103 Comments
Feb 16, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

"cheapening our intellectual property"

Self-cheapening, Shirley.

Anyway, 2 marks!

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Feb 16, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

Any time there are two postings on a comment thread that make the same point, someone’s intellectual property value is cratering.

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Don't call me Shirley! That's his stage-name!

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Feb 16, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

That sub-headline there caused me to recollect one of the Big Questions I ponder: Just how much a liberal can one be while one pretty much has no issues with let's say the current state of capitalism and capitalists?

And to bring it closer to home, add to the Times' position on economic matters, compliant, submissive national security issues, and, of course, employing the Baker, Haberman and (still?) Martin, just how liberal is it by any standard other than the hoary right wing shibboleth?

In the Times' defense, tho', I'm sure that they have plenty of readers whose kids have transitioned, may transition, are considering it, etc., and are looking to the Times, as opposed to professionals, for guidance so, at least for them, the Times is delivering or, more precisely, pandering to their fears.

OTOH: Christ, what a bunch of assholes.

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Feb 16, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

Well I think that one answer to your first question is it can be liberating (implication: liberal) to carry on doing the good things needing done while ignoring during the moment the bad things beyond immediate control. I can save a whale (in my one bedroom apahtment!) while simultaneous accepting the corporate overlordism for now...

OTOH: yeah...

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Feb 16, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

Last time I tried to save a whale, it refused to leave my house once it got healthy. It just spent all day watching YouTube videos of whales breaching onto boats and crushing tourists. And it ate all my krill without so much as even offering to chip in for the next shipment! Took me months to get that thing to leave, and even then there was much blubbering about not wanting to go back because the water was still too warm.

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Feb 16, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

Freeloading bastards, the lot of them.

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Feb 16, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

…and THAT is why we have to slash welfare and Social Security. Thanks a lot, Welfare Whales driving aquatic Cadillacs and eating T-bone krill!

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Feb 16, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

New Laura Numeroff book: "If you give a whale a water strider..."

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(Built by Nautilus, of course.)

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Dr. Chuck Tingle "Pounded in the Butt by a Whale that Won't Go Home"

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This pro-whale propaganda is relentless and inescapable! And now Hollywood has handed Brendan Fraser a Best Actor nomination for playing one in--what else?--The Whale!

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The pro-whale lobby has been a well-financed juggernaut that has marched through and captured the institutions of government, academia, and media (not to mention Derelict's guest room). Prepare to meet your Jonah-swallowing overlords, their time has finally come.

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The image of Jonah Goldberg's feet sticking out of the Spoutible mascot's mouth is, well, a pretty decent way to start the day.

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LOL. I love Spoutible, and finger's crossed Jonah Goldberg never darkens its door. But I doubt Christopher Bouzy would stand for it.

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Can't trust those sperm whales. The one in my guestroom claimed he was blue, but I think now he was more of a hump. He definitely wasn't right!

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But a sperm whale HAS to hump! It's a simple matter of hydraulics, because it's body is basically one big ball, and when it turns BLUE, it...well...you know.

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“Juggernaut!” “Jonah-swallowing!” These sort of hurtful anti-whale epithets have no place in a civilized discourse about the roles of whale advocacy and whale money in American politics!

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Feb 16, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

Eh, I think you’re describing decency, good acts, making the world better. Not sure that that’s liberal even if associated with being liberal.

But good try there!

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Feb 16, 2023·edited Feb 16, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

My colleague Mr. Lowe would like a word:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oy3LpV0THB0

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Feb 16, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

Haha.

Then again, I’m a tikkun olam guy so there’s that. Which, put like that, isn’t per sé liberal. Rather, that good acts are characterized as liberal says something about those doing the characterizing — which, in turn, doesn’t make them look good. I mean, that there’s any issue that doing good is somehow bad or wrong… please.

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Latin doesn’t have diacritical marks. I’m sure Bern would agree, No marks! /Latin didact

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Where’s the Latin?

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Feb 16, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

That letter has some pretty impressive signatories. I thought it was particularly effective that it drew a parallel between the present NYT coverage of trans people and their past bigoted coverage of gays as well as their early non-coverage the AIDS crisis back in the day.

Reactionary centrists like Matt Yglesias, Josh Barro, and Jesse Singal are all ivy-leaguers who have no skin in the game, and they’ve been able to position themselves as the moderate voices of reason in order to slam trans people for far too long. It would be nice if this letter makes the Times a little nervous so they course correct, but I’m not holding my breath.

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Feb 16, 2023·edited Feb 16, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

Just reading the names Matt Yglesias and Josh Barro nearly gave me a toxic smug reaction.

