S1: The following program may contain explicit language.
S2: It’s Friday, July 24th, 20 from Slate’s The Gist. I’m Mike Pesca. Within the span of 24 hours, the Trump administration was delivered three setbacks in its quest to confound and punish its enemies. First, Michael Cohen was released from federal detention. The judge had determined that the government had insisted on inserting what amounted to a non disparagement clause in his probation agreement.
S1: That’s not allowed. Alvin Hellerstein said he’d never seen such a clause in 21 years as a judge was trying to stop the exercise of his First Amendment rights and added, We’re talking about retaliation. So a few hours later, the Department of Homeland Security rescinded its punishment of New York State or really New York State residents, especially the residents who used the global entry program, which allows travelers to speed through airport security. DHS admitted that they had lied or at least gotten it wrong in the original filing writing, quote, We deeply regret the foregoing, inaccurate or misleading statements they gave up trying to pretend that the government was doing anything other than trying to punish the states. Also, within this time span, the inspector general of the Department of Justice, one of the non fired inspector generals, announced he was looking at the DOJ, his use of federal officials and their tactics in Portland and also in the clearing of protesters at Lafayette Square in advance of the president’s Bible fondling. There have been many days over the last three and a half years that have seen the Trump administration delivered a confluence of losses or setbacks or face plants. But we’re seeing right now is an undoing of Trump in attempts to assert itself. And this is happening within months or even sometimes days of the original action being implemented. The initiatives are all ill advised. They have no staying power. They don’t really get the administration anything but a bit of embarrassment. You can’t even say, well, they won the news cycle that day because Trump’s own deranged media performances crowd out anything the administration does. That isn’t him talking. Person, woman, man, camera, TV. We’ve seen, in fact, a version of this movie before. This is not this movie. The genre film is not a cat and mouse game. Trump trying to play out his different antagonists on the state and federal level. This is not a power grab. This is not an evil mastermind. At the height of his well thought out plan. But I expect you to die. No. What we are seeing now with this movie is, is this spiraling out phase. The freakout, the embarrassing to witness prelude to the true devastation. It’s Steve Martin just losing it all in the jerk. I don’t need any thought on it.
S3: I don’t need you. I didn’t mean anything. All right.
S1: I just need this wall and these statues traced back to the remote control paddleball. At a bar, goateed Avago. Or maybe it’s even less comic than the jerk. Maybe it’s more manic. Maybe it’s Cagney’s shooting at the refinery until plumes of smoke and fire rise up. And he yells.
S4: Genius, more good Nibali cognitively.
S5: There are more, of course, in the movie. We know what happens in the very next moment.
S1: Huge explosion. So that’s the proper script. The unraveling is followed by the catharsis of destruction in 2016. The script was set up pretty perfectly, too. It was the script of The Bully who seemed to forever avoid accountability. But, of course, one day he was going to get his comeuppance. But when Trump did in it skewed our expectations to some extent, it shook the ground under us, our brains process, what was going on and expect certain endings. That’s why tales are familiar. That’s why folklore persists. But it creates rifts. When these expected endings are not delivered, not only do the facts and policies of the Trump administration bother us, the fact that the tried and true. A hundred percent expected conclusion. In fact, the needed conclusion isn’t the conclusion that has an effect. I think a lot of people were put in a state of crisis because the regular rules that we’ve all come to expect just didn’t apply to Trump. It didn’t add up in terms of story. Trump campaigned as a character who wasn’t a set of policy ideas. He was a character. We recognize the genre. And when the genre bully gets his come up and it didn’t happen, it caused anguish. And now right now, we all think we’re recognizing the script. This is the flailing flameout. But we’ve got an agonizing wait to see how it all plays out. How could all this mismanagement, cruelty and just ridiculousness possibly result in something other than self destruction? This is a character on a path of self-destruction. It’s mandated. But if the script ends with him winning, it will, and rightly so, not just get people mad. It will make them think they’ve gone mad or have been mad all this time. So for our own sense of sanity, of a Trump defeat, I think we can all say on the show today, it’s an antenna twigg our name for the recurring segment where Mike talks to the listeners as opposed to every other show where Mike talks to listeners. But first, I talk to an expert about Texas politics. The governor of that state and the dynamics there. In a while ago, I talk about Portland. The thesis was to understand the city and what’s going on there. You have to understand the structure of government seems pretty much true everywhere. Texas has some very conservative voters outside of cities who are served by a quite conservative governor who does have different constituencies to juggle. How does Greg Abbott do it and why? Scott Braddick of the Texas Take podcast explains up next.
