Quote of the Day: The Military Gets Woke

 

“The commanding staff of the army and fleet soon divided into two groups. One group tried to stay in their places, tuning in on the revolution, registering as Social Revolutionaries. Later a part of them even tried to crawl into the Bolshevik camp. The other group strutted a while and tried to oppose the new order, but soon broke out in some sharp conflict and were swept away by the soldier flood. Such groupings are so natural that they have been repeated in all revolutions. … In the long run the majority of the old command were pushed out or suppressed, and only a small part reeducated and assimilated. In a more dramatic form the officers shared the fate of those classes from which they were recruited.

“An army is always a copy of the society it serves—with this difference, that it gives social relations a concentrated character, carrying both their positive and negative features to an extreme.”

—Leon Trotsky, History of the Russian Revolution 

Recent examples of inappropriate behavior, from retired generals and admirals speaking out publicly against President Trump, to active-duty service members reacting publicly to criticism of the continuing feminization of the military (i.e., new uniforms for pregnant war fighters) by a prominent member of the media, prompted insightful comments from Victor Davis Hanson. He reminded me of Trotsky’s descriptions of how the Russian military transitioned from defenders of the regime to revolutionaries, so I thought I’d share one here.

Member Post

 

A few days ago, a letter was sent by a group of former “security officials” and military officers, decrying the “January 6” “riot” at the Capitol, which it termed a “lethal breach of the Capitol Complex by armed extremists” and deeming it an “exigent and growing threat” to the survival of the Republic. What makes […]

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Fixing Tickets and Dog-Robbers

 

Police officers and other law enforcement agents have to carefully navigate requests from the public, and high-powered public figures for special treatment.

It is not unusual for a friend or neighbor to ask a police officer to “fix” a parking ticket or traffic cite. The only way an officer can do that is to pay the fine themselves. Other requests may include doing a background check on the new boyfriend that their daughter is dating, or running a license plate for info on some run-in they might have had in a parking lot. All of them are forbidden and could cost an officer their job.

Personal favors like restaurants not charging an officer for a meal can be avoided by leaving a tip that covers the cost of the meal on the table when you leave. You’ve paid for the meal and if the waitress is allowed to keep the full amount so be it.

Citation books have a starting number and ending number. When you check out a cite book, you have to register that book on a separate ledger. You can void a cite from time to time, but if you void a high number of cites a sergeant is going to question why. The concern is that you’re conducting your own traffic court out on the road. You have to sign in on the computer in the precinct and looking at cases that don’t concern you will bring an inquiry from detectives. Their concern is that you might be trading info for cash.

Dog-robber is a military term for an aide to a high-ranking officer, at least it was at one time. Chores like picking up his wife’s dry cleaning and other mundane chores can be a dog-robber’s lot in life. The reward is promotion.

The Secret Service is coming under some scrutiny for its involvement with Hunter Biden. Have they become dog-robbers?

From an article in Law Enforcement Today:

Newly revealed screenshots from Hunter Biden’s independently authenticated infamous laptop show Hunter refusing to come out of his hotel room at the prodding of Secret Service agents.

A bill from May 2018 shows Hunter stayed at the Jeremy Hotel in West Hollywood for seven days on the third floor. According to the report, Hunter ordered room service each night, drank at the hotel bar, and racked up a $5,195 bill, including a $400 fine for smoking in his room.

The report also stated that he sought refilled prescription drugs of stimulant Viagra, anti-depressant Lexapro, and anxiety-reducing Clonazepam. A message that purportedly came from one of the agents said:

“H, I’m in the lobby come down. Thanks.”

Hunter responded by saying:

“5 minutes.”

The agent wrote back:

“Come on H this is linked to Celtic’s account. DC is calling me every 10 minutes. Let me up or come down. I can’t help you if you don’t let me in H.”

Reportedly, the “Celtic’s account” is an apparent “code name” for a senior politician under protection. Hunter replied to buy more time:

“I promise. Be right down, sorry.”

Minutes pass and still no sign of Hunter in the lobby. The next message to Hunter said:

“Dales here. He is going to front desk call and tell them to give us a key now H. As your friend we need to resolve this in the immediate. Call the front desk now H or I will have to assume you are in danger and we will have to make them give us keys.”

Hunter replied:

“Really, I am coming down right now. I really promise. Was in the bathroom buddy. Coming right his second.”

Yet, again, Hunter did not come down to the lobby. The next text from the agent said:

“We’re at the door. Open it.”

