it’s like, how can that happen if we’re all having a polite conversation? It’s like that happens. You know, politeness is racist in a way. Like it can’t happen in the space of of the polite, you know, just seeing that book like skyrocket, you know, against the top. It’s like, oh, it’s you know, this is like another reason for us to think that this book is going to unlock, like, the secrets of the universe. And it’s like, no, it’s not one book. And that’s kind of like what the kind of what my beef is with the the list. It’s like, oh, it’s not you know, there’s the implication that, like this one, this is going to solve everything in like even if you read every single book on this list, even if you read every single book on this list, like deeply and spent time with it and had discussions with people and in real essays about it, like even then, like you can’t just like there’s not ever going to be a point where you get to turn your brain off. Right.

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S4: And there’s something about that. I mean, that that experience sounds so fascinating and there’s something about just the very idea that your you, the white person, Pilgrim’s, progress towards being more racially enlightened would come in like a. You know, workshop that’s trying to make you comfortable with your discomfort that you can buy. Which is like not you know, it’s a privilege in and of itself to be educated about race in that way or to feel like I might study of the experience of racism in America is something I will buy from Amazon and, you know, stack on my bedside table and like hopefully get to in between my other duties.

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S5: Yeah. And also the Amazon of it all is like it’s like, oh my God. It’s like so you’re like race. Education is like going to happen like courtesy of like Bezos. Like just that, you know, it makes me dizzy. Really.

S4: Right. Yeah. OK, well if I’m armed with the thoughtfulness that Lauren has provided, you are still planning to acquire some of these books by them on bookshop dot org.

S6: Can I ask you, Lauren, for a little counter list within the list when you mentioned, for example, and I really do see this in also, you know, just in having been in academia in the way that text by non-white authors are assigned, especially in courses that are kind of generalist courses that aren’t specifically, you know, for example, African-American studies. You’re absolutely right that, for example, the Baldwin that gets read is the Baldwin of the fire next time and not the Baldwin of say the Devil Finds Work. His great book about film and film criticism. Do you have any other alternate titles like that where you would say instead of the bluest, I read X or.

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S5: But the thing is, like, Heath, it’s so hard because it’s like it’s not like the books on the list are bad. Like, please read The Bluest Eye. I love the Lewis. I think it’s it’s you know, it’s a novel that is really important to me. And I wrote about it in a chapter of my dissertation. Like, yes, read the bluest eye, but read the bluest eye. You know, as I say, that piece as a novel, you know, don’t read it as, you know, as a as a teaching tool for your late latent racism or something like that. Right. You know, and that goes for I mean, that goes for any of Morrison’s novels. That goes for, you know, beloved, which is the one I think most people read. But again, they read it as like their reminder that, you know, slavery is never passed or something like that, which is like, you know, sort of a very general way to read that book. But there’s so much that I mean, there’s so much that goes on in that book. I mean, I don’t have to hype up beloved like mine. But, you know, I think I think, you know, reading is great. I mean, I’m literally a literature professor, so I’m never gonna say like Tony read. But I think people should probably know why they’re reading or what they’re reading for or what. You know what, they’re trying to get out of out of a certain genre of literature. And so, you know, like I said, there are, you know, the books for the person who’s like, I just need like a quick and dirty, like, history of America. What is, you know, why is housing racist? Why are prisons racist? Why is X racist? Why is racism in, like, the foundation of our country? Like, there are books that invite that. There are books that want that kind of reader that are marketed very specifically and very heavily for that kind of reader. And so, yeah, like totally go read those books. Like, that’s what those are for. Again, I don’t think that they are going to, you know, be exhaustive in any way, which is why, you know, like I said, it’s kind of distressing that it’s like, oh, everyone’s running out to read, like, white fragility. And then, you know, if they even read it, like, that’s going to be like the end of that story. But, yeah, totally read those books. But it’s like if you want to read. Some of the greatest authors, poets, S.A.S. fiction writers, short story writers of, you know, the 20th century, the 19th century, the 21st century. Then you have to meet those writers where they’re coming from, you know?

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S1: Right. I mean, Lawrence, one of my favorite parts of your essay was the idea that when you read literature in that way, in search of a therapeutic conversion of your own white racism, you’re inherently insulting and downgrading it and you’re sort of setting it an aside in a different category from other works of literature. That’s kind of ultimately insulting to it. And I wonder if there’s a way to get away from that notion of white therapeutic conversion towards like just a more analytic category, just understanding that racism is about accumulated structures of power. And if you don’t understand that, you don’t actually see your world as it is in itself, like you are actually missing a empirical feature of the society that you live in. And so as opposed to like a kind of semi religious or or or, you know, conversion experience, it’s just putting on a pair of eyeglasses and actually seeing the society you live in as it is. Right. If you don’t understand how capitalism is racial capitalism, you don’t understand capitalism.

S5: Yeah. And I think, you know, I think that’s maybe why it feels so overwhelming for people, because it’s like if racism and anti blackness is everywhere, like, how do you how do you compartmentalize the world in order to be able to actually discern what’s going on? But I also think on that token, like we we actually like do that all the time with the things that we want to learn about, you know, the person who wants to learn about World War Two or whatever has to start somewhere and they figure out a seat. You know, for some reason, you know, people who want to learn about like planes and trains and boats and wars and whatever, like seem to find a way to, like, enter into that body of knowledge, despite there being, you know, so much there that, like, precedes them. Right. Like, I saw a tweet the other day that was like, you know, a couple weeks ago when everyone wanted to know how to do like Salvado starters somehow, like people figured out how to do that. And yet now it’s like, you know, I got to learn about race. It’s like suddenly you’re like you need someone to hold your hand. It’s like people have ways of finding out the information that they genuinely want to know. And so I think sometimes the problem with the list is that it actually is enabling the type of person who maybe actually doesn’t want to learn. Maybe they want to want to learn. Maybe they want to want to have the desire to to become more conscious about what’s going on around them. But like, the actual motivation, you know, is not there, because if you wanted to read these books, like you would have read them already. They’re not you know, they’re not outside the canon by any means.

