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Bruce Dowbiggin

Buffett’s Sunny Escapism Masked The Decline In Biden’s America

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Only time will tell if it was time well-spentJimmy Buffett

When singer Jimmy Buffett died last week, many of his chroniclers played “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” as his sign-off tune. The song and its video (filmed at the Square Grouper bar in Jupiter, Florida) became synonymous with his good-time beach creature. His adoring Parrothead fans ate it up.

But Buffett did not write 5 O’Clock Somewhere. It was written by Jim “Moose” Brown and Don Rollins.  Alan Jackson had the hit with it, with Buffet joining him for the end of the recording and video. (Inexplicably, Kenny Chesney turned down the song before Jackson recorded it.)

But his fans didn’t care. It sounded like Jimmy. After all, Buffett DID write Margaritville and so many other romantic odes about the sun, the sand and the sea. (His grandfather was from Newfoundland and was the inspiration for the song Son of a Son of a Sailor.) He was what you wanted him to be— especially if you were an aging Boomer. As long as he lived ‘70s liberals held to his kinder, gentler vision of themselves and their legacy in the Post-Trump world.

“Thinking younger doesn’t quite do it. You still have to do the hard work of, as the Toby Keith song says, ‘Don’t let the old man in.’ And that is my job now, the way I see it.” Ironically, Buffett’s true purpose was to keep the aging ‘old-man’ Boomers from seeing that they were now out of the.loop.

New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd has written a chummy eulogy to a friend whose loathing for Donald Trump was nearly as deep as hers. Buffet just kept it below the surface, lest he upset the non-#TDS followers in his audience. Buffett was just trying to emulate Michael Jordan’s famous ode, “Republicans buy running shoes too”. Dowd? Not so much.

WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 04: New York Times Op-Ed columnist Maureen Dowd poses for a photo with Jimmy Buffett backstage at the 2018 A Capitol Fourth at the U.S. Capitol, West Lawn on July 4, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Capital Concerts Inc.)

Like Biden, Buffett was living a fading American dream. Working class guy sings like a pirate but makes out like a bandit with the hoi polloi. It comes as little surprise that he died a dedicated Joe Biden fan at age 75. As he told Dowd, “Looks like I am welcome back at this White House. I have known Joe a long time, and his favorite song is ‘Come Monday.’ I am honoured.” The Biden Crime Family details suggest that Joe’s favourite song is actually ‘Changes In Attitudes, Change In Latitudes’. No word if Jimmy ever wrote a song called Ukrainian Shakedown or Fire The Prosecutor. .

In Dowd’s piece she recounts Buffett’s eager acceptance of the 2019 Trump quickie impeachment by Nancy Pelosi over exposing the Bidens and their Ukrainian money machine. Buffett asks Dowd in an email, will this be “the rotten piece of bait that finally hooks this sleazy bottom feeder? I hope so.” We now  know that rotten bait was Joe “Come Monday” Biden and his son Hinter’s extortion machine in Kyiv. But like so many of his fans Jimmy remained in blissful denial of that reality.

Politics aside, he was a nice, generous  guy even if he found the pretentions of Dowd clever. “Usually, joie de vivre is a sign you’re not paying attention. But with Jimmy, it was ensorcelling. I went with him to Walter Reed medical center when he sang for wounded Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans. He was able to transport them to a beach with no cares. During the Covid years, he did “cabin fever Zooms” with health care workers from across the country who were Parrotheads.” It’s not his fault that her arch smugness (WTF is ensorcelling?) found a home in his music.

Good on him. For so many Boomer liberals who now believe men can have babies and other absurdities, with Buffett you could pretend you were a JFK Democrat even as you loathed his nephew RFK Jr. He passed on squaring the sordid present for drifted liberals in their Tommy Bahama gear. His conch reality made them feel like urban pirates. So let’s go surfin’ with Justin Trudeau.

He was The Big Chill on a shrimper in the Gulf, an image the DC creatures like Dowd found clever and reassuring. Like the cast of that movie he could identify the spliff and the empty tequila bottle as totems of misspent youth without ever probing the cost of that lifestyle. In his song “Jamaica Mikstaka” he laughs off how his plane carrying Bono was strafed by Jamaican drug authorities who mistook it for an illegal shipment.

