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Killing “Mia,” or: Icons Away!

In We know iconography when we see it! Forum on December 10, 2021 at 2:15 pm

Say her name!

Just ahead of its 100th anniversary, Land O’Lakes retired the iconic American Indian beauty who for decades adorned its packaging.  She wasn’t just an attractive Indian maiden targeted by the Maoist culture assassins bent on rubbing out every vestige of Americana. She had a name! It was Mia. And Mia was not some confected fantasy of randy Madison Avenue Caucasians peddling sex in beads and buckskins, no– Mia, at least by derivation, was a full-blooded Ojibwe Indian. Mia was originally  rendered by artist  Arthur C. Hanson, and first graced product labels in 1928.

Patrick DesJarlait, well known cubist and bona fide Ojibwe.

In 1955, however, the iconic Indian was painstakingly revamped for authenticity by celebrated fine-artist and member of the Red Lake Ojibwe Nation, Patrick DesJarlait.  Mia’s bead patterns and her dress’s floral motifs were brought into conformity with actual natve designs. Her visage was softened and her overall appearance rendered less severe and more carefully detailed. And so she remained until the cockamamie year of 2020 when her company’s philistinic executives gave Mia the tomahawk chop.

This is definitely not the actual artwork, but illustrative of the fact that Land O’Lakes moved to the lady’s upper half in recent labeling–possibly to prevent that unseemly business with the knees.

It was always about our farmer-owners…

In a company statement released earlier this year, Land O’Lakes CEO Beth Ford described the change in design that scrapped Mia as “reflective of the foundation and heart of our company culture—and nothing does that better than our farmer-owners whose milk is used to produce Land O’Lakes’ dairy products.” [CEO Ford surely meant to say “whose cows’ milk,” but lacked time for clarification.]

White maiden with hair of gold show path forward.

What Ford was trying to say is that like practically every other major American corporation approached by the pitchfork-and-torch bearers of woke culture, her company performed a well known bodily function and produced a brick. Ford was cloaking her corporate pusillanimity in the woke-appropriate veneer of family farming, which could mean a lot of things and at best deserves unanimous support, but in this case brings joy mainly to the hearts of Volvo-driving liberals exhibiting such absurdly apodictic bumper stickers as “NO FARMS NO FOOD,” or the cloyingly sanctimonious “IF YOU’VE EATEN TODAY THANK A FARMER!”

Yipes!

In other words, Land O’ Lakes like much of America may have lost touch with its origins, but at least its gone green, along with thousands of Volvo owners who have in common mainly their autos, their bumper-sticker hauteur, and their utter lack of farming experience.

“Our farmer-owners” are proud to replace Mia–which should be obvious from the fact they are mainly standing arms akimbo.

“Almost empowerment…”

On his Facebook page, Robert DesJarlait, Patrick’s son, made the point that many Ojibwe people shared a very different perspective  of Mia. “Basically, it was giving the previous generation a sense of almost empowerment to see a Native woman on a box of butter. It gave them a sense of cultural pride. After seeing those posts, I said, ‘that’s right, that’s why my dad created this image to begin with’.”

DesJarlait Sr. at work in his studio.

No matter, of course. The PC battalions stormed the barricades, and the corporate defenders scattered like dry leaves in the autumn wind. Pride of place for asininity surely goes to State Rep. Ruth Buffalo who thundered that Mia walked “hand-in-hand with human and sex trafficking of our women and girls … by depicting Native women as sex objects.” Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan was effusive. “Thank you, Land O’Lakes, she gushed, “for making this important and needed change!” 

Why’d ya do it, Mia?

...heh,heh!…

Mia’s evident criminal proclivities were not lost on Kevin Dragseth. Writing for TPT (Twin Cities Public Television) the blatantly woke Dragseth explains that “High-visibility incidents of racial trauma in recent years, including a horrifying epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women across North America, put such cultural artifacts under a very high-powered microscope. “Mia…seemed increasingly out of her element in a society actively wrestling with structural racism, white-centered narratives and perspectives, and cultural appropriation.” Goodness…take a breath, Dragseth! Maybe the most appealing aspect of Mia was her evident aloofness from all that junk–and besides, WOOF awaits without particular expectation the first violent sex offender to tell arresting officers, “I couldn’t help myself –it was that girl on the butter box!”

