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.

Let Them Eat GrubHub

Andy Slavitt – a stockbroker and political contributor who became a FEMA official under Obama, and a Covid “advisor” to President Harris – says we just don’t know when we’ve got it good.

Is there anything you can say about this Administraiton – no, modern Big Left – that you couldn’t say just as well about an abusive parent or spouse?

No, seriously?

Czechmate

The rail station at Chelyabinsk in the Ural Mountains was busy on May 14th, 1918.  With the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk recently signed, hundreds of thousands of Central Powers POWs were being transferred back to their home countries.  Amid the thousands of Hungarian troops awaiting their westbound trains at Chelyabinsk were a different assortment of soldiers, trying to travel the opposite direction – the men of the Allied-aligned Czechoslovak Legion.

The 40,000 men of the Czechoslovak Legion had been fighting for the Russians just months earlier and with the fall of the Tsar and then the Provisional Government, were now looking for a way to get to France to continue their fight for independence from the Dual Monarchy.  But with every major Russian port in the West blocked by the Central Powers, the Legion had little choice but to make the arduous journey eastbound to the Siberian port of Vladivostok where they could board Allied ships for yet another lengthy trip to Europe.  Having 40,000 armed men trek across their nation was hardly welcome news to the Bolsheviks, who barely controlled the former Russian Empire in the first place.  Both highly suspicious of the Czech’s motivations but also eager to get them out of the country, Leon Trotsky and Joseph Stalin had concocted an arrangement to provide transportation for the Legion to Vladivostok, provided the Legion mostly disarm.  The Legionnaires didn’t trust the Bolsheviks, but the Russian chapter of the larger Czechoslovak National Council – the political arm of Czech and Slovak independence – saw few other options.  The Legion could be disarmed and shipped home or imprisoned.  And given that the Austro-Hungarian authorities often executed the Legionnaires as spies or rebels, imprisonment in Russia could lead to be turned over to Vienna and almost certain death.

The mood was tense at Chelyabinsk as the Hungarians and Legionnaires kept their distance, trading barbs and threats.  One of the Hungarians threw an object at one of the Legionnaires, striking him.  In an instant, the two sides were attacking one another in open warfare.  The Legion quickly defeated the Hungarians and took over the rail station.  And when the Bolsheviks intervened, arresting several members of the Legion and threatening execution to any who refused to disarm, the rest of the Legionnaires stormed the jail and key points in the city, freeing their comrades.  Chelyabinsk was now effectively in Czech hands.  The Legion was going to war in Russia.

The Czechoslovak Legion train – they would travel nearly 6,000 miles just to get onto a boat and start the next leg of their journey


The Legionnaires represented a country that didn’t even exist and had struggled to gain political and military support for nearly four years of war.

The concept of encouraging ethnic minorities to undermine the various powers at war had been adopted by almost every combatant from even the earliest days of the conflict.  The Dual Monarchy had supported Polish guerilla units even before the Great War, the Germans had backed Afrikaners on numerous occasions, the Turks would back the Senussi, the British armed the Arabs and both sides attempted to woo or threaten the many ethnicities of the Caucasus and Persia.  Sowing discontent among the Czechs and Slovaks of Vienna’s polyglot empire would appear par for the course as soon as it was clear that the dream of a world war over by Christmas was not to be. Continue reading

Rhetorical Exercise

If your question is “in what way does the cause, as well as all of the current political classes analysis and pro hose solutions, about the problem in Minneapolis involved the transfer of money from the taxpayers to one part of the political class or another?“

The answer, as always, is all of them.

Begging For A Catastophe

I can see why the likes of Tide Pod Evita and Ilhan Omar prate and gabble on about minimum wage increase. It’ll never cost any of them anything.

But when I hear Gen-Y and younger people yapping about it, I am almost tempted to ask – have any of you actually thought about this…

…and then I remember.- nobody’s taught critical thought in decades. It’s why the Democrats bounced back after the nineties.

Anyway – it turns out the actual economy obeys that most basic Econ101 principle – you can not make someone pay more or less for something than they would naturally pay for it without having consequences.

