Friday, August 18, 2017

ANOTHER ONE JUST LIKE THE OTHER ONE.

I see a lot of jibber-jabber on Twitter to the effect that Steve Bannon's exit will activate some sort of big change. Don't you believe it. Optimists (who are nearly always wrong) think it's great that Trump jettisoned a fascist, but his staff is full of them; the only thing that makes Bannon look more dangerous to us than, say, the deeply evil Scott Pruitt is his history at Breitbart, which has given us a lot of over-the-top rightwing gibberish headlines. (That, and him looking like a tub of rancid butter come to life.) But Trump doesn't even recite Breitbart headlines when he wants to go full Klansman -- he mainly cribs from Fox News. And just because Bannon's creepiness is more obvious than that of the other creeps doesn't mean his is particularly meaningful. There are tons of budding factota in the rightblogger farm system who could whisper the same poisons into Trump's ear, and he can get them cheap.

Even more hilarious is the idea that Bannon's ouster will lead to a Breitbart vendetta against the President. Those guys were on a 24-hour vendetta against Obama for years and it didn't amount to a fart in a windstorm. People make much of Breitbart factotum Joel B. Pollak tweeting "#WAR" after the announcement, but he and his squad were continually tweeting that hashthreat at the Kellogg's cereal company when they got into that stupid beef with them back in December, and people are still eating corn flakes. Our problems with endemic racism and dumbassery predate Breitbart and Bannon.

Expectedly, Breitbart alumnus Ben Shapiro takes the cake:


I'm sorry, shit like this just makes me think of that Achewood thread:


Can't you explain it to me in terms of The Two Ronnies or The Life of Riley?

UPDATE. Ha ha, sorry I can't stop Shapiro is killing me:
Bannon is also media savvy enough to know that he’ll never miss work being a Trump critic. The media will continue to book him. They’ll be eager to put him on television to criticize Trump; they think this will drive down Trump’s approval ratings. 
Millions of Americans who've never heard of Breitbart or Bannon will turn on the TV and think they've accidentally stumbled onto an old George Romero movie. "Mommy, is he a zombie?"
And Bannon will look for some other horse to back, or try to become the horse himself.
Oh Ben. Still haven't lost that fine literary style.
...I said one year ago that Bannon understands that in the game of thrones, you win or die; he doesn’t intend to die. Now that he’s been beheaded by Trump, look for him to try to become the Night King, leaving destruction in his wake.
What can one say to that except:

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

A MODEST PROPOSAL.

LOL The Federalist:

Quoth author Matthew Boomer:
This is precisely why it is important for everyday people, most of whom try to be decent as well, to remember Lee—not as a hero, but as a man who devoted himself to the wrong ideals and, whatever sort of individual he may have been, found himself on the wrong side of one of the most decisive and morally laden moments in history.
OK -- so to make sure that happens, how about we give Lee googly eyes, paint I'M A STOOPID JERK on his horse, and have it fart "Dixie" on the hour?

(Speaking of which, the all-time greatest version of "Dixie" starts at 1:16 of this episode of Hard Drinkin' Lincoln:)


DON'T FORGET WHERE YOU CAME FROM.

I told you that the Google Bro story and the Charlottesville story would dovetail. Neo-Nazis had planned Google Bro-related marches this coming weekend, but -- well, let CNN Tech tell it:
Rallies were slated to happen Saturday in at least nine major U.S. cities to protest Google (GOOG)'s firing of James Damore, an engineer who wrote a controversial memo on the company's diversity policies. 
Now, the organizers behind the "March on Google" have decided to cancel. 
The effort was announced last Wednesday by Jack Posobiec, a vocal Trump supporter and right-wing activist who is known for pushing the false "Pizzagate" conspiracy theory...
I remind you that Google Bro went hanging with the alt-right homies right as soon as his first wave of publicity hit. But he has since been elevated by the Wall Street Journal and (of course!) Reason (where he was interviewed by Cathy Young, who asked such hard-hitting questions as "among the women who work at Google, there are many who don't agree with the standard progressive view of women in tech—i.e. that all disparities are due to sexism?").

Now that he's been picked up by the majors, and Charlottesville has made things hot for his old running buddies, Damore went out of his way to say that he found those fringey guys de trop in another big-media int. So Puffed, the Alt-Right Dragon sadly slipped into his cave:
On Wednesday, a post on March on Google's website said it is postponing the march...
...because everyone involved realized it was unseemly? Ha ha ha, no:
...due to "credible Alt Left terrorist threats."
Yeah, hanging with fascists might call down the anti-fascists, and blaming Nazi violence on anti-Nazis is the new MAGA.

