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Ed Driscoll

The New Puritans

“It’s not pretty, even if your credentials are impeccable,” Neo-Neocon writes:

John Christy, a professor of atmospheric science at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, says he remembers the morning he spotted a well-known colleague at a gathering of climate experts.

“I walked over and held out my hand to greet him,” Dr. Christy recalled. “He looked me in the eye, and he said, ‘No.’ I said, ‘Come on, shake hands with me.’ And he said, ‘No.’ ”

Neo adds, “It’s fortunate for Dr. Christy that burning at the stake has gone out of style.” But paradoxically amongst carbon-obsessed warmists, book-burning is making a rapid comeback, at least at San Jose State:

At speaking of the academic left believing that books have evil talismanic powers, Aaron Clarey spots a hilariously overblown reaction from a librarian who came across my February interview with Aaron on his then-new book Bachelor Pad Economics.

A hundred years ago, a central tenet of the left was “epater la bourgeoisie” — or shock the middle class. Apparently, they didn’t consider that their ideology would become so sclerotic and brittle that it would eventually transform them into a remarkably vapour-prone class of the bourgeois in constant search of the fainting couch. But then, as original Saturday Night Live writer Anne Beatts once said, you can only be avant-garde for so long before you come garde.

How Not to Promote Immigration Reform

July 15th, 2014 - 3:15 pm

“This CNN story makes it sound like Jose Antonio Vargas worked very hard to get arrested. Which I guess makes sense,” Mollie Hemingway tweeted earlier today. Jonathan S. Tobin of Commentary adds that Vargas isn’t helping his cause:

Today, America’s most prominent illegal immigrant arrived at the border between Mexico and the United States to demonstrate his solidarity with the tens of thousands of people streaming into the country without permission. But the stunt by which former journalist Jose Antonio Vargas got himself arrested did more to undermine support for immigration reform than to foster sympathy for the illegals.

Vargas became a national figure three years ago when the former Washington Post reporter outed himself in the New York Times as an illegal immigrant. Vargas came to the United States at 12 from the Philippines to live with his grandparents who were naturalized citizens. But he was brought here by a “coyote” without a legal visa and spent the rest of his life lying about his status and using fake documents. After graduating college he consulted an immigration lawyer who told him his only path to citizenship was to return to his home country, wait ten years and then apply to come back with permission. On the cusp of a successful career he refused and continued lying even as he was part of a Post team that won a Pulitzer. Eventually, he tired of the deceit as he continued to rise in mainstream journalism and decided to put himself forward as a symbol of the plight of the so-called “dreamers”—people who were brought to the country illegally as kids and who went on to make a contribution to society.

“Spent the rest of his life lying about his status and using fake documents.” Vargas will never make it as a leftwing journalist with those sorts of tactics.

Oh wait — let me check with Dan Rather, Matt Yglesias, and Touré on that last supposition and get back to you.

And I better run it past the president, and academia, just to make certain.

Privilege Checked

July 15th, 2014 - 10:34 am

America’s most visible illegal alien detained, Noah Rothman writes at Hot Air, sadly using an exquisitely PC term in his first sentence:

Jose Antonio Vargas, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and activist who favors of immigration reform, is also a proud undocumented immigrant. Born in the Philippines but raised in the United States from the age of 12, Vargas worked and lived in America for years where he advocated through his reporting the reformation of American immigration laws.

Last week, Vargas penned a report from Texas for Politico Magazine chronicling the plight of a person in his position – a man without documentation on the frontlines of an immigration crisis. He recently produced a pro-reform documentary entitled Documented, which is set to air on CNN. It is not unfair to say that Vargas may be the most successful and well-known illegal immigrant in the United States. Indeed, that is a status and a reputation that Vargas has cultivated through his prolific and exemplary work after he revealed his illegal status in 2011.

On Monday, armed with only his Filipino passport and a copy of the United States Constitution, he was detained by immigration authorities in a Texas airport and taken to a border patrol station for processing.

The enforcement of American immigration law immediately sent the left into fits of rage.

Of course — what doesn’t send the left into fits of rage these days? Particularly when, as Noah writes, Vargas’ privilege was finally checked.

Vargas is employing a variation on a tactic that put Michael Moore on the map with his first film, Roger & Me. Just as Moore had an on-camera interview in the can with then-GM CEO Roger Smith, but couldn’t show it, lest it ruin the theme of his documentary, there’s little doubt that working through channels, Vargas could easily obtain legal American citizenship — but chooses not to do so, in order to flaunt his victim status, so desirable amongst his fellow leftists these days. (QED.)

Rothman writes that “It is true that Vargas is far more American than he is Filipino.” It will be interesting to see if he’ll decide to now make the former status official, or continue to wallow in self-imposed victimhood as the world’s most documented “undocumented” immigrant.

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

“NYT Admits: ‘Somewhat Late’ on IRS Story, But Editor Swears ‘We’ve Paid Copious Attention.’”

—Headline, NewsBusters, yesterday.

“New York Times Maintains Blackout on Philadelphia Abortionist Gosnell’s Trial on Infanticide.”

—Headline, NewsBusters, April 15, 2013.

“Nothing Funny about New York Times Coverage of the Catholic Church.”

—Headline at NRO’s Corner blog, September 4, 2013.

Kate Zernike of the New York Times describes how tea-party activists explore “dusty bookshelves for long-dormant ideas” and study “once-obscure texts” by “long-dead authors.” She is of course referring to Friedrich Hayek, whose book The Road to Serfdom was excerpted in Reader’s Digest and never has been out of print, whose Nobel Prize for economics in 1974 celebrated the importance and mainstream acceptance of his thinking, and whose death in 1992 isn’t exactly ancient history. The article fails to illuminate tea-party philosophy and some of what it tries to say is bizarre. (Check out Zernike’s jaw-dropping attempt to define “the rule of law,” which is apparently a term she hadn’t heard until recently.) But it does serve the useful purpose of highlighting the biases and blinders of certain journalists.

“Obscurantism,” a post by John J. Miller at the Corner, October 3, 2010.

Or as Neo-Neocon wrote earlier this week on the NYT blackout of the IRS scandal, “what the Times is doing is ass-covering:”

They can’t think of a way to spin Obama’s abysmal failures any more (they do have certain standards, although those standards are pretty low), so they are silent.

They’re also very accustomed to setting the news agenda, and think they can get away with ignoring news they don’t like. That Times slogan “All the news that’s fit to print” takes on new meaning, doesn’t it? Up till now I’d always assumed they were conveying the idea that they cover the news thoroughly (they’d like us to think they cover it objectively, too, but that’s an absurdity). But did you ever wonder what sort of news isn’t “fit to print”? Why, it’s news that would hurt liberals and help conservatives, that’s what news. And it doesn’t matter if that news constitutes the biggest scandal since Watergate—potentially even bigger than Watergate.

