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Workin’ for the Weekend #66: Notes from the Horror, Meijer Treijers Again, and the Baby Bison Named Kmele
Also: Second Sunday Zoom-cast Nov. 12 at 4 pm ET.
Well, it’s that time of the month, fam. You know, when all you fantabulist paying subscribers have the opportunity to jump on a Zoom call with us reprobates as we answer some questions and ruminate about the news and/or our Comedy Cellar hangovers. On this Second Sunday we are planning to convene at 4 p.m. ET, though the broken-throated Kmele may need to bounce early for a “board meeting,” and also Moynihan has an earlyish date to go eat some Roast Cotton (euphemism). Join together with the band!
Paying subscribers get to join us today at 4 p.m. ET for our Second Sunday Zoom-cast. It’s fun!
* New episode of Dispatches from The Well, in which “Our host Kmele [goes] inside Fermilab, America’s premiere particle accelerator facility, to find out how the smallest particles in the universe can teach us about its biggest mysteries.” He also witnesses a bison baby plopping out, and christens the little bugger on the spot.
* Moynihan watched the GOP presidential debate so you didn’t have to, and shared his findings Thursday during the first 45 minutes of The Megyn Kelly Show. Discussed therein was Episode #411 guest (and #429 mentionee) Vivek Ramaswamy.
* Speaking of Greg’s Foundation for the Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE), old antagonist and recent America's Cultural Revolution author Chris Rufo (#322) has been out there making some comportmental/marketing differentiation between his project and the more FIRE-tastic approach of applied Classical Liberalism, tweeting “I have little patience for people who believe that somehow the Fairy of Liberalism will wave a wand and solve ‘cancel culture’—which itself is a preposterous euphemism and misdiagnosis of the problem.” To which Canceling co-author Rikki Schlott retorted, “I’ll take the fairy of liberalism over the demon of reactionary authoritarianism any day,” to which Rufo snorted back, “I don't support ‘reactionary authoritarianism,’ a scary phrase you plucked from the New York Times. I favor the principles of the American Founders, who would laugh at FIRE-style ‘liberalism,’ which is nothing more than dollar-store libertarianism with a therapeutic sensibility.” Which brought this rejoinder from Kmele:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech…"
FIRE is violently committed to that *founding principle* —it’s the literal cornerstone of any free society.
No amount of petty name-calling or partisan carnival barking ought to obscure the facts here.
If you oppose FIRE because you can't imagine attaining your political goals without running afoul of the First Amendment, you're the problem (very good odds you're a reactionary, too).
(And yes, this is why #NeverTweet is always a good option, too.)
* Hmmm. Seems light on Israel/Hamas content here so far…. Well, let’s fix that. We had some nice words to say on M.O. #188 about Batya Ungar-Sargon; she wrote a piece this week at The Free Press arguing (per the subhed) that “The worst thing that could come out of this moment would be for Jews to embrace the victimhood narrative,” then went toe-to-toe over on Rumble with Roger Waters interlocutor Glenn Greenwald (#183, #197, #211).
In the literal span of an hour after the Black Saturday attacks, the civil society organizations that had sprouted as part of the judicial protest movement pivoted entirely to helping Israeli civilians impacted by the attacks and supporting the war effort. One of the largest such organizations, Brothers in Arms, went from organizing protests in front of the Knesset or ministers’ houses to organizing donations for soldiers, and delivering them under armed guard to the south where the war was brewing.
In the tense first hours of the Hamas attack, much of the defense came not from the IDF, which failed miserably to protect civilians, but from individuals who’d grabbed a car and whatever firearm they had and rushed down to save a family member. Israeli media abounded with stories of such individual heroism. Similarly, the same groups that until Black Saturday were relentlessly attacking the government and its reform plans, dove into the wartime breach created by an overwhelmed government. […]
Israelis are incredible at self-organization and getting things done quickly in a pinch, with minimal guidance and under conditions of uncertainty. I would see it again and again, from restaurant owners who became impromptu military cooks and managed to get their food to the front lines, to tech executives like [Keren] Levy who suddenly ran civilian rescue operations instead of online payment companies. It’s no wonder the country excels at startups: Operating autonomously in the balagan is a national sport.
