I like Old Fashioneds. I like whisky and bourbon. I enjoy congenial conversations with night nurses who are troubled with what they encounter on their way to their cars after work. Pathogens don’t particularly bother me, and I do like guns. Yes, I really like them. I like the inherent symmetry they have and the comfort they provide. I also am thoroughly enthralled that there are those who would seek to do others harm and are troubled by their victims having access to arms.
The French have a saying. Actually, they have quite a few sayings, some that should only be uttered in the salons of Paris among conspirators wearing green cover shirts and berets, but that is an entirely different blog. Liberté, Égalitié, Fraternité (this famous saying actually ends with “ou la mort”… kind of a poetic, if not somewhat dogmatic, end to the phrase)… I want to talk about the last one… fraternité for a bit.
The idea, I suppose, that our sympathetic revolutionaries were thinking about when they stormed the Bastille and ushered in the Reign of Terror, was something akin to the pleadings of the great twentieth century philosopher Rodney King: “Can’t we all just get along?”
True the word fraternité does have a distinctly masculine connotation, no? Raucous college boys drinking and doing unspeakable things in darkened basements with spatulas and loud music, while coeds experiment with dubious pharmaceuticals in upstairs bathrooms. But perhaps this is just me; I did go to a Jesuit college after all.
Most would agree our language has a certain elasticity to it, or it least it should. Words that once were relegated to a masculine endeavor need not be changed to reflect the reality that women are equally capable of participation. Perhaps the greatest demarcation of our progressive improvement is not the elimination of a word to establish a vague concept of inclusiveness, maybe the very use of the original word is the rebellion in and of itself.
For example, I think we can all agree the now semi-ubiquitous “x” at the end of a pronoun or a haphazardly established “y” may in the end be a giant step backwards (see “Latinx” and “womyn”). Yes, crush the patriarchy with random consonants and vowels, mon chéri!
In any event, back to that whole fraternité thing. I suppose it is reasonable to assume the word was intended to evoke a certain feeling of comradeship, or at the very least a core understanding not to be a jerk.
This finally brings us to Governor Haircut.
As I was driving the other day, I heard on the radio a brief, somewhat amusing, discussion between some panelists about a series of “commercials” The Haircut made, in Florida of all places.
In the commercials The Haircut is seen shilling for California. Essentially, it is a recruitment video letting all of the shackled prisoners of Floridian authoritarianism know that to the west lies a shining city on a hill, a bastion of freedom where individual liberty is held tight to the bosom by every citizen.
This type of adventurism by a governor is not without precedent and, frankly, there is some merit to the practice. A governor of the State is sort of an elected cheerleader and spokesperson, someone who can reach abroad and proselytize the merits of their state to others, recruit business, valued citizens, and industry, seek out the best from underperforming jurisdictions and encourage them to move to their state where greater opportunity exists.
Sometimes the data speaks for itself.
There is not a particularly large number of ads placed in California newspapers by the governors of Texas and Florida encouraging Californians to head east. The brain drain… the producer drain… is well-documented and continues unabated.
Thus, it was a bit of an oddity that The Haircut would go to a state largely populated now by expat Californians to encourage people to… well… move to California.
One of the statements he made was that we “embrace freedom in California”.
Are you fu@#$g kidding me?!?!
While the statement was met with general derision and laughter pretty much across the entire media market where The Haircut vomited his missive, it had an entirely different effect on me listening to it on the radio.
It pissed me off.
It also got me thinking. Perhaps it is time that someone like Governor DeSantis or Governor Abbot, or Governor Noem (or perhaps a joint PSA by all three?) come to California and film a commercial for us. Like The Haircut standing by a palm tree outside of Miami, they could film a little ditty off of Newport Beach Pier. In the ad they can beg us Californians NOT to move. They can tell us that the swell of people fleeing across the California border is becoming untenable, that they understand their low tax rates, their limited government, their higher standard of living is obviously attractive to disaffected Californians, but please… fraternité people!!!
Besides, like the faculty at Harvard University and Bernie Sanders, it is good to keep decrepit socialist authoritarians in place as sort of a museum to mediocrity, a stark reminder that lest we fail to be ever vigilant, we could wind up like them, or California.