S6: Texas is experiencing an acute corona virus outbreak over 10000 cases a week. That’s the ruling seven day average. Texas opened up earlier than the CDC guidelines would allow. Texas does not require masks and was hesitant to shut down again, although some version of that could be in the offing. Now, for a while, I thought the governor of Texas, Governor Abbott, was essentially a Corona virus denier who did have a more reasonable affect than other governors like Ron DeSantis and Tate Reeves. But I’ve been learning about him, and it’s an interesting psychology how he navigates Texas government. And my knowledge was provided by the podcast. The Texas Take, which is cohosted by the editor of the quorum report, Scott Braddock, who joins me now. Thanks for coming on, Scott. Hey, Mike. So, like I said, I didn’t have a terrible opinion of Governor Abbott. I just thought he was making some poor choices along the way. But listening to you, I’m realizing how proscribed his actions sometimes are by Texas politics. But before we get to that, couple of weeks ago, you had an insight about how his pronouncements, how his actual words have this lawyerly quality, and it’s often very confusing. Can you tell me what you meant by that?
S7: The man is a living cipher. And I can tell you that a lot of people who are now for the first time tuning into Greg Abbott and paying any attention to him like yourself, because we’re in this global pandemic and we’re one of the biggest states, you know, trying to navigate this along with Florida, New York, California, et cetera. The governor, his history is one in the legal profession. I mean, he was in private practice and he was a justice on the Supreme Court before that. He was a judge in Harris County where Houston is. And after that, he was attorney general of Texas. Lawyer Lee is, you know, probably the nicest way to put it. You know, when the governor speaks, you have to listen very closely to the words he’s using. For example, lately when he’s been talking about and asked whether or not Texas would have another shutdown. What he says is, no, that’s not the goal. You notice he doesn’t say, no, I’m not going to do it. Right. And you have to listen to that nuance when it comes to him. He’s somebody who is critical of executive orders. When Rick Perry, the former governor, his successor, was there because executive orders from a Texas governor don’t have force of law. However, when there is a public health disaster declared like there is now, executive orders from the governor do have force of law. And so it’s almost like he has a new toy to play with now. And Governor Abbott is known as a micromanager, somebody who goes line by line through everything. He’s known for that in the way he handles his own office and his approach to state agencies and in dealing with the legislature as well. That’s been the case with him all throughout his career.
S6: Who does his gnomic pronouncements serve the fact that you have to pass them so carefully? Why is that? I can understand why it would be frustrating, especially now. Give me the case for why that’s a good thing. Good enough to have helped him into the governor’s mansion.
S7: He is someone who has had a career that is defined by chance. When the governor was a young man, he was jogging in Houston. As you may know, when a freak accident happened, he was hit by a tree. He was jogging on the sidewalk. A tree snapped and fell. Wasn’t even during a storm or anything. A tree that had rotted, fell on him, broke his back and put him in the hospital in the ICU for months. And he got a settlement out of that about six million dollars. And that money and those means created a situation where he was, you know, he had the resources to run for office. Ever since then, he’s been in this spot at the time. Let me put it that way, made his way on to Texas. The Supreme Court made his way into the attorney general’s office. And when he was attorney general under Rick Perry and Rick Perry was once again talking about running for president. He had toyed with that a couple of times. And that led to the moment, which, of course, you remember from Rick Perry when it was time for Perry to leave and he announced that he was leaving the governor’s office. Abbott was just the, you know, the heir apparent and slid right in there. And he has always had pretty good fundraising prowess. He has, I think, about 38 million dollars in the bank right now in the last election cycle. He had about 40 million dollars more than the Republican National Committee at the time. And so it’s difficult for any other Republican to want to challenge him in a primary or anything. But there is a lot more noise about that now that he’s been angering the right with the way he’s handling the pandemic.