Because it’s true:

From an article that one long pullquote after another:

Some new research — “Evidence of The Unintended Labor Scheduling Implications of The Minimum Wages” — shows that every $1 an hour increase in government-mandated minimum wages (“political wage-setting”) leads to the following (mostly) adverse outcomes:

And those outcomes includew:

  • a 27% increase in the total number of workers scheduled to work each week
  • a 20.8% decrease in the average number of hours each employee worked per week
  • a 13.6% decrease in the total wage compensation of an average minimum wage worker
  • a 23% decrease in the percentage of employees working more than 20 hours per week (making them eligible for retirement benefits)
  • a 14.9% decrease in the percentage of employees working more than 30 hours per week (making them eligible for health care benefits)
  • a 33% increase in fluctuations in the number of hours worked per week
  • a 9.5% increase in fluctuations in the number of hours worked per day
  • a 9.8% increase in fluctuations of shift start times and
  • average net losses of at least $1,590 per year per employee, equivalent to 11.6% of workers’ total compensation (assuming that workers were able to use their reduced hours to work a second job — an assumption which may not hold true for many employees).

It might be tempting to say “people who advocate for higher minimum wages are trying to make the poor poorer and more dependent”.

And I”m mat a loss for why they’d be wrong.

Unlike “Resiliency Director” Katie Knuth…

…Minneapolis’s PR firm is going be earning its pay over this next one-to-fifty years.

“Protesters” took to blocking off streets in the Uptown area over the weekend – leading to an incident where someone drove into the crowd, killing one woman.

Which led a crowd to block off Lake Street yet again. And it wasn’t an especially “peaceful” bunch of protesters.

One local news crew actually videotaping a woman wandering around, gun in hand, shooting at God only knows what or two:

I’ll try to post the video when and if it becomes publicly available.

By the way – ain’t Uptown looking grand these days?

Two Rules, One Narrative

If government tells you something, distrust but verify. And then, usually, distrust some more.

If the media tells you something – at least, anything about an event that is especially socially fractious – distrust, and verify even harder. And, as always, usually wind up distrusting even more.

If any of Big Left’s social hangers on declares some thing with immense servitude? Distrust, verify, and, well, you know the drill.

Last week was the fifth anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting.

“Perish the thought, it couldn’t possibly have been a deranged man tied to and eliminationist sect of Islamism“, Big Media media assured us. “It was an anti-LGBTQ hate crime, nothing more, nothing less“.

Which is how the media and Biden administration have been treating it, over this past weekend

Distrust. Verify.

Continue distrusting.

The Free Lord

As the German Spring Offensive raged on the ground, so to did the action in the air on April 21st, 1918.  Above the Somme, as German forces drove relentlessly into the British line, a handful of German and British aircraft dueled for air superiority.  A young Canadian pilot, Lieutenant Wilfrid “Wop” May, had fired a few bursts from his machine gun at one of the Germans.  The German evaded his shots and May quickly noticed a distinctive red, Fokker Dr.I triplane begin to chase him.  This was May’s only second day in combat and he immediately knew he was being pursued by arguably the most famous pilot in the world, Manfred von Richthofen – the “Red Baron.”

May fled as quickly as he could back into British territory, knowing full well he stood little chance against the German ace credited with 80 aerial victories.  Richthofen normally would have broken off the pursuit – he had always told his fellow pilots not to overzealously follow a single target – but May had fired upon Richthofen’s cousin and the “Red Baron” appeared out for blood.  May’s friend, Captain Arthur “Roy” Brown, saw his fellow Canadian airman was in trouble, and despite the long odds against winning, engaged the German.  In the cluster of gunfire from planes, and anti-aircraft rounds from the ground, Richthofen was struck – a bullet tearing open his chest.  But his aircraft seemingly managed a rocky landing behind the British line before finally crashing against trees.  Nearby Australian troops rushed to see what they could find.  Richthofen had smashed himself against the butt of his machine gun and flight controls.  He had likely died before even fully landing his plane.  

The man that Erich Ludendorff had said “was worth as much to us as three divisions” and had terrified Allied airmen was no more.  

