WOOF! Watchdogs of Our Freedom

MASS EXTINCTION ISN’T WHAT IT USED TO BE!

In "Apocalypse NOT" forum on May 31, 2018 at 10:39 pm


In which WOOF’s editor in chief, Old Bugler, expresses his up-to-the-minute-if-frustratingly-excursive views on nothing but 100% guaranteed genuine news, mostly in the annoyingly officious third-person, as befits his station!   

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Fellow earthlings—that sounds inclusive enough, doesn’t it? —your humble editor begs your indulgence as he departs the political realm in this column to address a topic about which he knows absolutely nothing. This is merely to say that your editor is not a meteorologist, has never studied meteorology, and, like most Americans, relies on those trained in that expertise for guidance. This is especially the case when such guidance appears undersigned by 15,000 recognized experts whose uniform opinion is that we—meaning all of us, including, presumably, each of Facebook’s 71 gender options—are blindly marching toward planetary disaster. Given the gravity of the situation, surely our readers will acknowledge the importance of turning–for at least this crucial moment–from our typical fare to a far less subjective discipline–one amounting to settled science.

Can 15,000 scientists be wrong?

Old Bugler felt compelled to undertake this discussion despite his confessed unfamiliarity with the field, owing to his shock and alarm upon learning that “Humans are sleepwalking into a mass extinction of species not seen since the demise of the dinosaurs.” That headline, emblazoned above an article in the U.K. Independent, derived in turn from the authoritative Journal of Communications Biology, certainly commanded attention. Moreover, the discovery that “British scientists” were the principal issuers of the warning served to instill the matter with an unsettling momentousness, because–as most Americans intuitively grasp–British scientists, being British, are prohibited by their inherent Brythonic natures from issuing frivolous or irresponsible pronouncements—a characteristic that imbues their findings with  near-lapideous credibility.

From Old Bulgler’s “Great Moments in British Science” archive, the Dr. Quatermass section.

On this basis alone, it seemed imperative to absorb the entire report, described by the authors as a “new letter to humanity” (presumably because nobody would bother to reread an old one) signed by the above-mentioned 15,000 scientists joined in tendering a “catastrophic warning about the fate of the world.” Readers will readily apprehend the mounting trepidation with which your editor read further, anxious as he was to descry by what means our mass extinction was to ensue. Were these learned scientists privy to the emerging truth about UFOs— had the Zeta Reticulans communicated their intent to eradicate earth’s dominant species? Or was an enormous asteroid hurtling toward us via some unanticipated orbit leaving only weeks—perhaps days—before its globe-shattering impact vaporized the lot of us? Or was the long overdue yet widely anticipated Planet Nibiru finally entering that aspect of its oft-described elliptical orbit so proximal to our world as to occasion our moon’s ejection from orbit, followed swiftly by a stupendous collision with Earth as a grand finale? Or perhaps the Security Board of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists accidentally moved their doomsday clock’s hand all the way to midnight, thus ensuring thermonuclear war.

“Careful, you fool! Another inch and you’ll blast the planet to smithereens!”

Old Bugler’s mind raced as he probed for details, and while he was instantly uncomfortable with the article’s content, his initial objections pertained more to the designated cause of mankind’s demise than any doubts about substance. True, a less dull-witted reader might have inferred at first glance that our impending mass extinction was, like so much else nowadays, a ramification of climate change–and certainly mass extinction is no less frightful whether provoked by aliens, asteroids, or global warming. That said, your humble editor is so peculiarly constituted that faced with inevasible doom, he would prefer something more original. But this admittedly irrational reaction was quickly superseded by an encroaching awareness of something more authentically anticlimactic. The report’s language took what seemed a curious turn, and precisely at that point typically devoted to substantiating the authors’ findings.  Instead, the prose seemed almost to downshift–to reflect a more nuanced tone, even while maintaining that “man-made global change is threatening the diversity of different creatures that have taken millennia to evolve.”

Poised to extirpate….

All right, any sentence containing a reference to man-made global change (by which was clearly intended global climatic change) is far from sanguine, and readers may be forgiven for deeming it premature, even reckless, to characterize evidence of an event poised to extirpate “different creatures that have taken millennia to evolve” as “downshifting,” or anticlimactic. Your editor felt a flash of shame at his rising incredulity. He reminded himself that any species said to have evolved has, in fact, “taken millennia to evolve,” including our own. That’s what we call settled science.  Thus, humans might well be among those “different creatures” to which the report alluded. But even as this logic compelled his further investigation, Old Bugler felt the tingle of an almost preconscious wariness–a sensation akin to that creeping blush of mortification that accompanies the realization that one has been cozened. Yes, cozened— a polite, nearly archaic term, less violent and roughshod than swindled, or flimflammed, meaning congenially and artfully deceived.

