Jonathan Pie on the Berkeley protests and the moral decline of the Left

Here’s comedian Tom Walker, in his role as newsman Jonathan Pie, ranting about Milo Yiannopoulos’s speech and the Berkeley protests, claiming (correctly) that the Berkeley violence “hands the moral high ground to Trump.” This is serious satire, not just pure comedy.

Pie’s only error: blaming UC Berkeley on the protests and justifying Trump’s threat to rescind federal money to the University. In fact, the University did everything it could to keep the peace, including hiring extra police and publishing a letter from the Chancellor defending the free speech but calling for protest to be peaceful. It’s time to stop blaming Berkeley for the violence—unless, that is, you think that (like some of the professors), they should have rescinded Milo’s invitation to speak from the Berkeley College Republicans.

h/t: Gregory

51 Comments

  1. garthdaisy
    Posted February 5, 2017 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t see where Pie endorsed Trump’s threat of withholding funding, just his statement that violent protest against speech was wrong. And I don’t think Pie was attacking UC Berkley but leftists who gleefully share videos of Nazi punchings and Trump supporters having their speech shut down by force.

    I agree with you that UC Berkley did all it could and attacking that institution is not the right tactic but I didn’t see where Pie was endorsing such things.

    Either way, thank you for sharing this clip!

  2. dd
    Posted February 5, 2017 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    Dr. Coyne, I disagree with you that Berkeley did everything it could to let the speaker speak.

    The university did indeed hire extra security, but when it came time for the police and security to act, I understand the university asked them to “stand down”. And many stayed inside the building while the rampage occurred.

    Given the bodily injuries and property destruction, it’s amazing there was only one arrest.

    Cynical me says that despite university statement and security preparation, it did not want the speaker to speak, and that’s what it achieved.

    • Posted February 5, 2017 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

      I fear this is true. Such a low number of arrests doesn’t seem likely given similar level of protest/riot elsewhere and the typical numbers. I don’t have them on hand, true, but it’s certainly higher than what, one or two?

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted February 5, 2017 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

      It is possible they may have asked security to stand down, I have no idea and had not heard that. But maybe they did so for other reasons involving safety of the security. Doesn’t really matter. The riot itself cannot be blamed on the school and Trump, as usual was dead wrong to issue his threat.

      If the guy was invited by the University to speak, your conclusion that they did not want him to speak is a little more than cynical, maybe paranoid.

      • Craw
        Posted February 5, 2017 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

        If the guy was invited by the university? He wasn’t.

      • mordacious1
        Posted February 5, 2017 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

        The SF Bay Area is getting a reputation for not protecting conservative speakers and attendees. During the Primary, Trump gave a speech in downtown San Jose. Attendees were pummeled with objects, punched, kicked, etc. while the police stood by. The police did occasionally wade in to rescue someone once they were on the ground bleeding, but did little to protect the pro Trump citizens.

        Many excuses were made afterward, but it is telling that Mayor Licardo (the chief law enforcement official in the city) stated the next day, that it was Trump’s fault. Trump, according to the Mayor, should not have come to a city where he wasn’t wanted. Just by being in San Jose, Trump aroused more emotion and violence than the city could be expected to handle. The “protesters” (actually rioters) could not be expected to behave themselves when their emotions were so aroused. Therefore, Trump’s fault. I’m sorry that I voted for that clown. I don’t support Trump, but if I wanted to hear him, I should be able to without being beaten…while the police watch.

        I’m afraid that the Berkeley situation might be the same as SJ . The Bay Area police are afraid of its liberal citizens. It’s better, politically wiser, and less costly to refrain and let the cretins run amok. Make a couple of token arrests and “investigate” later. Keeps the peace among the hooligans that run the cities. Police chiefs don’t lose their jobs when a few conservatives get their heads split open, they will if the little darlings do.

        Sad day in America.

        • Posted February 5, 2017 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

          “police are afraid of its liberal citizens”

          Not so afraid that they don’t beat or shoot them periodically.

          • somer
            Posted February 6, 2017 at 6:59 am | Permalink

            Nor apparently are “Antifasc” on the extreme left in the Berkeley affair afraid to threaten those they consider mere “liberals”. In the regions of the university that night.

