A day of meetings. That’s what I do, I go to meetings and I know things.

SORRY. It’s just that stupid Game of Thrones quote is showing up over and over in my Twitter feeds in cap and shirt form. Endlessly customized. That’s what I do, I drink (preferred beverage) and I know things. That’s what I do, I FIX TOILETS AT HOME and I know things. I think it was uttered by Peter Dinklage, no? I drink wine and I know things. Well, how? The act of drinking wine does not impart specific knowledge previously known to you, unless you’re saying that you have two main actions in life, A) the drinking of wine, and B) knowing things, and they have no particular connection, except that they sum up your passive existence when conjoined.

One of the meetings was Zoomed in. A room full of Actual People in the Office, a smattering of badges for those who were forever remote and had their cameras off, and the main speaker, whose video feed transmitted a new picture every second. It was like talking to astronauts isn 1971, and gave the meeting the feeling that we were expected, at its conclusion, to figure out a way to bring Apollo 13 home.

Akshually Apollo 13 was in the year OH SHUT UP.

Got a text from Natalie today asking for advice on her first day at work. Interesting idea. Well, take pictures, yes, video your morning. Make sure you have timed out how long it takes to get to the office and add half an hour. Look sharp. Bring something personal for your desk. At my first day at the Strib I went to Crate & Barrel in the afternoon - I had bugger-all to do my first day, and there were still stores downtown - and I bought a handful of nice natural wood pencils. No bright yellow paint. They were so nice I never sharpened them. As I’ve said before, on my last day at work - if it happens while I have the presence of mind to follow through - I will hand them all out, save one, which I give to Natalie, and I will snap the last one. Presuming as well that I have the strength to do so.

Where is she interning? You ask. She’s not. She turned down the internship because she got an actual job. Yes. With salary and everything. She was five days out of college and she got a job in her field. One interview; they loved her. One copywriting test which apparently she nailed, and that was that.

So whaddya know about that, as George Bailey said.

Anything else new? Oh, just the annual longing for a scooter. No e-bike, but a scooter, even though I’d look like a dork. But I probably won’t. Having a Tuesday whiskey, Last Call brand, predatory to the low-carb ice-cream thing I have on the day when I got the column in and did all the things. Reward day. Something I started during the pandemic. Never quite saw the need to stop. It’s a fit cap to the day. No planes now; no sirens -

just heard a siren as I wrote that, a few short wheeps pulling someone over. Has to be serious if they’re stopping someone for driving. Perhaps the plates came back to someone with six felony warrants and they needed to tell them they should really show up for the hearing, lest there be a seventh. Public service and all that.











On a recent podcast Rob Long and I were discussing the “woke” corporate imbroglio, the Target thing. He mentioned an anecdote about Burger King’s ad agency coming up with some weird campaign, high concept, and how the franchisees grumbled and said “look, just show the burgers.” Concentrate on selling what you sell. It got me thinking about burger advertising got me thinking later. McDonald's, for a long time, did not spend undue attention on lascivious depictions of their meat divots. Oh, in a late 80s / early 90s spot you might have seen lettuce and onions flying through the air through jets of water, or fresh golden fries flying up as if expelled from a cannon, but for a long time they emphasized the experience, not the product. Everyone was happy at McDonald's, sitting in the restaurant, enjoying a meal. The old farmer in the pickup truck in the drive-through was happy to get his morning biscuit from a pert pretty young lass with a winning smile. They'd sold you on the burger a long time ago, and were now building, or reinforcing, an emotional reaction with the penumbra of the brand.
That's what's odd about Bud Light and Target and Disney and the rest. Transing the Pride Month doesn’t affect their core strengths, which is why they probably thought there's no overall cost, but it curdles the penumbra. It's not that you HATE HATE HATE! them or are suddenly devoted to their downfall. They just seem weird. 

I mean, Jack Daniels had this drag colab a while ago. This image helps the general penumbra of the brand . . . how? Does that have wide appeal?

To the sliver-wide portion of the demographic they’re chasing, I suppose so, but it’s just weird. It reminded me of the “Sex for Sam” kerflufflle many years ago:

The maker of Sam Adams beer is following the standard PR script for crisis management and offering a public apology for encouraging people to have sex in public places, including St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York. Following the public outcry which got two radio shock jocks fired, Boston Beer CEO Jim Koch now says, "We were not in control of the program, and it was never our intention to be part of a radio station promotion that crossed the line."

It's hard to see how Koch could have been surprised, though, since this was the third year his company has sponsored the "Sex for Sam" contest (in which copulating couples are rewarded with trips to Boston for the company's annual beer fest). On the day that St. Patrick's was desecrated, Koch himself was in the studio of the radio show, acting as the contest's Grand Marshal.

Along with handing out bottles of Sam Adams to contestants who stopped by the studio to take a break from having sex in cabs, ATM vestibules, and the Disney Store, Koch also served as the contest's official 'celebrity' voyeur," notes thesmokinggun.com. "That meant if couples had sex in front of Koch, they were awarded 30 points (by comparison, sex in St. Patrick's Cathedral was worth 25 points).”

I know this wasn’t from corporate, but when I heard it I was an occasional Sam Adams drinker. Then I thought, in a second, of their slogan, which in my head was “Patriot. Brewer. Pimp.” I never drank the stuff again. There were other beers. That one just felt weird now.

