As a cultural observer I think it my duty to comment on the restaurant industry and how much of it has gone off the rails. After all, going out to dinner has always been a pleasurable and available source of entertainment. Though it has evolved into a different experience in the last fifty years, it still offers a couple of hours of relaxation, dining and social lubrication.
I guess we need to agree on the definition of relaxation first. Because my most recent 'dining' experiences have been atrocious. Maybe I have a different perspective than the 24 - 44 year-olds I assume most restaurant chains are pursuing. Maybe I am living in the past. But I still find it hard to understand how the marketing geniuses at some of America's largest restaurant organizations can mess up such a simple pleasure.
For decades I have enjoyed the 'go out to dinner and a movie' evening immensely. That, however is different than a dining experience. Even better, in my mind, is the late dinner dining experience with my wife and maybe another couple. By that I mean, arriving at the restaurant at 7PM and staying until 10. This involves some cocktails, some hors d'oeuvres and then a slow-dining main dish, followed by desert and a snifter of brandy.
That experience is what I call dining. In 2019 it will probably cost me at least $100 per person. Because you aren't going to get that kind of meal, that kind of tempo at a chain restaurant. It will only come from a branded, local chef-driven establishment. Sure there are high-end chains like Morton's that offer great food, great wine and attentive service too. But they are also guilty of what I call Menu Pandering. They want to offer something for everybody, so the menu is too complicated and bifurcated. When the waiter approaches to take our orders, I feel like I am in line at the auto repair shop. The service order technician is holding a clipboard checklist, asking me what is wrong with my car. He then goes down the list, repeating the assembly of my diner, just to make sure he has everything correct. Whew, I feel like I just went through a driver license renewal test at the DMV! A minute later, I probably won't remember what I ordered!
For me, I would prefer a one page list of Today's Chef's Choice Dinner Plates. One beef, one chicken, one pasta, one seafood, and one casserole specialty. Each entry is something special the Chef made up just for tonight. Each comes with the Chef's selection of complimentary side dishes, and a choice of soup or salad. That's it! I point at the one I want and return to the conversation the waiter interrupted.
I like surprises when it comes to great food. I want something I can't make at home, otherwise I don't need to get dressed up and drive across town to get fed. Over the years I have discovered which Chef's culinary tastes suit my palate. I become loyal to them, and them to me. I have had more than one occasion when I was particularly unhappy with a dish. Maybe it was cold or undercooked. I tell my waiter and without hesitation my meal is immediately replaced. The establishment has skin in my game, just as I do in theirs.
Recently I went to a well-known Australian steakhouse chain that had just opened a new location near me. I was kind of excited to see what they were up to, because the brand has grown exponentially in the past decade.
What a disappointment! The motif was nearly identical to a dozen other Millennial-oriented, Asian-Feng Shui Mid-American Modern interiors. A big room divided only by short railings. Soft indirect lighting reflected by dark woods and black moldings and window frames. High ceilings with industrial looking hanging lamps make reading the complicated, four-page menus nearly impossible without cell phone flashlights. The menu is a six-ring circus of main entries which must be completed by adding side dishes. The copy is printed in a 8 point font in grey ink. Unbelievably stupid!
The truth is I know what is going on. Many chains are pandering to the Millenial compunction to demand hundreds of choices about everything! Even when you order water, the waiter has a list of types he has to explain. It is all part of the Digital Revolution, the ability to access millions of gigabits of whatever at any given second. So now we have to be buried in data everytime we ask for help.
I don't want to think that hard when I am going out to diner.
Beyond that major complaint, I was also uncomfortable the whole time. My wooden chair was no better than a bus stop bench. The sound system was blaring unintelligible, and overwhelming music. I wondered, are they making it so loud to force us all to yell at each other across the table just to give us, and those next to us, some privacy? Because without the blanket of noise enveloping the room, it would be impossible to have any privacy because there are no dividers among the table and chairs. I assume that design principle is simply to allow for more tables and chairs, so the opportunity to turn them more often is increased exponentially.
I'll take overstuffed, leather booths anyday!
Then after we finished our mostly mediocre food (served on some hybrid plastic tableware) the waiter placed a computer monitor on our table and said we could check ourselves out...WTF? I don't care about their convenience, I want to be waited on! Let them do the math, ring up the sale and give me a receipt. I am not going to do their job!
This steakhouse is virtually identical to the cowboy themed steakhouse experience I had just last month. The only difference was the theme. But I have visited enough of these now to recognize the homogenization of the chain restaurant marketing direction. One I have no affinity for.
I guess this attitude of "serve yourself by technology' has seeped into all aspects of our lives, at fast food and hotel lobbies, at the bank, even at the post office. But I refuse to accept such a disrespectful approach to my dining experience. I will just have to look for one of a vanishing breed of restaurateurs, because far too many have subscribed to a new format, The Death of Dining.
From an essay titled Bad Press by Charlie Cooke at National Review, here is a great description of the decay of journalism in America....
" 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 “BIGIFTRUE” 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."
The problem is insidious and metastasizing.
As the battle over the border drags on, here is tale worth repeating...
The doorbell didn't ring, but I knew something was there because I could hear a lot of commotion .It was late at night and I wasn't expecting anyone, so naturally I became a little concerned. I went to my garage and found a flashlight.
I braced myself, pulled open the front door and...what a surprise!
The little family of about a dozen raccoons! They were so cute and innocent! Their faces looked so adorable as their eyes glowed in the flashlight beam.
