But Don’t You Dare Say Thera A Class War

At the Met Gala, yet again:

Celebrities, showing their faces.

Hired help, still muzzled.

I’m not going to say that the upper crust feel that they are immune to Covid.

I am going to say that their version of “science” has convinced them that the invasion of Ukraine and the imminent repeal of Roe V. Wade has given them immunity.

Glad I could clear that up.

Is it a womenorah now?

You might think that Israel, being in a tough neighborhood, with its survival at stake, would not allow woke nonsense to seep into its military and potentially compromise its national security. You would be wrong.

Israel for the first time ever will honor a transgender soldier with special medal of honor during the country’s annual Independence Day state ceremony, it was revealed Tuesday.

Sergeant Noam Shahar from Home Front Command’s mixed gender rescue unit will receive the President’s Medal during the country’s 74th Independence Day celebrations on Wednesday.

The soldier said she dedicated herself to setting an example even before joining Home Front Command. Last year, she chose to do her beret march- an arduous journey each IDF soldier goes through before being accepted to their respective corps – with the pride flag on her vest.

Signal To Noise

I’ve spent the majority of my career in the employ of Fortune 500 corporations, including my current employer. In the early years, those companies would sometimes make a show of their social goodness but they weren’t particularly wedded to a lefty agenda. That’s changed in the last 10-15 years, but recent events have some C-suite grandees thinking twice

The fallout from the recent political spat between Disney and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has alarmed leaders across the corporate sphere, according to executives and their advisers, and heightened the challenges for chief executive officers navigating charged topics.
At many companies, vocal employees have in recent years pushed bosses to take public stands on social and political issues. Florida’s pushback against Disney has raised the stakes.

Yeah, it certainly has. You have to wonder why a company would choose to make their appeal, ahem, more selective, but the instinct is strong:

“The No. 1 concern CEOs have is, ‘When should I speak out on public issues?’ ” said Bill George, former chairman and CEO of Medtronic PLC and now a senior fellow at Harvard Business School. “As one CEO said to me, ‘I want to speak out on social issues, but I don’t want to get involved in politics.’ Which I said under my breath, ‘That’s not possible.’ ”

It’s not possible. Put more simply, it’s dumb. A CEO who spends more than a passing moment thinking about social issues isn’t paying attention to what really matters. Younger employees, who have gone from participation trophies to believing their opinions are probative without much active contradiction, are difficult to manage, so the urge to mollify them is strong.

My current company has a full range of employee groups that cater to the constellation of grievances of the modern Left. These groups regularly get a moment to hold forth in the latest Zoom Town Hall or on the company intranet page. There’s not a lot of evidence these groups actually improve the conditions they decry, but never mind that. It’s a chance to wave the freak flag, and as an overall strategy it makes sense:

Some executives say they have learned to monitor issues that could consume public attention and increase pressure for some response. Some use employee affinity groups to help flag potentially troublesome issues. “You make it a safe forum where people feel comfortable talking about concerns or whatever, and out of that, there’s really a kind of responsibility on our part to pick up on things that really do demand some attention,” said Nancy Langer, CEO of Transact Campus Inc., a financial- technology company based near Phoenix. “I look at that as a feedback loop for us.”

The challenge, as always, is to ensure the loop doesn’t become a noose.

Musk In The Wind

An Inigo Montoya moment:

Democracy. They keep using that word. I do not think it means what they think it means.

Of course, what frightens Max Boot is having anything he says face a challenge. Content moderation is especially cool if it means you don’t have to face any discontent. Boot’s preferred usage is a Boot on the throat.

I am not sure what I think about Elon Musk generally. One could argue he’s built his fortune by using government subsidies and cronyism, as he clearly has, but it’s also undeniable he’s building useful things. And it’s absolutely undeniable that he has all the right enemies. And the cognitive dissonance is off the damned charts:

Does Musk want to take over Twitter? I don’t think so. The company’s financials aren’t great, and running social media companies is hard. The car crash that is former President Donald Trump’s social media experiment, Truth Social, is a cautionary tale for Musk. Does Musk want to name some people to Twitter’s board of directors? Maybe. That would allow him to have some say over its affairs without spending too much time or money.

