Patterico's Pontifications

4/18/2022

Constitutional Vanguard: The Problem with How Jon Stewart Talks About Race

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am



This piece of mine was published on Saturday but I wanted to bring it to your attention if you missed it.

The piece is a hybrid, with a standalone free portion describing the problems with the way Stewart conducts his discourse, and a paid portion addressing his specific arguments on racial discrepancies in socioeconomic factors.

Excerpt from the free part:

I will begin with some background about the show itself, before diving into the actual arguments advanced by Stewart. Andrew Sullivan has described how Stewart’s bookers bait-and-switched Sullivan, initially attaching to the end of the fishhook a promise of a one-on-one sitdown on the issue of race relations, and switching that admittedly unappealing lure to something even worse: a Bill Maher-style struggle session with two smug hard-left guests and a mob of hooting leftist nincompoops.

Place to one side the obvious observation that any self-respecting fish would turn up its nares at the initially proffered inducement. Why, what could be more alluring than the chance to talk race with Jon Stewart?

The real problem here is not that the show encapsulates why I think Jon Stewart is a smug a-hole, although it does that in a thorough and conclusive fashion. The real problem is bigger than one snide, self-righteous, unfunny “comedian” who styles himself a Deep Thinker. The real problem is that the show is a perfect example of a more widespread problem with our discourse.

Excerpt from behind the paywall:

Yet here is another fact that people do not understand: different races and ethnicities have different median ages. According to Brookings:

In 2019, the white median age was 43.7, compared to 29.8 for Latinos or Hispanics, 34.6 for Black residents, 37.5 for Asian Americans, and 20.9 for persons identifying as two or more races.

Forget race for a second. Would it seem shocking that a 43-year-old is more likely to have saved more money than a 34-year-old? Would you be appalled to learn that more 43-year-olds own homes than 34-year-olds? Then why would you be surprised to learn that in a group with a median age of 43-44, the median person has saved more money and is more likely to own a home than a median person from a group whose median age is 34-35?

. . . .

I do not suggest that age explains everything. I don’t think it does. Let’s touch the third rail, shall we?

The third rail is: culture.

Read it here. Subscribe here.

18 Responses to “Constitutional Vanguard: The Problem with How Jon Stewart Talks About Race”

  1. Not exactly culture. Culture isn’t the same across an entire “race.” It’s something much more basic.

    The key thing is differential association. People have different friends and acquaintances.

    But this is not a difference between individuals randomly distributed by race. Statistical differences in the average of whatever characteristic you want can maintain themselves across an entire ethnic group — and can change from one generation to another,

    And if you want to say there shouldn’t be any differences in the average of anything between people of different ethnicities, then there also shouldn’t be a differences in median ages, or median age of mother or median age of the mother when her first child was born or anything else.

    Type of school went to is one big one. What’s going on the neighborhood is another.

    By the way, the reason for the very low median age of people of two or more Census races is that the later in the future it is, the more likely someone like that is to have been born, and also to characterize themselves (or be characterized by their parents) that way. (someone 5 or 15 years old is not characterizing themselves in a survey)

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  2. On culture and wealth: Here’s a bit of trivia I got, years ago, from The Millionaire Next Door: According to the authors, Scottish-Americans are twice as likely to be millionaires as English-Americans.

    (Maybe there is a good reason for all those jokes about thrifty Scots.)

    Jim Miller (406a93)

  3. Cultures can change, as we can see in the largest city in Scotland, Glasgow:

    The Glasgow effect refers to the lower life expectancy of residents of Glasgow compared to the rest of the United Kingdom and Europe.[1][2] The phenomenon is defined as an “[e]xcess mortality in the West of Scotland (Glasgow) after controlling for deprivation.”[3] Although lower income levels are generally associated with poor health and a shorter lifespan, epidemiologists have argued that poverty alone does not appear to account for the disparity found in Glasgow.[2][4][5][6][7][8] Equally deprived areas of the UK such as Liverpool and Manchester have higher life expectancies, and the wealthiest ten percent of the Glasgow population have a lower life expectancy than the same group in other cities.[9] One in four men in Glasgow will die before his sixty-fifth birthday.
    . . . .
    The city’s mortality gap was not apparent until 1950 and seems to have widened since the 1970s.

    Theories for this relative decline abound.

    Jim Miller (406a93)

  4. The liberal democratic establishment have latched on to CRT as away to remain relevant to the black community. See were just as revolutionary as you! You don’t need to support AOC and the squad. This is a battle between the liberal establishment and the left for the support of the black community. Jon stewert is trying to remain relevant. The black community lives under white mans laws. In large cities its mostly tolerable but in small towns like ferguson missouri where half the town’s revenues is from fines and fees on the majority black community that was run by whites thanks to voter suppression. That was what the riot was about as most blacks didn’t know who the shooting victim was. Anti CRT crowd is used as bogey man to scare the black community into playing it safe and stay with the democrat corporate establishment. The deep state rightly fears AOC/Sanders wing of the democrat party and must be controlled at all cost as with Sanders winning the 2020 california primary with AOC rallying the latinx vote for Bernie. The other candidates were told by the DNC to get behind biden now!

    asset (9df097)

  5. The black community lives under white mans laws.

    What laws would change if a black man made the laws?

    norcal (68b459)

  6. Stewart relinquished relevance the week he left The Daily Show, pre-Trump– and missed all the fun. He’s a few years past minute-15 these days. Now ‘RetroStew’ has all the stage presence of… dare it be typed… ‘DiscoStu.’ 😉

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  7. Not exactly culture. Culture isn’t the same across an entire “race.”

