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BEN SHAPIRO: No, Star Wars Isn’t Failing Because Of Hateful Trolls. It’s Failing Because Kathleen Kennedy Has Done A Garbage Job.

As Ace of Spades writes, “I do not expect Star Wars fans will enjoy being called sexist, racist, backwards and deserving of eternal defeat from the company that hopes to sell them tickets in the future. Hey bigots, racists, sexists and manbabies, buy tickets for our movies or else.”

Get woke, go broke. Insulting the audience worked out just swell for both Lady Ghostbusters – and Lady Clinton.

ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS NO ONE IS ASKING: “Why Gender-Swapped ‘Ocean’s 8’ Has Avoided the ‘Ghostbusters’ Trolls,” asks the Hollywood Reporter, smugly dismissing half of the industry’s potential domestic audience as being insufficiently woke “trolls.”

Perhaps because unlike Lady Ghostbusters, which seen as an oncoming train wreck long before it hit the screens, Ocean’s 8 is getting surprisingly good early reviews.

Update: Sonny Bunch, who also gave Ocean’s 8 a positive review (“the best date movie of the summer”) at the Washington Free Beacon tweets in response to the Hollywood Reporter’s headline, “Because a) the movie was good, 2) the director didn’t go out of his way to antagonize fans, and d) the new Ocean’s movie felt like an Ocean’s movie while 2016 Ghostbusters felt nothing like either of the Ghostbusters films that came before it.”

FLASHBACK: How the White House Correspondents’ Dinner Gave Us the Trump Campaign.

On the night of the dinner, Trump took his seat at the center of the ballroom, perfectly situated so that all 2,500 lawmakers, movie stars, journalists, and politicos in attendance could see him….But as soon as the plates were cleared and the program began, it became agonizingly clear that Trump was not royalty in this room: He was the court jester.

The president used his speech to pummel Trump with one punchline after another…When host Seth Meyers took the mic, he piled on with his own rat-a-tat of jokes, many of which seemed designed deliberately to inflame Trump’s outer-borough insecurities: “His whole life is models and gold leaf and marble columns, but he still sounds like a know-it-all down at the OTB.”

The longer the night went on, the more conspicuous Trump’s glower became. He didn’t offer a self-deprecating chuckle, or wave warmly at the cameras, or smile with the practiced good humor of the aristocrats and A-listers who know they must never allow themselves to appear threatened by a joke at their expense. Instead, Trump just sat there, stone-faced, stunned, simmering — Carrie at the prom covered in pig’s blood.

Choose the form of your destructor.

IS THE LAST JEDI UNDERPERFORMING? Is There a Backlash Against It?

Only Harrison Ford’s surprisingly charismatic performance made The Force Awakens watchable, and (spoiler alert!) his character was killed off two-thirds of the way through, Ben Kenobi-style. Rogue One seemed like much ado about nothing, and had few sympathetic characters. When the bad guys, a CGI Peter Cushing and Ben Mendelsohn’s beleaguered bureaucrat Orson Krennic were the most interesting characters in a movie, something has gone wrong in the writing and/or casting. That coupled with the ewok-esque Porg in the The Last Jedi trailer and all the Lady Ghostbusters-esque feminist hot takes circulating on its opening weekend did not give me the urge to rush and be first in line to see it. Not to mention its ever-dropping fan-to-critics ratio at Rotten Tomatoes. How about you?

MATTHEW CONTINETTI: Pop Goes the Liberal Media Bubble: Trump drives the mainstream media to abandon the pretense of objectivity.

For years, reporters were content to obscure their ideological dogmas and partisan goals behind the pretense of objectivity and detachment. Though the Washington Post, New York Times, and CNN practiced combat journalism against conservatives and Republicans, they did so while aspiring to professional standards of facticity and fairness, and applying, every now and then, scrutiny to liberals and Democrats worthy of investigation.

Donald Trump changed that, of course. He is so unusual a figure, and his behavior so outlandish, that his rise precipitated a crisis in a profession already decimated by the collapse of print circulation and advertising dollars. The forces that brought Trump to power are alien to the experience of the men and women who populate newsrooms, his supporters unlike their colleagues, friends, and neighbors, his agenda anathema to the catechism of social liberalism, his career and business empire complex and murky and sensational. Little surprise that journalists reacted to his election with a combination of panic, fear, disgust, fascination, exhilaration, and the self-affirming belief that they remain the last line of defense against an emerging American autocracy. Who has time for dispassionate analysis, for methodical research and reporting, when the president’s very being is an assault on one’s conception of self, when nothing less than the future of the country is at stake? Especially when the depletion of veteran editors, the relative youth and inexperience of political and congressional reporters, and the proliferation of social media, with its hot takes and quips, its groupthink and instant gratification, makes the transition from inquiry to indignation all too easy. . . .

Supposedly authoritative news organizations have in one case taken up bizarre mottoes, like “Democracy Dies In Darkness,” and in another acted passive-aggressively by filing Trump stories under “entertainment,” only to re-categorize the material as news with the disclaimer (since dropped) that Trump is “a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist, and birther.” The mode of knee-jerk disgust not only prevents the mainstream media from distinguishing between the genuinely interesting stories and the false, partisan, and hackwork ones. It also has had the effect of further marginalizing print and broadcast journalists from middle America.

Choose the form of your destructor!

THE MEDIA IS TRUMP’S EVIL EMPIRE: “The media has become for the right what the Soviet Union was during the Cold War — a common, unifying adversary of overwhelming importance. Before the fall of the Berlin Wall, religious conservatives and libertarians could agree that, whatever their other differences, godless communism had to be resisted. This commitment was the glue of the GOP coalition, and the basic price of admission to conservatism. Now, a policy of containment, preferably rollback, of the mainstream media occupies that central role….To put it in terms of the famous Isaiah Berlin essay, the fox knows many things; the hedgehog knows one thing — CNN sucks.”

Choose the form of your destructor.

HILLARY CLINTON POLITICIZES WONDER WOMAN, SAYING SHE RELATES TO ‘STRONG WOMAN SAVING WORLD FROM DISASTER:’

“Now I haven’t seen Wonder Woman yet, but I’m going to, in part because it’s directed by the fabulous Patty Jenkins.

“But something tells me that a movie about a strong, powerful woman fighting to save the world from a massive international disaster is right up my alley.”

A source at Warner Brothers, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Heat Street: “It’s great that Hillary Clinton will see the movie but her remarks aren’t particularly helpful and our publicity team certainly won’t be spreading them about.

“Wonder Woman doesn’t need Hillary Clinton’s endorsement—it will make $250 million by the end of this week. We’re anxious to keep  politics out of Wonder Woman any way we can.

Translation: STFU Hillary – everyone at Time-Warner-CNN-HBO will vote for you if you run again, but in the meantime, we really don’t want the hyper-politicized debacle that sank Columbia’s Lady Ghostbusters last year. Please.

THERE IS ONLY ZUUL: Spiky Ankylosaurus Looks Like Monster from ‘Ghostbusters’

VIVE LA RÉSISTANCE! A San Francisco Chronicle Columnist’s Plaintive Cry For Help.

Alternate description: DNC-MSM operative with byline who dubbed Chicago machine hack presidential candidate “a Lightworker, that rare kind of attuned being who has the ability to lead us not merely to new foreign policies or health care plans or whatnot, but who can actually help usher in a new way of being on the planet, of relating and connecting and engaging with this bizarre earthly experiment” not enjoying the Trump era very much.

Cross-reference additionally with (A) Dictionary definition of Schadenfreude. And (B) Dictionary definition of the Destructor.

NOSTALGIA FOR THE DAYS OF MASS MEDIA: Television’s Anniversary Frenzy — After the success of O.J. Simpson shows, TV producers comb history for material; L.A. riots, death of Princess Diana, Monica Lewinsky scandal set for big play.

No wonder TV is obsessed with nineties nostalgia; it was the last time America had anything approaching a unified culture, before the World Wide Web dramatically accelerated what Alvin Toffler dubbed the “demassification” of media in his 1980 book, The Third Wave. (And subsequently gave rise to social media, which quickly became a weaponized platform with the Two-Minute Hate of the day.)

