The Weekend Jolt

National Review

Happy New Fear

Dear Weekend Jolter,

It’s worth noting the popular tune Happy Days Are Here Again (Yours Truly favors the 1930 version by Ben Selvin and The Crooners) was released at the outset of a Great Depression. Talk about the power of positive thinking (or, singing). It took only a decade for reality to catch up with the lyrics.

Many today are shaking the muck and mire of 2020 off their shoes, confident that 2021 has brought happy days with it. Yes, it might have. Also Might: We might look back one day and wistfully daydream, Remember 2020? Oh that was a wonderful year — compared to what came after.

Whoa! Bill Buckley often reminded us of the holy doctrine that despair is a sin, so this space will opt (cautiously) for this position: that the declaration “Happy New Year” is a statement of fact in addition to being a well-wishing thought. (Okay: with a Biden Presidency, a likely wishful-thinking one too.)

Just 364 more to go! Here to fill up Day One is a plethora of links to NR brilliance. Do enjoy.

 

Just the Links M’am

 Editorials

Louie Gohmert & Josh Hawley’s Election Objections Are Going Nowhere

Brexit: Boris Johnson’s Trade Deal Ends the Fight for Good

Articles

Ryan Mills: Kelly Loeffler Warns of Generational Stakes in Georgia’s Elections

Alexandra DeSanctis: Planned Parenthood Is Helping Staff the Biden Administration

John McCormack: Will the Hyde Amendment Survive the Biden Presidency

Jimmy Quinn: New E.U. Trade Deal with China Ignores Beijing’s Disdain for Human Rights

Jimmy Quinn: China’s Coronavirus Deception: Researcher Decodes Beijing’s Propaganda | National Review

Helen Raleigh: China’s Repression and Aggression Is Creating a Backlash against Xi Jinping’s Policies

John O’Sullivan: Life after Brexit

Ellen Carmichael: Journalists’ Behavior over Luke Letlow’s Death Is Abhorrent — and Telling

Victor Davis Hanson: A Guide to Wokespeak

Madeleine Kearns: Hypocrisy of Woke Corporations: Nike, China & the Uyghurs

Rich Lowry: The Surge in Online Buying and Amazon’s Historic Hiring Binge

David Harsanyi: Homer Simpson: Union Poster Child

Michelle Minton: New Alcohol Guidelines a Victory for Science over Politics

Isaac Schorr: Progressive Dominance of Campus Culture Exerts Real Costs

Madeleine Kearns: Cancel Culture Is a Teenage Nightmare

Michael Washburn: Walker Percy’s ‘The Moviegoer’ Speaks to COVID Crisis and Social Isolation

Stephen Sholl: How Hungary’s Communist Regime Tried & Failed to Coopt Christmas

Capital Matters

Daniel Tenreiro: The Capital Note: Escape from Silicon Valley — to Miami

Paul Gessing: Netflix and Hollywood Benefit from Energy Industry-Backed Subsidies

Phillip Cross: Innovation Is Hard to Measure But Essential

David Chavern: Congress Must Give Local News Publishers Fighting Chance against Tech Giants.

Jordan McGillis: Biden Electric-Vehicle Plan Would Hurt U.S. Manufacturers

Brian Riedl: The Case against $2,000 Coronavirus Relief Checks: On Six Arguments and Myths

Lights. Camera. Review!

Kyle Smith: Promising Young Woman Is a Sad Feminist Cry for Help

Armond White: The New Documentary Time Is Arty Condescension on Prison-Reform Activism

Kyle Smith: Best Movies of 2020: Pixar’s Onward Tops List of Titles That Shone in a Dark Year

 

Take Two: Links Galore, Supersized with Excellent Excerpts

 Editorials

1. We praise the outcome of Britain’s trade deal and the completion of Brexit. From the beginning of the editorial:

Four and a half years after the momentous vote in June 2016, Brexit is finally and fully accomplished with a U.K.–EU trade deal that sailed through Parliament 521 to 73.

It’s over.

The economic uncertainty about the United Kingdom’s “future relationship” with the nascent super-state is finished. The bottom line is that the U.K. will continue trading relatively freely with the European Union, avoiding the economic disruption that would come by falling back on WTO rules in a disorderly exit. Trade will be done through the mechanism of the new trade agreement with agreed-upon provisions for regulations and retaliatory tariffs. Like all sovereign nations, the U.K. can now go about making its own trading arrangements in the world, while keeping faith with its existing covenants.

It’s over.

2. We strongly condemn the legal actions of Congressman Gohmert and others to have Vice President Pence veto the Electoral College results. From the editorial:

Gohmert’s plan is particularly preposterous, in that it would entrench into American law the idea that the incumbent vice president is permitted — perhaps even obliged — to veto the results of any presidential election whose outcome he dislikes. Instead, as president of the Senate, the vice president has a purely ministerial role presiding over the counting of electoral votes by Congress. If Richard Nixon could serve this function after his own heartbreaking loss in 1960, surely Mike Pence can sign off on this year’s results.

That almost no Republican senators have shown any interest in actively pursuing these ploys is a testament to their good sense, which makes it all the more disappointing that Josh Hawley has volunteered to join Brooks in objecting. President Trump has taken aim at the majority leader, Mitch McConnell, for acknowledging that Joe Biden is the president-elect, and at the assistant majority leader, John Thune, for observing that the Mo Brooks plan is destined to “go down like a shot dog.” In Trump’s estimation, McConnell’s statement shows that he does not know how “to fight,” while Thune’s shows that he is “weak.” There is, indeed, a great deal to admire about politicians who give their cause their all. But there is nothing strong or admirable about seeking to overturn the result of a presidential election.

Trump and his team have had ample time to produce evidence of the widespread fraud they allege changed the outcome in key states and have failed to do so. Congress should now do its job and ratify the results in good faith, no matter how much it enrages the president.

If Your New Year’s Resolution Was to Read a Ton of Conservative Brilliance, Well, You’re in Luck: Here Are 17 Links

1. Ryan Mills is in Georgia on the campaign trail with Kelly Loeffler. From the report:

Loeffler wasn’t well known to most voters when Governor Brian Kemp appointed her to the Senate last December to fill the seat vacated by Johnny Isakson, who stepped down for health reasons. In interviews, Loeffler can appear stiff and overly rehearsed. During an early December debate, she almost mechanically referred to her opponent as “radical liberal Raphael Warnock” 13 times. There are online parodies suggesting that she might be a robot.

Like Collins, Loeffler has been an outspoken ally of President Trump since being appointed. And like most of her Senate Republican colleagues, she hasn’t explicitly endorsed the president’s repeated claim that the election was stolen — but she hasn’t ruled it out either.

