Life Cycle Of Uselessness

It was over a year ago that we carried the story of the Pillsbury Foundation’s buyback fiasco.   Which doesn’t narrow it down much; while the buybacks last year in Minneapolis were very poorly organized, their effect on crime was the same as any other buyback program.

Nil.

But this buyback was different in one way; unlike other buybacks that just sell guns for scrap (allowing criminals to dispose of crime guns without leaving a paper trail), the guns gathered were doing to be donated to “artists” to do “art” that was supposed to “raise awareness” about “gun violence”.

A friend of the blog writes:

more “gun art” that will never be displayed on anyone’s wall

The Pillsbury folks paid for this apparently

The only thing really on display (at least in the objects pictured) is the paucity of imagination in these “artists”

Look at the things that have created great art over the centuries:  Longing, anger, the search for justice, the search for God, the quest for beauty – lots of motivations.

“Spoiled, subsidized, entitled, Urban Progressive Privilege-sotted pseudo-“artists” barking like dogs on their political masters’ command” isn’t one of them.

Why Johnny Can’t Read

News Flash:  The citizens, taxpayers and parents of Osseo, MN have discovered what the parents of Saint Paul, Edina and some other Twin Cities’ area communities have found out:  focusing to exclusion on “white privilege” as the reason for the achievement gap doesn’t actually change, or even affect, the achievement gap.

Unlike other Twin CIties communities, Osseo’s actually been able to do something about it; they’ve bagged their contract with Pacific Education Group – the company that has turned privilege-shaming into an eight-figure business model – the company:

In 2012, the Osseo Area School District hired Pacific Education Group (PEG) to help with the high suspension rate amongst its non-white students and achievement gap issue the schools faced. Last year, the school board cancelled its contract with the racial equity consultants after abiding by its suggestions for five years and watching the racial achievement gap grow.

Wait – grow, you say?

What is clear for Osseo according to statistics obtained from Minnesota’s Department of Education, math scores for black students in the School District have steadily declined, dropping from 33 percent in 2014 (which was above the statewide level) to 29 percent in 2017. In the same time period, math scores for white students remain largely unchanged at 73 percent. In reading, black students maintained a 36 percent proficiency in the same time period, while the gap with their white counterparts grew from 73 percent in 2014 to 74 percent in 2017.

No huge surprise – it’s pretty much true everywhere.

The surprise?  We’ve actually found a school board that’ll tell the Emperor he’s walking around naked:

“The problem is hard to fix when you have good teachers who are thinking about quitting, but you can’t help them because you’ve been sworn to not reveal their names,” Gerhart told Alpha News. “We have a staff that is currently about 80% white, so in effect we are using taxpayer money to systematically shame 4/5ths of our staff for simply being born.”

Gerhart describes an environment where teachers were afraid to step forward – teachers who were physically and verbally threatened and abused on a daily basis by their students.

The problem, of course, is that like most “progressive” “efforts”, the end results end up being indistinguishable from Stalin’s CHeKA, or the Spanish Inquisition:

“PEG has instilled a culture of fear among a number of teachers,” Gerhart states. “PEG likes to talk about having ‘courageous conversations,’ however in reality they have a number of ‘protocols’ in place that you have to agree and adhere to before taking part in the ‘conversation.’  These protocols frame the context of the discussion before the conversation even takes place, in essence disallowing true discussion much less debate or disagreement. If a person does not agree to these basic protocols, it is regarded as evidence of that person’s inherent racism. And remember, according to PEG, all white people are inherently racist no matter what, so a number of our teachers simply keep their mouths shut for fear of being labeled “racist” and getting fired or bullied out of their jobs.”

The “Conversation” is always defined by them.  Which means it’s never a conversation.

Congratulations, people of Osseo.  Your elected officials have exhibited just the faintest shred of courage.  It almost beggars the imagination.

 

 

A Mile Wide And An Inch Deep

A report from the Cult of Personality front: Millennials love President Trump’s tax cut plan…

when they think it’s Bernie Sanders’ plan:

That’s the bad news.

