I like snow. I like looking at it and driving in it. My dog likes eating it (so did my sister). In Washington, D.C., they think it’s radioactive, or something. Poor, deluded fools!
1. Well, you just lost THAT subscription, Craig. As the baseball season approaches, I’ve been considering subscribing to the baseball newsletter of former NBC Sports baseball writer (and recovering lawyer) Craig Calcaterra, who is approximately 4X smarter and funnier than the average sportswriter, and more astute than all but the very best. Craig quit, or was fired or something from his job at NBC and is now with the rest of the exiles at substack. My willingness to forgive and forget baseball’s revolting pandering to Black Lives Matter last season is still in doubt, so Craig’s newsletter, which he sends out free now and then to those who have expressed an interest in subscribing, was a luxury whose viability was hanging by a thread already. Then today I got one of his free editions, and Craig indulged his worst instincts (he is social justice warrior of the smuggest sort) were given free reign. In a missive that is supposed to be about baseball, I had to read a screed like this (I’ll spare you most of it):
For the past couple of days I’ve written about how right wing media has poisoned political discourse, mainstreamed fringe beliefs, laundered lies, and radicalized a large swath of Americans. The man who is arguably most responsible for that died yesterday. Good fucking riddance to Rush fucking Limbaugh.Limbaugh was a berserker of hate, spinning off vile, racist, misogynistic, homophobic, and xenophobic attacks faster than could be chronicled… He reveled in spreading lies, punching down, directing cruelty at the most vulnerable targets, and voicing support for criminals and conspiracy theorists. He elevated and normalized bigotry and ignorance and gave others license to do the same….To the extent you have parents, grandparents, neighbors, college buddies, or coworkers hopelessly lost in that malignant vortex of idiocy, to the extent you know people who believe in harmful and violence-inspiring conspiracy theories and who remain beyond the reach of fact or reason, and to the extent anyone you know takes pride in offensive and obnoxious behavior because, to them, it’s all about triggering the libs, Limbaugh and everything he stood for is very much to blame….
And so on. I don’t really care about the political views of sports writers and pundits who stick to their areas of expertise: one of the best and most enjoyable baseball analysts was Keith Olbermann. But Craig here displays poor judgment and out-of-control bias: that’s essentially 100% Left-wing anti-Rush propaganda by someone who obviously didn’t listen to him enough to make those kinds of pronouncements. Nor does it have anything to do with baseball.
I’ll defend to the death his right to write junk like that, but I’m sure not going to pay for it.
2. The Great Stupid wants us to be stupider still. Frequent commenter Chris Marschner reminded me that an increasing number of teachers and professors (you know, “experts”) want to “cancel” William Shakespeare’s works. I had seen that, and as I sometimes do when my inner 12-year-old takes over (which is more often than you might think), I had been ignoring it in the hope that it would go away. (Gee, thanks, Chris…) From Fox News:
A slew of English literature teachers told the School Library Journal (SLJ) how they were ditching the likes of “Hamlet,” “Macbeth” and “Romeo and Juliet” to instead “make room for modern, diverse, and inclusive voices.” “Shakespeare was a tool used to ‘civilize’ Black and brown people in England’s empire,” insisted Shakespeare scholar Ayanna Thompson, a professor of English at Arizona State University. Teachers also need to “challenge the whiteness” of the assumption that Shakespeare’s works are “universal,” insisted Jeffrey Austin, who is head of a Michigan high school’s English literature department.
Of course they are universal, because the man/woman/ thing, whoever or whatever wrote these amazing plays—I would not rule out space alien— was wise, smart, creative and prescient beyond explaining. This is no more (and no less) than Mao-style cultural self-lobotomy, and again, like so much in education private and public, high and low, shows what a dangerous number of ideological fanatics and numbskulls we have allowed to influence our children and corrupt our values.
I’m a professional stage director (once I have the opportunity to get back to it), but I’ve never especially enjoyed watching Shakespeare, especially since most productions are pompous or terrible. Reading the plays is also hard, but it is amazing how much wit, insight, perception and wisdom is in those works. I only directed one, “King Lear,” which required me to study the text deeply, and I finished convinced that no human being was smart and experienced enough to be that brilliant. I still don’t understand it; “Shakespeare was a Martian” makes as much sense as an explanation—more!— as “Shakespeare was a lightly educated Elizabethan actor.” Trying to remove Shakespeare from the culture using race as an excuse—heck, using anything as an excuse–is as irresponsible as directing that all citizens get bonked on the head with a bowling ball twice a day.
3. More reasons, as if you needed more, to ignore the Oscars. The Academy Awards will be broadcast on March 15, coincidentally during my long-scheduled sock drawer inventory. If there was any chance that I might make a special effort to watch (there wasn’t), this article in the Times headlined “The Most Diverse Oscars Ever?” would have killed it. A quote: “[W]hen history is made during awards season, I do believe it’s worth celebrating. This particular year could produce the most diverse lineup of Oscar nominees ever, as women and people of color are projected to make up the majority in several top races.” To which I reply, “Oh, so the hell what? In a merit based awards system, what is worth celebrating is the most deserving artists receiving the top awards, regardless of color, creed, gender or political orientation. Designating anything other than objective merit and quality of art as a criteria creates an artificial bias, which, as we all know, makes people stupid, particularly Hollywood people, who tend to be stupid anyway.
Of course, this particular stupidity is all the rage right now. President-elect Joe Biden announced this week that he will nominate Rachel Levine, Pennsylvania’s top health official, as his assistant secretary of health. Levine, a pediatrician, would become the first openly transgender federal official to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Here’s Rachel:
Maybe she’s fully qualified and will be terrific. I hope she is. But if you believe that she would have gotten the nomination if, with the exact same credentials, she were still a heterosexual white man, you’ll believe anything. What a coincidence: an administration obsessed with “historic” elections and appointments that happens to cater to trans activists found the best qualified candidate for assistant secretary of health, and she just happened to be trans!
Her sexual identification issues should have no bearing on her appointment at all. This is elevating discrimination and bias to a the level of virtue.