The Gray Lady fancies itself a world-class newspaper, and a paper capable of covering all of America, but its output is as remarkably provincial as the worldview depicted in Saul Steinberg’s classic “View of the World from 9th Avenue” New Yorker cover from 1976. Which is exactly how Timesmen view middle America — just ask them.

But of course, all of this presumes that the Times, in classic Orwellian doublethink mode, still primarily considers itself a newspaper, and not a house organ for a political party.

Or to  put it another way, “Rush Limbaugh Was Right: For Liberals In And Out Of Media, It’s The Ideology, Stupid.”

Run Hard With This Campaign, Democrats

June 22nd, 2014 - 2:56 pm

Fanfare for the common man, 21st century style, as Democrats weep for the hardworking salt-of-the-earth chap who cheerfully runs the IRS while it upends the lives of millions of Americans and routinely “loses” its own documents. The above clip was apparently assembled by the Grabien video aggregation Website; as James Lileks joked to “Generalissimo” Duane Patterson during his weekly visit to Friday’s Hugh Hewitt “Aftershow,” “We give the RNSC some trouble, but that’s really the best ad that they’ve put out in a long time. Because here you have it: the Democrats set themselves up as the defenders of the IRS”:

Duane: Please, please run on that, Democrats. Please!

Lileks: Absolutely! Make that point clear to all. It’s almost as if their sympathy extends to this because [the IRS is] doing the Lord’s work – if there was such a thing – in that they are the ones who make it possible to take money from people, and give it to other people. And if a little shakes out for Congress in the meantime, just great. They are a force for good, because they are a force for spreadin’ the wealth around, they are a force for redistribution. And boy, they’ve lost aid, their budget has been cut, and they’ve lost employees – to which a lot of people have got to sit up straight and say, holy cow!

Duane: The sad part in this is that you’re just not funded enough.

Lileks: How are we going to run this country! How will we pay for everyone’s healthcare, if we don’t have sufficient IRS agents? Madness, this kind of sequestering! But at least we did learn one thing: If Lois Lerner is resigned to her computer being gone, I think we all can move on. if she’s made her piece with it, I think the rest of us can, too.

As Mary Katharine Ham adds at Hot Air, “Through every second of this montage, please remind yourself that these people fancy themselves anti-establishment. They are the fighters of the Man, the afflicters of the comfortable. Pathetic.”

Actually, I’m pretty sure that the left dropped that particular modified limited hangout right around January of 2009. These days, they’re simply in the business of the naked acquisition of as much power as possible, and don’t really care who knows it, as the above clip helpfully demonstrates. It also answers the observation on the IRS scandal raised by Megan McArdle at Bloomberg View, who writes, “I am inherently suspicious of any suggestion of a conspiracy, particularly one involving civil-service employees”:

Not because I think especially highly of civil servants, but because conspiracies are hard to get together, and hard to keep together — someone is likely to blab. Civil servants have a lot to lose by helping political appointees pursue their partisan agendas and no particular reason to be helpful. If it turns out that the IRS engaged in wrongful conduct, I will be inclined to credit complex sociology-of-organizations explanations (where everyone at the IRS shares an unspoken and perhaps unrecognized belief that people who campaign against taxation are clearly political ideologues, while people who campaign for more environmental spending are just swell, public-spirited folks trying to save the planet).

That culture, endemic in Washington and the pundit class that defends it, is vividly on display in the above clip, which will hopefully go into wide circulation in the coming weeks. C’mon E.J. Dionne of the Washington Postspread the news, far and wide!

Update: “On the IRS Emails, the Plot Thickens.”

You Can’t Always Get What You Want

June 16th, 2014 - 7:14 pm

An Alternet author has a sad because her local supermarket plays the Rolling Stones’ “Under My Thumb” in the background. Or as Matt Welch writes at Reason, “Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones, But the Rolling Stones Should Be Banned From Trader Joe’s!”

Today’s not-The-Onion headline comes from AlterNet:

Trader Joe’s NYC Store Defends ‘Racist, Sexist, and Misogynistic’ Songs on Playlist

Even after Elliot Rodger’s killing spree, Trader Joe’s manager says the store will keep playing a famous song that demeans women.

Even after Elliot Rodger’s killing spree! The nerve of these supermarket managers, not policing their Muzak to weed out songs that no one besides an AlterNet contributor could dream of linking to the Isla Vista massacre! Author Lynn Stuart Parramore goes on to describe her confrontation with store management over the misogynistic classic “Under My Thumb“:

Why should I have to hear about a guy comparing his girlfriend to a dog while I’m buying vegetables?

I decided to ask Trader Joe’s this question. Just so they would know I wasn’t making things up, I printed out the lyrics to “Under My Thumb” and brought them into the store with me. I was directed to a young man named Kyle Morrison at the manager’s station, to whom I explained in friendly terms that I was a frequent shopper and that I had heard a song playing over the sound system which, in the wake of the Elliot Rodger killing spree, made me feel uncomfortable. I told him the name of the song, and offered him the paper with the lyrics. [...]

Without looking at the page, Morrison’s first response was to tell me rather smugly that art was a matter of interpretation. I asked him to read the lyrics, and let me know how he interpreted them. He said he didn’t have time, so I read off a few for him.

“Do you think those lyrics are offensive to women?” I asked.

He looked uncomfortable. “It’s just like the radio in your car,” he argued. “There are all kinds of songs playing on different stations.” [...]

I did manage to reach Trader Joe’s customer service department and spoke to someone named “Nicki” (she refused to give her last name), who told me robotically that the music lists were set and Trader Joe’s would not change them.

“Even if they are offensive to women shopping in your stores?” I asked. “No one ever complains,” she said curtly. “I’m complaining,” I replied.

Why yes, Lynn, you are!

Misogyny being a regrettable part of life; romantic struggle being the single biggest subject of pop/rock music, and art being art, we will always have songs that fail the Parramore Test.

It’s nice to know that even as he’s a month away from turning 71 years old, Mick Jagger can still offend someone. But to understand how this moment came to be, return with us now to the not-so-thrilling days of 36 years ago, when supermarkets and retail stores still universally played easy listening instrumental Muzak in the background. When my father built his retail store in South Jersey in 1977 and installed an AM/FM receiver and overhead speakers in the customer portion of the store, one of my first questions about it went something like this:

ED JR.: Dad, can we put the radio in the store on WYSP or WMMR [then the two biggest rock stations in neighboring Philadelphia]?

ED SR.: No.

ED JR.: Aww, how come?

ED SR.: We’re going to play [whoever was the easy listening instrument station in Philadelphia.] Because the music isn’t for us. It’s for the customers.