It’s TV’s equivalent of the movie industry glomming onto mass media-era franchises such as Batman, Star Wars, Star Trek, and James Bond, to keep an otherwise splintered audience returning to theaters to reduce the crapshoot odds of movies that each costs hundreds of millions of dollars to make. (And why Sony’s alienating huge swatches of potential moviegoers by trolling them during the rollout of Lady Ghostbusters was so stupid.)

Of course, these days, it isn’t only the Web that’s fracturing American culture.

NBC BECAME TRAPPED IN A TEMPORAL CAUSALITY LOOP SO SLOWLY, I HARDLY EVEN NOTICED! In his post titled “Trump Isn’t Intimidated, Either,” Power Line’s John Hinderaker links to an AP story headlined “NBC chief to Trump: We won’t be intimidated,” and notes:

The sickness at NBC and other liberal outlets has nothing to do with over-reliance on polls.

[NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack] said NBC needs more reporters along the likes of Hallie Jackson, Katy Tur, Kasie Hunt and Kristen Welker working in the states where Trump won, and promised the network would be able to afford them.

The implication is that NBC needs to learn more about, and devote more coverage to, the pro-Trump states. That is interesting, since Trump carried 30 out of 50 states. I don’t know whether reporters like Jackson, Tur, Hunt and Welker are up to the task or not. My sense is that if they were deployed to the red states, they would need a compass and safari gear.

We’ve been here before with NBC, haven’t we? Yes we have:

Back in late 2004, Rush Limbaugh had lots of fun playing an interview that Tina Brown (now editor of Newsweek) had on her little-seen CNBC show with David Westin, then the president of ABC News, who said that the media needed to send the equivalent of foreign correspondents to the Red States, to witness firsthand how these strange people in the hinterlands live out their exotic day-to-day existences, and why they rejected the suave and debonair John Kerry for that hayseed George W. Bush:

WESTIN: I think we don’t do that enough, and I’m not just talking religious communities. I’m talking all sorts of communities across the country. I think that… You understand this, Tina, living in New York or in Los Angeles, we have busy jobs. We go into the office every day. We tend to socialize with the same people, or the same types of people, and I think it’s terribly important for journalists to get out whether it’s overseas or domestically and try to understand.

As Rush quipped, paraphrasing Westin, “We need more foreign correspondents in Alabama! We need more foreign correspondents north of Palm Beach County in Florida! We need embeds to go to church, find out what’s going on with these holy rollers! Ah, folks, you can’t know how much I love this.”

Also in November of 2004 after the election was concluded, when Brian Williams replaced Tom Brokaw, then-NBC president Jeff Zucker attempted to sell Williams to the public, by proclaiming to USA Today that “No one understands this NASCAR nation more than Brian.”

Actually, there was an employee on salary at NBC back then who happened to understand this NASCAR nation much more than Brian Williams. However, while Brian has moved from the NBC nightly anchor chair to downmarket MSNBC, this other NBC vet has also moved — from midtown Manhattan to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Naturally, NBC is at war with him, rather than understand what made him so appealing. Perhaps one of the reasons why Trump isn’t intimidated by the DNC-MSM is that he knows they won’t be learning from their past mistakes anytime soon. As another group of ex-NBC vets would say, choose the form of your Destructor.

CHRISTIAN TOTO: Bushwick Trashes Southerners as Racist Killers.

The thriller, which enjoyed a cushy spot in the current Sundance Film Festival lineup, leans on the notion that Texans want to secede from the country. That’s so 2016.

Today, it’s Californians who crave just that following the improbable Election Day victory of Donald Trump. Haven’t you heard of Calexit?

The film doesn’t just miss the cultural mood, though. It’s yet another cheap shot at southern America. “Bushwick,” according to early reports, paints the secessionist movement as racist, violent and willing to indiscriminately kill anyone who doesn’t believe in their cause.

Maybe the best thing you could say is that at least it isn’t another reboot, superhero origin story, or Lady Ghostbusters.

BRENDAN O’NEILL: Why are people so terrified of Milo Yiannopoulos’s book?

The response to Milo Yiannopoulos getting a big-bucks book deal with Simon & Schuster has been nuts. Even by today’s standards. The cry has gone up that S&S — or SS, amirite? — is endangering the wellbeing of women and gays and blacks and other minorities that have felt the sting of Milo’s camp polemics. Please. It’s a book, not a bomb. It’s words, sentences, ideas, not fire and pogroms. Everyone needs to calm down.

Milo is the Breitbart editor turned darling of the agitated, anti-PC right, given to manicured fuming against feminism, Islam, censorious students, ‘Black Lives Matter’ and other things that apparently threaten Western civilisation. When it was revealed that Simon & Schuster would be publishing his first book in March, and that it is called ‘Dangerous’, and that Milo has been remunerated very handsomely indeed for it, Twitter went epileptic; snowflakes melted; literary doyens called for a boycott.

The New Yorker went full haughty, calling on its readers to protest ‘vociferously’ against S&S, ‘in emails, letters, tweets, phone calls — you name it’. The publishing house should be made to ‘answer for the harm it condones through [this] decision’, it said, as if S&S were making landmines rather than bits of paper with words on them. Leslie Jones, the Ghostbusters actress subjected to vile racist abuse by alt-right morons on Twitter, said S&S is helping the alt-right to ‘spread their hate’. S&S-published author Karen Hunter said she was rethinking her relationship with the publishing house.

Most perversely, the Chicago Review of Books said it would not review any S&S books through the whole of 2017, in protest against what its editor, Adam Morgan, calls the ‘deadly consequences’ of Milo-style ‘hate speech’. Morgan says rhetoric like Milo’s, whether on race or transgenderism, has ‘real-world consequences’ — it nurtures violence. ‘It arguably encourages people such as Omar Mateen [the Florida nightclub shooter] and Dylann Roof [the Charleston Church shooter] to think of entire groups of people as less than human,’ he says. In short, publish Milo’s book and people will die. This is bonkers, and indistinguishable from the fuming of pointy-hatted policers of heresy in the past, who likewise feared that certain ideas, certain words, might warp minds and destroy souls.

Ultimately, this is about status anxiety. If they can’t silence and marginalize people, what have they got left?

But they’re not doing a very good job of silencing and marginalizing Milo.

WASHINGTON FREE BEACON: 2016 Man Of The Year: American Men.

In the year 2016, men did so much winning they were dangerously close to getting sick from it. First, men handed the keys to the Oval Office to one Donald Trump, preserving a glass ceiling established by their patriarchal forebears in 1776. Despite dire warning that “Women are defeating Donald Trump,” and political maps showing “Crooked” Hillary Clinton winning 458 electoral votes in an all-female electorate, the votes of men ended up proving decisive and a much better barometer for the final election results. An all-male electorate would have given Donald Trump 350 electoral votes—he ended up winning 306.

Even in defeat, men managed to win consolation prizes. Men were so accustomed to winning that the Clinton campaign paid them more than female staffers, as the Washington Free Beacon reported last year.

Heh. Then there’s the lady Ghostbusters. . . .

KELLYANNE CONWAY’S BRUTAL RESPONSE TO WHETHER SHE’LL HAVE TIME TO BE SPECIAL COUNSELOR TO PRESIDENT TRUMP:

“It’s funny, we were talking with Juan Williams earlier, and he was questioning, ‘well, Kellyanne has four kids. How’s she going to do it?’” noted Bartiromo. “He got creamed on Twitter… Why? A woman with four kids can’t do it, but a man can? So what that she’s going to be working 24/7?”

“Well, I would just tell everyone not to go after Juan because I don’t want him to be creamed,” Conway stated. “But I would say that I don’t play golf, and I don’t have a mistress so I have a lot of time that a lot of these other men don’t.”

Choose the form of your destructor…

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CHOOSE THE FORM OF YOUR DESTRUCTOR:

Announcer: It’s time for “The Franken & Davis Show”, starring Al Franken and Tom Davis. And now, here’s Al and Tom!

[ dissolve to Al and Tom standing on stage ]

Al Franken: Thank you, thank you! Good evening, ladies and gentlemen! It’s GREAT to be back!