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Just be careful you don't begin your sentences "Actually..." or use the phrase "this is really more of a comment than a question..." 🙃🙃

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Feb 17, 2023·edited Feb 17, 2023

Actually, this is more of a comment than a question... I think I double negatived my comment

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Feb 16, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

we do not necessarily agree with Hagee

That we do is just a coincidence.

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You are aware that the “we” of which you speak concerning the Harper’s letter includes Margaret Atwood and Noam Chomsky and Salman Rushdie among other excellent writers who are not your usual suspects, though unsurprisingly they are well represented among the signatories. Basically the letter argues that well meaning people can disagree, not that dishonest propagandists shouldn’t be shunned.

The Times letter makes good points about editorial failures in a few stories, but the top level complaint is that they cover the debate about “the propriety of medical care for trans children...” That is a very real debate that is happening among very real people and should definitely be covered by any legitimate news organization.

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Yeah, Michael, I'm aware.

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Yea, it was a statement more than a question. Interesting how the true luminaries who signed the Harper’s letter might feel being on the same page as the Bari Weiss’s of the world. Perhaps I’ve read too much Kurt Vonnegut.

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I think a lot has to do with not knowing much about what the Bari Weisses of the world are about. Which they have in common with a great majority of people!

The Times can print what it likes, and obviously knows this, as shown by the repulsive Pamela Paul editorial in today's edition. The portrayal of one of the world's richest authors as a victim, and the anti-trans community as beleaguered by trans bullies, is pretty rich.

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Feb 16, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

It is a fairly standard conservative flipping of the script, isn't it? I also read the letter as basically asking the Times to follow the science rather than pander to conservative ideological opinion, and to give equal time to trans writers and their allies, so the coverage is not skewed in an anti-trans direction.

Of course, conservatives will cry censorship and cancel culture -- that is to be expected by now. But as usual they are not being silenced, merely criticized.

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"Ask your editor if DARVO is right for you."

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I don’t trust my memory here but I weakly recollect there were issues that what some people signed off on re the letter turned out to actually not be the final draft.

In any case, no matter who signed it, the letter was unnecessary in the greater scheme of things, just a riff on the delusion that there’s a right to be heard.

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Problem is, there's a legion out there in the media, social and otherwise, busily asserting every day that medical care for trans kids is "mutilation" and that kids get hormones with a single doctor appointment, neither of which are true, muddying the waters so actual debate becomes difficult, if not impossible.

Apropos of nothing, it's amusing that the Concerned Citizens screaming about how kids can't possibly be believed on gender issues are pretty much the same kind of Concerned Citizens who back in the 80s screamed that we HAD to believe the children who told stories of being flown to Satanic rituals where Chuck Norris was killed.

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No argument there, but the Times letter is basically saying that these issues shouldn’t be reported, or at least not prominently. I think it’s necessary to reply to hateful misinformation with facts. And there are going to be some issues that reasonable people can disagree about when they acknowledge the same facts. You and I have been around these parts a long time and I doubt we disagree too much about this.

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But you do know what a "moral panic" is, right? When you're in the middle of a moral panic, more news coverage, especially when it leans to the pro-panic side, is NOT "replying to hateful misinformation with fact", it's just feeding the panic.

Since I'm always pushing Some More News on people, you might enjoy this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oAeKAJFrb0w&t=623s

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Yes, I get what you are saying but when government is passing laws, or considering it, legitimate news organizations need to report it. The letter and the article about the 15,000 words seems to be arguing otherwise, and not particularly well. That’s my issue with it, writ large. I’ll watch your video later, thx

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Speaking of the video, the first example is the 1950s-era moral panic about switchblade knives. Many governments, including the government of New York City, passed laws in response, laws that were still being used to reliably put people of color disproportionately behind bars decades later. If we went back and looked at the Times coverage of that issue back in the day, do you think it would be "replying to misinformation with facts"? Or do you think it would be coverage that helped feed the panic and get that legislation passed? Is there a reason to think they're any better at this stuff today?

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Regarding the video, yea, that’s stuff people like us here all understand and agree upon. As much as I’d like to be more a part of the chorus, I’m just not built that way. The reason I’ve read Alicublog for so long, as opposed to writers like whoever created that video, is that Roy comes at these issues I agree with from unexpected directions with unique takes. It’s not that I disagree with so much of the standard lefty narrative, it’s that I know that stuff and don’t enjoy being repetitively fed the same lessons in the same earnest style.

