Friday, July 23, 2021


Still haven't seen that documentary, but meantime there's the music.

•  Friday again! And once again I just have one freebie-of-the-week from Roy Edroso Breaks It Down, to which you should be subscribing because it’s five days a week of premium content for pennies: The one about conservatives fluffing Bezos and Branson for their spaceshit. The McArdle, Podhoretz, and Baseball Crank licks are pretty grisly, but Rich Lowry of National Review really goes for the gusto with (vom) "The Beauty of Billionaires in Space":
Rarely has stunning human achievement been greeted with as much churlishness as when Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos managed to fly or launch themselves into space.

There may be all sorts of legitimate grounds for criticizing billionaires…
…but attaining suborbital flight under their own power doesn’t seem one of them.
“Their own power” meaning their own money, I guess, unless they used stationary bikes to crank the rockets or something. After comparing Bezos and Branson to Samuel Morse, the Wright Brothers, and Henry Ford, Lowry rhapsodizes about Elon Musk’s SpaceX, speculating that Musk’s rockets may be useful to the government someday “in any major conflict that involves rival militaries targeting each other’s satellites.” Lowry doesn’t seem to have considered that, should Musk's technology become thus useful, our enemies may offer to pay the blood-emerald heir more for it than we will, and everything about Musk suggests he would happily sell it to them instead. (Can’t imagine how Lowry missed that, considering the contempt he and his colleagues are continually heaping on Big Gummint America. Wouldn’t any conservative prefer rule by churlish tycoon to democracy?)

I guess there’s a transitive property to this toadying -- conservatives want rich people to know they’re devoted to them generally, so more of them might offer to pay them to help subvert the will of the paupers. But I’m surprised current National Review donors don’t demand more of this treatment for themselves. Doesn’t the Koch family, for example, ever wonder why they should be content with mere attacks on Jane Mayer for their money, when they could be getting publicly tongue-bathed the way Bezos and Branson are? I wouldn’t be surprised if they ceased to expect their encomia only in obituaries and start requiring up front. Isn’t a large donation worth a Betsy DeVos fashion spread? 

•  Zaid Jilani – one of the many cancelculture crybabies infesting Substack – thinks he sees artificial light at the end of his imaginary tunnel
The firm Morning Consult polled a range of Americans about their views on cancel culture, looking at different generational cohorts: Generation Z (Americans born in the years 1997 through 2008), millennials (1981 through 1996), Generation X (1965 through 1980), and the baby boomers (1946 through 1964). Of course, polls should not be treated as definitive on their own, as they are imperfect snapshots in time, and opinions can certainly change. 

Nevertheless, this new data is a hopeful indication that cancel culture may have peaked. Overall, cancel culture is quite unpopular among all cohorts, with each generation viewing it more negatively than positively. Millennials appeared to be most supportive of cancel culture: 19 percent said they had a positive view of it, while 22 percent were neutral, 36 percent were opposed to it, and 22 percent said they had no opinion.
So Morning Consult didn’t ask whether they’re against Twitter deactivating a Nazi’s account, or Facebook deactivating Trump’s, or a corporate board firing a rich executive because he’s embarrassing the company with his racist remarks – they asked whether they’re against “cancel culture.” That’s like asking if you’re “politically correct” – after decades of rightwingers using it as an increasingly random swearword, of course nobody will say they’re P.C. -- though most of those same people probably don’t like offensive comments and bigoted attitudes, which is usually what rightwingers actually mean by it. (Most of the times I've been called "politically correct" have come after I failed to laugh at someone's racist joke.) I expect that’s why Jilani professes surprise that Gen Z appears to be against cancel culture “given its progressive leanings” – these people think that if you don’t think boycotting MyPillow is a hate crime, you must be some cartoon pussyhatted hippie spooling out speech codes. They’re in for a shock when they look at what the kids think about socialism

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