70 thoughts on “Hey, Check This Out! (2019)

  1. I’m not sure how much you guys would be interested in the article below, but I found it fascinating. Initially, I wasn’t very interested in the subject, but I finally read the article, and found it very stimulating. The thread below gives some highlights.

    The way our culture and society seems to have de-coupled sex and marriage–i.e., marriage isn’t necessarily the ideal context for sex–is one area that would be interesting to explore.

  2. Two things I wanted to comment on:

    Ying Zhu, a professor of media culture at the College of Staten Island at the City University of New York, worries China’s growing market power is giving the Communist Party too much leverage over Hollywood.

    “The Chinese censors can act as world film police on how China can be depicted, how China’s government can be depicted, in Hollywood films,” she says. “Therefore, films critical of the Chinese government will be absolutely taboo.”

    At one point does Hollywood become complicit in promoting and even creating Chinese propaganda? At some point, I can imagine Hollywood would have to choose between profits or patriotism. I’m afraid profits might win out.

    Green’s company, Apex, estimates the China movie market will surpass North America as the world’s largest within a few years. So, some filmmakers are adding scenes — at times clumsily — to appeal to Chinese audiences.

    This is a less serious issue, but I’ve already seen this. The Asian character in The Last Jedi and the subplot around her seems like an example of this. I’m interested in seeing more Asian characters, especially in American movies, but I’m not keen on including them for the purposes of appealing to Chinese audiences.

  3. I’ve been listening to The Daily, a New York Times podcast. I guess you could say the podcast takes one current events news item and digs a bit deeper. I liked this one about the way Trump got rich. At least two Times journalists spent about a year looking at tax forms from older tax forms from Trump and his father (I believe). Read and judge for yourselves if Trump was a great businessman.

    1. I watched both. I’m totally down on the marginal tax rate she’s proposing, but it might be politically impractical.

      I have two concerns about her:

      1. Being young and inexperienced, she may say things that are foolish, and this will make lead to piling on from the right. A part of me feels like the far right wants her to be the next Hillary.

      2. In targeting her, I’m a little concerned Trumpists will use her as an important part of demagoguery.

    2. Is young and inexperienced more concerning than old and inexperienced? Every congressperson is an inexperienced congressperson at some moment. I’ll say that the press reports her gaffes (if they are gaffes) but her Instagram stories are like a lesson in civics, and they show her attending and ruminating on training sessions the frosh representatives go through. Did you know they even have special training sessions for new members of each committee? It’s kind of neat. But I agree, the way she gets portrayed and exaggerated by conservative commenters could be a problem. Bastards.

      As you would guess, I’m pretty far away from her on some of her positions, but I don’t care. I want smart, competent people who will legislate in good faith. She seems real in a way that Obama seems real. I’m wary of seeming realness since everyone’s a politician, but I think I’m tough to fool on smarts. I’d vote for competence over my own political leanings nowadays, if that’s how I were forced to choose.

      Anyway, I’m not kidding. Her IG stories is like going on a school field trip to the capitol. Why don’t our own congresspeople give us this kind of look at the workings of the house?

      1. Is young and inexperienced more concerning than old and inexperienced?

        Yes it is. Young people likely haven’t had many experiences where they’ve learned that their initial impression and understanding of a particularly field, institution, or workplace can be completely wrong. What can happen, especially with smart, idealistic young people, is that they think the way things are done are stupid, out of date, or even corrupt, not realizing that their position may be based on ignorance and inexperience. (At the same time, they could be right, but knowing when they have a valid point, and when their position is based on ignorance is really difficult to determine.)

        An older person coming into Congress for the first time would be less likely to make this mistake. On the other hand, they may not be as enthusiastic, energetic, and idealistic–they may be more jaded and cynical, which is also not a good thing.

        I want smart, competent people who will legislate in good faith. She seems real in a way that Obama seems real. I’m wary of seeming realness since everyone’s a politician, but I think I’m tough to fool on smarts. I’d vote for competence over my own political leanings nowadays, if that’s how I were forced to choose.

