Who watched the Dave Chappelle special on Netflix?

I didn’t know who Dave Chappelle was, but the protests against his latest show made me curious. See “Netflix Loses Its Glow as Critics Target Chappelle Special” (NYT), for example:

Internally, the tech company that revolutionized Hollywood is now in an uproar as employees challenge the executives responsible for its success and accuse the streaming service of facilitating the spread of hate speech and perhaps inciting violence. At the center of the unrest is “The Closer,” the much-anticipated special from the Emmy-winning comedian Dave Chappelle, which debuted on Oct. 5 and was the fourth-most-watched program on Netflix in the United States on Thursday. In the show, Mr. Chappelle comments mockingly on transgender people and aligns himself with the author J.K. Rowling as “Team TERF,” an acronym for trans-exclusionary radical feminist, a term used for a group of people who argue that a transgender woman’s biological sex determines her gender and can’t be changed.

Complaints like the above made me violate my rule of watching only content targeted at 6-year-olds.

I’m not sure that Chappelle is specifically anti-2SLGBTQQIA+. Much of what he said seemed to fall under the general category of mocking white people who don the victim mantle and demand favorable treatment, e.g., being hired for a job. Chappelle doesn’t say whether or not he believes that Americans should be sorted by victimhood, e.g., in university admissions and hiring, but if Americans are going to be sorted by victimhood he doesn’t think that a white woman is more entitled than a Black man nor that a white person who spends his/her/zir/their evenings having 2SLGBTQQIA+ sex is entitled to special treatment when applying for jobs during the daylight hours.

I wonder if part of the reason that white saviors are upset by this show is that Chappelle explicitly pushes back on the value of white saviors. He quotes a Black woman writer friend who, asked whether she was going to knit a pink pussyhat and join the Women’s March of 2017, responded “I hope those white bitches get teargassed.”

Trigger warning: He uses the N-word a lot.

Loosely related… “This Is What Will Make Sex Work in New York Safer” (NYT, 10/17):

When I took my first client as a sex worker in the 1980s, I had no other choice. It was right after the fall of the dictatorship in Argentina. As a young trans woman, I found that sex work was the only way for me to survive, but I faced constant harassment and violence, especially from la policía. So, I left my home to come to the United States, thinking things would be different.

But when I got here, I had no more luck. On top of being trans, now I also struggled with being undocumented and learning English. Once again, I turned to sex work to stay afloat.

Chappelle might point out that an article like this, on the victimhood of a white 2SLGBTQQIA+ migrant sex worker, takes up space and attention that, if one were going to dwell on victimhood, would properly belong to Black Americans. But he wouldn’t say it that way. He would instead mock the interest that white say-gooding Americans have in this kind of story.

Readers: Did you see this show? What did you think of Mr. Chappelle?

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Non-profit logic: higher prices make the museum more accessible

From the Boston Museum of Fine Arts:

(“We’re raising our membership prices on July 1 so we can continue to make art accessible for all.”)

So a middle-class family that wants to visit the museum regularly and not pay $50 per visit (two adults) will find art more accessible when annual membership is more expensive!

Separately, if you ever need someone to run an Ebola clinic, the MFA should be the first recruiting stop. We visited on February 19, 2021 and they’d set up a quarantine tent outside the front door. About six people were employed to check the handful of visitors to make sure that they had reservations, that they answered a bunch of COVID-19 symptom questions, that their temperature was checked, and that they donned orange wristbands to show that the screening process had been accomplished and they couldn’t somehow slip into the building without first going through the quarantine tent.

Once inside, the vast spaces had a post-apocalyptic empty feeling.

The white say-gooders who run the museum delegated curatorial responsibility to high school students (of color?):

An allegory of #Science crushing coronavirus via masks and shutdown:

And let’s not forget that closing the drinking fountains will keep us all safe:

If you’re not too dehydrated from the closed drinking fountains to need to use the restroom, the good news is that the Women’s room is for those who “self-identify” as “Women”:

A thoughtful technocrat determined a COVID-safe capacity for each gallery in which masked (a bandana was fine as PPE) visitors might congregate:

Directional stickers on the floor would, if followed, prevent people from passing each other while moving from room to room.

During a post-museum lunch stop, we were reminded that the same government that uses #Science to protect us all from COVID-19 will also buy us an unlimited supply of opioids as a means of treating our opioid addiction:

Although we’re members and returning to the museum would be free, we haven’t gone back. The constant COVID-19 messaging, the emptiness, and the screening procedures more elaborate than what local hospitals use for visitors made it an overly clinical experience.