    Nor do I say that it is.

    Patterico (7e54d1)

  8. It’s kind of funny. Jon Stewart once upon a time unleashed a blistering critique of the show Crossfire: that not every issue could be (or should be) nicely packaged and reduced to a forced choice between Right and Left….and more than not, between the far Right and far Left. That a thoughtful political show shouldn’t devolve into a nightly food fight where truth becomes the casualty. Yet, here is Stewart not even attempting to offer two sides or finding middle ground on the hugely complex issue of race and equality. There isn’t even the pretense of broadening the discussion. Andrew Sullivan was only there to be a prop and the show was about mocking him and watching him squirm. Mission accomplished….along with those of us with a conscience that had to watch and squirm with it afterwards.

    Stewart certainly earned his Lefty bonafides by lynching Sullivan to the morbid delight of his live audience. At least Crossfire featured two opinions….Stewart was interested in only one. He wants to be a social commentator but then, facing blowback, weakly hides behind the role of comic. We have a word for that and it starts with “p”. Both sides have important points to make about race….and both sides should feel a little uncomfortable in the end. But first, the progress over the past 70 years is nothing short of remarkable….our new Justice is exactly right. Opportunities abound and it’s usually our poor choices that limit realizing them. Could there be systemic contributors? Maybe but nothing like 70 years ago….and little that is broadly accepted.

    I’m sure that Patterico has done an awesome statistical deep dive into inequity….in the spirit of Thomas Sowell. It deserves a serious debate and not the casual dismissal offered by Stewart’s guests. But that’s where we are as a people right now…..and no one wants to shake themselves out of it.

    AJ_Liberty (3cb02f)

  9. Jim Miller,

    What are some of the theories for Glaswegians early death rates in comparison to the UK?

    Dana (5395f9)

  10. It’s kind of funny. Jon Stewart once upon a time unleashed a blistering critique of the show Crossfire: that not every issue could be (or should be) nicely packaged and reduced to a forced choice between Right and Left….and more than not, between the far Right and far Left. That a thoughtful political show shouldn’t devolve into a nightly food fight where truth becomes the casualty. Yet, here is Stewart not even attempting to offer two sides or finding middle ground on the hugely complex issue of race and equality.

    That’s because Stewart’s outrage on Crossfire was completely performative. His sole purpose when he was on The Daily Show was to push the Overton window hard to the left, while framing the push behind a false dichotomy that “both sides are extreme and my position is the reasonable, centrist one.”

    In doing so, he actually was a key part of destroying the concept of political discussion and disagreement in our culture, where two sides could at least “agree to disagree” on issues, and was instrumental in establishing the modern left-liberal pretense that any resistance to their agenda is “reactionary,” “divisive,” and never done in good faith.

    Honestly, though, Stewart’s greatest sin was creating an entire generation of smug, degreed wannabe neo-yuppies who deluded themselves in to believing they were informed and part of the social elite by watching his show.

    I get where Sullivan was coming from in his follow-up essay about the experience, but he really doesn’t have any excuse, given his long experience in the mainstream media. Any nominal conservative who bothered to watch a single episode of The Daily Show would know right off the bat that Stewart would sooner jam a sharp stick through his eye than not mock someone whom he disagreed with politically, and the fact that Sully didn’t dip out when he found out that the booker pulled a bait-and-switch on him shows that he’s still far too willing to give hacks like Stewart the benefit of the doubt.

    Factory Working Orphan (2775f0)

  11. @5 to begin with voting laws, drug laws, zoning/housing laws, tenets rights laws, licensing laws. criminal justice laws like crack cocain sentence vs cocain used by white people. These are just a few of many laws.

    asset (88f9e4)

  12. @11 Most of those are lefty/Democrat laws. Are you saying that if a man is not a Democrat, he isn’t black?

    norcal (68b459)

  13. “wannabe neo-yuppies who deluded themselves in to believing they were informed and part of the social elite by watching his show”

    In the times that I did watch him on the Daily Show, I found myself saying “Now do the other side.” Let’s face it, both sides frequently deserve to be skewered for hypocrisy , rhethorical excess, ideological rigidness, and ridiculousness. His defenders would claim he did, but the volume and tenacity spoke otherwise. I also thought it was revealed when he spoke in public without his writers and rehearsals, and it was clear he was just another tired Leftist who wasn’t bringing much objectivity or cleverness to the debate. Sometimes just an irritating crankiness. So I agree that Sullivan should have known better. He sold out his better sense for the illusion that Jon Stewart wants an enlightened objective debate. I never saw that he does. Not really. He knows his audience and they wanted left-spun “news” and the feeling of being informed….but with jokes…..and no pretense of journalistic responsibility. It’s about making those viewers feel good about their own opinions and biases.