Of course there's a bit of media lag, so some of Damore's alt-right pipeline is still disgorging -- his interview with The Rebel, a Great White and I Do Mean White North alt-right outfit, has just dropped. But I'm confident he can ride this wave of unfortunate counter-publicity out and, when no one remembers who his early sponsors were, make his big move to Time or the Atlantic or MSNBC, where he'll be accepted as a voice of mainstream conservatism -- as opposed to those guys who (no one will remember) he used to hang out with. That's how the pros do it, folks!

THE SOUTH SHALL WRITHE AGAIN.

The negative fallout from decent people and a few Republicans over Charlottesville has got wingnuts foaming at the mouth. Here's Mark Krikorian, a vicious immigration opponent who is seeing his devil's bargain to get President La Migra dying on the vine, flipping out:
Let’s accept for the sake of argument the president’s contention that there were “fine people” on both sides in Charlottesville (though where you’d find such a person in a torchlight parade chanting about Jews isn’t clear). These hypothetical fine people on the “Unite the Right” side still would not be conservatives, or even American patriots, because they’ve given up on America. They, like the left...
Let's just pause to savor this direct comparison of liberals to neo-Confederates and Nazis, right after the Republican President spoke up for neo-Confederates and Nazis.
...reject the existence of an American people and equality of all before the law, and instead embrace identity politics and the ideology of government-enforced multiculturalism.
Multiculturalism -- the root cause of slavery and genocide throughout history!
There’s no mystery why the mainstream left hasn’t denounced the antifas and communists the way the mainstream right has the Nazis and Klansmen. The mainstream left and the antifas share an antipathy for American nationalism and agree on the goal of deconstructing the American people – it’s just that the antifas are willing to do the wet work that New York Times editorial writers are unsuited for.
I don't see why the Good Grey Lady needs such cat's-paws to achieve their goal of violent revolution when they've got top agents like Bret Stephens and Ross Douthat working on it for them.

Seriously, don't they have an employee assistance program at National Review? Guy needs a tranquilizer. (Disclaimer: Not recommending Soviet-style involuntary commitment and medication for political reasons. You might have thought so 'cause that's just our style!)

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

NEW VILLAGE VOICE COLUMN UP...

...about the Google Bro and how his sad case demonstrates what conservatives really mean by "free speech." I know Charlottesville is the big deal these days and it pisses me off too, but there's plenty of good stuff on that (e.g.); I wanted to make sure the Damore thing got noted, because it's typical of the bad faith among the rightwing: They never mention Constitutional rights except as a punchline until an opportunity emerges for their invocation to serve the powerful, and then all of a sudden they're William fucking Kunstler.

Besides, I think over time a linkage between Charlottesville and Damore will emerge. You can already see it in the subtext of William Jacobson's pathetically-titled Legal Insurrection post, "The Ritual Shaming of James Damore still matters." "If anything," says Jacobson, "Ritual Shaming as a means of controlling speech will get even worse after Charlottesville." He doesn't explain that remark, but I bet his fans can guess what he means, and so can I: People may start noticing that the people most inclined to bitch about free speech rights these days are the same people who for decades have been trying to take them away from everyone else.

UPDATE. I see at National Review today Jeremy Carl suggests the government regulate Google and other popular internet businessess like utilities so conservatives may be guaranteed access to their users, as the Founding Fathers intended. "If I can’t get access to the 2 billion people on Facebook because Facebook doesn’t like my politics," says Carl, "my rights of free expression are greatly curtailed." As long as we've stopped worshipping the magic of the marketplace, comrade, how about we nationalize some industries?

UPDATE 2. For readers who've been speculating that Damore is actually trolling for a wingnut welfare gig, his new statements at CNN suggests that you've won the pool:
"I do not support the alt-right," he told CNN Tech. "Just because someone supports me doesn't mean I support them."
From Stefan Molyneux's special guest to huffy post-Charlottesville moderate Republican -- good career move, Google Bro! And:
"I'm a centrist, and they're calling me a Nazi. That is a real problem."
Say, wasn't that how Bret Stephens got the Times gig?

Sunday, August 13, 2017

FUCK YOUR FEELINGS AND YOUR THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS.

The middle-of-the-road wingnuts are running to convince us that no, that's not what they meant. For years David French has thundered against "SJWs" as the aggressors against poor defenseless conservatives. He called for "a cultural and political war against the intellectual and legal corruption of the university Left" and, having gotten those ass-covering modifiers out of the way, asked "Which GOP presidential candidate will fire the first shot?" He lamented how "painfully easy" it would be "for leftist activists to position themselves close to a group of strategically-chosen Trump supporters, initiate a disruption, and then resist the instant the crowd tried to push them out" and make his people look bad. Now that what was really going on all along has followed its natural progression and a young SJW is dead at the hands of a Nazi, he tells us at National Review (where another front-page story tells us, "Whatever the campus mob wants, the campus mob gets"), that "America is at a dangerous crossroads."

