Wednesday, June 29, 2011

American Bob: "Get Along?"

Another new episode of the new show.


The Partisan said...

You mentioned earlier that your trying to keep this show a bit more serious in tone, but your images are starting to drift back into your "geek" comfort zone a smidge.

Just a friendly heads up for future reference.

Robert said...

Ugh... Just stop. Conflict is life? We didn't have arguments in the past because there were too many white heterosexual males in office? Seriously? You can't be this stupid Bob.

If you are, then you are no better than Glenn Beck and everyone else who try to separate people whenever they can.

Here's a video I think you should watch, but I'm pretty sure you wouldn't be able to understand it since you love to highlight the difference between whites and blacks.

I used to be real angry at you for doing these kinds of shows, but now I just pity you. You have your head so far up your own ass its depressing. Hope you smarten up soon.

O.T said...

I still like compromise. I know we cant all get along, thats nature. I would prefer peace to be in places where peace is preferable.

War should be left on the stage of ideas. Peace should be in the world where we try to shoot each other.

David (The Pants) said...

Like it or hate it, this show is still good food-for-thought. I do agree with The Partisan that the images were getting into that area, and I don't think that's a bad thing personally, but I'm part of the audience that doesn't mind that.

Dave from canada said...

Wait, bob, are you suggesting that Trey Parker's traditional solution of declaring both sides equally wrong is not true? BLASPHEMY.

@ Robert

I'm pretty sure bob isn't using free association and consipracy theories to stir up latent racism in his followers. In this context, your comparison has no weight.

He's right anyhow. Most healthy systems are based on conflict. You body cannot build immunity to disease without fighting it first. Scientific theories cannot be relied upon until we have made every effort to disprove them.

You cannot build muscle without actually causing some damage to the muscle you already has. The conflict and external pressure are what force

You can always tell a weak position or argument by it being one that does not stand up to scrutiny.

Compromise is only really valuable if both sides have equally or relatively similarly goals/platforms.

The compromise between Say, giving gay people the right to marry as in new york and having them ritualistically murdered by the state like rick warren would like, is still not acceptable.

Arturo said...

I have to say Bob,
those last words really struck a chord with me

Cartogriffi said...

Compromise usually goes one of two ways, the "meet in the middle" and the "give and take." I think politics in America have leaned far too much on the first one of late, and its given us a lot of half-constructed (and half-funded) programs that just flail about.

Take welfare for a moment, quite often people on welfare discover that getting a job will actually reduce the amount of money coming into the house. It's hard to put long hours into a low-end job you hate if it ends up getting you less money, but if the system was better funded (and constructed) we could give people partial assistance while they work. This is a simplification of a very complex problem, but the government seems to have ton of programs like this.

At the moment many people are trying to cut them entirely, but a little more funding would get a lot more out of them.

TheAlmightyNarf said...

I'm a bit torn on this... I do agree that with American demographics consistently spreading further apart from each other, the wants and needs of individuals are becoming all the more contradictory to each other. That's the single biggest advantage of having state and municipal governments largely independent from the federal government.

However, I still think compromise should be the goal, if not a truly achievable one. I would rather we attempt solutions that make as many people happy as possible than demand the solutions that benefit myself the most.

Smashmatt202 said...

I recall people near Israel or somewhere near there refused to get along and "compromise" because it meant that they had to give up something, and they didn't want to give up anything.

Personally, I genuinely like the idea of compromise, because I thought it meant that that we could avoid fighting and arguing. ...So much for that I guess.

Bodglin said...

Smells like Charles Darwin

Adam said...

Yeah, I don't think America has ever been a place where compromise was a committed national ideal. Even the formation of the country eschewed it. Right before the revolutionary war happened and America fought to become an independent nation America had the second highest standard of living on the planet. Only Britain was higher. Many if not most of the then colognists weren't too keen on the idea of breaking off from Britain since things were comfortable even with being subserveant to a parent nation, but an inspired group decided that "Yeah, we can do better than them."

Americans don't like compromise. As much as we like to throw around such flowery terms now, we've never really held true to them. Because in the end compromise means someone had to give up something, and that completely goes against our competitive nature.

Avistew said...

I don't think of compromise as meaning "we meet halfway". I think of it as meaning "I'll keep an open mind as you explain your point of view, and my position might change accordingly". You said it yourself in your last video, changing your mind when you learn new information is a good thing.

This being said, I don't think everyone will always agree on everything. I still prefer talking it through first though. You can usually tell when a discussion is going nowhere, and decide to get out of it.

