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Last Friday, famed astrophysicist and follow-up host to Carl Sagan's documentary series Cosmos, Neil deGrasse Tyson, appeared on Bill Maher's Real Time and, in response to being shown a National Review cover story that poked fun of the "nerd culture" that deGrasse Tyson had been fostering, brilliantly broke down what the conservatives disliked so much about him. In the process, he illuminates some of the most rudimentary flaws in the ideologies and mindsets of our modern-day Republicans.

1) Bill Maher started out by joking that just like how the right was partially discontent that Obama was occupying a traditionally "white-man's job", the right was jealous of the reputation deGrasse Tyson has built up. Drawn out controversy over Barrack Obama's birth certificate makes these words uncomfortably real.

2) Republicans are jealous that the "geeks of America" tend to overwhelmingly vote Democrat. deGrasse Tyson argued that taking a survey of current goers at Comic-Con would yield results that would heavily favor Democrats, causing Bill Maher to quip that that might not necessarily be a good thing.

3) Akin to the Catholic Church and its prosecution of Galileo, Republicans are not the biggest fans of being told that under the broad scope of the universe, despite overwhelming scientific evidence, human beings and Earth are insignificant and that life for the most part is different. deGrasse Tyson argued that what the right was missing in their narrow-minded thinking was the fact that the connection between human beings and all life on earth was beautiful and nothing to be looked down upon.

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Comment Preferences

  •  A Black man, smarter than ME? (144+ / 0-)

    Nah... that can't be possible! Must Knock Him Down!!

    That goes for President Obama and Neil deGrasse Tyson.

    Far too many White people are uncomfortable with the idea that a Black man might be more intelligent than they are. It strikes deep to the core of the idea of racial superiority, and makes them uncomfortable. Even some who don't consider themselves racist in the least might be discomforted at the thought. Bigotry resides deep in our bones - not by choice, but because we're subjected to it from all sides our entire lives. It's hard to get rid of the irrational belief in the superiority of white skin when it has been such a part of the fabric of our society for so long.

    Santa Claus is White. All the previous presidents were White. Most authority figures all throughout a White person's life (and for Black people as well) are White.

    The president or scientist (or doctor, or whatever) that doesn't look like a strong White man... makes a lot of people uncomfortable on a subconscious level.

    And that is truly sad. It's going to take a long time to dig that out of our society and our culture.

    "We have only the moral ground we actually inhabit, not the moral ground we claim." - It Really Is That Important

    by Diogenes2008 on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 10:07:42 AM PDT

    •  Bigotry is inculcated. (25+ / 0-)

      It is not absorbed vis-a-vis cultural osmosis.  There are plenty of Americans who have not succumbed to bigotry, despite the culture being soaked with its residue.

      •  It's a combination of both (22+ / 0-)

        You can't escape it in media and literature unless you live in a cave all alone in the woods.

        "We have only the moral ground we actually inhabit, not the moral ground we claim." - It Really Is That Important

        by Diogenes2008 on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 10:52:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, one is exposed to it (11+ / 0-)

          but exposure alone does not mean that one contracts the disease.

          •  So you've never had even the slightest thought (12+ / 0-)

            Of anything bigoted in your life? Never had to root something out of your head that you didn't realize was in there?

            Somehow I doubt that.

            "We have only the moral ground we actually inhabit, not the moral ground we claim." - It Really Is That Important

            by Diogenes2008 on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 11:00:30 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I find it amazing (7+ / 0-)

            That there are so many perfect people in the world... smh

            "We have only the moral ground we actually inhabit, not the moral ground we claim." - It Really Is That Important

            by Diogenes2008 on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 11:01:04 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  How many three-year-olds (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            timewarp

            Can separate the dog-whistle items from what they see on TV, and reject them?

            I guess you were that one solitary three-year-old (or four, or five-year-old or whatever) who saw stuff in cartoons or media or in your environment and had the genius not to bury it in your mind as part of your culture.

            "We have only the moral ground we actually inhabit, not the moral ground we claim." - It Really Is That Important

            by Diogenes2008 on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 11:05:22 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  If you spoke to me in that sneering tone (10+ / 0-)

              I'd probably call you an asshole and tell you to go away but you appear to be having a conversation with your self so please proceed.

              •  Whatever (19+ / 0-)

                It wasn't "sneering" - it was explanatory.

                I just get sick and tired of people who say they never had a bigoted thought in their life - it's nearly impossible.

                Women who say they have no bigoted thoughts yet still shrink away from the Black man in the elevator. Who cross the street to avoid a Black man.

                People who sneer at women with "Black" names, or make fun of different ways of speaking, or different hairstyles.

                People who walk into a grocery store filled with Black or Hispanic people and automatically (consciously or otherwise) think "bad neighborhood".

                Nobody ever played "Cowboys and Indians" as kids, or thought that Asian people were bad drivers, or thought that women were too emotional, etc. etc. etc. and so on and so forth.

                Anyone who tells you they've never had a bigoted thought in their life is either lying to you - or to themselves.

                It's not the bigotry that you absorb in our culture that defines you - it's how you react to it and rid yourself of it that does.

                It's not the stuff that permeates our culture that defines you - it's your willingness to admit to it - or deny it ever happened.

                Nobody is able to differentiate between a bigoted statement and one that isn't when they're children - it's up to us as adults to rid ourselves of that garbage.

                Example: For most of my life, I thought that one of the astronauts (Richard Gordon) was a jerk.

                No real idea why - it was just "there" in my head, and I never thought about it.

                Until someone reminded me of a park in the neighborhood where I grew up, and the astronaut in question had been there... and a kid next to me - maybe eight years old, but older than me - said "He's a jerk. My parents said so."

                I had forgotten the genesis of this incident until a year or so ago... but all these years it was buried in my head that Gordon was a jerk. Because some kid said so and I forgot he said it.

                We ALL have stuff like that in there. It's impossible not to have incidents in your life that you've forgotten, unless you have an eidetic memory.

                So for someone to say they've never had a single even slightly bigoted thought in their entire lives... it's laughable - and the height of denial.

                "We have only the moral ground we actually inhabit, not the moral ground we claim." - It Really Is That Important

                by Diogenes2008 on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 11:34:20 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I have yet to meet the person (21+ / 0-)

                  who denies having bigoted thoughts in their heads from time to time once they really sit down and think about it.

                  And it makes sense...we are surrounded by personal and systematic bigotry. Its everywhere, written into our very cultural DNA (american exceptionalism, HELLO?).

                  The important part is recognizing those thoughts and countering them in your head. It can be exhausting and grueling, challenging all of those very basic assumptions, but it does work.

                  Part of the process, though, is admitting that the thoughts are there in the first place.

                  •  Exactly! (5+ / 0-)

                    Nobody (other than someone with an eidetic memory) can remember everything they ever saw, heard or read, and at a young age, most things go unchallenged. And they become part of our lives, even though we often forget the genesis.

                    Everyone has bigoted thoughts. Right-wingers often accept and build on that bigotry.

                    As progressives, I would hope that one of our goals would be to root them out, look at them in the light of day, and then reject them. It's not HAVING the bigoted thoughts that's the problem. It's accepting them, or denying they even exist.

                    "We have only the moral ground we actually inhabit, not the moral ground we claim." - It Really Is That Important

                    by Diogenes2008 on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 11:47:23 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  my dad (0+ / 0-)

                    was brought up in Virginia in the early 20th century.  He had some racist idioms in his speech that made me cringe (more so now)  but I believe he made a conscious effort not to raise us kids to be racist, and he was a fair and just man to my knowledge, to everyone.

                    I have twinges of racial thought from time to time. I tell my brain to grow up.  I also made an effort not to raise my girls to be racist and I think I succeeded.

                    Thus generation by generation, honest and thoughtful effort can wear away the residue of centuries.

                    •  Yes---but then--- (0+ / 0-)

                      My mother grew up in the 40's and 50's in Penn and NJ.  And was NOT a racist.  And kinda hard to be some kind of bigots when you are Jewish!

                      But--she made a point to NOT include this sort of stuff in my upbringing.  And we had REAL Black friends--the kind you vacation with not the kind you only say Hello to at the grocery store!

                      However--then she moved to ARIFREAKINZONA

                      And turned into THE most bigoted and racist and opinionated and ill-informed woman on the planet.  