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If you love engineering, business, and transgenderism….

… you will love The Lady and the Dale (HBO), a documentary regarding Elizabeth Carmichael, best-known for trying to bring Americans a lightweight three-wheeled automobile.

Ms. Carmichael was hugely successful from a biological/genetic point of view. From Wikipedia (10 kids total):

According to the FBI, Carmichael married four times while identifying as Jerry Dean Michael. She was charged with desertion for leaving her first wife, Marga, whom she met while stationed in Germany, and their two children. In 1954, she married a woman named Juanita, with whom she had two children before their relationship ended in 1956. In 1958, she married a woman named Betty Sweets after knowing her for four weeks. They conceived a daughter, but the marriage ended within a year. In 1959, she married Vivian Barrett Michael, her fourth wife, and together they had five children.

One aspect of the documentary is what happens to an opposite-sex marriage following a gender reassignment.

Americans are not as fascinated with engineering as with transgenderism and crime so the series does not explore what is most interesting to me: Why are cars so heavy?

Passenger rail turns out not to be fuel-efficient because railroad cars are so heavy, dwarfing the weight of even the most obese group of humans who might occupy a car.

The lightest cars on the market today weigh roughly 3,000 lbs. (Toyota Corolla, for example). Electric cars are heavier, e.g., a Tesla 3 is around 4,000 lbs. with a battery offering comparable range to a compact gasoline-driven car. The Chevy Bolt is around 3,600 lbs. Liz Carmichael’s Dale was 1,000 lbs.

It looks as though a prototype has been preserved in a Nebraska museum:

If we want to save our beloved planet, either by burning less gasoline or consuming less electricity, why don’t we slim down our vehicles to what is actually required to transport 500 lbs. of humans? Because we can’t make a car that rides comfortably at 70 mph unless it is heavy? First, with the U.S. population headed toward 500 million, it is unclear that anyone will be driving 70 mph. Second, could we improve the ride quality of lightweight vehicles with active suspensions?

Readers: Who has seen this show? What did you think?

Related: Can-Am Spyder, a modern 3-wheel vehicle made by a Bombardier subsidiary.

See also Facebook uses a Malibu-flying engineering manager to promote careers in engineering…

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Would Gina Carano still have a job at Disney if she’d showered with Harvey Weinstein?

Gina Carano was fired by Disney/Lucasfilm for “The love that dare not speak its name” (modern-day version: love for the working class and the politician who promised to cut back on elites stealing from workers).

Here’s a question… suppose that Ms. Carano had followed the traditional path to Hollywood success by agreeing to shower with Harvey Weinstein. And she’d joined Harvey at fundraisers for Democrats and when he was getting “a cultural activism award from Harvard University’s Hutchins Center for African and African American Research” (see “How Harvey Weinstein became one of the most powerful figures in Democratic politics before his career was rocked by a sexual harassment scandal” (Business Insider)). Would she still have her starring role?

(And, of course, as a victim of Harvey’s sex-for-jobs racket, in addition to whatever roles she obtained she would also be able to claim additional cash compensation for having been forced to scrub Harvey’s corpulence in the Four Seasons shower.)

Separately, when will the righteous demand that Gina Carano’s character be replaced with one that can be played by a white male?


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Best Super Bowl commercials?

What are folks’ favorite Super Bowl commercials so far? (with YouTube links if possible)

My favorite is this Jeep commercial in which Bruce Springsteen (arrested in November 2020 for “suspicion of driving while intoxicated”) says “As for freedom, it’s not the property of just the fortunate few, it belongs to us all, whoever you are, wherever you’re from.”

Residents of California and Maskachusetts certainly have the freedom to follow their respective governors’ orders to stay home, educate their children themselves (while paying taxes to fund still-closed schools), fill out mandatory travel forms telling friendly government officials where they’ve been, supply medical records to the government when asked (or pay a $7,000 per-person fine), etc. (See this ranking of states by coronapanic restrictions.)

Jeep also reminds us that these are the “ReUnited States” now that a single party controls Congress and the White House and can do whatever it wants to people who voted for the other party.

Could it be that Jeep is lobbying for a handout from the unifying Biden administration now that the Kia Telluride is on the Car and Driver 10Best list rather than a Jeep?

And what do football connoisseurs think of the game?

