Art Imitates Life Imitates Art Imitates SITD

The world has become too absurd to be satirized
– G.K. Chesterton

When live imitates satire – why write satire?

Pinky swear – when I started writing the various “Berg’s Laws“, something like 17 years ago, they started out as wry quips. Sarcastic bits of bemused satire.

I didn’t expect every last one of them to turn out to be iron-clad descriptions of modern political and human behavior.

It’s made things a little…difficult? It’s no doubt thrown a monkey wrench at satirists like the Babylon Bee, who no doubt didn’t set out on their mission intended to become America’s best actual news source.

The Bee’s edtior, Seth Dillon, comments on not only how often, but how quickly, the arc of the news turned toward exactly what the Bee started by mocking:

As to “Berg’s Law” – the more I think about it, the more I think I’m onto something.

Build It And They Will Come

Almost 35 years ago, reacting to the Democrat bias in the media, Rush Limbaugh brought fearless, joyful paleoconservatism [1]. Spends thirty years dominating the ratings.

Decades ago, reacting to “liberal” slant from the Big Three and CNN, Rupert Murdoch creates Fox News [2]. It dominates cable ratings for decades.

2021: reacting to a landscape of deadly dull, smugly “progressive” late night hosts that all have different names but may as well be reading off the same deadly dull script [3], Fox Launches Gutfeld.

What’ll be happening in decades? Time will tell, but the roll-out has been pretty spectacular. I’ve added emphasis:

Gutfeld!” averaged 1.6 million viewers for the week ending May 14, beating Kimmel on ABC and Fallon on NBC, though it trailed CBS’s “Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” Nielsen data shows.

May 13 was the Fox show’s best night so far, with 1.8 million viewers, placing second only to Colbert’s show, which drew 1.9 million viewers. Gutfeld’s show beat Colbert slightly in the key 25- to 54-year-old demographic.

The free market will provide.

Which is why the Harris Administration is trying to hard to kill it.

[1] “But but but but he was so hateful!” He was no such thing. You’re projecting.

[2] “But but but but but but they’re teh biased!”. In terms of news coverage? Less so than CNN. In terms of opinion programming? Who cares (other than “you, because you’re threatened by dissent and have no productive, adult way to deal with it”, I mean).

[3] The fact that Stephen Colbert has a late night show at all shows that the late-night comedy gene pool is very, very shallow. The fact that Samantha Bee and Jimmy Kimmel have late-night shows tells us that gene poll is inflatable and gets filled with a hose.

From The Archives

Seems like forever ago that Michael Mann published his hockey-stick
graph, Mary Steyn made fun of it in a column for National Review, and
Mann sued for defamation.  The case has lingered for eight years in the
courts, only now entering the ‘discovery’ phase after National Review
was dismissed as a defendant.

Mark Steyn was deposed by Michael Mann’s lawyer.  Steyn uploaded the
transcript here: https://www.steynonline.com/documents/11106.pdf

I suppose reading deposition transcripts isn’t everyone’s cup of tea,
but I found it entertaining.  Your mileage may vary.

Joe Doakes

I can’t imagine those lawyers knew what hit them.

Limbaugh

I got caught up in one of KSTP-AM’s constant rounds of staff reductions on April 4, 1987. I was 24, and very much in love with the idea of finding a career in a medium I’d discovered less than two years before, talk radio. Especially the conservative wing of it – as a newly-minted Reagan voter as of age 21, I had that newbie zeal that tries so, so very hard to make up for lack of experience and information. Speaking of inexperience and naivete, I was pretty new to and green in the world of big-market radio – especially to the process of trying to find a job in the field, without moving to Saint Cloud to play country western radio.

I thought I had a couple of leads, though; a station in Raleigh was interested in me even as I left the station. Others in Orlando, Waukegan, Fall River Massachusetts, Hammond Indiana, Cleveland and Santa Rosa California would come up in the next few months.

But one by miserable, painful one they all dried up, one after the other. A few changed formats. A few changed management.

