Category Archives: Woke

Coffee & Covid. Tuesday, May 24, 2022: State farm?

State Farm? Come on you agents; you are allowing this this kind of effort in your own organization? Please, clean house. mrossol

*THE C&C ARMY POST*

🪖 Thanks for all the wonderful comments yesterday encouraging and discouraging me from probing Elon Musk’s open job offer. I should have made this clear yesterday: OF COURSE it never even occurred to me that I might have to stop writing Coffee & Covid. How perfectly absurd. What would I do to vent all this pent-up sarcasm?

🪖 I’m mulling over options for our June multiplier. There are lots of good possibilities, but I haven’t made any decisions yet. Candidates include: Rand Paul, for standing up to the WHO, Rebel News, or Feds for Medical Freedom. If I left out any other good ones, let me know in the comments.

Incidentally, I’ve been getting lots of requests for multipliers from people running in local races against established democrat opponents. These situations don’t really fit the multiplier model, which is designed to bless folks and outfits who’ve ALREADY accomplished something important and shown courage in the face of cancellation. By multiplying them we are sending a message to encourage others, too, and show our opponents that we’ll support our heroes. Plus, accomplishment is the very best evidence that folks are for-real, non-RINO, valuable assets for the cause.

Having said that, I’d like to figure SOME way we might be able to help support local candidates and local issues, even if not financially. Suggestions are welcome.

🗞*COVID NEWS AND COMMENTARY* 🗞

🔥 Looks like all the attention on the WHO’s pandemic treaty amendments has borne some nice fruit. Yesterday, several Substacks reported that “12 of the 13 proposed [WHO] amendments had been removed from consideration because the working group [for Pandemic Response] was ‘unable to reach a consensus.’” We’ll see how it plays out this week, but this is a great sign. Keep the pressure on.

🔥 You aren’t used to hearing this, but sane people scored two more big wins in the runaway culture wars yesterday. The first story has been developing for a few weeks, but yesterday RedState ran a story headlined, “The New Ricky Gervais Special Might Be the Reason Netflix Sent out Its Memo Suggesting Woke Employees Quit.”

I recently reported how the streaming company sent a memo to its employees saying that if they don’t like working on shows that offend their political sensibilities, then don’t let the door hit them on the way out. The memo didn’t mince words, using phrases like “Netflix may not be the best place to work for you” and suggesting employees “might want to consider working somewhere else.”

Seems pretty clear.

The first sign of the new direction was that Netflix cancelled its big-budget show “Cowboy Bebop,” a live action remake of a popular animé, that had been widely criticized for turning one main character transgender and morphing another popular series character into a feminist lesbian action heroine.

Next, Variety reported Netflix pulled the plug on several other woke animated projects aimed at kids, including “Wings of Fire,” from executive producer Ava DuVernay; “Antiracist Baby,” a series aimed at PRESCHOOLERS; “With Kind Regards From Kindergarten,” a film targeting youngsters; and a yet-unnamed feminist animated series concocted by royal grifter Meghan Markle. Netflix also scrapped the banal documentary “Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You.”

Finally, Netflix has announced the release of a comedy special by acerbic British funnyman Ricky Gervais. Red State says the streaming company had the Gervais special in cold storage for some time, but hasn’t released fearing leftwing backlash. Reviewers say it has more transgender jokes than Dave Chapelle’s recent special. “One-hundred percent, the Netflix employees are going to get mad again,” said SiriusXM host Sam Roberts, who’d gotten an early peek at Gervais’ show.

Get un-woke, go un-broke?

🔥 You’re going to love this next story. It took less than a workday to turn the trans cruise ship around. It started when about mid-day yesterday I began to get reports about a leaked State Farm memo sent to its insurance agents in Florida, asking six “volunteer” insurance agents to deliver packages of gender-bending books to KINDERGARTEN classrooms. In other words, we saw yet another big woke corporation sneakily assisting groomers by stealthily flanking parents with gross sex stuff. Because what do parents know about raising kids anyways? It was also clearly trying to help kooky allied teachers break the new Florida law clearly prohibiting giving this exact kind of material to young kids.

Why involve parents anyway? Those bigots, they don’t realize that you have to break a few young eggs to make a rainbow omelet.

State Farm, which itself offers zero products for children, was supporting a program by a lunatic grifting outfit calling itself GenderCool, which “promotes education around LGBTQ issues,” and which designed the outrageous strategy for ‘distribution of books in schools,’ including one awful offering for the littlest children titled “A kid’s book about being non-binary.”

