What is going on this morning over at National Review? Is it worth reading? I read 10 articles, and graded each ops 0-to-10 scale. Total score (out of 100); -45. Beam me up, Scotty. There is no intelligent life there at all:
Kyle Smith: They’re Lying about Louis C.K.: "‘Transgressive’ is good, except when the Left gets offended.... A bit C.K. had performed at a Long Island night club on December 16, with no intention that a national audience hear it, and that leaked online without his permission.... 'You’re not interesting because you went to a high school where kids got shot', C.K. said. 'Why does that mean I have to listen to you? Why does that make you interesting? You didn’t get shot. You pushed some fat kid in the way and now I’ve got to listen to you talking?' C.K. also made fun of hypersensitive, scoldy, uptight young people and their pronoun posturing..." Mocking the Parkland kids is taboo. And taboo-busting was a great compliment. Still is. C.K. was being transgressive. And transgressive was a great compliment. Still is. One almost begins to entertain a rumor of a hint of a suspicion that the culture cops don’t approve of transgression per se, but only of the transgression of boundaries cherished by people they don’t like.... The premise of his Parkland bit is that surviving a school shooting doesn’t make you an expert on any public-policy question. This is not only true, it’s obvious. C.K. is doing the same kinds of bits he has always done." Score (on a 0-to-10 scale): -10. Why did I think reading National Review was a good thing to do, again? Louis C.K.'s natural fan base is supposed to be people like me—he's supposed to figure out what I would find funny. And at the moment Parkland jokes are funny only if they are metaled the way that Johnny Carson did to Lincoln-at-Ford's-Theater jokes: "See? Too soon!"
Ben Shapiro: Mitt Romney’s Anti-Trump Op-Ed Is Counterproductive: "By forcing a 'Love Trump or Leave Trump' choice on Republicans, he’s actually doing the work of both the most ardent Trumpists and the most viciously antagonistic members of the Democratic party and the media." Score (on a 0-to-10 scale): -10. Why did I think reading National Review was a good thing to do, again? Romney can't be both doing the work of Trump and doing the work of Trump's most vicious antagonists. There's this principle—it dates back to the Stagirite, and his Peri Hermeneias.
Kevin Williamson: Free Speech: Why Global Technology Companies Cave to China & Saudi Arabia: "I am generally in favor of an open, liberal cosmopolitanism. But the virtue of that cosmopolitanism is that it enables the free movement of people and capital—and, most important, ideas. A repressive cosmopolitanism that defers to the judgment of Riyadh or Beijing is of no intellectual value at all. In that instance, call me a nationalist: I am happy for Netflix to export the work of Hasan Minhaj, but I would be more happy to see it flex some of its considerable corporate muscle to export the First Amendment, too. Of course Netflix is only doing what’s best for its business. So was IG Farben, and its directors were tried—and 13 of them convicted—at Nuremberg." Score (on a 0-to-10 scale): 0. There are now a bunch of right-wing people out there who either think that I.G. Farben's crime was suppressing radio programs critical of Adolf Hitler or that Netflix supplies nerve gas to extermination camps. Nice work, Kevin. But we grade on a curve: and at least today you aren't calling for the hanging of one in five American women.
Michael Strain: Expected Wage Growth 2019: "Rich argues that President Trump should talk more about wage growth and less about the stock market. The good news for workers is that this advice will likely be as correct in 2019 as it has been in 2018. Wages are growing. The most recent data on wages (more specifically, average hourly earnings) finds that they are up over 3 percent relative to one year prior. And the pace of wage growth accelerated throughout 2018. The early months of 2018 saw wages growing at about 2.6 percent, noticeably slower than the 3+ percent growth workers have recently enjoyed..." Score (on a 0-to-10 scale): 0. WTF, Michael? "Wages", unqualified, will be understood by well over half your readers to mean "inflation-adjusted real wages". You shouldn't be reporting nominal wages unqualified. You are better than this—or I thought you were.
Michael Strain: Working Class in America: "There is a growing consensus that the working class is in crisis following years of difficult economic change and due in part to their being ignored by Washington. This view has been considerably strengthened in the conservative movement and within the Republican party by the election of President Trump.... This view of the working class has created some sympathy for class-based politics, and for a narrative of victimhood about this group.... I am struggling to find empirical support for this narrative when the working class is compared to lower-income Americans..." Score (on a 0-to-10 scale): 0. What is the "working class"? I find that it is "adults between the ages of 25 and 64, who have graduated from high school but who have not completed a four-year college degree, and whose annual household income is greater than that of the bottom 20 percent of the population, but less than the median". I know that you are trying to do the LORD's work her, Michael—but sampling on the dependent variable never works.
Conrad Black: Trump’s Mueller & Political Victory Is Already Assured: "The attacks on him are piffle. As the year ends, the Trump legal drama winds down towards its tawdry end. The immense fraudulent fantasy of a Benedict Arnold on steroids collaborating with a foreign enemy, a Manchurian Candidate 'groomed for the presidency by his Russian controllers', has come down to a squalid dispute between the president, his crooked former lawyer, and the publisher of the National Enquirer over the nature of incentivizing the pre-electoral silence of a porn star and a former Playboy bunny. The slab-faced, trim and grim Robert Mueller, closing in like a heat-seeking missile on the start of the third year of the most ineffective and redundant investigation in history, could be a brilliant straight man, desperately serious and purposeful as he silently marches across our television screens every night in reruns of the same old news film in the elaborate pretense that he is doing something useful and important..." Score (on a 0-to-10 scale): -10. I don't think even Conrad Black believes this. And why is NR publishing it? Does he own the magazine?