            One of the frames shows a wall daubed with “liberals get the bullet too” with a hammer and sickle drawn next to it and another shows the plate windows of a bank absolutely riddled with bullet holes

            • eric
              Posted February 6, 2017 at 8:34 am | Permalink

              Back in the ’90s and before that, it was pretty standard practice for all of the major businesses on Telegraph to board over their windows several hours before a major protest. In fact that was often my first clue that a protest was about to happen; heading down to a bar or restaurant and seeing it was all boarded up. Have they stopped doing that?

              I’m not blaming the bank for what happened; it’s the vandal’s fault completely and entirely. I’m just surprised they didn’t take the sort of security/protective measures thought standard a few decades ago. Its always been the case that Berkeley protests, however peaceful and well-meaning they may be, attract anarchists and looters who then use the protest as a cover/excuse to destroy the local business and steal things.

              • somer
                Posted February 7, 2017 at 12:10 am | Permalink

                Yes but they should not be ransacking businesses and the mayor was pathetic in allowing an environment where anarchists riding on the coattails knew they’d get away with it.

                – this is bullet holes through the glass not a rock or baseball bat.
                moreover one of the walls on another business says “liberals get the bullett too” with a hammer and sickle icon next to it.

        • Posted February 5, 2017 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

          This is very worrying.

    • Posted February 5, 2017 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

      There are a few news sources that claim it was the mayor who ordered the police to stand down. The mayor has since tweeted it was the police themselves that made that call.

  3. Geoff Toscano
    Posted February 5, 2017 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    Well never mind the politics, that was a great clip! The guy hit the nail on the head.

  4. Carl
    Posted February 5, 2017 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    This is an odd sort of satire. There is nothing put on, no exaggeration, just a guy expressing a sincere opinion in a way that accurately reflects events. Sometimes the truth is hilarious.

  5. Posted February 5, 2017 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    I read somewhere that they thought 150 outside agitators were the ones causing trouble. Is this true? Where would you get 150 people for hire to do violence? Who would hire them. Hugs

    • Posted February 5, 2017 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

      Go to the internet and read whatever you prefer there about the Black Bloc. They are the ones who caused the violence in Berkeley, not the marchers.

      “http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/02/02/what-black-bloc/97393870/”

      • Posted February 5, 2017 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

        Ok, Thanks. Seems I am out of touch, I wouldn’t know where to go to hire 150 people to do anything. 🙂 Hugs

        • Posted February 5, 2017 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

          They’re volunteers, in it for the thrills. No need to hire.

          • Posted February 5, 2017 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

            Thanks, I had the number wrong also, the post said first 60 and then up to 100. I am glad you guys shared the information as I never heard of these people before. Hugs

    • eric
      Posted February 6, 2017 at 8:38 am | Permalink

      In addition to the Black Bloc, Berkeley protests have often brought out other people who just want to trash storefronts and steal stuff. You get thousands of students milling about in the street, it can be a pretty good cover for criminal activity.

      • Posted February 6, 2017 at 11:01 am | Permalink

        Sad but true. I wish it was not so but some people have a need to be as destructive as possible. I wish they would see the benefit of putting that energy into productive activities. Hugs

    • Posted February 6, 2017 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

      Soros

  6. Sean Lake
    Posted February 5, 2017 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    I heard that the Berkeley City Mayor ordered the police forces not to bust up the riot and arrest the antifa/black-bloc terrorists. So the Mayor, IMHO, has as much responsibility for what went on as the rioters. This article isn’t clear on who gave that order, but whoever gave it has blood and rubble on their hands.

    “Bakhit said in an interview that UC Berkeley police officers were ordered not to take any enforcement action against protesters who lit fires and threw rocks, bottles and fireworks at them.”

    https://ww2.kqed.org/news/2017/02/03/berkeley-mayor-uc-police-union-criticize-campus-over-plans-for-milo-yiannopolous-protest/

  7. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted February 5, 2017 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    Did I delete a couple of “new post” emails and not notice it, or has the system had a brain fart?

  8. Posted February 5, 2017 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    “Pie’s only error: blaming UC Berkeley on the protests and justifying Trump’s threat to rescind federal money to the University. In fact, the University did everything it could to keep the peace”

    IMO that error is so egregious it negates everything else he had to say that makes sense, and plays into Trumps hands as much as the violence.