Manfred von Richthofen – the Red Baron.  With 80 confirmed victories, Richthofen was the winningest pilot of the Great War.  The next highest was French pilot Rene Fonck with 75.  20 confirmed victories were required to be viewed as an “ace”


One of the more notable quotes in film history comes from director John Ford’s classic film The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, where a small town newspaper editor, pressed with new information that changes a decades-old story that launched various careers, states “when the legend becomes fact, print the legend.”  For Manfred von Richthofen, whose career resides between the hagiographic coverage the German press lavished upon him and a heavily edited autobiography that still managed to hint at layers of personal torment, it’s difficult if not impossible to sort fact from legend.  In roughly two-and-a-half years, Richthofen rose from obscurity to one of the most famous men in the world.  By the time of his death at only 25 years of age, Richthofen was the highest scoring ace of the Great War, had collected 25 medals from four different countries, and was a best-selling author.  He was also a shell of a man who started the war; far more morose and erratic and suffering from a serious head injury. Continue reading

Behold, Minneapolis 2023

After a solid year of “protests” – they might be more accurately called “a ‘ultra-progressive’ coup on the streets” – Portland’s coalition of Big Left constituents is starting to fracture.

[The “anarchists”] have shown themselves at times to be violent — one was charged with attempted murder after a Molotov cocktail was thrown at the police — destructive of property and highly adaptable, using social media tools and other strategies to divert the police from the targets they select.

Direct actions are promoted on social media with the phrase “No gods, no masters,” a 19th-century anarchist term that indicates a rejection of all forms of authority. More traditional protesters from Black Lives Matter and other movements who try to curtail violence are now ridiculed as “peace police” by the anarchists, who mostly consist of young, white men.

Demetria Hester, a member of Moms United for Black Lives, continues to push for defunding the police but disagrees with the current call for dismantling the entire political system. “Breaking windows is performative,” she said. “That satisfies them at night, but they don’t have a plan.”

Some prominent Black leaders have been formally distancing themselves, with some calling the anarchists’ rejection of gradual progress just another symbol of privilege that Black people do not have.

“Being able to protest every night is a white privilege, being able to yell at a police’s face is a white privilege,” said Gregory McKelvey, a prominent Black organizer who ran the mayoral campaign last year for Mr. Wheeler’s opponent, Sarah Iannarone. “Most Black people across the country do everything they can to avoid cops.”

Of course, the McKelvey’s statement shows his own class bias; wanting to “burn it all down” and “revolution”, like all such revolutions, are the affectation, not of those who have nothing to lose, but of those who believe they have nothing to fear about everyone else losing everything.

Desperately Seeking

Twin Cities media – in this case, the “Minnesota Reformer”, aka “MN Monitor 4.0” – is apparently still hoping for the FBI to charge “Umbrella Man” with destroying or damaging 700 buildings last year.

I’m sorry. That was snarky.

I’ll try again.

They are apparently still awaiting formal confirmation that Umbrella Man led a horde of “white supremacists” who managed to damage 700 buildings, while leaving not so much as a single swastika or “14 Words” refernce – being simultaneously a bunch of brain-damaged losers and operatives with Mossad-level fieldcraft skills. .

Updates as the situation warrants.

VC Day

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Looking back with a year of experience, it’s clear the COVID crisis in Minnesota is over, if it ever began.

70,000 Minnesotans did not die. There was no surge of cases. Hospitals were not overwhelmed, nor funeral homes: the refrigerated warehouse sits empty.  Holiday revelers did not die in droves, nor Spring Breakers, nor school children.  Active cases are in the 300 range, hospitalizations less than 100, out of a population of 5,000,000.  Covid is still a threat to the frail elderly in nursing homes, but poses no general public health emergency.

Why hasn’t Governor Walz ended the Peacetime Emergency and returned power to the people, as he promised he would?

Joe Doakes

Because it was never about public health.

I Think I Figured It Out

An allegory in three acts:

Act 1

SCENE: An elementary school classroom.BULLY is sitting at the desk next to KID. A half dozen pencils lie strewn about the floor around KID’s desk.

BULLY: Throws a pencil at KID. KID looks annoyed, but shakes it off.

BULLY: (Sotto Voce) Hey, kid! (KID looks over as BULLY whips another pencil at him. KID, more annoyed, shakes it off)

BULLY: (Sotto Voce again). Hey, kid!

KID: Tries to ignore BULLY.

