11 February, 2021

Systemic Bias

We all make mistakes. Some are avoidable. Andrea Mitchell of NBC is in trouble for this tweet.

She’s mistaken. The full quote from Macbeth, Act 5, Scene 5 is:

She should have died hereafter;
There would have been a time for such a word.
To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Mitchell, however, is clearly thinking of The Sounds and the Fury by William Faulkner. But, as John Hindraker at Power Line Blog points out:

Here’s the thing, though. No one who studied Faulkner even superficially could fail to understand that the title of The Sound and the Fury was a Shakespearean reference. This was explained in every freshman English class where Faulkner’s book has been taught.

Here’s why: The full Shakespeare quote, from MacBeth, says that life “is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” Why did Faulkner choose that Shakespeare quote for the title of his book? Because the first section of The Sound and the Fury is, in fact, a “tale told by an idiot.” It is a narrative by a character named Benji who lacks normal mental capacity. He describes many things that he does not understand–other people playing golf, for example–and the art of that section of the book is for Faulkner to write it so that Benji doesn’t understand what he is seeing, but we do.

Hindraker goes on to say that Mitchell clearly “knows little or nothing about Shaespeare or Faulkner”. That would be depressing, if true, since according to Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit:

It gets worse. According to Wikipedia, at least, she majored in English Literature at Penn.

Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post gets in on the act:

And Reynolds points out that “these people consider themselves the best and the brightest.”

I don’t think they’re stupid. I think the answer is simpler, and it allows me to use one of the left’s favorite buzzwords.

I think the answer lies in systemic bias against conservatives. Leftists have an unwavering belief that all conservatives are stupid. And because of this and their own smug superiority, they see “gotcha” moments everywhere, and can’t wait to pounce when one arrives.

See, if I saw Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) or even House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA-12) say something that seemed off to me, I wouldn’t immediately leap to tweet about how stupid they are. I would check to make sure my memory is correct first.

In fact, I just tried this from my phone. I opened up a search page and started typing “sound and “ and that was enough to get a suggestion of “sound and fury signifying nothing”. Tapped to search, and after the bits about Andrea Mitchell and Ted Cruz, the next few results were all about Shakespeare. Took me about 10-15 seconds. Mitchell could have done this.

But the systemic bias against conservatives doesn’t allow leftists to do that. They have to show their superiority, and that must be done immediately while the iron is hot.

Exit question: Jennifer Rubin’s response seems to imply that because Cruz doesn’t know the origin of the quote, that he has no soul. But since Cruz is right and it’s Rubin that’s wrong, does that mean that she’s the one with no soul?

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