Haut Takes

I write about music, politics and pop culture.

Tribalism Midwifed the Alt-Right, Part I.

Hey Guys,

Last month I attended a Vulture panel featuring three of the pop culture site's leading journalists. The panel was called "Covering Celebrity" and focused on the finer points of profiling famous people. The three panelists, E. Alex Jung, Jada Yuan, and Matt Zoller Seitz, all began their careers as "party reporters", meaning they were those mosquitoes with microphones vying for a red carpet sound bite. They were also tasked with attending media parties with celebrity guest lists in the hopes of scoring a booze induced quote for New York's Party Lines page. The panelists knowingly reminisced about parties past, while the voyeuristic audience listened enraptured- I mean who doesn't want to know what Madonna is like at a media party after a few drinks?

Yuan (who has written some kick-ass celebrity profiles, including this one of Stevie Nicks) remembered meeting Bill Clinton at a gallery opening in the early 2000s. He hadn't been on the guest list, so she had no questions prepared for him. She approached him anyways. He gladly chatted with her for a number of minutes as he wove his way through the gallery. As Yuan was wrapping up her anecdote, she added, "oh, and he held my hand the whole time." She cringed and laughed nervously as she revealed this- like someone who finally confessed to a friend that the lipstick they've been wearing for the past week is hideous. 

The audience cringed and laughed  as well. We awkwardly looked down at our laps or sipped our complimentary glasses of wine. Zoller Seitz chimed in, "oh I have a few Bill Clinton stories." All of them, predictably, involved Bill Clinton's friendliness in public spaces with women who aren't his wife. The nervous laughter continued and the discomfort was palpable. The elephant himself had sauntered into the room and taken a seat. 

The majority of the audience was between the ages of 25 and 40. Many of us worked in media or a related field. And we were all willingly spending our Thursday night at the offices of New York magazine. Our political leanings couldn't have been more obvious than if we had DEAL ME IN tattooed on our foreheads. And this crowd of Clinton loving liberals was confronted with a very inconvenient truth.

The truth is, Bill's a perv. That is empirically true. He was nearly ejected from office for his extramarital affair with a much younger woman whose career was dependent on his power. He has been accused of harassment, assault and rape. He creepily held the hand of a party reporter who was just trying to ask him a few questions.

We of course have forgotten all of this. A year ago, we gushed about calling him our "first man". We made his balloon catching excitement at the DNC into a meme. We happily remember him as a charismatic, southern liberal who can tickle a saxophone. His presidency is heralded as a triumph, and we blame his wife for his bad behavior. 

Why are we so willing to look the other way? Because Bill is one of us. He is an unabashed Democrat. A nostalgic relic of a time when we were powerful, and there weren't men with tiki torches marching through a college town chanting about killing Jews. He is a consistent ally in a moment where everything we believe in is under attack.

And he is not the only member of our tribe whose history we've revised. Joe Biden participated in the public skewering of Anita Hill, and now our beloved Vice President is our most viable presidential candidate. Ted Kennedy probably let a woman die, and he was knighted  our "liberal lion". JFK was a notorious womanizer, but the stories of his schmoozing are absent from his legacy as a civil rights champion. 

Of course this historical reimagining is a page from the Republican playbook. Trump still refuses to denounce Roy Moore, going only so far as cancelling campaign appearances with the candidate in Alabama. Fellow evangelicals have invoked the ultimate absolution card, likening Moore's actions to the Biblical Joseph. Trump's own disgusting behavior has become the Voldemort of the right, they refuse to talk about it. And if they do, it is dismissed as the shrill untruths of unhappy women.

On both the right and the left, accusations against our politicians are met with "but what about [insert name of guy on the other side]." Behavior is ranked on a continuum from bad to horrible. In reality that continuum is labelled "liberal" to "conservative"- or vice versa, depending on whose doing the ranking. Any condemnation of a member of one's own political party is either part of a conscious group decision, or met with accusations of treason. A crime is only a crime if we don't like the way the criminal votes.

There is an explanation for our selective condemnation- loyalty to political tribe. And, in America, there are two. They are so notorious they are decisively called "the right" and "the left". These titles need little context. When you hear either, your brain is immediately awash in red or blue visions of a specific region of our country whose citizens are specific types of people.  There is the notion of a nebulous purple, but its two parts are never equal.

