Our Genius Ruling Class

Rep. Eric Swallwell – “Duke Nuke ’em” of yore, who is trying to be his own honky Squad – may be, along with the Squad, one of the great boons to the GOP in 2022.

This, about Neela Tandon whose Twitter feed got her booted from a cushy appointment as Biden’s budget director:

I dunno, genius – maybe tell them to look at the sitting VP?

And then for a good example, the former governor of South Carolina, former UN ambassador and possible future president, Nikki Haley?

Normally about this point when a Democrat politician or talking head said something this daft, I’d throw in something about them really knowing better, but being able to count on the typical Democrat voter not knowing the difference, and being so bereft of any critical thought after years or decades of “progressive” reductionism that it makes no difference.

But I’m genuinely not sure Swalwell is actually smart enough to qualify for that exception.

Mass Death Fails To Materialize: Big Karen Bereft, Distraught

Big Karen warned us – those Super Bowl tailgate parties in Tampa were going to lead to the extinction of Florida Man.

Those of us who paid attention in high school science noted that there’s incredibly low correlation between outdoor gatherings and Covid transmission.

“The science says ‘obey or die!'”, Big Karen responds.

Observation indicates – well…

You can almost feel the disappointment wafting out from Big Karen.

When they’re not busy deflecting away from the fact, that is.

The Walk

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Our thorough discussion of Ryan Winkler’s tweet established that
Democrats have a strong personal belief, perhaps even a moral
conviction, that public safety is a government responsibility.

Our thorough discussion of the lawsuit against Minneapolis established
that when citizens suffer because government abandons its
responsibility, the citizens have no recourse under existing law.

You must rely on us; but you can’t rely on us. That’s Catch-22 and it’s
not a joke, it’s official policy.

So the obvious question is: When will Ryan Winkler introduce legislation
creating a right for citizens to sue the government for failing its
responsibility to protect them? And will the new law be retroactive to
cover the riots?

Ryan Winkler talked the talk, but will he walk the walk?

Joe Doakes

No point of Rep. Winkler’s career has been about “walking” any “walk”.

It’s been about pointing at others shortcomings, real or manufactured, and jumping up and down and pointing and flinging poo.

That should clarify things.

Civil Society And Its Abusers

One of domestic abusers most insidious forms of brainwashing is telling, and eventually convincing, their partners that the abuse is partly, or all, their own fault. “You provoked me”. “You shouldn’t have said __“. “You’re as much to blame as me. Maybe more”.

We’ll come back to that.


Years ago, I was at an event – political convention, election night coverage, something along those lines [1], in my capacity as a blogger and talk show host. I was hobnobbing with Big Minnesota Media.

As I was walking back from a concession stand, one of the Big Media people, someone who doesn’t have a byline or get seen on camera, walked up to me, and furtively whispered “Hey – PLEASE don’t tell anyone, but I’m a huge fan of you guys’s show. I’m a conservative. But I gotta keep it quiet. Anyway, keep up the good work”.

And then, as suddenly as the exchange began, it ended. The person peeled away and went back to work, making sure not to be seen talking to me. I felt like a Western reporter in East Berlin or Warsaw, in the seventies, getting a furtive, samizdat message from a covert dissident who was on the lookout for the Stasi or ZOMO.

This person – a successful media professional – was worried about being “canceled”. For being a conservative.

This was years ago – long before “Cancel Culture” was a term.



Last week, Erin Maye Quade, a former state rep and Lieutenant Governor candidate, tweeted this:

We covered this last week.

“People who rail against “cancel culture” are actually just upset about a culture of consequences.”
Is this just an isolated example of a person with an invincible sense of Urban Progressive Privilege #progsplaining people (“actually…”) to accept some premise that flies directly in the face of what they see with their own eyes?

Sadly, no.


A few weeks back, “progressive” theology site Patheos posted this article: “No, You’re Not Being Canceled Because You’re Conservative

The article makes one plausible but misguided point – “conservatives and Christians do it too” – using the examples of John McCain (who got attacked for bucking conservative orthodoxy, and got a political response from people in a political party that has political stances they argue about – seeing a theme, yet?), and the Dixie Chicks (an example they undercut later in the piece). Nothing about non-political people losing non -political jobs, oddly enough.

The other points are worse.

