21 June 2020

Sundown-Too-Late-Tonight Link Sausage Platter

This public-service advertisement is brought to you by the government of New Zealand, which clearly presumes a much better education level and much better sense of irony on the part of its citizens than one can ascribe to "Real 'Murikans." And the actor is even wearing the (admittedly unofficial) Oklahoma state t-shirt! n.b. I was stationed there, and the news reports in the "real media" have revealed no change whatsoever. I continue to fear that, if I were to drive across the border, I'd be pulled over by state troopers with mirrored sunglasses (mirrors on the inside, naturally) and asked to consent to a search for contraband Doonesberry collections, on the basis of my anti-heffalump bumper stickers.

  • I'm shocked. Shocked, I say, to find rampant abuses of power in Donald's Palace of VersaillesTotalitarianism.

    Your consequences, sir. (two PDFs)

  • As I predicted, Lt Col Vindman is viewed by the Army promotion system as better than "just fine" and still unlikely to actually be promoted. But this administration couldn't spell "unlawful command influence" if spotted the first twenty letters. Hell, it couldn't spell "DOPMA" if spotted the first four, so I shouldn't be surprised.
  • The arts world has problems with its legacy of racism, sexism, and classism. Consider, for a moment, the longstanding tradition in American publishing of paying authors twice a year, about three months after the close of the "royalty period" (meaning up to nine months after the publisher has gotten the money). Historically, there's only one kind of "payment" that has been semiannual and based on old data in the US: Interest on corporate and municipal bonds, which (especially prior to the late 1980s) were held almost exclusively by either well-heeled white men or investment funds managed by well-heeled white men. It's not just publishing, either; it's perhaps even worse in visual arts.

    The fundamental problem here is that "the arts" are not viewed as appropriate productive activity for the great unwashed by those who already have excess capital to spend on the arts. With the rare exception of so-called "professional athletes," there are multiple barriers and presumptions built into the system to make it virtually impossible throughout entertainment for anyone not in the 1% of "entertainment" to exist in the basic economy as full-time individual entertainers. And sometimes even that 1% runs into problems.

  • The rest of the sports world is inconsistent. Sometimes they get it, and even overcome ruling-class bias. Most of the time, though — not so much. Leaving aside that "golf" is a four-letter word, I know all too well about "private golf clubs" and their "members," and even not-so-private clubs like the one that purportedly hosts the top US golf tournament (for men only, naturally). And there's that coded class bias again: Given the cost of equipment, practice, memberships, etc., exactly what type of individuals can realistically expect to be among those "amateurs" to be developed? Certainly not Jim Thorpe (which, in a not-at-all-surprising bit of circularity, sends us back to Oklahoma again).