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The Stanford DEI dean, Tieren Steinbach, explains that expression she used, "Is the juice worth the squeeze?"

I'm reading "Diversity and Free Speech Can Coexist at Stanford" (in the Wall Street Journal), in which Dean Steinbach defends herself, saying things that feel familiar and reasonable to me: 
My role was to observe and, if needed, de-escalate....  I stepped up to the podium to deploy the de-escalation techniques in which I have been trained, which include getting the parties to look past conflict and see each other as people.... To defuse the situation I acknowledged the protesters' concerns; I addressed the Federalist Society's purpose for inviting Judge Duncan and the law school's desire to uphold its right to do so; I reminded students that there would a Q&A session at which they could answer Judge Duncan's speech with their own speech, as long as they were following university rules; and I pointed out that while free speech isn't easy or comfortable, it's necessary for democracy, and I was glad it was happening at our law school....

Okay. I've said much the same thing myself, defending Steinbach, as you can see in my earlier posts tagged with her name. But I'm stunned to read her explanation of the metaphor she used:

At one point during the event, I asked Judge Duncan, "Is the juice worth the squeeze?" I was referring to the responsibility that comes with freedom of speech: to consider not only the benefit of our words but also the consequences. It isn't a rhetorical question. I believe that we would be better served by leaders who ask themselves, "Is the juice (what we are doing) worth the squeeze (the intended and unintended consequences and costs)?"

How did that go to print? Did no one think it through?! When you are squeezing juice, the squeezing is what you are doing and the juice is the result that you want. Or does she somehow believe that the squeezing is an end in itself? It still wouldn't make sense, because don't you want the juice?

Is free speech a means to an end or an end in itself? Is it the squeezing or is it the juice? Here are her last 2 sentences:

How we strike a balance between free speech and diversity, equity and inclusion is worthy of serious, thoughtful and civil discussion. Free speech and diversity, equity and inclusion are means to an end, and one that I think many people can actually agree on: to live in a country with liberty and justice for all its people.

She thinks we can agree on the end, but the end contains 2 elements, and they are actually the same 2 elements that she identifies as the means to that end: liberty/freedom and justice/equity. What I like about the metaphor is that it's concrete, which made it easy to see that she reversed the means and the end. When she's speaking literally and not figuratively, it's unclear.

Judge Duncan's Wall Street Journal column: "My Struggle Session at Stanford Law School."

Link.
Stanford Law School’s website touts its “collegial culture” in which “collaboration and the open exchange of ideas are essential to life and learning.” Then there’s the culture I experienced when I visited Stanford last week.... 
When I arrived, the walls were festooned with posters denouncing me for crimes against women, gays, blacks and “trans people.” Plastered everywhere were photos of the students who had invited me and fliers declaring “You should be ASHAMED,” with the last word in large red capital letters and a horror-movie font. This didn’t seem “collegial.” Walking to the building where I would deliver my talk, I could hear loud chanting a good 50 yards away, reminiscent of a tent revival in its intensity. Some 100 students were massed outside the classroom as I entered, faces painted every color of the rainbow, waving signs and banners, jeering and stamping and howling.  As I entered the classroom, one protester screamed: “We hope your daughters get raped!”

It was a big protest, generated by the real human beings the law school had assembled as its student body, not propaganda on the institution's website. It's real life, like the life experienced beyond the courthouse and beyond the law school, and it's not that polite. You know, it's also not polite to put "trans people" in quotation marks. It's a more polished form of incivility, but law students have long protested about the way law dresses up and glosses over injustice.

Of course, “We hope your daughters get raped!” is crude and ugly, but the right to defend one's own body has been taken away by the judges, and now, in America, a woman who has been raped may be forced to endure a pregnancy from that rape. In that context, “We hope your daughters get raped!” means: You might feel some empathy for us if it happened to someone close to you.

I had been warned a few days before about a possible protest. But Stanford administrators assured me they were “on top of it,” that Stanford’s policies permitted “protest but not disruption.” They weren’t “on top of it.”

Yes. The school failed him. Not only did the website promise collegiality, administrators, it seems, directly promised conditions that he relied on. You could parse their promise. What does it mean to be "on top of it"? What is "it"? They didn't say they would stop the protest. The students had a right to protest. The line was drawn at disruption, and where's the line between protest and disruption? Can we have a collegial debate about that? I'll bet we can't!

