Shot In The Dark: Today’s News, Two Years Ago (Again)

The Babylon Bee – America’s most accurate source of news – defines “Karen”, who is sort of the anti-“Rosie The Riveter” of the current crisis.

Watch carefully. Anything look/sound familiar?

“Karen’s” hairdo – it’s “ELCA Hair“.

If you read Shot In The Dark, you’re years ahead of the hoi-polloi.

Times In Which The Mundane Is Spectacularly Radical

Let’s say I write an article in which I assert that the mid-day sky is actually bright scarlet red in color.

You might respond “You’re just Mitch Berg. You’re a conservative, so you always think stupid things”. That response is half, maybe 3/4 true – but doesn’t say anything about the color of the sky. What it does is say “your argument is false because of who you are”. The term is “Argumentum ad Hominem” – latin for “arguing against the man”, rather than the facts the Man presented. It’s a logical fallacy. Who I am has no bearing on the facts I present, right or wrong.

You might then respond “You don’t have a degree in meteorology – how would you know anything about the sky?” That’s also true – I’m not a meteorologist. But it doesn’t address the facts presented, but rather my credentials. It’s called an “Appeal to Authority”, and it’s another logical fallacy. One’s credentials might lend authority to a statement – but not truth or falsity, all by themselves.

You could try another tack, something like “you are an idiot”. That’d be called an “Appeal to Ridicule”. Again – I might be actually an idiot, but it doesn’t address my factual assertion in any way. It’s…yep, another logical fallacy.

Maybe you could dig back on Twitter, and find some example of me saying “the sky is blue”, and post a before-and-after saying “Hah! You’re being inconsistent!”. That’s called the “Argumentum Tu Quoque” – focusing on the fact that one has changed their mind on a subject, rather than the facts at hand – which is a really dumb one; the fact that I was a Democrat growing up, for example, doesn’t make me less a conservative today (or vice versa for someone else).

You could go on the offensive, and claim that if I believe the sky is scarlet with “Sooooo, what you’re saying is you want old people to die”. That’s called a “Straw Man Argument” – trying to make someone defend an argument they never made. I said the sky was scarlet – nothing about Grandma at all.

Or – here’s a radical thought, you could post a picture of a bright blue, or dull gray, sky and tell the world “Look! The sky above is blue! It’s not even a little bit scarlet!”. That would address the actual facts of my assertion that the sky was bright scarlet.

And the technical term for that is “a factual argument”.

I’m writing this not because I’m trying to go all Jordan Peterson on you, but because our society would be a lot stronger, smarter and BS-proof if more people learned how to make a logical argument, and to spot and call out an illogical one.

“That’s just NPR!” or “That’s just National Review” or “that info came from people allied with “the swamp”” and many other arguments…aren’t really arguments at all. They are illogical deflections.

Not to go all Walt Kowalski, but there was a time people had to learn this stuff. And there are times I think, reading social media, that learning the basics of, if not logic, at least spotting gross illogic and not being illogical, should be required before people can vote…

much less post on Facebook or Twitter.

And if I’m ever appointed king, or otherwise become a benevolent strongman…

(Careful, kids – in some quarters, particularly academia, the above is very un-PC. It’s what we used to call Samizdat. )

Translating “Economic Meltdown” Into The “Urban Progressive” Dialect Of English

Maybe now some of the “Shut it all down until there’s a vaccine and 50,000 tests a day” crowd will pay attention.

Trendy Warehouse District restaurant “The Bachelor Farmer” – run by Mark Dayton’s sons – is one of those places a big swathe of MInnesota’s non-profit/indurial complex was hoping to have dinner in a couple of years when the Governor lifts his “shelter in place plan”.

But no more. “Bachelor Farmer” is pining for the fjords:

It’s almost like God is providing an interpreter service for government union employees, non-profiteers and other urban progressives who feel they can ride out two years worth of shutdown: “Vape shop”, “Hair Salon” or “Small family store” goes in.

