Open Thread for Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Here we go again:

  1. Signs of Progress in Russia-Ukraine Talks — Which sounds good, although this portion of the subhed doesn’t sound great: “Ukraine Offers Potential Concessions.” The terms should be “Russia pulls out, and leaves Ukraine alone forever.” Doing that without any “concessions” out of Kyiv should weaken Putin to the point of ending his regime, which would leave the world better off. But of course Zelenskyy has to deal with reality, not perfection. I do like the part about Moscow saying it will lessen pressure on the Ukrainian capital. Translated from the Russian, that seems to say, “We now know we can’t take Kyiv”…
  2. Mick Mulvaney gets new gig with major TV network — Further proof that the standards at “major TV networks” have really plunged dramatically.
  3. Lindsey Graham went off the rails when questioning Ketanji Brown Jackson — Kevin Fisher’s “City Watch” column steps beyond the bounds of the city, and mostly I agree with it. And before 2016, Graham would have agreed as well. Of course, that’s when he went off the rails, not last week.
  4. Our cameras turn to the world of sports… This happened days ago, but this is my first post since then. I’ll just say what I said after the disappointment of watching St. Peter’s lose: “At this moment, I very much look forward to watching Duke take the Tarheels apart…” Meanwhile, the Lady Gamecocks continue toward their inevitable victory.
  5. But was Will Smith wrong to slap Chris Rock? — He’s apologized, as gentlemen will do. But do gentlemen really sit still for disrespect directed at their wives?

52 thoughts on “Open Thread for Tuesday, March 29, 2022

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    Bud doesn’t like that I say disparaging things about TV, but he might agree with me on this: I’d love to hear item No. 5 discussed and analyzed on “The Dark Side with Nat X,” which you may recall as “the only 15-minute show on television:”

    You know, if Lorne Michaels has any sense, he’s on the phone right now trying to line up ol’ Nat for a reunion show this coming Saturday…

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      By the way, did you notice how so many people interpreted the slap as an act, as something arranged ahead of time. The Web’s full of that. Conspiracists have brought everything into play except the grassy knoll.

      Which is silly. But I admit that there are things about the incident that might lead to people thinking that, if they’re so inclined.

      The first thing that struck me about Will striking Chris was this: It all came off so smoothly, like something that had been rehearsed.

      Of course, since I don’t watch the Oscars, I read about this first. THEN I saw the video. And I watched it expecting it to be more chaotic than it was. Real violence tends to be messy, sloppy, and very unlike what people see on TV or in movies. This is such a standard fact that I’m really impressed by directors who make their violence clumsy and messy, rather than choreographing it to look “cool” or athletic.

      Smith slapped Rock with the smoothness of Ted Williams swinging a bat, or Tiger Woods swinging a golf club. There was an immediate reaction in my head along the lines of, “He did that well.” As though it were rehearsed, or as though Will Smith goes around slapping people a lot.

      He really popped him, cleanly and efficiently. Practically knocked him over.

      And for his part, Rock recovered… well, the way people recover in movies. He, too, was smooth about it.

      And of course, there was no visible blood or swelling — at least, not that I saw.

      In fact, it was all so clean and smooth and quickly over that it argues against it having been planned. Because it’s not that easy to stage a slap and have it come off that well. Of course, these ARE professionals…

      As I say, I’m not a conspiracy theorist. I think it was real. But I also come away thinking Will Smith is surprisingly good at delivering a blow, and Chris Rock is good at taking one…

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Will Smith also comes away looking smart. Some guys who don’t know anything might think, “Why did he slap him like a woman? He shoulda punched him!”

        But only if he were an idiot. Unless you want to break several bones in your hand, you don’t hit a guy in the face with a bare, unpadded fist.

        Also, a slap is more dismissive. It says, “This is all you’re worth!”

  2. Rose

    Women can defend ourselves against disrespect.
    In any case, confronting Chris Rock with words was appropriate, not violence.

    1. Barry

      I agree but a husband also has a duty to do so as well in many situations.

      About 5-6 years ago, my family was at Disney World and a woman started fussing at my wife about something someone else near her had said. She assumed my wife had said it when she clearly hadn’t. In fact, my wife didn’t even know what was happening at first. But I witnessed it and stepped in- forcefully- to end her fussing. I then explained that the offending party had been another person nearby in the crowd- and the offender wasn’t referring to her either.

