Excellent Read: “FAMILY Values!… “

(Jack Ohman via GoComics.com)

Alexandra Petri is a national treasure:

Let me make one thing clear: The treatment that children are receiving at the border, reported with horror by those lawyers — this is not against my values. Do not misunderstand! I still have more values than anyone. I am a values voter, with values for days, values that go all the way to the floor, values that wave amberly as far as the eye can see!…

We can clearly see that these are just children by themselves, not families, and they are merely covered in filth and tear stains, not exposed to comprehensive sex education, Darwinism or a textbook implying the reality of climate change. So, yes, what’s going on there is in no way an attack on the family. The family is something to be cherished, as luminous as it is theoretical.

It is important to have these values. But I have lots! All the most important, decorative values are the ones I have…

We must have values because people are flawed and fallen. As the Good Book teaches us (it is no “The Art of the Deal,” but it has some points, if you skim it correctly), if you see someone who is suffering, ask yourself, is it possible that this person did something wrong? Not only is it possible, it is probable. Well, then! Probably what they are getting is a just desert. Cross to the side of the road, and let a Samaritan handle it, or some other foreign entity….

35 replies
  1. 1
    NotMax says:


    just dessert

    /pet peeve

  2. 2
    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    party of family values

  3. 3
    Chetan Murthy says:

    @NotMax: Uh, wha? “Just desert” is the correct usage. Desert as in “deserve”.

  4. 4
    NotMax says:

    T minus 30 to Act II. Long intermission, innit?

  5. 5
    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    The voting for baseball’s All-Star game was rigged!

  6. 6
    misterpuff says:

    Those damn Samaritians……they are Arabs ya know…… like Obama.

    Suck on that Libs!

  7. 7
  8. 8
    NotMax says:

    @Chetan Murthy

    The times, they have a-changed (emphasis added).

    Using just desserts is not a serious error, and it is much more common than just deserts in 21st-century texts. Some people still consider it wrong, however. Whether to pay this any heed is for each of us to decide for ourselves. Source

  9. 9
    Steeplejack says:

    @NotMax, @Chetan Murthy:

    The correct form is “just deserts,” not “desert,” but she’s in the ball park. It does come from the old root word for “deserve,” not from anything to do with dessert.

    ETA: To be fair, it is pronounced like “desserts,” accent on the second syllable.

  10. 10
    mad citizen says:

    Maybe it’s my current mood, and I just read the whole column, but for me it’s too cute by half.

    Still thinking of the Juicer who pointed out earlier today that our side needs to get 62% of the vote to obtain a majority.

  11. 11

    @Chetan Murthy: Desert as in “deserve”

    Say what now?

    ETA: It is! Boy, ya learn something new every day if you’re not careful.

  12. 12
    TenguPhule says:

    Its somehow horrible yet not surprising that all of the other terrible awful news somehow managed to overwhelm the report that Kushner was keeping Tillerson in the dark over his meddling in foreign affairs.

    They’re so openly and overwhelmingly corrupt that we have to invent new terms to define just how fucking awful they are.

    Its to the point where all future scandals will be measured on an Evil index calibrated in units of Trumps.

  13. 13
    HumboldtBlue says:

    In light of the horror being inflicted on the families at our mercy at the border, may I add some personal family news that has made this a daunting if extraordinary day?

    In 1976 my oldest sister was pregnant and gave birth to a baby girl who was then placed for adoption because that’s what you did with respectable pregnant teenage girls in 1976.

    My sister died in 2001.

    At 4:30 this morning my phone started buzzing and the buzzing has not stopped.

    I do have 12 nieces and nephews, I really fucking do.

    My sister’s daughter contacted the family through online databases and … fucking hell … it’s pretty damn amazing.

    I have two adopted nieces in that crew and two other ‘Uncle Humboldt’ nephews and we are a mixed bag of ethnicities colors and creeds.

    Initial interaction could not have been better and we go from here.

    Yeah, I’m crying.

  14. 14
    Chetan Murthy says:

    @Steeplejack: From the same wikitionary entry, “deserts” is the plural of “desert”. So her word-usage was correct, is all I’m saying.

    ETA: From the Bard: Sonnet 72, “Unless you would devise some virtuous lie, / To do more for me than mine own desert,”

  15. 15
    Steeplejack says:


    History will not look with kindness on your situational descriptionalism.

    And it’s one thing to accept a new variant and quite another to claim the original is wrong.

  16. 16
    Baud says:


    Whoa. How awesome for you.

    Christmas will be a lot more hectic though.

  17. 17
    NotMax says:


    In formal or academic writing, would opt for desert to be used. For informal writing directed at the lay public, would choose dessert as the more readily recognizable.

  18. 18
    Brachiator says:


    In light of the horror being inflicted on the families at our mercy at the border, may I add some personal family news that has made this a daunting if extraordinary day

    Wow. Best wishes on this discovery.

  19. 19
    TenguPhule says:

    David Smith

    Firefighters for Biden on their way to the debate in Miami. Clara Delafe, 60, a nurse, says: “I hope they talk about the economy and immigration and they don’t mention Trump’s name. I think Joe Biden has the most experience and he supports the firefighters.”

    1:38 PM – Jun 27, 2019

    I hate these people. Perhaps not as much as Republicans. But its a close call.

  20. 20

    @HumboldtBlue: Wow. I hope the new family continues to give joy.

  21. 21
    TenguPhule says:

    @NotMax: Do you really feel you deserve that pudding? //

  22. 22
    NotMax says:


    Never claimed it was wrong.

  23. 23
    PST says:

    I wonder if politics had anything to do with the Eric Trump spitting incident. I can easily imagine him getting drunk with male friends and getting more and more obnoxious with a waitress until saying something completely out of bounds that drew retaliation. The bar where this took place is a couple of blocks from me, but I’ve never been in there. It is the kind of place that would attract an Eric Trump.

  24. 24
    Steeplejack says:

    @Chetan Murthy:

    I defy you to provide me one example from a literary source of “a just desert.” The only one I can find—the one that everybody cites—is from the play A Warning for Faire Women (1599):

    Upon a pillory—that al the world may see,
    A just desert for such impiety.

    There are a few other citations of singular desert (not with just) in older English, and apparently there is (or was) a concept of “just desert” in criminal law. But just saying that deserts is the plural of desert is a weak argument against the hundreds or thousands of examples of the specific usage “just deserts” in English literature.

  25. 25
    TriassicSands says:

    I’m shocked by Petri’s lack of respect for racists and other bigots. Oh, the intolerance!!!

    I was just listening to some college students stress the importance of bipartisanship in the upcoming election. I guess they can be forgiven for having missed what’s been going on in this country for the last several decades. Their defense of bipartisanship was beyond naive and sounded like what happens when you pay more attention to what the MSM has said has been happening (both sides do it) in the US rather than actually paying attention to r-e-a-l-i-t-y. Sadly, no one was asked how Democrats can work with Mitch McConnell or the rest of a Republican Party that has abandoned democracy.

  26. 26
    Steeplejack says:


    Golly, I must have completely misinterpreted “Grrrr” and “pet peeve”! My apologies.

  27. 27
    Eolirin says:

    @mad citizen: I was there for that that’s not what they said. They said we’d need 62% of the vote to gain a disproportionate number of seats due to way wave elections interact with gerrymandering.

    In a wave election, gerrymandering can become a liability because you spread your bases of support across many districts and concentrate the other side into fewer. So if you are going to lose by a large enough margin you end up losing seats that should’ve been safe but aren’t because you weakened them.

    So if we got to 62%, we’d take more then that many seats. The point being made though was that for that to happen we’d have to have already gotten to 62%, which is pretty overwhelming anyway, so the extra gains wouldn’t really matter.

  28. 28
    Peale says:

    @Steeplejack: yeah. But I like the imagery of just desserts better. Like you’ve been rude the whole meal and because of it we all get cheesecake, while you get shit pudding covered with flies.

  29. 29
    Betty says:

    @HumboldtBlue: Congratulations on your new niece. People who blithely suggest adoption as an easy solution don ‘t understand the emotional cost to mother and baby, not to mention the rest of the family.

  30. 30
    Jay says:


    Congratulations on the expanded family and best wishes for the future.

  31. 31
    rikyrah says:

    That’s just dust 😢😢😢

    Please let us know about your first family reunion😢😢😢

  32. 32
    HumboldtBlue says:

    Thank you all, it’s an odd situation to say the least.

    The road ahead, well, hell, no one knows.

  33. 33
    Steeplejack says:


    Congratulations on the family discovery!

    Both of my brother’s kids are adopted, and he and his husband have been scrupulously honest about it with them.

  34. 34
    Betsy says:

    @NotMax: It’s “desert,” a word that indicates the thing one deserves. Pronounced di-ZERT. Formed from the same root as “deserve.”

    It’s not “dessert,” which is the thing you deserve after eating your peas. That’s just what it seems like it ought to mean. This is also pronounced di-ZERT, but is derived from the French root “desservir,” which means roughly to “un-serve” (to remove the things from the table that were served).

  35. 35
    Betsy says:

    Ah, others have been here before me.

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