July 1, 2013

"Classic Linda Greenhouse awfulness."

Opines Stephen Bainbridge:
First, there's the implicit claim that she is able to divine the inner workings of [Chief Justice] Roberts' decision making processes. She knows what's in his "head" and "heart," as if she were some psychic shrink....
Speculating about what's really going on behind the argle-bargle in the written opinions is something we must do to avoid falling for propaganda. I use the term "argle-bargle" to remind you of what Justice Scalia wrote in his dissenting opinion in the DOMA case, Windsor:
[T]he real rationale of today’s opinion, whatever disappearing trail of its legalistic argle-bargle one chooses to follow, is that DOMA is motivated by "'bare . . . desire to harm'" couples in same-sex marriages.
And that's just what Scalia feels is acceptable within the rigors of judicial opinion-writing. We must feel impelled to pull apart the judicial verbiage that we sometimes call the "decision" to try to see The Decision, which is to say, the mental processes that actually took place in the minds of the judges.

Of course, we can't really know. None of us, not even Linda Greenhouse, can divine the inner workings of anyone else's head. (Thank God! What a world this would be if we could!) But there is no more valuable inner working of your own head than to contemplate the inner workings of the heads of others. What fools we are if we take other people's words at face value! But — and here Professor Bainbridge is right — we are wrong if we present our speculation as the truth. If we posture as certain, those who don't like what we say can smack us down. You can't know that!

But I speculate that Linda Greenhouse — in the secret inner workings of the head that only she can access — knows her "The Real John Roberts Emerges" overstates what she knows about the inner workings of the mind of John Roberts. I presume that she has her reasons for writing like that. I presume, I don't know, but I could — if the inner workings of my mind cranked in this direction — write a blog post titled "The Real Linda Greenhouse Emerges." Or "The Real Stephen Bainbridge Emerges."

See if you can read my mind and tell why I don't think such cogitations need to be spelled out.

54 comments:

Phil 3:14 said...

Now that Crack and ST have come back, let's see if we can entice them to stay.

Hmm, what shall we "discuss"?

NotquiteunBuckley said...

I would use "than" instead of "then" but I can't read anyone's mind.

I am often confused.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

Part of the reason dogs are so great is that they are genuine.

They are easy to read.

This ability to easily read dogs translates over to persons going ahead and overreading the motivations of irrational, fickle beings.

Nathan Alexander said...

None of us, not even Linda Greenhouse, can divine the inner workings of anyone else's head.

Print that out and post that line on your computer. It will come in handy every time you try to tell those of who oppose SSM what our motivations are.

chrisnavin.com said...

Greenhouse gas levels were high this week in the air over at the Times.

Saint Croix said...

I gave up trying to read the mind of a woman when I was, I dunno, 16.

What do you mean you don't mean what you mean?

Bull Durham compares the vagina to the Bermuda Triangle. A man could get lost in there.

Just plunge straight ahead! Like a battleship!

Which makes me think of all those damn Greeks hiding in that wooden horse. Now that's just sneaky. That is no way to fight a war!

Saint Croix said...

I like to use humor to smuggle things in.

David Hampton said...

Seems she is catering to those who encourage
ideas that are appealing and supportive to what they believe. A case could be made that she is actively attempting to get inside the head of Roberts conditioning him to decide cases in a pre-determined way. Certain cultures in the Caribbean refer to this as voodoo.

Saint Croix said...

I don't mind Linda Greenhouse so much when she's suspicious. "Evil Republicans!" There's a danger in hatred, and she knows it, which is why she feels obligated to smuggle it in.

And I think it's helpful to all of us to be suspicious of people in power. Good for you! Keep us all on our toes.

It's when Linda Greenhouse is all goo-goo eyes and she's lost her mind with love, that's when she drives me up the wall. It's her mushy valentines to her own side that makes Linda Greenhouse embarrassing.

"An abortion! Thank you! It's just what I always wanted!"

sinz52 said...

Pop psychology is a tired political tactic used to either generate sympathy for the target or--more commonly--to paint the target as evil:

"The Mind of Richard Nixon"

"The Mind of Dick Cheney"

"The Mind of Barack Obama"

Whenever you see someone being psychoanalyzed at a distance based on what that person wrote, you know you're dealing with pseudo-scientific trash.

EDH said...

See if you can read my mind and tell why I don't think such cogitations need to be spelled out.

