6/24/24...     14,837.05

    6/17/24...     14,845.88

     6/27/13…    15,000.00


(THE DOW JONES INDEX:  6/24/24... 39,150.53: 6/17/24... 38,589.16; 6/27/13… 15,000.00)





In last week’s Lesson, we reported that the appeal of being a commencement speaker, the New York Times took note (May 24th. Attachment One - reprinted) “seems to be waning.”

The appeal of being a comedian... or, for that matter, any sort of creative thing or person, has deteriorated far past “waning” – under the bootheels of the nice people imposing cancel culture, it might also be said to be officially “waned”.

Speeches delivered by celebrities, athletes and notable figures — normally meant to bring excitement and motivate graduates — are drawing controversy as well, last week’s Lesson also noted, and in ways not typically seen at such venerated events.

“During Harvard University’s commencement ceremony Thursday, a Jewish chaplain, Rabbi Hirschy Zarchi, said he immediately confronted Filipino journalist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Maria Ressa after her address to clarify remarks that he said sounded antisemitic.

Ressa, in her 23-minute speech, began by saying: “Because I accepted your invitation to be here today, I was attacked online and called antisemitic by power and money because they want power and money, while the other side was already attacking me because I had been onstage with Hillary Clinton. Hard to win, right?”

Zarchi said it was unclear whom Ressa was referring to when saying “they want power and money,” but added that the language can be triggering in the context of Jewish people when they are stereotyped as being in control

“The university (was) only the latest to attract attention for its commencement speakers. This month, comedian Jerry Seinfeld faced boos and a walkout while onstage at Duke University in North Carolina.

“Students carrying Palestinian flags walked down the aisle as he spoke and others walked out of the school’s football stadium, where the ceremony was held.”

But there was little dissent and no walkouts after Kansas City Chiefs’ kicker Harrison Butker told students at  the conservative Catholic Benedictine College that:  “Bad policies and poor leadership have negatively impacted major life issues. Things like abortion, IVF, surrogacy, euthanasia, as well as a growing support for degenerate cultural values and media all stem from pervasiveness of disorder.”

He also told female graduates that while “some of you may go on to lead successful careers in the world,” he “would venture to guess that the majority of you are most excited about your marriage and the children you will bring into this world.”  (Attachment Two, Reprinted from May 24th)

Or maybe it’s the cancel culture itself that’s fading – or at least pivoting to reflect the times – the backlash against “offensive” speech generating its own anti-backlash backlash.


The week before Christmas last year, David Fear of Rolling Stone contended ‘The Idea You Can’t Joke About Anything Anymore Is F-cking Ridiculous’  (12/19/23, Attachment Three)

Mister Fear brought forth, as his evidence, Kliph Nesteroff’s new book, “Outrageous”, which traces the history of show business and the culture wars, from minstrel shows to canceled comics.

Beginning with the Russell Brothers... a vaudeville troup that defamed Irish immigrant girls... Fear describes their cancellation as being right out of the 90’s... the 1890s!

Thereafter charting a century-plus of uproar that’s followed scandalous (or in many cases, “scandalous”) moments in show business, Nesteroff “whisks readers on a tour of culture warfare involving everybody from blackface minstrels to the Beatles, the Frito Bandito to Fox News, Jerry Falwell to Jerry Seinfeld.”

A Canadian comic who started writing about vintage comedy for WMFU’s Beware of the Blog, Nesteroff made a name for himself as a funny-business scholar with his essential 2014 history book The Comedians. “Whether it’s Dave Chappelle or Hannah Gadsby or Matt Rife — that’s when the phone rings. Also, when you’re a touring stand-up comic, you tend to do a lot of morning radio. And I found myself getting asked the same question no matter who I was talking to: ‘Oh, well, you can’t joke about anything anymore now, right?’

Dispensing a jokers’ tour of cancelled comics and other artists ranging from Lenny Bruce to Janet Jackson’s breasts to SNL.  “Outrageous”, traces the backlash to stage shows, TV and radio programs, stand-up acts and rock and rap groups from protests against minstrel performers, Thomas Dixon’s pro-KKK play The Klansman (and it’s subsequent film adaptation, The Birth of a Nation), and several iterations of Amos ‘n’ Andy to Puritan campaigners who rallied against Mae West’s controversial stage show Sex to the extent that the comedian would serve 10 days of hard labor after being arrested during a performance.

Of particular interest, Nesteroff writes, is the evolution of one Paul Weyrich... making his cancel culture bones with the John Birch Society’s war against the Beatles, moving on to the Heritage Foundation (funded by Coors Beer) and then joining Jerry Falwell to found the Moral Majority.

“The Council for National Policy, which advised Donald Trump in 2016? Weyrich founded that, too. He didn’t give up. He simply rebranded.”


Scott Leadingham of the Freedom Forum has drawn up a list of his own... “Fifteen Performers Who Have Been ‘Canceled’ (and Why)”  (Attachment Four)

The F. F. differentiates between “Cancelation” (which refers to non-governmental action) and “Censorship” (government punishment of expression). Censorship is a First Amendment issue because it involves government action.  “Cancelation” is not a First Amendment issue “because it exists entirely in the private sphere.”

The F.F. F2 Fifteen begins a bit later than “Outrageous”, starting with Lenny Bruce (the only performer censored by the government) and moving on in time to the Smothers Brothers, Richard Pryor, Joan Rivers, Michael Richards (Kramer on “Seinfeld”, remember?). Rpseamme and Bill Cosby.  Some are political: Kathy Griffin was fired from CNN for displaying a fake severed head meant to look like then-President Donald Trump.  Others are just, well... disturbing.

The Hollywood Reporter reported that protests by 1 (one!) sensitive concertgoer at Madonna’s “Celebration Tour” has resulted in a lawsuit over "pornography without warning, topless women on stage simulating sex acts" (May 31st, Attachment Five)

The complaint also says the singer lip-synced through much of her performance, and Justen Lipeles says that he was sweltering inside the KIA Forum; he became physically ill in the heat and Madonna ordered that the air conditioning be cut off as she performed, the suit claims. The pop star’s tardiness to the stage is also mentioned in the suit.

The Michigan Daily reporter Saarthak Johri voiced the case for cancellation (June 7th, Attachment Six) after David Chappelle aligned himself with transphobes “and ended on the weakest callback of his career.”

As in previous Attachments, the MD waxed historical... in this instance, the etymological origins which the MD traces to 1991’s “New Jack City” where protagonist Nino Brown remarks “Cancel that bitch.”

“Moving forward,” Johri reflects, “the practice of bringing awareness to public figures’ problematic actions along with the coordinated boycotting and eventually harming careers that came with it, brought us to cancel culture’s rise in the digital sphere.”

Pro-cancel (or, at least, pro-restraint) celebrities like LeVar Burton have pushed for cancel culture as a whole to be renamed “consequence culture,” citing that, on the whole, the movement has created an atmosphere of accountability in modern society.

Modern comedy, the MD alleges, has been heavily analyzed for its absurdist trends. But the absurd has always existed in certain brands of humor, because certain people find aspects of marginalized existence absurd. 

For example, it is absurd to some that BIPOC assert the existence of institutionalized forms of racism when laws are no longer constructed around race. It is absurd to them that disabled people deserve systemic obstacles removed in their everyday life when abled people can navigate those obstacles just fine. It is absurd to them that Queer people, in their widely-varied spectrum, can even exist. This absurdity is not only rooted in a lack of empathy for other conditions but instead a lack of nuance, as they reduce the world to simple systems that are designed to marginalize. This is bigoted humor... “humor rooted in stereotypes isn’t just unfunny from an analytical standpoint, it isn’t just derogatory, it’s dehumanizing.”

Comedians have attempted to elevate themselves above us “sheep”, Johri accuses... citing George Carlin’s call — to “punch up” — to direct their mockery to those higher in power: the government, the rich and other societally privileged members. This is the answer to Chappelle’s question halfway through “The Closer”: “Punching down — the fuck does that mean?” and Johri elevates the comedic to the existential:  “the credibility of comics will be shredded but it ultimately will be us thrown to the wolves.”

Comics are shredding their credibility by constantly crying cancel culture and are neglecting their societal duty to the flock below them. “Us “sheep” are their livelihoods, and the wolves are preparing to pounce.”

One comedian Melanie McFarland of the liberal Salon would love to cancel (May 16th, Attachment Seven) is the “odious” Bill Maher whose Club Random” podcast was corrected by one Bill Burr upon the phenomenon of cancellous culture... then and now.

 “I remember whenever that cancel culture got to the point when it was, ‘I don’t like some of the topics in your stand-up act.’ That’s when it got weird,” Burr said, adding, “That’s all over.”

“What’s over? Cancel culture?” Maher says incredulously.

“Yeah. No one cares anymore,” Burr said. 

Another victim for whom Salon has no pity is Jerry Seinfeld who... despite being run out of places like Duke for his pro-Israel anti-Hamas heresy... has added to his fortune and fame by producing entirely toothless popular content like “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” and his latest project “Unfrosted,” a fabulized history of the Pop-Tart’s invention.  None of which qualifies as un-P.C. or even edgy.

Reducing someone’s hurtful (and yes, illegal) actions or the gatekeepers’ inaction to remedy workplace abuses to “not a cool thing” teaches the public that “making amends and delivering restitution to those harmed is unimportant. Allowing the laughter to resume matters most.”

More than the suffering of 47 former DeGeneres employees, Salon describes: “who detailed their painful experiences to BuzzFeed, some of whom left the business after working for “Ellen”?

“Yes,” Evan Nierman of The Hill, contends, by implication (3/24/23, Attachment Eight) posting the example of Joe Rogan... another escaped prisoner of the cancel culture who came under heavy fire in 2022 for a multitude of controversial takes, but weathered the movement to cancel his Spotify podcast. “After addressing the controversy head-on and refusing to be canceled, his subscribership increased by over 2 million listeners.”

One of the things that has always set America apart is our willingness to entertain a range of opinions, perspectives, and views. The First Amendment has provided iron-clad protection for citizens, who possess the freedom not only to hold unpopular views, but to express them openly.

Even false flag views... as witness Daniel Tosh, who often makes purposefully offensive jokes, defended cancel culture as a positive force for society on a recent podcast appearance. (New York Post, Attachment Nine)

After imitating a “hateful redneck” accent and rhetorically wondering how soon he would be told he is not allowed to do that imitation anymore, Tosh was asked what he thinks about cancel culture.

“I think it’s great. Cancel people. I think people deserve it and you know, obviously, it’s not a real thing where, like, ‘Oh, your livelihood is gone,’” he claimed to his guest, wellness expert Rosie Acosta. “As someone who’s done things and said horrible things constantly, I’ve had backlash and I deserve it.”


Wrapped in their summer cloaks of importancy and influence, wielding light sabers with which to zap any Catholic cancellations awaiting, eight American comedians thusly voyaged over the waves to meet with the high, holy primate: Pope Frank,

They needn’t have worried.  This Pope, at least, was hip.


Pope Francis scheduled a meeting with over a hundred famous comedians from around the world (including eight Americans) for the Vatican on Friday, 14 June, the Holy See Press Office announced.  The audience, (the official term for the meeting, not the attendants) was jointly organized by the Vatican's Dicastery for Culture and Education and Dicastery for Communication (United States attendee James Martin S.J. assisting with the selection), and more than 100 entertainers gatjered in the Apostolic Palace at 8:30 a.m., intending to "establish a link" between the Catholic Church and the comedy community, promising to be “a moment of meaningful intercultural dialogue and sharing of joy and hope."  (The Vatican News, Attachment Ten – see therein the full list... over two thirds of whom were Italian)

Perhaps Pope Frank perceived the need to do a little bit of wokistry after he was quoted using a vulgar term about gays to reaffirm the Catholic Church’s ban on gay priests. “Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni issued a statement acknowledging the media storm that erupted about Francis’ comments, which were delivered behind closed doors to Italian bishops on May 20,” according to the Associated Press, (5/28/24, Attachment Twelve), which also reported, on the morning of the audience, that Francis apologized after he was quoted using the same derogatory term to reaffirm the Catholic Church’s ban on gay priests (a blanket prohibition – and not without cause given the ongoing scandals involving molested altar boys).

Francis seemingly left that controversy behind him Friday as he praised the scores of comedians, telling them that by making audiences laugh, “you also make God smile.” He also reassured his guests that it’s OK to “laugh at God,” likening it to playing and joking with “the people we love.”

Some of the comedians, on the other hand, did not.  The American lateniter Steven Colbert, after “flex(ing) his Italian language skills with the pontiff,” and telling Francis in Italian that he was one of the audiobook narrators of the pope’s memoir “Life,” published in March, but then... responding to disclosures in the New York Times about the Vatican’s condemnation of “gender fluidity and transition surgery, as well as surrogacy,” confronted the Pope.

“Why? Why, Pope Frankie, why?” Colbert asked.

(He also gave a “jokey warning” to Chris Rock, referring to the Will Smith Oscar slap incident... “Chris, please for safety’s sake I would just keep Mary Magdalene’s name out of your mouth. Because the pope wears a big ring!”  (CNN, Attachment Thirteen)

The Pope met with many of the attendees one-one-one as well, speaking with them in Italian, regardless of their fluency. “Well it was brief, he spoke in Italian, so I’m not quite sure what was said,” Conan O’Brien reflected, but expressed shock and awe at the presence of so many international clowns at “one of the holiest sites in the Catholic faith.”  (Rolling Stone, Attachment Fourteen)

“A lot of these other American comedians have been my friends for years, we’re all looking at each other thinking ‘something’s wrong,'” he said. We’re in this beautiful space in the Vatican and for some reason they let comedians in, which is always a mistake.”


The entertainers were hosted in the Vatican hours before the pontiff was expected in Puglia for the G7 summit.

During the audience with 107 comedians from 15 countries, the Pope praised their ability to make people smile.

"You can also laugh at God, of course, and that's not blasphemy," the pontiff told comedians, adding that "it can be done without offending the religious feelings of believers".  (BBC, Attachment Fifteen)

The cultural event preceded the pope's appearance at the G7 in the southern Italian region of Puglia - the first time a leader of the world's 1.4 billion Catholics attends the summit of the world's seven largest advanced economies.

The 87-year-old pontiff has called for global regulation of AI, warning of its danger to ethics and human rights.

In reference to current global events, the pope told comedians that while communication today "often generates conflict," the entertainers are able to bring together diverse realities.

"How much we need to learn from you," he added.

“You manage to make people smile even while dealing with problems and events, large and small,” the Pope said. “You denounce abuses of power, you give voice to forgotten situations, you point out inappropriate behavior.

“Remember this,” he added, according to the Hollywood Reporter (Attachment Sixteen): “When you manage to bring intelligent smiles to the lips of even a single spectator, you also make God smile.”

Pope Francis did have one more ask of the assembled comics: He said that while it is OK to “laugh at God, just as we play and joke with those we love,” he added that it was not OK if it was done to offend religious believers.

Testing the room, Colbert’s NBC latenite competitor Fallon stood up just before the pope entered the audience hall and pretended to greet the room from the papal chair, to uproarious laughter.

“It’s a like a meeting of every poorly behaved kid in church, and they stuck them all in a room and they thought it would be a good idea,” Jim Gaffigan told reporters from the Religious News Service (Attachment Seventeen).

Gaffigan and Colbert, both practicing Catholics, were asked by Vatican organizers to put together the list of American comedians who would meet with the pope. “They were like, ‘We don’t want you to do any material.’ Well, then you can’t invite any comedian!” Gaffigan said. 

The two said they had tried to select those who would be respectful of the occasion.  The Rev. Jim Martin, the American Jesuit priest best known for his outreach to LGBTQ faithful who also served as chaplain of Colbert’s former Comedy Central show, “The Colbert Report,” also helped organize the rare meeting, with help from Monsignor Paul Tighe, secretary of the Vatican Department of Culture.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, of “Seinfeld” and “Veep,” called the audience with comedians “so bizarre,” but also a “wonderful experience” that “gives weight to the power of comedy.”

The unmistakable voice of Rock echoed through the high vaulted corridors of the Vatican: “Amazing! Incredible!”

Gaffigan, who was accompanied by his wife and two children, spoke about the challenges of being a Catholic comedian. “I think one of the most punk rock things you could do is to be a comedian and then to be Catholic on top of that — you are like asking for trouble!” he said.

“In the midst of so much gloomy news, immersed as we are in many social and even personal emergencies, you have the power to spread peace and smiles,” ABC News reported that Francis told the comedians (Attachment Eightee).

(ABC lateniter Jimmy Kimmel was not included among the comedic throng.)

Pope Frank... waving with one hand while wearing a white robe and white cap... greeted all the comedians individually, though briefly.  O’Brien, discussing the long wait for just a brief handshake with the pope, observed: “To be in that room and to be with all my fellow comedians ... in that environment was quite strange,” he added (Los Angeles Times, Attachment Nineteen).

“How did this happen? Why are we here and when are they going to throw us out?”

The Vatican News also quoted O’Brien as recalling that it happens again and again and again, “...the times that I have been to the White House or in any of these situations, it's always the same thing: I say, 'Why am I here? I do not belong,' and I think that is how a lot of us felt!"  (Attachment Twenty)

Chris Rock and Whoopi Goldberg likewise passed through by the journalists expressing their delight to be with the Pope at such an unprecedented venue.

When Whoopi was asked whether she had asked Pope Francis to be part of a 'Sister Act III,' she joked that she hadn't, “but would likely send an email.”

Goldberg and several other comics spoke with the local press following the visit, according to the Hollywood Reporter.  The EGOT winner was asked if she invited the Pope to star in “Sister Act 3,” to which she replied, “I didn’t think it was the right place to bring it up, but I’ll probably send an email.” (The Grio, Attachment Twenty One)

The Pope usually sits “in front of the groups he meets with for a group photo before leaving his audiences,” American Media reported, but this time, Rock jumped up right behind the Pope as he turned around. His fellow comedians quickly followed suit, making for one epic group photo. 


Vulture (Attachment Twenty Two) scanned and scrutinized the social and anti-social media to glean post-Pope points of view from participants... Dreyfus seeming gleeful and excited – describing the pope as “a wonderful man” with a “wonderful, kind smiling face,” Colbert alongside his wife, “eyes brimming with tears” gushed about how he’d just read the pope’s memoir and would love to do a cooking segment with him: “Evidently, he makes a great tortellini in brodo.”