BULLY: (Flings pencil, hard . The pencil catches KID in the corner of the eye, and it hurts.

KID: (Jumps up). What’s your problem?

BULLY: Ms. Walburn! Ms. Walburn! The Kid is trying to pick a fight with me!

MS. WALBURN: Kid, you have detention tonight!

BULLY: Ms. Walburn, have I not been warning you about Kid’s propensity to bullying for days, now ?

KID: What the…?

And SCENE

Act Two

SCENE: In the kitchen of a single-wide trailer. WIFE Is sitting on the floor sobbing. HUSBAND is looking around, apparently making sure nobody saw what just happened.

HUSBAND: Look, you provoked me.

WIFE: (Sobs)

HUSBAND: I mean, OK, hitting was wrong, but you have to admit, the way you badger me about things is emotional abuse. And you know what they way – emotional abuse is worse than physical abuse.

WIFE: (Sobs)

HUSBAND: And you were badgering me. I mean, criminy, we both have big problems, here.

WIFE (Sobs)

HUSBAND: I mean, since emotional abuse is worse, and you do a lot of it, we’re really still not even even-up, here…

WIFE: (Sobs)

HUSBAND: I mean, you’re lucky I’m willing to call it even. It’s a gift.

WIFE (Sobs)

Act Three

SCENE: The United States, today.

BIG LEFT: “Whiteness” is a mental disorder that goes along with merely being white. Whiteness and systemic racism are inseparable.

NORMALS: That’s bulls#it.

BIG LEFT: That’s your privilege, racism, misogyny, transphobia and ethnocentrism talking.

NORMALS: That’s just word salad at best. “Inclusion language” – an arcane code designed to show you’re one of the “good ones” – at worst.

BIG LEFT: What if your employer were to find out about your retrograde thinking? They might not appreciated it.

NORMALS: So you’re going to try to cancel me, now?

BIG LEFT: Pffft. There is no such thing as “cancel culture”.

NORMALS: Sure there is. If we’re mainstream conservatives, and haven’t gone as undercover as a Mossad operative in Tehran, we can’t get jobs in Academia, public education, much of private education, Hollywood, many public employee unions, the news media, a whooole lot of BIg Tech, an increasing number of smaller companies. And if we break cover – or any “evidence” of mainstream conservatism is found, we can get hounded out of our jobs, our hobbies, our volunteer work, deplatformed, and have our personal lives upended as well.

BIG LEFT: Republicans do it too!

NORMALS: So let me get this straight – it doesn’t exist, but Republicans do it too?

BIG LEFT: Evangelical groups picketed LGBTQ bookstores! Gays were oppressed!

NORMALS: OK, so that’s a “yes”. And let’s be clear on this – you go back almost forty years, to very localized episodes, to find behavior that pretty much every significant conservative repudiates today. As opposed to people being barred or drummed out of whole swathes of academia, business and culture. No cancel culture? Please.

BIG LEFT: Nope. There is only “accountability culture”.

NORMALS: “Accountability” for what? Having, much less voicing, utterly mainstream Republican views?

BIG LEFT: For the results of your Privilege and Whiteness!

NORMALS: Privilege – an Orwellian deflection of classist and cultural privilege shared by the left’s “elites” over to race? “Whiteness” – a bit of made-up pseudo-social-science designed entirely to denigrate and invalidate people without needing to engage in any facts?

BIG LEFT: Sounds like “white fragility” talking…

NORMALS: More word salad, with a siding of making facts up as you go along.

BIG LEFT: Here’s the only “fact” you need: January 6! The worst act of terrorism in American history!

NORMALS: Leaving aside the fact that it’s far from the only partisan violence at the seat of American democracy, January 6 was something that every significant conservative repudiated. But you keep on trying to apply it to everyone you disagree with, as if it gives The Left a permanent intellectual get out of jail free card.

BIG LEFT: Bet you wouldn’t be talking so big if you had a bunch of protesters in front of your house, would you? It’d be a shame if something…broke.

NORMALS: Go ahead. Make my day.

BIG LEFT: It’s a threat! It’s a threat! Behold the wave of white supremacist terror we’ve been warning you about for the past fifteen years!

And SCENE.