That’s worrisome, because it’s not ideal to have a free speech absolutist who isn’t absolutely in favor of free speech at the helm of — or even close to — a media company.

So where is Timothy O’Brien making this argument? Bloomberg. Who runs Bloomberg? A billionaire who happened to be a presidential candidate in the last cycle. We live in an unserious world.

Don’t Say Logic, Knowledge Or Boundaries

SCENE: It’s 6AM, at Twin Cities International. Mitch BERG is leaving an airport bar, after having his ritual shot of whiskey before getting on a plane for a business trip. As he turns to walk down the concourse, he almost literally runs into Aaron ROSTON, A writer at the (possibly fictional) progressive blog “MinnesotaLiberalAlliance.Blogspot.com“.   ROSTON is a crossing guard at a school in rural southern Minnesota, and is a bullying activist – mostly focusing on promoting bullying of children of conservatives. He is wearing a t-shirt that says GAY on the front.

ROSTON: Merg.

BERG: Hey, Aaron. On your way to Florida, I see?

ROSTON: Not bad, for a stupid person. How could you tell?

BERG: Just a hunch.

ROSTON: You’re an idiot, so you should know Governor DeSantis’s bill makes it illegal to say “gay” in Florida. I’m going there to practice civil disobedience and also spend my stimmy checks.

BERG: Civil disobedience?

ROSTON: I’m gonna say gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gay…

BERG: Huh. Courageous. Of course you are, and you do realize that the Florida law doesn’t make talking about homosexuality illegal. It just bars teachers from doing spontaneous sex ed classes with kids under the age of 8.

ROSTON: You’re too stupid to be an educator, so I’ll explain this to you. What if I have a kid who has two mommies, or two daddies, and is confused about the situation? What am I supposed to do?

BERG: If a kid has same-sex parents who haven’t explained the situation to the kids, that’s both weird and – here’s a radical notion – their business, not yours.

ROSTON: So you’re a mouth-breathing gay hater. What if I wanted to tell my children…

BERG: They aren’t “your children”. You’re a public employee – a crossing guard, as it happens, but I hear teachers who say the same thing – who is part of a system we, the public, pay to teach our kids how to read, write, do math, think critically, and other skills. So – you were saying?

ROSTON: What if I wanted to tell (makes scare quotes) my students that my partner and I were going axe-throwing over the weekend?

BERG: Then you tell them you’re going axe-throwing. Big whoop.

ROSTON: You moron. And what if I then wanted to tell them that after axe-throwing, we were going to go back to my place and __________ his __________ in the ___________ until ___________ with a…

BERG: (Interrrupting): Well, if it were my five-through-eight-year old, I’d be calling the police and teaching you a lesson about boundaries.

ROSTON: So you hate gays.

BERG: Hey, look – over there! A kid in a wheelchair with a MAGA hat.

ROSTON: WHEREWHEREWHEREWHERE! I wanna make him cry…

(sees nothing)

ROSTON: (Looks around frantically) Where? Merg?

(But BERG has disappeared)

And SCENE

Rules Of The Game

Most readers of this feature knew the truth in 2020 — Hunter Biden, the uber-prodigal son of the now Leader of the Free World, abandoned a laptop computer at a repair shop in Delaware. The laptop was filled to the brim with embarrassing and yes, incriminating evidence of financial malfeasance and videotaped debauchery. It was real and yes, it was spectacular. And the New York Post was on the case.

