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David Poland

By David Poland

Hear This…

34 Responses to “Hear This…”

  1. palmtree says:

    Ugh, no. NO.

    I mean, yes, we shouldn’t create fake outrage while ignoring actually outrageous things. So yes, we agree on that point.

    But come on, they begin this discussion by willfully misunderstanding and mischaracterizing the whole Mirai Nagasu complaint against Bari Weiss. Bari used the word “immigrant” to describe a person who is factually not an immigrant. She got something wrong on a factual basis. That alone would require some form of apology. How is that hard to understand? (She apologizes for getting the lyric wrong…tho…so all better.)

    But that wouldn’t even address the cultural assumptions that underlie calling Mirai Nagasu an immigrant, which whether Bari intended to do that or not, exist. And I actually believe Bari understands this point, but because she’s now the target, she throws out the Human Stain defense? Better would have been to acknowledge the implication of her statement.

    I don’t hate Bari, and I actually liked her on her previous appearance on Bill Maher, but I don’t think it was necessary for her to double down on something she actually did get wrong. Just apologize for Chrissakes and move on.

  2. JSPartisan says:

    Or maybe realize that we have an insane person running the country, and people will be a bit touchy about immigrant comments. It’s like, she doesn’t understand her position, her privilege, and that people are absolutely sick of bullshit. Does not mean they always hit the target, but the largest generation, and the generation after them, have had enough. The moment the Parkland kids are running this country. The better off this country will be.

    And the howls over the STUPIDITY of the Human Stain, made that clip. Things that worked 18 years. Do not work anymore, and thank god. What a stupid book.

    What gets me about people like Maher, is that they just do not understand what has been happening with teenagers and younger. If he had kids. He would have seen it coming. Not having kids, has created another out of touch white man. Who is absolutely shocked, that his privilege and position are questioned.

  3. Stella's Boy says:

    That Glenn Greenwald piece in The Intercept portrays a damning picture of her. She spent years engaging in the kind of behavior she is condemning now and seems like a doofus. Bill Maher is one too.

  4. Dorney says:

    Palmtree and JSPartisan, I agree completely. She made a mistake and the best thing would be to apologise. As JS pointed out theses are scary times for people of colour and immigrants so a little empathy wouldn’t hurt. The wilful misreading that people were upset about a misquoted snog lyric is such a strawman.

  5. Dorney says:

    that should be song lyric. Sorry.

  6. JayEssTee says:

    Let’s say your guys’ characterization of her “actual” mistake is true. (I’m not terribly interested in doing the research for myself.) She was still trying to use a bit of pop culture to praise a great performance. She was imperfect in doing it… but she was still praising a great performance. Praising. A great performance.

    In any rational human interaction, her mistake would either be politely ignored or gently corrected. But the social media sphere makes such a thing impossible. And so it corrodes society.

  7. palmtree says:

    Praise doesn’t excuse getting something wrong. The real way to end the corrosiveness would’ve been to acknowledge and apologize for the mistake at the very least.

    For example, when Bill Maher used the N word (as a self-deprecating joke…not even aimed at black people), he had Ice Cube on to speak to this issue and Bill made an apology. He didn’t double down on the N word usage.

    And I get that the criticism doesn’t seem to fit the crime. But that’s the bargain you make when you’re in the public sphere, such as when you write for the NY Times or go on an HBO talk show.

  8. spassky says:

    God, I wish we were arguing about a snog lyric.

    her ideas that the left attacks people who step out of line with “woke orthodoxy” more than the right is ludicrous. I feel it’s more of those “i’m not angry, just disappointed” things, and she needs to seriously wake up.

  9. spassky says:

    And let’s be clear: Bill Maher is a passive racist. No way around that as far as I see. White liberals need to stop inserting themselves.

