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Comments by Scott Miller

On “Open Thread

Yes he did. I didn't see the montage. Didn't realize OKC's been getting non-calls. DId see Sephaloshia make one of the greatest saving the ball from going out of bounds plays in history last night. His nerves are hurting the team, though. He's really uptight and it's why their first quarters have been so horrible. I know it's getting old to complain about the traveling but I don't know. Wasn't it enough to go to the 2 steps is okay point? Do we really have to accept three for everyone and 3 and half for LeBron? I didn't even like letting 2 slide because 2 makes it complicated. It's relatively easy to spot someone taking 2 steps as compared to the legal one and a half. Once you make it okay to take 2 it's twice as hard to call the game and officiating ain't easy to begin with.

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It would be a great montage to put together the top 10 LeBron travels of the night. He skips. He hops. He trots. Ridiculous. The last uncalled foul on him took the cake. If OKC wasn't so fun to watch I would boycott the whole thing.

On “from good to goods, and the return of questions

But look at how I wrote that. It's a mess. You have to feel sorry for me, even though there may have been something going on with your site (because I definitely deleted those weird extra words as I was typing).

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OK. Well, I can give you a kinda-sorta on the second part. Your old friend Curtis White does a pretty good job of explaining in his book "The Middle Mind" how the "middle-mind" how Durant, yoga, and art are used placate the masses. Health-care vs Durant is like Oden vs Durant, but I do see your point.

On “Open Thread

Exactly right about Durant being longer and simpler. It's a simplistic beauty. It will be on us if we grow tired of watching. Good thing Westbrook is there to provide the drama. OKC may even be a perfect team in need of no fine tuning. I've been surprised at how limited Perkins is, but even that is perfect because Collison is really great at coming into the game when he does. CK is also right on about the Ls. They were closer. But when I say that OKC is perfect as is, it doesn't mean they're unbeatable. Their style of play is beatable. Durant will go cold at some point and that opens the door to muscle, which Lebron really has and when you let someone as strong as he is take 3 and a half steps to the basket, there's no way to defense that. Ugh. I still can't get past that ugliness. It was so great for it to be foiled last night.

On “from good to goods, and the return of questions

Yes, to that first part. It's especially sad to watch the Latino communities being ripped out of their established system of social relations. Research shows that despite many severe inequalities regarding health care, clean water, etc, Latinos were less likely to develop stress related medical issues like heart disease. That's changing for the worse as a result of the continued "ripping," which is always one step ahead of the immigrants ongoing ability to invest positive third world values into a community here.

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This will surprise you, but my equation was my way of saving everyone from having to endure my ideas on poverty and wealth. The LOOGers assume that everyone wants wealth. And I don't blame them. One of the creepiest things about our present condition is that the poor no longer to recognize the problem with being rich. I think they used to see that wealth was no blessing when it came to morals or suffering. They had the biblical idea about it being easier for a camel to fly through the eye of a needle than to enter heaven, and they had the regular perception to see how the rich suffer. Money corrupts. It corrupts the soul and it turns family members against you in ways that even Shakespeare never figured. Now, it's also true that only a wealthy person can afford to see the equality involved in the world's suffering. The poor starve. The rich eat their young. Equal. The poor have always held the moral high ground. No more. Equality. Inequality can't exist. Greed makes it impossible for us to surrender to the will of God, or Nature, or the Breath. Greed desensitizes us to the experience of our life force. James K rationalizes his championing of greed. But it's okay. His suffering is equal to his ignorance. Equality. At the same time, advocates for the poor increase their sensitivity to life and...oh wait...I was about to get into an advocacy of productivity. Does that make me a libertarian? No, because I stopped. Emptiness. That's what I meant to advocate. Emptiness is the same as wholeness.

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Inequality is temporary and reversible, while goodness is definitely inevitable and irreversible, and even if badness is as inevitable and irreversible as goodness, the stasis would be keeping everything equal so inequality can't really exist.

On “Open Thread

Isn't it amazing how good Durant is already? Poor Portland. Oden, Durant. What a fork in the road.

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i down, 3 to go.

On “An und für nichts (liberalism on drone warfare 2)

CK--it is interesting linguistically. This is all also very germane in connection to the Kahn way of seeing things. It may not be about love and justice, but there's sacrifice involved. In a way, I'm being asked to sacrifice any possible gain I was getting from using the word. Because I have no interest in using it to exert some kind of intellectual or political power over anyone, it's easy for me to drop its use here on the blog. No problem. But can a word be hurtful outside of context? Yes and no. "Retard" would fall into the "never to be used" category. And yet, even on the yes side everything depends on context. The n word is a word I'm never comfortable using. But how about "black"? When I used to be the only white guy at this one gym, after playing ball, at around 2 in the morning, we would all sit around and have a beer and shoot the shit for a bit. There was usually one or two new guys, so it was up to me each time to communicate well and effectively. To make the process go smoothly and quickly, if it became part of the conversation, I would use "African American" a few times. Then, once my awareness of racial sensitivity had been established and it was obvious where I was "coming from," I would for the sake of "expediency, humor, or a bit of both" slide into the use of "black"--as in "I know black guys look at me and think I can't play." Using a cumbersome term is restrictive when it comes to humor. People should have a feel for where someone is coming from. I never met an African American man who couldn't roll with things contextually. A bigot using the word black is going to feel a certain way to an African American. So there are what we could call dangerous words. Unlike the "never to be used" words, they depend on context. As you have pointed out, retarded is not in itself particularly offensive, but it is dangerous and a feeling of danger is part of comedy. Being on either side of humor in a good way required a willingness to be at least slightly out of control. Control oriented people are rarely funny and rarely enjoy humor. You can't be truly funny and be afraid of dangerous words and ideas. Won't happen. And while people afraid to be funny can make other people feel bad for enjoying a good joke or story, it's their loss.