But you weren’t allowed to know any of it, and if you tried to tell anyone what you weren’t allowed to know, you were in for a banning:

Twitter went so far as to lock users out of their accounts if they shared this piece of journalism that was clearly in the public interest. It locked the Twitter accounts of the actual White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, and the New York Post itself. Here we had the spokesperson for the democratically elected president of the United States and the oldest continuously published daily newspaper in America being cast out of social media for the crime of sharing a story that was true. This was surely the most egregious, arrogant interference in democratic politics and press freedom carried out by corporate elites in recent times.

Recent times? I think the term we’re looking for here is ever. And as Brendan O’Neill discusses in the piece linked above, the implications are chilling:

This was a truly extraordinary moment in the political life of the United States of America. A free-thinking daily newspaper published a fascinating report on the emails and behaviour of the then vice-president’s son and it found itself shamed, blocked and defamed for doing so. Californian oligarchs, former members of the American deep state and virtually the entire opinion-forming set of the East Coast clubbed together to denounce the Post, ban it from Twitter, and rubbish its reporting as the handiwork of evil Ruskies. Yet some of them now admit the story was actually true, a fact that has been clear since at least December 2020, when federal authorities started investigating Hunter. What took place following the Post’s breaking of the laptop story was a terrifying assault on media freedom, the right to dissent and truth itself.

We are free, theoretically, to express our views. From the founding of the republic, we have been able to drag a soapbox to the public square and hold forth. Twitter isn’t the only public square available; in form and in fact, it’s an upholstered cesspool. But it is the realm where our betters and minders, coextensive as they are, disgorge the received wisdom of our age. And it’s where the game is played. And the game is rigged. Back to O’Neill:

But it was the elites’ brutal stomping on this story that should worry us more. It confirmed that the new woke elites will do whatever it takes to crush inconvenient facts, to bury stories and ideas and beliefs that pose a threat to their power or their interests. And it confirmed that Big Tech billionaires will happily engage in explicit political censorship to protect their allies and sponsors from scrutiny. If an established newspaper like the New York Post can be forcefully locked out of the 21st-century public square, just imagine what could be done to you or me if we ever happened upon some facts the elites would prefer to keep hidden.

There’s a chilling line in the 1939 French film La règle du jeu (The Rules of the Game). The character Octave (played by Jean Renoir, the film’s director) says:

You see, in this world, there is one awful thing, and that is that everyone has his reasons.

Those who control the game and the general discourse in the country have their reasons as well. The reason is power, nothing more and nothing less. If we are to play the game, we’d better understand that.

Success Is Failure

Joe Doakes from Como park emails:

Suppose you build a better mousetrap and the world beats a path to your door. That’s a good thing, right? Creativity? Progress? Jobs?

No, it’s a public nuisance, all those people driving their cars to your store, tying up traffic, idling engines (which cause global climate change). Cars backed up in the turning lane interfere with bicycles, the ne plus ultra of moral superiority and the highest form of virtue signaling there is.

The City must shut you down, for the good of all. Heinlein was right.

Joe Doakes

See also: the Starbucks at Snelling at Marshall in St. Paul.

The Unthinkable

Big Left is slowly eating itself – a pattern all leftist institutions, from Mao’s Politburo to Pacifica News eventually recap.

Most lately: yesterday, I heard a couple of feminist congruence-checkers masquerading as NPR correspondents on the drearily, pointlessly breezy “It’s Been a Minute” fulminating about this next bit: filmmarker Jane Campion has been raked over the coals for what, to be fair, may have been a bit of sloppy rhetoric (emphasis added):

“Venus and Serena, you are such marvels. However, you do not play against the guys, like I have to,” Campion said, referring to the four male directors who were also nominated in the best director category.:

I have to imagine Campion is horrified by how her statement was received; Campion, a fairly keen observer, has to know that it’s utterly politically incorrect to say any woman can’t kick any man’s ass at any activity whatsoever. Have some faith, people.

Speaking of which:

Huh.

Decisions

A friend of the blog emails:

Neil Young’s Unknown Legend, one of my all time favorite songs, came up on my playlist.

It’s been, geez, two or three weeks now. I’m not sure if I’m not supposed to listen to Neil or not.

