Sunday, March 25, 2012

On Cultural/Societal Parsing and Lumping...

Per, parse is a  verb (used with object) which means:
1. to analyze (a sentence) in terms of grammatical constituents, identifying the parts of speech, syntactic relations, etc.
2. to describe (a word in a sentence) grammatically, identifying the part of speech, inflectional form, syntactic function, etc.
It is a type of intricate, detailed analysis to see what the different parts are, and how they make up the whole.  I like applying that method of analysis to culture and society, (or segments of it, such as the popular culture), especially, though not exclusively, to Southern heritage and its critics and opponents.

Basically, for me, what culture, societal or even political and academic, parsing boils down to is examining constituent parts -- and there are myriads of them -- to see how they are alike and how they differ. Because to me, how things differ is as important as how they are alike.

A fascinating aside here is to note where and how the champions of diversity and multiculturalism are loathe to acknowledge difference. My gosh, without difference, there would BE no diversity.

In any case, people like Corey Meyer and Brooks Simpson, and to a lesser extent Andy Hall, are lumpers. gives two defintions of "lump" that define the word in the manner that I use it here:

Lump: verb (used with object)
10. to unite into one aggregation, collection, or mass (often followed by together ):
11. to deal with, handle, consider, etc., in the lump or mass: to lump unrelated matters indiscriminately.
It describes the behavior and attitude of those who are prejudiced ... who prejudge people in order to classify them into groups without parsing their beliefs and statements to see how they --  you guessed it --differ.

In other words, when it comes to Southern heritage, I view the aggregate. I see the constituent parts, I see how they differ.  Simpson, Meyer,, view the aggregate, wrongly, as a monolith, refusing to recognize that it even has differing constituent parts. They lump it into one big whole.

Imagine, for example, that a group of people exhibit ten attributes of all kinds, from admirable at (1),  gradually decreasing down to dishonorable at (10).  Parsers not only consider them all as part of the group, but takes into consideration the proportion of each.  If the group exhibits many admirable traits and few dishonorable ones, parsers note not only the differences, but the proportions.

Lumpers, on the other hand, ignore all but the dishonorable ones and apply only that one attribute to the group as a whole, in an attempt to make it a totally dishonorable monolith. To define everyone in the group -- even those who not only do not share the dishonorable traits, but who denounce them -- as dishonorable.  This, of course, is itself dishonorable, and worse... odious. Simpson is especially prone to this, and somewhat adroit at it. Corey attempts it but his attempts are clumsy.

 In any case, it's time for the parsers, those who acknowledge the reality of the aggregate's differences, to trumpet show the world who truly believes in recognizing diversity... and to stand up to the lumpers and denounce them for the liars they are.

Photos: Copyright © Georgios Alexandris and © Mistercheezit and


  1. The fact that Corey is a teacher sort of makes your argument moot. Not only does that require a recognition of diversity but training in handling diversity in the classroom.

  2. Rob, being a teacher may "require" all kinds of things that don't get done ... so being a teacher is no guarantee of anything. Besides, diversity shouldn't be a priority in the classroom. It's social engineering, indoctrination, not education. That's why students in the US are falling behind students in other developed countries in actual educational subjects (math, science, reading, etc.)

  3. Diversity is as much a reality in the classroom as the diversity in ways in which students learn. It is an unavoidable reality. But my god, are you suggesting we "lump" children? Heavens no. And that is not why students are falling behind.

  4. I'm not suggesting anything. I flat out said diversity as a priority in the classroom is social engineering, indoctrination, not education. That's why students in the US are falling behind.

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  6. Diversity isn't a priority in the classroom education is the priority. If not, all of the millions of dollars spent on testing would see a cost increase to meet everyone's cultural and social status. Your argument is that we "lump" people. I am pointing out how absurd that argument is and now you are saying that we actually make it a priority thereby ruining education.

    1. If you can do better in education, by all means go ahead. I'm sure romance novels will turn the tide.

    2. Make up your mind. Are we lumpers, or do we put diversity above everything else? Seems like you are defeating your point but I'll give you a chance to clarify.

  7. Well, if you actually read my blog post, you'll know who's doing the lumping and who they're lumping together:

    "In other words, when it comes to **Southern heritage,** I view the aggregate. I see the constituent parts, I see how they differ. Simpson, Meyer,, view the aggregate, wrongly, as a monolith, refusing to recognize that it even has differing constituent parts. They lump it into one big whole."

    You're the one who brought classrooms and Corey being a teacher into this discussion as if that would somehow disprove my description of him as a lumper of Southern heritage advocates. It doesn't. He lumps. So does Perfesser Simpson. So do you.