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S7: Yeah. Thanks again, Lauren. This is a great essay and a great segment. We really appreciate you coming on.

S5: Thank you so much.

S1: All right. Well, Lauren Michel Jackson, she’s professor of English and African-American Studies at Northwestern. Her piece is found on Vulture. I might have said New York magazine, but check it out on Vulture and we will link to it on our Twitter feed and show page. All right, before we go any further, this is where we typically talk about business. I will do it this week. First off, we want to remind you, of course, this is summer stretched season. Every year we have listeners send us a favorite song of the summer, something that you want to walk or jog to. But most importantly, something you want to strut to or that makes you strut. We’ll discuss the favorites with Slate’s pop critic Billboard Chart Colleges, Chris Marlantes. So please send your favorite summer songs to Culture Fest at Slate dot com. That’s Culture Fest at Slate dot com. The list is starting to bulk up, but we have a ways to go. It’s one of my favorite rituals associated with the podcast. Send us your songs. We’d love them. Also, another reminder. We are going to eventually be discussing the book, The Great Influenza by John M. Barry. It’s about the 1918 flu, Spanish flu epidemic that killed. I saw some estimates as high as 50 million people. It’s kind of folded into our memory of World War One. So as was remain half, I would say half forgotten until the Cobbett pandemic. And now people are interested. We’re interested that it’s supposed to be a great book. And we’re going to read and discuss on a future episode this summer. So if you want to read along with those, if you want to have read it. By the time we talk about it, pick it up somewhere in Slate. Plus, today, we’re going to be talking about Tom Cotton, the senator from Arkansas wrote a preposterously fascistic op ed for The New York Times that resulted in huge institutional changes at the Times. We’re going to be discussing whether or not they should have published it in the first place, what its contents were and what the what the fallout within the gray lady within the paper has been, including the loss of the resignation of James Bennett, controversial head of the op ed page. And then finally, just as a general plug, you know. We need to keep the lights on here at Slate. So if you love us and love this podcast and would like a little bit more of it, if you want to support us, you can always become a slate plus member, which is a huge I can’t even begin to describe it. It is a huge boon for us. It really helps get the show up and running. We mentioned it in our last episode. The health crisis has caused a reduction in spending at Slate. That’s why we’ve gone on a biweekly schedule. We want to get back to weekly, believe me. But in order to do that, we need coin. We need bank. We need you to become a plus member, which we would be very grateful for if you’d like to support Slate podcast. All the great journalism on the Slate Web site. Sign up for Slate. Plus membership at Slate dot com slash culture, plus that slate dot com slash culture. Plus you’ll get ad free podcasts, exclusive, plus only content and lots of other benefits. You get a fourth segment from us every time we do the show and you helped put us on a path back to a weekly podcast. So once again, that slate dot com slash culture plus. And I thank you very much. Police are the street level point of contact between the citizen and state power, it’s something James Baldwin knew, something George Orwell knew that a society’s soul sickness will express itself most vividly in this interaction. The truth about America, as we have come to know it over and over again, is that, in effect, our police have been given a lynching prerogative over black Americans. We’ve handed too much power to the police in real life, but also so Alyssa Rosenberg argues imaginatively. She’s been detailing the subject for a while now. Cop shows are ubiquitous and a longstanding part of our cultural diet. They shape how we see the police. They give them legitimacy. They make them seem heroic. As I say, she’s been writing about this for a while. She now has a new essay saying they should just go ahead and be all be canceled. Let me quote from it. Like many other industries, entertainment companies have issued statements of support for the protests against racism, police brutality. But there’s something Hollywood can do to put its money where its social media posts are immediately halt production on cop shows and movies and rethink the stories it tells about policing in America. Julia, that is that is quite a suggestion. What do you make of it?

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S4: Oh, Steve. You have cut right to my squishy core because reading this just twanged, whatever internal heartstring of mine makes cop shows and lawyer shows in criminal justice shows and procedurals of all the stripes. My main entertainment, I am not a doctor procedural person. I am a criminal justice procedural person. And I’ve watched so many hours of it. Some of it. Some of it smarter. But it it it was one of those moments where I felt like I could suddenly see the water in the fish tank and felt really dumb for having just glogg drowned for the rest of my life. So I don’t know. I feel like I’m in too deep with big cop show and have many, many thoughts. But I’m curious for the two of you who I think have spent less time curled up with the likes of Lenny Briscoe. What you thought of the argument?

S6: Yeah, cop shows are not a huge part of my comfort. TV entertainment diet. But this piece by Alyssa Rosenberg and others out there about the future of the police procedural in the post. Whatever era we’re entering into now did really make me think about those shows in a fish looking at water way for the first time. I mean, is felt a little bit analogous, almost like a of overlapping Venn diagram with something that we talked about in relation to, I think, true detective. And some other shows may be on on this podcast a while back, which is, you know, the dead female body as kick off point for so many narratives. Right. That we’re just so used to shows, beginning with some sort of horrific violence and some crime scene involving a beautiful woman. And that just almost becomes something that we’re blind to like. Of course, every crime show must kick off that way. Right. And it seemed like around me, two time people started to question, well, why why do we need dead pretty ladies in order to care about any story? And, of course, you know, springing off of head is why are the ones investigating the death of the dead pretty lady?