Presumably, boomers with dads who owned businesses had conversations like that throughout the post-Beatles-era America, until one day, Dads got fed up enough to collectively give in, and said in unison, “Fine. Leave us alone — put whatever the hell you want on in the background if it’ll make you happy,” and the boomers won the argument.

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“Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.”
– H.L. Mencken.

At Reuters, film critic and journalist Neal Gabler is unhappy with entertainment of a different sort, dubbing the NFL the “Last sports bastion of white, male conservatives”:

But football’s appeal is more than demographics. The numbers reflect the values of white conservative males. No professional sport looks more overtly macho than the NFL, and none appears to take greater delight in violence — not even the National Hockey League, which has gone to great lengths to curb fisticuffs. The Michael Sam draft story revealed that none may be more homophobic. Where the National Basketball Association enthusiastically embraced Jason Collins when he announced he was gay, former Vikings punter Chris Kluwe has claimed that that he was released for advocating gay marriage and that his position coach made homophobic slurs. Then are the numerous player tweets against gays, as well as Miami Dolphin lineman and team captain Richie Incognito’s gay taunts against former teammate Jonathan Martin.

But the league’s appeal to entrenched conservative values goes deeper still — to the heart of the relationship between labor and capital. No other professional league seems to exhibit the indifference, even contempt, to its own players that the NFL does to its athletes — which is why the former players have filed their suit. The record of concussions and the use of painkillers demonstrate that to the NFL — and many of its fans — players are essentially expendable, interchangeable, to be used up and then discarded. The fact that football players have never established a powerful union, as baseball and basketball players have, only shows how much those players have drunk the league’s Kool Aid. The career of the average NFL player lasts scarcely three years, yet it is the only professional league that doesn’t have guaranteed contracts.

Still, the game’s soaring popularity may actually signal the potential waning of those values rather than their power. Just as baseball embedded itself into the national psyche because it captured a sense of the country and then hung on because it represented a pastoral oasis in a frightening new industrializing world, football embedded itself into the national psyche because it captured Ronald Reagan’s America, and it may be thriving among its core fans because it is a last redoubt of white male values now being threatened by changing national demographics and a more tolerant mindset.

It is hard to call a league as popular as the NFL an anachronism. But it just may be a place where rich old angry white men can enjoy their world on Sunday — even if that world may be crumbling around them.

Gosh.

There’s really only one thing to do — and it must be done now: “I agree, shut the whole thing down,” Glenn Reynolds jokingly quips, adding that the NBA should be shut down as well, to comply with MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry’s recent take that a professional sports league that routinely hands out seven and eight figure contracts to African Americans is a modern form of slavery.

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Post-Literary Traumatic Stress

May 17th, 2014 - 10:55 pm

The contradiction is fascinating: having completed, as Roger Kimball put it, the Long March through newsrooms and the entertainment world, in addition to academia, the result has been a forty year coarsening of the culture that’s apparent to everyone. Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction contains, according to one reviewer’s estimate, at least 69 uses of the N-word. My local 24 Hour Fitness routinely plays rap music on the gym Muzak system containing the N-word amidst an endless variety of crudely sexual and misogynistic “lyrics.” My local supermarket occasionally plays on their Muzak “Pump It Up,” Elvis Costello’s rockin’ ode to masturbation. In the 1950s, CBS insisted that Lucy and Desi slept in separate beds on I Love Lucy, and famously refused their use of the word “pregnant” on the air while Lucille Ball was very much pregnant. Today, the gang on CBS’s Two and a Half Men routinely engage in sexual romps and use sexual and scatological language that would have caused William S. Paley an aneurism.

This is the pop culture environment that we all live in, and it’s inescapable, whatever your age, and however much TV you consume. Turn off the TV and the radio, avoid the movie theater, and the stuff is pumped into your supermarket Muzak. If you have teenagers, they’ve been exposed to all of the above examples, and countless worse, long before they audit their first college course. Which makes a New York Times article headlined “Warning: The Literary Canon Could Make Students Squirm” all the more silly:

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — Should students about to read “The Great Gatsby” be forewarned about “a variety of scenes that reference gory, abusive and misogynistic violence,” as one Rutgers student proposed? Would any book that addresses racism — like “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” or “Things Fall Apart” — have to be preceded by a note of caution? Do sexual images from Greek mythology need to come with a viewer-beware label?

Colleges across the country this spring have been wrestling with student requests for what are known as “trigger warnings,” explicit alerts that the material they are about to read or see in a classroom might upset them or, as some students assert, cause symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder in victims of rape or in war veterans.

The warnings, which have their ideological roots in feminist thought, have gained the most traction at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where the student government formally called for them. But there have been similar requests from students at Oberlin College, Rutgers University, the University of Michigan, George Washington University and other schools.

The debate has left many academics fuming, saying that professors should be trusted to use common sense and that being provocative is part of their mandate. Trigger warnings, they say, suggest a certain fragility of mind that higher learning is meant to challenge, not embrace. The warnings have been widely debated in intellectual circles and largely criticized in opinion magazines, newspaper editorials and academic email lists.

Short of an Iranian-style cultural revolution, it’s virtually impossible to put the Genie back into the bottle, once a pop culture begins to coarsen. If Scott Fitzgerald can cause “symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder,” then every song on the radio and every TV show post-Beverly Hillbillies should be preceded by similar warnings.

As for “Trigger Warnings” on Fitzgerald and Twain, when supermarket muzak returns to 101 Strings-style easy listening arrangements, and the Hays Office reopens shop in Hollywood, then the idea of “Trigger Warnings” for literature might almost make sense. (Actually, it would be still be awfully silly.) But you can’t make it your ideology’s self-styled goal to loosen language and mores and then invent “Trigger Warnings” simply to find yet another excuse to avoid reading the works of Dead White European and American Males. Or if you do, don’t be surprised if your ideological opponents begin to adopt the idea to dilute and ameliorate your cultural forms of expression.

Related: “Dear Class of 2014: Thanks for Not Disinviting Me,” Stephen L. Carter, a Yale law professor writes at Bloomberg View:

The literary critic George Steiner, in a wonderful little book titled “Nostalgia for the Absolute,” long ago predicted this moment. We have an attraction, he contended, to higher truths that can sweep away complexity and nuance. We like systems that can explain everything. Intellectuals in the West are nostalgic for the tight grip religion once held on the Western imagination. They are attracted to modes of thought that are as comprehensive and authoritarian as the medieval church. You and your fellow students — and your professors as well; one mustn’t forget their role — are therefore to be congratulated for your involvement in the excellent work of bringing back the Middle Ages.

Or the culture of the Weimar Republic combined with the rigid intellectual conformity and race-obsessed tribalism of its immediate successor.

