Happy dying gasps of 2018!
1. Double standards inquiry: Will someone please explain to me why this magazine cover, which made O.J. Simpson blacker than he really is…
was universally condemned as racist, and this current cover of New York Times Magazine, making the late Aretha Franklin look like a ravenous rotting zombie from Hell..
…is just an artistic choice? (ARRGHHHHH!!!)
2. And speaking of looks…It is impossible not to notice that TV commercials are increasingly featuring overweight, ordinary-looking actors instead of the impossibly beautiful people who once were the automatic choices to sell products. This is an ethical development for the culture generally, and should help children develop more realistic aspirations regarding their own appearance. Now if only TV dramas would adopt the same inclusive casting policies—a particularly egregious candidate for reform is “law and Order” creator Dick Wolf. His old series cast one eye-popping beauty after another as the male ADA’s sidekick, and now he is stocking his current NBC line-up of Chicago Med, Chicago Fire, and Chicago PD, with police women, female firefighters and distaff doctors who would be right at home in the pages of Vogue.
3. More on “Enemies of the People”: Novelist and conservative gadfly Sarah Hoyt has issued a spirited defense—okay, it’s a screed, a rant even— of President Trump’s characterization of the news media, going over ground I have covered (most recently here and here), but with special brio. Read the whole thing— she is mostly right, if a bit hyperbolic and inflammatory—but here are some highlights:
- “[H] ow would you describe the situation we’re in? Where our media — and most of our intellectual class, at least those who have access to a public-megaphone —are functionally trying to destroy the nation and everything it has stood for?
I’ve described it as: if we had lost the cold war, other than enemy troops in the streets and our economy being looted by Moscow, how would it be different. If you look just at our education, entertainment, and mass information systems, what would be functionally different?”
- “Do you know that there are actually people who believe that Trump cut taxes “only for the rich” and therefore the “middle class is paying for these tax cuts.” Yes, they are innumerate. …But they wouldn’t believe that nonsense without the media.
And I bet you all of us have friends who are decent middle-class people, very busy at their job, who get news only from the MSM and are therefore convinced Trump is a tyrant and America is evil. Even though, being decent people, if they knew what was really going on they’d be outraged… at the left.”
- “Yes, sure, “enemy of the people” was used by tyrants, usually to brand anyone who opposed them. As such, the optics suck. However, our president isn’t a wordsmith, and what he’s saying is no more, no less than the absolute unvarnished truth. If the press had their way we’d be an open-borders, invaded state, where any remaining productive people are taxed 90% to provide “for the needs” of people who do nothing and create nothing.
If you think that’s a worthy goal, you may then disagree with the president that the Press are Enemies of the People.”
4. If you doubt that it’s as serious as all that: watch this video…
…in which Ian Furgeson, 36, found himself verbally attacked and ejected from a store because he revealed himself as a supporter of the President of the United States of America. Had this ever happened in any previous administration? Do you think more than two years of non-stop vilification of President Trump by the news media might have something to do with it?
Yes, the clerk was fired. What he needs is psychiatric treatment….like several million other people.
4. When is a politician obligated to return a donation? ABC, I assume because it is writing about a Republican, apparently assumes that Mississippi Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith is legally or ethically obligated to return campaign donations because social media mobs have bullied her corporate contributors to ask for them back. You may recall that Hyde-Smith set herself up for a “gotcha” by praising a local rancher with the statement, “If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row.” (Most news media reports never explained the context of the comment, and many didn’t include the full quote.) Now, this, one would have to agree, is a really stupid thing to say, especially in Mississippi, where lynchings were common, and when one’s opposition is black and addicted to race-baiting. On the other hand, it should be clear to any fair analyst that she was not referring to lynchings, but using the archaic practice of executing criminals in the public square as an example of something disgusting that she would nonetheless endure if her supporter asked her to. Never mind: corporations these days can be hectored into anything if the manufactured outrage gets loud and angry enough, so a welter of spineless companies like Aetna, Amgen, AT&T, Boston Scientific, Facebook, Google, Leidos, Major League Baseball, Pfizer, Union Pacific and Walmart denounced Hyde-Smith’s non-racial joke (which ABC calls “racially tinged” without explaining what she said–nah, there’s no mainstream media bias!) and publicly demanded refunds.
She refused. Good for her. So would I. If the news media and social media can use their big megaphones to force candidates to surrender contributions that have already been made, we’ll see more and more of such extortion, and we know corporations don’t have the integrity to stand up to threatened boycotts.
5. When feminist ethics alarms malfunction: Oops! Focus Features posted an ad on Facebook to appeal to feminist fans of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg:
“Win a shopping spree and a trip to Washington, D.C. for you and a friend to celebrate the release of “On the Basis of Sex,” based on a true story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.”
The text was immediately attacked this as “sexist,” “sexploitational,” and “deeply unsettling.”
Gee, I’d like a free shopping spree!