Chatological Humor: Monthly with Moron

Dec 19, 2017

Gene Weingarten held his monthly chat with readers.

About this chat:
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Good afternoon. 

So this was my column on Sunday.   It is about the phenomenon of IROL, a frenetic, dismissive linguistic device common to smart and funny millennial women that I have recognized and now have made famous.  I  awoke this morning to the following tweet from Lynn Weingarten, who is featured in the column, with yet another example of the genre: 


By the way, I saw "The Post" last night, the new Spielberg film about the Pentagon Papers, starring Meryl Streep as Kay Graham and Tom Hanks as Ben Bradlee.   You'll want to see it.  It's really extraordinarily good.   The biggest surprise to me was Hanks: He looks nothing like Ben, speaks nothing like Ben, has a temperament and personality nothing like Ben's, and captured Ben completely.  

I knew Ben Bradlee reasonably well.  Had been in a room with him maybe 100 times.  We had more than one private conversation..  By the middle of the movie, Hanks was Ben.  It's really an amazing thing to watch.  

Also, Streep.  Also, wow. 

Okay, we start at noon. 

After some time down a Wikipedia rabbit hole, I wound up on the page for Dante's Purgatory, and it occurred to me: the current president is not just "a", but "the" poster child for the seven deadly sins. Discuss.


Greed. Check. 

Gluttony.  Check. 

Lust.  Check. 

Vainglory/Pride.  Check. 

Wrath.  Check. 

Envy.  Check.  He envies, clearly, those who are respected for who they are, like Obama. 

Sloth.  -- This one might be the problem.  This might not attach to him.  Yeah, he's a golfer.  He prefers not to think or research.  But he keeps pretty busy at self-enrichment and nation destruction.  I'm not sure I can make this case convincingly.  Anyone? 




Three hours of my life I will never get back. My boyfriend is one of those people who is a Titanic buff. I don't get it. It's interesting and everything, but gah. And that movie was horrible. I also think James Cameron is egotistical windbag, but that could just be me.

This is in reference to a recent tweet o' mine. 

I contend that Titanic was the worst best-picture winner ever.  (I liked Crash. Sosumi.)  This is a movie about one of the most dramatic and emotional events that ever happened on this globe, and the idiot director though it necessary to insert 1) a sappy, invented love story between two mega-stars; and, 2) A car chase.  On a ship.  

Gene, serious question here. How can we convince the large percentage of Americans who think that the media are against them that the press is on their side? That by and large, exposing the truth is their number one priority, and whatever they write on their editorial page has nothing to do with the type, content or quality of the news they report? This is a major concern to me, as it appears that many Trump supporters feel that Trump and the Fox News pundits are more truthful than the actual news.

It is the principal challenge of our time, for journalists.  I don't have an answer, because of how screamingly obvious this is to me.  

Trump this very morning tweeted this: A story in the that I was close to “rescinding” the nomination of Justice Gorsuch prior to confirmation is FAKE NEWS. I never even wavered and am very proud of him and the job he is doing as a Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. The unnamed sources don’t exist!


So, what do you think? Do the unnamed sources exist? Is this story true?

Answer: Yes, and yes. There has never been a worse liar in the White House, and I think most people either now know or are beginning to suspect this.

I worked for five years in an office where sexual innuendo, silly/naughty jokes and crass humor were the norm amongst a small group of us, men and women in our 30s and 40s who worked well together, had immense respect for one another and...dammit, we all loved crude humor so we indulged. I swear to you, it was one of the most enjoyable and at the same time most productive work environments I’ve ever experienced, yet with the wrong mix of people in there, we’d all have been fired. And it was a government office! We made sex jokes and misbehaved on Uncle Sam’s dime, but we also got the job done. I’m still a lover of bawdy humor and if Al Franken had posed in a photo pretend-grabbing my tits while I slept, I’d have blown it up and framed it. Let me be a female who declares that the new tiptoeing around the office disappoints me. Women who have genuinely been harassed and assaulted without their consent deserve a voice, but I miss the environment of my old office. I miss joking around with men...and women...and not worrying if one of us is going to be offended or file a report.

I don't really know what to say about this.  I hear you.  I, too, worked in a boisterous office -- a magazine office, with a staff of about 10, and I was the boss.   A few women.  We told dirty jokes.  We made crude references.   A woman might well have felt it was a hostile work environment, though to my memory nothing ever got personal, or threatening, or out of hand.  

