Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Putting Money Where My Mouth Is

This week Matt Walsh continues his preoccupation with Michael Sam (which I have already written about here). Meanwhile, we can take action to help refugee children by donating a little money for their legal representation. (I know I have said that I am not necessarily trying to advance any particular platform on this blog, which is still true... but, having immigrant/refugee experience in my recent family history, this is one thing that really means a lot to me, so I would appreciate your support.)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Matt Walsh versus the Pope

I couldn't help but think of Matt Walsh when I heard the report that Pope Francis commented on the refugee crisis and said that the children should be "welcomed and protected." See, Matt is a devout Catholic, and he also has advocated deporting the refugee children who are being threatened with murder by gangs.  Either Matt is going to ignore the Pope's words (I think this is the most likely scenario) or I get to enjoy the mental gymnastics he is going to have to pull off to reconcile his politics with his religion.

Here is some more information about what the Pope has said in the past about immigration, refugees, and racism.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Barack Obama doesn't care about black people

If Matt Walsh isn't going to write new material, he could at least do us the favor of doing something differently. The very first sentence - "Enough of this, already."  - and the deja vu is already kicking in. Plus, in terms of writing style, this is one of Matt's worst. More angry thesaurus soup.

Once again, I wouldn't even respond to this post, given that he didn't write anything new and he was barely coherent. However, there was something so particularly odious about this post that I can't help but respond. A few weeks ago I wondered whether Matt was taking some of the criticism to heart; now I seriously doubt it.

(Sorry about my tone, by the way. Reading stuff like that makes me a bit cranky. I'll try to keep myself in line.)

To start, everything that I said previously about the echo chamber was demonstrated very well in this post. Matt relies on the same network of conservative media sources that he always does. In fact, when I tried to get more information about a couple of his claims I could pretty much only find references that came from these sources. To take one example: the Nebraska parade float. When I google searched information related to the DOJ investigating this incident, I was bombarded with results from sources like The New American**, the Washington Times and Breitbart. The only sources from outside the echo chamber that I found came, interestingly, from (a Russian television network) and this (which actually seems to be more helpful than the information Matt provides).

Matt also repeats the same disinformation related to the current refugee crisis (he doesn't learn!). He says that impoverished people in the U.S. are "living in the same squalid conditions" - which, given the fact that, for example, there is more violence currently in El Salvador than there was in Iraq at the height of the war - is demonstrably false. Matt says, "Wealthy, upper class, Ivy League politicians can welcome these illegals with open arms because they are insulated from the economic and cultural destruction that is wrought." Actually, many of the Salvadorans have been migrating to Washington D.C., which happens to be one of the most highly educated, wealthy, and politician-dense areas in the country. Furthermore, I must say, I live in an area that is a target destination for Central American migrants - I interact with them on a regular basis - and I have not seen any economic or cultural destruction. I see/hear things in Spanish, and yet, somehow I have managed to survive, dear me.

Now, Matt reveals something very interesting when he says "cultural destruction." Back when certain biological and social scientists demolished the scientific basis for racism, and when various constitutional and legal provisions prohibited some overt forms of racism, people with well-known white supremacist goals began using the term "culture" in place of "race." In debates about immigration, people who had, in other circumstances, spoken about demographic changes and the racial composition of America started talking about "cultural destruction." Now, the ironic thing is, Matt is a Catholic who often writes about how America is a Christian nation and how secularism is destroying society and culture, and many people from Central America are devout Catholics. That definitely leads one to question how much Matt is really concerned about culture when he speaks of "cultural destruction." It also leads one to wonder how much he really believes in the "inherent value of life" when he is so willing to send masses of children back to their imminent deaths (pro-life, indeed)....

Matt repeats the very false claim that Obama "refuses to protect our border" - when, in fact, the border is more secure than it has ever been, the number of undocumented immigrants is still below its peak in 2007, and Obama wants to expedite the deportation of refugee children. Finally, Matt once again says that undocumented immigrants form a voting block, although there is no evidence to support that claim.

