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Jay Smooth expounds the doctrine of gotnosensitivism
October 15, 2011 8:45 AM   Subscribe


 
I like the way he talks.
posted by TheRedArmy at 8:56 AM on October 15, 2011


for truth
posted by wobh at 8:58 AM on October 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Shit, meant to put this in there:

Jay Smooth on internet comentary: Comment for the megatrondon
posted by Blasdelb at 9:05 AM on October 15, 2011


My intro to Jay Smooth was his overview of No Homo, which I loved a whole lot and got to share with a co-worker who wouldn't stop saying that at work (and then he stopped and we both got to talk about loving Jay Smooth: win-win!).
posted by smallvictories at 9:16 AM on October 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


Weirdly, the "Rick Perry and Superman" clip was an almost perfect encapsulation of a conversation a friend and I had about recent immigration issues during a ride home earlier this week. But delivered with a better sense of timing and fewer asides about how crappy drivers are all over the place these days.
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:23 AM on October 15, 2011


The link about Superman being an illegal immigrant is great (and the top YouTube comment is sadly on the nose).

Asher Roth and the Racial Crossroads is still his best rant:

We are in a new place right now...and as we make progress, we get more comfortable. Some of us...start acting as if coming closer together means not having to care how our words affect each other.

"Respecting each other's humanity is such a pain in the ass...Can't you all just lighten up so I don't have to respect you anymore? Isn't the whole point of coming together as one that I don't have to care what you think?"

We're all basically at a crossroads now where we can choose between one path that starts with a committment to caring more as we get closer and another path that starts with feeling entitled to care less.
posted by straight at 9:23 AM on October 15, 2011 [8 favorites]


I love me some Jay Smooth. I wish he was more active, though. Gotta wait way too long between videos.
posted by e40 at 9:30 AM on October 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Shit also forgot this update to the awesome video on Roman Polansky. It and the other videos mentioned so far are in the previous post, which seems to have become part of the cannon of at least AskMefi's response to racism.
posted by Blasdelb at 9:32 AM on October 15, 2011


Not a fan, he is just so ernest. Yeah yeah Jay, I agree with you, just stop lecturing me.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:47 AM on October 15, 2011


Is it really the case that McCarthy had no genuine fear of Communist infiltration of the U.S. government, military and society? Can someone be both sincere and a demagogue?
posted by layceepee at 9:47 AM on October 15, 2011


A Google search for the word gotnosensitive returns nothing but references to this video. Did he just make up the word so he could talk about it?
Either way, it makes no sense.
posted by rocket88 at 9:59 AM on October 15, 2011


"Did he just make up the word so he could talk about it?"

Yes, yes he did just make up a word so we could talk about it. I've used gotnosensitive twice since I saw the video, I guess that makes it three times
posted by Blasdelb at 10:05 AM on October 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


The one on Superman is great.
posted by neuromodulator at 10:07 AM on October 15, 2011


Woaaaah. Had no idea Brother Ali was white. I sort of imagined him looking a little bit like Gift of Gab. Huh!

Jay Smooth is awesome. And, Ad Hom, I think part of the appeal for me (in addition to the fact that being the choir getting preached to can feel nice) is the ability to pretend that maybe the Big People he's addressing might theoretically hear what he's saying.

They won't, of course, but it's nice to make believe.
posted by kavasa at 10:07 AM on October 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Which means, Larry Johnson, when you call that guy a 'Christopher Street Boy,' and you think it's a clever way to call him soft and wimpy, you're actually talking about people who are famous for winning a bar fight against a gang of cops."

OK, I officially love Jay Smooth.
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:18 AM on October 15, 2011 [15 favorites]


What's with this trend of Youtube narrators lecturing at you directly at a very loud volume?
posted by steamynachos at 10:45 AM on October 15, 2011


I was really hoping this was going to be JB Smoove.
posted by timsteil at 11:20 AM on October 15, 2011


I was hoping it would be Smoove B.
posted by XMLicious at 11:38 AM on October 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I had no idea who Jay Smooth is, but these are terrific. "How LeBron James Broke the Golden Rule of Sports" neatly summarizes why I hate pro sports.
posted by JHarris at 11:41 AM on October 15, 2011


This video and its narrator are idiotic.
posted by Pastabagel at 11:49 AM on October 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Pastabagel: “This video and its narrator are idiotic.”

