Posts Tagged civil rights

The Nostalgia Trap

I’ve written about the ways in which many conservatives seem to yearn for yesteryear. This morning, historian Stephanie Coontz offered a fascinating and compelling article in the NY Times on the dangers of nostalgia:

In society at large, however, nostalgia can distort our understanding of the world in dangerous ways, making us needlessly negative about our current situation.[snip]

Happy memories also need to be put in context. I have interviewed many white people who have fond memories of their lives in the 1950s and early 1960s. The ones who never cross-examined those memories to get at the complexities were the ones most hostile to the civil rights and the women’s movements, which they saw as destroying the harmonious world they remembered.

Read the whole thing, it’s worth it.



That’s Gonna Leave a Mark: Rachel Maddow’s Interview of Rand Paul

Rachel Maddow’s devastating interview with Rand Paul was painful to watch; I’m sure for Paul it was even more painful for Paul as a participant.  Maddow often comes across as very soft-spoken and gentle but she possesses a first rate intellect and an iron will; without being belligerent, rude, or pounding her first on the table, she insistently and firmly pushed Paul to answer a question he did not want to answer on the record.

Ta Neheisi Coates shrewdly observed:

That interview would have went a lot better for Rand Paul if Maddow had have just thrown her notes in the air and accused him of being a bigot, and a covert member of the Klan. That’s what they want. And I don’t simply mean conservatives–I mean people you disagree with. I know I’ve won a debate when my adversary says, “What the fuck type of name is Ta-Nuh-hah-see, anyway?” It translates to “I’ve got nothing.” Much scarier is the opponent who takes your argument, with whatever nuances it may or may not possess, and politely disagrees with the argument as it is.
Ezra Klein summed up the situation this way: Read the rest of this entry »

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