My favorite hymn, naturally: the first selection at my father’s 2010 funeral at Arlington National Cemetery, the stirring finale of “Mrs. Miniver,” and it was composed by none other than Sir Arthur Sullivan.
1. What’s the ethical response to these kinds of stories? I’m pretty sure I don’t have it, whatever it is. From today’s New York Times: “This year, a tourist in India was mauled to death when he tried to take a selfie with a wounded bear.” Last week, an Australian tourist was nearly killed when a shark that she was hand feeding dragged her into crocodile-infested waters. How should we feel about such people? “Serves the morons right” isn’t an ethical response, but that kind of clueless idiocy gets people killed all over the world, every day. Laughter is tempting, but seems cruel. I can’t apply the Golden Rule, because there is no way I can imagine myself behaving quite that stupidly. Is “I’m genuinely sorry that you’re an idiot” mockery, or compassion?
2. What’s going on here? I sure can’t figure it out. The quickest way for you to get up to speed is to click on the link and read the twitter feed backwards. Here’s a summary: two police officers claimed that they were harassed at a Raleigh, N.C. barbecue restaurant, with staff calling out “Fuck the police!” The police association wrote about the alleged incident on Facebook, the restaurant denied the account, and an investigation indicated that the complaints were exaggerated at most, and perhaps fabricated completely. Then the association posted this:
Huh? The issue is NOT resolved until we learn what, if anything the officers were reacting to, why they made a false claim, and what kind of discipline they face, if any. Meanwhile, the story was reported on social media by a criminal defense attorney (all criminal defense attorneys hate and distrust cops, and vice-versa) whose characterization of the episode is that the police “terrorized a local business.” Terrorized? (Pointer: valkgrrl)
3. As the self-segregation of America continues...Outspoken conservative Hollywood actor James Woods was dropped by his agent, Ken Kaplan, who wrote, “It’s the 4th of July and I’m feeling patriotic. I don’t want to represent you anymore. I mean I can go on a rant but you know what I’d say.” Woods replied,
“Dear Ken, I don’t actually. I was thinking if you’re feeling patriotic, you would appreciate free speech and one’s right to think as an individual. Be that as it may, I want to thank you for all your hard work and devotion on my behalf. Be well.”
Commenting on this, Constitutional Law expert Jonathan Turley opined,
“My main interest is how other artists represented by Kaplan would remain silent in the face of such an action. Countless movies and books have been done on the blacklisting of communists in Hollywood but somehow the thought of a conservative being dropped by studios or agents is not considered an attack on the art community as a whole. If Kaplan imposed a political litmus test, his pride in the public scorning of Woods should be met with equally public condemnations of Kaplan from other artists.”
Turley is expecting a lot. I checked: the only artist represented by Kaplan’s agency that I had ever heard of is Kristen Stewart, the far-left millennial starlet who probably doesn’t know who James Woods is. The rest: it’s hard enough to find an agent before you are established in show business; I doubt any struggling actors are going to sacrifice their career prospects to support Woods, and it wouldn’t accomplish anything if they did. Woods is 71, and well past his A-movie starring role years. He’s also a well-established jerk, even by Hollywood standards. There are many reasons other than politics why someone might not wish to work with James Woods any more. Hollywood primarily blacklists conservatives when they stop being profitable, just like it blacklists sexual abusers when the rest of the country learns what Hollywood knew all along. Comparing an agent dropping a particularly obnoxious conservative actor (Woods is the Right’s answer to Robert DeNiro) who should probably retire to the infamous blacklist is a huge stretch.
4. Wow. Imagine how upset they’ll be when there’s an actual nominee! Does anyone else find it telling that Democrats, progressives, “the resistance” and the news media are literally freaking out over President Trump’s nominee to replace Justice Kennedy before they even know who the nominee is?
I have never seen anything like it, and I am confident that there has never been anything like it in U.S. history.
Firstly, almost anyone on the list of potential candidates (and nothing stops Trump from nominating someone not on the list) would be a good bet to be a better jurist than Kennedy, who was distinguished by vague, sloppy opinions and hard right positions broken up by outbursts of social libertarianism. Second, the Left’s freak-out gives the false impression that there are no substantive distinctions between the potential nominees. They are “conservatives,” ergo they are all the same, and baaaad. This is the essence of bigotry, something the Left is becoming skilled at since November 2016.
Third, apparently basic fairness has been abandoned by liberals, who used to stand for it as a primary value. Not only is the Mystery Justice already condemned as a menace to society before his or her identity is known, but he or she is being condemned prior to the process of hearings or interviews with Senators.
Finally and most absurd of all, the unnamed justice is being condemned as an existential threat to the Bill of Rights based on his or her theoretical vote on a case that hasn’t been filed yet, regarding which the facts and issues are unknown!
Of course, all of this behavior, which in any other setting would embarrass the activists engaging in it, is because of a perceived threat to “abortion rights,” which might be “rolled back,” whatever that means. To me, it means that the Court might change the point at which a fetus is deemed sufficiently human and alive to warrant some added protection under the Constitution, especially since medical technology has advanced considerably since 1973. The Horror. This issue, abortion, is the most important issue to a large swathe of the Left, justifying the coming scorched earth battle, complete with merciless demonizing of conservatives, Republicans, the President, Catholics, and anyone who genuinely believes that two lives are involved in the abortion equation, and not just one.
As I said: telling.