The author posits “Either you’re for the free market or you’re not” – thereby cutting his own “Dixie Chicks” argument off at the knees. And he finishes with a slightly more elegant version of Maye Quade’s bit of #progsplaining – “the stuff you’re being canceled over is neither Christian nor Conservative”, holding that everyone that’s been “canceled” has gotten it because they peddle QAnon theories or are Kloset Klansmen.

And the author doesn’t even address the notion that dishing out consequences to a person’s personal and vocational life over political differences is appropriate “consequences” for any mainstream political view. Indeed, the Patheos article makes the “hear no evil / see no evil / speak no evil” monkey face and ignores the real issue entirely. To this “progressive” Christian author, it’s a non issue.

Which must’ve come as news to the conservative professors, and in the past 20 years teachers and school administrators who’ve been hounded into silence, or out of academia, as a “consequence” of having a considered worldview based on Friedman rather than Alinsky.
Or to the conservative students who are bullied into silence or exile as a “consequence” for dissenting from academia’s oppressive leftist slant.

Or the actors, artists, journalists and other soft-skills professionals and craftspeople who worry, legitimately, about the “consequences” to their career of being “outed”. Like the person in my story at the top of this piece. They worried about being slandered, pilloried and ousted from a decent job in their field, for *being a mainstream Republican and conservative” , albeit not even an activist – something that wasn’t considered “thoughtcrime” 20 years earlier, when that person entered the field.

Or Gina Carano, whose views leading to her defenestration from Disney have been misrepresented by the Left’s noise machine to the point of slander. Carano did *not* say Republicans today were like the Jews of the 1930s. She said – quite correctly – that tyrants succeed by turning neighbor against neighbor. That is Totalitarianism 101 , a point made in fiction by Orwell and in history by Solzhenitzyn, among many others.

Or…me.

I get some flak for my blog and my show – the occasional demented stalker, no big deal. But I’ve also gotten harassed by ex-co-workers who learned about my alter ego life [2]. And there’ve been two jobs in the past ten years where managers with highly progressive views that they were (significantly) unafraid to espouse in the office gave off muted but pointed indications that my contracts were ending because while my work was just fine, even superlative, my views – which they had had to expend some significant effort to find, since not even a whiff of them came out in the office – were not.


So yes – “cancel” culture is about consequences. In most cases, consequences for principled, but not infrequently silent, dissent from a dominant world view.
And the current narrative – from Erin Maye Quade, Patheos, and much of the rest of the dominant culture in media, academia, education and Big Tech – that “you got canceled because you provoked it and have it coming?”

That’s gaslighting. It’s a key tactic of abusers – among many others that have become commonplace weapons in today’s culture war:

Is it any different from the tactics that abusers use to shut their partners up?
Convince me.

Good luck.


[1] I’m profusely concealing this person’s identity, to this day. Don’t even ask.

[2] Which I keep scrupulously out of the workplace – literally, I’ve never mentioned my radio or blog lives once over the past 19 years. In that time, I’ve had two people, both fans, ask me “aren’t you the Mitch Berg that’s on the radio”. And my response, every time, is “There IS a Mitch Berg who does that. But he’d never talk about that on company time”. Every single time.

UPDATE: Jenn at Redhead Ranting has a personal take on the whole thing.

Reign Of Terror

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Emery keeps bringing up the fact that Trump’s lawyers quit as proof there was no election fraud.

Trumps lawyers quit because they were personally threatened with violence by the mob.
Evidentally, Emery supports mob violence as a tactic to prevent proof of election fraud from seeing the light of day.

Why doesn’t he want it seen?  What is he afraid would be revealed?

And if mob violence against some people is okay, is it okay against everybody?  Or is this another “rules for thee but not for me” situation that seems so common in the Biden Administration?

Joe Doakes

Part of me wants to start updating my “Climate of Hate” page – the ongoing of attacks, shootings, beatings and attempted mass murder by lefties against normals.

But it’s to the point where it’d be a whole blog in its own right.

When Everything Is Pathology…

I’m going to modify Mahatma Gandhi’s classic aphorism on the course of dissident politics.

First they ignore you.

Then they mock you.

Then they pathologize you.

Then they attack you.

Then you win.

The term “whiteness” has become a key term in the word salad of modern progressive duckspeak.

It it feels like the terms is a narrative “MacGuffin”, designed to be a little bit of everything as well as just nothing enough to be flexible?