She believes some of what Trump complains of occurred in her own state. Days after the election, she joined Senator David Perdue in calling for Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger to step down over his alleged “failure to deliver honest and transparent elections.”

Many of Loeffler’s most devoted supporters have embraced the president’s more sweeping claims of fraud. And some have even considered heeding the advice of Trump ally Lin Wood, an Atlanta-based attorney, who has urged Republicans to stay home on Election Day unless Perdue and Loeffler do more to support the president’s efforts to overturn the election.

2. Alexandra DeSanctis finds that when Joe Biden is not in his basement, he’s in the pocket of Planned Parenthood. From the article:

According to Newsweek, Planned Parenthood is now “working closely with the Biden-Harris transition team to ensure they’re ‘ready to hit the ground running day one.’”

“The first thing we would like to see would be an executive order on day one, within the first 100 days, that demonstrates the administration’s commitment to sexual and reproductive health care,” Planned Parenthood president Alexis McGill Johnson told the outlet in an interview.

Jacqueline Ayers, Planned Parenthood’s vice president of government relations and public policy, told Newsweek that the Biden administration should use the federal budget “to indicate how this administration would prioritize these programs that have been woefully underfunded for a long time.” Ayers is referring to programs that would direct federal funding to Planned Parenthood, among other abortion providers.

3. John McCormack says the Hyde Amendment may be aborted by the Biden Administration. From the report:

When Lipinski’s No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act last received a vote in 2017, only three Democrats voted for it. Two of those Democrats won’t be returning to Congress in the new year: Minnesota congressman Collin Peterson lost in the November general election, and Lipinski himself was defeated in a Democratic primary earlier this year that was waged against him largely because of his opposition to abortion. Lipinski thinks there are more House Democrats who oppose repealing the Hyde amendment but voted against the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act because that bill also prohibited elective-abortion coverage in the Obamacare exchanges.

If the House does pass a bill ending the Hyde amendment and Democrats control the Senate, efforts to save it will depend a lot on Democratic senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia. While Montana Democratic senator Jon Tester flip-flopped this year on nuking the Senate filibuster, Manchin has sworn up and down since the November election that he will keep the Senate’s 60-vote threshold for most legislation, including the appropriations bill that funds Medicaid.

In 2016, Manchin said it was “crazy” when Democrats explicitly called for repealing the Hyde amendment in their party platform, and he now says he’d vote against legislation getting rid of it.

4. Jimmy Quinn covers the EU’s trade deal with Red China, and finds the expected: that the “human rights” loudmouths have betrayed those who endure forced labor under the Communist regime. From the piece:

But refusing to conclude negotiations over the agreement would have accomplished one simple thing: denying the Chinese Communist Party-state legitimacy and the greater leverage that comes with these sorts of negotiations and deeper ties. Europe recently acknowledged that China is a “systemic rival” and that curtailing Chinese investment in certain vital European industries is a security concern. This year saw the beginning of a U.S.-EU strategic dialogue to coordinate on China-related issues. The president of the European Council even took to the U.N. General Assembly in September to declare Europe’s allegiance to the U.S. side in the competition with China.

But this was no match for the desire to cater to business interests across the continent, particularly in Germany.

For the past four years, headlines declared that Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron are the new leaders of the free world — the United States, this narrative claimed, had abdicated its responsibility to defend liberal democracy and the Western alliance. There’s certainly no disputing that Donald Trump’s fusillades against NATO, collective defense, and America’s allies strained transatlantic relations (even if they resulted in larger allied contributions to NATO) — but the destructive potential of this agreement dwarfs any of the concrete damage that the president might have inflicted upon the alliance.

Officials on both sides of the aisle are right to be furious about this agreement. It sells out a people targeted for eradication and sets transatlantic cooperation on China back several steps when it’s needed most.

5. More Jimmy, who digs into a new report that sheds light on Red China’s pandemic deceptions. From the article:

“We all know that the official number of diagnosed cases coming up from the Chinese authorities was not reliable,” Zhong told National Review in an interview following the release of his latest research paper in December. “But a quantitative question is, How unreliable are those numbers?”

Many have attempted to answer the same question. Some turned to reports about increased cremations in Wuhan, which suggested that official case numbers in early 2020 were being deliberately suppressed by the authorities. On-the-ground reports from Xinjiang shed light on an outbreak there that took place later in the year and that Chinese officials had downplayed.

But Zhong’s research — based on machine-learning analysis of articles that appear in the People’s Daily, the flagship Party propaganda outlet — offers an inventive way “to analyze the Chinese government’s own words.” It’s called the Policy Change Index (PCI).

“The reason why that actually would work is because words are very indicative of intentions in terms of the Chinese government’s policymaking process,” Zhong said. The idea behind the PCI is that, if the tone used by major state newspapers during the COVID pandemic sounds as urgent as the tone used by the same publications during the peaks of a previous disease outbreak, that could call into question the government’s claim of low case counts.

6. More Red China: Helen Raleigh sees a global backlash coming towards Xi & Company. From the piece:

Without its demographic dividend and with an aging population, China’s economic growth will further slow down at the time when the government needs to keep its growing middle class from demanding a level of political freedom matching their newfound wealth. An aging population would also force the government to allocate more national resources for elder care and social services, which means there will be fewer resources to compete against the U.S. This is probably one of the most important reasons why Xi feels that he has to abandon the so-called strategic-patience guidance issued by Deng Xiaoping, the paramount leader of China from 1978 to 1997, who instructed his comrades to bide their time and avoid any confrontation with powerful external forces until China was in a much stronger position both economically and militarily.

Xi, however, believes that China can’t afford to bide its time any longer. It must replace the liberal world order with a Sino-centric world order before China’s population becomes too old and the Chinese economy becomes too stagnant. However, rather than furthering economic reform and opening up more sectors to foreign investment and competition to strengthen its economy, Xi chose to hide China’s weaknesses and exaggerate China’s economic strengths. He emphasizes self-reliance and utilizing China’s resources to pump up “national champions,” or state-owned enterprises that could compete against global leaders in strategic sectors. Xi feels that nationalism is his new trump card, something he can use to motivate, excite, and unite a billion people all the while strengthening the CCP’s rule over them. Others say that his inward-looking nationalist policies are leading China to the very middle-income trap — in which China’s level of development stalls out before reaching the heights of other modern industrial nations — that Xi and his predecessors tried very hard to avoid.