Now that the Buffalo’s gone…

That anyone had much time to sensibly consider the implications of Mia’s rapid undoing seems unlikely, however, It shouldn’t have required a battery of Mensas to foresee the imagery inherent in dragging the comely maiden from her product containers while leaving behind DesJarlait’s bucolic depiction of the confluence of the Red Lake and the Narrows–which the artist intended as a further tribal tribute. Instead, without Mia’s benign presence, we are left with an ironic impression of usurpation– or as our youngest WOOFketeer (age 12), put it: “It looks like they drove off the Indian, but kept her land!”

Vintage Land O’Lakes serving tray–wish we had one!

Why the errant hostility toward poor Mia–surely aberrant among those who claim to revere her peoples and traditions, and odder still when directed against the work of a recognized Native American artist whose paintings are highly valued. Of course, Mia’s tragic discomfiture is by no means the end of the matter!

The only good icon is a dead icon!

The Washington Redskins named themselves in the year 1933 in honor of beloved coach William  Henry “Lonestar” Deitz, who boasted of his Indian heritage (which is now deemed exaggerated by critics) and to avoid confusion with the Boston Braves with whom, in those days, they shared Fenway Park.

“Lonestar” sure looks like an Indian!

Emerging from the 1960s, civil rights protesters and at least one sizable “Native American advocacy group” became vocal in their abhorrence of the moniker. Support for the name “Redskins” came from the team’s owners, the NFL Commissioner, and almost the the entire fan bass including a good many Indians who insisted the name honored the integrity and courage of Native Americans. Certainly that was accurate perceptually, since nobody, regardless of ancestry, is apt to root for a team named The Washington Racial Scapegoats.

Lexicography for the masses…

Anonymous lexicographer ponders the issue.

Lexicographers split politically, one side pointing to the team’s name as a direct translation of names the American Indians used to describe themselves, and others howling that it was probably all mistranslated by biased waischu.  Former team president Bruce Allen argued that an identical name was attached to at least three high school teams, which might have counted for little, except that two of them were situated on reservations.

Stats Wars...

When Supporters pointed to a national poll by Annenberg Public Policy Center showing negligible objection to the name by American Indians, fifteen “Native American scholars” were produced, unanimously of the opinion that the survey was hopelessly flawed and proved nothing beyond the prevalence of “white privilege and colonialism.” 

William Butler Yeats was a famous Irish poet, (for those of you in Rio Linda).

That said, when the The Washington Post published a poll in 2016 that duplicated the central question posed in 2004, and yielded an identical result, UC Berkeley felt obligated to conduct its own poll and determined that 49% of its Native American responders found the name offensive.  Again, the battle went ultimately to the virtue signalers, whose voices yammer incessantly against the center, which, as Yeats noted long ago, cannot hold.

“Battlin’ Bob Costa–or: Does sanctimony give you pink eye?

No William Butler Yeats, but rather the more pipsqueak-ish  Bob Costa famously postured his way through a 2-minute mid-game diatribe against the Redskins, calling the name “an insult, a slur…” and  vowing never again to enunciate it during his NBC sportscasts. Despite the high probability that nobody apart from his co-workers and a sprinkling of audience liberals and his mother cared about anything he said on the subject, Costa was hailed as “courageous,” and “unafraid” by his frothy compeers who seemed in awe of his boldness on a topic that might, at worst, fetch him a kick in the shins from an irate eight-year old.  Still In its preposterous way, the Costa rant and Berkeley’s outlying data seemed to tilt the matter toward the Maoist revisionists.                                          

Native American protests fist sprang up in the late 1600s.

And now the Redskins are no more. Instead we have the nameless team…a vagabond collection of NFL players representing the nation’s capital without an official identity. Liberalism, having struck, leaves once again a vacuum in its self-righteous wake. Fans have risen to the occasion by suggesting potential appellations, but so far none seems particularly inspired. In fact, the Appellations might serve the purpose no less dubiously. Here are the leading entries thus far: 

      The: 

  • Defenders.
  • Red Hogs                   

    The Senators? But that was the name of their loser baseball team! And the M for “Monuments” is upside down, people!

  • Armada.
  • Presidents.
  • Brigade.
  • Commanders.
  • Red Wolves.
  • Aviators
  • Wild Hogs
  • Monarchs
  • Aviators– (and our personal favorite so far):
  • Washington Football Team

And we didn’t make any of those up, either. The only decent name, if you ask us, is the Red Wolves–and you just know some American Indian named Red Wolf is itching to file suit if it gets picked. Come to think of it, Red Hogs may be unsafe as well!