This alleged protection in 2018 raises questions of legality as the Biden’s claimed they did not have protection in 2018. Joe Biden reportedly lost his secret service protection after his vice presidency.

I wonder who “Celtic” is. Regardless, one of the most beautiful words in the English language is “no.” Like a parent, law enforcement officers should use the word “no” whenever it’s appropriate, unless they aspire to be dog-robbers.

The New Best Way to Counter-Attack: Trolling

 

A few days ago, I posted about the five ways people respond to political and media attacks. I used malicious falsehoods against Georgia’s new election reform law, and Governor Brian Kemp’s response, as a primary example.

Well, there is a sixth. Actually, it’s just a tactic to deny an attack, but it mixes “Way #1” – an outright denial – with “Way #4,” attacking the credibility of your accuser. And both Canadian psychologist and author Dr. Jordan Peterson and Georgia Republican State Representative Wes Cantrell have demonstrated it beautifully this past week.

Trolling your accuser. Let us consult the Cambridge Dictionary for a definition.

Let’s start with Dr. Peterson’s brilliant example of the week. It has nothing to do with the Georgia election law, while Rep. Cantrell’s does. But like most everything Dr. Peterson writes, podcasts, or utters, it is highly instructive.

Dr. Peterson was surprised to discover that, apparently, a new supervillain in a Marvel series featuring Captain America highly resembles. . . Dr. Jordan Peterson. I’ll let the Washington Examiner set the table.

“Canadian psychologist and professor Jordan Peterson said he was ‘shocked’ by an apparent ‘parody’ of himself in a recent issue of Marvel’s Captain America, where he is seemingly depicted as the villain Red Skull.

“Peterson shared images via Twitter on Monday of Volume nine, No. 28 from the comic, authored by Ta-Nehisi Coates, who appears to lampoon talking points made by Peterson, including a parody title of his self-help book 12 Rules for Life, dubbing it as the villain Red Skull’s ‘10 Rules For Life.’

“Phrases such as ‘the feminist trap’ and ‘chaos and order’ appear next to an illustration of Red Skull, while the narrative of the comic centers on the villain attempting to radicalize young men by telling them: ‘what they’ve always longed to hear … That they’re secretly great. That the whole world is against them. That if they’re men, they’ll fight back. And bingo – that’s their purpose. That’s what they’ll live for. And that’s what they’ll die for.’

“In his first book, released in 2018, 12 Rules for Life, Peterson outlined rudimentary concepts such as ‘Stand up straight with your shoulders back,’ or ‘Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world.’ Recently, the clinical psychologist released a sequel called Beyond Order, which lays out 12 additional life rules.

Peterson has often been associated as an anti-politically correct figure in academia and has acknowledged his mostly male audience. Fans of his work often seek truth and insight in philosophy through the medium of the psychologist’s long list of free online lectures and podcasts.”

How did Dr. Peterson respond? By owning it. He and his supporters crafted brilliant memes, many featuring depictions of Marvel’s evil Nazi-like villain, “Red Skull” (“Hail Hydra!”), brilliantly portrayed by the actor Ross Marquand in the Marvel movie (I originally thought it was Hugo Weaving) with some of Peterson’s most famous quotes. He even ran a poll of which famous bits of advice – Rules for Life – that he should use.

There’s more.

And what a great way to help promote his latest book, “Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life.”

And then we have Rep. Cantrell. Obviously, many of us were upset at the blatant mischaracterization of, and outright lying about Georgia’s election reform law. Led by President Biden himself, it culminated in Major League Baseball’s descent into wokedom by moving the annual All-Star game from Atlanta to Denver, which features election laws about as “restrictive” to Georgia’s.

Rep. Cantrell took the time to check out the election laws in Joe Biden’s home state of Delaware, and those of New York. Especially after Senate Democratic Leader referred to Georgia’s law as “racist voter suppression.”

I’ll let his Facebook post tell the story. You can watch his video by visiting his page.

In recent days, President Biden called the new Georgia Election Integrity law un-American, sick, pernicious & Jim Crow on steroids.

In light of this, today I am announcing my intentions to file legislation to address his concerns.

The bill will be called “The President Joe Biden Jim Crow on Steroids Voting Act.” Since President Biden seems to be very concerned about our laws here in Georgia, this bill will make Georgia’s voting laws identical to those of his home state of Delaware.

As a result, it will have 5 key features:

1. Instead of having up to 19 days of early voting in Georgia, we will have ZERO days of early voting JUST LIKE DELAWARE!