As history bears witness, global warming experts sometimes indulge in outright fakery, as in the NOAA scandal exposed by Dr. John Bates in 2017; but your editor suspects no such overt manipulation of data in this instance–British humor is subtler.

Science has long predicted extreme weather events even more disturbing than depicted here! 

At first, your humble editor’s aforementioned faith in the integrity of modern science, and modern British science in particular, forestalled any suspicion greater than a reflexive distrust of his own perceptions. Surely, an epistolary decree to the world undersigned by a veritable pantheon of distinguished scientists (not a few of whom actually study climate) surely exemplified a level of scholarship so elevated as to exclude any hint of…well…syntactic chicanery? And yet—reading on—one learns that “global warming and rising sea levels threaten to wipe out many species that cannot adapt to change quickly enough.” Worrisome, to say the least, but hardly, on the surface of it, indicative of the epic debacle implied by the title. What revelations lurked in the full report?  Was humankind among those species teetering on the brink of destruction? Does a subset of humanity reside nearer “the brink” being situated nearer beaches and ports? Is this subset liable to wholesale slaughter because rising sea levels will ultimately consume our coastal cities (despite several postponements and hasty reschedulings) whereupon the tides are expected to surge so violently that these hapless souls will be “wiped out” because they “cannot adapt to change quickly enough?” And even if such a catastrophe drowned multitudes of injudiciously situated victims, could we objectively call it “mass extinction?” No, something was definitely amiss.

Save the undocumented species!

Extinction is real,. The “Aye Aye” of Madigascar, for example,, is reportedly nearing extinction. Nature can certainly be cruel.

An impression began to solidify in Old Bugler’s consciousness:. Humans weren’t “sleepwalking into mass extinction” after all. Rather, it appeared that various species quite apart from our own were facing extinction, or might be, which datum formed the gravamen of what came advertised as a “catastrophic warning about the fate of the world.” In fairness, your editor reasoned, the deceptively crafted headline was probably the handiwork of some junior editor at the Independent assigned the task of slyly sensationalizing relatively mundane science stories—the better to encourage “clicks.”

But no, as a careful rereading served to verify, the language derived verbatim from the report itself, in which no less a luminary than Professor of Evolutionary Paleobiology Matthew Wills at the Milner Centre for Evolution at the University of Bath (which is in England) specifically stated, “We are sleepwalking into a mass extinction of a magnitude unparalleled since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs.” The miscommunication seemed to stem from Professor Wills’s liberal application of the pronoun ‘we,’ by which he seems to refer to sentient lifeforms quite apart from ourselves, only certain subspecies of which are threatened with possible extinction, and none of which, so far as Old Bugler is aware, has been observed to sleepwalk.  In fact, the majority of lifeforms identified by the “New Letter to Humanity” as likely candidates for extinction appears to be shrimp.  Adding to these concerns, Wills makes so bold as to declare: “We are already losing diversity that has never even been documented” –an illation of virtually supermundane percipience, considering the difficulties inherent in verifying the loss of species that have “never even been documented.”

Knowing the fate of the dinosaurs should serve as ample warning of what occurs when climatologists are ignored. Or gigantic meteors, anyway.

Dr. Katie Davis enjoys a large order of french fries, demonstrating, perhaps, that concerns about cholesterol become academic on the presipice of mass extinction.

Next, Research Fellow Dr Katie Davis, an evolutionary palaeobiologist at the University of York, (England), explained that “Understanding the processes that shaped the strikingly irregular distribution of species richness across the Tree of Life is a major research agenda,” which one can readily believe without seeing any obvious way in which such a quest, no matter what its priority, bears on humankind’s blind march toward “extinction of a magnitude unparalleled since …the dinosaurs.” In fact, even an exact appraisal of the threat eludes us, as Davis acknowledges there are “depending upon estimates, between two and fifty million extant species of animals (Metazoa), all derived from a single common ancestral species that lived some 650 million years ago.” So if there are either 50 million or 2 million of them, or any number in between, surely predicting what number of them will or will not become extinct is somewhat arbitrary? And besides, Davis reveals,“net rates of speciation…exceed rates of extinction,” even though “the balance of these processes varies greatly, both between clades and throughout geological time.”

Like Darwin’s finches…

Dr. de Grave is head of research at the prestigious Oxford University Museum, yet so unaffected, you can call him “Sammy.”

