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Dandelion Whine: Right-wing media try and fail to generate a controversy over Biden’s weed picking

During the Obama administration — if you can remember that far back — the right-wing press got pretty good at generating controversies out of nothing — collectively clutching their pearls when, say, Obama allegedly dishonored the White House by wearing a tan suit. And them there was the time he ordered spicy mustard for his hamburger, like some kind of fancy-pants snob.

With another Democrat in the White House, you might expect the right-wing press to be pulling phony controversies out of thin air on a regular basis. And, to be fair, they’ve been trying to. But they’re clearly out of practice and so most of their recent attempts have failed big time.

Last week, they tried to get the crowd worked up over Biden’s plan to restrict the average American’s consumption of red meat to only 4 pounds a year — only to discover that Biden had no such plan; they’d been had by a British tabloid’s misleading story.

The right-wing press also tried to get Americans up in arms about the government allegedly sending copies of a kids’ book by Kamela Harris to children stuck in our border camps. Never mind that the govcernment never did any such thing; it turns out that some random person had donated one copy of the book to the kids in a humanitarian drive.

Now the right-wingers are trying to generate some sort of controversy over a strange but utterly insignificant gesture on Joe BIden’s part. Last Thursday, while walking to the Marine One helicopter on the White House laws, Biden spied a dandelion in its seedy phase, then picked it and gave it to his wife.

Now, I don’t know why he picked a weed to give to Jill. It’s a somewhat strange thing to do. But hey, at least the two of them actually seem to enjoy one another’s presence — in stark contrast to the previous First Couple. I doubt Trump would even bother to pick up a wad of dirt to give to Melania.

Is there any logic to Biden’s gesture? Mediaite points out that

[t]here is a folk belief that blowing on a dandelion can grant wishes, but there is little scientific evidence to back this up.

So maybe Biden was trying, in a not-altogether-serious manner, to wish Jill good luck. Or perhaps there was some other private joke between the two of them. Who knows, and more to the point, who cares?

Well, one person who cares is Newsmax host Grant Stinchfield, who had a bit of a tantrum after seeing the footage, declaring

Joe Biden today getting on Marine One and he stops and picks up, I think it’s a dandelion, but it’s a dandelion that hasn’t even blossomed into a flower yet, like that gives everybody asthma. So you blow it, it goes everywhere, and everybody starts sneezing.

Well he picks up the weed and gives it to Jill, that’s, what, I guess is supposed to be some kind of a sweet gesture. … I say it was a planted dandelion there, who knows?

Is he really suggesting that someone literally planted the dandelion there on the White House lawn so that Biden could see it, pick it, give it to Jill, and then reap sweet praises in the press for such an, er, romantic gesture? Maybe.

But he’s definitely not the only right-wing personality who thought something weird and devious was going on. On Fox News, Mediaite reports,

Laura Ingraham and Fox News contributor Raymond Arroyo spent several minutes mocking Biden, snarking that the president had given his wife a “weed” (a common theme among critics), comparing him to Frankenstein’s monster, and decrying the positive coverage that the gesture received.

“It was a sweet gesture, Laura, even if it was a weed, maybe the poor man didn’t know ,” Arroyo said, then joked “Look, at least you didn’t try to pick a lemon off of Jill’s dress, so this is a good thing.”

Fox News host Tammy Bruce, meanwhile, was moved to incoherence by Biden’s little gesture, complaining that the dandelion-picking moment

made the news. That was like the news. This is what we’re dealing with.

[mocking voice] He romantically gave his wife a dandelion.

It’s as though they want us to go into a coma, or do they believe we are infants and we can’t, we don’t know what’s going on, and look, I think it’s nice that when a man picks up a flower in some fashion and gives it to his wife, but he’s the president of the United states, it’s not the news,

We’ve got Covid, we’ve got a border that’s open, we’ve got big enemies looking at us and trying to figure out how to destroy us, and this is the news?

This would be a searing indictment of the triviality of so much political news coverage in the mainstream press — except that the only people talking about it are on Fox News, Newsmax, and, oh, did I forget LewRockwell.com?