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S8: Always these cops whose point of view we’re asked to sympathize with. And that, I think was the strongest point that Elyssa made, is that all of these shows, even including Brooklyn nine nine, which takes everything from this very sweet, silly sitcom perspective, takes the point of view of the cops, makes the cops the protagonists in some way. And all of the video which we’ll talk about on this same week’s episode, all the video pouring in from various cities around the country last week did not, to say the least, make the police look like the protagonists of the story. I mean, you could not have made them look more like the villains of the story than most of the video that was pouring in. And so to suddenly start seeing this thing that, as you say, Julia, has just been comfort food and has really been, you know, the mainstay of middlebrow TV for decades. As long as TV has existed, really, I mean, if you go back to the older cop shows of the 50s and 60s, to suddenly see that as propaganda for for the nation’s police is is a big jolting shift. And one of those moments that you say, why didn’t I see this before?

S1: Right. I mean, it’s massively legitimating, right? Like, you know, we live in an essentially disorderly society or us, a society that’s mostly orderly, but has these pockets of, you know, of deeply unsettling disorder. Into the picture comes typically a white male, often a middle aged white male whose job it is to make the universe right again. And, you know, there’s so many different ways to get at this day. I want to ask you as a film historian about the relationship of Hollywood to the police. It was just it was not just an imaginative, imaginative one. The movie business needed the police on their side. They tailored the content in order to keep the L.A. police on their side, allowing them to film in various ways. And Dragnet being the big seemingly offender there. But but one thing I want to say quickly is that is that it is a complex story. It’s not as though it is sort of the water in the sense that in no small way it’s the. Atmosphere that were allowed to be unconscious because we breathe it and sort of see through it at the same time. You know, there’s there’s an anti heroic tradition that’s curious in a way. And to me, the difficult question is whether that that anti-hero tradition actually is a part of the whole of the water is a part of the thing that needs to be thrown out.

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S4: But I I think that there are kind of two axes on which to review these shows. One is, do they make the cops look good or bad? And then the second is, do they assume. That. People charged are taken seriously enough to power the plot of a 40 minute episode. Like even in shows that are valorizing cops because they’re working so hard to, like, bag the rapist or, you know, they they they’re fighting against a bum prosecutor to digitize it. You know, even in shows that are complicating kind of traditional glorifying narratives. Just the sheer fact that they assume that a person who has been accused of a crime and charged with it will like get a fair shake from a team of people who are have the time and resources to, like, focus on it and try to achieve justice in some real sense. Like that is the fundamental lie. It’s not that cops are good. It’s that that cops are cops, that that it’s not just a completely dysfunctional bureaucracy. And so that was like the true glory of the wire, which is that it suggested that it’s not so much good or bad. It’s like the the indifference of the system. That is a fundamental immoveable problem in our cities and communities. And I realize that I’ve just becoming like a good fight, Good Wife fan show at this point. But I did finally finish The Good Wife. And there’s a really, really interesting turn in a later season where the Julianna Margulies character, Alicia Florek, The Good Wife, starts working in Bond court and she shows up to Bond Court where she gets like rapidly assigned to people who are trying to to get a low enough bill that they can actually get out. And it just looks so different from the rest of the show, like the rest of the show is entirely women in extraordinary suits. And even though, like daughters and assistants are wearing couture and the clients are rich, and there’s the fake Google and there’s a fake Uber and there’s a you know, the it’s just swanky. It’s a high powered, high dollar law firm. That’s the fundamental core setting. And so you experience the law as something that, like rich people pay for and commit huge resources to. And then suddenly Alicia and her slim shift dresses and suits and nice hair is in this environment where all of these people are about to lose their liberty. And the portrayal of the judge in bond court is just as a completely ruthless, practical guy who’s got to process hundreds of people a day and makes all of these incredibly unfair decisions. And those are the places where a cop show could you in our criminal justice show, can force people to examine some of their assumptions, maybe in ways that could be powerful and might be better than abandoning the show completely. But, of course, like those are fundamentally at odds with plot. Like, that’s why it’s really hard to do if you don’t if you can’t actually attach to any individual potential defendant long enough to follow them through the system and how it fits them about like you don’t really have a show. So that that’s the tension that this left me thinking most deeply about.

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S6: It’s almost as if achieving narrative’s satisfaction and catharsis at the end of that hour is inherently racist writer, inherently just blocking out of too many points of view and experiences, especially because in real life, you know, as you say, that that narrative catharsis, if it happens at all, which it doesn’t, a rare percentage of cases usually happens after years of struggle and things that are vague and hard to narrative eyes.