I invited them in.
Obviously they were starving! Some were emaciated, tired and probably covered with fleas, so I immediately called my vet. She said unless some were dying, any house call would be out of the question. That since there was no emergency, I could bring them into her clinic in the morning.
Or better yet, she suggested I take them to the county animal protection shelter…
As the anxious and agitated group started pilfering through my house, my wife came out of the bedroom to be frightened out of her wits.
"It's OK honey" I said, "Just some hungry and homeless youngsters who are looking for some food and a place to stay. Can you rustle up some food?"
She ran back into the bedroom. I think she might have called the Police…
I was too busy to ask why she thought we needed help. These little guys were fully capable of finding stuff to eat. Within minutes they had everything in my pantry spread out on the floor and were tearing into boxes and bags, tossing cans around and licking up syrup and sugar they had spilled. A little inconvenience maybe, but how can you blame them, they probably hadn't had much to eat since there were so many of them.
I felt good about things for awhile, but I soon realized they were overwhelming my home. They were everywhere, so I started pleading with them to leave. As I wandered through the house, shooing them out of bedrooms and bathrooms, I found my wife cowering in a closet. Then I suddenly noticed a family of possums was making their way into my living room!
This is a real problem!
I was starting to get a little frightened, so I decided to go next door to plea for help. As I reached the end of my driveway, I stopped cold in my tracks...I was suddenly surrounded by a pack of Coyotes...
"But it was the Trump campaign’s coziness with so many Russians that made it all possible." - AXIOS Online
During a recent live radio interview, the host challenged my assertion that recent scholastic and media industry studies concluded that Trump received 92% negative press prior to his election and just slightly less biased coverage since. I said a lot of the 'negative' coverage is reporters allowing their bias to seep into their stories. Often it happens by simply using pejorative terms. She wanted me to sight an example.
I am relatively new to live radio, so I wasn't able to sight chapter and verse, but I did say that most mainstream media reports on the subject of "illegal' immigration never distinguish between legal and illegal immigration. Reports on Trump often say he, and Republicans in general, are 'anti-immigration'.
That is absolutely untrue and the reporters know it is untrue and still they continue to frame the story as proof that Trump is xenophobic. It all starts with, and is perpetuated by a lie of omission, which is nothing less than slander and Fake News.
For example, here is a story on the millennial website Axios, which talks about how the Russians manipulate social media to divide Americans. Not content to just spread the important non-partisan news that foreign countries are weaponizing social media platforms, Axios has to blame it all on Trump!
The last line in the story is:
"But it was the Trump campaign’s coziness with so many Russians that made it all possible."
"Coziness" is a pejorative term, and it is just nebulous enough to avoid any claims of journalistic excess. 'Cozy' is one thing in reference to a nice evening in front of a fireplace with someone you love and a glass of wine. Or, it can be very negative when placed in context of one of our own sharing too much information with a bitter enemy. Since the idea of "Russian collusion" explaining why Hillary lost the election, the latter condition is what most people think (thanks to Fake News) when the subject of Russian influence comes up.
But Axios claims it would not have been possible if not for Trump having relationships with "so many" Russians (who are unnamed). If Jeb Bush had won the nomination, does anyone think the Russians would have thrown up their hands in defeat and abandoned their media manipulation campaign? Give me a break!
Even if we were to accept, for the sake of argument, that Trump had meetings with Russian officials before the election (which I am sure he did at some point in history), how does that extrapolate to his "making it all possible" to exert immense political and cultural influence on social media users all over the United States of America?
I would suggest that it is the nature of the social networking beast that makes it all possible.
What the Russians have been doing takes an immense amount of coordination and money. If Trump had any part in it, it would be something the Special Council would have had no problem documenting.
In their article, Axios says, "These (Russian) campaigns are easier because of the U.S. government's lack of unity in confronting the practice and the platforms. That's a big win for Russia."
True, but this stuff was happening under the Obama administration. Hello? Can you put two and two together or is that asking too much of journalism today?
A common description of conservatives is that they can't embrace the 'Browning of America'. That as the population of Latinos grows, as blacks gain political clout, and as women of color expand their influence in political circles, many mostly white voters, and especially older white men, are struggling with the idea that America is now equally divided by ethnicity and gender. So older white guys like me are angry, and supporting racist, nationalist leaders like Donald Trump.
Media talking heads call us "Haters".
The demographics may well show that America's color may be darkening, but assigning the dispepsia of conservative voters to xenophobia is totally bogus, and in many ways, bigoted. Sure there are always going to be vestiges of white power racism in our culture, just as there are significant numbers of people who like creamed spinach (not me!).
But to place the blame for our cultural divisions solely on the back of one group, one political point of view (conservatism) is myopic. Suggesting that older white men resent people of color is, in and of itself, an ignorant and intolerant generalization. If people like me don't stand up and reject these charges, we become complicit in the lie.
The problem is some people cannot separate attitude from policy. Modern cultural attitudes conflate racism with sovereignty. Too often the issue of breaking immigration laws is brushed aside, and intermingled with emotional issues like the separation of mothers from their children.
Was anyone worried about the future of Ruth, Mark and Andrew Madoff when Poppa Madoff was escorted out of the courthouse and committed to jail for 150 years?