S6: Yeah, and that is an interesting aspect to Texas politics. Even though the city’s a number of the cities in Texas are taking this more seriously, the outbreak has hit cities like Houston and San Antonio and their mayors are aggressively trying to combat the virus. He’s been roiled. He’s been buffeted by political forces from the right who think that he’s doing too much. So how does that play out?
S7: When the governor first laid out his. Plan for reopening the state. Let’s go back to April, twenty seventh of this year, which seems like two thousand years ago right when he first laid that out. It seemed like a plan that was informed by two major stakeholders, big business and the health care industry and health care experts. It wasn’t the fastest plan. It wasn’t the slowest plan. But when he laid out his vision for how this was going to work and how we were going to open up the state’s economy, he was putting forth a go slow approach in the estimation of a lot of people. And part of it included the continued shuttering of certain businesses, including hair salons and barbershops. And when the right in this state. And it wasn’t only conservatives and people on the right. It wouldn’t be fair to say that. But they were certainly driving this when the case of Shelley Luther from Dallas County came to the fore. Shelley Luther’s the owner of a hair salon in Frisco, Texas, which you may have seen. Ted Cruz went there and got his haircut. She became, you know, just sort of this cause celeb for the right. Well, the governor, when he was asked on April 27, what will happen if you violate these orders if a Texan doesn’t do what you’re saying? The first thing out of his mouth was you could go to jail, pay a fine or lose the license for your business. But when it became apparent that this hair salon owner in Dallas was going to go to jail because she was in violation of the order, it’s almost as if the governor said, I’m paraphrasing. But he basically said I didn’t really think anybody would go to jail. And so he did legal gymnastics to try to placate the right. In fact, when he was at the White House with President Trump right around that time, President Trump asked him about it. And it was almost all timed out so that Abbott could say, well, she’s out of jail today. We have taken care of that. Not only had the governor reversed his order and skipped ahead of his own timeline that he had laid out back on April 27 for reopening the state. He went ahead and opened barbershops everywhere and took the additional step of removing any sort of jail time for violating that order. And he said retroactively that those barbershops and hair salons could have been open the whole time, which, you know, I was talking to veterans of Texas government who told me that they have never seen anything like that. So to say he was doing legal gymnastics, I’m probably understating it. But the right got so angry with him and he folded like a cheap suit. In that instance. So they’re angry with the governor who at the same time, as you mentioned, is being attacked from the left as well. And he’s been criticized by some in health care now who say that he’s not taking this virus as seriously as you should. When it came to the question of masks, the governor early on adopted the language of the right in saying that, you know, your liberty and your freedom are paramount. And of course, they are. But let’s be honest here. When those folks talk about liberty and freedom, that’s not really what they’re talking about. They’re talking about selfishness. If the governor all along had said we all need to pull in the same direction here. And by the way, he didn’t mandate masks when he laid out his reopening plan. If he had or he had more strenuously encourage masks, maybe we’d be in a different place.
S6: Yeah. So is it your assessment based on the evidence and everything that you can glean, your insight, your experience, is it your assessment that he has mismanaged this or that he is in a way doing the best he can given the political forces of Texas?