S7: I guess where I come out on this. I’m curious to hear what you think is that is that you have a you have a spectrum on one end of the spectrum. You’ve got the cops, quote unquote, reality show, which is, you know, as we now know, thanks to that podcast about it, is just a completely fraudulent enterprise and a piece piece of utter propaganda like race based propaganda and ought to be eliminated. Now, yesterday should have been eliminated 15 years ago. And in fact, A&E has a similar show, as I understand it, called Live PD, which they’ve suspended out of respect, as they say, for the families of George Floyd. At the other extreme of which are, you know, is, you know, any attempt to explore. I mean, listen, you know, artists of conscience, including some of them who are not white, have written about. What is sick or dislocated about their society using the inherited apparatus of the detective or cop? I mean, ailments? I would say detective more than cop were spies genre playing off of this presumption that justice may be possible? You know, John Le Carre is very unsure about Britain’s role in the Cold War. Look deeply, deeply unsure to the point of not being at all sure that it’s worth fighting, you know, but because of the hideousness of the arms race, I don’t think he should have not written those books because of how grotesque the arms race is. And I don’t think Henning Mongkol shouldn’t have a detective protagonist. You know, I’m saying it’s like it’s like somewhere in there we have to get rid of a certain kind of fiction and the satisfactions it’s deliver. It’s designed to deliver by becoming conscious of whose world view and whose rights are ultimately victimized by setting them up in know in a, you know, antique lee heroic way that we can absolutely do without this conversation is making me want to defend.

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S4: It to be against being against the cop show as a blanket statement, because fundamentally it’s anti art. And I recognize that, you know, there’s a lot of pernicious stuff here in it. And this may be a slightly tenuous argument, but like the power of the soft power of culture, to change the way people think about things is a potent one. And. You know, there are also structural reasons why these shows work well. Right. It’s a mechanism through which you can tell stories that go all over society. Right. Can pull things from the headlines. You can interrogate all kinds of things like they they function well, not just because everyone’s like rah rah cops, but because cops intersect with such a broad swath of society. And so you can, like, put your lens on lots of different things. Episode by episode. And that’s a that that functions as a. Television story generating mechanism that then generates an audience for these shows. But I do think law and order, as for you, is really interesting to scrutinize in this regard. And it’s a show that. You know, has treated. Sexual assault has a serious thing worthy of scrutiny. For 21 years, and I don’t I am not going to credit his view with changing social mores around these questions. But I think the fact that that, you know, the hero of that show is someone who, you know, is more inclined to believe women and take their story seriously and challenge how the criminal justice system treats these stories. It probably has changed some minds over time. Now, that’s a show that also, like in its early episodes, would have people making jokes about like he doesn’t want to know what people are going to do to him in jail and is like literally making rape jokes while pretending to be, you know, a great advocates for victims of rape. But I just think. Changing these shows and making them more sophisticated is a much more powerful thing, more difficult thing. Right. The more powerful thing to do than to suggest that there’s no smart, provocative, morally responsible way to make them. Yeah. Yeah. Justifying argument. But I think that’s right.

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S1: And are we sort of talking around, though, the really opposite subject, which is whether or not to defund the police. Right. I mean, the important Real-Life consequence of swimming perpetually in the waters of cop shows and cop imagery is that we accept as a given as a natural given that we should live in a hyper policed society. Right. And we just accept the basic premise that cops are everywhere. Police are totally necessary absent police. But God knows what would happen to the social order, like massive disorder would proceed. Violence. We’d be completely vulnerable. And now finally, I mean, that’s the thing that I’ve really seen a Minnoch fine like TV sock’s. It’s gets filled with all of these images which are implicitly and explicitly racist. That’s horrible. But the thing that I’ve really started to see is the defund the police movement is making a very specific point about what kind of a society we’ve chosen to be.

S7: By taking money that could go to social workers, homelessness, drug rehabilitation, education that would forestall the making of a disordered. And in some ways, quote unquote, criminals society. That then requires police. We massively over fund the police based in part because as soon as we can see here and talk, we’re imbibing a kind of ideology about law and order via TV and movies. And and I just don’t think that these are separable conversations.

S4: Well, and wouldn’t it be interesting to see a TV show based on what happened in Camden, New Jersey, where they disbanded, you know, an unfixable, corrupt police department and replaced it with the county police department? It’s different than some of the things that are being proposed and discussed now. But, you know, that’s that’s like a story that I want to read about in nonfiction form. And it’s the story I want to write a story that is really interesting to have. You know, like what if S.V. you get to spend it?

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S1: Well, I should say that we were reacting principally to a piece in The Washington Post on June 4th, 2020. It’s called Shut Down All Police Movies and TV Shows, Period Now Period by Alyssa Rosenberg. There’s also another one. Cops are always the main characters on Volter from June one by Catherine Van Aaron donc anyway. All right, let’s move on. Pick. Or it didn’t happen, so the saying goes on Twitter. Absent video footage and officer abusing his powers can be like a tree falling in the forest. It might as well not have happened. A white woman faking hysteria to bring the cops down, a law abiding black man who would know if not for the fact that we now all carry a movie camera in our pockets effectively. This has been what we might call a QED response by police forces to the protests in response to crowds protesting their brutality. They’ve been brutal and it’s been captured over and over again on film. Dana, let me start with you. This is a curious moment, right? It’s it’s has some precedents in the Rodney King riots in L.A. and in Ferguson. And yet it’s really not like either. It’s bigger to the point of being global. There’s, of course, the initial video that’s revolting. It’s an act of evil. It’s a lynching caught on film, but it’s feeding into itself. It’s these subsequent videos of how the police have responded to the protests that keep it growing, keep it. It’s it’s righteousness, really at the at the forefront. I’m a kind of a Luddite. I think maybe you’re a little bit of a Luddite. Does this make. How does this make you think about. About this ability to capture on film what otherwise would be met with a plausible denial?