  8. First, as I've said many times, it's not Southern Heritage. You ignore everything that is Southern and instead focus on the 5 years of choice. You are a celebrator of Confederate Heritage and all things that entail. They also do not lump it in as a whole. For if they did, their posts would be on the same topic relentlessly. It would make the concept of Civil War "memory" moot in and of itself because something with a lack of diversity would not need a study of multiple interpretations.

    I did bring that matter to the attention of the reader to show the very thin argument you have laid forward. You estimate that he lumps, which is incredibly wrong. Case in point, I am Southern, I have Confederate heritage, does he lump me or my interpretation of such into a category as you are? No. So again, nice rant, bad analysis.

  9. I was about to make a post about how poorly written this blog post was. The fact that it never uses any actual examples and just lumps some individuals together without explaining precisely why they deserve to be lumped up for the uninitiated. I was going to ask how exactly you can be certain that they are using the (10) and that the (10) isn't actually the norm. I was even going to comment on the absurdity of using a 1-10 scale to measure subjective things like that particularly when you've already named your bias. But then I read the comments.

    At that point I was made award of ignorant comments about social engineering and diversity causing low test scores. Aside from the fact that you have no data to support any of those comments, it's also entirely wrong. Actually if you took steps to exclude much of the southern school system American test results get higher as it turns out, which speaks against your over all argument in general. Additionally diversity has nothing to do with grades and everything to do with being able to work in a society that is actually very diverse. We have to recognize that people have diverse cultures, diverse thoughts, and diverse opinions. What kind of hegemony are you trying to espouse here?

    Finally, this southern heritage nonsense is just about maddening. Confederate Heritage is no more meaningful than the heritage of early Jamestown or the Spanish colonies in Florida. Why aren't you crusading against the injustice of the early Spanish colonies being all but ignored in history books? Why is the Civil War era your pet issue? I mean of all issues to hang on to you choose the most divisive possible and then provide biased induced arguments. It's like a teenager crying out for attention at that point by doing the most controversial thing possible and doing their hardest to go against the grain.

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  11. Well, hello, Joey. What are you doing here? I had no idea you visited my blog or were interested in my views on things. Did Rob incite you to come here? He needs reinforcements? HA!

    The 1 to 10 scale was an ILLUSTRATION. A metaphor. A figure of speech. Do you know what those are?

    The term "test scores" appears nowhere -- that's NO WHERE -- in anything I've written in this blog post or its comment thread. Do pay attention to what you're writing about/responding to.

    Confederate heritage may mean nothing to you but you aren't everyone. You emphatically are not me. Confederate heritage DOES mean something to me -- and that it does is none of your damn business, got it? WHY it means something to me is ALSO none of your damn business.

    Now scram.

  12. Rob, I choose to sometimes use the terms "Southern heritage" and "Confederate heritage" interchangeably. So what? You can tell me until you're yankee-blue in the face that I can't do that. Guess what. I'm doing it.

    I ignore everything that is Southern and instead focus on the five years of choice? You may think you are omniscient, but there are things you obviously... Do. Not. Know. For example, that I wrote a 120,000-word novel that clearly focuses on a great deal that is traditionally Southern, only four sentences of which vaguely allude to the Civil War:

    Troy: "Now you’ve done it."
    Max: "What are you talking about?"
    Troy: ""Letting some radical feminist who isn’t even employed here write policy for this company."
    Max: "Oh, you mean Grant."
    Troy: *****"Yeah. Grant. Apt name, huh? Hidden by the flaxen hair and womanly face there’s a hard-drinking, scorched-earth general on the lookout for an opportunity to whop somebody." ****

    You may be a Southerner, Rob, and you may "have" Confederate heritage, but you are not a Confederate heritage advocate. You'd just as soon see Confederate heritage wiped off the face of the earth, like every one else on the crusade against it. So of course he's not going to lump you into the racist-Confederate-heritage-monolith.

    Now get lost.

  13. Ah, Joey, one other thing before you beat it off my blog comments.

    You wrote,

    "I was going to ask how exactly you can be certain that they are using the (10) and that the (10) isn't actually the norm. I was even going to comment on the absurdity of using a 1-10 scale to measure subjective things like that particularly when you've already named your bias. But then I read the comments."

    Go back to the blog post and look at the paragraph that discusses the 10 idea. Look at the very first word in the paragraph: "Imagine."


    Now look at the two words that follow it: "for example."


    Good lord. I didn't say anybody was using a list of traits numbered 1 through 10. How could you POSSIBLY get that out of a paragraph that indicates I'm using an IMAGINARY scenario for ILLUSTRATION purposes? Either you weren't paying attention to what you read, or you read it, knew it was a hypothetical scenario, and chose to ignore that and PRETEND I meant it literally. Which is it? Poor reading or deliberate misunderstanding?

