Jonah [Goldberg turned] to the hyperbolic reaction from MAGA supporters to former President George W. Bush’s speech commemorating the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks. “If I write a ‘news’letter condemning cannibalistic pederasts and you reply, ‘How dare you insult 74 million Trump voters,’ I’m not the one calling Trump voters cannibalistic pederasts,” he writes. “But when a former president condemns ‘violent extremists’ and the response from Trumpy right-wingers is ‘How dare you?’ I have to ask: What the actual fornication are these people doing?”
I have no really salient thoughts on Joe Rogan
I have never been able to get even five minutes past the opening obscenity-laced advertising on the Joe Rogan Experience — not even to hear him interview Tulsi Gabbard! I have too few years left to me to subscribe to 2-to-3 hour inteviews laced with potty-mouth.
It turns out that, for different reasons, I could not make it through Freddie DeBoer’s critique of Rogan as "a parody of an open mind." Even Freddie’s (presumably) keen observations, about someone who’s too tedious for me to bother with in the first place, lose their edge.
You can’t taste social justice
You can’t taste social justice. It doesn’t have umami. It doesn’t provide that third kind of heat. No one ever sent back a plate of ravioli saying, “I’m sorry, I don’t taste any commitment to gender equity,” or, “I asked for extra intersectionality awareness.”
I think this matters in part because I actually care about the James Beard Awards—though much less now than I did before this announcement. But it also matters because I think one of the things ruining the culture and our politics is the refusal of institutions, and the people who run them, to stay in their lanes.
Merit is a dirty word these days, but merit matters. If I recommend a surgeon to you and he amputates your leg instead of removing your appendix, you might say, “I thought you told me he was the best surgeon in the area!” If I respond, “Well, as far as the actual medical stuff goes he’s pretty subpar, but I was including his commitment to environmental justice in my evaluation,” you might bludgeon me to death with your prosthetic leg. And rightly so.
I know the Academy Awards have gone a long way toward being the James Beard Awards of the film industry. But at least they haven’t publicly changed the criteria for Best Actor to “Good enough acting plus an exceptional commitment to social justice.”
Jonah Goldberg, on the James Beard Foundation‘s explicit addition of social justice concerns to its award process.
In today’s GOP you can get drunk on fever swamp water all day long, rant endlessly about conspiracy theories, or dabble in white nationalism and you’ll be fine. You’ll even prosper. But refuse to say the election was stolen—when it wasn’t—or decline to treat the January 6 rioters as patriotic political prisoners and you’ll be hounded and harassed. There’s no safe harbor. No room for dissent.
NYT Religion Coverage
It’s kind of fascinating to monitor New York Times‘ religion coverage. Not a single story appearing with query "religion" appears to be simply about religion. It has to have a political, sexual, or other twist.
Here’s a complete (if tendentious) list of the stories that appear with that query:
- After coming out as a transgender woman more than two years ago, Roman Catholic enters ELCA Lutheran Seminary.
- Linda Greenhouse fulminates, yet again, on her enduring theme of God Has No Place in Supreme Court Opinions (or much of anywhere else, it seems).
- Some people who work at the A.C.L.U. have thoughts about vaccine mandates and want to share them with us. (Spoiler alert: They save vulnerable people. Imagine that!)
- Linda Greenhouse fulminates about trends in Supreme Court treatment of claims for religious exemptions from laws. (Well, I suppose if you butt your laws into every nook and cranny, people are going to push back.)
- Vaccine Resisters Seek Religious Exemptions. But What Counts as Religious?
- Coronavirus Briefing: What Happened Today
- Ross Douthat opines that "From vaccine mandates to religious liberty, your allies often matter more than your ideology."
- When Dictators Find God, which in NYT-speak means "when political leaders we don’t like deploy religious imagery, or invoke religion to promote national unity, in ways we don’t like."
- Supreme Court Stays Execution in Dispute Over Pastor’s Role in Death Chamber. (This may be the closest to a story that’s simply about religion, since the Times isn’t generally obsessed with the death penalty. Stay tuned for an angry Linda Greenhouse reaction.)
- What you need to know about corporate vaccine mandates.
Gosh, one hardly even needs church with religion coverage like that!
Simile of the Week
Everybody now feels that they have to feed the Trumpian monster. It’s sort of like a horror movie where everybody is living in this haunted house and there’s this creature in the basement that must be fed — blood. And you’ve got to constantly be feeding the monster or the monster’s going to take over.
Linda Chavez on The Bulwark’s Beg to Differ podcast of September 16.
… The same belling the cat problem that made Trump the GOP nominee has led to the GOP worshipping the intellectual bathtub residue he left behind.