As for "peace is stagnation, conflict is life"... I guess it depends on your definition of conflict and peace. The way I see it, what you described, with throwing ideas in the arena that shake current beliefs and stuff, that can be seen as conflict, but to me the conflict is when people who bring the new information call the other morons, and people who are brought the new information don't consider it and call the new people heretics.
And peace is when everyone looks at the old and new information, make their own thought-through decision about how it affects what they previously knew and/or believed and are open to the other people's opinions.

Peace doesn't mean you can't disagree. It means that when you disagree, you still listen.

That doesn't mean you have to always treat what the other person says as equally valid as what you say. If they start claiming something ridiculous and not backing it up, you don't have to take it seriously. But if they make legitimate points, listening to them rather than dismissing it because it comes from someone on the other side, to me that's compromise.

Janell said...

If you look back further than 50 years then you will find 30 years of compromise. When it failed, a bleeding Kansas, a man beaten to unconscious on the senate floor, and a civil war. Pretty Gentlemanly right. America has always had conflict and always will. Being white males isn't what makes or brakes it. Constituencies at that time had far less in common then you give them credit for, compromise became impossible. America has issues that's for sure. but don't act like our inability to comprimise is new. It is as old as our country.

I know you are talking 'modern era' but there are a lot of paralleled to this and the time between founders and civil war. I would like to hear what the rich white male plantation owner and rich white male abolitionist had in common.

biomechanical923 said...

Bob, are you advocating the use of violence against people who disagree with you and refuse to be swayed?

Waldo said...

Spoken like a true, ignorant, yank. "Conflict is the only solution", no it bloody well isn't! Conflict only leads to misery. Equality, mutual understanding and respect are the only way human beings as a race can survive, the sooner we learn that, the better!

Mads said...


I see what you did there. When people talk about how wrong you are, they're in conflict with you, thusly they're either wasting their time, or proving you're right.

You may not have done it on purpose, but that's still funny.


Pretty sure he isn't. Conflict doesn't mean violence; he's talking strength of ideals and arguments, not of the people supporting them, when he says they need to throw down in the arena.

Rich white abolitionists and rich white plantation owners were both rich white people. The rich abolitionists had servants too, and those were likely either blacks, catholics or irish people. The plantation owners were fundamentally willing to use slaves, but that's pretty much the _only_ difference.

Wait...are you being ironic? Because "Spoken like a true, ignorant, yank" seems like you're trying to be in conflict with bob...and that only leads to misery according to you...? So that means you haven't even learned your own lesson? And you expect us to listen to you?
Check and mate ;)

I agree, give and take compromise is the most fruitful kind, by a long shot. That way, people from opposing sides actually assume some responsibility.

@ Robert
There's a difference between a battle of strawmen, and actual conflict. The pretense Glenn Beck and the punditry try to build up...that which your video refers fundamentally distinct from _actual_ conflict.
Jon Stewarts and Steven Colberts rally for sanity never argued againt conflict; they argued against the fundamentally harmful discourse we were seeing. Discourse that keeps us from discussing the issues. Another thing that would keep us from discussing the issues? People who say we should get along rather than hash out who's right.

It's two sides of the same coin, but if your apparent bias against all things politics on this blog makes you incapable of seeing that, I'm not sure what I can do to reason with you.

Phantos said...

I cannot prescribe to the belief that the way things are today is ideal under any definition. No sane individual can look at the rampant childishness that dominates matters of political importance, or even in regards to an open dialogue between two sides of an issue and think: "Yes. THIS is how things should be."

And this is coming from the biggest cynic I know: Maybe getting along isn't possible, but there is still something to be said for common courtesy. For politeness and respect and the basic tenets of humanity. This is not something to be ashamed of. It's pathetic that you spend so much time talking about how awful the human race is in your videos, only to now turn around and say that's how things SHOULD be.

And "Peace is stagnation; Conflict is life"? Try telling that to people who are currently experiencing civil wars because of a tyrant's reign.

If you can only feel alive during conflict, then can it really be said that you are a whole person to begin with?

Laserkid said...

Way to go Bob! I agree with you politically for once! xD

I find that when people want "compromise" its just a cute term to mean "my way but we'll pretend we listened to you to shut you up".

Well thought up debate with a resolution > "compromise" anyday.

TO THE IDIOTS: That doesn't mean kill people who disagree, to this day we have idiots waving the rebel flag in the south. That idea (the confederacy) was defeated in a nasty war, yes - but while they lost they're not put to death for waving the damned thing around. You're allowed to still disagree when something is governmentally settled (and even challenge it if need be). People are still trying to abolish abortion well after roe v wade "settled" it.