Regarding the NYT letter, to me it’s strictly a matter of journalism, which is a subject I’ve studied in some depth, and the more I’ve analyzed it the more egregiously wrong I’ve found it. My understanding is that the letters is about the news side and the signees are news people. In that light, what they are calling for is anathema to the practice of quality journalism and they are giving the right the kind of ammunition they could only dream about in their wettest of wet dreams.

The way getting hired at the Times used to work is that a reporter started at a small town paper, then a medium sized city, then a big city, then the Times hired the best of that tier. Now they hire young people straight out of only a few highly selective universities.

But back to moral panic, seems to me it’s all those Ivy League kiddies and others that signed the letter are the ones doing the moral panicking. Part of me thinks the Times should fire the lot of them and hire some real journalists.

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Does this work? I mean scientists have mostly stopped debating creationists and all good people no longer debate Ben Shapiro because it ends up spreading the right wing lies

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Far be it from me to suggest that filthy lucre has something to do with it, but piling on the latest moral panic gets you lots of clicks.

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We're lucky you're on the side of the angels. If you toned this down just a little bit you could make serious bank working for Team Evil. Their editors would love you too cause you know most of what they get is mostly misspelled gibberish.

Yours is ready to go out of the envelope.

Think of the money! Sure you may have a hard time living with yourself but that's why they have drugs!

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I’d sell my soul, but no one’s buying. Can’t recall who said it but I can relate.

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The time to sell out is when you don't know what you're doing. The buyers can just tell.

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Feb 16, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

Oof.

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Feb 16, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

Yes, do think of the money and the drugs. Everyone loves to hate Big PHARM. But without the noble, and I might add, pro bono work of Abbvie, Pfizer, Novonordisk where would we be. Won’t someone think of the endocrinologists and surgeons and magnanimous CEOs.

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Feb 16, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

If the NYT editorial management were to respond positively to the real letter complaining about the paper’s coverage of trans issues, by, I dunno, acknowledging that the signatories have a possible point, they would get a letter that would closely resemble Roy’s parody letter. As it happens, Roy’s satirical salvo made it to deadline before reality could kill it.

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Feb 16, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

Let's remember how they eventually responded to years of fact-based criticism of their involvement in selling the Iraq war. I believe there was a small item on page 6 called "The Times and Iraq", which basically said, yeah, mistakes were made. A million dead Iraqis immediately returned to life on its publication.

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Feb 16, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

Can that be true? I was told by Judith Miller that they (the warmongers) were proved fking right. /s

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Feb 16, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

Well, who could doubt it, after we found those huge stockpiles of chemical weapons, the airfields of spray drones, and the dozens of Saddam doubles we captured?

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Yea, it's true that the Times does have a history of being on the wrong side of history and not owning up to it. Not sure this issue quite falls into that category though, at least not yet. The letter and associated documents are interesting. The main complaint is that the Times is giving too much space, and too prominent a space, to stories about trans people, who make up a tiny percentage of the population. If you click on the link to the story that details the 15,000 words you'll get an exhaustive argument for that case. A lot of it comes down to they put some stories on A1, and more important stories on A16 or elsewhere deep in fold if they write about them at all.

Is that a valid criticism? I guess it depends on the story, but apparently a big part of these stories about the rights of trans people concern government getting involved and wanting to legislate people's behavior, and when that happens, I'd say it's an important story.

There are also a few journalistic mistakes listed, like not identifying a right wing activist posing as a regular person, which are valid complaints. If the examples they give of factual mistakes or reporters being suckered by activists are all they've got, it doesn't strike me as all that bad. Stuff like that is unfortunate, but anyone who has worked as a daily journalist for any length of time is going to make mistakes and get punked every now and again. There will always be people who know a lot more about the subject than the journalist and there will always be ways to pick apart the information presented in any complex article.

If a particular reporter makes a lot of egregious mistakes, that's a different thing; or if the reporter knows the person is an activist and omits that information, thereby serving as a propagandist rather than a reporter, then that should be a firing offense, but it's not clear from the example that that's the case and I'd be surprised if the Times would put up with that kind of brazen dishonesty.

Presenting the history of the Times getting things such as the Iraq war or early gay rights wrong is playing with logical fallacy and propaganda in its own right. One could just as easily cherry pick issues where the paper was ahead of the curve. I don't think it's all that relevant as past performance is so mixed.

So I'm not overly impressed with the way the letter is written, nor with the person who did the exhaustive study of the 15,000 words. It seems to me that they are practicing advocacy much more than doing any kind of objective reporting. I mean, how many words has the Times written that could be construed as pro-trans? Why didn't they count that? I'm guessing they did and it didn't bolster their case.