You’d be right:

 To anyone not predisposed to conversion, the gospel of whiteness obfuscates more than it reveals about the American experience. To begin with, we never really know exactly what whiteness is. This promiscuous concept sometimes appears as just another word for racist ideas, while other times it connotes power, material benefit, social opportunity, or just about anything else its adherents desire. In his book’s introduction alone, Roediger defines whiteness as a “racial identity,” an “ethnicity,” “status and privileges conferred by race,” “racism,” “white supremacy,” and “a way in which white workers responded to a fear of dependency on wage labor and to the necessities of work discipline.” This grab bag of meanings suggests that whiteness is little more than a deus ex machina lowered onto the historical stage to wondrously resolve a tangle of problems. Too wondrously.

Moreover, we seldom see how whiteness actually works in the real world. This reified concept hovers above lived experience, mysteriously bending the arc of history. The underlying problem is a paucity, or distortion, of supporting facts, which leaves Saxton and Roediger pounding many evidentiary square pegs into explanatory round holes. For example, Saxton excoriates the Whig Party in the 1830s and 1840s for its combination of capitalist bias and elitist racism, but cites as his main example John Quincy Adams, one of America’s staunchest opponents of slavery. Roediger misleads similarly with his jaundiced analysis of “freeman.” This term and its partner, “free labor,” indeed took on a racialized meaning in antebellum America that contrasted with the bound labor of African-American slaves. But it also became the central feature of the anti-slavery movement as it fueled growing denunciations of slave labor, prompted opposition to its expansion into the western territories, and inspired the founding of the anti-slavery Republican Party in the 1850s.

Both historians suffer the same blind spot. They portray a 19th-century America in which citizens either embraced black freedom and equality without reservation or embraced whiteness. This produces not a gathering of information and fair-minded analysis that leads to a measured judgment, the historian’s task, but a process where evidence is cherry-picked or twisted to buttress a predetermined conclusion. It oversimplifies the messy, tangled, multifaceted development of the American republic, replete with ambiguous motivations and unintended consequences, and replaces it with a simplistic morality play where all whites are racists outright, or racist dupes. The monocausal steamroller of whiteness history, lumbering about amid historical complexity, simply flattens the American past.

Last week, one of Ben Shapiro’s podcasts pointed out that among the modern left’s greatest sins is its reductionism – the need it has to try, not to boil down and condense this complicated world, but to just oversimplify it, to turn all problems, causes and solutions into absurdly oversimplified bromides – suitable more for sorting the world into believers and heretics than actually addressing anything.

Beyond that? “Whiteness” is to today’s woke mob what “Counterrevolutionary” was to the NKVD: a malleable, one-charge-fits-all that could mean whatever the inquisitor wanted it to mean to justify a verdict that had been decided in advance.

When everything is about “whiteness” (or any misbegotten “-ness”) and “privilege”, then nothing really is.

Residual Forces

In Ben Shapiro’s Sunday interview with Gina Carano that I linked yesterday, there were several passages that resonated.

One in particular:

I would go to a barbecue on the beach in California, and all these people would go [switches to sotto voce] “Hey, I agree with you. Messed up, isn’t it?”.

And I’d be…’This is your house. Why are you whispering?'”

It reminded me of another episode.

I was talking with a couple of reps from a metro media organization – TV, newspaper, it matters not. And when one of the representatives and I had a moment without the others around, that person swiveled their head around to make sure nobody was listening, and whispered to me “Don’t tell anyone I said this, but I love [the NARN]. I’m on you guys side. I just have to keep quiet about it”. I felt a little like a reporting working in East Berlin or Warsaw in 1974, getting a furtive, samizdat note from a local that the Stasi or ZOMO wouldn’t be able to trace.

This was over a decade ago.

I think of this because it is now in vogue for lefties to tell people “there is no such thing as cancel culture. There’s just consequences for actions”.

Right. And that “action” is “dissenting from the progressive worldview in public”. No more.

Threefer Madness

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

President Trump was acquitted in his second impeachment trial.

Republican Sens. Richard Burr of North Carolina, Susan Collins of Maine,
Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of
Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania joined every
single Democrat in voting guilty.

No word on whether Democrats and turncoat RINOs will commence a third
impeachment attempt against the man who left office January 20th, or
whether they will instead seek to impeach a different Republican former
President such as Richard Nixon, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Herbert Hoover or
Abraham Lincoln.

Joe Doakes

Will the Dems try for three?

Depends on:

a) How badly Biden continues to bungle Covid, and

b) How quickly the Ted Cruz deflection peters out.

