The Media is still defending AOC’s ’12 Years’ Blunder

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez claimed that the world is going to end in 12 years; or, at very least, we will be unable to combat the effects of “man-made” climate change in 12 years and our civilization will be doomed…

The media continues to defend her on this, but it’s not quite pseudo-science…it’s just another millennial believing the media’s reporting over the actual scientific reporting.

And the media is notoriously bad at reporting…well…anything…but egregiously poor when it comes to legal matters, science, medicine, and history.

It’s not that people who are concerned about climate change are stupid (though AOC may very well be)–it’s the degree that people are concerned vs what they know.

This statement about ’12 years and we’re too late and there’s no going back,’ or whatever, is based on the media’s complete misinterpretation of the 2018 climate report.

It is almost impossible to separate the science from the politics in any meaningful way; and this is due to the scientific community’s not-so-covert desire to get into politics, politicians’ inherent desire to prove they’re scientifically literate, and the media’s delusion that they understand all of it.

Don’t judge the book by its cover, but the headline of the report lets you know this is a document where scientists are going to theorize on government control of systems and ending poverty…which is a little more extensive than just a simple “take a look at our numbers.”

The climate is always changing, right now certain areas are trending warmer, so climate scientists are making models predicting what impacts could come from that process, what’s currently being impacted, and what humans can do (if anything) to help.

But the narrative that we’ve chosen to go with is that the world is in decline and it’s Captain America’s duty to upend all civilization to fix it.

And that’s simply not the case. We just need to think about technological solutions that are sustainable and less damaging as well as technological solutions that can help areas that will be impacted by natural climate change.

(We need nuclear power plants and more responsible farming)

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The Curious Case of Taylor Alison Swift

I’ve been a fan of Taylor Swift’s since September 13th, 2009. Most people would lie to you and say “I’ve been a fan since the very beginning,” but not me. This was a very specific date when something very significant happened. Less than a year after America had elected its first black President and Taylor released her second studio album, Fearless, she was nominated, and won, Best Female Video for her song You Belong With Me at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards.

That evening, two notable occurrences took place. First, a drunk and obnoxious Kanye West hopped up on the stage, insisting that Beyoncé Knowles–then nominated for the chart-topping Single Ladies —had one of the best music videos of all time. Later in the evening, upon accepting her award for Video of the Year, Beyoncé offered Taylor Swift the microphone to finish her acceptance speech from earlier.

This evening soured many people on Kanye West, made many others aware of Taylor Swift, and served as a moment of mutual respect in a music industry that had crossed all racial divides. It was a proud moment in Obama’s America; a moment that nobody needed Obama for. There were no politics. Only people.

For almost ten years after that moment, Taylor Swift went from being the darling of the country music scene to one of the most successful pop acts ever, and did so while remaining almost entirely apolitical. She recognized that alienating half her audience may not be the best path forward for a pop superstar.

She’d adopted this persona as a heartsick fairy tale princess who only wanted to bake cupcakes, give surprise gifts to her fans, hang out with her cats, and find Prince Charming somewhere down the line.

So what happened?

Related imageTaylor’s career was deeply invested in Big Machine Records, the music label she lifted off the ground, and vice versa. She had complete control and the money was good. She had made a name for herself, brought up new country artists, and cultivated a fan base (or Stan-base?) of Swifties the world over.

In 2016, three more monumental occurrences transpired. First, Taylor Swift had a very messy and public spat with Kim Kardashian and (once again) Kanye West over some of the language about her used in one of West’s tracks. Second, Taylor postponed her 7th and final album to be released through the Big Machine Records label due to the stress and anger she was receiving from non-Swifties. And finally, Hillary Clinton, with the full force of everyone in the entertainment industry behind her (sans Taylor Swift), lost the Presidential Election to Donald Trump.