    I had a friend looking for a “polished black cinematographer” texting me the other day. I voiced my problems with seeking out talent in this way (I wanted to say “hire a black director and butt out” but… they aren’t bad people), and he said something to the effect of “it’s like supporting a black business”. It had nothing to do with subject matter, this white person just wanted a black cinematographer to be on the right side or to get some attention for being there. It’s really frustrating, because as a white guy I really don’t want to give a lecture on passive racism or the backwards politics of white inclusion. Here we are though.

    It bothers me that this conversation was just an echo chamber of passive white racism.

  10. JSPartisan says:

    Spassky, white people. Just leave it there… white people.

    Also, Bill Maher is utter garbage, and his racism towards Muslims is just abhorrent. Why HBO still pays his ass is a mystery.

    And stop going on about rational human interaction. The moment the insane orange person took the oath of office, is the moment a lot of people had enough. People only know this woman for being with the New York Times, who keep doing weird and backwards garbage. She got slept up into the undertow with that garbage, but she could have freaking googled.

    Again, the generations after the millennials, have had enough of this garbage. They aren’t going to stop, because why should they?

  11. Stella's Boy says:

    Maher is a pretty gross dude. Not sure why liberals want anything to do with him (or Alec Baldwin).

  12. Heather says:

    It seems like the people angry at her in this thread are exactly the problem they are discussing in this clip. She referred to someone as an immigrant, who is actually a first generation American. The disconnect is she was attacked as if the word immigrant is an insult(which of course its not)…by people who support immigrants. Yes she was incorrect and has since corrected it..but the comment was pro immigrant..and now immigrant supporters are attacking her for a pro immigrant comment. It makes no sense if you take a step back. That’s the point

  13. YancySkancy says:

    I’m with Jay Ess Tee and Heather on this one; the other comments mostly seem to prove her point.

    palmtree said: “I don’t hate Bari, and I actually liked her on her previous appearance on Bill Maher, but I don’t think it was necessary for her to double down on something she actually did get wrong. Just apologize for Chrissakes and move on.”

    No apology, no matter how thoughtfully worded, ever seems to appease the little Torquemadas, as Weiss calls them at the end of the clip, certainly not to the point of “moving on.” It usually just leads to a fresh round of outrage about how ineffectual the apology was. That said, sure, she should apologize for her mistake, if she hasn’t. But is it really that heinous that she either didn’t know, misremembered or forgot that the daughter of Japanese immigrants wasn’t herself an immigrant? In a civilized society, the correct response should be “Hey, I agree with your sentiment, but perhaps you didn’t realize that Nagasu is not actually an immigrant.”

  14. Geoffrey says:

    JayEssTee and Heather are right on the money about this.

    Thank you for some sanity.

  15. leahnz says:

    DP stays out of politics on the blog for yonks and THIS is what gets posted?
    did anyone consider Weiss gets ‘attacked’ because she’s an absolute shitshow, a hack (being kind) and a bald-faced liar

  16. Bob Burns says:

    Guess Maher is trying to let us know that rich women are just as whiny as rich men. Neither one of these people gets within a hundred miles of being any kind of victim, especially for something this stupid.

    Maher has made it clear for years he likes ethnic jokes. Bet he and his buds back home thought those Pollock jokes were a scream.

  17. JSPartisan says:

    Heather, no, that’s not the point. She used immigrant like a bad word, because she apparently has issues like SB is pointing out. That’s the problem. She didn’t use it as a pride thing. It was a terrible tweet, and like I stated before… she got what she got because the paper of record has been doing some stupid garbage recently. Again, she should have googled, before tweeting something stupid.

    Yancy, because the people, a lot of them, are sick of bullshit. Again, if you aren’t here with us, then that’s fine. Just understand that stupid shit isn’t tolerated anymore. Why isn’t it tolerated? The president. The end.

