Following the herd
It also makes sense to assume that Fox’s behavior will change if it ends up losing this [Dominion] lawsuit. I certainly think it will. Specifically, the people who work there will take care not to put it in writing the next time they quietly conspire to smear someone into oblivion.
Murdoch’s shop has always followed the herd, a reminder that its core mission was and remains to advocate for its audience’s political priorities, not to provide them with news. Especially when the news happens to contradict those priorities.
If you happened to tune into Fox [February 2] you found [Tucker] Carlson still at it more than a year later, promising fans that he’s unearthed video that’ll soon prove the government is “lying” about the insurrection.
- “The time to decide whether or not you want to kill a deer is before you go hunting.”
- “If you don’t want to get a haircut, don’t hang around the barbershop.”
Wisdom via Chris Stirewalt, who preaches a eulogy of sorts for Bill Sammons, late of Fox News, who definitely decided to kill the deer.
Flipping the script on its head
I ask Oizumi why he is so drawn to this country. “I like to go places where there are people with a real history. In Korea, that same tribe, that same culture has been there for a very long time.” “Well,” I say, “Europe has a long history too.” “No way! That place is frightening.” “Frightening?” “Yes. I went to Italy, Spain, Milan, Florence, and all the buildings were made from stone—the churches, the castle walls, and ramparts. Now, how did they make that? That would take a tremendous amount of energy. In those days there were no bulldozers. Everything was done by hand. A place with that many stone buildings would have needed some kind of slavery system to build them. When I saw that I thought, Wow, Asia was still relatively peaceful back in the olden days.
San Oizumi, profiled by Andy Couterier, The Abundance of Less: Lessons in Simple Living from Rural Japan
We are offended only by those who are boorish in the way that working class people are boorish, not by those who are boorish in the way that our powerful classes are boorish.
Destined for obsolescence?
To the extent that a Disney production manifests the sort of obvious and literal-minded progressive messaging that might outrage some Republican official, it is already failing by the Mouse’s own standards and is destined for obsolescence no matter what. What survives to become fixed in the Disney canon has to feel deeply in tune with its vast and bipartisan audience even when there’s some kind of ideological vision underneath. Politics is welcome in the temple but never nakedly or openly, never crudely — only clothed in the robes of princesses and filtered through the lyrics of Howard Ashman or Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Teaching in Prison
I expected much less than College Should Be More Like Prison delivered. Excerpts:
Never have I been more grateful to teach where I do: at a men’s maximum-security prison. My students there, enrolled in a for-credit college program, provide a sharp contrast with contemporary undergraduates. These men are highly motivated and hard-working. They tend to read each assignment two or three times before coming to class and take notes as well. Some of them have been incarcerated for 20 or 30 years and have been reading books all that time. They would hold their own in any graduate seminar. That they have had rough experiences out in the real world means they are less liable to fall prey to facile ideologies. A large proportion of them are black and Latino, and while they may not like David Hume’s or Thomas Jefferson’s ideas on race, they want to read those authors anyway. They want, in short, to be a part of the centuries-long conversation that makes up our civilization. The classes are often the most interesting part of these men’s prison lives. In some cases, they are the only interesting part.
In many ways, it is the Platonic ideal of teaching, what teaching once was. No faculty meetings, no soul-deadening committee work, no bloated and overbearing administration. No electronics, no students whining about grades. Quite a few of our students are serving life sentences and will never be able to make use of their hard-won college credits. No student debt, no ideological intolerance, no religious tests—whoops, I mean mandatory “diversity” statements. And in our courteous, laughter-filled classroom there is none of the “toxic environment” that my friends in the academy complain about, and that I experienced during my own college teaching career.
The author gives a lot of credit to the absence of cell phones and internet connections.
I think the truth is that we have been breaking our covenants with students for quite some time. The rise in student debt is a broken covenant. Adjunctification is a broken covenant. The fact that at some research universities a significant portion of student tuition pays faculty to not teach is a broken covenant. According to this study from Charles Schwartz, an emeritus professor at Cal Berkeley, 40 percent of student tuition at his institution goes toward funding departmental research.
Renewing Higher Education’s Covenants
Pardon me while I briefly geek out on constitutional legalia.
As a threshold matter, I’m not even certain the Establishment Clause can be incorporated. … Akhil Amar has written … that this federalism provision prevents the federal government from interfering with state established churches. But that ship has probably sailed.
Josh Blackman, Ending the Epicycles of the Establishment Clause.
I’m quite certain that the original meaning of the establishment clause was that the federal government could not lawfully interfere with state established churches. Fer cryin’ out loud, people, Massachusetts had an established Congregational Church into the 1830s and nobody thought it was uncontitutional.
Perhaps it also meant that the federal government could not lawfully establish its own national church; that would be nice.
But it never occurred to me that because the Establishment Clause was a federalism provision, it’s illegitimate to use the anti-slavery Civil War Amendments to apply it to the states (the “incorporation doctrine”).
So Indiana could still establish Preacher Boy Billy-Bob’s Landmark Baptist Church as the state religion. That would not be nice.
Damon Linker: Ron DeSantis Is Not a Fascist
Tens of millions of our fellow citizens don’t like where they think our country is headed, and they’re expressing that dislike at the ballot box. The response to them shouldn’t be you’re not allowed to dislike and attempt to change the country’s direction. The response should be here are reasons why you should be less hostile to recent trends and more fearful that the illiberal reforms you favor will end up making you less free in the long run, too
Damon Linker, Ron DeSantis Is Not a Fascist
One of the most impressive things about Barack Obama was that he could make the conservative case more eloquently than 90% of conservatives. One of the most infuriating things about him was he would then do the progressive thing — invariably in the Senate, oftener than not as President.
Damon Linker had replicated that impressive feat with contemporary right-illiberals, like Ron DeSantis. But he remains a liberal (center-left, I’d say). The linked column (and I think the link will get you to it for free) is one of his best and is food for productive thought both for right-illiberals (or those tempted by it) and liberals of both left and right.
The fashy essence of authoritarian populism
[P]er his keynote speech at CPAC on Saturday, it appears the coming campaign will be Trump Unleashed.
My hat is off to whichever speechwriter came up with the line “I am your retribution.” With remarkable efficiency, it divines the fashy essence of authoritarian populism.
Tradition is a bulwark against the power of commerce and the dissolving acid of money, and by removing these, all revolutions in the modern period have ended up accelerating the commercial and technological shift towards the Machine.
You can read most of my more impromptu stuff here (cathartic venting) and here (the only social medium I frequent, because people there are quirky, pleasant and real). Both should work in your RSS aggregator, like Feedly or Reeder, should you want to make a habit of it.