        I’m with you on this. On related note, my sense is that the competence and the possession of the relevant skill set seem like one of the most under-reported aspects of a politician. What does it mean to be a competent Congress person? What skills, knowledge, and personality traits are important to possess? Which politicians possess these attributes and to what degree? I feel like this issues aren’t covered, particularly during elections when they would be really important.

        Anyway, I’m not kidding. Her IG stories is like going on a school field trip to the capitol. Why don’t our own congresspeople give us this kind of look at the workings of the house?

        I haven’t seen these, but I like the concept.

      2. Here’s a link to her on-duty IG. House rules say she can share from her personal IG account, but when she’s actually in the Capitol, she has to broadcast from her professional account, something I didn’t know since most congresspeople don’t seem to have had pre-congressional Instagram lives — no wonder they don’t know anything about the Internet.
        I know it now because she mentioned it in one of her IG stories. 🙂

        https://www.instagram.com/repocasiocortez

        If you click the circle where her face is, you can view her story. Stories only last 24 hours, so yesterday’s cool field-trip stuff is gone now. Worth a peek once a day if it interests you.

  4. This was so engaging and entertaining! What I know of Robert Caro is that he’s been working on a massive biography of Lyndon Johnson over several decades, and he’s still working on one more volume. Knowing this wouldn’t be enough to make me interested in this article, but having heard several glowing comments about Caro recently, I decided to check this out. It was definitely worth the time!

    You know how movies about a investigative reporter can feel like a detective story? That’s what the article reminded me of. What I found interesting was the various tactics and lengths Caro would go to to get information. In this way, the article also reminded me of Stephen King’s On Writing. I’ve never read any of Caro’s books, but where they’re good or not, I admire his dedication and commitment.

    I’m definitely interested in his books now.

  5. I agree with the comments here, especially about taxes–specifically, ending the tax shelters for the very wealthy–i.e., having wealthy people pay their share of taxes.

    Anybody disagree with this?

    For me, I support this for two reasons:

    1. The tax revenue that could be generated can do a lot of good–going to education, childcare, healthcare, particularly for lower-income individuals.

    2. The idea of having a small group of individuals owning the vast majority of wealth in a society is not good for a democracy. High marginal tax rates and high estate taxes can help mitigate this, and the taxes can be level the playing field of opportunities for middle and lower income individuals.

    1. I believe the distribution of wealth is the biggest problem our economy faces and I agree this type of taxation would at least put a tiny dent in that problem. However, Ocasio-Cortez said she wanted to tax anything over ten million at 70%. That just seem excessive and bordering on unfair. You add state tax and fica and medicare tax, and the person might take home 10% of their earnings for anything over ten million.

      1. 70% seems high. I think you could adjust this rate. At the same time, isn’t this an annual tax rate? That is, the 70% tax would apply to anything over 10 million a person earned in a year. This seems a little more reasonable.

        As for fairness, I think you have to also consider the type of opportunities the individual had to make this money. How many wealthy people started with almost nothing–growing up with dysfunctional families, in bad neighborhoods with bad schools? Additionally, if wealthy individuals pass on their wealth to their children, one could argue this really isn’t fair, either.

        There’s also another element of the unfairness here–one that poses a threat to democracy. The super wealthy will have more political and economic influence, and they will use it to protect their money. The result is that the rich get richer and the opportunities for everyone else to succeed can diminish, making it harder to achieve the American dream. In my view, there has to be push back against this or we’ll have a oligarchy or plutocracy.

        Finally, I wanted to address something that came up in the video. The first guy said we have to talk about taxes, not philanthropy. And then some rich guy complained about the emphasis on taxes, wanting to direct the discussion back to solving inequality, poverty, etc. This brings up a question: When it comes to solving social problems, would we prefer relying on more democratically elected entities or a few wealthy individuals? I prefer the former. I don’t think the wealthy should have the most influence on the problems that are addressed and how they’re addressed.