There’s good news? Well, maybe; it seems that as people grow up and learn more, they do, in fact, get more conservative; at the  moment, both red and blue states are getting redder in terms of voter registrations (although urban areas are still solidly blue)

 

Profiles In Awesome Courage

Citycouncilbots in Ann Arbor, Michigan (motto:  “A Cold Portland”) take a knee during the pledge of allegiance.

Let’s break that down; in the “progressive” epicenter of a “progressive” city hose “progressive” voters empaneled a “progressive” city council to enact “progressive” policies, the “progressive” council got up in the middle of their “progressive” echo chamber in their “progressive”  one-party city and did this month’s favorite high-concept “progressive” virtue-signal to a “progressive” audience, under the flashbulbs of a “progressive” media.

That’s going out on a limb, isn’t it?

Virtue Laundering

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Suppose you’re a politician who accepts campaign donations.  Turns out, one of your donors is a bad egg.  What do you do with that money?

If you keep it, you are guilty by association.  If you give it back, the bad egg will donate it to your opponent to use against you.

“After the Las Vegas shooting on October 1, State Rep. Erin Murphy, a fellow DFL candidate for governor, called on [Rep. Tim] Walz to return the $18,000 in campaign contributions he has received from the NRA over the course of his political career. Walz agreed, and plans to donate the funds to a veterans’ organization.”  Nothing against veterans, but why them?  Why not victims of the Las Vegas shooting?

The Democrat National Committee received $300,000 from accused sex abuser Harvey Weinstein.  It will forward $30,000 of that money to Emily’s List (supports candidates who favor abortion rights), Emerge America (trains Democrat women for office) and HigherHeights (supports Black women running for office).  Basically, Democrats are forwarding the money to their own constituencies. Why them?  Why not a group working with survivors of sexual assault?  And why only tithe 10%, how is that enough to purge their guilt-by-association when others must return all the money?

If the money is so tainted that you are stained the moment you touch it, then forwarding the money to a favored group doesn’t cleanse you of the stain, it makes you a middleman helping spread the stain to others.  Either keep it or give it back, but don’t try to convince me that money-laundering makes you righteous.  That’s just insulting.

Joe Doakes

They’re OK with that.

Animals

I’ve told the story before; one of the most illuminating lessons I’ve ever gotten on human nature was from my 11th grade history teacher, Mr. Dudley Butts – who was perhaps the most “Big Lebowski”-ish football head coach I’ve ever met.

He’d been drafted during the Vietnam War; he was proud to point out that he’d been stationed in Washington DC, and the Viet Cong never attacked the Capitol on his watch; mission accomplished.

And he told us that during basic training, as they were doing any of the things that mimicked killing people – at the rifle range, while doing bayonet drills and hand-to-hand combat practice – the drill sergeants never referred to their targets as humans.  They were always collections of not-quite-human memes; “gooks” and “charlies” and “slopes” and so on.  It took him a while to realize this wasn’t just the mark of a bunch of bigots with sergeant stripes; there was a method to it.  It was much easier to train people who’d spent 18 years of their lives being taught “thou shalt not kill” to kill if you taught them to kill something that wasn’t really human.

Likewise, the theory goes, it’s easier to convince people you’re right if you get them to believe that your opponent isnt’ operating from rationalism or intelligence; in short, to get them to believe they’re not really human.

I’ve personally fought this over the years by trying to get people who disagree together over a beer and a cigar and to see each other as hiuman beings rather than collections of stereotypes.

But the problem is worse than it’s ever been; Big Left actively dehumanizes conservatives, flyoverlanders, and anyone Not LIke Them.

Wanting to kill someone because of his politics is now sort of passé. So is the chilling habit of calibrating empathy for the dead on the basis of their perceived ideology. The now-fired vice president and senior legal counsel at CBS Hayley Geftman-Gold posted her feelings after the Las Vegas massacre: “I’m actually not even sympathetic bc country music fans often are Republican gun toters.”

