I’m headed to Boston this afternoon for one of my semi-monthly ethics seminars for new Mass. bar admittees. I have been having bad luck with keeping up on the blog while traveling of late, so I’m going to post a two-part Warm-Up to try to avoid falling too far behind.
1. Maureen Dowd made my head explode with her ridiculous profile of Gary Hart—you know, Donna Rice, “Monkey Business”—so I’m going to rely heavily on Ann Althouse’s analysis which parallels mine. Her head is just more resilient, apparently. [Tangent: I wonder how Ann’s traffic is doing? I have noticed that progressive commenters have virtually disappeared from her blog as well, where a couple of years ago they were equally represented. I don’t consider Althouse a conservative at all: she is relentlessly objective and non-partisan, and mostly serves as the web’s best bullshit detector. She has, however, defended the President against unfair attacks and hypocrisy, and called out the news media for fake news, fake headlines, and bias. That’s asking for a boycott, apparently.) Hart makes this statement:
“If all that stuff had not happened and if I had been elected, there would have been no gulf war. H.W. wouldn’t have been president. W. wouldn’t have been president. Everything would have changed. I don’t say that to aggrandize myself. It’s just, history changed. And that has haunted me for thirty years. I had only one talent and it wasn’t traditional politics — I could see farther ahead than anybody.”
I could write a long essay about this arrogant nonsense with my eyes closed. Ann had the same instant reaction I did: Funny, you weren’t able to foresee that daring reporters to check on your martial virtue would result in your being caught adultery-handed in Clintonesque trysts, you big dummy. (My words, not Ann’s.) And if hindsight is 20-20, hindsight aternate future readings are even better. Gary needs to study Chaos Theory a bit more closely, and watch that old Star Trek episode. For all he knows, his election would have resulted in the world being taken over by Mole People.
Althouse also flagged the Dowd section where the Queen of Snark writes,
“As we fantasize about a parallel universe, where America is not a joke and our president cares about other human beings, the same questions keep swirling in our heads. What has happened to this country? Can he be stopped? When will it end? How the hell did we get here?”
Wow, Talk about bias making you stupid. To many of us who are at least as smart as Maureen, America is a joke when it embraces open borders and edicts by international organizations, when it warps the Constitution by declaring that men and police can be guilty until proven innocent if a member of a favored group accuses them, and allows a partisan news media to control public opinion. It’s not a very funny joke, though. Some trenchant comments on Ann’s post:
“I don’t know why I’m still surprised by liberals’ inability to do any real soul-searching. You’d think by now, after many hundreds of “how did we get here, why aren’t smart people like me listened to by the stupids?” articles, I’d give up hope that they will ever open their eyes and see what’s right in front of them. But then I remember, I’m a pollyanna. I can’t give up on anybody.”
“It would seem obvious to me that Trump does care about human beings, but not the ones Dowd think he should be caring about. And maybe her friends consider America a joke, and maybe that’s why we got were we are..”
“Dowd’s perspective is Technocratic. Society needs to be supervised by an educated elite. Democracy is just mob rule that will lead to ruin. But, we have to put on a facade so that the deplorables will accept our edicts. So we do the election thing, but the real rules are set behind the scenes by career bureaucrats. Politicians and the medias’ job is to set the agenda and influence popular opinion towards the “correct” attitudes”
Bingo. Bingo. Bingo.
2. How Madison avenue and corporate America tilt cultural attitudes. Mixed-race couples are now featured in so many TV commercials that they almost seem to outnumber the other kind. This is culturally healthy, because it normalizes what was once regarded as abnormal by a majority of American society. This is especially true of if effect on children and rising generations. The example that struck me recently was a Sling commercial featuring the 80’s celebrity I thought was dead, sex expert Dr. Ruth Westheimer. The Sling commercials are gratuitously smutty, based on the not-very-clever play on words between “sling” and “swing.” Dr. Ruth leads an inter-racial couple through “sex” exercises. I doubt that anyone under the age of 40 cares about the races of the actors.
The problem is when corporations and TV ads try to push partisan cultural values that are not theirs to push, because they can’t see the difference. Power is inherently dangerous in the hands of such entities and institutions.
3. Here is a dubious value on display! Heavy’s headline: “Maura Binkley: A Tribute to the Hot Yoga Shooting Victim.” What in the world does being “hot” have to do with the tragedy of being killed in a shooting? This sentiment creeps into many a post-tragedy commentary: describing a victim as “young” and “beautiful” is used to make the tragedy seem especially cruel, as if killing homely person or a senior isn’t quite so bad.
UPDATE: Apparently “hot yoga” is a thing. We explore the ambiguity in Part II.
4. From the “Just Desserts Files” In what sounds like the plot of a Lifetime movie, two 16- and 17-year-old female students at Fletcher High School in Neptune Beach, Florida, who were having sex with their science teacher, Corey French, discovered that he was two-timing them with each other, and exacted their revenge by telling his wife. They saw nothing wrong with having sex with a married man, or their teacher, of course, just with him doing to each of them what he was doing with them to his innocent wife. Nice.
French was arrested. Good.