Life is a Rerun

Network television is in trouble. Relatively few under the age of 80 are watching. NBC may actually give up the entire 10 to 11 PM hour on its primetime schedule. Why? Because much of its audience is already in the land of nod at that time.

But I could save network TV with a first-rate idea: bring back successful shows of the past with modern narratives. Let’s take a look.

Leave It To Beaver.  The Beav is transitioning, and his parents, Ward and June, want him to “find his truth.” His brother Wally concurs as long as Beaver does not leave his room. However, friends Eddie Haskell and Lumpy Rutherford have some problems with this. Ward has to get stern with them.

Sanford and Son.  Lamont wants to put a “Black Lives Matter” sign in the junkyard. But Fred objects, referencing the millions of dollars in real estate BLM executives have purchased with donations. A compromise is reached, and the new sign says: “Black Real Estate Matters.”

Father Knows Best.  Too hot. Will have to be retitled “Father Is A Member of the White Patriarchy.” Bud, Princess, and Kitten inform dad that, should he continue wearing sports jackets with patches on the elbows, they will all get visible tattoos of Satan on their necks.

The Streets of San Francisco.  Michael Douglas and Karl Malden try to engage the homeless in North Beach and have their car stolen.

I Love Lucy.  Mayhem breaks out as Ethel leaves Fred for Rosie O’Donnell. Lucy and Ricky refuse to pass judgment and are advised by guest star Megan Rapinoe.

Gidget.  The classic California girl resumes looking for “her truth” on the beaches of Malibu. There, she becomes friends with Barbra Streisand, and the two sing a new song entitled: “People Who Need Equity Are the Luckiest People In the World.”

The Untouchables.  Elliot Ness and his federal agents can’t believe it when they finally arrest Al Capone, who is then immediately released without bail after extorting the entire Chicago White Sox baseball team. Mayor Lightfoot also scolds Ness because his agents said mean things to Big Al.

Chico and the Man.  Chico moves to Martha’s Vineyard to annoy the citizenry. However, he’s finally accepted when Barack Obama invites him to play pickleball.

And, finally, The Mary Tyler Moore Show.  Lou Grant is also transitioning, and Murray is wising off about it. HR is called, and Murray is suspended. Mary steps in and tries to convince Murray to be inclusive by accepting Lou. But Murray quits, as does the entire newsroom leaving Mary wondering whether she has, indeed, “made it after all.”

So how bout that? Quite a lineup, and it would fuel a big comeback for the networks. It also plays right into their philosophy: “if it ain’t woke, we gotta fix it.”




Yes, a Candidate’s Health Matters

Earlier this week, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette published a piece from their Editorial Board calling on Pennsylvania U.S. Senate candidate John Fetterman to publicly release “the full results of his cognitive tests and other medical records” related to a stroke the Democratic nominee suffered a few months back.

Questions about Fetterman’s fitness to serve have risen to the forefront of his tightening race with Republican opponent, Mehmet Oz. Public appearances from Fetterman has been scarce since his health episode, and though he has ratcheted them up in recent weeks, they’ve been short and his speech patterns have been noticeably off. He’s also, at times, relied on closed captioning to fully comprehend those he speaks with. This, along with the Fetterman campaign’s reluctance to schedule a debate with Mr. Oz, prompted the Gazette’s call.

The concern, according to the piece, is Fetterman’s “ability to communicate and process information.” The editorial board makes it clear that they don’t expect a “perfect performance” from the candidate, being that by all accounts, he’s still recovering. But they believe the state’s voters will “cut him some slack” if he demonstrates some health transparency.

While Oz has been needlessly cruel at times in his remarks on Fetterman’s condition, the newspaper is making an objectively reasonable (and I would say even responsible) request. A stroke is a serious matter, and without an adequate recovery, just how well (if at all) could someone represent their state in Washington?

Sure, there’s an easy joke to be made about the fitness of those currently serving in Washington, but I’m guessing you get my point.

What makes this a very tough call for Democrats, of course, are the political consequences of such transparency. Fetterman has maintained a polling lead against Oz since the primaries ended months ago. And it was a significant lead for most of that time, even in the early days of Fetterman’s recovery. Part of the reason has been the sharp wit of whoever runs Fetterman’s social-media accounts, but more significantly, Oz’s awkwardness and inexperience as a candidate (including seemingly not knowing much about the state he’s vying to represent) has cast him as somewhat of a joke — an out of touch, carpetbagging celebrity. But lately, the polls have tightened, in no smart part because of the mystery surrounding Fetterman’s health.