   

“The project’s goal is to increase representation of LGBTQ+ books and support our communities in having challenging, important and empowering conversations with children age 5+,” the leaked email said.

Why on Earth do they think 5-year-old kids need to have “challenging, important and empowering conversations?”

The email continued, “Nationwide, approximately 550 State Farm agents and employees will have the opportunity to donate this three book bundle to their local teacher, community center, or library of their choice.”

In other words, if the STATE won’t give kids five years and up the disturbing sex manuals, then GenderCool will, and it will use your State Farm insurance premiums to do it with, too. So, take that.

Personally, I find it impossible to scrape together any sympathy for deviants who want to teach kindergartners about their options for having a more fulfilling sex life. Personally, I think these kinds of people should be criminally prosecuted.

So I was all set to give the insurance giant a wicked scolding in today’s post and encourage some ‘positive communications” with local agents when, early yesterday evening, the Washington Examiner ran a story headlined, “Backlash Prompts State Farm to End Program Donating Trans Books to Schools.” Well, well, well.

It turns out the pushback began almost immediately yesterday, with awesome meme campaigns “Like a Creepy Neighbor” and “Like a Good Groomer” making the rounds of Twitter by mid-afternoon. Moms for Liberty’s twitter feed was red hot, as you can imagine.

Although State Farm initially defended the program, by late afternoon it was sprinting backwards. “State Farm’s support of a philanthropic program, GenderCool, has been the subject of news and customer inquiries,” the company said in a statement to the Examiner. Then it conceded, “Conversations about gender and identity should happen at home with parents.” You don’t say. It continued, “We don’t support required curriculum in schools on this topic. We support organizations providing resources for parents to have these conversations.”

And finally, “We no longer support the program allowing for distribution of books in schools,” the statement promised, but warned “we will continue to explore how we can support organizations that provide tools and resources that align with our commitment to diversity and inclusion.” Hmm. My thought is that, if you’re spending time dabbling in kindergarten sexual education, maybe you aren’t focusing enough on the INSURANCE BUSINESS.

Just saying.

Anyway, well done, parents! Whatever you did yesterday worked. State Farm wisely decided not to join Disney in the culture wars this round, and will be coughing up crow feathers all day today.

💉 In a series of about six hundred excited tweets, the Boston Globe reported yesterday on its very own article, headlined “Experimental Pill Prompts Some to Regrow a Nearly Full Head of Hair.” How about that? It’s too bad this story didn’t break a couple months ago, we might’ve avoided all that unfortunate unpleasantness with Will Smith.

The Globe reported that Concert Pharma’s CEO Roger Tung announced that between several hundred thousand and 1.5 million people in the US currently have the heartbreaking non-hair condition. For some reason, this is a HUGE new market opportunity, because nobody ever heard of baldness before. I wonder what could’ve changed. Weird.

And, it turns out that the small Lexington pharma company is only one of SEVERAL companies with hair-loss drugs in the late stages of clinical trials for the disease, where a person’s immune system attacks their own hair follicles, resulting in patchy or total hair loss. Eli Lilly, Incyte, and, wait for it, PFIZER are also developing new treatments for the condition. Soon balding people will have tons of options for regrowing their shedding curls. So that’s good.

According to the article, Concert tested its TWICE-DAILY pill in a study of about 700 people with moderate or severe alopecia. By the end of the study, the company said almost half — 41.5% percent — of people who got the highest dose also got hairier.

“I think there are enough patients in the US who are going to need treatment for alopecia areata that there will be multiple successful drugs,” CEO Tung told the Globe. It seems like there are more alopecia patients all the time, and there will be plenty of market to go around.

For some reason.

🔥 Yesterday, Governor DeSantis announced a program to give certain citizens $100 million dollars for “down payments and closing costs.” It’s for “more than 50 professions when buying their first home,” including police, nurses, and teachers. This is covid surplus money. On one hand, it’s great that the Governor is plowing the dollars back into Florida’s economy rather than wasting it on some crony-fied boondoggle. It also helps him politically, because his opponents Nikki Fried and Charlie Crist have been constantly attacking him based on the cost of housing in Florida.

On the other hand, from an economic standpoint, the program violates core conservative principles by picking winners and losers, and will inevitably cause more real estate price appreciation, although it’s not clear to what extent. On balance, I’ll call it good news.

🔥 Progress! Yesterday, CNBC ran a story headlined, “Monkeypox Outbreak Is Primarily Spreading Through Sex, WHO Officials Say.” The sub-headline notes that “The most recent surge in cases appears to have been spread among men who have sex with other men.”