I am a 68 year old white conservative. I voted for DJT, not because he is a racist and ergo so am I. No, it was because he was willing to address a serious problem of protecting our borders and keeping our communities safe. Not safe from people of color, but safe from intruders who disrespect our laws. All the other candidates capitulated to the bogus charges of racism.
It is as simple as that. I view Trump as an advocate of law and order, not white power! Most conservatives don't care what the color of your skin is, we just want migrants to assimilate, become an American who understands what that is and what responsibilities come with it.
The idea that our country is suffering from unregulated illegal immigration should not be arguable: there is simply too much evidence that citizens are suffering from crimes and job competition by people who are by law not supposed to be here. The color of their skin is irrelevant. When a migrant starts out by immediately disrespecting our laws, it is easy to assume they will continue to do so as they encounter challenges while struggling to survive in our competitive society. Admittedly, they will be handicapped by a lack of family resources, education or job history, so it is just too easy to turn to crime.
How else do we explain that 30% of the population in American jails are illegal immigrants?
Beyond the obvious issue of illegal immigration, what many Americans are worried about is the 'diluting of Americanism' wherein our heritage of self-sufficiency, respect for law, a sense of entrepreneurship and pride of ownership, and a commitment to engaged understanding and participation in civic decisions and community building will be replaced by a return to tribalism and social isolation. That if we do not require our immigrants and our citizens to follow the law, we will devolve into something unlike the America we inherited from our folks.
Watching groups attempting to breach our border security while carrying flags of their country of origin is a red flag for anyone who naively thinks these people just want to become Americans.
So please spare me the bigoted assertion that Trump is a racist and those who support him are haters. If you really believe that, you are delusional and misinformed. Just like Colin Kaepernick won't stand for the National Anthem because he considers it 'unjust', I won't stand for people calling me a hater.
In light of the recent election results, and in response to the burning question, "Where does the Republican Party go from here?" I am passing on a sneak preview from my new book Trump's Reckoning: Bulldozing Progressivism, Rebuilding Americanism. It explores the idea that for Republicans to rebrand themselves, to attract minorities and women, they must find common ground. Here is a taste of what I recommend they do...
"Pie in the sky idealism results in chaos. Progressives want the world to conform to their idyllic worldview, so they act as though it already has. That is why it is important that they redefine language and history, so it comports with their convoluted illusionary reality.
Our priority as Republicans must be to protect our family first. To make sure our members have realistic views of reality, that they are armed with the truth so they can exercise their freedom to create jobs, homes, schools and security rooted in what the Constitution deemed 'the pursuit of happiness.' To live safely in reality.
So I believe Republicanism is synonymous with what I call Familyism. It is about starting every day with the idea that your family comes first, then the family of your community, and then your state, and then your country. By taking care of and providing safety and security for your extended family, you are actively supporting what the founding fathers envisioned for the United States of America, a family of individual states and communities, all with different personality types, but all pulling the collective boat in the same direction.
We are all roots and branches of the same tree, America.
It is time for Republicans to embrace and brand ourselves with a new definition, a new motto, a new moral imperative: Republicans, the Family First Party."
I started listening to Rush in 1985, as I was spending a great deal of time driving around Southern California, working as a manufacturers sales representative, and his show burst out on a powerhouse AM channel in mid morning drive-time.
I must admit that at first I thought the guy was a pompous ass. But I still listened, because he was funny too. And he had a way of talking about current events that reminded me of my college days. I always enjoyed a good, interactive lecture and discussion in a classroom atmosphere. I was bored by pop music, so I got hooked on talk radio, and Rush was not just a pioneer, but as I learned over time, a cultural and political genius, too. Limbaugh has built his audience on, as he puts it, "Explaining and illustrating the absurd using absurdity."
Rush has been properly credited with the resuscitation of AM Radio. He took it from a failing Top Ten records and DJ medium, which could no longer compete with the improved sound quality of FM broadcasts, to a whole new news, information, and interactive talk medium. He tapped into what is now SOP, but at the time had no outlet: the need for people to share their passions, their frustrations, and their anxieties about life, community, national politics and current events. Limbaugh's mostly "talking about what interested" him show format was the radio forerunner to Twitter. The public was slowly drowning in new ways to get their news and information, and they needed someone to help them sort it all out and talk about it.
Demographics show Limbaugh's audience is mostly older male, middle-class and conservative. My guess is, most don't spend much time on Twitter, either.
But the most fundamental reason Rush is still the leader in the huge talk radio market, is because he can make absurdity make sense. And as confusing and contradictory as some of the news is, he adds a semblance of humor to the equation. Just enough to diffuse the anger, but also to illustrate how convoluted and distressing so much of our public discourse has become.
Whether you agree with his perspective or not, the man is highly entertaining, and his brand of human interest conversation continues to compete successfully with hundreds of sources on radio, TV, the internet and on our cell phones. I could make the case that Oprah Winfrey, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, David Letterman, and so many others, all learned a lot from Limbaugh, and owe much of their success to his success.
In the late 90's, Limbaugh formed an alliance with recording artist Paul Shanklin to produce a steady stream of musical parodies around high profile celebrity and political characters. Combined with his cartoonish nicknames for his favorite targets like 'Dirty' Harry Reid or Debbie 'Blabbermouth' Schultz, his voice imitations and creative soap-opera-style replays of controversial and conflicting sound bites, Rush consistently sets new creative standards for the radio medium.