Great, now I start the day with a Gordon Lightfoot song in my head.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-ij_iTQt2w#t=5s

ByondPolitics said...

Oh, I think there are far more worthy things for the inner workings of my head than to "divine" the inner workings of others. In addition to "worthy," they are generally far more interesting as well.

I can surmise that your inner workings are consistent with the face value of your words. Of course I can not know. Perhaps you are positing this nonsense merely as an evil plot to destroy civilized discourse.

For more on the perilous consequences of the approach you advocate, by claiming that words should not be taken at face value, read proteinwisdom.com

Ann Althouse said...

"Hmm, what shall we "discuss"?"

Yeah, well, don't. The topic of this post is emphatically not same-sex marriage, one more time.

Don't be boring, people.

Ann Althouse said...

"I would use "than" instead of "then" but I can't read anyone's mind."

Thanks. Fixed.

Lem said...

See if you can read my mind and tell why I don't think such cogitations need to be spelled out.

There is no real John Roberts?

I haven't brushed my teeth yet so I'm not going to say final answer.

Ann Althouse said...

"Part of the reason dogs are so great is that they are genuine. They are easy to read."

I disagree. I think people project all kinds of thoughts and emotions onto dogs. It's incredibly hard not to. You have to read books about dogs to figure out what's really going on in there. If you go on your own observation, you'll be ludicrously wrong... unless you're doing scientific observation.

The very fact that you say "dogs are so great" is an indication that you are misreading. You're seeing what you feel.

Ann Althouse said...

"Print that out and post that line on your computer. It will come in handy every time you try to tell those of who oppose SSM what our motivations are."

Find, quote, and link to 3 examples of my telling people who oppose SSM what their motivations are.

And I mean telling.

I think you will find that you feel that's been done, but it hasn't. You're advising me to start following an approach that I have in fact always followed.

I do not claim to know what I do not know, and this is how I can say as much as I do. You feel that I've done more, I suspect, but I think you'll find that my statements tend to be modified by words like "I suspect" and "I think" and "tend to."

David said...

Your conclusion that Greenhouse is aware of her overreach presumes humility on her part. There is scant evidence of this.

Chase said...

Let's cut to the most important question: how drunk would someone of either sex have to be to want to fuck Linda Greenhouse?

Simon said...

I have some doubts whether Linda could find any inner workings in her own head, using both hands and a flashlight. The piece could just as well be a satire of a dim progressive attack on the court.

jr565 said...

First, there's the implicit claim that she is able to divine the inner workings of [Chief Justice] Roberts' decision making processes. She knows what's in his "head" and "heart," as if she were some psychic shrink....


Saying that the only reason for DOMA was because of animus, similarly seeks to divine the inner workings of (say, bill Clinton's) decisions.

Nathan Alexander said...

Find, quote, and link to 3 examples of my telling people who oppose SSM what their motivations are.

So you admit you've done exactly that twice?

Not exactly a confident assertion.

Saint Croix said...

You have to read books about dogs to figure out what's really going on in there.

That doesn't work with women, I'll tell you that!

I think people project all kinds of thoughts and emotions onto dogs

When a dog attacks a bear to make a sacrifice for me, I think, gee, what a great dog.

edutcher said...

Perhaps it's Freudian and she's dreaming of a secret tryst.

Either that or she saw the blackmail note Beck says explains everything.

Widmerpool said...

Isn't Bainbridge's point (with which I heartily agree) that there's nothing wrong with this sort of what's-really-going-on, inside-baseball sort of analysis, it's just that Greenhouse is so bad at it. In general, it is (sadly) laughable when libs like Greenhouse, Dionne and Krugman purport to tell me what is really going on in the mind of anyone remotely right of center.

Matthew Sablan said...

In this post, does the real Ann Althouse emerge?

Nathan Alexander said...

but I think you'll find that my statements tend to be modified by words like "I suspect" and "I think" and "tend to."

Yeah, I've seen people use this sort of dishonesty in arguments many times.

Why not have the guts to stand up for yourself?

Hiding behind weasel words so that you can claim to not tell people what they think while actually telling people what they think just makes you appear petty and untrustworthy.

Bill Clinton used similar sorts of qualifiers to make sure he was not literally lying all through the Lewinsky scandal. Clearly, he was not being honest, either.