        1. That is, the 70% tax would apply to anything over 10 million a person earned in a year.

          Yes so if a person made 11 million, the first 10 million he would keep about 50% of that, and the last 1 million he would keep about 15% of that in Hawaii (where state tax rates seem reasonable). That seems okay to me. But if he made 100 million, he would keep 50% of his first 10, and only keep 15% of his other 90 million, seems unfair. I mean fair to me personally, but if I was that guy, I would think that’s socialistic.

          if wealthy individuals pass on their wealth to their children, one could argue this really isn’t fair, either.

          Everyone cannot start from scratch? That would be interesting though. More of a “Darwinistic” approach, where only the strong survive.

          The super wealthy will have more political and economic influence, and they will use it to protect their money.

          Yeah, but there are other ways this can be curbed. And would the tax thing even matter. We are only talking about taxing one’s income. In the case of Bezos for example, we could take all the income he has for the rest of his life and his next three generations and he still would be way too rich.

          When it comes to solving social problems, would we prefer relying on more democratically elected entities or a few wealthy individuals? I prefer the former.

          I agree with this. But without using real socialistic “tactics”, I’m not sure what can be done. I still like my plan of taxing the rich (not 70% though) and everything above the normal rate, the government uses that money to set up a trust like Bishop Estate, where we can spend the income of that money instead of the money itself. I’m pretty sure the government does that already? Maybe I’m wrong.

          1. But if he made 100 million, he would keep 50% of his first 10, and only keep 15% of his other 90 million, seems unfair. I mean fair to me personally, but if I was that guy, I would think that’s socialistic.

            But there are other aspects of fairness. The super wealthy have wield more political power than the non-wealthy, how is that fair or appropriate in a democracy? The children of the wealthy will have better advantages than the non-wealthy, that doesn’t seem fair to the children from non-wealthy families.

            Making 10 million a year is a lot. Even with high marginal tax rates, these individuals will have more political influence–they will have better standard of living, education, healthcare, etc.–than the vast majority of people.

            Everyone cannot start from scratch? That would be interesting though. More of a “Darwinistic” approach, where only the strong survive.

            I can’t tell if that’s a rhetorical question…But if you mean that we can’t create a situation where even one has equal opportunities and circumstances to succeed, I think the answer is no. Some people will have better, wealthier families; some will have adults that provide good guidance and love; etc.

            My ideal is to try and create circumstances and opportunities for the most people to succeed. And I would emphasize those in lower classes, because in general, they have the least opportunities and favorable conditions to succeed. The wealthy will always have better conditions and opportunities. Nothing will change that. But I think the goal is to keep working strive for providing good opportunities for everyone. That seems fair to me.

            Oh, and some people will work harder and/or have more ability than others, so you won’t have equal results. That seems OK to me, because the success is based on merit.

            Yeah, but there are other ways this can be curbed. And would the tax thing even matter. We are only talking about taxing one’s income. In the case of Bezos for example, we could take all the income he has for the rest of his life and his next three generations and he still would be way too rich.

            That’s true. But I also mentioned the estate tax. Also, in the clip, my sense was that they were talking about these tax havens, offshore accounts, where the wealthy can avoid taxes. I had the feeling they wanted to stop or reform this.

            But without using real socialistic “tactics”, I’m not sure what can be done.

            We can start by getting rid of tax cuts, especially for the wealthy, and enforcing a more progressive tax rate. We can do that without adopting AOC’s proposal.

            I still like my plan of taxing the rich (not 70% though) and everything above the normal rate, the government uses that money to set up a trust like Bishop Estate, where we can spend the income of that money instead of the money itself. I’m pretty sure the government does that already? Maybe I’m wrong.

            I don’t know if the government has a trust, but my sense is that they earn interest on the money they have? When you say setting up a trust, I think the key is the rules and approach to managing the money. I would think both would be very conservative–that is, the people overseeing the trust wouldn’t be aggressively investing money to get a good ROI.

            Also, what about the fact that the government is spending more than they’re taking in? If you tax the rich, the revenue would not only have to cover expenditures, but wouldn’t the leftover have to be quite large in order to generate sufficient income?

