If He Hollers Let Him Go

Click picture above to read The Believer article by Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah,
“If He Hollers Let Him Go, Searching for Dave Chappelle ten years after he left his own show.”

One of the best articles I’ve read in a long while – and it happened to be the only confirmation I’ve ever seen of my thoughts about why Dave left Comedy Central.

Addendum: Dave Chappelle ascended to the mountaintop of comedy. He amassed the goodwill of billions and became a voice that people wanted to hear. He has since taken all of that and thrown it in the toilet. In a time of unprecedented inequality, war, corporate criminality, corrupt politicians, global warming, cops murdering black kids and adults with impunity and countless other horrors, Dave has chosen to punch down and belittle serious crimes while offering nothing original. And it’s not funny.

Can he still be funny? Sure, but his latest attempts at comedy are pathetic and bordering on cruel. He clearly thinks he’s the most macho of all the comics now – in fact, my guess is that he actually thinks he is fighting for comics to be able to say whatever they want. Well, he’s doing it wrong.

He made an extra to tack on to one of his Netflix specials. He tells a long anecdote about how he ended up sitting with a bunch (or let’s call them a murder) of neoliberal politicians at a stand-up gig. He talks about how well they all got along…and then he talks about how great it was to meet prince charles (who he was introduced to by gavin newsome). The episode ends with him meeting obama (who kamala harris had earlier asked dave to call). He’s telling on himself and he doesn’t even know it.

Chappelle has become a clueless, rich, mostly unfunny, celebrity who punches down and has no problem hanging with politicians who are greatly responsible for that oppression, because they do the bidding of the corporations and ultra-rich who purchase them. The saddest thing of all is that people are still eating it up. In the 70’s, Sammy Davis Jr. was pilloried (especially by black people) for running up to Nixon and giving him a big hug. Chappelle hasn’t done that, but he went on national television (SNL) and joked that he would benefit from the election of trump, and then he went even farther and asked people to “give him a chance.” He eventually had to sorta kinda apologize, but was given a pass by most people and all of his fans. There’s no excuse for this. Sammy wasn’t born into a family of scholars. Sammy never heard from the left or had much political knowledge at all. dave obviously knows very little about politics, but he should know better, and that is unforgivable.

To add insult to injury, he is a hypocrite (in his comedy act no less). He claims to know what it’s like to be poor and intimates that he grew up poor. Aside from the fact that he was never poor and has had money since he was 15, he has been rich for decades now. I’m not a fan of “cancel culture,” and actually believe its power has been overestimated, but dave has gone out of his way to cancel himself. Not because he is not “politically correct,” but because it’s clear he has chosen to side with his people, the 1%, against struggling and oppressed people. The irony in all of this is that he probably thinks he’s practicing the “sick humor” and satire of Lenny Bruce and Paul Krassner, but (again) he’s doing it wrong. Lenny and Paul used their talents to go after the rich and powerful and call out hypocrisy. dave is now using his talents to go after the poor and oppressed while hanging with the rich and powerful. It’s sad to watch, dispiriting, and disgusting enough to make your skin crawl – but apparently in the 21st century, all of this gets a pass as he collects his tens of millions from netflix and his fans cheer for more.

Letitia James NYC Public Advocate passionately speaks at the Panel for Educational Policy (PEP)

Ed Notes Online
Diane Ravitch’s Blog entry on Letitia “Tish” James

I know her passion is real. I know the parents care and are ready for change. I hope they all realize a new administration is not going to stop the neoliberal assault on public education – and I hope de Blasio doesn’t end up in the pockets of the fascists who run NYC. This of course points to the problem of reform. The whole system needs to be changed. Reform is actually what brought us to this point. Welfare “reform” put more woman and children on the streets, education “reform” created NCLB.
The path forward needs to be radical (change at the root) systemic change, because even if progressive “reforms” are won, neoliberal capitalists are going to continue to take money out of the system that supports us, they will continue to privatize everything we need to survive.

Income Share of the Top 1 Percent, 1913-2012 (annotated with events and policy landmarks)

Income share top 1%This graphic adds an annotated political history to the iconic (and recently-updated) Piketty and Saez data on top income shares in the U.S. The events and legislative landmarks listed here are representative rather than exhaustive. And they are meant to suggest broad policy shifts rather than direct causal relationships. But the pattern is nevertheless clear. The share of the top one percent rose during eras of tax cutting, light financial regulation (or deregulation), and labor weakness. And inequality narrowed when policy pushed in the opposite direction.