With the release of her 7th album, Reputation, and subsequent tour, Taylor was finished with her label, and became one of the most valuable musical free agents in history. She had been through the eye of the storm, risked losing her fans, generated a lot of frustration due to her silence in the 2016 election, and had a successful stadium tour to promote her album.

And that brings us to today. After being acquired by Universal Music Group, starting work on her 8th studio album, and pushing 30, Taylor Swift decided it was time to show people who she really is in the pages of Elle magazine. Her self-written article titled 30 Things I Learned Before Turning 30, reads like a strange fiction concocted by someone who isn’t quite certain of her own real world identity.

Image result for taylor swiftShe explains her decision to cut off commenting from Instagram and other social accounts due to caustic responses from the Internet’s finest.

It continues in awkward fashion, as she analyzes and critiques her own changing body like a teenager noticing them for the first time. And while turning 30 may be a milestone in her own life, she bizarrely asserts that strange notions like the idea that her hair has suddenly become straight after 29 years of being curly, and that men could never possibly understand the horrors of aging.

She reacts in a somewhat confusing manner to the May 22, 2017 Ariana Grande concert suicide bombing. She claims that she constantly fears for not only her fans’ safety, but hers as well. In a thought experiment that would lead any rational reader to conclude “this is when I started carrying mace/a taser/a knife/a gun” she reveals that she now carries first aid gauze for patching knife and bullet wounds, seeming to imply a complete lack of either honesty or awareness of actual physical danger.

She vows never to let outside opinions and politics impact her own, which then begs the question, why all of this? And why now?

She casually blames the entire year two-thousand sixteen for her desire to learn how to mix her own cocktails; a woman in her late twenties. Furthering a narrative that she is a long-time home cook, she assures readers that she loves cooking several recipes including an appalling “only ground beef” meatball dish, and other entirely basic concoctions courtesy of solely celebrity chefs. Less disturbing is her celebration of acquiring a game-changing “garlic crusher” (an item that doesn’t exist).

Perhaps even more egregious than the whole cooking debacle she announces that she has learned to always believe the “victim” of sexual assault due to her own experience as a victim. Not to belittle Taylor’s legal butt-grab battle, but comparing her experience to those who have experienced actual sexual assault seems to cheapen it a bit.

Taylor then proclaims that now, at age 29, she is finally ready to get extremely political with her hundreds of millions of followers…a decision I’m certain will not go over swimmingly.

The remainder of her learned experiences are often somewhat sad. She regrets relationships, fake friends, trusting the wrong people, and not going with her gut more often. Surely, all of these sound fairly commonplace in American life.

What this article communicates with me is that while Taylor Swift has spent her career being a consistently aspirational figure, she has spent very little time figuring out what it means to be truly authentic.

Image result for taylor swift

We Need to Talk About Tomi Lahren on The Daily Show

giphy (22).gifFor those of you who don’t know who Tomi Lahren is, she is a young conservative pundit with her own show, Tomi, on TheBlaze. TheBlaze is a multimedia network owned by universally recognized crazy person, Glenn Beck; but don’t let that distract you from Tomi. While it’s true that networks tend to drift towards a political spectrum (in this case, conservative), Tomi and Glenn Beck have very little in common. To put it in perspective, if this were InfoWars, Glenn Beck would be Alex Jones, and Tomi Lahren would be Paul Joseph Watson. Tomi outperforms Glenn Beck in every way, and her sociopolitical value is only going up among conservative millennials, as she is one of them. Because of this, there will undoubtedly be a place for Tomi once Beck fades into obscurity.

Tomi rose to universal notoriety–because, let’s be real, not many people watch TheBlaze–when clips of her Final Thoughts segments were shared on social media, discussing issues like Colin Kaepernick, Black Lives Matter, Beyonce and the Black Panthers, and Anti-Trump Protests.