2. Instead of having no excuse absentee voting in Georgia, you will have to have the excuse of being sick or disabled to vote absentee JUST LIKE DELAWARE!

3. Instead of having plenty of secure drop boxes in Georgia, there will be no drop boxes JUST LIKE DELAWARE!

4. Instead of being able to get drink/food from a non-poll worker outside of the 150 foot buffer & drink from a poll worker within the barrier in Georgia, it will be illegal to receive anything of value while standing in line to vote JUST LIKE DELAWARE!

5. Instead of being able to vote in relative quiet in Georgia, your name will be announced outloud (and your party affiliation during a primary) so that your vote can be challenged by anyone in the precinct JUST LIKE DELAWARE!

I look forward to all of my colleagues who voted against our Election Integrity law begging to co-sponsor this legislation with me.

I have some advice for President Biden. Take care of your own home state before you say a word about Georgia. People in glass houses shouldn’t be throwing stones. Either read the bill for yourself or at least get some advisors who will tell you the truth. Congratulations on your 4 Pinocchios from The Washington Post. And you didn’t just spread misinformation once. You did it again and again. Delaware’s voting laws are draconian when compared to Georgia. Until you bring election reform to your home state of Delaware, its probably best that you sit this one out. To use your favorite phrase, “C’mon Man!”

On Saturday, Senator Chuck Schumer decided to weigh in on our new election integrity law by calling it “racist voter suppression.” He invited the MLB to move the All Star Game to New York. Apparently, Senator Schumer doesn’t know the voting laws in his home state which are much more restrictive than Georgia’s.

So in light of Senator Schumer’s concerns, I’m going to also introduce “The Senator Chuck Schumer ‘Racist Voter Suppression’ Voting Act.” This act will make Georgia’s voting laws just like New York’s.

Instead of up to 19 days of early voting, we’ll only have 9 days of early voting JUST LIKE NEW YORK!

Instead of no excuse absentee voting, we will now require an excuse for you to vote absentee JUST LIKE NEW YORK!

These politicians really should take the time to know their home state’s voting regulations before they start criticizing others, especially Georgia.

And finally, yes this is a political stunt. The left pulls political stunts all the time and yet somehow the media takes them seriously. One of my colleagues recently stuck her head inside the bullhorn while a Georgia State Patrol Officer was giving instructions. She then had the audacity to demand an apology – going so far as to say that she wouldn’t leave the Capitol steps until she received one. She failed to keep her commitment as she never received the undeserved apology but she still left the Capitol steps an hour or so later. This same colleague disrespected our Georgia State Patrol Officers again when she refused to follow their instructions & symbolically knocked on a back “exit only” door to the Governor’s office. The officers had no choice but to arrest her which is exactly what she wanted to happen. The media fawned over her & treated her as a martyr instead of calling out her shameful behavior as they should have.

Folks don’t fall for the fake outrage and false narrative. Georgia’s new election integrity law restores voter confidence & security & expands access to voting so that Georgia remains a state where it’s simple to register, easy to vote & hard to cheat.

We all can’t be State Representatives or renowned authors like Dr. Peterson. But we can learn a thing or two from them, especially when attacked on social media. Mocking and trolling are not just new, but regular features on Twitter. Spend any time there, and you’ll see it. Some of it works, some of it doesn’t, and it can be risky because trolling requires the thoughtful use of humor. Humor has a way of exploding in your face, but it can also diffuse a situation very quickly when employed with skill. Keep that in mind.

A Stillness at Appomatox

 

Friday was the 156th anniversary of Robert E. Lee’s surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia to U.S. Grant and his Army of the Potomac, at Appomattox Courthouse, VA. I consider this the effective end of the Civil War, though some fighting continued, and Confederate leaders in other locations, further south and west, surrendered at different times over the next couple of months.

The title of this post is from Bruce Catton’s excellent book on the conclusion of the war.

The National Park Service has a brief description of the surrender, and Grant’s final pursuit of Lee and his army in the preceding few days, here.

God bless America.

The Promise of Blossom

 

I think I mentioned that it’s cold here at the moment (well, coldish), and the blossom on the trees is just coming into bud:

But the star-gold of the forsythia still lights up the garden regardless:

The bluebells are just beginning to toll:

And though the blossom on the flowering cherry isn’t quite there yet, the promise remains:

That’ll do for now.