When Bernie Sanders supporter James Hodgkinson tried to assassinate Republican legislators during a baseball practice game, and almost killed Republican majority whip Steven Scalise, MSNBC host Joy Reid seemed to all but suggest that Scalise had deserved to be killed, given his conservative politics. She tweeted: “Rep. #Scalise was shot by a white man with a violent background, and saved by a black lesbian police officer, and yet . . . ” And then she followed that outburst with a list of Scalise’s conservative agenda items, such as his vote for a GOP House bill on health care, that apparently were meant to minimize the horror of his near-death. Reid’s commentary was not unusual; the Washington Post reported recently on liberal anger that a recovering Scalise was honored by being asked to throw out the first pitch at a Washington baseball game. His opposition to Obamacare and support for the Second Amendment should evidently have disqualified him from receiving sympathy for his near-fatal shooting.

There are times when I think it’s high time this nation called a divorce lawyer.  Those times are getting more and more frequent.

PS:  For those who say “Hey, Republicans do it too!”?      Republicans on the fringe certainly do.  Republicans in the mainstream do not.   Saying they do marks one as unserious.  And while being serious is overrated, being unserious is rated utterly correctly.

 

An Inconvenient Response

The New York Times actually gets something about gun violence right, in an article that almost belongs in a legitimate source of news.

While the MSM – including the NYTimes’ own editorial page – is blubbering about the same old narrative driven gun grab schemes, none of which have ever affected or will ever affect crime, this piece notes that there are ideas that have affected crime rates without gutting the civil liberties of the law-abiding:

In the 1990s, a highly effective gun violence reduction strategy was developed in Boston by a group including law enforcement officers, researchers, and black clergy members. According to the National Institute of Justice, it resulted in a 63 percent reduction in the average monthly number of youth homicide victims in that city, an accomplishment that was called “the Boston Miracle.”

Since then, variations of that strategy have been implemented in cities across the country. For example, according to a study by the Campbell Collaboration, a nonprofit organization that evaluates the effects of this type of intervention, Stockton, Calif., saw a 42 percent reduction in its monthly count of gun homicidesin the first year of the strategy’s implementation; similarly, Oakland, Calif., saw just under a 30 percent reduction. (In 2017, the city is on track to have its second-lowest homicide rate in over 30 years.)

Of course, for much of the “gun safety” movement, it’s not about solving crime; Diane Feinstein and Chuck Schumer care less about the lives of poor black and brown people than David Duke ever did.  It’s about controlling society.

But if you leave that out, it’s an excellent article, and well worth a read.

Hate

There’s a lot of hate on the American left for people who are Not Like Them. I see it and hear it, even among friends and acquaintances who are left of center; many of them think the vast quote on washed and put boards in flyover land are just plain less human than they are. They don’t even bother trying to hide it; Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel marinade in disdain for those they consider their inferiors, and they reflect a point of you here in coffee shops and Whole Foods from coast over to the next coast.

Hayley Geftman-Gold’s only mistake was being overheard by the wrong people, and working in one of few parts of the media industry were giving the impression of toxic bias is still bad form:

“If they wouldn’t do anything when children were murdered I have no hope that Repugs will ever do the right thing. I’m actually not even sympathetic bc country music fans often are Republican gun toters.”

If she’d worked on the programming, or possibly news, sides of the operation, nothing would’ve happened.

Don’t shed a tear for Haley, though. The big left looks out for its own. She’ll have a job, and a darn good one, someplace, soon.

I’m going to bet it’ll be at NPR.

The Last Dinosaur

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Week 4, the NFL is in chaos of its own making.

The traditional way to show respect for the national anthem is to stand, face the flag, place your hand over your heart.  Doing anything else is a protest. Some players sit, some kneel, some give the Black Power salute, some link arms . . . doesn’t matter: if you’re not doing it right, you’re protesting. Television is trying to hide the protests from the viewers by skipping the anthem, cutting in late, but it’s not working.  Viewers notice.  Viewers get upset.  Why are they upset?

There are 168 hours in a week.  Your game is on for three of them.  We don’t tune in to learn your opinions on social policy, we tune to watch the team play football.  Don’t hijack my football game for your lecture; protest on your own time.