Okay. Why?
posted by koeselitz at 11:54 AM on October 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


"How LeBron James Broke the Golden Rule of Sports" neatly summarizes why I hate pro sports.

Green Bay Packers. Boom. Roasted.
posted by nathancaswell at 12:09 PM on October 15, 2011


Okay. Why?

I dunno, sometimes, like in this video, he seems to be saying things that everyone (not just "the choir", but EVERYone) knows and gets. "Politicians are liars." Duh. "Sometimes, we let crazy people say what they think instead of getting into a conversation about their crazy ideas." Duh. I like some of his videos, but this one seems thin on interesting commentary.
posted by 23skidoo at 12:17 PM on October 15, 2011


Okay. Why?
posted by koeselitz at 2:54 PM on October 15


Because his entire argument is based on glib strawmen and absurd exaggeration. "Global warming is caused by gay marriage" etc.

His whole premise is that hte word sensitive means pretending you agree with someone even though you know they are acting like "they've got no damn sense."

That's isn't what sensitive means at all in this context. In politics sensitive means simply an acknowledgement that what you are saying is going to offend or upset someone, while you proceed with the statement or action that causes the offense or hurt feelings, or it means we should acknowledge that a large group of peopel are voiving a common concern. It has nothing to do with agreeing with someone.

If I say that I am sensitive to the, say, consumer debt unemployment, and bleak future that the Occupy Wall Streeters are facing, that does not mean I agree with them. It means I acknowledge the facts as they present them. It doesn't not mean I secretly think they are crazy or stupid.

However, when people use the word sensitive, it is a prelude to what amounts to twisting the knife. For example, "I'm sensitive to the crushing student loan debt and bleak job prospects facing many recent grads, nonetheless raising taxes on anyone in a recession is counterproductive."

Once you know that he's using the word in a completely contrived way, everything else he says falls apart. The people who say they are being sensitive are not the people who agree with the opinion sensed ("Obama is a shape-shifting lizard" in his example). The word is used by people on the opposite side to neutralize the argument that they are out of touch.

Yes, I hear that you are suffering, or are angry, or whatever. I'm sensitive to your existence. I just don't care about it.
posted by Pastabagel at 12:36 PM on October 15, 2011


"Duh. I like some of his videos, but this one seems thin on interesting commentary."

There are 26 videos in this post, maybe watch some of the others?
posted by Blasdelb at 12:36 PM on October 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Revisiting: "Jay Smooth has been posted a few times here before. He has a Metafilter account as well. He's maddening because he's so awesome but that battle against the little hater has turned into a war. He'll make a video and then disappear for like months at a time. Announce a big project, disappear for months again. He also knows about how much people like the cat. It's always about the cat. Beat that little hater, Jay, come on."
posted by cashman at 12:43 PM on October 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


There are 26 videos in this post, maybe watch some of the others?
posted by Blasdelb at 3:36 PM on October 15


You know what? I did, actually. I watched the asher roth one and the atlas ducked one. They solidified my opinion.

You may want to ask yourself why in an internet filled with brilliant and wise people who thoughtfully explore at great length the subtleties and nuances of our politics and rhetoric you choose to champion a voice that whose superficial insights and facile argumentation is almost perfectly engineered for MTV circa 1996.
posted by Pastabagel at 12:46 PM on October 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Pasta - I mean, it's a word I've never encountered before, and I don't think it's actually in any sort of common use.

He also doesn't say that people saying they're sensitive to something agree with it. He's saying that they think whatever it is is crazy and are pretending to agree with it for political gain.

I think it's probably safe to say that this sort of thing actually occurs, and the phrase "I am sensitive to your concerns" probably gets used in this way, in addition to the way you've outlined.