I told you the euphemism machine would be at its highest setting. Why can’t they just say “gay men?” Why do we need this tortuous language “men who have sex with other men?” Don’t tell me, I don’t need to know. It was a rhetorical question.

But they haven’t given up the fear, I mean public health campaign. The story explained that “WHO officials … emphasiz[ed] that ANYONE can contract monkeypox.” The gist is that they think the transmission is from close physical contact with open body sores rather than something particular to the kinds of sexual contact between gay men. So if hetero people also join up in “sexual networking” — whatever that is — and have sex with random people that have open monkeypox sores, the hetero people could catch it, too.

The fear porn continued as the article gloomily predicted, “monkeypox can kill as many as 1 in 10 people who contract the disease.” Well. We haven’t seen that yet, or anything like that kind of fatality rate. They’re just guessing, or hoping, or something. The old African figures they are referring to involve the very worst cases in third-world people who waited a long time to seek treatment.

But at least they’re acknowledging how the disease is really spreading. That is good news. Late last night, CNBC ran another article headlined “CDC Officials Sound Alarm for Gay and Bisexual Men as Monkeypox Spreads in Community.” That’s even closer to reality than the first article. The evening article includes the same silly warnings as the earlier article, but the headline says what it needed to say.

Pfizer board member Scott Gottlieb apparently said, “there is a possibility now this has gotten into the community [and] if in fact it’s more pervasive than what we’re measuring right now, that becomes hard to snuff out.” Hard to snuff out?

I’m just a lawyer, not a public health expert, and I don’t know all the ins-and-outs of sexual networking, but here is a suggestion. Maybe — just stick with me for a minute — maybe if people stop having sex with other people they don’t know and aren’t married to for a while? Could that help? Take a year if they have to. Maybe THAT could “snuff it out?”

Remember all the stuff about “do it for the community,” and “if it saves just one life,” and “don’t kill grandma?” How about a tiny abstential sacrifice for grandma and the community, gay people? Will we hear those kinds of suggestions this time, do you think?

Somehow I doubt it. Somehow I think this is going to come down to them telling us ALL to take smallpox vaccines. Or, maybe I’m just being paranoid. It’s so hard to tell the difference these days.

Have a terrific Tuesday and I’ll see ya’ll back in the morning for more.

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What Netflix can teach Universities

By Vinay Prasad, May 17, 2022

A lesson in courage

During the COVID19 pandemic, I looked around for universities to host debates or roundtables on school closure, mask mandates, business closure, lockdown, the varied interpretations of the IFR— in other words: the biggest policy issues of our day. And what did I find?

A single debate for JAMA, a couple of videos from across the pond (BMJ), and a debate for Johns Hopkins hosted by the great humanitarian & thinker Stef Baral. What about Stanford? Nothing; Yale? Crickets. Princeton? Harvard? Zilch.

Why did the most prestigious universities abdicate the responsibility to host debates? And worse: why do they still abdicate it? There are no debates on boosting 5-11 year olds, vaccine mandates for college kids, or the evidence FDA should demand for a yearly COVID shot.

The answer is simple: University administrators are jellyfish (spineless), and they are scared that some fraction of their faculty, staff, or students will label some position as harmful. Ergo, they do not want to host a debate, lest some fraction of their body be offended or hurt by a “harmful” idea.

What does that mean? Our society further slides into the abyss, making bad policy choices, and universities forfeit their position to podcasts and videos, such as Plenary Session, which do push a range of COVID19 ideas and guests.

Enter Netflix. Netflix recently told its employees.

Not everyone will like—or agree with—everything on our service. While every title is different, we approach them based on the same set of principles: we support the artistic expression of the creators we choose to work with; we program for a diversity of audiences and tastes; and we let viewers decide what’s appropriate for them, versus having Netflix censor specific artists or voices.

As employees we support the principle that Netflix offers a diversity of stories, even if we find some titles counter to our own personal values. Depending on your role, you may need to work on titles you perceive to be harmful. If you’d find it hard to support our content breadth, Netflix may not be the best place for you.

This is exactly the memo that universities should be sending their own faculty, students and staff.

“I know some of you like school closure, and some of you think it is a bad idea. We are going to debate it here. If you’d find it hard to support holding open debates, Stanford may not be the best place for you.”

“I know some of you favor mandatory college boosters, and some of you think it is a bad idea. We are going to debate it here. If you’d find it hard to support holding open debates, Yale may not be the best place for you.”

“I know some of you think boosting a healthy 5 year old who just had omicron is a genius move, and some of you think that only a moron would do it. We are going to debate it here. If you’d find it hard to support holding open debates, Harvard may not be the best place for you.”