But most of them, given a choice between paying a 24 year old kid $20-30K a year to work afternoons or evenings, or getting national-level talent for free via satellite, went with the new, cheap, national offering…

…by a fellow named Rush Limbaugh.

Gradually yet blazingly quickly, Limbaugh’s mid-day show ate up hundreds of jobs that might have gone to a kid like me – and prompted hundreds more struggling AM stations to flip formats, ditching country-western or polka or oldies for the new, newly deregulated field of conservative political talk.

And it brought an audience. And sponsors. And, almost against many stations’ wills, ratings and money.

I remember management at a couple of stations fairly visibly holding their noses and solemnly declaring “Limbaugh doesn’t reprsent this station’s entire point of view” out one side of their mouths, while eagerly cashing the bonus checks that his ratings, and those of his format-mates, brought them.

For twenty years, until the 2007 recession cut the guts out of the radio ad market, it was like a license to print money. I remember meeting an old friend from our time at KDWB who’d landed at KSTP. He was figuring out what he was going to spend a five-digit bonus check, over double what I’d ever earned in a year at that station even after adjusting for inflation, on. Even after the meltdown in rates, Limbaugh’s dominance and prosperity, and that of conservative talk, endured – or at least better than any other segment of entertainment radio other than sports and Spanish.

Rush Limbaugh didn’t dominate an industry. He created it – and saved the AM Radio band while he was at it. Matt Continetti points out that he was the right guy in the right place at the right technological, ideological and regulatory time:

It’s one thing to excel in your field. It’s another to create the field in which you excel. Conservative talk radio was local and niche before Limbaugh. He was the first to capitalize on regulatory and technological changes that allowed for national scale. The repeal of the Fairness Doctrine in 1987 freed affiliates to air controversial political opinions without inviting government scrutiny. As music programming migrated to the FM spectrum, AM bandwidth welcomed talk. Listener participation was also critical. “It was not until 1982,” writes Nicole Hemmer in Messengers of the Right, “that AT&T introduced the modern direct-dial toll-free calling system that national call-in shows use.”

Limbaugh made the most of these opportunities. And he contributed stylistic innovations of his own. He treated politics not only as a competition of ideas but also as a contest between liberal elites and the American public. He also added the irreverent and sometimes scandalous humor and cultural commentary of the great DJs. He introduced catchphrases still in circulation: “dittohead,” “Drive-By media,” “feminazi,” “talent on loan from God.”
The template he created has been so successful that the list of his imitators on both the left and right is endless. Even Al Franken wanted in on the act. Dostoyevsky is attributed with the saying that the great Russian writers “all came out of Gogol’s ‘Overcoat.’” Political talk show hosts came out of Limbaugh’s microphone.

And for those who weren’t around back then, he was, and remains, a connection to an era where real, Buckley-style conservatism changed the world – with the hope it could change it again:

[Limbaugh] took from Reagan the sense that America’s future is bright, that America isn’t broken, just its liberal political, media, and cultural elites. “He rejected Washington elitism and connected directly with the American people who adored him,” Limbaugh said after Reagan’s death. “He didn’t need the press. He didn’t need the press to spin what he was or what he said. He had the ability to connect individually with each American who saw him.” The two men never met.

Limbaugh assumed Reagan’s position as leader of the conservative movement. In a letter sent to Limbaugh after the 1992 election, Reagan wrote, “Now that I’ve retired from active politics, I don’t mind that you have become the Number One voice for conservatism in our Country. I know the liberals call you the most dangerous man in America, but don’t worry about it, they used to say the same thing about me. Keep up the good work. America needs to hear ‘the way things ought to be.’”

Limbaugh gave a voice to a half of the country that’d always been expect to shut up and listen.

And for me? He supplied my life a major, inconvenient, and ultimately life-changing detour – and built an industry for me to come home to when the time was right.

All the best, Rush. I’m rooting for you.

Diminshed Expectation

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

I had a day off last week and caught a bit of Rush Limbaugh’s interview with Vice President Pence.