Before my talk started, the mob flooded the room. Banners unfurled. Signs brandished: “FED SUCK,” “Trans Lives Matter” (this one upside down), and others that can’t be quoted in a family newspaper. A nervous dog—literally, a canine—was in the front row, fur striped with paint....

Speaking of empathy... don't bring a dog into a noisy, chaotic scene. And don't paint your dog. I wonder what size and breed. It is dangerous to everyone to have a "nervous dog" in a place like that, and it's cruel to the dog.

When the Federalist Society president tried to introduce me, the heckling began.... Try delivering a speech while being jeered at every third word. This was an utter farce, a staged public shaming. I stopped, pleaded with the students to stop the stream of insults (which only made them louder), and asked if administrators were present. Enter Tirien Steinbach, associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion. 
Ms. Steinbach and (I later learned) other administrators were watching from the periphery. She hadn’t introduced herself to me. She asked to address the students. Something felt off. I asked her to tell the students their infantile behavior was inappropriate.

One could hardly expect the dean for diversity, equity and inclusion to take the judge's instruction and call the students babies. She had a lot of interests to mediate and an important, ongoing relationship with the students. 

She insisted she wanted to talk to all of us. Students began screaming, and I reluctantly gave way. Whereupon Ms. Steinbach opened a folio, took out a printed sheaf of papers, and delivered a six-minute speech addressing the question: “Is the juice worth the squeeze?” What could that mean?

It's impossible for Wall Street Journal readers to guess what that could mean. It's out of context. Metaphors look weird when you don't know what they refer to. Clearly, it's questioning whether some effort is worth what you get from it. It's not that weird.

While the students rhythmically snapped, Ms. Steinbach attempted to explain. My “work,” she said, “has caused harm.” It “feels abhorrent” and “literally denies the humanity of people.” My presence put Ms. Steinbach in a tough spot, she said, because her job “is to create a space of belonging for all people” at Stanford. She assured me I was “absolutely welcome in this space” because “me and many people in this administration do absolutely believe in free speech.” 
I didn’t feel welcome—who would? And she repeated the cryptic question: “Is the juice worth the squeeze?”

It's not that hard to understand, and you've deprived readers of the context. Steinbach's remarks made sense and dealt with the relationship between the speaker and the protesters that she needed to manage. She told him he was "absolutely welcome in this space," but he wants us to care about his feelings — he didn't feel welcome — but the students had their feelings too. Steinbach stood in a crossfire of feelings, and she did well enough.

I asked again what she meant, and she finally put the question plainly: Was my talk “worth the pain that this causes and the division that this causes?” 
Again she asserted her belief in free speech before equivocating: “I understand why people feel like the harm is so great that we might need to reconsider those policies, and luckily, they’re in a school where they can learn the advocacy skills to advocate for those changes.”

That is, Steinbach acknowledged that there are different legal positions that are taken about free speech and this, too, is a subject for debate in law school. That is certainly true. Free speech rights could be lost if people don't believe in their value. It's not that difficult to articulate the arguments for limitations on free speech. Those of us who care about free speech rights need to be vigilant. They've been under attack for centuries, and they are under attack right now, from people, like those students, who would characterize some spoken words as a physical injury.

Then she turned the floor back over to me, while hoping I could “learn too” and “listen through your partisan lens, the hyperpolitical lens.”

That sentence needs editing to put "hoping" closer to "she," but you can figure it out. She told him that she hoped he could not just talk to the students and teach them but listen to them and learn from them. She accused him of being political — hyperpolitical

In closing, she said: “I look out and I don’t ask, ‘What’s going on here?’ I look out and I say, ‘I’m glad this is going on here.’ ”

She was suggesting that protesting be seen in a positive light. Perhaps somehow the judge could have taken a lighthearted tone — I love protests! I was a student protester myself and I know how it feels to be righteously angry, etc. etc. — and connected it back to the things he came prepared to say. There was a path in that direction, but it was a road not taken.

This is on video, and the entire event is on audio, in case you’re wondering....

I've heard the audio. The judge becomes impassioned, and he expresses a good amount of hostility toward the students. As a law professor (retired), I can't imagine openly expressing hostility toward students who were aiming hostility at me. I lock into professor mode, mostly because I believe I have a duty to care for the students but also because I think a dispassionate, professional demeanor is more effective — especially when your interlocutors are highly emotional. Set the right example, and maybe they will meet you where you can coexist in something approaching conversation. 