University administrators need to marshal the courage to tell their staff, faculty and students to shut up, and hear a range of opinions. So we can make progress as a people. And if they won’t, I have one more letter to send:

“I know some administrators fear confrontation and prefer to avoid making trouble. As such, they capitulate to a noisy group on campus. If this is you, being an administrator may not be the best job for you.”

Vinay Prasad’s Observations and Thoughts is going to be the best newsletter you read. Sign up today, so you don’t miss a post.

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Coffee & Covid: Oh, now masks don’t work?

By Jeff Childers, 4/20/22

*COVID NEWS AND COMMENTARY*

Yesterday I reported that a Florida judge finally ended the CDC’s abominable transportation mask mandate on Monday, with the news met by cheering throngs of in-flight passengers and crew who couldn’t even wait till they landed to strip off the hated face rags.

Then things got muddled. Joe Biden seemed to announce the White House’s official policy of NOT appealing the decision when he was reported to have said it’s an individual choice now. The Daily Mail UK said that when asked about whether passengers should still follow the CDC mandate, Biden said, “That’s up to them.”

But apparently Biden’s not in charge. As pushback from radical elements in the democrat party ratcheted up, the messaging pivoted and became more … nuanced. Yesterday, Biden’s HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said the Biden administration will “likely” appeal the federal ruling striking down Biden’s mask mandate. Then Jen Psaki told reporters it was up to the Department of Justice to decide whether to appeal the ruling.

So, who’s in charge?

When reporters asked the DOJ, it said it planned to appeal, but only depending on whether the CDC concludes the mask requirement remains necessary. Um. Then CDC said it was reviewing its secret data archives or something, and will get back to us.

Who does the CDC report to again? It’s so confusing. Here’s how the buck was passed yesterday: Biden -> Becerra -> Psaki -> DOJ -> CDC -> Biden?

Meanwhile the TSA stopped enforcing the mask mandate nationally. Several states and large cities also announced ending local transportation mandates. Disney ended its mask policy (we’ll get into that below). Seems to be a trend.

At this point, yet another pivot would be politically disastrous for the Biden Administration. People want the masks to be OVER, regardless of what mentally-challenged experts on Twitter say. Stay tuned.

Florida’s special legislative session began yesterday. The most significant item up for debate is whether to end Walt Disney World’s special exemptions from sales taxes and local government. Ruh-roh, Mickey!

I want you to really think about what a tectonic shift this is, and how quickly things spiraled out of control for the corporate giant. And I want you to think about how quickly a woke board of directors can destroy a legacy American corporation by hiring “diverse” super-woke termites to run the company instead of proven corporate executive talent. Who needs expertise when you can achieve diversity?

But maybe — maybe — those particular diverse voices have been historically un-heard for a reason. Just saying.

Remember, Disney has been THE most politically powerful entity in Florida, for decades, or even longer. So what’s happening now is truly remarkable. Here’s the timeline. First, Florida passed a law protecting very young kids from grooming. Then about three hyper-woke Disney employees with face tattoos complained, and Disney’s woke managers sprang into action.

Disney announced it was cutting off all political donations in Florida, so there. Well, money is how you grease the wheels of government, and plenty of lawmakers that had been expecting their annual contributions from Disney were probably not too happy about that. But then Disney nailed itself into its coffin.

The media giant announced that, instead of supporting legislators, it was going to financially support a slew of kooky leftwing activist groups that oppose Florida’s new law, and was going to help work to get the law reversed. YOU might not have gotten the message, but our lawmakers got it, loud and clear. Disney just threatened them. In other words, Disney said it would indirectly fund most lawmakers’ political opponents in Florida. In yet other words, Disney said it would help REPLACE the lawmakers.

I’ve never heard it said this way before, but Disney seems to have touched some kind of “third rail” with its political threats. You simply don’t do that, not if you’re trying to do business in a state. But they did it. Every conservative lawmaker in Florida now has notice that Disney plans to shift its billions to help get them UNELECTED.

Dumb, dumb, dumb. Dumb Disney!

Disney not only threatened our KIDS — our most precious gifts — by promising to support groomers and pedophiles over parents, but for some deranged reason it also simultaneously threatened legislators. Not just a couple. All of them. Including lots of legislators who are ALSO parents.

Right now, at least, Disney has made itself politically toxic. If the legislators don’t sent the corporate giant a strong message now, they’ll be digging their own graves and encouraging more political brinksmanship from other big corporations in the upcoming cycle. A strong message seems inevitable now.