Clades and geological time aside, the data, viewed objectively, show that more species are tabulated extant than extinct by a sizeable margin. Even more reassuring is the discovery that “shrimp have independently transitioned from marine to freshwater habitats repeatedly, creating much richer pockets of biodiversity.” Surely this suggests a level of adaptability that belies the premise of the report? Indeed, it transpires that “the relative isolation of lakes and rivers appear [sic] to increase the diversity of species in a similar way to Darwin’s finches on island chains.” And diversity, as every educated person is aware by now, is wonderful. So, given these uplifting discoveries, what is the problem? In a game attempt to resuscitate the study’s apocalyptic tenor, co-author Sammy de Grave, head of research at the Oxford University Museum, adds: “But rising sea levels caused by climate change could put these pockets at risk, disrupting these freshwater distributions and leading to extinctions as a result.”

Could?  Really? So because 15,000 scientists saw fit to misrepresent a conglomeration of learned speculation and unbridled conjecture as proof of Armageddon, Old Bugler suffered a hair-raising endocrine event culminating in rampant adrenal surges, autonomic nervous conniptions, waves of quasi-suicidal angst and a pounding pulse rate? Good heavens, people, get a grip on yourselves! Why restyle what amounts to a preponderantly uplifting review of the miracle of expanding biodiversity and the amazing versatility of living organisms, as a “catastrophic warning about the fate of the world” when in reality, the worst extractable inference is that, in the event of certain mootable hypotheses coming to fruition given certain circumstances that might or might not develop, it could be the case that certain levels of destruction might or might not be visited upon certain unknowable varieties of species whose current numbers cannot be accurately estimated, and who are, in any case, largely “carideans,” which, beloved readers, means shrimp.  By what evaluative standard is the loss, however regrettable, of a few million carideans, (give or take a few million), a blow to humankind equatable with mass extinction on a par with the dinosaurs?  And come to think of it, when was the last time you seriously needed a dinosaur?

The aftermath…

Old Burglar is happy to report that his parasympathetic nervous system has restored him to psychobiological homeostasis in the wake of what initially seemed an inescapable cataclysm.  He is once again seated calmly before his Alger Hiss autograph-series Woodstock Model 5 typewriter, sipping a sudsy Yuengling, and sorting through the day’s dispatches. Outside the WOOF cave, seabirds–at least the surviving species of them–are cawing and cavorting blithesomely. Before him, your editor cannot help noticing among the daily flurry of news items, lies an “updated” bulletin from the Union of Concerned Scientists. A glance suffices to establish that “Unless we take immediate action to reduce global warming emissions, these impacts will continue to intensify, grow ever more costly and damaging, and increasingly affect the entire planet — including you, your community, and your family.” Be that as it may, Old Bugler will resist, for now, examining precisely what “these impacts” entail. One Götterdämmerung a week is enough for any senior editor–and meantime, this one is content to leave planetary salvation in the capable hands of concerned scientists, wherever located.

Wait a minute–those aren’t seabirds!

Second thoughts…

Although on second thought, it seems churlish to eschew all responsibility for the fate of the planet—especially in view of the tireless efforts at outreach emanating from so many informed professionals enjoining us to “take immediate action.” With this in mind, your editor scribbled a hasty memo to WOOF’s art department requesting the “immediate” designing and limited issuance of bumper stickers exhorting our fellow citizens to “SAVE THE SHRIMP!”

Further, your editor pledges to affix one to his 1964 Corvair’s rear bumper, right next to the sticker bearing the faded legend: “AuH2O,” and beyond this, he pledges to forward an additional bumper sticker absolutely free to anyone requesting it, while supplies last.  One must, after all, do one’s part.

Free while supplies last!

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“You Keep Using that Word…” (In which WOOF takes Exception to Incorrect Political Correctness.)

In Hardcore lexicography forum on March 18, 2019 at 8:57 am

To clarify this screed’s rant, and the particularly annoying variety of left-wing “newspeak” that provoked it, it may help to explain what we aren’t ranting about–this time. The Internet is ablaze with lists of politically correct claptrap compiled by pathologically-officious arbiters of allowable speech. These lexical bullies infest faculty lounges across the land, united in their quest to denude American discourse of expressive scope by restricting it, in the name of social justice, to words they deem inoffensive, or, if offensive, offensive to practices. politics, or persons who are White, Christian, to the philosophical Right of Noam Chomsky, or otherwise deplorable. While we abhor these despots-manque, it is not our purpose here to catalog their verbal impositions. Anyone with a little nerve and a righteous abhorrence of gibberish can spot, list, and mock these lingual contaminants. And while ridicule is an entirely appropriate reaction to such taradiddle, we are pleased to note numerous lexicographic freedom fighters have taken up the work. Our business here involves a more refined grievance.

Our more refined grievance.