Two days later, Jenny Martinez and Marc Tessier-Lavinge, respectively the law school’s dean and the university’s president, formally apologized, confirming that protesters and administrators had violated Stanford policy. I’m grateful and I accepted. 
The matter hasn’t dropped, though. This week, nearly one-third of Stanford law students continued the protest—donning masks, wearing black, and forming a “human corridor” inside the school... protesting Ms. Martinez for having apologized to me....

I don't think it was right to apologize for what Steinbach did. And I think the students had the right to protest. If they crossed the line into disruption, Martinez (and Tessier-Lavinge) should specify exactly where that happened. And they ought to apologize for the institution's failure to do enough to prevent the disruption or to deal with it quickly. 

The protesters showed not the foggiest grasp of the basic concepts of legal discourse: That one must meet reason with reason, not power. That jeering contempt is the opposite of persuasion.

I don't think the students needed to limit themselves to "legal discourse." This wasn't the courtroom or the classroom. They were protesting, going outside of the "legal discourse" that the judge would have preferred. Protesting is an old tradition, and it's important, though sometimes rude and ugly. The students seem to have thought — with some reason — that judges like Duncan deserve to be made to feel ashamed of themselves and they went into the familiar theatrical protest style we Americans have loved and hated for so many years.  

That the law protects the speaker from the mob, not the mob from the speaker.

He keeps calling students "the mob." Where's the love? These are our young people. They did not commit violence or threaten imminent violence, so there was no occasion to protect him, as First Amendment law is traditionally understood. There's no First Amendment right not to be heckled! And calling the speaks "the mob" doesn't take away their rights. 

Worst of all, Ms. Steinbach’s remarks made clear she is proud that Stanford students are being taught this is the way law should be.

She wanted the students to know that the First Amendment — which Stanford, though private, is bound to follow —  is subject to interpretation and they may apply their legal skills to working to develop strong exceptions to free speech. Ironically, Duncan is arguing for a strong exception to free speech if he means to say that the students may not shout him down. 

I have been criticized in the media for getting angry at the protesters. It’s true I called them “appalling idiots,” “bullies” and “hypocrites.” They are, and I won’t apologize for saying so. Sometimes anger is the proper response to vicious behavior.

All right, then. He stands by his angry expressions. As I said, I would not, as a law professor, talk to students that way. But he wants the freedom to lean into anger. That puts him on the same page with them. Whatever happened to "the foggiest grasp of the basic concepts of legal discourse."

There's a lot of fog here!

"You might read comments somewhere that I was, at some point, given 'permission' to deliver my remarks by the DEI Assistant Dean, Steinbach. Nonsense."

"For a good 20-30 minutes (I’m estimating), I was ruthlessly mocked and shouted down by a mob after every third word. And then Steinbach launched into her bizarre prepared speech where she simultaneously 'welcomed' me to campus and told me how horrible and hurtful I was to the community. Then she said I should be free to deliver my remarks. Try delivering a lecture under those circumstances. Basically, they wanted me to make a hostage video. No thanks. The whole thing was a staged public shaming, and after I realized that I refused to play along."

Said Judge Kyle Duncan, interviewed by Rod Dreher (at Substack).

So, the judge declined to deliver his speech after Steinbach quieted the crowd for him. He's also now calling for her to be fired. He says it was a "staged public shaming," but that's the same thing as saying that the protest was planned. He and his supporters are engaging in staged public shaming too, and they want a person not just disrupted on one evening but deprived of her job. That's tit for tat and a refusal to stand down.

I'm contemplating whether to give this post my "civility bullshit" tag. I'm against one-sided calls to stand down in the name of etiquette. The students protested, as students do. They're not polite. Should they be more polite? Don't say yes just because they're on the other side from you. But in this case, Duncan is not standing down. He's attacking the students harshly and he wants Dean Steinbach — who stepped up when he asked for an administrator to restore order — fired.

Duncan makes a general argument for civility in a law school. Lawyers must speak "with care, precision, and respect for your opponent." What the protesting students were doing, he says, is "the opposite of what it means to be a lawyer." Lawyers never get angry and shout and cut off other people who are trying to speak?

And is a law school just a machine for turning young people into practicing lawyers? No, you can do a lot of things with a law degree, and you can go to any school for your own purposes, including a plan to become a political activist or even to acquire a deep understanding of the subject matter. 