Rush hammered the Vice President from the word go and, I thought, justly so. His tone was respectful but his questioning was direct and gave no ground. It was completely clear Rush thought Republicans got rolled.

Pence did his best to spin the bill as a victory. He said: “Look, the President has made it clear, his number one priority is national defense and national security.”

Yeah? I don’t recall that being the slogan from the campaign. I don’t recall enthusiastic crowd screaming for more military spending. I remember it more like this:

“What are we gonna do?”

“Build the Wall.”

“Who’s gonna pay for it?”

“Mexico!!”

I think Trump ought to tell Congress he’s going to veto the bill and shut down the government unless he gets money to build the wall. It can be any amount, even as little as $1, just so long as he gets to say that he’s keeping his promise. Hell, his salary is $400,000 and he’s agreed to forego it to be a dollar-a-year man; use some of that money to fund the wall. We don’t care where the money comes from, only where it goes to, and that’s got to be funding to build the wall or there’s no deal.

If Congress won’t put $1 into the bill to show its symbolic commitment to enforcing the national borders, then the country isn’t worth saving and we might as well shut the whole thing down now and be done with it.

Joe Doakes

It’s getting harder to disagree.

The Other Winners Last Tuesday

Other than the Trump campaign, and the people (should a conservative spring take hold)?

Us.  The alternative media.

We pounded the mainstream media in this election like a piece of WalMart veal.

After more than a decade of storming online to expose the national media as the serial-lying, double dealing, leftwing anarchists and activists they truly are, we have finally beaten them.

At long last our efforts to use truth to expose the media for what they truly are has resulted in these insulated, lying, cultural supremacists finding themselves so de-legitimized, so marginalized, so distrusted, disliked, and resented, that they could not do it … Summoning all of their mighty and evil powers, firing everything they had, leaving nothing on the field … they could not do it.

And the beauty of it is that the media’s targets were so precise. Everything they had was geared towards a fear-mongering hate campaign specifically designed to convince women, blacks, and Hispanics not to vote for Trump.

Moreover, the campaign was so dishonest that for 18 months we were told over and over again that the Precious Data proved poetic justice was on the way … that Trump would lose these groups by spectacular numbers.

All of those lies, all of that propaganda, and … they failed.

The “elite” media’s efforts in this past election indicates that they read the work of Dr. Albert Mehrabian – dealing with the role of media and “polling” to create a “bandwagon effect”, discouraging ones’ opponents from coming to the polls – just like I did.

I Hate Photomemes

The “photomeme” – the bits of graphic overlaid with a simple, usually simplistic, message – may be, along with Twitter,  the greatest step toward Orwell’s “duckspeak” that Western communications have ever taken.

But that doesn’t mean they’re not occasionally brilliant:

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But it’s rare. Oh, so rare.

Shot In The Dark: Banned By The Man!

Apparently I’m a one-person trigger warning!

A longtime friend of this blog emailed:

Mitch,

I thought you might find this interesting. For the mornings this week, I’m camped out on the second floor of the MacPhail Center for Music, while my kiddo attends a harp class. (I’m hoping she takes an interest in something much less expensive, such as ukulele, for which she has a class in July.)

After a while, kids’ music all sounds the same.

I digress:

Sometimes I’ve used my cell phone service for an Internet connection, sometimes I use the MacPhail Wi-fi. I just tried to go to SITD, and got this message instead: Redirecting you to Barracuda Web Filter.

I was able to get to National Review and Powerline, so it’s not an anti-conservative thing. I didn’t see any “bans guns on these premises” sign when I have entered, but perhaps “shot” is just too … violent, ya know?

[Name Redacted]

I suspect it’s mostly my music reviews.

A Simple Request…

…for everyone in the mainstream media, alternative media, and talk radio – even conservative talk radio:

Unless you work at a Red Wing outlet store and are changing your shelving, could you never, Ever, EVER use the term “Boots on the Ground” again?  It’s gone so far beyond cliché, light leaving “cliché” right now won’t reach us until our great-grandchildren are getting AARP cards.