    • Carl
      Posted February 5, 2017 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

      Wow Mike, your standards seem completely out of whack to me. I just relistened, and I see no way at all this plays into the hands of that “sack of orange minge” – whatever that is.

      • Craw
        Posted February 5, 2017 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

        I agree. This does though. http://www.lifezette.com/polizette/anti-trump-protesters-block-ambulance/ Bannon can kill you with stuff like this.

      • Posted February 5, 2017 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

        “I see no way at all this plays into the hands of that “sack of orange minge””

        He’s totally supporting Trumps narrative that the university is to blame for the actions of the students, and that it’s justifiable to call for an end to their public funding. How can you possibly argue that that doesn’t play into his hands?

        • Craw
          Posted February 5, 2017 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

          That’s not a “narrative” firstly. It’s a judgment, and an arguable one. The university has a responsibility to the College Republicans and might have shirked it.

          It’s also peripheral. Cutting funding for Berkeley is not the issue. You think that’s the worst Trump can do? What plays into Trump’s hands is the embrace of intolerance, moral blindness, and thuggery by his critics.

        • Carl
          Posted February 5, 2017 at 11:58 pm | Permalink

          He’s totally supporting Trumps narrative that the university is to blame for the actions of the students, and that it’s justifiable to call for an end to their public funding.

          It seems to me when “Pie” refers to “Berkeley Uni” is talking about the students, not the administration. And he makes no mention of funding. The whole diatribe is about how wrong headed the actions of the rioters were and how those actions handed Trump the moral high ground. Your observations seem completely off base to me and I’d be surprised if anyone agrees with you.

          • Posted February 6, 2017 at 12:49 am | Permalink

            “It seems to me when “Pie” refers to “Berkeley Uni” is talking about the students, not the administration. And he makes no mention of funding.”

            When Trump spoke of Berkeley it was specifically in the context of threatening their federal funding. So saying he (Trump) has the moral high ground is implicitly arguing that was a reasonable threat. The fact is it was a couple of hundred protesters, who may have been students, not the university that was threatening free speech, the university itself both in words, and deeds did precisely the opposite.

            • Saul Sorrell-Till
              Posted February 6, 2017 at 8:50 am | Permalink

              To butt in without warrant, I’d like to say I don’t think your standards are “out of whack” in the slightest. Frankly it’s beginning to get on my nerves that so much of the ‘genuine liberal’ world, the liberals who have(rightly) been vehement in their opposition to the illiberal left over the last half-decade or more, have barely reacted to the wholesale political shifts of the last six months.
              I’m really thinking of people like Dave Rubin, Godless Spellchecker perhaps, etc. I think there should at least be an acknowledgement that, given what kind of enemy has been roused on the nationalist far-right, and given how unprecedentedly appalling the current American leader is, and given Brexit, Le Pen, etc., perhaps it’s time to shift the focus of our attention a little.
              Perhaps devoting most of our time to obnoxious but relatively inconsequential disputes involving the academic left is no longer justifiable. Sure, we stand for everyone’s rights to free-speech, and we say it out loud, but there are things that I consider a fair bit more important than the tactical stupidity of some lefty students in banning a guy with the intellectual heft of an ant. I stand for Milo’s right to speak and say what he wants, but he’s still a sneering, bilious, unprincipled prick.
              There’s only so much attention we can give to certain situations and I’d argue there are far, far more pressing concerns. I find it slightly disturbing to see some fellow liberals have barely broken stride since November the 9th, and they find it far more enjoyable(and possibly profitable) to continue riding the anti-PC backlash wave.
              The fact that so much of the opposition to Trump and Brexit comes from the usual identity politicking cultural relativists, the usual hectoring left-wingers; people who have proven themselves very adept at turning the white working class off progressive politics entirely; is all the more reason why genuine liberals should be out there making reasonable, attractive arguments against Trump and against the lure of populist nationalism, rather than spending so much time picking the low-hanging fruit that is ‘students being bell-ends’. Priorities have changed, or they have for me.

              • darrelle
                Posted February 6, 2017 at 9:29 am | Permalink

                +1

              • Posted February 6, 2017 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

                “I’m really thinking of people like Dave Rubin, Godless Spellchecker perhaps, etc. I think there should at least be an acknowledgement that, given what kind of enemy has been roused on the nationalist far-right, and given how unprecedentedly appalling the current American leader is, and given Brexit, Le Pen, etc., perhaps it’s time to shift the focus of our attention a little.”