Ben gone!

From 1946 to 2020, Uncle Ben’s visage beamed proudly from parboiled rice products originally developed for soldiers during World War II. An elderly Black man of stately countenance, Ben seemed an unlikely racial target, but in the wake of George Floyd’s death in 2017, Ben’s distinguished bearing, tuxedo,, and bow tie were not sufficient to ward off accusations of racism from (mainly white) critics in media, and the usual assortment of racial advocacy groups seeking microphones.

We bet McLuhan never said “Kafkaesque!”

Long ago media critic Marshall McLuhan said “America is a place where people beat up the peanut vendor when their team loses,” and truer words were never spoken. Insensate police reaction leads to the senseless death of a Black man accused of passing a fake 20 dollar bill, and who catches the brunt of reaction? Uncle Ben and a host of other beloved marketing icons. The illogic is virtually Kafkaesque, gentle readers, and that’s an adjective we use only when compelled by extreme circumstances.

Looking for Uncle Ben….

The other Uncle Ben.

Some say Uncle Ben was based on a Chicago maître d’hôtel named Frank Brown. According to Mars, the corporation under whose penumbra Ben’s products are marketed, “Uncle Ben was an African-American rice grower known for the quality of his rice.” Ironically, entrepreneur Gordon L. Harwell, a principal in supplying parboiled rice to G.I.s during WWII, may have invented Ben’s name and image as a “a means to expand his marketing efforts” when his product became available to the general public—a nod to inclusivity in Harwell’s era that exclusively earns umbrage in our own.  At any rate, Ben’s image is gone, and so is his famous specifier, because “uncle” transpires to be a term used by White southern bigots (except, one assumes, when applied to Spiderman’s uncle–who was himself a bit stereotypical).

You say you want some evolution…

Mars, the company that currently makes Uncle Ben’s rice, explained Uncle Ben’s disappearance as the company’s acknowledgement of its “responsibility to take a stand in helping to put an end to racial bias and injustices.” “Now,” Mars insisted, “is the right time to evolve the Uncle Ben’s brand, including its visual brand identity, which we will do.” And they did. They got rid of the Black guy.

Original box, pre-Floyd box, new box–just plain Ben, no Blacks allowed.        READ MORE!

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The New Economics: or How we Learned to Stop Worrying and Love INFLATION!

In Expodential increases in excessential problems! forum on December 2, 2021 at 12:12 pm

Paul Krugman wanted to stop it by creating a trillion dollar titanium coin. Milton Friedman said he could stop it by shutting down the printing presses at the mint, and Jerry Ford tried to stop it by selling Whip Inflation Now (WIN!) buttons–but we still have it, and stronger lately than for quite some time. The perceptive reader already knows we mean inflation, which almost everyone agrees results in the decline in purchasing power of a given currency. Maybe they should have called it deflaton, but they didn’t  Deflation is the obverse– the condition in which  purchasing power of money increases as prices decline. But that’s not important now.

Most people realize that inflation drives up prices of goods and services, because it takes more dollars to purchase the same items previously purchasable for less. And once upon  a time, that was deemed undesirable. You go to the store for a loaf of bread or a can of  soup or a six-pack of beer, and the cost is more than you anticipated or previously paid–what knavery is this? Inflation.

Remember when inflation was bad? No, not “bad” like intense–bad like bad; sort of like starvation was bad before Teri Schiavo was starved to death, or the CIA was bad before Valarie Plame was “outed,”or unemployment was bad until Nancy Pelosi realized it stimulated family time and brought out our hidden artistic skills, or, conversely,  like Russia was good until liberals discovered Trump got them to cheat Hillary out of the presidency–things like that. Things change, gentle readers, and we need to keep up with the times.

Well, lately we’ve been looking into the Left’s evolving attitudes toward soaring prices at the pump, the grocery store, and elsewhere, and we have to admit, from a properly modern perspective, inflation looks much less threatening. In fact, by overwhelming decree, it seems virtually benign, even salvific!

We admit, (in our neanderthalic benightedness), we once supposed there were certain, specific types of inflation that stayed pretty much the same.  Just to name a few, there was  demand-pull (which we at WOOF consider mythical because monetary supply actually drives it) and cost-push inflation , an interesting way of saying ‘inflation that causes inflation,’ and core inflation, which is inflation divorced from transitory effects (which is what we have now, if you ask us, which admittedly you didn’t). 