  18. Triple Option says:

    As someone who had heard of Mirai well before the 2018 games, my first thought upon seeing the tweet was “Wait, Mirai’s an immigrant?! She’s not an immigrant!” Then, of course, did the google search to confirm my righteous indignation, which confirmed that she’s a born & raised Southern Cali girl. I’m not really that into figure skating but I remember seeing some interviews about her getting shafted out of the US team right before Sochi. I knew she had skated US Juniors so if she had come to the US from abroad, she would’ve had to have been really young.

    So when I saw the tweet, (re-posted somewhere), I wondered what made her, the writer, assume she’s an immigrant? Granted, it wasn’t a lot, but from what I saw there was no accent, no mention of traveling to the US, just the basics of “Oh, you know, I’m working really hard, trying to improve each day, kinda missing friends but it’s alright…” that you hear out of any given USOT athlete.

    I never saw what Mirai’s reaction to the tweet was. I don’t know what to make of the fact that neither Bari nor Maher brought that up. Like, wouldn’t that be a good place to start? I didn’t know Mirai worked in her parents’ restaurant until after she nailed the triple axle and the need to supply the interweb with every bit of info about her came about. I didn’t see what kind of package NBC ran on her. To me, it seems like there would’ve been enough info out there to know that she’s not an immigrant, but if Bari had sent the tweet before all the profile pieces hit, the tweet would’ve come from an antiquated and ignorant assumption that Mirai wasn’t born in the US. Considering that two of the most decorated skaters in US history are Kristi Yamaguchi and Michelle Kwan, it makes the immigrant labeling all the more baffling.

    Now if Bari had responded with something like, “My bad, guys. I tried to fit one more in the pro-immigrant category but it turns out she’s not an immigrant, ha!” and then continued to get skewered after that, the point of the segment might have come across stronger. But that’s not what I got from this. I don’t think asking why she thought Mirai was an immigrant is off base. In fact, it may be the crux of the matter. But, alas, neither was that answered nor addressed in the segment. They can criticize the haters all they want but unless they address the two gaping plot holes in their opines, I don’t see them holding any sort of moral superiority on the masses.

  19. Ray Pride says:

    Bari is bad.

  20. Hcat says:

    Wow isn’t complaining about getting savaged on twitter over a small mistake about the same as getting surprised about getting emotionally jerked around competing on the bachelor? It’s the formats entire reason for being.

    But cmon she is the smug clueless liberal people cause the rest of us of being. She saw someone with different features and labeled them an “other” in a post that was less about her performance and more about nah-nah-naying the isolationist folks.

    Plus a story that involves a pro immigration stance, identity, questionable online behavior, Olympic figure skating, the NYT, and a Hamilton song should almost by law be conveyed to Ira Glass not Bill Maher.

  21. palmtree says:

    Triple, your post was breathtakingly clear and must be read by anyone who doesn’t get why Bari’s comment sucks.

    To add to it, a big question for this entire country is who gets to be an American. In WWII, the Japanese Americans who were born here and were fully citizens and loyal still did not get seen as American. So they were rounded up and incarcerated en masse from the west coast. THAT’s why this comment is so touchy. To this day, many Asian Americans still don’t get seen as loyal Americans, no matter who they are just because of how they look.

    So even if Bari is pro-immigrant, it’s still not cool to call Mirai Nagasu an immigrant. And if I’m willing to give Bari the benefit of the doubt that she has good intentions, then she has to make an apology, and not misrepresent her critics as she did on Bill Maher.

  22. DavidPoland says:

    “DP stays out of politics on the blog for yonks and THIS is what gets posted?“

    Leah… I’m not following. Can you please detail. Curious.

  23. palmtree says:

    “The disconnect is she was attacked as if the word immigrant is an insult”

    Nope, that’s not what’s being criticized. No one has suggested the word “immigrant” is a slur. Rather, Bari was criticized for calling someone an immigrant based on her looks, based on her race. The fact that someone who looks like Mirai can’t be fully accepted as American is the issue.