                Don’t know if I could agree more with that, and everything else you had to say. Given the current circumstances our focus needs to be on the nationalist far-right, with criticism of a relatively small, mostly impotent, illiberal group students as an aside, a group of students being used by a far-right, that is not impotent, to justify behavior which is orders of magnitude more problematic.

  9. Kevin
    Posted February 5, 2017 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

    Fantastic.

  10. Dire Lobo
    Posted February 5, 2017 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

    My son was there. He said he had a ticket to see the talk which was going to use if the talk actually proceeded (I don’t know if he was planning to disrupt from inside the talk if he actually got in, we did not discuss that). According to his report, there is a lot of mis-information going around (surprise). According to him there was a small group of anarchists among a large group of peaceful protesters, who apparently have branded themselves by dressing in all black with black masks and hats, who appear at various demonstrations and commit violent acts. He said it was maybe a dozen. A very small group. And the entire mass of thousands of protesters are blamed. I trust him. What I continue to see, here and elsewhere, is continued blaming of the protesters. Sad.

    • dd
      Posted February 5, 2017 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

      It’s widely known that the mayhem was caused by very few people.

      And the question is: Why didn’t the police stop it? And why was a “stand down” order given by the mayor or police…or whoever.

    • mordacious1
      Posted February 6, 2017 at 2:56 am | Permalink

      You should ask him why an average citizen shouldn’t be allowed to hear what Milo has to say and make their mind up for themselves? Why would he want to disrupt a talk that others want to listen to? What makes him the arbiter of what should and should not be heard? It might be a good chance for you to explain to him why freedom of speech and assembly are two of the cornerstones of our democracy. There’s a reason they were put in the First Amendment and not later.

      • Jonathan Wallace
        Posted February 6, 2017 at 5:59 am | Permalink

        To be fair, Dire Lobo stated that he did not know what his son’s intentions were. He referred to his son describing a large group of ‘peaceful protestors’ with a small group of ‘anarchists’ amongst them and it seems to me that the choice of words used to describe the two groups suggests sympathy with the former. Of course only DL’s son can confirm if he was a peaceful protestor or someone intent on disrupting the talk but it is important to recognize that there is nothing at all inappropriate or anti-democratic about peaceful protest against a speaker whose views you abhor. That is as much a component of free speech as it is for the speaker to be allowed to express his views irrespective of how abhorrent others may find them. Actually preventing he speaker from giving his speech is altogether different.

        • Samedi
          Posted February 6, 2017 at 6:59 am | Permalink

          “there is nothing at all inappropriate or anti-democratic about peaceful protest against a speaker whose views you abhor.”

          I’m not sure I agree with this. If the purpose of a protest is to shout down a speaker then I don’t think it qualifies as appropriate or peaceful. That sounds more like bullying to me. Do we really want a situation where any time someone one side doesn’t like is speaking, the other sends a crowd to heckle and shout at them?

          I’m not saying such protests should be banned, only that I find it unfortunate. A further erosion of civil and polite discourse.

          • eric
            Posted February 6, 2017 at 8:41 am | Permalink

            If the purpose of a protest is to shout down a speaker then I don’t think it qualifies as appropriate or peaceful.

            Yes, *if* that’s the purpose. But you don’t know that was purpose. It doesn’t seem to have been the purpose (given that the protestors were outside the building, not inside), and Dire Lobo didn’t say that was his son’s purpose.

            As a hypothetical, you’re right. But what you’re arguing is just a hypothetical situation, not what happened.

  11. Bippls
    Posted February 5, 2017 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

    Funny how people keep blaming the violence on this completely separate group of “outsiders.”

    Like, “they were impossible to identify, but somehow we know they weren’t students or regular protesters!”

    I mean, obviously if you’re going to dress up in all black with a balaclava, you have to do it off-campus and away from people who can see you changing your clothes. This doesn’t mean they weren’t students and regular leftists.

    • Posted February 6, 2017 at 4:21 am | Permalink

      Even if they were Berkeley students, and I’m sure there were at least a few, the University bears no responsibility for the riots. UCB did everything it could to prevent them.

