Dave Rubin is a first class twit

Here’s another thing conservatives fear: children’s programs against racism.

I have two grandkids who are two and under, who both love Elmo. I’m happy to have them learn that racism is bad.

(I know, Rubin will deny that he’s a conservative — he’s a “classical liberal”, don’t you know. But really, he’s a right-leaning conservative who only approves of liberal ideas that benefit him directly, like all conservatives.)


  1. hemidactylus says

    My parents were northerners who transplanted me south into a school system that had just integrated not long before. Don’t know if they were oblivious or naive but I would have benefited from Elmo on what racism was since I had no roadmap.

    And given historic arc (Spencer to Rawls) liberalism is open to confusing word play. John Gray has a book on this stuff.

  2. woozy says

    “No kid at the age they’re into Elmo needs to be talking about racism”

    Uh…. what? I was really under the impression that social behavior and ethics was always the purview of children’s programming and that that was fairly tacitly assumed.

  3. chrislawson says

    We all know the schtick. It’s OK for kids to experience racism, but not to have people talk to them about it.

  4. brightmoon says

    My kids weren’t allowed to call someone a (insert race or religion here) %#}%€£++. They were allowed to call them a %#}%€£++ but they had to leave race and religion out of it. Family is multiracial and multicultural so they were insulting a family member if they added race or religion.

  5. Frederic Bourgault-Christie says

    First of all, when it’s convenient for conservatives to normalize racism (including Dave’s IDW friends), they will say that kids learn some forms of racism at a very young age. But when we point out that maybe that means early teaching on the topic is a good idea, suddenly no need to talk about it.

    Second, aren’t we going to be teaching kids about Pilgrims and stuff? Seems like a framework to understand those stories could be useful. Unless, of course, your goal is to normalize racism by making it so we teach kids stories where racism happens without interrogating it.

    Third, if we get concerned about kids being actually struck, that’s hysteria. But a TV show that no one has to watch? Child abuse. (Of course, exposing children to religion isn’t child abuse, right?)

    Would love to not have to shoot down moving targets.

  6. says

    Teaching kids to be racist is brainwashing and child abuse. The only reason kids grow up to be racists is because that’s what they are taught. So teach them something else.

  7. says

    And by the way there’s a Rogers and Hammerstein song about that.

    [Verse 1]
    You’ve got to be taught to hate and fear
    You’ve got to be taught from year to year
    It’s got to be drummed in your dear little ear
    You’ve got to be carefully taught

    [Verse 2]
    You’ve got to be taught to be afraid
    Of people whose eyes are oddly made
    And people whose skin is a diff’rent shade
    You’ve got to be carefully taught

    [Verse 3]
    You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late
    Before you are six or seven or eight
    To hate all the people your relatives hate
    You’ve got to be carefully taught

  8. zenlike says

    Oh, that was yesterday. Since then, on his twitter, he favorably referred to Tucker Carlson, Ben Shapiro, Glenn Beck and Dennis Prager while positively retweeting Don Jr, and praised Rudy Giuliani. Why anyone still believes he is anything but a far-right loon is anyone’s guess.

  9. kome says

    Poor little fragile Dave Rubin. I hope one day he’ll be able to handle conversations about important topics with the strength, security, and maturity that we see every day in little children.

  10. JoeBuddha says

    Kinda like the Corona Virus will go away if you stop testing, Racism will go away if you stop acknowledging it.

  11. says

    @#9, zenlike:

    I suspect that nobody who has read more than a few sentences about or by him actually believes he’s anything but a far-right loon, but because he does not call himself conservative, conservatives and people who seek to normalize conservatism can cite him as an example of how there is agreement with conservative thought outside of conservative circles. There is massive power in agreeing with one group but pretending to be in another, it’s been a major way for right-wing ideas to get entrenched for decades. (Fox News, for instance, spent a long time insisting they were “fair and balanced” and not at all a mouthpiece for the right wing, although they have largely relaxed it in the last 5 years or so. If they had come out from the beginning and said “Fox News: We’re controlled by the rich fringe of the right wing and we will deliberately cherry-pick and selectively edit to only show things which support our ideology” they wouldn’t be nearly so influential.)

  12. Dunc says

    “Classical liberal” = “I would have been considered a liberal in the 18th century“.

  13. Bruce says

    @#6 FBC is correct.
    At what age do Dave Rubin and his conservative friends think it should first be legal to tell a kid about religion? Or to ask a kid to behave?
    If these conservatives and libertarians were ever asked to be consistent, their heads would explode.
    Personally, I think kids should get guidance on good behavior from an early Elmo age. But they should not be told about a sky-zombie stalking them and planning eternal torture before they have seen a lot of R-rated movies, to give religion a context.

  14. drew says

    The down-side is that Sesame Street is very much liberal, prone to woke-speak but profit/marketing-driven above all else. There are no easily available leftist puppet alternatives.

    And Kevin Clash is creepier than Fred Rogers. Ew!

  15. says

    Dave Rubin is a living Jeff Foxworthy “comedy” sketch: “You might be a racist if… you claim to be a ‘classical liberal’ without knowing what that means to real classical liberals, such as by actually reading what they wrote (instead of summaries prepared by nutjobs).”

  16. says

    Oh, no. Mr. Rubin can just sit the fuck down.

    Even little kids are affected by racism and violence, and Sesame Street is doing what it’s always done so well — tackling the tough conversations at kid-level, in kid-friendly ways. I think some adults could very much stand to revert to childhood and take some lessons from the Street.

  17. hemidactylus says

    Mr. Rogers was an icon for me. I did watch Sesame Street. Too young then to know what developmental effects it had on me. Having a black friend at school in early elementary may have been more formative. I recall his friends calling me a “cracker” which felt odd. I thought they were comparing me to a snack food. And I had some nice black teachers which is kinda interesting in retrospect given somewhat recent integration. I was unfortunately socialized amongst racist neighborhood friends who were multigenerational southern and reflexively hated Yankees. Did they know any better? Learned to avoid the topic of my birthplace. Weird juxtapositions.

    Can’t recall if Sesame Street had content addressing race and equality at the time (early 70s). Given our economic circumstances my parents sometimes afforded cable and sometimes not. So much of my early life was attuned to rabbit ears, dials, and weird dichotomy of VHF vs. UHF. But I recall a PBS station close enough to get via antenna. Oh and sometimes black and white TV with no remote. And a good stretch of time without AC or heat. In Florida the former is almost essential. No long school walks in snow back in “my day”. There were some cold nights without heat.

    Who would have thought B&W trendy in movies and photography. To me it was a looming reminder of my low status, given an affluent friend had a fancy video beam because his radiologist dad could afford it. I learned the injustice of economic inequality early mostly I guess from a sense of relative deprivation. Racial injustice was something I had to appreciate over a longer personal arc.

  18. acroyear says

    Timely. This was a post today on “Tough Pigs”, a Muppet fandom site.


    The episode featured a friendly relationship between Gina (Allison Bartlett) and Savion (Glover, the now famous tap dancer and choreographer) and the very negative phone call Gina received at Hoopers Store where she worked.

    Quite a surprise – back in the David and Maria days of the 70s when I watched, they never addressed that there were some that might not like their mixed status, even if there was less of an outcry over hispanics than ‘real whites’.

    So in any case, Mr. Rubin can f’ off. Sesame Street has been a liberal agenda promoting program, socially speaking, for a very long time.

  19. acroyear says

    hemidactylus: I guess for me as well, in the early-mid 70s, it was more that because the show treated David and Maria as ‘normal’, we…took it as normal. There was no reason, on screen or otherwise (unless your parents saw and decided they needed to say something) to speculate that there was anything wrong with it.

    So we didn’t. We just enjoyed their ‘friendship’ as we saw it.

    To a degree, that is kind of the first step to helping kids grow – show that things are normal. Only later do you introduce them to those who don’t think it should be normal, and the kids will be in a better position to ask ‘why not?’ and be skeptical of the bull-crap answers the racists will try to give.

    Which is pretty much exactly what MY kid (now 9) is doing. Granted, she’s already mixed (I’m “Mayflower” old, while my wife is Puerto Rican) which helps. :)

  20. woozy says

    woozy @2: Only if it’s the right ethics and the right morals.

    I was going to go on about the ethics and morals of Davey and Goliath and rhetorically ask why doesn’t Dave Rubin just be honest and claim he doesn’t believe racism to be unethethic or socially unacceptable.

    ““Classical liberal” = “I would have been considered a liberal in the 18th century“.”

    Meh… except you probably wouldn’t have been..

  21. Ishikiri says

    Dave Rubin is a brainless man with a cavernous asshole that allows wealthy rightists to reach up and mouth him like a puppet. I don’t know if there’s ever been a more obvious grifter and stooge.

  22. graham2 says

    I wonder if the same conservatives deem the same little children to be also too young to receive religious instruction.

  23. says

    Precisely what I was thinking. Teaching impressionable young children that there’s an invisible sky daddy that will torture them with fire until the end of time unless you do exactly as you’re told seems to me the epitome of brainwashing and child abuse.

  24. mamba says

    “No kid at the age they’re into Elmo needs to be talking about racism…especially via cable news.”

    I completely disagree…most kids are TAUGHT racism at that age or younger by their parents or peers.

    Besides, the cops are openly targeting kids as well…might as well teach them early on that some cops will hate and abuse you for no reason…and here’s the answer to the “no reason” question.

    Indoctrination works both ways…if you can train kids early to not be racist idiots, the odds are they will grow up not to be racist idiots, and if they can recognize racism immediately they can shut that shit down immediately.

  25. rx808 says

    No kid at the age they’re into Elmo needs to be talking about racism…especially via cable news.

    1)Maybe the intent wasn’t to reach children. Maybe the intent was to make the topic non-threatening for you. Almost worked, too.
    2)Partial credit: The way to reach children is not on a cable news program. I believe that if a kid is paying attention to Sesame Street then they are already being inoculated against racism.

  26. says

    “No kid at the age they’re into Elmo needs to be talking about racism”

    When he says “kids”, black kids are obviously not included. Because I’ve seen videos of black primary school kids being abused by “school officers”*. When black people share their experiences they often start in preschool.

    *Another part of the US carceral police state. Those guys have it on record that it’s ok to run away the one time during a school shooting when maybe a well trained professional with a gun could be useful, but do nothing but hurt black kids.

  27. harryblack says

    I find it very interesting that Rubin managed to fool any number of people for any amount of time.
    It shows how people can be beguiled by the right aesthetic and affect.