There is the additional category of dread “stagflation,” which most recently erupted in the 1970s when the United States abandoned the gold standard, ensuring the dollar’s free fall even as the value of gold soared, but you have to do something really bone-headed to cause it.

But now, surveying the more contemporary viewpoints, we find that excessive spending and failures to control the monetary supply are no longer so much as mentioned in current explications of the phenomenon. Surely were they of any remaining significance, they would be much discussed–but economists and feature writers are silent on these topics.

“A bundle of assumptions…”

“As surgeon general, I believe we can beat inflation if everyone just wears a mask and keeps social distancing!”

It seems there exist shockingly new kinds of inflation. One is essentially medical, and attributes inflation to COVID19. Another is beneficent–a view of inflation as essentially healthy, and the third is all about class struggle.  Finally we have what one might call the constructivist approach–or the dismissal of inflationary reality based on a reconsideration of its components–thus, George Calhoun, writing in Forbes, counsels that “Any measure of inflation is in reality a bundle of assumptions and adjustments, masquerading as a Concrete Fact. There are many ways to construct this ‘Fact,’ and many different ‘numbers’ that may wear the ‘inflation’ label.” (Mister Calhoun enjoys using quotation marks).

George Calhoun–raider of the statistical artifact!

Sifting through a lengthy list of inflationary markers, Calhoun wonders, “But does the number make inflation ‘look’ worse than it really is? Is there something wrong with the metrics?” Yes, he concludes; in other words, there is, in fact, no cause for worry. “The CPI has averaged about 2% for the past decade. However, last year it was only half that, as the pandemic crushed consumer spending and drove down prices…” See? CORONA caused inflation…or rather rebounding from it did…sort of. Thus Mr. Calhoun concludes, “The statistical bump isn’t real–it’s a statistical artifact.” So buy milk and gasoline, readers–a statistical artifact can’t bankrupt you!

Claudia Sahm–some fatiguing arguments…

There is also the fatigue-driven delusional, COVID inflationary complex. Really. Vox admits that with inflation surging, “it’s hard not to let a little bit of worry creep in,” but Claudia Sahm, a senior fellow at the Jain Family Institute tells Vox that “the economic situation — and pandemic situation — is much better for many people this year than it was last.”  I

“Whew! After all that, I’m too exhausted to think about inflation!”

It seems however that “People are exhausted. Workers, businesses are exhausted. We are moving in the right direction, but it is painful. One of the pain points is higher prices.[Good catch, Claudia!] Another big pain point is not having a job. Inflation is felt more broadly because the unemployment rate is back down.” Sahm doesn’t explain why she is moving to increase employment if, in fact, inflation has worsened because “unemployment is back down,” but that’s okay–she sums matters up by explaining that “because jobs have been coming back and also because the federal government put out a lot of economic relief, people …have, on average, enough money to pay those extra prices in the majority of cases.” [So inflation]”isn’t our biggest problem right now. Covid is.” Good thing. Otherwise, we guess, spending all that money on “economic relief” might be inflationary!

It’s the bounce-around that gets you…

At QUARTZ, Nate DiCamillo insists “The latest uptick in US inflation is not as bad as it looks” (Which in isolation may safely be deemed the prevailing theme here), although in this case, DiCamillo suggests, “Food and energy bounce-around'” [a previously unrecorded economic marker] is distorting our impressions of the economy.” Also,”higher rents are cause for worry only if they continue rising at September’s rate for multiple months.” One suspects Mr. DiCamillo is not renting an apartment currently.

At the SOAPBOX cite, author Faiz Shakir urgently relates that “The real inflation problem is corporate profiteering,” as if we hadn’t suspected as much, and cautions, “Don’t be hoodwinked. It isn’t Joe Biden who’s making record profits and gouging U.S. consumers. That would be corporate America.”

INVESTOPEDIA: Remains nonchalant, assuring subscribers that”Inflation is and has been a highly debated phenomenon in economics…the word “‘inflation’ has different meanings in different contexts.” –But not to worry: “Inflation is viewed as a positive when it helps boost consumer demand and consumption, driving economic growth.”

INVESTOPEDIA advisers are constantly on the lookout for economic growth!

Strategic Advisor” Sean Ross tells us, “When the economy is not running at capacity, meaning there is unused labor or resources, inflation theoretically helps increase production. More dollars translates to more spending, which equates to more aggregated demand. More demand, in turn, triggers more production to meet that demand.” Searching through the history of economics for a propitious figure who supports this point of view, Ross hits upon John Maynard Keynes.

