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Toxic Positivity

Daily Bread for 5.8.24: The Special-Interest Hierarchy of a Small Town (Adjacent Support)

Good morning.

Wednesday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of 75. Sunrise is 5:38 and sunset 8:04 for 14h 26m 27s of daytime. The moon is new with 0.2 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1877, at Gilmore’s Gardens in New York City, the first Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show opens.


In September, I wrote of The Special-Interest Hierarchy of a Small Town:

In a small town, and perhaps elsewhere, there are four tiers within a special-interest hierarchy: principals, operatives, catspaws, and residents. Only the first three serve, reliably, the special interest; the fourth is a large group of unaffiliated people that the special interests must persuade or dissuade repeatedly. 

A special-interest faction, or in the case of the Whitewater Schools an unresponsive board and superintendent, depends on the reliable service of the first three groups (principals, operatives, and catspaws). Some residents, however, may be counted on now and again to support special-interest or insider-group actions. These kinds of residents offer hit-or-miss support. I’ll list a few of them, readily recognizable in Whitewater and towns across the world.

Boosterism and Toxic Positivity. There are always a few residents who feel that criticism is a crime, an offense against man and God, and so must not be tolerated. The boosters feel that accentuating the positive, and burying the negative, is a legitimate (indeed necessary) pursuit. You’ll see them patrol social media looking to rebuke others who offer sincere criticism.

The delusional are sufferers of toxic positivity; the most acute cases are simply lickspittles.

Many of these types are a few moments away from screaming ‘love it or leave it.’ All of those who would do so are ignorant of their own country’s proud history of robust criticism. Even the most degraded hovel in medieval Europe, flea and lice-infested, had apologists of someone’s special schemes. Centuries later, in an America that is a world-historical state, there are still a few locals who live as though American liberties meant nothing, carrying on as though vulgar locals in a rat-dominated hamlet of 1300s Bavaria.

The indictment and conviction of the boosters: narrow of mind and small of heart.

These types, however, are useful as apologists and enforcers of special-interest schemes.

(A better outlook: Tragic Optimism as an Alternative to Toxic Positivity.)

The Concerned Passerby. When faced with a challenge to their position, special interest men cannot always count on themselves as principals, or their operatives and reliable catspaws. Cronyism and entitlement do not run themselves! They’ll look around, and find someone who seems unaffiliated, but is willing to do their work now and again. Although not reliable all the time, these types can be persuaded for a specific task.

They’ll seem like concerned passersby, simply trying to help, but no! They’re truly working to advance a special-interest or closed-government perspective. They’re harder to spot than boosters, sufferers of toxic positivity, or lickspittles, but still identifiable to ordinary residents. They’ll show up and profess simple concern, as ‘adults in the room,’ but after listening to them, it’s clear they’re rationalizing a nefarious cause (e.g., advancing a self-dealer’s plan, or shutting down a discussion).

Scoundrels. Special-interest men want to win, and that means bending public policy to their own ends. Closed-government types want to control public policy without public consent. In both cases, they pervert public life. They create a corrupted, degenerate form of government.

When faced with a difficult challenge, and when smearing challengers is too much even for principals, operatives, and catspaws, they’ll turn to scoundrels. The Oxford American Dictionary offers a plentiful list of synonyms that describe the type (e.g., rogue, rascal, good-for-nothing, reprobate, unprincipled person; cheat, swindler, fraudster, trickster, charlatan; informal villain, beast, son of a bitch, SOB, rat, louse, cur, hound, skunk, heel, snake, snake in the grass, wretch, scumbag, bad egg, stinker).

Scoundrels will say anything to aid a special-interest or closed-government cause, while the principals, operatives, and catspaws delight from a distance. (These main types know what’s happening, hoping it will benefit them, yet hoping it won’t be identified back to them.)

In all of this, however, the overwhelming majority of ordinary residents are normal & well-adjusted. It’s a only few, entitled and avaricious, or entitled and autocratic, who beset and bedevil a community.