Yes, many tribal affiliations beyond politics shape our identity- and most are benign. We identify with cities, neighborhoods, ethnic groups, religions and traditions that validate our experiences and enrich our lives. We also pledge loyalty to musicians, sports teams, soda and sneaker brands, as well as regional terms for soda and sneakers. Many of us pledge to a nation state, America or otherwise. These tribes shape the layers of who we are and serve as sources of comfort. Unfortunately, the tribes we are most fiercely loyal to are the most divisive- our political tribes. And this loyalty is threatening to pull us apart.

From the first time we hear our parents complain about "the government", we begin to assign people to one of these two tribes.  It's tricky at first but as we get older we become more skilled in seeing the tells that categorize a person. And before long, we are pulled to subscribe to a tribe and assume an immediate distrust of those who aren't a part of it. Membership in, or advancement of, an opposing tribe becomes a threat to our very existence.

The story of this nation has become one where news sources are expected to firmly identify with one tribe or another. Those that don't are deemed irrelevant. It is no coincidence that the 10 cable news shows with the most viewers air on either MSNBC or Fox News. Only one CNN news show cracks the top 25. 

We expect our friends, family members, and celebrities to identify with one or the other- and we question our love for them if they don't. I am definitely guilty of this. After the election, I blocked every Trump supporting family member on social media and questioned their morality. I also refuse to listen to Taylor Swift because I think it is complete and utter bullshit that she coopts feminist jargon on her latest album while remaining radio silent during campaign season because she is "just not that political." (Whether she has to be is a different essay entirely.) On the other hand, we are quick to forget past transgressions as a reward for a hint of tribal allegiance. Eminem is a recent example of this convenient forgiveness. One anti-Trump cypher at this year's BET awards has allowed his songbook of violently misogynistic and homophobic lyrics to fade almost to black. (Although his confession that he doesn't Walk on Water may be an attempt at remorse, we may know more on December 15th.)

When we assume a tribal identity, we are expected to do so in totality. Our ideals must align exactly with those of our tribes at the risk of having our membership totally revoked. 

Certainly, there is a cost to this blind devotion to tribe. In fact there are many. One of the most obvious being a legislature that is inwardly quivering in fear for our country, but outwardly voting to validate a president who is tearing us apart. But the cost that threatens to be the most consequential is our mistrust of each other. We've insulated ourselves so deeply into our tribal echo chambers that we have lost our ability to empathize. We've stopped seeing each other as individuals, but as faceless agents of a warring tribe. 

In a time when our conversations are dangerously divisive, we owe it to ourselves to examine the roots of our divide and the looming disaster of its cost. So in an effort to reflect on why I am ready to tear shit down in support of Trump's 16 accusers, but change the subject when the conversation turns to Bill, I am dedicating two issues of Haut Takes to America's political tribalism.

This week: I will investigate the origins of Tribalism and how it has permeated our culture in a critique of a leading essay on the topic.

Next Week: I will discuss the deep and obvious connection between our sunken tribalism and the alt-right, plus some thoughts on how to bridge the divide.



Before we begin: Tribalism stories not to sleep on.

Three big things are happening behind the scenes that have the potential to permanently embed radical tribalism in many aspects of our society for some time to come. They are:

  1. The potential repeal of the Johnson Amendment: The Johnson Amendment was passed in 1954 and prevents churches and non-profits from formally endorsing a political candidate or donating to a campaign. The repeal of the amendment is rolled into the House's tax bill. If repealed, lobbying groups and PACs could funnel money to political campaigns through churches. Religious intermediaries would allow them to write donations off as charitable and to receive immense tax breaks. There is fear amongst many on both the right and the left that this will turn churches into political institutions, forcing church personnel to publicly endorse whoever is bankrolling their parish. There is also the threat of "sham" churches incorporating to take advantage of this new spending avenue. So look alive, this tax bill is only partially about taxes.
  2. Meredith bought Time Inc.: The Meredith Corporation publishes lifestyle magazines like Better Homes and Gardens. It was announced today that Meredith acquired Time, Inc. for $2.8 billion, acquiring publications like People and Time. 600 million of those dollars were donated by the Koch brothers, who are notorious, often nefarious, supporters of the right. Meredith and the Kochs claim that the brothers will have no involvement in editorial decisions. But pay attention because nothing is guaranteed- and get suspicious if T***P is named Time's person of the year after all.
  3. Trump and his Federal Judges: Trump has already appointed 59 judges to the federal judiciary, twice as many as Obama had by this point in his first term. All of them are really young and really conservative- and really inexperienced. Nominees only need 51 senate votes to be confirmed, which they are easily getting due to a 2013 bill Democrats passed to block judicial filibusters (they did this because they were having such a hard time getting Obama nominees confirmed... oh the irony.) In Monday's episode, Vice News Tonight  profiled Brett Talley, a Trump appointee in Alabama. Talley is 36 and has never tried a case in a Federal Court (but he has posted to the official Roll Tide message board over 16,000 times). He is also married to a lawyer for the Trump administration. Talley represents a typical Trump appointment. These appointments threaten the supposed neutrality of the federal court system and how laws are applied within it. And remember, once confirmed, these guys (and a few gals) serve for life.

