Monthly Archives: July 2014

The American pantheon

The National Statuary Hall Collection:

The National Statuary Hall Collection in the United States Capitol is composed of statues donated by individual states to honor persons notable in their history. Originally set up in the old Hall of the House of Representatives, renamed National Statuary Hall, the expanding collection has since been spread throughout the Capitol.

About two thirds of them are politicians. There is one artist, and only a handful of writers.

There is also a king.


During The Sims’s protracted development, the team had debated whether to permit same-sex relationships in the game. If this digital petri dish was to accurately model all aspects of human life, from work to play and love, it was natural that it would facilitate gay relationships. But there was also fear about how such a feature might adversely affect the game. “No other game had facilitated same-sex relationships before—at least, to this extent—and some people figured that maybe we weren’t the ideal ones to be first, as this was a game that E.A. really didn’t want to begin with,” Barret told me. “It felt to me like a fear thing.” After going back and forth for several months, the team finally decided to leave same-sex relationships out of the game code.

When Barrett joined the company, in October, 1998, he was unaware of the decision. A fortnight into his new job, he found himself with nothing to do when his supervisor, the game’s lead programmer, Jamie Doornbos, took a short vacation. Jim Mackraz, Barrett’s boss, needed a task to occupy his new employee, and he handed Barrett a document that outlined how social interactions in the game would work; the underlying rules for the game’s A.I. that would dictate how the characters would dynamically interact with one another. “He didn’t think I could handle it with Jamie off on vacation, but he figured that at least I’d be out of his hair,” Barrett told me. “Neither he nor I realized that he’d given me an old design document to work from.”

That design document predated the decision to exclude gay relationships in the game. Its pages described a web of social interactions, in which every kind of romantic relationship was permitted. That week, Barrett confounded the expectations of his disbelieving boss. He successfully wrote the basic code for social interactions, including same-sex relationships. “In hindsight, I probably should have questioned the design,” Barrett, who is gay, said. “But the design felt right, so I just implemented it. Later, Will Wright stopped by my desk,” Barrett said. “He told me that liked the social interactions, and that he was glad to see that same-sex support was back in the game.” Nobody on the team questioned Barrett’s work. “They just pretty much ignored it,” he said. “After a while, everyone was just used to the design being there. It was widely expected that E.A. would just kill it, anyway.”

In early 1999, before E.A. had a chance to kill the design, Barrett was asked to create a demo of the game to be shown at E3. The demo would consist of three scenes from the game. These were to be so-called on-rails scenes—not a true, live simulation but one that was preplanned, and which would shake out the same way each time it was played, in order to show the game in its best light. One of the scenes was a wedding between two Sims characters. “I had run out of time before E3, and there were so many Sims attending the wedding that I didn’t have time to put them all on rails,” Barrett said.

On the first day of the show, the game’s producers, Kana Ryan and Chris Trottier, watched in disbelief as two of the female Sims attending the virtual wedding leaned in and began to passionately kiss. They had, during the live simulation, fallen in love. Moreover, they had chosen this moment to express their affection, in front of a live audience of assorted press. Following the kiss, talk of The Sims dominated E3. “You might say that they stole the show,” Barrett said. “I guess straight guys that make sports games loved the idea of controlling two lesbians.”

After The Sims’s successful E3 showing, the game’s future seemed secure. …

The ostensibly controversial design was, to a certain extent, protected by greater concerns about the project. “E.A. was more worried that The Sims would flop and hurt the SimCity franchise,” said Barrett. “It was also a different time; people weren’t so violently for or against same-sex relationships. They didn’t go out of the way to find it and react to it. The right-wing press didn’t have the platform they have today to scream. There was no Twitter, no Facebook, no blogs. I kinda hoped people would come at night with pitchforks and torches. But it never happened.”

The controversy came this year, when Nintendo released, in the West, its Sims-esque video game Tomodachi Life, a game in which same-sex relationships are forbidden.