But here is the key:  TO MY MEMORY.  I think that to fit into this boys' club, women would have had to go along, whether they liked it or not.  And back then, I don't think I'd have known if they didn't like it.  Tropic magazine was the great destination for the best writers at the paper.  Putting up with obnoxious boys might have been considered a reasonable  rice to pay.  And that's wrong.  

So, yes, I think a degree of esprit might be lost today. And I don't love that.  But I think it's a reasonable price to pay for a genuinely inclusive workplace. 

Here's where I would worry: Let's not let the new rules created a wooden atmosphere.  Measure complaints with reasonable latitude.   Someone sharing an offcolor joke is not necessarily offensive.  Comments about your physical appearance probably always are. 

You said in your last update that you "never doubted Juanita Broadrick's story". Do you realize that she swore on oath and in writing that such a thing never happened? Isn't a sworn statement enough to even raise a doubt in your mind?

No.  She was under extreme political and job-related pressure.  It's a factor, but I don't consider it a dispositive factor.   

She told many people about it, in real time, after it happened.  That is far more dispositive.   Plus, a history of Clinton's actions toward women might have fallen short of rape, but suggested a feeling of entitlement, and hostility toward women.  I am inclined to believe Juanita Broaddrick, on the evidence.

As I said before, I don't love her presence on Twitter.  If her story is true, she is entitled to bitterness and snideness and all the rest.  But it's not appealing.  

Heard from an ex--the one I never got over--he tells me all this cool stuff he's doing, mentions things I'd want to see, etc. that are related to stuff I'm doing now. Lets me know he reads my website and was thinking about my writing, all this stuff. I write him back and he never wrote back (it's been most of a week). Why do men do this? Did I come off as too crazy and clingy? Was I too much? Is he just a flake? I need a guy to explain this for me because my head just feels messed with. (And yes, I saw that Post article on this topic, too late.)

He is, indeed, messing with your head, and it sux. 

POTUS keeps doing more and more reckless and dangerous things. GOP House and Senate following along. No reason to believe Mueller finds impeachable offenses for which the GOP will convict. Why should one be even remotely optimistic?

I am not overly optimistic, but I am reasonably optimistic because our president does not seem to have any internal governor.  He has no idea how awful he is.  He will get worse, and there will come a tipping point when even sycophantic weakling amoral douchebags like the speaker of the house will realize it is in their best interests to desert him. 

I don't think it's unique to millennial women, I have a couple of Gen X female friends who type in this run-on-stream-of-consciousness style. Though of of them attributes it to her phone's talk-to-text feature. The other, I think, might be semi-literate, so I don't bring it up with her.

In case it was not clear enough, I don't disrespect this form.  Used well, the way Petri and Beattie and Weingarten (no relation) do, it is entertaining and delivers an attitude quite articulately.  I like it. 

I was a huge fan of yours; read every word since 2002; read every comic (funniest was the monthly rag); and now demand you step down. Your attitude towards this woman, the poster, the funniness is not there. Quit. Do the right thing and retire. It is disgusting to make light of women and sexual assault. You assaulted her, and you make fun of it and her by blowing it up as a poster. Oh by the way, huge liberal that makes you look like Jesse Helms.

This is in reference to my last chat, in which I sort of admitted to once sexually harassing Gina Barreca .   And yes, I have since resigned AND I have performed an orchiectomy on myself with a penknife. 

The guy believes that exercise is bad, and uses up too much of his energy. So yeah, Sloth BIGLY.

Nah.  Sloth is not just about physical activity.  I am physically inactive, but not slothful. 

Gene, what counts as reasonable rice? Surely not Uncle Ben's.

Sorry.  That was one of those typos that slip by the instant you hit "send" and thinking "noooooo..."

We played hookie from work in order to see the opening day matinee of "All The President's Men" at a theater in Bethesda-Chevy Chase. Is "The Post" also hookie-worthy? (Full disclosure: we're retired now, but my real question is: should we go to its first-day matinee?)

Yes.  It is a real delight.  I cried a bit, but unless you are a journo in your 60s, you probably won't.  There's some gut-wrenching nostalgia. 

if all caps is the equivalent of shouting does that mean IROL is the same as knocking me over and walking across my twitching body while talking nonstop so I cant get a word in jk lol


He's mentally lazy. Relies on tropes & habits developed over the past 40 years, latches onto whatever the last person said. Does that count?

