Paying the Bills

“Money don’t get everything, it’s true
What it don’t get, I can’t use
Now give me money, (That’s what I want)
That’s what I want.”– Berry Gordy Jr.

It’s difficult walking the tight rope between pointing out obvious shenanigans and avoiding those shenanigans to keep from giving them oxygen. That’s the life of commentating. Ultimately, we are all part of the same game. The name of the game is eyeballs. Once you get them focused on you then you get the sponsorship dollars, the speaking engagements, and the gravitas that comes with relevance.

There are those that have natural relevance because they come from a position of authority or they have something meaningful to offer. Then, there are those that use shock and awe to get their name out there. I suppose it’s not a horrible thing if that relevance is used for good ends. It’s problematic when notoriety is used for notoriety sake.

I’ve generally avoided commenting on Candace Owens and Tucker Carlson on these pages. It is difficult to engage someone that is simultaneously making arguments they know are in bad faith while also profiting from those arguments. At least I assume they know better. It’s hard to tell with Owens, but I think we are all caught up with Carlson’s game by now.

For her part, Owens has successfully confused what Black Lives Matter is all about. That takes some talent. We’ve talked about this before, but it bears repeating. There is a difference between a hero and a victim. Owens purposely conflates the two as a way to somehow impugn BLM.

This is particularly insidious and repugnant. There is a reason why we know George Floyd. It is the same reason why we know everyone else that has come across our news feed in the last several years. It is something the civil rights leaders understood from the get go. We tend to react to that which we see. We saw him die. We can’t deny it. We can’t explain it away. Although I guess if you are Owens you can twist yourself into knots trying.

The civil rights leaders wanted people to see them being mistreated. They wanted people like you and me to see them being peaceful and getting bludgeoned anyway. Yet, Martin Luther King Jr, included a sliver about self-purification in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail. He did this on purpose. He knew instinctively what would happen. It’s what Owens has done with Floyd.

The fact that she is gaslighting her own is particularly unsavory. Floyd wasn’t canonized. No one called him a martyr. They simply pointed out the obvious. He’s dead and he shouldn’t be. Whether he was passing a bad twenty dollar bill, high on drugs, or had a criminal record doesn’t matter. He’s dead and he shouldn’t be. He’s dead because an officer overstepped his authority and exacted final justice when it wasn’t his place to do so. He did this as a training officer while his trainees stood by and watched.

What Floyd had done or not done up until that moment doesn’t matter. I suspect Owens knows this and is purposely being obtuse because she is novelty. She can make these bad faith arguments and get paid for doing it. The rest of us would be called racist and rightfully so. I hope she doesn’t spend those 30 pieces of silver all in one place.

As for Carlson, I hardly want to spend too much time on the latest controversy. For those that don’t want to go down the rabbit hole, he suggested on his show that you should call CPS on parents that have their children wear masks outdoors. I hardly know where to begin on this one.

Again, I think he knows exactly what he’s doing and he may even be aware of the amazing hypocrisy of that statement. The MAGA crowd has been all gung ho against masks from the get go. It curtails their freedom. As hard as it is to imagine, there were parts of the world and people in it that regularly wore masks before this pandemic. They did so because of SARS and other epidemics that may have been in their corner of the world even if they weren’t here. Heck, they may have done it because they like the feel of cloth on their face.

Yet, this situation has somehow turned from the freedom not to wear a mask if you so choose into the duty not to wear a mask. If you are all about choice then you should respect the choice of those that choose to follow stricter guidelines than what the CDC recommends just as much as you respect the choice of those that choose to flaunt those recommendations.

What Carlson and Owens have in common is that they know good and well that they are making bad faith arguments. They also know they don’t make their bones dealing in facts. Owens knows that there is a considerable group of people looking to discount this BLM stuff any way they can. Carlson knows there is a group of people that hate masks and look down on anyone still wearing them. Those people happen to be their target audience.

An idiot can’t help being an idiot anymore than I can help being diabetic. I sure can live in a way that mitigates that condition and idiots can slowly learn and become less idiotic. What’s tragic are those that know better and choose to profit on the backs of those that don’t. Maybe they can drive their nice cars and go home to their gated communities built on an empire of gaslighting. They are the ones that have to live with themselves in the end.

Author: sbarzilla

I have written three books about baseball including The Hall of Fame Index. I also write for You can follow me on twitter @sbarzilla.

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