Jeez, what time is it?
This stuff kept me awake, gave me nightmares, or made me wish I was dreaming. Started this post before 5 am…
1. Idiotic meme of the week:
A lawyer friend whom I can vouch for having a brain actually posted this thing, apparently approvingly. In zombie movies, the equivalent is when a previously normal friend suddenly bites off your nose. Jules Suzdaltsev is hard left progressive journalist whose background is in film and psychology, and would be a fine example for teaching purposes of what someone sounds like who is so far on one side of the ideological spectrum that he is incapable of finding the center. He’s an ideologue and a Leftist incapable of objective analysis or non-compliant thought, who was steeped for seven years in the rarefied politics of San Francisco, and who tweets deliberate misrepresentations like “There have been more MASS SHOOTINGS in 2019 than there have been DAYS in 2019” and such cliched “resistance” bile like “Hey do you guys remember when the generation that grew up breathing lead fumes ended up voting for this guy as President?”
The scary thing is not Suzdaltsev—he’s a professional left-wing echo chamber provocateur, and good luck to him, glad he has a career. The scary thing is that lawyers, trained in critical thought, can reach the point where they find extremist agitprop persuasive. Society relies on educated, trained professionals to steer us clear of such rot, not to embrace it. The 2016 Post Election Ethics Train Wreck has seen one professional group after another abandon this duty for mob-pleasing expediency.
And how can someone post a statement that Bernie and Warren are barely left-of-center as anything but satire?
2. Jeffrey Epstein committed suicide, hanging himself in his cell. This was gross incompetence by the New York City jail, as well as federal authorities. If there ever was a prisoner who was a candidate for suicide (or murder), Epstein was it. He needed to be on a round-the-clock suicide watch. Epstein was allowed to cheat the justice system and his victims. He is now officially innocent of the crimes he was charged with.
Aside from all that, good. The world is better place without him in it.
3. The nature of politics in a democracy means that when enough people insist that leaders “do something,” they have to do something even when it’s counter-productive and stupid. President Trump’s infuriating and unrepairable deficits really come to the fore in situations like this. He has few convictions, doesn’t think deeply about anything, will take almost any position for expediency, and lacks the communication skills to change anyone’s mind. Thus he’s likely to support so called “red flag” laws, which are dangerous and lead to the pre-crime slippery slope, and more background checks, which probably wouldn’t have stopped any of the attacks that have pundits, progressives and the public screaming, “DO SOMETHING!”
This is where strong, smart, articulate, courageous and principled leaders are crucial—when, in an approximation of the words of my father’s favorite poem, all about them are losing their heads and blaming it on him or her. At this point in its history, the United States has no such leaders, and none are on the horizon that I can see.
Professor Turley has a rational analysis of the current gun control “do something” hysteria here.
He compares the efforts of anti-gun advocates to undermine gun rights through “incrementalism” and a “death by a thousand cuts” to the long term strategy of the foes of Roe v. Wade. The analogy has some validity, but the Second Amendment is a much stronger and reliable bulwark against weakening a right than a Supreme Court case asserting an implied right that was never envisioned by the Founders.
4. I hadn’t noticed, but apparently the President has suspended press briefings. The last one was March 11 and new press secretary Stephanie Grisham has not held a briefing yet. It’s possible that they are training Grisham before her first, perhaps by hiring free-lance antifa agitators to scream insults at her while she tries to keep her composure—you know, just like the White House press corps.
It would be better if the White House could hold regular briefings before competent and fair reporters, but since there isn’t a competent and fair press corps, and since news organizations don’t possess the professionalism to remove grandstanding, partisan hacks like Jim Acosta and April Ryan when they repeatedly breach basic journalism and civility standards, stopping the regular briefings is the best of the bad alternatives. The purpose of press briefings should be to inform the public and allow the press to ask clarifying questions. When news organizations agree to stop using them to make partisan arguments, grandstand individual reporters’ opposition to the President , and compete for “resistance” favor, then the briefings should resume, and not before.
5. Speaking of suicides…and Netflix ethics…Netflix deleted the key suicide scene from the first season of “13 Reasons Why,” the series exploring teenage suicide, more than two years after the episode premiered. The stated reason was ongoing complaints, some from psychiatrists and medical professionals, and new data showing that juvenile suicides spiked when the show premiered. From the beginning, there were protests from educators and mental health experts who said the show’s portrayal of suicide was dangerous, and might inspire copycat behavior. Netflix held its ground until a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry found that suicide rates spiked among boys (boys?) aged 10 to 17 in the month after the release of the first season. April 2017, the study claimed, had the highest overall suicide rate for boys in that age group for the past five years.
Pttui! Netflix is wrong one way or the other, lacking integrity or responsibility. Either it should have deleted the scene earlier, or not at all. My vote would be for not at all.
Netflix is now just capitulating to censors, something we are seeing with increased frequency in the arts, especially when large corporations are involved. How long will it be before post-release edits “for the greater good” are inflicted on thousands of films and TV shows on the theory that they might promote violence, or gunplay, or risky behaviors?
The study doesn’t prove a link between increased suicides and the scene cut. It doesn’t even prove a link between juvenile suicides and the show itself; correlation isn’t causation. The study didn’t have evidence indicating how many of the teens and pre-teens watched the show, or even had access to Netflix. A later study interviewed those who watched the show, but obviously they hadn’t killed themselves. How many 10-13-year old boys would voluntary watch a grim show about a suicidal teenaged girl, or use such a character as an inspiration? I suspect that the study group was cherry-picked to get a desired result.
This is an unethical precedent that endangers free speech and artistic expression. Netflix is just pandering at this point; it hasn’t touched other suicide scenes in its inventory, of which there are many: just this week I watched the finale of the third season of “The Fall,” featuring a very graphic suicide by the series antagonist, a troubled young man. Why is that scene intact? When I was 13, I know “The Fall” would have been far more appealing than “13 Reasons Why.”
Post script: You don’t think they let Jeffrey Epstein watch “13 Reasons Why”, do you? Talk about negligence…