In this screed, we cavil about more than the Left’s enthusiasm for paralyzing our common tongue –we are particularly peeved by a substratum of usages so woefully misconstrued or wrongly etymologized as to give offense on two counts: First, as components of the balmy lexicon of tone-deaf PC idioms, and second, (here’s the important part) by adding a layer of fatuity insofar as they imply meanings contrary to or starkly different from the ones intended. To grasp our point precisely, one need only consider the line famously uttered by Mandy Patinkin in the role of Inigo Montoya from the 1987 romantic comedy “The Princess Bride,” since immortalized as a ubiquitous meme: “You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means.” If you’ve seen the movie, you know the context, and if you haven’t, suffice it that for our purposes, the line speaks for itself—(forgive the anthropomorphism).To illustrate by example, let’s turn to the not-too-distant past, or what we might call the dawn of modern feminism. Many contemporary feminists tend to be unfamiliar with the details of this era, except to speak condescendingly of it as “Second Wave Feminism.” But we recall it vividly, together with the now forsaken term “Fem Lib” (short, of course, for Female Liberation). But that term is no longer in use, and not currently at issue. Our displeasure is incurred by a different, far more persistent coinage emblematic of those fractious times–although, to be historically exact, as early as the dawn of the 20th century there was similar deviltry afoot.

The slur’s the word!

In 1901, the editors of the Springfield (Massachusetts) Republican, preoccupied with niceties that seem quaint at this remove, fretted that “To call a maiden Mrs. is only a shade worse than to insult a matron with the inferior title Miss. Yet it is not always easy to know the facts…” And in order that no married female be thenceforth addressed as “Miss,” the editors proposed a solution. “The abbreviation Ms is simple, it is easy to write,” they explained, and “for oral use it might be rendered as ‘Mizz,’ which would be a close parallel to the practice long universal in many bucolic regions, where a slurred Mis’ does duty for Miss and Mrs. alike.” Simple enough, one might suppose, but in an era when “progressivism” meant Teddy Roosevelt, the idea went nowhere. Indeed, the editors of the Springfield Republican probably went to their graves lamenting their failure to save married women from the ignominy of being mistaken for single.

For the uninitiated: A character in “Pogo.”

There followed a dark age of indifference to such matters, during which women in every walk of life faced the daily risk of hymeneal mislabeling. Fortunately for humankind, during an otherwise lackluster interview on WBAI-radio in 1969, Feminist Sheila Michaels resurrected “Ms,” recommending it as a means of uniting the entire distaff sex within a single, collectivizing, Mao-jacket-ish sort of honorific, (and causing anyone enunciating it to be instantly remindful of a character from Pogo). Michael’s credited the idea to a pamphlet she’d been handed by some Marxist group now lost to time, as might the entire idea have been, had not a friend of Gloria Steinem’s been listening and mentioned Michaels’s suggestion to Steinem, who pronounced it inspired.

Gloria Steinem–undercover Bunny.

In 1969, Gloria Steinem was the most widely known champion of American feminism, largely—if somewhat ironically—because she was good-looking, a quality conspicuous by its absence among the majority of her confederates. Besides making her a favorite talk-show guest, Steinham’s looks sufficed to win her employment as a Playboy Bunny, a stunt she followed with a widely read exposé in Show magazine detailing the veritable hell on earth endured—apparently—by Playboy Bunnies. Her bunnyhood behind her, Steinem was eager to found a magazine devoted to the feminist cause and thought “Ms.” would make a perfect title—smacking of rebellion, liberation from prosaic sexual roles, and the kind of controversy that drives sales at the newsstands.

The 1970s stood in sharp contrast to the days when a stringent lexical conservatorship consigned silly ideas like “Ms” to the waste basket. The burgeoning influence of the radical Left in American media and higher education meant that Steinem’s advocacy of “Ms” became instantly vogue. If this seems incomprehensible, remind yourself: this was the decade that popularized Disco, earth shoes, mood rings, plaid polyester leisure suits, and Jimmy Carter.  Any doubt regarding the continued communist subversion of government and the arts was set to rest as the U.S. Printing Office raced to approve “Ms.” on all official government documents, while Marvel Comics announced a new superhero named Ms. Marvel, billing her as the “first feminist superhero.” Gloria Steinem was really the first, we think, but she probably refused to wear another costume.

Steinem, bunnyhood behind her, making way for Ms. Marvel..