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The reply line went off, so I'm writing here now. Bob, this is about you and me. We're the ones communicating. If you are hurt by the word, I'm sorry. There's no one else here to get hurt. I understand your point. When people assume that because a few people are okay with something that makes it okay they're wrong. If I was doing that, I would be wrong. But look at the context bob. I was telling a story about intolerance. A community of bigots got their karmic deserts. They didn't know the guys were gay. They found out in an hilarious way when it hit them in the face. It's a stronger tale told by someone who isn't all liberal perfect. The story was nuanced for Christ's sake! I established the lack of bigotry with preliminary correctness. You were just looking for a fight, and when you realized it was wrong, you insisted on something that isn't true. First you made a mistake. You thought I used the word retard. If I had, you would have been right. Then, instead of recognizing your mistake you made another one. There is a huge diff between retard and retarded. You said there wasn't. You were wrong. Can the world retarded still be offensive? Yes. Of course! Without the context and without the fact that I was in obvious support of the guys it would be. I'm obviously not saying that just because they don't find the word offensive, it's not. It is. Relatively so. They became Buddhists because Buddhists are more tolerant. The story is about intolerance but we don't have to be so concerned all the time that we can't nuance things as well as I did and have people get it. You would have got it if you didn't hear "retard." You heard retard because you were looking for trouble. Again, there is no trouble here.
Look at how difficult you're being. First you get sensitive because I'm talking like you're not here. Then you don't want me to make it about you and me. You might want to make up your mind on that one.

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No, exactly. That's why we have to distinguish between retarded and retard. There is no comparison, which is why this whole thing is so troubling. If bob had just admitted that he made a mistake criticizing me for using the word retard then none of this happens. But I've never known him to apologize. I'm sorry, that's where the hardheadedness comes in. I apologies all the time. I have to be good at it because my ADD causes lots of mistakes. Making a mistake is human. Holding on to the mistake is hardheaded.

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Glad you're here, bob. You're here and you're smart. My whole point is that I'm cool with you being you. If you were cool with me being me, trust me, the situational humor would have struck you as funny. I've relayed that scenario with lots of folks, including the guys, and everyone has a great laugh. You missed out and you can get defensive and make a silly comment about not being smart enough, but come on. You can do better than this. I know you can.

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ADDed out and forgot to answer your question about what terms Laura uses as a shrink. She uses "developmentally disabled" or "developmentally delayed." There was a film character with the name Delay. Can't remember what movie it was.

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Good clarification there, CK. Exactly what my understanding was. Obviously, I was addressing things situationally. If I wasn't aware of the fact that there was some issue with the word I wouldn't have used a different term first. Still, bob thinks he's going to teach me something. That's just hardheadedness. I often find his perceptions hardheaded but I don't say anything about it because it's just him. He could do the same with me. Sadly, it doesn't even help when I hand him the "New Age Meanie" handle. He still doesn't get it and I bet the same would have been true 20 years ago. Bob likes straight down the middle. He missed the content of the story, which is too bad because it's funny. So there's not much I can do. if someone can't pay attention to content, much less context, then everything has to be presented straight down the middle. I don't bother with straight down the middle. It's okay. But straight down the middle doesn't have to be written about. It's just there. It's okay but I don't see the point in writing from that perspective. To me, playing everything straight down the middle is a rationalization for not paying attention.

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It is also interesting that you missed the context. Obviously, I was mitigating the potential self congratulation of being a good deed doer. Since I was telling a story about how my continued good deed doer attempts led to a particular quote, the use of the offensive word was there for balance. When a reader looks for trouble and can't sense the energy behind a writer and lets their negative mind set keep them from sensing what something's really about, there's not much a writer can do but shake their head at how some folks just don't get you.

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Didn't use the word "retard." Used the word retarded, which is quite a bit less offensive than "retard." When someone calls someone a retard, it's name calling. When someone uses the word retarded it dates them as someone unwilling or unable to keep up with the times in a politically correct way. Since I first used the term "mentally challenged" it's clear that I'm willing and able to keep up with the times, so the use of the word later is clearly either connected to some kind of expediency or humor, or a bit of both. You're looking for trouble where there is none, bob.

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Right. I have no issues with the spirit of his efforts.
I bet the guys holding hands story comes back into your awareness like the meat-eaters thinking they don't get karma story comes back from time to time. It's in your consciousness now.