In the end the working-class kid from Pascagoula, Florida, would never betray Dowd or his acquired class in affluent Sag Harbor, the Hamptons, the Keys, Aspen and Palm Beach.

Because class is now what defines. As we wrote in 2018 in Traitor To My Class about the tumult after Donald Trump’s 2016 election as president in the United States, “it’s tantamount to a crime against your urban liberal class to think this is anything but a calamity for America and the free world. That class being white educated Boomers who cut their teeth on The West Wing and The End of the Innocence.

The kind of people who still laugh at the tired tropes of Weekend Update on SNL or believe that CNN’s Don Lemon is an honest broker of facts. Obama uber alles. The Canadian iteration of this class might be the most smug. The Trudeau mansplainers who celebrate our healthcare while ignoring that the U.S. takes care of our defence for us. 

I should know. I used to be one of them. As long as I sang from the hymn book I was golden. I have a prize to prove it. Two, in fact. Still know the secret handshakes. Know how to spot a racist or a homophobe when no one else can see one. 

Because I have been one of them, I know that no one in their virtue circle is conservative. They probably know more pygmies than conservatives. So they base their prejudices on cartoons painted for them by Stephen Colbert. It comforts them to condescend.

It’s been remarkable to see the surgical removal of humour from this self-regarding class. As Robert Tracinski of The Federalist says, they’ve immunized themselves against hostile messages. “(F)or years, the left has trained itself in the habit of assuming that the only reason anyone disagrees with them is because of racism. 

“As a consequence, those who live in this bubble tend to reflexively dismiss anyone who brings them a contrary message from the outside world.”

Buffett’s light-hearted lyrics about Cheeseburgers In Paradise aided the denialist wing of his audience in dodging the radical drift they’d allowed in society. It’s not his fault that they mistook Buffett’s good-times recordings and concerts for their reality. But, for all of Dowd’s tender ministrations, it will be his legacy.

Sign up today for Not The Public Broadcaster newsletters. Hot takes/ cool slants on sports and current affairs. Have the latest columns delivered to your mail box. Tell your friends to join, too. Always provocative, always independent.  https://share.hsforms.com/16edbhhC3TTKg6jAaRyP7rActsj5

Bruce Dowbiggin @dowbboy is the editor of Not The Public Broadcaster  A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada’s top television sports broadcaster, he’s a regular contributor to Sirius XM Canada Talks Ch. 167. Inexact Science: The Six Most Compelling Draft Years In NHL History, his new book with his son Evan, was voted the seventh-best professional hockey book of all time by bookauthority.org . His 2004 book Money Players was voted sixth best on the same list, and is available via http://brucedowbigginbooks.ca/book-personalaccount.aspx

BRUCE DOWBIGGIN Award-winning Author and Broadcaster Bruce Dowbiggin's career is unmatched in Canada for its diversity and breadth of experience . He is currently the editor and publisher of Not The Public Broadcaster website and is also a contributor to SiriusXM Canada Talks. His new book Cap In Hand was released in the fall of 2018. Bruce's career has included successful stints in television, radio and print. A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada's top television sports broadcaster for his work with CBC-TV, Mr. Dowbiggin is also the best-selling author of "Money Players" (finalist for the 2004 National Business Book Award) and two new books-- Ice Storm: The Rise and Fall of the Greatest Vancouver Canucks Team Ever for Greystone Press and Grant Fuhr: Portrait of a Champion for Random House. His ground-breaking investigations into the life and times of Alan Eagleson led to his selection as the winner of the Gemini for Canada's top sportscaster in 1993 and again in 1996. This work earned him the reputation as one of Canada's top investigative journalists in any field. He was a featured columnist for the Calgary Herald (1998-2009) and the Globe & Mail (2009-2013) where his incisive style and wit on sports media and business won him many readers.