The AFL is gone.  The UFL is gone.  There’s no reason the NFL can’t go broke.  All you need to do is drive away enough customers.

Joe Doakes

I’m doing my part.

Dawn Of The Doakes: 1696

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

There are 32 teams in the NFL and each team has a 53-man roster, for a total of 1,696 players in the NFL.

There are 15,588 college seniors who are eligible to be drafted from the NCAA to the NFL.  Add in a few more from other, non-NCAA schools, and we’re talking about 17,000 or a 1-in-10 ratio.  But most players last several years, which means that for every man that makes it into the NFL, many more don’t make the cut.  How many, I don’t know.  20?  30?  50?

What’s the qualitative difference between the guys who make it versus the guys who don’t?  Aside from the Heisman Trophy Winner, I’d bet it’s a razor-thin margin. Which means the NFL could afford to dump a powerful number of existing players to replace them with almost-as-good players, at least for a while.  Ever see the Keanau Reeves movie “Replacements?”  Like that.

Wouldn’t even have to do it.  Just threaten it.  Call in some of those replacements for tryouts.  Let the regulars know their replacements are warming up.  “See that line of guys out the door and down the block?  They all want your job.  How badly do YOU want your job?  If you are more interested in social justice antics than playing football . . . .”

Joe Doakes

 

Procedure

Andrew Klavan finds pretty much the entire left in Jimmy Kimmel.

Read the whole thing – but the conclusion does, well, conclude things pretty well:

Kimmel doesn’t matter. He’s just another half-smart big mouth Hollywood multi-millionaire. But they’re all Kimmel, all the left. They’re all doing the Kimmel Three-Step: 1. Emotion. 2. Hectoring. 3. Violence. Trying to get you to give them and their government your money and your freedom.

In short, and in order, Kimmel follows Big Left’s template:

  1. Lead with emotion
  2. If that doesn’t shut up the opposition, follow with name-calling
  3. If that doesn’t work, move to the violence.

It’s been the case with just about every lefty pundit I’ve ever dealt with.

For Once, Allahpundit Is The Pollyanna

Some critics say Hillary’s new blame-all autobio includes a “bizarre misreading” of George Orwell’s 1984.  Among them is Allahpundit, from Hot Air.

There are establishmentarians, there are big-government establishmentarians, and then there are people who read Orwell and see a parable about insufficient trust in authority:

Here’s the passage

I say they’re being pollyannaish.

Hillary’s a lot of things – I’ll skip the hour-long session of listing them all – but she’s not stupid, and she’s not illiterate.

We’ve noticed this with not a few figures on the left; they’re pretty much sure they can get away with saying anything; God knows the media will never call them on it. I’ve focused on it in particular as re Second Amendment policy – this blog has  a  large, well-populated tag documenting the Minnesota victim disarmament movement’s serial fabulism – but we’re really just scratching the surface.

My thesis:  Hillary thinks knows she can say anything she wants; the media will never check her; her supporters can’t stop jabbering about their credentials, intelligence and level of information (they watch Rachel Maddow, dammit!) to bother reading the damn book in the first place.

Creative Clash

Distort the economy of a sector, an industry or a city to benefit an industry, a policy or a class of people, and you’re going to cause unintended consequences – almost all of them bad, at least for someone.

Fifteen years ago, the NPR-listening, Whole Foods-Shopping, Volvo-driving set nodded and snapped their fingers to the beat of Richard Florida, who wrapped up a bunch of toxic economic interventions in a bunch  of artisanal wrapping paper and slapped a name on it – appealing to the “Creative Class” – that was marketing genius, making the children of America’s upper-middle-class feel like their apps, their hedge funds and their vegan restaurants were part of something Big and Important.

Cities – or rather, city planning wonks (who love to see themselves in that Creative Class – fell all over themselves to engineer cities to draw this class, on the promise that they’d spur economic growth.

