Cafeteria American

I had the rare treat of listening to the utterly ironically named “MPR News with Keri Miller” earlier this week.  And by “treat” I meant “update of the notion that Keri Miller is the one “journalist” in the Twin Cities that’d be ill-advised to tell Esme Murphy “dial back the shilling for the DFL and Big Left, you Big Left Shill, you””.  

Anyway – she had a show on Tuesday featuring a Hindi woman talking the co-option of Yoga by non-Hindi.  Not “decrying” it, per se – just urging people to be aware of, and perhaps learn something of, its Hindi roots.  

Pull quote:  the woman, Suhag Shukla, describing the various non-Hindi permutations of Yoga, including…:

SHUKLA: “…even Christian Yoga!”

MILLER: (In the background) (Disgusted, mocking snork)

Now, Ms. Shukla has a point – part of her culture has been appropriated. Like solstice trees and Chow Mein and polyrhythm and virtually everything else about every culture in the world that hasn’t been isolated from every other culture in the world, “appropriation” is a two-way street.

As someone who’s lost eighty pounds and wants to gain some flexibility and joint resiliency, I’m interested in yoga (although I haven’t done it yet). As a Christian, I have only intellectual interest in Hinduism. You wanna talk, Ms. Shukla? We’ll talk.

But since Keri Miller – and by association, the modern progressivism for which she shills – is the venue that brought me and Ms. Shukla together, let’s talk appropriation.

Big Left, like a suburban housewife going to an agnostic Hot Yoga class in a strip mall in Minnetonka, appropriates the convenient parts of the American experiment – the fun parts, like free speech and privacy. Like that housewife, or the Cafeteria Catholic, or the Allah-carte Muslim (actor, comedian, and observant but not fundie muslim Rami Yusef’s term, and I love it), they leave out the inconvenient parts – the citizen as self-sufficient atomic political unit, with the same rights, powers and responsibilities in microcosm of actual states are. The whole “government by consent of the governed” and “Free Association of Equals” bit.

If you want to practice the fun parts of the American experiment – immigrating to a country with freedom and opportunity, getting paid to be on the radio, free speech and waving signs about? Then pay some thought to the complex stuff – the tension between order and liberty, the moral right of the free market versus the stifling moral decay of socialism.

It’s a fine day for that, isn’t it?

MyLyssa Has Questions. Mitch Has Answers.

SCENE: Mitch BERG is walking down Grand Avenue, looking for Grand Avenue Distillery Supplies. As he looks in the storefront, MyLyssa SILBERMAN, Reporter for National Public Radio’s Saint Paul bureau, covering the “Fake News” and “Diversity” beats, gets out of a cab.

SILBERMAN: Merg!

BERG: (Nonplussed) Er, hi, MyLyssa. What’s up?

SILBERMAN: I’m curious. You continuously say, on your blog and show, that the media is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the progressive movement.

BERG: I do. And it’s true.

SILBERMAN: How can you say that? We have layers and layers and..

BERG: …and layers of gatekeepers. Right. Got that. I base my assertion on, well, reading and listening to the media, and taking what they say seriously.

SILBERMAN: Meaning…?

BERG: Well, for example, listen to this bit by NPR’s “On the Media” – supposedly their media “watchdog” show – and the train of ultra-left dogmatics and magical thinking, and tell me any part of it that wouldn’t fit right in with a Wobbly pamphlet in the 1900s.

SILBERMAN: (Puts on earphones. Listens to segment. Removes headphones). I don’t hear anything.

BERG: This is my shocked face

SILBERMAN: It might be the global warming.

BERG: Might be

(And SCEN)E

Heads I Win, Tails You Lose

In the wake of the session, the Pioneer Press ran a letter to the editor – “Democrats offered plenty of compromises on gun bills” – from one Jo Haugen.   I wrote a response.  It never got printed.

Shocking, right?

Well, that’s one of the reasons I started this blog, now, isn’t it?