Required Listening

“People tell me ‘I see what’s happening, and I”m so afraid’. And I tell them ‘you should feel more afraid that they’re making yiou feel afraid'”.

Get the truth about Gina Carano, because God knows the media won’t give it to you.

It’s from Sunday’s Ben Shapiro podcast. And while Carano isn’t a highly polished radio guest, her story – then and now – is utterly fascinating.

Big Left has been ideologically cleansing academia for decades. They’ve largely consolidating their control of the educational-industrial complex. They’re consolidating Hollywood and Big Tech now. Along with that, they – and a Big Sort – are doing the same with major metro areas.

And conservatives have in many cases obliged by moving on to greener/redder pastures.

But just as Eden Prairie is following Edina into the moldy blue camp as conservatives concede the battlefield, the culture war is coming for you, wherever you are.

At some point, the good guys and gals have to draw their lines in the sand.

Last Day

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Liberals insist their beliefs are the only acceptable beliefs and anybody who thinks differently is insane, their children should be taken away and sent to Re-education Camps, and the parents should be ‘cleansed’ from America.

Assume Liberals are not lying this time and actually go through with it.  If you knew that today was your last day of freedom before the authorities broke down your door to put you on the train heading Way Up North where you’ll spend a life sentence in a gulag counting the birches as a political prisoner, how would you spend your day?

I sat at my computer updating work instructions and form templates for the person who will replace me.  The work won’t go away, only I will go away.  But I’m leaving good notes and a clean desk instead of taking the day to goof off and leaving a mess for the new person. 

In the Bad Old Days, that’s what was known as ‘being a White Man about it.’  You made your bed.  You picked up your stuff.  You chopped wood for the next camper.  You returned the borrowed car full of gas, the lawn mower washed.  You told the grocery clerk when she undercharged you and paid the difference so her till would balance.  You did things that nobody else noticed and you wouldn’t have been punished for failing to do because . . . it was the right thing to do. 

Nowadays, of course, it’s hateful and racist and sexist to expect people to act like responsible adults, so they don’t; they burn police stations and occupy hotels and form communes called Autonomous Zones.  I’m not convinced the new way is better which is why I’ll be on the train, soon.  Best of luck to you all.  Spend your last days wisely.

Joe Doakes

The conventions that made Western Civilization – which is dependent not on skin color, but on a set of ideals commonly observed – is the enemy these days, and they don’t care what they have to do or who they have to step over to destroy them.

Indoctrination

Whatever you do, don’t you dare suggest public schools have become leftist indoctrination factories:


According to whistleblower documents and a source within the school, a fifth-grade teacher at the inner-city William D. Kelley School designed a social studies curriculum to celebrate Davis, praising the “black communist” for her fight against “injustice and inequality.” As part of the lesson, the teacher asked students to “describe Davis’ early life,” reflect on her vision of social change, and “define communist”—presumably in favorable terms.

At the conclusion of the unit, the teacher led the ten- and eleven-year-old students into the school auditorium to “simulate” a Black Power rally to “free Angela Davis” from prison, where she had once been held while awaiting trial on charges of conspiracy, kidnapping, and murder. The students marched on the stage, holding signs that read “Black Power,” “Jail Trump,” “Free Angela,” and “Black Power Matters.” They chanted about Africa and ancestral power, then shouted “Free Angela! Free Angela!” as they stood at the front of the stage.

Apologists may respond “this is an anomaly! Not all public schools try to get away with this kind of thing!”

No. Just the ones in districts so blue that there will be no consequences – serving both to socialize (heh heh) the concept with other teachers, and to lower the bar of what’s “acceptable” elsewhere; “Oh, fer gosh sakes, Edina doesn’t have them chant “Free Angela” and talk about black “ancestral power”. No, perish the thought. We just study why Angela Davis is a hero (omitting all context about her crimes and communism itself, naturally), and why “whiteness” is a social cancer. Totally different things!”

Remember – Berg’s 21st Law is pretty clear on this: “When it comes to “progressive” policy, yesterday’s absurd joke is today’s serious proposal and tomorrow’s potential law”

Don’t be surprised.

We Have Reached “Peak Progressive Snowflake”

Truth is a trigger, apparently.

