Category Archives: Entertainment

The Seen vs. the Unseen, by John Stossel

One of the stupider ways local governments throw away money is to build stadiums for billionaires. From John Stossel at townhall.com:

Sunday is the Super Bowl.

I look forward to playing poker and watching. It’s easy to do both because in a three-hour-plus NFL game there are just 11 minutes of actual football action.

So we’ll have plenty of time to watch Atlanta politicians take credit for the stadium that will host the game. Atlanta’s former mayor calls it “simply the best facility in the world.”

But politicians aren’t likely to talk about what I explain in my latest video — how taxpayers were forced to donate more than $700 million to the owner of Atlanta’s football team, billionaire Arthur Blank, to get him to build the stadium.

In addition to the subsidies, the Falcons get all the money from parking, restaurants and merchandise sales. Sweet deal.

But not an unusual one. Some NFL teams collect even more in government subsidies than it cost to build their stadiums.

So taxpayers, most of whom never attend a game, subsidize billionaires.

Seems like a scam.

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Bad, Press, by Charles C. W. Cooke

There are valid reasons why the public hates the press as never before. From Charles C. W. Cooke at nationalreview.com:

A White House press briefing (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

How the media fail

Our national press is a national joke. Vain, languid, excitable, morbid, duplicitous, cheap, insular, mawkish, and possessed of a chronic self-obsession that would have made Dorian Gray blush, it rambles around the United States in neon pants, demanding congratulation for its travails. Not since Florence Foster Jenkins have Americans been treated to such an excruciating example of self-delusion. The most vocal among the press corps’ ranks cast themselves openly as “firefighters” when, at worst, they are pyromaniacs and, at best, they are obsequious asbestos salesmen. “You never get it right, do you?” Sybil Fawlty told Basil in Fawlty Towers. “You’re either crawling all over them licking their boots or spitting poison at them like some Benzedrine puff adder.” There is a great deal of space between apologist and bête noire. In the newsrooms of America, that space is empty.

It’s getting worse. Despite presenting an opportunity for sobriety and excellence, the election of President Donald Trump has been an unmitigated disaster for the political media, which have never reckoned with their role in Trump’s elevation and eventual selection, and which have subsequently treated his presidency as a rolling opportunity for high-octane drama, smug self-aggrandizement, and habitual sloth. I did not go to journalism school, but I find it hard to believe that even the least prestigious among those institutions teaches that the correct way to respond to explosive, unsourced reports that just happen to match your political priors is to shout “Boom” or “Bombshell” or “Big if true” and then to set about spreading those reports around the world without so much as a cursory investigation into the details. And yet, in the Trump era, this has become the modus operandi of all but the hardest-nosed scribblers.

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Technology: distracting, Disturbing, Deceiving and Deluding Ourselves to Death, by Jim Quinn

One way to tyrannize people is to distract them from what you’re doing. From Jim Quinn at theburningplatform.com:

“What Huxley teaches is that in the age of advanced technology, spiritual devastation is more likely to come from an enemy with a smiling face than from one whose countenance exudes suspicion and hate. In the Huxleyan prophecy, Big Brother does not watch us, by his choice. We watch him, by ours. There is no need for wardens or gates or Ministries of Truth.

When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; a culture-death is a clear possibility.”Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business

Image result for huxley amusing ourselves to death

Something as mundane as using the restroom at work sometimes ends up triggering deeper thoughts about technology – its benefits, deficiencies and danger to our culture. I’ve been using the same restroom at work for the last twelve years. They remodeled the restroom a few years ago with the latest technology – automatic flushers, automatic soap dispensers, automatic spigots, and automatic towel dispenser. This technology is supposed to make things better, but from my perspective the technology just added complexity, glitches and unnecessary complications.

First off, these technological “improvements” did not eliminate any humans from the equation. The housekeepers responsible for the restrooms continued to be employed. Prior to the remodel they would fill a metal bin with individual paper towels and fill the soap dispenser with liquid soap. Now they have to insert a roll of paper towels in the electronic dispenser and a cartridge of soap in the electronic soap dispenser.

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Leave Them Vids Alone, by Charles Norman

Pornography is exacting a huge toll on male psyches and American society. From Charles Norman at takimag.com:

W.H. Auden once said that Eros was the builder of cities. If true, that would explain why American infrastructure is collapsing from decay. Earlier this year, Alek Minassian, a 25-year-old Canadian, murdered ten people by running over them in a van. He claimed as his cause (terrorists, like celebrities, need a pet cause for their brand) his own romantic and sexual unemployment. He identified as an “incel,” and the rebellion of them, he claimed in a Facebook post, had just begun with these murders. It’s funny that the slang term “incel,” meaning “involuntary celibate,” autocorrects to “uncle,” since many of these guys—today young, angry, and sexless—will someday soon be merely hapless, eccentric, middle-aged uncles.

