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Ed Driscoll

Monty Python’s Flying Emotional Support Pigs

November 28th, 2014 - 2:26 pm

“They say pigs don’t fly, but this one came close,” an ABC journalist deadpans:

“But it turns out it wasn’t a duffel bag. We could smell it and it was a pig on a leash,” he said. “She tethered it to the arm rest next to me and started to deal with her stuff, but the pig was walking back and forth.”

“I was terrified, because I was thinking I’m gonna be on the plane with the pig,” Snolnik added, saying he guesses the pig weighed between 50 and 70 pounds.

But the flight didn’t take off with the pig. The woman and the animal eventually deplaned.

American Airlines, the parent company of US Airways, confirmed to ABC News that a passenger brought the pig aboard as an emotional support animal. After the pig became disruptive, she was asked to leave, a spokesperson said.

Click over to the article for the photo of the woman deplaning with her “emotional support pig.”

I know what you’re thinking at this point, because I was pondering it was well. Why was the woman allowed on the plane in the first place? Atop the Google search on what will likely fast become the three most dreaded words in the English — “emotional support pig” — is a 2012 article at CNS News (a spinoff of the Media Research Center and NewsBusters) is headlined “Feds: Airlines Must Let Passengers Fly With Pigs for ‘Emotional Support:’”

The manual states: “A passenger arrives at the gate accompanied by a pot-bellied pig. She claims that the pot-bellied pig is her service animal. What should you do?”

“Generally, you must permit a passenger with a disability to be accompanied by a service animal,” reads the manual.  “However, if you have a reasonable basis for questioning whether the animal is a service animal, you may ask for some verification.”

The manual instructs airline carriers and their employees to begin by asking questions about the animal, such as, “What tasks or functions does your animal perform for you?” or “What has its training been?”

“If you are not satisfied with the credibility of the answers to these questions or if the service animal is an emotional support or psychiatric service animal, you may request further verification,” the guidebook states.  “You should also call a CRO [Complaints Resolution Official] if there is any further doubt as to whether the pot-bellied pig is the passenger’s service animal.”

If the answers are satisfactory, pot-bellied pigs, which can weigh as much as 300 pounds, must be accepted aboard the plane.

So just to confirm: a bottle of Visine or Evian risks confiscation by the TSA. An emotional support pig? Have a nice flight!

When it comes to both the insane government regulations, and the YOLO woman who decided to test them out, this isn’t really how I pictured humanity behaving in the 21st century when I was kid.

On the other hand, it’s great to see coming passenger jet designs finally starting to resemble the Estes model rockets I built back then. To bring this post full-circle, who will be the first person to bring an emotional support pig onto a transonic airliner?

sharpton_msnbc_lean_forward_parody_ad_4-8-12

Now is the time when we juxtapose, Small Dead Animals-style:

“NBC’s [Andrea] Mitchell Declares [fellow NBC employee] Al Sharpton In Ferguson ‘On A Peace Mission.’”

—Headline, NewsBusters, August 17th.

“‘I’m Lost Now’: Can Ferguson’s Businesses Ever Rise From Rubble?”

—Headline at NBC, today.

Curiously, hitting CTL-F and typing in “Natalie’s Cakes,” which has received over $230,000 in donated funds after her building was trashed by rioters on Monday doesn’t bring up a reference in the article. Wonder why?

(Quote on our mock ad for Al Sharpton’s MSNBC show atop this post from network president Phil Griffin.)

“Modern liberalism as a set of emotions,” as explored by Kyle Peterson in the Weekly Standard:

Since the emotional calculus involved in snap decisions is unknowable, we shouldn’t be surprised that, when politicians do the math of pathos, they never seem to come up with a limiting principle. Every problem is as tragic, urgent, and worthy of action as every other. Consider this gem of an argument Voegeli pulls from Matt Miller at the Washington Post: “If you feel it’s urgent to help the victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, then deep in your heart you also support Obamacare.” The line is funny because it proves too much: Matt Miller might just as easily have compared hurricane relief to taxpayer-subsidized automobile insurance or federal research on Exploding Head Syndrome. What he really means is: “Here are two causes that only a monster could oppose.”