My response to the PiPress:

——————–

In her May 22 letter to the editor (“Democrats offered plenty of compromise on gun bills”), Jo Haugen criticized Senate Majority Leader Gazelka for kililing the DFL’s gun control bills, because “a vast majority of Minnesotans as well as law enforcement support these bills”

If “mandate” were real, then Speaker Hortmann and Majority Leader Winkler should have had no trouble passing the measures – “Red Flag” confiscation and “Universal” registration bills – as standalone measures, confident that that massive support would be greeted with hosannas at election time.

Curiously, they could not.  Winkler didn’t have the votes to do that, and snuck them into the omnibus Public Safety bills against bipartisan opposition.

Either the House DFL leadership are cowards for ignoring Ms. Haugen’s supposed mandate, or the “vast majority” of Minnesotans support nothing of the sort, and the polling to which Ms. Haugen refers was a bogus piece of propaganda.

Minnesota’s gun control movement:  The few, trying to control the many with the acquiescence of the gullible.

Mitch Berg
Saint Paul

Almost

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Last Summer, the Associated Press reported 40% of families struggled to meet at least one of their basic needs.  The story was based on a press release by the Urban Institute. And what was the biggest problem for struggling families?  Cost of medical care.  Why?  Because Obama-care destroyed health insurance. This week, CBS recycled that storywithout bothering to mention the story was six months old and based on data that’s 18 months old, and also without mentioning the latest employment numbers.  I’m all for recycling, but it’s almost as if the media aren’t really interested in the truth, only in bashing a Republican administration. 
Joe Doakes

And if you’ve ever been around reporters at a bar, you know they’re not carbon-neutral, shall we say.

It almost seems that Big Media is working hand in glove with Big Left to pass a narrative to low-information but high-emotion voters.

That’s just crazy talk.

Right?

This Is What A Nobel-Prize-Winning Member Of The “Elite” Media Thinks Like

Paul Krugman – who worshipped Barack Obama like a ’90s high school girl worshipped the Back Street Boys – twote:

Andrew Stiles notes Barack Obama’s list of PMoF’s:

  • Michael Jordan
  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
  • Meryl Streep
  • Steven Spielberg
  • Robert Redford
  • Robert De Niro
  • Tom Hanks
  • Yo-Yo Ma
  • Bob Dylan
  • Stevie Wonder
  • Gloria Estefan
  • Barbara Streisand
  • James Taylor
  • Diana Ross
  • Bruce Springsteen
  • Warren Buffett
  • Tom Brokaw
  • Lorne Michaels
  • Joe Biden

To which a committed Dem might point out “Hey, no golfers!”.

And to which someone with honesty and integrity would add “And Paul Krugman is a travesty”.

What’s Spanish For “Hack”?

I love languages. I speak three of ’em passably enough not to get made as a Yank, and can order a drink, pay a tab or find a bathroom in a bunch more. If I could learn more full-time, I would. I’m a linguistics geek.

I’m probably an outlier among Americans at large – we’re a big mostly monolingual country, so most Americans don’t need to learn another language.

But the word “hatchet job” means the same thing in an amazing number of languages. That occurred to me while reading this, well, hatchet job from the WaPo, claiming that about half of Republicans get annoyed hearing other languages. According to Pew:

47 percent of such Republicans say it would bother them “some” or “a lot” to “hear people speak a language other than English in a public place.” Eighteen percent of white Democrats said they would be similarly bothered.
Aside from politics, age and education are the major predictors of linguistic discomfort. Eighteen percent of whites younger than 30 said they would be bothered by a foreign language being spoken, compared with 43 percent in the 50-to-64 age group, and 45 percent among those 65 and older.
Among all racial groups, whites (34 percent) are most likely to be bothered hearing foreign languages, followed by blacks (25 percent), Asians (24 percent) and Hispanics (13 percent). Among Americans overall, 70 percent put their level of unease at “not much” or “not at all.”

And this article is kinda hatchet-y. 

