This was an unusual week for me: I didn’t write anything! Nothing at all! Brother Bark did, so we are still having a roundup — but in order to fill the time and provide some material for discussion, I’ll offer a few articles which have come across my screen in the past week.
Before we get into that, however, we should note: today is the ninth anniversary of Brian Terry’s death.
Who was Brian Terry? He was the Border Patrol agent killed by a “gunwalked” AK-47. You can click the link to read more; you can also read the MediaMatters article which pins more blame on President Bush than on Obama or Holder. Regardless of which centrist President allowed more guns to hit the streets, however, it is difficult to deny the fact that the ATF basically facilitated the murder of American peace officers in an effort to, ah, well that’s not clear.
If that’s not frightening enough, try this chicken-and-egg analysis of declining divorce rates. What’s interesting to me is the odd duck(speak)-blind spot of the writer; it’s okay to say that people aren’t getting married because of declining economic prospects but it’s not okay to assert the reverse, that many of the declining economic outlooks out there are due to lowered marriage rates. I can easily recall a few times during my first marriage where we needed both of our incomes just to eat — and when I started making more money, that freed my wife of the time up to pursue a better career herself.
Next up: an at least half-cogent argument that bad art is chasing good art out of movie theaters on a global scale, thanks largely to capeshit and its discontents. The killer assertion is buried pretty deep, well past an odd genuflection towards the usual GaMeRgAtE wUz RaCiSt idiocy:
What superhero movies and violent video games aimed at 16-year-old boys and YA fiction novels for teenagers have in common is that they were once looked down upon by the culture at large and have since become market forces so supermassive that no individual’s objection to them means anything at all. Yet their adherents will tolerate no dissent, rushing to the barricades at the drop of a mean tweet.
It’d be funny if it weren’t funny at all. Most of the time, corporations have to pay people to lay down this kind of Astroturf on their behalf. This is what nerds are now: a volunteer army of PR freelancers for the biggest media companies in the world, shouting down anybody who refuses to read “BLACK WIDOW EQUALS FEMINISM” or “BABY GROOT IS AWESOMESAUCE” off a cue card held by a dancing Spider-Man.
An educated person can easily make the riposte to this pearl-clutching that “high culture” was once anything but: Shakespeare’s plays were viewed by the “groundlings”, and a hundred years ago there was a riot at a classical concert. Yet I think it’s obvious to any perceptive observer that this is a continuum fallacy and unworthy of further discussion. The fact that a type of art may make the transition from “low art” to “high art” — consider how the blues has gone from an amusement for Southern prisoners to a scholastic discipline with eager and over-educated re-enactment — does not mean that there is no distinction between the two categories. The movies of the “MCU” are absolute and utter trash. Which is fine, because there’s a market for trash and it’s often satisfying to consume low culture, but that doesn’t exonerate or elevate Avengers: Endgame or Captain Marvel beyond their determinedly humble origins.
Last but not least, here’s a dystopian view of the unholy relationship between healthcare providers and Internet behemoths. Oh, and a reminder: your commercial DNA test isn’t very smart and it was probably done in China.
Brother Bark told TTAC readers to avoid used Benzes. I think Bark has his finger on the pulse of reality where TTAC’s reader base is concerned, but as a counterpoint I’ll mention that I found significant differences between the current S-Class and the recently-redesigned LS500.