Once ingrained, this kind of thinking leads to a society that (as Voegeli puts it) cares less about actually helping others than it cares about caring. Public compassion becomes an end in itself, and the machinery of government is simply a means of catharsis. Hence, the people who push the hardest for expanding government programs are the ones least interested in whether the programs actually work. Confront a progressive friend with a few statistics—the study that suggests patients on Medicaid fare even worse than those with no insurance at all, or the paper that shows enrollment in Head Start makes zero long-term difference to students’ academic success—and he will reply, almost without fail, that the problem is funding. If only we had more dump trucks to ferry pallets of crisp 100-dollar bills from the Federal Reserve to various federal offices.

All this emoting leaves little room in our public discourse for much else—say, for example, calm examination of moral hazards or unintended consequences. President Obama once quoted the late movie critic Roger Ebert in a speech, saying, “Kindness covers all of my political beliefs.” A conservative is likely to suggest that this explains the problem precisely.

Read the whole thing; the notion of “Modern liberalism as a set of emotions,” is a polite way of calling the left “reactionary,” which Roger L. Simon, our Maximum Pajamahadeen Emeritus and a former man of the left himself has been saying for a decade now. And the non-stop emoting also dovetails well into an observation Ace made on Wednesday after Ezra Klein dubbed the New Yorker’s Ferguson cover as “Excellent:”

That Ezra Klein is bien pensant given to Thinking Serious Thoughts About Race and Such.

That is what drives me crazy about modern discourse. So little of it is actually designed to advance a proposition. So much of it is designed to advance The Speaker.

Modern speech is insanely “performative.” Modern speech is marked not by its focus on the statement itself but on the act of making the statement, and how that act (allegedly) credits the speaker.

This s*** must be called out until it stops.

We live in a Narcissistic Age. This era’s defining vice is Vanity.

And we cannot allow these narcissistic headcases to get away with disguising constant self-flattery as alleged “political” speech about ideas external to them.

One way to spread the word about the preening, performative nature of modern leftist speech would be a documentary on the topic — would Kickstarter be a viable method of raising the funds? I better check with one of their “community managers” to see what she thinks of the idea:

Ahh well, so much for that idea. Perhaps CNN would like to bankroll the project? Or maybe NBC?

OK, there’s always print. Maybe Time or The Week will do an article on the topic. Or Vox!

Arthur C. Carlson was right: as God is my witness, turkeys can fly! “After centuries of being largely earthbound, your Thanksgiving turkey is finally able to fly. That is, with the help of a drone … and into a boiling pot of oil.”

What is it with the Times and food, anyhow? In addition to yesterday’s incredible Thanksgiving recipe correction, in 2010, when Pinch’s son Arthur G. Sulzberger was named the Times’ “Kansas City correspondent,” the paper put out a preening memo that actually stated Pinch Jr. “may be hard pressed to find vegetarian food amid all the barbecue joints, but he’ll have no trouble finding stories,” thus reinforcing the cliche, how do you someone is a vegetarian? Don’t worry, they’ll tell you within 30 seconds of meeting them, and causing Kathy Shaidle to quip,  “Outside of Manhattan, ‘vegetarian food’ is widely available at things called ‘supermarkets.’”

And beyond that easily-found source, they can be located in .36 seconds using a “Website” called “Google” found on a relatively new technology called the “World Wide Web,” which has been around since the early 1990s, running on a slightly older platform called  “the Internet,” invented in 1969, by, ironically enough, the military-industrial complex. (Pinch, Punch, and likely the newest Sulzberger have actually heard of that last item, hence the lack of quotation marks associated with what is perceived to be novel and new.)

As for the rest of us, enjoy your turkey! It’s a free gift from your friends at PJM, as our news helicopter is airlifting dozens of them to your local shopping mall even as we speak:

LINE SPACE

See America, with your heteronormative anti-Native American anti-Vegan beloved artery-clogging Red State “holidays?” See what the Times has to go through just to play along with the charade that it even tangentially approves of this sort of thing? (Either that, or who knew Jayson Blair was back and editing the paper’s cooking section?)

News You Can Use

November 26th, 2014 - 11:40 pm

But if all else fails:

Have a happy Thanksgiving from myself and everyone else at Ed Driscoll.com, including me.

‘EBTs for IEDs’

November 26th, 2014 - 7:29 pm


St. Louis Today claims that the suspects wanted to bomb the Gateway Arch in addition to their human targets. So wanting to make the latest New Yorker cover a reality, in other words:

I’m sure Ezra Klein would be thrilled to Voxplain away their motives if the suspects had carried out their alleged plot.

Forgetting Your Own Lessons

November 26th, 2014 - 5:54 pm

Past performance is no guarantee of future results:

Which is a curious tweet, given that according to security cameras, Michael Brown appeared to violate multiple examples of the excellent advice that Rock proffers:

(Yet another reminder that all comedy is conservative, even if its creators may not be themselves.)