A far-left progressive representative relates the “emotional toll” of having black female politicians’ “violent” rhetoric (if we’re using Trump’s rhetoric on January as the standard) in Trump’s defense:

“The defense council put a lot of videos out in their defense, playing clip after clip of Black women talking about fighting for a cause or an issue or a policy. It was not lost on me as so many of them were people of color, and women, Black women. Black women like myself who are sick and tired of being sick and tired for our children. Your children,” Plaskett said.

Earlier in the day on Friday, Trump’s defense attorneys spent a great deal of their closing arguments accusing Democrats of hypocrisy over their support of last summer’s protests for racial justice. In doing so, his team played video footage from the summer protests, zeroing in on the relatively rare instances of violence and looting that occurred during the demonstrations.

TL:dr – Orange Man Bad, for the children.

So either using the term “fight” is aggressive rhetoric, or it’s “incitement”. End of story.

Pick one.

Keep your triggers off my – our, Western Civilization’s – logic, laws and reasoning.

Feniks > Penzey’s

A Michigan ammo company vows not to sell ammunition to Biden voters…

…and puts its marketing where its mouth is:

“Are you really willing to walk away from a paying customer simply because they voted for Joe Biden?” the company asked rhetorically. “Yes, yes we are. We’re dead serious.”

“We don’t want your money, and you shouldn’t want us to have it because we’re going to use it to make more ammo, sell it to the citizenry, and do everything in our power to prevent Joe Biden’s administration from usurping the rights of Americans,” the company wrote.

Not just its marketing, but its sales portal:

As a way to weed out the unwanted customers, the company reportedly inserted a questionnaire into its purchasing process that asks whether prospective customers voted for Biden in the 2020 presidential election. If they did, it’s no sale for them.

Some “progressive” companies led the way with partisan-based marketing after Trump’s election – Penzey’s very publicly told conservatives (not just Trump voters) to stop patronizing them (a request I could not comply with, as I’ve never shopped there before, either – which makes sense; I suspect their demographics, well-to-do white urbanites with lots of disposable income, overlaps with GOP voters only incidentally).

TL:dr – The good news: fighting cancel culture is a good thing, and I applaud Feniks.

The bad-ish news? Feniks is just as sold out of all stock as every other ammo shop.

In Re Big Guy

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

This is interesting

Another stunning example of the ‘rules-for-thee-but-not-for-me’ attitude
which is fast becoming a Biden administration hallmark.

My question is: who paid the 10% to The Big Guy, for allowing this claim
to go forward instead of having the FBI arrest them for sedition? 
Haven’t tracked that down, yet.

Joe Doakes

I think we’re talking a four year freeze on all accountability for, well, most things.

All Is Proceeding

All is proceeding exactly as Joel Kotkin predicted.

At least a decade and half ago, urbanist Kotkin predicted…the present. Even then, urban growth patterns were trending away from the core-city/bedroom suburb model of the 1950s-1980s; most real growth was occuring on the fringes of the cities, and in medium-sized cities at the periphery. Most immigration was to the suburbs, not the fabled tenements of now-unaffordable major coastal cities. Indeed, cities were returning to their historical roots; European cities like London, Paris, Berlin and Rome, and even New York City and Boston, are mazes of smaller neighborhoods, built around settlement patterns, markets and industries (“Steinway”, in Queens, was a piano-building company town), rather than a general agglomeration of businesses.

Kotkin’s thesis – that eventually, today’s cities will become three concentric patterns:

  1. An inner core of incredible wealth, as the 1% enjoys easy access to big-industry offices and core amenities.
  2. A middle donut of intense poverty, a convenient place for Social Services to warehouse people on assistance.
  3. An outer, exurban ring blending into the hinterlands, where most of the actual people and growth are happening.

The pandemic, and the explosive acceptance of remote white and pink-collar work, is accelerating this.

The whole piece is worth a read. This pullquote in particular grabbed me:

Referring to the internet as an “information superhighway” is retro in the most cringeworthy way. But here, the metaphor seems apt. Decades after the construction of the U.S. highway system allowed high-income families to move from downtowns to the distant suburbs, Zoom might do the same. Remote work could do to America’s residential geography in the 2020s what the highway did in the 1950s and ’60s: spread it out.

Today, the term supercommuting is often used to describe the punishment inflicted on lower-income workers who have to live far from their job because of the scarcity of affordable housing. But the remote-work revolution could spawn the rise of something a little different: the affluent supercommuter who chooses to move to a big exurban house with the expectation that she’ll make fewer, longer commutes to the office.

