Tag: New York Times

Group seeks to make ‘air guitar’ less white and less male

A group of men in Toledo, Ohio is doing their part to make one of their favorite activities a little more inclusive.  The group was inspired to take action after reading stories in the Washington Post and the New York Times about Apollo 11 era NASA’s almost entirely white, male culture.   

“For pretty darn near going on forty years, me and my buddies have been getting together, drinking a few beers, listening to records, and when the mood strikes us, playing a little air guitar,” says Dennis Johnston.  “Well, after reading a few newspaper articles, penned by some very insightful journalists, it began to occur to me that maybe I’d been wielding my air guitar as a tool of oppression.”  

Unable to shake off the wise words of those east coast journalists, Johnston describes an evening  when he tried tuning out of the key of privilege, and into the key of inclusivity.  

“One night I’m just sitting there watching my buddy, Darryl, lose himself in a Free Bird guitar solo.  Now, Darryl’s no slouch on air guitar, and I must have watched him play Free Bird a hundred times, but I got to thinking, I wonder how a female would interpret this solo?  Would she make the same red, sweaty facial expressions? Would she deploy the same clumsy gyrations and body contortions? Would she flick her tongue around in the same disgusting manner as Darryl?  Almost certainly not, I thought. Might she instead soar gracefully to the music, ride the bird’s wings, and paint a different picture with her air guitar?”

After that experience, Johnston set about trying to attract more women and non-whites to join their group of invisible axe wielders.  They set up a Facebook page and held open auditions, but their invitations seemed to attract only more older white dudes.   

“Sadly, it turns out women and people of color aren’t very interested in air guitar,” says Johnston.  “I had thought my implicit bias was discouraging others not like me from participating in our group. However, now I’ve got it on pretty good authority that some folks think air guitar looks kind of ridiculous.  Oh well, we’re still free as a bird, and this bird you cannot change.”

New York Times reporter fact-checks milkshakes

In an extraordinary feat of journalism, New York Times reporter, Mike Baker, fact-checked the origins of each and every milkshake thrown at an anti-fascist rally held in Portland over the weekend.  Thought to be the first of its kind reporting, the scrappy journalist verified the ingredients and provenance of the numerous creamy milkshakes flying around Saturday’s event. 

The revelation that may end up winning the ground-breaking reporter a Pulitzer, though, is the news that all of the milkshakes hurled at a journalist covering the event were vegan in origin.  “I thought it was important that we get that information out there as soon as possible,” says Baker. “I didn’t know if the attacked journalist was vegan or not, but I thought it would be important to let him know that the milkshakes that drenched him did not contain animal products.  I felt perhaps that might take some of the sting out of the pummeling he took.”

What makes Baker’s work even more extraordinary is that he’s changing the way we talk about ‘milkshaking’.  “Early on, my editor and I made a decision not to use ‘milkshake’ as a verb. I am fully aware of the tradition and the higher standard we have to uphold here at The New York Times.  That is why instead of using ‘milkshake’ as a verb, which is still relatively new and untested, we decided to go with ‘slimed’. ‘Slimed’ has a bit more history and seemed a more appropriate choice for the pages of The Times,” says Baker.          

Mike’s editor maintains the pair don’t deserve any special credit for their work.  “It’s just good old-fashioned reporting,” says Mike’s editor. “It’s making phone calls, running down leads, and developing sources.  I mean, at the end of the day, we fact-checked the shit out of those milkshakes.”

New York Times runs Antifa PR piece

In case anyone has been operating under the misconception that a journalist was violently assaulted by Antifa protesters in Portland on Saturday, the New York Times’ Mike Baker is here to set the record straight.  Or, rather, he’s here to fill your head with enough extraneous nonsense to give those in denial about left-wing extremism and violence any number of paths to continue believing there is no problem here. His piece in Monday’s edition, “In Portland, a Punch and a Milkshake Rumor Feed a Fresh Round of Police Criticism,” reads like a release from Antifa’s public relations department.  In it he essentially asserts that the journalist assaulted basically had it coming, that the incident is only of interest to conservative politicians and media outlets, that the Portland Police are in cahoots with right-wing groups, and left-wing protesters were really only interested in having a milkshake dance party.

What are we to make of protesters who show up for a demonstration clad in makeshift riot gear?  That these are individuals who were just sitting at home one Saturday and decided to head downtown to protest the fascists.  They’re not an organized group itching for a fight or anything. Everybody has black helmets and body armor hanging in their closet.  Give credit to the NYT for running the photo of the anti-fascist fascists, but their caption reads “Multiple groups demonstrated in downtown Portland, Ore., on Saturday.”  Not only does the NYT not identify these demonstrators as Antifa, but not once does Baker mention the group’s name in the entire piece. The only time they are identified is in a quote of Andy Ngo’s attorney. 