You did the same regarding Obamaphones and other aspects of discussion regarding President Obama, and unless I recall incorrectly, you do it regarding abortion sometimes.

Your eagerness to ascribe the worst of motives to those who disagree with you is obvious.

Is it possible you never shed the progressives' obsessive trend of smug self-righteousness from your feminist days?

Nathan Alexander said...

The topic of this post is emphatically not same-sex marriage, one more time.

Don't be boring, people.


When are you going to face the fact that commenters are not your pet monkeys who are supposed to dance for you on demand?

If you want people to only talk about what you want to have discussed (talk about boring!), then you should have a Terms of Service, and only allow people to comment if they promise to stay on the topic you choose.

The advantage to that method is you could also only allow people to comment if they promise to never bring up any opposition to SSM. The advantage to you is that way you wouldn't have to work so hard to ignore plain logic and reason on that issue.

Of course, you'd have much less interesting discussions in general, and your blog-rankings would probably decline precipitously.

Discourse is like liberty: it thrives when encouraged to be free, it withers when dictated by a single individual or ideology.

Roy Lofquist said...

Figure out John Roberts? In the decision on the ACA he said that the court owes great deference to acts of Congress. In DOMA maybe not so much.

Saint Croix said...

I think you'll find that my statements tend to be modified by words like "I suspect" and "I think" and "tend to."

Yes, avoid all definitive statements and qualify it with the "it was just a thought experiment" dodge.

Which does not work in bar fights, by the way.

"I think you have sex with farm animals."

And then we're all arrested and in handcuffs in the police station. "I didn't say he had sex with farm animals. I said I thought he had sex with farm animals. I was just bringing up the possibility. You might have fascist tendencies and perhaps you had sex with your mother. Just a hypothetical! You possible son of a baboon."

Saint Croix said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
C Stanley said...

See if you can read my mind and tell why I don't think such cogitations need to be spelled out.

Because the cogitations only spell out the biases and preconceptions of the author, which the reader probably already knows anyway. It's boring and it really isn't telling anything about the purported subject.

betamax3000 said...

Re: "I think you have sex with farm animals."

Once the Animal is Inside Your Bedroom (Or Specially Prepared Cellar) it is No Longer a "Farm" Animal.

betamax3000 said...

All the Best Cows have Bedroom Eyes.

Bob Ellison said...

Saint Croix, I laughed aloud at that one. I didn't know that female dogs could be so funny!

Big Mike said...

None of us, not even Linda Greenhouse, can divine the inner workings of anyone else's head.

Every woman who ever has walked past a construction site knows what's going on in the inner workings of the heads in those hard hats.

edutcher said...

Roy Lofquist said...

Figure out John Roberts? In the decision on the ACA he said that the court owes great deference to acts of Congress. In DOMA maybe not so much.

When he was appointed, somebody said (warned us, really) big government Conservative; he won't buck what Congress passed.

C Stanley said...

Every woman who ever has walked past a construction site knows what's going on in the inner workings of the heads in those hard hats.

Do they wear little hard hats on those heads too?

edutcher said...

Only if they don't want something nasty.

virgil xenophon said...

Linda Greenhouse swims out to meet troop-ships..

Chuck said...

How's about if we don't try to figure out what is in anybody's head at all? And instead just apply the words of the Constitution, and if there is any doubt, apply traditional rational basis/strict scrutiny methods of examination.

That's all that Scalia expected of Kennedy. I know that because that is what Scalia wrote.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Find, quote, and link to 3 examples of my telling people who oppose SSM what their motivations are.

I'll provide one, in your post What accounts for this sudden and shocking spike in bigotry?

You write:

Now lots of traditionalists have the raw material to whine and cry about being called bigots. ... If they think crying about being called bigots — when, again, the majority didn't even use that word — is going to help, I just have to laugh. You took the opportunity to oppress when it was there, and now that it's gone, you want to say you are oppressed.

By using the phrase opportunity to oppress you clearly imply that the oppression was not merely a by-product of pursuing some other policy, but was in fact the motive.

That is telling people about the inner workings of people's minds.

Rusty said...

Nice cans.

Achilles said...

Ann Althouse said:

"Find, quote, and link to 3 examples of my telling people who oppose SSM what their motivations are."

I don't have time to find three. I just remember this little gem off the top of my head:


Ann Althouse said...
"What are you high-strung right wingers talking about this morning?

"Shouldn't you be at church?