So "idiotic" seems like a pretty strong word to be throwing around, when it seems like what you mean is "I don't really think that this is the most common or most noxious way the phrase is used".

On preview: you should probably duck out of this thread? You're being like. Really venomous and insulting. Not very cool, IMO.
posted by kavasa at 12:49 PM on October 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


The only complaint I have about Jay Smooth is that there is not enough Jay Smooth. Need more Jay Smooth.

Thanks for this post.
posted by sweetkid at 12:49 PM on October 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


You may want to ask yourself why in an internet filled with brilliant and wise people who thoughtfully explore at great length the subtleties and nuances of our politics and rhetoric you choose to champion a voice that whose superficial insights and facile argumentation is almost perfectly engineered for MTV circa 1996.

Forgive me if your glib dismissal does not undermine my opinion that he is offering genuinely valuable commentary. Your response to him was about as straw man as what you claim him to be guilty of, which gives you neither the argumentative nor the moral uppher hand.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 1:02 PM on October 15, 2011 [10 favorites]


You may want to ask yourself why in an internet filled with brilliant and wise people who thoughtfully explore at great length the subtleties and nuances of our politics and rhetoric you choose to champion a voice that whose superficial insights and facile argumentation is almost perfectly engineered for MTV circa 1996.

What are the great nuances and subtleties about Asher Roth's "ironic" racism? Rand Paul's weaselly libertarianism? Hell, Jay's being way more generous and nuanced in talking about them than I would be.
posted by kmz at 1:02 PM on October 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


[We are again at the "if you are not trolling please look like you are trying to engage with the community and not just lob insults into the crowd" phase, please act accordingly. Thank you.]
posted by jessamyn at 1:24 PM on October 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


He has a lovely way of saying the obvious, but at a pleasurable rate and good use of the camera.

Also, "A Brief Note About Not Feeding the Trolls" made me bang my head on my desk with joy when he referenced William Butler Yeats's "The Second Coming." (bunch of epithets and then "hate-mongering beast slouches toward your cameras to be born") Which suggests he is a little more complicated than his obviousness suggests.
posted by Peach at 1:28 PM on October 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


The content is great, the form is not so great. It's obviously adapted to a media environment that encourages snappy comebacks, one-liners, sound bytes, etc. We want to be entertained, so Jay Smooth mixes in a bit of humor to make his "serious message" go down a bit easier. I get why that's necessary and he's probably reaching people who tune out politics but at the same time, maybe we should also contest the chaining together of thinking and work with oppression that causes people to reject anything but entertainment.
posted by AlsoMike at 1:42 PM on October 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Duh. I like some of his videos, but this one seems thin on interesting commentary."

There are 26 videos in this post, maybe watch some of the others?

I have. That's what "I like some of his videos" means. I think it should be okay to say that the video you posted to the front page wasn't the best.
posted by 23skidoo at 1:54 PM on October 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Sure it is, but it may be a little thin on interesting commentary.
posted by Blasdelb at 1:58 PM on October 15, 2011


"His whole premise is that hte word sensitive means pretending you agree with someone even though you know they are acting like 'they've got no damn sense.'"

Thats not his premise at all, were you even paying attention? His premise is quite plainly that, in the context of how a politician relates to their constituents, being sensitive to all of the concerns the electorate might have gets absurd when you look at all of the concerns our electorate does have. He has coined a pithy phrase specifically for those instances where it does get absurd to distinguish this all too common event from sensitivity to rational and unbigoted concerns.

You were around when half of our government felt obligated to at least show 'sensitivity' the the idea that our president was somehow born in Kenya? You know, what he was lampooning with the whole shape-shifting lizard thing. Many Republican politicians have indeed also somehow determined a causal relationship between the gay and all sorts of things like Katrina, 9/11, and global warming.