    Rush did the same on the Right, but to his credit, he never pretended that he wasn’t pushing an agenda or being perfectly objective. The problem now is that news spinning has marginalized hard core journalism because spinning makes issues black and white and simplified….and gets people angry and jonesing for the next dose of confirmation bias. And they’re back watching or listening….and the ad dollars keep rolling in. We no longer have a Walter Cronkite telling us “that’s the way it is” and cutting through much of the spin. We’re our own worst enemy in picking Jon Stewart or Joe Rogan or Sean Hannity or Rachel Maddow to entertain/inform us. We could pick better…but it’s too easy to pick and eat the Twinkees….

    AJ_Liberty (3cb02f)

  14. #9 Dana – The Wikipedia article has quite a list:

    Several hypotheses have been proposed to account for the ill health, including the practice in the 1960s and 1970s of offering young, skilled workers in Glasgow social housing in new towns, leaving behind a demographically “unbalanced population”.[11][12] Other suggested factors have included a high prevalence of premature and low birthweight births, land contaminated by toxins, a high level of derelict land, more deindustrialisation than in comparable cities, poor social housing, religious sectarianism, lack of social mobility, soft water,[13] vitamin D deficiency, cold winters, higher levels of poverty than the figures suggest, adverse childhood experiences and childhood stress, high levels of stress in general, and social alienation.

    The first, taking away natural community leaders, interests me, but not enough to wade through the original research.

    The timing is a powerful clue: “The city’s mortality gap was not apparent until 1950 and seems to have widened since the 1970s.” But you would want yearly numbers to even start sorting out the possibilities.

    Jim Miller (406a93)

  15. SF: Culture isn’t the same across an entire “race.”

    Patterico (7e54d1) — 4/18/2022 @ 6:44 pm

    Nor do I say that it is.

    I know. But it sounded a little like you did because you offered it as an explanation.There are numerous subcultures or bits of culture.

    Bullying, for instance, or cheating at tests, can be a culture among some people who attend(ed) a certain school. Not everyone is a bully; in fact probably even in the worst cases most aren’t, but there can be more bullies at one school than at another. Cheating can be more widespread.

    There are individual differences, which is the biggest factor, and there are differences in associations which add up to numerous subcultures

    Sammy Finkelman (bfe3de)

  16. asset (88f9e4) — 4/19/2022 @ 12:02 am

    criminal justice laws like crack cocain sentence vs cocain used by white people

    I think it was black Congressmen who wanted higher penalties.

    https://www.wnyc.org/story/312823-black-leaders-once-championed-strict-drug-laws-they-now-seek-dismantle

    Black support for the drug war didn’t just grow in New York. At the federal level, members of the newly-formed Congressional Black Caucus met with President Richard Nixon, urging him to ramp up the drug war as fast as possible. But the drug epidemic was especially bad in New York, and especially in black neighborhoods.

    “The silent black majority of Harlem and New York City felt constantly accosted by drug addicts, by pushers, by crime,” said Michael Javen Fortner, a political scientist and historian from Rutgers University who recently wrote on the issue.

    And it’s obvious why: People who bought crack did far more harmful things to third parties to pay for the drugs than people who bought cocaine. And people who sold crack were benefiting from that criminal activity.

    Barker and others argue that in the 1960s, residents of black neighborhoods felt constantly under threat from addicts and others associated with the drug trade, and their calls for increased safety measures resonated at community meetings, in the pages of black newspapers like ‘The Amsterdam News,’ and in churches.

    Reverend George McMurray was lead pastor at the Mother A.M.E. Zion Church in Harlem in the 1970s when the city faced a major heroin epidemic. He wanted convicted drug dealers to spend the rest of their lives behind bars.

    Now they all (or many) got behind reducing criminal justice penalties in half a dozen different ways. And not just minority politicians. It’s the whole “progressive” movement.

    I think they got bribed, probably indirectly, by drug dealers and without even knowing who’s doing the bribing.

    But to prove it?

    Some corruption shows up, but not this particular bit of corruption. I think it will be necessary to prove it in order to reverse it.

    Sammy Finkelman (bfe3de)

  17. The problem now is that news spinning has marginalized hard core journalism because spinning makes issues black and white and simplified….and gets people angry and jonesing for the next dose of confirmation bias. And they’re back watching or listening….and the ad dollars keep rolling in.

    Spot on.

    My buddy watches Tucker Carlson religiously for precisely those reasons, and all too often wants to recite the content to me. Yes, it is a religion to him. He might as well be in a trance when he watches. The only things missing are the bread and wine.

    norcal (68b459)

  18. @12 most of those have left ,been prosecuted for corruption and were blackmailed for it or been primaried. The mafia introduced the drug trade to this country (white) Police made deals with drug gangs like black stone rangers to fight the black panthers war on drug dealers.

    asset (b35731)


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