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S8: I mean, I know that I would characterize myself as a Luddite necessarily, or that that has bearing on the conversation. But it has been really remarkable to see the role that that citizen shot video has played in the unfolding of the last two weeks. It’s almost as if you know that there’s a different genre of viral video we’ve been seeing since the days of Flandreau Castiel and before have been seeing horrible videos, which, to be honest with you, I usually don’t watch of people’s deaths recorded at the hands of police. Right. Those have been around. And in that sense, the George Loyde video is not new. Maybe we can talk about how it’s different or why it in particular this moment has sparked what it has. But this is a secondary genre. I’m talking about that. It has sparked has been these police brutality videos on the ground that were just coming in so thick and fast last week that when we sat down to research this segment, it was hard to know, OK, which of the hundreds of these things should should I look at and think about? I mean, we’re just talking about cop shows as this as this cultural brand that centers everything from the perspective of the police. Right. And this is the complete reverse. It’s suddenly a vision for, you know, people who are privileged enough and white enough, usually not to know about it before. Of what happens every night in some neighborhoods. In cities. Right. I mean, the sense last week when New York was under curfew, you guys weren’t here, but you’re both New Yorkers in some way. You’ve both lived here for a long period, Steve. You’re from here. And you can just imagine how bizarre and almost just monstrous it felt to know that when dusk fell on the city, it was the cops that were in charge. And you knew that over the course of the night those videos would be shot by various people at protests or sometimes not a protest, just trying to get home after curfew, you know, being randomly beaten, assaulted by cops. They were horrible to watch. And you knew that in the morning there’d be a fresh pile of them and there would be, you know, the mayor or the governor trying to soft pedal them and make them sound as if they weren’t as bad as they are. So there was a really radical role that those videos played. And I believe that as much as the protests themselves, it was the circulating videos of violence during the protests that got some real action done this past week. I mean, whatever you say about this past week, it accomplished something, right? I mean, by the end of the week, all four of the officers involved in George Floyds death had been arrested and investigations into other murders by cops had been started. And Minneapolis started to rethink how it’s going to structure its police department and stuff happened. And it seems to me that why that stuff happened to a large degree is because of this incontrovertible video evidence of, you know, just just awful acts of violence.

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S4: One of the things that I think is. I don’t know that that is queasy making about it to me. Is that obviously the rise of the handheld camera and a lot of people having phones that are now what we would have called camcorders when I was little has meant that we’ve had direct video evidence of police brutality for the last decade. And as you say with Rodney King there, there, of course, has been video evidence going back further, but just the sheer accumulated number of these incidents and of. You know, human deaths that you watch. You can watch online that are, you know, snuff films perpetrated by the state. They are not new. Like there they are. There has been a steady drumbeat of them for as long as there have been handheld video cameras in our phones. And there is something that makes me queasy about the fact that it’s the it’s the it’s the violence against the protesters that seems to be kind of creating this mounting outrage beyond the initial videos of the deaths of suspects or arrestees at the hands of cops. You know, even the horrifying video of the man that the police pushed down, whoo hoo hoo smacked his head in Buffalo, you know, who’s a frail, elderly white man. I just think the galvanizing ness of that image. Had an air of like, oh, my God, they can do this to, like little old white men to you. There’s just something disturbing to me and the fact that n oh, no, the cops are going ham on everybody now, not just these black people they did watching die. That that troubles me.

S7: I, I take the other side of that one, Julia. I mean, I understand what you’re saying. I think what the subsequent videos have done, you know, cause the pushback argument, aside from the grotesque defense lawyer argument that the foot on the neck or the knee on the neck didn’t cost the. But we know all the horrible arguments that got the officers off in Simi Valley for for the Rodney King incident, which were inevitably going to hear unless they cop a plea. You know, it’s it’s more the you know, this is one unrepresentative incident. Yes. This was the, you know, your hand-wringing and all kinds of fake public hand-wringing about, you know, about how horrible it is.

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S3: And, you know, no tolerance for this on our force.

S7: And the culture of bubble bubble blunder is one bad apple or the one bad apple argument goes out every known window to mankind. As soon as you have the boot, you know, it’s just the mask falling completely from the the face of law enforcement endemically in this country. It’s not about a bad apple. It’s about the polices that the cops believe, law enforcement’s belief in America that when push comes to shove, they own the streets. And if you dare exercise your First Amendment right to take ownership of them and then double dare by using that constitutional right to proclaim the inherent corruption of law enforcement, law enforcement will by force reappropriate the streets from you. That’s to me a much. I mean, I understand that that that at least momentarily does racialize as the issue of law enforcement in this country, which it should not stay d racialized for more than a second. But but, you know, but there is this other component to the conversation, which is, you know, how deep does this tendency towards violence and force and kind of pathological over mastery go in law enforcement? And that can only be answered by seeing how black and white protesters have been treated basically like, you know, garbage to be cleared off of the street. Right.

S4: Yeah, I mean it. I will say the most troubling thing. We’re recording this on the morning where Trent. Tweeted disparagement of the men in Buffalo who was pushed to the ground. Did you see this tweet?

S6: Yeah, I just saw that as we were talking. I just experienced the burst of rage that occurs upon reading any tweet by the president.

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S4: I mean, obviously, there is there’s been Bill de Blasio sort of denying what, you know, New Yorkers have seen posted from their own streets and seeming to not be caught up on what everyone else in the country is watching, but temporarily took it to another level. And just the. It’s a cliche to call anything Orwellian at this point. But like these video, there’s that video you watched of the very obvious situation, like that elderly man was a it was secretly an agitator way. I can’t. I couldn’t even really fully understand what it was that Trump was trying to allege. But he was basically saying, don’t believe your eyes. Right. That wasn’t what you thought it was. And then. And the fact that these videos force people in power into such contortions as part of their power.