Related: “I’ve looked at riot from both sides now….”

Answering the Important Questions

November 26th, 2014 - 1:34 pm

— Ed Driscoll (@EdDriscoll) November 26, 2014

Back when men were still men, and Wired, then still owned by founder Louis Rosetto, was still Wired.

Reading, Writing, and Rioting

November 26th, 2014 - 11:51 am

Oh, that higher education bubble:

Forward! “We are living in 1937, and our universities, I suggest, are not half-way out of the fifteenth century. We have made hardly any changes in our conception of university organization, education, graduation, for a century — for several centuries,” H. G. Wells is reported to have said.

I assume he’d approve of the “progress” universities have made in the decades since, right?

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All the doxing that’s fit to print.

“The Times “had no qualms whatsoever about publishing almost all the information needed for Officer Darren Wilson’s enemies to track him and his wife down at home,” John Nolte writes at Big Journalism, noting that “This malicious move by the New York Times has not gone unnoticed by Ferguson’s protesters,” as the International Business Times reports:

But printing his street name in the nation’s most influential newspaper on the day the grand jury is expected to hand up a decision on the indictment could reignite interest in — and awareness of — the location, and some critics worry that it could result in protesters descending on his home. Slate even went a step further than the Times, publishing an article featuring a photo of the modest, red-brick house on Monday.

A number of Twitter users — some of whom have identified themselves as planning to protest the grand jury decision — have tweeted the location of Wilson’s home as they gear up for rallies. The house number was not printed in the Times, but the street in the St. Louis suburb of Crestwood where it sits is only about two blocks long, and the house number can be easily located via online sources using only the street name and Wilson’s name.

As John adds, “The media is evil,” but Spike Lee certainly approves their methods. As does CNN, which aired George Zimmerman’s address, social security and phone numbers last year.

Nolte’s just getting started though. Read his whole post for a round-up on some of the MSM’s worst moments so far.

Yes, old media’s hit bottom, but they’ll keep digging — and it will get worse. And of course, as always, the MSM will accept no blame for its actions:

Update via Twitchy, which rounds up reaction to the Times publishing Wilson’s address:

Update: Again, no link, but Slate, formerly owned by the Washington Post, has published a photo of Wilson’s house to help make things as easy as possible for rioters and vandals.

More: Great observation by Iowahawk. Remember, this was the media — starting with the Times’ own Paul Krugman — that wet themselves in January of 2011 trying to make Sarah Palin’s clip art magically lead directly to the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords. But they think nothing of running Darren Wilson’s address.

All of which is why Roger L. Simon includes the Times on his list of the Ferguson Hall of Shame. It looks like you’re going to need a bigger blog, Roger, at the rate the MSM is going. (I won’t hold my breath waiting for Krugman to condemn his own paper’s eliminationist rhetoric tomorrow.)

Not the Onion, apparently. Actually, it’s from the Campus Reform education blog:

Senior Oliver Friedfeld and his roommate were held at gunpoint and mugged recently. However, the GU student isn’t upset. In fact he says he “can hardly blame [his muggers].”

“Not once did I consider our attackers to be ‘bad people.’ I trust that they weren’t trying to hurt me. In fact, if they knew me, I bet they’d think I was okay,” wrote Friedfeld in an editorial featured in The Hoya, the university’s newspaper. “The fact that these two kids, who appeared younger than I, have even had to entertain these questions suggests their universes are light years away from mine.”

Friedfeld claims it is the pronounced inequality gap in Washington, D.C. that has fueled these types of crimes. He also says that as a middle-class man, he does not have the right to judge his muggers.

“Who am I to stand from my perch of privilege, surrounded by million-dollar homes and paying for a $60,000 education, to condemn these young men as ‘thugs?’” asks Friedfeld. “It’s precisely this kind of ‘otherization’ that fuels the problem.”

Who are you? Well, you’re an inadvertent clone of Robert Fisk, the leftwing British journalist and namesake of the popular Blogosphere technique of fisking, who famously wrote after being attacked while covering the war in Afghanistan in late 2001, “My Beating is a Symbol of this Filthy War.” Fisk added, “In fact, if I were the Afghan refugees of Kila Abdullah, close to the Afghan-Pakistan border, I would have done just the same to Robert Fisk. Or any other Westerner I could find.” Or shorter Fisk: “I totally had it coming.”