Tom Davis: That’s right. And, tonight, we’d like to stick our necks out a little bit on national television, and call for a violent overthrow of the United States government! [ he bows, as the audience applauds ]

Al Franken: Thank you! Thank you! You see, besides being a professional comedy team, Tom and I are international Communist revolutionaries… and we believe that nothing can really be changed in this country, through the Democratic process! [ brief applause ] Oh, thank you! We’re glad a lot of you feel that way!

—Excerpt from the “Franken & Davis Show” sketch on the October 21st, 1978 episode of Saturday Night Live.

But these were suddenly unfunny days. A shellshocked aura was cast over Capitol Hill, particularly among Democrats. I went to see Franken in his Senate office on a rainy Tuesday as lawmakers were trickling back to town after Thanksgiving. They convened in caucus meetings and hallway quorums that became commiseration sessions. Since Nov. 8, Washington has felt like a fortressed village bracing for a guerrilla invasion.

—“Al Franken Faces Donald Trump and the Next Four Years,” the New York Times, today. (Don’t miss the Schadenfreudelicious photo atop the article.)

Franken was a longtime cog in the machine that SNL creator-producer Lorne Michaels built that utterly changed the tone of NBC and much of old media as well, which created the all-snark-all-the-time response towards what the DNC-MSM contemptuously dubbed “flyover country.” I wonder if either man feels any guilt over the rise of the Trump?

Nahhh.

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ANALYSIS: TRUE. Sexism Didn’t Defeat Hillary: It Was Her Only Chance of Winning.

The Left is trying to find a plausible excuse for Hillary Clinton’s historic loss to Donald Trump. In addition to racism, one common excuse is sexism, the theory that Americans are too misogynistic to put a woman in the White House.

As with many popular myths, this one’s already been scrutinized and the results aren’t what progressives would prefer. Unhappily for the Left, Americans, at least in their voting habits, are about as even-handed as we could ask. That doesn’t mean there wasn’t a measure of sexism in the election — there may have been, but not the kind the Left imagines.

Back in 1997, three scholars, Richard Seltzer, Jody Newman and Melissa Voorhees Leighton examined every state legislative race from 1986 to 1994 and every governor’s race, U.S. House race and U.S. Senate race from 1972 to 1994. Combined, they analyzed almost 62,000 candidates. They divided the races into three categories: Male incumbents vs. female challengers, female incumbents vs. male challengers and male non-incumbents vs. female non-incumbents.

The results were unambiguous: When women run, women win just as often as men do.

Hillary’s campaign was the Ghostbusters reboot of politics: A second-rate product you were told you had to love, or be considered sexist.

HEH: Hillary Clinton Was The Lady Ghostbusters Of Presidential Candidates.

As they said in the earlier, funnier, original Ghostbusters, choose the form of your destructor.

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THE LATEST PHOTO-INTENSIVE BLOG POST AT MATTE SHOT IS NOW ONLINE: Urban Landscapes — The Matte Painter’s Concrete Jungle Part One, with before and after shots of King Kong, Citizen Kane, The Fountainhead, Hitchcock’s Frenzy, Blade Runner, Michael Radford’s film version of 1984, Ghostbusters, Rain Man, Batman Returns, and many more.

LONDON DAILY MAIL HEADLINE MISSED IT BY THAT MUCH: Morning show Halloween battle: Today crushes it as they relive the 90s while Good Morning America does a Ghostbusters and Pokemon mash-up — and George Stephanopoulos refuses to wear a costume.

Sure he’s wearing a costume – George pretends to be an objective journalist every morning on ABC.

WHO YOU GONNA CALL? The Granbury Ghost and Legends Tour wisely kept a member of Ghostbusters’ Texas Division on call today, just in case.

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Click to enlarge.

 

NEW YORK MAGAZINE GETS THE VAPORS: What It’s Like to Be a Female Reporter Covering Donald Trump:

Trump may not be overtly sexist at his rallies, but his supporters often fill in the gaps he leaves for them. And they’re particularly virulent when it comes to his opponent. Bumper stickers that read, “Trump that bitch,” and T-shirts that say, “Hillary sucks, but not like Monica,” are available outside his rallies, and when Jezebel’s Anna Merlan told one vendor she wasn’t comfortable with women being called bitches, he replied, “This one it’s alright; she’s done more dirty than any normal woman.”

“I think you don’t realize the emotional cost of every single day, twice a day, being in rooms where the norm has become people shouting out, ‘Hang the bitch,’ ‘Kill her,’ ‘Cunt,’” the second reporter said. “You shouldn’t be at the point where you hear ‘Cunt’ and you think, Oh, they’re angry at Hillary, or you hear ‘Bitch,’ and you’re like, Oh, they’re talking about our former secretary of State.”

Yes, how dare everyday GOP voters talk about Hillary Clinton the same way that Democrats talked about Sarah Palin in 2008! Not to mention, how Democrats talked about Hillary herself in 2008! (Not least of which, in Obama’s former church.) How dare they use language that can be found in massive amounts of Hollywood movies, cable TV series and rap records. The left spent a half century coarsening the culture, and now wonders why the peasants are so revolting – but they chose the form of their destructor quite a long time ago.

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CHOOSE THE FORM OF YOUR DESTRUCTOR: CNN Says Trump Bashing the Media Is ‘Like’ Saddam Hussein Destroying Democracy:

Banfield played a clip of Trump’s September 14 rally in New Hampshire where the GOP nominee joked that the press was stuck on a plane. From the dais Trump told the crowd, “I have really good news for you, I just heard that the press is stuck on their airplane, they can’t get here. I love it.”

Trump then informed his audience the press wanted him to delay the start of the rally so they had time to get to the venue. Naturally he refused to put off the rally just to satisfy the press.

This was all just too much to take for CNN host Ashleigh Banfield.

Sporting a look of concern, Banfield gazed into the camera and asked plaintively, “Why so much cheering?” She then said of the excited Trump supporters heard on the video clip, “Do people not realize, or are they forgetting the other critical element of it, either you have a media, or you have what I witnessed in Saddam’s era, and the Libyan’s era, where you never got to actually call yourself press or you’d go to jail for it.”

Banfield essentially insisted that if you criticize a biased press you are necessarily imposing a Saddam-like tyranny on America.

Gee, you mean the Saddam Hussein that former CNN president Eason Jordan admitted in April of 2003 that CNN was in bed with so that it could have “Live from Baghdad” appear on its Chyrons? The Saddam Hussein who when asked in 2000 if he could be described as evil, CNN founder Ted Turner replied, “I’m not sure that I know enough to be able to answer that question,” as quoted by Ken Auletta of the New Yorker?

And since when did CNN ever worry about fighting tyranny in the world, let alone America? From Saddam to Castro to Kim Jong Il, there aren’t many dictators whom CNN hasn’t gushed over.

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JAKE TAPPER: THAT TRUMP PRESS CONFERENCE WAS A “POLITICAL RICKROLL.”

As John Hinderaker adds at Power Line, “What’s funny about this is that reporters were done in by their own partisan obsession with ‘birtherism,’ the now-discredited suspicion that Obama was telling the truth when he claimed for many years to have been born in Kenya. Trump’s tweet said not a word about it, but reporters let wishful thinking get the better of them. To be fair, it isn’t difficult to outsmart most reporters. But it is still fun to see it done in such epic fashion.”

Indeed.™ The DNC-MSM created our current troll-in-chief in 2008. And they’ve chosen the form of their destructor in 2016.

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VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: Obama’s Legacy: The Rise Of Donald Trump.

Without policy achievements to hang his hat on, Obama’s rhetoric will be how he’s remembered – and the results have been ugly. On his recent Asian tour, President Obama characterized his fellow Americans (the most productive workers in the world) as “lazy.” In fact, he went on to deride Americans for a list of supposed transgressions ranging from the Vietnam War to environmental desecration to the 19th century treatment of Native Americans. “If you’re in the United States,” the president said, “sometimes you can feel lazy and think we’re so big we don’t have to really know anything about other people.”

The attack on supposedly insular Americans was somewhat bizarre, given that Obama himself knows no foreign languages. He often seems confused about even basic world geography. (His birthplace of Hawaii is not “Asia,” Austrians do not speak “Austrian,” and the Falkland Islands are not the Maldives).