And anyway, what’s Disney going to do if their special tax breaks and political district are ended? Close the park? Nope, they’ll just have to take it, and start over. I could argue persuasively that none of this would have happened absent the pandemic.

If Disney wants my advice, here’s what they should do. The board should immediately purge the entire C-suite of managers. The new managers should be impeccably non-woke, and the company should announce a review of all pending projects to ensure they meet family-friendly standards. It should also issue a public apology to Florida.

Let’s see if they take the advice!

Disney is reeling, now trying to stealthily backpedal from last week’s disastrous pro-grooming messages, bizarre internal corporate videos showing execs promising to shove our kids’ faces in unwanted LGBTQ++ content, and its poorly-considered threats to Florida lawmakers. First, it’s largely shut up about “don’t say gay.” But yesterday, the media giant made a major policy announcement, desperately trying to quench the flames of public outrage. Check out yesterday’s story in the AP, coincidentally published for wide distribution just the same day that Florida’s special session to debate Disney’s fate was firing up. The headline: “Disney World: Face Masks Optional for All Areas of Resort.”

Hahahahahaha! Too late, Mickey!

The AP ties the Mouse’s sudden reversal to the judge’s convenient decision Monday vacating the CDC’s transportation mandate. But Disney’s previous policy didn’t track the travel mandates at all. It was specially obnoxious, requiring only UNVACCINATED guests to wear face masks, but allowing jabbed hostages, I mean guests, to take them off in some spots in the park. It seems to me this announcement shows Disney was well aware that its policy was EXTREMELY irritating to many park-goers, or else the media giant wouldn’t be trying to use it as some kind of peace offering now.

In other words, Disney’s saying, “look! We’re sorry! We’ll even drop our stupid mask mandate. We’ll behave, we promise!” Wouldn’t you have just LOVED to have been in the conference room in California where the tattooed pierced lunatics running the company came up with this idea?

CEO: “What are we going to do, Kwanje-Dorothy? Those transphobic bigots in Florida might cancel our giant tax break!”

Co-CEO: “I don’t know, Kujawamana-Felicia, when they/them said just now that they/them didn’t know what to do, I agreed with xur, I, I mean xi, sorry, I can’t remember; anyway I don’t know either.”

E-VP: “Wait! Why don’t we, I mean wur, sorry, I mean xour, or xe, hang on let me look at the chart again, yes, XE should stop making people wear masks in the park in Florida. We, er xe, all know transphobes hate masks. That could work.”

CEO: “Okay, that might work. Call our AP liaison and have xim, um sorry they/them, or it, oh never mind, we don’t have time for that now, just have ‘him’ run a story on it. Let’s get it out in time to convince the special session.”

Oh man, THIS is the kind of great family-friendly entertainment we expect from Disney, and boy are they delivering.

The San Fransisco Chronicle ran another crypto-hit-piece on masks in the form of an “expert” opinion piece headlined, “Four COVID Experts Say It’s Time to Accept Reality: ‘Vaccines Work, Masks Do Not’.”

The four self-designated covid experts who wrote the piece aren’t Team Reality players. Dr. Monica Gandhi, for example, has been a cheerful social media champion of masking and jabbing from day one. But look what the four experts stated near the top of their piece, stated as a FACT:

Before other cities like San Francisco follow [Philadephia and reimpose school masks], it’s time to reassess our prevention strategies in and outside of schools and accept reality: vaccines work, masks do not.

Masks don’t work! They said it OUT LOUD!

Look, I’m just as happy as anyone that the maskal tides are finally turning out to sea, but it is hard not to feel a tiny bit bitter about corporate media’s loving new embrace of Narrative 2.0. What I mean is, if you’d written the statement above on Facebook six months ago, and said we have to “accept reality … masks do not” work, your account would have been locked down faster than Joe Biden can wander away during a press briefing if no one’s watching him.

Last year, the corporate media ran endless opinion pieces by experts telling us to mask up, dammit, don’t be anti-science. But now it’s the very same experts telling us that masks DON’T work. Thanks experts.

So you can now add Dan Halperin, Jeanne Noble, Norman Hearst and Monica Gandhi to Leanna Wen as prominent social media covid experts who are publicly advocating AGAINST masking. And Jiminy Cricket, this letter was perfect timing for a Biden Administration wrestling with the fractious politics of ending airplane masking.

The article first rounds up a bunch of studies showing no or limited effect from masks, critiques studies purporting to show mask benefits, and then notes darkly that “there is emerging evidence that masking can be harmful.” Imagine saying THAT twelve months ago. Actually, you don’t need to imagine it, since I and others DID say that, and were accused of literally kicking Grandma into the wood chipper while she’s not looking, just by SAYING IT.

