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Workin’ for the (Memorial Day) Weekend #45: Kmele on TCW, Moynihan on Amis, Orwell on The Independents
Plus: Jesse Singal waxes lovingly about the Fifth, as he should.
Too many things to link to, not enough time to grill skirt steak & drink Palomas, so a quick reminder for you free subscribers to up your game at this link, and let’s otherwise dive straight into it.
* Kmele this week went on the Wrongthink podcast with Thomas Chatterton Williams (#121, #158, #188, #197, #373) to talk about “the growth of illiberalism,” and “arguments for a better world with a race-blind society”:
* The collapse of another NYC social-media “Karen”-shaming incident (complete with the beginning of some lawyerly media apologies) has people remembering Kmele’s Amy Cooper work in the New York Post and Pirate Wires.
* Were those some familiar voices on the glitchy Ron DeSantis presidential campaign kick-off? Why, yes: Rep. Thomas Massie (R—Ky.) was in Episode #51, and anti-Critical Race Theory activist Chris Rufo came on #322.
* Too much death lately, as pointed out in #408, M.O. 165, and last weekend’s links. Our pals Jacob Siegel (#36, #70, #193) and Harry Siegel (#3, #116, #320) memorialized their late father Fred over at the Daily News; and from the Moynihan archives here’s a 2011 Washington Examiner piece on Martin Amis:
[T]he smartest evocation of Manhattan in decline—and one of the best books of the Reagan-era—is Martin Amis’s novel Money, a mordent, frequently depressing, and always riotously funny vision of celebrity culture and two cities (London and New York) approaching civilizational collapse.
It’s impossible to offer a compressed version of Amis’s elaborately arranged and deeply layered narrative, but John Self, the novel’s antihero, is one of the great literary creations of the postwar era. There is so much to admire in the Amis canon (and if John Self is a bit to crass and crude for your tastes, try his father Kingsley’s novel Girl-20, one of the great overlooked books of modern British literature), but Money is the crowning achievement. You are poorer for not having read it.
* We were also talking about George Orwell, so here’s one of my favorite segments from The Independents (followed up by an explanatory piece over at Reason), giving John Bolton the what-for about selectively quoting Orwell’s famous line on pacificism being objectively pro-fascist:
* Speaking of The Independents, ol’ Busty Wimsatt reminds me that we used to do these Internet-only “Overtime” segments, and that one of them involved an apparently several-decades young Michael Moynihan!
* I wrote a piece this week culling the what-to-do-about-the-drug-cartels platforms from the top six GOP presidential candidates, under the headline “The Republican Primary Consensus for Sending the Military Into Mexico.”
* This week The Reason Interview w/ Nick Gillespie featured guest Jesse Singal (#111, #171) of Blocked and Reported infamy. The conversation, taped in front of a live audience (including some Fif’ fans!) at a schmancy Manhattan apartment, is enjoyable on its own merits, but particularly for its serial references to…The Fifth Column!
* Oh hey look, Wonkette still exists:
Megyn Kelly viciously attacked Mulvaney over the Bud Light ad because she's a vicious bigot, and Tuesday, Kelly complained on her show about the horrible Miller Lite ad that she literally just learned about. Her guests were Fifth Column podcast hosts Kmele Foster, Michael Moynihan, and Matt Welch, who resemble the focus group members for a 1990s beer ad campaign. Moynihan compared the "Bad $#!T to Good $#!T" conceit to a Stalinist purge and the Khmer Rouge because he is a student of history and not at all prone to hyperbole. It was deranged right-wingers who literally shot up Bud Light cans because a trans woman touched one. That is more emblematic of a "purge." The Miller Lite campaign just feels like a form of recycling.
* Listener comment of the week, tying various strands together, comes from Ameya:
Martin Amis's protagonist in Night Train hates Family Feud:
"Right now the guy is next door watching a taped quiz show where the contestants have been instructed beforehand to jump up and down and scream and whoop and french each other every time they get an answer right. The multiple-choice questions do not deal in matters of fact. They deal in hearsay. The contestants respond, not with what they think, but with what they think everybody else thinks.
"Grown adults acting like five-year-olds at a birthday party, with this routine: What do Americans think is America’s favorite breakfast? Cereal. Boring. Only 23 percent. Coffee and toast? Whee! All right. What do Americans think is America’s choice suicide method. Sleeping pills. Yeah! Ow! Where do Americans think France is? In Canada. Get down!"
Outro music from the late Tina Turner and her masher ex-husband we’ll double up, in case the first one gets taken down or something.