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CSotD: Nitwits in the News

Speed Bump (Creators) provides a bit of grim humor which assumes that you recognize the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse and also that you realize that anti-vaxxers are taking on the job of extending the death toll from the coronavirus.

As noted here yesterday, Anthony Fauci has said that the remaining deaths from Covid are almost entirely among the unvaccinated, and, as also noted here yesterday, the nitwits who refuse to be vaccinated have villainized Fauci and, besides, they have pre-selected a media diet in which they won’t hear about the danger anyway.

Society has always included a group of people who feel that they possess secret knowledge the gummint is trying to keep from us, and who feel that kicking against the general impression of how reality works makes them part of a genius subculture.

When I was a little kid, we had two teachers, a mother and daughter, who lived together and the trunk of whose car was reportedly packed with blankets and gear so that, when the poles reversed, they could escape. I have no idea what they thought they needed to escape or how they expected to get to safety quickly enough in a car, my point, rather, being that they were survivalists long before there was an industry dedicated to selling things to survivalists.

And before there were entire networks and websites dedicated to serving and encouraging the crazies, a word I use with knowledge that there are people genuinely disabled by mental illness and for whom I have compassion, but that there is a whole other subset that isn’t disabled but whose grasp of how the world works is tenuous at best.

I don’t know where you draw the lines that distinguish the mentally ill from the willfully ignorant from the defiantly disconnected. What I know is that, while you can make money by encouraging them in their delusions, you had better hope there is no Hell, because if there is, you will surely land there.

 

And, once again, I would encourage you to stream “The Brainwashing of My Dad,” a sad but important 2015 documentary by the daughter of a once-reasonable man transformed by talk radio and Fox News into a hate-filled rightwing clone. You can find it here.

It’s not intended to cheer you up, except to the extent of assuring you that this really does happen to real people, in case you felt maybe you were the one sinking into paranoia.

 

It matters because, as Nick Anderson (Tribune) points out, the paranoid screwballs are passing laws that interfere with our educational system, which means they’re working to turn out an entire generation of uninformed, gullible nitwits.

It’s hard to say how much of this arises from stupidity and how much arises from genuine malice, but wotthehell difference does it make?

Granted, there is some pushback against the rampant idiocy of things like this “solution,” proposed by lunatic fringe columnist Matt Walsh, who gains a great deal of confidence by obviously having no idea how schools work or what happens in them.

Various people pointed out, for instance, that local taxpayers just might shy away from the costs of putting cameras in each classroom and then maintaining the necessary database for parents to search and stream, with others noting that you can’t even get most parents to turn out for Open House night, much less expect them to sit through their kids’ classes.

But, practical matters aside — and practicality has little to do with these things — look at the retweets and the likes. Some, surely, were retweeting him in shock or mockery, but he’s got a substantial audience, including nitwits willing to file lawsuits as harassment, which, however ridiculous, cost time and money to defend.

Though I guess if local taxpayers are willing to pay for the Big Brother taping system, they’ll cheerfully pay to defend frivolous lawsuits.

I’d also note, however, that, even without actual support for these fascist threats, school administrators tend to be cautious and to use their authority to guard against things that wouldn’t happen anyway.

Ask any teacher.

While, on the college level, this

Juxtaposition of Kevin Siers

 

The old joke goes “Just when you think you’ve come up with a foolproof system, they come up with better fools,” and poor Kevin Siers has a full-time job just keeping up with the University of North Carolina.

In case you missed it, UNC offered a faculty chair to Nikole Hannah-Jones, the head reporter on the 1619 Project, except they didn’t include tenure, as they had in every previous offer of the endowed faculty position, this apparently because of the intervention of a major donor.

Following, as Siers shows in his “Before” cartoon, a good public spanking, they reversed things and included tenure in the deal, but, as seen in the “After” piece, Hannah-Jones walked away and took a job at Howard instead.

This might be less shocking at a private college, where you might know that there are quixotic rules of engagement, even if you’re not sure exactly who’s pulling the strings.

But at a state-sponsored university, it is a betrayal of the public trust to let any individual dictate educational policy.

Though I guess the victims of the high school in Nick Anderson’s cartoon would make excellent students at the college Kevin Siers depicts.

 

At which point we could all use a little pointed humor, and Derf Backderf offers a wonderful slapdown of Fox News

 

Beginning here but then going on with example after example of the plain fact that Captain America has always been political.

I greatly admire Derf’s work, but he’s a crusty SOB, and thus exactly the right person to take these propagandists to the woodshed.

As that social media meme says, if you’re ever wondered what you’d have done in Germany in 1933, you’re doing it now.

Derf can live with that. How you doin’?

 

Need a little more caustic commentary to finish the day on a high note?

First Dog on the Moon covers that undersea natural gas pipeline explosion, turning it into a commentary on our attitude towards ecological disaster generally:

Someone might lose their job – there might be a fine – there might not – nothing changes

 

Community Comments

#1 Kip Williams
July/8/2021
@ 6:27 am

Perhaps there’s a drop of humor to be squeezed out of the spectacle of cheap-labor conservatives (that is, all of them), the ones who don’t believe in spending any money to benefit taxpayers if they can help it, offering up these pie-in-the-sky non-solutions that would cost a mint and spawn entire new bureaucracies.

#2 Mary McNeil
July/8/2021
@ 5:41 pm

First Dog thankfully draws attention away from the day Cleveland’s Cuyahoga River burned…

I retired from teaching just before cell phones became common — but I’d bet there are plenty of classroom videos available for parents…or a principal – like the one I had – who encouraged the kids to come to him with “any problems.”

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