    To reiterate, I said to IMAGINE that the traits that characterized a group of people COULD be listed 1 through 10. It was an ILLUSTRATION of how lumpers lump -- by putting as many Southerners as possible into the most negative category they can find on the list.

    Simpson is especially bad about doing this -- or used to be. He would go to the SHPG and comb through dozens and dozens and dozens of posts, IGNORING EVERY ONE OF THEM until he found one he THOUGHT was negative and damaging enough -- f'rinstance, somebody making a comment HE deemed to be "wacist" ... or "dissing" the U.S. flag or whatever. Then he would attempt to smear the ENTIRE SHPG group of over 1,000 people with a post only one of them made. He would even attempt to disparage the entire Southern heritage movement with it. He LUMPED them all together and attempted to characterize them all by that one post.

    He did that numerous times when I was a member of SHPG. I notice he hasn't trolled much there since I left -- or if he still does, he doesn't post about it much.

    Next time you come in here trying to be condescending and supercilious and holier-than-thou, make sure you accurately read the post you're commenting on.

  14. Rob, when I talk about "diversity" in the classroom, I'm talking about TEACHING kids the politically correct "value" of diversity -- you know, as in "Diversity is our strength", per Slick Willie Clinton.

    It's right up there with teaching kids multiculturalism (all cultures are equal, except those derived from white Europeans, which are oppressive and exploitive of non-white, non-Europeans).

  15. I didn't tell you that you could or could not do anything. Much like some of the moronic politicians of the old South, you seem to think I am telling you that you can't have something....

    I am absolutely thrilled that you decided to include other aspects of Southern culture in a romance novel. However, given the magnitude of time you spend on "Confederate Heritage" my comment still holds true.

    I do have Confederate heritage. I've also got Union heritage, and some anti-Confederate heritage as well. I am also an advocate of Confederate History. Not heritage. You do not equate the two and I am glad your interpretation does not. It symbolizes perfectly memory vs history. I do not advocate lies. Sorry. Do I think those people fought and fought courageously; no doubt about it. I just don't sweep everything else under the rug which you commonly do. You lump heritage/history into that one aspect....lumper. Also, that is not why I am categorized as such.

    I don't think I will get lost thank you though, especially when you direct comments at me farther down.

    Actually all cultures are equal inherently as in they are born equal with the same blank state. What they do to build on or reduce that culture in a life time is completely relative. There are countries that are better off and produce better results due to a number of varying reasons, yet that does not create an eternal supremacy as Noel seems to advocate.

    Also, no teacher creates lessons to demonstrate that white european cultures are completely oppressive. We show the positives and negatives of every culture. Enlightenment and so on. Japanese imperialism, Ottoman Expansion etc. I can't help it that people like you are blinded by that fact and instead only concentrate on the negative aspects of White Anglo-Saxon culture. You really need to focus on the positive. You've got a bad attitude.

  16. Rob, you are attempting to dictate what terminology I can use. And do note that how much time I spend on Confederate heritage is none of your business. It's not your concern at all.

    I do not equate Confederate history and Confederate heritage because they are not the same thing; they are, however, related. Anyone can study Confederate history but Confederate heritage is a birthright. It is part of MY birthright.

    No, I do not sweep everything else under the rug. I do not sweep anything under any rug, and I don't lump history/heritage into the one aspect that the Confederates fought courageously. How you can read all the various aspects of Southern heritage I've written about and come to that conclusion is mystifying.

    You are a lumper because you attempt to tar Confederate heritage advocates with the same negative brush.

    No, all cultures are not inherently equal. That can be conceptualized by an aspect of culture that represents the whole thing for comparison purposes to other cultures. Architecture is an excellent aspect for comparison. You can go back hundreds of years and see that Europeans understood mathematics and engineering and used them to produce soaring cathedrals with flying buttresses and arched vaulted ceilings and intricately carved friezes, while cultures in, say, the South Pacific or subSaharan Africa were producing "architecture" in the form of grass or mud huts that were the same kind they'd built for generations...

    No teacher does that? How do you know? You'd have to know all teachers and know what lessons they create in order to know that. You make some seriously absurd statements sometimes. You also put words in my mouth and you seriously need to stop it.

    I didn't say teachers create lessons to demonstrate that white European cultures are COMPLETELY oppressive. I said that teaching diversity is right up there with teaching kids multiculturalism, which says "all cultures are equal, except those derived from white Europeans, which are oppressive and exploitive of non-white, non-Europeans."

    I don't concentrate on the negative aspects of white Anglo-Saxon culture -- far from it. I acknowledge that the negatives exist but I don't totally define white European culture by its negative aspects, which is multiculturalism requires.