I was a big Disney fan (for their old work, mostly, but also a lot of the new stuff) and a constant Target shopper. But now I just have this inexplicable, unquantifiable eww. Squish alert: I don't care if they have rainbow-themed shirts in June, although the commercial institutionalization of Pride MONTH is an interesting subject. But - and this no doubt puts me in the rube-bigot-phobe camp - hooking up with this silly "satanist" and his trans-hued pins that advise the guillotine for those who don't buy the latest iteration of gender ideologies, or selling "Gender Euphoria" candles (that would be the feeling you get when you imagine yourself as a sex you are not),  or hairy-chested cartoon persons on a shirt celebrating women - it's off-putting to anyone who isn't 110% into the new paradigms, and also implies that these paradigms are widely accepted. Bedrock principles, really. 

Well, they're not. But. There is a segment of the market that believes they are. The question is whether Target et al believes it is the majority of the market. I think some in their marketing department would be confused by the question, because obviously it's the majority of the market, at least the hip engaged patrons they believe are their core audience. These things are settled. You want us to ignore the idea of gender euphoria? A teachable moment like that? No one apparently considers a third option, which is indifference. 
Why? Because the personal is the political. Everything is political. You can’t stay neutral on a moving train, and all that. Silence = Death, as the 90s slogan had it. (To which the 20s would add, Speech = Violence, which does pose something of a bind.) The absence of voiced allyship indicates opposition, because declining to engage is the equivalent of endorsement of the enemy. When that’s the bare minimum, when that’s the given, then of course it’s delightful fun to bring in Pastel Satanist.

As I said on the podcast, it’s because the lodestar shifted left, from basic acceptance of homosexuality to Queer theory, which is a different thing entirely. Just as “not being racist” is different from “anti-racist.” Just as “equality” is different from “equity.” The concepts are similar enough so people easily slip into the new garments without noticing that the patterns and stitching constitute a different style entirely. The degradation of the precision of language may not be intentional, but certainly no one who benefits from it will complain. So the end result is literal conversion therapy for gays, and the inclusion of heterosexuals with tumblr-based non-conforming self-identification grabbing the mantle of “Queer” to claim their piece of the intersectional pie. The ouroboros of every radical movement.

In the end, it comes back to the squick factor: men in dresses at the Disneyworld ushering little girls into the Cinderella’s dress shop. It’s not that I’m offended or pearl-clutching or mad - I just think it’s stupid ideological capture they could have avoided completely. Unforced penumbra-souring. There’s a place over here that sells the same things you do, more or less, and all things being equal, I am more inclined to shop at the place where these issues are nonexistent, because I have a neutral view of the place, and they have a neutral view of me.
As of today, anyway.




It’s 1941.

Cheerful news all around.

The Brits collapsed at Crete; sabotage fears here in the states. The biggest story, oddly enough, was capturing some German spies on a passenger ship.

The story seems to be a few days old.

SS Winnipeg remained under French flag after the fall of France in 1940 and sailed under orders of the Vichy government. She was captured on 26 May 1941 by the Dutch sloop HNLMS Van Kinsbergen in the Caribbean Sea and confiscated by the British government. She was eventually purchased by a Canadian company, Canadian Pacific Steamships, some months later and renamed Winnipeg II. She was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-443 on 22 October 1942 while en route from Liverpool to Saint John, New Brunswick. All people on board were rescued by the Canadian corvette HMCS Morden.

Thanks, our Canadian friends.



The editorial page noted that he was wrong, because Germany’s conquest of European nations transferred sovereignty of many possessions in our hemisphere, and those damned Boche are going to be right in our backyard.

I’ve no idea what the last line means, but it’s nice to see the editorial page letting its belt out and having a little smile in the midst of absolute crap times. The rest of the page talks about how more Americans think we’ll be in it soon, our bomber production would outstrip Nazi efforts, we owe Great Britain for their cows, and everyone has the right to speak but some people are absolute dunces.

Noted, but we’re not doing that, are we

Not yet, anyway.

Don’t worry, we have you covered:

The ad also shows the correspondents and writers, including this fellow. Time magazine in its October 10, 1938 issue:

  “At the age of 44, Mr. Mister Pegler's place as the great dissenter for the common man is unchallenged. Six days a week, for an estimated $65,000 a year, in 116 papers reaching nearly 6,000,000 readers, Mister Pegler is invariably irritated, inexhaustibly scornful. Unhampered by coordinated convictions of his own, Pegler applies himself to presidents and peanut vendors with equal zeal and skill. Dissension is his philosophy.”

Hated FDR. I mean, hated him.

Pegler supported President Franklin Delano Roosevelt initially but, after seeing the rise of fascism in Europe, he warned against the dangers of dictatorship in America and became one of the Roosevelt administration's sharpest critics for what he saw as its abuse of power. Thereafter he rarely missed an opportunity to criticize Roosevelt, his wife Eleanor Roosevelt, or Vice President Henry A. Wallace. The New York Times stated in his obituary that Pegler lamented the failure of would-be assassin Giuseppe Zangara, whose shot missed FDR and killed the mayor of Chicago instead. He "hit the wrong man" when gunning for Franklin Roosevelt.

And that is . . . what?


The story says they subdued her with “the iron claw,” and I still don’t know what that means. Can’t be a blackjack. Crowbar?

The venerable and beloved Cedric Adams. Everyone read Cedric. I sometimes remind people that he literally gave away puppies and kittens at the end of his column, on the front page, and some find that hard to believe. Well.


Finally, I was surprised to see this fellow still in the paper:

He’s literally named Teen, so it’s okay that he’s now in his late 30s, I guess. The strip would be published until 1959, a 40 year run.When it ended, the readers who lamented its passing would grumble that today's comics weren't as good, and they looked different. Now, Harold, in its day, was a real pip, it was.

Now two ways to chip in!

That'll do - a short trip to 1958 interiors awaits. See you tomorrow.



blog comments powered by Disqus