As I mentioned before, this is one area where Matt could do a lot to educate himself. He could read about the history of U.S. conquests and military interventions in the very parts of the world where the migrations are coming from (and he could read about this same dynamic of conquered/occupied regions and migrations throughout all of human history). He could learn about how poverty and violence has stemmed from U.S. financial and military support of brutal dictatorships in this region (often to protect the interests of U.S. multinational corporations like United Fruit). He could become a little more acquainted with the School of the Americas (who recently tried to rebrand itself with a new, ungodly long name). He could read about the failed domestic policies, combined with the actions of U.S.-supported Nicaraguan drug-dealing contras, that played a role in the rise of crack and gangs in L.A. Then he could read about how deportations themselves helped to internationalize the L.A. gangs - to bring them to Central America where they are causing the unprecedented violence, which is responsible for the flood of refugees, not just at U.S. borders, but in other countries as well.

But really, in this post, Matt is just using the refugee crisis to make an ill-conceived attempt at race-baiting. He makes a spurious argument that we cannot address the needs of refugee children and African Americans at the same time, thus continuing a long American tradition of pitting marginalized groups against each other (the good 'ol Divide and Conquer). This claim is even harder to swallow given the fact that he opposes virtually every practical step that could make life better for many African Americans. He thinks businesses should be free to discriminate and, somehow believing that there aren't enough intelligent, hardworking African Americans to create demographically representative college populations, and also by necessity assuming that competitive admissions processes don't turn away many, many qualified applicants, he accuses affirmative action programs of setting African Americans back by allowing "unworthy" applicants into college. The one accurate statement that Matt makes in his entire post is, "Yes, racism is still alive in this country." Well, if racism is still alive, then one would expect prominent figures, such as the president of the United States, to talk about a major social problem that extends into so many areas of American life. Unless, I suppose, one thinks racism is a trivial, unimportant matter. Since any mention of race, no matter how delayed, modest, or impotent, by Obama sends Matt into fits of rage, it must be the latter.

In fact, the whole story that inspired this post - some remarks about race by Eric Holder - is a product of the distortion mill that operates inside the echo chamber. The interview covered a wide range of topics and, at the moment Holder made the comment in question, was being asked about calls for impeachment directed at both him and the president, and the Tea Party had also been mentioned. That is when he said: "There's a certain racial component to this for some people. I don’t think this is the thing that is a main driver, but for some there's a racial animus" (emphasis mine). If you have admitted that racism is still alive, then how you can deny that this is true? Yes, surely much of the hatred that is directed at Obama is a product of the extreme partisanship that has been plaguing our politics. I remember most of these same people expressing similar amounts of rage and saying pretty much exactly the same things about Bill Clinton. But, it is also clear that, as Holder said, for some people racism is a component of this rage. The Tea Party had been mentioned. So... Exhibit A.

What Holder said was factually correct.

However, other than suggesting it is a terrible atrocity whenever Obama or Holder makes a comment about race, the main point of Matt's post was that black people do not know what is best for them. Have no fear, black people, Matt is here to tell you exactly how you are wrong and what sorts of policies you should support. You don't have to thank him, but if you want to, he is soliciting handouts on his website. It is hard work plagiarizing yourself two times a week, so he deserves it. .... What's that? Oh, don't worry, when white people get handouts somehow it doesn't cause dependency, drug addiction, teen pregnancy, and the degradation of their race. Funny how things work, huh.

Other than the obvious, there is something very troubling here that I have addressed before and I would like to expand on a bit. Namely, directing all of one's rage at a particular individual does not make much sense and it is not helpful. To sustain this attitude, one must ignore all of the institutional structures and channels of funding that act as influential forces in policy-making and enforcement. There is a lot of continuity between presidencies, as a matter of fact. There are plenty of things I am not happy about that the Obama administration has presided over; however, many of these things were put into place under the Bush administration and had their roots in the Clinton years and beyond. (I should also mention that my list of grievances is based more on empirical evidence and facts than Matt's at times baffling list. Stoking race riots in Florida? Really?) Blaming individual presidents is futile. It obscures too much and aggravates political polarization.

