“Life in the Bubble: Being a Conservative in the Media”
Report by Betty Sakai
Forum attendees were treated to tidbits of introspective conservatism by witty blogger and conservative radio personality James Lileks. His blog site, The Daily Bleat, focuses on life as it was in the 1940s to ‘70s. The blog covers many topics from Lilek’s personal life, and politics from a conservative point of view. Also covered are cultural points of interest ranging from art and architecture to movies and music, and a vast repository of vintage advertisements and other jewels from the 1920s to the 1970s. One perennial topic is the Minnesota State Fair.
About the Minnesota State Fair, writing for the Star Tribune, Lileks discussed Minnesota’s State Fair, describing it as awesome, much better than the Wisconsin State Fair regardless of the ranking according to Country Living. He then added he hates the Wisconsin fair as the fair is filled with boorish slobs, the entertainment is garish and banal, and the animals are as stupid as the dullards who gawk at them. His description is a good example of the verbal ability of James Lileks.
Asking what it is like to be a conservative in a newsroom of smart people from a generation unable to accept that what they believe does not work, Lileks painted a verbal picture of life in a cubicle that has little exposure, adding “They change the hay every day.”
Lileks confided that he was a liberal growing up, focused on multiculturalism. Liberals [who now call themselves progressives because “liberal” does not work anymore] feel good about what they believe. They feel good about themselves for what they believe but are unable to accept the fact that their beliefs do not work. The newsroom mantra seems to be: We are here to comfort the affected and to affect the comfortable. Worry and guilt permeate progressive journalism.
He then discussed the insanity of a journalist favoring speech codes. Freedom of the press and free speech is the foundation of journalism, protected by the 1st Amendment, he said.
The Daily Bleat features experiences from Lilek’s life such as (1) the powerful cultural demon ‘Jack in the Box’ popping out with his “googly eyes”, (2) audio clips of almost humorous characters in radio soaps like Matt Neffer: the out of work “Boy Spot Welding Champion of the World” discussing things like whether to call the police if something should change in his backyard, (3) the presentation of a vinyl recording such as the “Echos of Childhood” by once concentration camp prisoner George Feyer (1939…for children 6 to 66), and (4) some “rare historical photos not photo-shopped”. The Daily Bleat is at its best a superior representation of pop culture, ghost ads, and urban studies focused in and around the Twin Cities in Minnesota.
James Lileks is a regular contributor to the center-right social networking and blogging network. He describes himself as a columnist, a fiction writer, and not a journalist. As a student at the University of Minnesota, he worked as a columnist for the Minnesota Daily. In the early to mid-1990s, he wrote for The Washington Post and later for the Star Tribune. He first experienced radio in 1987. In the mid-1990s Lileks appeared on radio KSTP with a new program called The Diner, a fictional show set in the 1950s. The show lasted through the late 1990s on weekday evenings and then for a time on weekend evenings.
In 2013 The Diner was revived on Ricochet.com hosted by James Lileks. For those using Apple software, The Diner is available on iTunes. https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/james-lileks-the-diner/id731225309?mt=2. If other than Apple software: https://ricochet.com/podcast/feed/the-diner to subscribe to the podcast software of choice.
Action at The Diner centers on recollections of daily life in a 1950s diner presented in segments, or episodes. One episode happens when a new computerized portal for ordering breakfast causes glitches. Another centers around turkey-themed music and memories of Pepto-Bismol where no turkeys are pardoned.
Another episode recollects sitting at the counter experiencing The Diner’s survey of jukebox “regrettable Christmas music” mixed in with needless arcade games. In Episode 6 the “roadside restaurant raconteur” takes another look at the “regrettable Christmas music” and searches for a “Rudolph rival”. The Halloween-Rainbow is featured in Episode 5, a haunting foretelling something terrible was about to happen. Easter revives memories of the hierarchy of springtime confections where James Lileks discusses the best ways to sever the ears from a chocolate rabbit while listening to songs about spring and dinosaurs. A wet summer at home and no cruise ship vacation results in The Diner Episode 4 compensating with great rock ’n’ roll music, and James Lileks searching for the perfect summer song in Episode 9.
Those interested in checking out Ricochet.com will find the website promotes conservative conversation and community, a place for engaging voices heard by opinion-makers and political insiders with legendary Ricochet member meet-ups taking place across the country and around the world. James Lileks is a frequent contributor on the National Review website. He is a prominent voice on Ricochet podcasts. Memberships on Ricochet start as low as $5 per month. https://richochet.com/membership and http://www.nationalreview.com/author/james-lileks.
In the Q & A session conducted by Conservative Forum Vice President of Programs Erika Ammirati, Lileks compared those who believe in global warming to those who attend a church. Regarding executive orders from the President, he questioned the difference between executive orders and dictatorial powers. On the question of Hillary Clinton getting indicted or losing the general election, he said he would prefer she lose the election as that would be a complete repudiation. He added that polarization means we know where the other side stands. And his French socialist brother-in-law believes that American capitalism has destroyed the trees to print newspapers. He continues to work on him.
The Forum audience thanked James Lilek with long applause for a great presentation.
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