“Have You Ever Given or Received a Bouquet of Dandelion Weeds?,” asked writer Thomas DiLorenzo.

I’ve never heard of it; have never seen dandelion “flowers” for sale at any florist or at the section of the grocery store where they sell flowers, or anywhere else. I tried to buy some on Flowers.com but with no success. That’s because it’s kind of like giving someone a bouquet of poison ivy or sneeze-inducing ragweed. It’s cute when a five-year-old child picks a “bouquet” of dandelion weeds for his mom, but creepy and demented when an 80 year-old-man does it. Especially if he’s the man who has his finger on the nuclear button.

But the media are portraying Senile Joe’s asinine picking of a dandelion weed for his wife as some kind of Romeo-and-Juliet moment. Dumb-Ass Americanus is said to be “swooning” all over twitter over it. Jill Biden has that “what an asshole” look on her face in the photos of the event on the internet.

Again, the only people paying attention to the dandelion moment are the right-wingers.

And even they are having trouble caring about it. I looked through Pariots.win — the Reddit-like discussion forum that emerged from the now-banned The_Donald subreddit — to see if I could find anyone reacting to the dreaded dandelion thing. I found only a handful of commenters with anything to say.

There was someone called Crucial8GB who declared

Biden has Dementia. The Democrat Party should be charged with elderly abuse.

There was Tobyrocky accusing the Dems of something like child abuse:

Typical mind of a 5 year old. They give their mom’s dandelions too.

And then there was orrvarpen, who spouted this bit of nonsense that I’m not going to even try to decipher.

Looks like a white rubber duck. And sleepy Joe has gotten gills, did he fall into the deep and cold water of well force one again?

I don’t think “Dandelion-picking Joe” is going to supplant “Sleepy Joe” as a term of opprobrium on the right. But it’s not for lack of trying.

We should expect the next phony controversy to pop up within a few days now. Let’s hope it suffers the same fate as “Joe BIden Picks a Dandelion.”

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Bookworm in hijab
Bookworm in hijab
1 year ago

Alan, did you ever read a book called ‘The World Without Us’? It’s a pretty interesting look at how quickly nature would reclaim human-created landscapes in the event that we all disappeared (the author’s jokey take on that, iirc, was something like “if our alien ancestors beamed us all back to our alien planet” — so not the disappearance of humans due to anything cataclysmic, as that would obviously affect how nature would reclaim our structures). Anyways, your image of the abandoned mine reminded me of it.

Alan Robertshaw
1 year ago

Bit of trivia.

They’ve recently found out that the gold (and some of the tin and copper) in the Nebra Sky Disk came from that very mine. Shows how long it’s been in operation. The scruffy bit in the bottom is a Tailings Lagoon from a mine that was operating into the 1980s. They were producing arsenic; hence the dearth of plants. Still, some life prevails.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1475-4754.2010.00515.x

ETA: @ Bookworm in Hijab

Oh yes; I love that book. And that genre generally. Don’t get me wrong; I like people and us being around! But I do like how nature always fights back. I find myself smiling when shoots come up through tarmac. Like “Yeah, you show us plant.”

Last edited 1 year ago by Alan Robertshaw
Bookworm in hijab
Bookworm in hijab
1 year ago

Alan, that makes me think of a patch I had on a jean jacket (many years ago) that was a dandelion growing through concrete…but on closer inspection the dandelion was a clenched fist, and the slogan was “resistance is fertile”. ?

A friend of mine did a Master’s degree in biology, and while I don’t remember all the details (not a scientist, me), I know her research focused on using wetland plants such as willows to rehabilitate polluted land. Fascinating stuff.

Alan Robertshaw
1 year ago

@ bookworm in hijab

using wetland plants such as willows to rehabilitate polluted land.

That’s exactly what they’re doing.

Bit of history. There’s a massive undergoing drainage system in the area. It takes all the water from the mines into the Carnon River and then into the sea. See here for more details.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_County_Adit

The run-off water though is still full of heavy metal pollutants. You can actually see that in the water. There’s a lot of rivers round here whose name translates as ‘red river’; and they very much are.