Matt repeats his peculiar claim that there is some sort of covert fraternity between progressives and elites (he often suggests they are one and the same). Based on previous posts, it seems this elite includes owners of large corporations and the political establishment (like Obama). One can only sustain such a narrative by making a complete break with reality (which Matt, inside his echo chamber, obviously has done). How does Matt explain the fact that many self-identified progressives are not so happy with Obama? (The fact that there is a LOT of diversity among the group of people who might be labeled "progressive" is another matter.) To take an example of someone who has recently gotten a lot of attention:  Glenn Greenwald. Glenn Greenwald is a progressive journalist (associated with Snowden leaks) who is a harsh critic of president Obama. Matt says that progressives polices "always benefit the elitist class." How does Matt explain progressive calls to raise the minimum wage and opposition to these calls by corporate elites like Walmart (as well as Matt Walsh himself, who finds himself supporting corporations in these instances)? How does Matt explain many progressives' desire to raise taxes on higher income brackets, frustration with the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling, and support of regulations of banks and corporations? Does Matt actually believe that no elites support Republican politicians or conservative causes? How does he honestly sustain this narrative?

The reality is pretty complex. See, elites are not a homogenous group. They have different, and often competing, interests. (Frequently, what is profitable for one person comes at the direct expense of another person.) They have different ideas about what is best for themselves and for society.  Consequently, elites support different ideologies and different causes. Sometimes this is done in a straightforward manner, and other times elites use the resources of a certain organization or network of organizations to opportunistically further their own agenda. The last few decades have seen a huge rise in networks of think-tanks and allied foundations and media outlets. Having grown within the structure of the U.S. two-party system, these networks have tended to amplify, and are in many ways responsible for, the concomitant intensification of political polarization. However, even among these networks, there is more diversity than a simple partisan binary. Nearly every political ideology that exists in this country has some source of elite funding and support.

Furthermore, this is a large part of the context in which policy-making and enforcement occurs. Often the results of these processes are a product of the competition among the various channels of moneyed interests. To say it is a "compromise" is not even quite accurate - because there is constant re-negotiation and contestation. However, this does shed quite a bit of light on the amount of continuity between different presidencies. The same channels of influence remain in place.

Barack Obama is one person. He will come and go, and the system will live on.

There really is no logical, rational reason for Matt to hate Obama to the extent that he does. It just makes him sound not very thoughtful, and quite a bit rabid. Here is my message to Matt:

Matt, the signature characteristic of propaganda-driven worldviews is their simplicity. The time to worry about your grasp of reality is when everything is seen as simple and dichotomous, black-and-white, good-and-evil. Elite secular progressives vs. Wholesome conservative Christian regular Joes. When you can divide people into two camps and associate everything bad in society with the opposing camp. When your most extreme hatreds are directed at individuals and groups of people (conceived as homogenous entities) rather than broader systems or structures.

Maybe black people aren't the ones being "duped" and drinking the Kool-Aid, Matt.

**P.S. I was going to mention something about The New American being the publication of the John Birch Society, a group who, in the 1960s, said that the Civil Rights Movement was a communist conspiracy.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

I'll check my white male privilege right after you check your arrogant liberal assumptions

I am not sure how Matt doesn't get bored writing the same posts over and over again, but I certainly don't have that patience. I've already responded to the arguments in his latest post, so I will refer you there rather than repeat myself.

Now, I wouldn't necessarily even respond to this post at all, given that I have already, except that I wanted to expand a little bit on my main points, which were:  1) Privilege is not an all-or-nothing phenomenon; 2) Privilege is not equivalent to being wealthy or having only pleasant, enjoyable experiences; 3) There are different kinds of privilege; and 4) Privilege relates to structural inequalities, institutional biases, and social hierarchies.

Matt, if you really come from an impoverished social stratum, then certainly that is an aspect in which you are not privileged. I don't know enough about your background to confirm whether that is the case, however. You have mentioned some years of struggle, but going through some financial rough times in itself does not necessarily place a person in a lower social class. My parents did not have much money most of the time when I was growing up (in fact, if I recall correctly a record I saw, one year their combined gross income was $6). But, due to various sorts of privilege my parents had on the basis of some personal characteristics and cultural capital, the system was not stacked against us and we always knew we could get by in the end. My parents had enough optimism to buy a house in an area that they couldn't afford at the time so that I could attend a good school. I can say the same about my adult life, which has had its share of financial struggle (I've never been well off financially), but always in a context of cultural capital, social support, and institutional privileges that has prevented me from losing all hope or fearing too much.

Anyway, the point is, regardless of your income or your social class, there are many aspects of your life in which you are privileged.

