1. Today’s fake news note from the New York Times: “A Trump justice delivers an LGBT ruling that demoralizes the Right.” This completely fabricated observation, a variety of fake news I refer to as “psychic news,”purports to, first, characterize the “Right” as a monolithic, anti-LGBT mob, in the way the Left really is a monolithic, anti-Trump mob, and second, claim an extreme reaction to the decision that just doesn’t exist. The Times front page says the 6-3 decision was one “few expected.” That’s deceit: most analysts I read reached the same conclusion I did, which was that a 5-4 decision supporting the interpretation announced yesterday had at least a 50-50 chance of coming down. I did not expect the vote to be 6-3, but anyone familiar with how these things line up shouldn’t be shocked. Once he realized that the majority was going to hold that discrimination against gays and transgender individuals illegal, Justice Roberts may have joined the majority so that he could assign the opinion to Justice Gorsuch, for example.
President Trump has never indicated any animus towards gays or same sex marriage (Pence is another story); the presumption that the President’s supporters are horrified that discrimination against gays and transsexuals wasn’t upheld is just another version of the “deplorables” slur. Moreover, I believe the decision, and the fact that Justice Gorsuch joined with the Left wing of the court to cement it makes the President look good to all but reflex Trump-haters. His job is to appoint competent, open-minded justices, and he has. Gorsuch was never a conservative ideologue, though the Democrats who opposed him in the Senate falsely represented him as one. The decision also makes the Supreme Court look good by once again proving that it is not the lock-step partisan body Democrats claim, and that Chief Justice Roberts has correctly denied. It would be even better if the Court’s block of four liberals were as open-minded and non-partisan as Roberts, Gorsuch, and in other recent cases, Kavanaugh have shown themselves to be.
2. Need some inspiration? Here’s an inspiring story: Broadway soprano Rebecca Lukor, a three-time Tony Award nominee, is in the grip of progressive ALS, Lou Gehrig’s Disease, which is always fatal. Yet she is continuing to sing to sing as long as she’s physically able, including a prerecorded Zoom benefit performance, “At Home With Rebecca Luker” this Wednesday evening. In an interview, she displays the courage and positive outlook that seems oddly characteristic of the victims of this horrible disease, saying at one point, “I want to tell everyone how lucky they are. I tell my friends that they can talk to me about their problems, but just to always be aware that if you can walk down the street and you’re healthy, you have everything. I’m never going to complain again.”
I’ve had two friends die of ALS in recent years. One was Pete Wales, my First Year criminal law professor who also joined the cast of many of my Gilbert and Sullivan productions. Pete was similarly courageous and philosophical as the disease slowly ravaged his body. Such individuals put life, death, and human values in perspective for all of us, if we’re paying attention.
3. Any possible justification for caring about the Oscars has just been eliminated. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced that, starting next year, films will be required to meet “representation and inclusion standards” to qualify for awards.
Imposing non-artistic mandates on films is an unequivocal rejection of artistic freedom, and a form of prior restraint. One can also assume that these amorphous “representation and inclusion standards” will only be applied to stories about white people. Would they have blocked, for example, “Parasite,” last years winner, from consideration, since everyone in the cast was Korean? Of course not. But “1917,” the film everyone expected to win, would have been dinged by these standards, as it shoed almost no black soldiers, though Great Britain had quite a few, depending on the branch and the locale. (As commenter Phillip Swayer points out, the American army also has black recruits.)
I assume the new rules will lead to some ridiculous examples of non-traditional casting, all in one direction, of course. The end result will be worse movies, and less profit. I can’t conceive of a better example of “Get woke, go broke.” [Pointer: Arthur In Maine]
4. The arrogance of the ignorant! Conservative pundit Mark Levin, an intelligent man in his lane, actually tweeted..
This kind of tunnel vision is reminiscent of the late, liberal New Yorker movie critic Pauline Kael saying that she didn’t know anyone who was going to vote for Nixon in 1972. Levin doesn’t care about or follow sports, so naturally nobody missed baseball, basketball and football. The culture and society misses it. Sports bring people together, unifying communities and giving them something to care about other than your nasty obsession, politics.
Here Mark, this is one of my favorite quotes from writer Roger Angell, whom you probably have never heard of, from his 1976 essay “Agincourt and After” included in his book, “Five Seasons”:
” It is foolish and childish, on the face of it, to affiliate ourselves with anything so insignificant and patently contrived and commercially exploitive as a professional sports team, and the amused superiority and icy scorn that the non-fan directs at the sports nut (I know this look — I know it by heart) is understandable and almost unanswerable. Almost. What is left out of this calculation, it seems to me, is the business of caring — caring deeply and passionately, really caring — which is a capacity or an emotion that has almost gone out of our lives. And so it seems possible that we have come to a time when it no longer matters so much what the caring is about, how frail or foolish is the object of that concern, as long as the feeling itself can be saved. Naivete — the infantile and ignoble joy that sends a grown man or woman to dancing and shouting with joy in the middle of the night over the haphazardous flight of a distant ball — seems a small price to pay for such a gift.”