Member Post

 

Uncle Gary, what did you do to stop Biden? [link] Compare and contrast the virtue signaling going on in the first 100 days of the Biden Administration with the first 100 days of the Trump Administration. It is no where to be found now. Strange … and Sad. Back in the good old days of […]

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Member Post

 

The guy had timing down perfectly. RIP #RIP Prince PhilipHe told @PressClubDC 5/18/1990: "Thank you for very good lunch. Nostalgic it's nearly 40 years since first time I came to Washington…I came with Queen in President Truman's day…I'm not always as tactless as people make out." Told a Winston Churchill story: pic.twitter.com/mTRkRkMv1g — Howard Mortman […]

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Quote of the Day: Set the Limits

 

“He’s dead – his mother has had a nervous breakdown. They spoiled him rotten. I mean most parents would be proud of a kid like that – good lookin’ and smart and everything, but they gave in to him all the time. He kept trying to make someone say ‘No’ and they never did. They never did. That was what he wanted. For somebody to tell him ‘No.’ To have somebody lay down the law, set the limits, give him something solid to stand on. That’s what we all want, really. One time . . .” — S.E. Hinton, The Outsiders, 1967

“I wonder things I don’t say aloud, too: Whether this transgender craze isn’t partially the result of over-parented, coddled kids desperate to stake out territory for rebellion. Whether it is no coincidence that so many of these kids comes from upper-middle-class white families, seeking cover in a minority identity? Or is it the fact that they overwhelmingly come from progressive families – raised with few walls, they hunt for barriers to knock down?” — Abigail Shrier, Irreversible Damage, 2020

S.E. Hinton was 16 years old when she wrote The Outsiders, the now classic novel of the class conflicts between the Greasers and the Socs in mid-1960s Tulsa, OK. Writing allowed her to cope with the unpleasantness of the social scene in her high school. Her fictional story was assigned reading in my daughters’ seventh-grade English classes in Virginia and Texas. Although the book was already the subject of a popular movie by the time I was in middle school, I never read the book when I was growing up. I kept meaning to read it so that I could discuss it with my girls, and I finally got the chance during the deep freeze and power outage that hit Texas on February 15.

The lines from The Outsiders quoted above struck me as a timeless and true observation. Teenagers need boundaries and they will test those boundaries. When boundaries are too early breached, or absent altogether, the natural tendency toward rebellion seems to escalate rather than diminish. This can be glaringly obvious in the case of toddlers who throw tantrums to get what they want, but teenagers being raised by today’s ingratiating adults need more subtle methods of pushing the envelope.

In progressive towns and suburbs, in my experience, children are encouraged to pursue political ideas and lifestyle choices that only appear rebellious. For instance, in 2018, my daughter’s middle school teachers announced in class that students would be walking out to support the March for Our Lives protest against gun violence in the wake of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. When my daughter expressed unease and confusion about whether she should attend class, her teacher replied to my email saying that he would be in class in case students didn’t walk out. However, he said that he wished he could walk out, too. I had the thought at the time that these stupid teachers were robbing the students of the chance to actually rebel by essentially organizing and encouraging the protest activity. Without the risk of punishment or disapproval, the students were reduced to parroting the views of their authority figures. What could have been a chance for the truly dedicated protestors to make a meaningful statement became another way for students to display obedience.

Like Abigail Shrier, and probably most of you, I never knew a single transgender person in any of the schools I attended. From 2016, when my oldest when to middle school, until we left Virginia in September 2020, transgender classmates, or siblings of classmates, were common to all three of my elementary, middle, and high school daughters. Some classmates identified as pan-sexual or non-binary. When my oldest daughter’s sixth-grade friend announced she was bisexual, followed by pan-sexual, then transgender, I thought perhaps the girl was acting out in response to her parents’ recent divorce and her own recent experience of puberty. This girl changed her name at school to a male name, even though her given name was already androgynous. By ninth grade, this girl had a girlfriend and appeared to be a lesbian instead of one of the more exotic identities that she had experimented with in middle school. I always thought she should be treated fairly and with compassion; I just never thought she was actually a boy.

Puberty, middle and high school, and the process of growing up have always been fraught with difficulties. The social problems of the 1960s are not necessarily the same of those today, and many modern problems are exacerbated by the absence of societal and physical boundaries. As Shrier points out in Irreversible Damage, there is evidence to support the theory that transgender identity crises are encouraged and perpetuated through social media. As a parent, I can eliminate the influence of social media as successfully as the king and queen in Sleeping Beauty could banish all spindles from the kingdom. But I can say, “No,” to my child. No, you were not assigned female at birth. You are a girl. You will be a woman someday, God willing. No, you are not helping a confused friend by buying them a binder or helping them lie to their parents. No, you are not actually able to define reality for yourself or others. Reality gets a vote, and in fact, reality is not all that interested in democracy.

