1. Basically, to hell with them. Yesterday I was ostentatiously snubbed by two old friends at an event. It hurt, and more than that, it pissed me off. Since I have not been directly involved with either of them for over a year, it was pretty clear what their justification was: I refuse to join “the resistance,” and also regularly call out Facebook garbage that is simply the unthinking regurgitation of Trump Derangement talking points. I don’t engage in political debates at social events unless someone makes an objectively false or offensive statement in my presence. The conduct I was subjected to was a political statement, however, and fascist in style. Shunning and marginalizing non-conforming views is increasingly the Left’s favored tool of gaining power, because it works. It works because most people will go along to get along. The next step is to try to shun and marginalize people who associate with the target, in this case, me. Well, shame on them, and bring it on, baby. That kind of peer pressure has never worked on me, or anyone in my family, my entire life.
What I have noticed on Facebook, and on Ethics Alarms, of course, is that the Angry Left and the “resistance” are mostly made up of cowards. I actually got push back yesterday on a summary of the Boston Globe story, and the dissent consisted of “Yeah, but Orange Man Bad!” and “We’ll have to agree to disagree.” NO! The first response is a deflection, not a rebuttal, and the second is pure cowardice. (Simple “I disagree” comments don’t make it through moderation here.) What those responses mean is “I don’t like the facts and analysis you are presenting, because they interfere with my preferred narrative, so I’m rejecting them while impugning you, though I in fact have no arguments whatsoever to challenge your assertions. The day before, when I posted about the discriminatory audition notice, I was accused of making the story up.
“The resistance” has reached the point where it refuses to argue, because it can’t win arguments on the merits. One of the Facebook commenters yesterday of the “Orange Man Bad” persuasion mouthed one of my favorite canards, the “he [President Trump] violates norms” argument. “What norms?” I asked. See, I know my Presidential norms, and my democratic norms, and this argument, pushed by the dishonest history professor wing of “the resistance,” is demonstrably crap, and I’m someone who can demonstrate it. I also can point to vital norms at the core of our democracy that Democrats and “the resistance” have breached, with serious, perhaps permanent consequences. What norm has the President breached that comes within a thousand miles, for example, of Democrats and progressives encouraging harassment and violence against the other party and its supporters?
Yesterday tears it for me. I’m taking off the velvet gloves. These are uncivil people who are relying on my civility, and cowardly advocates whose duty, if they had any integrity at all, would be to accept that they can’t argue their case persuasively and reluctantly conclude that it’s time to admit that their case stinks. From now on, I’m telling them so.
2. A tale of two perspectives. From Fox News:
New York Assembly Democrats on Tuesday blocked a bill that proposed expanding college tuition aid for children of deceased and disabled military veterans after– having a week earlier– approved a state budget that set aside $27 million in college tuition aid for illegal immigrants.
For “illegal immigrants” read “Dreamers,” which is not quite the same thing. In fact, Fox is engaging in the same kind of deceit its Left-biased colleagues engage in when they call illegal immigrants “immigrants.” The so-called Dreamers are a special category of illegals, and while I agree that creating an incentive for illegal immigration by granting special benefits to Dreamers is unethical and irresponsible, Fox is being intentionally inflammatory and misleading
Nonetheless, the dueling priorities are worth flagging. Of course citizens should have higher priority than wilful non citizens if the budget is in zero sum game mode. Now here’s another article about the same matter that doesn’t mention the Dreamer issue at all. Leaving out relevant facts to warp perception of the story is a species of fake news.
3. Here’s a controversy too annoying to justify a full post, but still…From the Times;
Arielle Haspel, a Manhattan health coach with a sleek social media presence, wanted to open the kind of Chinese restaurant, she said, where she and her food-sensitive clients could eat. One where the lo mein wouldn’t make people feel “bloated and icky” the next day, or one where the food wasn’t “too oily” or salty, as she wrote in an Instagram post a few weeks ago.
She chose a name for her new restaurant, Lucky Lee’s, that sounded stereotypically Chinese, even though she and her husband, Lee, are not Asian. She decorated the restaurant with bamboo and jade touches, and designed her logo with a chopstick-inspired font.
And then, quite predictably, she was flamed on the internet for it.
The Times says the controversy is over “cultural appropriation.” Since there is no such thing as a legitimate complaint about cultural appropriation, because the “offense” is contrived, anti-American bullshit, that’s neither accurate nor good reporting. Admittedly, being of Greek heritage and knowing that my fellow Greek-Americans have become the masters of launching successful eateries featuring very un-Greek cuisine, I find the very suggestion that a non-Asian can’t launch her own version of a Chinese food restaurant outrageous.
However, her decision to brand her Chinese food as “clean” was just plain stupid and tin-eared.
[UPDATE: Several readers have pointed out that “clean food” is a term of art, and means “cleansed” of unhealthy ingredients. Apparently this is a common parlance in New York, though the articles I perused claiming that it was a racist slur on Chinese-American made no hint of that. It’s a dangerously loaded term, given that “dirty” is the usually assumed opposite of “clean.” In “Poltergeist,” “clean” means “no longer haunted.” I HATE haunted Chinese food…]
That implies that other Chinese restaurants are somehow “unclean,” and the gaffe can be twisted into racism. Now, I’ve been in family restaurants in D.C.’s Chinatown that required more than a little faith, but the dirtiest restaurant I ever frequented–still one of my favorites–was an Italian place that kept the lights down so you wouldn’t see the filth. (It was closed by the health department about once a month. But the food was delicious!)
As for “Lucky Lee’s,” do we want to call that deceit? It’s really her husband’s name, but it also does faintly suggest Chinese ownership. But that’s (maybe) deceit, not cultural appropriation. Would it be cultural appropriation to call the restaurant, say, “Mrs. Chow’s”? Come on. Does a seafood restaurant called “Atlantis” have to have Aquaman in its managent?
There is nothing unethical about re-imagining Chinese food to develop less caloric, less salty, less oily versions of the cuisine for a market that wants it, just like the weird hybrid dishes at Olive Garden are ethical even if they would make an Italian gourmet retch. The social media campaign to destroy “Lucky Lee’s” is unfair and indefensible.
4. I KNEW it! Multiple sources now report that Amazon.com Inc. employs thousands of people to listen to and review transcripts of voice recordings captured in Echo owners’ homes and offices. We are told that this is to improve the Alexa digital assistant powering its line of Echo speakers. But it doesn’t matter whether or not the reason for this violation of users’ privacy has a benign purpose. The point is that the Alexa and Echo users did not consent to their private conversations being captured and listened to by strangers. I see no reason why this isn’t illegal wiretapping, except that there is probably some disclaimer buried in the small print in the Amazon user agreements.
Not to repeat my self, but I’m going to repeat myself: these big tech companies cannot be trusted. Isn’t that obvious by now? This means that trusting artificial intelligence such companies put in your homes is naive and foolish.