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But now they have installed all sorts of plants along the Carnon that absorb the pollutants; and created a number of pools along the way. It seems to be working. And the riverside is now chokka with wildlife. It’s one of my favourite regular walks. You can walk from the north to south coast along what were old tramways and railways; and the southern bit follows the river.

More here on the clean-up operation.

https://mine.nridigital.com/mine_sep19/heavy_metal_the_fight_to_cleanse_cornwall_s_polluted_rivers

You can see the before and after bits.

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Of course now that things like cadmium and lithium are very valuable; there’s all sorts of schemes to extract the metals from the sediment.

Ohlmann
Ohlmann
1 year ago

@Alan : in addition to the economic value, there’s also the fact that regular cadnium and lithium sources tend to involve warlords, child labor, slavery, genocide, or all four. It would be sad to destroy the vistas you share to extract cadnium, but that might still be the moral thing to do.

Redsilkphoenix: Jetpack Vixen, Intergalactic Meani
Redsilkphoenix: Jetpack Vixen, Intergalactic Meani
1 year ago

@Alan,

I’m not sure how viable Pleistocene Park is; but it raises some fascinating thoughts.

You’ll have to ask the Russians about that. 😀

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Pleistocene+Park,+Sakha+Republic,+Russia,+678830/@68.5132223,161.5060425,14z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x5a25ace1aea03bdf:0x18758dcae1b31239?hl=en-us

The original paper I read about the Rewilding (that seems to no longer be online?) did mention some restrictions that would likely have to be implemented in order to accommodate the humans already living in the area(s), like having the reintroduced cheetahs having to stay on ranches to do their hunting. And apparently there’s several places outside the US wanting to do their own Pleistocene rewildings, so there’s a fair bit of interest in that idea overall.

Though given recent advances in extracting DNA from ancient bones, it could be possible to recreate the original animals using their near-kin to create hybrids. Or to just incubate the recreated babies until grown enough to release into the wilds.

Alan Robertshaw
1 year ago

@ redsilkphoenix

like having the reintroduced cheetahs having to stay on ranches

I’m down with that!

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Ohlmann
Ohlmann
1 year ago

@redsilkphoenix : the DNA is probably not enough tho. While theses animals probably rely less than human on cultural transmission, I would say the DNA trick would more create a new somewhat similar specie than actually the original one.

While the intent is noble, I find theses talks of pleistocene parks more than a bit presumptuous. It’s relying on partial informations and recollection from clue to try to create again a biome that failed. Chance of success seem quite low to me.

And while we think it’s human the main cause of their disappearance, there’s probably a ton of other factors of various importance. Not to mention that the current biome isn’t by default any less interesting or worthy than the old one.

Dalillama
Dalillama
1 year ago

Avocados are a relic of that Pleistocene ecosystem. They have huge seeds that no extant herbivores spread, and would’ve been extinct millennia ago if humans hadn’t desperately needed a reliable source of fats and protein after having eaten all the large herbivores that used to spread them. The infamous “cocaine hippos” in Colombia are apparently taking up part of the ecological load the ground sloths used to. Which is just as well, since there’s probably no getting rid of them at this point.

Alan Robertshaw
1 year ago

@ dali

and would’ve been extinct millennia ago

So millennials would have had houses now?

Doesn’t avocado mean dangly trouser parts orginally? Of course, here they still get called avacodo pears; which obviously, they aren’t.

But that was interesting about how they now propagate. They have a life size model of a ground sloth at the Natural History Museum. They were massive!

Last edited 1 year ago by Alan Robertshaw
GSS ex-noob
GSS ex-noob
1 year ago

I like avocados (and they grow near here, so no worries about air miles) and I can’t say as I’m upset there aren’t giant ground sloths roaming around spreading them. I daresay the pronghorns are happy the cheetahs became extinct. A herd of them thundering alongside your car (and sometimes passing you!) is pretty amazing.

I am not a millennial, yet I eat avocado toast regularly. Discuss.

@Alan: yes, the Nahuatl word refers to both the fruit and the gentleman’s tackle.

Maybe people who want to bring cheetahs back to America could get sponsorship money from Cheetos?

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