And don’t miss Mark Steyn on the cancellation of a Fargo first-grade class’s rendition of the Village People’s “YMCA” because of…

I don’t want to spoil it for you. Read the whole thing.

alec_baldwin_msnbc_parody_9-5-13-6

“Baldwin was arrested in Manhattan for riding his bike the wrong way down a street and for disorderly conduct, a law-enforcement official said,” Pervaiz Shallwani writes in the Wall Street Journal.

Commence schadenfreude overload on Twitter.

Alec Baldwin arrested for going the wrong way is the perfect metaphor of the man’s life. In no other profession can a man continually f***-up so badly and pocket millions, in-between sanctimonious calls for, as it was known for about five minutes on the left in early 2011, “the era of new civility,” (see headline above) while damaging so many around him.

More from the Journal:

Actor Alec Baldwin was arrested in Manhattan for riding his bike the wrong way down a street and for disorderly conduct, a law-enforcement official said.

Mr. Baldwin was allegedly riding his bicycle north on Fifth Avenue in the center of the street between 15th and 16th streets, the official said.

Officers approached Mr. Baldwin told him he “was riding his bicycle the wrong way,” an NYPD spokeswoman said.

Mr. Baldwin was not able to produce identification and “then he got belligerent and started to argue with the officers,” the spokeswoman said.

Jim Treacher has a photo of Baldwin’s latest run-in with authority atop his post at the Daily Caller:“Alec Baldwin? Belligerent? Toward women telling him what to do? More specifically, women of color?”

“That doesn’t sound right!”

Heh.

Oh, and past performance is no guarantee of future results:

“Alec Baldwin names Bill De Blasio as his pick for next New York City mayor, knocks Christine Quinn as ‘untrustworthy’”

— Headline, the New York Daily News, December 7th, 2012.

Flash-forward to today:

“New York City is a mismanaged carnival of stupidity that is desperate for revenue and anxious to criminalize behavior once thought benign.”

— Tweet from Baldwin (who apparently still hasn’t kept his many promises to quit Twitter), today.

Hey, nobody said it was easy being a small-government totalitarian leftist.

trek_facepalm_5-14-13

Or, Two NBCs in One!

The connection between slavery and fossil fuels, however, is more than metaphorical. Before the widespread use of fossil fuels, slaves were one of the main sources of energy (if not the main source) for societies stretching back millennia. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, nearly all energy to power societies flowed from the natural ecological cascade of sun and food: the farmhands in the fields, the animals under saddle, the burning of wood or grinding of a mill. A life of ceaseless exertion.

Let me pause here once again to be clear about what the point of this extended historical comparison is and is not. Comparisons to slavery are generally considered rhetorically out of bounds, and for good reason. We are walking on treacherous terrain. The point here is not to associate modern fossil fuel companies with the moral bankruptcy of the slaveholders of yore, or the politicians who defended slavery with those who defend fossil fuels today.

In fact, the parallel I want to highlight is between the opponents of slavery and the opponents of fossil fuels. Because the abolitionists were ultimately successful, it’s all too easy to lose sight of just how radical their demand was at the time: that some of the wealthiest people in the country would have to give up their wealth. That liquidation of private wealth is the only precedent for what today’s climate justice movement is rightly demanding: that trillions of dollars of fossil fuel stay in the ground. It is an audacious demand, and those making it should be clear-eyed about just what they’re asking. They should also recognize that, like the abolitionists of yore, their task may be as much instigation and disruption as it is persuasion. There is no way around conflict with this much money on the line, no available solution that makes everyone happy. No use trying to persuade people otherwise.

MSNBC talking head Chris Hayes in The Nation today. Link safe; goes to Twitchy, where Twitter users are wondering if Hayes was intoxicated from, presumably, non-petroleum-based spirits, when he wrote the above and Tweeted:

Wait’ll Chris discovers how his bosses make their money:

NASCAR has finalized the other half of its next long-term TV contract with NBC and severed future broadcast ties with ESPN and Turner Sports.

NBC and Fox will share rights to the Sprint Cup Series beginning with the 2015 season.

NBC and NASCAR agreed to a contract that runs from 2015-2024, but didn’t release financial terms of the deal.

NBC picks up the last 20 of a scheduled 36 points Sprint Cup races, and they could air Sunday afternoons as a lead-in to Sunday Night Football. Fox and NBC will share TV rights to the Nationwide Series, which has aired on ESPN since 2007 ABC and ESPN began a NASCAR deal in place of NBC.

— “NBC returns to NASCAR in deal that runs through 2024,” USA Today, July 23rd, 2013.

OK Chris, here’s your action plan. If indeed there are “parallels between the abolition of slavery and today’s climate fight,” then your mission is to barge into the NBC boardroom and convince them to drop NASCAR coverage. And the NFL — all those charter flights to the games, and the Goodyear Blimp circling around overhead at the stadium — those will have to be dropped from coverage. And no car chases in cop shows, unless it’s hot Prius on Prius action. And no stretch limos for NBC, CNBC and MSNBC execs and the on-air talent. No helicopters or jet flights for the news team.

Do all that, have NBC sign off on it, then get back to us. If you’re going to accuse your bosses of the moral equivalent of slavery (Because Al Gore took the moral equivalent of the Holocaust decades ago, I guess), you must force them to stop.

Do it for Gaia, man. Do it for Gaia.

On the other hand, somebody else at the Nation has a much better handle on things: “Let This Earth Day Be The Last:”

F*** Earth Day.

No, really. F*** Earth Day. Not the first one, forty-four years ago, the one of sepia-hued nostalgia, but everything the day has since come to be: the darkest, cruelest, most brutally self-satirizing spectacle of the year.

F*** it. Let it end here.

Works for me; as Kathy Shaidle joked when she forward the above link, “Iowahawk, is that you…?”

Related: “Hard. Core.”

More: Heh, indeed:

Update: “The message to the carbon industry seems to be: You are surrounded. Give up. Don’t make us shoot,” Byron York notes at the Washington Examiner, unpacking the violence lurking just underneath what York describes as Hayes’ “radical ‘climate justice’ manifesto.”

Which would perfectly square the circle, as it wasn’t that long ago that MSNBC was declaring violent metaphoric imagery as racist.

delingpole_eco_fascism_cover_3-18-14-2

“I’m not a scientist and actually given what I’ve seen of scientists in my experiences following the global warming scam, I’m glad I’m not a scientist because a lot of these guys are basically shysters and crooks. They’re not some kind of white-coated elite with a special hotline to the truth. In fact, they’re just ordinary guys and girls trying to earn a living like the rest of us but slightly more dodgily than the rest of us in the one or two egregious cases,” James Delingpole of Ricochet.com, the UK Spectator and the executive editor the newly launched Breitbart London tells me in our latest interview. And that’s one of the kinder things that the author of The Little Green Book of Eco-Fascism:  The Left’s Plan to Frighten Your Kids, Drive Up Energy Costs, and Hike Your Taxes has to say on the subject. He’ll also discuss:

● If Mark Steyn loses his lawsuit to Michael Mann, who gets the top bunk in their cell at the Global Warming Stalag, James or Mark?

