CSotD: Everything New is Old Again

It’s not as if Pros & Cons (KFS) was plowing any new ground with this gag, but it’s a common observation for a very good reason: There is very little reason to expect things to change just because the number at the end of the year does, and yet we do.

Obviously, some things do go into effect Jan 1, and probably more than go into effect on, say, April 1 or September 1. And if it helps your motivation to hit the reset button with the new year, by all means, go for it.

Still, if you think you should lose weight or quit drinking or exercise more often, you can start any time. I know that, as I drive to the park this morning, I will see people huffing and puffing along the roadside who I will never see again.

But maybe I’ll see a new face three weeks from now who will become a regular part of the landscape.

If the magic works for you, good. If it doesn’t, don’t take it personally.

Speaking of belief systems, Pedro X. Molina (AMS) salutes the late Pope Benedict on his death with a simple portrait, and his restraint seems appropriate to the task. Benedict was, after all, retired, and whatever that signifies on a theological level, he wasn’t actively distributing spiritual wisdom anymore.

There are people who have used his death to rail against pederast priests, but, then, there were people who used the Christmas season to post blasphemous jokes about other people’s religious beliefs. As a recovering Catholic, I understand bitterness, but, as an adult, I also understand good manners and a sense of decency.

If you have gripes, take them up with the new guy.

Clay Jones takes a much more activist approach to the death of Barbara Walters, and we can start with the image of God as a Black woman who loves pets, which fits my vision of God as whoever you need God to be. I still think of him as George Burns, but your deity may vary.

But amid all the tributes, I appreciate Jones’s far more sharp-eyed review of a woman who started as a ground-shattering journalist but morphed into a celebrity. She never went completely over the brink into Geraldo Rivera territory, where she became the story instead of the reporter, but, as Jones writes:

Walters blurred the lines between news and entertainment and between journalists and celebrities. Her journalism made her a celebrity and that’s who she mingled with. She associated and had intimate relationships with the people she was supposed to be covering.

You can’t dismiss what she accomplished, but you can criticize her for falling prey to the same Potomac Fever that affects a large percentage of the Beltway media. It certainly varies: Jane Pauley has always been a “presenter” or “news reader,” while Judy Woodruff never stepped out of her role as a journalist.

Walters became a personality, neither as politically manipulative as Walter Winchell nor as vain as Hedda Hopper, but, still, a personality. Jones acknowledges it; others have not.

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Kal Kallaugher — Counterpoint)

(Pedro X. Molina — Counterpoint)

One of the few benefits of having shut down for a few days to retool the site has been missing a fair amount of the George Santos hoopla. I made a few wisecracks as it surfaced, but there quickly became a point when there was nothing much left to joke about, and the GOP’s lack of response wasn’t funny.

Kal captures the overall gist, which is that the Republicans have so covered themselves in shameful falsehoods that one more liar barely moves the pile. And he’s correct in that, like pathological liars of all stripes, there comes a point when you can no longer back out gracefully but are somewhat obligated to double down.

Molina, by contrast, makes good use of the Pinocchio gags flooding the market, by suggesting that this might well be the lie that finally demands an accounting, and, boy oh boy, how I wish I thought he had this one pegged.

In a sane world, he’d be right but, then again, in a sane world we’d have never reached this point.

Looks as if Matt Wuerker (Politico) has been fielding the same question I’ve been hearing: “How will the GOP handle all the evidence from the Jan 6 Committee?”

It’s irrefutable, and, though the GOP Mainstream held their breath and stomped off and refused to sit on the committee, the testimony and evidence was nearly all gathered from Republican and White House sources. It’s not as if the Committee were waving around theories from Bernie Sanders and the Squad.

And, as with most fabulist lies, the deeper you go, the more obvious the facts become.

Until the only possible response is what Wuerker depicts: Bury your head and ignore the facts. Stick to your excuses and dare them to call you a liar.

For those who have dealt with schools, this is an old story: The parent whose child has never done wrong is confronted with a video from the school bus showing Innocent Little Johnny throwing books and punching kids, and the response is that someone had made him do it before the driver turned on the camera.

And when you point out that the video is always running, it proves that you’re just picking on Innocent Little Johnny.

Everybody in the corrupt school system picks on Innocent Little Johnny. Or Donnie. or whoever.

As Dan Wasserman suggests, the important thing is not to discover the truth but to find justification for what you already believe, and if you can believe votes were changed by dead Venezuelans yielding Jewish Space Lasers, you’ll fit right in. Otherwise, you might have to alter your self-image and nobody is about to do that.

So here we are in a New Year, and wouldn’t it be nice if, like Dethany in On the Fastrack (KFS), we could just take down that nasty old year, bury it, encase it, get rid of it and begin all over again.

Which, of course, we could, but it wouldn’t make any difference.

As the man said, “You’d better free your mind instead.”

4 thoughts on “CSotD: Everything New is Old Again

  1. What exactly did Barbara Walters do that Edward R. Murrow didn’t do on “Person To Person”?

    (One might also consider Walter Cronkite on “You Are There”, or even “John Snagge” on “The Goon Show”.)

  2. I thought of Murrow, but felt he had retained a little more gravitas and, IIRC, didn’t extend beyond that show, which is why I used Hopper and Winchell instead. Ditto with Cronkite, whose narrations of documentaries did not, IMHO, seem to cross the line. But, yes, Murrow is a reasonable parallel.

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