As a pro lifer let me ask you pro choice people is it better that you essentially won a debate and your way is now law, and others disagree with you?

Or would it be better if we attempted some halfass "compromise" that nobody likes (see government health care).

I like that its settled and I can bitch about it and try to fix it (in my mind) much better then having a halfass solution.

jojjo said...

I think Bob, perhaps unintentionally, has come across something more important then is immediately apparent: the reason why democracy and free market not only are morally superior to other forms of social order, but more effective as well. How come that the slow moving mess that is a democratic society works better than a seemingly well ordered dictatorship? How come that the constant struggle of the market is more effective then a panned economy? Because the peaceful competition innate to both systems weeds out bad ideas and spur innovation. Sure, they are far from perfect, but together with science they are the only means, so far discovered, of approaching perfection (whatever that would look like).

jojjo said...

Or put in another way: since we have no idea what "the truth" or "perfection" actually is (whatever religious fanatics or totalitarians might say about it), a struggle of ideas, competition on a free market and the scrutiny of the scientific process are the only means of approaching them.

Adam said...


That is it in a nutshell. Capitalism is society's version of survival of the fittest. You adapt, you innovate, and you succeed or you fail and fall down the food chain (so to speak). It's not nice, but it's natural, and anyone whose ever remotely studied the world and wildlife knows that nature isn't nice.

HDCottonJr said...


You forgot to mention the cuckoo clock. That was the best part of Welles' speech.

biomechanical923 said...


I know what Bob meant when he was talking about putting your ideas in the arena.

But here's the thing: even when you settle down for an ideological debate to let the chips fall where they may, you will eventually come to the point where you realize that the person you're debating with absolutely can not be swayed.

In other words, nothing you say can convince them you're right, and nothing they say can convince you that they're right. What do you do at this point?

Bob's video seems to be implying that when you reach an ideological impasse, the only solution is to crush them under your boots of self-righteousness and keep marching.

biomechanical923 said...


I don't want to put words in Bob's mouth that he isn't saying. It's just that a lot of the time when you're debating with somebody over the internet, you meet somebody who's especuially stubborn. When they realize that they can't prove they're right, their only response is "We're done here, please kill yourself, DIAF, etc."

If Bob doesn't want to be seen as a person of that "type", then maybe he should find away to get his point across without being so agressively, unapologetically divisive.

I'm not saying we all need to be BFFs (that's ridiculous). But I am saying that you'll never earn somebody's consideration or respect by saying "if you disagree with me, you're garbage"

Ryan said...

Ugh. I just tried to leave a long comment and got bounced. The summary version is, Bob is a nice, smart guy and a great Geek, but his affected cynicism isn't the appropriate response to our political climate, which is basically awash in a sea of nonsensical arguments between people who have been acclimated to valuing providing entertainment for their audience (if we're talking about the media) or their "base" if we're talking individual politicians. The net result is that Congress is paralyzed, and a lot of what actually does get done (say, the union-busting bills in Ohio and Wisconsin) is done by flagrantly disregarding the will of the general population, because taking a side and winning is now overvalued. It's pretty obvious that this strategy isn't helping to create effective policy, which is the point of government.

So while conflict might sometimes be needed, and debate is of course absolutely vital, I don't think chronic stalemate is a good plan for American politics. And that's ultimately where Bob's Thunderdome/Transformers version of politics will get us. Well, that or actual war.

Ryan said...

Oh yeah...a couple more things.

"Peace is stagnation/Conflict is Life" is a very Nietzschean thing to say, so I'm going to assume you mean it in the existential sense of demanding constant striving against the self and society in order to lead a meaningful life. Because actually putting that into practice is, literally, what Hitler did. I know it's rhetorical suicide to say so, but...seriously. That's the kind of shit he said all the time.

@Laserkid...I don't think the abortion debate is settled. We now live with the result of a 40-year effort to pack the court so as to overturn Roe, a series of ludicrous state laws making abortion difficult to obtain, and terrorist groups murdering abortion providers and harassing women. Actually, abortion is a perfect example of why Bob is wrong. The extremists on abortion actually do make rational discussion really difficult, because they so thoroughly dehumanize their ideological opponents. A socially acceptable compromise would be better - I suggest a law making it illegal for pro-lifers to have abortions.

