Good Friday Morning, and a sad note this week. The world bids farewell to Norm MacDonald, the longtime SNL and standup comedian. His wry and acerbic humor left a burning trail a mile long, from getting fired from SNL for telling too many OJ jokes, to roasting Charles Woodson at the ESPY’s in 1998, and more. Norm’s interruption of Courtney Thorne-Smith’s interview on the Conan O’Brien show is the stuff of legend, and his infamous moth joke drove everyone crazy. In his book, he wrote, “Death is a funny thing. Not funny haha, like a Woody Allen movie, but funny strange, like a Woody Allen marriage.”
He was always fun to follow on Twitter because he was a sports fanatic and would live-tweet every putt of a golf match. He was a funny guy, and his impact on culture will be missed. He was one of those genuinely fearless comics in that he never cared who he was roasting at a given time. A dying breed in today’s media.
Today, I’m going to dive into some thoughts on AOC’s dress at the Met Gala. It’s one of those stories that’s just irresistible. However, I think I’m hitting it from a different angle than what I’ve seen in conservative punditry. We’ll see. Dive in below, and then links follow.
Where you can find me this week
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The devil is in the details of Biden’s vaccine mandate – The Conservative Institute.
Biden’s State Department coddles terrorists – The Conservative Institute.
The Dress and Symbolism.
Symbology is important. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Ask the Taliban, who have started bulldozing historical sites in Afghanistan, to replace them with “religious schools.” It’s both a power move and the erasure of Afghanistan’s identity, replacing it only with what the Taliban want it to be. We tend to take symbolism for granted in America, but over 9/11, watching people moved by various displays of remembrance, the power of symbolism in America was reasserted, if only for a moment.
Symbolism is something the current administration doesn’t understand or at least understand correctly. Biden wanted 9/11 to be his big hurrah for getting troops out of Afghanistan. Instead, he provided us with a disaster that continues. America and her allies remain trapped in a Taliban death trap. That reality meant that the President had nothing to offer or say on 9/11. The emptiness of the White House during the 20th anniversary of one of our greatest tragedies was symbolic itself; the President who isn’t there continues apace.
I’m in the middle of reading William Safire’s novel “Freedom,” which is part novel, part history of the Civil War. It’s excellent so far. During one of the chapters, I had to stop and look up something about President James Buchanan, the President before the Civil War began. The Wikipedia entry described his actions on the impending Civil War as “incompetent inaction, or passive acceptance” of the southern rebellion.
I couldn’t help but think of Biden with that description, which is terrifying because Buchanan is universally regarded as the worst President in US history — and for a good reason. It’s concerning that we could be sliding past Jimmy Carter territory, though, fortunately, there’s no impending Civil War or secession movement.
Anything can be symbolic (especially in politics). Biden turning his back on everyone is the picture of his Presidency so far. Those pictures are symbolic.
The Met Gala and California.
I found myself thinking about symbolism this week with all the news surrounding Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez’s dress at the Met Gala. If you haven’t seen it, Representative Ocasio-Cortez attended the famous Met Gala in a white dress with “Tax the Rich” across the back. The dress, designed to cause a stir, did precisely that and caused endless amounts of nonsense on social media.
AOC is an attractive woman, and the dress played off that and her “brand” and “social media cred” as the star of democratic-socialism in the US Congress. Contrary to most reactions on the right, I liked the dress. And I found the entire event so thoroughly on-brand for the current Democratic Party that you couldn’t script something more obvious. It was pitch-perfect symbolism.
I didn’t anticipate AOC’s backside becoming the new meme format, but I’ve laughed at several memes.
The dress is emblematic of modern liberalism. AOC perfectly captured that. I laughed at one writer who boldly claimed AOC was undermining the progressive cause by attending a rich function in that dress. Are you kidding? That’s the perfect encapsulation of modern liberalism and the people who inhabit it, both currently and historically.
The Democratic Party is no longer the party of the “little guy,” or “the people.” The Party of Andrew Jackson has forsaken populism for elite life. The Party of Jackson, William Jennings Bryan, FDR, and Clinton is now the party of educated, white elites. The people who fell into that category are shifting towards the Republican Party. AOC’s dress showcases that trend.
Don’t believe me? Check the California recall numbers. Democrat Gavin Newsom won pretty handily. But exit polls suggested broader trends at work:
But a deeper look at the results among Latino voters did provide a glimmer of hope for California Republicans, those who spoke to Newsweek said.
