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A newspaper. (Photo: Katy Grimes for California Globe)

The Toy Department

Success in politics and government is measured by activity rather than achievement

By Thomas Buckley, June 8, 2023 3:00 am

Back when newspapers still existed – hey, get off my lawn you rotten kids! – there was a common nickname for a certain section of the paper.

News, op-ed, sports, business, real estate, arts, local were all called what they were.  But “features” were called the “toy department.”

The features pages were meant to engage readers in a hyper-personal, feel-good way – it’s always a bit of a day brightener to learn that local librarian Helen Millififlimp has a collection of 78 porcelain frogs and she started that collection the day she was born when her great aunt Dolores bought one to celebrate her arrival and since then she has added one frog per year.  And such stories would always have quotes like “I stick to one a year, but sometimes it’s really hard to choose,” laughed Helen.

While a good feature piece required a certain amount of skill and deft to create, they were still not exactly world changing articles that impacted the day-to-day lives of many people.  They were the icing to make the rest of the daily word cake of wars and crimes and corruption and yet another loss by the San Diego Chargers in the last 8 nanoseconds of the game go down a bit easier.

Now, it seems, as practically every level of government has its own version of the toy department in which electeds focus on easy, performative, hot button topics rather than doing the actual work involved in governing.

And the Blob – foundations, lobbyists, bureaucrats, connected industries and players and the various nabobs and solons and Securitate apparatus – love it because while the silly Scott Wieners and AOCs (and there are definitely some on the right) of the world are off on various social quests the Blob can continue actually running things in peace.

There is no question about the socio-cultural harm done by Weiner-types, but doing something horrible like declaring California trans kids sanctuary state does not directly impact the malign tenders and profiteers who operate the government.

Their ridiculous contracts to fix things they broke will flow, their “who you know” jobs are safe, their ability to do nothing but still get paid rolls along, the power strings they pull to benefit themselves and a small group of others are in no danger of being cut.

And since the Blob literally does not care if the people of the state and nation live or die, the only interaction they have with the toy department is to use it as cover from against prying minds and delicate questions – “hey, we celebrate pride month so there’s no need to look at that check we sent to that pro-censorship group.” And that’s another reason the Blob loves the toy department – it’s very distracting.

The toy department also exists because electeds are lazy and it requires no skill, effort, research, justification to send out a Tweet saying, for example, you want to arrest Ron DeSantis. Why go through the pain-in-the ass rigaramole of, say, fixing the EDD, when you can be guaranteed a headline and an endorphin rush by proudly yelling about something you already know the press will lap right up?

As a former elected, trust me on this. Would you rather just take a popular stance on a fleeting issue and roll around in the accolades or would you rather actually read and dissect the 489-page general plan update that will determine how your city will grow over the next five years?

And since it is true that success in politics and government is measured by activity rather than achievement it is very easy to fall into – or intentionally exploit – that trap of sound over service.

At the federal level, the examples are too numerous to mention but they increase in number daily. Woke CIA and Army recruiting, renaming military bases, AOC demanding action on a whole host of goofiness, etc..

California toy department stories abound, from sanctuary this, sanctuary that to everything Gavin Newsom says about DeSantis to DEI program after DEI program to ensure that water is not racist to renaming things and tearing down statues to well, much of what comes out of Sacramento on a daily basis.

And the Blob just oozes along, never altering its path of domination.

For example, here are some programs that may cost taxpayers serious money but yet have no impact on the Blob, except to make them more powerful and that’s just fine:

  • Increased government spending by 40 percent
  • Driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants
  • Health care for illegal immigrants
  • Violent felons on probation may vote
  • Replaced Columbus Day with Indigenous People’s Day
  • Declared Juneteenth a state holiday

And here’s the funny thing about that list – that’s not California, it’s Minnesota, so while the art of political nonsense may have started here it has certainly metastasized nationwide.

None of this is to say that the toy departments do not do real damage, but that would only matter to the Blob if it damaged them.

Because of the toy department, kids will be harmed by California being a trans sanctuary state.  Benefits for illegals will drive up costs for everyone.  Felons will vote for the people who let them vote.  And society as a whole will continue to corrode.

There are cautionary tales brewing for the Blob, though.  DEI – which definitely got its start in the toy department –  is an exploding industry and has gone from zero to $8 billion in just a few years.

DEI and it’s older, humorless, pedantic spinster sister HR have grown side by side and as they are becoming ever more powerful.

Currently, the Blob is fine with the trend – what bureaucrat ever said no to more forms, more “training sessions,” more rules, more processes, more flow charts, more strictures, and hiring yet another “Assistant Deputy to the Under-Secretary for Sustainable Digital Procurement”?

But – more so with DEI matters – it seems that an island of misfit toys is growing within government and industry – take Bud Light for example and how one woke marketing flunky can tank a popular and profitable decades-old simply by giving a trans grifter $10,000.

The Blob needs to be concerned about the power of the DEI clumplet inside of it.  It is growing, it is entrenching, colleges are educating more cogs to go into the system, and it will be extremely tricky to remove as doing so will cause an avalanche of racism claims that would engulf it.

That toy could go rogue, exploding the Blob and covering everything in acrid goo.

But until then, the Blob will allow/encourage its putative political masters to wander about, exclaiming this, denouncing that, demanding this, excoriating that to their hearts content.

The Blob loves it when the kids go play in someone else’s yard.

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4 thoughts on “The Toy Department

  1. With their out of control spending, the Democrat connected blob will eventually implode along with many of their toys?

  2. The reaction, by politicians and The Blob (some call it the permanent managerial class), to our media markets has been predictable. The Robert Redford film “The Candidate” (1972) ended with the apocryphal quote after an all-gloss no substance candidate won his election: “Now what?”.

    The 1996 Telecommunications Act forced the hand of media companies to either submit to leveraged buyouts by Wall Street corporations or face economic ruin competing against lopsided loan and credit markets. We now live in a media market hermetically sealed off to non-Wall Street competition: movie studios, TV stations, newspapers, magazines, popular web-sites, internet service providers, cell phone companies, book publishers, academic journals – all have been absorbed into a huge ball of debt-backed corporate ownership that uses its control nearly all media to steer our culture in directions that benefit that same corporate ownership. It isn’t enough to sell a kid a comic book – nearly every product is a loss-leader selling us the legitimacy of a tilted playing field and incompetent, parasitic, management.

    Politics as entertainment, as a place for religious ritual with the serial numbers filed off, is all we get now. It is hard to blame the fish who find a way to thrive in the pond they were born in.

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