* Because she has a stomach of steel (and eyes like telescopes), this week’s feature photographer Nancy Rommelmann (#79, Special Dispatch #27, S.D. #30, #198, #203, S.D. #34, S.D. #50, S.D. #64, S.D. #111) went to an IDF screening of the grisly Oct. 7 massacre-footage, and typed up some of her notes:
If I can be thankful for anything watching this footage, it is for the slivers of black screen between the clips, a second to catch one’s breath between the slaughterings at Sdedot, at kibbutz Be’eri, at the Nova music festival, between the dismemberments and the burnings, between the gouts of blood, long enough for you to ponder whether it was one dragged body or many that left that thick a blood trail from living room to kitchen; to get inside the head of the young man playing dead, long enough to hope, when not one but two gunmen shouting, “Allahu akbar! Allahu akbar!” have passed him by that there will not be a third. There is a third. Long enough that you can appreciate the care with which the girls dressed for the rave, the spangled tube top now hiked over two bullet wounds, the Tupac shirt smeared with dirt and blood, and I am sorry now to tell you of the toddler in Mickey Mouse pajamas; he’s gone, as are the others, some turned to cinder.
I cried typing that for you just now but only once during the screening. A home security camera showed a young father trying to get his two sons, maybe 9 and 11, to the bomb shelter. It’s early in the morning, they each wear only pajama pants, but they make it to the shelter, and then from the left side of the screen, a hand tosses a bomb. The father’s body tumbles into view. I could feel the audience panic; what will happen to those boys? Then we see; they are led out of the shelter by one of the terrorists; he brings them back into the house. One boy keens. He little brother has had an eye blown out in the explosion that killed their father. A terrorist returns, he drinks soda from their fridge and leads the boys out of the house. We do not see them again. The next shot is of Israeli security forces accompanying their mother, she had not been at the kibbutz during the attack, she is looking for her children when instead she sees her husband’s crumpled body. There is no sound, only the mother’s body shaking, it’s as if her bones have all broken at once and she slides down, the soldiers trying to hold her up as she falls in on herself.
* On a somewhat lighter note, Rommel & I recently went on Compound Media’s The Anthony Cumia Show with guest hosts Joanne Goodhart & Bill Schulz (#79, S.D. 72), to talk about … well, whatever we talk about there:
* Speaking of comedy, here’s that classic Vice News piece Moynihan did on the trouble with booking comedians on college campuses:
* Also pret-tay damned funny was this week’s Ask a Jew episode in which Chaya Leah Sufrin and Yael Bar tur brought on Habibi Power Hour co-hosts Mujahed Kobbe and Siraj Hashmi for some, let’s say, interfaith dialogue.
* The committee has produced its recommendation: Frequent guest, former congressman and certified ginger Peter Meijer (S.D. #51, #307, #339, #367, #424, M.O. #184) has indeed thrown his hat into the ring of the upcoming GOP Michigan race for U.S. Senate. Among the less-than-impressed are the Michigan Republican Party (“Peter Meijer voted to impeach President Trump. Remember that”), the National Republican Senatorial Committee (“Peter Meijer isn’t viable in a primary election”), Michigan pollster/quote-machine Richard Czuba (“Donald Trump is going to make the decision about who the nominee is….I think it is a very safe bet to say it’s not [going] to [be] Peter Meijer,” and Jonathan Last (“Why do some men continue to support the parties that cast them aside?”) And yes, P.M. has said that, while he doesn’t regret his impeachment vote, he’s going to “support the Republican nominee” in 2024, even if it’s ol’ whatshisname. Have fun!
* Recognizing that the first rule of (the 100% listener-run) Fifth Column Book Club is that I have no idea what you people are on about, I nonetheless see from the Chat that the next discussion topic is The Satanic Verses, and that therefore we should … drink a brand-new Indian cocktail called the Jai Hind? Sure!
* Upcoming events: There’s a SoHo Forum debate in NYC Nov. 14 with Susan Schneider and Jobst Landgrebe arguing over whether “Artificial intelligence poses a threat to the survival of humanity that must be actively addressed by government.” Also in Manhappenin’ is a Nov. 27 screening of the 30-minute Reason documentary Bitcoin, Bathhouses, and the Future of Energy, at which Nick Gillespie (S.D. #72, #379) will lead a discussion with Zach Weissmueller, Alex Gladstein, and Jason Goodman.
* Comment of the Week comes from ohyahfershure:
This might be my favorite episode title yet. Gold stars for everyone.
Walkoff music feels apropos: