Comment Of The Day: “Late Nominations For 2016 Jerk Of The Year: Lena Dunham And Daniel Goldstein, Ivanka’s Jet Blue Harasser”


Bill Maher, role model...

Bill Maher, role model…

Steve-O-in-NJ‘s reaction to the JetBlue flight harassment of Ivanka Trump by a lawyer could just as easily been written as a comment on this Ethics Alarms post, from shortly after the election, which began..

I have to adapt, with acknowledgement, a long-running gag wielded by Prof. Glenn Reynolds on his iconic conservative website Instapundit thus:

“I wrote if Donald Trump was elected President, we’d have a nation of assholes, and I was RIGHT!”

The problem is that the joke isn’t funny in this case. It’s tragic. What I am seeing in the news, watching on social media and reading on the web and in editorial pages shows me that the last eight years have done even more damage to American unity and ethics than I had realized.

Here is Steve-O-in-NJ‘s Comment of the Day on the post, “Late Nominations For 2016 Jerk Of The Year: Lena Dunham And Daniel Goldstein, Ivanka’s Jet Blue Harasser,” and I’ll have a few comments at the end:

The left seems to be perfectly ok with raising jerkiness to a profession – I decline to call it an art form. I’ll be the first to admit sometimes I don’t use my brain and turn to vicious attacks. Jack was absolutely right that I am not helping myself in my lucid moments when I do that, and, in all fairness, he isn’t the first. Actually a judge here in NJ has seen both sides of me, and said to me once, in a rare ex parte discussion (as part of a “breakout” settlement conference) that “there are two of you, apparently, the thinking Steve and the angry Steve. I would request that only the thinking Steve appear here.” I’d also say that some other people here aren’t helping themselves with the same approach, BUT, that’s for Jack to say more about.

There are plenty of scholars and pundits on both sides politically, and they are of varying quality, from the very erudite to the not much more than trash talkers. Most of us, when we are in our thinking mode, can tell the one from the other, and would place more value on Victor Davis Hanson’s perhaps overly sonorous pronouncements than on Michelle Malkin’s near-rants, and more value on Alan Dershowitz’s legal analysis than on Jonathan Alterman’s self-important poking.

What there aren’t, I am sorry to say, are a whole lot of good conservative entertainers. That’s fine with general entertainment, I can enjoy someone’s acting or singing or whatever without really giving a damn about who they voted for or what they do with their money. What’s a problem is when people like Bill Maher or Sarah Silverman or a few others that Jack has named try to make political statements into entertainment, often mixed in with an overly generous helping of profanity and insults, and expect this entertainment to be actually taken as serious political thought. It certainly isn’t serious political thought to a thinking person, it’s often not as entertaining as they think it is, BUT it encourages the less thinking viewer to engage in the same sloppy or underdeveloped thinking and to substitute mockery and insult for actual engagement with other thoughts. Often it encourages open hatred and contempt for the other side politically, and there are a few pundits (I’m looking at you, Dan Savage), who make their points using the same kind of shtick, further blurring the line.

If someone feeds himself a steady diet of this often hateful infotainment (and even that’s probably too generous a term, since infotainment also refers to cold case shows, etc.), it should come as no surprise that, confronted with the very object of the hatred of his favorite late-night comedian or columnist, a member of the very family he’s been hearing is evil, vile, villainous, racist, hateful, xenophobic, etc., he’s going to take his chance to spew the same rhetoric he’s been swallowing for a year and a half at them, maybe shoot a video that will go viral, run up the score with worthless “likes” and go to bed feeling like he somehow made the world a better place by “speaking truth to power” or some other nonsensical phrase.

This is exactly what happened here, I think, and to think that the men involved were a lawyer and a college professor disgusts me. Those in either of those professions can and should do better than that. Jack wrote at some length and with some substance that Trump was going to make the US into a nation of assholes, but, so far, more than half the assholery that’s followed this election has come from the other side, and this is a pretty gross example of public assholery.

I think a lot of what I just wrote is a different path to the nation of assholes than that which Jack wrote about, BUT, since most of us had our eyes on Trump (and let’s be fair, he was VERY hard to look away from), we didn’t pay as much attention to this one.

We’re already starting 2017 off with a generous portion of assholery as all the entertainment industry seeks to freeze the incoming President out and fans attack a blind man and a 16-year-old girl for daring to sing at his inauguration, while columnists and a few bitter politicians turn up the rhetoric not just of loyal opposition, but of hatred and defiance. This harassment is just one part of that generous portion, and it’s looking more and more like this is going to be a very long four years.

As for Lena Dunham, this is just the next step in a long string of ridiculous and outrageous things that no thinking person should take seriously – voting for Obama is like having sex with the right guy, voting is like a party to wear a little black dress to, her molestation of her sister, etc., etc. Lena is definitely someone who could benefit from some kind of psych treatment, but you can’t help someone who doesn’t think she needs help.


I’m back. I just want to note that there are more conservative entertainers than it seem, but they feel discriminated against and ostracized in a very capricious, insecure and unethical profession. They see no reason to risk their careers and livelihood by commenting on matters they really have no reason to comment on anyway, and by courting cognitive dissonance by making their non-conforming political views public.

Look at where the main hubs for TV, movies and theater are: California and New York, otherwise known as “Where people trust Hillary Clinton and think Barack Obama is a great President.” Why do you hear from so many more conservative country music entertainers? One reason is that in Nashville, being a conservative is a lot less likely to lose you gigs.

The fact is, and it is indisputable, that the performing arts are disproportionately dominated by LGBT individuals, and because of the issues related to those groups, the entertainment profession is more hostile to conservatives and Republicans than ever before. This in turn, creates a bias and slant in popular culture and the arts. I can’t say anyone is to blame for this more than conservatives.

The lack of conservative comics is a more complicated phenomenon, especially lately. We have never had a President before who was treated as immune from ridicule by most of the media and entertainment community. This was, of course, because Obama is black, and also because he has notoriously “thin skin’ regarding criticism.  The political correctness ban on mocking Obama strangled conservative humor as well as candid criticism that would have been healthier for all concerned, including Obama. Where was the release of the frustrations of those unhappy with the Obama administration to come from, when humor and satire, the traditional methods, were virtually forbidden?

There are conservative wits out there, but they are very careful, all except Rush Limbaugh, who is a conservative satirist popular enough to brush off the last 8 years of being called a racist. (Rush is not a racist.) “The Simpsons” and “The Family Guy”  get away with sharp, bipartisan, politically incorrect humor. That’s right: after two terms of Obama, the only remaining conservative comics are cartoon characters.

8 thoughts on “Comment Of The Day: “Late Nominations For 2016 Jerk Of The Year: Lena Dunham And Daniel Goldstein, Ivanka’s Jet Blue Harasser”

  1. Even MAD Magazine has gone down the toilet of unfunny jerkiness. I once thought it was funny (consider their cover of Miley Cyrus and her antics) but now it seems like it has devolved into mocking Trump and Republicans with adolescent glee. Watch out MAD! You are losing your readership of deplorables at an alarming rate.

  2. When Obama was elected, I noted many parallels between Bush and Obama. In particular, they both bumbled incoherently off the teleprompter. But according to the left, Obama was the talented orator and Bush was the idiot.

    I’m seeing something similar; the Obama fan club goes on and on about the “thin skinned Trump” while they were never capable of noticing the same about Obama.

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