Privilege is being fully absorbed in your very narrow concerns when you have the opportunity to learn about other things. Privilege is sitting in your Starbucks, making your living by writing the same few unresearched thoughts over and over again, and not having to worry about the people who grew the beans in your coffee or, if you added sugar, the people who toiled in sweltering heat in the sugar cane fields. Not having to worry about the people who risked their lives in mines or worked in inhumane sweatshop conditions to provide the raw materials for your computer, your phone, and your clothes. If you do ever think about these people, it is clear you do not think these things are as worthy of discussion or attention as BeyoncĂ©'s music, boys who wear My Little Pony Backpacks, or media coverage of twitter comments about a Coca Cola ad.

Privilege is being able to say things like this: 
Can you name me one particular right or immunity that I possess and you do not? What is one specific and tangible benefit that white males universally enjoy, while all other people are deprived of it?
Well, Matt, I would venture to guess that you have not been racially profiled by the police. How many times have you been stopped and frisked? When you went to the jewelry store to buy your wife's wedding ring, was there any possibility that a security guard would apprehend you and assume you were a thief, based purely on the color of your skin? Have you received a predatory loan from a bank that was targeting people with your skin color? In fact, in addition to your own financial resources, was most of the wealth generated by your parents and grandparents and great-grandparents extracted by people of a different race through fraudulent real estate practices, bad loans, price gauging, and wage inequalities? Are you afraid that rich people are suddenly going to start moving into your neighborhood because they are now interested in its history, and price you out of your home?  Are people very opinionated about how you wear your hair, and do people of other races come up and pet it, like you're an animal?

How many hours, on average, are you detained when you fly on an airplane or cross a border? If you were to take a short trip to Canada, do you think that, upon re-entering the United States, you would be forced to strip naked and answer humiliating questions on the sole basis that you are a Christian? When you write things on the internet that reveal anti-government sentiments, should you be as worried that government agencies are spying on you as a Muslim who expresses similar views? (Given the revelation that the FBI found "Mohammed Raghead" a fitting sample target name in an instructional template for surveillance... certainly the answer should be "no.") Do people create conspiracy theories about the President of U.S. secretly affiliating with your religion - because they believe that being a member of your religion is the worst, most evil thing possible?

How often do people ask you where you are from, or assume that you aren't American? Do people think that you came here illegally, for the purpose of obtaining food stamps? Has anyone assumed you don't know how to speak English?

Did your mother start measuring your waist when you were 10 years old? In sixth grade, did you start having nightmares that all the kids in your class revealed, contrary to your own perceptions, that you were actually fat? When you sat at the lunch table with your male friends, did half of them not eat anything? Did you watch your male friends hold on to cars in the school parking lot to steady themselves, or see their hair fall out, or learn about health problems resulting from under-eating? How many times have you gone the whole day without eating? How many times have you forced yourself to throw up after meals?

How often have you been inappropriately touched or subject to sexual comments by bosses or professors after having achieved something that you were proud of? How many times have you been groped on buses or trains? You mention that men are victims of sexual assault too. True. Let's put aside the fact that these victims are disproportionately people of color, gay, impoverished, in prison, or otherwise marginalized. When you reported your rape, were you asked what you were wearing? Do frequently have the thought, "Is this person going to try to rape me?" Are you constantly subject to stories, real or fake, that prime you to live in constant fear of assault, even in the grocery store parking lot in broad daylight, if you don't get into your car correctly or look into the back seat first or have your keys in your fist?

How long is the list of simple, everyday things you have been told that you cannot do on the basis of your gender (e.g. go camping, mow the lawn, grill a hamburger)? When you are happily carrying things around, do people interfere and try to take the load from you about 90% of the time because they assume you are weak? When you were one of two males in your math course, did your professor/teacher, upon passing the very first tests back, say, "I didn't expect you to do well!" - when you had given him no reason to have any expectations about your performance whatsoever? Have you been passed up for a job opportunity that was given to someone of a different gender with less education and experience? Have you ever, in an effort to get a coworker to address an important issue, had to put on a "damsel in distress" show, complete with tears, because the only circumstance in which he would listen to you was if he was if he felt he was in some way "rescuing" you?

Do you have to worry about what will happen to you, your wife, or your kids if someone has an accident or medical crisis, because the state in which you reside does not recognize your marriage? Do people constantly tell you that your feelings toward your wife are not natural? Do people publicly suggest that your love for your wife is exactly equivalent to someone's love for a horse, and do they suspect you of being a pedophile?