After uber-liberal filmmaker Michael Moore released his anti-Bush film Fahrenheit 9/11 in 2006, acclaimed Hollywood producer David Zucker (Scary Movie, Naked Gun, Airplane) jumped into the fray when he decided that some of Washington's shenanigans just couldn't be ignored by filmmakers.
He formed an affinity group of conservatives in Hollywood; he got Jon Voight, Dennis Hopper, Kelsey Grammer, and Chris Farley's brother Kevin Farley together and pitched a script. His subsequent film, 'An American Carol' spoofed the limousine liberals of Hollywood. It challenged their sense of patriotism and tendency to 'blame America first.'
The film would not have happened without the groundwork by Rush Limbaugh. That reality holds true for later proteges like Dinesh D'Souza, Sean Hannity, Dennis Prager, and Michael Savage.
Zucker had made a dramatic transition from being an anti-Vietnam war protester and ardent Al Gore supporter, to an outspoken JFK-style conservative. He had grown to resent Democrat's rejection of American exceptionalism and the way the Left was complicit in allowing socialism, anti-zionism and radical extremism to flourish around the world.
Limbaugh is still garnering nearly 30 million listeners any given week, and though he pioneered the format, his is still quite unique. Critics want to focus on his squeaky voice (when he gets agitated) but he has an uncanny ability to point out absurdities. Just this week, Joy Behar lamenting the election results on ABC's liberal circle-jerk daytime talk show "The View" said that Republicans increased their majority in the Senate due to 'redistricting'.
Rush, after squeaking about how it shouldn't be possible for someone so ignorant to hold a seat on a nationally syndicated TV talk show, reminded the audience that state senators serve entire states, and since there are, as directed by the constitution, only two senators from every state, there is no such thing as 'redistricting' in statewide elections.
As the self appointed 'Mayor of Realville', Rush spends a great deal of time mocking leaders in academia, entertainment and politics who constantly demonstrate little or no understanding of our constitutional republic and how it works.
"Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?" - Chico Marx
Recently Bill Maher, on his nighttime talk show, pontificating on Trump's popularity ratings, said:
“His popularity rating keeps going up, not down. It’s almost in the range of a normal president, which is really scary. Because he certainly is not that. So, they (his supporters) obviously don’t care about so many things they used to care about like decorum, or policy, or democracy, or freedom of the press.”
Intentional or not, Maher is impugning a massive number of people and their motivations. And of course he can't help but malign Trump, because he is appealing to his Progressive audience, and therefore, truth is relative.
Maher's choice of words are intended to invoke anger and hatred, to rally his ultra-liberal following, to create some team spirit and resistance energy. He is addressing the troops of anti-Trump Progressives and pumping them up for the second half of a game in which they are trailing, bigly.
For example, he says Trump's ratings are almost in the range of a 'normal' president. No, Bill, they are right in the same range as Obama's ratings were after his first two years. So either Trump's ratings are normal or Obama's were abnormal. You can't have it both ways.
He claims that Trump supporters don't care about decorum. I would argue that millions support Trump's position on standing for our National Anthem, not to restrict NFL players free speech, but to stop the hijacking of a public display of respect for our nation and its heros. It is the lack of decorum, the abject disrespect for the moment and the venue that is objectionable, not the credibility of the issue of police abuse or racism.
As for policy, I would suggest one 'obvious' reason Trump won is he ran against the wrong policies of the Obama era. Obama seemed to care more about illegal immigrants, Islamic fanatics, or being liked by foreign despots, than he did about the American working class, and the security of our citizenry. The same issues that drove many otherwise recalcitrant voters to vote for Trump.
Maher claims Trump policies are bad for minorities, women and gays, but the facts contradict him. Employment stats indicate all minorities are finding work at record setting rates. Hate crimes are down, female incomes are up, and it was Trump who warned Republicans to get used to gay marriage as it was now the law of the land. His stern military and domestic security measures have made us all safer from Jihadi attacks and removed weekly beheading videos from television news broadcasts.
Bill, you are too smart to keep referring to America as a democracy. America is not a democracy, it is a Constitutional Republic governed by a document that cedes power to the people, but also demands all citizens respect the rights of its minorities. The founding fathers purposely chose not to make America a purely democratic government, because it leads to mob rule. It is Progressive anarchists that invoke mob rule, using intimidation and violence to shut down debate on campus, in congress and across social media.
"No Trump! No wall! No borders at all!"
Progressivism is communism in disguise, where (in Marxist theory) everyone gives according to ability and receives according to need. One party, or a totalitarian dictator, manages everything from the top down. Under their form of government, celebrities like Bill Maher do not exist except to act as propaganda agents for the authorities. Dissenting opinions, like we see on The View or any number of American news/talk shows, are not tolerated in communist countries.
Maher conflates 'Free Press' with freedom to say anything without attribution or consequences. The abuse of those journalistic freedoms by using unnamed 'reliable sources' instead of cross-checked and verified informants, is a major threat to a free press.
I have a liberal definition of news because I think news can be what excites people. I’m not very sanctimonious about what news is and isn’t.
- Diane Sawyer
It is becoming increasingly obvious, too many MSM journalists agree with Diane Sawyer. They subjugate boring civic activities to bloodsport mayhem that attracts leering audiences and increases advertising revenues and reporter salaries.
The only current restrictions on journalistic excess are coming from powerful pressures to conform with politically correct dogma. Newspapers, TV and social media are more concerned about what people 'think' than what is true. And they feel compelled to direct what their audience thinks. The Progressive angle on censorship is over what constitutes 'hate speech', what hurts people's 'feelings', and what comports with their approved template of 'inclusion, social justice and fairness,' just as Kim Jong Un does in North Korea.