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Bruce Dowbiggin

Taylor Made: Time ‘s 2023 Person With A Uterus Is A Cultural Swiftie

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It’s a sitcom worthy of Norman Lear. Young woman aspires to be a country singer. Winds up instead— oh, the laffs— becoming a cultural icon for other young women with her confessional songs (“Look What You Made Me Do“), sold-out concerts and distinctive fashion choices.

She has a lunkhead football boyfriend with heart of gold (he pushes Covid vaccines). She flies in to watch him play his games. She writes songs like “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together“. And she’s a Victim! “(The fight with Kim Kardashian) took me down psychologically to a place I’ve never been before. I moved to a foreign country. I didn’t leave a rental house for a year. I was afraid to get on phone calls. I pushed away most people in my life, because I didn’t trust anyone anymore. I went down really, really hard.”

Naturally, Time Magazine votes her 2023 Person The Year. Taylor Swift was (pun alert) tailor-made for the legendary TV producer of All In The Family, Maude and The Jeffersons. Just as Swift defined 2023, Lear defined white urban liberal sensitivities in the late 1960s and onward. His cutting portrait of redneck Archie Bunker was the template for today’s lecture-in-30-minutes TV culture.

The Jeffersons was the epitome of Great Society pandering for white 1960s progressives. Maude was Bea Arthur chewing on the scenery in aid of first-generation feminism, when burning a bra was the funniest thing anyone had ever heard of.

So it’s kismet that the news of Lear’s death and Swift being anointed as Time’s 2023 Person With A Uterus align on the same day. For the crumbling legacy media the empowerment of Swift encapsulates all that they stand for in their opposition to the boor Donald Trump. Waif-ish, cute, fashion-trendsetting— Swift rules the world of their favourite voting demos. “You go, girl!”

The death of Lear at 101, meanwhile, is a nostalgic reminder of the days when three major TV networks and a handful of NYC-based newspapers and magazines determined the culture. When Walter Cronkite declared Viet Nam over on CBS, Lyndon Johnson had no FOX News channel to defend his policies.

(Which inadvertently opened the door for Richard Nixon. Meanwhile, the heavy-handed Bunker parody politicized many rednecks, leading to Ronald Reagan’s accession to POTUS in 1980. But we digress.)

The complacency of the Clever Culture— in the person of Lear protegé Rob Reiner—has been stultifying and self-reinforcing. Eventually most of those captured by it fell wordlessly into the coma of non-binary, cisgendered, trans-accepting, Hamas-has-a-point acceptance that Trump threatens.

It was the same in Canada where for decades CBC dictated the progressive sensibilities to a nation that not only accepted the dogma but paid for it. The appearance this week of their magenta-haired, Brooklyn-based president and CEO perfectly captured that bubble in the 2020s.

Even as Catherine Tait announced that the failing broadcaster was punting ten percent of its workforce, she sniffed when asked by her own National anchor Adrienne Arsenault if Tait and her fellow executives would forgo bonuses as others hit the sidewalk. No comment, replied Tait.

Back in the day when Don Cherry was a thing at @CBC a haughty snob like Tait could brag about the CBC’s inclusivity to justify the Corporation’s billion-dollar grants. “See! We have redneck losers on our channel! We’re diversified.” We wrote about this loss-leader funding strategy in our 2000 book The Meaning Of Puck.

But CBC lost the blue-collar demo when they canned Cherry in 2019 for comments about “you people”. The triumphalism of Cherry’s firing was like the Munchkins in Wizard of Oz celebrating the nasty death of The Wicked Witch. Freed from the bombastic Cherry the Corp was now free to lecture its viewers without interruption.

But that’s not quite how it worked out. Now when Tait and her Woke sensibilities show up it’s just a Brooklyn toff with a $5.4 million home pretending to understand Canada with her hand out. There’s no ornery guy left espousing Remembrance Day poppies and fighting in hockey to prove her Canadian bonafides.

It shows in the TV ratings for The National where audiences of two million are now in the low hundred-thousands (on a good night). Abandoned by traditional viewers uncomfortable with the NDP sensibilities of the news and current affairs departments, CBC has furiously sought to ensnare the younger demographics in its social media operation, (funded by starving its traditional services).