Goldberg was described as an old friend, having already met Frank last year, the Pope “clearly loved seeing (Gaffigan’s) kids in this mostly adult-filled line,  and O’Brien... the tall ginger man with a sunburn... said the Pope gave him a rosary, “which he plans to give to his mom.”  Vulture also noted that, among the non-Americans, one woman gave the Pope a plant, another brought a bottle of olive oil.

For more tortellini in brodo?

“Word and Way” (Attachment Twenty Three) also enumerated the Pope’s interaction with the comedians... and the comedians’ to the Pope.

After the healthy dose of humor and laughter, WaW disclosed that Francis left by helicopter to southern Italy “to discuss the challenges presented by artificial intelligence at the G7 meeting of world leaders, including President Joe Biden, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and French President Emanuel Macron,” leaving behind a snippity Jake (not James) Martin of America Magazine who marched his 2012 book (What’s So Funny About Faith? A Memoir at the Intersection Between the Holy and Hilarious) as focused on “the importance of humor as a means of catharsis, as well as its use as a tool for social critique. (America Magazine, Attachment Twenty Four)

“At the time I wrote that, mid-Obama administration,” Jake explains, “...there was already a rapidly increasing divide within the American political spectrum, though I doubt anyone could have predicted the sharp turn it would take over the next decade.”

Certainly, making fun of politicians has been around at least since Aristophanes wrote “Lysistrata,” Jake Martin opines, but “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report” were, for many Americans B.T. (before you-know-who), “replacing the nightly news as their primary source for information.

“All these years later, things have plateaued within the realm of humor and socio-political criticism in the media,” Jake snakes, dissing Colbert in favor of the (uninvited) John Oliver and concluding that “maybe it’s better to relax and laugh with feel-good funny shows like “Ted Lasso” and “Abbott Elementary.”

Self-reflection is fundamental to the spiritual life, and frequently the easiest way through the crucible of self-awareness and the recognition of our sinfulness is through humor...” we need to laugh at our shortcomings and foibles and in doing so “move a bit closer to forgiving ourselves for being, well, human.

“Because if we cannot forgive ourselves, how can we expect to forgive anyone else? And if that’s the case, there goes this whole Christian project. And that is no joke.”

Jake’s Peanut Gallery included the forgiving and the unforgiven – see the combined PGs following Attachment Thirty Five, below.

Alateia compared the responses of the two lateniters... Fallon and Colbert... and wrote that it was “interesting to hear their different feedback from the visit.”

To this Index, the differences are significant... Colbert, like the uninvited Kimmel, frequently taking on the topics of the day and with a usually left-wing slant, Fallon focusing on celebrity culture, quirks and quips from actors, artists of the softer genres and oddities in the news.

“In the extracts from the two shows...which you can see in the YouTube videos HERE.. “both men show their delight in getting to meet Pope Francis.”

Colbert described his meeting with Pope Francis as "profoundly moving." However, in his true style he couldn't resist cracking a few jokes, even at his own expense, saying the pontiff was probably thinking "we couldn't get Tom Hanks?"  (Attachment Twenty Five)

This must certainly have been a very rewarding moment for Colbert, who shared with the audience: "I've spent a lot of my career wondering if the work that I do is compatible with my faith. The question is, does God like my comedy?"

Fallon's feedback was slightly different from Colbert's, offering the audience a glimpse of his genuine awe of the situation, and his childlike excitement next to his sister Gloria as he awaited the Pope and saying: "I was an altar boy growing up and I was the best. If you ever need someone to ring the bells, call me."

A less humble Jim Gaffigan said that “the Pope told me I was his favorite comedian” (Instagram, Attachment Twenty Six) and he further used the posting to congratulate his tailor.

People Magazine, reporting that he had brought his wife Jeannie and his two younger sons Michael, 12 and Patrick, 11, to meet the pontiff, who addressed "a room of 200 comedians from throughout the world" at the Vatican's Apostolic Palace.

He also brought cameras and, in pictures and videos posted on Instagram, the kid shook Frankie’s hand, posed with the Vatican's Swiss guard, “and then almost accidentally ran off into a restricted area of the church.”

"Michael! You're not allowed down there," Gaffigan can be heard off-camera telling his son in a video as they walk down a long corridor.

"That's restricted, off-duty," Jeannie adds.  (Attachment Twenty Seven). 

“I think there’s a lot of value in sibling chaos,” the Pope’s favorite comedian said.  “But it’s a lot of organizing, it’s like a circus.”


Twenty seven years ago, Whoopi Goldberg stormed into the lion’s cage – making what the Catholic League called “very harsh and unfair statements about Pope John Paul II” to Barbara Walters on the September 26 edition of the ABC show, “20/20”... saying that the Pope “infuriated her” for rejecting gays and young people.

“Whoopi Goldberg is known for two things: her acting and her political extremism,” condemned conservative Catholic spokesman William Donohue (November first, 1997, Attachment Twenty Eight).  “Unfortunately, her fondness for the politics of radicalism allows her to rail against the pope. But even so, she should learn to get some things right. Pope John Paul II welcomes gays as well as straights into the church. He no more rejects homosexuals because he disapproves of sodomy than he rejects heterosexuals because he disapproves of fornication and adultery. As for young people, the millions of young men and women who attended World Youth Day in Paris this past summer, and in Denver in 1993, removes all doubt that he is loved by youth.

Then implicitly threatening the network and a certain mouse with hellfire for running the “20/20” profile; Donohue adding that the Catholic League cannot overlook that it is “the Disney-owned station, ABC, that is featuring Goldberg’s tirade. It was Disney that gave us the movie, ‘Priest’; it was ABC’s Peter Jennings that allowed abusive comments to be made about Mother Teresa during her funeral; and it is ABC that is currently treating us to ‘Nothing Sacred’ (a short-lived series of that era featuring a woozy, boozy priest). It’s enough to make Catholics wonder whether there isn’t something devilishly wrong with these folks,” and that her new book was “pure filth, the kind of screed that one might expect from an immature adolescent boy, not from an adult professional woman.”

Now, there is a different Pope in office and a different Whoopi... she referenced a private audience at the Vatican screened on “The View” and gifted Francis with a bag full of merch from "Sister Act," the 1992 comedy film and its sequel “in which she plays a nightclub singer disguising herself as a nun in a convent to hide from the mob and then turning the convent choir into a celebrity chorus.”  (National Catholic Reporter, October 18, 2023, Attachment Twenty Nine)

Following Friday’s audience, when asked whether she’d convinced the pope to make a cameo in Sister Act 3, currently in production, Goldberg joked, “I didn’t think it was the right place to bring it up, but I’ll probably send an email.”

Tolerance was tested when Francis welcomed Tig Notaro into the Vatican.  Only days earlier, amidst the “gay slur” controversy, she visited Colbert on “The Late Show” and related that her seven year old twin boys just found out she was gay.  Offering a family-friendly explanation of what “gay” is — when “girls like girls and boys like boys,” — she was relieved when one of the twins declared: “Oh, I love my family,” her son answered, to her relief.  (Huffington Post, Attachment Thirty)

By all accounts, the meeting transpired and concluded amicably for one and all.

"In the midst of so much gloomy news, you denounce abuses of power, you give voice to forgotten situations, you highlight abuses, you point out inappropriate behavior," Pope Francis said Friday.


"It's nice that someone with the power of the Pope just recognized the humor just for a moment," Conan O'Brien opined. "It's nice, it's a nice thing."

Friday's event marked the first time the Pope officially met with and spoke to comedians at the Vatican... “and I'm sure the last," O'Brien quipped. (The Wrap, Attachment Thirty One) "I'm sure he's walked out and said 'We're never doing that again. Those are the most needy people I've ever talked to.'

"He gave a speech, I don't speak Italian," O'Brien told EWTN News on Friday. "He probably said, 'I hate you Conan O'Brien. I like all of you but not Conan O'Brien,' and I wouldn't know."

Whoopi wasn’t the only visitor with a skeleton in the closet of old movies... Chris Rock once starred in a movie that the Catholic Church absolutely despised: Kevin Smith’s Dogma. (Cracked, June 16th, Attachment Thirty Two)

Dogma is about two fallen angels trying to exploit a loophole that would get them back into heaven. Rock plays the 13th apostle, Rufus, who was left out of the Bible because he’s Black.  “It sparked a major backlash, with more than 30 religious groups, including the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, urging people to boycott the movie. Smith received death threats, and religious extremists picketed theaters showing the film. 

Obviously this was a different Pope than when Dogma came out, but in 2000, just a year after the film’s release, Alanis Morissette — God herself — met with the Pope. But her experience was tainted by clergymen who shit-talked the singer, not realizing she spoke French. 

Flying back to America after his Papal sojourn, Rock went back to work voicing over the latest installment of the animated ‘Everybody Still Hates Chris’ series.  (Yahoo News, June 18th, Attachment Thirty Three)

So just as Rock and Whoopi have forgiven the Papacy (admittedly at a different time and under a different prelate), so Francis counseled humour and forgiveness, telling the assembled comics that it’s possible to “laugh at God,” saying, “this is not blasphemy” but involves teasing God “just as we play and joke with the people we love. (Catholic Thang, Attachment Thirty Four)


A somewhat awkward offshoot of Christianity, the Mormons have survived and thrived in their Salt Lake desert, and the Deseret News opined that the meeting might have been a respite in advance of the serious business of faith, strife and Artificial Intelligence that 87 year old Francis confronted at the G7 Summit – which  started Thursday, and focused in part “on the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, per CNN.”

The pope’s meeting with comedians was a part of his “recent push to understand and influence modern culture,” said article said.

The pope’s meeting with the comedians was quick, but he received positive reviews from those in attendance.  (Attachment Thirty Five)

Colbert, host of “The Late Night Show with Stephen Colbert,” told EWTN News that the meeting affirmed his habit of regularly thinking about the relationship between faith and comedy, according to Catholic News Agency.

 “At a certain point in the back of the mind you have to say, ‘Do I want to tell that joke? And does that go with everything else that you are besides a comedian?’” he said. “So it was lovely to hear the pope acknowledge that there’s a value in that for people’s hearts and it made me think a little bit harder about how I want to use it.”


Wrapping up the pokes at and from the Pope, Crux Magazine related a story from Umberto Eco’s “The Name of the Rose” wherein the stern Benedictine abbot Jorge de Burgo insists that laughter is evil: “Laughter kills fear,” he declares, “and without fear there can be no faith, because without fear of the Devil there is no more need of God.”

To Burgo, the Franciscan friar William of Baskerville argues that even the saints used comedy, “pointing to St. Maurice, who, while being boiled to death by a Muslim sultan, complained that his bath was too cold, whereupon the sultan dipped his hand into the water and was scalded.”

Another Franciscan – “this one a pope named Francis” – delivered a “ringing endorsement of humor” by hosting more than a hundred comedians at the Vatican, in an experience most described as delightful if also a bit “bizarre.”

From Elaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) who called the pope “a lovely” man who is “obviously doing the best he can” to Martin... widely considered the de facto chaplain of The Colbert Report who is also editor at large of the Jesuit-run America Magazine, where Gaffigan’s wife, Jeannie Gaffigan, contributes as a columnist... to Conan, who said: “it’s not like Santa Claus, when you sit on his lap and tell him what you want for Christmas,” the comedians merged faith and chaos with no little measure of joy... and restraint.  (Attachment Thirty Six)

“You can’t do that,” O’Brien added. “ I thought it was, I was about to sit and say, I want a sled for Christmas! I want a basketball!  And they said no.”

Instead, Francis... quoting a scripture passage from the Book of Proverbs about God delighting in mankind... said: “Remember this: when you manage to draw knowing smiles from the lips of even one spectator, you also make God smile.”


Which leads us back to the cancel culture as real and theatrical outrage pivots from wokeness to the sort of left and right anti-Semitism displayed by Duke University students walking out of Elaine’s comrade Jerry’s commencement speech.  (dji.240517, reprinted as Attachment Two, as above.)