Maher worries about Trump policies that will censor Progressive thought, but it is conservatives on TV, on college campuses, on Facebook and Twitter that are being shadow banned.
Bill Maher's definition of decorum, policy and freedom of the press, is obviously, not objective. What is scary, and just as obvious, is that he has such an eager and receptive audience.
The Villagers are on the rampage. They are calling out the "Fake News".
People on the Left think the Mainstream Media is bought and paid for by powerful international corporations and Republican donors. People on the Right are convinced the Mainstream Media is a cabal of leftist leaning elitists and globalists who would prefer that government be the head of our collective family.
They can't both be right, can they?
Well if I am right, I think a mad doctor ( who obviously graduated from one of our multicultural schools) has created a two-headed monster that is both Leftist and Conservative. His monstrous creation, FrankenMedia, is schizophrenic, delusional and quite unpredictable. The mad doctor? That would be Dr. MarketForces Frankenstein.
I know, many of you will be saying, "What? Everyone knows the media is biased toward the Democrats!"
And I would agree if we look only at the American News Media. But when we patch together the worldwide media, and all of the social media platforms available, we get an entirely different monster. Though everyone on the planet is dependant to one degree or another on the information distributed by the rapidly expanding digital media panoply, the number of choices has grown exponentially. The concept of 'broadcasting' is extinct. The consumer can pick and choose from thousands of digital platforms, effectively customizing their information streams. We now have a 'narrowcasting' industry, brewing every kind of ideological tonic that will draw that 'drive-slowly-by-the-accident' audience.
The popularization of the term 'Fake News' is an oversimplified colloquialism, symbolic of what is wrong with our civilization. We are driven to package everything in truncated blurbs by our ridiculously short attention spans. The whole concept of journalistic integrity, the serious examination and distribution of information, has morphed into a new form of life.
What was for nearly half a decade a resource we could count on, the 4th Estate, has degenerated into an arcade ride labeled 'News.'
Like much in the culture of Western Modernity, when we find something we like, we exploit it to death! We over-use it and beat it into an unrecognizable bloody pulp version of itself. If one is good, two will be better, and ten must be awesome!
Our culture is not satisfied with four or five beer choices, so now when we go out for a drink, the beer menu is twice as thick as the dinner menu. The same holds true for our information streams; we can monitor dozens simultaneously, not to mention the sharing platforms of Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and many others. Information comes in sound bites, truncated and even abbreviated, but collectively, it dominates our attention. TV's are everywhere, from restaurants to airport and hotel lobbies, to the top of gas pumps. The news we experience today bears no resemblance to the news we trusted when only the local newspaper, the local radio station and maybe two or three networks competed for our attention.
The ever present, multifaceted FrankenMedia Monster is unavoidable!
What we no longer have is accuracy in news. No one can claim to have the correct information because there is just too much of it. And who is to filter or edit it for accuracy? Just when you think you have gleaned all that can be said about an issue, here comes some bombshell from 'unnamed sources' blowing the story to smithereens!
What we do have is a FrankenMedia Monster that was created by committee of market forces that demanded the news department deliver higher ratings, garner more advertising revenue, and keep the audience tuned in for longer periods of precious advertising exposure. Producing the news is relatively cheap because you don't have enormous fixed costs for actor salaries, set construction, and massive production crews. The news is spontaneous and perpetual. Paying news collectors is much cheaper than paying content creators and story writers.
The news operations have come to be the branding mechanism for cable TV. I bet you can name four or five news channels but would have a hard time naming very many of the entertainment channels. Some of the most successful and well known media celebrities are 'Infotainment' stars like Oprah, Bill O'Reilly, Megyn Kelly, and Matt Lauer.
Narrowcast cable or online platforms like YouTube, Netflix and others, are now producing original content too. But when you look close, nearly all of it is the sensationalization of recent news stories. The hit mini series, The People vs. O J Simpson, starring Cuba Gooding Jr., was an FX Channel original. It combined the intrigue of a domestic violence, a beautiful victim, a celebrity athlete and a gory murder. And it was true! Just what the ratings doctor ordered!
The FrankenMedia Monster is pieced together from different disciplines: the basic news is the skeleton, but hanging on the bones are a variety of garish attractions, to grab the attention of the audience. There is political intrigue (that's a big one because it has so many vested interests). There is entertainment from sports, film and TV celebrity, from human interest in trouble caused by chance (weather, earthquakes, tsunamis, healthcare and disease, etc.) and of course, war. There are wars waging 24/7 somewhere on the planet.
The FrankenMedia Monster is fed by cannibalizing the news; taking parts from different locations and origins, and ginning up the most possible commotion. Mixing one part entertainment with two parts news creates an elixir that audiences crave. When Trump slips up and fails to grab the headlines for a day (which doesn't happen very often), the Brexit Story, German troubles with Islamic immigration or something really incesstuous, can quickly fill the void.
Next up, racial tensions and unjustified police shootings!
I remember hearing one anchor say, "We will start our broadcast on this very slow news night with a story about the spread of hepatitis in San Diego!" Apparently President Trump forgot to slander someone with a Tweet that day...
