Some animals are more equal than others — Gavin Newsom edition
Could there be a better real-world demonstration of the eternal truths of George Orwell's Animal Farm than the recent uproar over California governor Gavin Newsom's recent soirée at the legendary French Laundry in Napa Valley?
Everyone should reread a copy of this classic parable (and its companion 1984) to fully understand the world we now live in. In the novel, the farm animals overthrow the human farmers (two-legged creatures) and impose an animal-centric, egalitarian (read: Soviet) commune. Arbitrary rules, called Commandments, are posted on the barn wall and just as arbitrarily changed. The most important of the Seven Commandments is:
All Animals Are Equal.
The Pigs, and their leader Napoleon, soon assert themselves as the smartest and most capable among the animals. They begin to sleep in the house; they eat better food; and they dominate, terrorize, torture, even murder their former animal allies. Near the end of the novel, the sign All Animals Are Equal is amended to read:
All Animals Are Equal.
But Some Animals Are More Equal Than Others.
Precisely. I am a longtime California restaurateur and just one of many California business-owners on the verge of financial ruin by virtue of the near-total Gavin Newsom–ordered lockdowns of the past nine months. How, I wonder, does the famous French Laundry chef and owner, Thomas Keller, feel about the attention this dinner has gotten? I know he, like all of us in the hospitality business, has struggled with the lockdowns and the ever-changing, arbitrary COVID rules. But I also know that the bill for Newsom's French Laundry dinner party was probably over $6,000. Since Keller no doubt had a couple of other similar parties that night, the restaurant probably had sales in excess of $18,000 for the evening. I'm happy for him and his staff. But one of my businesses has had exactly $0 sales for the past nine months.
I know from experience that Keller's businesses are suffering reductions in sales and increased costs due to the absurd government imposed COVID protocols. Thomas Keller knows that many of his colleagues in California and nationwide have failed to survive the lockdowns or are on the verge of closing forever. How does Keller feel about hosting and cooking an exquisite meal for Governor Newsom — the man who is singlehandedly destroying an entire industry in the name of questionable science?
Because of Newsom and other lockdown governors, millions of restaurant and bar employees are without work. An entire restaurant ecosystem of suppliers, food-processors, wine-makers, etc. is being forever altered or destroyed. Those governors, and their "expert" advisers, single out restaurants and bars as sources of COVID spread — always without any "data" or "science" to back up their claims.
The photos of Newsom's French Laundry dinner give the lie to these claims. Newsom and the other privileged guests obviously know that the state's arbitrary protocols, masks, and social distancing are nonsense. For them. But not for you.
The success of our businesses, restaurants, and bars is based on the exact opposite of social distancing. As Gavin Newsom's dinner illustrated, human beings want to gather and socialize. Humans need this to sustain ourselves and our culture. Masks, besides being next to useless in protecting us from a virus, signal fear and reinforce the creepy admonition to stay away from one another. The restaurant industry will never survive under a permanent regime of social distancing and masks.
To Thomas Keller: Consider posting a sign above your famous blue door entrance — Some Animals Are More Equal Than Others.