“Gavin Newsom under-performed Joe Biden’s share of the Latino vote by 15 points in his own state — and that was with virtually no outreach by the local GOP,” Giancarlo Sopo, who led the Trump campaign’s Hispanic advertising, told Newsweek. “Imagine what we could do with minimal effort.”
Sopo was comparing exit polls, with the California exit poll of the 2020 presidential election showing Biden with 75% Latino support compared to Trump’s 23% in the deep-blue state.
Steve Kornacki of MSNBC had similar thoughts looking at exit numbers. You see Democrats increasing their lead from Biden in California among college-educated whites, 58%, to now 68%, but falling elsewhere. In 2018, Newsom carried 55% of the white non-college-educated vote; in the 2021 vote, he was closer to 43%. Newsom’s support among Hispanics dropped from 64% to 58%, among Blacks, 86% in 2018, to 81% in 2021 (nearly 1 in 5 Black voters were willing to vote Newsome out).
These were trendlines in 2020, too. Trump was improving with non-college-educated or working-class voters of all races. Democrats continue to run up the score with upper-class whites. In my election aftermath newsletter, I wrote that the trendlines for the next decade for Republicans are very encouraging. Democrats managed to pull off a victory in 2020, but the future is less bright, at least for the moment.
The Dress and modern liberalism.
All of which brings me back to that dress, this perfect snapshot of white-progressive politics. AOC’s dress is the ideal empty “raising awareness” or “social media shock” activism. It’s perfectly on par with something like Michelle Obama holding up a white piece of paper with the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls, as a way of “showing solidarity” instead of doing something about people kidnapped by terrorists. All of this is the sloganeering of a dead political movement, devoid of ideas, and drunk on its own cultural power, comfortable heaping praise on itself for “speaking truth to power,” when they sit in power.
Historically, none of this is a surprise. Democratic socialism has always falsely claimed to represent the people, but it never has. It’s always represented the elites.
As in 1789, the most influential Jacobins of today can be found among the wealthiest and most privileged echelons of our society. While Jacobins such as Robespierre, Danton, Marat, Hebert, Desmoulins, St. Just, Santerre, Sieyes, Tinville, et al., were the public faces of the revolution, it was the rich and super-rich malcontents in the shadows who provided the funding that made the overthrow of the ancient regime possible. Foremost among these was Louis Phillipe II, the fabulously wealthy and infamously degenerate Duc d’Orleans, who hated King Louis XVI (his cousin) and hated even more Queen consort Marie Antoinette (for rebuffing his sexual advances and causing his banishment from court). Joining him were other titled men of considerable pelf (and, usually, libertine habits), to wit: the Duc de Biron, the Marquis de Sillery, the Vicomte de Noailles, the Baron “Anacharsis” de Cloots, the Comte de Mirabeau, the Marquis de St. Huruge, the Vicomte de Segur, and the infamously perverse Marquis de Sade (from whom we derive the adjective “sadistic”).
From the Duc d’Orleans’ Palais Royal these Orleaniste Jacobins unleashed their agents to terrorize, de-Christianize, and depopulate France, in the name of “reason” and the creation of a “Republic of Virtue” based on “Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity.” Christianity was outlawed and churches were closed and/or desecrated; crucifixes were trampled on; Catholic Mass was forbidden; priests and nuns were butchered, exiled, or forced to apostatize. More than 300,000 people, including many women and children, were slaughtered — by guillotine, mass drownings, “fusillades,” and other inventive means of extermination.
The joke in college was always that the genuine Marxists were the trust fund babies, who hid their wealth and standing. They were as much reactionary’s to their upbringing as they were true believers. Was your rich dad paying your bills? Hello, Marxism. It reminds me of one of my favorite stories on this in the Washington Post. They ran a story about how a bunch of rich kids got together and formed a support group on how to give away and handle wealth. They were ashamed.
The rich love being told, “tax the rich.” The same wealthy elites love saying, “defund the police” while living in gated communities or paying for private security. These are the same wealthy whites who pay for dinners where the guest or host tells them how racist they are. These are the same whites who say things like “Latinx,” despite no one of a Hispanic background using it (and some even considering it a slur).
Tom Wolfe mocked these types for decades, and now his limousine liberals are the political power players in America.
The irony isn’t the hypocrisy of the dress. That’s the easy point people make while missing the rest. The irony is that AOC and her dress are no different from Hilary Clinton’s speech to Goldman Sachs or some other Wall Street event. Clinton got castigated by Bernie Sanders and the far-left for these speeches in 2016, but that same crowd loves the “scandalous” dress at the Met Gala.