“Troops in the field” actually works.

Thank you all in advance for seeing to this.

That is all.

What Happens In Nevada Used To Stay In Nevada

 31 years ago last winter, a shootout between US Marshals and neo-Nazi tax protesters brought an avalanche of federal law-enforcement to rural North Dakota. 

Even then, long before the rampant militarization of federal law enforcement, the feds stomped about the place like an occupying army:

The police – and, as I recall, a North Dakota National Guard armored personnel carrier – had surrounded the farmhouse. A dog darted from an outbuilding; a policeman shot the dog dead. The gunshot sparked more gunfire, and before long the farmhouse was completely riddled with bullet holes. Finally, the police moved in…

…to discover the farmhouse empty.

Now, there was a “happy” ending; the manhunt ended with Gordon Kahl and an associate dead, and his family and accomplices serving long jail terms. 

But I’ve wondered over the years – what if that manhunt would have happened at a time when everyone had the ability to publish, and broadcast video, in real time? 

Ditto controversial federal law enforcement actions like Waco? 

I ask because the alternative media played a vital role in last week’s Nevada range war:

In another era, Bundy would likely have been quietly run out of business and – literally – lost the farm. Now, thanks to his own efforts in reaching out and the participation of media watchers around the nation, along with volunteers who showed up to help, he and his family may actually get a fair hearing and a chance to keep what they have worked so long and so hard for. But, as I said above, this one will be developing for some time to come if I’m right.

If nothing else?  Today, if the government wants to do things in the night and fog, it has to stay in the dark and fog to do it. 

Which may be good news, or it may be bad…

Paging Alanis Morrisette

An Obamacare call center will not offer benefits.

From the National Review’s Eliana Johnson at NRO.  She’s the daughter of Powerline’s Scott Johnson, and is rapidly becoming one of the best conservative journalists out there.

——–

CORRECTION:  It’s not the Obamacare federal call center.  It’s a state center. 

It’s still like rain on your wedding day and such, but still.

Applied Power

Mess with the Second Amendment, and your bottom line is gonna bleed red:

A massive boycott sparked by the NRA and other gun-rights groups outraged that the nation’s largest outdoors show banned the exhibition of assault weapons has caused the show’s organizers to abruptly cancel the week-long event in Harrisburg, Pa.

The successful boycott was the biggest demonstration of support by the outdoors industry and outdoorsmen yet against gun control efforts being pushed in Washington and in several states.

It’s also a sign that the Administration’s attempt to drive a wedge between “sportsmen” and defense shooters is failing.

The show is the biggest in the nation and features several outdoors groups, hundreds of exhibitors and the most popular TV hunting show stars. It draws thousands from the Washington-Baltimore area. As the assault rifle ban became known, exhibitors, sponsors and the TV stars withdrew by the dozens.

The NRA is a huge sponsor of the show and pulled out Tuesday after Reed moved to ban assault rifles like Bushmasters and AR-15s at the show. A Bushmaster was used in the Newtown, Conn., shootings, according Connecticut State Police Lt. Paul Vance, and Reed said it was bowing to concerns about the gun in banning it from the show.

Real Americans know that guns are inanimate objects.

The rest of the right could learn a lesson or two from the Second Amendment movement; fire the Beltway consultants and do what’s right, for starters.

Future Shock

One of the reasons the Democrats and media are working so hard to drive a wedge between the “establishment” GOP and the Tea Party is that the Tea Party wins elections and, more importantly, represents the real future of the GOP.

 Haley, a little-known state senator before being elected governor, would never have had a chance at becoming governor against the state’s good ol’ boy network of statewide officeholders. Scott would have been a long shot in his Republican primary against none other than Strom Thurmond’s youngest son. Marco Rubio, now the hyped 2016 presidential favorite, would have stepped aside to see now-Democrat Charlie Crist become the next senator, depriving the party of one of its most talented stars. Ted Cruz, the other Hispanic Republican in the Senate, would have never chanced a seemingly futile bid against Texas’s 67-year-old lieutenant governor, seen as a lock to succeed Kay Bailey Hutchison.