A little, which is why I mentioned it.  But the guy is a dynamo.  I think we have to be fair here.  He is an idiot, destructive dynamo, like the Tasmanian Devil.  But he moves around and does things. 

The president is intellectually lazy.

Agreed, agreed!  And that is the argument to make, if you want to prosecute it. 

Do you see any parallels between the two, or were they each nutty/corrupt in their own unique way? For example, was Nixon’s personal instability as obvious as Trump’s or was it a surprise when everything came out in the Watergate investigation?

Nixon had a veneer of stability and responsibility.  His demons were mostly well hidden.  And Nixon was quite intelligent.  His foreign policy mind was keen.  He was a formidable presence with a serious, ultimately fatal, flaw: He was an amoral, bigoted paranoiac.

Trump wears his dysfunction proudly.  He is stupid, immature, amoral, cruel, wildly insecure and dishonest.  I see no real comparison between the two men. 

I'm a man in my 60s. Years ago I had a job that I loved working in a city I loved. After a long medical leave, the office supervisor returned and decided we WOULD be an item. After weeks of this I resigned and moved to another city. I just couldn't see any other way out of it. The only thing I think I would do today would have been to tell her supervisors why I was leaving on my way out which I didn't do. Possibly could have prevented it happening to someone else.

I wonder how common this is.  I bet the fact that it seems intuitively unlikely is one reason that it is more likely than we tend to think. 

I'd like to know a few things, and I'd ask this of a woman, too :  Were either of you married?  Are you gay?  Did you object to HER about her behavior? Did she continue to insist even after your efforts to make this go away?  


Gene, you don’t know what you’re missing by skipping the bus. The WMATA buses far outshine the Metro trains. Let me tell you why, I ride the VRE each morning to L’Enfant Plaza, and then the A9 bus to my job on Vermont Avenue, NW. It’s an absolute pleasure. The bus is clean, comfortable, timely, and entertaining. Each morning the VRE passengers clamber off the train, scurry down the series of steps at the station, and stream into the L’Enfant Plaza Metro stop. They jostle, they push, they dart around bewildered tourists trying to insert Smartrip cards into the old paper slots on the Metro turnstiles (yes, even that early). The chaos and noise are unbearable, especially if you run into the roving gangs of unruly teenage girls. All this, combined with the funky smell and the missing ceiling tiles and dangling strings of ‘temporary’ work lights convinced me that there had to be a better way to travel. When I found the A9 bus, my commute became a breeze. The A9 bus runs from Livingston to McPherson Square and only makes a few stops. It’s filled with drowsy workers, students studying for tests, and moms and dads with kids sleeping on the seats beside them. They are welcoming and kind. I’ve been shown engagement pictures, anniversary party shots, and been privy to all the latest gossip. The driver may banter with the passengers, or flirt with the girls who stand in the aisle even when seats are available. Sometime we have the singing substitute driver, who serenades us as she drives. Mostly though, we’re a quiet bunch, since the trip takes place before 7. We contemplate the national landmarks on our way to McPherson Square. The Capitol, lit from within in winter, silhouetted by the sunrise in summer. The Washington Monument, pink from the rising sun’s rays. I look for my own personal favorites: the Claes Oldenburg Typewriter Eraser Scale X in the Sculpture Garden, and the Art Deco lamps and ornate doorways of the Justice Department. I marvel at the speed of construction of the new building on Pennsylvania and resolve to find out the identity of the mounted statue in Freedom Plaza (it’s General Casimir Pulaski, a fellow Pole). I know I’ll have a good day if I can spot the giant pen outside Fahrney’s on F Street, NW. One morning, a replacement driver missed the turn from Pennsylvania Avenue to 13th Street, and the women on the bus yelled at him like a son who had turned up late for church. My seatmate told the driver to head for the beach instead of getting back on the route, to no avail. But the driver laughed along with us. Each morning, the driver lowers the bus to its kneeling position to ease our exits. We all wish him a good day, and he answers in kind. More often than not, we passengers chat as head to our separate office. I don’t know the names of my fellow riders or where they work. But we share a sense of community. You never have that experience on the Metro trains.