“Historically, people who work from home don’t commute less overall, because they just drive longer distances,” Autor told me, referring to a Federal Reserve study from 2019. One shouldn’t put too much stock in a survey of pre-pandemic behavior. But the logic of fewer-but-longer commutes should lead to small towns and suburbs experiencing the fastest price growth. And, lo and behold, that’s exactly the story the online rental data are already telling us.

I left rural America for a reason; there were things about urban life that could not be found out in the hinterland. And I’m in a career where it genuinely helps to be where the work is. Will either of those factors change when – if – this pandemic ever sunsets?

No idea.

The big winners so far are Zoom, and Joel Kotkin.

Talent, Being Paid Back With Interest To God

Word’s out that Rush Limbaugh has died of lung cancer. He was 70.

I never met Rush, but I certainly ran into a key part of his legacy, up front. I was 25, and had gotten riffed from my first talk radio gig, at KSTP-AM. I was down – but not out. I had what Don Vogel called the talk radio virus – once you start doing it, it’s so very, very hard to withdraw.

And so I went out on the talk radio job market. And I had some interest – stations in Raleigh, Cleveland, Orlando, New Bedford, the Bay Area, Fall River, Baton Rouge, suburban Chicago, and even New York City had some interest.

Then came Limbaugh.

And over the course of about a year, nearly every small-to-mid-sized talk station in the country that used to hire obstreporous 25 year olds to host graveyard, evening and afternoon talk shows…stopped. Why pay some kid 22-28K, when you could have Limbaugh for the price of eight ad slots an hour, AND record and repeat him in the evening, and maybe on graveyard as well?

So the market for what I wanted to do more than anything in the world pretty much disappeared.

Which isn’t to say that the talk radio market disappeared. From 1988 into the nineties, talk radio, mostly conservative talk, surged. The format went from something like 200 stations in the US in the mid-eighties to at one point close to 1000 on Limbaugh’s network alone, as ailing AM stations from coast to coast switched from country or oldies or polka to talk and started reeling in the profits. There was money in conservative talk! Today, while the shift from broadcast to digital has cut receipts all across the industry, conservative talk, along with some niches like sports, Spanish and of course Public radio are the only ones that have any financial upside at all.

It came as a shock to the media establishment – but even some of the people involved (or claiming to have been involved) in his success didn’t understand what made Rush blow up. In 1991, I interviewed for the program director job at KSTP. I got to the final round – me and one other guy. And one of the interviewers was a consultant, one of hundreds who claimed to have had some role in Rush’s ascendance. He asked me why I thought Rush had caught on so big. “He provided a voice to a lot of people who’d never had one in the media”, I responded. “No”, he said in that “you didn’t get the job” kind of tone, “it’s because he’s irreverant. Nobody cares about politics”. I didn’t get the gig – although the consultant later admitted he was completely wrong. I’ll take a partial win every time.

Because politics – especially giving voice to a vast, silent majority – was the first golden age of conservative talk, culminating with Rush playing a pivotal role in the 1994 Republican Revolution.

I spent those years listening to Rush from the outside, slowly putting that dream from my twenties in mothballs – but listening, carefully, to what made Rush, Rush.

It’s a cliche to say that Limbaugh invented conservative talk. He didn’t – Bob Grant, Joe Pyne and Morton Downey Junior were doing it as far back as the ’70s. But Limbaugh defined its new generation – brash, irreverant, fun, but combining keen knowledge with an unmatched ear for tone and nuance. Rush was a keen-eared entertainer – the entertainment always came with a dose of paleocon wisdom that stuck to your ribs. It’s a cliche to say he had many imitators but no equal – but it’s the truth.

I spent 12 years “in the cold”, in radio terms – I didn’t set foot in a studio during Rush’s glory days. But I listened. And to the extent I learned anything listening to Rush, banked away against the day I could get on the radio again (something I’d completely given up on by about 1995), it was this: have fun. To paraphrase Andrew Breitbart, political motivation is downstream of enjoying yourself – and people who enjoy what they’re doing, as they do great things they believe in, are unbeatable.

