1. Re: Privilege and bit more on the Harper’s letter fiasco. At the Volokh Conspiracy, David Bernstein flags this tweet by New York Times reporter Farnaz Fassihi:
A few thoughts:
- Why do I subscribe to a paper that would employ someone like this? I forget.
- She’s a bigot. I just wrote a bit on the “privileged smear” on another thread:
I have to say again that I do not comprehend the “privilege” line of thought at all. In the hands of most who wield it, I find the tactic the equivalent of Butch Cassidy kicking huge Harvey Logan in the balls to start their knife fight….
Telling people they are “privileged,” to my ear, is just a way of making good luck some kind of sin that disqualifies an individual for being treated with respect for their accomplishments. Clarence Darrow’s favorite poem was “Life is a game of whist,” which states the philosophy that one’s task in life is to take the hand one is dealt and play it as well as possible without bitching about it: the game’s the thing. I agree, and I know my father would have agreed, though he never mentioned that poem. I’ve been a barely OK player, not a great one; indeed I have mentioned here more than once that I consider myself a something of a failure—an underachiever– for not doing much more with the good cards I was dealt. I’m not to be praised for being born white, male and healthy in the US, smarter than the average bear and creative by nature, with parents in a stable and loving relationship who raised me well and sacrificed their whole lives to make the road ahead easier for me and my sister than it was for the. But I’m got going to feel guilty about it either, nor should I. No, I am not like George H.W. Bush in Ann Richards’ famous cheap (but funny!) insult, waking up on third and thinking I hit a triple. But the fact that various agencies beyond my control put me on—well, not third–second maybe? A healthy lead off first? does not mean anyone has a right to make me go back to home plate, or give me crap for my proximity to scoring.
Would I rather be black than stupid? Absolutely. Would I rather be brilliant, gorgeous and female than old, fat, bald and male? Sure. Born in a dysfunctional family than born with a physical handicap or a chronic disease? Yes. Are Michael Jordan, Mookie Betts, Tiger Woods and Brooke Shields more “privileged” than I am? Damn right. Do I resent that or their success, or ever for a second think that they don’t deserve what they have achieved? Never. Do they have an ethical obligation to help me play MY metaphorical cards? Nope.
- And Fassisi is an arrogant fool. Bernstein correctly writes,
[S]he apparently believes that a letter against cancel culture, or, if one prefers, in favor of free speech and open debate, constitutes “weighing in” on “racism, diversity & inclusion….[and] she thinks that white men have nothing to say worth saying about these issues, which means, in effect, that white men can never usefully express an opinion on anything related to her rather capacious definition of racism, diversity & inclusion, to include opinions on freedom of speech and open debate.
Yup. You know: “privilege.”
2. Poll updates: Today’s poll on whether Marquette or Penn State is run by bigger weasels (metaphorically speaking) is, so far, favoring Marquette, but with “a tie” being the most chosen response.
The previous poll, now closed, on whether the continuing effort to blame President Trump for the pandemic damage should be added to the EA “Big Lies” list was a runaway, and I’ll be following through over the weekend.
3. And speaking of the Wuhan Virus Ethics Train Wreck…
- The utterly useless and China-allied World Health Organization has updated its guidelines to state that the likelihood that the virus can go airborne, particularly in enclosed spaces like restaurants and gyms, “cannot be ruled out.” Wow, thanks for that bulletin, WHO! A few days ago a Times headline, giving me a fine example of the “False Framing” variety of fake news, stated that “In the midst of a pandemic” the Trump administration was following through with its threat to disengage from WHO. The reality is that WHO has proved itself untrustworthy and in thrall to China’s duplicitous rulers, and whether in a pandemic or out of it, the organization has not justified U.S. financial support.
- The New York Times used 650 new cases of the virus to report that “Weeks after President Trump demanded that America’s shuttered houses of worship be allowed to reopen, new outbreaks of the coronavirus are surging through churches across the country where services have resumed.” The Times still has not traced any increase in cases to the mass, social distancing-free protests/demonstrations/riots. Pundit Matt Margolis notes,
Just 650 cases. According to the New York Times, 650 cases linked to churches is a “major source” of coronavirus cases out of the more the 3 million official cases there have been since the beginning of the pandemic. There have been over 430,000 new cases in the month of July alone, but 650 cases linked to churches is a “major source” of coronavirus cases? That represents just 0.02 percent of all cases since the start of the pandemic, and 0.15 percent of new cases just from July.
- In yet another type of fake news that Margolis flags, the Times “also mentions a Florida teenager who died from the coronavirus after attending a church youth group party—though they failed to mention she had a rare autoimmune disorder and childhood cancer.”
Of course they did.
- I can’t include this without prefacing it with the obligatory “Bridge Over The River Kwai” clip…
Now that that’s done, consider this: NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that he will permit mass Black Lives Matter protests to continue marching through city streets even as the city is prohibiting all other large events through September. Speaking to Wolf Blitzer on CNN last night (Wolf will just nod his head like one of those dog toys in the back of cars at anything a Democrat says, no matter how offensive or absurd) de Blasio said the demonstrators’ calls for social justice were just too darn important to stop. “This is a historic moment of change. We have to respect that but also say to people the kinds of gatherings we’re used to, the parades, the fairs — we just can’t have that while we’re focusing on health right now,” de Blasio said, making no sense whatsoever. [ See here.]
4. Luckily, I had already run the “Madness” clip before having to report this, and I suppose it’s comforting to know that Canada is going nuts too. In West Vancouver, British Columbia, police have declared this tire mark on a rainbow pride crosswalk…
a “gesture of hate.” Yesterday, the police announced that they had identified the miscreant, so he’s probably been arrested. All I can figure out by way of explanation is that the city is too close to Seattle, and WHO has declared that the George Floyd Freakout going airborne “cannot be ruled out.”