CSotD: Random bets; Random payoffs

Let’s start at the mellow end of the scale for a change. Joe Heller makes a March Madness joke, and, by the by, “March Madness” is trademarked and you’re not supposed to say it without permission.

Well, you can say it, or write it, as I just did, but, as this lawyer points out, you dasn’t use it to promote anything.

To which he adds, in case you thought the NCAA was just fooling around, “The NCAA has even sued a small Virginia urology practice over its ‘Vasectomy Mayhem’ and ‘Vasectomy Madness’ promotions.”

While, if you were hoping for a geographically limited loophole, it turns out that “Hoosier Hysteria” is trademarked by the Indiana High School Athletic Association, Inc.

So watch it.

Anyhoo, I’m not a basketball fan, but it’s hard to miss the tournament — I think political cartoonists are required to draw brackets cartoons at this time of year — so I caught the news that Fairleigh Dickinson upset Purdue.

I’d be willing to bet that no AI computer picked that one.

We used to have weekly football pools, and a M**** M****** pool, at a newspaper where I worked, but nobody in the sports department would play, not out of ethical concerns but because they didn’t want to lose to some clerk in the classified department who picked based on uniform colors.

I don’t think there’s much expertise involved. One day I was pounding out some story when the editor came by, dropped about fifty bucks on my desk and congratulated me on winning the basketball pool. I’d just filled it out at random and pitched in a dollar to be a good sport.

All of which I share because I’m hoping AI proves to be just as inexpert and inconsequential and equally dependent on dumb blind luck.

Juxtaposition of the Day

Speaking of random emphasis on “dumb,” Wuerker and Rogers point out the lack of logic and focus in the list of gripes being voiced, and groomed and inculcated, by the rightwing.

“Woke” is to blame for everything, and, in fact, it’s so great a threat to society that this woman wrote a book about its danger:

Whatever “woke” means, it’s going to be an important factor in the 2024 elections.

As this survey discovered, when it comes to the good of our children, Republicans are fascinated and fearful of woke concepts far more than Democrats or Independent voters, making it their #2 concern, more than gun violence or providing good physical and mental health care.

Such that, while Mike Luckovich is joking by putting those words in the mouth of a historic figure, he’s dead serious that teaching our actual history, what really happened, has become a political third rail.

There has been some confusion about what can’t be taught in Florida, but the fact remains that there is real and powerful resistance to any version of history that suggests we’ve ever made mistakes.

And speaking of history …

Progressives ought not to laugh, because, as David Horsey points out, we’ve lowered the bar on the left side of things to the point where our own featherheads have come to the fore.

At first glance, it’s easy to agree with Horsey that we once had a better level of Social Justice Warrior, but it’s important to remember that the term arose as an insult when the lightweights began gaining ascendency. Having been around in the last days of the Civil Rights Movement and at the height of the Antiwar Movement, I can tell you there were always plenty of silly people with off-the-wall ideas, but they were assigned to stuff envelopes in a backroom.

Yes, that was then and this is now.

I could have grouped Horsey with Jeff Stahler (AMS) in a second Juxtaposition, because it’s equally true that the rightwing has also allowed its nitwits to come to the fore.

But the difference is that, while the left has let it happen in a bit of a vacuum and out of some sense of not wanting to hurt anyone’s feelings, the right has carefully cultivated its True Believing lightweights, making of them a powerful political force or, at least, a significant voting bloc.

And, dear lord, they are true believers. Ed Wexler isn’t kidding when he illustrates the resilience of the MAGA crowd, even after they learn that Fox News has been deliberately feeding them horse manure.

There was a strong suspicion, which I have passed along, that the loyalty of this crowd was due to the way Fox and other rightwing outlets have sheltered them from the revelations that emerged in the Dominion lawsuit.

But now a poll reveals that, even when they have become aware of the emails in which Fox presenters and executives admitted they didn’t believe the Big Lie and were broadcasting falsehoods, the faithful largely remain faithful. There has been a surprisingly low level of disillusionment, and, rather, a higher confirmation of faith in the network: Those aware of the lies are more prepared to voice an opinion and more apt to make it a positive one.

Even confining the issue to the prime time hosts, cutting out the relatively straight newscasting in other dayparts and getting right to the opinionators directly accused of lying, the gulf between regular newsviewers and Fox loyalists is dramatic.

And going back to our featherheads vs their featherheads, I would suggest that, while it may seem silly to argue over whether “internment” is too kind a word and “incarcerate” better reflects our outrage, the change doesn’t, as the saying goes, amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.

There’s a lot more at stake when De Santis embraces Putin and dismisses Russia’s invasion and war crimes as a territorial dispute, as seen in Bill Day’s cartoon.

After which, and to keep pace in the race towards 2024, Trump comes out with a full-throated declaration that Russia is our friend and the real enemies are the FBI, the Defense Department, the State Department and “USA hating people at home.”

The bottom line is this: If the featherheads on the right keep faith and put either of these men and their lockstep party back in power, I’m not going to fret much over whether I’m being “interned” or “incarcerated.”

7 thoughts on “CSotD: Random bets; Random payoffs

    1. Yeah. God knows the kids today don’t know what it’s like to face police brutality when protesting…

  1. Dear Mr. Peterson you wrote: Fox News has been deliberately feeding them horse manure.
    shouldn’t that be ‘horse dewormer’

  2. Just a note on the Navigator chart: 54% of Republicans feel preventing children from being exposed to woke ideas about race and gender is a priority, but 59% of them want to make sure children learn things they need to know to be successful in school and life. Then again, in their minds, that’s probably the same issue.

  3. I love Horsey and he makes a valid point. The recent case of the professor who lost her job because a Muslim student complained about artwork that was actually a respectful painting created by a Muslim, for other Muslims, and honoring Mohammed, comes to mind. The student’s description of how they felt seeing the painting (after numerous warnings) made it sound like the professor had mugged them in an alley with a baseball bat.

    OTOH, “microagressions” can be real. In his “Letter from Birmingham Jail” Dr. King cited insults that today would be considered microaggressions along with other abuses we might consider far more grievous—” when your first name becomes “n****,” your middle name becomes “boy” (however old you are) and your last name becomes “John,” and your wife and mother are never given the respected title “Mrs.”.” Let’s not abandon looking at the cost exacted by day-to-day small insults because some over-sensitive featherheads take it to silly extremes.

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