The results?   Well, I predicted this – and now, Richard Florida himself is acknowledging it:

The rise of the creative class in such cities as New York, Washington, and San Francisco did produce economic growth—but mostly just for those who were already wealthy. The poor, and especially the working class poor, were right out of luck. They were priced out of the city and driven out to the suburbs, where they created the kind of urban problems known only to the cities. The modern city is the greatest economic engine the world has ever known, but these days it seems to run only for the aid of those who need its benefits least. When the rich, the young, and the bohemian revitalized Austin, Boston, and Seattle, they induced a cycle of soaring prices and class replacement. The creative class brought an income inequality that hadn’t been predicted. Florida could call them a new class all he wanted. They proved to be merely the children of the old white-collar meritocracy, grown doubly rich from the rising tide of urban renewal.

So, in The New Urban Crisis, Richard Florida takes a long second look at the nation’s cities. He doesn’t admit that he had been wrong in 2002 with The Rise of the Creative Class, mostly because he doesn’t think he was wrong. The city progressed just the way he described. But what he has called the “externalities” have mounted to such an extent that they now outweigh the gains he saw 15 years ago. The creative class triumphed, and his prize cities have turned into wealth preserves—the old gated communities of the suburbs, transplanted to the urban core.

The whole thing is worth a read.

Tribes

The Big Media complains that America is just too tribalistic.

And I have to ask myself – why, oh why?  Why does half of America seem to hate the other half with a fury beyond Dodgers vs. Yankees?

Stephen Colbert’s contribution to civil, de-tribalized discussion in this country. Yes, he’s “Sieg-Heil”-ing Trump.

Why on earth would half of America distrust the other half?

Blackshirts of “Anti”-Fa in masks attacking unarmed Republican demonstrators.

Why would half of America think the other half is not only imposing itself on the rest of the country, but doing it on behalf of ideas that have failed miserably?

The book that asked “why don’t Red states vote for their ‘best interests'” – like the people of Baltimore, Newark, Trenton, Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, New Orleans, Stockton, Saint Louis, Camden and Minneapolis did.  Notice the cover, by the way; like any good delusional, the author thinks the donkey is carrying the elephant.  

Why, oh why?

 

Bring The Backlash

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Engineering school is not exempt from Social Justice Warriors.

Purdue is shifting from teaching engineers how to build a bridge, to teaching them how to feel about bridges.

I’m sure that will be enormously helpful when the next I-35 disaster occurs.

Joe Doakes

My new theory – and it’s so new, I haven’t even thought it out:  Trump’s presidency is entirely designed to squeeze all of Big Left’s lunacy out into public view, so the public will be so disgusted, the left will be shamed out of power forever.

But a guy can dream.

Loyalty

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The next step in the culture war:  fire employees for their political views.

I’m all for it.  Start by repealing tenure, fire all the pointy-headed leftists in academia, save millions of young minds from their poison.

Next, career bureaucrats in the IRS and State Department who claim they’re “The Resistance” – out you go, to make room for true patriots.

Yes, this is a wonderful advance in employment law.  Glad the Liberals adopted it, makes cleaning house much easier.

Joe Doakes

Given the concern some “progs” are showing, suddenly, for federalism and limiting government power, you never know.  Anything’s possible.

Turnabout

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Logical argument does not persuade people. We know this from conversations with Liberals in everyday life. They are motivated by rhetorical and emotional appeals.

That’s why this new campaign is so effective.  Somebody borrowed the anti-fascists slogan to use on posters.  The posters have an emotional impact that turns people against the slogan.  “Punch a Nazi” becomes synonymous with domestic abuse.  It makes clear that all people who employ violence are evil-doers.

 

Genius

Joe Doakes

Interesting – just as I opened Joe’s email, I was thinking “perhaps ridicule is the answer to “Anti”-Fa.

But Joe’s right.  It is an ingenious campaign.  Or will be provided that Big Left doesn’t excuse domestic violence “for all the right reasons’ too…

Are You Now Or Have You Ever Been…

SCENE:  Mitch BERG is looking through the stacks at Midway Used Books.  G. Wellington BENBRIDGE-GELLER – better known to his social circle and fellow ‘Anti-Fascist Action Macalester” colleagues as “Wookie” – comes around the corner.  BENBRIDGE-GELLER, age 25, a graduate of Carlton College (BA Anthropology and Women’s Studies), is dressed in black from head to toe, including a black hoodie splotched with home-painted slogans, over a “Che Guevara” t-shirt – the only color in his mien.  He carries a gas mask and a bottle of bear spray in an NPR tote bag.  