“@jkay Even in my left wing neighborhood, it’s hard to find anybody who watches the CBC. To the extent they still defend it, it’s the CBC they remember from 25 yrs ago, when Peter Gzowski was still around, instead of Carol Off hectoring us about how we’re all racists & garbage feminists.”

Good luck with that, especially if Pierre Poilievre wins a predicted crushing majority and acts on his stated goal of defenestrating the home of announcers who think the Truckers Convoy was a Putin plot. Again, Tait was at her most tone-deaf, calling Poilievre out publicly for his plans for the Corp.

She then doubled down on her gaffe, telling journalist Paul Wells— who’d been hand-selected for a media exclusive—“I understand that my remarks may have caused trouble for some of the journalists who have struggled to get access to this leader and others in the party, and I regret that, of course… Do I regret calling out the wrong of defunding the public broadcaster campaign? Absolutely not.”

She then reinforced her commitment  to producing more of the hectoring, ESG/ Woke crap that no one wants already. While Tait seems oblivious to losing her sinecure as the commuter CEO, most of the employees remaining after this latest cut will be updating their resumés and escape tapes.

No one expects that Poilievre will completely gut the Corp. There’s talk of a buffet of current services— local radio, weather, children’s programming and especially social media— surviving.

But the days when the Corp— like Norman Lear— could force its politics on an inert population are done. Maybe Taylor Swift can write a sing about the CBC’s plight. Wait, she already did: “Is It Over Now?“.

Sign up today for Not The Public Broadcaster newsletters. Hot takes/ cool slants on sports and current affairs. Have the latest columns delivered to your mail box. Tell your friends to join, too. Always provocative, always independent.  https://share.hsforms.com/16edbhhC3TTKg6jAaRyP7rActsj5

Bruce Dowbiggin @dowbboy is the editor of Not The Public Broadcaster  A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada’s top television sports broadcaster, he’s a regular contributor to Sirius XM Canada Talks Ch. 167. Inexact Science: The Six Most Compelling Draft Years In NHL History, his new book with his son Evan, was voted the seventh-best professional hockey book of all time by bookauthority.org . His 2004 book Money Players was voted sixth best on the same list, and is available via http://brucedowbigginbooks.ca/book-personalaccount.aspx

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Bruce Dowbiggin

Rahm Gone: We Should LIV So Long

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Rahm, Rahm, Rahm, you’ve been gone so long, you’ve been gone, gone, gone so long. — Chilliwack (sorta’)

Anyone who says they understand what’s happening in golf world doesn’t understand the golf world. To understate the case, these are not the best of times for the Tiger Woods-dominated PGA Tour. First, Tiger is hardly playing, and he’s still the biggest asset they’ve got. Second, Greg Norman’s LIV Tour is hemorrhaging money but still has a fortune to lure Jon Rahm. Third, NBC punted announcer Paul Azinger for not putting talcum on the backsides of players before he criticized them.

Fourth? Well, consider the past nine months:

After swearing a blood oath to players that he would never make any deals with the renegade LIV golf operation, commissioner Jay Monahan then cut his biggest loyalist, Rory McIlroy, off at the knees in June by announcing he’d secretly concluded a merger deal with the Saudi Arabian Investment Fund that underwrites LIV. (A deal that’s yet to be finally consummated.)

The pampered U.S. darlings of Tiger’s Tour were then eviscerated in September’s Ryder Cup in Italy, an event defined by Patrick Cantlay refusing to wear a team hat. Depending on whom you consult it either tore apart the U.S. dressing room or was no big whoop. (Cantlay lost his Goldman Sachs sponsorship soon after)

McIlroy— who almost came to blows with caddie Joe LaCava during the Ryder Cup— later announced that he was removing himself from his role as a dominant voice on the Tour Players Council. He claimed fatigue and frustration over dividing his concentration from golf itself. Jordan Spieth was announced as a short-term, very reluctant replacement.