Whether P.T. Barnum actually originated the phrase, "There is a sucker born every minute" is irrelevant. The point is, there is a news story born every second, whether it is fake or not. And advertisers know there are millions of suckers out there anxious to eat it up. Dr. MarketForces and his many assistants, lead by Igor Advertiser, have created an efficient and dangerous monster.
Get the whole story in my new book Trump's Reckoning: Bulldozing Progressivism, Rebuilding Americanism by Rick Elkin, published by Liberty Hill Publishers, and available online through Amazon or Barnes and Noble, or through most major booksellers.
Excerpted from an interview with the SDUT:
Gavin Newsom said…
"The folks closest to me held me to a high level of accountability on it. The newspaper did, on a weekly basis, called Shame of the City series. Every week when I was mayor... chronicling our successes and failures, our setbacks, our triumphs, our overpromising, our under delivering, our under promising and over delivering, depending on the category, but I feel very strongly unless the state intervenes, your mayor down here, Mayor Kevin] Faulconer, is not going to solve it on his own. Mayor Garcetti is not going to solve it on his own. Mayor Libby Schaaf, you want a problem, go to Oakland, you can’t even get off the freeway. I mean they’ve literally taken over lanes as you get off the freeway into the streets. It’s that bad. It has to be regionalized and we have to have a statewide frame and we need the federal government to get involved because again we’re manifesting a national problem disproportionate on the streets of the state."
He is admitting that California is a mess and he is crying for help from the Federal Government because the Democratic Regime in California has totally lost control, and continues to exacerbate the problem with open borders and sanctuary city policies. Now he wants California to put him in charge so he can push even more idiotic Peoples Temple-style solutions until we collapse like Venezuela….
Caring is overrated.
There are just too many things to care about. If you spread your caring too thin, the result is not helping any cause enough to make a difference.
Worse yet, it seems that people are stressing over the demands of caring. From the moment we wake up till our head hits the pillow, someone, some cause or some issue is demanding that we care about it.
The Politics of Caring is what the Progressives feed on. Caring about our dystopian future, the overheating planet, refugees of war, immigrants seeking asylum, discrimination against women, people of color and animals. We are told we must care about secondhand cigarette smoke, how much gluten we eat, how we use words, so as to avoid hurting anyones feelings.
No matter what the issue is, Progressives always claim to 'care' more than conservatives. It is Argumentation 101: Assume the upper hand of the emotional side of the discussion.
Leftists use their definition of 'caring' as a tool to disrupt our culture. They have hijacked the emotion because caring is a universal motivator. It transcends many levels of political persuasion. Who doesn't care about the environment, or what happens to abandoned children? We all worry about what kind of world our children will inherit. Anyone who dissents, for any reason, is an extremist.
The question is, how do we focus our caring and to what extent are we willing to forgo other important goals to achieve a particular end? And is 'caring' in and of itself a solution?
Some people have become so overwhelmed by the tsunami of media hatred and anger towards President Donald Trump, that they have decided to just tune out the endless cacophony of talking heads on radio and TV, in movies and in newspapers and current event magazines. In a world of enormous diversity and endless news events, our media has been obsessed with Trump for nearly two years!
And who would feel more sensitive to the destructive nature of the media's assault than the First Lady, whose husband has been the target of relentless character assassination, fake news stories designed to undermine his administration, and threats of violence from high profile celebrities?
So Melania incorporates her sensibilities in a fashion statement. Something she knows a lot about. She wouldn't wear a silk screened tee shirt, nor would she don a cotton gym hoodie. No, she puts her message on the back of a fashionable Zara military-style overcoat, painted to look like pop art graffiti.
The FrankenMedia had a field day, linking the phrase "I don't care, do u?" to the illegal immigrant issue, since she was simultaneously visiting the Mexican border. But, as usual, they fell right into the Trump Trap. While they focus on the politics, and whining about 'divisiveness', 'bigotry' and her 'lack of sensitivity', she is focusing on the demonstrable dishonesty of the media. And the jacket is the perfect metaphor.
She is playing to the Trump Base.
Like everything else about the past 18 months, there are two ways to look at the controversy: The media wants to paint her as uncaring, rich and anti-immigrant. She, on the other hand, says the message was to suggest she was no longer going to give any attention or energy to the 'Fake News'. Like so many folks, she is burned out on 'Trumped Up' BS.
There have been a number of articles and sound bites about how so many people are turning off the news and tuning into lightweight entertainment. I read a story by Claire Suddith at Bloomberg News, where she recorded some comments by a systems designer from Massachusetts who says she gave up watching the news and watches travel shows instead.
“Basically, a drone just flies over and tells you cool things about pretty landscapes,” she says. “It’s way more relaxing than reading about Melania’s terrible jacket choice.”
Where did she see the story about Melania? Why did she react to "Melania's choices" so negatively? Was it her opinion that wearing the jacket was a 'terrible' choice, or was she just parroting the media's analysis?
Isn't hating Melania a little presumptuous? After all, Melania speaks five foreign languages, is herself an immigrant, and has personally been extremely successful in business. Isn't she the ultimate poster child for women's empowerment?
If the woman from Massachusetts was seriously disengaged from the news cycle, how would she know about the incident and why would she care? You can't really have it both ways, can you? And if she doesn't really care anymore, isn't she in agreement with Melania's provocative silk screen?
Oh well, who cares?
The world is a better place
because of it.
It was, and is, a miracle
that it ever happened.
“What is the essence of America? Finding and maintaining that perfect, delicate balance between freedom ‘to’ and freedom ‘from’.”