7. If anyone can illuminate what a post-Brexit Britain will be, it’s John O’Sullivan. From his analysis:

It’s the end of one of the most hard-fought struggles that has ever roiled the British political system, and a great political victory for the prime minister, Boris Johnson, who 13 months ago was fighting — and not visibly winning — a seemingly interminable battle against the entrenched forces of Remainerdom in Parliament and in the wider political establishment. It’s also a victory for the small but principled band of Brexiteers in the Tory European Reform Group (ERG) who were a minority of a Eurosceptic Tory minority when the campaign for a referendum on EU membership began seriously in the 2010 Parliament and who have achieved 90 percent of their aims. And though their names have not been on top people’s lips today, it’s a massive personal triumph for Nigel Farage and Dominic Cummings, too. It will be a scandal and a shame if Mr. Farage is not granted as a tribute the peerage he refused as a bribe, and if Mr. Cummings (who may not want early retirement in the Lords) does not get equivalent recognition.

And as far as any political change can be called irreversible in a democratic society, it looks irreversible or, to be more cautious, reversible only in the very long run. That’s the case because the balance of political opinion in and out of Parliament is in favor of Boris’s TCA and even more in favor of not re-opening the Brexit debate. A YouGov poll showed public opinion supported the deal by 57 percent as against 9 percent rejecting it with 34 percent retreating into Don’t Know territory. The Tory Party, which for most of the decade had been split between one-third that supported the Tory leadership in supporting EU membership and two-thirds wanting (if usually discreetly) to opt out, was today united. All but two Tory MPs voted for the TCA, and their abstentions may not have been for political reasons. (Both ERG members, they had supported Boris’s deal.) For the next generation or two, the Tories will be the Brexit Party without qualifications, if only because they won’t want to return to the deep divisions of the last four years. For almost that long, therefore, they’re likely to occupy the commanding heights of politics and opinion.

8. Ellen Carmichael decries the media ghouls covering the death of Congressman-Elect Luke Letlow. From the article:

Some progressive Twitter activists and left-wing reporters couldn’t wait to begin their grave-dancing. Letlow deserved to die, they mused, because he didn’t take COVID seriously enough. They scoured his online presence to find any proof that he engaged in so-called “denialism.” Some, such as Vox’s Aaron Rupar, pointed to an October video where the then-candidate had the audacity to advocate for reopening the economy while maintaining state and federal precautions on coronavirus. Molly Jong-Fast of The Daily Beast also shared the video. Hundreds of their followers joined in, blaming Letlow for his own death and expressing that he was unworthy of pity because of his politics. For them, his death was further proof that those who dare propose policy prescriptions that differ from their own, no matter how rational or mainstream they may be, just have it coming to them.

Setting aside the lack of evidence for their claim that Letlow denied the dangerous realities of coronavirus, the COVID ghouls and scolds clearly see themselves as worthy and qualified judges of their fellow man. It is they who decide whether or not people act appropriately enough to be spared death by coronavirus. As Michael Brendan Dougherty recently put it, they feel empowered to “turn every sick person into either a blameworthy fool or a blameless victim,” an extraordinarily arrogant and inhumane view of human suffering.

9. Victor Davis Hanson compiles the beginnings of a Woke dictionary. From the piece:

“CULTURAL APPROPRIATION.” This adjective-noun phrase must include contextualization to be an effective tool in the anti-racism effort.

It does not mean, as the ignorant may infer from its dictionary entries, merely “the adoption of an element or elements of one culture or identity by members of another culture or identity.”

Asian Americans do not appropriate “white” or “European” culture by ballet dancing or playing the violin; “whites” or “Europeans” surely do appropriate Asian culture by using non-Asian actors in Japanese kabuki dance-drama.

For non–African Americans, dreadlocks or playing jazz are cultural appropriations; dying darker hair blond is not. A black opera soprano is hardly a cultural appropriationist. Wearing a poncho, if one is a non–Mexican-American citizen, is cultural theft; a Mexican-American citizen wearing a tuxedo is not.

Only a trained cultural appropriationist can determine such felonies through a variety of benchmarks. Usually the crime is defined as appropriation by a victimizing majority from a victimized minority. Acceptable appropriation is a victimized minority appropriating from a victimizing majority. A secondary exegesis would add that only the theft of the valuable culture of the minority is a felony, while the occasional use of the dross of the majority is not.

10. More Woke: Madeleine Kearns hammers hypocrite corporations. From the piece:

Alternatively, if you are a corporation, woke-washing can help boost your brand. A good example of this is when Nike recruited Colin Kaepernick for its “Dream Crazy” commercial in which the former NFL quarterback said, “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.” Shortly thereafter, Nike’s stock rose by nearly 5 percent. The company even won an award for “outstanding commercial” at the Creative Arts Emmys. Supported by Kaepernick’s woke intervention and social-justice street cred, Nike managed to rake in $6 billion. Such is its commitment to racial justice that in the week after the George Floyd riots, it released another ad urging people not to “sit back and be silent” but rather to “be part of the change.”

One would assume, then, that this noble corporate giant, so attuned to and invested in civil rights and social justice, would be just as vocal in opposing slavery in the 21st century. Apparently not. Earlier this year, reports from Congress and the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) found evidence “strongly suggest[ing] forced labour” of the Uyghur Muslims and other minorities under the Chinese government. According to the ASPI, “Uyghurs are working in factories that are in the supply chains of at least 82 well-known global brands in the technology, clothing and automotive sectors, including Apple, BMW, Gap, Huawei, Nike, Samsung, Sony and Volkswagen.”

11. Rich Lowry finds Amazon’s delivery revolution deserving of some accolades. From the piece:

The evidence is that when a behemoth like Amazon pays more, it prompts competitors to follow suit.

It’s hard to review what Amazon has done over the past year and consider it the work of a corporate monster. The company had an unlimited unpaid-time-off policy for its workers when the pandemic began.

It hired temporary workers to replace them and deal with the surge of business, then kept most of them on and began hiring on top of that.

It’s been offering signing bonuses of up to $3,000, and hiring in places in the country where no one else is.

According to the research of Michael Mandel at the center-left Progressive Policy Institute, Amazon fulfillment center jobs pay 31 percent more than retail jobs at brick-and-mortar stores, where pay has basically been stagnant for three decades.

12. David Harsanyi takes a swipe at The Atlantics’ take on Homer Simpson, union poster boy. From the Corner post:

From start to finish, the piece peddles a bunch of progressive myths about the glories of lunch-pail jobs and diminishes the historic gains made by middle-class Americans over the past 30 years (I’ve written on the topic on numerous occasions.) But let’s, for the sake of this piece, accept the premise that in the good old days, men like Homer Simpson, a mere high-school graduate, could hold a steady job at a nuclear-power plant that “required little technical skill” and yet also support “a family of five” and a “home, a car, food, regular doctor’s appointments, and enough left over for plenty of beer at the local bar” all on a “single working-class salary.”