So, what’s our quibble with Steinham’s epochal choice of magazine titles? Let’s hear from Australia’s ABC News (not to be confused with its execrable American homograph) where contributor James Valentine sums up our objection, writing: “If you choose Ms as your honorific, others may think you mean more than you do…and it may not be a meaning that applies to you or any way related to why you choose to be a Ms.” In other words, Valentine might as well have written, “You keep using that word…”

The very first issue of Manuscript Magazine

Besides its ties to Marxism, which probably bother no one at this point except us, there is the inevitable problem of disambiguation that follows the forced introduction of most nonce-words like a faithful skunk. For example, current polls showing “Ms” on the skids, indicate a sizable population of women believe the term applies exclusively to divorcees, particularly in the United Kingdom; speaking of which, Debrett’s Peerage and Baronetage, disallows “Ms”, insisting that “”The ugly-sounding Ms is problematic. Although many women have assumed this bland epithet, it remains incorrect to use when addressing a social letter.” The Queen’s English Society likewise dismisses Ms as “an abbreviation that is not short for anything,” which would be concerning, if true, which it isn’t, really, which begs a further remonstrance.

Lacking any pedigree in popular usage. the term often confused even those determined to adopt it. People assumed the letters were separately pronounced, as in “Welcome to your interview, Em Ess Smith!” And the absence of formal standardization saw the term rendered in all caps as often as not. Capitalized, of course, the letters have long denoted Multiple Sclerosis, but in either format, as an exasperated (female) editor famously stormed at the height of the term’s popularity, “Ms means manuscript, look it up!” And so it did, and does, and will continue to—or are we unduly sanguine?

Using MS WORD…

Aside from the improbable existence of some editor at some publishing house, whose extraordinary skills at enhancing and correcting writers’ submissions have admiring coworkers calling her “Manuscript” Jones, it is impossible to imagine any woman, no matter her sociopolitical convictions, intentionally describing herself as a manuscript, or, for that matter, as somehow associated with an incurable neurological disease linked to double vision, psychiatric problems, loss of physical coordination, and death.  More recently, we have Bill Gates’s patriarchally insensitive usurpation of the term in his marketing of MS Word, which may seem relatively inconsequential until you review the 2010 census and note 6,177 Americans surnamed Word, assumedly half of whom are liable to being confused with the world’s first and most famous word processor, not to mention numerous iterations of its popular document format, (now available as an Office 365 app!) And if you don’t think this can spell trouble, consider the plight of the comely but demure young lady bearing this surname, obliged to work at a desk proximal to a bulletin board to which some heedless functionary has affixed a promotional poster emblazoned with: “Thank you for using MS WORD!”Very, very top of mind….

Right on, Sister! Err…brother..er…xe…zhe..or…okay, whatever.

But before we leave “Ms” to its fate, or at least Webster’s Third, we should mention another source of mounting dissatisfaction with the embattled abbreviation, namely, contemporary liberalism. The problem with “Ms,” nowadays, is that people who identify with it are women, and people who apply it, apply it to women. Social Justice, meanwhile, has outgrown such callow paradigms, meaning that societal efforts to confine people to restrictive sexual categories or to distinguish between such categories, is highly offensive. The Left’s current obsession with gender-fluidity engenders (sorry!) the corollary dogma that one can pretend one’s gender is whatever one prefers while requiring everyone else to behave as though identically deluded. Given this recent advance in progressive social doctrine, any honorific specifying an individual’s sex, no matter how radically chic in its day, is suddenly archaic and microaggressive.

Jane Solomon: A very very top mind.

“Sociolinguist” and Atlantic editor Ben Zimmer, for one, insists the lack of gender-neutral terminology in English “has caused a lot of headache over the years,” which we at WOOF confess we hadn’t realized. Fortunately, lexicographer Jane Solomon was more alert. “The need for a gender-neutral prefix seems to be very, very top of mind for people,” the language expert assured TIME magazine. To this end, Solomon is confident the uni sexual prefix “Mx” will prevail where previous efforts like xe,, thon, and zhe, inexplicably foundered.

Afire with the vision of Americans everywhere demanding a usable gender-neutral means of address, constituents of “Fourth Wave” feminism saw “Ms” for what it was–just another gender-specific tool of patriarchal oppression no better than Miss or Mrs. The way forward, they realized, entailed everyone using the prefix Mx, which Sociolinguist Zimmer helpfully instructs readers to pronounce “Mix,” rather than “Em Ex,” an emphasis meant, one assumes, to prevent anyone from accidentally self-identifying as a land-based intercontinental ballistic missile.

Blacklisting “Black!”