It's not inherent in the nature of law school that you must meet high standards of etiquette. The school may want to provide a welcoming space to its guests, but the students have ideas of their own. How do you convince them to hear out speakers they revile? I don't think it's by telling law students they need to act like lawyers in a courtroom. That's not persuasive! Of course, a federal judge is used to experiencing extreme deference in the courtroom. That's not the rough and tumble of a public speech.

Here's Duncan's direct attack on Steinbach:
Instead of explaining to the students that they should respect an invited guest at the law school (yes, a federal judge, but really this applies to any guest), even one they might disagree with passionately, she launched into a bizarre (and already printed out) monologue where she accused me of causing “hurt” and “division” in the law school community by my mere presence on campus. So, this had the effect of validating the mob. Then, at the same time, she pretended to “welcome” me to campus so that I could express my views. All of this was delivered, as anyone can see from the video, in the voice and idiom of a therapist.

He's criticizing her voice. He's tone policing!

I found it profoundly creepy.

He doesn't need protection from creepiness. If the tables were turned, and he were the lefty, wouldn't conservatives call him a "snowflake"?

It was the language of “compassion” and “feelings,” but it came across as deeply controlling and aggressive.

It "came across as".... You're calling for a person to lose her job. You, with your life tenure guarantee. Your subjective experience is worth hearing about, but it doesn't establish that she did something terribly wrong. She had a hard task to carry out, and you ought to try to understand how it felt, subjectively, to her.  

Many people are talking about the weird metaphor she used: “Was the juice worth the squeeze?” I had no idea what she was talking about, but at some point I realized that she meant, “Yes, you were invited to campus, and we ‘welcome’ you. But your presence here is causing such hurt and division. So, was what you were going to talk about really worth all this pain you’re causing by coming here?” In other words, it’s just a folksy way of giving these students a heckler’s veto.

But it's not a heckler's veto, because she was clearing the way for you to speak. She was caring for the students' concerns and simultaneously helping you.  She was engaging in an intellectual consideration of the issues of protest and the right to hear a speaker. Notice the question mark: "Was the juice worth the squeeze?" It's an important question, and she answered it in your favor while also supporting the students.

If they hate you enough, then surely it wasn’t worth your coming to campus. Apply that twisted idea to the civil rights movement, and see where you end up. It isn’t on the side of the people marching across the Selma bridge.

You reject their analogies, and I'm pretty sure they'll reject that one of yours. 

In other words, what the dean was preaching is the exact opposite of the law of free speech. We protect the speaker from the mob, not the mob from the speaker.

Was there a threat of physical violence? No. Do we protect the speaker from the words of the "mob"? Duncan must know it's not "the exact opposite of the law of free speech." This wasn't a case of the speaker being punished for riling up the crowd. It was only a case of the crowd drowning out the speaker's speech with more speech. 

And here was a dean of one of the best law schools in the world using the exact opposite of that basic principle to silence a sitting federal judge....

How was she silencing you? She was clearing the way for you, she just took longer to do it than you would have liked and she acknowledged the feelings and opinions of the protesters as she did it.

Duncan returns to the idea of a law school as the manufacturer of lawyers:

[T]he whole point of law school is to train bright-yet-unformed young minds to “think like a lawyer.” You’ve seen The Paper Chase, of course. The brilliant professor Kingsfield humbles the first year law students with his withering Socratic interrogation. Now we’ve evidently turned that model upside down.

Has he seen the movie "The Paper Chase"?! Kingsfield isn't the hero. The law student is, and the film audience is on the side of the student. The film turns that model upside down!

Ah, but Duncan's idea is that he — in the classroom — not as a professor, but an outside speaker — ought to have been respected and revered like the old-fashioned law prof. In that light, he spoofs:

The first year law students ridicule and silence Kingsfield for his cis-hetero-normativity, and then Kingsfield is publicly disciplined by the assistant DEI dean for harming the community’s sense of “belonging” by expecting them to recite a case.

Duncan was not "publicly disciplined." He was interrupted by rude noise from students, and the DEI dean restored order using an overlong speech he didn't enjoy. The dean invited the students to leave the room and they did. He was never pushed to help them feel that they belonged.

What did Duncan actually say after order was restored? He says he declined to give his prepared remarks. So what did he do instead? Did he rise to the occasion? Is there video of what went on after Steinbach spoke? I'd like to see it. 

"The whole night, down to Rihanna’s eloquent performance of 'Lift Me Up' from 'Wakanda Forever,' felt well oiled but entirely preprogrammed because, of course, it was."

 What?! Everyone seemed drunk? I might have watched if I'd known that.