As always, the alleged declining state of the American working class is supposedly tied to the decline of “union membership,” which has “dropped from 14.5 percent in 1996 to 10.3 percent today,” but “protects wages and benefits for millions of workers in positions like Homer’s.”

The real question is: Why in holy hell would anyone want to protect Homer’s job? Homer is a drunken, slovenly, bungling idiot who nearly triggers a nuclear catastrophe on a seasonal basis. Mr. Burns, his boss, is left to praise Homer for having “turned a potential Chernobyl into a mere Three Mile Island.” And yet he never loses his job.

Only unions could possibly believe keeping Homer working is a good idea. And the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant is apparently teeming with equally unconscientious and incompetent union-protected employees who endanger the welfare of the entire community.

13. Michelle Minton says bottom’s up to new alcohol guidelines that defied Nanny Staters. From the piece:

Back in July, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory panel, a group of 20 experts selected by the government to review the evidence, suggested the guidelines substantially cut recommended levels of sugar and alcohol intake. That triggered backlash from the food and beverage industry. But one recommendation in particular provoked an outcry from the scientific community: to halve the limit on alcohol intake for men.

For five decades or more, the scientific literature on alcohol consistently showed a strong link between moderate intake and better health outcomes compared with those who totally abstain from alcohol or those who binge drink. As such, government alcohol advice since the 1990s has recommended women have no more than one drink a day and men have no more than two drinks daily.

Yet the government’s advisory panel recommended the limit for men be reduced to just one drink a day. Such a change implies that the evidence about alcohol intake — on which the panel supposedly based such recommendations — has dramatically shifted in recent years. But that simply isn’t the case. The suggested changes weren’t based on evidence at all but, rather, the apparent agenda of certain members of the panel.

14. Isaac Schorr contemplates a study that tries to debunk the consequences of the left’s campus dominance. From the article:

By and large, students don’t become radicals because they spend their first or second semester being taught introductory sociology or political science by a far-left professor who inspires them to pretend to have read and agreed with Marx. It’s more often a gradual process that sees them become increasingly progressive as they climb the ranks of student organizations and take on leadership roles. Most freshmen arrive on campus wanting to think of themselves as open to others’ perspectives, even conservatives ones. But as they pursue positions in advocacy, pre-professional, and student-government groups as well as prestigious honor societies, the incentives shift. It becomes unfashionable to remain friendly with the Republican from their freshman-year floor. In fact, it is in some cases demanded by their social circles that they publicly denounce campus conservatives.

Another glaring issue with the study’s methodology is how it measures ideology. By asking students what they consider themselves to be rather than designing a series of basic questions about their political views, the researchers throw into doubt the validity of their data and the conclusions they draw from it. Although they claim to be gauging political views, what they are really gathering is students’ understanding of where they fit on a continuum of ideologies. Not only does this fail as a measure of their actual positioning relative to the population, but it is further skewed by the environment they’re in. After spending eight months taking classes taught by liberal instructors and living among a disproportionately liberal population, it stands to reason that they might think of themselves as a bit more conservative, regardless of their actual beliefs.

15. More Madeleine, as she looks at the nightmare that the Cancel Culture has become for teens. From the piece:

Here’s the catalytic nonsense: In 2016, Mimi Groves, then-high-school freshman at Heritage High School in Loudoun County, Va., sent a video to her friend on Snapchat in which she said the words, “I can drive, n*****s.” This ill-conceived and inappropriate message was then shared around until it made its way to Galligan, who, incensed by such racial insensitivity, decided to keep it in order to post it publicly “when the time was right,” which, Galligan told the New York Times, meant the specific moment that would “get her where she would understand the severity of that word.” [emphasis added]

So, Galligan waited for Groves to be accepted to her dream college, the University of Tennessee, whose cheer team she had also made. Meanwhile, in adult land, civil unrest and racial tension was spreading throughout the nation in response to the killing of George Floyd. Now a bit older and more sensitive to such matters, Groves posted her support of Black Lives Matter on Instagram. It was then that Galligan “got her.” He released her recorded slur to Snapchat, TikTok, and Twitter. The reaction was precisely as he had hoped. Groves’s life plans were derailed. She was booted off the cheer team. Her admissions offer was revoked. Complete strangers posted hate-filled messages. All this for a single, flippant, four-word, three-second remark sent to a friend.

The only way that any morally sentient adult could participate in the humiliation of a young person in this way — let alone think themselves righteous — is if they subscribe to an ideology whereby people (however young) are not treated as individuals, with all the context that this demands, but rather as representatives of their racial group. Mimi Groves is a white girl. A baby Karen. An example needing to be made. Indeed, this is the precise logic permeating the staggeringly irresponsible reporting on the incident by the Times’ Dan Levin.

16. Michael Washburn contemplates Walker Percy’s classic novel, The Moviegoer, on its 60th anniversary. From the piece:

It’s fitting that the legendary actor William Holden appears in an early scene of The Moviegoer and becomes the object of the lead character’s speculations. Some of us may recall the exchange that Holden has with Gloria Swanson in Billy Wilder’s 1950 classic Sunset Boulevard. On realizing the former silent-film star’s identity, he exclaims, “You’re Norma Desmond. Used to be in pictures, used to be big.” To which she famously replies, “I am big. It’s the pictures that got small.”

One marvels at the many levels on which this statement is true today. Without doubt, the market is big indeed — the number of people with an appetite for the cinematic experience is many times what it was in 1950 — but the pictures have, quite literally, gotten small, as the closure of cinemas has forced us to watch them on computer screens and tiny phones.

“Certainly, the experience of consecrating a time and place out of the house for a couple of hours of absorption in a virtual world — an experience even the fanciest home theater cannot match, since the household always risks erupting — is a special one. Elements of it include the invisible audience of others in real time, the large screen, the comfortable seats, even the popcorn, but I think consecrated space and time is the most important,” says John Peters, a professor of film and media studies at Yale University.

17. Jolly Old Father Frost: Stephen Sholl retells the tale of the attempts by Hungarian commies to subvert Christmas. From the piece:

Thus, the Christmas tree became the central focus of Christmas, which was transformed from a religious holiday based upon the virgin birth of Christ to the Pine Festival, in which good Hungarian socialists would express gratitude to each other and the Communist Party.