Obama’s sense of history is equally weak. Contrary to his past remarks, the Islamic world did not spark either the Western Renaissance or the Enlightenment. Cordoba was not, as he once suggested, an Islamic center of “tolerance” during the Spanish Inquisition; in fact, its Muslim population had been expelled during the early Reconquista over two centuries earlier.

In another eerie ditto of his infamous 2008 attack on the supposedly intolerant Pennsylvania “clingers,” Obama returned to his theme that ignorant Americans “typically” become xenophobic and racist: “Typically, when people feel stressed, they turn on others who don’t look like them.” (“Typically” is not a good Obama word to use in the context of racial relations, since he once dubbed his own grandmother a “typical white person.”) Too often Obama has gratuitously aroused racial animosities with inflammatory rhetoric such as “punish our enemies,” or injected himself into the middle of hot-button controversies like the Trayvon Martin case, the Henry Louis Gates melodrama, and the “hands up, don’t shoot” Ferguson mayhem.

Most recently, Obama seemed to praise backup 49ers quarterback and multimillionaire Colin Kaepernick for his refusal to stand during the National Anthem, empathizing with Kaepernick’s claims of endemic American racism. What is going on in Obama’s home stretch? Apparently Obama is veering even further to the left, in hopes of establishing a rhetorical progressive legacy in lieu of any lasting legislative or foreign-policy achievement.

Obama opened the way for Trump. He’s like Rick Moranis in Ghostbusters, or something. And even Ghostbusters was ruined on his watch. . . .

BEN DOMENECH: Blame The Elites For The Trump Phenomenon.

Choose the form of your destructor.

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NEXT STOP, THE NFL! Endless Social Justice Commentary Killed ‘Ghostbusters’, Liberal Media Admits. “When talking with comedy-minded female friends who skipped the movie, I kept hearing the same thing: A person’s position on the movie and his or her decision whether to see it, had come to feel like taking a political position. For moviegoers who consider lighthearted movies a chill thing to do after a stressful week of work—which is to say, most moviegoers—that’s not the sort of mind-set you want your expensive summer action-comedy to engender. Seeing Ghostbusters ceased to feel like a fun, breezy summertime decision.”

Yeah, who could have seen that coming?

“AMUSING TO WATCH LEFT TURN ON THE POP-CULTURIFICATION OF POLITICS NOW IT’S HURTING THEM.”

Hey, they chose the form of their destructor quite a long time ago.

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AS JAMES TARANTO WOULD SAY, GREAT ORATORS OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY:

  • “One man with courage makes a majority.”—attributed to Andrew Jackson
  • “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”—Franklin D. Roosevelt
  • “The buck stops here.”—Harry S. Truman
  • “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”—John F. Kennedy
  • “It’s like Ghostbusters, man. When there’s a problem anywhere else, call Ghostbusters. We’re Ghostbusters; so it makes sense that we are there to help them because it helps us.”—Joe Biden, as quoted by the Atlantic on Friday.

And just like Ghostbusters*, the EPA will be the death of us all.

* We’re going to assume that this year’s remake didn’t happen. It’s best that way.

GOSH, WHO KNEW? Richard Roeper: My fellow Lefty Critics Graded Lady Ghostbusters on a Curve.

ANJEM CHOUDARY VERDICT: YOUTUBE AND TWITTER REFUSED TO DELETE RADICAL PREACHER’S EXTREMIST POSTS, COURT HEARS.

To the best of my knowledge, Choudary expressed no negative concerns regarding the new Ghostbusters remake, which may explain why Twitter was so willing to give him a pass.

UPDATE: Great recently arrived Texan minds think alike.

CHOOSE THE FORM OF YOUR DESTRUCTOR. “How Jon Stewart’s Culture of Ridicule Left America Unprepared for Donald Trump,” as explained by Jesse Bernstein of the left-leaning Jewish-themed Tablet magazine:

The process went something like this: Someone said something on Fox News that mainstream liberalism didn’t like; Stewart and/or Colbert aired a sustained critique of the idea and the thinking behind it; liberal internet publications hailed it as the greatest rhetorical victory since Darrow argued for Scopes; liberals’ Facebook feeds full of liberal friends filled up with clips of the takedown. No one learned anything, no one engaged with an idea, and nothing outside of a very specific set of ideas was given any real credence. As Emmet Rensin so perfectly put it:

Finding comfort in the notion that their former allies were disdainful, hapless rubes, smug liberals created a culture animated by that contempt. The result is a self-fulfilling prophecy. … Over 20 years, an industry arose to cater to the smug style … and culminated for a time in The Daily Show, a program that more than any other thing advanced the idea that liberal orthodoxy was a kind of educated savvy and that is opponents were, before anything else, stupid.

As Rensin deftly discerns, this sort of intellectual elitism is probably part of the reason that the Democratic Party went from getting 66 percent of the manual laborer vote in 1948 to outpolling the GOP by just 2 points in 2012. It’s the inevitable consequence of eight years of reducing George W. Bush and all of his supporters to dumbass hicks, and choosing to denigrate the poor and uneducated (if only they read The Atlantic!), rather than doing real outreach to them.

But having won WWII, the aging New Dealers of 1948 could at least look to a world-changing accomplishment with pride. (The New Deal itself, on the other hand…) In contrast, as Richard Fernandez writes, the only thing that today’s left can offer middle America is smug itself:

But to anyone outside the echo chamber the joke was on Stewart and his cronies. The average person could see the invidious contrast; how easily the email accounts of 100 Democratic bigwigs could be hacked, with what contemptuous ease someone could make off with the DNC’s emails, steal all the OPM records. They watched as time after time suspects “well known to the police” executed successful terror attacks in Western cities despite the assurances of the laughing men.

They saw ISIS run off with billions of dollars of foreign military aid; saw the “smartest people” in history rolled. They were regaled by the spectacle of Putin booting Obama out of the Middle East with a midget air force and a rustbucket navy. They witnessed a bunch of armed thugs torch a US consulate in Benghazi without the dying ambassador even able to make that 3 am call to Hillary Clinton. They watched Turkey wobble and Europe overrun by migrant tides.

It hit them:  it was these ineffably superior people who were the jokers, the clowns whose only tangible skill was to make fun of everybody so nobody would notice that’s all they were good for.  In fact the only person they could stop with any probability of success and only if they ganged up on him was Donald Trump. That was it.  They can’t see the audience in darkness beyond the footlights heading for the exits.

And with Stewart and Colbert having departed their spawning grounds, “Donald Trump Is Jon Stewart’s True Successor,” Robert Tracinski adds at the Federalist:

The real giveaway is Trump’s employment of a classic Jon Stewart trope: Clown Nose On, Clown Nose Off.

This approach dates back to Stewart’s famous, or infamous, appearance on “Crossfire” in 2004, when “The Daily Show” was still fairly new and “Crossfire” was very, very old. In a fit of insufferable self-righteousness, Stewart denounced the hosts for “hurting America,” I guess because of the way they promoted bitter partisan bickering as a form of entertainment. Because Stewart is all about Democrats being nice to Republicans, don’t you know.

Yes, there was something to this. I did my first TV appearances about this time, and the big revelation to me was that it’s no accident that people always shout each other down on today’s cable news shows. Producers deliberately induce this style because they think it makes the show more exciting than if everybody just waited his turn to engage in some kind of Dullsville substantive discussion.

But in retrospect, I think we can tell which show “hurt America” more. One was just another fairly forgettable cable TV shoutfest. The other had a transformative effect, convincing a whole generation of millennials to get their news and political opinions from one-sided fake news shows run by blatantly partisan comedians. There are now about a dozen of these, all imitating Stewart. If the sin of “Crossfire” was its attempt to turn political debate into entertainment, it had nothing on “The Daily Show,” which replaced political debate with entertainment.

But for a rather limited audience — the Northeast Corridor ruling class, and those who aspired to be, as Thomas Sowell would say, their mascots.

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FUNDAMENTALLY TRANSFORMED: Twitter Used to Help Organize New Social Movements. Now It’s Just a ‘Honeypot for Assholes.’

And note this: “The head of Trust & Safety at Twitter is a woman who doesn’t use her legal name. Just let that sink in….”

