Posted by: zhak39 | March 6, 2010

B.F. Skinner and the Former Governor of our Northwesternmost State

Though it’s almost a criminal simplification of behaviorism, the idea ‘if you ignore it, it will go away’ is a tenet that kind of works.  I propose an experiment.

For some reason in our cult of personality society, a number of people have latched on to a politician from the Great White North.  I don’t understand the appeal but for some reason this person keeps popping up in on-line news, conversations, newspapers.  Just yesterday I saw blurbs about the hospitality gifts she had received somewhere and today a D-list comedian got herself a headline for making a joke about the pol.

Enough.  Let’s test Skinnerian reinforcement.  Can we as a reasonable people stop paying attention to the individual and if we do, will her political aspirations fade away?  Let’s give it a try, shall we?


  1. I dunno,that would require prying a remote from my cold dead hand.

    Can we nominate others into the club? I’m thinking of adding…

    Scary, skinny blond columnists who can’t write, but have a habit of wearing black cocktail dresses to morning talk shows. (where was she the night before? You can ask Chris’s band to apply newly discovered adjectives)

    Minority commentators with bad pompadours.

    Old, fat, deaf, hillbilly heroin addicts.

    Anything fair and balanced.


  2. Oh, yes. Let’s make a long unreferenced list. I like your thinking.

  3. I invite the attention our friend from the north is given. I relish the exposure. I encourage the pol to get on out there, by gosh!


    Well, let’s back up. Have you spent much time in political chat rooms? They’re quite a soupy morasse of human bile. Lots of name calling, finger pointing, character assassination of not only pols and pundits but, each other.

    Yet I enter and I ask a few simple questions.

    1. If you don’t like the current administration, tell me what the alternative administration would have done or not done that would have been different.

    I get silence.

    2. If you really didn’t want the current president and the current congress in place, what did you do, aside from sitting in here criticizig, to prevent these folks from getting into office?

    I get — I voted.

    3. If you really dislike the current administration and congress, what will you do, beyond sitting in here and complaining, to ensure these folks aren’t re-elected?

    I get — What I say in here has meaning.

    4. Who are you going to support in the next election?

    I get — Whoever rises to the surface.

    The only cream to rise to the top has been — you guessed it — a pol from the great white north.

    And beyond all the personifying and the sitting in the basement in one’s underwear contributing to a chat room, people aren’t willing to work real hard for change. They feel more politically aware than ever because they’ve found a group of politically naive people just like them who have the same visceral reaction to the current administration, but no experience, no sense of history and not a lot upstairs — even collectively.

    This person from the north country. Not real smart, not willing to work real hard to learn issues, never going to work hard to find solutions — it’s not as fun as criticizing the difficult decisions made by others afterall.

    And, this person is even slammed by this person’s own network folks. Did you see Glenn Beck pressure this person to name a favorite founding father? It was like watching a teacher tear down a student everyone knows hasn’t done the homework and is trying to cover that up.

    If that’s what will be put up against the current president, I for one, say, you go girl! You betcha!

  4. That may be a tactical solution for the Democratic party but what does it do strategically for the country? In other words, how long can we as a country ferment in a septic stew of pop culture and empty headed bombast?

  5. I just spent an hour writing a response and editing it. My son came in and had several good comments. I promised him he could see my entire response because I thought he needed to know thatwhen I capitalized things like, “BLACK PRESIDENT” and “TOTAL SURPRISE,” I was not being, in his words, “racist.”

    Then the Internet ate it all.

    So, I’ll be brief.

    You and I had parents who allowed us to think on our own and, to make mistakes. If we had some concept of people, or prejudice against people, our parents did nothing more than encourage us from keeping an open mind. So what did we do?

    We kept an open mind.

    And we went out. We met all sorts of people. Some were good. Some were bad. Some were great. Some were particularly awful.

    At this point, I cannot speak for you.

    But from my perspective, in my life, if the ideal person was a white man and woman, with 2 kids, living in a nice neighborhood? That was not where I found true love and true happiness.

    That was not where I found truth at all.

    I found truth in the respect they had for each other and, the honesty they had with their kids.

    Going back to where this conversation began, the people we are so discouraged about are simply dishonest and, are people who never had parents who respected them. I believe that.

    Thank you (for me) Dick and Jane and (for you), Dan and Pat.

  6. You know that I work for a joint venture between an HBCU (historically black college/university) and a traditionally women’s liberal arts university. The latter statistically shows the greatest diversity in the state reflected in the students, staff and faculty. This morning the dean, who grew up somewhere between where we grew up and where you went to college, was talking about diversity ‘then’ and diversity ‘now.’

    “Diversity then was we had an Italian family move into the next valley.”

    It never occurred to me that I would move to the southeast United States and find the greatest authentic ‘ethnic’ foods in my friends’ kitchens. That my kids would pick up Asian phonemes and tonalities at the same time they were learning English. That we would gather in groups of human rainbows.

    What a blessing.

  7. Do we care what happened in Glen’s Falls?

    I mean, REALLY.

    Your kids eat a more diversified diet than mine. Good for them. Bad for me. And mine.

    I just don’t have the patience.

    All of that aside (and we can do this outside these confines), I have reached the point where “diversity” is just code for, “us” versus “them,” which means either we’ve never overcome our barriers or, we did, we prospered, but significant segments of our population are just coming around to what you and I grew up with and suddenly (for them) and truth be told, we’re right back where the country was before you and I knew anything about prejudice and, we’re starting over because we have to allow others to catch up on two generations of progressive thought.

    That really disappoints me.

    Nonetheless, I’m happy — very happy — to have a kindred spirit.

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