      Of course this is just a silly example but I think it entirely appropriate for a husband and wife to be a team in such matters- if they are in the right on the matter.

      1. Ken

        So you’re both fine with someone acting out on TV and yelling:

        “Keep my wife’s name outcho’ fucking mouth!”

        That’s now considered an example of husband-wife bonding, or chivalry or whatever?

        To me, it looked more like a case of excess testosterone. Smith laughed at the joke at issue, then on second thought believed he had to go get his manhood back because his wife was not amused. The joke was paltry, but Smith’s behavior was even more so.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Interesting. I read that a different way. Smith initially tried to play it cool — to show, “We Smiths can take a joke!”

          Then he saw his wife had been hurt. Which changed everything…

          So is this me saying, “He did the right thing?” Not exactly. But I don’t interpret his shift the way you do. I suspect it was about the shock of realizing, “This is not about me being cool. It’s about her being hurt…”

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            At least, that’s what I infer. On the clips I’ve seen, the camera wasn’t on Smith when the change came. It was on Rock. I haven’t actually seen the point at which his face went from politely amused to anger…

        2. Barry

          Im not ok with the physical stuff.

          I think it would have been more effective to walk up to Rock, whisper in his ear that his joke really hurt his wife and that he should be ashamed of himself and then walk back to his seat without saying a word.

          Message sent.

  3. Barry

    More and more information coming out about Trump and this quack lawyer/law professor John Eastman.

    It’s more clear than ever that Trump focused solely on lying and staying in office. It’s clear Trump didn’t care about the law or that he was lying to everyone and himself.

    “A federal judge on Monday ordered John Eastman, an attorney and staunch ally to former President Trump, to turn over a cache of documents to the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection.

    Why it matters: Judge David Carter wrote that Eastman and Trump “launched a campaign to overturn a democratic election, an action unprecedented in American history.”

  4. Doug Ross

    Jen Psaki leaving White House spokesperson job for a gig on MSNBC this spring. I await her unbiased criticism of Biden.

    MSNBC is just FOX with less attractive women.

    1. Barry

      Good for her. She can make some good money. She’s always said she would only do this about a year or so because she has young children and working in the White House offers no family life.

      Jen is quite attractive, especially related to “bones” McEnany and Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

      Plus, I don’t find Fox women attractive like their geriatric male dominated audience does. Way too much fake make up and hair and the short skirt requirement tends to reveal a desperate trait that is very unattractive.

      I have an uncle that watches that crap on Fox religiously. He’s actually a pastor- very old school. He’s retired now. I have been at their house many times when it’s on. His poor wife watches it too- and she clearly believes the propaganda a lot more than my uncle does.

      The funny thing is that I know my uncle watches it solely to watch the women. He’s made comments to me out of ear-shot of my aunt. Nothing super crude but the intention is clear. My aunt told me once something like he watches it so much because he cares about our country” (I was telling them they should turn the channel and watch some old westerns or Turner Classic Movies and relax- that it wasn’t worth wasting their retirement on such stuff and getting upset).

      LOL- I laughed thinking “He’s focused on short skirts” but I didn’t have the guts to say it out-loud.

      But I do give my uncle credit- and many geriatric men like him credit. They get to watch women in short skirts in the morning and afternoon – with their wives sitting right beside them thinking they are focused on the news. LOL. Great scam job indeed.

      1. Doug Ross

        Psaki “attractive” is the embodiment of the saying “in the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king”. Shrill ain’t attractive.

        Aside from AOC who is only reasonably attractive in a relative sense, the typical Democrat woman looks like Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, or Amy Klobuchar. A lot of the pushback on Tulsi was likely due to her appearance. She was the beauty queen in a room full of Shrek’s.

        1. Barry


          I find Psaki more attractive than Tulsi Gabbard. The red hair is an appealing quality.

          But, I admit I don’t really sit around thinking about their attractiveness that much. It’s not really all that relevant to me.

          I mean I didn’t find Sarah Sanders attractive – but that was the least of my issues with her. I focused on what she said more than anything else.

          It’s not as if Republican female senators are winning beauty awards here. I mean if Susan Collins is that for you, that’s fine with me.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            I don’t know much about Jen Psaki, but based on the pictures I’ve seen, I’ll venture to say that she’s probably the most attractive presidential press secretary ever.

