I’ve been working about 12 hours a day since this month started, and I fell out of the current events loop a bit. I’ve got a couple of old, restored rental houses in a college town, and this is the hectic time of year when the tenants turn over, and I turn from trying to fix the world through the magic of sarcastic mockery, to trying to fix the damage to a two-story Craftsman left by marauding undergrads.
I even spent less time reading Cautious Optimism than usual, which is obviously a sign of a life in danger of going off the rails. So over the last two evenings I caught up on CO and some of my other favorite media sources.
And now I feel like I may still be feeling the effects of a Percocet hangover. Has everyone lost their freaking minds?
Of course, one place where they have not is at CO. CO himself continues his unerring streak of picking All-Star CO Follower of the Month selections with Don Deere. Laura Belveal introduces me to the story of an amazing woman I’d never heard of named Temple Grandin. (It’s a sign of our society’s decay that you can find a million people who know Lena Dunham for every one person who knows Grandin.) And the site continues to enlighten and entertain, through the story selection and the sparkling commentary.
But the rest of the world? Bah!
There were so many odd stories that it was hard to pick just a couple:
- Google bloviates about how much they value diversity, and welcome all sorts of divergent viewpoints. Then they fire a guy because he expressed a divergent viewpoint.
- The MSM keep up their 0-for-August accuracy record by smearing the Google guy’s memo without quoting any of it. In fact, their claims about his memo are Schumerian in their dishonesty. They claim that he is against diversity. (Quote from the memo, “I value diversity.”) They claim that he says women aren’t biologically capable of succeeding in tech jobs. (Quote from the memo: “I am not saying that women are biologically incapable of succeeding in tech jobs.”) etc.
- A German newspaper reports that the German military is now actively recruiting transgendered people and disabled people as soldiers. Now I know that Germany has a little bad karma to work through, military-history-wise. But no matter what happened in the past, can any conceivably rational solution possibly involve fielding a Panzer division headed up by Caitlyn Hawking-Rommel?
(Okay. I know that at this point, Caitlyn jokes are low-hanging fruit. And Stephen Hawking is a pretty prominent disabled celebrity. And folks who know their WWII German generals will recognize the name of the Desert Fox. But I ask you, how many website columns have you read that have pulled off that rare reference trifecta in one joke? Normally I would hesitate to call myself a hero, but…)
Anyway, here’s a round-up of other odd stories that fascinated yet repelled me in the last 10 days or so:
1.Al Gore is apparently still alive. And he’s made a horrible sequel to his horrible, error-filled An Inconvenient Truth. And it made $47 in it’s opening weekend. And in an interview, he suggested that Trump might not finish out his term for “ethical reasons.”
That’s Al Gore, ladies and gentlemen. Talking about ethics. The guy who preaches an austere lifestyle, and leaving a tiny carbon footprint, while he owns one of the biggest houses in Tennessee, which uses something like 30 times the electricity of the average American home; the guy who flies everywhere in private jets, and who sold his hideous tv channel to a company owned and funded by an oil-soaked Middle Eastern emir.
None of that keeps Gore up at night. But Trump’s ethics do.
My faith in God is a little shaken, because He has not stricken Gore with an all-natural, gluten-free, eco-friendly lightning bolt. I think Sodom and Gomorrah are owed an apology.
2. Royal Dutch Airlines (slogan: “We’re not just wooden shoes and open-air heroin markets. We have airplanes, too!”) decided that the best way to entice people to fly with them was to tout their hyper- extra- super-gay friendliness. So they created an ad that features three sets of rainbow-colored seatbelts.
On top – no offense – is a pair of what might be called “female” seatbelts. (Those are the ones with the handle that you pull on to release the belt in case you’ve crashed into a rocky outcropping 7 miles from Denver at 350 mph and are now experiencing discomfort, and would like to exit the plane in an orderly manner.)