Divine Life and Afterlife narrative:

Once upon a time, the universe was created by the sun-god, Ra, who appeared out of primeval chaos and created the air god Shu and his wife, Tefnut; to these were born the sky-goddess Nut and the earth-god Geb, who in turn bore Osiris, Isis, and Set. Osiris became king and judge of the dead, and god of the waters of the Nile, the grain harvest, the moon, and the sun—the beloved protector of all, both poor and rich. One day, however, Osiris was murdered by his brother, Set. But he was restored to life by his wife, Isis, and so became the great god of the eternal persistence of life. Osiris was also avenged by his son, Horus, revealing the triumph of good over evil. All creation is thus spiritual in origin. We humans are born mortal, but we contain within ourselves the seed of the divine, which, if we avoid evil, can reach its full potential in us after death. Our purpose in this life is to nourish that seed, and, if successful, we will be rewarded with eternal life in the next world and be reunited with our divine origin. If we worship the gods, live honorable lives, avoid evil, and follow proper procedures in death, our souls—our “ka” and “ba”—will live eternally in the Underworld.

Christian metanarrative:

A personal, loving, holy God created the heavens and the earth for his own glory, making humans in his very image, and establishing a relationship of care and friendship with humanity. Tragically, however, humans in pride have chosen to rebel against and reject God, the source of all life and happiness, thus plunging the world into all manner of evil, death, and spiritual blindness. But the love and grace of God is more powerful and determined than the sin of humanity, so through Israel God continued his covenant relationship to redeem the world from its sin. Rather than allowing creation to reap death and utter destruction as the full and just consequence of sin, God himself became human and freely took upon himself those evil consequences. Through the undeserved crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God conquered death, set aright the broken relationship, and opened a way for the redemption of creation. God now calls all people to respond through his Sprit to this divine love and grace by repenting from sin and walking in a new life of friendship with and obedience to God in the church and the world. Those who persist in their denial of God’s love will finally get exactly what they want, the end of which is death. But those who embrace God will enjoy and worship him together forever in a new heaven and earth.

Militant Islamic Resurgence narrative:

Once upon a time, even while Europe was stumbling through its medieval darkness, a glorious Muslim empire and civilization led the world in all manner of science, art, technology, and culture. Islam prospered for many centuries under faithful submission to Allah. But then, crusading Infidels from the Northwest invaded the land of Islam and over five hundred years have progressively conquered, divided, and subjugated, us. Once glorious, Islam has no suffered endless humiliations, infidelities, and corruptions through Western colonialism, secularism, socialism, communism, mass consumerism, feminism, and eroticism. Now arrogant Western infidelity desecrates the sacred lands of Mohamed and Palestine with its armies, and by backing our Jewish enemies. But today the tide is finally turning. Islam has awoken and is now returning to fidelity and glory, with a new vision of devotion to faith. All believers must submit themselves to Allah and devote their lives to a holy war to drive out infidels both at home and abroad.

Capitalist Prosperity narrative:

For most of human history, the world’s material production was mired in oppressive and inefficient economic systems such as primitive communalism, slavery, feudalism, mercantilism, and more recently, socialism and communism. In eighteenth-century Europe and America, however, enterprising men hit upon the keys to real prosperity: private property rights, limited government, the profit motive, capital investment, the free market, rational contracts, technological innovation—in short, economic freedom. The capitalist revolution has produced more wealth, social mobility, and well-being than any other system could possibly imagine or deliver. Nevertheless, capitalism is continually beset by utopian egalitarians, government regulators, and anti-entrepreneurial freeloaders who foolishly seek to fetter its dynamic power with heavy-handed state controls. All who care for a world of freedom and prosperity will remain vigilant in defense of property rights, limited government, and the free market.

