Various things & stuff, Episode 2

Godwin's law (race-based edition), gutless GOP, UNC-Duke rivalry

Part of the fabulous ukulele collection of Kent Knorr, owner of the equally fabulous N.C. Ukulele Academy in Wilmington.

WRAL’s own goal

I try to ignore the culture wars as much as possible. Typically, everyone who engages does something stupid. In culture war fights, the culture often loses, too.

My exception will be over the moronic Dennis Draughon cartoon WRAL.com published this week. ICYMI, N.C. education officials are rewriting the state’s K-12 social studies curriculum to make it more “inclusive.” Some of the proposals apparently were informed by the flawed New York Times “1619 Project.” 

As expected, the right was livid. The left was a mix of defensive and brazen. 

Then, there was this cartoon.

Things escalated quickly. Locke commissioned a cartoon in response. 

Tempers flared.

To an outsider (me), it seemed like so much mud-wrestling, though my friend and former Locke colleague Terry Stoops brought some needed nuance to the table.

A divided State Board approved a left-leaning curriculum, with a softer preamble.

Eventually, the curriculum may wind up somewhere in the middle. I hope. But I’m not qualified to suss that out. Honestly, the best way to prevent politicization of K-12 students is to expand school choice. Parents will deal with it. Also, kids tend to be much more capable of spotting B.S. than pundits acknowledge.

WRAL looks foolish. Good. It has become a local, left-wing mirror-image of Fox News Channel. Solid reporters (with exceptions), crackpot opiners (with exceptions). The TV station’s lead editorial writer is Seth Effron, a longtime Democratic operative. He’s infamous in my book because, during a deposition as part of the lawsuit going after Convicted Felon Former Gov. Mike Easley*, Effron said one reason Easley’s office refused to respond to inquiries from Carolina Journal was because “they were not a press organization.” We backed your boss into a corner and he took a felony plea, so there. (Football spiking over.) 

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Look, Draughon’s cartoon was vile. Saying people whose views on race differ than yours are Klan-sympathizers is a variant of Godwin’s Law: As online discussions get longer, someone’s going to drop a Hitler or Nazi reference. Take Godwin’s Law. Sub “racist” and “KKK.”

WRAL is fortunate (as are we all) that the Fairness Doctrine no longer exists. Conservatives could make a strong case that Jim Goodmon’s Capitol Broadcasting should lose its FCC licenses.

Speaking of loons

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy lacked the stones to push his caucus to strip committee assignments from Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. He let the entire House do the dirty work. This set a troubling precedent (which is why some of Greene’s most critical colleagues, including Liz Cheney and Peter Meijer, voted on the floor not to oust her). It also let MTG get away with a non-apology (“I was allowed to believe things that weren’t true, and I would ask questions about them and talk about them, and that is absolutely what I regret,”) and go right back to racking up money by claiming lib-ownership.

Good job, Republicans!

Shameless self-promotion

It’s been a great week for this fledgling operation, especially on the publicity front. The Dispatch published an updated, broader version of my post about COVID emergency declarations and how legislatures are dealing with them. (Yay!) I restarted my regular 7:40 Wednesday morning gig on WPTF News (over-the-air or streaming) with Scott Briggaman, reviewing the latest headlines. The gig will continue, so please listen if you can. (Yay!) My friend Tom Campbell posted my take on COVID-19 progress on the NCSpin website with a welcome plug. (Yay!) I also want to acknowledge and thank Virginia Postrel (again and again) for sharing several posts on her extensive social media networks. They’ve generated some new subscribers. (Yay!)

Substack’s goal is to act as a form of garlic for clickbait. The challenge for us Substackers is building an audience seeking what we offer and supporting it. There’s an inherent tension over promoting newsletters. So anything anyone can do to get these posts in front of the correct eyeballs, and more of them, will get my eternal gratitude (and the promised car wash).

Also, let me know how I’m doing, what you’d rather see, or if you want to let this project evolve organically.

Point of personal privilege

The best rivalry in college sports, full stop, renews Saturday at 6. Carolina and Duke are plenty inconsistent this season. There’s a nontrivial chance both would need to win a couple of rounds of the ACC Tournament (if there is one) to make the Big Dance. Or, either could get smokin’ hot and get to the Sweet 16. 

But I’m enthralled by this story about Chadwick Station, a London-based beach music(!) band whose lead singer became so enamored of this rivalry that he wrote a song about it. It has a timeless rock-and-roll feel. The band released the video a week or so ago. I love the song and its backstory. The highlights in the video are perfect. Enjoy. Go Heels! Beat Dook!

Thanks, and have a great weekend. I appreciate your support and feedback. Tell your friends. Give ‘em a subscription. Spread the word!

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*Stylistic hat tip to Politico’s Jack Shafer. When Shafer edited Washington City Paper in the ‘90s, every mention of D.C.’s mayor referred to him as Mayor-for-Life Marion Barry; until hizzoner made a post-set-me-up comeback. Then he became Mayor-for-Eternity Marion Barry. WCP also called the then-Washington Times owner Convicted Felon Rev. Sun-Myung Moon. Good times.