H. Rap Brown, where are you when we need you??

In a similar vein, the essayist Dallion Rew (himself African by ethnicity) writes that “Black” is now “becoming more and more disagreeable to people who read and study History!” We maintain the opposite. The Black and certifiably-liberal essayist Kimberly Alexander points out that the problem is not history, but rather “whiney sensitive snowflakes [who] chose ‘black’ as something they can no longer say.”  Right! The problem is that Black political perceptions are influenced far more than anyone dares acknowledge by White, “whiney sensitive snowflakes” who are also media mavens, political leaders, and university professors. So we are now beset by a “fourth wave” (more or less) of Black militants protesting the descriptor “Black” as “racist” because snowflakes in Birkenstocks miseducated them to believe the term was at some juncture foisted upon them by their White oppressors.  Pamela Oliver, a professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, points out that ballooning numbers of graduates “…educated in predominantly-White schools…have been taught that Black is insulting or that the only correct term is African American.”

Stokely Carmichael: So smart he was hard to debate–so Black he turned into Kwame Ture.

Calling Blacks “Black,” rather than Negroes (the preferred term throughout the ‘50s and early ‘60s, tarnished beyond retrieval by President Lyndon Johnson’s propensity for pronouncing it “Nigras”) is in fact ascribable entirely to Blacks—and radical Blacks, at that. Advocacy for the term ran the gamut from the erudite young SNCC spokesman, Stokely Carmichael, to the barely comprehensible  H. Rap Brown. Malcolm X advocated “Black,” and the Black Panthers insisted on it. The entire Black Power movement demanded it—yet only a few decades later we find Blacks eschewing it because Whites (who are, after all, the tenants of radical chic) misremember it as an insult.

African Americans from Haiti, and beyond…

Gary Player, African

Which brings us to “African American,” the usage most often invoked in place of the spuriously-maligned “Black.” Jesse Jackson, in fact, began advocating this term as superior to Black in the ‘80s, because it de-emphasized color. Today, however, the “woke” custodians of permitted verbiage apply it as synonymous with “Black,” defeating the logic that drove Jackson to recommend it, while conjuring a host of fresh inconsistencies. The decorum impelling us to call any dark-complected individual “African American” is now rampant in our culture—thus students submit essays littered with absurdities like “2.5 billion African Americans currently populate Africa”—or that Haitian refugees are discriminated against because they are “African American.”  But Gary Player, the White golfer who hails from Johannesburg, is African. In fact, numerous African American golf stars have gained fame, but with the notable exception of Tiger Woods, who isn’t really from Africa, they are all White men.  Someone should look into that.

The late Nelson Mandela, addressing his fellow African Americans.

South African President Nelson Mandela was Black, which may explain why a US News reporter notoriously eulogized him as “a famous African American.” And how does one politely strive to mitigate the outrage expressed by Jamaicans and other citizens of the West Indies who come here to study and find themselves enrolled as African Americans, when, in point of fact, they are neither?

(READ MORE)

Zuckerberg, Facebook, and Fate

In "The Media are the Massage" forum on September 17, 2018 at 1:16 pm

Lionized and feted for decades by every media outlet and establishment personality worth cultivating, Mark Zuckerberg is suddenly on the skids. His spectacular decline surprised us in the WOOF cave. The young tycoon seemed destined to expand his global pursuits, enhance his wealth limitlessly, and age serenely into liberal sainthood, wherefrom he would occasionally favor admirers with an enlightened insight or two, appear now and again to confer benedictions (and substantial cash endowments) upon worthy young activists, and generally remain annoying well into in his dotage.

Zuckerberg’s conventional Ivy-League liberalism made his conformity to elitist mores effortless. Beyond that, his knack for fitting the relevant beau gest to the trendiest social issue, or showering millions of dollars upon whichever starving, uneducated, oppressed, or similarly afflicted group seemed most underprivileged during a particular news cycle, solidified his credentials. He knew, in other words, how to play the game, and he played it better than the average establishment bootlick because unexamined, sophomoric liberalism was one of the few attributes Mark Zuckerberg never needed to fake.

Learning the game….

Wall Street barons, “obscene profiteers,” and corporate bigwigs denounced routinely by thundering Leftists are almost without exception those who haven’t played the game, or haven’t played it well enough. The intuitively satisfying but factually absurd notion that all big-money scalawags are Republican results largely from the media’s reluctance to disparage—or even acknowledge–any blood-sucking capitalist pig smart enough to fund progressive causes and babble the requisite shibboleths. Fat cat capitalists wishing to retain the affection of the liberal establishment long ago realized that redistributing their own wealth (in politically correct and tax-deductible ways) without waiting for a totalitarian state to redistribute it for them, was the key to immunity. Like Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Ben and Jerry, and every ridiculously wealthy celebrity in Hollywood, Zuckerberg played the game with an almost instinctual acumen. Was he not declared “person of the year” by Time in 2010? Was his name not widely circulated by Democrat strategists as a presidential contender in 2020? And hadn’t mainstream news anchors reacted to such speculation like jiggled bobble-dolls?