Hey, WaPo, "well oiled" means drunk. If you don't mean literally that oil, the lubricant, was used, you have to get "machine" in there — something like The show worked like a well-oiled machine — if you want to say it functioned effectively. 

I'm reading "It was a lovely, back-to-basics Oscar night. Sorry about that. At Sunday’s 95th Academy Awards, a focus on the winners, not the drama" (WaPo).

Yes, the Oscars took place last night. The thing that we'd be hearing criticism of if it didn't happen happened, so there's no way to know what motivated the Academy, and I just don't care anymore.

I don't know if Rihanna somehow injected "eloquence" into "Lift Me Up," but I read the lyrics, and they're the opposite of eloquent:
Burning in a hopeless dream
Hold me when you go to sleep
Keep me in the warmth of your love
When you depart, keep me safe
Safe and sound

But that nonsense did not win. This won: 


Translated lyrics hereLike the shrill voice of a bird that can ring your ears... Like singing a song that can make your fingers snap to the beat....

"I want to write a story about whale research"/"That is boring"/"What if I insinuate misogyny in the headline?"/"What does that have to do with the research? And how would you manage that?"/"Oh... I have a plan."

A conversation between the reporter and the editor is imagined by the most-liked commenter on the WaPo article, "Young women are criticized for this vocal tic — but it helps whales survive/A new study in the journal Science finds many of the marine mammals vocalize in a strikingly similar way to humans."

The "tic" is vocal fry, AKA "creaky voice."

The whales and dolphins are engaging in echolocation. I'd listen with delight to young women doing vocal fry if I thought it was helping them find their way in the darkness. Well, but... be creative: "the darkness" is a metaphor. It can symbolize the cruel and ignorant world. Who is to say that women are not navigating through the use of those wacky throat vibrations as they speak? They sound more masculine — and more annoying too. Clear the path, they're coming through!

Fawning over Biden, the Washington Post inspires me to create a Mixed Metaphor award.

Count the mixed metaphors in this one sentence and that will set the mark for all future competitors:
Biden’s twin-barreled economic offensive faces numerous hurdles but has sparked billions of dollars of private-sector investment and changed entrenched corporate practices.

The sentence appears in "Biden scraps reliance on market for faith in broader government role/The administration is pushing businesses to change with a carrot — and a stick."

Had you even realized that Biden had been relying "on market" and avoiding "broader government role"? That's just silly, and it's why I wrote "Fawning over Biden," but I'm interested in counting the metaphors in that one sentence.

Do you see the 6 that I see? Any others?

By the way "a carrot — and a stick" is also a metaphor, but I think the headline writer intended to refer to "carrot or stick," because "carrot and stick" is this:

Fawning over Biden, the Washington Post inspires me to create a Mixed Metaphor award.

ADDED: This is the first time I've felt moved to examine whether the verb "to fawn" has something to do with the animal, the fawn. It does not! The OED says the word "fawn," meaning a baby deer comes from the Old French faon, which goes back to medieval Latin foetus. 

The verb "fawn," meaning "to show delight or fondness... as a dog does," "to lavish caresses," or "to affect a servile fondness; to court favour or notice by an abject demeanour,"  comes from "fain," which means to rejoince. It's interesting that when we picture the baby deer, we're picturing in the wrong animal. According to the OED, "fawn" was understood in terms of the behavior of a dog.

Here's Adam Smith in "A Wealth of Nations":
When an animal wants to obtain something either of a man or of another animal, it has no other means of persuasion but to gain the favour of those whose service it requires. A puppy fawns upon its dam, and a spaniel endeavours by a thousand attractions to engage the attention of its master who is at dinner, when it wants to be fed by him. Man sometimes uses the same arts with his brethren, and when he has no other means of engaging them to act according to his inclinations, endeavours by every servile and fawning attention to obtain their good will. He has not time, however, to do this upon every occasion. In civilized society he stands at all times in need of the cooperation and assistance of great multitudes, while his whole life is scarce sufficient to gain the friendship of a few persons. In almost every other race of animals each individual, when it is grown up to maturity, is entirely independent, and in its natural state has occasion for the assistance of no other living creature....

"I don’t want to read bot stories. I want to read stories that come out of actual imagination and experiences, and their own impulses."

"[Bot writing] does not sound like natural storytelling. There are very strange glitches and things that make it obvious that it’s robotic."