Other Than That, Mrs. Lincoln…

SCENE: Cat SCAT, the designated “fact checker” at the (possibly fictional) progressive blog “”MinnesotaLiberalAlliance.Blogspot.com“ and office manager at a small phrenology practice, approaches Mitch BERG at the afterparty for an AM1280 event. BERG doesn’t notice until it’s too late.

SCAT: Merg. Nobody is coming for your guns.

BERG: Oh, hey, Cat…

SCAT: It’s just a fantasy spread by Hate Radio to help puff up gun sales.

BERG: We talked about this the other day. You seem to believe that until the SWAT team is busting down doors…

SCAT: Your door.

BERG: Right, then I’ve got nothing to complain about.

SCAT: It’s just a scam to keep stupid angry fat white men in a state of paranoia that benefits the gun industry.

BERG: So there’s no gun control?

SCAT”. None.

BERG”. Other than ammo bans and requiring licensing to buy ammunition, or demands to carry liability insurance, while regulating the liability carriers out of the industry, or confiscatory taxes on guns, legal “felony traps” designed to turn unsuspecting people into a felon (such as the so called universal background checks that turn you into a felon by simply handing someone a gun and then having them hand it back), or requiring guns have non-existent or non-functional technology such as microstamping or smart gun technology, or elimination of preemption laws making it easier for gun owners to unknowingly break some locale’s gun laws and giving local politicians the sort fo control over civil rights that’d be unthinkable in any other area, or allowing litigation against gun manufacturers over illegal use of their products, or eliminating the sale of gun parts without background checks (even though you’ll look long and hard for an example of a criminal building their firearm), or banning classes of guns whose definitions are more fluid than a millennial humanities major’s gender identity, or shutting down gun ranges due to “noise pollution” or “lead contamination”, or creating lists of “allowable” guns, and then making it prohibitively expensive for manufacturers to get guns on the list, or mandating parts on guns that nobody actually wants, and making sure that over time, the list shrinks to nothing, while having the BATFE constantly reverse themselves on what is legal and what is not (bankrupting companies that manufactured items the ATF previously said were legal but now say aren’t), and loading up statute books with laws that make self-defense onerous and legally fraught, and crowding the bench with judges who don’t think there’s a right to self-defense, much less to keep and bear arms?

Yeah you got a point. Other than that, I got nothing.

(But SCAT has already wandered off after a shiny object).

And SCENE

You Could See It Coming. . .

. . . right up 38th Street:

For the second time in less than a week, Minneapolis city crews worked to reopen the area around 38th Street and Chicago Avenue to traffic and activists have returned makeshift barriers to the area.

Minneapolis city crews, at around 4:50 a.m. Tuesday, were removing items from George Floyd Square in an attempt to reopen the intersection to traffic.

Once crews were done removing items, they left the area.

Later Tuesday, a 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS crew reported activists had returned makeshift barriers to the streets near the intersection.

Our friends in Minneapolis have turned fecklessness into an art form.

Seriously, what’s the point? Either you clear the intersection and ensure it doesn’t get blocked again, or you admit you are too weak to run your city and let the local warlords run the show. This is a stupid game. 

 

Way Too Good To Fact-Check

A lot of people are yukking it up over this story – yep, including me the other day. You recall it – Italian “artist” selling an “invisible sculpture” / block of air / “vacuum full of energy” for $18,000.

“The vacuum is nothing more than a space full of energy, and even if we empty it and there is nothing left, according to the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, that ‘nothing’ has a weight,” Garau said of the statue according to as.com. “Therefore, it has energy that is condensed and transformed into particles, that is, into us.”

Italy 24 News reported that per Garau’s instructions, the sculpture must be displayed in a private home free from any obstruction, in an area that is about 5 ft. long by 5 ft. wide. Because the piece does not exist, there are no special lighting or climate requirements.

The story was, to say the least, thinly sourced, to the point where the BS meter is howling.

On the other hand? This, along with the “dumpster fire” last week in Uptown Minneapolis, is the ultimate metaphor for society today.

It’s a cube of nothing – that means whatever the viewer can conjure from it.

It’s no different than “woke”-ism. Or “Critical Race Theory” . Or “Whiteness” theory. All of them are conclusions that are left to the viewer to fill in any way they want.