And in case you are thinking, but Jeff, this article was probably written last week, long before the airplane mask falderol started, consider this sentence from later in the piece: “Continuing to require masks in schools (or airplanes for that matter) simply makes no sense.”

OR AIRPLANES.

Is that enough evidence for you that this piece was whipped up to support ending masking on planes, as I argue? The only question is whether it was organic, whether these FOUR reliable “follow the CDC” experts came up with this on their own, or whether someone asked them to do it. I have no evidence besides the propitious timing and the sneaky parenthetical reference to airplane masking. But what do YOU think?

Finally, wrapping up, the four experts fired the rhetorical Cruise missile, FOLLOW THE SCIENCE: “We should instead follow the science (and much of the world) and allow children to enjoy their childhood while learning and playing with their faces uncovered.” It’s Science! Shut up!

See how easy it is? Mask advocates are now the science deniers. Hey, other foot: meet the shoe.

🔥 The New York Times also ran a stealth hit job on masks yesterday, headlined “For Some Teens, as Masks Come Off, Anxiety Sets In.” The sub headline explains, “Whether it’s virus worries, social pressure, shyness or acne, some kids are reluctant to ditch the mask.” The story focuses on teens who have obvious anxiety disorders caused by two years of face masking.

For example, the article quotes Belle, 16, who said “only seeing half of someone’s face for two years straight and then completely opening up to them, like, ‘Oh, here’s my face’ — you know, it’s a lot.” Belle has decided to keep wearing the mask even though her school has lifted the mandate. Charlie, 15, has also decided to hang onto his mask, explaining “as of now, I feel most comfortable when I have it on.”

The Times recites the well-known figures about teen suicides, rates of suicidal thinking (up 25%) and levels of depression and anxiety (doubled). It notes the new term “mask fishing” traveling around younger social media, a term which connotes tricking people into thinking you’re more attractive than you really are by hiding your face flaws under the mask. The Times explained these kinds of trends can multiply the pain and judgment teens already feel when perceived as unattractive by their peers.

The kids think masks are normal, since they’ve been masking for a substantial fraction of their conscious existence. Charlie, the 15-year-old, even described masking as a SOCIAL NORM, explaining “when you have to break a social norm, it’s kind of like opening a door that you haven’t been through before, and it’s scary.”

The article ends on an upbeat note. An update describes how Charlie tried taking his mask off during the last three periods of school and enjoyed it. He’s keeping the mask in his pocket though, just in case.

We’ve been discussing mask-induced psychosis in kids here on C&C since the beginning. We saw it as an argument for ending child masking as soon as possible, to contain the damage created by power-mad, brain-damaged public health experts. And that’s how the Times is using it now too. They didn’t EXPLICITLY say we need to immediately stop masking kids. They just made it clear you’re a horrible person if you don’t agree with that.

🔥 Yesterday, Governor DeSantis announced the State of Florida — a twitter shareholder — was looking at ways to hold Twitter’s board of directors accountable for breaching their fiduciary duties in rejecting Elon Musk’s offer to buy the company. Ruh-roh.

Have a wonderful Wednesday! Who knows; what’ll happen next? We’ll find out in tomorrow’s update.

You can help get the truth out and spread optimism and hope: https://www.coffeeandcovid.com/p/-learn-how-to-get-involved-

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a Defiant Scribe in the Age of Conformity

Might be best article of the month. Pretty honest assessment of a unashamed Jew. Can I strongly suggest you to read this and THINK about it? mrossol

WSJ, ByBarton Swaim

David Mamet

Illustration: Ken Fallin

Santa Monica, Calif.

Back in the 1980s and ’90s, innumerable films, TV documentaries and history textbooks instructed us that the 1950s were years of conformity and conventionalism: “The Donna Reed Show,” McCarthyism, “The Organization Man,” TV dinners. In fact, the ’50s were a time of extraordinary artistic creativity, boundless technological innovation, original thinking in politics, intellectual diversity in journalism and higher education, new energy in religion, and enormous progress in race relations. What the ’80s and ’90s mistook for conformity was a naturally evolved cultural solidarity—something nearly everybody, on the left and the right, longs for now.

An informed observer of present-day America might reasonably conclude that our own decade—at least among the educated and advantaged classes—is far more imbued with the spirit of conformism than the ’50s were. Corporate managers and military leaders parrot nostrums about diversity, inclusion and sustainability that few of them believe. Museums and orchestras studiously avoid programming that might offend ideologues. Reporters and producers in the mainstream press seize on stories—or ignore them—solely because that’s what everybody else in the press is doing. Large majorities in wealthy cities dutifully comply with public-health restrictions they know to be largely ineffective, mainly because refusing to do so would invite the ire of friends and neighbors complying with those restrictions for the same reason.