● The concept of the “Friendly Lawsuit,” and how it helps to explain that the left is nothing but Potemkin Villages, all the way down.

● Prying open “The Drawbridge Effect” to see what’s inside Al Gore’s and Thomas Friedman’s mansions.

● How can the media alternately tell us the world is coming to an end in five years if we don’t radically change our lifestyles, then cheerfully promote high-carbon footprint pro sports, such as the NFL and NASCAR?

● What’s the background behind the big “Climategate” scandal of 2009, and where does it stand today?

● How James both discovered American politics while living in England and joined the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.

And much more. Click here to listen:

(more…)

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The other night, after staying up too late watching an episode of Rumbole of the Bailey on the Acorn channel on my Roku set-top box, I clicked over to the Vemo channel. Acorn is devoted to classic British TV series, such as the Poirot murder mysteries, Brideshead Revisited, Edward & Mrs. Simpson, and the aforementioned Rumbole, starring veteran British actor (and occasionally scenery devouring over-actor) Leo McKern in the eponymous role. Vevo is an entirely different channel, one that also has a large YouTube presence, as a repository for rock videos old and new. At the start of the week, while listening to Sirius-XM on headphones while working, I heard Aerosmith’s “Jaded” song from 2001 for the first time in ages, and Joe Perry’s riff, which sounds inspired by Jimmy Page’s sharp-suspended fourth riff on Led Zeppelin’s “Dancin’ Days” rapidly became an earwig, playing over and over in my head.

So I thought I’d check out the video for the song, since Vevo generally does a very good job with running the videos in HD with full-range audio. And really – who doesn’t conclude a segment from a 1978 Thames Television show about an aging British barrister by saying, “Well, now that I’ve seen Rumpole of the Bailey, it’s time for some classic Aerosmith!” But I’m me, and that’s how my brain works, after years of having been badly mutated through massive Chernobyl-level  overdoses of pop culture.

While Vevo’s clips are free to watch, they’re often preceded by commercials for various products that sponsors believe would be appropriate for a rock video audience. However, in this case, the video was not preceded by a commercial, but by a public service announcement (PSA) designed to encourage young people to stop smoking.

Through the use of the most disgusting imagery possible.

The PSA began with a young man entering a convenience store and asking for a pack of cigarettes. Plunking a five dollar bill and his ID on the counter, he asks the clerk, “This enough?” Whereupon the clerk says, “Nope, there’s one more thing I need” – and proceeds to rip the customer’s front teeth out with a pair of pliers.

As James Lileks would say, pure 100 proof nightmare fuel.

Once the pliers came out, I averted my eyes until Steve and Joe and the boys began playing. I understand that not everyone realizes that excessive smoking can have injurious effects on a person’s dentition — and that Seinfeld is no longer on the air to remind them of this fact. At which point the juxtaposition was grimly hilarious, considering that Steve Tyler and Joe Perry used wear T-shirts in their rock videos describing themselves as “the Toxic Twins” – by the late 1970s and early ‘80s, before they went through maximum-strength rehab, puffs from a Marlboro 100 were by far the healthiest thing they were putting into their bodies.

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ATTENTION INTERNET: THIS IS A QUADRUPLE FACEPALM ALERT. THIS IS NOT A DRILL. REPEAT, THIS IS NOT A DRILL — assuming Mother Jones’ story is accurate, of course:

Last week, the online dating site OkCupid switched up its homepage for Mozilla Firefox users. Upon opening the site, a message appeared encouraging members to curb their use of Firefox because the company’s new CEO, Brendan Eich, allegedly opposes equality for gay couples—specifically, he donated $1000 to the campaign for the anti-gay Proposition 8 in 2008. “We’ve devoted the last ten years to bringing people—all people—together,” the message read. “If individuals like Mr. Eich had their way, then roughly 8% of the relationships we’ve worked so hard to bring about would be illegal.” The company’s action went viral, and within a few days, Eich had resigned as CEO of Mozilla only weeks after taking up the post. On Thursday, OkCupid released a statement saying “We are pleased that OkCupid’s boycott has brought tremendous awareness to the critical matter of equal rights for all individuals and partnerships.”

But there’s a hitch: OkCupid’s co-founder and CEO Sam Yagan once donated to an anti-gay candidate. (Yagan is also CEO of Match.com.) Specifically, Yagan donated $500 to Rep. Chris Cannon (R-Utah) in 2004, reports Uncrunched. During his time as congressman from 1997 to 2009, Cannon voted for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, against a ban on sexual-orientation based job discrimination, and for prohibition of gay adoptions.

William A. Jacobson of the popular Legal Insurrection blog notes that Chuck Ross of the Daily Caller was the first to report on Yagan’s donations (Ross’s article is date-stamped last Thursday), and that Mother Jones failed to credit Ross for his detective work. In any case, as Jacobson adds, “So when does the boycott of OKCupid start?  After all, the people who took down Eich did so based on the, ahem, purest of principled judgments.”

See, that’s problem with breaking out the torches and attempting to imitate the crowd in a 1930s Universal horror film: you can very easily get scarred yourself by the blowback. It will quite interesting to see where both Firefox and OKCupid go from here, having both jumped off the cliff in short succession.

Exit quote:

Although the source of the quote is pretty rich, as that great philosopher Murray Slaughter once said of another journalist who frequently descended into madness, when an elephant flies, you don’t complain about how short the flight is.

Oh, and heh.

Related: The Rise of the Anti-Tech California Left.

As Always, Life Imitates Mark Steyn

April 3rd, 2014 - 3:32 pm

Mark Steyn, yesterday afternoon:

When I launched my legal offense fund for my big-picture free-speech pushback against an extremist Big Climate coterie that has bullied too many people for too long, a lot of people wrote to me and said, “I don’t want your crappy books and lousy CDs, Steyn. Why don’t you crowdsource this campaign? It’d be a lot easier.” And the reason I didn’t go to one of the big crowdsourcing sites is precisely because of what befell Mr and Mrs McAleer. Kathy Shaidle has been saying this about “the landlords of social media” for years — and years: “We don’t need another conservative website …with a faux-ballsy name like TakeThat!”; we need versions of YouTube and Blogger and now, apparently, Kickstarter. The Internet is built by people who are smart and savvy and “think outside the box” in technological terms – and on everything else are as conformist as the dreary obsolescent hacks at the dullest Gannett monodaily. And at some point or another, on abortion or “climate change” or Islamic imperialism, they’ll yank the rug out from under you to “enforce a culture of respect and consideration”. That’s why I’d rather go my own way. It’s hard work, and it’s certainly tough on my rather small staff. But it’s less frustrating than being told by CrowdSourcer.com that they’d like you to tone down your remarks on Michael Mann’s false claim to have been exonerated because the League of Climate Conformists is threatening to damn them as deniers.