Signore Garau may be a garbage artist, and a con man extraordinare – even if you assume the story isn’t a hoax (and I’m abou 50-50 – mixing wealthy Frenchmen and dubious “art” is never completely implausible.

But the metaphor he is alleged to have constructed may be the best bit of literature, or at least the best bit of (unintentional?) literary symbolism of the year.

Whether it happened or not.

Purity Test

The Minneapolis City Council is going full blown Maoist.

The council sent an “open letter“ to city employees in May, “encouraging“ them to sign a declaration that there was pretty much nothing to any white culture but racism:

In a May 28 meeting, Bender referred to an open letter which all city employees are invited to sign — anyone who signs the letter is acknowledging racism as a public health crisis, accepting responsibility for the “pain” they have caused as “stewards of the City of Minneapolis’s policies,” and recognizing that Minneapolis has been and continues to be harmful to the BIPOC community.

The letter was filed into the official city record and will be published on June 11 with the signatures of all who choose to sign, making it easy to know which employees decide not to sign the letter.

Bender said this statement should not have to be “courageous.”

“This should be baked into our systems, and what we all commit to unwaveringly every day,” Bender declared. “Our staff of color, particularly in Minneapolis, have been carrying the burden of white supremacy throughout our systems every day, for a very long time.”

Riots decimate entire neighborhoods.

Gangs turn commercial streets into free fire zones.

Hot rodders make the streets unlivable after dark on weekends, at best, and at worst blaze away at each other, harming only bystanders (as usual)

And this is what the city Council busies itself with.

From The BlueAnon Archives: The Phantom Menace

To: Jon Collins, Minnesota Public Radio News
From: Mitch Berg, Irasible Peasant, critic of BlueAnon
Re: It’s Been A Year

Mr. Collins,

Last year – literally, a year ago last Wednesday – you sent out a message to MPR’s mailing lists asking if anyone had seen “white supremacists” during the civil unrest of the previous weeks.

I know this sounds crazy. But it’s 2020. And I’m working on story now about white supremacists coming to Minneapolis to foment race war under cover of the protests. I need your help, and your friends help. Please refer anyone with real, credible info (not rumor or speculation) or sources to me at (I’m gonna redact that)

As we go on a year after that request, and a week after President Biden reiterated the nearly two decade old claim that “white supremacist terror” is the greatest danger facing this country, it’s. probably not unreasonable to ask if you found anything.

A not-entirely-casual search of MPR News’s archives indicates “no”.

Any chance we could get an update?

That is all.

(I sent Collins an email. Since have it on absolutely reliable sources the management at MPR News has told their staff not to engage with peasants, I’d be amazed if I got a response).

Coming Soon To An “Elite” Institution Near You

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Transcript of remarks:
“May I have your attention please?  Thank you.  Welcome to your first day at Harvard Law School.  As you may know, this year’s class is Special: there are no White students, no Asian students, certainly no Hispanics, only Black students, to make up for centuries of racist oppression.  Congratulations on being selected for our first Reparations Endeavor.  I see a hand up, yes, do you have a question?

No, there are no courses on your course schedule. The courses here are geared for brilliant and hard-working people, which, judging from your grades and test scores, includes few of you.  If you were to take our courses and be graded honestly, you’d all fail miserably and be kicked out.  That would generate terrible publicity for the school which would defeat the purpose of having you in the first place; therefore, you will attend no courses while at this school.  Instead, courses have been replaced with attendance-optional discussion sessions geared to your level of ability, in which students will discuss their feelings about law, oppression, discrimination and, of course, slavery, plus everyone will be awarded internships with major civil rights organizations like BLM and Antifa to gain hands-on experience bringing about social change through direct action.  Yes, over there, another question?

Not to worry, everyone will be getting straight A’s.  Class rank?  We have a new system for class rank.  Each of you is A Class of Your Own.  Everyone will graduate First in Class, be selected Valedictorian and have an opportunity to give a speech (on Zoom, because Covid) to your friends and relatives.  Yes, you on the right? 