In the middle is a pair of what might be called “male” seatbelts. (Those are the ones that you would usually shove into the “female” ones – no offense – until you hear a satisfying click. Or a less satisfying click, if both of you are tired and your mother-in-law called with some advice during supper and your boss has been on your back at work and won’t those freaking kids ever shut up and go to sleep so I can concentrate on what I’m doing here?!)
On the bottom – no offense – is one “male” piece and one “female” piece.
The tag line: “It doesn’t matter who you click with. Happy #Pride Amsterdam”
As many commentators pointed out, the flaw in the ad is so obvious that even Paul Krugman could spot it: only one set of those seatbelts actually work, and this ad undermines its point hilariously.
If the Cautious Optimist produced videos – and really, why doesn’t he? – this would be a prime candidate for a response ad. Here’s the scenario: The pilot announces that there is turbulence ahead, so he (or she – no offense) turns on the “fasten seatbelt” sign. Everybody with heterosexual seat belts (no offense) snaps them on, and lives happily ever after.
Everybody with the “alternative lifestyle” seat belts rattles and pokes and bonks them together ineffectually, and then increasingly frantically, until the turbulence hits, throwing them all violently about the cabin, breaking limbs and fracturing T-3 vertebrae hither and yon.
Tag line: “Lufthansa. We could not care less who you sleep with. And our seatbelts work.”
3. Some guy named Jim Chambers owns a gym in Atlanta. And because he was once bench pressing 300 pounds when the bar broke, dropping many heavy weights onto his head, he scrawled a sign in his fine establishment expressing the idea that cops were not welcome there.
You know that Jim is a classy guy, because:
- He hand-scrawls the signs in his windows.
- He can’t express his hand-scrawled opinions without tastefully dropping in an F bomb.
- He is a self-proclaimed “activist” who hates cops.
But the story gets better. When local media heard about his “cops suck” stance and asked him whether he regretted it, he conferred with his p.r. team (i.e. a poster of Arnold from his “Pumping Iron” days, but with Bernie Sanders’ head taped over the Terminator’s – which he hears talking to him on a regular basis). Then he says no. He doesn’t like cops. Plus, soldiers suck too, so no military veterans, either.
When I was doing the coursework for my Ph.D. in Public Relations, I learned that this tactic is called “steering into the scandal skid.” The textbook example was Ted Kennedy right after Chappaquiddick; when a reporter asked him whether he’d been drinking before he drove off the bridge, he said, “Yes. A lot. But that cold water sobered me right up. And then I left my date to drown. Any more questions?”
Anyway, back to Jim Chambers. Before you dismiss him as a bigot and a moron, consider his reasons: he claims that many of his clientele “are minorities, and not comfortable around cops,” and also that law enforcement “serves capitalism and white supremacy.”
Okay, NOW you can dismiss Chambers as a bigot and a moron.
He states that he doesn’t like capitalism… in an interview given in the for-profit business that he owns. Plus, he is doing classic niche marketing: folks in his part of town belong to a demographic which tends not to like cops, so he caters to that dysfunctional and self-defeating attitude as a marketing strategy.
It’s like Louis Farrakhan and Gordon Gekko had a baby, and that baby was raised by Karl Marx, and then had heavy weights dropped on his head. And then he opened a gym.
Proving once again that cops are better people than me, the Atlanta PD confirmed for the media that Chambers’ sign and attitude would not prevent them from responding if he ever calls the police. Whereas I would respond too. But by laughing, and laughing and laughing. And then hanging up.
4. But just as I was contemplating giving up on the world, I saw this story: During a minor league baseball game, an autistic boy tried to get the attention of Tim Tebow, who was warming up on deck. Tebow saw him, and came over and shook his hand. (The kid was so happy that he ran back up to his parents in the stands, literally crying with joy.) Then Tebow hit a 3-run home run.
The only way that story could have be sweeter would have been if the towering homer would have forced a low-flying Royal Dutch Airlines jet equipped with gay seat belts to make a crash landing into a Radisson ballroom, killing only two of the speakers – Al Gore and Jim Chambers — on a panel addressing the topic, “How the Police, White Supremacy and Capitalism are responsible for Global Warming.”