          2. We can start by getting rid of tax cuts, especially for the wealthy, and enforcing a more progressive tax rate.

            The tax is progressive. There was a time when you got to the highest bracket your percentage would decrease. This was to encourage more earnings. But I don’t think the tax rates has been like that for a long time.

            Also, what about the fact that the government is spending more than they’re taking in?

            No matter how much citizens are taxed there is a good chance of this happening.

            If you tax the rich, the revenue would not only have to cover expenditures, but wouldn’t the leftover have to be quite large in order to generate sufficient income?

            Let’s say the government added another tax rate of 5% higher than the current highest rate to tax any income over eight million. And with that added step the government was able to get an additional three billion dollars. We wouldn’t allocate any of that three billion, but instead used it to set up the trust. In year one, we wouldn’t have any additional tax income because we set up the trust. In year two, the government would have an additional 150 million if the three billion can pull in a conservative 5% ROI. In year three, our trust would have six billion and we would have an additional 300 million in taxes. Yes this would be a long term fix, and that’s part of the problem because politicians are always in the short term business, because their terms are up in four years. But after ten years, our ROI would be 1.5 billion each year and growing.

  6. The tax is progressive.

    You know, to be honest, I don’t know even know the current rates, especially after the recent tax cuts. Maybe with that tax cuts didn’t make the overall rates regressive. Maybe I should have said raise rates for upper income individuals, make cuts for middle and lower income brackets.

    No matter how much citizens are taxed there is a good chance of this happening.

    Would it make sense to form a trust, which will be used to generate revenue, while you are deficit spending? Could you argue that we should use this trust money to cover existing expenditures so that we don’t have to go in the deficit?

    Here’s another question: What about the existing federal debt? For the 2015 federal budget the interest on debt was 6% of the budget. Would it be better to use the tax revenue that would go to a fund to go to paying down the existing debt?

    I like the idea of having a trust fund that can be used to generate revenue. I don’t know if this is the best way to manage money, when we spend more than we bring in, and we have a growing debt. Also, I think managing the trust gets dicey and controversial, if you’re talking about more active and aggressive means to generate revenue (e.g., investing in stocks, etc.) Once you start investing in businesses, properties, etc., wouldn’t that be coming close to government choosing winners and losers. There would also be the problem of corruption, and you’d like to have to have all sorts of inefficient rules to protect against that (cf. procurement rules).

  7. I thought the following article/thread was appropriate, given our recent discussion about high marginal income tax rates. I’m curious to hear what you guys think about these ideas, and I have a question after the thread.

    I’m not clear about what a wealth tax is. I’m assuming wealth is everything a person has that is of value–e.g., property, stocks, savings, etc. Basically, all the wealth of the individual except for the income the individual brought in during that year. Or am I missing something?

    The idea sounds good, but the practical obstacles and drawbacks seem significant.

    I also like the inheritance tax idea.

  8. I would think wealth would also include income you received. Although, that would mean your income would be taxed twice, but at this point, all the wealth a person has would be taxed twice anyway in the wealth tax system. I agree this would work out better than the 70% income tax, if they can work out the kinks, but this is more socialist than any idea I’ve heard before. But maybe we don’t care that it’s a socialist act.

    Are you thinking with the inheritance tax that only rich people would pay that or everyone? I would hate to die (no kidding) and have my son be left with half of what he would get without any inheritance tax. Plus, isn’t there already an inheritance tax, but most people avoid it with their house and money put in trust?

    1. I would think wealth would also include income you received. Although, that would mean your income would be taxed twice, but at this point, all the wealth a person has would be taxed twice anyway in the wealth tax system.

      It’s not clear to me, but now I think you’re right–the income would be taxed as well. It’s important to note that in the plan Smith discusses (Elizabeth Warren’s plan) 2% would be applied to wealth above 50 million (and 3% of wealth over 1 billion). Suppose someone doesn’t earn income over 50 million, does that mean they’re not taxed twice? Or is it more accurate to say they are taxed twice once their overall wealth exceeds 50 million?

      if they can work out the kinks, but this is more socialist than any idea I’ve heard before. But maybe we don’t care that it’s a socialist act.