Related: Meet Del Harvey, Twitter’s Troll Patrol.

More: Report claims Twitter forced comedian to delete Ghostbusters joke because it triggered film’s director.

DID HOLLYWOOD MAKE A PRO-GUN MOVIE? Hell or High Water Features Armed Citizenry.

From the original libertarian-themed Ghostbusters to the uber-conservative Dark Knight Rises, strange things happen when far left Hollywood puts story ahead of ideology.

LADY GHOSTBUSTERS WAS PERFECT … AT EXPOSING MEDIA BIAS.

Similarly, I can’t say I’ve ever seen a film studio attack its customers the way that Sony did in response to the film’s horrendous trailer and stillborn debut. Not to mention the Hillary endorsement by the movie’s stars – and the studio reportedly forcing Bill Murray’s cameo in the movie via “‘aggressive’ litigation counsel,” aka, rhetorical gunpoint.

QUESTION ASKED AND (PARTIALLY) ANSWERED: Why has this summer blockbuster season been so bad?

Because an industry that’s been utterly obsessed with sequels and remakes for two decades now has finally hit rock bottom?

On Sunday, Nina and I saw the reissue of the 1989 Batman with Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson that was playing at the Fort Worth Cinemark mega-multiplex. It’s not a bad movie, in spite of itself, if only because Keaton and to a lesser extent Nicholson took their characters seriously and finally buried Adam West-era bat-camp, along with the eye-popping production design and dark, noirish cinematography.

But the movie is also a study in hype, via the mammoth marketing campaign Warner Brothers assembled around the film (and in the film, via the badly shoehorned Prince songs). Future movie historians will look back at Batman as ground zero for where it all began to go wrong for a Hollywood that became far more interested in being a vertically integrated marketing machine for ancillary products such as toys, CDs and happy meals, than the product at the core of its business.

Of course, it’s a given that however bad Hollywood’s product is this year, it will only get worse going forward: “‘Ocean’s 8’ to Feature… All-Female Team of Thieves and Grifters. Have they learned nothing from Ghostbusters?”

CHECK YOUR PREMISE: Summer’s civil war: How did pop culture get so negative?, asks USA Today.

Isn’t the much more interesting question how did pop culture get so awful? Major film studios producing nothing but comic book movies with budgets of hundreds of millions of dollars? A national newspaper defending them without seeing the irony of how intellectually bankrupt the industry has become?

This isn’t the 21st century I was promised.

CONFIRMED: HOLLYWOOD STILL OFFICIALLY BANKRUPT OF NEW IDEAS. Rebel Wilson to Star in Gender-Flipped ‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’ Remake.

Coming hot on the high heels of the Lady Ghostbusters box office misfire and the upcoming remake of Splash with Channing Tatum in the Daryl Hannah role. One of the themes of Easy Riders, Raging Bulls, Peter Biskind’s 1998 history, and its accompanying documentary of the young Turks who bested (for a time) the Hollywood studio system is that in the 1960s, was that Hollywood’s old guard, utterly obsessed with producing another hit the size of 1965’s The Sound of Music, pumped out inferior musical after inferior musical.

As Wikipedia notes, Hollywood “produced a series of musical flops in the late 1960s and early 1970s which appeared to seriously misjudge public taste. The commercially and/or critically unsuccessful films included Camelot, Finian’s Rainbow, Hello Dolly!, Sweet Charity, Doctor Dolittle, Star!, Darling Lili, Goodbye, Mr. Chips, Paint Your Wagon, Song of Norway, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, Man of La Mancha, Lost Horizon and Mame. Collectively and individually these failures crippled several of the major studios.” Did American audiences’ tastes change in post-JFK ‘60s (see also: massively growing popularity of rock music during that period), or were they turned off by obviously inferior product? It’s likely it was a combination of both, but there’s a reason why MGM, which dominated the genre in the 1950s, imploded by the end of the following decade, and it became much rarer for movie characters in general to suddenly burst into song with invisible orchestras accompanying them.

This time around, it’s a different sort of prewar industry nostalgia — an obsession with political correctness, a byproduct of Germany’s 1920s Weimar-era Frankfurt School — rather than swinging big bands and Fred Astaire-style dancing that’s driving this Hollywood trend. But will all of the gender-flipping, endless cast-in-the-mold superhero movies, and the rest of Hollywood’s increasingly limited genre options produce a similar sea change in the industry as with that of the late ‘60s? for the sake of the audience (remember them?) it could certainly use it.

COME BACK DARYL HANNAH, ALL IS FORGIVEN: WOAH! ‘Splash’ Remake Will Feature Channing Tatum as the ‘Merman.’

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Will this film make Lady Ghostbusters look like the second coming of Citizen Kane? 21st century Hollywood increasingly resembles the last exhausted days of the old studio system in the late 1960s — but are there any Easy Riders and Raging Bulls on the horizon to lead the revolution this time around?

REPUBLICANS BUY MOVIE TICKETS TOO, LADY GHOSTBUSTERS DIRECTOR PAUL FEIG: “In these increasingly polarized times, it is undoubtedly tempting for entertainers to pick a side and try to rally their base in order to turn a profit. But it’s still unwise. People on the other side of the political aisle buy stuff too, you know.”

And elephants have very long memories.

SAVING YOUR AUDIENCE, YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG, HOLLYWOOD:

On Tuesday, film industry house organ Variety ran the headline, “Box Office Meltdown: Hollywood Races to Win Back Summer Crowds.”

Apparently by alienating half their audience, as Heat Street notes: The Internet Is Furious Over Ghostbusters’ Hillary Clinton Endorsement.

In a world of hundreds of TV channels and somewhere in the (very crowded) neighborhood of a billion Websites, Hollywood is the last mass media left – but a crappy hyper-politicized product and insulting its potential consumers doesn’t sound like a very good strategy to preserve its existence.

MILO ON CNN: I WILL CONTINUE TO BE AS OFFENSIVE AS POSSIBLE:

[CNN’s Alison Kosik] presented Yiannopoulos with a log of his tweets about the Ghostbusters remake and its cast.

“Yeah, I said the women in it were fat and ugly and ugly and fat, and they are, and I’ll tell you why I find this problematic,” he declared.

“We’ve started to marginalize traditional beauty standards,” he explained. “Now what we’re expected to do is celebrate body positivity, and that it’s okay to abuse your bodies, and run the risk of horrible diseases, and awful chronic conditions, and to die sooner. That’s horrible. What I’m trying to do is draw attention to a critique of what’s happening in mainstream beauty culture, and that comes from compassion, about the messages we’re sending to young girls”.

While Milo’s answers are his usual “in an outrage culture it pays to be outrageous” responses, what I found fascinating about the interview wasn’t what Milo was saying, but instead, the contemptuous death glaze stare he was receiving from CNN’s Alison Kosik whenever they cut away from him.

Kosik has been with CNN for nearly a decade; so presumably, she’s well marinated in its corporate culture. The network’s founders and former executives have admitted to being in bed with some of the worst, murderous dictators on the planet, including Saddam Hussein and Fidel Castro. In more recent years, the network’s commentators have filed glowing reports on North Korea’s Kim Jong-Il.

But when faced with a gay British conservative whose weapons of mass destruction are strictly rhetorical, the death glare:

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This is CNN. And this is the media culture they helped birth. As James S. Robbins wrote earlier this week in USA Today, America isn’t literally Weimar, but our culture and theirs have far too much in common.

UPDATE: Took me a while, but now I remember where I’ve seen that expression before!

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(Artwork by Jon Gabriel of Ricochet.)

WHERE IS THE CIVILITY IN POLITICAL JOURNALISM?

At the beginning of the Republican National Convention last week, NBC Today co-host Matt Lauer confronted presidential nominee Donald Trump about dialing down the intensity of the passions percolating at the event. “Would you be willing to make a pledge to speak to everyone involved in this convention and say, ‘Please tone down the rhetoric’?” Lauer urged. “Can you say to the people who are going to take to that podium this week, ‘No personal attacks, no vitriol, keep it civil?”