David French can go fuck himself. The guy who shot Steve Scalise was a lone nut wandering the world with a gun, not remotely typical of liberals and denounced immediately and unequivocally by the man he claimed to follow; Heather Heyer was killed by a member of a real mob that goes around invading college campuses to wreak havoc on college kids because guys like French told them there was a war on.

Fuck Erick Erickson too, who couldn't BothSides hard enough:
For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. As the left-wing social justice warriors have created mobs across America intent on destroying lives for daring to engage in wrong-think, an equal and opposite white supremacist movement has risen up. Both would silence the other side for wrong-think. Both work at the extremes of American politics.
He blames Heyer's death on "the planned white supremacists rally that turned into a day of violent clashes" -- on an event -- no, not even an event, the sequelae of an event, not on her actual assailant. Things just got out of hand! Also, Erickson predicts "the reaction of the social justice warriors will be equal to what is on display in Charlottesville, which in turn will force another reaction from these boys." What the neo-Nazis did was terrible, but no worse than what the other side is going to do in my paranoid fantasy!

The actual neo-Nazis are almost comically inept at defending themselves. Here's far-right nutjob Angelo John Gage, described as "Marine Veteran Angelo John Gage" by Truthfeed, in a video admitting the Unite the Right rally brought in “kooks,” but also some people he didn’t think were kooks — like indentitarians (Spoiler: They're white nationalist kooks), whom “I agree with,” said Gage, because they’re “simply people who believe that everyone has an identity that’s worth protecting. If you don’t believe that, then you think certain identities don’t have a right to exist and therefore you’re a supremacist and you’re a bigot…” Gage then blamed the violence on the neo-Nazis being “stripped of their First Amendment rights" and the local government, which “failed to protect United States citizens which led to fatalities..."

This Big Gummint is the Real Killer excuse is spreading among the nut fringe, and any normal person will probably see though it and treat it with the contempt it deserves. But many of them will look at French's and Erickson's moderation act and take it at face value, and in due time they'll go back to talking about how SJWs -- not neo-Nazis, and certainly not the safety-net-slashing GOP nor the bought-off id-monster in the White House and his crackpot enablers -- are America's greatest threat.



Friday, August 11, 2017

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


Hey baby (above) has been in my head for awhile. The other day someone directed me to a funny item in McSweeney's or something like that (can't find it now) in which a woman writes clever reviews of her street harassers. It was okay, but in my book no Hey Baby, partly because it didn't have Pat Place on guitar, and partly because, if we're going to use mordant humor to cope with endemic sexism, I prefer it with a little scrappiness, which is Maggie Estep's big plus here: she's like some cute, adenoidal raven. It's also partly because, of course, that place and those days are written in my heart, which breaks to think how lost they are. Maggie Estep is dead; John S. Hall, the King Missile guy who tangos with her here, keeps his oar in, but is mainly a lawyer. Now they are old, now they are young; they change all in a moment as their thought changes. It is sometimes a terrible thing to be out of the body, God help us.

• It had been remarked elsewhere that CNN's reason for getting rid of Jeffrey Lord was bullshit; Lord was clearly using Sieg Heil as a joke, not as an ode to Hitler. It's also bad tactically, because it gives Lord the opportunity (which he swiftly seized) to play the First Amendment martyr. But this false move has its merits. First, it goes to show how pusillanimous CNN is, and may convince people who should but don't know better that Big Media is not their friend. I know this overlaps with the POV of the Breitbart Bund, but the reason they have gotten over so well with it is its kernel of truth -- the nets are certainly not their friends, either, and the Breitbarters' acknowledgement of their gutlessness was what made it so easy for them to manipulate the mainsteam press; they knew that the media "moguls" would bend with the first hard word borne on hot air. That's how we wound up with an administration full of feebs, cranks, and fascists -- these people first colonized the airwaves as the browbeaten refs went "let's hear them out, it's only fair," and when we got crypto-Nazis in the White House and memos about "cultural Marxists" at the NSA, no one could remember what was insane about it.  That's why Jeffrey Lord, whom I have shown time and time again to be a meretricious piece of shit, was on CNN in the first place.  Which brings up the other silver lining of CNN's unfortunate decision -- bad as it is, it reduces the opportunity for Lord to normalize his shabby arguments and further dumb down the discourse. So I won't wring my hands too much about the reasoning. As the Google Bro incident and their many other flops-on-the-pitch show, they'll scream foul no matter what.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

ASSPECTS OF THE NOVEL.