      I’m hesitant about that label because a) it has negative connotations; b) it creates impression that our economy isn’t socialized in some areas to some degree. In my view, I look at the action as more anti-plutocratic, pro-democratic. I think you can come at this from a fairness angle and promoting a more merit-based system.

      Are you thinking with the inheritance tax that only rich people would pay that or everyone?

      I haven’t read the specific article on it, but I’m thinking it should apply to the wealthy. I’m not sure what the cutoff is.

      Plus, isn’t there already an inheritance tax, but most people avoid it with their house and money put in trust?

      According to Smith, inheritance tax would tax all sorts of wealth transfers (e.g., gifts, trusts, etc.).

  9. The following thread tells a good story. It doesn’t contain super important information, but if you ever hung out with this guy and he told this story, I think you’d enjoy it.

    (Actually, a part of me is a little skeptical about this, as if he’s really fudging things to make this story a lot more interesting.)

    1. I’m guessing you begged people because you thought this was hilarious? Why was the sound super critical? I feel like maybe I’m missing something.

    2. I don’t want to spoil it yet for people who haven’t seen it, but I think the men arguing in Polish over what’s going on adds to the bizarreness.

      1. I don’t speak Polish so I don’t know what they’re arguing about, but I doubt they’re arguing about him because they’re not gesturing in his direction or anything.

        As for a mental disability, of course that would make this not funny, but the tone of the arguers and the empty cans and bottles on the table would seem to indicate other possibilities.

      1. I think this would be funnier if I knew the person–and knew he wasn’t mentally disabled in some way. I’m assuming he does have a mental disability. How could he not?

  10. I really liked this quote:

    1. Too bad El Chapo (Guzman) isn’t on this. I wonder where his “company” would fall. I thought people thought his GNP was higher than the rest of Mexico. Maybe I’m wrong, though…

        1. What? That’s interesting. Perfect in the “Hey, Check This Out” section. Just like people think guys like Putin and Jung-Un could be the richest guys on earth if their true net worth was known. I would like to know how these guys and El Chapo stack up to legitimate businesses and people.

          1. For wealth, I can see that being interesting. But this was about the rise and fall of a brand’s strength over time. Thinking of El Chapo as a brand just seemed odd to me, or at least different from corporate brands, and measuring how his brand competed with other corporate brands over time, again, seemed strange. Celebrities can be brands, too, but that’s different from corporations. Plus, El Chapo is a criminal. If we gauged celebrity brands (LeBron, Beyonce, etc.), wouldn’t it be kinda weird to include El Chapo in that? Whatever, this isn’t a big deal.

          2. The numbers has nothing to do with earnings or gross sales? I just assumed it was. So yes brand strength but based on sales.

  11. As the completion of the Mueller report seems imminent, here’s an article written by David Frum that I recommend. In this 2017 article, Frum advocates for an independent commission to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election, pointing out the limitations with an investigation by a Special Counsel. His points are salient now and good to keep in mind when reading the Mueller report. One of his main points is that a Special Counsel will focus on crimes that he can prove. He may come across many troubling facts and details, but if those don’t violate any existing laws and he can’t prove that this occurred, he will likely ignore this. If Mueller doesn’t provide evidence proving a conspiracy, I don’t think people should be mad at him or automatically suspect something afoul.

    One of the main problems in the Trump-Russia scandal is the way the issue has been framed largely as a legal issue. That is, if Trump didn’t break any laws, he’s largely exonerated. I totally disagree with this. The Trump campaign coordinating and cooperating with Russian efforts to interfere with the election and assist with their active measures is damning, especially since Trump continues to do this, including promoting policies that help Russia and also providing rhetoric that validates Putin. Additionally, if the Mueller report doesn’t clarify if Trump’s business attempts with Russia is interfering with his foreign policy decisions, then I don’t see how Trump is fit to be President. The list could go on.

