Saw Television at the 9:30 Club on Tuesday; they were in pretty good shape.
• Matt Lauer is getting pounded from several directions for aggressively questioning Hillary Clinton while failing to impede Trump's river of bullshit. One such complaint comes from Jonathan Chait, who says that the problem is Lauer's false equivalence: "television personalities like Lauer... are failing to convey the fact that the election pits a normal politician with normal political failings against an ignorant, bigoted, pathologically dishonest authoritarian..." At National Review Charles Two Middle Initials Cooke leaps on this; Chait has written against political correctness before, he informs us, and that the entertainment industry is full of liberals! Yyyeah, A. Normal Person might respond, so? What's that got to do with a lame journalist letting Donald Trump steamroll him? Because Matt Lauer is more widely seen than your average New Republic writer, says Cooke; hence he is pop culture, and since pop culture is you liberals' fault so is Matt Lauer:
Or, to put it another way: Most people aren’t reading “elite print news sources,” they’re watching mainstream television and going to the movies, and these sources are both teaching them what to think in ways that political-opinion magazines never will.
Today, Chait is less “may or may not be unfair” and more “horrified.” Why? Well, because now he believes that pop culture — which is just as shallow and dumb as it’s always been; Lauer is no anomaly — is hurting him and his party. And we can’t have that!Because Cooke has a British accent, some people may assume him cultivated, yet he lumps journalism in with "mainstream television" (as opposed to edgy, fringe television like The Five, I guess) and movies, just like your average dumbass culture warrior who takes it on faith that Field Marshall Chomsky Cloward-Piven Alinsky is conducting everything that appears before the public (except some brave truth-tellers like the staff of National Review) in one grand symphony of socialism, and that if one Liberal Cultural Agent does something that fails to advance the cause, all libtarddom is thrown into a tizzy, or at least will be when Charles TMI Cooke calls them out. How a grown man can get through life without apparently meeting an artist and understanding why he does what he does (hint: it's not on orders from Moscow), I can't guess; more evidence, I suppose, that these changelings are raised in vats and educated in Skinner Boxes before being sluiced into their editorial pens and wingnut sinecures.
Welcome to the club, comrade.
• To some sad specimens of humanity, everything is politics. At The Federalist Rachel Lu gushes at first over the Minnesota State Fair, where she had the opportunity to display her vegetables, which make her proud if not eloquent ("My tomatillos were bursting with freshness, still wet with morning dew, and packed with the trademark tomatillo tang" -- sounds like a cigarette ad from the 50s) as well as some ornamental gourds, which won her a prize. But then, after the ceremonies, Lu is told that they throw away the exhibits and she can't have hers back. She has an extended fit, and finally reveals that this condition appeared in the rules of the competition, presented to her ahead of time; since she is a member of the Party of Personal Responsibility, this naturally cuts no ice with her:
I had read the rule book. My eyes had passed over those words. If I had back-checked all the numbers, I could have deduced that my display would be peremptorily confiscated against my will. I just made the ridiculous mistake of assuming the rules would make some sort of sense.When it comes to entitlement, Lu makes Megan McArdle look like Albert Schweizer. But the best part is the inevitable connection of Lu's personal inconvenience with sociamalism:
As a conservative, I do feel a little foolish for having learned the hard way that bureaucratic rules are unreasonable. Hadn’t I read about the Sacketts and their fight with the Environmental Protection Agency? Did I need a personal one-on-one with Clive Bundy to get this?...Maybe next year she'll start her own, privatized state fair, safe from the clutches of the collectivist Minnesota State Agricultural Society. The entry fees might be a little higher -- nothing good happens without a profit motive! -- but it'll be worth it because you won't have to follow rules that don't make sense (to Rachel Lu, anyway).
It could have been worse. I lost eight beautiful gourds that I grew with my own hands, and gained a salutary reminder that nothing lovely should voluntarily be delivered into the clutches of the state. When bureaucrats are involved, the rules will trump beauty, truth, and human feeling every time. Even at the Minnesota State Fair.