                      And she was surrounded by the SAME kinds of people as her "New" self.

                      Makes ya wonder don't it.  

                •  novapsyche did not say (7+ / 0-)

                  s/he had never had a bigoted thought before

                  Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
                  Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights to talk about grief.

                  by TrueBlueMajority on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 12:17:03 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  To this point, (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    daveminnj, fumie

                    a childhood friend of mine & I, a week ago, were recalling our childhood in our small neighborhood 30 years ago.

                    I made mention about the corner store, which was owned by a family of Arabian descent.  I pointedly brought up the fact that all of the adults that I knew described the family as A-rabs, not Arabs (as we would normally pronounce the adjective).  She agreed with me.  I said that I didn't know that was a wrong thing to do until I was in college.  She, again, agreed with me.

                    The family that owned the store, which was the only real place to purchase victuals in a 15-mile radius (seriously), was yes of Arabian descent, but also was good acquaintances of my own family in the area.

                    "I didn't know that pronouncing their heritage as 'A-rab' was wrong until I got to college," I told my friend.  She readily agreed with me, despite the fact that her family home was about 100' from the store in question.

                    If I ever said "A-rab", I never did so in a malicious way.  Once I understood the import of the term (once I was college), I never said it again (except to describe the pronunciations of those colleagues who expected me to agree with their characterizations of said A-rabs).  My friend said the same.

                    Yes, I "espoused" racist terms.  Not because I considered Arabs to be below me but because that was the aural term I understood in my community to represent them.  No real excuse--my ignorance sprang from living in a rural area--except to say I would recoil from doing so in my adulthood.

                    (In contrast, my great-aunts regularly used the term 'colored' to describe persons of color [i.e., "that 'colored girl" on Wheel of Fortune] because they were old enough to where that designation was what they grew up with to apply to themselves.  If either were still alive, I would not attempt to correct them.  But anyone else, I would not hesitate to make them aware of the current day & its attendant judgment of said racial verbal usage.)

                •  To your points, such as they are: (7+ / 0-)
                  Women who say they have no bigoted thoughts yet still shrink away from the Black man in the elevator. Who cross the street to avoid a Black man.

                  People who sneer at women with "Black" names, or make fun of different ways of speaking, or different hairstyles.

                  People who walk into a grocery store filled with Black or Hispanic people and automatically (consciously or otherwise) think "bad neighborhood".

                  Nobody ever played "Cowboys and Indians" as kids, or thought that Asian people were bad drivers, or thought that women were too emotional, etc. etc. etc. and so on and so forth.

                  I am a woman.  I am a black woman.  Yes, I cross the street to avoid men.  I cross the street to avoid people on bikes.  I cross the street to avoid people walking their dogs.  Most people would rather be on a sidewalk alone.  I won't cross merely because of the race or sex of an individual.  Especially because I've been a target of such treatment.

                  Re: black names:  Again, I'm black.

                  Store with black or brown people:  See above.

                  Cowboys & Indians:  I never really liked this game very much as a child, probably because it was infused with violence.  Still, I played it, because I was too young to understand the terrible history that lay beyond it.  I played it like I played Simon Says or Tag.  It was something kids did.  Would I let my kids do that, had I any?  No.

                  Asian drivers:  Oh god no.  Please.  Let's not.

                  Women being too emotional/hysterical:  Again, black woman.

                  I constantly check my privileges & prejudices.  That is the policing of bias.  It's essential to any progressive, whether or not they have the benefit of being at the cross-section of two of the least regarded cultural social axes (female, black).

                  If you've had biased thoughts, fine.  Don't project them on me.

                  Prejudice is not inevitable.  That was the only point I was making.

                  •  Bigotry is as bigotry does, not as it germinates (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Yonit

                    novapsyche, your self-awareness and social awareness, as you describe, may place you in a category of humanity that is more rarified than you realize. Of course it may not seem like it, as you may have succeeded in surrounding yourself with like-minded people, or have an uncanny ability to see only the good in others, or something else I haven't thought of while writing this.

                    As progressives we may wish that by now such a level of social maturity would be more widespread, but the Age of Aquarius appears to be a little behind schedule, at least according to The 5th Dimension's announcement.

                    I think Diogenes is addressing something that is true of the vast majority of humanity and will continue to be so until ... what? A great awakening? The 100th monkey?

                    My δόγμα ate my Σ

                    by jubal8 on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 04:58:57 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Wait. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      jubal8

                      My dogma ate my sigma?  Really?

                      I realize that my awareness cannot substitute for the awareness of all humanity.  I know this.

                      At the same time, I am not the only person I know who stands against this idea that bigotry is part of the human condition.  History stands against this.  American history delineates that racism is a clear result of racialized legal implementations, such as the fact that black persons could not serve on juries or own property of their own.  This lack of legal personage helped to shape our current ideas of what blackness means, that black persons are not as full of persons as their social "peers" (whites).  The inferiority of black persons was a direct result of historical legal fictions & factions.  Those who do understand this understand that race, as a social construct, is a fabrication in & of itself.

                      Does it take going to college to comprehend this?  I don't know.  Maybe that means that more & more people need to matriculate into higher education.

                      As for Diogenes' approbation against me, I don't understand it.  S/he (I assume it's "he", actually) came at me four different times from the same original comment.  His/her framing of the idea made it seem like it was personal, that s/he had to put it back onto me in order to invalidate what I was saying.  I can't help him/her.  All I can do is speak from my own experience, which includes a family that is multicultural & does not discriminate with regard to such metrics.  (I may have been the first, that I know, who made any voice toward a difference about sexuality, but even so I was not ostracized, even coming from an African-American heritage.)  Difference was entirely tolerated in my family.  I never considered that this was unusual.

                      •  Gardeners of the mind (4+ / 0-)

                        Pulling the weeds of bigotry before they can take deep root in one's mind is a necessary skill for anyone working to achieve a world of social equality and equanimity. It doesn't require a college education, but I believe it is something that must be taught.

                        The sig came from the nowhere, will go to the noplace, but here it is, at least until I figure out what it means.

                        My δόγμα ate my Σ

                        by jubal8 on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 06:50:51 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  Dogma ate your stigma?? (0+ / 0-)

                        I dreamt I was looking for a dogma, with a criteria,, that included an agenda that contained a mantra, which would blend my charisma, to produce a karma without stigma while practicing my yoga.  I can't decide if this is a dilemma or an enigma. I feel I'm going ga-ga!  Whaaaa??

                      •  Most of this--- (0+ / 0-)

                        Most of this was true for women for the past million or so years.

                        And not to say it's improved in some circles much.  

                        What I find hard to accept is when a woman--or a person of color--any color---takes these outside prejudices and "adopts"  them as if THAT was the measure of their worth.  

                •  Judgments vs facts (0+ / 0-)

                  All humans struggle with bias. All. It's about awareness. Mindfulness, not confusing facts with judgment. Judgments come from a different part of the brain. They have advantages and disadvantages. The place of intervention is that many humans don't know the difference between emotional thinking and use of the frontal lobe. Using whole brain and discernment makes wise decisions for long term. It takes some discipline to know the difference. Treating judgments as facts literally kills. I had a professor once (he was a communications specialist during the Cold War) will eradicate humanity eventually. We are intelligent but if we don't get a handle on this concept we have the capacity to destroy ourselves!

                •  My mother could not pass an Afro-American on the (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  JuliathePoet, silverfoxcruiser

                  street without remarking that all "Negroes" walk around with a big chip on their shoulders over what our ancestors did to their ancestors before the civil war.  This was late 1940s through early 1960s.  So I grew up afraid of them.  I was also afraid of anyone who was noticeably angry, and of getting mixed up with any big secret that must be kept because somebody could get killed if the secret ever got out.  Then I went to visit my mother's sister right after I graduated from high school to get away from my mother who drove me crazy insisting on correcting my English homework and making me copy it over with her corrections.  My aunt insisted on introducing me to her friends including some black leaders of the civil rights movement in the Louisville KY area.  My aunt got really upset that I would run out of the room whenever her civil rights leaders friends came over.  I suspect the leaders tolerated my flaming white liberal aunt mainly because her husband was really useful to the movement because he was very intelligent, both book learning and street smarts, and had a wonderful calm such that he could keep his cool through just about anything.

