Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Opinion column roundup: From Trudeau to Barbenheimer to masculinity to climate change polling to the King of Spain

In spite of being late in July, there will be lots of news this week, particularly with the cabinet shuffle coming up. 
But I have also been learning some new stuff this week by reading some good columns - here's a selection:

First, even though Canadian pollsters keep producing convoluted stats about how Trudeau's government is past its best-before date, Trudeau just keeps on keeping on. At Scrimshaw Unscripted, Evan Scrimshaw writes about the Liberals' Lingering Longevity:
...Poilievre might have gone too early – that he might have been better off from the position of doing well while in the leadership had he waited a decade – is very real, because right now, he’s not ready. Allowing his candidate in Portage Lisgar to use a photo of Max Bernier at Pride as an attack, posing for a photo with the Straight Pride Guy, going to the East Coast to talk about gun rights the weekend before a suburban byelection, accusing Justin Trudeau of conspiring with China to commit treason … at some point we have to face the reality of his fundamental unseriousness.
[The Trudeau government] isn’t an unambiguously good government that is guaranteed a win on its merits, but that doesn’t matter if the opposition’s shit. Election are choices, not referendums, and Poilievre ... makes the electorate’s choice for them. ...
At the end of the day, the Liberals are where they’ve often been in this country’s history – in office, and likely about to stay there, not on the merits of their term but because the Opposition has not hit the threshold at which this country overcomes its inertia against toppling Liberal governments. Unless we see a lot of people taking their chance to leave soon – and we won’t – then the idea that this Liberal government is dying should make its way to a graveyard, and usher in a proper understanding of reality. 
Moving on, over at The Present Age, Parker Molloy writes 'Barbenheimer' Takes On the Online Rage Machine and Wins:
It’s been interesting to watch as the same outrage merchants who led the unhinged attacks on Target and Bud Light for the *gasp* scandalous decision to… hire a trans woman (BL) and sell some super generic Pride merch, have struggled to land hits on Barbenheimer....
Watching as professional crybabies like Ben Shapiro tried to get people to boycott “Barbie” because one of the actresses in the film (Hari Nef, who played Doctor Barbie) is trans, and seeing that has absolutely no effect on the film’s success demonstrates that the Bud Light and Target controversies and capitulations only became big deals because Bud Light and Target responded to the outrage as though it were genuine. It was not.
Had Bud Light and Target told the outraged weirdos to pound sand, they’d have avoided the mess, but in the rush to appease the far right, they handed Shapiro and the rest of his Daily Wire goons wins they thought they could use to reshape culture around their own bigoted and exclusionary beliefs. ...
Anyway, I hope that businesses around the country (and world, for that matter) realize that if you ignore these far-right goons or tell them to screw off, members of the Daily Wire’s hate machine will be the ones who come away looking foolish, as Shapiro has in his post-viewing tantrums.
At his substack Everything is Horrible, Noah Berlatsky writes There Isn't a Crisis of Masculinity, Masculinity is the crisis:
...Maybe, instead of babbling about the trendy crisis of masculinity, it might behoove us to actually do something to help the men who are most at risk.
Emba mentions in passing that Black boys often don't have strong male role models. She doesn't mention that that's in large part because Black men and boys are incarcerated at terrifying rates....
Loneliness is discussed incessantly, but a discrepancy almost entirely ignored in masculinity discussions is workplace injury. Between 2003 and 2020, around 4000-5000 men died each year from workplace injuries; only around 350-400 women a year died. ....
crisis of masculinity rhetoric has little to say about the terrifying assault on the rights of trans men, or about the way disabled men are threatened by the ongoing Covid crisis, or about how targeting immigrants affects (mostly male) farm workers....
Reiterating that masculinity should be unitary, strong, and forceful just heightens the crisis at the core of masculinity—that crisis being that no man can live up to an ideal of manhood defined by perfect strength and remorseless perfection.
...When we write think piece after think piece on the crisis of masculinity, are we helping to solve the crisis of masculinity? Maybe instead we're just reinforcing the idea that masculinity is a crisis—an idea that has over many years, harmed many people of every gender.
I was today years old before I learned how polling companies phrase their climate change questions in a way that undercuts public support for government action. In his substack Finding Gravity, Jameson Foser writes The climate crisis is upon us, but pollsters keep putting their thumb on the scale against climate action:
...American pollsters continue to put their thumb on the scale when measuring public opinion about climate change, by asking questions that falsely suggest climate action will harm economic growth. Harvard is far from alone in this; it’s something close to standard practice. Pew Research, for example — perhaps the gold standard in publicly-available opinion research — regularly asks respondents whether they think “Stricter environmental laws and regulations cost too many jobs and hurt the economy” or “Stricter environmental laws and regulations are worth the cost.” Note that both options embed the premise that environmental protection hurts the economy. Pew doesn’t give respondents the chance to indicate a belief that environmental protection will help our economic wellbeing. They simply don’t allow for that possibility.
This pattern of embedding in poll questions about climate change a reason to oppose strong government action on climate change is not only inconsistent with robust economic analysis that finds climate action is essential to economic wellbeing, it is also inconsistent with the way pollsters ask about most other topics.
I can’t recall seeing a public pollster ask “Should we reduce the federal budget deficit, even at the expense of economic growth”? I bet you can’t, either. Yet such loaded questions are the norm when it comes to climate change.
Americans are currently struggling through unprecedented heat waves; much of the west faces catastrophic annual wildfires and the unhealthy air they bring. In the midwest and eastern U.S., which doesn’t traditionally suffer from wildfires like the west, 70 million Americans are suffering through poor air quality due to Canadian wildfires. The climate crisis, still considered by too many a future threat, is fully upon us. It’s long past time for everyone to get much more serious about it. That includes the pollsters who measure how seriously our fellow Americans take climate change.
Finally, on the lighter side, I learned a lot about men's tailoring by following this fascinating thread:


Cap said...

Following the Mulvaney debacle, Bud Light saw sales drop 25% year-over-year, lost its title as market leader to a Mexican brand, and its parent company lost $27 billion in market cap. Anheuser-Busch were literally giving away cases over the Memorial Day weekend, still couldn't move them, and had to reimburse distributors. And Molloy's advice is to double down and tell customers to "pound sand"?! Molloy may identify as a woman, but it's not so easy to identify as a marketing exec.

Cathie from Canada said...

But Cap, I think he is correct -- knuckling under to the right-wing rage machine was never going to get Bud Light back into their good graces - better to just be loud and proud.
Of course, the real right-wing goal was to try to frighten the rest of corporate America away from supporting gay and trans rights.

Anonymous said...

I could care less about Bud Light, but quit while you are behind folks...the ad campaign was a bad idea, end of story. The culture wars have taken over everything, and everything is being viewed through that lens. There is an old saying that if you see every problem as a nail, you will see every solution as a hammer. Sometimes a bad idea, is just a bad idea. You can't just accuse everybody of some type of "phobia" because they didn't like an ad. AD

Anonymous said...

The right-wing drink/drank Bud Light? Wimps!