I had to get out of bed to write this; I’ve been exhausted all day. I better not be getting old. That will really tick me off…
I’m working on a post called “Cannibal Ethics,” and this obviously led me to the Donner Party, the group of doomed pioneers who had to eat each other to survive when they were caught in a storm in the Sierra Nevadas in 1846. If I knew that they had come to their fate because of a negligent author, I had forgotten it: a fake expert named Lansford Hastings had written “The Emigrant’s Guide to Oregon and California” recommending a short-cut (which actually increased the trip’s mileage) to the Promised Land (this was before the two areas were ruined by reality-free politics)He had never actually traveled the new trail when he published the book. He did finally do it shortly before the Donner party set out, and helped sealed its fate by leaving paper notes along the way that further misled them. One told the already desperate wagon train they could cross Utah’s Great Salt Lake desert in a faction of the time it actually took. The group ran out of water in the middle of the salt plain about half-way across.
If I compiled a list of U.S. Ethics Villains throughout history—I’ve considered it—Hastings would be on it. After he left the U.S. for Brazil following the Civil War, he wrote a sequel of sorts to the book that killed so many of the Donner Party: “The Emigrant’s Guide to Brazil.” (1867).
1. Tales of The Great Stupid, Headline Division. From the Boston Globe: “How did Boston miss its moment to elect a Black leader?” The reporter, Stephanie Ebert just can’t imagine why he three Black candidates in the mayoral primary were eliminated in favor of Michelle Wu, the daughter of Taiwanese immigrants and Annissa Essaibi George, whose father was a Tunisian Arab Muslim. But, Ebert complains, there won’t be “any candidate who knows the weight of being Black in a city with deep racial scars.”
Maybe the three black candidates were not seen as skilled, experienced, or qualified as the primary’s winners. Or is Ebert saying that being black should be enough to qualify someone to be mayor?
2. Political correctness and baseball stats. The Negro Leagues were recently officially recognized as a “major league” despite their rag-tag, loosey-goosey ways. I have no problem with that; it is undeniable that many, if not all, of the black players banned from the American and National Leagues until Jackie Robinson shattered the apartheid were fully qualified to complete with the white stars. However, in their rush to be woke, baseball writers are going overboard, and miseducating readers. For example, in an article this week about the Toronto Blue Jays’ Vlad Guerrero Jr. taking a run at a Triple Crown (leading the league in batting average, runs batted in and home runs, Time reporter Benjamin Hoffman listed what he claimed were the previous Triple Crown winners. There were 26 listed, or nearly twice as many as the last time I saw such a list. The reason, of course, is that the Negro Leagues Triple Crown winners had been added, which is absurd. The accomplishment of winning the top spot in all three categories during a Major League season of 154 or 162 games cannot be compared to doing so during the much shorter Negro League seasons. For example the “Triple Crown” attributed to Baseball Hall of Fame member Oscar Charleston in 1924 consisted in his playing only 54 games and having only 236 plate appearances—far short of what it would take to qualify for an MLB batting championship. There is no valid comparison between the Negro League Triple Crowns and the MLB version, and lumping them together is profoundly, and, I assume, intentionally misleading.
Call it “statistical reparations.”
3. Spoiled documentary. Netflix unveiled last week a new documentary about 9-11 and the resulting U.S. attacks on Afghanistan. It is excellent until about half-way through, when California House member Barbara Lee is inexplicably handed the narrative to extol her lone vote not to retaliate against the country that facilitated the terrorist acts that killed over 3000 Americans. Osama bin Laden was counting on officials like Lee to allow his murderous act to go unpunished. However the U.S. response was botched, and it certainly was, Lee’s position is suicidal for any nation, and she is as irresponsible now as she was then. As for the documentary, I’m out.
4. The NFL has always been evil, but now it isn’t hiding it. The pro football season got underway last week, with the teams still slowly, inevitably killing its players with unavoidable mini-concussions that will have untold numbers of them in diapers or dead by their sixties. The league’s solution to the intrusion of racist politics was to embrace them, allowing players to pimp for Black Lives Matter and to advance false narratives about police shootings in which no racist motives were involved. It’s also endorsing a racially divided America by playing the so-called “black national anthem” before every game. As ugly and as divisive as this new tradition is (blacks have the same National Anthem as every other American, and it’s called “The Star-Spangled Banner”), the decision to begin it can never be reversed, just as baseball is stuck with playing “God Bless America” forever. Taking it away means that you’re saying it’s bad, you see. In the case of the “black national anthem,” not playing it is racist. Now watch the pressure grow on colleges and high schools to musically declare that the United States is no longer united.
But giving up on integrity and ethics has been liberating—and profitable!—for the NFL. The league once opposed the tens of billions of dollars wagered on its games in Las Vegas and in offshore sports betting shops, in office and bar pools and among illegal bookies. Pro football backed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Prohibition and Enforcement Act of 2006. “We’re trying to do whatever we can to make sure our games are not betting vehicles,” Joe Browne, an N.F.L. spokesman, told The New York Times in 2008. That was a responsible position. Gambling is a regressive activity that disproportionate harms the poor and stupid. It can be addictive, and wreck lives an families. Organized crime has infested gambling at all levels for more than a century. Players in games with millions in wagers at stake, especially players who know they will have short careers and probably short lives as well, are targets for bribes. Oh, never mind. The Times today reports that “What the N.F.L. once sold as a principled stand, however, has more recently given way to a far more pragmatic one. As betting on football ballooned into a multi-billion-dollar industry, and as state after state acted to legalize it, the N.F.L. was left with a stark choice: to continue to fight gambling on its games, or to embrace it in exchange for a significant cut of casino marketing dollars.”
Guess what their choice was. Come on, guess.
5. Even by celebrity standards, Nicki Minaj is a loud-mouth idiot. The rapper with the most annoying voice in the history of human speech is a Wuhan vaccine skeptic for a typically (for her) stupid reason: a questionable anecdotal episode. Minaj alleged on Twitter that her cousin in Trinidad refuses to get a vaccine because his friend became impotent after being vaccinated.”His testicles became swollen. His friend was weeks away from getting married, now the girl called off the wedding,” Minaj shared. (Trinidad denies it.) She has 22.6 million Twitter followers, so now this double hearsay is sufficient to cause a new wave of vaccine resistance, as if we needed any more. Nicki got in a name-calling fight with MSNBC’s Joy Reid over vaccines, so now Tucker Carlson is calling her courageous. This is just one more bit of signature significance regarding Carlson. Minaj will literally say or tweet anything that pops into what is laughably called “her mind,” because her fans are even less intelligent than she is, and she knows she won’t face any consequences, no matter what garbage she spits out, including her rap efforts. Now Minaj says she will get vaccinated because she will have to in order to tour. You know, money. What someone like Minaj says, tweets, thinks or sings should neither interest nor influence anybody. But the Biden White House either offered her a phone call with the Big Guy or invited her to the White House (her version), so now it is involved with this fool along with Fox News. “It will be interesting to see who, ultimately, wins Minaj,” write Althouse. No it won’t! She has no expertise, no education, nothing but ego, a fawning fan base, and a serious case of the Dunning-Kruger Syndrome.
Now pretend I didn’t write about her, and wipe Nicki Minaj from your data banks.