“Trendy warehouse district fine dining” comes out.

They might understand yet.

We’re All In This Together, In One Minnesota

If you think fighting disaster with economic devastation is a bad strategery, this is what Channel 11’s weather talking head thinks of you:

And Sven? When you go on to talk about the “sacrifices we are making”, don’t tell it to social media. Go to the small businesses who are arbitrarily shuttered and tell the owners whose lives’ work is being destroyed while competing business are chugging right along, exactly how “in it together” you are with them.

I”ll wait.

Virtue-Advertising

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

It used to drive my wife crazy that I bought Land 0 Lakes butter instead of Cub’s house brand. Cost an extra buck a pound. Why buy it?

I claimed it was because Land 0 Lakes is a farmers’ cooperative so I was helping farmers, but she could smell the cow manure in that answer. The truth is the packaging reminded me of home, of the olden days, of traditional brands I grew up with. The old white guy on the can of oatmeal. The Black woman with the kerchief around her head on the bottle of maple syrup. The mermaid on the can of tuna. And the Indian girl on the box of butter. They all changed over the years, of course, each time getting more modern looking. But now – the butter girl is gone. Just a big, empty zero where she used to be.

Look, guys, I can get butter anywhere. I don’t need to spend the extra buck for yours. That girl wasn’t hurting anything. Yeah, okay, so a couple of professional complainers bitched about it. But millions of the rest of us bought it because we knew and loved the label, the connection to tradition. You just cut me off from that.

Now there’s no reason for me to spend the extra buck. So I won’t. Ever again.

Joe Doakes

I often wonder whether companies are ever going to rebound, to snap back on the whole politically correct virtue signaling thing?

It would be interesting to try and trace the psychology of advertising and marketing as related to clinging to social trends.

Literary Correctness

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Mitch, I wanted to write a novel like you, but I need professional
help.  The notes in parenthesis are the editor’s:

“I was doing my homework when someone knocked on our door.  An Asian
(RACIST) girl (SEXIST) about my age (AGEIST) stood (ABLE-IST) on the
doorstep. She must have been shy (ASSUMPTION), she was holding a book
against her chest the way girls do (SEXIST) and kept looking down
looking at our feet (UNNECESSARY DETAIL). She was slender (FAT SHAMING)
and short (HEIGHT-IST), with nice hair, dark (RACIST STEREOTYPE) and
glossy, that fell around her face, hiding it (OFFENSIVE STEREOTYPE).”

Revised version:

“I was doing my homework when someone knocked on our door.  A person
stood there holding a book.  The person had hair.”

I dunno – does it lose something in the translation?

Joe Doakes

And people ask why I made the villains in Trulbert the Methodists.

Disconnected

This is today’s celebrity class:

The TL:dw version: A bunch of entitled, overpaid people blessed/cursed with fame, are virtue-signaling the rest of us by “singing” the worst song in pop music history [1] – a mewling paeon to socialism and atheism from a singer who himself became so embittered and disconnected from the world by his fame and wealth that it had become something of a cultural punch line before he was murdered and became the icon for the death of every baby boomer’s innocence – as they hole up in their Manhattan condos, California estates and rural getaways…

…as millions of people wonder how long their paychecks are going to keep coming, or if they will, and the rest of the country waits to see if the army of homeless that crowd California’s streets get completely ravaged by this new plague.

Imagine, indeed.

I’ve never been a hugeLarry the Cable Guy fan, but for today, I am totally on board.


[1] This may be a reach – but work with me, here.

I think “ex-Beatle preference” is a key dispositive indicator of political outlook and personal attitude.

I suspect “progressives” prefer John Lennon. He was the angsty, prickly one, the one who seemed most prone to have a penchant for Sylvia Plath He died tragically, relatively young, and in the grand romantic tradition, illustrating and confirming the progressive’s innate hopelessness.

I’m going to guess conservatives trend toward the sunny, optimistic, irrepressible McCartney.

