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CSotD: Things we don’t have to be told

Mike Thompson addresses the Michael Jackson “revelations,” which I put in quotation marks because, come on.

You don’t have to be Archie Bunker to have had serious doubts about Jackson’s innocence, which gives me a problem with the cartoon: It’s hard to picture this fellow as a one-time fan, though I realize the 14-year-olds who bought “Thriller” when it came out are now over 50.

Still, the people in my social media streams who have held Jackson up as having been formative remain pretty hip.

And, at the moment, pretty silent.

I doubt there have been a lot of people whose opinions the HBO documentary has changed: Those who thought him guilty already did, those who thought him innocent may be too far into fandom to abandon their faith.

A far more interesting question is at what point an artist’s odd predilections overcome the work?

Most artists are dicks on one level or another, in part because most of us are dicks on one level or another anyway, and in part because people who fit into society comfortably don’t make art.

If John Lennon had been a perfectly well-adjusted young man, he’d have recently retired from a job doing something boring in Liverpool. However, his level of dickishness doesn’t seem to detract from his work, and I think it’s a reach to burn your Beatles records just because John Lennon was a dick.

Phil Spector is another matter, and a particularly troubling one, because, on the one hand, he is a convicted felon, not simply an unpleasant fellow.

On the other hand, he was in the background. While his Wall of Sound production is unmistakable, Spector’s horrific personal behavior does not keep me from listening to the pop music he produced.

In fact, I’m more bothered that the great girl groups of the Philly sound were laying out the terms of teenage romance in lyrics approved, if not always written, by men.

Comparing Michael Jackson to Phil Spector seems a bit like comparing Woody Allen to Harvey Weinstein: Jackson and Allen put their weirdness up front and made it part of their public personnas.

Spector and Weinstein didn’t even have public personnas until their astonishing flaws hit the newsstands.

Meanwhile, the young folks who hate being called “social justice warriors” nevertheless seem intent on finding social injustices in every white man who has ever influenced history, often cherrypicking the worst aspects of complex people whose overall impact was positive.

We’ll see how the reputation of this particular celebrity survives.


And speaking of complexity

Clay Bennett comments on more “revelations,” this time from a New Yorker article accusing Fox News of shilling for President Trump.

And, again, I keep the term in quotation marks, because we already knew that Fox was formed specifically as a conservative bullhorn. The article is chiefly interesting because of the number of former Foxies who have seen it go farther into the barrel than it was in their time.

If you’ve been paying any attention, you’re aware that Donald Trump ignores his own intelligence agencies and other governmental experts while happily tweeting whatever simplistic, distorted reality is put forth by the idiot spokesmodels on “Fox and Friends.”

You may also be aware that some Fox commentators have taken to a form of rhetoric in which they play to that Audience of One, and you may also remember when Sean Hannity actually joined him on stage.

It’s shameful, but it’s not a revelation.

Which, in my mind, puts Matt Wuerker‘s cartoon firmly in the category of preaching to the choir, because, while I certainly agree with his analysis, I greatly suspect that those who need to be persuaded won’t.

He breaks it down into the simplest format, but those who follow Fox, those who most need to be wised up to the difference between “journalism” and “propaganda,” won’t see it that way and might not see the cartoon at all anyway.

I prefer Adam Zyglis‘s take, because the metaphor requires no knowledge of responsible journalism to interpret, while the contrast between the chained medium and the medium on a leash is striking and articulate.

And, while I’m not a fan of labels, “State Run Media” is a brilliant exception, because it needs to be said that clearly, and “state run” is a good term to reach those who need to rethink things, including Dear Leader’s affection for Tovarich Putin.

Plus there’s the joke of the bags, based on our knowing that neither of these jerks would bother.

All three cartoons on the topic do more to comfort the afflicted than to afflict the comfortable, but, of the three, I think Zyglis’s has the most potential to reach at least a few of those who need to be reached.


And then there’s this

Jim Morin does more to describe the situation in Venezuela than to propose a solution, and it is a tough one.

For the simple-minded leftist, it’s another case of American interference in an oil-rich nation.

Then again, being simple-minded doesn’t necessarily mean being wrong.

After all, if this were happening in Paraguay, I doubt we’d give a damn. Paraguay doesn’t happen to be sitting on the world’s largest deposit of crude oil.


Still, when you look at what nations have lined up with Maduro and what nations have lined up with Guaido, it’s much harder to simply dismiss the Trump administration as, well, the Trump administration. The blind pig seems to have found some acorns this time.

It’s somewhat like the first Gulf War, when everyone agreed on pushing Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait, though some of the reasoning was bullshit.

However, we should also remember that, in that war, everyone agreed on stopping at the Iraq border, except for a coterie of American chickenhawks who finally got their way under Bush II and invaded with nearly no support from the international community.

Which is to say that you should relax. At this stage, we haven’t done anything really stupid yet.

Hold our beer.


Yeah, what he said:

Community Comments

#1 Louis Richards
@ 6:30 pm

The reason why the Trump administration is so strongly against Maduro is because Maduro doesn’t say nice things about Trump and offer him wonderful business deals.
Sure, Maduro hates ALL of the US, but so does Kim Jong Un, and HE plays nice at Trump in return for Trump preening about how great he is, and how nice all the people who suck up to him are.

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