@jojjo, I agree with you about the advantages of Capitalism and Democracy, but would remind you that those things also like to get into conflict with each other - Democracies should protect their citizens, and untrammeled capitalism tends to result in exploitation. But if citizens vote to fiddle with capitalism, they reduce the efficiency with which markets weed out bad ideas. So even though they're both basically good, they're never going to magically solve social problems on their own. Only constant vigilance and a basic commitment to social justice can do that.

Mads said...

Well, untrammeled capitalism would mean no corporations, since the essence of the idea is personal ownership and responsibility, and corporations actively remove responsibility from the people running them and working for them. They become abstract entities.

Clearly eliminating that mechanic is not workable. Capitalism in it's raw form is therefore vastly inferior to what we have, which is a kind of state-sanctioned marketeering; it's a mix of capitalism and socialism.

Just pointing out the obvious, so you can too when people sing praises for unadultered capitalism; just point out how it runs counter to the idea of free enterprise, which is far more fundamental :)


I know what Bob meant when he was talking about putting your ideas in the arena.

But here's the thing: even when you settle down for an ideological debate to let the chips fall where they may, you will eventually come to the point where you realize that the person you're debating with absolutely can not be swayed.

In other words, nothing you say can convince them you're right, and nothing they say can convince you that they're right. What do you do at this point?

Bob's video seems to be implying that when you reach an ideological impasse, the only solution is to crush them under your boots of self-righteousness and keep marching.
Interesting observation.

You'd use majority rule, or democracy, in most cases. But what if democracy isn't in your interest, because you can crush the majority beneath your boot heel.

Logic dictates that accepting democracy would be a compromise for you. It would be give and take. You get to not crush the rest of society by force, you give up your stake to determining certain things which you don't have the majority to determine.

Taken to an extreme, bobs points of view would mean what you said.

I suspect he's assuming that his conflict vs. peace dicotomy still adheres to human rights in either case.

cathal said...

I call false advertising on the "comedy" part of your "political comedy" claim. This is not comedy, this is just your opinion. The only reaon I can think of for someone actually finding it funny is if they already shared all your opinions before you told them to.

Bodglin said...

^ aimed at above comment ^

If enough people share his opinion then there will be a lot of people laughing... pretty much makes it a comedy in my books.

Laserkid said...

@Ryan And you just proved why a compromise on that issue will also never work. Your suggested compromise is to have it your way with a sarcastic barb that those who want it differently can be held accountable to different law.

Thats not a solution, thats biting bullshit. Now there are people (myself among them) who don't LIKE the solution, but it IS the current legal solution. I do believe in time a better one will be found (no, not by overturning roe v wade, thats a waste of time energy and intillect), but until one is the solution is on one side with the other side allowed to be upset and try to make an argument, but legally its settled.

There is no way it can ever be settled 100% for everyone because you'll never get that many people to agree with eachother. In cases like this settled is in refference to how it is treated in law, not how people feel about it. People try to change existing laws they don't like all the time, and thats a beautiful thing.

If no one tried to change "settled" lawas then people of darker skin would still be considered slaves - but even though that was settled in the very constitution it was later settled elsewise for the better.

Yet there are still people who think otherwise, and they still want it fixed. They're full of crap as far as I'm concerned but they have the right to be full of crap.

Everyone is full of crap according to someone. ;)

Luke Kruse said...

Thank you MovieBob. Even though I am more or less on the other on the other side from you politically I completely agree with what you said here. The myth of "getting along" must be exposed for the lie that it is.

Anonymous said...

Actually, this one was pretty good.

Anonymous said...

Moivebob I disagree, however this would in some way validate your point so I am going to just meat you some were in the middle. Also were you were making fun of the mid west in your jobs episode. I am from the midwest and the stereotype of all mid westerners as idiots being offensive. Just as you Might find the stereotype of people from Boston to be Rich yacht club sobs offensive

counterpoint said...

aren't you maybe getting a tad extreme here? "Conflict is life?" Isn't that just another cliche folk-ism, newly coined? Here, let me try: "early to bed, early to green party rally!". .....

While you make a good point, you forget that a lot of the "differences" of opinion or lifestyle between many americans were essentially "whipped up" by those in power. The tea party isn't really an organic movement, but was stirred up by some people in power or positions of influence, and thrives through misinformation and manipulation. Yes, I know that this kind of proves your point about compromise - how could you compromise with such viewpoints? - but more importantly I think it is an example of how "people don't get along" isn't necessarily a truth - we are made NOT to get along.

While Robert above is a bit harsh, the video he links to has it right, I think - socio-economic class is the "biggie" division, beyond race or other things.