- Marilyn vos Savant
As appears on the History Channel website:
"From 1774 to 1789, the Continental Congress served as the government of the 13 American colonies and later the United States. The First Continental Congress, which was comprised of delegates from the colonies, met in 1774 in reaction to the Coercive Acts, a series of measures imposed by the British government on the colonies in response to their resistance to new taxes. In 1775, the Second Continental Congress convened after the American Revolutionary War (1775-83) had already begun. In 1776, it took the momentous step of declaring America’s independence from Britain."
"For over a year, the Continental Congress supervised a war against a country to which it proclaimed its loyalty. In fact, both the Congress and the people it represented were divided on the question of independence even after a year of open warfare against Great Britain. Early in 1776, a number of factors began to strengthen the call for separation. In his stirring pamphlet “Common Sense,” published in January of that year, the British immigrant Thomas Paine (1737-1809) laid out a convincing argument in favor of independence."
"On June 7, Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee (1732-94) complied with his instructions. Congress postponed a final vote on the proposal until July 1, but appointed a committee to draft a provisional declaration of independence for use should the proposal pass."
The History Channel continues:
"The committee consisted of five men, including John Adams and Benjamin Franklin (1706-90) of Pennsylvania. But the declaration was primarily the work of one man, Thomas Jefferson, who penned an eloquent defense of the natural rights of all people, of which, he charged, Parliament and the king had tried to deprive the American nation."
"The Continental Congress made several revisions to Jefferson’s draft, removing, among other things, an attack on the institution of slavery; but on July 4, 1776, Congress voted to approve the Declaration of Independence...Though the vote for actual independence took place on July 2nd, from then on the 4th became the day that was celebrated as the birth of American independence."
The Continental Congress proved inadequate to deal with the problems the new nation confronted after the Revolutionary War. From that hellacious mess (immense debt and an unstable economy, combative and unorganized states, and insurrection) came a decision to restructure the planning documents of the Union.
Starting with the Philadelphia Convention in 1787, two years later the Constitution of the United States of America was born in 1789. The United States of America committed its future survival to an idea that had never really been tested or successful in the history of the world. British royalty thought it was arrogant and preposterous!
Since then, millions of Americans have given their lives to promote and protect that idea, that all humans were created as equals and have a God-given right to seek happiness and to organize their political affairs free from authoritarianism.
It really is just an idea that has become known as Americanism, because no other country has ever been able to duplicate it. The DNA required to accomplish what we have established and managed to protect for 242 years is unique to our petri dish.
There are those that have come to 'hate' Americanism, but they all have one thing in common: none of them have had to live under any other form of government. They emote from a place of ignorance.
“There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America."
- President Bill Clinton
Happy Birthday America!
Resume of: Donald Trump
Position Sought: Reelection to US Presidency 2020
Salary Requested: None
Please, in the space provided, describe why you think you are prepared to continue this position, and ' hit the ground running'.
DJT: OK, here goes...
Jobs and the economy
I made this point in Trump's Reckoning:
"In case you have been living under a rock for the past half century, our country is slowly sliding into another Civil War. But this time it isn't being fought with muskets and swords. This time it is being fought with electronic media weapons of mass dissemination. The information age is experiencing growing pains and it has become difficult to distinguish truth from fiction, lies from deception and right from wrong.
...I would argue that Donald Trump won the Presidency precisely because so many Americans are concerned that the nature of our Union is under assault. Voters were looking for a Lincoln figure to heal our wounds, even if he prescribes some painful medicine to do it. And in many ways Trump is the modern day Lincoln. Not a conventional politician, Lincoln came to politics to interject some sanity to the process. Trump has said that his motives are just as patriotic and pragmatic.
...Trump has been steadfast in confronting political correctness, which is in it's own way a form of servitude. American's sensed this when they went to the polls for him, as he was the only candidate willing to tackle the massive cabal of group thinking media elitists. Political correctness has devolved our schools, our entertainment, our social discourse, our sense of security and the relations we have with each other. Less tangible issues than those of states sovereignty, but just as divisive...
The point is, our nuclear family, America's social glue, is being turned into quicksand for political expediency. And political correctness was the vehicle that allowed it to happen, and only Donald Trump had the issues of media misinformation and political correctness in the crosshairs of his campaign speeches."
Remember the TV show "What's My Line?" It ran on CBS from 1950 till 1967. It explored all of the occupations of Americas and fascinated audiences. It was the longest running TV game show in history. Maybe a new show would draw an audience.
It could be called "What's A Father?"
The panelists would ask the 'Contestants' (a variety of celebrities and successful journalists, authors, academics and educators) to respond to questions about how they rank their fathering skills. The Contestants would be selected based on their 'unusual' status as leaders of a 'Family' based on the wider definition of family we recognize in the 21st century. For example, men who have been a partner to an abortion are still, technically, a father. Half of a lesbian marriage is the designated father.
You get the idea….
This Father's Day, challenge your Dad. Let him know how "Special" he is to you.
Buy him a copy of Trump's Reckoning: Bulldozing Progressivism, Rebuilding Americanism.
It will be the most unusual gift he receives and he will never forget your audacity, I promise.
Click here to Buy Now....
I first posted this August 18, 2016. It illustrates just how politicized and progressive the leadership of our intelligence agencies has become. If Mike Morell and Hillary Clinton had prevailed, does anyone think ISIS would be hiding in the shadows? That Americans would be embracing massive, unvetted immigration? That our economy would be the strongest its been in many decades?