Immunized by The Game

The kindness of our hearts

Yes, those were heady times by even Zuckerberg’s standards, but times now rinsed down the memory hole by America’s mavens of misinformation. Suddenly, Mark Zuckerberg finds himself portrayed as an anathema to the people—a pariah so detestable that declaring him an “enemy of the state” seems entirely condign—except that Trump’s appropriation of the phrase rendered it radioactive to liberals.

What antic twist of fate swept Zuckerberg from his vertiginous pedestal? The liberal media will not provide an answer. Doing so would require a review of the timeline, whereas applied lacunar amnesia (a favorite media tactic) prohibits any recollection of the CEO’s previous good standing. In other words, Zuckerberg is currently portrayed by the establishment as a churl who was always a churl, and never anything but a churl. All evidence to the contrary is irretrievable–down the hole. Obviously, then, it falls to WOOF to analyze Mr. Zuckerberg’s riches-to-ridicule collapse; but we are generous by nature, beloved readers—we will not only undertake the analysis but also–solely out of the kindness of our hearts—end this screed by suggesting a way for Mr. Zuckerberg to recapture his former standing…sort of like the surprise at the bottom of a Cracker Jacks box.

Don’t worry, Zuck–help is on the way!

The most fundamental thing…

In March of 2018, Mark Zuckerberg gave an interview to BBC television during which he repeatedly assured viewers that Facebook would never sell any information derived from its users. Fresh-faced, boyish, and brimming with trustworthiness, the earnest CEO went to great lengths underscoring the sacred obligation he felt to protect every user’s information, insisting “This is their information—they own it!” And because “Zuck” was the Left’s most conspicuous superstar (besides Oprah) in the wake of Obama’s inglorious eight years, liberal journalists simply wrote down his remarks and reported them without a thought given their veracity.  When accusations piled up from the FCC, members of Congress, and a cluster of privacy groups, Zuckerberg doubled down, maintaining the  countenance of an angel as he averred, “We do not allow the applications to share personal information, plus, the advertisers can’t have access to it [and] if application runners share it with the advertisers, we disable their functioning on our website, we shut them down. We make sure that people have control over their privacy and it will become the most fundamental thing on the internet.”

Proving there’s fundamental, and then there’s horses’ fundaments.

Media talkers repeated the CEO’s remarks uncritically. After all, if “Zuck” was lying through his teeth, it was no more newsworthy than Obama lying through his, or Hillary or Loretta Lynch, or Susan Rice, or—well, when liars enjoy the establishment’s favor, the trick is simply to  “report” the words verbatim, and call it “the news.”

The Winklevoss Twins–guess how their mom tells them apart!

Of course, Zuck’s difficulties began long before 2016, but the youthful entrepreneur finessed them effortlessly. Early on, critics accused him of building a simple knockoff of his university’s social network, Harvardconnectins.com.  Compounding the issue, the Winklevoss twins (creators of the Harvard site and erstwhile collaborators with Zuckerberg), filed suit claiming Zuck sabotaged their project, made off with their design, and awarded himself sole credit for its development. No big deal, Zuck prevailed and prospered despite the Winklevoss annoyance and a variety of similar Lilliputian assaults. When an unflattering biopic came to theatres, Zuckerberg upstaged it by appearing on Oprah to announce unprecedented charitable contributions, and complaining to journalists the filmmakers “just kind of made up a bunch of stuff that I found kind of hurtful.”

Young Mark Zuckerberg, expressing his pain.

Rumblings on the right

Sure, Zuck had problems with conservatives from the beginning, but these amounted to pinpricks. All the truly important people reminded the sultan of social networking that conservatives complain about all sorts of media ad nauseum. Complaints kept coming, nevertheless.

Posts like this one from Gatewaypundit typify conservatives’ paranoid reactions to Facebook’s efforts to thwart fake news and biased commentary!

Brian Amerige , former Facebook technology wiz, called Zuck’s enterprise “a political monoculture that’s intolerant of different views.” But it was the rogues all along!

In May 2016, a former employee accused Facebook of cutting conservative topics from its “trending bar.” On June 13, the outspoken anti-jihadist Pamela Geller found two of her pages deleted. Fox hosts Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson, as well as the Gateway Pundit site, not to mention hosts of conservatives in private life, complained of similar censorship. The indefatigable Diamond and Silk raised a ruckus when their page was labeled “unsafe,” prompting Facebook to call the labeling “an enforcement error.”  Zuckerberg justified much of what the Right called censorship as Facebook’s effort to cut down on “fake news and conspiracy theories,” which Media Matters helpfully—if ironically–explained “are more prevalent in conservative circles than in others.” Even more hilariously, Zuck dealt with the sudden exodus of rogue employees exposing his censorship of conservatives by claiming that all censorship of conservatives was the work of rogue employees–whom he promised to ferret out and lecture sternly.