Of course, Limbaugh was a two-edged sword. He ushered in a business model that has centralized the money, and the talent – or, often, “talent”, in talk radio. After thirty years of Rush, Beck, Levin, Hannity, Dennis Prager, Laura Ingraham and other talk superstars eating up all the airtime, talk radio’s grapefruit-league and triple-A benches are sparse to none. The only “young” talkers who’ve been working their way up the system have been the ones that mined veins of material that the bigs didn’t cover (Phil Hendrie, TD Mischke), built local niches around the fringe of Rush’s empire (Bob Davis, Justice and Drew), stretched the format (a zillion Christian talkers) to…

…well, King, Brad and Me, who do it for the pure love of the game and a little extra change.

So I owe Rush a lot – for pushing me against my will to develop a different, broader, deeper, better life than I was aiming for as a 25 year old radio (I use this term advisedly and in its literal context) addict, and showing us all how it’s done.

Talent on loan from God, indeed.

Bad News / Good News

The bad news: As I observed with Ann Bauer while filling in for Brad Carlson last week, lockdowns are killing kids – especially kids who are, like so many these days, predisposed to mental illness:

Millions of American kids are struggling, and their chances for long-term improved mental health is predicated on the notion that we will now prioritize their emotional well-being, which our society has tragically shown it has no intention of doing.

Our hope for raising an emotionally healthy and mentally stable generation is dissipating with every day kids are kept locked in their bedrooms and out of schools. Skyrocketing rates of depression and anxiety are in no small part due to the fact that children feel neglected and forgotten, and they are not wrong to feel that way.

Our society has abandoned them and treated them as disposable. The damage caused by this abandonment is incalculable, and compounding every day we allow inertia, irrationality and the craven priorities of teachers unions to rule our decision-making.

The good news?

What, are you new around here? This is progressivism at work, operating through its wholly owned subsidiaries “Big Education” and “Big Karen”. Short of turning our culture around, there is none.

Walking Back…Most Of Their Assertions, To Be Honest

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

I recently suggested a new on-going feature, walking back the lies.  I have another item for the column.

The Best and Brightest people who sneered at Conservatives as ignorant, hateful racists for suggesting the debunked idea that a lab in Wuhan was the source of the virus and the Chinese were covering it up – are walking back the lie.  It seems  the virus may indeed have originated in Wuhan and the Chinese may indeed have covered it up. 

No apology of course.  No admission that Conservatives were right all along.  We don’t insist on that, don’t expect it, and would be astonished if it were forthcoming.

But somebody should remember and therefore the purpose of this ongoing feature.  We were right.  And they knew it. 

Joe Doakes

Series? Not a bad idea at all.

It’s verging on a Berg’s Law of “Fact-Checking” – something to the effect of “to the ‘fact-check’ caste, truth is directly correlated to “did a progressive say it”.

Thinking.

Dumb And Dumber And Dumber And Dumber…

Policy is downstream of politics.

Politics is downstream from culture.

Culture is shaped, to a disturbing extent, by people who want to try to influence it.

And it’s been a cultural cliché for generation that television in its many forms has an overwhelming influence on society.

And as someone who spent way more time in Ramsey County family court, and dealing with culture’s assumptions about fathers and children, the subject of how media treats fatherhood has been of far more than casual interest to me for a long time.

I’ve observed since the early days of this blog that much of modern culture’s perception of fathers seems to be derived from Fred Flintstone (if you’re lucky – the cartoon rendering of Jackie Gleason was much preferable to the neutered George Jetson, albeit similar in every other way).

The good news – sociological reasarch [1] shows I’m right.

The bad news – Flintstone is a throwback to the “good old days”. Modern media, more and more, is treating fathers like incompetent, mock-worthy, if in the end lovable buffoons:

…we studied how often sitcom dads were shown together with their kids within these scenes in three key parenting interactions: giving advice, setting rules or positively or negatively reinforcing their kids’ behavior. We wanted to see whether the interaction made the father look “humorously foolish” – showing poor judgment, being incompetent or acting childishly.

Interestingly, fathers were shown in fewer parenting situations in more recent sitcoms. And when fathers were parenting, it was depicted as humorously foolish in just over 50% of the relevant scenes in the 2000s and 2010s, compared with 18% in the 1980s and 31% in the 1990s sitcoms.

At least within scenes featuring disparagement humor, sitcom audiences, more often than not, are still being encouraged to laugh at dads’ parenting missteps and mistakes.

Thing is, as more children are raised in single-parent housholds (a majority, in many communities), and given that the vast majority of those households are female-led, popular entertainment is going to have a disproportional role in shaping how children feel about what fathers are supposed to be.