Click above anywhere to go to the bigger interactive graphic on cepr’s site

Web Reading List #8 [9-20-2013]

Wolf Richter: Housing Bubble In Full Bloom, Zany Price Increases, And Now A Sudden Slowdown
Wells Fargo announces layoffs in mortgage unit
Workers’ rights ‘flouted’ at Apple iPhone factory in China
Journalist & Filmmaker Saul Landau, 77, Dies; Chronicled Cuban Revolution For Decades
Did you know John Roberts is also chief justice of the NSA’s surveillance state?
Janet Yellen Urged Glass-Steagall Repeal And Social Security Cuts, Supported NAFTA
No Child Left Untableted
Bill Black: SEC Flacks Paint Lehman’s Looters as the Victims of a “Political” SEC

americans who tell the truth

Click any picture to go to site.

This is a great way to introduce yourself or your children/students to important figures in american life, from historical figures to contemporary truth tellers.

From the website:

“The original portraits and accompanying resources promote our country’s ideals, illuminate the necessary work of the present, and inspire hope in the future.”

Rare Recording of Controversialist, Journalist and American Literary & Social Critic, H.L. Mencken


Click anywhere to listen to interview.

Quotes from the interview (don’t read if you want the pleasure of first hearing them from the proverbial horses mouth):

“So called experts are just ordinary men at bottom.”
– H.L. Mencken

“I think beer is a cheap and excellent drink.”
– H.L. Mencken

“The reporter with literary ambitions is one that I always respected.”
– H.L. Mencken

“In my time, a press agent was looked on as a loathsome creature. Nobody paid any attention to him and there was a rule on the [Baltimore] Sun for many years that if a man ever became a press agent he never could come back to the Sun…The thing that distresses me about press agentry [and PR] is a simple one: I have seen so many good men become press agents of one kind or other, and there’s a subtle corruption of their minds that they never get over, they simply can’t recover from that horror they’re engaged in. If they’re a good journalist – some of ’em are, remember the worst men men didn’t become press agents, but often the best – and, oh, they know deep in their hearts that the thing is not a dignified trade and they rationalize their necessities in one way or other, but they don’t rationalize them enough to get rid of them.”
– H.L. Mencken

“I think [television] is a curse to newspapers and I wish it could be separated from them. I am sorry that the Federal Communications Commission did not prohibit ownership of radio stations [or TV stations] by newspapers. I don’t think it’s a good thing, in a public sense, for any one agency to control rival news sources. They ought to be kept separate and in active rivalry. That’s one objection to it. Secondly, human nature being what it is, as soon as a television or any kind of radio enterprise gets into a newspaper, an enormous number of men – including some of the best men – become radio crooners, not newspaper men, actors. They get stage struck in brief, that’s the truth, and it shows in the newspaper instantly. The way for newspapers to meet the competition of radio and television is simply to get out better newspapers. They can always keep miles ahead of these other agencies which haven’t the machinery for doing what newspapers can do. Newspapers ought to print better papers. They’re going downhill and anytime you find a newspaper that’s got a radio department, you’ll find a newspaper deteriorating.”
– H.L. Mencken

“…[A] fine restaurant…is one of the greatest of all human enterprises, one of the most socially useful things. A man that runs a good eating house is a valuable citizen.”
– H.L. Mencken

Click anywhere above to listen to the interview and get more links

Greg Palast exposes Larry Summer’s evil memo

Click pic of memo or text above to read story.

Click “This is Hell” banner above to listen to #762 Podcast where Greg Palast gives the back story to this memo leak and hear Thomas Frank expound on the general state of affairs brought about by our venal deregulated financial/governmental culture.

NB: Palast and Frank both went to University of Chicago and rubbed elbows with the “masterminds” our “reigning economic doctrine” – essentially neo-liberalism.

The “This is Hell Radio” show is one of the best shows out there. I highly recommend listening every week.

yet more news links

The Worm Is Turning on School Reform
Philly’s Ultimatum: Adequately Fund Our Schools or Face City-Wide Boycott
SIM Cards Have Finally Been Hacked, And The Flaw Could Affect Millions Of Phones
Monsanto Virtually Gives Up on Growing GMO Crops in Europe
Return of long-absent bumblebee near Seattle stirs scientific buzz

Why Life in America Can Literally Drive You Insane

It’s not just Big Pharma.

“The Epidemic of Mental Illness: Why?” ( New York Review of Books, 2011),
Marcia Angell, former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, discusses over-diagnosis of psychiatric disorders, pathologizing of normal behaviors, Big Pharma corruption of psychiatry, and the adverse effects of psychiatric medications.

While diagnostic expansionism and Big Pharma certainly deserve a large share of the blame for this epidemic, there is another reason.”

Click on the text to go to article