                •  I have never claimed to never have had (0+ / 0-)

                  a bigoted thought.  I know I've done some stupid things that make me want to simultaneously facepalm and headdesk when I remember them.  I had my trust in black people sharply reduced after being mugged by one in 1993; living in Memphis for 6.5 years, I remember racist thoughts creeping into my head while I was there.  It was at least partly due to the racial tension in that city, which since 1968 has been so thick you could cut it with a knife.

                  Then, in London in 2003 and needing extra cash, I was given work to do at the pub across the road from the flat my wife and I were renting for a couple of months - the owners were all black and Caribbean, but couldn't have been nicer to me.  They fed me and ultimately paid me 180 GBP total, in cash, for the work I did for them (I helped with getting the old finish off the parquet flooring in the back room, then did some small clerical work for them).  Prior to that, while I lived in Knoxville, TN in 2001-02, I dated a black woman for a while; I loved her and wanted only the best for her, but was simply not, at the time, ready to be a stepfather to her then-5-year-old son.  But she also helped me to regain my trust in black folks; she was in love with me, so I felt terrible when I broke her heart.

                  And for the longest time, I feared Muslims.  But I started reading up on Islam (Reza Aslan's wonderful book, "No god but God," really opened my eyes), and I learned to make distinctions between peace-loving Muslims (they really do exist, and there are a lot more of them than most people think) and Islamists.  I took a similar approach to Judaism - I read books, novels, anything I could find to help me understand how Jews lived and thought, and by the age of 19, I was a few steps away from converting.  Not sure I could ever give up bacon, though...

                  But bigotry of any kind is largely environmental; you learn such thinking from those around you, be they your family or your friends.  Understanding is what dispels bigotry.

            •  If it's a dog whistle, (5+ / 0-)

              3-year-olds wouldn't understand them, just as most small children did not get the adult humor embedded in Warner Bros. cartoons.  They were not sophisticated to understand them, so they didn't stick.  Went over their heads, so to speak.

              When I was six, I learned what a stereotype was.  I immediately internalized the definition & why stereotyping was wrong.  If a six-year-old can do it, there's no reason an adult can't.

              Had I been exposed to racial ideas before then?  Oh god, yes.  I was a child of the '70s & my parents let me watch far more TV & other media than I really needed.  Still, that did not condemn me to a life of racial hatred & automatic bigoted thinking.  It just doesn't work like that.

          •  I do think its a little of both (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bnasley

            although I would love to see some evidence that media exposure to bigoted beliefs (dogwhistle or out-in-front bigotry) and internalization of said transmitted beliefs correlate.

            I have seen studies and papers that vaguely allude to the concept and theorize about it, but I have yet to see a story that tests the hypothesis directly.

          •  Err ... (0+ / 0-)

            How about FAUX news?

        •  But you can also have it resisted (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JuliathePoet, silverfoxcruiser

          As with most other Army brats, I had it whipped pretty firmly into my head as a child that skin color doesn't matter, merit is what matters. Rank.  Ability.  If someone has higher authority than you by virtue of rank within the institution, you must show them respect even when you disagree with them.

          My mother also point blank told me she didn't care what color person I married as long as they were Catholic.  (I disappointed her by marrying a white Unitarian.)  

          The Cake is a lie. In Pie there is Truth. ~ Fordmandalay

          by catwho on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 09:13:45 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm an Air Force brat and grew up with the same (3+ / 0-)

            understanding of the world that you did, catwho.  Sometimes we lived in base housing, sometimes in Wherry housing, but there were always people of all colors and ethnic backgrounds.  Those things didn't matter, because merit is what matters.  Rank.  Ability.  

            My mom point-blank told me she DID care who I married, and it had to be someone who was NOT in the Military.  (She hated the frequent moves we had to make.)

            "Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out." ~ John Wooden

            by Terry S on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 03:29:57 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Racism in America is like water to a fish. (3+ / 0-)

          We all swim in it, with no idea that that is what we we're swimming in.

          I know that I do not know.

      •  I believe that bigotry is the natural state (6+ / 0-)

        and must be overcome with intelligence and reason.

        Tribalism and xenophobia have their roots in the will to survive back from the early days when trusting someone you did not know or wasn't from your tribe could easily be fatal.  

        It's an animalistic quality in the same neighborhood as the flight or fight instinct and we are, after all, just animals.

        Your lizard brain tells you that someone is different than you and you naturally have a negative reaction to that input.

        It doesn't take a whole lot of reason and intelligence to suppress these natural reactions and behave like an evolved human being, but it takes a hell of a lot more than many people possess.

        Apparently.

        It's sort of the entire theory behind desegregation.  Once you get to know people who are different than yourself and realize they are no threat, these ancient instincts are supplanted by reason.  

        I don't believe that bigotry spreads like a disease, it's always there, in all of us.  It can be nurtured and cultivated or it can be neutralized through experience and education.

        The hatred and fear of Muslims in this country among the knuckle daggers was always there. It didn't spread, it was merely activated and found fertile soil because people in America don't generally know many Muslims.  

        Hate is a byproduct of bigotry.  Bigotry, at its core is a product of fear, a fear born of ignorance.  Once we understand that education, not quarantine, is the solution to bigotry, we can go about the business of eradicating it.

        •  Bias /= bigotry. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jim Domenico, Dood Abides, wavpeac, fumie

          I think this is where some people are getting tripped up.

          People are inherently biased.  Bigotry, on the other hand, is taught & cultivated culturally.

          Bias has its roots in the neurotransmitter oxytocin (which is ironic, as it otherwise lends a more understanding sensibility or even downright felicity).  To that extent, it is "hardwired".  And, yes, this sense of tribalism can be overcome through exposure.

          But even tribalism /= bigotry.  Does it fuel xenophobia?  Yes.  Still not the same as a sense of superiority over others due to an inherent trait.

          •  Bigotry: (0+ / 0-)

            "bigoted attitudes; intolerance toward those who hold different opinions from oneself."

            You don't have to be taught this.

            •  Bigotry is commonly understood to contain (0+ / 0-)

              some element of superiority of one's own group/inferiority of one's out-group.

              Bias is a tendency for the familiar.

              These are not the same.  I'm simply drawing a distinction.

              A person of Dutch heritage might prefer others who are Dutch above those who are from South Africa, the Sudan or Singapore.  But it takes something more to make that person believe that they are inherently better than the other person.  It may be better to trust the person of the in-group more times than not (in a non-interconnected world), but to say that individuals in one's in-group, no matter their personage, are better than those of the out-group, is the difference between bias & bigotry.

              •  I understand your point (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                JuliathePoet, silverfoxcruiser

                but still believe that thinking your particular group is superior to other people's groups is more of a matter of human nature than learned behavior.

                My overall point is that things like bigotry, racism, xenophobia and other negative human social states have more to do with the human condition than any active learning process.  They are nothing like diseases, they are more like genetics.

                Certainly one can learn to dislike other groups as is very common in college rivalries.  Some schools absolutely abhor other schools and that would be a learned response.  Nobody comes out of the womb hating Texas A&M (with the possible exception of my dad), but the underlying seeds are already there in all of us.

                This entire site is based on a form of bigotry against knuckle dragging, ignorant right wing morans, so I know something about it! ;)

            •  Liberal: (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              eden4barack08

              Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry.

              Free from bigotry.

              Let me know how you feel about dictionary definitions.

        •   agreed,as metaphor bigotry's not a disease (3+ / 0-)

          it's more like a fungus that will take hold if you ignore self-care and hygiene.  it's always there waiting to take hold but can usually be minimized, like athlete's foot or crotch-rot.

           of course, some people have ideological swamp-ass.

        •  I believe bigotry is learned from (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          silverfoxcruiser

          Our parents, My Dad said I shouldn't go next door cause He didn't approve of a Latino being married to a White lady with Red hair, He was ok, so I disobeyed My Dad, I made up My own mind, Dad's prohibition was silly. I later on had a boss who was Black who had White skin, She treated Me well and helped Me after I'd had a bicycle stolen by some kid in broad daylight, I was able to park My bike in a back room of the library since I worked there thanks to Her, I later replaced that stolen bicycle on My own, the one that was stolen was a present from My Dad, I'd locked it up, turns out the library did not have a proper bicycle rack to lock bikes up at, even if they had one, it didn't matter much, the kid came with bolt cutters, the one I built was better, I wish I hadn't sold it later on.

