Monday, February 20, 2017

YOU'RE INVISIBLE NOW, YOU GOT NO SECRETS TO CONCEAL.

I see Milo Yiannopoulos' friends have turned on him. Just kidding -- they were never his friends; just a bunch of conservatives and libertarians who took him up because, one, he hated things they also hated (liberals, women, the transgendered, et alia); two, he celebrated things they also celebrated, primarily the vicious, spiteful treatment of anyone weaker than themselves; and three, because he was ostentatiously gay -- indeed an old-fashioned caricature of homosexuality straight out of the Liberace playbook -- and allowed himself to be associated with them, which gave conservatives and libertarians two things they thought would advantage them in the dreary Culture Wars they're always pursuing: glamour and victim status.

Looking through my few writings about him, I find some tellings details. When Harry Potter actress Emma Watson stood up for feminism at the United Nations, a bunch of wingnuts laced into her, and Yiannopoulos was right in there with his Breitbart essay, "THE UN'S RISIBLE #HEFORSHE CAMPAIGN: POINTLESS SELF-FLAGELLATION FOR SEX-STARVED BETA MALES":
Emma Watson, the UN’s chosen cheerleader, who of course takes radical steps to avoid conforming to male ideas of female beauty, as the picture above illustrates, gave a speech to launch this otiose initiative while wearing perhaps the most expensive, figure-hugging overcoat I think I have ever seen. Is this the sort of person from whom we now take lectures on the sexualisation of women’s bodies?

I hate to be crude, but is it possible the Harry Potter star wears those ten-thousand dollar outfits, with jackets cut perfectly to accentuate every curve of her body, her hair snipped and tousled by the most exclusive stylists in the world, because she in fact really rather likes, and financially profits from, the idea of men waving their wands at her?
She wore nice clothes; she was asking for it. We hear this kind of sick glurge from wingnuts all the time, and even people who never heard of Freud or Germaine Greer know what brackish swamps of sexual frustration it comes from. But when Milo did it, you couldn't just say it was because he wanted to hate-fuck little Hermione, and conservatives loved having him for cover. Here was a he-man woman-hater with a gay pass!

And that went double for Gamergate, that festival of rape and death threats by suckling Pepes. Yiannopoulos was all the way up in that with essays like "FEMINIST BULLIES TEARING THE VIDEO GAME INDUSTRY APART." Once again he could say the things straight choads were embarrassed, or vaguely felt they were supposed to be embarrassed, to say: "These women purposefully court – and then exploit – boisterous, unpleasant reactions from astonished male gamers and use them to attract attention to themselves..." You heard Milo -- she was leading us on! "Let’s be honest. We’re all used to feeling a niggling suspicion that 'death threats' sent to female agitators aren’t all they’re cracked up to be." Bitch lied, she set us up! Listen to our sassy gay friend!

It makes perfect sense that Yiannopoulos became a patron saint of libertarians like Robby Soave of Reason, who lovingly described how Milo mao-maoed the liberal fascists. "No, Yiannopoulos isn't disparaging gays (though he wouldn't care if they were upset)," Soave wrote: "he is gay himself, a fact to which he makes frequent (and X-rated) references." Boo-ya, libtards, who's got the sassy gay friend now! And Yiannopoulos's spectacular public appearances -- crowded as they were with opportunistic reporters, excited neo-Nazis, and black bloc protesters -- to Soave suggested "that some students are sick to death of the liberal orthodoxies being drilled into them during every waking moment of their time in school. What if millions of Americans feel the same way?"

As you may have guessed, that was where Soave connected Yiannopoulos with Trump --  because they were both against Political Correctness, which Soave found refreshing and perhaps redemptive. "Trump's backers despise the political correctness of liberal elites," he said. ."..at least with Trump, they can enjoy the show and collect some small measure of vengeance against their PC overlords."

Well, Trump did win, and so did Milo, for a while. But Trump has an advantage over Milo: that of actual power. Both men get over with outrageous shtick -- they're  contrarians, provocateurs! Their backers despise the political correctness of liberal elites, it says here!  And when they go too far, usually they just have to say you didn't hear them right, and they can go on their merry way, confident their followers will blame whatever outrage they've caused on Fake News.

Milo tried to do that with his pedo-tapes (in "a note for idiots" -- ha, that Milo!) -- but found that he was suddenly no longer the Right's sassy gay friend. Not because he had sex with children himself -- there's no evidence he did; interestingly, it seems he was the one exploited as a child --  but because, from the conservatives' perspective, he did something worse: He embarrassed them. It was fine when he was whooping up those wanton cruelties and bigotries a normal American can get away with. But pedophilia is a Hard Limit, at least socially.

Conservatives could have done a love-the-sinner, hate-the-sin thing, but that would have required charity, and bitter experience has taught us all that in America this is not a Christian precept.  They could have said that though Yiannopoulos had put himself beyond the pale, his principles were still sound, and they could put aside his failings the way intellectuals put aside the anti-Semitism of Mencken or the racism of Larkin, and cleave instead to his aesthetic legacy; but when his book deal and CPAC spot evaporated, it became obvious that there was nothing like a principle or an aesthetic legacy at all left to defend -- just a savage clown show that no one wanted to see anymore. (Even Soave is edging away from him. Did I say "even"? Ha, I meant "of course.")