When I saw the length of this post, I recoiled.  But you won me over.  I am too much of a New Yorker at heart to agree with you -- get me there fast and cold. I don't need to share the world with you -- but that's just me and my dark heart.  Thank you. 

Gene, mid-50s guy here who is fully expecting major league pitchforks for this, but....while I totally support the women who come forward with their stories of harassment and the arc of justice that may now be swinging in their favor, I cannot help but wonder if a small percentage of these events were taken perhaps a little out of context. I mean, most every man has had the terrifying (at least for me) experience of leaning in for a first kiss, or having gotten beyond that, attempting a first something else. Sometimes those advances are accepted, and sometimes they are not. How many that are not are lumped into the "harassment" category? Is this a valid concern? How are these milestones to be achieved in these new times?

FWIW, I think most if not all of these charges are warranted.  I don't think women are dropping the dime -- for the most part -- on clueless feebs like you.   I think I am an ordinary guy; I have always had a libido and a distinct interest in women and a willingless to flirt.  I don't think I am a goody two shoes.  I don't feel overly moral in this theater.  I suspect I have over the years done something that has inadvertendly made someone uncomfortable. But I have always known the line not to cross -- it is neither faint nor opaque -- and I don't feel vulnerable to being outed by anyone.  I think this is true for the vast majority of men.  This is something that should be said more than it is being said.  

To add to the last answer: I also think sex is funny, and that its dynamic is an exercise in power.  This adds to a willingness to be on the edge a little bit.  But I really do feel that reasonable people know the lines that should not be crossed.  I think all cases thus far presented -- including Franken's sadly -- have clearly crossed that line. 

Gene, what are your thoughts on confronting people who troll us? What if we personally know the troll? My stepkids' mom has always been difficult at times, but in the past couple of years, as the awful rhetoric in this country has gotten worse, she has started really trolling my husband (her ex) and me hard. She put a bumper sticker on her car that ridicules an athletic (read: harmless) hobby that we enjoy, and she buys the kids rude, anti-liberal t-shirts, which they wear because they're under her spell and probably a little afraid of her. (The fact that there are companies that make rude, anti-anything t-shirts for kids makes me truly worried about the future of this country.) I don't know for sure what has caused her to go off the rails, but it started shortly after one of my step-kids bought me a Mother's Day gift, so maybe she feels that her territory is threatened? My husband and I just roll our eyes about her trolling, and we never say anything negative about her in front of the kids, because she may have issues, but she's still their mom. But still, who needs that crap in their life? I have considered writing her a letter or inviting her to coffee to try to make peace with her, because maybe extending an olive branch will stop the trolling. Be the bigger person, and all that. But do you think it's worth it, or should I just chalk it up to her being kind of sad and nuts (she's always been kind of an angry person in general), with the knowledge that the kids will be graduating high school in a few years, and then we won't have to deal with her as much anymore? I know that a few people have had limited success with confronting their trolls (e.g., Lindy West), but those were people they didn't know. When it's someone in your life, and it's also affecting the kids, it seems like there's more at stake. You probably get a lot of trolls because you're outspoken about your beliefs in a public place, but have you ever been trolled by someone you know? How do you handle the trolls?

I have never experienced this. 

Anyone out there with experience, willing to weigh in? 

Didn't the staff members also insult Sanders and Clinton?

Yes.  This is actually an interesting issue.  Clearly, these intercepted emails are embarrassing, but mostly because the public would like to believe the fiction that investigators (and reporters) have no opinions.  That we are basically robots, hewing to some absurd notion that fairness requires complete objectivity down to the central core of your thinking. 

It's nonsense, of course.  The key is whether you can be professionally objective, despite whatever your personal opinions are.  

By the way, I'd be making the same point if these were conservative prosecutors looking at Clinton, and privately expressing disdain for her. 

The most dangerous dichotomy would be prosecutors expressing extreme admiration for the person they were charged with prosecuting.  That would be troublesome for me. 

And yes, these people were also critical of Clinton and Sanders.  They're prosecutors.  They're cynics.  Just like reporters are.  It doesn't mean that they can't be good at their jobs, and fair. 

A: Gene Weingarten Awwww. You should know this book is 9 years old and out of print. It is an antique. It's probably worth a huge amount of money, Gutenberg bible type. Gene - just to clarify, The Hypochondriac's Guide to Life. And Death is still in print in trade paperback and ebook editions. Anyone can buy it new on Amazon (or in any bookstore that wants to stock it) for the $14.99 list price. Here's the Amazon link.