The irony there is that political journalists themselves, Lauer included, have become as inflammatory as the politicians they lecture about incivility. In the aftermath of last month’s Orlando terrorist massacre at a gay nightclub, for example, CNN anchor Anderson Cooper badgered the increasingly offended Attorney General of Florida interminably about her stance on gay marriage. More recently, Fox News’ Shepherd Smith berated Gov. Bobby Jindal for using the “divisive” phrase “All lives matter.” CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, who wears her biases as openly as her keffiyeh, hammered away contentiously at British MP Daniel Hannan for nine minutes over the recent Brexit vote.

Choose the form of your destructor.

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MIKE RAPPAPORT: The Original Ghostbusters: A Free Market Gem. “Consider the following: The villain of the film – a Mr. Walter Peck – is an EPA agent who wants to regulate the Ghostbusters, does not know what he is doing, causes the problem, and then blames it on the private business. Read that again. Is there any other movie you can think of that does that? Not me.”

OVER AT VODKAPUNDIT, WHY THE REBOOT WAS DOOMED TO FAIL: Ghostbusters was first and foremost a Reagan-era comedy.

MILO SAVAGES LADY GHOSTBUSTERS, dubs it “Teenage Boys With Tits: Here’s My Problem With Ghostbusters.” Actually, he spots lots of problems with it, after taking one for the team and suffering through the movie to write his review:

I’ll skip over the vacuous and incoherent plot. You won’t understand it watching the movie and you won’t understand it reading my summary so who cares. This, unlike any movie I’ve ever seen before, seems to have been conceived entirely out of spite, with the result that its plot is largely irrelevant.

Let’s focus on how this movie will be interrogated by audiences: its style and politics. The weak, Twitter-style feminist quips come off as lame, unfunny, and resentful. This is especially puzzling in light of the women in the original movies, who captured the range of tough broads one finds in New York City.

Janine even acted as a Ghostbuster in the cartoon series, without it being hailed as a revolutionary act of feminist girl power. What we are left with is a movie to help lonely middle-aged women feel better about themselves after being left on the shelf. It’s an overpriced self-esteem device for women betrayed by the lies of third-wave feminism.

Read the whole thing.

Related: “Ghostbusters Busted! The all-female reboot debuts in No 2 at the weekend box office spot with $46m in ticket sales: Although it’s the best debut for a live action comedy in over a year, it’s a disappointing result for the blockbuster that cost Sony $144 million to make and millions more to market, according to Variety.”

OR, MAYBE, AS WITH MOST POLITICIZED COMEDIES*, THE ACTUAL PRODUCT STINKS:Lady ‘Ghostbusters’ Is A Perfect Example Of How Internet Movie Ratings Are Broken.

It currently has a dismal 4.6 rating at IMDB.

* On both sides of the aisle. Two words: American Carol.

WAPO COLUMNIST: ‘GHOSTBUSTERS’ HATERS ARE ‘VIRGIN LOSERS:’

The feminists seem to think that if they can just call enough Americans “misogynists” and “sexists,” their all-female Ghostbusters reboot will be successful.

Since that hasn’t worked yet, Washington Post columnist Kristen Page-Kirby has a new insult to try out. In her review of the film, she wrote that “’Ghostbusters’ is pretty funny and anyone who says otherwise is a virgin loser who lives in his mom’s basement.”

Wow, so that’s where the Hollywood Reporter and the Chicago Sun-Times publish from. Who knew?! Speaking of which, does Jeff Bezos know that his paper is smearing at least half his customers?

CHRISTIAN TOTO: Ghostbusters is the reboot our safe space special snowflake culture deserves.

THE TRAVELER HAS COME: Sorry, But the Original Ghostbusters Isn’t Even That Good.

FEMINIST GHOSTBUSTERS: DIRECTOR PAUL FEIG CONFIRMS KATE MCKINNON CHARACTER IS GAY BUT STUDIO STOPPED HIM FROM SAYING SO.

Why are Democrat-controlled industries such cesspits of rampant homophobia?

THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: FEMINIST GHOSTBUSTERS DENIED RELEASE IN CHINA:

China’s official censorship guidelines technically prohibit movies that “promote cults or superstition” — a holdover from the Communist Party’s secular ideology — and the country’s regulators occasionally have been known to use this obscure provision as rationale for banning films that feature ghosts or supernatural beings in a semi-realistic way (Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest suffered such a fate in 2006, thanks to its depictions of ghouls and cannibalism).

Ever since Feig’s reboot went into production, industry watchers have wondered what stance China’s film authorities might take on the movie.

Speculation only increased this spring, when it was revealed that the Chinese character for “ghost” had been removed from the reboot’s Chinese title, even though it appears in the local names for the original films.

The original Bill Murray-starring 1984 classic, which never screened theatrically in China, was translated as “捉鬼敢死队,” five characters literally meaning “Ghost Catcher Dare Die Team.” The sequels followed suit. The reboot, however, has been reworked as “超能敢死队,” meaning “Super Power Dare Die Team.”

Many guessed that Sony made the adjustment in hopes of finessing the film into China’s strictly regulative but increasingly lucrative theatrical market.

Couldn’t they have just gone with Macho Business Donkey Wrestler as the Asian market title?

CHRISTIAN TOTO PROFFERS FIVE REASONS YOU’LL AVOID THE ‘GHOSTBUSTERS’ REBOOT.

Besides not having the memories of one of the most beloved movies of the 1980s trampled, I think this is the key: “Who Needs to Be Lectured?The media has been rallying around the movie ever since the casting news hit the web. It’s Hollywood’s attempt to balance the gender scales at long last. There’s some truth to that. Hollywood remains a male-dominated industry. Yet movie lovers who approached ‘Ghostbusters’ with skepticism were instantly labeled as ‘haters’ or even ‘misogynists.’ Movies should be a fun experience, the ultimate in escapism. Getting lectured at for hating a trailer is the exact opposite.”

Didactic comedy is a contradiction in terms.

WHEN YOU’VE LOST THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: “’Ghostbusters’: Film Review. The Bottom Line: A Bust…The unfunny mess that hits theaters Friday, like a big goopy splat of ectoplasm, will no doubt make those naysayers feel vindicated. But the fact is that an estrogen-infused makeover, particularly one with such a comedically gifted cast, was a promising idea. Sadly, that’s where the inventiveness ended.”

IS TARGET DOING Ghostbusters Damage Control? “This reporter went to his local Target store to see if those markdowns were mere aberrations. Sure enough, several ‘Ghostbusters’ toys were similarly labeled with the chain’s “Clearance” stickers. Mind you, these toy markdowns came mere days before ‘Ghostbusters’ officially opens – July 15. The entire ‘Ghostbusters’ toy section, in fact, was practically nonexistent.”

It may turn out that telling people “You’re sexist pigs if you don’t support our lame remake!” was a poor marketing strategy.

TAKE A BOW, POLITICIZED HOLLYWOOD: ‘Ghostbusters’ toys are already on the clearance rack.

Earlier: Partisanship and tribalism are ruining our conversations about art.

But then, Hollywood isn’t the only Democrat-run institution that cashes in on partisanship and tribalism.

BIG MEDIA IS GASLIGHTING YOU:

Shot: Modern Media Has Turned the USA Into the Divided States of America.

—John Ziegler, Mediaite, July 4th.

Chaser: Partisanship and tribalism are ruining our conversations about art.

—Sonny Bunch, the Washington Post, June 30th, 2016.

The demassified TV industry needs divisiveness to bring ratings, and the movie industry needs films that bring out large groups of the same tribe (American Sniper on the right, feminist Ghostbusters on the left) when it doesn’t have an old mass media-era franchise (such as Star Trek, Star Wars, James Bond and films with familiar comic book stars like Batman, Superman and the Marvel gang) to promote. That both methods lead to bad programming is secondary to the continued survival of media that are long past their sell-through dates.

ANOTHER WIN FOR FEMINIST GHOSTBUSTERS.

IT IS DECIDEDLY SO: Is “Ghostbusters” a flop already?

BLAME KATIE COURIC FOR DONALD TRUMP: Countless journalists have taken a subject’s words out of context. But Couric deliberately took her subjects’ silence out of context. And it was all to aggrandize herself, make ideological enemies look bad, and make her own questioning seem so incisive as to stump all comers. So when Trump says the media lies, is it any wonder people believe him? And it’s dangerous to give Trump credibility on this.”