  12. https://247sports.com/nfl/oakland-raiders/ContentGallery/Grading-Every-NFL-Teams-Redesigned-Logo-119937747

    A graphic artist re-imagines all 32 NFL logos. I love it when artists try their hands at this.

    I love: Packers, Buccaneers, Chargers (but another stallion in the AFC West is probably a bad idea), Texans, Chiefs, Bengals (but I agree with the writer; the Bengals helmet is already perfect), Raiders, and Steelers.

    I hate: Rams, Jets, Panthers, Seahawks (looks like Sam the American Eagle on the Muppets), 49ers, and Cowboys.

    1. I love this sort of exercise. The Buccaneers was the best one to me. Why didn’t someone think of this before? It is so much cooler. Now if they could design better uniforms and maybe modify their colors, they could look great. (I assume these logos are going on the helmets.) Strangely, I didn’t care for the Raiders logo.

      I also disliked quite a bit of them, or at least I didn’t they were better than the existing logos.

      I would like to see a designer come up with better logos for the Steelers, Giants, and Jets. (I like the current Jets logo over the one in the article.) I feel like the existing logos are far less cooler than they could or should be.

      I think finding appealing logos for the Browns, 49ers and Saints are kinda challenging. I’d like to see more attempts for these teams.

      Oh, the Packers logo is interesting, but it seems more suitable for a corporation than an NFL team.

  13. Don,

    The numbers has nothing to do with earnings or gross sales? I just assumed it was. So yes brand strength but based on sales.

    Huh. I didn’t even bother to look at how they were measuring the brands. I guess it might be interesting to see El Chapo’s sales and/or other individuals/organizations that have illicit sales.

  14. Astaire and Rodgers were truly great. Of all the dancers I’ve seen in Hollywood films (which is admittedly not a large number), I don’t think anyone makes me think of the word artist as these two. By this I mean I will sometimes react in similar ways to experiencing great art. I love Singin’ in the Rain–I think it’s a great movie, with great dance numbers, and I do think of it as a work of art–but the dance sequences somehow don’t have the same aesthetic power and effect that I get from fine art.

    I think Astaire is remarkable in how he glides and moves so smoothly in a totally effortless way. The thing is, he does not really look like he has the physical gifts to do this. Unbelievable.

    1. Yeah, I’m pretty sure I saw it on a Monday night game almost 20 years ago and a few years before that as well. You’re allowed to dropkick it too, which is what I saw the first time.

      There’s a list of attempted fair catch kicks in the Wikipedia article. Looking at the list doesn’t help me remember which I witnessed.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_catch_kick

  15. The Saudi government’s reliance on a firm from Israel, an adversary for decades, offers a glimpse of a new age of digital warfare governed by few rules and of a growing economy, now valued at $12 billion, of spies for hire.

    Today even the smallest countries can buy digital espionage services, enabling them to conduct sophisticated operations like electronic eavesdropping or influence campaigns that were once the preserve of major powers like the United States and Russia. Corporations that want to scrutinize competitors’ secrets, or a wealthy individual with a beef against a rival, can also command intelligence operations for a price, akin to purchasing off-the-shelf elements of the National Security Agency or the Mossad.

    Later,

    “The assumption used to be that when you left the N.S.A., you’d never do that kind of offensive work again. Now, clearly there is a market for it,” said Mr. Johnston, the security expert. He worked in the military’s Cyber Command, which works closely with the N.S.A., while serving in the Marines.

    “The N.S.A. should consider it their responsibility to ensure that the hacking techniques taught to employees cannot be used against the United States,” he said.

  16. I subscribe to an email newsletter from Robin Sloan, the guy who wrote Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. Unlike a lot of writers with newsletters, Sloan puts something pretty substantial out every week, and I enjoy reading on a weekly basis the thoughts that go through a good writer’s head.

    In this week’s letter (link goes to the web version), Sloan writes

    Late last year, I resolved never again to use “we” without a specific antecedent. I will certainly fail at this, because the unspecified “we” is very powerful and attractive; you can write sweeping things like

    We cannot stand idly by while the planet burns.

    or

    We need a different kind of candidate.