Scientific Enlightenment narrative:

For most of human history, people have lived in the darkness of ignorance and tradition, driven by fear, believing in superstitions. Priests and lords preyed on such ignorance, and life was wearisome and short. Ever so gradually, however, and often at great cost, inventive men have endeavored better to understand the natural world around them. Centuries of such inquiry eventually led to a marvelous Scientific Revolution that radically transformed our methods of understanding nature. What we know now as a result is based on objective observation, empirical fact, and rational analysis. With each passing decade, science reveals increasingly more about the earth, our bodies, and our minds. We have come to possess the power to transform nature and ourselves. We can fortify health, relieve suffering, and prolong life. Science is close to understanding the secret of life and maybe eternal life itself. Of course, forces of ignorance, fear, irrationality, and blind faith still threaten the progress of science. But they must resisted at all costs. For unfettered science is our only hope for true enlightenment and progress.

American Experiment narrative:

Once upon a time, our ancestors lived in an Old World where they were persecuted for religious beliefs and oppressed by established aristocracies. Land was scarce, freedoms denied, and futures bleak. But then brave and visionary men like Columbus opened up a New World, and our freedom-loving forefathers crossed the ocean to carve out of a wilderness a new civilization. Through bravery, ingenuity, determination, and goodwill, our forebears forged a way of life where men govern themselves, believers worship in freedom, and where anyone can grow rich and become president. This America is genuinely new, a clean break from the past, a historic experiment in freedom and democracy standing as a city on a hill shining a beacon of hope to guide a dark world into a future of prosperity and liberty. It deserves our honor, our devotion, and possibly the commitment of our very lives for its defense.

Progressive Socialism narrative:

In the most primitive days, before the rise of private property, humans lived in communities of material sharing and equality. But for most of subsequent human history, with the rise of private property, the world’s material production has been mired in oppressive and exploitative economic systems, such as slavery, feudalism, mercantilism, and capitalism. The more history has progressed, the more ownership of the means of production have become centralized, and the more humanity has suffered deprivations and injustice. As the calamitous contradictions of capitalism began to intensify in the nineteenth century, however, a revolutionary vanguard emerged who envisioned a society of fraternity, justice, and equality. They proclaimed the abolition of private property, the socialization of productions, and the distribution of goods not according to buying power but according to need. Right-wing tycoons and magnates who have everything to lose to the cause of justice fight against the socialist movement with all their power and wealth. But the power of workers in solidarity for justice will eventually achieve the utopia of prosperity and equality. Workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains!

Expressive Romantic narrative:

Once upon a time, people were free to experience the exhilarating power of nature, to assert their primitive selves, the shout raucously, to dance wildly, to fight hard, to love harder. They were noble, authentic, primal, unrestrained. The encroachments of civilization, however, have gradually domesticated humanity, smothering our authentic, primeval selves under blankets of repressive and formal rationalities. Modern people hardly know any more who they are, what they feel, how to express their will and passions. Only a few free thinkers have broken through the suffocating restraint, and at great cost, but they point the way to authentic life and self-expression. They flaunt convention. They walk the less trod roads. They get in touch with their deepest selves. They beat drums. They splatter paint and scrawl poetry. They run naked through forests. They dance in the rain. They party wildly, altering states of consciousness. They are not bound by the bourgeois mores and manners that extinguish the human spirit. They fear not the Dionysian orgy, nor violent rebellion, nor bohemian isolation. They are troubled souls on wild and lonely quests, yet are society’s only hope for authentic and expressive living, perhaps even for redemption itself through pain and art.

Liberal Progress narrative:

Once upon a time, the vast majority of human persons suffered in societies and social institutions that were unjust, unhealthy, repressive, and oppressive. These traditional societies were reprehensible because of their deep-rooted inequality, exploitation, and irrational traditionalism—all of which made life very unfair, unpleasant, and short. But the noble human aspirations for autonomy, equality, and prosperity struggled mightily against the forces of misery and oppression, and eventually succeeded in establishing modern, liberal, democratic, capitalist, welfare societies. While modern social conditions hold the potential to maximize the individual freedom and pleasure of all, there is much work to be done to dismantle the powerful vestiges of inequality, exploitation, and repression. This struggle for the good society in which individuals are equal and free to pursue their self-defined happiness is the one mission truly worth dedicating one’s life to achieving.