Start Your Weekends With Fridays!

 

That was the ad line that promoted the first-ever episode of ABC’s live comedy series, Fridays, April 11, 1980. It’s fitting and ironic that the one and only thing that anyone remembers about this nearly-forgotten show, the first thing they say about it, even to this very day is the subject of its first “cold open”. A couple of young writers are sitting at a table, complaining that everybody’s comparing their new ABC show to NBC’s comedy sketch show, Saturday Night Live, and it seems so unfair. After all, Lorne Michaels was far from the first producer to put sketch comedy on the air mixed with rock performers. All of the unseen cast members on the other side of the table can be heard, agreeing about how unfair it is. Then the camera reverses angle, and we see that all of the Fridays comedians are dressed up in classic cliché SNL outfits: bees, coneheads, Blues Brothers, Roseanne Rosannadanna, Point and Counterpoint, Weekend Update.

Text scrolls up the screen: Lorne Michaels didn’t invent scrolling words on the screen to make an ironic point underlining or contradicting the spoken lines of the performers. Why isn’t anybody calling him an imitator? It was not only very funny, but nervy, a perfect start for a show whose young adult comedy genre requires at least the illusion of a little sassy bravery in the face of the powerful, and by 1980 that’s what SNL had become.

It was 41 years ago, hard to believe. On-screen, it sure doesn’t look it. Much of the young studio audience looked and dressed in ways that wouldn’t get a second glance today. They laughed at roughly the same sort of jokes that they’d be laughing at today: politicians are hypocritical vain bumpkins, copious references to pot, silly sexual double-entendres.

The rest of that first episode of Fridays varied in quality, of course. How could it not? A running gag about a talkative woman who shouts to you on an escalator wasn’t disturbing, but it wasn’t all that funny. Ditto a couple of seemingly abstract Samuel Beckett routines filtered through Monty Python. A stupid bar routine with two guys was terrible, but it must be said that very early SNL routines weren’t always in the groove either. Their own version of Weekend Update was, in truth, a version of a pre-SNL format probably first seen on US television in the American remake of That Was The Week That Was (1964-65). Melanie Chartoff was cool and authoritative as the news anchor.

This brings up similarities and differences between the casts. Some of the similarities merely have to do with workable, common comedy archetypes that have delivered the laughs since the days when the original Caesar occupied the original palace. Others are narrowly based on the personalities of the specific cast members, who’d spent years honing their acts in front of live audiences.

Fridays’ Larry David, a future multimillionaire, plays what amounts to The Jewish Guy every week, and Michael Richards plays The Tall Crazy Jewish Guy. They’d famously later work together in the Seinfeld era. They have no direct equivalent on SNL

But Fridays’ Maryedith Burrell is a pretty close equivalent of Gilda Radner, someone whose range extends from zany to childlike without being cloying. Not the same recipe, not exactly the same flavor, but many of the same ingredients.

Fridays’ Melanie Chartoff is similarly not exactly alike, but comparable in some ways, to SNL’s steely, confident Jane Curtin. Chartoff’s overall comedy persona is also similar to less well remembered SNL original cast member Laraine Newman, who tried with only sporadic success to find a role for herself as the semi-official Sexy Girl on the show but was never able to catch up to Curtin. Newman generally came across as a ditz or a hippie seductress. Curtin’s brand of sex appeal was more polished, mature and reserved. As one of the few cast members uninterested in nightlife, she became a good, chilly foil for the loutish behavior of the men. It’s a distinct comic role if you have the talent for it. Melanie Chartoff played it a little younger, the sardonic girl in the hot tub with a raised eyebrow and a knowing smirk.

One of the most striking cases of a difference between the casts of the two shows was Darrow Igur, Fridays’ The Black Guy, who correctly pointed out on camera that he’d already been given more of a chance than SNL had given Garrett Morris in five years. In fact, Darrow Igur had at least some of the daring and original flair of SNL’s next Black star, Eddie Murphy, who hadn’t been cast yet. For nearly a year, Igur had that particular comedy spotlight to himself, but it didn’t “take”, and he’s forgotten now.

(A side note: do you remember who George Coe is? I didn’t. He was a first-year SNL cast member who didn’t seem to have a lot to do, so Michaels dropped him for year 2. Given the show’s later success, this makes him something of a Pete Best. It’s odd to think that Coe was in the same show, the same time, as Chevy Chase, who quit after year 1 but is still popularly identified with SNL nearly a half-century later.)