Victor Davis Hanson: Wealth, Poverty, and Flight: The State of California: "The Crime Whose Name Must Not Be Spoken: Both legal and illegal immigration have also radically changed the demography of the state.... 40 percent of the nation’s 11–20 million immigrants live in California.... Two or three generations of mass influxes of impoverished residents who on average arrive without a high-school diploma, English proficiency, capital, or often legality. California now hosts one of three Americans who are on some sort of federal, state, or local welfare supplement. About a fifth of the state lives below the poverty level. Half of all births in California were paid for by the state-run Medi-Cal program, and 30 percent of Medi-Cal births were to mothers of undocumented immigration status.... The presence of millions without English and without diplomas helps explain much of the alarming poverty in California.... So why is California a blue state?... Its conservative base fled, a future blue-state constituency arrived, and both the very wealthy and the very poor, albeit for quite different reasons, preferred a high-tax, big-government redistributionist state government.... One population has wealth and privilege enough to create a garden of Eden, with the proviso that it need not experience firsthand any downsides of its envisioned utopia. The second population... immigrants... poor and dependent on generous state entitlements and the non-enforcement of myriads of rules, and regulations.... The third zombie population: those who want to, or in fact are preparing to, follow the millions who left... lack the connections and clout... [to] navigate around the new regulatory morass... pay[ing] more in taxes than they receive in state services... lack[ing] the romance of the distant poor and the panache of the coastal affluent.' Score (on a 0-to-10 scale): -10. MOAR CALIFORNIA DYSTOPIA PORN!
Jonah Goldberg: Conservative Facts: Many Toss Facts & Embrace Meanness: "General Mattis’s resignation, the border-funding fooferall... Trump’s capitulation to both Ann Coulter and the president of Turkey, and whatever happened in the last few minutes since I checked Twitter has people across Washington lamenting that they picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue. All of this came after a federal judge floated the idea that Michael Flynn was a traitor... James Comey admitted he broke FBI protocol to get a government official, the stock market continued to slide into the worst December since the Great Depression, and the Trump Foundation announced it would close down, leaving Palm Beach residents to wonder who will pay for Donald Trump’s portraits of Donald Trump now. Also this week, reports that The Weekly Standard would be shut down and harvested for subscribers were confirmed.... I want to address what its shuttering brought to light: the bizarre need of some of Trump’s biggest fans to be dumb or dishonest in his defense....
There was always a yin-yang thing to conservatism. Its hard-headedness and philosophical realism about human nature and the limits it imposes on utopian schemes appealed to some and repulsed others.... The problem conservatism faces these days is that many of the loudest voices have decided to embrace the meanness while throwing away the facts. This has been a trend for a long time now. But Donald Trump has accelerated the problem to critical mass, yielding an explosion of stupid and a radioactive cloud of meanness. It’s as if people have decided they should live down to Hillary Clinton’s “deplorable” epithet.... The larger point, however, is.. Trump’s sense of persecution is as contagious as his debating style. Facts are being subordinated to feelings, and the dominant feelings among many Trumpists are simply ugly. And even those who have not turned ugly see no problem working hand in hand with those who have. And how could they, given who they herald as their Moses." Score (on a 0-to-10 scale): +5. There is no action plan—not even a hint at a guide for the perplexed on the conservative side as to what they should do. But at least he is worrying about something real.
John O'Sullivan: Donald Trump & Theresa May: Leaders Bring Knives to Brexit and Shutdown Gunfights: "When May framed the choice as one between her deal and no deal, she was relying on the conventional assumption, grounded less in facts than in establishment groupthink, that a no-deal Brexit was unthinkable. She did her best to drive home that assumption with Project Fear. But the more that no deal looks better than her bad deal, the more likely she is to lose—and the more likely a sharper and more independent Brexit (maybe a managed no deal leading to a Canada Plus deal) will emerge from the ruins of her policy. May’s mistake was a simple one: She assumed her opponent had no real weapon when he turned out to be well-armed. She has probably lost as a result..." Score (on a 0-to-10 scale): 0. I do not believe John O'Sullivan knows what a Canada-Plus Deal is—other than that it is being recommended by this week's Boris Johnson.
Armond White: 'Mary Poppins Returns,' with Socialist Subtext: "Who is this white British twit with a cinched overcoat and bumbershoot who goes about ordering around her betters and consorting with working-class inferiors?... Unmistakable is the nasty political undercurrent that prevents this reboot from being escapist fun. Take the new politically instructive songs in Mary Poppins Returns... that lack the memorable delight of Richard and Robert Sherman’s songs for the original Mary Poppins in 1964.... Shaiman assimilates the #Resistance mood that has overtaken Broadway and Hollywood. Though pretending to be innocuous family entertainment, the knock-off tunes have a faintly repressive, pedantic note, especially in Shaiman’s balloon-song finale 'Nowhere to Go but Up'. To careful listeners, it sounds like showbiz Stalinism: 'The past is the past / It lives on as history / Let the past take a bow / Forever is now'. Why should a family-movie ditty recall the essence of Soviet erasure of history?" Score (on a 0-to-10 scale): -10. White never saw Walt Disney's original Mary Poppins with its depiction of the financial sector, did he?
#journamalism #moralresponsibility #smackdown