Renaming Christmas and refocusing holiday celebrations helped the regime solve the problem of religion. It also helped with the problem of tradition, by divorcing the holiday from the past and making it into a celebration associated exclusively with the People’s Republic.

The regime had less success in curbing the rampant commercialism associated with Christmas. The best the authorities could manage was encouraging Hungarians to buy their presents from the Soviet bloc, with toys purchased for children touted as proof of the great prosperity Communism had brought the nation. And even then, gift-giving posed an additional challenge: In traditional Hungarian culture, it is the Christ-Child who brings the gifts, a clear problem for those wishing to desacralize Christmas. The solution came in adopting the Soviet model of Santa Claus, Father Frost. Although Hungarians traditionally celebrated St. Nicholas on December 6, the Communist authorities attempted to merge it with Christmas to further supplant Christ’s role in the holiday. Father Frost would now be the bringer of gifts to children, and those who still used traditional Christmas phrases such as, “What did Jesus bring you?” could be reported to the authorities for dissident behavior.

Capital Matters

1. California Here I . . . Go: Daniel Tenreiro reports on the Big Tech flight, and how Miami is luring firms from the Silicon Valley to the Sunshine State. From the beginning of the piece:

The season’s trendiest tech entrepreneur isn’t an AI researcher or Stanford dropout — he’s a 43-year-old politician. Francis Suarez, mayor of Miami since 2017, is leading a surprisingly successful social-media campaign to bring startups and investors to a city better known for tourism than tech. With companies leaving California in droves (most recently Oracle and Hewlett-Packard), Suarez believes that reaching out to the business community will position Miami to displace the West Coast tech hubs.

Fittingly, he’s doing it almost entirely on Twitter. In early December, Suarez responded to a tweet asking, “what if we moved silicon valley to miami,” with “How can I help?” In an interview with National Review, the mayor says they’re the four most powerful words he’s ever written. Since that post — which garnered 2.3 million impressions and won praise from high-profile tech figures — Suarez’s tweets have become a daily ritual on VC Twitter. In contrast with typical political messaging, Suarez engages in a friendly back-and-forth with investors and CEOs — both known and unknown. In the span of an hour, he might go from hosting a town hall discussion to asking followers for policy advice to requesting reading recommendations from investors.

And if Suarez is offering Miami as a new product, he has found a receptive market.

2. Hollywood hypocrites like Netflix are bankrolled by the “fracking” bucks they so love to publicly (and stupidly) decry, writes Paul Gessing. From the article:

But without hydraulic-fracturing technology, oil and gas production in my home state of New Mexico would almost completely dry up. This industry has made New Mexico a major energy producer, a crucial source of revenue and jobs for a state widely recognized as one of the poorest in the country. Fracking has safely opened massive new energy deposits with production concentrated in the Permian Basin, located in southeast New Mexico and shared with Texas. In fact, New Mexico is the third-largest oil-producing state, with over 1 million barrels per day at the end of 2019. One-third of the state’s entire budget is generated by the industry.

But without hydraulic-fracturing technology, oil and gas production in my home state of New Mexico would almost completely dry up. This industry has made New Mexico a major energy producer, a crucial source of revenue and jobs for a state widely recognized as one of the poorest in the country. Fracking has safely opened massive new energy deposits with production concentrated in the Permian Basin, located in southeast New Mexico and shared with Texas. In fact, New Mexico is the third-largest oil-producing state, with over 1 million barrels per day at the end of 2019. One-third of the state’s entire budget is generated by the industry.

That sounds good, but however liberal it may be, the entertainment industry is still the entertainment industry, and the deal comes with a catch. Netflix may be spending in the state, but it will also be receiving a very generous incentive from the New Mexico taxpayer, something of an irony when one-third of the state’s taxes are paid by “wicked” oil and gas.

3. The love affair between capitalism and innovation is very real, says Phillip Cross. From the beginning of the piece:

Innovation is the driving force behind modern economic growth. It allows for new products and expanded choices as well as more efficient ways of delivering them at low cost to customers. Yet despite its primordial importance, innovation remains one of the least understood and hardest to measure processes in economics.

A useful schematic for understanding the problem that innovation creates for economic growth is William Nordhaus’s three types of innovation: run-of-the-mill, seismic, and tectonic. Run-of-the-mill innovations leave the product mostly unchanged (e.g., sliced bread remains essentially bread). Seismic changes leave the basic product recognizable but vastly improve its quality. For instance, food, clothing, books, watches, and basic house furnishings would be familiar to people from the 19th century even if their design and packaging were new.

Tectonic innovations result in a completely new product, a shift “so vast that the price indexes do not attempt to capture the qualitative changes.” In the last century, tectonic changes proliferated for durable goods such as motor vehicles, appliances, and electronics. Services saw even more fundamental innovations, with almost two-thirds of them new to the 20th century, including those within the areas of communications, financial services, mass transit, airplane travel (in this case, of course, from scratch), and most medical car.

4. David Chavern says Congress needs to give local newspapers a fighting chance against tech giants that are prospering off of news-hunger. From the piece:

The government cannot regulate the press under the First Amendment, but in every meaningful respect, these two companies do. They disseminate news publishers’ original content, but they also dictate how it is displayed, prioritized, and monetized. Their algorithms determine what news content is delivered to which readers, and their control of the digital-advertising ecosystem severely constrains potential publisher revenue.

An antitrust lawsuit filed recently by ten state attorneys general highlights the absolutely dominant role played by Google in the digital-ad market that has been responsible for eating into news publishers’ advertising revenue — revenue that news publishers need to be able to reinvest in providing high-quality journalism.

If news publishers had the ability to band together to collectively negotiate with the platforms for compensation for their content, they could get a better deal that might sustain local journalism. But ironically, the federal antitrust law actually prohibits news publishers from working together to seek a level playing field.

5. Blue Collar Joe’s plan for electric cars will kill blue-collar jobs, says Jordan McGillis. From the piece:

The production of batteries is, of course, resource intensive, dependent on cobalt and lithium. While China indeed has a commanding position in the production and processing of the two elements, cobalt can be swapped for alternatives such as nickel, and lithium itself is not particularly difficult to extract.

Though any Elon Musk announcement ought to be taken with a grain of salt, at Tesla’s September “Battery Day” event, he told investors that the company is developing a zero-cobalt battery line that will increase performance and reduce costs. He added that an explosion of lithium production is on the horizon, perhaps by Tesla itself using clay in the American southwest. Even if Musk’s claims fall short, new lithium-production techniques are emerging from nodes of innovation across the globe each year. Just as the production of shale oil marginalized OPEC, market pressure is likely to render moot China’s ore advantage, without any intervention from Washington.