SNL has had very little serious competition for its time slot, so it’s easy to overlook a difficult couple of years when the show seemed to be on its way out. The producers of Fridays might have sensed that their moment was right. In the spring of 1980, when Fridays went on the air, it was widely rumored that Lorne Michaels wasn’t coming back in the fall, and the contracts of the original cast weren’t being renewed. Silently confirming the rumors, Michaels gave out engraved souvenirs to the cast and crew, little models of the RCA Building with the caption, “Saturday Night Live, 1975-1980”.

The very last shot of the very last show that year was a fade-out on an NBC studios sign, “On The Air”, switching off. It sure looked like the brand-new Fridays had the field to itself.

But it didn’t, at least not quite yet. NBC surprised Michaels, and much of the TV industry, by announcing that the show would have a 1980-’81 season and putting Jean Doumanian, the show’s associate producer, in charge. It was presented as a bold, gutsy move, choosing a woman to run Saturday Night Live. That wasn’t the issue. The issue was Doumanian’s suitability for what, under Michaels, had been built into the closest thing that network TV had to a personal dictatorship.

Show business job titles, famously, can sometimes be inflated and deceptive, a good subject for another Ricochet post. Associate producer, in her case, meant Jean Doumanian was in charge of external talent relations: making deals and taking care of the hosts and bands that Lorne decided on, making sure the contracts were signed, champagne was sent to their hotel rooms, and the limos brought the artists to the studio in time. This is an important job, but it’s not the creative director of the whole show, nowhere near it. She’d never been in charge of a writing staff and had little to do with the regular weekly cast. Above all, she lacked Michaels’ sense of taste, or even an intuitive ability to know what SNL could get away with.

The TV industry was baffled. What was NBC thinking? Who advised them? Feminism, even the tamer version of forty years ago, made it awkward to raise these widespread doubts in the press. When SNL premiered in September 1980, the rebooted, Lorne-less show was in trouble almost from day one, widely derided as “Vile From New York, it’s Saturday Night!” It staggered through terrible reviews and big ratings losses as compared to the golden years. The new cast got mixed reviews. Joe Piscopo appeared to be Jean Doumanian’s first star in the making, a mix of Belushi’s aggressiveness and Aykroyd’s talent for mimicry. The new anchor of Weekend Update was Charles Rocket, good-looking and nasty, reasonably well received at first as a sort of new, even more, conceited Chevy Chase. Rocket was also a Doumanian favorite. Eddie Murphy, of course, would have a meteoric career, but it would take months before he’d make a real impression.

SNL barely made it into the late winter, then NBC fired Doumanian and shut the showdown. After an interval, one new spring ’81 episode was produced to prematurely finish the season. Then it was off the air, awaiting another executive producer and another total rebuild, its second in a year.

At this point, could anyone blame the cast and crew of ABC’s Fridays for thinking they’d lucked out? The 1980-81 season was especially strong for them. Now they were getting top hosts and musical acts. Their November 1980 parody of the newly elected Reagan administration, The Ronny Horror Show, was a critical and ratings triumph.

Fridays looked forward to the 1981-82 season with confidence, even if SNL was dragging itself up off the canvas one more time. As ABC had reminded people from the beginning, the very titles of the two shows meant they weren’t directly competing with each other.

In the end, what killed Fridays was an unfortunate, probably inevitable collision with the network’s news division when Ted Koppel’s nightly bulletin about Iran, America Held Hostage, became such a hit that after the hostages were freed, the show was made a permanent part of late-night TV with a new title, Nightline.  Koppel wasn’t willing to run his show at 12:30 on Friday nights, and neither was Fridays, feeling that Koppel had, after all, four other nights of the week. Major national advertisers for both shows weren’t interested in the 12:30-1:30 timeslot.

Much like NBC would bobble the ball 30 years later, trying to placate both Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien, ABC tried to avoid losing anyone, finally shifting Fridays to primetime, a move that muzzled its humor, lost its audience, and essentially killed the show. By spring 1982 it was gone. It left behind 48 episodes, not bad for two years. In its day, it wasn’t a minor show, but a moderate hit.