That the killer used his new infamy to give a shout-out to a message board or online community, repeating memes and catchphrases, is a testament to the internet’s mixed legacy of enabling nerds to coordinate with one another. Thirty years ago Alek would have been forced to know people unlike himself, and that, at best, would’ve led him to socializing, courtship, and (someday) marriage, or, second best, not allowed him to wallow in the type of self-pity that justifies running over strangers with your car. Thanks to online communities, the German phrase “Two idiots, one idea” can now be “Ten thousand idiots, one idea.” It’s not good when that one idea is murderous resentment.

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Speaking of Manners, by Taki

The term “good breeding” is now undoubtedly politically incorrect, but it used to refer to people who had good manners. That’s not to imply good manners cannot be self-taught, in some cases they are. Unfortunately, good manners are becoming increasingly rare. From Taki at takimag.com:

Sometime during the 1920s, at an exclusive party at Count Boni de Castelanne’s, a great French lady felt herself beginning to die at the dinner table. “Quick, bring the dessert,” she whispered to the waiter.

She was not overcome by greed. She simply wished to hurry dinner along so as not to drop dead before the party rose from the table. In other words, she did not wish to cause discomfort to those present. Needless to say, the lady had impeccable manners.

Now, please don’t get me wrong. I do not expect anyone nowadays to avoid leaving a room when feeling unwell in order to not cause discomfort for the rest. I simply brought up a true story to illustrate how far our mores and manners have fallen these past 100 years. Back then, a grand lady dropping dead would have caused somewhat of a scandal. The hostess of the dinner would have become associated with the death forevermore. Such were the joys of a closed society. Especially in Catholic France, where the old guard tried its best for years to resist the Napoleonic nouveaux, with their extraordinary titles granted to them by the Emperor for having served him well on the battlefield. (Boni de Castellane’s family was titled long before the great Corsican came along, and his pink palace on Avenue Foch I remember well when I was young and lived nearby. Sadly, it is no longer there, torn down and replaced by apartment houses mostly inhabited by rich Arabs.)

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Don’t Laugh — It’s Giving Putin What He Wants, by Caitlin Johnstone

Now those perfidious Russians are using the ultimate weapon against the US: they’re laughing at us! From Caitlin Johnstone at medium.com:

The BBC has published an article titled “How Putin’s Russia turned humour into a weapon” about the Kremlin’s latest addition to its horrifying deadly hybrid warfare arsenal: comedy.

The article is authored by Olga Robinson, whom the BBC, unhindered by any trace of self-awareness, has titled “Senior Journalist (Disinformation)”. Robinson demonstrates the qualifications and acumen which earned her that title by warning the BBC’s audience that the Kremlin has been using humor to dismiss and ridicule accusations that have been leveled against it by western governments, a “form of trolling” that she reports is designed to “deliberately lower the level of discussion”.

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Why has late night swapped laughs for lusting after Mueller? by Michael Tracey

Did you hear the one about Trump? Everyone has…repeatedly. From Michael Tracey at spectator.us:

Going after Trump is the least subversive act in comedy

Lambasting Trump and pining for Mueller is a defining feature of most of Stephen Colbert’s monologues

For those desperately awaiting the Trump presidency’s spectacular collapse, Robert Mueller has acquired an almost mythic status – forever looming in the background with astonishing ‘bombshells’ that could drop at any moment. Mueller himself never speaks, except through terse court filings, which lends his aura a mystical quality. His newfound fans have been known to light votive candles in his honor, wear apparel sporting his heroic visage, and spend day after day speculating on the internet about the time, date, and profundity of his next miraculous intervention.

Hopes for Mueller as a savior-figure are perhaps expressed most fervently in the realm of TV comedy, where the unifying theme is universal contempt of Trump. Hating the president is one thing: that’s natural, and perhaps even healthy. But the hate exhibited by contemporary late night comedians is so predictable and banal that it feels like a dreary commercial monoculture, with nothing interesting or surprising ever said. Firing off zesty jokes about Trump’s personal vulgarities is, today, the farthest thing from subversive humor, and generally evokes not laughter but a keen awareness that the joke-tellers are all operating from the same wearisome premise. So in search of a comic foil, the TV hosts have latched eagerly onto Mueller, the former FBI director and George W. Bush appointee.

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