Or are you texting comments from church?

6/30/13, 10:44 AM"

Sadly I largely agree with you on SSM. But that was a nasty piece of work. This was right after Crack and Shouting Thomas both came back and made insightful posts and flayed the progressive POV on SSM.

Questioning motivations is fine as far as I am concerned. But in the end the proof is in the pudding. Progressives project a lot and it is hilariously obvious.

When progressives destroy the black community with their policies and yell racism when people try to stop those policies it is pretty clear they only see black people as tools.

When some people push state sanctioned and enforced SSM some like Ann probably actually want gay people to be happy. Most progressives openly admit a different goal which is to undermine this country.

But when people are presented with arguments they can't deal with they post things like the post above.

creeley23 said...

Mindreading is one of my pet peeves in political discussions. I'm glad to see its fallacy pointed out.

Althouse: I'm not going to go back and read old posts, but it sure seems to me you've done some mindreading. I'll keep an eye out.

Or maybe it's just the superior way you frequently talk down to us from on high that skirts the edges of mindreading.

Suddenly, it's July, and I wonder if you're pronouncing the word correctly.

I assume the blogger is male. Maybe you are too and you need somebody to spell it out.

EMD said...

Does this mean R&B is Linda Greenhouse?

Roger J. said...

most significant to me is that Mr Obama is planning to meet with President Bush in Tanzania--there is no way that President Obama could stand on the same podium as Mr Bush--fortunately, Mr Bush has class--something Mr Obama lacks.

Nathan Alexander said...

Personally, I find it easier to merely judge behavior.

Behavior can be appropriate or not, helpful or harmful, honest or dishonest, condescending or respectful.

I don't have to know or care what the person was thinking...I just have to notice and analyze what someone actually did or said.

That makes things simpler.

dreams said...

Regardless, I don't like Linda Greenhouse.

Nathan Alexander said...

I think you'll find that my statements tend to be modified by words like "I suspect" and "I think" and "tend to."

Look, I can easily understand there are times to use those qualifiers, particularly if you want someone to address the issue and not nit-pick your words. ("Okay, no, you don't leave the toilet seat up every single time, but you do so often enough that it is irritating...focus on the irritation and not on the exact ratio of times the seat was left up vs down, please.")

But you are using those words to nit-pick my charge and to avoid addressing the challenge.

You have chosen words that make it clear you think those who oppose SSM are bigots. Every time you use the bigot charge, you avoid addressing the logic/reason of the objections to SSM, which makes it appear that is your intended tactic.

Since you have continued to behave as if the only possible reason someone could oppose SSM is bigotry (by avoiding addressing the strongest arguments against it), resorting to "but I said 'I think'" is a Clintonian dodge.

Just like Obama's statements after his administration is caught doing something dishonest: he says things like "as soon as I found out", but carefully avoids specifying times, or the actual thing he found out, or who he gave the orders to, or what they did in response to the orders.

So, congratulations! You are just as honest with your readers as Obama is with Low Information Voters!

I'm not mollified by that, for some reason.

n.n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
n.n said...

Is this another post about global cooling/warming, climate disruption/change without the inconvenient "anthropogenic" qualifier?

As for divining intentions, you did suggest that people who oppose normalizing homosexual behavior to "remove the log from one's own eye", or something to that effect, which implies projection or displacement.

What are opponents of normalizing this dysfunctional behavior hiding?

Perhaps nothing at all.

Perhaps they are simply more objective and less prejudiced than proponents.

creeley23 said...

Nathan A: Well put.

It's good to use qualifiers to avoid speaking in unsupportable and highly alienating absolutes, but saying "I suspect" and "I think" and "tend to" doesn't let the speaker off the hook.

"I suspect X is an arrogant fool and I think she is motivated by her need to feel superior and tends to be blind to her own motivations."

Hmm. Still pretty bad. Using the magic phrases somehow doesn't make that sentence OK.

We all mindread. We all have to mindread in order to be navigate social worlds. It can be useful to speculate on others' minds, but it can also be one of the most destructive moves in conversation.

I try to avoid mindreading sentences if I'm saying anything at all negative.

Admittedly I'm not so good at it when I get cranky and it seems like lots of other people are doing it too, as has often been the case on this blog of late.

DEEBEE said...

Hubris as RBG said. And Ann I am reminding you of this to make sure you understand that different people express the emotional piece of their polemic