~THE CONFORMISM OF COOL: As an example of the groupthink of the cutting edge of new media, consider an exception that proves the rule:

Mozilla CEO Resists Calls to Resign Amid Furor Over Anti-Gay Marriage Donation

The “anti-gay marriage donation” was $1,000 that Brendan Eich gave to California’s Proposition 8, which in November 2008 was approved by the same electorate that voted for President Obama and which banned same-sex marriage in the state – until the Supreme Court ruled that the voice of the people on this matter was “unconstitutional”. A five-year-old one-grand donation to a losing cause is apparently enough to render Mr Eich unfit for office at an American technology company. Because what matters in this brave new world is that everybody think alike – or at least pretend to. Invited to eat gay crow, Mozilla’s CEO is for the moment holding his own:

24 hours later, we now know how that played out: “Liberal Fascists Win Again: Firefox CEO Steps Down,” as spotted by Bryan Preston at the PJ Tatler.

Ace of Spades links to the sort of Stalinesque hate speech that caused all the trouble for Eich:

Moe Lane lists “Why I just dumped Firefox as a browser, and so should you. #uninstallfirefox.” And I can’t say I blame him at all; my first thought in response to Mozilla tossing Eich for doubleplusungood thoughtcrime was also to dump Firefox, but I’ve been using that browser for nearly a decade now, and several of its (now ironically named) open-source plugins make blogging and its ancillary functions easier — or in a few cases, doable at all.

But where to go? Internet Explorer? Bill Gates can sound like a cross between Margaret Sanger and Paul Ehrlich. Google Chrome? Google is, if anything, more politically correct in the Frankfurt School sense of the phrase than either company. As Mark noted, “The Internet is built by people who are smart and savvy and ‘think outside the box’ in technological terms — and on everything else are as conformist as the dreary obsolescent hacks at the dullest Gannett monodaily.”

Or toughest Soviet zampolit. But hey, these days, it’s the left that has the Juche; and they’re not afraid to use it.

Update: “Eich Is Out. So Is Tolerance,” Ryan T. Anderson writes at the Heritage Foundation’s Foundry blog:

Sure, the employees of Mozilla—which makes Firefox, the popular Internet browser— have the right to protest a CEO they dislike, for whatever reason. But are they treating their fellow citizens with whom they disagree civilly? Must every political disagreement be a capital case regarding the right to stand in civil society?

When Obama “evolved” on the issue just over a year ago, he insisted that the debate about marriage was legitimate. He said there are people of goodwill on both sides.

Supporters of marriage as we’ve always understood it (a male-female union) “are not coming at it from a mean-spirited perspective,” Obama explained. “They’re coming at it because they care about families.”

And “a bunch of ‘em are friends of mine,” the president added. “… you know, people who I deeply respect.”

Yet disrespect and intolerance seem increasingly to be the norm. For the forces that have worked for 20 years to redefine marriage to include same-sex unions, a principal strategy has been cultural intimidation—bullying others by threatening the stigma of being “haters” and “bigots.”

Exit quote from an otherwise rather PC guy:

The mob demands fresh scalps.

More: Binks at the Free Canuckistan blog assembles a list of alternative browsers, though I have one quick question: which one handles Java the best?

(Via 5F’F)

Two Weinsteins In One!

March 8th, 2014 - 3:44 pm

Past performance is no guarantee of future results:

“There’s no reason for us not to shoot here, except when you do the numbers here and when you do the numbers in New Orleans, it is much more attractive financially,” Weinstein said in the Q&A on Saturday.

He cited the example of “Southpaw,” directed by Antoine Fuqua and starring Jake Gyllenhaal, as project that could have shot in Los Angeles were it not for the generous tax incentives in the Big Easy.

But Weinstein said that Los Angeles and California “doesn’t even have to give the same discount” to remain competitive, noting the cost and hassle of having to locate actors and other talent in New Orleans is an added expense despite their generous tax incentives.

“Please, whatever you can go with the governor,” Weinstein said to Ziffren, a friend of California Gov. Jerry Brown. Brown has not said whether he would sign proposed legislation to expand the state’s incentive program.

—”Harvey Weinstein to California: Expand Production Tax Incentives, ‘Please,’” Variety.com, Saturday.

While we are on the subject of Piers Morgan, Harvey Weinstein was on his show last night, talking about his support for President Obama and the fund-raiser he held for him at his home last week. Weinstein echoed Warren Buffett’s call for the wealthy in the country to be taxed more — and said that he considers it an investment in the country, not an unfair burden.

—”Harvey Weinstein: I’ll Gladly Pay More Taxes,” Variety.com, August 7th, 2011.

Huh — I wonder what changed his mind on the topic. In order to keep Harvey’s standing amongst his fellow limousine leftists in Hollywood, we need to help him keep his original word and ask him to simultaneously fight against tax incentives for Hollywood studios, and additionally, to help campaign to repeal the Hollywood tax cuts. Not to mention help him to keep this promise as well.

Our Source was the New York Times

March 4th, 2014 - 12:33 am

What a difference a couple of decades make. Appearing in Sunday’s New York Times was the headline, “Democrats Try Wooing Ones Who Got Away: White Men”:

Frank Houston knows something about the longtime estrangement of white men from the Democratic Party. His family roots are in nearby Macomb County, the symbolic home of working-class Reagan Democrats who, distressed by economic and social tumult, decided a liberal Democratic Party had left them, not the other way around.

Mr. Houston grew up in the 1980s liking Ronald Reagan but idolizing Alex P. Keaton, the fictional Republican teenage son of former hippies who, played by Michael J. Fox on the television series “Family Ties,” comically captured the nation’s conservative shift. But over time, Mr. Houston left the Republican Party because “I started to realize that the party doesn’t represent the people I grew up with.”

Now, as chairman of the Democratic Party in Oakland County, Michigan’s second largest, Mr. Houston is finding out how difficult it can be to persuade other white men here to support Democrats, even among the 20 or so, mostly construction workers, who join him in a rotating poker game.

Mr. Houston is part of an internal debate at all levels of his party over how hard it should work to win over white men, especially working-class men without college degrees, at a time when Democrats are gaining support from growing numbers of female and minority voters.

It is a challenge that runs throughout the nation’s industrial heartland, in farm states and across the South, after a half-century of economic, demographic and cultural shifts that have reshaped the electorate. Even in places like Michigan, where it has been decades since union membership lists readily predicted Democratic votes, many in the party pay so little attention to white working-class men that it suggests they have effectively given up on converting them.

