Oddly, at my local CVS (about which I will be filing official complaint #6 today, with all previous filings stalled and ignored by what is obviously an intentional stonewalling policy) there are three Santa avatars on sale ranging from 4 feet to 8 inches, and all of them are black Kris Kringles. Maybe, as my wife suggested, the white Santas sold already…or maybe Santa is on the way to joining Captain Marvel, Jake from State Farm, Mikey of the Life cereal commercials, Magnum, P.I., Bobby of “Company,” Perry Mason’s investigator Paul Drake and other once familiar white fictional characters in turning female, black or “of color” because…well, just because. Meanwhile, my informal month-long survey of TV fare (including 2021 streamed movies and TV ads) showed more than 50% of all couples portrayed were interracial. That’s almost three times the actual demographic number, so all of those “look like America” demands should be taken with a grain of rock salt. I don’t care, except that I resent having my arm being pinned behind my back by culture dictators in Hollywood and Madison Ave.
1. How did I miss this vibe in the Jussie Smollett fiasco? Before Smollett was convicted of 5 of 6 charges, Jonathan Turley interpreted his weird and defiant defense as a deliberate effort to get a jury nullification verdict. The Professor concluded that Smollett was following the lead of social justice anarchists like Georgetown professor Paul Butler, who wrote in the Washington Post in 2016 that “confronting the racial crisis in criminal justice, jury nullification gives jurors a special power to send the message that black lives matter.” Racist African-American pundit Elie Mystal has advocated the same: black members of juries should refuse to convict black defendants. Turley concluded,
Smollett is the very definition of a race-baiter seeking to use our racial divisions for his personal aggrandizement and advancement. If successful, he would reduce the court to the same narrative-driven reality of our politics and entertainment arenas.
In that sense, Smollett is still playing to his audience. He knows reality is not what is true but what an audience wants to be true.
In politics, Vice President Harris, Speaker Pelosi and others proved that with their protestations over his “attempted lynching.” In the media, not only his story but questioning of his story were cited as evidence of a viciously racist society.
Now that Smollett has been convicted, none of the journalists, pundits and politicians that immediately assumed his ridiculous story was true because bias makes you stupid have had the integrity to apologize or admit that their lack of objectivity helped Smollett advance his hoax. John Kass argues that we need to remember this…you know, as with the Nick Sandmann episode, or what the news media did to Kyle Rittenhouse.
2. Presumed racism? A black couple was shocked when a California appraiser valued their Marin County, California, home nearly $500,000 less than previous appraisals. Suspicious, they asked a white friend to pretend to be the homeowner for a different appraiser, and “whitewashed” their house by removing their family photos and stripping the walls of their African-themed art. The new appraisal came in at $1.48 million, nearly a half-million more than the previous estimate. Based on the discrepancy, the couple filed the suit December 2, along with Fair Housing Advocates of Northern California, alleging that the first appraiser,gave them a lowball valuation because of their race. They are seeking financial damages and asking the court to order the defendants to ensure they won’t discriminate when appraising houses.
Isn’t the problem with this lawsuit obvious? Property assessments are based on various factors, but they are still opinions. The opinion of one appraiser can’t prove that the opinion of another appraiser was wrong or biased. For the couple’s experiment to be persuasive, both appraiser would have to work for the same company, and they didn’t. The couple may indeed have been victims of discrimination, but that hasn’t been shown. They are definitely the victims of confirmation bias, however.
3. When ethics alarms are never installed (among other things)….It’s estimated that Americans owe more than $1.7 trillion in student loans, so a group of progressive Democrats, notably “The Squad,” wants President Biden cancel student loan debt. After all, the National Debt isn’t high enough, and inflation is a myth, or something. Squad stalwart Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) took to the floor of the House a week ago to urge Biden to sign an executive order forgiving the loans of nearly 48 million people, including her own. The 45-year-old Tlaib makes $174,000 per year as a United States Representative and complained about the nearly $70,000 she still owes “and most of it was interest,” she said. “Most of it was our own government making money and profit off of me.”
Personal responsibility? Equity? The flaws in Tlaib’s logic, math and sense of fairness could fill a book. She apparently thinks the government should provide interest-free loans, and then have it understood that no one will have to pay back the principle anyway. And apparently she isn’t smart enough to worry about how stupid her argument sounds to anyone above the IQ of a trout. She can’t be bothered to pay off what she owes, so the taxpayers should. One wag wrote, “Having listened to this woman speak, do you think her education is worth $200K+? Does the intellectual and spiritual formation she received seem worth even a tenth of that?”
4. Then don’t play roles you played decades ago? The cast of “Sex in the City” is complaining that so many critics are commenting negatively on their looks and the toll the years have taken as the women re-unite to play the same characters they played beginning in 1998. HBO is offering a reboot, “Sex in the City 2021,” and the actresses are wounded by some of the reviews, calling the comments about their bodies “misogynist.” I suggest they read some of the reviews of Harrison Ford’s last “Indiana Jones” movie (I don’t even want to think about what the critics will say about old Indy when the next one comes out.) The audience interest in such “whatever became of…?” exercises is largely based on curiosity about how the stars have aged, and it has always been thus. These actresses want to profit from that curiosity, but don’t want to have to accept the audience’s verdict. When you accept millions to be judged, you have sold your right to be aggrieved when the judgment is rendered.