S7: I don’t think he’s doing the best he can. I think he’s sort of what we around here, we like to say that he’s middled himself. The governor is navigating tricky political waters. That’s true. But I’ve compared him to Governor Cuomo and Governor Newsome, who, as you’ve seen in New York and California, took clear and decisive actions. And according to their poll numbers, they had been rewarded for that. You know, Cuomo and Newsom’s numbers were up around what is astronomical, up around 80 percent at certain points during the pandemic. And the governor here went down his general approval rating for Governor Abbott. He’s usually around 66 percent, but he’s down to 56 percent. And some polling based on his pandemic response and some other polling, he was down to more like 45 percent. I think he might be even lower than that if it weren’t for the fact that people generally like him. They sort of give him the benefit of the doubt.
S6: OK. So I want to ask about another curious figure, Dan Patrick, the lieutenant governor. We see him yesterday on Fox News. He’s a former talk radio personality. And, you know, he’s famous or infamous, at least in my circles, for saying if a few of us old folks die, at least we save the economy. But how does he affect the governor’s job? Is he just the human embodiment of those county committees that centered him? Or is he actually a power player making things more difficult for Abbott?
S7: Definitely a power player. The little governor, as I like to call him, is a formidable of it’s been commonplace in Texas to call the presiding officer of the Texas Senate, the Lt. Gov.. I call him little governor because he I think he’s diminished his office in a lot of ways. But here you have the little governor over and over again pushing on Abbott to side with those further right elements of the Republican Party. Dan Patrick in Texas, I like to say he’s. A leader of the Republican Party and what he says, they sort of follow along, but he’s tried to have it both ways as well. The Republican Party of Texas convention, which was held online in a lot of ways, was a complete disaster when they were arguing about whether to have the convention online or have it in person. Patrick tried to have it both ways, and he said that he agreed with members of the Republican Party who did not want to have the convention in person. He said he flat out agreed with them that was a bad idea to have an in-person convention, but that he respected the people who thought that there should be a convention in person. So if they had it at the Georgia Brown Convention Center in Houston, he would be there.
S6: But if this plays out where we already see the cases spiking and the epidemiologists tell us that deaths will follow. So if this plays out on the Texas level, something like it did the national level where you can’t just wish it away or pretend the numbers aren’t there. How could that redound to Patrick’s benefit and those of his persuasion? You know, if there is all these dead people and bodies in Texas, won’t they punish the people who, you know, argued for unmasking as a means of liberty?
S7: The governor and the little governor have the luxury of not being on the ballot this year. As we mentioned earlier, they run an off year in Texas, which is a structural advantage for statewide officials in Texas. The folks who may get punished are those down ballot candidates who are Republicans or the Democrats really think they can pick up some steam in 2018. You had three things going on in this state. And our senior senator, John Cornyn, put it this way, a confluence of events. You had the backlash to President Trump, which is significant in Texas and elsewhere, of course, backlash to Senator Cruz. Some Republicans said that they voted for him in this state and then immediately left the voting booth and put their finger down their throat and threw up. Actually, the former land commissioner, Jerry Patterson, who’s a Republican, said that he didn’t want the third element to take hold. The third thing that nobody could see come in was the Betto mania. Betto, our work and all of that. And look, work did not win, but he didn’t have to win to help a lot of other Democrats win. When the dust settled, you had 12 new Democrats in the Texas House of Representatives, two new Democrats in the Texas Senate and two congressional districts had been flipped from Republican to Democratic in Houston and Dallas. And look, Democrats are looking to build on that momentum. Republicans here say that they’re going to try to fight back against that. I think it is fair to say that Republicans in 2018, some of them in some of these local races and down ballot races, probably got caught with their pants down, probably weren’t taking the environment seriously enough. I don’t think they’re gonna make that mistake again. So Republicans aren’t just going to be on defense in Texas. They’ve made it clear they’ll be on offense as well. And the Democrats say that, look, they’re going to put a lot of their effort and treasure into trying to flip the Texas House of Representatives to Democratic. And in this environment, you could see that happening.