Not mention the second coming of a zillion effete doctrinaire Manhattan liberals from the bad old days of the 1970s. Or as Jonah Goldberg noted in his August G-File on “Ferguson Agonistes”:

I grew up in New York City in the 1970s, when race riots were a thing — though not as much of a thing as they were in the 1960s. And that’s part of the problem. In the 1960s, you could see the point of race riots (though less so in the North where they were quite common). But by the 1970s, liberals had incorporated race riots into their mythology as noble “happenings” even though the romance of rebellion had lost its plausibility. And by the 1980s, tragedy had been fully swamped by farce. It is an axiomatic truth going back to Socrates: Nothing can be wholly noble if Al Sharpton is involved. Nonetheless, it was amazing to watch New York liberals act like battered spouses as they tried to explain why blacks are right to loot while at the same time they shouldn’t do it.

To mash-up George Santayana and Irving Kristol, a leftist is someone who refuses to learn from history, and is thus doomed to get mugged by it, but refuses to press charges afterwards.

QED:

Related: MSNBC analyst finds the word “charging” to be — wait for it! — “‘racially-tinged’ and ‘offensive.’”

“Obama Awards Medal of Freedom to Supporter and Former NBC Anchor Tom Brokaw,” Curtis Houck writes at NewsBusters:

Throughout her report [on Brokaw receiving the award], [Andrea] Mitchell certainly didn’t note many of the instances in which Brokaw heaped mounds of praise on the President (that has appeared to pay off). As the Media Research Center’s Kyle Drennen noted back on November 12, Brokaw’s positive remarks toward the President are numerous and included him comparing Obama to Vaclev Havel, who led the “Velet Revolution” that brought down communism in the former Czechoslovakia.

It would be fun to ask Brokaw what his definition of “freedom” is, given that the veteran NBC newsreader begged the Chief Spokesman for the Office of the President Elect in December of 2008 to raise taxes during the trough of the Great Recession (consistent with his take on President Reagan cutting taxes), and his loathing of the Second Amendment, telling fellow NBC employees Al Sharpton and Joe Scarborough in January of 2013 that, as Nathaniel Botwinick paraphrased at NRO’s The Corner, “Silence on Gun Violence Like Not Speaking Out Against Segregation in 1960s South.” Or as Brokaw himself said:

All these component parts claim, it’s not their responsibility. The NRA says it’s not about the guns, it’s about violence and mental health. Mental health people can’t share information because we have privacy issues here. The video game industry says we have a right under the First Amendment. Reverend Al, it reminds me a lot of what happened in the South during the 1960s during the civil rights movement. Good people stayed in their houses and didn’t speak up when there was carnage in the streets and the total violation of the fundamental rights of African-Americans as they marched in Selma. And they let Bull Connor and the redneck elements of the South and the Klan take over their culture in effect and become a face of it.

The testimony of many blacks who relied upon the Second Amendment to defend themselves during that period against Brokaw’s fellow Democrat Bull Connor contradicts the NBC newsreader:

When Charles “Chuck” Hicks does the Martin Luther King Jr. Day peace and freedom walks Saturday, he’ll also be taking a step for what the National Rifle Association has dubbed “National Rifle Appreciation Day.” That’s because Hicks is the son of Robert Hicks, a prominent leader of the legendary Deacons for Defense and Justice — an organization of black men in Louisiana who used shotguns and rifles to repel attacks by white vigilantes during the 1960s.

“The Klan would drive through our neighborhood shooting at us, shooting into our homes,” recalled Hicks, 66, who grew up in Bogalusa, La., and has been a civil rights activist in the District for more than 35 years. “The black men in the community wouldn’t stand for it. You shoot at us, we shoot back at you. I’m convinced that without our guns, my family and many other black people would not be alive today.”

As the Glenn Reynolds adds, “Condi Rice tells a similar story, of course. More background here.”

Continuing with the Orwellian aspects of Tom’s award, when Dan Rather had cooked the books in September of 2004 launching his ultimately career-ending scandal known as Rathergate, his then-fellow over-the-air nightly news anchors Brokaw and the late Peter Jennings both circled the wagons the following month — with the presidential election still ongoing — to defend their fellow dino-journalist from those whom they perceived as rabble conservative upstarts.

Around that time four years later, Brokaw helpfully lied to PBS’s Charlie Rose, “We don’t know a lot about Barack Obama and the universe of his thinking about foreign policy…There’s a lot about him we don’t know.” Gee Tom and Charlie, if only you had entire armies of journalists you command at your two networks to answer those questions, not to mention an information retrieval device called the Internet.