For those of you who don’t rememberThe Daily Show is a Comedy Central program which parodies mainstream media news outlets by offering alternate takes on current events with a staff full of talented comedians and personalities. Or at least, it used to be.

giphy (22).gifThe Daily Show was created in 1996 as a replacement for ABC’s Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher. At that time, the show was hosted by ESPN‘s Craig Kilborn and only lasted about two years, before it was picked up and turned into a powerhouse by the objectively talented and knowledgeable Jon Stewart. Though met with criticism, the show worked, and at its peak was mostly criticized for not being newsy enough for a news show; despite it being a comedy show. And that’s a good sign.

Since being handed over to its current host, Trevor Noah, the show has taken a turn for the negative. It doesn’t completely fall on his shoulders, but there is a level of responsibility to be had for the declining interest in the Daily Show brand. And one of the sharpest criticisms, for a comedy show, is that it just isn’t nearly as funny as it used to be.

One of the most disappointing aspects of the show has been the rapid decline in integrity and discourse present in The Daily Show‘s interview segment. Regardless of his political views, Jon Stewart typically came off as informed and curious…while trying to keep things light when comedy was a priority. Noah, on the other hand, seems to feed on the audience, and lacks the substantive confidence, experience and knowledge necessary to have a reasoned debate…or even a discussion.

Let’s talk about this latest Daily Show interview. And we’ll see very fucking clearly that nobody “DESTROYED” anybody.

FULL VIDEO ON COMEDY CENTRAL

Without wasting a moment, Trevor Noah sets up how the entire interview is going to play out with a very telling joke:

I’m in the lion’s den, Trevor.”
I’m not a lion at all. Is that an African thing? No…

Clearly a joke targeted specifically to make Tomi seem like a racist right out of the gate; immediately dismissed by the host, but preparing the audience for what to expect, as if to say: Tomi is going to speak, and I’m going to hear something completely different.

Noah’s first question is “Why are you so angry?” Immediately putting Tomi at a disadvantage, battling a characterization of herself rather than any dispute over something she’s actually said.

The audible groans and grumbles from the audience are heightened whenever Tomi utters anything that upsets the apple cart…even if it’s as flippant and innocuous as “It’s time to make America great again.”

Noah takes issue with comments made by Donald Trump and allows Tomi to explain, but he institutes a rule that she can’t help but break. He asks Tomi to excuse Trump’s pussy grab remarks without putting it in a context of Hillary Clinton or the election…an impossible feat; to which she merely says she can’t excuse the remarks–but that they simply don’t bother her as much as actions do.

It’s this disconnect that blows the conversation wide open. In Trevor’s corner, it’s words matter and have large societal impact. In Tomi’s corner, words can offend and cause alarm, but it’s the action that truly matters; essentially, the “sticks and stones” argument in its rawest form.

(Note: The above video is edited by at least 10 Minutes. Why?)

Then, Noah asks possibly the most condescending question of all. He asks Tomi what her purpose is, and what it is she’s trying to do…when she calls out Black Lives Matter or Colin Kaepernick. She holds her own and explains she feels that she is a voice for the voiceless, or rather, those who believe that they can’t share their opinions publicly because they will be labeled, ridiculed, or doxed. My words, not hers.

The “destroying” really enters the frame at this point, as the audience is encouraged to be more vocal. They see a back and forth between two adults that needs to be reformatted into a brawl. Trevor throws out a dismissive point about Donald Trump (after repeatedly saying he wants to turn the discussion away from Trump) which Tomi is forced to defend. He proceeds to throw out applause-lines suggesting Trump is beholden to other countries or that Trump’s building the White House from the same shit he was trying to get rid of. And still, Tomi holds her own, and calmly explains why she doesn’t feel that way…or that the accusation is false; as having a business in a country doesn’t mean you work for that country, and hiring someone who used to work for a bank doesn’t mean you now work for that bank.