I'm late to this, but my truism that anything Jonah Goldberg writes is the stupidest thing ever written until Goldberg writes something else may have been shattered by the synapse-freezing stupidity of his column last weekend. Written in the form of a Q&A, for a while's it's just normally Goldberg-dumb: He mentions he's writing "sort of a prequel to Liberal Fascism" (like The Phantom Menace, only performed as a monologue by Jar Jar Binks) and meanders through some politics:
Q: What do you think of the White House’s new immigration proposal?
M: I haven’t studied it.
Q: Is that a dodge?
M: Sort of. I will say that the reaction has been ridiculous. The idea that it’s racist to control your borders or copy Canada is bonkers. It’s also funny. Liberals love to insist that Europe or Canada or Scandinavia does things in a more enlightened way. But say, “Okay, let’s have Canada’s immigration policy or France’s national-security policies or Switzerland’s health-insurance system” and the same people freak out.
Durr hurr you liberals love Canada but you don't love stampedes but Calgary has a Stampede every year WHICH IS IT LIBS.

But later, McRib intoxication or something sets in:
Q: Will you ever write a novel?
M: I hope so. I never planned on being a pundit. I wanted to write comic books and sci-fi. I kind of stumbled into this life. I have several ideas, but I need time and/or f-you money.
Faulkner said, "The writer doesn't need economic freedom. All he needs is a pencil and some paper." Goldberg says well, if I save up enough money from writing about how liberals are Hitler maybe I'll write a novel. And I bet he'd be great at it -- listen to his aesthetics:
Q: What do you mean fiction is about human nature?
M: I’m glad you asked. I think there’s a profound conservatism to all great fiction.
[Almost imperceptibly -- with the merest shiver of leaves and panic among the animals -- the fart-rumble commences]
If I had to define the essence of leftism in a single phrase, it’d be “the perfectibility of man.” This is the idea that stretches back past Rousseau and probably the Gnostics to Plato’s Republic. Before public policy or any ideological agenda, conservatism recognizes the bedrock fact that man is flawed. He can be good, but only by being civilized. That’s why science fiction is so conservative.
[Now all can feel it, like the first stirrings of Sensurround; all can hear it, like the ripping of a distant, gigantic sail; and some poor, sensitive creatures can even smell it]
It can be set in some far-flung galaxy or some technological wonderland. But what makes it accessible to us is that humans — or even aliens — are still driven by timeless motivations. Human nature is the rock in the river of time. Acknowledging the fact that human nature has no history is the first principle of realism, and realism is conservative.
[A FARTING COMES ACROSS THE SKY -- like the jagged bellow of a cassowary caught in a paint-mixer, amplified a hundred-fold. Nostril hairs singe; lungs convulse. "The fools," gasp those who have not been immediately knocked unconscious, "they let Trump near the button."]

I've already asked the TLS for dibs.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

...TILL FINALLY THEY CAME FOR THE BIGOTS, AND THERE WAS NO ONE LEFT TO SPEAK UP FOR ME.

That Google guy who thinks ladies don't perform as well in tech as men because they lack "men’s higher drive for status" and other butch traits has, predictably, attracted the adulation of straightmale-rights dorksBen Domenech begins his entry with a bad-faith clusterbomb:
Fear of crackdown on free speech is a bipartisan thing these days. In the run-up to the 2016 election, conservatives were terrified that Hillary Clinton would ratchet up the crackdown on right of center groups seen under the Obama administration’s IRS, and particularly the exposure of even modest members of the donor class to public outcry along the lines of Brendan Eich’s experience at Mozilla.
(ed. note: The IRS and the Brendan Eich controversies were always both bullshit, and only mentioned during the 2016 campaign when wingnuts needed a break from Benghazi, I Have Here In My Hand a List of  33,000 Emails, and Trump Is a Businessman He Will Fix Everything.)

Domenech goes on to say that Donald Trump's not as hard on free speech as liberals think (notwithstanding that his Attorney General recently threatened a bunch of reporters), and even defends Trump's temperament, reminding us that Obama once had an interview with "a YouTube star who sits in bathtubs full of milk and cereal" -- an old wingnut trick to make the gomers think Obama was interviewed while this person was in the bathtub. (Comparing even that favorably with the history of our Pussygrabber in Chief is of course out of the question.)

Anyway Domenech moves on to one of the clumsier sure-corporations-can-do-what-they-what-but-homina-homina-homina bits I've seen:
Now, Google is not a public platform, and of course there is all sorts of awful content that is on a daily basis flagged and removed with objections that are justified. But you can see the direction this type of story is headed. First Google will be forced to hire people to do a better job of policing its sites, tasked with removing “extremist” content – and then there will be definitional drifts in how such content is considered extreme. What is religious speech in some parts of the world will be hate speech in some other parts of the world, and then the ability to use the platforms that have come to dominate the space will be determined by the priorities of the corporations involved.
My devotion to capitalism has bitten me in the ass again! We have been around this mulberry bush before, so I'll make it short: Show me, please, a conservative who has similarly spoken up for the rights of other at-will employees fired for speech who were not peddling modish rightwing bigotry, and maybe I'll take this more seriously.