You know, Saturdays were a lot more fun when I watched cartoons in the morning …
1. More on the divisive Red Sox visit to the White House, as all the blacks and Hispanic-Americans—but one—boycotted the honor. Kyle Smith at the National Review has some spot-on observations. Some samples:
Naturally the media blamed the target of this calculated mass protest. “Did Donald Trump honor the Red Sox or the ‘White’ Sox?” asks columnist Edward Montini in the Arizona Republic, adding, “Trying to pretend that President Donald Trump has not caused a widening racial and ethnic divide means not believing what you can hear with your own ears and see — clearly — with your own eyes.” MSNBC guest and former Joe Biden chief of staff Ron Klain said, “I bet [Trump] was happy today that he was able to say that the white players were here and players of color weren’t. That’s the kind of division he fosters deliberately.”
Isn’t Klein’s statement obviously the blathering of an asshole? How far gone do you have to be to buy that? More from Kyle…
[L] et’s call this what it is: Top athletes, especially top athletes of color, are insulting the President of the United States. They have every right to do this, but let’s at least get the direction of the animosity right. Trump doesn’t invite just white athletes to the White House. The racial resentment in these ceremonies is being flung at him, not by him. The athletes, not the president, are racializing these ceremonies….These feel-good photo-ops for jocks are nonpartisan. Everyone used to understand this. Participating in a White House ceremony does not constitute an endorsement of a president, much less agreement with all of his policies. Before the Trump era, only a handful of athletes had ever been conspicuous no-shows at White House events to honor them, and most of them hastened to clarify that they had non-political reasons for missing the events. These days everything must be scrutinized for political content. Dave Zirin of The Nation is assailing Tiger Woods for accepting a Presidential Medal of Freedom from Trump, saying it amounted to “to kiss[ing] Trump’s ring.
Read it all, but really: who’s being an asshole here? It isn’t Trump.
2. Let’s give credit to conservative pundit Ben Shapiro for openly admitting that he behaved like jerk, but he really did behave like a jerk. Shapiro was a guest on the BBC to discuss his new book, New York Times best-seller “The Right Side of History: How Reason and Moral Purpose Made the West Great,.” Apparently he was expecting the kind of soft-ball, pandering interview from host Andrew Neil that he criticizes U.S. journalists for serving up to progressives and Democrats. Uh, no.
After greeting one another (the interview was conducted from London via satellite) Neil asked Shapiro whether he believed Georgia’s new abortion law was a return to the “dark ages.”
Rather than answering the question, Shapiro attacked the questioner, saying, “OK, a couple of things. Are you [an] objective journalist or an opinion journalist?”
Neil’s response: “I’m a journalist who asks questions.”
Shapiro: “You purport to be an objective journalist, BBC purports to be an objective, down the middle network. It is obviously not, it never has been. And you, as a journalist, are proceeding to call one side of the political aisle ignorant, barbaric, and sending us back to the dark ages. Why don’t you just say you’re on the left?”
In fact, Neil is regarded as a conservative commentator ( by British standards) , and responded, “Mr. Shapiro, if you only knew how ridiculous that statement is, you wouldn’t have said it.” Then he asked Shapiro to explain his past inflammatory statements on transgender rights and abortion.
Shapiro snapped back that the interviewer was raising “lone things that sound bad out of context” in order to make “a quick buck on BBC off the fact that I’m popular,” and that Neil was an interviewer that “no one has ever heard of.” Then he ended the interview, saying, “This whole thing is a waste of time. Frankly, I don’t care — I don’t frankly give a damn what you think of me, since I’ve never heard of you. I think we’re done here.”
The “I’ve never heard of you so what you say doesn’t matter” dodge is something of conservative pundit trademark, and boy, do I hate it. In addition to Shapiro, practitioners include Mark Levine and Donald Trump.
Shapiro did redeem himself somewhat. He tweeted,
“Just pre-taped an interview with BBC’s @afneil. As I’m not familiar with him or his work, I misinterpreted his antagonism as political Leftism (he termed the pro-life position in America ‘barbaric’) – and that was apparently inaccurate. For that, I apologize.”
That wasn’t much of an apology, though, so Ben tried again:
“@afneil DESTROYS Ben Shapiro! So that’s what that feels like 😉 Broke my own rule, and wasn’t properly prepared. I’ve addressed every single issue he raised before; see below. Still, it’s Neil 1, Shapiro 0.”
Much better. I’ll be even more impressed if he apologizes publicly to Neil.
3. Now THIS is firing for cause-level incompetence! Australia put 46 million new $50 notes into circulation, and they all had a typo. The last “i” in the word “responsibility” was missing on the bill. This has been called a “tiny mistake,” but it’s not a tiny mistake. It’s a junior high school level mistake that makes Australia look foolish. Nations are not supposed to be that careless. I wonder how many officials and employees whiffed on this? My guess is quite a few…and every one of them should be sent packing. Some mistakes are unforgivable, and this was, in effect, 46 million mistakes.
The “Red Socks” typo was funnier.
4. GOOD! “Murphy Brown” redux was just cancelled. The alleged sitcom was zombified from the Eighties to add one more network insult to the President of the United States. The original version poked fun at conservatives and conservative views, smugly and sometimes embarrassingly (Rich Murphy had a baby without a husband, entrusted the child round-the-clock to a male nanny, and we seldom saw the kid again), but while it was political, it was never hateful. The new version just pandered to the resistance, and even its producers acknowledged that was the only justification for its existence.
Doing better is “The Good Fight,” a streaming series on CBS which at least does not pose as a comedy and appeals to professional Trump-haters like the Times’ Michelle Goldberg, who extols
...“The Good Fight,” the only TV show that reflects what life under Trump feels like for many of us who abhor him. Its showrunners, the married couple Michelle and Robert King, have figured out how to alchemize our berserk era into entertainment. When historians look back at this ghastly moment — if there are still historians when it’s over — this fizzy, mordant cult series is likely to be one of its richest artifacts. It’s a balm, a reminder, on days when I feel like I’m cracking up, that it’s really the world that’s gone crazy.
It’s not the world that’s gone crazy, Michelle. It’s you and people like you.