Well, no, I don’t suppose you will learn much law here. But that’s not really a change, is it?  I mean, you’ve been Affirmative Action recipients all your lives. Special breaks in high school, special admission to college, special grading there . . . you’ll notice none of you took the GRE to test your knowledge in your major area of study, some of you took the LSAT which is a general knowledge bullshit exam, but most of you were given a test waiver on account of your race.  Subject matter expertise has never been expected of you; why start now?  In the red shirt, yes, your question?
No, no! Perish the thought.  Your Harvard Law Degree won’t be worthless: it’s worth half a million dollars each, to the school. Plus you will receive a handsome diploma, suitable for framing, at no additional cost.  Speak up, please, young lady, your question? 
How will you get a job if you don’t know anything?  Oh, don’t worry about that.  Big law firms will be falling all over themselves to hire a Black Woman like you.  They desperately need to fill quotas for their HR departments.  Moving on, yes, you there?

Well, now, I don’t know that I’d put it that way.  Calling yourself a ‘token’ is so harsh. And besides, better to be a ‘token’ in a major firm than not working in a major firm at all, right?  I mean, it’s no secret you’re an Affirmative Action graduate, they knew that the moment they laid eyes on you. In fact in your case, Duante, is it?  They knew it when they received your resume, which is why your resume rose to the top of the pile ahead of better qualified students named Chad or Tiffany, Yang or Levi.  

I see so many hands, I think it’s time to end this introductory session so I can hand you off to your personal Diversity and Inclusion Deans, one for each student.  They’ll help you feel good about yourselves and your role here in this historic class.  Welcome to Harvard and remember: you are Special!”

Joe Doakes

Today’s satire is tomorrow’s journalism.

And to the inevitable chirping “That’s racist” from the usual pack of pseudonymous progressive trolls: what do you call simultaneously piddling on academic merit and making race – absent all over context – a primary social determiner?

If it were in regard to sending people to prison rather than the finishing school for America’s “elite”, it’d be pretty unconscionable, wouldn’t it?

Deferred

I got my start in radio.

My first full-time job paid $700 a month – after inflation today, probably more like $1,400. Which would translate to $8 an hour in 2021 dollars, except that in small-market radio back then, “full time” meant 48 hours a week. You had to pick up a weekend shift – meaning that in today’s dollars, I was making $6.75 an hour, for running the music playlist, reporting a bit of news, doing some baseball play-by-play, and being on the air from 8-noon and 3-6PM weekdays, plus the eight hour weekend shift.

I did it because, at the time, that’s how one got into the business. Before one could apply for the job making $20K (in 1985 dollars), which could lead you to the job in Minneapolis making $30-35, which could lead you to Chicago and $50-60 – maybe even that major-market morning guy or program director job that would get you into six figures.

Most of us, myself included, never got that far, of course. Oh, I made it to the big markets – in my case, KSTP in the ’80s, where I think my best year was $12K (1987 dollars) plus a whooooole lot of freelance voice work and news reporting. It actually went downhill from there; when I left radio in ’93, I’d been making $7 an hour and 20-25 hours a week at WDGY, as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity gutted the market for 20-something guys doing afternoon talk shows.

I moved on to other dreams.

One of which has never been to be the Political Class’s middle and senior management.

Which is the dream for an awful lot of people who go into political staff work.

Starting with a four-year degree in Political Science, they move on to internships, and then to entry-level staff jobs – with legislators, congresspeople, executive branch departments – that, like a lot of entry level white collar jobs with immense supplies of applicants and few positions (even in government), which (even in government) limits the wages.

Oh, yeah – these “kids” who are plugging away for peanuts are all betting on the long term – a senior staffer, a civil service management gig with the six figure salary and the government pension, a consultant job making the serious money, or like AOC an elected office with the boundless wealth that brings (for Democrats) – the big payoff for those who have the talent, the marketing acumen and the persistence to get there.

But even given all that? There’s no field so with so much upside that someone can’t wrench some victimology out of it:

They “help pass trillion dollar legislation” in the same way an Amazon delivery driver is “part of the world’s largest corporation”.

But just you watch – this sort of “story” doesn’t appear in a vaccuum. There’ll be a push to address the standard of living, “diversitiy” and pay of political staffers. None of it paid for by the senior staffers the “victims” want to one day become.