Ubiquitous Egoism narrative:

Once upon a time, people believed that human self-centeredness was a moral flaw needing correction through ethical and spiritual discipline toward self-sacrificial love for neighbor and commitment to the common good. Even today, many people believe this. But as noble as it sounds, more perceptive and honest thinkers have come to see the cold, hard, simple fact that, beneath all apparent expressions of love and altruism, all human motives and concerns are really self-interested. In fact, notions such as love and self-sacrifice themselves have been tools of manipulation and advantage in the hands of Machiavellian actors. Idealists persist in affirming moral commitment to the welfare of others, but they are naïve and misguided. Truly honest and courageous people who have intellectually “come of age” are increasingly disabusing themselves of such illusions and learning to be satisfied with the substitute idealism of helping to build the best society possible, given the constraints of ubiquitous rational egoism.

Community Lost narrative:

Once upon a time, folk lived together in local, face-to-face communities where we knew and took care of one another. Life was simple and sometimes hard. But we lived in harmony with nature, laboring honestly at the plough and in handcraft. Life was securely woven in homespun fabrics of organic, integrated culture, faith, and tradition. We truly knew who we were and felt deeply for our land, our kin, our customs. But then a dreadful thing happened. Folk community was overrun by the barbarians of modern industry, urbanization, rationality, science, fragmentation, anonymity, transience, and mass production. Faith began to erode, social trust dissipated, and folk customs vanish. Work became alienating, authentic feeling repressed, neighbors strangers, and life standardized and rationalize. Those who knew the worth of simplicity, authentic feeling, nature, and custom resisted the vulgarities and uniformities of modernity. But all that remains today are tattered vestiges of a world we have lost. The task of those who see clearly now is to memorialize and celebrate folk community, mourn its ruin, and resist and denounce the depravities of modern, scientific rationalism that would kill the Human Spirit.

From Moral, Believing Animals by Christian Smith. (source)

The liberal progress narrative in sociology

The discipline of American sociology itself provides an example of the ways big stories actually undergird and make important human practices that themselves appear on the surface to be unrelated to the mythical constitution of reality. Mainstream sociology understands itself to be a kind of science of human social life. It employs rational, systematic methods of empirical data collection and hypothesis testing to make valid and reliable claims about social facts, processes, relationships, and structures. Sociology is concerned to minimize biases in sampling and observation, to replicate findings, to build bodies of generalizable theory, to describe and analyze human social behaviors and practices in ways undistorted by the potential interests and prejudices of the sociologist’s particularistic ideology or tradition–perhaps even to be “objective.” This is the sociological center, around which also encamp a variety of more “critical,” “interpretive, and feminist schools of sociology, which in different ways claim to contest some of these features of the mainstream.

But what most if not all of these versions of American sociology have in common–however scientistic versus “critical” they may be–is that they are ultimately animated, energized, and made significant by one of two historical narrative traditions. Apart from these two narrative traditions, sociology itself would hold little human interest to anyone. Why should any but a few technical experts care about significance tests, fieldnotes, network structures, oversampling techniques, or interaction effects? It all means nothing without a larger context and purpose, neither of which sociology itself could possibly supply. Instead, if and when sociological work is compelling, it is usually because sociology is being carried along by one of two extrascientific narratives–one an optimistic, mobilizing story; the other a fairly cynical, unmasking story. The first I will call the narrative of Liberal Progress, the second of Ubiquitous Egoism; the former narrates reality roughly as follows.

Once upon a time, the vast majority of human persons suffered in societies and social institutions that were unjust, unhealthy, repressive, and oppressive. These traditional societies were reprehensible because of their deep-rooted inequality, exploitation, and irrational traditionalism—all of which made life very unfair, unpleasant, and short. But the noble human aspirations for autonomy, equality, and prosperity struggled mightily against the forces of misery and oppression, and eventually succeeded in establishing modern, liberal, democratic, capitalist, welfare societies. While modern social conditions hold the potential to maximize the individual freedom and pleasure of all, there is much work to be done to dismantle the powerful vestiges of inequality, exploitation, and repression. This struggle for the good society in which individuals are equal and free to pursue their self-defined happiness is the one mission truly worth dedicating one’s life to achieving.

