My mind is awhirl this morning, people. Awhirl. First I read Dahlia Lithwick’s entirely accurate piece in Slate, which carries the headline The Uneven Playing Field and should be subtitled, “the case for mud.” She points out what is obvious to anyone with two brain cells to rub together:
Is (Franken’s resignation) the principled solution? By every metric I can think of, it’s correct. But it’s also wrong. It’s wrong because we no longer inhabit a closed ethical system, in which morality and norm preservation are their own rewards. We live in a broken and corroded system in which unilateral disarmament is going to destroy the very things we want to preserve.
This is the case many of you were making in comments yesterday. It’s the one I’ve made in the local debate at the University of Michigan, where Richard Spencer wants to speak sometime soon. He has retained a lawyer who is, like him, a white nationalist. The smart people around here are saying yes, let him speak, but the public discussion is all high-minded First Amendment chin-stroking. I have long been bothered by this, as it fails to consider that Spencer, Milo, et al are not coming to the Marketplace of Ideas (motto: “your credit is good here!”) in good faith. Rather, they’re seeking to stir up antifa and generate another few minutes of civil-unrest video they can peddle to Fox News, which will in turn use it to frighten your parents in their retirement communities.
To be sure, U-M appears to be on to them:
In response to a request from Cameron Padgett of Spencer’s National Policy Institute, UM offered the group four dates – Nov. 29, Nov. 30, Dec. 27 and Dec. 28 – “but none of them have been convenient for the event organizers,” Bristow said.
School was/is not in session on any of those dates, of course.
And then there’s David Brooks’ much-discussed column today, the cri de coeur of the not-insane, not-corrupt, nice Republican:
There is no end to what Trump will ask of his party. He is defined by shamelessness, and so there is no bottom. And apparently there is no end to what regular Republicans are willing to give him. Trump may soon ask them to accept his firing of Robert Mueller, and yes, after some sighing, they will accept that, too.
That’s the way these corrupt bargains always work. You think you’re only giving your tormentor a little piece of yourself, but he keeps asking and asking, and before long he owns your entire soul.
Well, duh. But at the risk of setting off Coozledad again, this is the party its voters have chosen. And chosen, and chosen. A little hand-wringing by liberals’ favorite conservative isn’t going to change that. You may accuse me of paying too much attention to my former employer, but I was genuinely interested in how their staunch conservative editorial page was going to handle its 2016 presidential endorsement. The editor who ran it calls himself a libertarian, and always will. He’s also offended by populism in a way that only a autodidactic conservative can be. I figured they’d go for Gary Johnson, but no. The ensuing editorial was a masterpiece of nonsense and nose-holding, and began with a line probably no journalist has ever written before: “Thank God for Mike Pence.” The argument was that populist Trump will flame out early, and then we’ll get rock-solid conservative Pence, and All Will Be Well. It’s an argument that was stupid the day it was published, and even stupider today, when the flameout shows no sign of being nigh.
The hole we’re in keeps getting deeper, though. Funny how that happens.
Oh, well. Let’s pop to the bloggage:
I’ve said before that Amazon product customer reviews will be winning Mark Twain awards before I die, and I stand by that statement, in this case for the Make America Great Again hat Christmas ornament:
Not happy. We hung it on the tree, and within minutes it worked its way up the branches and assaulted the 14-year-old angel on the top.
An excellent Vice News video piece about the role tax foreclosure plays in Detroit. Sounds boring, isn’t.
Because I have to leave you with something uplifting, here’s this: We can’t take any more of 2017, so we’ve turned to the Hallmark Channel in desperation. Hilarious:
(T)he Hallmark Channel — and its sister channel, Hallmark Movies and Mysteries — has released, in 2017 alone:
“Thirty-three movies,” Vicary says.
They work on them year-round, each put together quickly, with a modest budget of a few million dollars, and then they debut a new one almost every night in December.
They are always Christmas-focused but tend to celebrate the season rather than Jesus Christ. They are often about a high-powered career woman who needs an invitation to slow down. She is played by someone from that show you used to watch circa 1992-1998. She will meet a moderately attractive man who looks like an Old Spice commercial. The plot might be reminiscent of a specific big-budget feature film, except smaller budget, and with Christmas.
Good weekend, all.