"I hereby call a moratorium on sexual imperatives."

Adult language ahead.

That's Will Wilkinson in the comments section at his own blog. It's probably the most high-brow one I read and its comments threads often contain more intellectual acumen than many an academic paper. But just bring up US party politics and people will tell each other, "Please suck my balls" and "Go fist your mother." (Added: Another thing people can get passionate about in blog comments sections is music.)

It's funny to see how Republicans and Democrats go at each others' throats when you live in a country that has parties in parliament which are actually different. It's almost as though the closer they are, the more people feel the need to stress they're not.

P.S.: Does any of my twelve or so regular readers actually value adult language warnings? If no one replies in the affirmative within a week, the feature will be scrapped.


John Althouse Cohen said...

Democrats and Republicans aren't any different? How about on abortion, health care, and judges ... to name a few examples off the top of my head? What are the issues that German political parties disagree over to an extent that Americans don't?

LemmusLemmus said...

Hyperbole is a stylistic device I like. Having said that, the German background I am comparing this to is that we have both outright GDR-style socialists and more-or-less outright Nazis (and I don't mean mere right-wingers, I mean people who like Hitler) in state parliaments. Against that kind of range, the difference between saying you don't like socialized medicine and saying that you like the idea of universal health care but not providing it seems rather small.

John Althouse Cohen said...

saying that you like the idea of universal health care but not providing it

Well, that's not really a fair representation. You're conflating Democrats with the results of Democrats' efforts up to now. Those results don't represent "Democrats" -- they represent Democrats attempting (unsuccessfully) to get stuff done in collaboration with Republicans. That doesn't indicate a similarity between the parties; it means there's a clear difference, but one party has been winning and the other has been losing on that particular issue.

LemmusLemmus said...

There were quite a few Democratic presidents since, say, 1950. Are you saying that most of them would have built a universal health care system if it hadn't been for the resistance of the Republicans who held the majority in the relevant house(s) (Congress? Senate? I don't even know.)? That's not the picture Michael Moore paints about the Clinton administration, but Moore may not be the best source for impartial information on the topic.

John Althouse Cohen said...

They've been trying since the '40s.

LemmusLemmus said...

The timeline also contains this:

"President Nixon's plan for national health insurance rejected by liberals & labor unions"

I'm really no expert on American healthcare; I have trouble believing it would have been impossible for the Democrats to build a system of universal healthcare if their heart would have been in it for decades, bu I'm open to the possibility that I'm wrong.

The more general point stands, of course.

Off to bed.

John Althouse Cohen said...

This Wikipedia entry suggests there were a lot of different factors that contributed to the failure of Nixon's plan. Maybe Democrats and Republicans took very different positions, Nixon was in the middle, and they failed to reach a compromise. (Just a guess -- I'm no expert in 1970s era policymaking.) The Watergate scandal was also a distraction.

Anyway, it's widely acknowledged by all sides that Nixon's domestic policies were so liberal he'd be unrecognizable as a Republican today. (Examples.) So he's not a very strong example of the similarities between the two parties if we're talking in the present tense.

LemmusLemmus said...

Frankly, I don't feel like getting overly acquainted with the subtleties of politics under Nixon. Just wanted to draw attention to the fact that your link doesn't fully support your case.

John Althouse Cohen said...

For the reasons I just gave, that part you quoted doesn't refute the idea that Democrats and Republicans are dramatically divided over health care.

LemmusLemmus said...

Quote says: "plan for national health insurance rejected by liberals"

Does not support assertion that Democrats have been trying to install universal health care since the 1940s.

John Althouse Cohen said...

It might, if the liberals failed to compromise with Nixon because they wanted a much more ambitious plan than Nixon wanted.

LemmusLemmus said...


John Althouse Cohen said...


John Althouse Cohen said...

To answer your actual question from the post:

Does any of my twelve or so regular readers actually value adult language warnings? If no one replies in the affirmative within a week, the feature will be scrapped.

I'm indifferent to those warnings. They don't seem to serve much purpose. It's hard to imagine an adult who'd actually be upset at seeing these words. The warning seems mostly useful to warn adults about showing the posts to children -- but really, on the off chance that that situation comes up, it's the adult's responsibility to read the post anyway. As for children who happen to directly find your posts on their own, the warning will only encourage them to read on.

Another concern is that preparing the reader to read dirty language could negate the actual effect of that language. It reminds me of an episode of the American version of The Office where the boss (Michael Scott) is about to show an "orientation video" to a group of employees who have just started working there. He gleefully tells them: "It's not like any orientation video you've ever seen -- it's funny!" Once he uses the word "funny," he essentially guarantees that they won't find it funny.

A tangent: I do think it's better not to embed photos with nudity, even just breasts (I remember you once had such a post, with a still from A Clockwork Orange). I know -- this is just asking for snark about how we Americans are too finicky about nudity, you Europeans are so much more enlightened, etc. I personally think it's silly that society has this unwritten rule that you're allowed to see men's nude chests in public but not women's. But many people would be genuinely offended to see the latter with no warning on a computer screen.

LemmusLemmus said...


reply in the sequence of your paragraphs:

1. That was my first idea - who would mind anyway. But then I thought about the research showing that we tend to overestimate the extent to which people are like ourselves. And a lot of the traffic to this blog comes from Google.

2. That's the main reason why I don't like the warnings.

3. The post you're thinking of has an NSFW warning right at the top (i.e., before you see the picture), as it should.

LemmusLemmus said...

Oh, by the way, naked breasts are certainly considered NSFW over here.

John Althouse Cohen said...

The post you're thinking of has an NSFW warning right at the top (i.e., before you see the picture), as it should.

Good point, but people often scroll through quickly to see if something jumps out at them. The breasts would probably jump out more than the warning. I think "NSFW" is useful when you're linking to another webpage, but not so useful in reference to something in the very same post.