Me? I’m a guitar player. I’m with Harrison.

Crime Prevention And Cardio

City council in the Finnish city of Oulu devises a radical new approach to the rape epidemic that is no-how, no way associated with migrants pouring into the area with no incentive or intent to assimilate:

Sorry if you can’t un-think this.   But it’s important; if someone in Scandinavia is doing this, it’ll be in Minnesota eventually. 

As Titania McGrath notes, if German women had known this in 1945, the Soviet mass rape camnpaign would have stopped in its tracks. 

Water

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Experts advise washing your hands to avoid Corona virus, at least 20 seconds, long enough to say the Alphabet or sing Happy Birthday.

I can’t believe Democrats have missed this opportunity to expand the welfare state.  “Because of the wealth gap and income disparity that has existed in America since 1615, and cruelly perpetuated by the Bad Orange Man’s tax-cuts-for-the-rich-only, our most vulnerable people – the poor – who are disproportionately women and children and persons of color and LGBTQ+ – are ill-equipped to survive this deadly virus.  They cannot afford to let the water run all day long.  We must immediately allocate billions of dollars of Water Bill subsidies to help those who need help most.  It’s a matter of survival.”

Although . . . maybe the Democrats are having an internal struggle and haven’t figured out which of their principles polls the best?

“Letting the water run to wash your hands wastes water.  Millions of fish and precious woodland creatures will die of thirst as Americans steal their water and run it down the drain. This species-ist attack on the rest of the planet must end today.  No More Handwashing!”

I’m so confused.

Joe Doakes

Don’t give them ideas, Joe.

Also, as a sidenote to Joe: women? LGBTQ? The poor? People of color?

No mention of transgender people?

Where are you making them invisible? When did you become transphobic. 

Triple Down

I asked American progressivism “American “progressivism”, you couldn’t possibly out-do your myopia from 2016, could you?”

And American progressivism – in this case Vox.comsaid “hold my kombuchba“:

The idea that identity politics is at odds with liberalism has become conventional wisdom in parts of the American political and intellectualelite. Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker has condemned contemporary identity politics as “an enemy of reason and Enlightenment values.” New York Times columnist Bari Weiss argues that the “corrupt identity politics of the left” amounts to a dangerously intolerant worldview. And New York magazine’s Andrew Sullivanclaims the “woke left” seems “not to genuinely believe in liberalism, liberal democracy, or persuasion.” This line of thinking is practically the founding credo of the school of internet thought known as the Intellectual Dark Web.

It is also deeply, profoundly wrong.

If you are deeply, profoundly progressive, anyway. . “Liberalism” and “progressivism” intersect only occasionally, if by “liberalism” you mean any of the traits that’ve made Western Civilization free, inclusive and prosperous in a way that is utterly anomalous through human history, which “progressives” most certainly do not. 

What these critics lambaste as an attack on liberalism is actually its best form: the logical extension of liberalism’s core commitment to social equality and democracy, adapted to address modern sources of inequality. A liberalism that rejects identity politics is a liberalism for the powerful, one that relegates the interests of marginalized groups to second-class status.

“Evidence-Based”

The bit of “science”-y content that fueled governent’s current vape panic…

has been retracted

Last June, the authors, Stanton Glantz and Dharma Bhatta of the University of California San Francisco, stated in the original study that vaping and smoking cigarettes posed a similar risk, while doing both at the same time was an even more dangerous option. Following its publication in the summer, the peer-reviewed research was referenced by major news organizations, including CNN, Yahoo News, and USA Today.

In a statement explaining the retraction, editors at the Journal of the American Heart Association (JAHA) expressed worry that the study may have been based on misleading data.

“The editors are concerned that the study conclusion is unreliable,” they wrote.

JAHA pulled the paper after Brad Rodu, a tobacco control expert at the University of Louisville, noted that many of the vapers Glantz and Bhatta analyzed for the study were also current or former smokers. Rodu argued that there was a possibility that the use of combustible cigarettes is what made them more likely to suffer heart attacks

I bring this up not so much to troll the city full of puritan prohibitionists who’ve been hacking away at vaping in legislatures and city councils around the state – although I am. 