Of course.  I knew that.  Brain fart.  

I swear this is a real post, and not me trying to sell a few extra copies.  THOUGH THAT WOULD BE FINE.   

Gene, Al had to go. BUT, what if he were to run for his old Senate seat in the next election? He resigned and now presumably knows the errors of his ways, and running again gives the voters a chance to elect Franken 2.0 back into the Senate, where his good works can continue with the blessing of his constituents.

Not sure he has the will to do it.  But I agree with you.  My guess, at this point, is that he'd like to start making money again.  I suspect he feels embittered.  I think, on some level, he feels that he had quit a wildly lucrative career for a penny-ante one because he really wanted to change the world for the better (or become president.)  I suspect he feels hounded out of office and very, very bitter.  I don't think he's gonna set himself up for this again. 

Gene, I know you're up for any challenge, so here's one: revise the little verse in this ad using any other name for the pope, besides pope. And happy holidays!

The more interesting challenge would be to change "hands."

IIRC, i2- years ago when "Titanic" was cast, Kate Winslet wasn't very famous yet, while Leo was still pretty much just a superannuated child actor.

Yeah, but that brings me to my last point. 

They were a ridiculous couple.  She was a voluptuary.  A complex woman.  He was child. 


I get a feeling that DJT realizes that he is a one-term President, thus all of his acts, domestic and international, are part of his scorched earth policy. He keeps saying that he "inherited" a mess, so maybe he want to leave a bigger mess to his successor. I hope I'm wrong.

I doubt he considers himself one-term.  He is too stupidly besotted by his own myth for that. 

For once I'm here 10 minutes before the chat starts, and there's no poll for me to be opinionated on? You fiend. I am going to file A Very Damning and Awful Complaint Against You with The Powers That Be, and I am sure they will Take It Very Seriously. Hmph.

I should address this: For several years, I had only one live chat a month, and three updates, in which I answered old questions, but without a live component.  About a year ago, acquiescing to public pressure that I was moved by and grateful for, I agreed to make all chats live.   But I tend to do polls only once a month, the supposed "full" chat.    

Hi, Gene: I saw an announcement over the weekend that the Herald Hunt is returning to Miami in March. Any similar good news about the Post Hunt?

Nope.  Not yet, at least. 

Oh, this is lovely. 

You must be delighted seeing Stanton go to the Yankees. But how do you reconcile this case of the rich getting even richer simply because they're richer? Isn't that in conflict with your politics?

I may write a column about this. 

Sports fandom breaks a lot of rules and exposes hidden character flaws.  That's all I'll say now because I don't want to give away the column, exactly.  Suffice it to say that I was not in any way troubled by the Yankees getting the best hitter in the game.  I want more.  MORE. 

in the middle of his talk last night, Mr. Trump stopped to take a drink. He held the cup awkwardly with both hands. Does he have a hand tremor that he is trying to hide?

Didn't see that.  I recently had a medical thing that briefly gave me a hand tremor and can confirm that the only way to handle a drink is with both hands.  It's really weird and troubling. 

Worse: Using a key in a door.   You need to put the key in one hand, bring it to the keyhole, and then steady it with the other hand.  You feel like an invalid.  

I also take the VRE to L'Enfant Plaza every morning, but since I work at Metro Center, I walk from there to work every morning and back every evening. In the rain, the cold, the blistering heat, all of it, and there is absolutely no better way to start and end the day. I see all your sculptures and monuments and raise you birds and gardens and fresh air and blissful solitude.


Every week I have another "Are you kidding me?!" moment with Trump & co. Do you think there is a bottom here?

There will be a bottom, I think, but it will be very unpleasant.  We have a madman-in-chief. 

While I get (actually I don't) that a lot of men are now confused about how to act with women and not be called harassers, they point they seem to be missing is that all of these current revelations that are hitting the airwaves involve co-workers (more specifically men in charge and subordinates who work for them) or possibly older male victims assaulting young girls - not harassment, but a sexual assault. This is not about trying to kiss a date, this is about not groping your co-worker.

At the screening of the movie last night, for Wapo employees my little knot of seat mates included two young, beautiful women, one young man, and two wizened old men, one of whom was me.   We had a conversation about sexual harassment.  It was not exactly risque, but it was open and frank and funny, and no one walked away angry or upset.  