Maybe America’s deciders and describers (to use Nicholas Eberstadt’s phrase) aren’t the independent-minded lot they think themselves to be.

These and related ironies were on my mind in February when I received a galley copy of the playwright David Mamet’s “Recessional: The Death of Free Speech and the Cost of Free Lunch,” published Tuesday. The book is a collection of essays written over the past two years on an array of cultural and political topics: pandemic zealotry, Donald Trump, terrorism, California’s punitive tax code, Christianity and Judaism, Broadway and the movies. The essays are by turns witty, insightful, affecting and cryptic. What struck me most about the book, though, was how superbly out of place its author must be in the eminent environs of his chosen industry.

In March I visited Mr. Mamet’s home in Santa Monica and asked him about, for lack of a more original term, the Age of Conformity. What is the source of this sudden impulse to go along with the crowd that we see at high levels of American society?

“It’s that time-wasting machine,” he says, pointing to the cellphone with which I’m recording the conversation. “We’re all connected. But connected for what purpose? The idea that everybody has to behave the same way is part of the breakdown of what was a cohesive society.”

He brings up the 1950s without prompting. “When I was a kid,” he says—Mr. Mamet was born in Chicago in 1947—“people went to different churches, they were from different ethnic backgrounds, their parents came from different countries, but somehow they managed to have a collective life. All of their self-worth didn’t come from belonging and staying connected to this one uber-group.”

Mr. Mamet’s works include the Pulitzer-winning play “Glengarry Glen Ross” (1984) and the screenplays for “The Untouchables” (1987), “Hoffa” (1992) and “Heist” (2001). He speaks the way he writes: in short, forceful sentences and with constant recourse to wild anecdotes, uproarious jokes and literary quotations bent to his purpose.

Do people in the entertainment industry censor themselves? “They do not walk around saying things that are dangerous to express, no. People whisper out here. They have to. To say, ‘Well maybe Trump did some good things’—you can’t do that. You’d risk your home, your job, your family, your friends.”

Mr. Mamet is convinced that the “woke agenda” (his term) is basically an act, so in some ways it works well in Hollywood. “Nobody really believes it,” he says. “Nobody really believes boys turn into girls and girls turn into boys—no one does. But it’s put into a different category, so that it becomes dangerous to question it. If you question it, you’re out.”

Are the young buying it? My own observation suggests some substantial minority do not. Academics and college students I’ve spoken to since 2017 indicate that social pressure to signal assent to a rotating series of orthodoxies, from public health to race and gender theories, has sparked a quiet revolt. Post a black square on Instagram to show that America is systemically racist, even if you don’t think that’s true; wear a mask even though you know it doesn’t work and you’re 20 and vaccinated; share your pronouns whether you accept or reject gender ideology—a reaction seems almost guaranteed.

“People of that generation,” Mr. Mamet agrees, “a lot of them just aren’t scared anymore.”

Not that he expects anybody among our institutional leaders to admit they were wrong, on Covid or crime or anything else. He mentions Stacy Schiff’s “Witches,” a 2015 history of the Salem trials. “The delusion ran for about 18 months,” Mr. Mamet says, summarizing the book, “and after that, since they couldn’t explain it, they just forgot it. It never happened.” The phenomenon by which authorities and experts make a hash of things and then move on as if nothing happened is one attentive readers will recognize. Mr. Mamet offers some encouragement. “The thing about history,” he says, “is not that people change. People don’t change. But people die. So a new generation comes up and says, ‘Yeah, I get it, that’s stupid, I’m not gonna do that.’ ”

As if to demonstrate noncompliance, one of Mr. Mamet’s poodles, Ruby, jumps on the couch and sniffs my face. “Manners!” he shouts. “Come on, you’re embarrassing me in front of my guest. Sit!” The dog pays little attention. Made at last to submit, Ruby reluctantly goes elsewhere.

On the coffee table between us are several books by and about James Joyce, and an oversized edition of the Torah. “It’s all there,” Mr. Mamet says, pointing to the holy book. “Everything we’ve been living through.” The habit among America’s wealthy, privileged influencers of reviling the country that gave them privilege and influence, Mr. Mamet says, is in various way a re-enactment of biblical events. He refers to the narrative in which God provides manna for the Israelites in the wilderness: “The people are hungry, there’s nothing to eat in the desert, so God says, I’ll give ’em manna. They say, What does manna taste like? Answer: It tastes like whatever your favorite food is. They say, I don’t want whatever my favorite food is. And so they stage another rebellion.”