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Season’s Greetings from Ferguson

November 24th, 2014 - 6:27 pm

“A white police officer will not face charges for fatally shooting an unarmed black teenager in a case that set off violent protests and racial unrest throughout the nation, an attorney close to the case said Monday night,” USA Today reports, with a lede that hits all of the racial polemics, followed by these initial details:

A St. Louis County grand jury declined to indict officer Darren Wilson, 28, for firing six shots in an August confrontation that killed 18-year-old Michael Brown, said Benjamin Crump, an attorney for the family. The decision had been long awaited and followed rioting that resembled war-zone news footage in this predominantly black suburb of St. Louis.

“The jury was not inclined to indict on any charges,” Crump said after being informed of the decision by authorities. Prosecutors scheduled an news conference to announce the decision.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, called for calm after calling up National Guard troops to stand by in case of unrest. Speaking before the decision was announced, he urged that “regardless of the decision, people on all sides show tolerance, mutual respect and restraint.”

Crowds gathered around the Ferguson police headquarters in anticipation of the announcement at the courthouse in Clayton, Mo., another St. Louis suburb.

And with an MSM fully prepared to gin up a firestorm. Literally, they hope, particularly in a period that in less enlightened times used to be a slow news week:

Update:

Exactly. And speaking of which

By the way, as this story fades from view in coming weeks and as the next racial protest in ginned up by the White House and its Democrat operatives with bylines, a reminder from Rod Dreher and Fred Siegel that Ferguson will likely never recover from the riots inflicted upon it since August. See also: Newark and Detroit.

As a commenter quipped at Hot Air, this could be the quote of the year:

McCulloch said many witness statements contradicted physical evidence and sometimes their own stories.

“Physical evidence does not change because of public pressure or personal agendas,” he said.

Sadly, Messrs. Obama, Holder, and Sharpton do not agree with that reality. Nor does Sharpton’s fellow contributor at MSNBC, Chris Hayes:

Meanwhile, a prominent Time-Warner-CNN-HBO-HN spokeswoman offers her expert opinion on the verdict:

Update (7:27 PM PST): The split-screens during Obama’s speech are making him sound like Baghdad Bob. (Click speaker icon on tweets for sound):

 

Update (8:15 PM PST): And in New York tonight:


What on earth was the Ferguson government thinking to hang that banner, and give the MSM a shot like this on a platter? Variations on this shot are all over Fox and CNN as I’m posting this. This photo is being called “Pulitzer material” and “the iconic photo of this story” on Twitter:

Update (10:44 PM PST): Fox and CNN viewers witnessed a police car, a car dealership and the local Little Caesar’s Pizza set ablaze, a beauticians’ store looted, a McDonald’s with its windows smashed — and “Full circle: Liquor store Michael Brown accused of robbing being looted.”

CNN anchorman Don Lemon interviewed his fellow anchormen while wearing a gas mask. Fellow CNN representative “Van Jones blames violence entirely on McCulloch for aggressive tone in press conference and for scheduling it in the evening,” despite McCulloch being a fellow Democrat and Obama supporter.

Exit quotes:

Which brings us back to Allahpundit’s tweet at the start of this post. (Only fair, since Allah patented the exit quote format.) Was “the Ferguson reaction is everything the media’s been dreaming it might be?” In their heart of hearts, I’d bet old media is feeling pretty gleeful right now. Somehow though, Going forward, I doubt the majority of Ferguson’s 21,000 residents will ultimately think it’s worth it, as they’re in for one heck of an extended hangover.

Late Update (12:21 AM): The Smoking Gun reports, “Ferguson Witnesss Told Investigators That Michael Brown Charged Cop ‘Like a Football Player. Head Down:’”

The witness’s account of the unarmed Brown charging Wilson — even after he had been shot in the hand during a struggle at the cop’s patrol car — supports the officer’s contention that he fired a series of shots as Brown bore down on him.

During his September 16 grand jury testimony, Wilson, 28, recounted how he tussled with Brown when the teenager grabbed for his gun while lunging into the squad car. As they fought over the weapon, Wilson testified, the teenager taunted him, yelling, “You’re too much of a pussy to shoot me.”

Read the whole thing.

The Four Scariest Words in the English Language

November 24th, 2014 - 12:02 pm

Alec Baldwin’s Love Ride:

Where does Alec Baldwin find the time? Between his top-rated sitcom, his long-running MSNBC talk show, his string of blockbuster movies, and his sold-out speaking tour, the guy has got a lot on his plate.