Mostly, though, it’s about the wave of virtue-signaling third-rate “progressive” “thinkers” who affect “evidence-based” as their latest intellectual accessory – and don’t get the the sarcasm when you point out that the Flat Earth is “evidence-based”, if your evidence is flawed enough,.  

Identity Genetics

Joe Doakes from Coko Lark emails:

I’m informed race is not genetic, it is a social construct.  The Obama’s lived in America when their daughters were born, hence, they look like this:

If the Obama’s had lived in Sweden when their daughters were born, they’d have looked like this.

Okay, I get it now.  Makes perfect sense to me. 

Joe Doakes

And, let’s be honest, if Sasha and Malia identified as Swedish, the same thing would happen.

Logic Is Like Coronovirus

SCENE: Mitch BERG is watiing in line at his favorite barbeque joint when Aaron ROSTON, writer at the (possibly fictional) progressive blog “MinnesotaLiberalAlliance.Blogspot.com“, walks into the store and gets into line behind BERG. 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.

ROSTON notices BERG, despite BERG’s best efforts.

ROSTON: Merg!

BERG: Uh, hi, Eric…

ROSTON: Eric?

BERG: Sorry. Mistook you for someone else.

ROSTON: (not waiting for BERG to finish his sentence) Minnesotans are moving out of state because they’re racists. The Center of the American Experiment is basically the Klan Robe crowd for pointing it out.

BERG: “Klan Robe Crowd”, huh?

ROSTON: Yep. That’s the only reason to leave Minnesota. Racism.

BERG: Right. Not schools that are collapsing, a hostile business and tax environment, stagnant economy outside the metro because the economy is being hobbled by taxes, regulation and the stranglehold of one party on the bureaucracy, spiking urban crime, totaly bonkers transportation and energy policy, and a cold, tax-hostile place to retire?

ROSTON: Come on. You’re better than that!

BERG: What does that mean?

ROSTON: You know the roots of conservatism are entirely in racism.

BERG: I know that that’s precisely false in regards to modern, post Sharon Declaration conservatism.

ROSTON: You know you’re wrong.

BERG: Er, I know you’re gaslighting.

ROSTON: It’s true. Full stop.

BERG: “Full stop?” What is this, freshman comp class?

ROSTON: Experts the world over agree.

BERG: Name them.

ROSTON: It’s’ not my job to do your research for you.

BERG: There is noi “research”. Name just one of these “experts”.

ROSTON: It would blow your mind if I did.

BERG: You are right in more ways than one. (Looks over ROSTON’s shoulder). Hey, look, Eric…

ROSTON: Who?

BERG: …sorry, Aaron. Look – a six year old with a red cap that looks like a Trump cap!

ROSTON: (Spins around and looks in vain. But BERG uses the opportunity to make good his escape).

And SCENE

The Show Trial That Never Ends

Ben Sexsmith in Spectator on Taylor Swift’s pummeling into a deluxe, fashion-forward conformity.

While complaining that country singers are expected to “shut up and sing” because Dixie Chicks…:

Swift is shown to have been under at least some pressure to avoid being ‘political’, including from her own father, but the media she appears to be so vulnerable towards was criticizing and deriding her for not being political enough. Her reputation, which is so important to her, was suffering in the late 2010s because her silence on the Trump administration was held to represent ‘white privilege’ if not outright racism.
There was article after article about her ‘blinding white privilege’ and her ‘indifference to the struggles of people of color’. For Quartz, Swift represented ‘a dangerous form of white women’. For The Root she was ‘one of the most dangerous types of White woman’ (my emphasis). A Daily Beast writer said Swift was ‘the living embodiment of white privilege’. 
This was the greatest pressure that Swift’s reputation faced and it is hard not to suspect that her politicization did not have something to do with answering such criticism. There is no point in complaining about celebrities being progressive. You might as well complain about the winter being cold or the tides coming in. But it is preposterous to imply a celebrity’s progressivism takes courage and iconoclasm. It is expected if not demanded of them, and Swift and her friends clinking wine glasses as they toast ‘the Resistance’ is one of the most bourgeois images of our times.