A week ago, SNL parodied its own history with elements of The Shining, starring Maya Rudolph and featuring several other stars of her era: Kenan Thompson as Dick Halloran, the Scatman Crothers role; Rachel Dratch as the scary lady in the bathtub, Kristen Wiig in a cameo as the twin girls in the hallway, and Tina Fey, almost unrecognizable as a composite, nobody-in-particular character, a 70s writer of the show. The parody also has a Shining bar as well as a “blood elevator” shot, explained as all the red wine leftover from the show’s after-parties. There were some funny bits scattered throughout the ambitious but unfocused routine, whose point was, like the sinister Overlook Hotel in the film, once you’re a part of Saturday Night Live, you can’t escape; like it or not, you will be identified with it forever.

The ending caught the spirit of the film by tracking into a black and white photo, with that gramophone-toned “Midnight, the Stars and You” song that ends The Shining. Instead of Jack Nicholson, eternally at home in the Overlook in 1921, Maya Rudolph was now permanently photoshopped into Gilda Radner’s place in a picture of the original 1975 cast, a bunch of skeptical young anti-establishment hipsters who long ago were turned into saleable icons, trinkets in the gift shop of a pop culture mausoleum. It was witty, self-knowing, and a little sad.

Changing America – The World is Noticing

 

“The Europeanized USA” by Dr. Alex Joffe, published at the BESA Institute, is worth your time. This story sums up, in a not-so-tasty nut-shell, how the last bastion of the Free World, The “United” States of America, is doing, and how both our allies and enemies are viewing our current “situation” (demise).  Here’s the opening:

“America is undergoing a rapid transformation founded in a moral panic over race that masks the exercise of class-based power in which technology companies and left-wing politics have united to wield unprecedented control. The outcome will likely be a union of Europeanized states where freedoms are severely curtailed and social cohesion is minimized in favor of dependency.”   A slap in the face of Lady Liberty at best, who welcomed our ancestors to her shores –  a place of safety and freedom, based on a Declaration, and a Constitution, written with the blood of patriots, and the courage of those that fled the tyrannical control from another continent.  At its worst, the imports of slavery and inequality, who saw its imperfections and ugliness, through MLK and JFK and sought a path of reconciliation and opportunity – paths only found in a free society.

What does our country currently hold for those who look to her for guidance as new storm clouds gather – dark clouds that some recognize from only 75 years ago? Let’s observe the following from the story (the bold and underlines are mine):

“Several processes familiar to Europeans have taken hold with ferocity in the US”:

  • massive censorship (and self-censorship) of the media in the name of mitigating “hate” and shaping institutions and attitudes, creating palpable gaps between realities unfolding in the streets and attitudes;
  • the politicization of government (already mobilized to defeat Trump the interloper and marginalize his supporters) at all levels in the name of “safety” over the course of the pandemic, leading to pervasive restrictions on civil liberties including freedom of speech, movement, assembly, and even religion; 
  • an alliance of technology monopolies to shape all narratives regarding health and safety and, more generally, to foment a sense of crisis that has now been extended to include the prevention of “hate” via such methods as deplatforming individuals, including a sitting president, and expunging old books from the culture for their newly declared “racist” imagery;
  • a moral panic and uprooting of allegedly retrograde attitudes and histories, colonialism in Europe, racism in America, suddenly intolerable phenomena that are at once so complex and historically grounded yet so malleable as to lend themselves to expansive use as slurs; and
  • an opening of borders to mass illegal immigration in a pattern that first denies the problem exists and brands critics as racist and then calls the problem so vast as to be uncontrollable and the removal of any legal barriers to entry, a process that replaces the concept of citizenship with residence.

Many more examples could be cited. Fundamentally, the issue is a matter of a left-wing technocratic ruling class exerting power using new rhetoric regarding “hate,” race, and gender.

A haphazard re-engineering of America is taking place at breakneck speed.

That this is the antithesis of representative democracy and the utter undoing of American tradition could not be more apparent. Nor is the fact that this process is managed by a technocratic left-wing oligarchy that has a near-total grip on the country’s institutions, including government, media, education, and corporations.”

There is a window that is closing; the pot is coming to a slow boil and we the frogs, are asleep.  Take this time to post, blog, write, publish, talk, share, protest, and stand up for freedom while we can.  For all of our faults, The United States is the last bastion of freedom, and the world is watching; both our enemies and allies.

Meet Thomas Reid

 

What’s the deal with Thomas Reid’s funny hat? I don’t know. Maybe you can tell me. In return, I can introduce you to his philosophy in a series of videos airing here on my Rumble account (and here next year on YouTube). I’ll do it without a funny hat–but maybe with a goofy smile or a Bugs Bunny tie I keep in the office.