      • mordacious1
        Posted February 6, 2017 at 10:09 am | Permalink

        I’m not too comfortable with that last sentence. There are two people who could have (and arguably had the responsibility to) put down the violent portion of the protest. The mayor of Berkeley and the president of the university. If either of these two had asked for more police resources, they would have been provided. Neither had the will (for whatever reason) to do so. They both made a decision (IMO) that a certain amount of violence was preferable to the images on TV of state police cracking heads and making arrests. This may have been the right decision, one could certainly argue, but they both are responsible for the violence that did happen.

  12. rickflick
    Posted February 5, 2017 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

    Great piece. Tom Walker is brilliant.

    • Mike
      Posted February 6, 2017 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      I love his Videos.As for the Riots in my opinion, it’s just a taster of what is to come, and Trump and his Puppet Master will use it to become more and more authoritarian, there are strong similarities to Germany in the 20’s and 30’s. History has an awful habit of repeating itself, perhaps PCC would be better off staying in New Zealand.

  13. Posted February 6, 2017 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    Another fantastic rant by Mr. Pie.

    Now onto the Spectre of the Black Bloc. Everyone can dress themselves in black and go riot. They may genuinely believe they are in the tradition, but I have my strong doubts. Autonoms emerged in Northern Germany, and were fairly common in bigger Left Wing demos. They do not show up on random events. You’d expect them on a Workers Day demonstration, or on big events where they can hide with the masses and revel in the romance of defying the “oppressive state” as symbolized by an armoured police, dressed for the occasion. Some Autonoms are attracted to concentrations of state power, like hooligans longing to fight an opposite group of hooligans, rather than being genuinely into any ideology. Why do I have my doubts?

    (1) The opposition to Milo is very much a Social Justice Warrior concern. He’s their arch enemy because of his involvement in GamerGate. It’s Nerd War rather than Culture War. His opponents are not Left Wingers as they themselves believe, but Tumblr Warriors who want their every whim and identity recognized and validated, not counter-culture punks, skinheads, Antifas and Black Bloc who give a hoot what society thinks of them. Autonoms are squatters and such, not five-years-too-late Hipsters like Arel who vote Clinton and defend her.

    (2) You don’t need a Black Bloc for riots. Peaceful protest in a whipped up climate can turn violent.

    (3) The person who punched Spencer was probably from a Black Bloc, but he was also an individual who seems to have acted in the moment when he saw Spencer giving an interview, not a planned out action by any movement.

    However, this event placed the Red-Black crowd into the spotlight. When I look at people like Arel and other Social Justice Warriors, I see a bunch of Wannabes who romanticize themselves as being the Weiße Rose or in the footsteps of the Civil Rights Movement. I’d applaud them if they were real activists and really went to demonstrations and marches, and really did their thing, but what oozes out from that corner and has been in the SJW definition from the start, is that the symbology and appearance outshine everything. They might romanticize themselves as in league with Antifas, but they couldn’t be further away from them. SJWs go through the motion because it gives them a status update for social media. In progressivism, the future will look back to our barbaric times. Those who appear to have been “against it” will look favourable, and that is what counts to them. SJWs only have three concerns: (a) themselves, (b) themselves, and importantly (c) themselves.

    In sum, there is a really a Black Bloc and Antifas exist, and I have some sympathy for the real ones. They oppose actual fascists and Neo Nazis. But Arel and such people who rationalized the punching and the violence aren’t the Real Thing. They are keyboard warrior poseurs. Smashing things up at a Milo speech looks like SJW wannabes who just used the mass as an excuse to vent their anger. And the same poseurs from postmodernist lit crit or cultural relativist anthropoly departments make excuses for it. They pose as “the Left” and we have no answer, which is why Jonathan Pie is spot on.

  14. Curt Nelson
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    That was fantastic!

  15. Posted February 6, 2017 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    I think it is also important to point out that (fortunately) it seems the POTUS has no such power …

    http://leiterreports.typepad.com/blog/2017/02/the-berkeley-riot-and-the-latest-trump-bluster.html

    (Leiter is a lawyer, so I guess this is a semi-relevant appeal to authority)

  16. Posted February 6, 2017 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on 1EarthUnited and commented:
    Spot on!

  17. BJ
    Posted February 7, 2017 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    I love you, Jonathan Pie!


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