Now we can add this to the list of his massive successes: his new web series, Alec Baldwin’s Love Ride.

Click over to Jim Treacher’s post for the actual video of Baldwin in his Lovemobile — if you dare!

It’s interesting to see Baldwin ripping off Jerry Seinfeld’s Internet video curiosity, Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, because when Baldwin appeared there, it was one of the tensest videos to watch, at least for me. When Baldwin and Seinfeld chatted alone, the two men made quite wealthy by NBC’s largesse appeared to get on quite well. But whenever the waitress appeared to bring them coffee,  I kept wondering, what will this poor woman do to warrant the full Baldwin Parris Island-style humiliation treatment the Great Man reserves for stewardesses, journalists, photographers and children? Baldwin kept his cool — at least from what we saw in the finished clip — but the tension building up made for an inadvertently fascinating clip.

It’s too bad that we’ll likely never see the outtakes from Baldwin’s ripoff of Seinfeld’s concept, because they would be infinitely more interesting than the finished product.

The Not Ready for Prime Time White House

November 24th, 2014 - 11:00 am

Peggy Noonan, who worked under Presidents Reagan and Bush #41 on how she reacted to when the Lewinsky scandal broke, altering the course of Bill Clinton’s presidency, and how the TV series The West Wing might be influencing Obama’s:

If you work for American presidents who are good men, you will inevitably carry forward in your head the assumption that American presidents will be good men. Your expectations will be toward high personal standards and normality. If you started out working for leaders who are not good men, on the other hand, you can go forward with a cynicism and suspicion that are perhaps more appropriate to your era.

The second thing the Horowitz story made me think of is this. I have remarked, and I think others have also, on the broad, deep impact of the television drama “The West Wing.” It spawned a generation of Washington-based television dramas. (Interestingly, they have become increasingly dark.) It also inspired a generation of young people to go to Washington and work in politics. I always thought the show gave young people a sense of the excitement of work, of being a professional and of being part of something that could make things better.

But it also gave them a sense of how things are done in Washington. And here the show’s impact was not entirely beneficial, because people do not—should not—relate to each other in Washington as they do on TV. “The West Wing” was a television show—it was show business—and it had to conform to the rules of drama and entertainment, building tension and inventing situations that wouldn’t really happen in real life.

Once when I briefly worked on the show, there was a scene in which the press secretary confronts the president and tells him off about some issue. Then she turned her back and walked out. I wrote a note to the creator, Aaron Sorkin, and said, Aaron, press secretaries don’t upbraid presidents in this way, and they don’t punctuate their point by turning their backs and storming out. I cannot remember his reply, but it was probably along the lines of, “In TV they do!”

“The West Wing” was so groundbreaking, and had in so many ways such a benign impact. But I wonder if it didn’t give an entire generation the impression that how you do it on a TV drama is how you do it in real life.

Last night’s post on Ferguson mentioned Tom Wolfe’s “information ricochet” theory, which he expounded upon further in another interview, quoted here. Basically, the theory boils down to real life inspires hugely popular movie or TV series, which makes loads more stuff up for drama and exciting visuals, which in-turn influences real life. Rinse and repeat. Plenty of mafiosos watched the myths and visual poetry of The Godfather (which Obama has claimed is his favorite movie, incidentally) and thought “Whoa, so that’s how we do it, boys!” So why wouldn’t the seven seasons of The West Wing have a similar impact on wannabe politicians and their staffers, who probably watch them as intently as geeks watch Star Trek reruns or women watched Sex In the City for pointers?

Related: Sadly, police departments may have also viewed The Godfather as a how-to guide.

The Bonfire of the Ferguson Kabuki

November 23rd, 2014 - 7:31 pm

“Darren Wilson has been meeting with network anchors: What the heck?”, asks the Washington Post’s Erik Wemple:

Credit CNN’s Brian Stelter with a very big scoop. On today’s “Reliable Sources” media-news program, Stelter reported that “high-profile news anchors” have spoken in “secret locations” with Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. The sessions have been off-the-record and, the way Stelter tells it, they’ve been auditions for one of the biggest exclusives of this century — namely, the sit-down talk with the elusive officer who killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., on Aug. 9.

Some details exist. NBC News’s Matt Lauer, ABC News’s George Stephanopoulos, CBS News’s Scott Pelley and Anderson Cooper and Don Lemon of CNN have met with Wilson, according to Stelter.

