Dean Clough

June 4, 2021

Portico Darwin: Exit Tupper Lake + More on Consequence Culture

Later today, we head to Albany for a quick night in a place so similar to Paris that they're often confused.  I meant Paris, TX.   

But Tupper Lake is a place apart - as you can see by the photos and videos summarizing the trip here

Please don't miss Julie's videos of the beautiful loon that visited us Wednesday night during our bonfire!  Hearing its beautiful mating call is a real highlight, especially given the setting.  I'm already scheming a way to come back before the end of the year . . . look for a Travel Guide soon.

We fly to IAD tomorrow morning, and then home for about 10 days before it's off to the desert for some more pool and more National Park action - no, Palm Springs and Joshua Tree National Park were not enough.  So we decamp to Julie's father's place in Las Cruces starting 6/16.  We're there through 6/30, and you can count on excruciating levels of detail on that trip when it happens.  But I digress.  Shocker.

I will start with a question.

If they were still alive and working, shouldn't the writers who created the Corporal Max Klinger character on "M*A*S*H*" be fired and prevented from ever working again?   

Because their depiction of a person coming to terms with their gender identity and struggling with mental health issues MAKES ME FEEL UNSAFE.   

I gest, of course.  I am using it to illustrate how absolutely ridiculous the antics of my hyper-wokester friends have become.  Don't believe me?  Perhaps you've missed the stunning story of Apple and Antonio García-Martínez.

He was fired within the past week or so because some of his colleagues at Apple found out he wrote a book about Silicon Valley in 2016 that disparaged some women in the industry.   The horrors!  For the record, few of any gender in the book go un-disparaged.   

The 2,000 some-odd signees to the petition 

". . . are concerned that his presence at Apple will contribute to an unsafe working environment."

What's unique here is that Garcia-Martinez's book was reviewed extensively in 2016 when it was released.  So when he was hired by Apple, it was zero surprise to anyone he had written a book.  Further, all of the supposedly "liberal elite" publications - The New York Times, Washington Post, and many others -  uniformly showered praise on what is clearly a satirical and snarky book.  It was one of NPR's books of the year, for crying out loud.  As Matt Taibbi said first, "Chaos Monkeys" was to Silicon Valley as Michael Lewis's "Liar's Poker" was to Wall Street.  (Thankfully, Michael Lewis does not appear to be at risk of cancelation.)   

But think about it.  A few years back, Apple bought Beats Audio, Dr. Dre's headphone company.  To this today, he remains an Apple employee, indeed, a very wealthy one.  So holy shit, go listen to some of his lyrics from his days with NWA if you want real, in-your-face misogyny.  The hypocrisy here is stupefying, as is how companies today must cow-tow to a tiny minority of oh-so-fragile employees.  Smack those bitches up, right, Dr. Dre?!

Before I go further:  do I think there are plenty of jackasses out there that rightly should be a victim of what some have termed "Cancel Culture"?  Absolutely.  The Neanderthal views of the sports prognosticator Jimmy the Greek Snyder and Al Campanis of the LA Dodgers justifiably brought about some of the earliest "cancelations".   Others since have been equally deserving of being shown the door.

But there is nuance in modern-day situations that we're capable of imparting, but we don't any longer.  Out of fear? 

I can tell you this:  I told an off-color but inoffensive joke at a company event.  That joke - which drew laughs, especially from its target, a popular and skilled team member I liked who happened to be black - was a part of my eventual departure from TEECOM.  If I ever return to the workforce, I can assure you my joke-telling days are over.
My preferred intellectual Sam Harris makes the related point that my favorite author, the incredible Philip Roth, likely either never would have had a book published or would have been ridden out of town on a rail eventually if he had.  Any number of his novels would now likely be seen as too controversial, too sexist, too misogynistic, too pro-Jewish, too anti-Jewish, too something.  You get the picture.  And wow, what a tremendous, tremendous artistic loss that would have been. 

How many authors right now are dumbing down or otherwise tempering how they express themselves, out of fear of being eventually bounced from society by some misguided attempt at righting past wrongs?

Context?  You've got it.  Here's The Verge article that broke the story.   And here is the very insightful (as usual) and informative interview with Garcia-Martinez himself, with Sam Harris on his must-listen podcast, Making Sense.  And for a better written, but similar take as mine, here is one of my faves, Matt Taibbi.

As I've said before, two things can be true at once.  Respect for people overall and for past racial and sexual injustices can and must co-exist with criticism being allowed of blacks, females, transgenders, and everybody else when it's warranted.   

And that certainly includes criticism of old white men like myself.  So as always, I'll reprint any thoughtful response to this blog post and topic without comment.

I'll wrap with this:  I am in no way saying or implying there should not be consequences for those that really are racist and/or misogynist.  Those that believe people have different abilities based on their race or gender or status are morons, and there should be real consequences for being obnoxious or worse - thus my preference for the terms "consequence culture" over "cancel culture".

But being offended by someone's opinion, art, or actions does not always make you right, either.  Enough with the moral panic, people.  My God, we've got enough problems already out there to waste time with this kind of bullshit.

A real platinum card herself, the lovely Louise Lederhosen was kind enough to tear herself away from her myriad work responsibilities and write:

"Enjoyed reading today’s blog!   Hope you and Julie are having the time of your lives.

And, here’s to Jeanne!!"

Thank you, Louise - it's going to be great seeing you guys next Friday! 

The non-armchair traveler Dr. Doreen Downs was so impressed, she's suggesting I add "Whirlwind" to my name.  That's not going to happen, but thanks, and she went on to add:

"I'm glad that you and Julie are having a totally fabulous time in the Tupper Lake region.

Thanks for putting the Mirror Lake Inn on my radar."

Indeed, a fabulous time, and you're welcome.   I'll say this Dr. Doreen:  Julie and I have often said we could easily see spending 5 nights at The Mirror Lake Inn, especially at shoulder season.  It's got great facilities, and there is so much to see and do in the surrounding area.  Travel Guide coming soon!

Thank you to anyone that is reading this blog.

For this one, I think I nailed it.  I tried to think of a band with songs that if their lyrics were to be examined today, it would have the woke police spitting out their mocha half-caf's.  Frankly, I'm surprised the band I consider America's finest (when my criteria is considered - see below) hasn't been summarily stricken from the record. 

Because, here on Aerosmith's completely incredible "Rocks", it doesn't get much scarier.  Take a guess at the meaning behind songs such as "Back in The Saddle" and "Lick and a Promise".  They don't seem to empower women?

So shouldn't someone take away their Grammy's?  Boot them from The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?  

Indeed, my own wife Julie gets scared whenever I put on Aerosmith:  she's afraid I'll turn it down or off!  

Best Band Criteria
  • Some degree of longevity
  • Some degree of popularity
  • A legitimate live concert presence

You can see this would be very hard to do in terms of British bands (Rolling Stones, The Who, or Radiohead?), but being objective, Aerosmith is number 1 for the USA.  But it also could be The Eagles, who I despise, but would have to admit they fit the bill.  Bands that decidedly do NOT fit the bill are Hunter Deuce faves Wilco or a recommendation I heard from the peanut gallery a while back, Chicago.  Uh, no.

About Dean Clough

Plans To Enjoy Life.