  17. Telling me to "Scram" is probably the number one way to incite me to continue posting.

    The problem is that you aren't debating actual issues, all you seem capable of are tearing apart semantics and trying to undermine the actual argument in order to attempt to discredit the speaker. Unfortunately for you anyone trained in the art of debate sees through this nonsense and won't bite. So back to the original point.

    Multi-culturalism is immensely important. It is important that school children understand the crimes perpetrated in the past so that they do not see those actions as worthy of emulation. They need to see that European culture has been a grand and wonderful thing, but also that it committed horrendous atrocities that should never be emulated.

    The nature of teaching equality requires that all the cultures become equal, this in turn requires that white European culture has to give up some of its over equality. To you this looks like down playing white culture and demeaning it, what it is actually doing is bringing it to an equal level.

    Let me frame it this way. As a white person you could get in a time machine and go back to any point in history with impunity and blend in fine and. If you were black or colored in some way suddenly you can't go back more than 50 years without your life being dramatically altered when you get there.

    That's the way the history books are written, white people dominate history and they do so often on the backs of non white European culture. I don't understand your need to play the martyr with this confederate history nonsense but I suppose it's the same desire many Christian religious groups have in trying to act as if they're persecuted or in the minority in any way from any vantage point.

    I get that it's hard to watch your culture being the dominant one for all of civilization to suddenly lose its pedestal and slowly become equal in all opportunities to every other culture but fighting that is just fighting the flow of progress.

    Progress is moving forward and people like you are relics that are slowly and thankfully fading away to make way for a much better future for humanity. Unfortunately your kind is going down kicking and screaming making things difficult for those of us in favor of progress, fortunately time is on our side with this one.

    Southern Heritage will become the same historical curiosity any other has, we can only hope people will stop identifying themselves by geographical locations and at some point start identifying as humans. Realistically you're only a southerner by product of random birth, just as I was born in the north by the same random chance.

    Why should we concentrate on what makes us different? Differences are divisive. We should instead concentrate on the fact that we're all human and what makes us alike and work to build our collective strengths for the betterment of society.

  18. I wasn't dictating anything and when you attempt to make the terminology a talking point in order to defeat an argument of mine, it does become my concern. It also is my concern mainly because I am interested in the interpretation of the Civil War.

    I agree Connie, Confederate Heritage and Confederate History are not interchangeable. One is actually based on historical fact, the other is what you adhere to. It also isn't merely only your birthright, it is also mine and whoever else was born with that sort of Confederate ancestry. My interpretation is as much Confederate Heritage as yours is.

    You do sweep things under the rug, usually in the fashion of downplaying certain things in the historical narrative. I come to that conclusion because that is pretty much what you represent. I've yet to see you, though I admit I am late to the game of the world that is Connie, write one piece that questions the narrative that your cohorts hold so dear.

    "You are a lumper because you attempt to tar Confederate heritage advocates with the same negative brush."

    No not really. I have some friends that look at Confederate heritage but they represent it for what it is.

    Actually Connie you should go back thousands of years to see how the Mediterraneans, i.e. Roman were using concrete which is something that was lost after the barbarian European Germanic tribes sacked Rome. It was only through the Middle Eastern Muslims that the traditions of Socrates and Aristotle lived on. Plus their Architecture is something to marvel at when you think about the Taj Mahal or the Rock. Then we can also look at Africa and Mexico and so on and look at the massive testimony to architecture that they created i.e. the pyramids which have stood the test of time. These were created long before the "soaring cathedrals." Thanks for demonstrating your lack of historical knowledge in this area. It's fun watching you defeat your own arguments.

    "No teacher does that? How do you know? You'd have to know all teachers and know what lessons they create in order to know that. You make some seriously absurd statements sometimes. You also put words in my mouth and you seriously need to stop it. "

    I know because anything below the college level has to teach according to standards. We have to adhere to these because tests will be based on them which means our jobs are based on them. They are open to public domain and multiculturalism isn't in there. Not very absurd at all, it only takes a rudimentary understanding of the present education system. Thanks for totally ignoring the statements on Japanese imperialism or the spread of the Ottoman Empire.

    Actually you do recognize the negative aspects in a round about way. All you constantly talk about, instead of glorifying, is others', so called, attempts at demonizing Anglo-Saxon culture. You pay attention to the negative aspects more than we do actually. I like your new word though; multiculturalism. Guess you'll be replacing those archaic words such as elite, liberal, leftist, south hater so on and etc. You should write a dictionary of second hand curse words to use when frustrated.

  19. Noticed how you ran back to your safe haven on facebook to escape Joey and get your pat on the back from the indoctrinated masses. Seriously Connie, that's pretty shameful even for you.

  20. People in our movement need to know what they're up against, Rob.

  21. I'm sure that's the excuse they believe as reality tramples them.

  22. You like the notion of seeing what or who you dislike trampled?


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