Some photos from Tampa… Bern’s Steakhouse (if you have a craving for an Impossible Burger within a week of eating at Bern’s, I will pay for your soy and coconut oil mishmash):

A billboard offering “wife insurance” next to an, um, gentleman’s club:

A Grumman Widgeon at Sun n Fun (April 2021, supposedly!) in nearby Lakeland (sacred to Frank Lloyd Wright enthusiasts):

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Immigrant Dad’s tutorial on the “real hidden figures” in Hidden Figures

The local 9th graders were sentenced to watch Hidden Figures by their English teacher. Immigrant Dad’s running text message commentary:

Watching the movie “Hidden Figures” about Black women at NASA. About how they created the space program for us.

I stopped the movie to say that the real hidden figures were 1600 Nazi scientists, led by Werner von Braun, the SS Sturmbannführer [major] who basically did everything.

All white males.


In this movie, von Braun is nowhere to be seen despite scenes with Alan Shepard and NASA top brass

Can’t afford to have an SS guy in this poetic script.

Black women all coding now. And teaching white men how to do it.

This whole film was a giant waste of time.

I need to help my kid write a paper referencing this work of woke art. I am teaching them how to feed idiots what they want to hear. Useful in life.

Another friend chimed in:

The scene where Harrison smashes the Colored Ladies Room sign never happened, as in real life Katherine refused to walk the extra distance to use the colored bathroom and, in her words, “just went to the White one”

A Silicon Valley coder in the chat group:

These ladies make money in a more civilized manner: https://youtu.be/hsm4poTWjMs (featuring Joe Biden’s friend Cardi B). Those fingernails are like Chinese foot binding, they say, “I am too important to do a ghetto job like programming.” Remember that the black struggle was all about getting off the plantation; why go back to it with all the Indians and people on the autism spectrum? [black power fist emoji]

I’m not sure that the youngsters learned what the teacher was hoping they would…

They are watching and making fun of it. Especially black women programmers. In [one kid’s] view Blacks are as rare in computer science as whites in basketball.

How does Immigrant Dad’s history lesson hold up? Wikipedia:

Operation Paperclip was a secret program of the Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency (JIOA) largely carried out by special agents of Army CIC, in which more than 1,600 German scientists, engineers, and technicians, such as Wernher von Braun and his V-2 rocket team, were taken from Germany to the United States, for U.S. government employment, primarily between 1945 and 1959. Many were former members, and some were former leaders, of the Nazi Party.

Some January photos from the Kennedy Space Center. Note that programmer Margaret Hamilton is depicted larger than life size, while Werner von Braun is at 1/10th the scale. (The photo on the bottom is captured “The Original Mercury Seven Astronauts with a USAF F-106.” Alan Shepard is among them.

And this is a good time to reprise my heroic Cirrus SR20 landing on a 15,000′ runway (same trip):

Also a good time to remember our hosts down there, Al Worden, who sadly died just 6 weeks later despite seeming to be in perfect health, and Bruce Melnick, helicopter pilot-turned-astronaut.


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New York Times style: Mx. Jones

“The Rich Kids Who Want to Tear Down Capitalism” (NYT):

Heirs whose wealth has come from a specific source sometimes use that history to guide their giving. Pierce Delahunt, a 32-year-old “socialist, anarchist, Marxist, communist or all of the above,” has a trust fund that was financed by their former stepfather’s outlet mall empire. (Mx. Delahunt takes nongendered pronouns.)

“When I think about outlet malls, I think about intersectional oppression,” Mx. Delahunt said. There’s the originally Indigenous land each mall was built on, plus the low wages paid to retail and food service workers, who are disproportionately people of color, and the carbon emissions of manufacturing and transporting the goods. With that on their mind, Mx. Delahunt gives away $10,000 a month, divided between 50 small organizations, most of which have an anticapitalist mission and in some way tackle the externalities of discount shopping.

A friend who was a reporter for this paper in the 1980s told me that they wouldn’t write “Dr. Jones” for a mere Ph.D. Jones had to be an actual medical doctor. I think the paper has been doing “Mx.” for a while, but I didn’t notice until recently.

The article is also interesting for the unchallenged idea that immigrants from India are victims:

“The narrative of giving away everything feels like it’s being framed by white inheritors,” said Elizabeth Baldwin, a 34-year-old democratic socialist in Cambridge, Mass., who was adopted from India by a white family when she was a baby. Heirs in her position, she said, must decide whether to redistribute to their own communities or others’, and what it means to give up economic privilege when they don’t have the kind of safety net that comes with being white. She plans to keep enough of her inheritance to buy an apartment and raise a family, enjoying the sort of pleasant middle-class existence denied to many people of color in the United States.