Just as Pope Francis  said that while it is OK to “laugh at God, just as we play and joke with those we love,” he added that it was not OK if it was done to offend religious believers.  “You unite people because laughter is contagious,” he concluded. “I ask you to please pray for me: For, with a smile, not against!” (Attachment Sixteen, above)

But Seinfeld, a smidgen less tolerant and decidedly more offensive at his June 17th performance at the Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney, Australia, (even as Elaine and the rest were returning from their Papal audience) smoked a heckler being violently hauled out of the venue by security after shouting pro-Palestian anti-Jewish slogans.  (Variety, Attachment Thirty Seven)

“We have a genius, ladies and gentlemen. He solved the Middle East!” Seinfeld said sarcastically as the heckler was being ejected from the arena. “It’s the Jewish comedians, that’s who we have to get! They’re the ones doing everything.”

“Go ahead, keep going! They’re going to start punching you in about three seconds so I would try to get all of your genius out so we can all learn from you. It’s a comedy show, you moron! Get out of here.”

No more Mister Nice Guy!  No more comedy about “nothing”.

And no more cancellations!  Even the depraved and the despised are fighting back against the virtue signalers baying at the moon.

Could the fiends be back in Dodge?  If Seinfeld can, how about Kramer (Michael Richards – still on the canceleers’ shit list)?

How about the Coz?  O.J. (had he not already met God, for better or worse)?  How about Roseanne?  How about... yes, even...

Kevin Spacey?

Yup, Satan incarnate is back on the scene – and after testing his rusty chops in a couple of forgettable D- flicks “Control” (December 2023) and Peter Five Eight (June, 2024) neither exciting the critics or box office... he’s been signed on to play who else but The Devil in “The Contract,” (co-starring another Hollywood ghost, Eric Roberts) which just wrapped principal photography in Rome even as Pope Frank was entertaining Chris Rock.


The Hollywood Reporter (June 12th, Attachment Thirty Eight) depicted the disgraced actor as telling the U.K.’s Piers Morgan that “his Baltimore home has been foreclosed upon and that he has millions in legal debt as his lawsuits work through the courts.”

The interview with a sympathetic Morgan on his YouTube show, Piers Morgan Uncensored, takes a wide-ranging look at Spacey’s life.  “Included — sometimes through the actor’s tears — are details of his tumultuous childhood family life with a Nazi-sympathizer father (“who had a Nazi flag hung in his bedroom}; a discussion of his ongoing shunning from Hollywood, despite the accused actor notching multiple not-guilty verdicts as allegations of his past sexual misconduct have fallen to pieces in U.K. and U.S. courts; and flat denials from Spacey of some of the fresh accusations lobbed at him in the new Channel 4 documentary.”  Spacey Unmasked, which premiered in the U.K. on May 6-7 (followed by a release on Max one week later), featured ten fresh accusations against the actor from various men in his past.

Forget Francis... Spacey, citing his abandonment by old friends like Robin Wright, says Hollywood never forgives.

In the June 18th edition of Above the Law (Attachment Thirty Nine), correspondent Jonathan Wolf says “let the guy get back to work.”  Spacey’s lawyers have swatted away the civil and criminal cases against him, but “didn’t work cheap.”

Spacey admitted to “bad behavior” by “touching someone sexually in a way that I didn’t know at the time they didn’t want” and vowed to “never behave in the ways that I did previously, ever.”

Wolf concludes that like Spacey has learned a lot from his tribulations. He’s certainly been humbled over the course of the past five years. Though the foreclosure sale of Spacey’s home has been postponed, he’s nonetheless wrecked financially.

“The people calling for a pound of flesh from Spacey got it. Now that the guy’s been acquitted and nearly bankrupted in the process, isn’t that enough of this? Let him get back to work.”

Request filed, request fulfilled!

Kevin Spacey’s role as “The Devil” in Italian director Massimo Paolucci’s psychological thriller “The Contract,” just wrapped principal photography in Rome.

The English-language film, described in a statement as having a similar storyline as Alan Parker’s “Angel Heart” and Taylor Hackford’s “The Devil’s Advocate,” also stars Eric Roberts and Vincent Spano, Italian production company TM Entertainment said.

In “The Contract,” Spacey plays a character named “The Devil,” which according to the statement is somewhat akin to Al Pacino’s role in “Devil’s Advocate” as satan who takes the guise of a human lawyer, and that of Robert De Niro in “Angel Heart,” a satanic businessman who hires a seedy gumshoe detective to descend into hell. Producers Massimiliano Caroletti and Sandro Lazzarini said they “courted” Spacey for eight months to convince him to play the role.

Paolucci is a former producer for the infamously iconic Dario Argento.

There has been no confirmation as to whether Whoopi Goldberg has been enlisted for a cameo, nor has Pope Francis.

It would certainly provoke both interest and outrage... which means better box office.


Following the Attachments, have a glance at some of the various Peanut Galleries dealing with the cancel culture, comedians and the Pope...


Our Lesson: May June Seventeenth through June Twenty Third, 2024


Monday, June 17, 2024

Dow: 38,868.04

Summer does not begin until Thursday, but record heat, wildfires and the ongoing floods and occasional hail and tornadoes continue.  “It’s not supposed to be this hot, this long, this early,” says ABC weatherperson Ginger Zee as Chicago hits 95° and the Post and Gorman fires burn up California.  But it is what it is.

   With less than two weeks to their first debate, once (and future?) President Trump heads to a sweltering black church in Detroit to tell the congregation that immigrants are taking their jobs then scurries off to a fundraiser hosted by the extremist Turning Point where Don Junior warns: “If  you’re in this room now, you will probably be put on a List.”  Biden, attempting to halve the migration inflation by amending his amnesty regulations to allow the spouses and children of illegals to stay if a laundry list of qualifications is met.  Some dreamers will get their work permits.

   Passed over by Pope Frank, comedian Seth Myers says the media usually interview politicians to find and cast blame for the dirty laundry, they shouldn’t interview the laundry.  His more fortunate fellows (plus Whoopi and Julia) return to America – preferably not in Boeings after another engine catches fire in New Zealand, a near crash in Hawaii (blamed on tired, overworked air traffic controllers) and other “situational events” including a rare Dutch Roll that inspires Congress to call CEO Dave Calhoun to testify... he says he welcomes input from whistleblowers (like their home addresses and flak jacket sizes).


Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Dow:  38,834.86

NoKo “invades” SoKo... some of its soldiers briefly breaking out of the DMZ to breathe the unfamiliar air of freedom, then dodge back across their border to await the coming of Mad Vlad Putin.  Excuse makers say they were just out laying mines to blow up defectors and got a little enthusiastic.