S6: I do want to note that on this show, I was always interested in the claim that Texas could be flipped. Texas statewide could be turning blue. It was said with the BATO election, it was said with Hillary Clinton. I remember, you know, following politics. I remember The New York Times ran a story in 2002 that Ron Kirk is within 10 points of John Cornyn. Yeah. And then and then I did this thing, which I think you have done on your show, where I went back and said, OK, who is the last Democrat to win statewide? I think it was Ann Richards and some. OK, Bob Bullett. Right. And then in the end, John Sharp and then senator and there were that type of thing. And then I counted every railroad commissioner and every Supreme Court race and I got to about one hundred thirty something straight wins for Republicans over Democrats. So. Right. Show me that a railroad commissioner will flip and then I’ll believe that, you know, the governor or the Senate will flip.
S7: Yeah. And it was down ballot races previously where the difference was made. Look, I think that what often happens in these discussions is people people want to focus in on the on the simple question of whether Texas will turn blue. And I’m always happy to have the discussion, but I think it’s maybe the wrong way to think about it in the wrong way to talk about it, because this is a state that still has you look at the polling, this is pretty consistent in the entire time I’ve been doing all this. She’s about 20 years and I’m sure the numbers were similar before this. People in the state still identify about a third Republican, a third Democratic and a third independent. It’s just been the case that in the last generation, those people who say they’re independent always break for the Republicans. And there are various reasons for that. Texas is not a Republican state. It’s a winner take all state. When the Democrats ran the state, they ran everything. They ran the legislature. They had all the statewide offices. You’re going back to the years of LBJ for this. It’s fairly recent that Republicans took the majority of everything. It was in 2002 that the Republican Party took the majority for the first time in 100 years in the Texas House. So it’s not completely out of the question that at least the legislative pillar of state government. Could fall back into the hands of Democrats to run it. And it may be what’s needed around here to kind of balance things out, because when you have Republican control of anything or Democratic control of everything or whoever is in charge, they start to take that for granted. And if you look back at the 2017 session of the Texas legislature, what people remember around the country, if they remember anything, is that there was a big debate about who could use which public restrooms in Texas, the so-called bathroom bill, transgender discrimination bill, which failed. If you look at that legislature, overall bathroom bill, an immigration crackdown, a convention of states to rewrite the United States Constitution, some red meat issues that were on the table. That was when Republicans thought they just had everything on lock in the state and they could argue about some of this nonsense. Then you fast forward to the 2018 election and you have historic gains for Democrats. I don’t want to take away from what they did in 2013. Historic gains legislatively for Democrats in the state. And you had O’Rorke almost lose this race. You had other statewide Republicans, including the little governor, Dan Patrick, who almost lost his race to a Democrat, to put it in perspective. Dan Patrick spent about 14 million dollars on his re-election in 2018. The Democrat who came within about two points of beating him, could not raise one million dollars. So something was shifting there. Right. And so you had this nonsense legislative session in 2017. You had this hotly contested election in 2018. And then by 2019, the next legislative session, the top issues were school finance and property taxes, followed closely by school finance and property taxes. They did not want to talk about anything else. They didn’t want to hit any big controversies. They wanted to make marginal progress on substantive issues. So it shows you what happens when people actually show up and vote.
S6: Scott Braddock is the editor of the Quorum Report. And I’ve been listening to the Texas Take podcast every Thursday or Friday. You can hear why it’s become a must listen for me, Scott. Thanks so much. Thank you very much. We’ll talk soon.