That was followed by news that Monahan was out as commissioner just as soon as he completes the negotiations with LIV for the anticipated merger. A likely replacement will need the approval of the oft-injured Woods whose TV star power still dominates the Tour’s television ratings.

However Tiger’s game-but-lame performance last week on one good leg at his own event The Hero Challenge meant that his long domination of the Tour is probably dead and buried. As much as GolfChannel tries to put a smiley face on Woods playing once a month, there is no one to fill the celebrity gap that he leaves.

Which brings us to the worst news for the Tiger Tour: Spaniard Jon Rahm, arguably the No.1 player of the Tour, is taking his act to the dreaded LIV Tour— perhaps as soon as this week. After fervently committing to the Tour earlier this year, Rahm has apparently tired of the Woods/ McIroy cabal that dominates the Tour. Stories have circulated how he’s been frozen out of the south Florida cliques that dominate the Tour.

If he can get some adjustments made to LIV’s format he’ll be paid a reported a staggering $600 M to join his countryman Sergio Garcia’s team at LIV. Remember that Rahm doesn’t need money. He’s got tons. So this move would solely be about pride and reputation.

Perennial grouchy Golfchannel analyst Brandel Chamblee finds it distasteful to do business with the sheiks. “If it were offered to me by the mafia, or in this case at the behest of MBS/Saudis, knowing the money was derived from corruption and used for the benefit of some very bad people, the decision would be very simple. There is a difference between value and values.”

Not that he will disappear into the discotheque world of Phil Mickelson and Greg Norman. Rahm could still qualify for all the Tour majors next year while wearing short pants the rest of the time. The absence of the mercurial Spaniard at the rest of the Tour’s top-level events will leave a huge gap on a charisma-challenged tour. Current No. 1 Scottie Scheffler is about as exciting as The Weather Channel.

While LIV is still an unwatched work in progress, powered by the vast wealth of SA, a Rahm signing shows that the sheiks have no signs of  backing off their challenge to the comfy traditionalists of the Tour. As we see in Gaza, memories go back a long way in the Middle East, and slights aren’t forgotten easily.

Then came the news that the PGA and the R&A in Britain have finally announced that the juicing of golf balls will be stopped. Going forward balls used in competition will have five percent less distance, reducing the threat the supersonic balls pose to the traditional golf courses on Tour, which bombers have brought to their knees with driver/ wedge strategies.

This satisfies Woods, the Tour’s upper echelon and some golf-course architects. For the rest of humanity the decision to remove the most visceral thrill in the sport— knocking the daylights out of your driver—is less positive. Once again, Chamblee is leading the snark (although we agree with him this time). “I appreciate the governing bodies and what they mean to the game, but on the roll back issue they are not only out of touch with the game they govern, but the people that play it. It is a very small number of people that are in favour of a roll back…

“But take the fun out of the game ( FYI, long drives are fun), and demand falls. And, there is absolutely no reason to lengthen golf courses to challenge the best players. Lengthening golf courses is a knee jerk reaction that only makes the “problem” of distance gains worse.”

One small ray of sunshine for Canadians. The Tour has finally gotten the Canadian Open away from its slot the week before the U.S. Open. This year’s week-long celebration ion Nick Taylor’s 72-foot putt will go in the last week of May. Hopefully this will bring a better field. So we got that going for us.

Sign up today for Not The Public Broadcaster newsletters. Hot takes/ cool slants on sports and current affairs. Have the latest columns delivered to your mail box. Tell your friends to join, too. Always provocative, always independent.  https://share.hsforms.com/16edbhhC3TTKg6jAaRyP7rActsj5

Bruce Dowbiggin @dowbboy is the editor of Not The Public Broadcaster  A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada’s top television sports broadcaster, he’s a regular contributor to Sirius XM Canada Talks Ch. 167. Inexact Science: The Six Most Compelling Draft Years In NHL History, his new book with his son Evan, was voted the seventh-best professional hockey book of all time by bookauthority.org . His 2004 book Money Players was voted sixth best on the same list, and is available via http://brucedowbigginbooks.ca/book-personalaccount.aspx

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