      •  Cultural infection is just as bad as direct (0+ / 0-)

        inculcation from peer/family tradition and/or pressure to get along.

        I know this personally, it happened to me.

        "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

        by wader on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 02:27:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And it didn't happen to me. (0+ / 0-)

          We're both of the same culture.  So what does that say?

          •  That your one-stop prescription (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JuliathePoet

            is not necessarily the only one.

            "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

            by wader on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 06:19:24 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  My only point is that bigotry is not irrevocably (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              wader, gaspi

              transmitted.  It's taught, not contracted socially by the greater culture.  It's possible to encounter these ideas culturally but withstand them ultimately.  That's all I'm saying.

              (I totally agree that prejudice is steeped in our cultural signs & signals [our semiotics], but it is possible to not incorporate that as a matter of course.  I say that as a feminist [otherwise, what is the point of fighting against such entrenched cultural symbols?] & a non-racist.  It is possible to repel these ideas.)

              •  It didn't sound like that, honestly (3+ / 0-)

                I learned inherent bigotry, class elitism and the like from local cultural mores that tended to be how people acted and behaved.  It was something so subtle and gradual, a part of naturally fitting into the landscape of that village, that it flavored my otherwise liberal, "fair" take on most things that has otherwise tended to be more my core mode of social interaction and attempted evaluation.

                It took being smacked with various emotional events, and the process of reevaluating what was important to me plus those I knew, to realize that pieces of what felt artificial and wrong inside . . . actually were so.  Took a bit longer to piece together how I fell into that mode and became less of an independent mind, as well.  My non-conscious, cultural embrace of inherent community values also occurred during my growth from teen to young adult, so that likely enhanced my susceptibility to the impressions I perceived.

                I don't have any friends left from that timeframe, which I later felt wasn't a necessary result, but perhaps I never really fit in well or had been likable enough for those folks, for all I know.  No idea what they are like as people now, but there were good times and what felt like honest friendship then.  Perhaps much of it was acting or playing roles - maybe that culture wasn't a good fit for more of them than just me.  Or, maybe it was just a shared phase, coupled with convenience, among various participants that called each other "friends."

                That's a summary level view of what it might feel like to be sucked into the culture in a subtle fashion, then to be fortunate enough that you could slough off what didn't resemble your actual nature - but, not without a price.

                "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

                by wader on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 08:14:38 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  Bigotry can be very subtle and unconscious (3+ / 0-)

        Twenty years ago I had an interesting experience as a white person that taught me how subtle, even unconscious bigotry can be.
        I had moved to California and needed a job. For two months I looked for work. I had an excellent resume and lots of interviews but no job.
        Then someone mentioned the problem of agism (I was a white haired 55 year old) so I went home and dyed my hair brown. In the following week I had two back-to-back interviews, one on a Tuesday and the second on a Wednesday. By Wednesday afternoon I had two places fighting for my services. Two jobs in two days after two months of nothing! And I'm willing to bet that the dozens of places that had rejected me when I looked like an old white-haired guy had no idea they were rejecting me on that basis.

      •  I'll have to admit to that (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        silverfoxcruiser

        My father was one who was born and grew up during the great depression.
        He worked with me who he reffered to as the N word, but treated as peers.
        When a black man was taboo in a white household, we had his coworkers in our home. Occasionanally, under threat of wrapping his crutch around a head (he was injured on the job and his coworkers didn't want to risk entering our home). They enjoyed their snack and coffee.
        We moved away from our inner city neighborhood to the suburbs in the midst of the civil rights movements latter days, when thousands of men peacefully marched in protest, only to be met with firehoses and billyclubs.
        His coworkers still were welcome guests in our suburban home.

        Later, in the military, I had white officers, black officers, hispanic officers, American Indian officers, women officers and every combination under the sun of NCO over me.
        Superiors were just that. Questionable decisions were, erm, suggested as questionable, the vast majority decided that questionable wasn't a good thing.
        Can't argue with success.
        Unless someone on the far right wants to call our military a failure.
        I'm rather certain that that is heresy.

      •  the soft bigotry of "i am not a racist" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        silverfoxcruiser

        The problem is more akin to the hormonal bath we all get in utero. It affects us, even when we do not recognize it's actions within us. The racism in the culture is much the same. It bathes our psyche and consciousness before we can think for ourselves, even if we are raised properly and with very little overt racism around us. It does not mean we will be dragging black men by chains with a truck, or claiming Obama is a Kenyan Muslim. It may mean we do not quite get the concept of 'driving while black', or that for blacks, "the policeman is your friend" is more often a cruel joke than an accurate asessment of our cultural reality.

        Getting WHY it is that I, a white woman, can joke with the cop that pulled me over me for  gliding through a stop sign, while the most well educated and affluent black man or woman could not do so without ending up across the hood of their car, is the begining of being able to be ANTI-racist.

        We cannot be NON-racist....not even black folks can be that....because of our mutually pervasive cultural "bath". This is why you can have black families where "good hair", "good skin" are concepts that have meaning far beyond rude comments made by other family members.

      •  What Helped Me (0+ / 0-)

        What helped me learn not to be a racist or bigot was being on the wrong end of it all.

        Growing up in the Pennsylvania Dutch (as in Deutsch or German) country, a small Jewish kid like me was always being called names, being pushed around, and basically treated like any other minority, especially Blacks.

        The Temple brought in a PA State Trooper instructor and a Marine instructor to teach us Judo and Ju Jitsu, so that we could at least defend ourselves against the increasing violence from the townies.

        I moved away for 3 years to go to boarding school, then for good a year after returning home.  Moved to NYC and now live outside The Apple.

        But being on the wrong end of bigotry is a good teacher for why you should not be a bigot or racist.  Because you know - deeply - how wrong it is and how it feels to be in someone else's nightmare.

        But then, being a nerd ... you get the idea!

        Sometimes, you need a sensa uma!

        by HashHoward on Tue Jul 29, 2014 at 09:19:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  beyond being black, he's half Puerto Rican (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kevskos, ozsea1

      supposedly he's an accomplished dancer!

      lots for the GOP to hate on there.

      An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

      by mightymouse on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 12:02:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  what it does, is it (7+ / 0-)

      flies in the face of their belief system.

      White supremacy.  One doesn't have to be a raving KKK member to hold this belief.  There are many more subtle ways to hold and nurture these fallacies.

      I'm 51.  When I think back to what I saw on TV as I was growing up, as pertains to people of color.  Blacks and Hispanics were awarded almost exclusively parts of criminals or entertainers.

      Two of the most popular sit-coms of the 70's which contained minority characters, were "Sanford and Son" and "Chico and the Man"

      One is about black people at a junk-yard.

      The other about a Hispanic dude working at a run-down garage in the barrio.

      But in the 70's there were already black and Hispanic doctors, lawyers and politicians.

      But none portrayed on TV until probably Cosby.

      And since the rank and file American gets most of his perceptions from TV, these have been burned in like a brand on the brain.

      And the people who watched these shows are around my age.  And the people who are some of the worst racists in the country are around my age or older.

      Go figure, huh?


      "I want to die in my sleep like my grandfather ....... Not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car ..." - Emo Philips

      by AlyoshaKaramazov on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 12:11:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Jeffersons had George as a very successful ... (6+ / 0-)

        The Jeffersons had George as a very successful businessman, running a chain of dry cleaners. (This was the family living next to Archie Bunker, they moved to a highrise apartment in Manhattan) But then there was another show, Good Times, about a poor black family in the Chicago projects and they killed off the dad character so the teenaged son could be a bigger star (see entertainer).

        •  Family Matters (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JuliathePoet, silverfoxcruiser

          That was probably the first show centered on a black family that had a black male character who was also incredibly gifted with intelligence.  (Urkel was very annoying too, but that was the joke.)  

          Also Fresh Prince of Bel Air deliberately tackled the issues of a poor black teenager contrasted with a rich black teenager - and the accusations of "acting white" that could come from that situation.  

          A Different World, the spinoff of The Cosby Show, featured black college students and dealt with racial issues, class issues, and a whole extra pack of problems (even tackling AIDS) that The Cosby Show never really touched upon.