Baker does concede that Ngo was struck by a black-clad activist, going beyond what a lot of mainstream outlets reported.  Many MSM reports preferred to let it seem like the journalist was just heavily milkshaked. Amazing that the word “milkshake” is now a verb and accepted by many on the mainstream left as a perfectly acceptable thing to do to someone.  Baker, however, avoids using “milkshake” as a verb in his article and instead writes that Ngo was “slimed” with “vegan coconut milkshakes”. Very considerate of him to point out that the milkshakes were vegan, in case Ngo happens to be vegan himself.  It takes a little bit of the sting out of being milkshaked when you know that the projectile doesn’t contain any animal products. Although, one wonders how Baker knew that the specific milkshakes that struck Ngo were vegan coconut. Did the New York Times thoroughly fact check all those milkshakes?

Baker does seem pretty confident, however, in claiming that the milkshakes did not contain quick drying concrete.  He describes as “questionable” the Portland Police warning that the milkshakes contained cement, and that this claim fueled “conservative alarm” and “dramatically fueled the furor”.  Nothing to see here folks, Baker seems to be reassuring NYT readers. This is just a bunch of conservatives getting their panties all in a bunch.  

Baker goes on to question Ngo’s work as a journalist, dropping hints that he and the publications he works for produce racist content.  Also, he spends a couple paragraphs making the case that the Portland Police have a history of colluding with right-wing extremists. At this point, if I’m a leftist frequent reader of the New York Times even the slightest bit concerned about groups and elements at the extreme of my political ideology, I’m beginning to drift back into my comfort zone.  I’m thinking, okay, this is all a manufactured crisis and Ngo is just getting what’s coming to him. After all, as Baker writes, “He (Ngo) has a history of battling with anti-fascist groups” and “has built a prominent presence in part by going into situations where there may be conflict and then publicizing the results.”  

Okay, so he’s not really a journalist, he’s a right wing provocateur.  Well, that explains it. Because that’s what they said about Jamal Kashoggi, right?  He had a history of battling with the Saudi Royal family. And that’s what they say about correspondents in conflict zones.  They’re just publicity hounds, right?

After trashing a journalist and totally discrediting the police, Mr. Baker would like Times readers to know that anti-fascist activists are just a bunch of fun-loving, peaceful party people who want to drink milkshakes and dance.  While reserving a healthy amount of skepticism for the police account of the incident, Baker seems to accept on faith information gathered from the Rose City Antifa affiliated group, PopMob.  According to one member of the group, they were simply “having an entertaining counterprotest building off Pride month.”  And those milkshakes: “they were vegan milkshakes made not of cement, but of coconut ice cream, cashew milk and some sprinkles.”  A credulous Baker barely even addresses the glaring reality that milkshakes are currently the preferred method of humiliating conservatives and right-wingers. They were clearly dispensed with the intent of hurling them at their opponents, including Mr. Ngo who was targeted with a barrage of them.

It is one thing to write a piece that avoids leaping to conclusions and reporting unverified facts.  It is quite another to omit facts, engage in irrelevant personal and professional attacks, and deliberately mislead.  Is Baker really so beholden to ideology and obligated to protect the left and readers of the NYT that it extends all the way to doing public relations for a group of violent thugs?  Perhaps, or maybe he just wants to stay on Antifa’s good side. Hmm, wonder why?

Night of the Living Algorithm

Every time the story is told it becomes more chilling than the last.  Caleb Cain – West Virginia resident, college dropout, YouTube enthusiast – stalked by an algorithm bent on radicalizing the unsuspecting young lad into a world of rightwing extremism.  Thankfully for Caleb Cain, and the entire universe for that matter, the New York Times swooped in and rescued the impressionable young man from his YouTube nightmare, exposing the dastardly algorithm before it could do further harm. 

Fresh off his hellish ordeal, Caleb Cain is calling upon legions of YouTubers to take up arms against the wicked algorithm and prevent this fiend of hell from spreading it’s darkness across the land.  Appearing on Majority Report, hosted by YouTube celebrity and slayer of strawmen Sam Seder, Caleb urged lefty YouTubers to start injecting themselves into the algorithm as a means of defeating it. As horrifying as the image of confronting the demon may be, this act of purification may be the only means of preventing it from claiming more victims.

To get a rough idea of how many Caleb Cain’s there might be out there operating under the spell of this Svengali-esque algorithm, we need look no further than the 2016 presidential election results.  Donald Trump won 68.5 percent of the popular vote in West Virginia, Caleb Cain’s home state. That translates into nearly 490,000 other Caleb Cain’s succumbing to the manipulation of this diabolical algorithm in the Mountaineer State alone.

