1. About “Juneteenth”: I confess: I had never heard of Juneteenth before this year, or at least never took note of it or what the day signifies. I am certain that I never heard the term while I was living in Massachusetts. It would have helped, in my case, if the unofficial holiday (except in Texas, where the event commemorated actually occurred, the freeing of the last slaves in America, and it is a state holiday) had a label that didn’t remind me of so many Madison Avenue gimmick labels and fad word mash-ups like “frenemy” or “momtrepreneur.” “Juneteenth” sounds to me like a summer music festival.
The end of slavery is certainly a legitimate subject for a new paid Federal holiday (as well as many others). Getting the holiday established as part of the George Floyd Freakout white guilting strategy cheapens it, I think, placing the holiday in the same pandering package with HBO Max pulling “Gone With The Wind” or the University of Florida banning the “Gator Bait” cheer. As with so much else going on, I am concerned that this will exacerbate rather than ameliorate racial tensions, with an official nation-wide “Juneteeth” having the effect of making July 4th a “white” holiday.
2. Deceitful withdrawal of the decade? Senator Amy Klobuchar, whose prospects for being named Joe Biden’s running mate vanished as soon as it was publicized that she was responsible for Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin not being prosecuted for earlier claims of police misconduct, grandly announced that she had called Biden and withdrawn her name from consideration, an amusing variation on “You can’t fire me, I quit! “America must seize on the moment and I truly believe — as I actually told the VP last night when I called him — that I think this is a moment to put a woman of color on that ticket,” Klobuchar told MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell last night. “And there are so many incredible, qualified women. But if you wanna heal this nation right now, my party yes, but our nation, this is a helluva way to do it.”
No, choosing a Vice-President purely on the basis of gender and color is not a “helluva way” to run a country, but that’s progressivism and the Democratic Party in 2020: group identity matters, actual skill and qualifications don’t. (And if there are so many “incredible, qualified women, why isn’t Biden considering any of them?) Ann Althouse writes, amusingly,
So what I hear in her effort at a high-minded statement is an undercutting of the other women who are in the running. First, Elizabeth Warren — who is not a woman of color except in her memory of younger days when family lore and a desire to identify were enough. Why step on her chances, Amy? Second, all the various black women who are in the running. Amy is ensuring that when one of them is picked, everyone will believe they were picked because of their race.
Because whoever it is will have been picked because of her race and gender! Klobuchar isn’t signaling anything that everyone paying attention hadn’t figured out months ago. As for Warren, I have never believed that the Democrats would be so foolish as to have two over-70 politicians on the ticket.
3. An ethics Western! I watched Sam Peckinpaugh’s “The Ballad of Cable Hogue” for the first time since it was released (in 1970) last night. It’s an ethics movie: a character study of a flawed but decent man (played marvelously by Jason Robards in one of his few starring roles in a good movie) who exhibits surprising courage, humility, compassion and kindness. Other characters in the film also impress us at key moments with their choices to be ethical. Peckinpaugh made the film right after the shockingly (for the time) violent Western “The Wild Bunch,” and critics and audiences weren’t ready for such a change in tone and style. “The Ballad of Cable Hogue” is the rarity, a sweet movie that isn’t sentimental; the director later said it was his favorite of all his films, and it’s mine as well.
The film also has one of my favorite opening sequences of any Western.
Today’s trivia note: Stella Stevens, who is also outstanding in her role as Hogue’s love interest, at one point in the movie sings a duet with Robards, and sounds terrific. There’s a reason: before breaking through as an actress, Stevens was a member of a successful five-voice vocal ensemble called “The Skip-Jacks” who, among their notable performances of TV ad jingles and TV show themes in the late Fifties and early Sixties, are the voices you hear singing “The Flintstones” theme.
4. The public is not so stupid that it can’t see the hypocrisy here. This morning CNN and HLN were flogging the health threat posed by President Trump’s rally tomorrow and suggesting that Florida is paying the price for the state being substantially re-opened with a “record-setting” increase in Wuhan virus infections yesterday. Neither outlet mentioned the protest mobs last week, which were cheered on by the news media (and even more absurdly, health professionals) as if protesting “systemic racism” conveys a magic immunity to the pandemic. (In addition to this misleading reportage, neither CNN nor HLN mentioned that Florida’s “record” was almost certainly the result of increased testing, not more infections.)