My point is, it can be done.  

The day he announced that was the day I contacted my elections board and left the Democratic party. I am 62, was a lifelong Democrat, but this was the final straw. (I will never vote Republican, but I want out of the party that destroys its best and brightest for ideological purity, yet is too cowardly to fight Republican effectively)


I don't quite understand why you did what you did, but noted.  I think this was not about "purity," it was about striving for a lack of hypocrisy. 

Can we go back to toileting habits for a minute? I don't understand the mechanics of using one's hands to clean up after #2. Like how do you do this in a public restroom? Do you come out of the stall with your poop-covered hands raised like a freshly scrubbed surgeon's and hope no one notices you heading for the sinks?

My memory is that the source of the water is in the stall.  A pitcher or a spigot.  

How do you explain guys like Corker and Flake who pride themselves as "deficit hawks" and who've burned their bridges with the GOP establishment, yet they've hopped on board this ridiculous tax plan that everybody except Paul "Eddie Munster" Ryan knows will explode the deficit? I guess Corker gets that "totally surprising" tax break for himself but still...

Look, I think that the GOP is acting in a disgusting, treasonous way here.  Gerrymandering has made their jobs safe, and so they are playing to satisfy their donors.  I've never seen anything like this.  Seriously.  Never seen it before. 

I understand the "wait, does this mean I can't even 'make a move'?" reaction. But for the vast majority of revelations that have come out, they're not, "He leaned in for a kiss." They're "he shoved his tongue down my throat before I could say boo."


Franken is the closest, but it's still indefensible.  These are all serious offenses.  

Many decent guys who look back at what we HAVE done with worry -- it's not like that.   I once didn't object or reprimand a guy after he made a joke, at a table filled with women, involving the c-word.  That's sort of the closest I have come, as a boss, of having tolerated something bad.  At the time, it seemd like nothing.  Today, it seems like ... almost nothing. 


Yeah, well.  

It's amazing that having sexual conversations in the office is such an intrinsic part of some people's work day that the waning of these types of conversations is to be actively lamented. Something tells me the people who rue these changes are also the people who are bummed out that you can't tell racist jokes at work anymore, either. Unless you work in the White House, of course.

Re the previous answer:  I DID once remonstrate someone for telling a racist joke.  That was a clearer delineator, way back when. 

I have this recurring fear that everything Trump does has been part of some highly calculated evil marketing plan that he concocted years ago, and is now bringing to fruition. That's even scarier than having a nut-job in the White House.

Oh, for sure!  This will probably eventually be revealed to be a kleptocracy. 

What do you think of the Trump administration's ban on words for the CDC's budget submission? They CDC is not supposed to use words such as "evidence-based", "science-based", or "fetus", among others. Is Trump confused ? Does he think he's President of Russia?

There seems to be some developing news on this.  I'd like to wait till we know more.   

Twice actually. Once, I pulled away and made a joke. The other time we went back to my place.

Noted.   Are you gay or straight?

So something odd is happening to me. My stools when they hit the toilet bowl turn into something like puffy cumulus clouds. It seems like those little "pills" kids can get that have a sponge animal inside. Once they get wet, the sponge expands. Do I need to be worried?

Hm.  I am not a doctor, but I play one online.   This might indicate fat.  Do you also have little beads of fat in the bowl?  If so, keep an eye on it and if it persists, see a doc. Probably nothing. 

A troll is like a bully. Don't feed them. Don't engage (as much as possible, given your relationship). You take the high ground. The kids will notice.


Did you take a buyout, rather than resigning out of principle?

I had no principle for which to resign.  I had been treated very well by The Post, and respected the newspaper enormously, and still do.  I took a buyout.  It was probably a financial mistake because I am STILL working on the same book.  


Good, then. 

Don't lean in for a kiss with women you work with. The vast majority of the stories coming out now are about inappropriate behavior in what is supposed to be a professional setting.

yes, this is good advice. But it should be unnecessary. 

My elderly mother is not exactly a troll, but does have increasingly right wing views as she ages, and she only knows how to rant, cannot discuss rationally. So the only solution for those of us who love her is to not get on the topics that cause her to rant (If you say "Jane Fonda" in her presence, look out!) If she brings up the topics, we all say in unison "No politics", and change the subject. I'd say, do not confront the troll. That's what they want. It only makes them feel more powerful. Ignore the attempts, walk out of the room if you have to. Communicate (but don't rant about) your own POSITIVE values to the young people regularly, and let them draw their own conclusions.