Yeah, you're right. I can't even think of one benefit that you enjoy on the basis of being white or straight or male. You got me.  I'm sure if I were to broaden my perspective to what being white, straight, and male means globally, I would find no evidence of any advantage there either.

There's another point I want to make. You commonly misinterpret criticisms as meaning, "you can't have an opinion that is different than mine." Listen, Matt. I have people of quite different political/religious persuasions who are close to me, who play an important role in my life. We are able to have discussions without calling each other fascists. We are able to expand areas of agreement and get to the roots of our disagreement. I interact with people who have the same religious and/or political positions as you, Matt. I know that it is possible to be conservative, Christian, libertarian... whatever labels you want to use, and still maintain a commitment to facts, evidence, and sound logic. That is the big difference.

You have inserted yourself into this network of media - television, print, online - that reinforces mythical narratives about the world. Not all conservatives buy into this. Not all Christians buy into this. However, this network, which acts as an echo chamber of made-up facts, has institutional and corporate support (more on that in a second), and like a spreading weed, is taking over more and more spaces of public discourse. What I'm talking about here is not just different perspectives or different interpretations of facts. This is an utterly fabricated reality. It is a world where Obama is a secret Muslim socialist, where Hitler implemented stricter gun control laws, where people on food stamps regularly eat caviar, where undocumented immigrants are voting in significant numbers, where (judging by one of your most recent posts, which was totally devoid of accurate information) undocumented immigrants are primarily coming from Mexico in search of government handouts and there are no laws whatsoever to protect migrant children - oh yeah, and the border is not enforced!, and there is some conspiracy involving academia, corporations, and the government.

The ironic thing is that, while there seems to be some part of you that has populist leanings... in the end, the media complex in which you have embedded yourself is supported and funded by some of the political and corporate figures who have a vested interest in maintaining a certain status quo. So, by uncritically accepting their narrative and repeating their sound bites over and over again - in fact, to make your living by parroting this misinformation - you are availing yourself of social hierarchy and structural inequality. You are making your living, essentially, as a mouthpiece for particular political and corporate elites.

Here's the thing, Matt. You are self-employed. Your blog is your living. You actually have the opportunity to do research on the issues that you care about, and make some sort of positive, productive contribution with your work. But you do not. You write about the same four or five topics over and over again. Roughly:

1. Anything related to sex
2. Anything related to women
3. Relationship advice
(so far, not much different from a women's magazine)
4. Reasons why Liberal Secular Progressive Feminists are fascists who are somehow suppressing your freedom of speech
5. Reasons why schools and government agencies are bad.

You bring up conflict diamonds only as a device to demonstrate that Liberals are hypocritical in a post that is really about pornography (#1 in the list above). You bring up victims of gun violence only as a platform to criticize feminists or liberals who support policies (gun control) that you oppose (#4). You make an off-handed statement about having compassion for child migrants, only to say that they should all be deported on account of the law (or, what you erroneously perceive the law to be), without taking any time whatsoever to ponder who these children are - like, give them real faces (see below) - what they are trying to escape, what they might have to suffer if they go back, and what laws exist to protect them.

Matt, there is more for you to think about and research than other people's sexual behaviors.  I know that it can be fun and titillating to think and write about sex all the time, finding the perfect provocative photos to insert in the right places, but there is a bigger world out there. Some people have things to worry about that do not relate to sex or liberal-fascist bogeymen!

What have you done to educate yourself about the prison-industrial complex - its growth and astonishing scale, the racial biases that exist at all levels, and its destruction of the communities and families of people of color? Are you able to identify the 3 major alliances in the Middle East, describe their relationship to the United States, and explain how these alliances have been shifting the past few years? Do you know why Somalia is so unstable, or what the U.S. support of warlords and foreign interventions has to do with the rise of Al-Shabaab? What kind of attention are you paying to what is currently happening in Gaza? Have you spent any time reading about the potential consequences of the Trans-Pacific Partnership? Or the impact of the War on Drugs in South and Central America as well as the U.S.?

I don't mean to sound like a know-it-all - like I am trying to one-up you. Certainly we all have holes in our knowledge (and I don't assume that my knowledge is perfect or that you are necessarily completely ignorant about all these topics). I am simply suggesting that there are many other topics worthy of consideration, which yes, would require research. You know... like, actual work.

