Our Eye Candy du Jour from Mr.
Which reminded me of our local "woke" op-ed columnist, Robert Azzi, who gets his meandering, tedious, tendentious columns published weekly in my local paper, and others across the state. In a column published last month argung against New Hampshire House Bill 544 he opened with…
I am so tired of white supremacists and their sympathizers trying to appropriate the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – himself once targeted by the FBI as the most dangerous man in America – to justify their embrace of white supremacist theology by using select MLK quotes out of context. Seeking to justify their denial of the existence of structural racism in order to keep the Other – primarily people of color and immigrants – out of America’s Public Square, they go on ad infinitum about the content of character being more important than the color of skin, totally misappropriating King and his humanity.
Mr. Azzi, meet Mr. Ramirez. Please demonstrate to him his white supremacy.
But I'm honestly puzzled by Azzi's "select MLK quotes out of context" assertion. Certainly that refers to the one in the cartoon above.
All quotes are, in a sense, out of context. But it's hard to imagine any context that would negate MLK's earnest (and, dare I say it, profoundly American) dream. Azzi doesn't offer illumination on this score.
But I can see why he wants to handwave it away: the various manifestations of identity politics are taking us further from MLK's dream, diligently poking us into pigeonholes of not just race, but sex, ethnicity, religion, and every other imaginable way you can divide people into the oppressed/oppressor narrative.
That's what HB544 is trying to fight. But it's how people like Azzi make their living.
Crisis and Leviathan, 2021 Edition.
Jack Butler adds the latest chapter to Robert Higgs' classic:
No, Kamala Harris, the COVID Crisis Is Not an ‘Opportunity’. In response to Kamala's recent speech where she
claimed, thanks to COVID: "I believe that we have a unique opportunity now to shape our nation’s future…"
To be clear, crises can expose serious problems needing redress. But it seems so often to be the case that, whatever the crisis we end up in, the solution, for the Left, seems to be the same: pass Democrats’ bills, expand government, etc. Unsurprisingly, Harris’s speech enumerates as her preferred solutions the current policy priorities of congressional Democrats.
Rarely is there a clever or unique solution offered in such instances; to the extent it is tailored to the problem at hand, it becomes more a matter of “what part of government should become bigger?” than “what should we do differently to prevent this from happening again?” Expanding the state and maximizing political goals are the guiding lights of this mindset, not genuine adaptation or crisis prevention.
There also comes an addiction to the crisis mindset. It is, at least theoretically, “easier” to govern in or under the pretext of a crisis. Whatever challenges a crisis might pose, it also tends to weaken procedural and institutional barriers to action. At times, this might be necessary. But it should not be the default mode of governance. And governments should be made to relinquish the powers they accumulate during such instances, lest such powers linger into and warp ordinary life, or increase the temptation to reimagine ordinary life as itself an emergency.
The will to exert ever-increasing power over the lives of the citizenry isn't pretty. Wheezy and Kamala have it in spades.
Facts are facts. Until They Aren't.
Especially when they're politifacts. John Sexton notes some bet-hedging at our
favorite "non-partisan" site:
Politifact retracts fact-check about lab leak theory.
When this fact-check was first published in September 2020, PolitiFact’s sources included researchers who asserted the SARS-CoV-2 virus could not have been manipulated. That assertion is now more widely disputed. For that reason, we are removing this fact-check from our database pending a more thorough review. Currently, we consider the claim to be unsupported by evidence and in dispute. The original fact-check in its entirety is preserved below for transparency and archival purposes. Read our May 2021 report for more on the origins of the virus that causes COVID-19.
Or: That lab-leak theory could have been weaponized in 2020 to help Trump get re-elected. So we (and our brethren in social media) thought it was our political duty to debunk it.
I don't think there have been any new COVID-origin revelations since September 2020. Just people now willing to entertain a theory that they previously dubbed a scurrilous xenophobic lie.
Going Full Snark on Twitter.
Why is my state's Senator tweeting like a college sophomore Communications major?— Paul Sand (@punsalad) May 20, 2021
Style note: Pun Salad tries to avoid saying "my Senator", preferring "my state's Senator". Federalism 101 dictates this usage: Senators represent states, not people.
Hope I'm This With It At Ninety.
The Guardian's Hadley Freeman interviews Captain Kirk. ‘Take it easy, nothing matters in the end’: William Shatner at 90, on love, loss and Leonard Nimoy. It's funny in places, touching in others. Sample:
… who are you, strange person talking to me from my laptop? He certainly sounds like Shatner. But Shatner turned 90 in March, and the man in front of me doesn’t look more than 60, as he bounces about in his seat, twisting to show me the view around him, with the agility of a man two decades younger. Is this actually Shatner or a celebrity lookalike? You look amazing for 90, Bill, I say cautiously.
“Ninety?! A lie! Who told you that, CNN?”
Yes, and every single other news outlet.
“The press has spread this ridiculous rumour. I’m 55,” he says, and he really does look like he could be.
But you first appeared on Star Trek 55 years ago, I say, beginning to doubt myself.
“Oh, OK. Then I’ll admit to being 90,” he grins, enjoying my discombobulation.
His birthday is actually tomorrow (3/22), but that's a rounding error at this point.
He should have won an Best Actor Oscar for The Wrath of Khan. Went to Robert Duvall (Tender Mercies) instead. Robert Duvall is … pretty good too, as I recall. But still. I've watched The Wrath of Khan a dozen times, Tender Mercies once.