    Now, if you’ve already framed up your argument, made clear its scope and stakeholders – established an antecedent – then of course a standaloine “we” is fine.

    But often, writers don’t do this. Often – especially in op-ed columns and tweets – they luxuriate in not doing it! So, any time you see a bold undifferentiated “we,” especially when the writer or speaker seems to be reaching for some great soaring truth, the correct response is:

    We who?

    It’s powerful; one of those universal acids. Try it. We who?

    The use of this “we” has bugged me for several years, and it’s encouraging to see it get analysis for a wider audience than mine. Definitely something to notice and to think about.

    Most of the time, now that I see it all over the place, I read the “we” as inclusive. The writer is implying that I am part of the we, so when the writer writes, “We don’t need another hero; we don’t need to know the way home,” I get offended. Who is this writer to speak on my behalf? I almost automatically dismiss the argument because the writer hasn’t established the cred I need if I’m to accept being included in his or her WE.

    Cutting the writer some slack, as I am trying lately to do, I can either look at it as an exclusive WE, as in the writer plus people who think like the writer, or as a generalized WE, as in we the people. Either way, the argument loses all kinds of steam when looked at this way. It’s because when you ask the “We who?” question, it often becomes clear that the writer hasn’t even considered who “we” are, and if the writer’s not going to consider it, I’m not going to do the work in figuring out what he or she might mean. The burden is on the writer, not the reader.

    1. The writer is implying that I am part of the we, so when the writer writes, “We don’t need another hero; we don’t need to know the way home,” I get offended. Who is this writer to speak on my behalf?

      I was going to agree with you, but what if the writer uses “we” to refer to “humanity” or maybe even “society.” For example, “We all need love in our lives,” or “We all need some rules and structure to function effectively.” I think a writer can assume to much; there is a danger that they will make a generalization that is more controversial and in dispute than they assume. And I think that can be problematic.

      But in the examples above, the writer could be expressing their opinion, more than stating something as fact. Consider the following sentence: “We’re all basically good and decent at heart.” If the writer means that people are inherently good, and someone believes people are inherently evil, should the latter be offended? I tend to think not–or at least I don’t think I would be offended. Additionally, the writer could mean that, by and large, most people will behave in a decent way. That is, most people won’t steal, commit acts of violence, etc. This is different from saying people are inherently good. One can believe that people are inherently evil, but still generally behave in a decent way (especially by worldly standards).

      Having said all this, I think being clear about the antecedent is something writers should do in general. I’m cognizant of this when using “it.”

    2. I guess I didn’t word that well. I said I assume the writer is using the inclusive “we,” meaning that’s how it comes off the page when I read it. Of course there are many uses for it, including the one you mention (which I also mention as the “general we”). My issues are that (a) I’m left to figure out which “we” the writer intends, which a reader shouldn’t have to do , and (b) that most often, the writer is being lazy because he or she isn’t even really thinking of an antecedent — just saying “we” is like saying “everybody,” when very few people ever actually mean “everybody.”

      1. Here’s what I’m not clear about: If the writer made clear they used “we” in the inclusive sense, would you still be annoyed? It’s sounds like you would be. I wrote my response based on that impression. That is, I provided an example and explanations of when the inclusive we would not be offensive and annoying (at least for me).

        …that most often, the writer is being lazy because he or she isn’t even really thinking of an antecedent — just saying “we” is like saying “everybody,” when very few people ever actually mean “everybody.”

        Is it laziness, or the presumptuousness? The writer could be making a overly broad generalization, assuming more people share their belief than is actually the case. Whatever the case, I think this–if the assumption is reasonable or not–is what would annoy me.

  17. I haven’t read all of this yet, but it looks really interesting:

  18. Have any of you heard of this or read it?

    I’ve never heard of it, but it sounds interesting, based on the review.

  19. The burning of the Notre Dame Cathedral is really sad. If this thread is accurate, there is going to be hell to pay:

  20. I like this graphic, explaining gerrymandering.

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