1. Here is the level of logic and ethical reasoning the public is subjected to by the media: Here is NBC Sports blogger Bill Baer on why it is misguided for the Milwaukee Brewers not to punish relief pitcher Josh Hader—whose career crisis I discussed here–for tweets he authored when he was in high school seven years ago:
The “he was 17” defense rings hollow. At 17 years old, one is able to join the military, get a full driver’s license (in many states), apply for student loans, and get married (in some states). Additionally, one is not far off from being able to legally buy cigarettes and guns. Given all of these other responsibilities we give to teenagers, asking them not to use racial and homophobic slurs is not unreasonable. Punishing them when they do so is also not unreasonable.
A study from several years ago found that black boys are viewed as older and less innocent than white boys. A similar study from last year found that black girls are viewed as less innocent than white girls. Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and Cameron Tillman, among many others, never got the benefit of the doubt that Hader and countless other white kids have gotten and continue to get in our society. When we start giving the same benefit of the doubt to members of marginalized groups, then we can break out the “but he was only 17” defense for Hader.
How many repeatedly debunked false rationalizations and equivalencies are there in that blather? It’s not even worth rebutting: if you can’t see what’s wrong with it…if your reaction is, “Hey! Good point! Why is it OK for a cop to shoot a teenager for charging him after resisting arrest, but not OK to suspend a ball player for dumb social media posts he made in high school?”…I am wasting my time. And NBC pays Baer as an expert commentator. It might as well pay Zippy the Pinhead.
2. Is this offensive, or funny? Or both? Increasingly, we are reaching the point where anything that is funny is offensive, thus nothing can be funny. The Montgomery Biscuits, the Tampa Bay Rays’ Double-A affiliates, will be hosting a “Millennial Night” this weekend, being promoted with announcements like this one: “Want free things without doing much work? Well you’re in luck! Riverwalk Stadium will be millennial friendly on Saturday, July 21, with a participation ribbon giveaway just for showing up, napping and selfie stations, along with lots of avocados.”
Apparently there has been a substantial negative reaction from millennials, and the indefinable group that is routinely offended on behalf of just about anyone.
Nonetheless, I agree with the critics. I think the promotion goes beyond good-natured to insulting. It’s like announcing a Seniors Night by guaranteeing free Depends and promising extra-loud public address announcements that will be repeated for the dementia-afflicted who forget what they just heard. [Pointer: Bad Bob]
3. Good to know: The Anti-Trump Deranged get deranged when they are told that they are deranged. There was an unusually nasty blow-up on “The View” yesterday when Fox News host Jeanine Pirro, a former judge and GOP Senate candidate, accused Whoopi Goldberg of suffering from “Trump Derangement Syndrome.” Goldberg later apologized to the audience for the on-air insult exchange, saying, “You saw me do something I very rarely do … I very rarely lose my cool and I’m not proud of it. I don’t like it. But I also don’t like being accused of being hysterical because that is one of the things I try not to be on this show.”
I had a similar reaction from a Trump Deranged close relative, who became furious that I had, she said, accused her of being irrational and hysterical by invoking the “D-word.” It’s an interesting dilemma: how will “the resistance” ever learn that their position is emotional rather than factual and that their obsession with Donald Trump has crossed into clinical realms unless someone tells them?
4. Trump Deranged Fake News! The Hill’s headline was “George Will charges that Trump colluded with Putin.” “Oh, no!” think I. Poor George, who has crawled into that lonely, principled, cocoon of virtue reserved for arch-conservative NeverTrumpers, has finally snapped! So the clickbait works, and I encounter a Trump Deranged screed by Brent Budowsky, who tells us that George has written,
“We shall learn from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation whether in 2016 there was collusion with Russia by members of the Trump campaign. The world, however, saw in Helsinki something more grave — ongoing collusion between Trump, now in power, and Russia. The collusion is in what Trump says (refusing to back the United States’ intelligence agencies) and in what evidently went unsaid (such as: You ought to stop disrupting Ukraine, downing civilian airliners, attempting to assassinate people abroad using poisons, and so on, and on).”
So Will did not charge that Trump colluded with Putin. Will did, as is his wont, play word games, and suggest that not sufficiently admonishing Putin in public for various transgressions is a kind of collusion—just not the kind that the Mueller team might be investigating, and not the kind of collusion readers of the intentionally misleading headline assume it is referring to.
5. At least it wasn’t high school tweets…Ryan Bounds withdrew his nomination to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals after Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.), the lone Republican African-American senator, told leadership that he could not vote for Bounds’s nomination, with Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) assuring Scott that he would vote “no” as well. The issue, apparently, was some of Bounds’ college writings, which were insufficiently supportive of policies aimed at “diversity.”
This is a John Birch Society, Joseph McCarthy style gotcha, and wrong. It should not matter in his or her subsequent adult careers what a high school student or a college student writes, opines, says or thinks. Ever. Education in critical thought requires experimentation and freedom from fear, either of punishment from professors and peers—which is what dissenters from official ideological cant face on campus these days—or punishment years and decades later, when some enterprising character assassin dredges up old e-mails, letters, op-eds and crudely lettered signs…or maybe surreptitious recordings of late night bull sessions.
My opinion of Hillary Clinton, or any public figure, elected official or judge, is not and can not be affected one milli-iota by anything they said, wrote or believed in college. I don’t care if they worshiped Stalin, or Satan, or Sasquatch. I don’t care if they were Rosicrucians, or Hedonists, or Anarchists. I don’t care if they advocated tax delinquency, pacifism or Swift’s Modest Proposal. It doesn’t matter and shouldn’t matter: they were students, and they were right to be letting their imaginations run wild and their belief systems evolve, which often occurs by saying or writing something stupid and getting your dumb opinion stuffed up your nose.
I have no idea if Bounds was otherwise qualified to sit on the 9th Circuit or not, but I do know that using his “college writings” to ding him chills speech, harms education, and is miserably unfair and irresponsible.