Our comrades at THE INTERCEPT are even more certain it’s no big deal–in an article by Jon Schwarz, entitled “Inflation is Good for You,” Schwarz suggests that inflation is just a symptom of class struggle: “In fact, it may be the fundamental class conflict: that between creditors and debtors, a fight that’s been going on since the foundation of the United States. ” That’s because “inflation is often good for most of us, but it’s terrible for the kinds of people who own corporate news outlets — or, say, founded coal firms. And a panic about inflation usefully creates the conditions to weaken the power of working people.” (But it’s still good for you)

The point Schwarz makes to his readership is that inflation is their friend and dreaded only by those who are susceptible to capitalist agitprop.  “Don’t panic over milk prices,” he entreats the masses,  “Inflation is bad for the 1 percent but helps out almost everyone else.”  Maybe only one percenters drink milk–we’re not sure. 

Seemingly, the New York Times lacks an economics bullpen of sufficient sophistication and modernity to compose an editorial detailing informed agreement with those cited above, but the Gray Lady gamely dusted off an editorial from 1975 to more or less the same effect and posted it, forgetful perhaps that it was originally intended to quell fears of the phenomenon in the inflationary era of Jimmy Carter.

As if…

Thus, the Times gave pride of place to a 46-year-old article entitled “Inflation–it’s not the real problem,” by Andrew F. Brimmer, evidently without the slightest glimmering of irony. Sadly, Dr. Brimmer went to his reward in 2012, so all inquiries should be forwarded to the NYT Archives division.. 

In summation, it seems a remarkable number of things cause inflation–while much inflation is either hallucinatory, or springs from a bizarre array of novel causes, in many cases actually beneficial to the commonweal. 

Once upon a time, it seemed as though we could, if appropriately tutored, more or less agree on what caused inflation. Put simply, it was too many dollars chasing too few goods and services.

We Conservatives know whom to blame when inflation stalks the tracks of an adversarial administration—obviously, we blame the administration. If its our administration, we blame congress—and if its our congress, we blame a seemingly pathological reluctance to curb spending (our implicit means of blaming the welfare state’s growing resemblance to Leviathan).  And we’re not wrong. Inflation in reality stems from some fairly basic sources and runaway spending is usually contributory.

“…we Conservatives know whom to blame..”

Other Americans just blame a stolid, faceless entity called “prices” at first, some remain so lost in liberalism as to persist in blaming “the price setters,” (think: corporations) but sooner or later, if the pain persists, even the most piteously gob-smacked ninnyhammer will blink, and in a moment of clarity mumble something akin to: “It’s the damned government!” And therein resides President Biden’s difficulty. To most Americans, he is the damned government, and outspokenly proud of it, too.

The takeaway…

And that’s the important news, gentle readers! We would be daft to suppose we could end conjecture regarding the components, let alone the causalities, of inflation right here on our little blog. (And none of us is quite that daft—we checked). No, the main points are these:

Inflation also makes clothing difficult to pay for.

Inflation is growing, no matter why or how.  (Strangely, also, we predicted as much—but that’s not important now). Moreover, it seems Mr. Biden’s guy at the Fed has yet to learn to stop worrying about it. On November 30th, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, (whom President Biden only recently nominated for an additional term), declared the adjective transitory unhelpful, because it [wrongly] implies “short lived.” The chairman said it is time to retire it from the conversation. In other words, inflation is clearly here for a prolonged visit.  If only Chairman Powell knew what a good thing it is, he probably wouldn’t sound so  dour.

You can fool most of the people, or maybe mostly not.

The late, great, Everett Dirksen.

Second, its rapid growth  has invited a cavalcade of alibis from Leftist economists that are, if nothing more durable, at least amusing in the nonce. And third, the old adage attributed—perhaps apocryphally– to the late Senator Everett Dirksen, remains a viable standard for communal awareness; to wit, “a billion here–a billion there–and after a while you’re talking about real money.” People get that.

Americans, in other words, are becoming sensible of the fact that their dollars, hard earned or otherwise, are rapidly shrinking; and they aren’t pleased about the fact, nor are they buying fantasies that only one-percenters are suffering, or that aggregate demand is wonderful because John Maynard Keynes said so back in 1931. What they are buying, they fully realize, costs too much– and is costing more by the day. Consider this, lately from BING News:

                    (READ MORE)

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