Choose the form of your destructor.

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IT’S SAD TO SEE THE LENGTHS TO WHICH THEY’RE GOING TO FLOG THE doomed Ghostbusters reboot.

CHOOSE THE FORM OF YOUR DESTRUCTOR:

Shot: Trump Would Have Qualms with Muslim Judge in Fraud Case, Too.

Chaser: Trump’s Jujitsu Overthrow of Liberalism:

In other words, with this seemingly reckless attack, Trump is once again performing a high public service that is long overdue. I still can’t tell if there’s a deliberateness behind Trump’s crazy genius, or whether this is all happening by weird instinct or randomness.

Did the left think it would hold a monopoly on identity politics forever?

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DAN RATHER ON TRUMP: ‘DRUMBEATS OF THREATENING VIOLENCE.’

Rather damaged his credibility twice by attacking two comparatively genteel presidents named Bush. In attempting to twist the events of the smear that finished off his career as a Big Three anchorman, last year, Rather was happy to be portrayed in the unintentionally camp “Truth” by a waxworks Robert Redford, whose previous film praised the actual violence of the Weathermen terrorists.

Appearing on Good Morning America in to plug The Company You Keep in 2013, after gushing over how “empathetic” he was about the Pentagon-bombing Weathermen, “because I believed it was time for a change,” George Stephanopoulos tried to throw his fellow leftist Democrat a lifeline, and asked Redford, “Even when you read about bombings?” Redford immediately replied, “All of it. I knew that it was extreme and I guess movements have to be extreme to some degree.”

In his retirement at Mark Cuban’s HD-NET channel, Rather was happy to praise a man whose motto is “get in their faces and punch back twice as hard.”  (And of course, Obama began his political career in the living room of former Weatherman Bill Ayers.)

With that sort of “Company You Keep,” it seems a bit too late to for Rather to be hearing aura of penumbras of drumbeats of threatened violence. But when it comes to whom Dan approves of as presidential candidates, choose the form of your destructor.

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WELL, BILL CLINTON, LIKE BILL COSBY, HASN’T AGED WELL: Trump Escalates Attack On Bill Clinton. And Bill is the Achilles’ heel of Hillary’s “Vote for me, I have a vagina” campaign.

And it’s working: Report: Hillary Dropped Gender Talk After Negative Internal Polling.

UPDATE: Now she’s ruining Ghostbusters: “Sony Pictures is unhappy that Hillary is horning in on their long-scheduled publicity for a movie that it really needs men not to hate.” “I don’t think too many men watch Ellen DeGeneres, so what’s the real problem for Sony? The NYT is trying to weave this into the usual gender politics, but I think the real problem for Sony is that it wants to sell the movie to women — that’s the point of going on Ellen DeGeneres — and putting Hillary on the same show saps the fun out of something that absolutely needs to be very, very fun.”

Well, as Bill can no doubt attest, sapping the fun out of things is what Hillary excels at.

GAWKER’S GOT A FEVAH, AND THE ONLY PRESCRIPTION IS SHOVING FEMINIST GHOSTBUSTERS OVER THE FINISH LINE:

Shot: The New Ghostbusters Trailer is Here, and Everything Looks Perfect.

—Headline, Gawker-owned i09, March 3, 2016.

Chaser: The New Much-Improved Ghostbusters Trailer Amps Up the Ghostly Action.

—Headline, Gawker-owned i09, yesterday.

Huh — I thought it was perfect the first time. But the new Lady Ghostbusters will be more perfect than perfection itself. Yuuuuge in its perfection. Such perfection like you’ve never seen before, let me tell you.

(Juxtaposition suggested by an Insta-reader, who knew who he was gonna call.)

WHY WORRY? EACH OF US IS WEARING AN UNLICENSED ESTROGEN ACCELERATOR ON HER BACK: Did Hillary Clinton Just Doom the Ghostbusters Remake by Booking the Cast with Ellen DeGeneres?

CHOOSE THE FORM OF YOUR DESTRUCTOR: How Trump Defeated the GOP Establishment.

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MICHAEL WALSH: Donald Trump is going to troll his way to victory.

Which dovetails well with a recent post of ours: “LAME DUCK WATCH: WAPO COOS OVER ‘SLY’ AND ‘SELF-AWARE’ OBAMA, ‘OUR FIRST COMEDIAN-IN-CHIEF.’”  As I wrote late last month, “thanks to his joke writers, as [Washington Post gossip Emily Heil] eventually admits, Obama is the presidential equivalent of Jon Stewart, the nation’s Troll In Chief.”

Choose the form of your destructor.

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WHO YOU GONNA CALL? Milo Yiannopoulos: Here’s Why The Left Is So Desperate To Defend The New Feminist Ghostbusters. “With nearly 750,000 dislikes, it is the most hated trailer in the site’s history. You’d think it would be time for the movie’s defenders to face reality, and accept the ill-fated reboot for what it is: a feminist cash-in for angsty, blue-haired, Tumblr-obsessed, pronoun-bothering cat ladies. But some are still trying to maintain the illusion that the movie is the best thing since Shawshank (even though no one has seen it yet) and that any dislike can only possibly stem from misogyny, rather than the film’s screechingly terrible trailer and promotional stills.”

MILO YIANNOPOULOS: Meme Magic: Donald Trump Is The Internet’s Revenge On Lazy Elites.

Related:

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Choose the form of your destructor.

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UPDATE: From the comments: “Trump was the Mule to Nate Silver’s Foundation.”

TRUMP THUMPS THE RULING CLASS:

Last Christmas I ran into Newt Gingrich after Mass in Washington, D.C., and for the heck of it said to him, “So what job do you want in the Trump administration?” He looked at me with utter disbelief. Now I see him on TV bemoaning the slowness with which pundits grasped the Trump phenomenon. He was one of them.

Up in New York City I noticed that none of the anti-Trump outrage of the ruling class had trickled down to the peasants. They either didn’t care about Trump’s politically incorrect brashness or kind of liked it. While lavishly paid, “brilliantly perceptive” reporters and editors like David Remnick and James Fallows were saying that Trump had “zero chance” of winning the nomination, anybody who bothered to speak to ordinary folks walking the streets below the suites of The New Yorker could see that Trump had a huge opening. The George Wills, who spend more time tinkering with their cuff links than talking to people, also pronounced Trump an unelectable clown who would soon disappear back into the buffoonery from which he came.

Such inept punditry and incompetent reporting is the journalistic equivalent of a surgeon killing a patient on the operating table. Yet all these reporters and pundits keep working, often failing upwards to six-figure jobs, provided that they attend all the right parties and know all the right people.

The public’s exhaustion with, and at times hatred of, the corrupt ruling class, for which this naysaying anti-Trump media complex served as a constant advertisement, largely explains the rise of Trump. He fit the temper of the times and had the charisma to channel it toward a bust-up of the GOP establishment.

Choose the form of your destructor.

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AFTER HAVING MADE OBAMA IN 2008, THE POLITICO HAS CHOSEN THE FORM OF THEIR DESTRUCTOR.

Shot:

There was a telling confrontation on Obama’s third day in office, when he visited the West Wing pressroom to say hi, then bristled when a Politico reporter asked why he had nominated a Raytheon lobbyist to a Pentagon job despite having recently banned lobbyists from top posts in his administration. “I can’t end up visiting with you guys and shaking hands if I’m going to get grilled every time I come down here,” Obama complained. When the reporter tried again, Obama told him to save his questions for a news conference. Politico’s headline: “Obama Flashes Irritation in the Press Room.” To the president, it was an example of no good deed going unpunished—not just that he was grilled when he was trying to be polite, but that he was grilled over an exception to his rule against hiring lobbyists instead of credited for the groundbreaking rule. To the reporters, it was an early example of Obama feeling entitled to avoid probing questions about matters of public importance. They wouldn’t see much more of him in the press room.

“The Selling of Obama — The inside story of how a great communicator lost the narrative,” Michael Grunwald, the Politico, today.

Chaser:

Still, the baseline hostility between campaign and press corps was dictated by the candidate himself, and from the start Trump, often through his alter ego Lewandowski, sought to dominate and demean us. And besides, it quickly became clear that the campaign didn’t need more conventional tools of media management, given that its messaging operation primarily consisted of Trump’s mouth—and he often said outrageous and provocative things that guaranteed negative coverage.