BENBRIDGE-GELLER:  Hey, Merg!

BERG:  Uh, hey, “Wookie”.  What’s up?

BENBRIDGE-GELLER:  Fascist symbols are, themselves, a threat of violence to their targets, and thus justify violence in response.

BERG:  Meaning what?

BENBRIDGE-GELLER: It’s time to Punch a Nazi.

BERG:  Huh.  And you can tell Nazis by…

BENBRIDGE-GELLER:  Swastikas.  Brown shirts.  Make America Great Again caps.  GOP elephants.

BERG:  So, pretty much anyone who disagrees with you is a Nazi, so you feel you have leave to punch pretty much anyone.

BENBRIDGE-GELLER:  Yep.

BERG:  That means if anyone sees you, as you are an immediate threat to them, they can respond violently to you, then, as you are an immediate threat to them?

BENBRIDGE-GELLER:  Nope.  (Stops for a moment).  Hey – aren’t you a conservative talk show host?

(BENBRIDGE-GELLER winds up to kick BERG, but BERG reacts first, emptying a container of CS spray into his BENBRIDGE-GELLER’s face.  The younger guy falls to the floor, screaming, as BERG squirts the last remnants of the bottle at BENBRIDGE-GELLER’s head.  He tosses the empty bottle container, hitting the younger man in the face, and then grabs the reading stool and brings it down on BENBRIDGE-GELLER’s solar plexus before turning to walk out of the store.  A couple of patrons look at him, shocked)

BERG:  What?  You’re expecting a mildly sarcastic comic send-off to the bit?

(Bystanders go back to shopping as BERG pays for a couple copies of King and Country, and leaves store). 

And SCENE.

So Much Work To Be Done

So many statues out there – ergo, so much triggering.

As Big Left prowls the country looking for history that “triggers” them and must be destroyed [1], it’s probably worth pitching in and helping findi more history that needs to be expunged.

Exhuming McCarthy:  much has been made of the statue of Lenin in, where else, Seattle:

... Lenin Statue - "Sunday Strip" - Seattle, WA Visit - Mueckenfett

Leftover “art” from some misbegotten WPA project from hell?

No – a labor of “love” in the full Orwellian sense of the term;  from Wikipedia:

Lewis E. Carpenter, an English teacher in Poprad originally from Issaquah, Washington, found the monumental statue lying in a scrapyard ready to be sold for the price of the bronze; Carpenter had met and befriended Venkov while in Czechoslovakia. In close collaboration with a local journalist and good friend, Tomáš Fülöpp, Carpenter approached the city officials with a claim that despite its current unpopularity, the sculpture was still a work of art worth preserving, and he offered to buy it for $13,000.[1] After many bureaucratic hurdles, he finally signed a contract with the mayor on March 16, 1993.[4]

With the help of Venkov, the statue was cut into three pieces and shipped to the United States at a total cost of $40,000.[1] Carpenter financed much of that via mortgaging his home

The architect of a kleptocratic thugocracy that murdered tens of millions of people over seventy years?  I’m #triggered!  Break out the tow cables and the blowtorches!

But we’re not done expunging Communism’s murderous legacy.   The Minnesota State Capitol is crowded with paintings and sculptures of people who were figures in the “Farmer Labor” Party, and the early years of the merger between them and the Democrats to form the “DFL”.

The Farmer-Labor, as well as the DFL it joined, was expressly pro-communist.  The new party inherited the FLP’s support for the USSR and Josef Stalin.   The infant DFL, in other words, supported the party of the Holodomor, of the Gulag, of the Purge.

It’s time to rid our state of this noxious legacy of genocide.  I suggest a painting-burning and smashing.