The larger point seemed to be that if we begin to see this absurdity as a normal part of politics, we empower batshit extremists by allowing polititians to pander to them without repercussions. When Rick Perry suggested that if Chairman Ben Bernanke visited Texas, "we would treat him pretty ugly", supported inhuman anti-sodomy laws, and announced his support for intelligent design he was being 'gotnosensitive'. That is, if only from a tactical standpoint, so sensitive to the extreme right wing that if we point out how little sense any of that makes he will be forced to choose between alienating his base and alienating the moderates in this country with at least a little damn sense.

This is the kind of choice Republicans have gotten so good at forcing Democrats to make that they arn't really Democrats anymore, at least half are just moderates. It is a kind of choice we want him to be forced to make too.
posted by Blasdelb at 2:25 PM on October 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sure it is, but it may be a little thin on interesting commentary.

Dude, whatever. Someone was surprised that someone would hate this specific video, and I gave specific reasons why I myself didn't like it. I'm not sure how interesting you want comments to be in a thread like this. People are going to like the vids or not, and tell why or not. That's about it.
posted by 23skidoo at 2:28 PM on October 15, 2011


For those of you who wished that Jay did more videos more often, you do realize that he's on the radio in NYC at Underground Railroad all week long. So these web videos are a side gig, not the main dish.
posted by gen at 2:45 PM on October 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


AlsoMike - I agree. Maybe it's because I listen to too much NPR, but I just tune out when the host's format is "in your face/dutch angle/sound bytes". Is that what it takes to keep a viewer's attention for more than a few seconds these days?
posted by steamynachos at 2:49 PM on October 15, 2011


Blasdelb, ease up on the threadsitting. Some of us don't care for the videos you posted...deal with it.
posted by rocket88 at 3:43 PM on October 15, 2011


Blasdelb, ease up on the threadsitting. Some of us don't care for the videos you posted...deal with it.

The first half of this comment makes a reasonable point, the second half seems sort of mean-spirited.
posted by jeffen at 4:14 PM on October 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Blasdelb, ease up on the threadsitting. Some of us don't care for the videos you posted...deal with it.

Is that threadshitting? It seems to me that blasdelb is, perhaps, guilty of moderating his own thread in response to some pretty threadshitty comments. And, you know, you are welcome to not like a post, but if all you have to say is "I don't like this post," maybe FIAMO should be your watchword, hey? Or, you know, take it to MeTa, which is where my comment really belongs, so I am going to stop now, except to say that I really enjoyed this post -- I liked the stuff posted in earlier FPPs on Jay Smooth, but I hadn't followed him or anything, so it sort of dropped off my radar. I'm glad bladelb posted this.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:13 PM on October 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's a problem that "threadsitting" and "threadshitting" look so alike, and it's my perception that the former post-dates the latter in common use around here, which makes it easier yet to mistake one for the other.

In any case, yes, if folks could maybe spend more time talking about the content of the post or moving on with their day and less on arguing with each other about the notion of liking or disliking that content, that'd be great. This has been sort of a weird thread.
posted by cortex at 5:33 PM on October 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Threadsitting? Oh, crud. In my defense, I have a gap in my visual field that makes reading unfamiliar words kind of... interesting. And possibly comical.

To get back on track, um... insulting someone by calling them a "Grey Poupon Eater?" Is this a thing? Huh, google suggests it's kind of a small thing but a thing. I have learned two new things today.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:41 PM on October 15, 2011


I'm pretty sure it comes from this and the pre-internet meme of parroting the absurd question. It doesn't make any sense to me either, can a thing produced by the folks that brought us velveeta and comes in a ten ounce squeeze bottle that makes farting noises as you apply it really be all that fancy?
posted by Blasdelb at 6:07 PM on October 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Personally I think what makes Mr. Smooth great is that he's able to perfectly inhabit his format. "Guy talking into a webcam" videos are a dime a dozen these days, but he's able to get to the meat of an issue and wrap everything up in a neat little package within a couple minutes. It's quite elegant!
posted by palidor at 6:18 PM on October 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