S6: Right.

S8: And that’s why I say that in a new genre or some kind of alternate cinematic universe is opened up by these citizen shot videos, as opposed to the videos of police brutality that we have seen so many of over the years.

S6: It’s because the response of those in power, whether it’s police chiefs or mayors or governors or the president, really shows that, you know, it goes all the way to the top and that there is an incredible culture of denial and obfuscation and, you know, now also spinning of conspiracy theories and just any kind of mechanism that can possibly be used to deflect responsibility from the police departments.

S1: Right. Right. And Dana, that’s what I meant when I said let Luddism or let it. I didn’t mean to foreground that at all. But, I mean, you know, we we sort of have been trained by George Orwell 1984 and to a degree like fuko in the idea of the panopticon, that being perpetually watched or at least potentially potentially watched, you know, much less filmed is just pernicious. Right. And it brings out a principled Luddism. And some people, me included, that says, you know, the ubiquity of. Of what are effectively calm, cool pocket camcorders. You know, it’s it’s you do you you know, you want to be able to withdraw from, you know, the lens. But in fact, really or at least as a part of that, is the possibility of laying down a predicate which requires.

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S7: Those in power to say only the most perverted and Orwellian lies to defend that behavior, because now we have you know, we have the the the optical proof that this thing happened.

S4: And to your point about the the assumption that it would not be good to be surveilled, you know, that was what was so powerful about the video shot by the birdwatcher in Central Park. Of the woman and Cooper, who sort of worked herself into a hysterical tizzy and lied to the police to, you know, accuse a black man of threatening behavior that was not in evidence. You know, that’s the kind of surveillance not of what the state is doing to black citizens and to protesters, but of what white people can do in moments that are smaller and where the violence is, at least in that moment, not yet physical, although obviously calling the police on a black person is brings the potential of physical violence. But it it. Right. She I mean, she knew she was being shot, which is part of what is so astonishing about that document, like the notion that she would work herself into that hysteria. Right. I recognize that that is a word with that is fraught in gendered fashion. But the way in which you can see her working herself up, despite knowing that it will be filmed is is among the things that makes that video extraordinary. But right now, it’s it’s a surveillance of all kinds of harms that is helping people see.

S6: And we’re so used to talking about social media as something that, you know, is is negatively Orwellian in its surveillance tactics and that Mark Zuckerberg is harvesting our data, which he is. And you know, that our minds are being controlled by all of these bad actors, which they are. But I feel like the last week or two, however long this has been, I guess it’s been two weeks since George Floyds death and about a week since all of these curfews and protests started. We’ve really seen a much more utopian side and more more utopian usage of social media and of, you know, omnipresent cameras in everyone’s pockets, which is, as you say, Steven. And he just that we have receipts. Exactly.

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S4: As some of us, I would note, have been making that case about social media throughout the arc of the show.

S6: I completely disagree with this characterization of me as like the Quaker Oats guy when I don’t think I spend my life on Twitter.

S1: I do not think she’s characterizing you.

S4: Well, we just decided characterizing you. I’m. I’m just defending myself. I’m just like the record to show that as the technophile, the F Show’s official Technofile. I have made this point before about social media. Great voice to people who don’t get a voice through official channels.

S7: We’ve also just discovered that while Julia and I are talking, you scroll Twitter. But anyway, I think it’s time to move on.

S1: All right, now is the moment in our house and we endorse Dana. What do you have?

S6: Steve, we talked today with Lauren Michel Jackson about anti-racist reading lists and their pitfalls. But I am going to endanger myself by recommending something that might have appeared on one of those reading lists are actually something that Lauren, as you pointed out in her piece against them, is unlikely to appear, which is a piece of cultural writing by James Baldwin. So as I mentioned to her, you know, we we read often his his kind of manifestos about race, which are fantastic. I mean, everything by James Baldwin is worth reading. But he was also such a sharp cultural critic. So I’m just going to recommend one of his essays on film, which is from his great book, The Devil Finds Work. And you can read it in that book. Or you can also find a fairly long excerpt from that book on the Penguin Random House website. We can put a link up to it, but it’s a wonderful autobiographical essay where James Baldwin remembers going to the movies as a child and specifically Betty Davis and his intense identification with Betty Davis when he saw her as maybe a 10 year old boy. And I mean, talk about intersectionality just like this, this black gay 10 year old kid who falls in love with Joan Crawford and Betty Davis on the big screen and talks about how that sort of sparked his his awakening. You know, as a critic and as a as a cultural observer is really, really extraordinary. So we’ll put a link to this excerpt on the show page. But I really encourage you to go to bookshop dawg or someplace. It isn’t Amazon and By the Devil Finds Work by James Baldwin, a marvelous Julia Woodhouse.

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S4: This is a bit of an update of an earlier endorsement. I think early on in the pandemic, I said I was watching The Good Wife and endorsed it is worth watching. But I really want to reiterate what I said in our segment about cop shows. I think that show is great. Like, really smart. And there’s so much in it that is a precursor for everything radical and wild, that its creators are doing with the good fight, which is the Christine Baranski show that we discussed last year. And sort of a it’s the Frazier to the Good Wives. Cheers. But season seven, which is the final season, I think does a really good job of of landing the plane of that show. And it’s the season that puts Aleesha in bond court and kind of puts the lie to the depiction of criminal justice that has been put forth earlier on in the show. And it’s not the wire. It’s like, you know, it’s a it’s a primetime network show. But it’s a it’s it. It does not get mentioned often in the same breath as the wire, but I think it deserves attention. So season seven have a good life.