Trever Noah gains an upper hand in the debate because it’s his show and he has silencing power. But if you listen to his points clearly, each is a non sequitur at best, and intellectually dishonest at worst. Noah asks what Lahren’s issue is with Black Lives Matter, which she admits was built from good intentions but was corrupted by the actions of the protesters and violent individuals co-opting the cause. Noah brings up that just because the protesters say they’re in a movement, it doesn’t discredit the movement. But then he switches the focus to Trump, saying that just because the KKK supports Trump, doesn’t mean Trump is in the KKK.

The trouble with this connection is that the Black Lives Matter movement is has been co-opted by radicals and cop killing enthusiasts. Those voices have become the movement. And the spokespersons for the movement sympathize with those voices, even if they don’t outwardly condone them. The same can not be said for Trump.

Noah creates another false equivalency, saying that protests turning into riots is not unique to Black Lives Matter as every protest turns into a riot…like when a sports team wins. Which is not a protest, and is not condoned by anyone. The truth is, no…not every protest turns into a riot…unless the examples are: Black Lives Matter, Bernie Supporters, Dakota Pipeline Protesters, Anti-Trump Protesters. And what’s the common denominator?

The audience laughs off Tomi’s statistics as Noah attempts to make the police out to be racist because they’ve shot black people. Half-way through the interview, and I’m waiting for anyone to destroy anyone.

If this were an actual moderated debate, Tomi Lahren would win with golden gloves; as all Trevor Noah seems to be doing is pivoting, ignoring, and moving-on…which doesn’t imply that he is being destroyed, but his questions are all being answered honestly. Noah’s only weapon is his audience’s interminable scripted cheers and jeers.

From here, we get to possibly the most mind-boggling segment of this entire interview: Trevor Noah attempting to change the definition of “mainstream” to mean “team who won.” He explicitly says that Tomi Lahren is now the Mainstream Media because the candidate she supports has won the election.

Should this interview be reversed, Noah’s reactionary audience would immediately disembowel him for what they would call “mansplaining”of the highest order. Not only is he belittling the very honest comments, facts and opinions Tomi puts forth, but he is effectively covering his ears and going “Lalala!”

This is most telling as Noah struggles to separate Black Lives Matter from its objective representation, saying “There is a difference between a movement and its people.” A statement that is categorically false any way you could possibly interpret it.

Trevor Noah must realize this glaring mistake. He gets agitated, irate, and more animated as he demands Tomi explain how a black man should protest without rioting, as, according to Noah, even if he does nothing but takes a knee during the National Anthem, he is criticized. To which Tomi calmly explained that his freedom to express his perceived frustrations do not render him free from criticism if people feel, as she does, that he was being disrespectful and that his politics are flawed.

This is where Noah finds his opening. He harps on one question that Tomi Lahren feels that she’s already answered. She misreads the situation and the tables are turned. Noah keeps driving at the question: How should a black man protest?

To which there is a simple answer, which Tomi already brought to light when she admitted her respect for the Black Lives Matter movement’s initial intentions. The answer is “peacefully; just like everyone else.” But that doesn’t mean a silly protest, like Colin Kaepernick’s, would be free from criticism. When Noah asks Tomi how she would protest, she comes back with one of her best lines of the night: I wouldn’t. Because I don’t consider myself a victim.

To wrap up, Trevor inquires why Tomi would say immigrants should be grateful to be in America. She declares American exceptionalism and says that once they are citizens, then they have the right to criticize the government which took them in. Tomi fires back, asking what Noah would say to legal immigrants who broke the bank and waited in line for their path to citizenship who are upset that illegals sneak in and could be granted amnesty. To which Noah responds that he’d tell them some people come here one way and some people come another way. A ludicrous response to a question no one really wants to answer…but someone has to.

The interview was unfair, but it was not one-sided. Tomi Lahren held her own, did not buckle, and did not stutter or stumble. She was a formidable opponent; despite the fact that she was clearly brought on for the audience to point and laugh at. Tomi proved that the finger pointing and the easy jokes aren’t going to cut the mustard anymore.

Tomi proved that her opponents truly have to bring their A-Game.

And Trevor Noah proved he doesn’t have one.

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