S1: And now the spiel. It’s an antenna, Twigg. We answer your concerns. We issue corrections. The Antenna Twigg is our name for a three week period. It’s from the old English and 10 Twigg one in 20. You know, often words like Decimate or Miria. They start off with precise definitions to shrink by a tenth. And 10000 respectively. But then over time, they become unmoored from their strict definitions and exist to generally convey the idea of getting creamed or quite a bit. I was worried this was gonna happen to the antenna Twigg. Yes, it means three weeks, but we’ve stretched the definition perhaps past the point where it can bounce back to its original form. But this right now, my friends, this is a true antenna, Twigg. It has been exactly three weeks since we did the last one. And what has happened since then is we’ve gotten some feedback, perhaps even made some mistakes. There is much, much to share. For instance, the other day I did make reference to the Portland Police Department. I do have a police bureau. It’s one of those little tales that shows a person isn’t from the place, like calling a burro a county in New York or calling high school football in Texas. A game bureau. Portland Police Bureau. You know, bureaucrat. For me, it’s the word that I misspell the most often at 100 percent. I would say that that is the most often. So the two segments that I did that generated the most interest or listener interaction was my spiel about the Smithsonian’s Web site posting a guide to whiteness and the debate we hosted between the two opposing viewpoints on the Harpers letter. So on the Harper’s letter, some listeners thought Seeta won. Some listeners thought Yashar one. I’ll quote another listener, Siddarth, not Karney, who wrote Over the course of the episode, I found myself agreeing with Yashar NOCCA almost interns. It really helped have a reasonable and well-formed set of arguments being made by two passionate and respectful people. Thanks. That’s what we were going for. I want to say this a point that Seta made that I do think he’s absolutely right about, because in the past I’ve talked in general that I support the ideas of Harper’s letter. But one thing that Yoshio’s side of the argument very much needs to address is data. The problem that the Harper’s letter points out, it is a little nebulous. The examples cited in the letter weren’t even cited as clear examples, and they were some of the same familiar examples we hear time and time again. I understand the problem itself is somewhat hard to define. There are nuances to all of that. What they need to recognize the signatories do is that their side of the debate is hurt by the anecdotal nature of their complaints. There needs to be a database out there full of examples of people being with thoughts they canceled. But in some way punished, hurt, having their status diminished or the like. Otherwise, we’re just flitting about from this example or that example. David Shaw is the exact. Of the week. But then he cited so often you wonder, is he the tip? Or is he the iceberg? And that’s a problem. No comparison. Complaints of excessive police shooting. They are brought into focus much, much more when media organizations compile databases. The Guardian, The Washington Post. And just as advocacy groups can say, you know, Donald Trump emboldens bigots. It goes a lot further when those attempts are actually chronicled as anti-Semitic by the Anti Defamation League or the anti Asian bigotry that’s chronicled by Asian advocacy groups. The same thing applies. The forces who are drawing attention to creeping illiberalism should tangibly document the creep. I would think the Harpers signatories and their ilk will define themselves as a data driven crowd. I know they object to the argument of, oh, that makes me feel unsafe because that argument is so squishy and unem Puracal. Get empirical guys put together a master list, a chronicle of the canceled. There is a group called Fire of Free Speech on Campus AVC Advocacy Group. They have some databases. I’ve gone through those. But they’re not that useful for exactly what we’re talking about here. They, for instance, will include speakers who are protested, but sometimes the protests were sometimes the protests don’t work. Some of the protest are small, ignorable, half assed calls for boycotts. Some are actual boycotts that actually do D platform legitimate voices. That’s my advice. That’s my call. If it’s so scary out there, let’s gather together these anecdotes and whip them up into something that comes close to data. OK. So the other big spiel that got a lot of comment and pushback was my comments about the Smithsonian containing as a sign of whiteness, the example of the scientific method. It’s kind of appalled that the scientific method would be relegated to being used to prop up one ethnic group ill defined as what the ethnic group is and also as ill-Defined as the scientific method is.