S3: Mm hmm. Okay. So I don’t really have an endorsement this week. I have a two quick story and a plea. The story is that my kids really wanted to protest. I live in the middle of rural New York State. I live in an overwhelmingly white town. I mean, almost universally white town, 99 percent. I think the county is overwhelmingly white as well. But it was important to them and therefore is important moves in Puerto MI to begin with, I should say. I just didn’t really know where to go or how to do it. So we went as a family down to the town hall of Ghent, New York, and we stood on a corner with our koban masks on and signs saying Enough is enough, black lives matter. I mean, the typical signs that you saw and I had to. One of the four or five most moving and incredible experiences in my life that we are led to believe that the America and white America is inherently against these protests is an inherently reactionary and dangerously so. We are sold on this. I mean, there is a dangerous fringe in this country. I don’t mean to minimize it, but it is used as a way of silencing and vetoing the idea that there are a bunch of really angry white men with guns, which is true. I’m not saying it’s not true, but I went down there thinking that we would have trouble like real trouble. I’m in that kind of commute. Giant pickup trucks and guys love their guns around here. I would say the positive response to our protest on this busy intersection ran about six, seven or eight to one from the most unexpected places. We had guys on hogs on Harley’s going by honking, putting their thumbs up. We had guys in magnificently huge, preposterously huge pickup trucks leaning out the window and cheering us on. We had two sheriff’s cars drive by and give us this very subtle thumbs up. It is really, really wide and deep out there. And the illusion that were a 50/50 country, I don’t know. I, I, I don’t know what to tell you. I mean, in some obvious respects we are and in some ways like deeply, deeply unnerving sense we are. But there is something happening. And to see it up close is an incredible and it’s just it is it’s just an unbelievable experience to see the cross-section of white people in America who you would not expect would be on the side of this protest who are. So my plea to you is listeners, find your righteous self, listen to it, get on the right side of history. Get your ass out there. Get a cold mask on your face, make. Design and protest. All right, thanks, Dana.

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S9: Thanks, Steve. Thanks, Julia. Thank you.

S2: You’ll find links to some of the things we talked about today at our show page, that Slate dot com slash culture fest. And you can e-mail us at Culture Fest, that Slate dot com. We love those e-mails. We’re falling behind, falling a little bit behind on them. But I’m about to catch up. You can interact with us on Twitter. So where our feed is at Slate, Colthurst, our producer is Cameron Drus.

S1: Our production assistant is Rachel Allen for Dana Stevens and Julia. I’m Steve Inskeep. Thank you so much for joining us. And we will see you soon.

S4: Hello and welcome to this slut police segment of the Slate Culture Gabfest. Today, we will discuss Tom Cotton’s op ed for The New York Times and the ensuing brouhaha, which included many New York Times staffers, particularly staffers of color. But not only staffers of color tweeting their objections to the piece, which is ADP’s deep break of New York Times buttoned up protocol, a series of ensuing town halls. Conversations, apologies, explanations. Eventually. Editor’s note saying the piece should not have been published. And the resignation of James Bennet, the person who had been running the Times opinion section since 2016. So what do you guys think of the Tom Cotton op ed?

S3: All right. Well, you know, Tom Cotton, the senator from Arkansas who is positioning himself possibly as an heir to Trump and Trump ism, wrote a absolutely beyond the pale in extremeness point of view that there ought to be a massive militarized actual military response to the protests in order to quote unquote. All right. I’m not actually quoting, but in order to restore order in his mind to the supposedly disorderly streets, it was there were two problems with that, as I understand it, to the op ed, which is one, it was just his point of view is absolutely grotesque and it would lead to violence against peacefully protesting American citizens. And overwhelmingly, the victims of that would probably be people of color. So that was that was obviously repellent on its face, especially to young black staffers at the Times who just were not going to not speak up about it. And the second is that it it engaged in an enormous, like prevarication to the point of falsehood and then in one or two instances, absolute falsehood. So it wasn’t just wasn’t appropriately fact fact checked or contextualized. And then there’s the issue of whether it should have run at all in the first place. I mean, the times as it is, because signaled unmistakably that it should have run in the first place. I, I don’t think it should have run. I don’t know what the consequences of that should be. Institutionally, the times they’ve been they’ve been, you know, extreme.

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S7: And that may be absolutely proportionate, you know, to the to the error. To me, really, the interesting question is it’s a conceptual vulnerability of a free press. Right. That it stands behind a free amount of First Amendment that is universalised and in in some sense unlimited.

S3: At the same time, it has to make curatorial choices about what kinds of arguments it dignifies or doesn’t signify. So the right always is attempting to put a place like The New York Times on the defensive by saying, you say that you believe in free speech. You say that you advocate and stand behind and hide behind. To some degree, the right would say the First Amendment. And yet you yourself don’t want to practice it. And they test that. Bye bye bye. Daring universities, liberal organs like The New York Times to deep platform conservatives. And the way they test that is by making their arguments more and more beyond the pale. More and more reactionary in this instance, more and more violence. And citing, in my estimation, to the point where a liberal institution is negating its very mission by even publishing it or even allowing a certain kind of speaker to come and talk at a university, at which point they do do platform and then the right goes into hysteria. Right. And goes completely nuts and says, you people you people are total hypocrites. Now, in this instance, I don’t think this was an attempt to catch The New York Times in that bind. But they are caught in an a little bit. And I guess I think the Times does have to say certain things are beyond the we’re not going to we don’t we are not in existence to publish every opinion. You know, there is a large and variegated marketplace of ideas. Tom Cotton can can, you know, take his asinine fascistic opinions anywhere else. He wants the war under no obligation to give him a a bullhorn. You know, that has nothing to do with the First Amendment. And we’re capable of making an editorial misjudgment, you know, by printing something that is actually beyond that pale. And and and that’s why we as an institution bear that very difficult responsibility of drawing a line that is not itself drawn out there in nature between what we’re willing to, you know. Allow. Dissemination, you know, allowed to be disseminated under our masthead. And so in some sense, I guess at the end of the day, I come out on the on the side of the somewhat draconian response that the Times had to what they now regard as an error.