That's not to say that all of the criticism is without merit, and I'm not saying anything at all about the issues themselves. I just don't think they've done a very good job of making their case.

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Feb 16, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

This is a lot of word fog to excuse the NYT’s serial shoddy reporting and disingenuous op-eds on “minor” issues like war and trans rights.

We have friends whose adult child is trans. It is difficult and scary for them, what with conservatives whipping up anti-trans hate and the NYT magnifying it by Just Asking Questions.

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Just talking about the news side. Don’t see it as excuses so much as reality. Reasonable people, however, are welcome to disagree.

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Feb 16, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

I think you misunderstand: The argument isn't "The Times was wrong about X so it must also be wrong about Y" the argument is "The Times was wrong about X and never honestly owned up to their wrongness, so don't expect much from them in other cases where they are proven to be wrong."

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No, I understand that. It’s clear.

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"Presenting the history of the Times getting things such as the Iraq war or early gay rights wrong is playing with logical fallacy and propaganda in its own right."

True. As Santayana said, "Those who fail to learn from History are gonna be fine. It's not like it repeats or anything."

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Feb 16, 2023·edited Feb 16, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

I, for one, appreciated the letter's inclusion of examples of the Times' past homophobia. At the time, of course, we were just told they were being "objective" and "neutral", it's only decades later that we find out it was simple bigotry. Can't wait to find out what's going on behind with scenes with the Times' 2020-era editorial processes, should be getting that info roughly 10 years after I'm dead.

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we were just told they were being "objective" and "neutral", later we will find out it was simple bigotry.

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Ah yes... the NYT in the years of the HIV scare: "AIDS: Spread by dirty f**s, or just dirty people?"

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Feb 16, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

Jamelle Bouie had a pro-trans-rights column about a week ago, the comments were full of ignorant nonsense about teens having surgery, somehow without the consent of their parents? At the time I thought it a little odd, but now I can see where they're getting this hate-filled garbage, from the pages of the New York Times.

Also, representing paid right-wing activists as "concerned parents", isn't that Selena Zito's job?

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Feb 16, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

Of course, probably the most common gender-specific surgery on teens is breast augmentation, done with the approval of parents (because teens can't consent to surgery on their own, duh). If I had kids I wouldn't approve of this, I disagree with the decisions these parents made, clearly the answer is to hand all health-related decision-making over to the Iowa State Legislature.

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Feb 16, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

We already have insurance companies second-guessing doctors, so why not petty-boozh assholes who bought themselves a seat on the State Leg?

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Feb 16, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

Hey, maybe for the breast augmentation, we could set up some kind of "review panel" of state legislators who could "evaluate the evidence" in each case to decide whether the procedure is strictly necessary? Might draw from the same pool of legislators who have already volunteered to track teen girls menstrual cycles.

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"VOTE DeSantis for President. He's into Blood Play!"

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Feb 16, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

Jamelle Bouie is one of the very few bright spots at the Times.

LOL at Zito -- 100% fair comparison, and if that barb had been included in the letter, it would have caused a lot of chagrined flinching among the hoity toity at the Times.

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Feb 16, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

I read that comments section as well and it was horrifying. The concern over trans women competing in sports was a major topic as if this was a problem sweeping the nation rather than a Fox News talking point.

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Feb 16, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

The NYT comments section is reliably horrifying.

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Feb 16, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

I usually read the comments under the Reader's Picks tab and the top comments tend to be far more liberal than the paper. This time was just a complete shitshow.

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Feb 16, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

The only ones worth reading tend to be Readers’ Picks, and even that is dodgy at times. The ones the paper selects as best read like a parody of center-right dipsh!ttery.

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Feb 16, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

One creep wanted to share his intense concern about the bone density of teen girls. A little too "Excitable Boy" for my tastes.

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Feb 16, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

I know, right? Why does the NYT even bother writing about this topic?

The facts and science and evidence and data definitively, clearly, unequivocally and beyond any reasonable doubt prove the propriety and efficacy of gender affirming care. Especially for children/teens.

There is no room for debate. No further research is needed. And anyone who thinks differently is an evil, sinister transphobe or TERF. They should be dismissed and ignored on that basis!

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Feb 16, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

Well, I dunno. How do we decide the safety and efficacy of medical procedures that don't involve Trans folk? Does it usually involve the New York Times opinion section?

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Feb 16, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

We don’t decide - it’s already been decided and proven by all the scientists and researchers everywhere and for all time. The NYT is not science.