For starters, it doesn’t say *why* “half of white Republicans” have that reaction. Oh, the WaPo knows what it *wants* people to think – that’s why they included the utterly unrelated “High profile confrontations”. Racists!

And yet of those Republicans, the vast majority reported being “bothered” only a little bit – which doesn’t seem like it’d be a byproduct of hatred. It doesn’t go into motivations. 

I’m to postulate the vast majority of that isn’t racism, but people in a largely monolingual culture reacting to being excluded. Remember the question – they’re reacting to hearing people “speak a language other than English in a public place.” Language is an excluder; it’s a private club. It’s why my grandma never spoke her native Norwegian unless she was among fellow native speakers; it’s why I don’t talk in German or Norwegian in meetings with mostly Anglo co-workers. It’s kind of rude. 

The reaction is hardly limited to Americans, much less “white Republicans”. Check out how the French react to groups of Americans talking English sometime. 

I’m gonna strongly suspect most of the result comes from social annoyance rather than bigotry or provincialism. 

Men hva vet jeg?

Stupid Myopic Panic-Stricken Millennials

I almost thought this tweet, apparently by a 20 year old Grievance Studies major from Oberlin College, to be the sort of thing that only Snopes would think wasn’t parody:

Of course, “Edelweiss” was written by Rogers and Hammerstein, in the late fifties. For a movie about some escaping from Naziism.

Here it is, in all its storm-trooper-y goodness:

Silly millennials

UPDATE: I’m told that Ms. Haberman is not actually a grievance studies major from Oberlin, but in fact NBC’s White House correspondent and one of the “elite” “gatekeepers” that are supposed to keep the public’s news safe and hygienic.

My mistake.

The Gatekeepers

As I try, in my peasant-y way, to navigate the reefs and shoals of all the “fake news” the world throws before us, I’m thankful we’ve got gatekeepers like “Snopes.com” to do our thinking for us.

That’s the American “Fact-Check” industry – guarding the ramparts of American intellectual integrity.

A Nation Of Logrolled Sheep

Gun violence is schools is a quarter what it was 25 years ago, even with the tragic mass shootings in recent years thrown in.

But Big Left and Big Media have succeeded in convincing a fair number of people that 2+2=5:

Twenty years after the Columbine High School shooting made practicing for armed intruders as routine as fire drills, many parents have only tepid confidence in the ability of schools to stop a gunman, according to a new poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
And while most Americans consider schools less safe than they were 20 years ago, the poll finds a majority say schools aren’t at fault for shootings. Bullying, the availability of guns, the internet and video games share more of the blame.

If you tell people the sky is falling often and consistently enough, people will start carrying umbrellas.

Scandal-“Free”

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

next time a SITD critic claims the Obama administration was extraordinarily clean, not a single conviction, remind them of this:
joe doakes

Percpetion is reality.

If Obama’s cronies in the media and Democrat party messaging (ptr) say his time in office was “scandal free” enough times, people will perceive it that way.

Put another way – if Trump worked to defame Latinos the way Obama did to defame law-abiding gun owners, the Southern Poverty Law Center would have issued a fatwa.

Afflicting The Afflicted

Sharyl Atkisson has a list of 78 “mistakes” the media has made in covering Trump so far.

Yes, I put mistakes in scare quotes.

In late November of 2016, on NPR’s “On The Media” show – as reliable a measure of the daily ebb and flow of the “Elite” media’s inner id as any artifact you’ll find – representatives from the Washington Post and New York Times newsrooms spoke at length with host Bob Garfield about the need to change the rules. Instead of just “telling the story” – the who, what, when, where, why and how of the news – and presuming the consumer an figure things out for themselves, the mission was going to turn to “de-normalizing Trump”.

The “mistakes” – not just in re Trump, but Nick Sandman, “Russiagate” and on, and on, and on – may not all be symptoms of an “elite” media whose mission has changed from informing to driving an agenda. Perhaps.

