THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2022
This launched a thousand scripts: Several weeks ago, in reaction to a comment to a certain blog post delivered by a history teacher, we rented the famous film Casablanca and watched it several times.
According to an array of scholars, Casablanca is the greatest known study of our human nature. Its anthropological nugget goes like this:
We humans prefer to gamble and play. But if you push us far enough, we will fight back in the end.
Casablanca is always at least very good. This time around, we were struck by a line we'd previously always brushed past.
The line is spoken by Annina Brandel, the young, newly married Bulgarian woman who is trying, with her naive young husband, to reach the United States.
At one point, she asks Humphrey Bogart for help. Why are she and her husband trying to get to America? This is what she says:
We come from Bulgaria. Things are very bad there, M'sieu. A devil has the people by the throat.
"A devil has the people by the throat." For whatever reason, that line jumped out this time.
Not far from Bulgaria, a modern-day army is now getting the people by the throat. Within our own tribe's round-the-clock news feeds, this topic has temporarily replaced our steady diet of Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Giuliani.
This new topic will overshadow the latest way our preferred product line seems to have failed. (More on that latest failure to come.) It has also replaced our steady diet of "the journalism of race."
This article in the Washington Post reminds us of one of the most striking flaws in the way our tribe has been conducting this journalism. Involved is a widespread type of selective reporting. (More on that article to come.)
That article points to an embarrassing flaw in the way we've conducted our journalism of race. But for today, let's return to what Michele Tafoya said last November 2—to what she said about her children's schools during a guest appearance on The View.
Tafoya lodged a specific complaint about her children's schools. We don't know how valid her complaint may be. As a matter of fact, we don't know if her complaint is valid at all.
Below, we'll explain why we know so little about her complaint. But since we're discussing the newly-invented journalism of race, let's throw in a bit more background about who Tafoya and her children are, demographics-wise.
That background goes like this:
Tafoya's father, the late Orlando Antonio Tafoya, was "a first-generation Latino" who grew up in New Mexico. Her mother, the late Wilma Conley, "grew up poor, dirt poor, during the Depression" and seems to have been plain old "white."
(We're quoting Tafoya from a recent appearance on The Dan Patrick Show.)
Her parents met in a calculus class as Berkeley undergraduates. They raised four children in SoCal.
One daughter became an Obama official. Another daughter became a sideline reporter for NBC Sports who defines herself as a pro-choice conservative with libertarian leanings.
The sports reporter appeared on The View last November 2. Again, we'll show you what she said about her children's schools, but first we'll tell you this:
Tafoya's husband, Mark Vandersall, seems to be plain old Minnesota white. On that basis, we'll assume that their 16-year-old son will be classified that way too.
Their 13-year-old daughter was adopted from Colombia. According to Tafoya, her employer at the time "allowed me to take two months to live in Bogota while we adopted our daughter. That was a phenomenal experience."
We've now had naming of parts! This will let us apply Preferred Storyline in the most effective way possible. (We speak in these unpleasant ways because, in our estimation, vast amounts of our newly-invented journalism of race are almost completely performative.)
Having accomplished our naming of parts, we're prepared to show you, once again, what Tafoya said on November 2. First though, a spoiler alert:
Tafoya's comments about "affinity groups" triggered a wave of lectures about a different topic. Once again, here's what Tafoya said:
TAFOYA (11/2/22): My kids in school—there is a big, big focus on the color of your skin.
INTERJECTION: How old are your children?
TAFOYA: My children are now 16 and 13—
INTERJECTION: In what way?
TAFOYA: It's been going on since they were in lower school, all right? And it is that there are affinity groups on campus for each—
My son's first best friend was a little African-American boy. They were inseparable. Get to a certain age, they start having what's called an "affinity group," which means you go for lunch and pizza with people who look like you. Suddenly, my son wasn't hanging out with him any more.
His next best friend was a little Korean boy. Years, inseparable. He started going to his affinity groups.
Why are we even teaching that the color of the skin matters? Because to me, what matters is your character and your values.
That's what Tafoya said. As we've noted previously, we're guessing that her kids attend the Edina, Minnesota Public Schools, which instituted a social justice program, "All for All," back in 2013.
Question: Is something wrong with the affinity groups Tafoya mentioned that day? Are they driving wedges between groups of kids? Are they teaching kids "that the color of their skin matters" in some inappropriate way?
In part because of what happened after Tafoya spoke, we have no idea! But before we extend our account of what happened next, we'll deliver this political warning:
Warning! We'll guess that, if the topic was polled, a large majority of American adults would agree with the idea that "what matters is your character and your values." We'll guess that would include a large majority of American adults who hail from various "races."
"What matters is your character and your values?" That's a highly imprecise statement, but it's also modern American scripture. And uh-oh:
When we progressives get a snootful and start seeming to trample on that dogma, we may sometimes tend to trigger backlashes at the polls, even in San Francisco!
Tafoya voiced a negative view about those "affinity groups." But how exactly do those groups work? What are children in her kids' schools invited or directed to do?
We have no idea! In part, we have no idea because of the way The View's four regular panelists reacted to what Tafoya said.
Long story short:
Tafoya complained about one type of behavior. The four regular panelists from "ABC News" launched a series of filibusters about a different topic—about a topic concerning which they knew the preconceived scripts.
Briefly, a confession! We were surprised to see that The View is listed as part of ABC News.
We would have assumed that it was part of the entertainment division. According to the leading authority on the topic, the chronology goes like this:
Beginning in its tenth season [in 2007], the series became subject to on-air controversies and media criticism involving its panel of co-hosts. It was transferred from the helm of ABC's entertainment division to that of ABC News in 2014 following a decline in ratings. By 2021, The View had become the most-viewed news and talk program in daytime television.
The View got re-branded as a "news" show in 2014. That said, the program rather plainly exists to create a series of defiantly stupid pseudo-discussions, resulting in the "on-air controversies" which help keep it number one.
So it went on November 2 after Tafoya lodged her complaint. Tafoya complained about one thing. Her officious, rude, unintelligent hosts took turns sounding off about something different and dumber.
On Monday, we stated a basic principle about the newly-invented journalism of trace:
The great thing about the journalism of race is that we in our failing tribe always get to be right.
So it was when Tafoya spoke about something that's done in her children's schools. She stated her view back in November and then again, just last week, on Tucker Carlson Tonight.
In each case, tribunes of our embarrassing tribe landed on her like a ton of bricks. She had offered a specific complaint. Again and again, our tribunes' self-assured scripts concerned something totally different.
Warning! The Others are able to see us when we perform in these ways. It's one of the ways we lose elections, and with those elections the world.
A devil has the people by the throat? So perhaps do our failing tribe's corporate "news" divisions!
Meanwhile, is something wrong with those affinity groups? Like everyone else who was watching that show, we have no idea!
We don't even know where her kids go to school! The fact is, nobody cares!
Tomorrow: Various lectures and putdowns