(Name Redacted)

One of the greatest aphorisms about music Dash art, really – Asia “ love the art, ignore the artist”. And I figure, once the song goes out into the world, it belongs to us (subject to copyright and intellectual property), not them.

But it is getting to the point where it’s hard to tell what you are, and are not, supposed to support if you want your dollar to stop working for the enemy.

For example, a certain brand of razor blades (which shall remain unnamed for purposes of this post) was a revelation to me when I first discovered it; I actually enjoyed shaving for the first time in my adult life.

Now, I happen to like this particular brand of razors every bit as much as I like Michael Knowles (who is an excellent writer, but kind of ok as a talkradio host) – so I was relieved to see that this particular brand of razor still sponsors other conservative talk radio, and I wasn’t going to have to go out into a razor market dominated by “woke “brands like Gillette to try and find a new brand of blades.

Deformed

“Everything the Left touches, it destroys”
— Dennis Prager

To add a corollary: everything modern, left-infused culture touches, it also destroys.

For a variety of reasons, Cyrano De Bergerac was one of the bits of literature I grew up positively steeped in. I won’t say Dad – a speech, writing and literature teacher – was obsessed, per se, with the De Rostand book and the many theatrical and film versions that’ve appeared over the years (Jose Ferrer’s version was a particular favorite, especially once we got a VHS) being fairly constant fare at the Berg house.

And if you’re not familiar, it’s a pretty brilliant concept. I won’t spoil it; it’s most accessible version to Americans maybe the 1987 Steve Martin version ,Roxanne, which is as 1980’s a Steve Martin comedy as you can think of, but I think is an underrated adaptation…

…that stayed fairly faithful to the concept of the original story.

Which is more than we can say for what Woke Hollywood’s done with it.

If they decide to do a “woke” remake of Casablanca or It’s a Wonderful Life or Best Years of our Lives…

Oh, I fear I’ve already said too much…

I’m Not Cancel Culture, You’re Cancel Culture

A friend of the blog emails:

I am in no way in favor of banning books or burning books. I am not in favor of censoring something for others. If I do not want to read something, I simply don’t. This tweet really got my thinking about fascism and the Nazis who burned books.
.

Is this person tweeting sure that it is the right wing side of the country burning Harry Potter books? Gosh, I am old enough to remember the never ending cancel culture of Liberals going after JK Rowling for questioning the transgender culture and the idea that a man can identify as a woman and be legitimately considered a woman

Harry Potter. Tom Sawyer. Huckleberry Finn. To Kill a Mockingbird. God and Man at Yale. Jordan Peterson.

Here’s the difference: On the right, the people doing the book burnings and the other authoritarian depravity‘s are almost invariably nobodies that you’ve never heard of; school boards in Tennessee, county commissions in rural Louisiana.

On the left, it’s the mainstream and leadership burning the books.

Woke, Broke

Penzeys spices – The “high end“ spice store thst tried to get Scott Walker recalled, and which went completely unhinged after the Trump election – held a “Republicans are Racist“ sale on MLK day.

And is shocked to notice their sales plummeted:

Well, they’ve lost 3 percent of their “Voice of Cooking” email subscribers over it. 40,000 people just up and unsubscribed, and now CEO Bill Penzey is seriously out here trying to get his loyal brainwashed fanbase to purchase discounted gift cards in order to make up for the loss.

This is one of an increasingly long list of companies that I would love to boycott, if I had ever patronized any of them in the first place…

Maybe He’ll Give Up Umbrella Man!

10 year sentence – a downward departure from sentencing guidelines by nearly half – in the burning of a Minneapolis pawn shop during the George Floyd riots:

Black Lives Matter rioter Montez Terriel Lee Jr., of Rochester, New York, was sentenced Friday to 120 months in federal prison for his role in burning down a Minneapolis pawn shop during the destructive George Floyd riots in May 2020.