About the same time I read the article, I heard this episode of the NPR “prog media” cheerleading broadcast “On The Media”, talking (approvingly) about the extent to which celebs have to go to prove they’re “woke”, and its political ramifications.

And it reminded me of the sort of exaggerated denouncements that people issued during Stalin’s show trials – when people literally virtue-signaled to save their lives. The Modern Left is a show trial that never ends – but hasn’t killed anyone. Yet.

Miseducation

The University of Minnesota is going to be starting mandatory pronoun training:

Faculty and staff at the University of Minnesota are gearing up to undergo pronoun training in order to make the campus a more welcoming environment for “transgender” and “non-binary” community members.
A university policy first floated in the summer of 2018 and recently finalized dictates that university employees “are expected to use the names, gender identities and pronouns specified to them by university members.” Failing to abide by this policy “could result in discipline,” according to the policy’s FAQ page.
Training for the new policy has begun, The Minnesota Daily reports. The training program involves instructing staff and faculty in the new gender pronoun rules; those staff will then be “tasked with working to educate their colleagues, helping them work through questions and mistakes.”

There are really two responses to this. Technically three, but “unquestioning acquiescence” is off the table. .

I can either:

  • Point out that this sort of thing is at best an unproductive and ultimately damaging diversion to someone’s mental illness, and at worst catering to someone’s attention-seeking
  • Tell U of M staff that my preferred pronouns are “His Highness / The Grand Admiral “

I’m leaning toward “B”. Satire seems to be more useful these days.

Connecticut Department Of Thoughtcrime

Connecticut legislature proposes a new state police unit to investigate terrorism.

But only “far-right” terror, natch: (Emphasis added)

The proposal, which was unveiled Wednesday as part of the state Senate Democrats’ “A Just Connecticut” agenda, would publicly fund a new state police department that specializes in investigating “far-right extremist groups and individuals,” according to a news release.

Senate President Pro Tem Martin Looney said the proposal is aimed at combating “potential” hate crimes but stressed that his caucus has no intention of persecuting people for their political beliefs, the Hartford Courant reported.
“Unfortunately, people who entertain hateful beliefs … are protected as long as [those beliefs] don’t result in hate-crime actions. That’s what we’re talking about,” Mr. Looney told reporters Wednesday. “We want to be more aggressive in enforcing our laws and identifying likely sources of potential domestic terrorism acts against religious institutions and ethnic institutions.”

Big Left has been trying to make “terror” (not to mention “racism, misogyny, white supremacy, Naziism and transphobia”) synonymous with “conservatism” for years – which is almost more insidious than the inevitable statutory persecution that this measure signals.

Connecticut Republicans, such as they are, at least are showing some backbone:

Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano, a Republican, said there is “strong bipartisan support against any type of terrorism” but he took issue with the proposal only mentioning right-wing extremism.
“When they put a right-wing label on extremism, they do that to elicit a political response,” he said, the Hartford Courant reported.

The Democrat messaging strategy in a word: gaslighting.

Normalized

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Article in the new Bench and Bar magazine written by Justice Paul Thissen of the Minnesota Supreme Court, entitled “When Rules Get in the Way of Reason: One Judge’s View of Legislative Interpretation.”

No need to read the article,  the title says it all.  Isn’t this pretty much the definition of judicial activism?
By giving it prominent play in the Bar Association magazine, aren’t they normalizing radical behavior?
Or is radical the new normal, so this view is not controversial, it’s mainstream?
Joe doakes

Pretty simple, really.

Radical is radical on the right. On the left, it’s progress because shut up.