I’m not at all sure why Wemple seems so surprised or outraged by this development, given that from the start, Ferguson has been a form of video kabuki, to the point where NBC sent Al Sharpton out to gin up the protestors, and then recorded awesome video of those protestors pelting Sharpton’s fellow MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes with rocks. (Mission accomplished, Al.)

In 1988, when he was promoting the Bonfire of the Vanities, Tom Wolfe told PBS’s Bill Moyers, “a good bit of the book has to do with this curious phenomenon of how demonstrations, which are a great part of racial and ethnic politics, exist only for the media:”

Well, one of the things is what I would call “media ricochet”, which is the way real life and life as portrayed by television, by journalists like myself and others, begin ricocheting off of one another. That’s why to me, in Bonfire of the Vanities, it was so important to show exactly how this occurs when television and newspaper coverage become a factor in something like racial politics. And a good bit of the book has to do with this curious phenomenon of how demonstrations, which are a great part of racial and ethnic politics, exist only for the media. In the last days when I was working on The New York Herald-Tribune, I’ll never forget the number of demonstrations I went to and announced that to all the people with the placards, “I’m from The New York Herald-Tribune,” and the attitude was really a yawn, and then, “Get lost”. They were waiting for Channel 2 and Channel 4 and Channel 5, and suddenly the truck would appear and these people would become galvanized. On one occasion I even saw a group of demonstrators down in Union Square, marching across the Square, and Channel 2 arrived, a couple of vans, and the head of the demonstration walked up to what looked like the head man of the TV crew and said, “What do you want us to do?” He says, “Golly, I don’t know. What were you going to do?” He says, “It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter. You tell us.”

NBC, in the form of network spokesman Al Sharpton (let those last four words percolate for a few moments) simply took that strategy to its logical conclusion. Why shouldn’t their fellow Democrat operatives with bylines get in on the other half of the equation as well by coordinating with Wilson as well?

It’s as if the networks, having been happy to beam back staged “Pallywood” productions from the Palestinian media propaganda assembly line for years, decided to get in on the fun of staging domestic riots from top to bottom themselves:

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“EXCLUSIVE: Ex-NBC employee Frank Scotti claims Bill Cosby paid off women, invited young models to dressing room as he stood guard,” the New York Daily News reports:

Back when Bill Cosby was the king of network television, veteran NBC employee Frank Scotti served as the royal fixer.

When Cosby invited young models into his Brooklyn dressing room, the megastar’s pal stood watch outside the door. When the married Cosby sought a Queens apartment for another pretty face, Scotti arranged the deal.

And when the man behind Fat Albert needed cash disbursed to his flock of single female friends — hey, hey, hey — Scotti became the conduit for payments of up to $2,000 a month.

“He had everybody fooled,” said Scotti in an exclusive interview with the Daily News. “Nobody suspected.”

Scotti came forward last week with his insider’s look at Cosby’s womanizing ways during the magical 1984-92 run of “The Cosby Show.”

The 90-year-old Scotti said he decided to speak as the drumbeat of sexual abuse allegations against Cosby, 77, grew steadily louder. “I felt sorry for the women,” he told The News.

Along with the multiple women coming forward with allegations, is Scotti lying? Presumably the left-leaning Daily News wouldn’t run the story unless the paper and its lawyers believed him. But in any case, NBC certainly has ample prior examples of enabling their performers’ dysfunctional behavior to help keep a hit show humming along.

As Doug Hill and Jeff Weingrad wrote in their 1986 book, Saturday Night: A Backstage History of Saturday Night Live, while the late John Belushi was the most legendary substance abuser of the original cast of SNL, the performer most affected by drug use according to the authors was Garrett Morris. And certainly, his onstage performances in his last season on the show often seemed near-catatonic, as he appeared to lean heavily on his cue cards to remember even the simplest of lines. According to Hill and Weingrad, “Garrett free-based cocaine, meaning he mixed it with ether and heated it to filter out the impurities, then smoked it in its purest, strongest form,” and insiders at NBC, including Morris’ own fixer at the network, were certainly aware of drug use of some sort by Morris:

As much cocaine as John Belushi used, within Saturday Night Garrett’s habits were seen as more dangerous, because Belushi seemed so much stronger than Garrett. “Belushi,” one of the writers said, “was howling against the elements. Garrett sort of just slipped away in his sleep.” In the end, of course, that judgment proved to be incorrect, but at the time most would have expected Garrett to succumb long before John.