          I was fortunate to be exposed to a wide range of television programming when I was younger.  It feels in a lot of ways we've gone backwards.  I don't know of any TV shows today that are featuring successful black families in quite the same way.

          The Cake is a lie. In Pie there is Truth. ~ Fordmandalay

          by catwho on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 09:22:51 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Wasn't there--- (0+ / 0-)

            Wasn't there a TV show called "I SPY"  that had two --well--spies--one black one white?  

            I was not allowed to watch TV but I do remember some comment being made by someones parent that the black guy was a "Bigger star" than the white guy--which must have stuck with me all this time but I don't really have knowledge of the show itself.  

            And in our very white town---I doubt at that time that there WERE any black families--and this was in NEW JERSEY!!!!---none of us kids had probably ever met a black person that did not arrive to clean or garden.  We heard about "Race Riots"  and because my step father was a Mounted Sheriff we heard a LOT about the Paterson riots and Newark---but as a kid maybe 9 or 10---this was a whole different planet.  

            I do know that we were "Prepped"  to leave town should the riots spread that far;  arrangements had been made and my mother was armed.  

            And I had NO idea what "race" meant til much later in life as a teen in a different town and time.  

    •  NdGT was the TA for my Intro to Astronomy class (6+ / 0-)

      It was obvious back then -- his last semester at UT, he was on to bigger & better things. I've never had a problem knowing for sure that a black man was way, way, way smarter than me.

    •  Progress happens one funeral at a time. nt (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rustypatina, gffish

      Supple and turbulent, a ring of men/ Shall chant in orgy on a summer morn...

      by karmsy on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 02:31:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  GOPers even worship Putin, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Subterranean, rustypatina, gffish

      a "strong White man", a true leader! - in order to bash Pres. Obama.

      "Tax cuts for the 1% create jobs." -- Republicans, HAHAHA - in China

      by MartyM on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 03:34:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  spot-on. (8+ / 0-)

      I think this is what drives a lot of racists crazy:

      They can't possibly deal with the fact that a black man is smarter than they are.

      Part of the psychology of racism, bigotry, hatreds of all kinds, is fear.  Fear generates numerous defense mechanisms, and hatred is one of the more common ones.

      Another part is the desire to have someone "beneath you" who you can mentally kick whenever you feel like you need a boost.  It's the "I'm better than they are" factor, where the key is "-er": biggER, bettER, strongER, smartER.  Self-esteem by comparison rather than self-esteem as intrinsic unto oneself.  

      Strictly speaking, that's utterly pathological and something we must strive to overcome and evolve out of, but it's common enough to spot easily.  Even right here in Progressiveville.  

      ---

      What made me take notice of then-candidate Obama was, bizzarely enough, a piece in Time Magazine I was reading while in a supermarket line.  It described him as frequently engaging in "on the one hand X, on the other hand Y," where he deliberately considered viewpoints opposite to his own.  

      There was something about that description that immediately suggested "Keatsian negative capability," the ability to doubt one's own preferred hypotheses.  This is something I highly value in myself and others, and something that's very rare in our culture, particularly in our politics.  

      Add to that, then-candidate Obama's background as a constitutional scholar in a top academic institution, and it was immediately clear that "this guy is a hell of a lot smarter than I am."   And my emotional reaction to that, was one of relief!  As in, "Oh thank God! (BTW I'm agnostic), if this guy gets in, it'll be back to normal times (rather than the science-fiction dystopian dark comedy tragedy of the Bush years, where no amount of dystopian imagination could keep up with the daily reality)!"

      That plus he's from my generation (X).  

      And when I learned that he was the son of an interracial marriage, in addition to being a constitutional scholar, I immediately saw "Loving vs. Virginia" and knew that he'd end up supporting marriage equality at the critical moment needed to tip the tipping point.

      Know what's really great?

      Going to bed knowing that I'm not going to wake up to the horrific sound, on my clock radio, of a news room in full-on emergency mode where announcers are reading dispatches as they come in and it's terribly clear that the shit has hit the fan bigtime somewhere.  As in, 9/11.  

      Knowing that the super-smart grownups are in charge means not having to worry about shit hitting fan.  That's priceless.

      We got the future back. Uh-oh.

      by G2geek on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 07:57:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That was a big part of my reaction as well (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Yonit, G2geek, SilentBrook
        Knowing that the super-smart grownups are in charge means not having to worry about shit hitting fan.  That's priceless.
        And as I said earlier, having bigoted thoughts is normal - sometimes they pop up out of what some call the "monkey mind" or the far-distant past. It's detritus from childhood and adolescence.... but it's the response to them that matters.

        Having them doesn't make us bad people - it means we grew up in a society where there were small bits of nastiness in our culture that seeped into our minds while were not looking.

        Doesn't mean we act on them, or keep them, or agree with those thoughts. It just means they're there - and it's our choice how we react to them.

        "We have only the moral ground we actually inhabit, not the moral ground we claim." - It Really Is That Important

        by Diogenes2008 on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 08:06:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Certainly RW hatred is most acute (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Diogenes2008, Robiodo01, SilentBrook

      for anything that suggests that they or we (if talking of humans) are not the center of the universe, or the pinnacle of creation, or God's special chosen ones.

      Many lefties have issues too, but for RWs it's particularly acute when anything suggests their own mediocrity -- or worse -- in the grand scheme of things. It's made much worse by their beliefs about the hierarchical structure the universe. (Being a special snowflake isn't enough. They must be the special snowflake.)

      Reality can be such a downer.

    •  Just Watched "In the Heat of the Night" - Apropos (4+ / 0-)

      Encore on Comcast is running Sidney Poitier/Rod Steiger race conscious movie "In the Heat of the Night" this week, and I just watched it tonight.  How apt.  A central theme is that whites cannot stand the thought of a Black man being smarter than them, or doing a white man's job (i.e., police officer).  This movie was made in 1967, and the theme still holds (though the focus has nicely been elevated to white man's job = being President).

    •  Not if we each make a stand whenever we see that (0+ / 0-)

      transpiring and say--You have to knock me-us down first!

      "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

      by GreenMother on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 06:23:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  that goes double for maleness (0+ / 0-)

      ...or wasn't I supposed to point that out?

    •  Funny Thing, Everyone Has About 2.5-3.0% (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SilentBrook, Volt3930

      Neanderthal DNA....EXCEPT those Black-Africans who NEVER LEFT Africa.

      Which would make THEM the purest form of modern human...

      While the rest of us are all mongrels in a sense.

      I Love It.

      Also, I think the GOP is infused with MORE Neanderthal DNA than anyone else.

      •  So how about the idea that any person who has a... (0+ / 0-)

        So how about the idea that any person who has any mix of European and Native American is a Mixed Race Person!!

        Boggles the mind!

      •  Hey!!!!! (0+ / 0-)

        Quit bashing that Neanderthal DNA---I am quite PROUD of mine!  I am hoping it contributes to many things that we have yet to discover.  

        But--and I know it is probably in the strictest form the RIGHT useage--I have shivers when I see someone write " The purest form of modern human"---it just sounds so--so====Hitlerian somehow.

        I am very sure you did not mean it this way.  And I wish I could think of some OTHER way to put it.  

        It also--on a scientific point of view--begs the question--if the hominids who STAYED in Africa do not have Neanderthal DNA--and the ones who wandered off DO have it--WHERE did the Neanderthals COME FROM???   Is it a conclusion that they too wandered off and then evolved--but the hominids in Africa evolved--differently?

        Must do some more reading I guess!  

    •  No need to feel uncomfortable (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Diogenes2008

      Just listen to Fox News and they will give you a list of prominent white men, including Jesus, Santa and Ptolemy.  Their actual color doesn't matter; if they were important thinkers or mythic characters they were white.  Any person of color attempting to join the list, must be a fraud.  Problem solved!

    •  Not only smarter (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Diogenes2008

      But also admired and lauded for major contributions to their field.  Can't have that, either.

    •  "A black man smarter than me?" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Diogenes2008

      It is about time somebody said this at a grade level Evangelical wing-nut Republican yahoo's can understand.