Tribalism is human nature, but can our democracy handle it? 

Andrew Sullivan attempted to answer this question in a provocative essay published in New York in late September. Its title is two full sentences yet barely encapsulates the essay's main ideas: Tribalism was an urge our Founding Fathers assumed we could overcome. And so it has become our greatest vulnerability. Subtitle: America wasn't built for humans. This headline is so of the moment and baiting, I question why New York opted not to make it the issue's cover story, featuring a story about abnormal embryos instead. Besides being so relevant, it is so damn thought provoking. It has been two months since I first read this essay, but I think about it a lot. In some ways it feels like the most radical article I've reviewed in Haut Takes. It is also the one I will most openly question. 

But first, a bit about the author. You may have heard of him before, probably for his tribalist busting history. Sullivan is credited with creating the political blog, launching The Daily Dish in 2000. The Daily Dish chronicled political happenings through the lens of Sullivan's distinct libertarian conservatism until its last posting in February of 2015. Sullivan was a staff writer at the now defunct, but kinda rebooted Spy magazine where he wrote a controversial article praising The Bell Curve. He was also fired from the New York Times Magazine in 2002 by then-editor Adam Moss, who ironically is now Sullivan's boss at New York. And boy oh boy, does Sullivan get people on the internet fired up.  Head to the comments section of any of his essays or his Twitter page to see what I mean.  

Andrew Sullivan is either perfectly poised to write about tribalism or ill equipped to do so depending on how you look at it. It is impossible to pin him to either of America's warring tribes. Why? I'll let Sullivan speak for himself: "I am an individual by default. I am gay but Catholic, conservative but independent, a Brit but American, religious but secular. What tribe would ever have me?" Sullivan's tribal fluidity is why so many people find him so frustrating. He was a leading voice in the charge for same sex marriage, but also a vocal supporter of the Iraq War. He has labelled Trump's presidency "perverse" but also Clinton's campaign "abysmal." And he loves Barack Obama. Sullivan's ideology can't be categorized into the comforting bipartisan labels we are so accustomed to. He is quick to call out our tribalist nature and most of his recent editorials do so. He may be close to a tribalism expert, but the tribalist in me hasn't fully subscribed. Let's dig in:

i.Our Founding Fathers set us up for failure.