And he's (apparently) a straight guy who is willing to call other guys on homophobia and sexism, which is pleasant and refreshing in the internet world. And the non-internet world, for that matter.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:33 PM on October 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also, the hip hop world. Not that I think any famous rappers are watching his videos and reconsidering the words they use, but if there's anywhere that casual homophobia is widespread, it's mainstream hip hop. Even Kanye West, who probably spends more time around non-heterosexual folks than any other famous rapper, has used "no homo" in a song.
posted by palidor at 6:51 PM on October 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Maybe it's because I listen to too much NPR, ... Is that what it takes to keep a viewer's attention for more than a few seconds these days

I think he's just editing together the video so that his "ums" and "waitaminutes" and the various places where he went off on a tangent or didn't express himself so well are gone.

Believe it or not, they edit the shit out of audio on NPR in exactly the way he edits his videos, but because there aren't visual cues that this is happening, it's invisible.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 9:26 PM on October 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


"His whole premise is that hte word sensitive means pretending you agree with someone even though you know they are acting like 'they've got no damn sense.'"

Thats not his premise at all, were you even paying attention?


What I wrote is a direct quote of the yellow text from the video.


What are the great nuances and subtleties about Asher Roth's "ironic" racism? Rand Paul's weaselly libertarianism? Hell, Jay's being way more generous and nuanced in talking about them than I would be.
posted by kmz at 4:02 PM on October 15


The subtlety is that Asher Roth is not worth listening to at all. In other words, it isn't that Roth said something stupid using the phrase nappy headed hoes that is the problem, the problem is that hip hop, or the music industry, or popular culture, or whatever has elevated someone like Asher Roth to the status that a lot of people listen to him. The fact that he is promoted by within those genres, art forms, or industries reflects on them and on the people who listen to them. It suggests there is something wrong that he gets ahead and other people don't. The same can be said of Rand Paul. The fact that he gets any attention reflects poorly on the Republican party not because he is a Republican, but that they don't have anyone better or smarter to elevate.

If this video is actually about politicians coddling or even endorsing fringe or crazy opinions from within their constituency, the word is pandering, not sensitive. And certainly not some clever neologism "gotnosensitive".

The larger point seemed to be that if we begin to see this absurdity as a normal part of politics, we empower batshit extremists by allowing polititians to pander to them without repercussions.

But there are repercussions. Those politicians lose the votes of the people who think those opinions are crazy. Losing the votes is the consequence they suffer.

That is, if only from a tactical standpoint, so sensitive to the extreme right wing that if we point out how little sense any of that makes he will be forced to choose between alienating his base and alienating the moderates in this country with at least a little damn sense.


He's sensitive to the extreme right wing because he's in a primary election contest where moderates tend not to vote and democrats don't vote at all. Your real underlying complaint is that so many people have "batshit" opinions that they can effect national politics. Welcome to democracy. FYI, to them you are a "batshit extremist," so the feeling is mutual.
posted by Pastabagel at 9:42 PM on October 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


FYI, to them you are a "batshit extremist," so the feeling is mutual.

You say that like this is an actual equivalency, rather than a false one.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:35 PM on October 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


The subtlety is that Asher Roth is not worth listening to at all. In other words, it isn't that Roth said something stupid using the phrase nappy headed hoes that is the problem, the problem is that hip hop, or the music industry, or popular culture, or whatever has elevated someone like Asher Roth to the status that a lot of people listen to him.

Did you watch the same video? He used the Asher Roth jumping off point for a much larger point about race relations. He used an incident that at the time people we talking about and tried to turn it into a teachable moment, and you are getting pissy because you don't think Asher Roth is a worthy enough person to reference? Are you really that dense?
posted by aspo at 2:43 AM on October 16, 2011


Are you really that dense?

I have to admit, I'm pretty surprised by Pastabagel's condemnation of these videos - mainly because his comments don't seem very consistent, really.

In particular, if we are supposed to accept that in a democracy there is a diversity of opinions and "the feeling is mutual"; if we are supposed to be realistic enough to recognize that Obama needs the votes of right wing people because of his tactical position; in short, if we should all acknowledge that other people's opinions have an impact no matter how crazy we think they are (which is at least a realistic position), it seems perverse to turn around and say that "Asher Roth is not worth listening to at all" and that "the same can be said of Rand Paul".