What to do about Garrett occupied a good deal of conversation on the 17th floor. That he wasn’t taken off the show or forced to get some sort of treatment struck many as utterly irresponsible. The countervailing opinion was that taking him off the show would have only completed his collapse. No one could convince Garrett he needed help; he always insisted he was fine. But obviously he wasn’t fine, and many blamed Lorne for not dealing with it. “A lot of people felt Lorne ignored the problem,” one of the featured players said. “A lot of people thought, ‘Lorne’s got to do something about this.’ It seemed that week after week Garrett was in bad emotional shape. Nobody knew what to do.”

Garrett’s problems were also ignored by NBC, and not because no one in the network was aware of them. To the contrary, one NBC executive, a vice president, frequently gave Garrett the money to buy his cocaine. Garrett would come to this executive for advances on his salary. He always said he had some different project in the works that he needed it for, but the executive was well aware of what Garrett was doing with the money. The advances were usually $1,000, but once, when the show was ending for the season and Garrett needed enough to tide him over the summer, he was advanced $10,000. The executive says that Garrett thought of him as a sort of friendly banker, and that as a result he and Garrett always got along extremely well. Eventually the advances were stopped.

In more recent years, NBC has long ignored Alec Baldwin’s homophobic slurs and violent encounters with photographers, as long as they could build shows around him. (Unlike the heyday of the original SNL and Cosby Show, ratings be damned, curiously enough). And today, as the New York Times strongly implied last week, NBC looks the other way at Al Sharpton’s multiple tax abuses.

When the MSM, those Democrat operatives with bylines, as Glenn Reynolds memorably dubbed them, ignores corruption in the Obama administration, remember that they have a lengthy history of ignoring and in some cases enabling corruption and malfeasance in-house as well. Anything as long as the show goes on.

QED.

Former DC Mayor Marion Barry Dead at 78

November 23rd, 2014 - 12:30 am
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Marion Barry served as grand marshal of the Washington DC Martin Luther King Day Parade on Jan. 15, 2001. Photo by Ryan Rodrick Beiler / Shutterstock.com.

“Former District of Columbia Mayor Marion Barry, whose four terms were overshadowed by his 1990 arrest after being caught on videotape smoking crack cocaine, died Sunday morning,” AP reports in a breaking story:

Barry D.C. council spokeswoman LaToya Foster says he died shortly after midnight Sunday at a hospital in Washington. He had battled kidney problems stemming from diabetes and high blood pressure and underwent a kidney transplant in February 2009.

To its credit, AP’s article does focus on when it all went wrong for Barry…

During much of the period between 1984 and 1990, Barry was under federal investigation for his ties to drug suspects. He consistently denied using drugs, but his late-night partying began to take a toll on his job performance.

On Jan. 19, 1990, FBI agents videotaped him buying and smoking crack cocaine in a hotel room not far from the White House. The tape, which included his subsequent arrest, was widely distributed to the media and made Barry infamous worldwide.

A few months after his arrest, long-time civil rights advocate and educator Roger Wilkins, a past supporter, wrote in The Post: “Marion Barry used the elders and lied to the young. He has manipulated thousands of others with his cynical use of charges of racism to defend his malodorous personal failures.”

…But — of course! — it leaves out the infamous four word quote that Barry will always be remembered for.

Update: Former MTV VJ Kennedy interviewed a defiant Barry in 2012 for Reason TV shortly after he was videotaped telling his supporters that “We got to do something about these Asians coming in and opening up businesses and dirty shops. They ought to go. I’m going to say that right now:”

Update (11:30 am): Matt Labash of the Weekly Standard wins the Internet today with his eulogy of “Marion Barry, Human Being:”

The unspoken idea, when I approached him in 2009, after a brush with the law for stalking his girlfriend, and after he was well past his political prime, was that I’d let him know when he was lying to me—which was often—and we’d proceed from there. Instead, we’d try to extract something real, even if his lies themselves were part of the realness. This dynamic seemed to liberate Barry, and so, even in his revisionism and self-justification, he ended up revealing a lot of truth. For starters, within ten minutes of my meeting him, he showed me his nipples (in order to display an old gunshot wound resulting from when Muslim terrorists seized the District Building in the ‘70s, and he caught a bullet in the chest). I was encouraged. In the profiler’s handbook, it clearly states that when a man insists you get eyeball-to-areola with him, there lies a man you can do business with.

Awesome. Do I even need to say, read the whole thing? Well, read the whole thing.