NASA Simulation’s Plunge Into the Whitewater School District’s Central Office a Black Hole:

Daily Bread for 2.28.24: Before Glascow, There Was Jefferson, Wisconsin

 Good morning.

Wednesday in Whitewater will be windy with a high of 41. Sunrise is 6:31 and sunset 5:43 for 11h 12m 08s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 85.9 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1983, the final episode of M*A*S*H airs, with almost 110 million viewers.


Readers in the area may remember the sham Harry Potter Warriors & Wizards festival that Jefferson, Wisconsin once held. That so-called festival was a threadbare event that advertised extravagantly yet produced shabbily. 

See Roundup on Jefferson, Wisconsin’s ‘Warriors & Wizards’ Festival, Attack of the Dirty Dogs, Jefferson’s Dirty Dogs Turn Mangy, Thanks, City of Jefferson!Who Will Jefferson’s Residents Believe: Officials or Their Own Eyes?Why Dirty Dogs Roam With Impunity,  Found Footage: Daily Union Arrives on Subscriber’s Doorstep, Sad Spectacle in Jefferson, WI (and How to Do Much Better), What Else Would a Publisher Lie About?, Iceberg Aside, Titanic‘s Executive Pleased with Ship’s Voyage, and New Developments About Jefferson, Wisconsin’s ‘Warriors & Wizards’ Festival.

Well, Scotland has its own version of this problem, as different promoters are working from the same promise-big-deliver-nothing playbook. Benj Edwards reports Cops called after parents get tricked by AI-generated images of Wonka-like event (‘Dull in-person warehouse for kids doesn’t live up to technicolor AI-generated promo images’): 

On Saturday, event organizers shut down a Glasgow-based “Willy’s Chocolate Experience” after customers complained that the unofficial Wonka-inspired event, which took place in a sparsely decorated venue, did not match the lush AI-generated images listed on its official website (archive here). According to Sky News, police were called to the event, and “advice was given.”

“What an absolute shambles of an event,” wrote Stuart Sinclar on Facebook after paying 35 pounds per ticket for himself and his kids. “Took 2 minutes to get through to then see a queue of people surrounding the guy running it complaining … The kids received 2 jelly babies and a quarter of a can of Barrs limeade.”

The Willy’s Chocolate Experience website, which promises “a journey filled with wondrous creations and enchanting surprises at every turn,” features five AI-generated images (likely created with OpenAI’s DALL-E 3) that evoke a candy-filled fantasy wonderland inspired by the Willy Wonka universe and the recent Wonka film. But in reality, Sinclair was met with a nearly empty location with a few underwhelming decorations and a tiny bouncy castle. In one photo shared by Sinclair, a rainbow arch leads to a single yellow gummy bear and gum drop sitting on a bare concrete floor.

The promise and the reality differed: 

It isn’t often that Jefferson, Wisconsin gets ahead of a large European city, but in the race to the bottom, Jefferson beat Glascow by years.


Poland’s Top Envoy Lands Blow With Russia Takedown at UN

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Daily Bread for 1.16.22: Wisconsin Educational Issues Over the Next Ten Months

Good morning. Sunday in Whitewater will be cloudy with a high of 23.  Sunrise is 7:21 AM and sunset 4:48 PM for 9h 26m 49s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing gibbous with 98.1% of its visible disk illuminated.  On this day in 1883, Congress enacts the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act, establishing the United States…

Daily Bread for 11.13.21: Toxic Positivity Is Worse than Annoying as Public Policy

Good morning. Saturday in Whitewater will be cloudy with a high of 39.  Sunrise is 6:45 AM and sunset 4:32 PM for 9h 47m 07s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing gibbous with 70.8% of its visible disk illuminated.  On this day in 1940, Walt Disney’s animated musical film Fantasia is first released, on the…