There’s a growing speculation among political observers that if Fetterman does eke out a victory, he’ll be replaced (for health reasons) with another Democrat by the state’s Democratic governor. In which case, Fetterman will have served as a political placeholder (in a year in which the Senate majority may still be up for grabs), with the decision taken out of the hands of voters.

I don’t think that would be a good thing for democracy, especially if it’s pretty clear right now that Fetterman has a much longer and harder recovery ahead of him than what’s been publicly divulged. If his ability to serve is in serious jeopardy, voters should know that before they head to the polls.

So yeah, release the medical records to Pennsylvanians. The same goes for Oz (as the Gazette suggested as well).

It’s only fair.




Should Society Tell 10-Year-Olds, ‘The World Is a Better Place With You in It’?

A couple of weeks ago, the New York Times published a photo of what I had reason to believe was an elementary school classroom. I couldn’t help but notice a big, colorful sign in the classroom that read, “The World Is A Better Place With You In It.”

Using an example of it being a fifth-grade classroom, I said to my radio audience that I thought the sign foolish, even stupid.

I consider it a part of the narcissism-inducing trend begun in the 1970s with another foolish idea, the “self-esteem movement,” which was started, it will not come as a shock, in California by a state senator who was, it will not come as a shock, a Democrat. I wrote and said at the time that it would lead to awful consequences.

My reasoning was that self-esteem needs to be earned, that it cannot and should not be given. People walking around with unearned high self-esteem are often a danger to society. This was confirmed by one of the most highly regarded criminologists in the country, professor Roy Baumeister, who has written and who told me on my radio show that murderers possess higher self-esteem than almost any other members of society. This makes perfect sense. You have to think you are better than others to take another person’s life.

So, then, what’s wrong with this message to fifth graders? Isn’t it a positive thing for a 10-year-old to be told that the world is a better place just because he or she is in it?

Apparently not. Given how long such messages have been communicated to young Americans, they should be among the happiest young people in American history. Indeed, they should be among the happiest young people compared to young people living in any other country.

We’ve had 50 years of telling young people how terrific, brilliant and special they are, of giving young people trophies even when they or their teams lose, and, more recently, abolishing valedictorians lest any graduating students think poorly of themselves. Yet all of this showering of esteem has been accompanied by the highest depression and suicide rates among young Americans ever recorded.

Equally awful, all this unmerited praise has produced at least two generations of young and now middle-aged Americans who are indeed special — in their narcissism and in their inability to deal with setbacks. If I’m so great — if the world is lucky to have me — why isn’t life rewarding me? Why is life so difficult?

This is the genesis of the “safe spaces” almost every contemporary American campus provides to college students who find having a speaker on campus with whom they differ so traumatic that they retreat to a “safe space.” There they are provided with hot chocolate, Play-Doh and videos of frolicking kittens so that they can soothe their perceived trauma.

Telling every fifth-grader that the world is a better place because he or she is in it feeds this unearned sense of importance. Not to mention that is rarely true. Their family may feel it’s a better place because they were born, and if a parent wishes to communicate that sentiment, that might be a helpful thing to say on occasion.

However, that raises the question of whether it was a bad thing that few parents, let alone schools, prior to the 1970s said that to their young children. In some cases — such as a child who thinks inordinately poorly of himself — it may occasionally do some good. However, given the increasing number of narcissistic and depressed young Americans over the last half-century, it certainly hasn’t been a good thing for society to constantly communicate such messages.

Allow me to contrast that poster in the elementary school classroom with posters I recall hanging on the walls of my elementary school, a religious Jewish school known as a yeshiva.

“Love your neighbor as yourself.”

“Watch your tongue” (gossip is a big no-no in Judaism).

“Who is strong? The one who conquers his urges.”

In other words, traditional religious education revolved around making children better people — precisely so that one day the world will be a better place for our having been in it.

Even traditional American public schools — up until the mid-20th century — emphasized self-control, not self-esteem. And Christian schools always emphasized humility — virtually the opposite of unearned self-esteem.

My criticism of the “The World Is A Better Place With You In It” poster in elementary schools went viral after a left-wing website tweeted a small portion of my talk show’s video. At one point last week, it was actually the highest trending tweet on Twitter.

As in every instance of my being attacked on left-wing sites, either a small, out-of-context portion of what I said was quoted or a headline simply lied about what I said. An example of both was this headline on the left-wing site AlterNet: “‘What a stupid message’: Dennis Prager blasted for suggesting that children are pointless.”

One of the hosts of the left-wing podcast, “The Young Turks,” actually said that my father obviously didn’t love me because I said it was inconceivable that he would have told me when I was in fifth grade that the world is a better place because I was in it.

My view is that my father and his father and his father and his father going back to the beginning of recorded history probably never said that to their 10-year-old children precisely because they loved them enough to want to make them mature adults and not remain children seeking constant — and exaggerated — affirmation.

We call the World War II generation “the greatest generation.” How many members of that generation do you think were told when they were in fifth grade that the world was a better place because they were in it?

I suspect close to none. Their parents and their schools emphasized self-control, not self-esteem.

Which is a major reason they did make the world a better place.

Dennis Prager is a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host and columnist. His commentary on Deuteronomy, the third volume of The Rational Bible, his five-volume commentary on the first five books of the Bible, will be published in October. His latest books, published by Regnery. He is the co-founder of Prager University and may be contacted at dennisprager.com.

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Last Updated: Monday, Sep 19, 2022 18:28:10 -0700




Crime, No Punishment

It has all become very dark for the designer sunglasses guy. Joe Biden cannot, as the biblical creator did, command “let there be light.” No, Joe is governing in darkness.

The hits to the American people are certified: inflation, open border, record high narcotics on the streets, collapsing airline industry, declining test scores for students, woke, racial tension, breakdown of civility, and due process.

“We the people” are getting battered.

Especially the urban poor.

FBI stats say violent crime is accelerating at a record pace. New Orleans is one of the most violent cities in the world. Every weekend thousands of Americans are shot nationwide. Many of these crimes are so-called “mass shootings” where more than five individuals take a bullet. Most of the victims are African-American, but the press says little. Why? Because most of the perpetrators are young black males, which is now a protected class in the American media.

In Chicago, which has record violence, the Bears football team is moving to the suburbs, and the McDonald’s corporation may leave as well. Other businesses have already departed. But many of the poor cannot afford to do that.

President Biden has not addressed this brutal reality in any meaningful way. He does not have a solution to inner city violence and knows most chaotic towns are run by Democrats. So, exactly like the border, Biden sees no evil. He lives in luxury. He doesn’t have to cower in fear as drug gangs run wild. He doesn’t care.

Think about it. The President of the United States has done absolutely nothing about violent crime. No meetings with local police and prosecutors. No strategy from the Justice Department. Few public statements.

The Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund reports at least 75 progressive prosecutors are currently in office, all of them backed by George Soros, who has donated more than $40 million to elect “anti-incarceration” administrators.

Soros believes the U.S. justice system is racist and that minority criminals should not be held to account because of historical injustice. So, he funds the campaigns of people who see the world as he does.

Meanwhile, powerless Americans are being brutalized by violent thugs who avoid prosecution to the fullest extent of the law. Ironically, the cities that refuse to hold criminals responsible are absolutely practicing racism against the hundreds of thousands of minority victims.

Joe Biden could not possibly understand that in his diminished state. But even if I sat with him in front of a giant blackboard filled with stats and talked very slowly, he would not react.

That’s because Mr. Biden could not care less. He lives in a dark, protected world where problems, even life/death ones, are to be avoided. His eyes are shielded by designer lenses, his sensibilities limited to his own immediate needs.

This is the state of the most powerful man in the world. It is pitiful.

But the real pity should be directed toward the poor who are truly defenseless. Before the month of September is out, there will be hundreds more harmed.




Oops on That Whole “Stolen Election” Thing


Last month, I wrote about what I called an “unholy alliance” between MAGA Republicans and Democratic groups like the DCCC to produce some pretty terrible GOP midterm nominees. These groups may not see eye-to-eye politically or ideologically, but their efforts are nonetheless quite compatible.

The principles and policy positions that used to unite a lot of Republicans don’t really exist (or at least matter) anymore — not in any meaningful way. Instead, much of today’s base rallies around a single issue: loyalty to Donald Trump and compliance with his “stolen election” lies.

In fact, with a relative handful of exceptions, this is now a requirement for political advancement in today’s GOP. What’s not widely considered among a lot of Republican primary voters, however, is just how far a candidate can realistically advance with such a platform.

The DCCC, on the other hand, sees a bigger picture. That’s why the group has spent millions of dollars promoting a number of these otherwise cash-strapped stop-the-steal MAGA candidates. Their belief is that if such individuals win their Republican primaries (and a number of them have), they’ll be much easier for Democratic candidates to defeat in November’s general election.