But if they had changed their mission, I’m at a loss for how they’d be doing anything differently.

Unthinkable

SCENE:  A busy office at a major news network.   Ira KATZ and Melyssa HOOPERMAN-BELL, two senior network executives, are discussing an upcoming newscast.

KATZ:   OK.  So we’ve got this piece on the revolving door between Fox News and the Trump White House.

HOOPERMAN-BELL:   Excellent.  I hate Trump.

KATZ:  Everyone hates Trump.

HOOPERMAN-BELL:  And this connection between them and Fox News is a threat to democracy.

KATZ:  Unprecedented.

HOOPERMAN-BELL:  Who should do it?

KATZ:  Stephanopoulos.

HOOPERMAN-BELL:  Definitely Stephanopoulos.

And SCENE.  Always, forever SCENE

Not To Say The Media Is Pushing A Narrative Or Anything

Earlier this week, hundreds of students “spontaneously” walked out of Minneapolis’ Patrick Henry High School to demand legislators take away Second Amendment rights currently deemed unfashionable by Big Left.

The Media was waiting, cameras all a-whirl.

OK, I lied.  It was ten kids.

OK.  I only half lied.   The Strib was waiting anyway , there to give the “spontaneous” anti-freedom demonstration all the attention it wanted.

So when President Trump calls the media “the enemy of the people”, let’s just say my condemnation is muted to the point of nonexistence.

Almost Too Meta

So if wrote a piece about a fact-checking site “checking facts” on a satirical story, you’d either think that the “Fact Check” site was the one being satirical, or that the satire site had gone just a tad over the top.

Neither is apparently the case in this story, in which Snopes “fact checks” Babylon Bee – which, in its own way may be America’s finest news source today, if you think about it – and a “story” it did about Jussie Smollett getting a job at CNN. Babylon Bee was (so far) being satirical, and Snopes was not.

Oh, yeah – did I say the Bee was likely America’s most reliable source of news? I’m being a little less satirical than they are:

They may do news better than the Big Three, these days.

“Unexpected” Omission

American public media reports – or, in a sense, “Reports” – on the ironic rising cost of water in several Great Lakes-area cities and, naturally, its disproportionate effect on the poor.

The cities – they focus most especially on Cleveland, Detroit, Duluth, Buffalo and Chicago – have water rates that are rising extremely fast, as the ageing infrastructure starts to give out.

What it doesn’t mention?

Every one of the cities has been run by Democrats, according to Democrat priorities, as long as anyone can remember.

It’s Technically Only Satire If It’s Not 100% True

SCENE: Mitch BERG is shopping for a new casserole trivet for his Instant Pot (C) when MyLysa SILBERMAN, Reporter for National Public Radio’s Saint Paul bureau covering the “Fake News” and “Diversity” beats, rounds the corner.

BERG: Er…Ms. Silberman.

SILBERMAN: [visibly searching for name] . Er – hello, Merg.

BERG: So – any comment about the allegations against Ralph “Satchmo” Northam?

SILBERMAN: In these inflammatory situations and divided times, it’s a journalist’s responsibility to make sure they get the facts straight.

BERG: OK. So – Brent Kavanaugh…

SILBERMAN: [Abruptly screams, face red with rage] WE ALWAYS #BELIEVEWOMEN, YOU SON OF A BITCH!!!

BERG: Huh. So – Democrat governor Northam…

SILBERMAN: [Abruptly calm again] Get the facts…

BERG: Northam, Ellison, Clinton…

SILBERMAN: [Abruptly calm again] We can’t report a story where we’re not absolutely sure…

BERG: The Covington kids..

SILBERMAN: [Enraged again] . WHITE! MAGA! THE…SMIRK! I JUST WANT TO BURN THAT KID’S FACE OFF!

BERG: Right. So I’ve predicted that the media will declare Northam “rehabilitated” within the year.

SILBERMAN: Rehabilitated from what?

BERG: Er…yeah. Exactly.

And SCENE