   Enthusiastic criminals and gunmen in the U.S.A. are busy too... mass shooter clocks nine outside Detroit and 27 more elsewhere in Michigan, Massachuetts and Texas.  Scammers put up fake Go Fund Me sites for victims.  Surgeon General Murthy then joins the chorus of agencies calling for regulations on social media and increasingly fakeful AI scams and schemes.

   A “cascade of warnings” issues from former FBI and NSA security agents.  Spokesman Michael Morel says that security lapses are worse and terrorist chatter more chatter-y than they were in the days before Nine Eleven.  Eight failed Tajik terrorists interrogated and it turns out that all of them passed their American entrance exams without question.


Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Dow:  38,834.96

It’s Juneteenth... some celebrate with speeches and barbecues, others with bullets.  Sports fans remember Willie Mays as a memorial game will be played at America’s oldest park... Rickwood in Birmingham, Alabama where Negro League stars like Mays and Josh Gibson and Satchel Paige shined.  A planeload of elderly black WW2 veterans is flown over to France, still celebraiting D-Day.  The oldest is 101.  96 year old honored by media.  Opal Lee, who walked more than 1,400 miles from Fort Worth, TX to Washington, D.C., in a campaign to to recognize Juneteenth as a federal holiday honored by media.

   Add the first named tropical storm (Alberto) to the list of tribulations already including wildfires,hail, tornadoes and, of course, the heat.  For some reason, the media chooses not to ponder his effect on the thousands of migrants in tents and out in the open.

   Louisiana has an answer for the crime and the weather... the legislature passes a law requiring that the Ten Commandments be posted in every classroom in every school.  SCOTUS rejected this two decades ago, but now the Trump Court seems more favourable.

   In business news, chipmaker Nvidia (see CEO speech in last week’s DJI) tops Microsoft to become the Number One American company.  In other news, Finland is rated the world’s happiest country with the U.S.A. falling from 17th to 23rd.


Thursday, June 20, 2024

Dow:  38,912.09

Summer officially begins at 4:50 PM EST.

   But Eastern Standard and other Americans know that it’s been round for weeks... record temperatures persist with wildfires, torndoes and flooding here and there (but fewer than last week) and Alberto is joined by two other incipient hurricanes.

   Summer also brings another unwelcome return: West Nile virus.  Drugmaker Eli Lilly warns people trying to lose weight for “cosmetic reasons” that the cheaper diet drugs on the Internet are either adulterated or just sugar and water.

   Woke vandals deface Stonehenge in U.K. by painting it orange to protest climate change.  The “No More Oil” gang previously vandalized the Mona Lisa and vows more attacks... serious people have to wonder if they are oil company false flaggers.

   The first Presidential debate is now just one week away – the candidates are consulting with consultant and President Joe, winning a coin toss, says he’ll stand on the right side of the stage.  CNN officially redlights RFK Junior and the rest of the spoilers,  Scientists report a “massive black hole” forming at the center of the galaxy, eating everything in sight.


Friday, June 21, 2024

Dow:  39,150.33

Boston throws a party to celebrate the Celtics’ NBA champtionship.in the heat of what is now summer.  Triple digit heat indices sprinkle the East... Washington reaches 110° with triple digit heat on the way  And it’s even worse in the West...trapped between the Salt and South Form fires, Ruidoso, NM is left a smoking ruin.  Further south, Tropical Storm Alberto batters the border with flooding rains.

   Florida is wet too, but in Mar-a-Lago, Trump docs Judge Eileen Cannon is soaking in shame... the New York Times calls her “inexperienced” – being the youngest Federal Judge appointed for life.  Another bennie for the bench that the winner in November will stack... Trump indicates he will behave in next week’s debate (which scares President Joe).  He also proposes ending a tax on tips which will win votes, but also annoy a lot of old school Republicans who worry about the National Debt.  But hey... he squashes Biden in money raised, 141-85 (it would be closer without the $50M kicked in by a MAGAbillionaire.

   As 13 are shot and three killed at the Mad Butcher grocery (!?!) in Arkansas, the Supremes deal the liberals a rare win by voting 8-1 to deny gun permits to validated domestic abusers.  Clarence Thomas dissents.

   In a tribute to Willie Mays at the century old Rickwood Park in Birmingham... an iconic Negro Leagues venue, St. Louis beats the “Say Hey” Giants.


Saturday, June 22, 2024

Dow:  Closed

President Joe and former President Trump prepping for their debate.  Biden carefully rehearsing, as if he were headed to the Broadway stage.  Trump, on the other hand, holds “policy discussions” with supporters – some of whom know what they’re talking about, some not.  He’s also working on his “short list” for VEEP and the front runner is “Little” Marco Rubio.

  Yet another Boeing 737 narrowly averts catastrophe on a runway in Oklahoma after another in Hawaii.  Airplane buffs are conflicted – is it a Boeing problem or an inexperienced pilot or air traffic controller problem?  In favor of the former, the Boeing Starliner has a disgrace in space, stranding the astronauts above for another week.  American Airlines is ready to go out on strike, but Biden urgest them to hold off until after the Fourth of July travel rush.

   Coast to coast heat dome pushes temperatures up to record levels.  There is also rain... not only from Alberto but from others lined up.  A levee breaks in Sious City, IA and streets are flooded in Las Vegas (New Mexico) as well as in that other Las Vegas.

   And some happy news... a four year old lost in the woods in the Sierras of California is found and rescued by Fresno County police. sheriffs and firemen.  He endured a long night with cold temperatures, but now his parents are happy.


Sunday, June 23, 2024

Dow: Closed

Days before their first debate, the 538 pollsters show President Joe finally overtaking former President Trump by a margin of 40.8 to 40.7%.  (This implies almost a fifth of the voters are “double haters” but they won’t see RFK Junior onstage Thurday, he fails to qualify and blames... who knew?... “a conspiracy.”

   Most voters are fixated... not on the border or inflation... but on the weather as heat, floods, tornadoes, hail, dust and rip currents batter most of America – both the climate-change converts and “drill, baby, drill” hard liners. 