            Now, I leave the floor open to those who want to make a case for Ron Ziegler being more your type…

              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                I don’t wish to insult Ms. Myers, not a bit. Perfectly presentable, and all that.

                But “cute” isn’t a word I’d use. Whereas, I really haven’t thought much about Ms. Psaki. I’ve never watched one of her briefings, and have no idea how good she is at her job.

                But “cute” is a word that pops into my head whenever I see a picture of her. Wait, let me check… yes, that’s the woman I’m thinking of…

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    Of course, she’s not my fave press secretary. That would be the fictional C.J. Cregg. But I wouldn’t say CJ was “cute.” CJ is a lot of great things. She IS attractive, bright, witty, engaging, principled, and just plain awesome.

                    But at six feet, she’s too tall to be “cute,” which always implies a diminutive stature among other qualities.

                    Cuteness has its drawbacks. For instance, I don’t think CJ could pull off “The Jackal” if she were cute. It requires a different quality…

                  2. Doug Ross

                    Yikes.. that’s a homeroom mother waiting to yell at another mother for not bringing in the right cookies…

  5. Doug Ross

    Mia McLeod continues to post campaign photos on Twitter showing her at events where everyone else is unmasked while she wears one. She had a slim chance of beating Cunningham anyway due to her paltry fundraising but to continue the mask theatre today is bizarre. She looks foolish posing in photos with supporters as the only masked person. She should just drop out now and let Democrats rally around Cunningham instead of wasting their limited resources on a primary.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        I tried to find a picture in which the Lone Ranger was surrounded by unmasked people, but the best I could do was him and Tonto…

        Wait! I found this one, in which the Ranger and Tonto are posing with Roy Rogers and Dale Evans! You’ll notice that no one is socially distancing.

        I guess the lack of group pictures was that the masked man usually stayed out in the boonies, because Tonto was the one who went to town

        Oh, wait — I’m not supposed to be quoting Cos anymore, am I?…

    1. Barry

      Her mask looks good. Probably a bit of a fashion statement.

      My son wears one almost all the time for the same reason.

      That is aggravates some people is icing on the cake.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        I haven’t seen the pictures y’all are referring to, but there’s a blog post I’ve been meaning to write — about the way masks make so many women beautiful. I don’t know if it’s a mystery thing, or the fact that makeup is more effective on eyes than other parts of the face, or what.

        At one point I was saving up images from news media to illustrate it, but then I lost them. So I haven’t written it. Because it sorta needs to be illustrated…

  6. Barry

    In other news this week

    63 Republicans voted against a House resolution expressing support for NATO.

    Most of Trump’s cult in the House voted against the measure.

    7 extremists Republicans voted this week against a House measure to authorize the collection of information, analyze, and preserve evidence and information related to war crimes and other atrocities committed by Russia.

    The 7 are pro Putin Republicans and all 7 are diehard Trump cultists.

    Conservative news (radio, Fox, etc) and pro Trump radio such as the local WVOC in Columbia haven’t mentioned this vote.

  7. Barry

    Richard Moore has to pick how he wants to die in South Carolina. Execution will happen in April.

    Electric chair or firing squad.

    The State’s recent stories about how difficult the process is on the corrections officials that have to carry it out was very interesting.

    It seems that politicians would be willing to carry out the death penalty themselves. Too cowardly though.

  8. Doug Ross

    It’s interesting (and disappointing) to observe that the two most newsworthy crime related events in SC = the mass shooting at Columbiana Mall and the teen rapist who received only probation – are cases where the defense lawyers are acting Democratic state legislators – Todd Rutherford and Brad Hutto. There should be a ban on legislators involvement in cases in the state where they make laws and appoint judges. It’s not just a potential conflict of interest, it just looks bad ethically. Make a choice – be a lawyer or be a legislator, not both.

    Hutto’s comments about being an advocate for women while getting a light sentence for a creep who repeatedly violated his probation while on trial is par for the course. Talk a great game but take the big money and use his connections to get the kid off.

    1. Barry

      anytime a Republican legislator gets in trouble, they almost always run to Rutherford or Democratic Rep Justin Bamberg to defend them.

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