Because her adoptive family’s wealth originated in land ownership and slavery, she donates to anti-racist groups and will soon begin making low-interest loans to Black-owned businesses. “The money I’m living on was made from exploiting people that look like me, so I see my giving as reparations,” she said.

Black Americans look like Indian-Americans? Is it time for an update of alllooksame.com? People of color from India can’t lead a middle-class existence in the U.S.? Is that because they earn 2X the median and therefore have to live an upper-middle-class existence? From Wikipedia:

Indian Americans have risen to become the richest ethnicity in America, with an average household income of $126,891 (compared to the US average of $65,316).

The rich and righteous don’t like stocks for the long run:

“My money is mostly stocks, which means it comes from underpaying and undervaluing working-class people, and that’s impossible to disconnect from the economic legacies of Indigenous genocide and slavery,” Ms. Gelman said.

Maybe it would be possible to get hold of some of Ms. Gelman’s cash by creating a mutual fund of stocks in companies that don’t have a significant number of employees and/or that pay high wages to employees because all of the crummy jobs have been outsourced to contractors?

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Sean Connery as an inspiration for American suburban life

From one of our Facebook friends:

RIP, Sir Sean Connery. Your impact on my childhood and becoming a man cannot be understated. Thank you.

This led to a mystified chat discussion. The guy who posted this has been married for 25 years, works at a desk job, never does anything without first asking his wife for permission, never expresses an opinion that he and/or his wife think might upset the town’s cabal of stay-at-home moms, and is an apparent slave to his high school-age daughters. What was the connection between James Bond and the suburban soccer dad? How had Danny Dravot’s attempts to take over Afghanistan in The Man Who Would Be King inspired his trips to Costco?

Also, if Joe Biden delivers on his promise to shut down the United States, do we start calling Anthony Fauci “Dr. No”?


  • Wikipedia reveals the inclusive nature of the U.K. Connery was knighted by the Queen in 2000 despite (a) living in the Bahamas to minimize income tax liability, and (b) supporting Scottish independence.
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Togo, the Disney sled dog movie

If there is a dispute in your household regarding whether a big furry dog is allowed to sleep in the bed… Togo is the movie for you! This is a fantastic (in all senses of the word) dramatization of the 1925 dog team relay that brought diphtheria antitoxin serum to Nome.

The best part, from my point of view, is that the growth of a character (and in every Hollywood movie, of course, someone has to grow!) is demonstrated by abandonment of a previous objection to a dog sleeping in the (humans’) bed.

Recommended if you’ve got a Disney+ subscription. (Does it qualify as “the best piece of art in any form that I have ever seen in my life,” as Michelle Obama said of Hamilton? Maybe not, but it has Arctic dogs and, at least when presented on a TV, it holds the viewer’s attention much better than Hamilton.)


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Who has watched Hamilton more than once on Disney+?

Michelle Obama on Hamilton: “it was simply, as I tell everybody, the best piece of art in any form that I have ever seen in my life.” The proletariat seemed to agree with her, happily shelling out a month of income for a family night at the (sold-out-at-$1000+/seat) theater.

The musical has been out for months now on Disney+. Who has taken the trouble to press the “Play” button more than once? Or knows someone who has watched the musical more than once on Disney+?

I ultimately failed to persuade even a single friend to come over and watch this. Visiting a friend’s vacation house for roughly 7 nights this summer, I could not persuade anyone there to watch it with me.

[The same people were happy to gather, perhaps contrary to a subset of our governor’s 50+ orders, for other movies, shows, games, and activities.]

I am having difficulty understanding how something that was so valuable to people in the theater is essentially worthless on TV. Part of this, I guess, is that sticking a camera in the back of a theatrical production has seldom been a hugely successful technique for making a good movie. On the other hand, that’s what the Metropolitan Opera did before they were shut down for coronapanic and the results were successful with millions of viewers on PBS and at least hundreds of thousands in theaters.

Also, what’s our verdict on the show? Who agrees with Michelle Obama that this is better than any painting in the Metropolitan Museum, Louvre, or National Gallery (I think we can assume she has been to these places)? Who agrees with Michelle Obama that this is better than any work by Bach, Beethoven, Verdi, or Mozart? Who agrees with Michelle Obama that this is better than any work misattributed to Shakespeare?


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