Their reasoning is simple: general-election voters by and large reject the “stolen election” lunacy, and will likely do so with their votes… even in an election year when the opposition-party in power is presiding over high inflation and numerous policy failures.

Is the strategy risky? Absolutely, especially if Democrats believe, as they say, that election-denying candidates pose a unique and serious threat to U.S. democracy. Either way, it’s a risk they’ve chosen to take.

This begs a question: can a “stop the steal” Republican, outside of a deep-red constituency, ingratiate oneself enough to general-election voters to actually win in November? While there’s a longstanding political strategy of candidates moderating their campaigns and platforms after securing their party’s nomination, election-denial would seem to be a tough position to come back from.

But this week, one hardcore MAGA Republican — a U.S. Senate candidate no less — demonstrated that he’s going to give it his best shot.

A month ago at a GOP primary debate in New Hampshire, Retired U.S. Army Gen. Don Bolduc — a longtime election-denier (and recipient of lots of financial help from Chuck Schumer’s Senate Majority PAC)doubled down on his MAGA bonafides.

“I signed a letter with 120 other generals and admirals saying that Trump won the election and damn it I stand by [it],” he righteously said to cheers from the debate audience.

Last Thursday, however, a mere two days after he narrowly won the Republican nomination, Bolduc went on Fox News to declare that he was waaaay wrong about that whole “stolen election” thing.

“We live and learn, right?” he told host Dana Perino. “And I’ve done a lot of research on this and I’ve spent the past couple of weeks talking to Granite Staters all over the state from every party and I have come to the conclusion, and I want to be definitive on this: The election was not stolen.” He added, “Unfortunately, President Biden is the legitimate president of this country…”

Live and learn, right? No harm, no foul?

One has to wonder how Bolduc’s primary opponent, Chuck Morse, felt about that complete and total reversal…. especially considering that Morse’s acknowledgment of Biden’s legitimacy (aka the truth) may well be what cost him the nomination.

Sadly, this debacle is just another example of how utterly embarrassing our politics have become.

There obviously wasn’t any breaking news over the last 30 days that added new clarity to the outcome of the 2020 election. Anyone who cares about the truth, and has paid attention to the facts, has understood for almost two years that Biden won. Yet, Bolduc claims to now be enlightened, having “done a lot of research” and talked to constituents for a couple of weeks, and ultimately ended up with the same election views as Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger.

Do you buy that intellectual journey? Does anyone buy that intellectual journey?

It would be great to be able to give someone who served our military as admirably as Bolduc did the benefit of the doubt, but this is so off-the-wall ridiculous that it’s just about impossible to.

Even if one were to take Bolduc at his word, his explanation in itself would seem disqualifying. He’s effectively arguing that for almost two years, he falsely declared (in no uncertain terms) that a U.S. election had been stolen, and that our nation’s very democracy had been overturned. And he’d held and touted that position (again, this is according to Bolduc) because he hadn’t bothered to research during that time what actually happened.

If that were true, how could such horrific judgement be trusted for such an important office as the U.S. Senate?

And speaking of poor judgement…

Tweet from April 14, 2021

Wow. But let’s stay on the election stuff…

I do actually believe Bolduc when he says that recently talking to people helped change his tune. Only, I don’t think those people were New Hampshire constituents. I think they were political advisors who remember that Donald Trump lost by seven points in Bolduc’s state two years ago — political advisors who understand what Mitch McConnell did several months ago, when the Senate Minority Leader emphasized the importance of strong general-election candidates.

Unconditional loyalty and devotion to a politician who handed his party its worst political losses in 70 years may work for an easy general-election win in a place like Wyoming (that hasn’t sent a Democrat to Washington since the 1970s), but swing states like New Hampshire are a different story.

Too few in the party listened to people like McConnell back then, and now the GOP is scrambling, in what was once thought to be a red-tsunami year, to try and compete in races previously thought quite winnable for Republicans.

That’s clearly what’s behind Bolduc’s shameless about-face. Desperation is a hell of a motivator.

At this point, I’m not sure it even matters what the man really thinks about the 2020 election. It could well be that, like nearly every GOP leader (and right-wing pundit) who’s paid lip service to the “stolen election” stuff, he never believed it in the first place. What does matter is that Bolduc has proven himself a say-anything political fraud and political coward… which sadly means he fits right in with today’s politics.

 


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