      Advocating for things that help the middle class, and against things that don't.

      by BaldEagle on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 04:52:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Of course, "smarter than me" is a low bar . . . (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Volt3930

      . . . for Tyson to hurdle when it comes to some of his critics.

    •  There are no racist bones. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Volt3930

      As Oscar Hammerstein II put it, "You've got to be carefully taught."

      I know that I do not know.

    •  'Not by choice...'? (0+ / 0-)

      Everything we do is by choice. To believe otherwise is the absolute disenfranchisement of free will. When we begin to accept responsibility for our thoughts, beliefs and actions then and only then can we take credit for them. Race is a construct, not an actuality as is justice and honesty. Regardless of what you've been taught or what you perceive in the world around you make the choice to honor those old ideals or move forward with the truth.

    •  Diogenes 2008 (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Diogenes2008

      Extremely perceptive comment.  Good on you as Thom Hartman would say.

    •  oh, boy (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Diogenes2008

      Having been told that I acted 'too white', talked 'too white', by Black And White bigots, I know where Tyson brought that from ..

    •  And what else do they share in common? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Diogenes2008
      Santa Claus is White. All the previous presidents were White. Most authority figures all throughout a White person's life (and for Black people as well) are White.

      The president or scientist (or doctor, or whatever) that doesn't look like a strong White man...

      They were all white MEN.  But it is changing...very slowly.
  •  I really enjoy watching Neil deGrasse Tyson (17+ / 0-)

    However, is there a concensous that Bill Maher is a major @s$$hole with no filter ?

    The latest in a long list ....

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

    •  I like Bill Maher... (10+ / 0-)

      I don't agree with everything he says (I don't agree with everything anybody says) but he is a reasonable voice for the most part. As a plus, his stances on religion as a destructive force, as well as, his views on drug policy are spot on.

      "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing" - Edmund Burke

      by rclendan on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 10:33:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Bill Maher is an anti-vaxxer bozo (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wee Mama, Matt Z, kerflooey, ER Doc

      ...who spreads BS FUD about flu shots.

      No matter how he may get his jolly yuks laughing at flat-earthers, anti-vaccination idiocy lends aid & comfort to faith-healers, an even more publicly dangerous variety of con.

      Stop the FCC from killing the Internet! E-mail them. Call them. Tell the President & your congressmen to help save Internet freedom!

      by Brown Thrasher on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 11:03:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Anti-vaxxer and Islamaphobe (4+ / 0-)

        I used to think he was smart. In recent years, my opinion of him has been sinking.

        Wealth doesn't trickle down -- it rises up.

        by elsaf on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 02:15:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Not a "bozo" (0+ / 0-)

        He has valid reasons for what he believes, as he took the time to explain in this article during the H1N1 scare of 2009, that is well worth the read: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

        As a mother with a 4 y/o at the time, I remember the H1N1 freakout and the ensuing vaccine controversy. Exploring both sides of the debate in an effort to determine if I should get my son vaccinated, I consulted every person in the medical field I knew personally. EVERY SINGLE one of them advised AGAINST the vaccine.

        Anyway, I highly recommend the above article. He may be an a$$hole, but he really does offer a reasonable and nuanced viewpoint on this issue.

    •  Neil Tyson (5+ / 0-)

      = genius.

      Bill Maher = pretty smart guy who thinks he's a genius.

      It's a shame, because he does get a lot of stuff right. He seems to be someone who believes in, say, equality of the genders. But then he also says tons of degrading, sexist things. Similar to Alec Baldwin's support for gay rights, but near constant use of homophobic slurs when angry. One wishes they would be more introspective, but any criticism just makes either of them dig their heels in and double down.

      Shout golden shouts!

      by itsbenj on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 12:41:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  His first show was called (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        OneCharmingBastard, nirbama, gffish

        "politically incorrect" for a reason.  Many a democrat voter has been lost to preachy PC nonsense that is mostly about the vanity of the people preaching it.  

        Baldwin isn't a good comparison, because his slurs are made in anger.  Maher's comments are premeditated comedy - and not made with the intent to harm.

        I love Maher's shows, he's a great facilitator of discussion who sometimes happens upon brilliant insights.  Sometimes he's wrong, and sometimes he's totally fucking stupid about a subject.  Often his laziness results in missed opportunities.  Nevertheless he's great entertainment and features great guests on occasion and knows when to let them speak.

        Also, I bet it'd be a riot to smoke up with Maher.  You just know he's got the dankest shit in California.

        "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

        by Subterranean on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 05:59:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  well, there's an argument (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Kathy Scheidel

          to be made that such commentary, premeditated, reveals something worse than in-the-moment outbursts do, which is something more along the lines of "...what were the worst insults I knew in high school? say that now!".

          I listen to the podcast of 'real time' pretty regularly, because there are, at times, interesting discussions and guests. but he does at times say stuff, premeditated and spur of the moment, that reflect what are in my opinion ugly sentiments. he's also a funny, insightful comedian. not trying to reduce him to one-dimensional status.

          the main thing I was thinking when I compared him to Baldwin (someone who's work I also consume and enjoy) was how they react to criticism - which is to always go back to the 'you're sooo PC, man...' well, and it seems they haven't noticed and no one close to them will tell them, that the well has run dry. and further, this is usually followed by a massive mis/overstating of the nature of the criticism they've received and a general 'woe is me!' shtick that's tired before it begins. Baldwin seems to have anger issues that Maher does not, I will definitely give you that.

          I think one of the reasons that Maher's audience only reaches so far is that lack of humility. people like someone that can laugh at themselves in a non-canned way, especially if that person makes fun of others for a living.

          Shout golden shouts!

          by itsbenj on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 11:12:18 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  He's a radical too...emotion and judgment (0+ / 0-)

            Unchecked by facts. Misogynist (see him use sweeping generalizations about women that treat them as sex objects less than men). Islamaphobe (see sweeping generalizations about all Islamic people that lumps them all together in beliefs about Jews). I use to enjoy him and think he was smart but I don't think he is capable of discerning facts from judgments. Also it doesn't seem that he reads past his own biases for fresh insight. He's a left wing radical now instead of right wing radical. Has the same inability to assess, refute or challenge his own biases.

            •  I don't think he's a radical (0+ / 0-)

              I just think he's an asshole, and an intellectually lazy one at that.

              Shout golden shouts!

              by itsbenj on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 07:46:07 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  You don't have to be SMART (0+ / 0-)

                You don't HAVE to be SMART to be funny;  you just have to hire smart WRITERS and have the actors gift of timing and delivery.

                And really--what DOES Maher have to be ANGRY about???  He makes good money;  gets to toke up all day long;  and meet interesting (if sometimes whack job) people.  And get PAID for it!

                What's not to like????

  •  Imagine! Dr. Tyson is PRO-LIFE! (24+ / 0-)

    Conservatives claim the mantle of pro-life - by which they mean respecting the life of older white males and their beliefs.

    In celebrating ALL living things, and their interconnectedness, Dr. Tyson shows us the true meaning of pro-life, and in doing so, trumps the conservatives' claim on moral and spiritual superiority.

    Small wonder then that conservatives don't like Dr. Tyson.

    (And I suggest we call him DR. Tyson to rub the conservatives nose in the legitimacy of Dr. Tyson position and expertise.)

    "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

    by Hugh Jim Bissell on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 10:39:31 AM PDT

  •  the Great insults(Copernicus, Darwin, Freud) (15+ / 0-)

    1) Copernicus by showing we were not the center of the
    universe and Galileo by proving it mathematically,
    overthrew us as the special center.

    2) Darwin by showing we were not the product of a designer but a process, overthrew us as a special object

    3) Freud by showing that the mind isn't a logical machine
    but rather an emotional war between centers ended us as
    rational beings.

    wait for AI or extraterrestrial life.

  •  I loved his response to the death penalty (41+ / 0-)

    A GOP strategist on the panel talked about how we should be separating ourselves from the brutality of the murderers and thus executing them as humanely as possible.  To which Dr Tyson replied, "Wouldn't not killing them at all even separate us more?"

    To which the GOP strategist insanely replied, "No."

  •  My One Beef With Maher (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FloridaSNMOM, Alumbrados, ER Doc

    He's obsessed with being "cool", with that word having his own definition of it.