Starting of course with the man who publishes the Times himself. In 1992, New York Magazine reported:

Not long ago, Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., the 41-year old publisher of the New York Times, was greeting people at a party in the Metropolitan Museum when a dignified older man confronted him. He told Sulzberger that he was unhappy about the jazzy, irreverent new “Styles of the Times” Sunday section. “It’s very”—the man—paused—“un-Times-ian”

“Thank you,” New York Magazine quoted Sulzberger as replying, adding that the Times’ publisher “later told a crowd of people that alienating older white male readers means ‘we’re doing something right.’”

At least until the bill came due for such racialist thinking, which has since become near universal amongst Pinch’s fellow “liberals,” including elite Obama voters such as late screenwriter-director Nora Ephron, who wrote a piece for the Huffington Post on the 2008 election misanthropically titled “White Men,” in 2008, and the wall-to-wall racialism of today’s MSNBC. Or Timesman David Carr’s rant on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher in 2011, in which he vilified midwesterners as “the dance of the low-sloping foreheads” — all the more ironic given that Carr grew up in Minnesota.

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Our Long National Nightmare Will Soon Be Over

February 23rd, 2014 - 6:26 pm

“Piers Morgan and CNN Plan End to His Prime-Time Show,” David Carr reports at the New York Times:

There have been times when the CNN host Piers Morgan didn’t seem to like America very much — and American audiences have been more than willing to return the favor. Three years after taking over for Larry King, Mr. Morgan has seen the ratings for “Piers Morgan Live” hit some new lows, drawing a fraction of viewers compared with competitors at Fox News and MSNBC.

It’s been an unhappy collision between a British television personality who refuses to assimilate — the only football he cares about is round and his lectures on guns were rife with contempt — and a CNN audience that is intrinsically provincial.* After all, the people who tune into a cable news network are, by their nature, deeply interested in America.

Pro tip: When Timesman David Carr**, who sneers at midwesterners as “the dance of the low-sloping foreheads” calls you “rife with contempt,” you know you’ve overdone it. And now, fortunately, Morgan is done, at least as a regular CNN host:

CNN’s president, Jeffrey Zucker, has other problems, but none bigger than Mr. Morgan and his plum 9 p.m. time slot. Mr. Morgan said last week that he and Mr. Zucker had been talking about the show’s failure to connect and had decided to pull the plug, probably in March.

Crossing an ocean for a replacement for Larry King, who had ratings problems of his own near the end, was probably not a great idea to begin with. For a cable news station like CNN, major stories are like oxygen. When something important or scary happens in America, many of us have an immediate reflex to turn on CNN. When I find Mr. Morgan telling me what it all means, I have a similar reflex to dismiss what he is saying. It is difficult for him to speak credibly on significant American events because, after all, he just got here.

Americans will accept a talk show host who’s a blowhard (there’s a seven-letter word I’d rather use to describe Morgan, but I’d prefer to keep the language here family-friendly) if they think he’s one of them, or he’s looking out for them. Bill O’Reilly is a blowhard, but when his show debuted in the mid-to-late-1990s, there was nobody else on TV each night pushing back against leftwing sacred cows such as Charlie Rangel. Rush is a blowhard, but it’s done with a wink and a smile and a lot of humor, and he was the first national conservative radio host, who single-handedly revolutionized the industry. Olbermann and Colbert are blowhards, but their leftwing audiences knowingly accept them as satiric parodies of Rush and O’Reilly. Howard Stern is a blowhard, but his audience consists of horny 17 year old males, and men of all ages who wish to reconnect with that adolescent period of their lives. In all cases, the audience identifies on some level with these hosts as one of them.

But Morgan overtly went to war on a seemingly nightly basis with his potential audience (not to mention the American Constitution), and that’s a formula that’s doomed to fail. Particularly since Morgan was sold as the successor to a Larry King, a classic all-American regular guy everyman.

So where does Morgan go next? Hey, Martin Bashir is out of a job, too. Tag-team Brits sneering at middle-America? Some leftwing cable network has to give it a shot. What say you, Al Jazeera?

Exit tweet:

morgan_kelley_bring_it_2-23-14

Update: Harry Shearer tweets, “Piers Morgan ‘said his show, along with much of the rest of CNN, had been imprisoned by the news cycle’ Like ESPN is imprisoned by sports.” I remember the old days when CNN shaped and controlled the news cycle, they didn’t whine about being imprisoned by it. Now, that’s real progress, which I’ll happily accept.

* As Moe Lane notes, “The @nytimes has a somewhat provincial audience itself, methinks.” Which brings us to the worldview of the author of that particular phrase:

** As Christopher Caldwell wrote in the Weekly Standard in 2002, “At some point, Democrats became the party of small-town people who think they’re too big for their small towns.” Carr, who grew up in Minnetonka, Minnesota, could be the poster child for his thesis.

For a look at Morgan’s rather unsavory Fleet Street backstory, and how his decisions there could potentially impact his future endeavors, check out this post at a blog with a name that Morgan must truly loathe, WeaponsMan.com.

‘The Show That Got Away From Them’

December 19th, 2013 - 10:01 pm

Pat Archbold of the National Catholic Register has perhaps the best take on Duck Dynasty and the asymmetric blowback that A&E has created for itself:

This is what happened.  The whole idea of the show was to parade these nouveau riche Christian hillbillies around so that we could laugh at them. “Look at them,” we were supposed to say.  “Look how backward they are!  Look what they believe!  Can you believe they really live this way and believe this stuff?  See how they don’t fit in? HAHAHA”

When the producers saw the way the show was shaping up, different than they envisioned it, they tried to change course.  They tried to get the Robertson’s to tone down their Christianity, but to their eternal credit they refused.  They tried to add fake cussin’ to the show by inserting bleeps where no cussword was uttered.  At best, they wanted to make the Robertson’s look like crass buffoons. At worst they wanted them to look like hypocrites.

They desperately wanted us to laugh at the Robertsons.  Instead, we loved them.

A&E wanted us to point fingers at them and laugh at them.  But something else happened entirely.  Millions upon millions of people tuned in, not to laugh at them, but to laugh with them.

“It will be interesting to see whether A&E likes the money more than they hate the Christianity. I wouldn’t be surprised if the hate wins,” Archbold concludes. If so, it will be the very definition of a Pyrrhic victory for A&E, an increasingly Ancient and Extraneous network if it’s without the number one show it was lucky enough to stumble into in the first place.

Related thoughts from Roger L. Simon on “The PC Lynching of Phil Robertson.”