That is a heavily abridged version of the accounts in Exodus and Numbers, but he is right about the biblical pattern: Prosperity, particularly unearned prosperity, tends to generate folly and vice. “When do violent revolutions happen?” he asks. “They happen when things get too good.” We live in the “most prosperous country in the history of the world, and so what’s our response?” Mr. Mamet waits for me to answer, but I keep silent. “The response is: We don’t need God. We don’t need the Constitution. We don’t need anything. Go study semiotics. Go become an energy therapist, whatever. Someone will take care of you and tell you what to do.”

Mr. Mamet announced a turn to the political right in a 2008 essay for the Village Voice, “Why I Am No Longer a ‘Brain-Dead Liberal,’ ” but he was a black sheep long before then. His 1992 play “Oleanna,” for instance, features a male academic whose life and career are ruined by a calculating female student’s spurious accusation of sexual harassment.

Was there a moment when he decided to break ranks altogether? “I met a guy at my synagogue here maybe 20 years ago,” he says. “He was talking about Milton Friedman and [Friedrich] Hayek and Thomas Sowell. It didn’t make any sense to me, but I was impressed by his attitude. He wasn’t strident or arrogant. It was that guy’s attitude that impressed me.”

The man lent Mr. Mamet some books by these authors. “I said to him, ‘Good, I’ll read them. But,’ I said, ‘when my friends come over, I’ll have to hide them.’ He said: ‘I don’t.’ And that changed my life. What was I saying? Did I really think I had to hide books from my friends? How sick was I? It was a Road to Damascus moment.”

(Mr. Mamet, an observant Jew, freely uses Christian imagery, as in this reference to the Apostle Paul’s conversion. In “Recessional” he remarks, apropos of Billy Graham’s oratory, that he “would be thrilled to accept the Christian tradition and Christ as my Savior” but that “I am prohibited from doing so by my own religion.” Here, at least, he conforms.)

He recalls another incident around the same time, not long after he bought his house in Santa Monica. The house was, and still is, surrounded by enormous hedges—you can hardly see the building from the nearby street. He received a letter from the City Council demanding that he cut the hedges down to a certain height or be fined $25,000 for every day the hedges remained too high. He eventually won that wrangle, he recalls, but the episode led him to believe that many government officials simply enjoy forcing law-abiding people into compliance with arbitrary dictates.

“I thought at the time: I’ve seen these people before.” The “hedge commissioners,” as he calls them, were the theater critics he’d known earlier in his career. “They would come in on opening night and strut around and stand with their backs to the stage, looking at the people coming in. People used to say, and maybe they still do, that the critics just liked having the power to shut the play down. And the critics would say, ‘No, ha ha, we don’t have that power.’ But they did have it, and they loved it.”

Like many people who find themselves dissenting from the dominant outlook of their cultivated and post-religious peers, Mr. Mamet felt that modern conceptions of human nature had become hopelessly naive. A rosy view of human proclivities leads easily to groupthink and its invariable accompaniment, scapegoating. Since the existence of evil is undeniable, if it isn’t intrinsic to all of us, it must come from some disfavored person or group.

Which led him back to biblical religion. “The Bible starts with perfidy, and perfidy is everywhere in it. There are very few people in the Bible you want your kids to be like,” he says. We exchange our favorite bits of biblical realism. Mr. Mamet notes that the genealogies of David and other heroes don’t bother skipping over—indeed they seem to go out of their way to mention—adulterers. “What the Bible is telling us is that the human race is unalterably flawed. It’s not a matter of doing away with the ‘haters’ or with this group or that group. We have to deal with our own mind.”

A robust understanding of your own and others’ propensity to bad behavior, he seems to suggest, has a way of inoculating you against groupthink.

Woke signaling, blind compliance with public-health authoritarianism, deference to theater critics and tyrannical city officials—Mr. Mamet doesn’t play along. I’m reminded of the line spoken by Richard Roma, the aggressive and highly successful real-estate salesman in “Glengarry Glen Ross” played by Al Pacino in the 1992 film adaptation. “I subscribe to the law of contrary public opinion,” Roma says. “If everyone thinks one thing, then I say bet the other way.”

Mr. Swaim is a Journal editorial page writer.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/david-mamet-book-recessional-free-speech-covid-mask-vaccine-mandates-lockdown-transgender-lgbtqia-sogie-woke-crt-critical-race-theory-blm-hollywood-theater-11649424996?mod=hp_opin_pos_1

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