Yes, but. 

I like engagement.  In general.  

Re: So-called Fake News. In my opinion, the press has a lot to answer for in terms of defining and upholding the integrity of fair reporting. You, in particular, are being disingenuous when you are neutral or positive about "click bait" -style headlines AND when you quickly dismiss those who misunderstand the difference between opinion/columnists and reporting. Don't deny that the media/newspapers do a really bad job of delineating these two very different things. They do it on purpose (for revenue) - and media has shot itself in the face by not acknowledging this. I think you personally should be crusading for stronger lines and truer integrity. (So there!)

I believe your post is fake news. 

I will fess up if I am wrong.  But how am I, in particular "disingenuous when I am neutral or positive about click-bait style headlines." ?  I hate advertorial click bait stuff.  Have I betrayed otherwise recently? 

Until you answer, I shall accuse you of being a Trumptroll. 

Mid-60+ Chica here: We're not accusing you of harassment if you leaned in to kiss and we didn't expect it or want it. Remembering the night you tried to forcibly take my pants off, while I fought back like a tigress, without resorting to kneeing you in the jewels and biting your ear off, while your parents and sisters were upstairs. There's a difference, and you'd know it and remember it.



I just read the Wilkipedia entry for the deadly sin of sloth. (It’s too lengthy to paste here, so just look it up yourself.) Assuming that the entry is correct, I found it to be quite different from what we commonly consider it to mean and it (in all its nuances and variations) does describe Trump, IMO. It’s a spiritual concept, and did Trump ever have a single spiritual cell in his teeny brain?

he does not.   He also doesn't have a single Subtlety Gene. 

I am a huge Franken fan, but for the rest of his life, regardless of what career path he pursues, the photo of him, leering and sort of groping, will accompany any reference to him, including his obit. That is not survivable in politics.

Actually, I disagree.  The United States permits second acts, if the first act is repented of, and if success follows.  I just think Franken will be sick of the whole thing. 

I'm truly concerned for her and her family, following eldest son Track's recent arrest for domestic violence, where he's accused inter alia of assaulting his father. LINK.


Yesterday I tweeted something like: "Man, this is bad.  Barack Obama is STILL causeing Track Palin to commit domestic violence."  

It was before the new details came out.  I think we should all back away and let this family deal with its problems. 

"I like engagement. In general." I understand. So do I. And it is really, really difficult for someone to insult you or something/someone you love and turn the the other cheek. But take it from someone who spent a childhood getting bullied and now has a troll for a father-in-law - it is much more satisfying to Not. Give. One. Little. F*ck. Don't engage, it only feeds the beast. Ignore bullies and trolls who can be ignored. When they drop the insult, change the subject. Have a bright line in your mind about behavior that won't be crossed (such as anything dangerous, or that impinges on certain very closely held beliefs). When/if that line is crossed, leave. One thing you can do is play a mental bingo about all the stupid stuff they'll do to get a rise out of you while you just stay civil.

Understood.  We're going to leave it here.  

I can't recall what the schedule is; I think we meet next week, then not again till the new year, but whatever it is, if we don't meet again until January, have a peaceful and sane holiday season, enjoy Christmas, Channuka, Festivus, Muslim Whatever,  Sikh happiness period, Athabaskan fish fulfillment, Hindu Hannukah, Wiccan earth rapture,   and all the rest.   We are all friends and all wish each other well.  

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Gene Weingarten
Gene Weingarten is the humor writer for The Washington Post. His column, Below the Beltway, has appeared weekly in the Post's Sunday magazine since July 2000 and has been distributed nationwide on The Los Angeles Times-Washington Post News Service. He was awarded the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing.

Weingarten is also the author of "The Hypochondriac's Guide to Life. And Death," co-author of "I'm with Stupid," with feminist scholar Gina Barreca and "Old Dogs: Are the Best Dogs," with photographer Michael S. Williamson.

His most recent book, "The Fiddler In The Subway," is a collection of his full-length stories. He is working on a new book, called "One Day," about the events of December 28, 1986, a date chosen at random by drawing numbers from a hat.

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