Mike Morell, a former deputy director and intelligence analyst at the CIA, was on the Charlie Rose Show, commenting on his scathing New York Times op-ed assessment of Trump, his recent new book (The Great War of Our Times) and his endorsement of Don Hillary.
Mike is also a former CBS National Security commentator. He is certainly an expert on the War On Terror.
He recently resigned his post in order to make his political preference public. He makes no bones about his dislike for the Republican candidate. I appreciated his concerns that the millions of Americans who support Trump have very legitimate anger over the direction of the country. In fact, during the interview he listed all of the failings of our current leadership to reign in terror, to coordinate domestic and international security, to secure our borders, to garner multinational coalitions, to effectively lead any sort of massive worldwide effort to squeeze radical Islam financially. He was pretty hard on the Obama administration and it's seemingly duplicitous alignments with all of the Eastern European and Middle East regions affected by Jihad.
So it is inexplicable how he could conclude that more of the same will have different results.
His answer must be that continuing to move like a glacier would be preferential to making an all out assault on Jihad, because we just don't have the resources, the coalitions, and the resolve of the American people, despite the subject matter of his book, which recognizes Jihad as the number one threat to all of civilization.
After bantering the international issues with Rose, Morell then attempts to characterize the movement for Trump. Describing his suspicion of the motives for those supporting Trump: "Whites are scared by the browning of America."
There is a grain of truth there. But just as the CIA has pretty much botched the war on terrorism, Mike misses the major point altogether. Like many quasi-liberals, Morell places criticism of Obama policies on the President's race and projects American's concerns to inherent white American racism.
But he overlooks the obvious question: How did the CIA get everything, from the WTC attacks to the absence of WMD's in Iraq, to the formation of ISIS and the vote to end the EU so wrong? Now he is getting the anger and disgust of much of America just as wrong.
I am sure that the CIA is a patriotic operation and most of the employees have nothing but the best intentions, but when will it occur to these people that massive, bureaucratic, politically correct operations are rarely effective? The bigger, slower to adapt and more clumsy they get, the more vital they claim to be?
The man has tons of credibility on international activities, but when did he spend any time on a Nebraska corn farm, or attend a town hall meeting in Alabama? Isn't it important to know where you are coming from in order to best determine how you get where you are going?
What white America is worrying about is the decaying of the American ideology. Whether those who want to fundamentally change America are white, brown, green, yellow or black is of no importance. What is important is that the 'changing' of America is in the wrong direction. There is an attempt to make America more like every other country. Mike epitomizes the globalist view that by dropping our borders, 'diversifying' our moral standards, and socializing major industries, the world will be friendlier and we will all learn to be happy inhabitants of a One World Community.
How else can one explain Progressive's efforts to open our borders, to destroy any semblance of voter ID, to dumb down our students, to marginalize marriage and our Judeo-Christian cultural values, to erase distinctions between the sexes, to eliminate patriotism, to create an enormous underclass of government dependent inner city captives, and to redistribute the wealth of our industries like the socialists in bankrupt countries all over the planet?
I understand little of this is in play with regards to what motivates ISIS, Al Qaeda, or Vladimir Putin. I am sure Mike has most of that right. But all of that must be put into the context of what is it that motivates everyday, working class, family-raising Americans.
The Progressive vision for America is scaring the living daylights out of a growing number of Americans. Just because many whites feel like their comfort zone is under assault doesn't mean they're racist. It means they're proud of what has been established here in America and are not willing to cede it to wild eyed ideologues who worship egalitarianism. And they are tired of being blamed for all of the misguided mistakes of the PC bureaucracy.
Mike has it right, there is fear. But it is not about race. That is a wedge only elitist intellectuals and left wing politicians use. Voters are almost always motivated by fear; the old saying is that people 'vote their pocketbooks'. Why? Because they fear their pocketbook is about to be redistributed to someone or something they have no control over. That their time, work, and family future is about to be wasted for some pie in the sky theory about being fair.
In America today, Trump supporters fear that their country is about to be remodeled into something they don't recognize and that would be antithetical to the country they were born into.
As for Trump's shortcomings? Whatever they are, they pale in comparison to the threat that our homeland could be so drastically deconstructed as to be rendered impotent on the world stage. Besides, no one man or woman would ever 'run' the country by themselves. Not in America. Our system is such that once a leader is put into office, a series of administrative changes occur, and an enormous team of advisers, both domestic and international, kick into action. We have two other branches of government to straighten out the kinks.
Mike Morell would likely be a part of that team under Trump, except that he abdicated that possibility to buy into Clinton's progressive, One World vision.
That's too bad. I like Mike. I just disagree with his appraisal of the personality requirements for the Oval Office. He is, in my mind, a perfect example of why our government, and much of our culture, is so lost.
* * *
Interesting, huh? Amazing how intuitive voters are and how much has been accomplished since August, 2016.
“...we believe that America has an important role to play as a force for liberty and justice on the world stage...This worldview and these principles compel me to promote conservative ideas at Stanford, and beyond,” Rice-Cameron added. “I’m driven by a fundamental sense of urgency over the fact that Americans are slowly losing their liberty, and I believe that liberty is being valued less and less. I want to turn the tide, and college campuses are crucial to doing so.”
--- John David Rice Cameron
(son of former Clinton national security advisor Susan Rice) and currently President of the Stanford University's branch of College Republicans.