To put it in his terms: welcome to a democracy. To people who listen to hip-hop and who belong to certain sectors of right-wing politics, you may well be a person who is not worth listening to at all. But the opinions of these two buffoons transparently matter to a great many people.

At least Jay Smooth is attempting to explain why these people are inconsistent, stupid and out-of-touch with reality in an approachable and lucid way. As far as I can see, he is an intelligent man with experience dealing with troubled kids and a great fondness for hip hop - which is definitely a multifaceted art form, some of whose practitioners display considerable verbal skill or political awareness (and I say that because I detect a hint of a sneer in your writing when you say that Asher Roth's elevation "suggests there is something wrong" about, among other things, "hip hop").

I personally don't like the phrase "gotnosensitive" - mainly for the aesthetic reason that if you are going to pretend that your adversaries are misusing a made-up word, it helps to make up a word that sounds like something someone would actually use. But dismissing the guy's commentary because you think it is inane really says more about you than it does about him, since it pretty transparently isn't.
posted by lucien_reeve at 4:51 AM on October 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


Pastabagel, the video on "gotnosensitive" doesn't present the word as a drop-in replacement for "sensitive." He states near the beginning that it's a variation on the word sensitive. His fake version of the word is presented to alert people to when it's being used to fool them.

That means he's identifying that the word is being misused sometimes, not that every political use of "sensitive" is disingenuous.

His exaggerations are presented so the viewer can quickly connect his examples with instances in the public discourse, not for strict accuracy. He's not, as you claim, building an argument off of them; he expects the reader is already familiar with real-world examples of what he's saying, and so is presenting them humorously. This might cause some people to click-off, but the people who honestly believe the crazy right-wing lies about Obama (which really aren't that different from the "shape-shifting lizard" joke, because they ARE both outright lies) are beyond hope anyway.

blasdelb: This is the kind of choice Republicans have gotten so good at forcing Democrats to make that they arn't really Democrats anymore, at least half are just moderates. It is a kind of choice we want him to be forced to make too.

In fact, Republicans already do it constantly, ever since Bush II. What would John McCain or Mitt Romney actually do if elected? We have no earthly idea; before they started pandering to the fundies, tea partiers and general Fox News groupies they seemed like they had at least a minimal amount of sense. All of their statements since they started campaigning for office have been "gotnosensitivity."

If they got elected, would they truly do what their pandering suggests (indicating they really have changed their opinions and are really not being "gotnosensitive"), or would they just make lipservice recognition of their supposed beliefs while doing what they truly think is right for the country, or would they effectively say "nya nya you elected us, now watch as I do something completely different?"

We have no idea; that is the trap the Republicans are in, they are so deeply dysfunctional that many of their candidates are forced to say crazy things to get elected that we can't be sure if they really believe them or not. It might energize the crazy portion of the base, but you still need to get more than just the crazies on your side to get elected.
posted by JHarris at 2:00 PM on October 16, 2011


Why hasn't Jay Smooth been on the Daily Show yet? Is it because he is not in a movie or releasing a book? Because he really, really should be on that show.
posted by NoraReed at 12:59 PM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Someone please please please explain to me why there are cuts in the videos after every sentence and sometimes mid-sentence. It's like

trying to

read a paragraph


that looks like

this.

I'm sure the man has some interesting things to say, but goddamn I can't watch more than 20 seconds of him.
posted by desjardins at 1:38 PM on October 17, 2011


New Video! Occupy Wall Street: Outing the Ringers.

Please, will somebody get this man a TV show, or get him on the Daily Show. For serious.
posted by cashman at 6:31 PM on October 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Today: Rachel Maddow's blog picks up Jay Smooth's latest video.

http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/10/20/8407878-every-wall-street-shell-game-must-have-a-ringer
posted by cashman at 10:56 AM on October 20, 2011


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