Host of the popular podcast Savage Love, Dan Savage perhaps best described the sinister power the YouTube algorithm possesses on Friday’s Real Time with Bill Maher.  Citing the New York Times “great cover story,” Savage fearlessly called out the algorithm for force feeding unsuspecting white kids in their basements “a steady diet of more and more extreme videos.”  In truly terrifying fashion, the YouTube algorithm exploits the consumer’s weaknesses, forcing their hand to click on extreme content all while disabling critical faculties that might lead the viewer to turn away.

One can only imagine the debilitating PTSD Caleb Cain must have fought through during an appearance on CNN’s New Day with Alisyn Camerota.  With inspiring bravery, Caleb announced that what we’re really dealing with here is a crisis of public health. Mental health intervention and professional assistance is required to exorcise the algorithm’s powerful grip on the mind and soul of its victims.  Despite the real threat of reprisal, Caleb fearlessly promoted his organization on national television to assist those in the throes of rightwing radicalization.     

When one thinks of the countless YouTube viewers selling their souls to the algorithm, the number is truly terrifying, and has the potential to make the satanic scare of the 1980’s look like child’s play.  But despite the algorithm’s possession of Caleb Cain, forcing him time and again to click on increasingly extreme content, Caleb somehow managed to survive his ordeal and inexplicably emerged as both a consumer and producer of left leaning YouTube content.  It is no wonder the New York Times chose to highlight Caleb’s truly inspiring story of grace and redemption on the front page of its Sunday edition. Finally exorcised of the demon algorithm, Caleb Cain begins the life-long process of witnessing to the non-believers and the willfully naive.  The soul of a nation is at stake.

Media releases News Pyramid guidelines, recommends five full servings of bullshit per day

Mainstream media outlets today released their 2019 News Pyramid guidelines for recommended daily allowances of news consumption, and there seems to be agreement among experts on one thing – Americans need more bullshit in their news diet.

“Most mainstream news organizations are recommending Americans get at least five full servings of bullshit per day,” says guidelines contributor Brian Stelter, host of CNN’s Reliable Sources.  

While the guidelines don’t specify between print, television, or social media content, most experts agree cable news is an excellent source of the kind of fact-free, speculative nonsense of which most Americans could benefit.  A healthy diet of bullshit journalism has the additional benefit of providing confirmation of the consumer’s beliefs and ideology, while at the same time pointing out that everyone who doesn’t hold the same views is evil and wrong.

The next level on the News Pyramid calls for four daily servings of partisan propaganda. While most Americans try to avoid eating their propaganda, the report notes the necessity of its daily consumption for the functioning of a healthy democracy.  “Don’t worry if you’re left or right, Republican or Democrat,” the guidelines state, “there’s a news organization out there ready to satisfy your partisan hunger.”

In what signals a change from recent years, the new News Pyramid guidelines raise the recommended daily allowance of conspiracy content from two to three servings per day. Experts warn, however, consumers of news should only get their conspiracy from authoritative sources. Rachel Maddow, Vox, and the New York Times are all considered excellent sources of conspiracy content and should be chosen over the empty, non-authoritative conspiracy musings of YouTube.

“Two ‘hit pieces’ per day are essential to a healthy news diet,” according to the new guidelines.  Some journalists take great pleasure in writing ‘hit pieces’ because they recall an adolescent superficiality and pettiness, so consumers should indulge the writer’s childish impulses by reading them.  Although they can be found at almost every news source, the New Yorker and Vox are exceptionally proficient at this brand of juvenile journalism.

Finally, the news consumer should make sure to save room for at least one serving of Jim Acosta per day.  The new guidelines cite Acosta as that rare guilty pleasure that almost as often becomes the news as reports it.  If news dieters follow these simple recommendations, they can become almost as confused and clueless as some of the journalists who report it.

The grooming of a New York Times radical

On the surface, rural West Virginia seems like an odd place to find a young male conservative.  After all, only 68.7% of residents of the Mountain State went for Donald Trump in the 2016 election.  By contrast, a robust 26.5% of voters went for Hillary Clinton. Apparently the allure of Clinton’s promise to put a lot of coal miners out of a job wasn’t strong enough to pull an impressionable young man, recently dropped out of college, into her sphere of support.  

So perhaps in some strange universe, it makes sense that the young man, let’s call him Caleb, would find himself on right-wing YouTube viewing clips by conservative comedian Steven Crowder and right-wing Canadian activist Lauren Southern.  As crazy as it sounds, the work of Rachel Maddow or Lawrence O’Donnell somehow failed to prevent this coal country Peter Cottontail from hopping down a right-wing bunny hole. But for how long?