The Obligatory Duck Dynasty Post

December 19th, 2013 - 6:02 pm

First, the obligatory disclaimer: I don’t watch much in the way of reality TV. (Actually, these days, compared with my misspent OCD-meets-CRT youth, I don’t watch much TV at all.) Perhaps the most reality TV I’ve ever seen is Top Shot, because my wife used to occasionally watch it at night, and more recently, Car Chasers, which I’ve literally only seen — there’s a TV set in the gym that seems to be always be tuned to CNBC, and that show seems to always be on when I’m there at night on the treadmill that’s underneath that particular TV, so I’ve watched it with subtitles, but no sound. As I’ve mentioned before, increasingly I feel like my big band, Crosby and Sinatra-obsessed father after the Beatles arrived; for him mid-century pop culture sort cross-dissolved into nothingness during the period between 1963 through 1967. For me, with a few exceptions, increasingly, 9/11 seems to be the dividing line between tolerable and “What the…?” when it comes to popular entertainment.

But I do know that the A&E network, which began in the 1980s airing shows such as Biography, and assorted WWII-themed documentaries, ended up becoming far too dissipated by the end of the following decade, when it shuffled first their war-themed material off to the History channel, and then spun-off a separate Biography channel. They were extremely lucky to stumble onto a hit with the Duck Dynasty series.

If you need the back story on what the mess that the A&E created for themselves by placing series star Phil Robertson on “indefinite hiatus,” click over to Mary Katharine Ham at Hot Air, but right now, to paraphrase Pyrrhus of Epirus, one more victory like this, and A&E is doomed. Or actually, if A&E is victorious in permanently banishing Robertson to Siberia, the network could well be doomed.

But in sharp contradistinction, for Robertson, unlike in earlier decades, when television celebrities committed crimethink, there really is no Siberia. I think John Nolte is very much spot-on at Big Hollywood, when he writes that “For Duck Dynasty, Many Options Exist Outside Anti-Christian Hollywood:”

If the show survives, it will only grow in popularity with mainstream Americans. This shrill non-troversy is already upping the show’s profile and tens of millions of Christian conservatives in America are likely to now see “Duck Dynasty” as something even bigger than it was before. We all know in our hearts that, in the wolf’s clothing of tolerance, this attack on “Duck Dynasty” is in reality nothing less than an attack on us, our Christian faith, and who we are. So we now have a personal stake in the success of “Duck Dynasty” we did not have just 48 hours ago.

If, however, the show is cancelled and therefore driven out of Hollywood (no established Big Entertainment companies will dare pick it up), only Hollywood loses — and more than just millions of dollars.

To begin with, like James Bond, Harry Potter and Jack Ryan, “Duck Dynasty” is its own brand and franchise; a bona fide cultural phenomenon that doesn’t need A&E to survive. Moreover, Phil Robertson and his clan do not even need Hollywood to survive. Left-wing Hollywood no longer owns and can bottleneck distribution of content.

There is online streaming, the Internet, and a number of upstart cable networks that are not beholden to the New McCarthyism. Fox News, for instance.

Last week, millions upon millions of Americans would have followed “Duck Dynasty” anywhere the show decide to go, including online.

This week, that fact has only intensified.

Furthermore, any smart burgeoning Hollywood player looking to break out of the pack would be insane to not make “Duck Dynasty” the foundation of a new network.

Like Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ,” anti-Christian Hollywood has two options: it can either put its prejudices aside and get on board, or launch their own worst nightmare: Upstart competition.

Think Glenn Beck wouldn’t mind having Duck Dynasty as part of The Blaze subscription package? Or Roger Ailes have the show under the Fox News rubric to shore up an otherwise low-rated block in the Saturday or Sunday night schedule?

As for PC A&E, Ace writes that yes, the cable network “has the right to suspend Phil Robinson. A&E also has the right to stand up for a broad and generous principle of Freedom of Thought and Expression:”

Why does no one speak of that right? Sure, they have the right to act hostilely towards the spirit of the First Amendment and use coercive power to hammer people into only speaking the Officially Approved Institutional Corporate Slogans.

They also have the right to stick up for people’s right to dissent, to be “weird,” to have unpopular thoughts and heterodox beliefs. And as a media company, they really ought to have an interest in doing so.

Why does no one ever mention this? Why does no one ever push companies to recognize that right, rather than the other one?

It is well-conceded that an employer has the right to fire you for some heterodox belief or some oddball sexual habit, but an employer similarly has the right to foster an environment of self-expression and freedom, and yet no one seems to talk about a company’s capacity to be a Good Actor in the realm of free expression.

There should be pushback against this idea that of course the people with direct authority over us — our employers — can and should fire us or otherwise inflict serious economic consequences of it for daring to live as Free Americans.

This is obvious, but apparently it’s not obvious enough: We do not need a freedom to express popular or polite thought. Thoughts which are popular and polite (and approved by the state and its supporting institutions) have never been in jeopardy.

Not even in Nazi Germany. The popular, state-approved thought — that Hitler would bring “Greater Germany” (i.e., Nazi-dominated Europe) back to greatness — was never forbidden by the Nazis.

Unpopular thoughts were threatened– such as anti-Naziism.

See also, definition of the gleichschaltung, which brings new meaning to the old Saturday Night Live joke from the early 1990s, when the original A&E network still showed loads of World War II documentaries, and Mike Myers’ character on “Wayne’s World” dubbed the channel the Aryan Entertainment network.

When even USA Today has a column titled “A&E fowls up ‘Duck’ flap: The ‘tolerance’ society demands from Christians really is silent compliance,” you know the network has likely gone too far.

So what happens next?

Update: At Twitchy, “‘Duck Dynasty’s’ Korie Robertson announces family’s statement on suspension; ‘We cannot imagine the show going forward without our patriarch.’” Or as one person tweets, “Your move, A&E.”

Plus: “Camille Paglia: Our PC nation has become ‘utterly fascist and utterly Stalinist.’”

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Except when it is:

“FDR’s policies prolonged Depression by 7 years, UCLA economists calculate.”

— Headline, UCLA Newsroom, August 10, 2004.

time_obama_fdr_12-24-2008-3

— All hail the second coming of FDR and his “New New Deal,” Time-Warner-CNN-HBO, November 24, 2008.

Flash-forward to today. Speaking with former Bill Clinton advisor George Stephanopoulos, “Former Obama senior adviser and ABC News contributor David Plouffe said on ‘This Week’ Sunday that the Affordable Care Act will ‘work really well’ when all states run their own health care exchanges and fully expand Medicaid – actions that may not be seen until President Obama is out of office in 2017.”

“David Plouffe: Obamacare Will ‘Work Really Well’ By 2017,” ABC News, today. (Warning, annoying auto-play video of Plouffe and Stephanopoulos at link. Prepare your speakers and sanity appropriately.)

Is it too late to call Obamacare its namesake’s protracted and insoluble quagmire? Not by the MSM’s rulebook it isn’t.

And I wonder, still I wonder, who’ll stop the Obamacare pain.