    And as the song and dance begins, the children play at home with needles, needles and pins.

    by The Lone Apple on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 11:05:06 AM PDT

  •  I'm not convinced about #2 (6+ / 0-)
    2. Republicans are jealous that the "geeks of America" tend to overwhelmingly vote Democrat. deGrasse Tyson argued that taking a survey of current goers at Comic-Con would yield results that would heavily favor Democrats, causing Bill Maher to quip that that might not necessarily be a good thing.
    There are a LOT of libertarian types in geekdom. I'm not saying they're Republicans, and they're certainly not with the GOP of social issues, but I think it's not quite accurate to say they're all or mostly Democrats. If anything, I'd say they're either apolitical, or driven more by vague (and shifting) ideology rather than party politics.

    That said, deGrasse is brilliant and I watched every moment of his Cosmos and am in process of doing so again on Blu Ray now.

    Dammit Jim, I'm a lawyer, not a grammarian. So sue me.

    by Pi Li on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 11:05:11 AM PDT

    •  I wonder (6+ / 0-)

      if the fact that "geeks" and "nerds" tend to be the targets of bullying makes them more sensitive and sympathetic to things like racism and discrimination.  After all, many of them have already been singled out for "special treatment" by the popular kids by being excluded from activities, teasing or even outright physical bullying.

    •  Most of the fandom geeks I know online (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sylar, ER Doc

      are Republicans or Libertarians. I think part of it is arrested development. I think Tyson is very wrong about most Comic-Con attendees being Democrats.

      Why do I have the feeling George W. Bush joined the Stonecutters, ate a mess of ribs, and used the Constitution as a napkin?

      by Matt Z on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 12:26:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Reminds me of this: (14+ / 0-)

        "There are two novels that can transform a bookish fourteen-year-old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish daydream that can lead to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood in which large chunks of the day are spent inventing ways to make real life more like a fantasy novel. The other is a book about orcs." - Raj Patel, The Value of Nothing

        •  Meh. That quote always irritated me. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pi Li, Matt Z

          It's just the implication. I'm too fond of LOTR to stand for that sort of thing!

          "Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek." - Barack Obama

          by anshmishra on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 02:23:43 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Doesn't bother me, and I love LOTR (6+ / 0-)

            But then, I consider myself a social cripple, and I read a lot of different literature in an attempt to learn about people.  LOTR is ultimately about people, which is why it rises above most other swords and sorcery fantasy novels.  

            That's what's so great about that quote:  it plays on the assumption by smug, ignorant, Randian fuckheads who believe their interest in Galt makes them superior to Tolkein fans.  The reality is quite the opposite:  Tolkein understands and explores human nature far more deeply than Rand.  The quote starts off a little wrong, seeming to miss the mark, and then BAM, the curtains drop and we laugh for not seeing it sooner.

            "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

            by Subterranean on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 06:26:45 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Arrested development = the adolescent desire to be (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Matt Z

        free and independent of the parental units. That's why Libertarian theory always strikes me as "puerile".

        “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing
        he was never reasoned into” - Jonathan Swift

        by jjohnjj on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 03:55:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The males maybe (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Matt Z

        I've been in fandom for 20 years and the vast majority of the females are liberal. Enough so that the few who aren't will bitch about it.

      •  Maybe he mistakes Obama voters as Democrats (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Matt Z

        If he would've said Obama voters it would've been more accurate. It is true that there's a strong libertarian streak with white geeks. People who say the GOP is going to die I don't believe that for as second. There's enough foul notions that they win on that all that they would have to do is regroup. If you know where to look you can find them speculating on what to do next.

    •  Agreed. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pi Li, blue muon

      I definitely fall under the geek category, and as such have contact with many of "my own kind", and I have to say you're spot on.  Almost everyone I know in these circles leans heavily libertarian.  I'm definitely the black sheep of my circle of nerdy friends, politically speaking.

      •  Yeah (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sylar, blue muon, ER Doc

        In my experience (and this is purely anecdotal) the Trekkers (the Star Trek set, for you non-geeks) tends to be the most "progressive", and even there I'm not sure I'd describe that as a majority.  But I could be wrong on that.

        Part of the reason is just simple demographics.  While there are more and more minorities and women into science fiction and fantasy (I'm one of them), you're just not going to have a majority of Democrats in a group still primarily composed of white males.

        I remember there was some controversy a while back over whether a scene in Game of Thrones this season was considered "rape" and demeaning to women. On Daily Kos, and across other political lefty blogs the overwhelming consensus was that it was and that the scene was objectionable. But on genre sites, most (but not all) people, men and women alike, didn't find it to be so and defended it (their objection, like most GOT geeks, was that the scene deviated from the books...but that's another story).

        Dammit Jim, I'm a lawyer, not a grammarian. So sue me.

        by Pi Li on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 12:56:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Do we HAVE to--- (0+ / 0-)

          Do we HAVE to be sooooo PC that we cannot watch FICTION without getting all hysterical???

          I have not yet seen the so-called "rape" scene so can't comment on that.

          But I have read all Game of Thrones books and I think the guy is fucking brilliant--even tho his "treatment" of women in HIS WORLD is not what I would like to see on MY planet.

          Watch out how much you "call out"  on this or JRR Martin will kill another Stark!  

    •  Depends on their level of geekdom (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SilentBrook

      the midlevel geeks are often libertarians, because they're in love their self-image of being rugged individualists.  The high level geeks are smart enough to realize they wouldn't be shit without the work of others; they stand on the shoulders of giants and appreciate the need for society and government.  

      Then there are the capitalist geeks who need to pin up reminders around their office, "Don't Be Evil!"  They scare me the most.

      "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

      by Subterranean on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 06:10:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  LOL (0+ / 0-)
        Depends on their level of geekdom (0+ / 0-)
        the midlevel geeks are often libertarians, because they're in love their self-image of being rugged individualists.  The high level geeks are smart enough to realize they wouldn't be shit without the work of others; they stand on the shoulders of giants and appreciate the need for society and government.
         

        I'm not sure there are "mid-level" and "high-level" geeks. And describing it that way is kind of silly and a little against the whole idea of geekdom, IMO. But whatever.

        Dammit Jim, I'm a lawyer, not a grammarian. So sue me.

        by Pi Li on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 06:24:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Mostly talking about (0+ / 0-)

          the computer programmers I know.  That's where midlevel and high level come in, and it's a descriptor of aptitude, not where they are in some company structure.

          I don't know anything about the fanboi convention scene.  I love Star Trek and STTNG, but going to a convention seems a bit silly.  I even knew someone who had a Star Trek wedding.  At first glance it's fucked up, but really, is it so odd to theme a wedding after Star Trek when the tradition wedding is themed on superstitious medieval bullshit.

          "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

          by Subterranean on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 07:03:41 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  The totalitarian Christians in the Tea Party/GOP.. (23+ / 0-)

    ...base are nothing short of the Catholic church in the times of Galileo, perhaps even worse.

    They mostly deny evolution, a 4 billion year Earth, most cosmology, relativity, plate tectonics, etc.

    As a matter of fact Americans are second only to Turks in this evolution acceptance survey;


    Views on evolution photo ScreenHunter_99Apr261615_zpsafc9de7f.jpg

    Cosmos was heresy to these idiots.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 11:05:41 AM PDT

  •  I think this is the video, no? (14+ / 0-)


    "I want to die in my sleep like my grandfather ....... Not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car ..." - Emo Philips

    by AlyoshaKaramazov on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 11:22:51 AM PDT

  •  Right wing version of inquiry and science (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kerflooey
  •  Tyson is against Republican hot-button issues (20+ / 0-)

    Tyson dares to say that the climate change debate is over. Republicans disagree.
    Tyson dares to say that the evolution debate is over.
    Republicans disagree.

      Those two things are more than enough to cause their anger.

    "The oppressors most powerful weapon is the mind of the oppressed." - Stephen Biko

    by gjohnsit on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 11:49:41 AM PDT

  •  Tyson's best comment was to the (11+ / 0-)

    Fundie who said we should not explore space, and any aliens are automatically damned, "That's messed up"

    May you live in interesting times--Chinese curse

    by oldcrow on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 01:09:41 PM PDT

  •  He was awesome! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ER Doc, Kevskos

    That is all.