P.S. we “decide the safety and efficacy of medical procedures that don’t involve trans folk” in exactly the same way as we do for any and all medical procedures - science. And properly done science means good faith engagement with evidence that undermines one’s hypotheses. Sadly, especially in this area, that’s not happening

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Feb 16, 2023·edited Feb 16, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

Yes, that's right. These questions should be decided by doctors and their patients, in consultation with parents, if the patient is a minor. Which seems like what was happening, and is happening now, except when I dip into the comment section of the Times on any article about Trans people, I find a bunch of people who seem intensely interested in personal medical decisions others have made about what to do with their bodies. And I have to wonder: Why all the interest?

Also, "good faith engagement with evidence" is something you're expecting the doctors to do? Do you think doctors aren't doing this now? Do you expect to have a voice in that if you're not a doctor? If you think it's a subject for "open debate" on Twitter, people are going to wonder why, and they may decide it's because you're a bigot, can you blame them?

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Feb 16, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

I wasn’t really talking about doctors here. I’m thinking of the steps that come before treatment protocols and decisions even get to doctor/patient/parents, i.e.,research.

What NYT commenters have to say is not something I give a damn about.

We love our rugged individualism in this country don’t we? I’m more of an “it takes a village” person when it comes to children. ( Adults are on there own so I’m not concerned about them.)

From what I’ve read it seems the science is all over the place and there really isn’t quite as much consensus as many say there is. Honest brokers will acknowledge that more research in this area is needed - especially when it comes to children and teens. If believing in evidence based medical treatments for children and teens makes me a bigot - so be it.

P.S. I don’t use Twitter - never did figure out what it was for

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Feb 16, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

Not saying everyone who believes in "evidence based medical treatments for children and teens" is a bigot, what I'm saying is that on this issue, all bigots claim that they're motivated by a belief in "evidence based medical treatments for children and teens." If I'm going to be asked to separate the sincerely concerned from the fakers, I'm going to need to be paid for that.

Also, I'm not going to let the "sincerely concerned" off the hook so easily, the medical establishment makes thousands and thousands of decisions about what treatments are appropriate for who, and they're not infallible, so I think we can assume many of those decisions are mistaken. Why, in this ONE case, so much interest in Citizen Science? Even if bigotry isn't your motivation, you should probably look around at your fellow travelers and wonder what brings them to the party.

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Yup, this “you guys only care because it’s about trans people” thing seems to be a very popular talking point.

As a woman and as a 65 year old person I remember many concerns about medical treatments. Most of this has been in the context of women’s health.

But if you really need to believe that I’m only concerned about evidence based medicine when it comes to trans health care that’s fine.

I don’t know who my “fellow travelers” are. If you mean scientists like Lisa Littman and Kenneth Zucker, well, the cool kids kicked them out of the party.

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Oh no. Not that nice Ed Yong.

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Feb 16, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

John. Fucking. Hagee.

Sweet screaming Jesus.

This schmuck has been around since the 90s, and he's a walking Hardcore column with additional Jesus. He LOOKS like old classic Limbaugh, and sounds a hell of a lot like him. Wrote a book about how Desert Storm was fulfilling Biblical prophecy and was the first battle of Armageddon. I've hated him for a long, long time.

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Feb 16, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

Absolutely 100% true, but Hagee is now a D-Lister in the wingnut pantheon of frothing banshees. So the funniest thing to me is apparently he is the only guy Haley could get for her launch.

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Feb 16, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

Twenty years gone and no Bush Jr administration members prosecuted for torture, a universally recognized moral and legal abhorrence, much less lying about WMDs and 9/11 instigators. That America is light years behind South Africa in dealing with evil politicians explains, to me anyway, why we let our current evil politicians and pundits focus on fake cancel culture instead of the harms to the less powerful members of society. (And, yes, I’m trying to move forward from my belief that our Vietnam War disaster was the root cause of our inability to face our problems. As my wife points out, “No one listens when you’re talking about how things were 70 years ago; life has moved on.)

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Feb 16, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

Gosh, lots of parents seem to be really concerned about the Satanic influence of Ozzy Osborne, maybe we should start out with an interview with Tipper Gore and then follow that up with, say, 10,000 words worth of interviews with concerned parents, including some Christian fundamentalist activists presenting themselves as concerned parents? Yeah, that's the ticket, that'll help tamp down the hysteria!

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We’re Just Asking Questions and thoughtfully getting all sides of the debate: the concerned parents, worried teachers, and alarmed clergy yes, but also the delinquent teens and depraved musicians. All sides, equally thoughtful!

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MOAR DEPRAVED MUSICKIANS PLS!

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A crisp Swift irony on the palate, with pleasant undertones of George Saunders bureaucratese on the finish…

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Per se.

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A brave trans skeptic is something to be.

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