Even if there can be bot writing that isn't bad and that does sound like natural storytelling, I would not want to read it. There needs to be a real person behind it or I would feel ripped off to have spent my time engaging with it. It's a fraud. That said, most writing by actual human beings is bad and I don't want to spend my time on that either, but we have always been forced put effort into rejecting things that are not worth reading. It's just bad — spectacularly bad — to have this new flood of unreadable material.

By the way, I don't like the metaphor "flood" here, because a real flood is easily seen to be a flood. These chatbot-written stories are trying to pass as human-written stories. Their presence is insidious, and they will become harder to detect, especially if these editors disclose the "glitches and things" that are giving the bots away. 

"Founded at the pinnacle of the British Empire, the [Manchester Museum] is now undergoing a rethink..."

"... led by its director Esme Ward. In her post since 2018, Ward wants to make the free-of-charge institution more inclusive, imaginative and caring. She has repatriated 43 ceremonial and sacred objects to Aboriginal communities in Australia, and appointed a curator to re-examine the collections from an Indigenous perspective.... 'All of us in museums have a responsibility to really think about who they are for, not just what they are for,' Ward said in a recent interview in her office, which has a velvet sofa and a framed poster reading 'No Sexists, No Racists, No Fascists.' Calling museums 'empathy machines,' she said their mission extended beyond caring for objects and collections to 'caring for beliefs and ideas and relationships,' and being 'a space that brings people together.'"


Empathy machines.

Empathy machines.

Empathy machines.

What if there were a machine that could manufacture empathy? It would be a torture device! What did your literal mind — if you have one — picture? I thought first of the machine in Kafka's "Penal Colony," then of the device strapped to Malcolm McDowell's head in "A Clockwork Orange."

But, you may say, a museum that's an empathy machine cannot be a torture device because nobody is forced to go to the museum or to stay there, but that's not true. Kids are forced. 

Why would someone who loves art — does Ms. Ward love art?! — think of the museum as a machine? To help you think about her thinking, here's art about a machine, Paul Klee's "Twittering Machine":


Extra background:
Originally displayed in Germany, the image was declared "degenerate art" by Adolf Hitler in 1933 and sold by the Nazi Party to an art dealer in 1939, whence it made its way to New York.... 
The picture depicts a group of birds, largely line drawings; all save the first are shackled on a wire or, according to The Washington Post, a "sine-wave branch" over a blue and purple background which the MoMA equates with the "misty cool blue of night giving way to the pink flow of dawn." Each of the birds is open-beaked, with a jagged or rounded shape emerging from its mouth, widely interpreted as its protruding tongue. The end of the perch dips into a crank.... 
"Perhaps no other artist of the 20th century matched Klee's subtlety as he deftly created a world of ambiguity and understatement that draws each viewer into finding a unique interpretation of the work."... 
Sometimes, the image is perceived as quite dark. MoMA suggests that, while evocative of an "abbreviated pastoral", the painting inspires "an uneasy sensation of looming menace" as the birds themselves "appear closer to deformations of nature". 
They speculate that the "twittering machine" may in fact be a music box that produces a "fiendish cacophony" as it "lure[s] victims to the pit over which the machine hovers". 
Kay Larson of New York magazine (1987), too, found menace in the image, which she describes as "a fierce parable of the artist's life among the philistines": "Like Charles Chaplin caught in the gears of Modern Times, they [the birds] whir helplessly, their heads flopping in exhaustion and pathos. One bird's tongue flies up out of its beak, an exclamation point punctuating its grim fate—to chirp under compulsion." 
Arthur Danto, who does not see the birds as deformed mechanical creatures but instead as separate living elements, speculates in Encounters & Reflections (1997) that "Klee is making some kind of point about the futility of machines, almost humanizing machines into things from which nothing great is to be hoped or feared, and the futility in this case is underscored by the silly project of bringing forth by mechanical means what nature in any case provides in abundance."... 
Since a characteristic of chirping birds is that their racket resumes as soon as it seems to be ending, the bird in the center droops with lolling tongue, while another begins to falter in song; both birds will come up again full blast as soon as the machine's crank is turned.
"The whole night, down to Rihanna’s eloquent performance of 'Lift Me Up' from 'Wakanda Forever,' felt well oiled but entirely preprogrammed because, of course, it was."Fawning over Biden, the Washington Post inspires me to create a Mixed Metaphor award."Founded at the pinnacle of the British Empire, the [Manchester Museum] is now undergoing a rethink..."

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