Biden’s plan for an American EV industry overlooks these nuances. Rather than sound geopolitics, his gambit reflects political pandering to U.S. regions that feel diminished by globalization. The Biden campaign’s Made in America plan refers to China 24 times by name; it makes nary a mention of Japan or Korea. The plan flirts with voters’ base instincts and neglects the value that Americans reap through the embrace of global comparative advantages. If American firms are to elevate their EV profiles, it should be because they’ve made market-appropriate decisions — as Tesla has shown is possible.

Biden’s plan to “use all the levers of the federal government” to expedite EV reshoring is more than just unnecessary, it’s unwise. Backing for a domestic EV industry will be more likely to fund those with a knack for political angling than those with a knack for innovating. Consider past government supports for companies and projects promising to expedite an energy transition, including Fisker, Solyndra, Ivanpah, and Crescent Dunes.

6. Brian Riedl finds six arguments against the call for $2,000 COVID-relief checks. From the piece:

Argument 5: Relief money has been diverted to foreign aid.

President Trump called on Congress to cut foreign aid to unpopular regimes in order to increase the relief checks. Indeed, popular memes on Twitter and Facebook erroneously assert that this latest relief bill diverted hundreds of billions of dollars to foreign aid. Reality check: The foreign aid was in the regular $1.4 trillion discretionary spending bill that funds the federal government for the following year, and that separate bill was merely stapled to the latest pandemic-relief bill at the last minute so that Congress could vote on them together. And because foreign aid is part of the annual appropriations budget (subject to its own budget laws and targets), any reduction in foreign aid would almost certainly be reallocated to other regular appropriations, rather than diverted into a separate pandemic emergency bill.

More specifically, total foreign aid is $40 billion annually — just 1 percent of the federal budget — and much of that goes for initiatives such as saving 20 million lives from AIDS in Africa and elsewhere (a program that costs Americans $20 per person), as well as maintaining peace in parts of the world where war and terrorism would be much more expensive for U.S. taxpayers. Critics have seized on the $4 billion in foreign aid for particularly unpopular regimes (most of which President Trump had approved the previous three years, and even proposed in this year’s budget). Setting aside the merits of those programs, they pale in comparison to $3.5 trillion in total pandemic assistance this year, and diverting those funds to relief checks would come to $12 per person — making a mockery of the claim that they could fund $2,000 checks.

Lights. Camera. Review!

1. Kyle Smith finds Promising Young Women not up to confronting a very important issue, and all about a nonexistent one. From the beginning of the review:

Watching the rape-revenge fantasy Promising Young Woman is a grueling experience, but not for the reason intended. The film is built on the enduring urban legend that legions of college women are getting gang-raped on campus by men who suffer no repercussions whatsoever. Never mind that such a crime is such an exceedingly rare occurrence that even a resourceful and diligent Rolling Stone reporter couldn’t find a single instance of it after calling many elite schools and specifically soliciting harrowing stories along these lines; and never mind that the campus-justice system and the media are so heavily stacked against men accused of rape that some have found their lives upended over obviously false charges.

Written and directed by Emerald Fennell, and starring the always-superb Carey Mulligan as the seeker of vengeance, Promising Young Woman is therefore an Issue Movie about an almost nonexistent issue: Horrific gang rapes are assumed to be routine on college campuses across America, yet like those “No Irish Need Apply” signs that supposedly poisoned a previous generation, evidence is elusive. As does the culture at large, the movie proceeds with a blithe lack of awareness that Rolling Stone’s 2014 story “A Rape on Campus” turned out to be fictitious. There is an important issue involving young women, sex, and campus, but the movie (like the culture) refuses to confront it.

2. Armond White convicts Time, the new prison-reform documentary. From the beginning of the review:

By its title alone you wouldn’t know that the internationally praised documentary Time deals with the so-called prison-industrial complex. But the deception goes deeper than that. Director Garrett Bradley looks at the subject by way of Louisiana social activist Sibil Fox Richardson, who calls herself Fox Rich. In 1997, Richardson and her husband were arrested for bank robbery; she took a plea bargain, went to prison, and got out early. Upon release, she reinvented herself, and spent 20 years trying to free her husband, Robert Richardson, who was serving a 60-year sentence.

Part of Fox Richardson’s new identity includes lending family videos to Bradley that put her life in a sentimental context. The sociological aspect of her story gets reimagined, which is to say the “prison-industrial complex” subject is glorified as an art thing: Bradley adds new video material shot by three photographers to the amateur stuff, then edits past and present together, dissolving chronology. The pretty, pugnacious, mercurial Fox Richardson is seen as the ultimate black Millennial stereotype through which black victimization goes on forever.

Bradley denies us the details of or insights into Fox Richardson’s past (not least of which are the circumstances of her giving birth to six boys during the 20-year fight for her husband’s release). Instead, she spins together video koans that blur actuality with cornball imagery of black folksiness, Southern female charm, and resilient youth. It’s a lawyer’s trick: confusing the issues in order to get a jury to exonerate your client. In the film, Fox Richardson idealizes the business partnership she and her husband formed as young entrepreneurs who ran a hip-hop clothing store, which then fell on hard times. Her explanation of the bank-robbery plan? “Desperate people do desperate things. It’s as simple as that.” In one clip, her mother attests, “They did do it.” From there Bradley randomly shows Fox Richardson speaking at prison-reform events where she pontificates, “My story is the story of over two million people in the United States falling prey to incarceration.” Bradley simply ignores the lure of crime, the influence of a criminal culture on society, and her subject’s apparent lack of a sense of personal responsibility.

3. More Kyle, who posits his Top 10 of 2020 films. In descending order, here are two from the piece:

SIX. Apocalypse ’45. Released to mark the 75th anniversary of V-J Day, this documentary implicitly demolishes the fatuous argument, advanced every August, that the U.S. should never have dropped atomic bombs on Japan. The other options — invading mainland Japan or starving it via blockade — would have caused even more suffering for the Japanese, and the U.S. was under no obligation to spend more of our servicemen’s lives while vanquishing an insane and evil death cult. Vivid color footage, some of it never seen before, set against matter-of-fact voice-over narration by veterans of the Pacific War, illustrates the agonizing toll on both sides of the island-hopping campaign across such thunderously defended rocks as Iwo Jima. The film is punctuated with harrowing footage of kamikaze attacks and civilian suicides that illustrate how grotesquely warped was the culture of Imperial Japan. Coming soon to Discovery.