But all those upset victories–all of which at the time seemed shocking–took place because of the conservative grassroots’ strong sentiment for outsiders who campaigned on their principles, and not over their past political or family connections. Even a decade ago, party officials would have been more successful in pushing these outsider candidates aside, persuading them to wait their turn. (In Rubio’s case, it almost worked.) Now, in an era where grassroots politicking is as easy as ever thanks to the proliferation of social media, more control is in the hands of voters. And contrary to the ugly stereotypes of conservative activists being right-wing to the point of racist, it’s been the tea party movement that’s been behind the political success of most prominent minority Republican officeholders.

That, of course, is not the current left and media (ptr) narrative about the Tea Party.  The media, and its rhetorical camp followers in the Leftyblogosphere Stupid Caucus, have been banging the “Teh Tea Partie is teh ignerent racisst” drum for close to four years now.

And in that time, the GOP overtook the Democrats in the number of elected minorities at the state level.

This is potentially good news, in the long term.

If the GOP deserves to keep it going.

Looking at Boehner’s performance this year, I’m seeing an obstacle or two.

A Small Victory

This blog doesn’t really have a mission, per se.  For ten and a half years now, it’s been more or less my stream of consciousness, mostly but by no means all political.

But if I had to pick a mission, it’d most likely be “convince people to verify the media on everything.  I shrink from saying “distrust the media” in as many words, but I’m somewhere close to that.

And it’s just a little gratifying to see the American people are starting to get that message, at least in re this year’s presidential polling:

 A plurality of Americans and more than seven in 10 Republicans say pollsters are intentionally skewing results to benefit President Obama, according to a new poll released Tuesday.

Some 42 percent of voters surveyed by Daily Kos and SEIU believe pollsters were manipulating their sample sizes to benefit the incumbent president, while 40 percent do not. An additional 18 percent said they were not sure. That’s evidence that Republican claims that Democrats and minority voters are being oversampled in national polls could be resonating — and potentially undermining the momentum of the president’s early lead.

I’m not saying there aren’t journalists, and even organizations, that try to do a good, detached (not “objective” – that’s a myth), fair and clear job of reporting the news.

I am saying that at the highest levels in this extremely hierarchical industry, the publishers and editors and executive producers for the major newspapers, broadcasts, cablecasts and public media, the adage “power corrupts” is as true as anywhere else.  There is power in the mainstream media – and for many in the higher ranks of the business, the urge to use that power to make sure American politics redounds to their advantage has got to be irresistible.

And I’m suggesting that this year’s polls, and the ever-more-leftward revealed bent of the media’s “fact check” industry, is evidence that they’re resisting the urge less and less.

And, maybe, people are starting to realize this.

Gross Receipts

It’s been a couple of years since this blog has run a “bleg” – asking for donations to defray some of the (minimal) cost of running the blog, and grab a few bucks for the (not minimal) time spent writing what you read here.

Fact is, I don’t need it that much.  Business is, oddly, pretty good.  Maybe next year.

But I would like you to take a moment to think about popping a few bucks in Gary Gross’ tip jar.

Gary writes Let Freedom Ring, and does some of the top-notchiest reporting there is, anywhere.  He does for Central Minnesota what I wish blogging and talk radio paid well enough for me to do in the Metro; he is the backbone of Central Minnesota’s regional conservative alternative media.

Unlike most of the regular leftybloggers, he does a ton of work; one of very few bloggers in the state more prolific than I am.  Unlike virtually all of the more prolific leftybloggers, he doesn’t have George Soros or Alida Messinger paying his bills.

Now, Gary’s in a rough financial situation.  The details aren’t that important, and I don’t even know many of them to be honest, but we’re not talking malfeasance, here; Gary is no MIchael Lohan or Charlie Sheen.

But he’s having to stretch things pretty far to keep his blog in production.

So if you can possibly spare a few bucks, this’ll be my bleg for the year; drop ’em by Gary’s Paypal donation page.