Initially, Caleb resisted the pull of the left by immersing himself in the work of YouTube personalities like Stefan Molyneux, a Canadian talk show host, and Paul Joseph Watson, a right-wing conspiracy theorist.  For a time, their message seemed to be a natural fit for the disillusioned young man. But then along came a new spider, emerging from a group that called itself the Intellectual Dark Web. “I started watching Joe Rogan,” says Caleb, “these IDW cats had me all mixed up.  They were academics, journalists, scientists, philosophers, psychologists and business leaders. Some were on the right, some were on the left, and some crazy motherfuckers said they were non-ideological. Yeah right, I thought.”

Although Caleb didn’t know it at the time, it was this group of sinister minds that would serve as a catalyst for introducing the young man to a world of left-wing intersectional politics.  A cursory glance at Caleb’s YouTube viewing habits over three years clearly shows an initial strong preference for conservative content, followed by a modest sampling of IDW videos, finally shifting into more left-wing identitarian content.  Like boiling a lobster, YouTube had by degrees fully indoctrinated the mild-mannered mountaineer into a rabid progressive, gradually immersing Caleb in a left-wing Marxist maelstrom from which he would never emerge.

By June of 2019 the transformation was nearly complete.  Sensing an opportunity to lock down a convert to their side, the New York Times soon came a calling.  “After the NYT interview, I was fully on board with the far-left agenda,” says Caleb. “You could say I got gray pilled by the Gray Lady herself.  I mean, Charles Blow was blowing my mind. Then I learned from Rachel Maddow and others the truth of how Trump had conspired with the Russians to swing the election in his favor.  Also, I had no idea that Stacey Abrams was the actual Governor of Georgia because her election had been rigged. I never realized the left had its own menu of conspiracies. I had been asleep for so long, but now I was woke.”

Regrets, Caleb has a few, but overall he’s grateful that a group of elite journalists from New York City took pity on a poor old country boy and rescued him from his right-wing YouTube addiction.  “Now all they have to do is radicalize another 150,000 just like me.”

Increasing numbers of Americans discovering the health benefits of Rage Tweeting

The fury was palpable.  Veins seemed to bulge and sweat seemed to drip from the text. Such was the condition of a number of tweets President Trump dashed off a few mornings ago, attacking Democrats, CNN, Morning Joe, and the New York Times.  Many describe the president as “unhinged”. Of course, many of those same people describe folks who get up at the crack of dawn to jog, swim, or work out at the gym also as crazy.  But when the president receives perfect physical evaluations year after year, one starts to wonder if those morning tweetstorms are more than just the ravings of a madman. Perhaps they partially account for what his personal physician describes as Trump’s “extraordinary” physical strength and stamina, making him “the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.”

Does Rage Tweeting have the potential to become the next Jane Fonda Workout, Sweatin’ to the Oldies, or Hip Hop Abs?  The science is still unsettled, but one thing is clear, increasing numbers of Americans are turning to Rage Tweeting to shed those unwanted pounds and boost their energy and focus.

“I find Rage Tweeting works really well for me.  It gives me a jumpstart to my day. It gets my heart rate elevated and my blood flowing better than just about anything else I’ve tried,” says Tonia Glavin, professor at NYU.  “Additionally, I like to supplement it with some microdosing, which I find really sharpens my outrage and helps me connect with my students.”

It’s not uncommon for Rage Tweeters to discover untapped stores of energy and hostility. Many require less sleep and some even report a loss of appetite, which in turn can lead to weight reduction.  While results may vary, almost all Rage Tweeters agree the practice has transformed their lives.

“Rage Tweeting has helped me make better lifestyle choices.  I’m no longer interacting with those enablers who held me captive to my former rage-free lifestyle.  Now, I’m part of a new community that’s a lot less tolerant of my shortcomings and bad habits. By shaming me to do better and be better, it’s improved my life, I think,” says writer and activist Daniel Assman.

Of course, there will always be detractors, naysayers and wet blankets.  “Rage Tweeting provides no beneficial health benefits that I can see,” says Dr. Bruce Banner, researcher at the University of Michigan.  

But the science is still out on that, right doc?  “No, the science is pretty clear. Rage Tweeting can actually be quite harmful.  It causes unnecessary stress and anxiety, and can eventually lead to feelings of loneliness, isolation and extreme paranoia.  In severe cases, some Rage Tweeters seem to experience a psychotic break from reality.”

So it seems the science still has a long way to go before the benefits of Rage Tweeting can be fully understood.  Until then, keep ragin’ full-on.