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S4: You know, I think it’s important to remember that this piece was published on Wednesday, just two days after the afternoon when, you know, Trump staged that photo op where he forcibly cleared peaceful protesters so that he could go away. But Bible around and in front of a church. Protesters who done nothing to seem to warrant gassing or forcible removal or anything else, the brink that Trump seems to be, you know, teetering next to still feels deeply present, but felt really raw at the moment that this was published. I mean, I will say I had not actually read the cotton op ed until preparing for this segment last night. And I had a funny feeling after I finished it, which is. Huh? Wow, this guy is like lurid. Like, the prose is purple and kind of jacked up about military force and and excitable. Just to give a couple examples here, bands of miscreants. A bystander screamed at the scene. Nihilist criminals are simply out for loot and the thrill of destruction. Cowdrey’s of Left-Wing radicals like it is. It was informative to me about who Tom Cotton is. I thought of Tom Cotton is a deeply conservative, ambitious person in the Republican Party who had high hopes for his political future and someone that whose political views are not aligned with my own and who I felt wary of. But I didn’t know. I didn’t think of him as quite so bloodthirsty until I read this. And now I see him as blood thirsty. And I feel like I know more about him. And I was surprised to feel slightly humiliated by the piece, which does not mean that I think that the Times should have published it and that the concerns about what the op ed pages for are not valid. For one thing, it became clear in the course of the examination of the piece at The New York Times that James Bennet and his senior deputies had not read the piece and that, you know, if you’re gonna publish a senator making an argument that has the potential to be perceived as inciting violence against American citizens, engaging in peaceful protest at a moment when the president has demonstrated and modeled a clear willingness to take violent action without cause against such peaceful protesters like that deserve scrutiny and to allow such a thing to be published without like that. That, on its own is grounds for resignation. And I say that knowing full well that that could happen to me someday, like the publishing process at any institution, at the pace we work today is as fast and things happen and pick it. It you know, they’re there. But for the grace of God go any of us working in media right now, I think. But having done it, like, yeah, that’s that’s a reasonable offense. Like you you don’t publish that opinion at that moment with that complete lack of scrutiny. But, you know, I did feel I know more about Tom Cotton now, and he could’ve put it on medium. You know, I don’t know that it needs to have the imprimatur of The New York Times, but I don’t know. I was really struck by the actual text of the thing itself is like lurid and like teenage boy ish. And it’s in it’s like blinkered. Weird. Who the hell are you view of society. And, you know, I think if you read one thing about all of this, I would say to read Michelle Goldberg’s piece in the op ed section, who sort of acknowledges that she comes from kind of a classic, you know, Gen-X Enlightenment type debate, society, way of thinking of like let all the views out there and let them argue with each other. But she’s just very acute about how the Trump administration and the prerogatives of this particular moment make that kind of ethos difficult. And, you know, that was like a existential challenge for Slate. I mean, Slate. Well, you know, when I was running Slate at the moment of Trump selection, Slate was a is a place that values surprising argument, an argument that challenges orthodoxy on all political sides. And, you know, when when one political side of the argument like goes bananas. It’s really hard to prosecute that kind of journalism. And we changed what we were doing as a result. But figuring out how to temper that, like everybody should say, their peace approach to opinion journalism at this moment is just deeply, deeply challenging. Yeah.

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S6: Yeah. Julia. And the idea, which is Michelle Goldberg’s point, I think that, you know, we’re far away from the zone where people in good faith are arguing in the marketplace of ideas. It’s really something that the right has exploited over and over and that Tom Cotton was clearly exploiting in running this op ed in the Times. And to me, that was just sealed. That deal was sealed by the fact that he told The New York Times afterwards, that was the true moment that I just realized this guy is just is just playing us and taking advantage of, you know, the supposed tolerance and openness to ideas of the op ed page in order to, you know, wedge in his little piece of hate speech, which is that after the huge dust up at the Times and after hundreds, I believe it was hundreds of New York Times staffers, you know, tweeted about this and signed a petition and essentially complained about this, this op ed appearing in the pages of their paper, something that is very strictly proscribed by the rules of being a Times journalist. By the way, you’re not supposed to engage in criticism of the paper on social media, and there’s a lot of clauses about that in your contract, et cetera. But people stood up to this and, you know, circulated a lot of objections to the Tom Cotton editorial. And what happens on that day on Tom Cotton’s Twitter feed, he tweets. How are things going at The New York Times? Right. Tagging The Times and clearly just engaging in a little piece of, you know, garbage. All right. Provocation that he’s just so pleased they got to have his anti-democratic editorial and also enjoy the spectacle of the left eating itself up over it now.

S4: All right. Well, Slate plus listeners, thank you so much for listening to this bonus segment of our show for supporting Slate and its journalism. We’ll see you soon.