  • Sullivan names a number of truly tribal societies in his essay's first few paragraphs. He notes that tribalism can afflict any type of society, from the Sunnis and Shiites to the democratic society of Northern Ireland. He references the contemporary examples of the ethnic genocide in Myanmar and the political infighting between Spain and Catalan. Our government, which Sullivan refers to as "the project of American democracy", was created to prioritize the individual who would exist beyond tribal identities. Our Founding Fathers dealt in ideas like "compromise" and "logic". They were certain their constitutional draft would protect against our emotional vulnerability and need to belong.
  • Sullivan claims that the Founding Fathers gave us, and themselves, way too much credit. His argument here is compelling. Tribal cohesion is human nature. For much of human history, tribal living was the "default human experience." Humans lived in relatively small, egalitarian societies where individual roles enabled survival on prescribed plots of land. Most of these societies were spiritually inclined, and are the sources of modern religion. Tribal membership was based on physical appearance and behavior, which bred fear that those who appeared and behaved differently would certainly penetrate and destroy. A fear derived from absolute loyalty to tribe. It is the same fear that fuels our skepticism of the unknown. It's a fear that persists today.
  • As our society evolved into a less obviously tribal structure, there is evidence that humans still yearned for the comfort of the tribe. Sullivan includes an example from Sebastian Junger's Tribe which notes that when European settlers lived alongside Native Americans, many Europeans disappeared to willingly join the native tribes. There is no documented example of a voluntary Native American vice versa.
  • The founding of America purposely avoided our tribal nature. Sullivan says, as our founders "conceived of a new society that would protect the rights of all humanity, they explicitly excluded a second tribe among them: African-American slaves." By dehumanizing an entire slice of the population, they inadvertently spawned the OG American tribes: the Union and the Confederacy. The Civil War was tribal warfare by another name. It stands to reason that today's right and left are an evolution of that conflict.
  • Sullivan identifies the tenets of our tribalism as "race, religion and geography." I wanted to pierce this as simplistic, but that would be naive. Our politically polarized society has given rise to two dominant political parties (a distinctly American concept), relatively equal in power. Much has been written about party demographics in the wake of last year's election, and Sullivan's tenets are a large part of the conversation. Our tribes, and subsequent voting patterns, are chosen in accordance with where we live, our race and the race of those we interact with, our economic position, and largely our religious proclivities. How would Sullivan describe these tribes?
"I mean two tribes where one contains most racial minorities and the other is disproportionately white; where one tribe lives on the coasts and in the cities and the other is scattered across a rural and exurban expanse; where one tribe holds on to traditional faith and the other is increasingly contemptuous of religion altogether; where one is viscerally nationalist and the other’s outlook is increasingly global; where each dominates a major political party; and, most dangerously, where both are growing in intensity as they move further apart."
  • Our nation has long been divided across a stark party line (albeit a malleable one that has evolved along with the parties themselves), but Sullivan credits the 2000 presidential election as the turning point from begrudging compromise to hateful vitriol. In the lead up to the election, America was introduced to the red-blue imaging of itself. The subsequent election was memorably contentious and decided by a Supreme Court who for the first time didn't seem like a neutral enforcer, but a political actor. Sullivan notes a number of accelerants that fueled our divisive discourse, including the arrival of talk radio, Fox News, and an increasing urban-rural intellectual divide. A brief patriotic peace after 9/11 didn't last long. As a result of our clunky invasion of Iraq, "dove" and "hawk" plunged back into the national zeitgeist, shattering our neighborly accord.
  • Counterexample: Sullivan notes that a number of other nations experience political chasms caused by tribalism. Some of which have devolved into warfare and genocide, while others have created "coalition" governments where all ideologies are represented. He cites Northern Ireland, recovering from its own shameful, tribal past: no regional government can exist without at least two parties that represent both the Catholic minority and the Protestant majority. The first minister and their deputy must be from different parties. If one drops out, the power defaults back to the central government.
  • In contrast, the U.S. has created a political atmosphere so charged that "when a rank tribalist wins the office and governs almost entirely in the interests of the hardest core of his base, half the country understandably feels as if it were under siege. Our two-party, winner-take-all system only works when both parties are trying to appeal to the same constituencies on a variety of issues." Our tribalism is no longer a rivalry, its a showdown of enemies bent on destruction.

II. Tribalism: What's the effect?

So now that we have an idea of what makes America ripe for division, let's take a look at the costs. Sullivan details what he sees as the consequences of our tribalism. Some are obviously tied to our voting patterns, but most discuss the way we treat each other. Some are empirically reasoned, some are well...tribal:

  1. Zero-Sum Politics: Because of our aggressive division, Sullivan says our government "drags the country either toward alternating administrations bent primarily on undoing everything their predecessors accomplished, or the kind of gridlock that dominated national politics for the past seven years-or both." This summation is simplistic, but not wrong. Our government is resistant to progress, and I don't mean the progress associated with capital P Progressives. I mean the progress that makes lasting change of any sort. Trump's campaign was a series of promises to erase Obama-era legislation. The factual impact of those policies was irrelevant (see: Affordable Care Act), his bombast convinced enough voters that the only way to move forward is to start from square 1776.  Because the only way for one tribe to assume power is to slander another.
  2. Deuces to critical thinking: In a tribalist society, you can get by without thinking for yourself. All you need to know is which side you are on, and which side you're not. We can wholly embrace a person or idea, and wholly dismiss another, wholly on the basis of their tribal affiliation. Loyalty to tribe supersedes the need for facts and criticism. Attitudes are swayed by the most vocal leader of your tribe. For example, in 2011 30% of white evangelicals said that a person's private morality was irrelevant to private life, in 2017- 72% said that private behavior shouldn't be considered when electing a politician. This is a convenient waffle from the same group who led the crusade for a Clinton impeachment based on actions taken in his "private life", but have publicly supported Moore and Trump. The general thinking? It's not a crime if "our side" does it (liberals do this too. See examples in this week's opening essay).
  3. Othering: The members of your tribe become human, the members of the another tribe are something else. Think about our penchant for labels like "the right" and "the left". I am definitely guilty of lumping "the right" into one alien mob rather than a collection of individuals with a diversity of stories.(See above where I lumped evangelicals into one group who all wanted to impeach Clinton. If othering is a crime, I stand guilty as charged) In a 2017 poll, 41% of Republicans and 38% of Democrats said they disagreed not only with their opponent's political views but with their values and lives beyond politics. we don't just disagree with each other, we hate each other.
  4. "Whataboutism": This is Trump's primary rhetorical technique (recently explained in John Oliver's season finale, this technique was coopted from the Soviet's Cold War communication strategy. When asked about their horrific Gulag concentration camps, the Soviets simply said "what about racial discrimination in the U.S.?"). Whataboutism is exactly what it sounds like. It is a petulant, argumentative response to a member of a rival tribe pointing out your flaw. You simply point out the same flaw in them. It is the reason Trump invited three women who had accused Bill Clinton of sexual misconduct to a debate against Clinton's wife. While Trump is the chief whatabout-er, this technique has trickled into common conversation. If you check the comments section of any article exposing allegations of sexual assault, you will find a number of comments comparing the severity of these claims to those leveled against another man, likely of a different political stripe.
  5. Sector Stratification: Leaders in particular fields are notoriously embedded into one tribe or another, passing on ideologies that deepen the divide. Sullivan uses the example of academia to bolster this point. He cites a recent study of the voting habits of professors: "Democrats outnumber republicans 12:1... among professors under the age of 36, the ratio is 23:1". Sullivan makes a good point that college students are often exposed to one viewpoint, which upon their graduation only increases the divide between them and their less formally educated counterparts. Sullivan also refers to a liberalization of the college sphere, noting the emphasis on "monitoring microagressions" and "checking white privilege." These buzzwords are often blamed for producing a generation of oversensitive, much mocked millennials. What Sullivan fails to mention is that these words attempt to make American universities a more welcoming place for those it has historically ostracized (see the 11/15 issue of Haut Takes if you need an example). Sullivan also argues that any sort of conservative commentary becomes a fireable offense in more liberal industries. He brings up James Damore, the engineer fired from Google for his sexist manifesto. Sullivan calls him a "brilliant coder" and Google's policies "left-feminist". I can only imagine the number of New York readers he alienated with those labels- I was one of them.
  6. A conflation of terms that subsequently lose their meaning:  Sullivan calls our use of the term "white supremacist" promiscuous. It's true definition was once applied to the advocates of slavery and Jim Crow segregation. In the wake of the election, it was applied to anyone who voted for Trump.  Sullivan's point is that if everyone is a white supremacist, then what do we have left to call those who march through Charlottesville with Tiki torches or who call for the extermination of Jewish people on the dark web. It's an interesting point. Like so many other things in life, precision is key. Maybe it isn't fair to call all Trump supporters white supremacists, but they are certainly okay with electing a flagrant white supremacist to office. 
  7. Extremism: More on this next week. 

III. A bridge paved with Compromise and forgiveness? seems farfetched.

Our tribal nature will be hard to overcome, but we should try- for the sake of our society. We've reached a political impasse that is hostile to progress (let alone Progress), and some sort of compromise between the tribes is necessary. Sullivan suggests three potential paths to a common ground. All three are disappointing. Here's why:

  • Solution 1: Play nice with Trump. This essay was published in September, soon after he brokered a deal with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to delay the deportation of DACA recipients. Sullivan argues that this compromise is evidence that Trump can be cajoled into compliance if the deal is sweet enough. This deal was apparently so heartening to Sullivan that he confronts Democrats with a choice: to work with Trump or to completely obliterate him. Sullivan recommends the first option, as not to alienate Trump's base. He notes that Trump may be the last hurrah of white male power (unlikely) and the multiracial generation who will rise in his wake will make further alienate the right's base. An impeachment would appear to be an Establishment silencing that would further radicalize the right. In lieu of this aggressive takedown, Sullivan says Democrats should opt to tug on the fibers of Trump's self-interest (which one can only assume are made from those gold tassels that hang from the nutcracker's shoulder pads) and make bi-partisan deals, placating both sides of the aisle. Why this is disappointing: It seems that Sullivan assumed the Pelosi-Schumer meeting was the first of many chum sessions between Trump and Democratic legislators. There is no evidence for that. Currently, the Senate is deliberating over a tax bill that will eliminate one of the key components of the Affordable Care Act and Trump has refused to condemn Roy Moore's actions in tribal solidarity. So Sullivan put way too much stock into one meeting as Trump is not a man of compromise. This solution also puts the onus of compromise on one tribe. He advises against impeachment, when so much of what Trump does is impeachable. He suggests looking the other way for the sake of progress, but this solution does not ask for any action from the right. This promotes the lack of accountability that extreme tribalists operate under, particularly Trump. For a suggested stint to Tribalism, this is a decidedly tribal solution.
  • Solution 2: Recognize our Individuality: Sullivan argues that our dependence on our tribe creates a society of isolated individuals who are willing to contort themselves into the identity of particular tribe, no matter how extreme, in order to feel less alone (#damn. also a lil' preview of next week's issue).We need to decimate the tribal structure and resurrect the debris. The debris being all of us. Sullivan insists we value "the unique human being-distinct from a group identity" and validate individual ideas, no matter how tribally conflicting they may be. Sullivan acknowledges that this is idealistic. He does not acknowledge how we make it practical. Why this is disappointing: If there is one thing I've learned from working in charter schools for the past seven years it is that solutions need to be actionable to be realistic. With that Golden Rule in mind, what Sullivan has suggested is not a solution- it's wishful thinking. The idea of recognizing and appreciating each individual's unique quirks is beautiful. But if some asshole is sitting in front of me spouting that there "was hatred on both sides", I can't really give a shit that he once enjoyed Lee Daniel's: The Butler. An action step would be helpful here. 
  • Solution 3: Mutual Forgiveness: Sullivan says, "many white Americans are not so much full of hate as full of fear." We should forgive them of their bigotry, and hear the out. In a number of parallel sentences he attempts to conflate one tribe's leading ideology with a leading ideology of the other. Here's an example: "We need to recall that most immigrants are seeking a better life, but also that a country that cannot control its borders is not a country at all." He notes that we must forgive each other for our past sins and slights. He cites Nelson Mandela as the historical exemplar of magnanimity, one we all should follow. Why this is disappointing: Nelson Mandela was a saint, most of us our not. He was able to verbally, and probably spiritually, forgive the vicious actors of Apartheid in order to reconstruct his country.  This is admirable and noble, but it is beyond human instinct. I am not a forgiving person, so I don't see myself sending an unsolicited "I forgive you card" to Harvey Weinstein anytime soon (I'm more of into the Uma way of handling things.) This solution also assumes that all actions are forgivable, they are not. It also assumes that the actions of both tribe's caused comparable damage. They did not. One of our tribes is largely responsible for our nation's history of racism, anti-semitism and xenophobia. One tribe elected a man to office who encourages violence against those that don't look or behave like him. One tribe empowers webmasters to publish violent fantasies of eradicating the world's Jewish population while attempting to silence reputable journalists. All of these actions intend to dehumanize and eradicate and hurt. They are not equal to a football player's decision to kneel during the Pledge of Allegiance. They are not equal to Affirmative Action leading to a white student's rejection from a top college. They are not equal to a candidate using a private email server. They just aren't. These actions may have had byproducts that others found offensive, but they are not hateful at their core. Sullivan's solution hints at the "hate on both sides" decree. It is short-sided, and somewhat incorrect. One tribe's ideologies are the necessary reaction to the actions of another. So, as a mostly lapsed Catholic, I would say "the right" needs to repent. They need to repent and they need to change. Until then, the solution of forgiveness is a non-starter.

Sullivan's solutions are disappointing, especially as the end of a incredibly well reasoned essay. But maybe their impotence hints at the depth of our problem. Sullivan is incredibly intelligent and far more versed in politics than I- so if he can't provide concrete solutions, who can? I think I have an answer to that question- but you'll have to wait until next week to hear it (Teaser: it involves Sarah Silverman.)

Related Links: The center of our tribal venn diagram? the treatment of women.

If our current cultural moment has taught us anything, it's that men from both tribes have treated women like shit- and gotten away with it. Here are some links that show our shameful tribal commonality:

Let's wrap it up: Something for everybody... maybe.



Alexis Haut