* * * * * * *

For all its brass, though, the New York tabloid environment is insular, small and transactional, with an established set of protocols and a relatively limited cast of characters. Trump has a great instinct for what will hit, and has always served as his own publicist, cultivating relationships with reporters who play ball, planting tips, navigating negative stories through sheer bombast, ditching anyone who causes too much trouble—often by feeding scoops to competitors at their own organizations.

But the national press is much, much bigger and much harder to control. And it probably doesn’t help that, at 69, Trump faces a press pack chock full of millennials he’s never dealt with before. Ali Vitali at NBC, Sopan Deb at CBS, Jeremy Diamond and Noah Gray at CNN, and Kevin Cirilli at Bloomberg are all around my age—a few years out of college. It makes for a volatile mix, and might help explain Trump’s zigzag path between flattering and threatening, avoiding and bulldozing reporters as he searched out the elusive route to controlling our message.

Which is why if there’s one consistent theme to what I’ve experienced covering Trump, it’s the unpredictability. The handshakes sometimes come after the hardest slaps, and the doghouse is a short elevator ride away from the penthouse.

“Inside Trump’s Press Pen — A reporter’s first campaign job blows up into the biggest story in America,” 26 year old Ben Schreckinger, in way too deep at the Politico and apparently forgetting Saul Alinsky’s Rule #5, Rule 12, and a few other Rules for Radicals as well.

(Classical reference in headline.)

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WHO YA GONNA CLICK? Tyler O’Neil — that’s who: he’s Liveblogging the New York Presidential Primary tonight.

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HEY, WHO’S UP FOR A MEN IN BLACK-21 JUMP STREET CROSSOVER MOVIE? Having already ruined our memories of the original Ghostbusters with its upcoming train wreck feminist remake, Sony is next set to taint all of the good will engendered by the original Men In Black movie: “The surprise may have been ruined in Sony’s hack fiasco last year, but insiders tell Variety the studio is indeed planning a ‘23 Jump Street’-‘Men in Black’ crossover movie.”

And of course:

Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum will return to reprise their roles as Jenko and Schmidt, respectively. The two are also producing. As for Agent Jay and Agent Kay, execs have already made it clear Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones will not be reprising the roles they made famous as the studio looks to use this film to relaunch the franchise with younger, fresher faces.

Not to mention cheaper faces as well, who won’t argue about how bad the script is, because they’re happy to actually be working.

As the late Robert Conquest specified in his third law of politics, “The simplest way to explain the behavior of any bureaucratic organization is to assume that it is controlled by a cabal of its enemies.” You almost think that the hackers really do have the inside dope on the Sony executives and are forcing them to release these horrid remakes as some sort of extortion scheme, ala Monty Python’s old “Blackmail” sketch.

LADY GHOSTBUSTERS AND THE DEATH OF COMEDY.

PC kills comedy stone dead every time.

UPDATE (4:58 PM EST): Christian Toto’s Website is stone dead as well — he just emailed to say that he’s changing hosting companies tomorrow.

UPDATE (6:12 PM EST): Site’s back; post bumped.

IT’S COME TO THIS: How to talk about the new Ghostbusters movie with friends, family, and commenters.

But why would any true SJW bother defending a highly problematic film that’s so obviously racist?

(Via Ace.)

 

JIM TREACHER: Hey, Let’s Watch The New Ghostbusters Trailer!

Alas, I did. And I must say, I concur with this viewer’s video response. It’s not quite Mr. Plinkett dissecting the Star Wars prequels shot by shot, but it makes its point, nonetheless.

UPDATE: “Obviously, though, Lady Ghostbusters is still deeply, incredibly problematic. I mean, AYFKM with this trailer?”

NOT DEAD ENOUGH: Mocked, resented, and now dead: De Blasio’s horse debacle makes history.

As Kathy Shaidle quipped back in 2014, de Blasio really is the second coming of Rick Moranis as the “Keymaster” in Ghostbusters, isn’t he?

IDEALLY, EVERY TIME SOMEONE IN THE MSM BRINGS UP THE TOPIC: Another Environmentalist Doomsday Clock Expires, When Can We Laugh?

Do not miss the Reefer Madness-esque 2008 Good Morning America video forecasting CLIMATE APOCALYPSE 2015. “By the end of the clip I was expecting to see the esteemed doctors Peter Venkman, Egon Spengler, and Ray Stantz step forward to predict, ‘Rivers and Seas boiling!’ ‘Forty years of darkness!’ And of course the ultimate disasters: ‘Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together . . . Mass hysteria!’

At this point, I trust the Ghostbusters’ scientific methods more than I do those trotted out by the DNC-MSM.

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HEY, WHEN DID FOX BUTTERFIELD START WRITING HOLLYWOOD REPORTER HEADLINES? How Eddie Redmayne’s Transgender Role in ‘The Danish Girl’ Went From “Commercial Poison” to Oscar Contender.

(The Danish Girl’s not exactly printing money at the box office, which only benefits its chances in the era of the uber-politicized stick-it-to-the red states Academy Awards; Butterfield Effect explained here.)

In other news from politics and gender-obsessed Tinseltown, “The new Ghostbusters are fighting the ghosts of the patriarchy.”

Bless their souls! But of course they are.

PHILIP KLEIN: Why ‘Ghostbusters’ is the most libertarian Hollywood blockbuster of all time.

WOW, THAT WENT FAST: Ghostbusters’ 30th Anniversary?

VIA THE COMMENTS AT ANN ALTHOUSE’S, I ran across this rather cool cover of Stuck In The Middle With You by Susanna Hoffs, which I had somehow missed before.

And here’s a cool cover of Cinnamon Girl by her and Matthew Sweet. Very nice, though I have to say Hoffs has held up a lot better than Sweet, appearance-wise. Matthew Sweet’s Girlfriend may have been the last song that I heard on the radio and then went directly to a record store to buy the album. The drum/guitar/bass/harpsichord break is pure genius. I saw him on that tour at the Bijou in Knoxville and it was a good show, though the t-shirt girl said he was a “brat.” To my knowledge, he never actually dated Tuesday Weld.

And, while we’re at it, Different Drum. And, Does She Talk? Can you spot the Caddyshack reference? The Ghostbusters reference is kind of obvious. You’re gonna like it!

BRADY CAMPAIGN going after Ghostbusters quotes? “It’s amazing how low the Bradys are willing to go these days. But cribbing quotes out of context from some kid’s Facebook has to take the cake.”

Well, to be fair, the Ghostbusters guys did have those unlicensed particle accelerators strapped to their backs . . . .

GHOSTBUSTERS: THE VIDEO GAME. A trailer.

DUMBEST. TV SHOW. EVER. Last night I caught a few minutes of “The Celebrity Paranormal Project” on VH1. Celebrities festooned with Ghostbusters-type gear, wandering around allegedly haunted places. Picabo Street as a medium. Jeez.

However, I can report that Mariel Hemingway remains very hot. She deserves better. But then, so do we. . . .

GEORGE WILL on law schools and the Solomon Amendment:

A striking alteration of America’s political landscape since 1960 has been the marginalization — actually, the self-marginalization — of the professoriate. An inhospitable campus climate has prompted the growth of public policy think tanks and publications that sustain a conservative intelligentsia that helps elect and staff conservative administrations. And faculties have adopted increasingly adversarial stances toward an increasingly conservative public and its institutions.

Today’s schools bristle with moral principles that they urge upon the — so they think — benighted society beyond their gates. But as Roberts blandly reminded the schools regarding their desire to bar military recruiters: “You are perfectly free to do that, if you don’t take the money.”

Somehow it makes me think of Dan Aykroyd in Ghostbusters:

Personally, I liked the university. They gave us money and facilities, we didn’t have to produce anything! You’ve never been out of college! You don’t know what it’s like out there! I’ve *worked* in the private sector. They expect *results*.

Too many people in academia don’t seem to realize that the money has to come from somewhere. And you hear people talk about how academia needs to adopt an “adversarial stance” toward the larger culture, without thinking much about why the larger culture would want to pay for that.