Attempting to further smooth the waters, Zuck hosted a meet-and-greet for a dozen influential conservatives. Zuck assured them, “Donald Trump has more fans on Facebook than any other presidential candidate and Fox News drives more interactions on its Facebook page than any other news outlet in the world. It’s not even close.” True, no doubt, but also irrelevant.–the group’s overall concerns were never meaningfully addressed.

Censoring conservatives? Nobody in the mainstream could believe such nonsense.

But no amount of caviling from starboard could seriously threaten the CEO’s status with the in-crowd. That would require a starkly different event–and a frenzy so indiscriminate even a cosseted godlet like young Zuckerberg might be sucked into its vortex.

The New Inquisition

Repent!

Epidemiologists often observe the speed with which newly imposed bacilli devastate previously unexposed populations. Similarly, the Left succumbed to Russo-phobia—an affliction so novel to that culture, the outbreak remains uncontained to this day. It was Zuckerberg’s bad luck to be caught up, first in the delirium itself, but more significantly by the reaction it spawned.  And just as the plague inspired 14th Century Europe to purge itself of heretics and witches in hopes of placating God, so the Great Liberal Russo-phobia of 2016, (although almost entirely psychotic), inspired an inquest of similar intensity: the New Inquisition, with Robert Mueller in the role of Torquemada, the furious Clintons playing Ferdinand and Isabella, and the uniformly hysteric media as the Holy Office for the Propagation of the Faith.

“Nobody expects The Deep State… to lose an election!”

Zuckerberg’s downfall was occasioned by one of those desultory acts of egalitarianism that dot his career–but not the kind of egalitarianism liberals prefer– like granting the vote to illegal aliens, opening school lavatories to anyone inclined to drop in, or making college educations free for the asking–no, this time Zuckerberg exhibited the wrong kind of egalitarianism. It wasn’t the first time. For instance, he’d once taken a flukish notion to host a fundraiser for Chris Christie back in 2013, but when shrieks from the Left awakened him to his foolishness, he promptly shifted gears, hosting a still-bigger fundraiser for Corey Booker before flying to San Francisco to march in a Gay Pride parade. The stench blew over.

Sure! Almost definitely! So forget about Chris Christie–think about Utopia, and stuff! Right?

Who killed Mark Zuckerberg?  

But magnanimity was about to run dry. Once Team Hillary wrested the nomination from Bernie Sanders by—well—rigging the vote, an almost supernal calm swept over the establishment. The smugness was almost palpable. The elites had seen the future, and it wore a fuchsia Mao jacket. But something went hideously wrong on the way to the West Wing.

Falling short of expectations….

Without warning, the very election process every liberal panjandrum including President Obama repeatedly touted as unbreachable by any means, and which the self-same panjandrums agreed only a raving ignoramus [read: Donald Trump] would dream of impugning on any basis, lurched incomprehensibly off course.  As of midnight, November 9th, 2016, it became obvious to all the panjandrums that the election process nobody could possibly rig had been riggedso rigged, in fact, that the wrong candidate won.

Armed with this empirical evidence, the liberal panjandrums evolved. They now chorused that presidential elections could not only be rigged, but were so easily rigged that almost anyone could rig one, adding that anyone clueless enough to dispute such an obvious fact was either a raving ignoramus [read: Donald Trump], or worse, duplicitous in rigging the election [read: Donald Trump]. Before long, the lacunar amnesiacs in mainstream media caught up, and the hunt for conspirators began. These events, seemingly absent any connection to Mark Zuckerberg, nonetheless presaged the tech titan’s disgrace. Any hope of escape vanished once the Clintons, the media, and the leaderships of DOJ, the FBI, and the CIA, agreed on messaging.  The Russians did it!

The Zevon effect

As appalled by Clinton’s discomfiture as any other card-carrying progressive, Zuckerberg barely had time to blink before the Inquisition revealed irrefutable evidence of his involvement in the plot to usurp the throne. Suddenly the very news networks whose slobbering affinity Zuck always relied upon, united against him. They called him a menace to the democratic process. They accused him of shocking betrayals, none of which made sense objectively, but at CNN, MSNBC, and the dinosaur networks, objectivity was no object.

OMG, the man’s been in Moscow–all that’s missing is a dossier!

What on earth had Zuck done? Nothing he hadn’t done many times before in the normal course of helming his media monopoly, but now, everything was upside-down. Citizen Zuckerberg was charged with collusion. Worse, he was charged with colluding with Russians. Worse still, his collusion helped put Trump in the White House.                                                                                                                                                (READ MORE)