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CSotD: Don’t panic (yet)
Today’s big news in the media world is last night’s horrific near-collapse of a shaky Twitter under the tone-deaf management of the supposed genius, Elon Musk, as summarized here by Bill Bramhall.
Oliver Darcy has excellent coverage in Reliable Sources, but the immediate crisis appears to be that, in the latest of his nonsensical edicts, Musk told his remaining staff that they would have to put in long, hard hours or resign.
A surprising number chose the latter.
Ah well. As I noted to someone the other day, I’ve never been fired from a job I wanted yet, and as it turns out, a lot of people on Twitter have felt the same way, and good about them. Three months’ severance pay should ease the pain of a fair decision.
Then Elon announced that he was closing the offices and turning off everyone’s card keys for the weekend, which is kind of funny since his latest hissing fit had been a request that they all stop working remotely. There’s a certain Catch-22 madness to that, which is okay because the older I get, the more that book feels less about war and more about management.
What happens next? Who knows?
I imagine the site will persist, more likely in a state of escalating chaos than a persistent vegetative state, amid all sorts of rumors that the debacle was a pure case of arrogance and incompetence on Musk’s part or a deliberate attempt to shut down a place for dissidents to express their views on the oligarchs.
Maybe he’ll sell it, or maybe someone will rebuild something similar, but we won’t be left without a voice.
I still haven’t figured out Mastodon – other than the fact that there are two O’s and only one A in the name – but I’m already over there at mas.to/@CSotD and I would invite you to join me.
I found a spreadsheet of reporters who moved and I’m populating my feed with some of them, but I wish someone would compile a similar list of cartoonists.
I’m sure everything will work out — with no one giving Elon $8 a month — and, by the way, we’ve got bigger fish to fry.
Though, since we’re on the subject of things I never lose sleep over, I liked this one Teresa Burns Parkhurst cartoon of the New Yorker, which adapts to a complaint I posted the other day about whites who appropriate indigenous wisdom – mostly false – under the impression that other races possess magical insights.
I stumbled upon it right after reading some speeches on “Wakanda Forever”, which had my hindquarters freezing because, when Kirby and Lee came up with the Black Panther character, they borrowed the name of a deity revered in Indian culture, and not just one of the pantheon but the foremost name.
when Frank Lindermann was collecting Cree, Blackfoot, and Ojibwe stories, he particularly noted that the tales about Old Man were often hilarious, but he was strictly no-hands when it came to Wakonda/Manitou.
So I went polling to find out how this whole thing was playing out in Indian Country, and coincidentally, Indian Country Today is where I found an answer.
It turns out that Osage and Kaw, who use that name for the supreme deity, dismiss it as a baffling oddity and were even glad it was at least used with a sense of reverence.
Their shrug reminds me of when I was editing Linderman’s collection for modern youth and asked a friend in Saginaw whether I should use “Chippewa” or “Ojibwe.”
It didn’t matter, she said, since the two essentially pronounce themselves the same and “the only time anyone writes that is when they’re taking something else away from us.”
I will likewise save my indignation for more thorny subjects.
It’s not that there’s a shortage.
The juxtaposition of the day
(Gary Varvel — Creators)
For example, you don’t have to agree with Clay Bennett’s admiration for Nancy Pelosi, although it will be hard to argue with his prediction that Kevin McCarthy will fall short of his record.
The fact that the Republicans have a razor thin majority and a sizable number of crazed extremists will make it very difficult for anyone in his position to get anything done.
Bennett at least opens up a conversation.
Conversely, Varvel failed to make the point, perhaps because the right gleefully cheered for having, as many of them put it, “fired” Pelosi. I realize that’s just hyperbole, but that’s not how the House of Representatives works and it’s not like he can’t serve out the rest of his term.
The real problem is that we don’t know whose high heels are, and not only is he overplaying the diminished impact of that supposed “red tsunami,” but could be seen as saying that, in gaining control of the House, the I Republicans have thrown the hammer at women in general.
Good cartoons shouldn’t need labels, but this cartoon does.
Meanwhile, Pat Bagley resumes a change of rhetoric between the campaign and the current plans. One criticism of the GOP was that for all their insistence that Biden and the Democrats were responsible for crime, inflation, fentanyl and the price of gas, they never explained what they would do about it if they got power .
So far, in part because the aforementioned Freedom Caucus is holding them hostage, they haven’t come up with much more than a promise to investigate Hunter Biden’s laptop and other alleged misdeeds they can link to Joe Biden.
But who needs substantial policy initiatives? As Jeremy Banx observes, the public has an uncanny ability to hang on to simple promises, even when they not only fail to address obvious problems, but are the cause of them.
But, hey, vox populi, vox deo, you know?
Perhaps. But, as it happens, yesterday I was looking for something else and came across a column I wrote in 1994, which included this passage, which I wish hadn’t aged so well:
There has not been a red tsunami and, while Dave Granland seems to think that the loss of the Chamber signals a serious problem, let’s just see how the lame duck session goes and then go from there.