Unserious

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Articles like these are the reason women in the sciences are not taken seriously.  
Carmen and Leonie have PhDs in computer science.   Divya is a student of geology on other planets.  They’re probably brilliant people in their fields but when they write stuff like this, they remind everyone of the shirt incident, which reinforces the reason nobody wants women in the sciences.
There is a silver lining.  I can’t wait for President Trump to issue an Executive Order directing all federal agencies to stop using the Supremacy Clause as Constitutional justification for federal laws over-riding state laws.  Power to the People, baby!
Joe Doakes

From the article:

We take issue with the use of ‘supremacy’ when referring to quantum computers that can out-calculate even the fastest supercomputers (F. Arute et al. Nature 574, 505–510; 2019). We consider it irresponsible to override the historical context of this descriptor, which risks sustaining divisions in race, gender and class. We call for the community to use ‘quantum advantage’ instead.
The community claims that quantum supremacy is a technical term with a specified meaning. However, any technical justification for this descriptor could get swamped as it enters the public arena after the intense media coverage of the past few months.

Read: A tsunami of stupid, driven by an ignorant, incurious media, might cause idiots – invariably idiots on the left – to think “quantum supremacy” is a racist dog whistle.

In our view, ‘supremacy’ has overtones of violence, neocolonialism and racism through its association with ‘white supremacy’. Inherently violent language has crept into other branches of science as well — in human and robotic spaceflight, for example, terms such as ‘conquest’, ‘colonization’ and ‘settlement’ evoke the terra nullius arguments of settler colonialism and must be contextualized against ongoing issues of neocolonialism.

Let’s be honest – it’s not just women who publish this twaddle.  Bowderiing science like this, if it jumps the banks of Moron Creek, will harm everyone, matter their pigment or genitalia.  

Generic Holiday Product

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

There used to be more holidays.  Nowadays, we’re down to a few Sales Events.  I miss holidays.
George Washington had his own birthday holiday. We gave Valentines to classmates, planted a tree in the yard on Arbor Day, and hung construction paper cones on doorknobs on May Basket Day.   
The high school band marched in the Memorial Day parade.  The school bell rang at 11:00 on Armistice Day as we sat silent for one minute. We knew who Squanto was and why he got invited to dinner by Pilgrims, the man carrying a musket while wearing a tall black hat with a shiny buckle on the front; the woman in a bonnet near a big, fat turkey.  We put out our shoes for Saint Nicholas and sang familiar songs in the Christmas concert.
The musket violates the zero tolerance policy for guns. It’s unfair to celebrate one President’s birthday but not the others.  Valentine was a Catholic saint, apartment dwellers have no yards to plant trees; parading on Main Street disrupts traffic and singing about a long-ago silent night converts schools into cathedrals.
We have cut ourselves off from our cultural traditions and wonder why our children have no sense of history, of belonging to a great nation, of pride in our culture.  And I fear what happens to a people who have no sense of history, of belonging to a great nation, no culture.  
Joe Doakes

The only mistake is to assume that this isn’t all according to plan. 

“Transgressive”

Brazilian “comedy” features a gay Jesus:

The Brazilian comedy group Porta dos Fundos (which literally translates to “back door”) appears to have a real hang-up about our Lord and Christianity in general. Last December the group released The Last Hangover on Netflix, a movie that blends Christ’s Last Supper with his disciples and The Hangover into a night of drunken debauchery where Jesus disappears.
This year, in this new Christmas special, Jesus turns 30 and brings his gay boyfriend home to meet Mary and Joseph.

Pretty daring.

Not as daring as a gay Mohammed would be.

Wonder why nobody’s green-lit that?

Oh, yeah. Christians won’t blow you up.

Not to Hollywood; wanna be really “transgressive”? Portray Christ as the focal point of a western civilization that made your life, and the intellectual (and “intellectual”) freedom to make your lives possible.

You’d never do lunch on Rodeo Drive again, of course, but you’d sure be transgressive!