   Political consultant Frank Luntz headlines the Sunday talkshows and says that Biden will have to be more “enthusiastic”.  He’s not fanatical enough about what he has to be fanatical about.  Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Ma) warns ABC viewers that, if he wins, Trump will “come after” the pro-choicers, birth control, climate change, economic justice and... law and order.  Asked about whether this will cause “chaos” she says she did not hear the question and cut to commercial.

   Martha Raddatz moderates the ABC roundtable and former GOP chair Reince Priebus says Trump must just behave and let Biden talk, exposing his senility, Aska Khalib (in her blue hajib) wonders which Trump will viewers see?  Barbara Comstock counters by saying Biden should just ask: “Will you support a convicted felon?” and the WSJ’s Vivian Sal@ advises reporters to find out what advisers are telling their clients during the debate break.

   Bill Nye, the Science Guy in his bow tie, asked Americans to talk about climate change “because it’s hard to make a man change his mind when his income depends on it.”

   On Face the Nation, Gov. Michelle Lujan (D-NM) voiced what few other dare to state... the current heat wave, flooding and Alberto are causing untold deaths in the border migrant camps.


Life continues to get worse and worst for Don Jones as he and the family will (perhaps) be tuning into Thursday night’s debate between the ex- and current Presidents.  A few billionaires are doing OK, as is Kevin Spacey but the heat is on, meaning higher bills for those with adequate air conditioning and death by heatstroke for them without... floods and wildfires are raging, hurricane season is on (although slowly) and the effects of the Hollywood strike are in full force with a barrage of sequels, reruns, remakes and cartoons.  The Church Police are on the march... killing off abortion, their next targets are contraception and divorce... the doctors are saying anything that tastes good will kill you and the skies are full of plague flies and mosquitos as the Fourth nears.  (Some might want to go back to England, but they have their troubles too!)






(REFLECTING… approximately… DOW JONES INDEX of June 27, 2013)


Gains in indices as improved are noted in GREEN.  Negative/harmful indices in RED as are their designation.  (Note – some of the indices where the total went up created a realm where their value went down... and vice versa.) See a further explanation of categories here













6/17/13 revised 1/1/22







Wages (hrly. Per cap)


1350 points






https://tradingeconomics.com/united-states/wages   29.79  .83

Median Inc. (yearly)








http://www.usdebtclock.org/   39,557 566 577

Unempl. (BLS – in mi)








http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS14000000   4.0

Official (DC – in mi)








http://www.usdebtclock.org/      6,581 594 609

Unofficl. (DC – in mi)








http://www.usdebtclock.org/      11,658 668 679

Workforce Participation










302.03 (0.27)

302.03 (0.517)

In 161,567 578 591 Out 100,119  124 131 Total: 261,686 702

http://www.usdebtclock.org/   61.74.12

WP %  (ycharts)*








https://ycharts.com/indicators/labor_force_participation_rate  62.70 .50



Total Inflation








http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm     +0.3 0









http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm     +0.0 +0.1









http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm     +2.8 -3.6

Medical Costs








http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm     +0.4 0.3









http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm     +0.4


Dow Jones Index








https://www.wsj.com/market-data/quotes/index/   38,941.70 787.41 150.53

Home (Sales)















Sales (M):  4.14 Valuations (K):  407.6

Debt (Personal)








http://www.usdebtclock.org/    75,909 933 961



Revenue (trilns.)








debtclock.org/       4,879 890 902

Expenditures (tr.)








debtclock.org/       6,717 731  747

National Debt tr.)








http://www.usdebtclock.org/    34,811 828 847

Aggregate Debt (tr.)








http://www.usdebtclock.org/    100,548 640 749



Foreign Debt (tr.)








http://www.usdebtclock.org/    8,415 424 434

Exports (in billions)








https://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/current/index.html  263.7

Imports (in billions))








https://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/current/index.html  338.2

Trade Surplus/Deficit (blns.)








https://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/current/index.html    74.6








World Affairs








“Climate activists” vandalize Stonehenge.  Finland declared the world’s happiest country – USA slips from 17th to 23rd.

War and terrorism








NoKo invades SoKo, then doesn’t.  Chinese/Filipino naval skirmishes fall short of war.  Dictator Kim and Dictator Vlad sign a deal to trade arms and ammo for nuclear secrets.  A cascade of warnings from CIA that promote panic after eight Tajik terrorists intercepted.  Wars drag on in Ukraine and the MidEast... where over a hundred civilians killed over the weekend, Israel refocuses on Hezbollah and Bibi complains Biden isn’t sending him enough weaponry.









CNN nixes RFK Jr. debate participation.  Sean Hannity predicts: “Jacked-up Joe will do the debate on drugs – bolstered by $50M rich guy, Trump outfundraising Biden 141 to $85M.  Talking heads pitch partisan propaganda but agree that, for Trump to win Thursday’s debate, he’s got to dial down the crazy.   Sex police probe MAGAboy Matt Goetz (R-Fl) for his peccadillos.









Chipmaker Nvidia (see last week’s roster of commencement speakers) posts $3.4B in assets, topping MicroSoft to be Number One.  Cyberhackers infect car dealers with randomeware.  Trump vows to end the “war on crypto”.  A pardon for Bankman fraud? 









The week’s murder club includes active shooters in Detroit (9 in one, @ in another), Massachusetts (@)   14,000 have been shot in 2024 to date, 7 in Philadelopha, 13 shot (3 die) at the Mad Butcher (!) grocery in Arkansas, an illegal Ecuadorian rapes a little girl in NYC and another little girl is strangled in by two illegal immigrants in Houston.  7.000 killed (and the politicians say the crime rate is down).











We’ve got it all... record heat dome heat. Storms, flooding, tornadoes, hail, dust, rip currents in the sea and wildfires on land.  Rip currents racking up kills, but sharks are still hungry and... here come the jellyfish!  La Nińa replacing El Nińo means hotter, wetter climate... “everything going the wrong way at once,” says a weatherperson.  Numerous resultant disasters result, like...









....levee break floodomg Sious City, Iowa, blowing smoke and dust turning day into night in Albuquerque.   Bad week for Boeing (above and near crash in New Zealand).  Southwest tries to win back business by offering $53 flights to nowhere.  Elephant tramples American tourist in Zambia.  Four year old lost in the Sierra woods rescued by Fresno County sheriffs. 




Science, Tech, Education