Lee had previously pleaded guilty in July 2021 to a single count of arson in connection with a fire that destroyed the Max It Pawn Shop on Lake St. at 2726 E. Lake St. He admitted to starting the fire on May 28, 2020, which is now considered one of many arson incidentsthat happened during the summer riots.

Oddly, the article doesn’t list which white supremacist group he was part of

None Dare Call It “Appropriation”

Nor would I care to try.

But this Fox9 piece from last week tells the story of a Minneapolis organization – “Melanin in Motion” – which is teaching urban kids “of color” to ski and snowboard.

Now, cringey name aside, I do applaud the group’s goal; skiing and other snow sports are among Western and Northern Europe’s greatest exports.

It’s just curious how the culture cops haven’t jumped out and called this “cultural appropriation”.

Weird.

Legal Discrimination, Redux

A friend of the blog emails:

Seen on Twitter- “Some people really don’t get how much more appealing a place is when we know people like them won’t be there.”


Is this:

A- referring to Black Americans during segregation

B- referring to the unvaccinated

C- does it matter?

We might also add “D Dash Penzeys spices “call a republican a racist“ day“.

No shortage of bigotry out there.

No shortage of bigotry out there.

Crisis

When I was a kid, working at small-town radio stations in North Dakota, my favorite part of the job was working during tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings.

Which seems counterintuitive, perhaps – but there was something about the crackle and buzz of imporance, of purpose, in the air; the increasingly urgent National Weather service bulletins, the terse phone calls from the cops and sherif, that far more than overcame the whole “there’s a tornado coming!” thing.

And as a tall, gawky, greasy-haired, uncoordinated kid with little apparent athletic talent in a town that idolized the basketball team, it didn’t hurt that I knew, all over town, people were listening.

To me.

Of course, when the warning was over, I and the rest of Stutsman and Foster Counties went back to normal life. I didn’t keep telling people to stay in their basements when the front had passed and the warning was over. Because much as I enjoyed knowing that people were paying attention (and, more important, that I could deliver what they were tuning in for, with style), there were other things in life, and I didn’t need the state of crisis to keep giving me value.


A lot of people out there today can’t say that.

Covid has brought out a strain in a small, but socially prominent, group of people that find their self-worth in crying “Crisis!”.

Not just the media – it’s a given that they will make hay out of crises; pandemics and riots make them more relevant, just as tornados made Mitch Berg’s patter more important to more people than the usual diet of local sports and Rupert Holmes records that occupied most of my time on those stations.

No – it’s regular, workadaddy, hugamommy, usually but not always left-of-center types, for whom being the harbinger brings meaning to life.

And it’s to them that so much of Big Public Health’s narrative is aimed.

Great Twitter thread on the subject:

They – on social media, in the checkout line at Target, or in the comment section here – remind me. of the kids who ran to the teacher when someone stepped out of line when talking from the classroom to the water fountain. They got their sense of personal value from enforcing rules on others – whatever the rules, however niggling and petty and useless – back then, as now.

It’s the toxic corollary to “we’re all in this together”: the unstated “…and I’m not gonna let you forget about it!”.

In Case You Need Another Reason To Hate NPR

77 years ago last month, World War II went into a brief run of extra innings, as German troops launched a surprise attack, trying to drive a wedge between the US and British armies and take the port of Antwerp, robbing the Allies of their main logistics hub on the continent. We know it as the “Battle of the Bulge”.

In a strategic sense, the attack was doomed before it started. It may have cost the Germans more than it ganed them, burning through their last supplies of fuel, ammunition and fresh vehicles, to no gain that they were able to hold for more than a month.

But that was little comfort to the GIs on the ground – many new to the front in brand-new divisions, many more exhausted after six months of constant battle and resting in the “quiet sector” of the Ardennes, and the corner of Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany.

The GIs fought on – some of them famously surrounded, others who just happened to be at the wrong place at the right time, still more who rushed to the scene to hold lines in the snow that could not be passed.