FIVE. The Father. A brilliant, if hard-to-watch, adaptation, directed and co-written by Florian Zeller, of Zeller’s stage play about the dementia that is overtaking the personality of a gruff former engineer (Anthony Hopkins), The Father makes the audience experience a taste of what it’s like to lose track of one’s memories, one’s mind, one’s self. Hopkins makes the most of this wide-ranging role, in which his character (also called Anthony) slips from grouchy to gleeful to domineering to forlorn while his daughter (Olivia Colman) tries to manage his decline. Alzheimer’s has never been presented more devastatingly, and Zeller has a firm grasp of some important, if unpleasant, truths. Previously released but returning to theaters in February.

Elsewhere in the Conservative Solar System

1. At The College Fix, Adam Burnett reports on University of Rhode Island SJWs high on slave-wokery. From the article:

Activists at a public university in Rhode Island are threatening a lawsuit against their school if it does not hire a slave descendant as its next president.

“Some Black, White and Latino students shall join in another class action lawsuit if the next URI President is not an African-American with an ancestry to slavery,” read the list of demands put out by the Diversity Think Tank at the University of Rhode Island.

The complete list of demands spans 46 different points of contention over nearly 15,000 words.

“And, if anyone reading this asks why the next president of URI must be an African-American but has never questioned why URI has had 128-years of white presidents then you must be a racist,” it states.

The list is referred to as the group’s “Declaration of Diversity.”

2. From the White House, President Donald Trump issues a proclamation marking the 850th anniversary of the martyrdom of Thomas Becket. Can you imagine a President Biden doing something like this? From the proclamation:

Thomas Becket’s martyrdom changed the course of history. It eventually brought about numerous constitutional limitations on the power of the state over the Church across the West. In England, Becket’s murder led to the Magna Carta’s declaration 45 years later that: “[T]he English church shall be free, and shall have its rights undiminished and its liberties unimpaired.”

When the Archbishop refused to allow the King to interfere in the affairs of the Church, Thomas Becket stood at the intersection of church and state. That stand, after centuries of state-sponsored religious oppression and religious wars throughout Europe, eventually led to the establishment of religious liberty in the New World. It is because of great men like Thomas Becket that the first American President George Washington could proclaim more than 600 years later that, in the United States, “All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship” and that “it is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights.”

Thomas Becket’s death serves as a powerful and timeless reminder to every American that our freedom from religious persecution is not a mere luxury or accident of history, but rather an essential element of our liberty. It is our priceless treasure and inheritance. And it was bought with the blood of martyrs.

3. At Gatestone Institute, Soeren Kern reports on how U.S. sanctions have crippled the German-Russian pipeline. From the beginning of the article:

The United States is ratcheting up the threat of sanctions against European companies in an effort to deal a death blow to the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline between Russia and Germany. The pipeline would double shipments of Russian natural gas to Germany by transporting the gas under the Baltic Sea. U.S. President Donald Trump, like his predecessor Barack Obama, has criticized the project because it would make Germany “captive” to Russia for its energy supplies.

Trump has been especially critical of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who, in opposition to the United States and many Eastern European countries, has doggedly pursued the pipeline project, which would funnel billions of dollars to Russia at a time that Germany is free-riding on the U.S. defense umbrella that protects Germany from that same Russia.

U.S. sanctions have delayed completion of the 1,230-km (764-mile) pipeline by more than a year and added at least $1 billion to its cost. The €9.5 billion ($11.5 billion) project, which is 90% complete, was initially slated to become operational in 2020, but its completion date is now uncertain after several key participants were threatened with U.S. sanctions and bailed out.

4. More Gatestone: Con Coughlin argues that Biden cannot meddle with Donald Trump’s successful Middle-East policy. From the piece:

Thanks to Mr. Trump’s robust approach to Iran, where he withdrew from the nuclear deal and re-imposed crippling sanctions against Tehran, the Iranian economy has been seriously diminished, thus limiting the ayatollahs’ ability to peddle their pernicious creed throughout the region.

ISIS, and its dream of establishing a self-governing “caliphate,” has been completely destroyed, mainly because, soon after taking office, Mr. Trump gave US commanders the authority and freedom to intensify the military campaign against the Islamist fanatics.

Arguably, Mr. Trump’s greatest achievement in the Middle East, though, has been the success he has enjoyed in breaking the impasse in the Israeli-Arab peace process, with a clutch of Arab regimes — the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco — establishing diplomatic relations with Israel under the so-called Abraham Accords, with many other Arab governments — including Saudi Arabia — said to be giving serious consideration to following suit.

Mr. Trump’s Middle East legacy is not only impressive — it has completely redefined the landscape of the region from the chaos and conflict that prevailed when Mr. Obama left office. Nowadays, the momentum in the region is moving towards peace, not conflict, as was so often the case during Mr. Obama’s presidency.

5. At Commentary, Tevi Troy takes a historical look at U.S.-Israel relations under Democratic administrations. From the piece:

The next Democratic administration, that of Jimmy Carter, was wracked by internal fighting at the highest levels. National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski and Secretary of State Cyrus Vance disagreed on virtually every key issue that came their way, and their disagreements led to constant sniping, with Vance periodically threatening to resign before Carter finally took him up on the offer in April 1980. But Brzezinski and Vance did agree, along with Carter, on one thing. All three favored a tough stance on Israel, coupled with a policy tilted toward the Arabs in the Arab–Israeli dispute. As Carter aide Stuart Eizenstat (more favorably disposed toward Israel) wrote, both Vance and Brzezinski “and usually the president himself” were “aggressively pushing forward a peace process in ways that often alienated Israel and American Jewish leaders.” Eizenstat further observed that “Vance was very pro-Arab. Vance was impossible on this issue.”

Israel did have some important internal allies, including Vice President Walter Mondale. According to Mondale, the administration’s Israel policies “made my life miserable.” He particularly disliked the way that Brzezinski did not allow for a fair process to discuss policy disputes and went directly to Carter to get his way. Eizenstat recalled that Mondale “exploded” when he was interrupted at a Georgetown dinner at the home of socialite Pamela Harriman to be told that Vance had proposed new concessions from Israel to placate the Palestinians.

The culmination of the Carter foreign policy was the Camp David Accords, the Israel-Egypt peace treaty signed in 1979. The treaty brought with it many advantages, but the process of getting there was fraught. Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin was reluctant to go to Camp David because he feared, correctly, that Carter would consistently side with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, leaving Begin isolated. Brzezinski was an antagonist as well, and not just across the negotiating table. Begin and Brzezinski played chess multiple times at Camp David. Brzezinski claimed later that they split two matches, but the author Lawrence Wright later revealed that Begin had won three out of four.

