We referenced the recent Washington Post meltdown in our 'feel good story of the week' post about left-wing organizations effectively ceasing to function amid endless and all-consuming internal woke recriminations. It was a two-pronged saga featuring a pair of young journalists and infamous drama magnets. One is now out of a job, following a weeklong public nervous breakdown (though her pre-existing lawsuit against the Post is presumably still moving forward). The other is said to be facing new professional oversight. In a Friday evening monologue, Maher focused on the former situation, ripping the now-ousted reporter, her former employer, and entitled, self-absorbed younger workers in general. Savage and deserved:
People keep joking about Maher getting 'red-pilled' over the last few years, but I think that's a misread of his mindset. He's still a traditional liberal, and his contempt for the Republican Party remains palpable. What's changed is that his antipathy for the new Left seems to have grown nearly as powerful these days, and he feels compelled to use his platform to battle forces that he views as illiberal bullies on his own 'side.' Intra-family squabbles can get ugly, and that's what this is. It's often righteous and enjoyable, of course, but conservatives should not hold our collective breath waiting for the moment that Maher finally becomes 'one of us.' He's repulsed by both tribes. And that's fine. It's important to have voices on the center-left fighting these insufferable and destructive forces. As one of the self-identifying 'good Millennials' Maher mentions, I welcome his contributions to the culture wars, even though we often still disagree on any number of subjects. The biting, scorching glee with which he goes after 'progressive' excesses and insanity is both delightful and needed. Relatedly, contrast the slow-motion disaster at the Post with what happened at Elon Musk's SpaceX last week:
Elon Musk’s spacecraft engineering company SpaceX has reportedly fired several employees after they filed a letter of complaint criticizing the outspoken chief executive over his perceived inappropriate behavior. The open letter, first reported by The Verge, criticized Musk’s activity on Twitter along with recent allegations of sexual harassment levied at him. The letter reportedly complained about issues like Musk’s "no ---hole" policy and said his actions negatively reflect on the work and values of SpaceX employees. SpaceX staffers allegedly called his public comments "a frequent source of distraction and embarrassment," and called on top leadership to rein him in. Gwynne Shotwell, president and chief operating officer of SpaceX, then "terminated a number of employees involved" with the letter Thursday afternoon, The New York Times first reported Friday. The exact number of terminated employees remains unknown.
Management alleged that some of the signatories tried to pressure and intimidate others into joining the denunciation of the boss:
“The letter, solicitations and general process made employees feel uncomfortable, intimidated and bullied, and/or angry because the letter pressured them to sign onto something that did not reflect their views,” Ms. Shotwell wrote. “We have too much critical work to accomplish and no need for this kind of overreaching activism.” In her email to staff, Ms. Shotwell wrote, “Blanketing thousands of people across the company with repeated unsolicited emails and asking them to sign letters and fill out unsponsored surveys during the work day is not acceptable.” “Please stay focused on the SpaceX mission, and use your time to do your best work,” she continued. “This is how we will get to Mars.”
In other words, do your damn jobs. Some leftists are denouncing the firings as hypocritical, given Musk's free speech advocacy and criticisms of unevenly-applied social media censorship. This is not a good point. The same people who view cancel culture as "accountability" for 'wrong-thinkers' are outraged by actual accountability for employees who conspire to trash their own boss. Until this very odd moment in time, the act of going out of one's way to disparage one's boss or employer in public would very obviously represent a ticket to unemployment. If one were so appalled by what was happening, and felt the need to speak out on principle, one would blow the whistle in a resignation letter -- not draft a resignation letter -- minus the resignation bit --then expect to get one's preferred results while remaining securely in one's position. This ludicrous sense of entitlement was disrupted at SpaceX, where the complainers were promptly shown the door. Their missive became a resignation letter, because that's what management decided it should be. A deserved rude awakening. It reminds me of this development at Netflix last month:
In light of internal dissension triggered by productions like Dave Chappelle’s controversial stand-up special, Netflix has reportedly issued a memo to its disgruntled staffers, underscoring that the streaming behemoth values the “artistic expression” of its content creators over each employee’s personal thoughts, beliefs and lifestyles. And any worker who doesn’t like it can ’Flix off. “As employees we support the principle that Netflix offers a diversity of stories, even if we find some titles counter to our own personal values,” read the memo, titled “Netflix Culture — Seeking Excellence.” “Depending on your role, you may need to work on titles you perceive to be harmful,” the communiqué continued. “If you’d find it hard to support our content breadth, Netflix may not be the best place for you.” The note, dispatched Thursday, follows ongoing personnel protests of Chappelle’s barbs regarding transgender individuals in the Netflix special “The Closer,” which debuted on the digital platform in October.
Between Maher's broadsides, Netflix laying down the law, and SpaceX's summary firings (and painful lessons like this), might the tide be turning a little bit? Restoring sanity and order requires adults to assert their authority and not cower in fear of activist, left-wing mobs. Things remain unhinged overall, but perhaps we're seeing hopeful signs of meaningful and relatively high-profile course corrections. More, please.
UPDATE - WaPo's other problem journalist/internet scold was back at it over the weekend..