Best of the last half of January (posted 2/2/18)

o this week I caught the flu.   Many people might point to a scientific explanation, but I’m convinced that the problem was that in my last column, I bragged that I’ve got the strength of 10 men, because my heart is pure.  And a vengeful God then struck me down.

So now I’m keeping my head down, and humbly spreading the sarcasm.  And the last half of January certainly provided a target-rich environment for that.  So here are my 4 favorite stories from the last several weeks:

1. To much fanfare last year, Marvel rolled out a collection of social-justice themed comic books. These comics had it all: angry gay characters, angry black characters, and angry characters of other types, probably.  These comics revolved around such crowd-pleasing issues as black lives matter, immigration, and LGBTQ themes.

One actually sounded good to me: “America.”  A young Martin Simpson loved him some Captain America, so maybe…

Nope.  This little gem features “a teenage Latina girl named America Chavez, whose stories revolve around her life as a queer immigrant in college.”   (Strike one.)  The writer is described as “an outspoken ‘LatinX” (strike 2), who likes to indulge herself in “periodic rants” (strike 3) about “sexism” (the second batter takes a strike) “antiblackness” (and another), and “President Trump” (two down). Another comic focuses on Black Panther, which sounds pretty cool.  But it’s written by a feminist (third batter, first strike) and “body positive” (strike 2) activist, along with Ta-Nehisi (gesundheit) Coates.  And the side has been retired: no hits, no runs, lots of errors.

By the way, if you use the phrase “body positive,” I must squint at you skeptically.   Teenage boys are very much “body positive” when it comes to female characters; there are few things that boys are more positive about than female bodies.

But not ALL female bodies.  And therein lies the rub.  (Or the lack of a rub, I guess.)

Anyway, the LGBTQ activist group GLAAD nominated a raft of these comics for Outstanding Comic Book of the Year for their “contributions to queer culture and social justice.”

Annnndddd… they’re all canceled.

Yes, you’ll be shocked to hear that these enlightened, scolding, condescending comics were not well received by actual comic book readers.  In fact, some wags on social media dismissed them as “hamfisted, socio-politically-charged drivel.”

Sounds about right.

2. On January 23, angry Dreamers stormed Chuck Schumer’s house, protesting and chanting in Spanish, “Silencio, por favor, Martino!”

Actually, that’s not what they chanted.  But it’s the only Spanish I remember from two years of high school Spanish.

But how sweet is that?  A whole ginormous flock of chickens coming home to roost… and they’re roosting on Schumer’s front lawn!  Talk about poetic justice: after months of casting these people as salt-of-the-earth angels filled with patriotism for the US, they show up at your place, and it turns out that they’re a bunch of entitled, aggressive lawbreakers who are going to turn their rage on you first.

Ah, Chuckie, this couldn’t happen to a more deserving, creepy sleazeball.  Just keep telling yourself, though:  They’re Dreamers.  They have a dream!

Yes they do.  And it’s a dream of violently storming your house!   If only walls worked, you might be able to prevent that.  (This is the part when, if this column had a soundtrack, I would cue Nelson Muntz saying “HA HA!”)

 

3. The best interview in the history of interviews happened in January.

Side bar: the “best interview” title only goes to this one because Bill Clinton’s doctor never had an hour-long press conference in which his boss ordered him to answer every press question, as Trump did with his doctor several weeks ago.    If he had, imagine the transcript:  “When it comes to STDs, I’d like to draw your attention to page 3, where you’ll find a list of diseases which we don’t usually see in humans, but which we’ve detected in Mr. Clinton’s blood stream, included bovine syphilis, porcine gonorrhea and reptilian chlamydia.  Also, despite the fact that we’ve so far been unable to detect life on Venus, Mr. Clinton has somehow contracted Venusian clap.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go burn this space suit, and scrub myself under a scalding shower until the tremors go away.”

This interview was not that entertaining, but it was close.   British “journalist” Cathy Newman was interviewing Canadian Psychology Professor Jordan Peterson about various issues involving gender.  You’ve probably heard about it, but if not, Google it immediately, and then prepare to be dazzled.