Carter’s administration provided an early preview of the disturbing direction in which the Democratic Party was heading when it came to Israel. While it is true that Bill Clinton has gone down in history as a mostly “pro-Israel” president, the largely aligned Clinton team was in strong agreement over its dislike of the third Israeli prime minister they had to deal with.

6. At The Human Life Review, John Grondelski reflects on Christmas 2020 and the case for public manifestations of solidarity. From the reflection:

Christmas is always hard on some people because the holiday’s joyful, family focus is out-of-kilter with the feelings of aloneness and sorrow that those who are grieving experience. This year social distancing, individual cautions and fears, and legal measures are likely to atomize the season even further, rendering it downcast and muted while — paradoxically — accentuating both families and aloneness.

A pro-life Christmas season must acknowledge the pain many of our fellow citizens are feeling this year. “Acknowledge” means precisely that — to admit and accept grief. The French philosopher Damien Le Guay criticizes modern trends in funeral practices precisely because, by eliminating the public manifestation of mourning as a period of time, we have reinforced a cult of silence around death. Grief is limited to those most directly affected by someone’s death and is usually only expressed in the privacy of one’s home. In public, those who are grieving “put on a brave face” while friends, co-workers, and even other relatives awkwardly avoid the “d” word. As the English anthropologist Geoffrey Görer noted, today we treat death as unspeakably as once we treated pornography. Honestly shared empathy and acknowledgement are in short supply.

It should not be so in 2020. Many of us know at least one person who has suffered the death of a loved one during the current pandemic. The most genuine gift we can offer this Christmas season, especially to them, is the gift of self and time, the spiritual work of mercy, of comfort and consolation. But this work of comforting and consoling others is not abstract. It needs to have concrete expression.

7. Not Brand New, But Still Important: From The Tablet in September, do read Michael Senger’s essay on Red China’s global propaganda campaign advocating lockdowns. From the piece:

Within China, the CCP has pretended to believe its own lies only at its own convenience, reserving the right to use COVID-19 as a pretext for unrelated authoritarian whims — demolishing retirement homes, detaining dissidents and reporters, expanding mass surveillance, canceling Hong Kong’s Tiananmen Square vigil and postponing its elections for one year. In Xinjiang, where over 1 million Uighurs are imprisoned, lockdowns have gone on since January and have involved widespread hunger, forced medication, acidic disinfectant sprays, shackled residents, screams of protest from balconies, crowded “quarantine” cells, and outright disappearances.

The most benign possible explanation for the CCP’s campaign for global lockdowns is that the party aggressively promoted the same lie internationally as domestically — that lockdowns worked. For party members, when Wuhan locked down it likely went without saying that the lockdown would “eliminate” coronavirus; if Xi willed it to be true, then it must be so. This is the totalitarian pathology that George Orwell called “double-think.” But the fact that authoritarian regimes always lie does not give them a right to spread deadly lies to the rest of the world, especially by clandestine means.

And then there’s the possibility that by shutting down the world, Xi Jinping, who vaulted through the ranks of the party, quotes ancient Chinese scholars, has mastered debts and derivatives, studies complexity science, and envisions a socialist future with China at its center, knew exactly what he was doing.

Baseballery

As pitchers go, Gary Peters could be pretty good. His career record — 124-103 with a 3.25 ERA, spent over 14 seasons with the White Sox and Red Sox — was more than OK. Indeed, there were some exceptional years for the two-time All Star. Peters first had a brief Major League stint for the 1959 AL champion White Sox, and spent 1959-1962 bouncing between the minors and the Big Leagues, accumulating there a threadbare 0-1 record in just 14 games.

Come 1963, whatever seasoning that the southpaw had needed was done: On the White Sox roster for Opening Day, he posted a sweet 19-8 record and led the AL with a 2.33 ERA. Officially a newbie, Peters (who for one year attended an NR-beloved institution, Grove City College) also took the Rookie of the Year honors. He led the AL in wins (20) the following season, and in ERA (1.98) in 1966.

But we come today to talk of Gary Peters as a hitter, and, as pitchers go, he was a pretty darned good one. He had a career batting average of .222, with 19 home runs — 15 as a pitcher, four as a pinch hitter (the most by any regular pitcher in modern baseball history).

One of Peters’ pinchers was a doozie. It came in the Windy City on July 19, 1964, against the Kansas City Athletics on a Sunday afternoon, the first game of a doubleheader, as Chicago, the Yankees, and the Baltimore Orioles were all battling for first place in a tight race that would last until the season’s last week (the White Sox finished in second place, one game behind the Bronx Bombers). The July contest was a pitching duel: A’s starter Diego Segui held the Sox to one run on one hit over 8 innings, matched by Chicago starter Juan Pizarro, who pitched 10 innings of one-run ball before being relieved by the great Hoyt Wilhelm. Alas, the Hall-of-Famer gave up a go-ahead run in the top of the 13th.

Leading 2-1, Athletics reliever Wes Stock was confident about securing the win, especially as Wilhelm, a lousy hitter (his career BA was .088) was due up second.

The Baseball Gods had other plans. Weak-hitting catcher J.C. Martin led off the bottom of the 13th with a single, and onto the field strode Dave Nicholson, to pinch hit? Why not: he had slugged 22 home runs the previous year? But Nicholson struck out a heck of a lot too (leading the AL that year with 175), so, nope — the slugger (he’d hit a two-run dinger in the second game) was entering the game to pinch-run for Martin.

There was a pinch-hitter for Wilhelm though. He was . . . Gary Peters.

What happened lives on in White Sox lore. Attempting to sacrifice Nicholson to second base, Peters fouled off two pitches. He then took a called ball. And on the next pitch, Peters hit away, and smacked a Stock deep over the right-field fence. Game over. White Sox win, 3-2. Gary Peters, ace pitcher, who didn’t touch the mound once in the game, won it with a walk-off, pinch-hit home run.

Just sayin’: Wes Ferrell is considered the best hitting-pitcher of all time (over 15 seasons, compiling a .280 batting average with 37 home runs). But you knew that. And next week you’ll know about his walk-off home runs.

A Dios

Little Francesca, for whom some of you had prayed, passed away. Please offer a prayer of solace for the little saint’s parents. Also the dear Jeanne Miles, who sailed with NR on many a cruise, bringing with her friends and family and cheerfulness unmatched, has passed away — we will miss her and we ask the Good Lord to keep in mind her family’s comfort.

May the same Almighty Creator provide you and your family peace and happiness and health in this New Year.

Happy New Year,

Jack Fowler, reached at all hours and for all reasons at jfowler@nationalreview.com.

Recommended

The Latest