For sociologists whose scholarship and teaching is embedded within and offered in the service of this liberal progress narrative, the important tasks are clear. Studies in nearly every field of the discipline–but particularly in the areas of social stratification, race and ethnicity, sex and gender, poverty, work and occupations, family, economic sociology–must work to identify privilege, exploitation, prejudice, and unequal opportunity in order to inform cultural practices and policy and legislative reforms that will make society more free, equal, and fulfilling for its individual members. In particular, this means identifying and critiquing class inequality, racism, sexism, heterosexism, corporate exploitation, and other forms of discrimination, privilege, and injustice.

For some sociologists, this struggle takes the form of rigorous quantitative analyses–for example, of the causes of poverty, the dynamics of welfare use, the prevalence of dead-end jobs, the correlates of teenage pregnancy–whose findings speak to politicians, technocrats, and other institutional leaders. In the best case, one’s work provides the intellectual backbone of some actual policy initiative, the movement toward which ideally invovles an invitation to present one’s research findings at a congressional hearing on Capitol Hill. Other versions of sociological scholarship in the service of the liberal progress narrative analyze the historical movement and dynamics of liberal progress itself. These include cross-national research on factors influencing democratization, historical analyses of civil rights movements, comparative studies of international poverty and development, and so on. For yet other, more “critical” sociologists, the liberal progress narrative animates scholarship of a more prophetic style, unmasking and denouncing the racism inherent in the criminal justice system, the sexism embedded in consumer capitalism and patriarchal family structures, the class exploitation of the service economy, the heterosexism pervading routine social practices and legal systems, the militarism entrenched in masculine culture and corporate America, et cetera. Sociologists of this latter style pride themselves for their progressive and radical analyses, said to be more critical and systemic than those their merely liberal, more mainstream colleagues produce. What they seem less aware of, however, is the common underlying liberal progress narrative that animates and makes significant all of these bodies of work as a whole.

Christian Smith, Moral, Believing Animals: Human Personhood and Culture.


A woman blow-dried her pubes at the gym. Is that OK?
This is the greatest comics-inspired hip-hop routine you’ll ever see
Could we have some real scientists look at executions now, please?
Study: Tylenol is USELESS for back pain.
Questlove gives the definitive take on Iggy Azalea’s hip-hop posturing
If there’s one thing Nick Jonas is DONE with, it’s making his G*d dang bed.
Everybody misreads an @AP tweet, makes up for it by getting super-pissed at the AP. Good job everybody!

Here’s what would happen if more women designed/marketed lady products
This movie trailer will break your mind with nostalgia
Attention DashCon survivors: Hello Kitty Con is your next best hope

Do THIS Before Eating Carbs (Every Time)
Why Women Are Flipping For Kate Hudson’s New Athletic Line
The #1 Worst Carb Ever (Harms Blood Sugar & Metabolism)
The Most Outrageous, Perfectly Timed Photos You’ll Ever See!
Why Women Are Flocking To This Incredible New Shopping Site

You’ve been peeling oranges the wrong way your whole life
OMG Here is the Fifty Shades Of Grey trailer
This Dad’s Genius Idea Will Totally Revolutionize Your Water Balloon Fights
22 Reasons Iced Coffee Is The Best Friend You Could Ever Ask For
29 Things That Will Make You Say “WTF?”

(Gawker, Jezebel, ads, Buzzfeed.)

The establishment

The last two paragraphs of a Grauniad article:

At first blush, Thomas and his friends seem rather placid and mild. And there are certainly a lot worse shows in terms of in-your-face violence, sexism, racism and classism. But looks can be deceiving: the constant bent of messages about friendship, work, class, gender and race sends my kid the absolute wrong message.

And really, that theme song makes me scream. Thomas can just go bust my buffers.

