CSotD: Bad News Bears and other cheerful things

Tom Tomorrow indulges in a bit of self-examination, and it strikes home with me as well, since I also monitor social media or possibly obsess over it.

The difference between us, I think, is that he can’t help feeling things while I seem to be able to compartmentalize more, which is the difference between artists and reporters. Artists who don’t empathize aren’t able to create anything interesting, while reporters who don’t remain aloof aren’t able to write dispassionately and accurately.

Either end of that spectrum is equally bad: Artists who are overwhelmed by their own passion are often unable to get past the me-me-me school of solipsistic glurge, while journalists who fail entirely to empathize can’t understand, and thus portray, why a story matters.

This episode stands out because This Modern World normally masks its passion with a tone of straightforward narration that is actually sarcasm inviting you to object and insist on caring.

Now, suddenly, he’s being surprisingly frank with his emotions, though still holding back considerably.

It also seems well timed, because, for some reason, both Twitter and Facebook seem racked with passionate intensity lately, not just over major world issues but over celebrity deaths and suchlike.

As he says, it has seemed a process of immersing yourself in horrors and despair, piling Pelion upon Ossa day after day.

I’m glad we have passionate artists to stir up those of us who take things too objectively, but I also hope our seemingly cold stability can act as kite’s tails to keep those artists from flailing and crashing.

Ann Telnaes rocks back and forth between lashing out as she did in her monumental “Insurrectionists’ Roll Call,” and presenting that same fury in cool understatement, as here.

She did well, by the way, to use masks rather than covid tests as her example, since the administration is directing insurance companies to cover the costs of tests beginning Saturday.

If you can find them.

Though some insurance company will probably challenge that in court, just as other attempts to stem the pandemic have brought lawsuits aimed at halting mandates and common sense solutions.

There is, as she suggests, a concerted effort to sell health the way we sell bananas, as one more product on the shelf intended to create profits for private industry.

It’s not just the masks. It’s also insulin and other lifesaving drugs and medical procedures that are available to those who can afford them, while, as for the others, “If they would rather die, they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”

Though then who would flip the burgers and clean the motel rooms?

It is a puzzlement.


Drew Sheneman (AMS) notes the unfair demands being made on teachers, and tosses in that “teach during a pandemic surge” as one more in the list, a particular demand that fits with Telnaes’s accusation about profit-and-loss being our primary concern.

Let’s cut the balloon juice: The Powers That Be weep crocodile tears over kids falling behind in school when their real interest is in maintaining a system of babysitting to keep those burger flippers and motel maids from walking off the job to care for their children.

Their stated theory that simply keeping schools open and full will preserve educational quality is a steaming load of horse pucky.

We’re doubling up classes, recruiting unqualified subs and turning classrooms into warehouses in order to keep the schools running, all the time excoriating the unions and accusing them of worrying about teacher safety instead of listening to their stated concern over the danger of kids taking the virus home and prolonging the pandemic.

But, yes, we’re also insistent that they teach history without all those unpleasant parts about history, and that school libraries not include books about, or written by, minorities.


Juxtaposition of the Day

(Pat Bagley)


(Bill Bramhall)

I noted the other day that, besides getting the money out of politics, we need to get the money out of politicians, and yesterday two senators, Jon Ossoff (D-Ga) and Mark Kelly (D-Az) introduced a bill that would require members of Congress, their spouses and their dependent children, to put their stock holdings into a blind trust.

Now ain’t that a helluva way to make sure the filibuster remains in place?

I referred to this the other day as “belling the cat,” but it isn’t even that. It’s asking the cat to bell itself.

You’d have better luck pushing through universal health care.

Historical note: When women’s suffrage was trending and some states had already passed laws permitting it, the New York legislature reportedly went through several iterations of a dumb show in which one house would approve the measure and the other house would narrowly shoot it down, taking turns so that each could alternately promise to favor it, then throw up their hands and claim to be helpless.

I’ll bet we could pursue that strategy with this gallant proposal.

And I’m not even much of a pessimist. Take a look at this

Defeatist Juxtaposition of the Day

(Scott Stantis)


(Lisa Benson)


(Jeff Koterba)

There seems to be a rising sense that we can’t stand up to Russia and that Putin will take Ukraine however we feel about it.

IIRC, the America Firsters who watched Germany roll over Poland, the Low Countries and France simply said it was none of our business. They didn’t come out and declare that Hitler was too powerful and we were too weak.

But here we are, and while the EU, NATO and the Biden Administration seem to be laying out some significant warnings, they’re being treated as weak-kneed not so much by Putin, who has complained of their threats, but by those at home, whose solution to the issue seems, at best, unclear, and, at worst, to simply let the Wookie win.

Or, to put it in ursine terms, that our best chance of survival is to play dead.

Though I’d point out that there’s also an old saying about how “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.”


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