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CK--thanks for posting "Sacrificial Nation." It raises many crucial points. But, as usual, the western mind fails to be inclusive enough and falls into the "splitting" habit. The correction would happen with a perception of 3 "qualities" namable in Sanskrit as Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas. They can be simplistically understood as Light, Action, and Heaviness. Those qualities and the things that manifest from them are inclusive. Love and Justice are not inclusive. When they are seen as inclusive a kind of political insanity takes place. Kahn would do well, then, to study Rudolf Steiner who always saw things in terms of 3 forces that were inclusive, calling them Luciferic, Arithmetic, and something else. The something else was Rajasic--expressive of what Christians would refer to as Christ Consciousness and inclusive of both love and justice. So love and justice are part of only one third of the basic 3 qualities in the Universe and try as America might to limit itself to a play between love and justice, the attempt and the attempt to see America in relation to those things will inspire craziness.
Of course, the whole sacrifice thing is interesting. We could compare the American version to what is in the Bhagavad Gita--which is the classic spiritual text on sacrifice and yoga. But again, the Christian version is so troubling. Christ kept telling his followers that he would not kill in order to establish justice. So if Christ is our model, it's simple. Christians should refuse to kill. The Gandhian sacrifice makes much more sense. Even the disturbing vision brought to my attention here on this blog that quoted Gandhi on what Jews should do was less insane than the one Americans unconsciously promote. One of Arjuna's yogic choices was to do nothing and die. He didn't take it, but it was one of the logical choices. In context of their spirituality, Christians seeking to emulate Jesus' way of living cannot justify the choice to kill.
And I'll give a clear example of what Kahn misses as a result of his basic misapprehension:
Standing outside the American play of love and justice is American gangsterism. There are what we can call Luciferic American gangsters connected to both church and state that are above the crowd and connect with American exceptionalism, and Arithmetic gangsters connected to both church and state and also living completely outside of those institutions, doing their dirty work in a heavy way, literally counting the money as they rob the poor in every conceivable way. And in both varieties and in connection with all 3 manifestations of Gangster Nation, we are easy pickins' because gangsters who don't seek love or justice can so easily take advantage of the love and justice folks. Plus, the system established and maintained and exported by naive and misguided liberals and conservatives is not just preyed upon by the ruthless but run by them and that's why the U.S. is rightfully hated as a hypercritical state.
But Kahn does see certain truths very well. At one point when he was explaining about the American way of wanting everyone to recognize American justice as justice because it is ours, I was reminded of a moment when I was trying to help two gay mentally challenged lovers treat each other better. They were working for me at the time, supposedly doing the gardening. It didn't go well and they were always in conflict. Cutting to the point, I was continually pointing out how they were trying to manipulate each other and how they might stop that. It didn't go well. Finally, in desperation, I said to one of them, "What do you want?" And he said, "I wan him to think I am not trying to 'anipalate him."
So, yes, I see America as a retarded gardner who is nothing like Chauncey Gardner.
The best thing about hiring the two retarded gay gardner guys was that they told me about their fundamentalist church experience. They wanted to do some service for the church and before the church members knew anything about their gayness they were asked to hold a sign out on the corner advertising the church services. When they were out their they were holding hands! The church goers were horrified. I almost peed in my pants when they told me that story.
Then they became Buddhists. I swear to God.

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I'm sure it is well known. But it is still a bit more frustrating when people voicing things other than the party line of either the liberals or conservatives are cast in stereotypical roles by folks needing to see things in black and white terms. Since you're good at seeing the facts on both sides, and see people on both sides the same way--as "rocks and boards"--I think you do best in respect to educating folks about certain realities when you acknowledge their reality and then shift it slightly. There's no reason for you not to use that strategy more often since you're not really defending any particular political stance anyway, right? And maybe you did start with that this time, I don't know. Even if you did, it's always possible to stick with it more consistency out of intellectual generosity, which works best coming from the most knowledgeable person taking part in any given discussion.

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Naturally, I would defend you (CK) regarding those quoted attacks. You aren't any of the things they called you. Obviously. I should have made that clear from the start. Sorry. My point, as usual, is that problems can't be solved on the level of consciousness on which they occur. And that is a political point. Einstein said it as a politician. It goes both ways. Liberals can't argue conservatives into being liberals and conservatives can't argue liberals into being conservatives. Peace occurs on the level of consciousness above the conflict both intellectual and physical.
The vegetarian story had to do with Tibetan Buddhist living at very very high altitudes where vegetables couldn't be grown. So meat-eating was necessary for survival. But then they would have other people do the killing and believe that that somehow separated them from the negative karma. Very silly. It was especially silly coming from folks with otherwise hardcore (what I see as victimizing the victim type...) ideas about the way karma works.

On “Chris Hayes and American Heroism

A real yogel will always love any yoga-ing done with heart no matter how the externals externalize. So, go, CK, go!

On “Open Thread

So much for Weaver pitching. Got hurt after 3 batters.

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Frog: Angels might be on the streak I predicted. Should extend at least one more game with Weaver going against Hughes today.

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