And the first paragraph:

There are many terrible children’s programs through which parents must suffer during their child’s young life. For every Sesame Street, there is an annoying Caillou or an acid-trippy Yo Gabba Gabba. But Thomas and Friends is – or was – the one show with enough subversive messages to make me turn it off for good.


NYT on diversity, 1993

This is a central idea of the rape-crisis movement: that sex has become our tower of Babel. He doesn’t know what she wants (not to have sex) and she doesn’t know what he wants (to have sex) — until it’s too late. He speaks boyspeak and she speaks girlspeak and what comes out of all this verbal chaos is a lot of rapes. The theory of mixed signals and crossed stars has to do with more than gender politics. It comes in part, from the much-discussed diversity that has so radically shifted the social composition of the college class since the 50’s.

Take my own Harvard dorm: the Adams House dining hall is large, with high ceilings and dark paneling. It hasn’t changed much for generations. As soon as the students start milling around gathering salads, ice cream and coffee onto green trays, there are signs of change. There are students in jeans, flannel shirts, short skirts, girls in jackets, boys in bracelets, two pierced noses and lots of secondhand clothes.

Not so many years ago, this room was filled with boys in jackets and ties. Most of them were white, Christian and what we now call privileged. Students came from the same social milieu with the same social rules and it was assumed that everyone knew more or less how they were expected to behave with everyone else. Diversity and multiculturalism were unheard of, and if they had been, they would have been dirty words. With the shift in college environments, with the introduction of black kids, Asian kids, Jewish kids, kids from the wrong side of the tracks of nearly every railroad in the country, there was an accompanying anxiety about how people behave. When ivory tower meets melting pot, it causes tension, some confusion, some need for readjustment. In explaining the need for intensive “orientation” programs, including workshops on date rape, Columbia’s assistant dean for freshmen stated in an interview in The New York Times: “You can’t bring all these people together and say, ‘Now be one big happy community,’ without some sort of training. You can’t just throw together somebody from a small town in Texas and someone from New York City and someone from a conservative fundamentalist home in the Midwest and say, ‘Now without any sort of conversation, be best friends and get along and respect one another.’ ”

Catharine Stimpson, a University Professor at Rutgers and longtime advocate of women’s studies programs, once pointed out that it’s sometimes easier for people to talk about gender than to talk about class. “Miscommunication” is in some sense a word for the friction between the way we were and the way we are. Just as the idea that we speak different languages is connected to gender — the arrival of women in classrooms, in dorms and in offices — it is also connected to class.

When the Southern heiress goes out with the plumber’s son from the Bronx, when the kid from rural Arkansas goes out with a boy from Exeter, the anxiety is that they have different expectations. The dangerous “miscommunication” that recurs through the literature on date rape is a code word for difference in background. The rhetoric surrounding date rape and sexual harassment is in part a response to cultural mixing. The idea that men don’t know what women mean when women say no stems from something deeper and more complicated than feminist concerns with rape.


Abstracting away from the particular concerns of the article, there’s an important point here. Cultures come with implicit expectations that make communication easier; multiculturalism means these expectations can no longer be relied on. Communication becomes more opaque, more open to misunderstanding, with the loss of a library of known scripts and implications.

Compare mutual intelligibility: an American can easily understand the speech of another American, can understand with difficulty the speech of a New Zealander, can pick up a few words out of every sentence in Dutch, and can’t comprehend a single word of Pingelapese. But social scripts, implications, etc. vary much more than languages do: linguistic chaos would not arise if you threw a Southern heiress, a plumber’s son from the Bronx, a kid from rural Arkansas, and a boy from Exeter in the same room, but social chaos would.

(I notice that I don’t have the vocabulary to better express this. Are there existing terms for this sort of thing?)