I don’t watch a lot of current network TV, so it’s fairly academic to me at the moment.

But I’ve also noticed, again for over the past twenty-plus years, that the way fathers are portrayed in commercial is equally condescending [2] – but that there’s a pattern to this.

Remember – nothing in major media advertising, least of all on network or cable TV, is accidental. Every ad, down to the lowliest 10-second sweeper spot, is focus-grouped to a fine sheen before it goes near a broadcaster. The subtext of every ad is as carefully tuned as the messages themselves.

And I’ve noticed [3] that there’s a pattern:

  • Spots aimed at products most commonly aimed at guys (the social group, as opposed to “men”, the sex), products like beer and athletic gear, tools, blue-collar workers’ tools, vehicles bought for work (as opposed to lifestyle accessories), tend to portray women (if at all) as improbably attractive, but not as the focus of the spot/s.
  • Products aimed at women (by inference, women who lead or co-lead households, especially with children) are the ones that tend to show husbands as bumbling, dubiously competent, and very frequently not in their wives leagues, if you catch my drift.

Remembering that nothing in big-dollar advertising is accidental, what other conclusion is there than “Evidence tells advertisers that men see their women as ideal and attractive [which is sort of an evolutionary tautology], and women who spend money want to think that men – in general, and maybe their own – are hapless buffoons who’d be lying in their parents basements in a puddle of their own waste without them.”

Not sure that’s a great message for the young women or the young men of tomorrow.

[1] And yes, I now – sociology, like all soft sciences, is not a science. Soft science produces soft data, at best. And soft data is good enough for the point I’m making.

[2] Although somewhat less so if the fathers in the ads are black or Latino. And it seems that the fathers in mixed-race couples, who seem to make up a disproportionate number of couples in TV advertising these days, get portrayed pretty neutrally-to-favorably, although both of those observation are just that – impressions from a guy who doesn’t watch a whole lot of TV. Now, that would be an interesting study. And one ad that stuck out at me – the morning-TV spot for Hi-Vee supermarkets featuring the 1983 song “Our House” – indicates, albeit with a sample size of one, that even being a stay-at-home caretaker while the improbably gorgeous mom runs off to her office job doesn’t protect dad from that same level of condescension.

[3] Yep, anecdotally, not a controlled experiment bla bla bla.

Berg’s 20th Law Rules All It Surveys

It’s gotten to the point where hearing about any emotionally charged claim of abuse gets me thinking “deep breath, wait – the odds it’ll be a hoax are just about even, if not better”.

I mean, there’s a reason it’s not called “Berg’s 20th Suggestion“.

Keep it in mind, and you’re disappointed…well, pretty rarely, to be honest.

(Not gonna pullquote it – the whole thing is worth a read).

Pathology

As the bad night that was the 2018 Mid-terms ground along, I pointed out something I believe to be a truism: that “progressive” overreach might be its own best limiting mechanism.

The downside (well, not the downside – one of many, indeed) is that we’re going to have to hope that’s the case, or that the opposition gets its act together, or some combination of the two. Because absolute power corrupts absolutely, and Big Left is seeking both:

People need limits in their lives. Anyone who has ever seen a spoiled child knows that these children are deeply unhappy, miserably vicious, and extreme in their rages and demands. Now imagine taking that child and subjecting it to a lifetime of having its every want, need, or desire granted. You will quickly see that you’ve created a dangerous monster. Go through any list of worst rulers (this one for example), and you’ll see how damaging it is when people’s desires are always unopposed.

That’s where leftists are right now. In 2020, thanks to the Wuhan virus and BLM, they manipulated themselves into complete power and, having gained that power, they have lost their grip on sanity. Unless reality intervenes in a way leftists must address, nothing will stop their mad dash into a lunatic world, one in which “science means whatever I say it means,” the economy is no longer constrained by inexorable rules of supply and demand, race becomes the only metric by which to judge people (and whites and Jews are inherently evil), borders serve no purpose, etc.

Nations do not fare well when madmen are at the helm. And as a reminder, while Trump may have had an eccentric personal style, everything he did was within the rule of law, and the mainstream of American, Western, and human history. It was those who opposed him who had abandoned norms. Like the narcissist, who says that anyone who opposes his abuse is at fault for the resulting fights, the left used its media control to announce that anyone who challenged its anti-science, racist, anti-American, anti-Semitic, anti-Christian dictates was evil.

The whole thing is worth a read.