S5: Many listeners supported by statements, they said, yeah, that seems kind of nuts. But the reason people listen to the show is that they might be aligned with that kind of thinking. So just because a lot of people heard and agreed, I mean, you build a community and the community is usually people who want to hear what you have to say. Not everyone did that. Three or four people wrote and said, I’m not going to listen to the show again, bothered me because I don’t want to lose listeners, but also because I want people who disagree with me. If it’s just people who agree with me, then it becomes this coterie of the like minded that it’s it’s just not exactly what I aspire to. All I ever want the show to be and what the shows I seek out, what they are, is even when they talk about sensitive subjects, a person could know they could tune in and hear an opinion they differ with, but maybe think the host is an A person with whom they differ or don’t want to spend time with or is not legitimate enough in other opinions. Interesting enough in other opinions. Let’s say I reach out to a few of the people said I shall be listening again. I don’t know if I changed any minds. It is also fine if there is some expression of opinion that is a red line. Everyone has their own. Maybe this was the red line for some people where they say, I just can’t invite this guy into my head and ears any longer. So all I’m trying to do here and maybe with a few of the people who tweeted or e-mailed me, is to clear up misconceptions they might have had, like one listener, Yolanda Sanguinity, who wrote and she wasn’t and I’m never gonna listen again camp. But she did write for Conversations on Whiteness. You could have a non-white guest to make you better understand tennants laid out by the National Museum of History of African-American culture. You’re reducing a lot of the concepts without context, with no counter argument to disappoint the black listener. Yes. So I will say to you what I said to her. We did request the author of that whiteness brochure, that Guide to Whiteness that the Smithsonian published. We also reach out several people to discuss this. We will continue to do so. But also how this works is this is a show that comments on the news and when something’s on in the news, I want to find the best way to comment on and I can’t always wait five days or a week to get the right person to have the conversation with. So sometimes I will just let you in on what I’m thinking. At the same time, I do listen. I do hear some of the complaints. One was that some people thought I didn’t understand the project at all. That I didn’t understand why the idea of whiteness or why anyone was interested in the basic idea of the brochure of defining white culture as the dominant culture and talking about some examples therein. I’ll read from the brochure. I’m calling it a brochure. It was a posting that was taken from some source material that was put on the Smithsonian’s Web site. The Museum of History of African-American Culture portion thereof. And it’s a white dominant culture or whiteness refers to the way white people and their traditions, attitudes and ways of life have been normalized over time and are now considered standard practices. The United States. I think it’s worthy to say yes. What are those normalized? Their standard practices that really are a practice of one part of the culture that’s come to be known as the dominant culture. Right. At one point I talked about the idea of kids having their own bedrooms as white. And I jokingly said, I guess I’m a bad white guy because my kids don’t have their own bedrooms. That was misunderstood by some. I get why that’s on the list. Then again, I do think a lot of what was on the list is more about wealth than race. Of course, race is correlated and intertwined with wealth. But, you know, whenever immigrant groups come to this country, they usually lives several to a room. The history of the Jews or the Irish, the Jews on the Lohrey side was not of every kid getting a bedroom. Then again, the Irish weren’t white before. I don’t know the eighteen fifties. The Jews didn’t achieve whiteness until like hundred years later, though some argue the project of Jewish whiteness is not complete. I get it.
S8: I get what Yale Professor Claudia Rankin is saying when she says, you know, we’re being framed culturally, constantly, and we think about it as blacks or as people of color, but white people are not used to thinking about it because whiteness is equal to normality. And so for the first time, I think we’re in a place where we can begin to think about what structure’s whiteness.