The ultimate irony isn’t lost on me with the timing, either. AOC walked into the Met Gala in that dress almost ten years to the day that the Occupy Wall Street movement started in Zuccotti Park, New York. That movement, which happened when I was in law school, and where I knew many left-leaning liberals involved, is now attending the Met Gala. Even better? The Occupy movement supports landlord evictions currently. This is from the Occupy Democrats Twitter account this week:
BREAKING: A large Florida landlord announces that he will begin requiring all new and existing tenants to provide proof of COVID vaccination, saying, “You don’t want to get vaccinated? You have to move, and if you don’t, we will evict you.” RT IF YOU SUPPORT THE LANDLORD’S MOVE!
If you’re a Democrat who supports vaccination mandates that keep Americans from dying needlessly — and are looking for the latest breaking news, please RT and follow this account to be immediately notified when we tweet.
I’m going to pause here and time travel back to my 2011 self, sitting in law school, and share this tweet with my past self. Neither of us will believe it.
For all the differences of democratic socialism now and in the past, and I’ve written about those differences, nothing has changed. These are still the same kinds of people, pushing the same types of ideology.
The best dress of the evening wasn’t even AOC’s dress; she just caused the most commotion because of her stature, platform, and beauty. AOC optimized everything for maximum social media impact and got it. She’s a genius in that regard. No, the best dress, representing all the symbolism I’ve talked about so far, goes to Representative Carolyn Maloney, 75 years old and wearing what can only be described as a priestess style dress draped in “women’s rights now” language and an “ERA YES” purse.
Maloney is the perfect encapsulation of the death of feminism in Democratic politics. Maloney is wearing the garb of a movement that can’t even hold together the simple plot of #MeToo. We learned this month that Democratic leaders of #MeToo, are all resigning in disgrace:
Just over a week after Tina Tchen resigned as the CEO of Time’s Up, the besieged gender equity group has now seen a vast portion of its board of directors exit — willingly.
“Time’s Up is ready for new leadership, and we want to move forcefully toward its new iteration,” said exiting board members Shonda Rhimes, Eva Longoria, Jurnee Smollett, Christy Haubegger, Hilary Rosen, Michelle Kydd, Katie McGrath and interim board chair and super lawyer Nina Shaw in a statement posted online today.
What their statement leaves out, the original resignations occurred in “Time’s Up,” because the organization’s founder had helped former NY Governor Andrew Cuomo smear his accusers. Now that organization needs “new leadership.” Or maybe it was revealed for what it was?
Rose McGowen called all of this from the start, and she kick-started this entire ball rolling downhill on Harvey Weinstein and more. This past week, she was on Fox News and campaigning for GOP candidate Larry Elder in the California recall election. She also accused Newsom’s wife of helping aid and abet the Weinstein coverup. Who has more authority here, McGowen or the Time’s Up/Met Gala crew?
All of that was happening against a backdrop in Congress, where US Olympic women’s team members Simone Biles, Maggie Nichols, Aly Raisman, and McKayla Maroney all testified about how the US Olympic gymnastics team turned a blind eye to the sexual abuse they suffered at the hands of Larry Nasser. The worst part? The FBI helped Nasser every step of the way.
Think about that symbolism for a moment. Democrats are all dressed up in empty slogans at the Met Gala. Meanwhile, the woman who kicked off #MeToo is campaigning for Larry Elder. The US women’s gymnastic team is testifying before Congress about the sexual abuse they suffered for decades. The big #MeToo organizations can’t do anything because they’re all grounded for trying to smear Cuomo’s accusers. And Democrats are otherwise too absorbed with themselves at the Met to care.
It truly is an incredible spectacle. The dress was not wrong or bad, however. It was right on brand. It perfectly encapsulates modern liberalism. Don’t ignore the symbolism or mock it; pay attention to it.
Links of the week
Investigate General Milley Now – The Editors, National Review
Facebook Knows Instagram Is Toxic for Teen Girls, Company Documents Show: Its own in-depth research shows a significant teen mental-health issue that Facebook plays down in public – The Wall Street Journal
What Should We Make of Two FDA Experts’ Skepticism about COVID-19 Booster Shots? – Jim Geraghty, National Review
From 2017: Jennifer Rubin Is Everything She Hates about Trump Worshippers – Charles C. W. Cooke, National Review
Norm Macdonald, 1959-2021: You guessed it: cancer. – Sonny Bunch, The Bulwark
Twitter Thread(s) of the week
Satire of the week
‘Jeopardy!’ To Be Hosted By Whoever Is Found Worthy To Wield Mjölnir – The Babylon Bee
Thanks for reading!