Patterico's Pontifications


New York Times Editorial Board Writer To Ted Cruz: Shut Your Mouth

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:17 am

[guest post by Dana]

On July 4th, the same wealthy young man who successfully compelled Nike to pull their 4th of July kicks bearing an image of the flag sewn by an industrious, young widow named Betsy Ross, tweeted a quote by Frederick Douglass. Along with the quote, he posted historical photos and video clips documenting the horrific treatment blacks have experienced at the hands white America:

In response to Kapernick’s posting, Sen. Ted Cruz added some necessary context to the Douglass quote and encouraged everyone to read the entire Douglass speech for themselves:

You quote a mighty and historic speech by the great abolitionist Frederick Douglass, but, without context, many modern readers will misunderstand. Two critical points: (1) This speech was given in 1852, before the Civil War, when the abomination of slavery still existed. Thanks to Douglass and so many other heroes, we ended that grotesque evil and have made enormous strides to protecting the civil rights of everybody.

(2) Douglass was not anti-American; he was, rightly and passionately, anti-slavery. Indeed, he concluded the speech as follows: “Allow me to say, in conclusion, notwithstanding the dark picture I have this day presented, of the state of the nation, I do not despair of this country.

“There are forces in operation, which must inevitably, work the downfall of slavery. ‘The arm of the Lord is not shortened,’ and the doom of slavery is certain.

“I, therefore, leave off where I began, with hope. While drawing encouragement from ‘the Declaration of Independence,’ the great principles it contains, and the genius of American Institutions, my spirit is also cheered by the obvious tendencies of the age.”

Let me encourage everyone, READ THE ENTIRE SPEECH; it is powerful, inspirational, and historically important in bending the arc of history towards justice:

No one can deny that context is everything, and that read in its entirety, Cruz is right about the speech: It is powerful, inspirational, and historically important. It deserves to be read by all Americans.

With that, Mara Gay, who sits on the New York Times editorial board, decided that instead of joining Cruz and urging her own 45,000 followers to read Douglass’s historic speech for themselves, the better option was to attack Cruz:


It’s disappointing that such a successful young woman missed a golden opportunity to join Cruz in encouraging all Americans to read Douglass’s speech. Telling an individual who is pushing the public to learn more about history not to talk about history because of her personal support and admiration of Kapernick reminds me of the narrow-minded bias that too frequently rears its ugly head in the New York Times. I hope Kapernick, and everyone who hasn’t read the speech, takes Cruz’s advice. We will all be the better for it. In my book, I don’t care who’s calling for it, if someone is pushing Americans to learn more of their country’s history, then let’s just do it.

P.S. I wrote this post yesterday morning but didn’t publish it. I’m glad, too, because checking Gay’s Twitter feed this morning, I can add to the post that, not only does she believe in Kapernick and his take on America, she has admitted that, along with Cruz, everyone should read the Douglass speech.


(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


25 Responses to “New York Times Editorial Board Writer To Ted Cruz: Shut Your Mouth”

  1. Because you admire someone doesn’t mean that they won’t get it wrong. Because you dislike someone doesn’t mean that they won’t get it right. This isn’t hard. But political filters all too frequently muddle up one’s critical thinking abilities.

    Dana (bb0678)

  2. Translation of Ms. Gays last post; “Oops, I got caught.!”

    C. S. P. Schofield (f7316d)

  3. Not gonna argue that take, C.S.P. Schofield, but if it gets people to read the speech and compels her to think about *what* someone is actually saying before shooting off her mouth, then win-win.

    Dana (bb0678)

  4. Green Eggs And Ham.

    Make that Canadian Bacon… with a side order of Basketball Rings.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  5. After her walkback, I hope Ms. Gay went to her favorite cafe and ordered a double serving of crow.

    Paul Montagu (fc91e5)

  6. Funny this turn of events! Ms. Gay writes that Douglass’s name has no business in Cruz’s mouth and she ends up with Cruz’s business in her mouth.

    I’ll believe Colin Kapernick is all about “fairness” when he renounces his ill-gotten wealth and spreads it among teh proletariat.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  7. 6. Right on, Colonel. But I’ll go even farther. No one who plays a game for a living has any business lecturing me on life’s unfairness.

    Gryph (08c844)

  8. Slightly OT, but hey, worth noting watching a ‘front runner’ skid and crash into the wall; now JoeyBee says he’s “sorry” for his remarks about segregation senators.

    Yep, the brittle backbone of a 76 year old we look for in our presidents. Oh wait- he is 76.

    And Putin smiled…

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  9. That’s no smile, that’s gas from the borscht…

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  10. Well he could make the argument thar Ross k Baker did, however he would have to give up his moral superiority shtick

    Narciso (fddec8)

  11. Brezhnev and andropov certainly smiled over the nuclear freeze scam.
    So nuance isnt really a thing after all.

    Narciso (fddec8)

  12. Kaepernick can diminish himself just fine. He’s dredging up sound bites from an old college course for athletes where he no doubt got an “A” while never reading an entire speech, poem, or book.

    Kaepernick thinks that the Betsy Ross flag reflects a racist slave trading society. Here is a snippet he can use next time: “in 1998 Yoweri Museveni, the president of Uganda, told an audience including Bill Clinton: “African chiefs were the ones waging war on each other and capturing their own people and selling them. If anyone should apologise it should be the African chiefs. We still have those traitors here even today.”

    steveg (354706)

  13. Or I can give him these quotes lifted from wikipedia and refuse to offer any context…

    “When British rule was first imposed on the Sokoto Caliphate and the surrounding areas in northern Nigeria at the turn of the 20th century, approximately 2 million to 2.5 million people there were enslaved. Slavery in northern Nigeria was finally outlawed in 1936”

    “Between 1500 and 1900, up to 17 million Africans slaves were transported by Muslim traders to the coast of the Indian Ocean, the Middle East, and North Africa.
    In 1814, Swiss explorer Johann Burckhardt wrote of his travels in Egypt and Nubia, where he saw the practice of slave trading: “I frequently witnessed scenes of the most shameless indecency, which the traders, who were the principal actors, only laughed at. I may venture to state, that very few female slaves who have passed their tenth year, reach Egypt or Arabia in a state of virginity.”

    Slavery was an awful practice and everyone involved was tarnished, and although we took too long to come to our senses, we did eradicate the practice. Sooner than Africans themselves.
    Maybe some African flags need rethinking too… or just realize that history shows human nature and civilization are like sausage machines. All the more reason NOT to destroy flags, monuments, murals, and statuary as if we are the Red Guard on a purge

    steveg (354706)

  14. Frederick Douglass was required reading when I was in high school. But back in the 1970s the curriculum was still rigorous and comprehensive. We studied textbooks in math and science, hut in history and literature we read actual texts in their entirety. Do not get me started on English. Good Lord, daily spelling quizzes, weekly vocabulary tests, sentence diagramming; Mrs. Harwell was really strict–no one was ever tardy to her class or misbehaved, because the absolute last thing anyone wanted was for her to make a parent phone call. That would have been death. She was highly respected for the thirty+ years of her career, and when she retired the district named a school after her. I had to do more homework for her class than all my other classes combined, and she was my English teacher for four years. Besides grammar, she also taught British and American literature, Shakespeare, Greek drama and philosophy, and Western Civilization. Those were hard courses that required at least two hours of homework a night. I hated her with a passion that would fuel a thousand suns, because she picked me out of a class, first day freshman year, and said to herself, “I’m going to make an example of this boy, to keep the others in line.” She would humiliate me every time I didn’t make a 100, or God forbid was called up to the chalkboard and misspelled a word. I told my parents I wanted out of her class, because she hated me. “Why do you think she hates you?” they asked. “Because every time I don’t make a 100, she embarrasses me in front everybody.” And my father said, “Well, make a 100.” They enrolled me in whatever courses she was teaching every semester. I couldn’t get away from this nightmare teacher. She was the reason I got my first degree in biology; I didn’t want to have anything to do with English, although I did select it as a minor, because the coursework was easy, as I had had it drilled into me. Then after some years as a science teacher, I became disillusioned with science for reasons I won’t go into here (crop circles and space aliens) and returned to UT for my English degree. I took a senior level course in grammar, taught by a Nun. Seriously, this professor was really an actual Nun, and you know how Nuns are about grammar. (See Sister Miriam Joseph, author of The Trivium and Shakespeare’s Use of the Arts of Language, in this regard.) I didn’t study a minute for this course, never opened the textbook, took every quiz and test cold, and I earned one of only three As in a class of 45. Then I realized that Mrs. Harwell was the best teacher I ever had.

    Now, I bring this up because public education has completely deteriorated in America, since the 1980s. When I started teaching, the curriculum was unrecognizable from the one I went through, less than a decade before. There are a lot of reasons for that, mainly the infiltration of graduate schools by Marxist and Feminist criticism, the flawed grammar of Chomsky, and the failed linguistic theories of Lacan, Derrida and Foucault. But the main reason is because of textbook companies. They don’t print actual texts, just excerpts selected by editors.

    We are rapidly moving into a post-literary culture. Everything is all visual imagery, from ovies and television. Frederick Douglass notes in his Annals of an American Slave, that what led him to freedom was learning to read. He was taught by an elderly white woman, presumably the plantation owner’s wife. And that was a capital crime at the time, subject to the death penalty, for teaching a slave to read. That was the law since Roman times. He learned, he escaped, fled to the North, where he found employment, access to libraries, and became one of the greatest abolitionists in American history.

    I don’t know who this young woman, Ms. Gay, is, but I’m guessing she’s one of the unthinking products of a dilapidated education system. She has only ever studied excerpts of texts, not actual texts. I doubt she’s ever read Frederick Douglass in her life.

    Gawain's Ghost (b25cd1)

  15. *movies

    Gawain's Ghost (b25cd1)

  16. Well said at 14. Re Ms. Gay: I read that she is the biracial daughter of a black man and white woman who wed in spite of the strong opposition they faced from their families and society. Undoubtedly what they endured impacted her views of life and everything in it. I don’t know if she’s read Douglass but I sure hope she takes it upon herself to do so.

    Dana (bb0678)

  17. I note Ms. Gay says to Sen. Cruz : “You’re right.” But not ” I’m sorry. “

    Pouncer (df6448)

  18. I don’t even know why Cruz had to dignify the rantings of a washed-up football player turned race hustler/grievance monger and shoe salesman.

    nk (dbc370)

  19. Because the idiot has been given credence by ESPN, and CNN,

    Narciso (fddec8)

  20. And Nike, he was using that tiny particle of brain to misinform, now nikes earnings were down but they still bid it up?

    Narciso (fddec8)

  21. On the Jury side, commenter Sean points out that it looks like Mara Gay deleted her tweet agreeing with Cruz that everyone should read the speech. I can still see the tweet at Cruz’s account but not at Gray’s. Before I say it’s definitely gone, am I missing something, or not clear on how comments on other people’s accounts work??

    Dana (bb0678)

  22. Her nonapology was a reply to Cruz, so you need to look at “tweets and replies”, not the [independent] tweets only page that is thr default.

    Kishnevi (20d062)

  23. “America” has no business in some people’s mouths.

    Kevin M (61459c)

  24. Translation of Ms. Gays last post; “Oops, I got caught.!”

    Maybe she found out the NY Times did not appreciate her highly-visible idiocy.

    Kevin M (61459c)

  25. @ nk (#18): One of Cruz’ defining characteristics, in fact, is his patient eagerness to engage, with civility and specificity and logic and backup, with even his most vocal critics, as well as anyone who’s taking an outrageous position. I don’t disagree with you about Kaepernick, but I admire Cruz for taking advantage of both Kaepernick’s rant, and Mara Gay’s personal attack on him (Cruz).

    Beldar (fa637a)

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