Over 30 excruciatingly hilarious minutes, Newman asks mostly loaded and tendentious questions, Peterson gives thoughtful but blunt answers, and then Newman twists his answers until they bear no resemblance to what he actually just said.   He says something like, “There are many reasons why a gender pay gap exists.”  She argues that the gap exists, and that it’s not fair, and that he has denied that it exists.   He says, “No, I admitted that it exists.  It does exist.  But there are many reasons for it.”  And then she says, “So what you are saying is that it doesn’t exist.”

By the end, Newman has become the perfect example of the biased journalist, doggedly forcing her own agenda down her interviewee’s throat in ever-more ludicrous ways.  If Peterson says, “Many women may choose less stressful careers,” she says, “So you’re saying that women should all be barefoot and pregnant.”  He stammers out, “No, that’s not—” and she says, “So you think that women should all be beaten by their husbands, and subjected to sexual assaults, and never be allowed to go outside.”

Okay, I made up those quotes, to illustrate her method.   But this next one is not made up: when Peterson counters the idea that all gender inequality is the result of patriarchal capitalism, he makes an analogy to lobsters, and the way that their nervous systems are attuned to hierarchy.  He points out our evolutionary connection to and similarities with that primitive aspect of a nervous system, and she actually says, “You’re saying that we should organize our society along the lines of the lobsters?”

I found myself wishing that at that point he would have nodded sagely at her, and said, “That’s EXACTLY what I’m saying.  We must all move to the bottom of the sea and focus all of our energy on growing pincers and becoming delicious.”

We’re probably all subject to the temptation to distort our opponents’ positions into straw man arguments.  But no one has more completely succumbed to that temptation than leftist journalists like Cathy Newman, God bless her!

4. I generally dislike State of the Union speeches. I don’t like bringing guests to use as political props (even though that was started by Reagan), I don’t like sleazy partisanship which requires only half of the chamber to be applauding at any given time, or the hypocrisy of both sides for applauding statements that they don’t actually believe but feel that they must pretend to. I’m old school about this, and thoroughly approve of George Washington’s practice of giving a concise SOTU in the form of a letter to the congress:  “Things are hunky dory overall.  The crops are coming in pretty nicely, the Navy could use a few more ships, fall pork bellies look pretty good, and we need to get to work on inventing the internet, because the WIFI at Mount Vernon is atrociously slow.  The end.”

But if we have to have a State of the Union speech, this is the kind we should have.   Though it was too long, it allowed Trump to show that he’s not the evil caricature that the MSM portrays him as, and it provided the self-destructing Dems just enough rope to hang themselves with.

It’s hard to fathom how they could have thought that responding to every sentence with stone-faced petulance would make them look good.  As Ben Shapiro pointed out, manipulative politicians are constantly trying to maneuver their opponents into looking like they are opposing motherhood and apple pie, but with the current crop of Democrats, Trump doesn’t even have to try that: the Democrats are more than happy to put themselves in that position.

Think about the quotes that the Dems would not even tepidly clap for: black unemployment is at record lows, so is Hispanic unemployment, the economy is booming, companies are moving plants to the US, and passing some of their tax savings on to their employees, ice cream is delicious.

Only one of those examples is made up, and the Dems sat on their hands for all of the others.

One of my favorite post-speech reactions came from the ACLU, which decried the fact that Trump used some variant of the word “America” more than 80 times in his speech.

Quick quiz: Does “ACLU” stand for:

  1. Anaerobic Civil Liberties Union
  2. Anatolian Civil Liberties Union
  3. Andalusian Civil Liberties Union
  4. American Civil Liberties Union

Trump’s speech had 3,394 words in it.  If America appeared 80 times, that would be 2.4% of the speech.  By contrast, 25% of the jingoistic, ultra-nationalist ACLU’s name is “American.”

They should be ashamed of themselves!

Or, as Cathy Newman would put it, “So you’re saying that non-Americans should NOT have civil liberties, and should live as wife-beating lobsters?”

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