And why should you care about Thomas Reid’s philosophy? Because it’s the best way to explain the foundations of science; not that there aren’t valuable contributions to that area of study from my other philosophy homeboys David Hume, Immanuel Kant, and Alvin Plantinga. (William James, too.)

And one other reason–Kierkegaard may be the captain of the philosophers, and Jean-Luc Marion may be the captain of the next generation of philosophers, but Thomas Reid is the king of Scottish common-sense philosophy.

That stuff is mostly ignored or forgotten now, but it had a big influence in earlier days of US history.  Expect a new video introducing Reid’s presentation of common-sense philosophy each Monday until the series is complete.

Member Post

 

Might be worse than losing your religion. It is certainly easier. I remember the first time I heard about cellphones. It was in 1986 when I was leaving the practice of pediatrics to retrain in radiology. I got a sales call from someone who described the remarkable features of cell phone technology which were then […]

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Member Post

 

There’s a propaganda war on. It’s mostly (yes, mostly) one-sided. At Ricochet we’ve been over and over the Russia Collusion Hoax, one of the most outrageous, brazen, and destructive examples. Another example is George Floyd. This was hyped, exaggerated, and lied about immediately which led to unrest, destruction, and deaths. This despite the fact that […]

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Member Post

 

Not being allowed to see what is being covered on the Member Feed for three weeks, I can only guess at what is not being covered and discussed that is important and critical…to me. (And, if not important and critical, at least interesting…to me).  One of those items comes from this Instapundit link earlier this […]

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Member Post

 

Biden’s tax plan relies more on emotion and greed than facts.  In arguing for his 28% corporate tax rate he asserted, “I’m not trying to punish anybody, but damn it, maybe it’s because I come from a middle-class neighborhood, I’m sick and tired of ordinary people being fleeced…” Looking at the actual statistics (2018 is […]

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Arizona Memories

 

Arizona is a special place and I miss living there. The Big Nowhere, Monsoon, a three-stoplight town north of Tucson. A 50-mile drive for jury duty, passing the Tom Mix memorial on a stretch of two-lane highway to do my civic duty, and a 50-mile drive back home. I miss the bobcats in the backyard.

Whisky is for drinking, water is for fighting in Arizona. Arizona is still fighting California over Colorado River rights. The annual joke in the Tucson area is about when the Santa Cruz river ice jam will break up when spring arrives. When the big rain came, 40 days and 40 nights, southern Arizona got half an inch.

The Copper Queen Hotel in Bisbee, Arizona’s version of an Italian hill town. The town where you can spit down into your neighbor’s chimney.

Some of my photos of Arizona:

Monsoon season usually starts in the second week of June. Mike Olbinski released his latest Monsoon film about five months ago.

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Policing For Profit: How Civil Asset Forfeiture Has Perverted American Law Enforcement

 

The current state of civil asset forfeiture in the United States is one of almost naked tyranny. Don’t believe us? Listen to the latest Resistance Library Podcast.

Picture this: You’re driving home from the casino and you’ve absolutely cleaned up – to the tune of $50,000.  You see a police car pull up behind you, but you can’t figure out why. Not only have you not broken any laws, you’re not even speeding. But the police officer doesn’t appear to be interested in charging you with a crime. Instead, he takes your gambling winnings, warns you not to say anything to anyone unless you want to be charged as a drug kingpin, then drives off into the sunset.

This actually happened to Tan Nguyen, and his story is far from unique. On this episode on the Resistance Library Podcast, Dave and Sam discuss the topic of civil asset forfeiture, a multi-billion dollar piggybank for state, local, and federal police departments to fund all sorts of pet projects.

With its origins in the British fight against piracy on the open seas, civil asset forfeiture is nothing new. During Prohibition, police officers often seized goods, cash, and equipment from bootleggers in a similar manner to today. However, contemporary civil asset forfeiture begins right where you’d think that it would: The War on Drugs.

In 1986, as First Lady Nancy Reagan encouraged America’s youth to “Just Say No,” the Justice Department started the Asset Forfeiture Fund. This sparked a boom in civil asset forfeiture that’s now become self-reinforcing, as the criminalization of American life and asset forfeiture have continued to feed each other.

In sum, asset forfeiture creates a motivation to draft more laws by the legislature, while more laws create greater opportunities for seizure by law enforcement. This perverse incentive structure is having devastating consequences: In 2014 alone, law enforcement took more stuff from American citizens than burglars did.

You can read the full article Policing For Profit: How Civil Asset Forfeiture Has Perverted American Law Enforcement at Ammo.com.