    Every election is the most important election.

    by TokayAsriel on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 01:32:14 PM PDT

  •  Which makes me wonder if humankind will ever (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WednesdaysChilde, blueoasis

    progress to rational, calm, critically thinking, intelligent, respectful, peaceful, altruistic beings we are capable of becoming.... or if we will be overcome by the bigoted, dogmatic terrorists and religious fundamentalist warriors that want to rule the world. We seem to be moving toward being less civilized instead of more so.

    Gravitation cannot be held responsible for people falling in love. - Einstein

    by moose67 on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 01:39:15 PM PDT

    •  Each succeeding generation has extended the... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      my2petpeeves, IowaBiologist, a2nite

      ..."blessings of liberty" to more and more people. And each generation has expanded humanity's capacity for material security, if not prosperity.

      At the same time, the pressures of increasing human population and dwindling resources have created ever more friction between people. The inclusion of more minority groups into the ranks of The Equal creates friction with those who think they benefited from the old tyrannies.

      The question is this:
      Are things getting better faster than they are getting worse?

      “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing
      he was never reasoned into” - Jonathan Swift

      by jjohnjj on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 04:16:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for #5. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blue muon, ER Doc, Danali

    It's a big deal, actually. A core difference between the RW mentality and the progressive mentality is comfort with the notion that humans aren't at the center of the universe, and everything doesn't revolve around them.

    Throws everything else about traditional social hierarchies into question.

    Supple and turbulent, a ring of men/ Shall chant in orgy on a summer morn...

    by karmsy on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 02:29:48 PM PDT

  •  There are people who never had a bigoted thought (0+ / 0-)

    Or any other kind.

  •  It's so funny to me, that someone could be (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Volt3930

    offended by the fact that earth and earthlings (specifically) humans are insignificant.

    I find it comforting. Otherwise we would be responsible for every little thing. That sounds like nothing but work.

    And even in the greater scheme of things on this planet we are insignificant in terms of the time we have been cognizant of our own selves/presence here, except for recently, because we are causing the sixth mass extinction, via overpopulations (crowding everything out) and our ability to pollute an entire planetary environment with the waste products of our overpopulation.

    Just like a virus or bacteria.

    "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

    by GreenMother on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 06:17:38 AM PDT

  •  Another reason for the dislike of (0+ / 0-)

    Neil deGrasse Tyson.... He's an ATHEIST!

  •  He Lays Truth at Their Door (0+ / 0-)

    I'm sure that's the sort of thing that would make Republicans less than keen about deGrasse Tyson. You don't see many of them around here, either. Truth is a well-known Republican-repellant.

  •  Pew surveyed scientists (0+ / 0-)

    and found only 6 percent these days that would outright ally with the GOP.

    I'd like to see the breakdown by field, and unfortunately, no word on engineers.

  •  Um, (0+ / 0-)

    if the GOP wanted those geek votes, why would they attack their God?

    Sorry, Neil, doesn't make sense.


    "I want to die in my sleep like my grandfather ....... Not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car ..." - Emo Philips

    by AlyoshaKaramazov on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 09:23:31 AM PDT

  •  My favorite part was when he said, "It all happ... (0+ / 0-)

    My favorite part was when he said, "It all happened by chance so get over it!"

  •  A party on the record against critical thinking (0+ / 0-)

    What else would you expect?

  •  I think the right hates NdGT because (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SilentBrook, dewolf99

    He is so dog-gone likable.  That guy has charisma!  He is very gentle - even respectful - in attacking stupid beliefs.  That makes him incredibly effective at it.  He makes simple, clear and compelling cases for evolution & global warming.  He can slowly sway public opinion just by sharing his passion for scientific (Natural) beauty with us.  

    He is awesome!

    The power brokers on The Right fear him because he's one of the best popularizers of science in this generation. He is an impressive enemy to those who want to keep Americans ignorant.   Also, he doesn't have some public shame that they can exploit and discredit him with.  

    Make no mistake - Neil deGrasse Tyson is a threat.

    -- illegitimi non carborundum

    by BadBoyScientist on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 11:16:30 AM PDT

  •  The right doesn't like anyone... (0+ / 0-)

    ... who either too smart, too brown, or too female, or any combination of the above.

  •  Don't fall into their trap! (0+ / 0-)

    "Republicans are jealous that the 'geeks of America' tend to overwhelmingly vote Democrat."  Uh, no, they tend to vote DemocratIC.  

    "Democrat" as anything other than a noun is used by the wingers as a hostile epithet.  To use it here in an article would signal acceptance of the epithet.  Let's not give them that satisfaction.

  •  The Myth of Racial Superiority (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Volt3930

    was destroyed by Bush Jr. and then further obliterated by Sarah Palin.

  •  A black person with intelligence (0+ / 0-)

    does not compute with bigots; that is why they passed laws to forbid teaching slaves. If one has to go that far to maintain their supremacy they have no supremacy, their life is bound by fear and that fear is what we see today. We see it all the way up to the SCOTUS.

    No country can be both ignorant and free - Thomas Jefferson

    by fjb on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 04:15:16 PM PDT

    •  This is exactly WHY--- (0+ / 0-)

      This is EXACTLY why certain societies REFUSE to educate their women!

      They are AFRAID that they are as smart if not SMARTER than their oppressive male "leadership-".  

      And if the women ARE educated and they teach their CHILDREN---whoa Nellie better watch out--can't put THOSE horses back in the barn after they got out.

      Well--unless you are a Tea Party member in 2014 in America--then you can TRY.  

  •  Smart Southerners (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SilentBrook, Volt3930

    I used to work with a very racist crew of Southerners who all introduced themselves as Southern Baptists and wore their Christianity on their sleeves like armbands. We traveled renovating hotels and every single one of them cheated on their wives as soon as they got out of town. Whenever they would start up their racist banter I would point out that Washington Carver was undoubtedly the smartest Southerner that ever lived. My wife thinks that Thomas Jefferson was at least as smart, but I think he probably had a British accent and so he doesn't count.

  •  Nerds may have a special understanding (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Volt3930

    Nerds like me who have spent years in high tech working with people from India and China (and many other countries and African Americans) know that there are a lot of people like them that are smarter than many "white" men including me.  So accepting the intelligence of Neil deGrasse Tyson, or Barack Obama, or Dr. Martin Luther King, or Jesse Jackson, etc. is nothing special to me.

  •  Who wants to be stardust when instead (0+ / 0-)

    you can be god's chosen people living on a shining city on the hill.

    You don't want to be made of the same stuff as the hill, that's offensive to the conservative mind. It doesn't fit into the perceived hierarchy —rich people>poor people>dirt.

    You think a conservative wants to be the same as dirt? That would put them lower than poor people.

    Blasphemy.

  •  I saw that episode (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dewolf99

    Watching the exchange between Maher and Tyson filled me with so much joy I can't even tell you. Tyson is an AMAZING human being. He's super smart, very articulate, passionate about what he does (which shines through when he speaks), and has a great sense of humor. I (a white female, btw) just LOVE him.

  •  Pretense and Hubris (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Volt3930

    Dr. deGrasse is far too kind in his explanation. He misses the fact that the ultra conservatives, ala Anne Coulter, Sarah Palin, et al, as well as those who can only relate to the other in terms of their indoctrinated tribalism, experience a rush of endorphins when they are able to identify and attack anything that is different from them. Put a meeting hall or a conventions of these folks together and voila, 35% of the population wags the rest of the dog. Progressive/Liberals are not so inclined to congregate and get high on their hatred of others and therein folks lies the reason for our society being inextricably caught up in a whole lot of crazy!

  •  Flawed mindsets, yes.... (0+ / 0-)

    ideologies....nah....I don't think they (Republicans) are quite well-equipped enough to have ideologies.

    That would require actual ideals, principles, ethics and morals.

  •  Neil deGrasse Tyson (0+ / 0-)

    Nothing scares the trogs more than a black man who is intelligent, eloquent, and good looking.
    Call it the Sidney Poitier syndrome.

  •  Bill Maher, atheist (0+ / 0-)

    Bill Maher, intent as usual on making his play for atheism as well as for libertarianism, contradicts Neil deGrasse Tyson who, except for his one quip about Comic-Con, takes a bi-partisan, secular or agnostic stance. Maher does this all of the time, which is why I don't place him in the same class as Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.

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