Salon headlines

  • Human-on-dolphin sex is not really that weird
  • Sexy spring: How group sex will liberate Iran, China
  • Jealousy doesn’t need to be part of polyamory. Here’s how to get rid of the green-eyed monster for good
  • Casual sex isn’t just for college kids
  • Don’t wait until they ask: 8 responsible ways to talk to your kids about sex
  • Watch a small child explain gender-inclusive bathrooms to Steve Doocy and the rest of Fox News
  • Scenes from a group marriage
  • Inside the World Cup’s naked, glitter-covered, anti-government protests
  • “Your genitals are gross”: @TracyClarkFlory looks at the new breed of body-shaming “sex toys”
  • Not only is mango high in vitamin C, it could hold the key to unlocking marijuana’s true potential
  • How sex workers are using Twitter to tell their own stories
  • The sexual healers next door
  • “Without the South’s religiosity, ‘America’ would again look like a developed, secular country…”
  • The Lifestyle: Group Sex in the Suburbs
  • Let’s nationalize Amazon and Google
  • When we tried tantric sex
  • I’m attracted to trans women: After years of confusion and shame, I’m ready to stop hiding the truth about my desires
  • The Bible makes it clear Jesus was a Marxist before Marxism had a name.
  • In praise of the “beta male”: “Sensitive, nurturing, conflict-averse communicators make great partners”
  • “A Good Old Fashioned Orgy:” Gen Y gets its group grope
  • Why growing numbers of pot smokers eat mango before lighting up
  • Let’s play group sex
  • According to a major new study, kIds raised by gay parents are happier and healthier than peers
  • Apple’s sexist iPad engraving policy: They’ll allow “penis” but not “vagina” (?!)
  • New poll suggests Republicans have confused the Bible for “Atlas Shrugged”
  • My lucky thunder thighs: “I was born to strip. If there had been a pole in my mom’s womb, I would have never left…”
  • Don’t be a neanderthal: 10 things not to say to a lesbian woman
  • How to enjoy an orgy


  • The American Century is over: How our country went down in a blaze of shame


The incorporation of the Bill of Rights (or incorporation for short) is the process by which American courts have applied portions of the U.S. Bill of Rights to the states. Prior to 1925, the Bill of Rights was held only to apply to the federal government. Under the incorporation doctrine, most provisions of the Bill of Rights now also apply to the state and local governments.

Prior to the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment and the development of the incorporation doctrine, the Supreme Court in 1833 held in Barron v. Baltimore that the Bill of Rights applied only to the federal, but not any state governments. Even years after the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment, the Supreme Court in United States v. Cruikshank (1876) still held that the First and Second Amendment did not apply to state governments. However, beginning in the 1920s, a series of United States Supreme Court decisions interpreted the Fourteenth Amendment to “incorporate” most portions of the Bill of Rights, making these portions, for the first time, enforceable against the state governments. …

Rep. John Bingham, the principal framer of the Fourteenth Amendment, advocated that the Fourteenth applied the first eight Amendments of the Bill of Rights to the States.[2]

Ratification of the amendment was bitterly contested. State legislatures in every formerly Confederate state, with the exception of Tennessee, refused to ratify it. This refusal led to the passage of the Reconstruction Acts. Ignoring the existing state governments, military government was imposed until new civil governments were established and the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified.[19] It also prompted Congress to pass a law on March 2, 1867, requiring that a former Confederate state must ratify the Fourteenth Amendment before “said State shall be declared entitled to representation in Congress”.[20]


03:27 < nydwracu> “i liked being able to countersignal with this but now liking it is only signaling so i have to find something else to countersignal with against that”
03:28 < nydwracu> in this sense, hipster identity is fundamentally defined in terms of opposition
03:28 < nydwracu> the plus side of this is that it incentivizes a great deal of innovation
03:31 < nydwracu> but the oppositional mode leads to [and could be caused by] the political positioning-against that contributes to cthulhu’s leftward drift and the colonial-officer mentality of the demographic from which hipsters are drawn
03:32 < nydwracu> “my thede has no characteristics and in fact is not a thede at all, it’s just further along on the unidirectional and universal Progression of History”
03:32 < nydwracu> my thede defines itself musically in no terms at all and in fact there’s no such thing as a hipster and i’m not one