Politically Incorrect:   Next, it’s time to address statues and other public art that pays omage to a  Christianist preacher who was a very powerful spokesperson against gay marriage – one whose influence among opponents to gay marriage today is too huge to calculate; one who, were he alive today, would be railing against same sex marriage with a fluency and authenticity today’s speakers can only dream about.

That anti-gay bigot?

What did MLK think about gay people?

Martin Luther King!

His failure to support gay marriage – presaging the mass dissent from most black Christian ministers, even today-

MLK memorial dedicated on the National Mall – Summit County Citizens ...

Can this be allowed?

Continue reading

The Privilege Of Barbering About Privilege

I said it during the 2016 campaign. I’m gonna say it again.

The reason everyone had to start talking about “white privilege” was to pre-empt discussion of “class privilege” – of the sort that is Big Left’s real power base.  If the body politics – especially the part that votes Democrat – were too busy barbering about “white privilege”, the notion that a hot tar roofer from Little Rock with an Arklahoma accent has some innate leg up over Oprah Winfrey because white – they wouldn’t have time to fuss about the class divide that separates Kenwood from North Minneapolis, Carlton from North Hennepin Community College,

Every time I’m ready to completely give up on David Brooks – and it happens frequently enough – he writes a column like this, about  how class privilege (especially in our “progressive” zip codes) perpetuates itself.

Recently I took a friend with only a high school degree to lunch. Insensitively, I led her into a gourmet sandwich shop. Suddenly I saw her face freeze up as she was confronted with sandwiches named “Padrino” and “Pomodoro” and ingredients like soppressata, capicollo and a striata baguette. I quickly asked her if she wanted to go somewhere else and she anxiously nodded yes and we ate Mexican.

Brooks’ point is a good one – language is  a primary way to include or exclude people.  And it’s not just vocabulary; a southern accent is sure to draw discrimination here in Minnesota, while a mid-Atlantic, Boston or Brooklyn accent will engender zoo-like curiosity.

And Brooks’ point is that these dividers – both social, and their more concrete legal varieties, like zoning codes, transit strategies and the like, cost our economy dearly; Brooks quotes one estimate at 50%, which strikes me as high, but you don’t have to look at Minneapolis long to see that there’s a problem.

But it goes way beyond simple inclusion and economics:

American upper-middle-class culture (where the opportunities are) is now laced with cultural signifiers that are completely illegible unless you happen to have grown up in this class. They play on the normal human fear of humiliation and exclusion. Their chief message is, “You are not welcome here.”…

To feel at home in opportunity-rich areas, you’ve got to understand the right barre techniques, sport the right baby carrier, have the right podcast, food truck, tea, wine and Pilates tastes, not to mention possess the right attitudes about David Foster Wallace, child-rearing, gender norms and intersectionality.

The educated class has built an ever more intricate net to cradle us in and ease everyone else out. It’s not really the prices that ensure 80 percent of your co-shoppers at Whole Foods are, comfortingly, also college grads; it’s the cultural codes.

And the first rule of Urban Progressive Privilege club is, you never talk about Urban Progressive Privilege club.  You deflect to White, Male Privilege (where the Urban Progressive white male has already declared nolo contendere), and deflect like mad.

As is maddeningly common with Brooks, you should read the whole thing.

Open Letter To Kathy Griffin

To:  Kathy Griffin, Comedian-Turned-Not-Very-Intelligent Political Satirist
From:  Mitch Berg, Peasant
Re:  I Don’t Think That Word Means What You Think It Means

Ms. Griffin,

I say this as someone who actually used to enjoy your standup routine, until you decided you had to be Culturally Important.  Please take it in the spirit intended.

You are not being “bullied”.   The people you (and people like you, including your former employers and most of your fellow A-through-D-list “entertainment” figures) have been bullying punched you back.

Like most bullies (cultural or physical), you don’t like it.

Waaah, waaah, waaah.  There.  That’s my sympathy for you, like all bullies.

That is all.

(P.S. to those of you who call yourselves “the Resistance” to Trump:   While you are a demographic minority, you have vast, disproportionate control over this culture’s news, entertainment, culture, style, and national conversation.  You were the occupiers; the Trump voters were “the resistance”).