They fought an enemy that was exhausted and morally shaped by five years of total war, including troops – the Waffen SS, who had made war crimes part of their “mystique” since the fall of 1939. One SS battlegroup had left a trail of war crimes, including the massacre of a group of combat engineers at Malmédy, Belgiuim, and a smaller and more obscure but perhaps even more gruesome slaughter of African-American troops at Wereth – two of a number of real shootings of American POWs, and dozens more rumored mass killings.

It’s no secret to those who read military history; at times, after hearing news about the GIs gunned down at Malmédy in particular, that GIs – cold, often cut off from higher authority, thousands of miles from home, fighting for people they largely didn’t understand, in a war none of them asked for – took rough revenge. The history of “The Good War” is not void of stories of American troops gunning down Germans, and especially Japanese, without worrying too hard about the rules of war. Americans and Brits were less likely to throw the rules of war under the treads of the passing tank than the Russians or French – all of whom took “take no prisoners” pretty literally – but war, being famously “hell”, brings the worst out of everyone at times.

Suffice to say – while the typical 18 year old American draftee was on balance, as Stephen Ambrose called him, “the. best thing that could have happened to a conquered Germany or liberated France, Luixembourg and Belgium”, some of them, sometimes, had their breaking points. It wasn’t taught in high school history class – which, when I was in school, was still being taught by some of the men who’d been there – but you don’t have to dig too far into history to find honest portrayals by GIs who, as the years rolled on, talked it out (including at least one infamous episode from Band of Brothers itself).

It’s not news, suffice to say.

If you read your history.

But this is 2022. And most Americans, including most of today’s generation of “news” reporters, never read history, or at least nothing before 1960.

“The Reveal” is an NPR ‘Investigative journalism’ program, hosted by Al Letson. This past Sunday’s episode focused on the groundbreaking investigation of a massacre of 80 German POWs in Belgium by members of the 11th Armored Division.

I listened so you don’t have to – but here it is, anyway:

So what’s. the purpose of this “investigation?”

To prove that World War II a reductionist battle between good-hearted, white-hatted GIs and cartoony black-hearted Nazis, and that some Americans did some horrible things?

Again – it’s not news.

To bring out a story that has been hidden by history?

As the story itself points out, the episode was common knowledge among people who follow the war.

That George Patton and other Army brass, at the time and during the telling of the story of the war, found it expedient to either “not publicize” or “cover up” the details of the massacre, to a people who were becoming weary of war and who were shocked by the late-campaign bloodshed? Leaving aside the whole “what the hell do they expect?” angle – who do they expect to hold accountable? 95% of the GIs are gone; all the senior officers who set the policy had passed on forty years ago.

To undercut and sandbag a key part of the American self-image? To throw crap on the notion that America has had, and acted upon, and sacrificed mightilly, for noble ideals that didn’t strictly benefit us? To liberate people we had no moral obligation to sacrifice for?

I think I’m getting warm.

A former teacher, who has drifted far to the left since I was a student, once said “the Walt Disney version of history doesn’t tell the whole story” – to which I replied “either does the Ingmar Bergman version (I suppose I could have said NIkole Hannah-Jones, as well).

Either way – when it comes to piddling on any shred of American exceptionaism, to say nothing of nobility, there is no statute of limitations.

On Patton Oswalt’s Bowing To The Woke Mob

To: The World
From: Mitch Berg, irascible peasant
Re: Not the tough, decisive Patton

“Comedian” Patton Oswalt has been taking flak in recent weeks for having tweeted out a photo of him standing with Dave Chapelle – who is trayf among the Wokies.

He issued a groveling apology last week.

My hot take:

If you have ever seen Oswalt’s work, and his record outside of his “comedy”, and thought he was remotely:

a) smart enough to stay on “woke” message in the first place, and

b) solid enough in thought and integrity to stand up for “a”

…then you cared about him more than I did.

That is all.