S1: Yes. So it’s a worthy project. But I applied some thought, some critical reasoning, a critique of the fact that the scientific method was on this list as a vestige of an example of a propagator of a force behind whiteness. I don’t know what it takes to get on the list. I could see I mean, people laid out to me what the argument might be, but what about the cost? What about the costs of saying the scientific method is white? I think the costs are high and the evidence for including the scientific method under the rubric of whiteness is questionable. Now, listener Gary Chapman wrote, Science in quotes has been used against communities for centuries. I’m pretty sure I don’t have to point to how science has been used since the Enlightenment to prop up race based and nationalist illusions. Yes, true, but that is the misuse of science. That’s pseudo science. That’s why science in quotes was in quotes. That’s discredited science. It’s not science. The argument isn’t that false appeals to science have harmed non-white people. By the way, Jews didn’t do great with the Holocaust. But of course, I know the history of how black people specifically have been abused by false appeals to science. The Tuskegee experiment. Forced sterilization. Henrietta Lacks. I know that. And yet, at the same time, I would not blame the scientific method, which is, of course, a loose concept. But Prize’s experimentation and control groups and testing and inquiry and rigour and also ethics within it. You know, scientists do have ethics. Unethical science is not good science. The scientific method is something that I still believe we all all people should recognize as a benefit to humanity. Gary wrote, The distrust expressed as distrust of the scientific method is distrust of its misuse. So historically ubiquitous that it bleeds into the thing itself. I’m not saying it’s technically right. I’m saying that in context it is explicable. I get that. I get the point. But to be on this list of a vestige of whiteness, I think that there should be. And maybe I’m using the scientific method a little bit more rigour to think about what it means and why it’s included. So here’s the choice I’ve made about all this. People get upset. I can’t say they’re wrong. Right. It’s easy to point to a fact that someone mad at me got wrong. That’s not what happens here. And sometimes these issues are so I can say, fraught. You can say intensely felt that I’ll just drive listeners away. So what I’ll do is I’ll just try to be as rigorous as I can about my arguments. I’ll do research. I’ll try to be as intellectually fair as I can be. I will continue to seek outside input, but I will still continue to talk about what I think are the most interesting things going on in society today. And to do so with some humility, not assuming I know everything, a little bit of grace. I don’t want to barge into your ears with unearned certainty about topics, and I will say when I have more questions than answers. But sometimes when you put together this, which is a bit of rhetoric, you’re making an argument and perhaps the argument sounds too self assured to certain. I’m sorry, it is often heard that way, but I still think that what this show has to be, the gist has to be, is the place where we and I in fact can discuss a great, great, great multitude of topics in the way that the gist has always discussed topics. I listened to a lot of shows that have a wide range of interests, and I know you do, too, or at least this one anyway. Now is the time to honor the best among us better than I am, in fact. So here’s a little story. A few months ago, I noticed that the pricing of a subscription to Bloomberg was a little weird. Two dollars for the first three months. If you go monthly or 315 dollars for the first year, if you go yearly, why wouldn’t anyone go monthly? Sure, sure, sure. The fine print says that the monthly rate is jacked up to thirty five dollars a month and the yearly rate is jacked up to four hundred fifteen dollars a month after the initial period. But I did the math and I said to myself, it will take years for the yearly rate to make more sense than the monthly rate. I believe my back of the envelope calculation asserted that it was 20 years, but it was not 20 years. A listener named Dave Gutta Comsec. Excuse me if it’s good cusk. Dave Good Cusk. Did a chart. He laid this all out in Excel spreadsheet form and then he plotted it against an X and Y axis and found that the yearly rate becomes more economically feasible. If you cancel the auto renewal feature in July 2025, by July 2025, if you switch over to yearly from monthly, you will have saved 40 seconds. This was such a good amount of research. So clearly laid out, taking so much time that I researched much. Mr. Good a con scan. I found that he is assistant professor of physical therapy at St. Louis University who writes, I want to know why and how bones break and then emens that statement by noting that my views do not reflect the views of St. Louis University, leaving me to infer that St. Louis University just does not give a shit about how bones break. How dare you, St. Louis University. But I honor you, Dave. Good. A concert for you are the lost star of this. A true and 10 TWIC.
S2: And that’s it for today’s show. Daniel Shrader, producer of The Gist, is, as they say in Texas, brave as the first man that aid an oyster. Margaret Kelly produces the gist. She worked so hard that, as they say in Texas, she’s busy as a Stumptown Bulan fly season that, in fact, God’s a possum. Lisa Montgomery is executive producer of Slate podcasts. She’s a right smart windmill fixer. I mean, she could find a whisper in a whirlwind. The jest reminding you, as they say in Texas, just because a chicken is wings don’t mean it can fly. Also, you can’t get lard unless you boil the hog. And once more, there’s more than one way to break a dog from sucking eggs. Adepero to Peru. And thanks for listening.
S1: No cats were skinned in the making of this metaphore.