So, when people ask you to check your privilege, they are NOT saying, "have the same opinion as me." They are saying, "Do some reading outside of the echo chamber. Obtain more knowledge. Listen to the experiences of other people. Be humble. Don't act like you have all the answers to everything."


Now I am going to quickly nit-pick a few things that Matt said toward the end, as a case in point (re: Matt should spend more time obtaining knowledge about the things he writes about).

Please use real words when you write to me. I like Dr. Seuss, too, but I think adult conversations require actual language. “Cisgender” is not a real word.  It is a series of phonemes (distinguishable units of sound) that has a specific meaning that is mutually understood by a group of people; therefore, it is a word. As far as I can tell, it was just invented by some guy on the internet back in 1995. Because, anytime we can trace the origin of a word, it is not a "real" word. I know all words have to start somewhere, but when they’re born in a chatroom because a transsexual activist wanted to come up with a label that would normalize his behavior, I can’t help but balk. So then, what exactly are the legitimate conditions and parameters for creating new words, Matt, Arbiter of Language? Matt obviously thinks it is acceptable for him, a shock-jock blogger, to make up words in his blog posts (although I must admit, I find it entertaining every time he uses the word "neoliberal," thinking he made it up, having no idea what it actually means in common usage).

Having studied linguistics a bit, I find it particularly annoying when Matt makes all these arguments on linguistically dubious premises.
 Also, Kira, how dare you call me a man in the first place? The funny thing about ‘cisgender’ is that you automatically contradict yourself the moment you use it to describe anyone. If gender is fluid, and if, in this progressive utopia, ‘male’ and ‘female’ are but select options on a three-dimensional spectrum which allows all of us to be male, female, neither, both, or some mixture, then you cannot ever confidently identify another human being by their gender. I never told you that I identify by the gender assigned to me at birth, so, by your own convictions, only a reactionary Neanderthal would be so primitive as to hoist that identity upon me.

And even if I did tell you, at one point, that I identify as male and that I was born a male, how do you know that I haven’t since expanded my understanding of my own gender expression (or whatever)?
It is true that everyone is not required to identify with a particular label or fit themselves into a particular category. However, given the fact that you adamantly deny that transgender is even a real thing, anyone is probably safe in assuming that you do not identify as transgender. Based on your general attitude in all of your posts, anyone would also probably be pretty safe in assuming you have not expanded your understanding of anything.

White males are responsible for slavery? So the Egyptians, the Mayans, the Chinese, the Indians, the Arabs — these were all white civilizations, were they? And the Africans who both owned and sold slaves, they were also white? OK, then I guess the good news for us white folk is that we can now take credit for the pyramids and algebra. After all, if you’re going to hang the sins of every civilization around our necks, we should at least get to claim their achievements as well.

Or you could put down the gender books, pick up a history book, and realize that you’d be very hard pressed to find a form of evil unique to the white man. Our history is stained by violence and tyranny, but so is the history of all people, from Central America, to Africa, to China and beyond.

By the way, the Europeans and the Americans were among the first to abolish the terrible institution, while some countries in Africa and the Middle East have yet to come on board the abolition bandwagon. Maybe you should go talk to them.
When it comes to telling people to pick up history books, you would benefit greatly from taking your own advice. Now, you could easily just make the point that anyone is, in theory, capable of doing terrible things if they have the power to do so, and that there is nothing inherent to whiteness per se (which is not a concrete biological object) that explains slavery in the Americas. You didn't need to add all this distorted, unhelpful information. Because, in doing so, you conflate very different things (and create a pseudo-evolutionary "white savior" narrative). The word "slavery" applies to different phenomena. Different forms of slavery have existed and been abolished in different eras. The slavery that existed in the Americas was qualitatively - and quantitatively! - different than the forms of slavery that existed prior. And yes, Europeans and Americans abolished this particular form of slavery... because they happened to be the ones who created and had control over it. When you talk about currently existing slavery in other parts of the world (actually, it still exists in the U.S. as well) a lot of it is tied to economic structures that are ultimately driven by the interests of... you guessed it... Europeans and Americans.

Oh by the way, if you want to read Matt's post without giving him clicks... here you go.