    “No apology, no matter how thoughtfully worded, ever seems to appease the little Torquemadas,”

    An apology is always, always, accepted if it’s an actual apology, i.e. one without qualifications. Look at Ed Skrein for an example. So yes, apologies do work.

    But not if it’s apology that comes attached with “…but I’m still right because she’s the daughter of immigrants” or “…but I’m still right because it was in praise” because then it’s not an apology, it’s an excuse and it’s digging the hole deeper.

  24. YancySkancy says:

    “Bari was criticized for calling someone an immigrant based on her looks, based on her race. The fact that someone who looks like Mirai can’t be fully accepted as American is the issue.”

    I guess I’m not seeing how this whole brouhaha suggests that Weiss thinks immigrants can’t be fully accepted as Americans. But I can’t get any deeper into this debate because until this thread I had no idea who either Weiss or Nagasu were. I didn’t watch a frame of the Olympics, and I’ve never read anything Weiss has written, so I haven’t factored in any previous awfulness she may be guilty of. But based solely on what little I know, I think both Weiss and her detractors may be trying to make the incident seem more loaded than is.

  25. Triple Option says:

    Thanks, Palmtree

  26. palmtree says:

    “Weiss thinks immigrants can’t be fully accepted as Americans.”

    Yancy, I appreciate your calm-headedness here, but you kinda missed the point.

    Mirai isn’t an immigrant. So this particular situation was not about immigrants being accepted as American.

    It’s about someone who is American being mistaken for an immigrant based on her looks. It’s the stereotype that all Asian Americans are recent immigrants that makes it touchy. It’s being seen as a perpetual foreigner that sucks. It’s being told to “go back to your country” which was recently caught on camera happening to an Asian American couple in Long Beach.

    I agree this whole thing may be blown out of proportion, but again, if there was an apology without the caveats then there’d be no need to discuss it any further. And if DP didn’t urge us to “Hear This” there’d be no need explain again why Bari’s wrong.

  27. AdamL says:

    “Also, Bill Maher is utter garbage, and his racism towards Muslims is just abhorrent.”


    How on earth is it possible to be “racist” against Muslims?

  28. John says:

    I’m shocked, SHOCKED, that a left-leaning comment section went this route.

  29. JSPartisan says:

    He hates a religion, that is predominantly made of brown skinned people. Is that hard to figure out, Adam? Is it? I don’t think so.

    John, left leaning? Better than supporting an orange circus peanut, and a party that supports people against our country’s interest.

  30. YancySkancy says:

    “Mirai isn’t an immigrant. So this particular situation was not about immigrants being accepted as American.

    It’s about someone who is American being mistaken for an immigrant based on her looks.”

    Okay, I get the distinction, but it still seems like a forgivable, if boneheaded, mistake. It would be worse if it weren’t couched in a compliment, but better if Weiss had apologized.

  31. AdamL says:


    Your argument seems to be that he hates them because they are brown skinned. If that was indeed Mr Maher’s prejudice and motivation, it would indeed be racist.

    However it seems pretty obvious to me that he hates the religion independent of the fact that the majority of adherents of that religion are brown skinned. He hates the religion because he hates that set of beliefs. Hating a set of beliefs cannot possibly be called racism under any coherent definition.

  32. palmtree says:

    Yancy, forgivable? Yes, always. Just wanted to note it also would have been better if Maher hadn’t made it seem like her critics were incomprehensible or unreasonable.

    Adam, that’s fair enough. And Maher is just anti-religion across the board so he’s pretty equal-opportunity when it comes to this point.

    However, it’s important to note that as a religion of 1.6 billion people, Islam is not practiced the same way by all of them, just as Christianity runs the gamut from fundamentalist to casual “I grew up with it” nonchalance. So painting 1.6 billion people equally with the same brush is really only possible in America, because they are a group very easily stereotyped and demonized here (True Lies, 24, etc.). And one reason for this, maybe the biggest reason, is the color of their skin.

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