Remember this if you remember nothing else about what happened, for Milo sure knows it: even if they let you into their clubhouse, these people are not your friends.

NEW VILLAGE VOICE COLUMN UP...

...about the week of General Flynn and wacky press conferences. Trump's public appearances always astonish me, possibly because I'm old and used to Presidents who don't act like Al Capone in The Untouchables. But Il Douche keeps finding a way to lower the bar and last week's rambling, belligerent pressers veered into last-words-of-Dutch-Shultz territory. And our true subjects, the conservative intellectual establishment, keep finding ways to call his shit Shinola.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

SNOWFLAKES.

Nothing I like better after a long week of reading rightwing idiots than to curl up with some libtard hivemind received opinion at the New York Times! Say, what's this?
[Jerry] Medford should be a natural ally for liberals trying to convince the country that Mr. Trump was a bad choice. But it is not working out that way. Every time Mr. Medford dips into the political debate — either with strangers on Facebook or friends in New York and Los Angeles — he comes away feeling battered by contempt and an attitude of moral superiority. 
“We’re backed into a corner,” said Mr. Medford, 46, whose business teaches people to be filmmakers. “There are at least some things about Trump I find to be defensible. But they are saying: ‘Agree with us 100 percent or you are morally bankrupt. You’re an idiot if you support any part of Trump.’ ” 
He added: “I didn’t choose a side. They put me on one.”
Sigh. There's no getting away from it: From downmarket White Working Class Whisperers like Salena Zito to the Good Grey Lady (incarnated here by Sabrina Tabernise), seems everyone who's anyone agrees liberals are to blame for Trump voters. For one thing, as above, we viciously refuse to agree with them. Who does that? For another...
Late last year, [Medford] hit it off with a woman in New York he met online. They spent hours on the phone. They made plans for him to visit. But when he mentioned he had voted for Mr. Trump, she said she was embarrassed and didn’t know if she wanted him to come. (He eventually did, but she lied to her friends about his visiting.) 
“It invalidated anything that’s good about me, just because of how I voted. Poof, it’s gone.”
...liberals will only have sex with them on the downlow. This bitch wouldn't take Jerry to meet her snooty New York friends just because he insists on wearing his MAGA cap and his FUCK YOUR FEELINGS shirt! Well, at least we can be reasonably sure he didn't give her an orgasm. That'll show her!

He's not the only one who suffers. Pity Ann O'Connell, "a retired administrative assistant in Syracuse who voted for Mr. Trump":
Mrs. O’Connell feels hopeless. She has deleted all her news feeds on Facebook and she tries to watch less TV. But politics keeps seeping in. 
“I love Meryl Streep, but you know, she robbed me of that wonderful feeling when I go to the movies to be entertained,” she said. 
Even Hollywood stars won't kiss their ass! What kind of  topsy-turvy world is this?

Oddly enough, there is nothing in the story, nor anywhere else in the Times, suggesting that Trump voters should in turn reach out to the other side. They seem to assume Trump voters are too fragile to take this kind of initiative themselves, and that the very people these voters are constantly calling traitors should be rushing to their assistance like home health aides.

That's an incredibly condescending attitude, but since these folks play along with it I guess it's justified. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Conservatism is not a political philosophy but a last resort -- something you turn to when you can no longer bear to take responsibility for your own actions.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

THE NEW AGE.

Did you catch that Trump presser? Here's a bit:
Nobody talks about that. I didn't do anything for Russia. I've done nothing for Russia. Hillary Clinton gave them 20 percent of our uranium. Hillary Clinton did a reset, remember? With the stupid plastic button that made us all look like a bunch of jerks. Here, take a look. He looked at her like, what the hell is she doing with that cheap plastic button?

Hillary Clinton - that was the reset, remember it said reset? Now if I do that, oh, I'm a bad guy. If we could get along with Russia, that's a positive thing. We have a very talented man, Rex Tillerson, who's going to be meeting with them shortly and I told him. I said "I know politically it's probably not good for me." The greatest thing I could do is shoot that ship that's 30 miles off shore right out of the water.

Everyone in this country's going to say "oh, it's so great." That's not great. That's not great. I would love to be able to get along with Russia. Now, you've had a lot of presidents that haven't taken that tack. Look where we are now. Look where we are now. So, if I can - now, I love to negotiate things, I do it really well, and all that stuff. But - but it's possible I won't be able to get along with Putin.

Maybe it is. But I want to just tell you, the false reporting by the media, by you people, the false, horrible, fake reporting...
In the words of Curly from the Three Stooges, Ngnnnyaahh.

I can already tell you how the brethren will cover it -- see Hindrocket's praise for The Leader's gibberish at the Netanyahu presser yesterday. Turned out he wasn't the only one who picked a full ear of corn out of that shit, by the way -- dig Jonathan S. Tobin:
His statement was typically Trumpian in that it displayed either his ignorance or his lack of interest in the details, but it’s clear that the president wasn’t supporting either the one-state or the two-state option. Instead, what he was doing was endorsing a diplomatic principle that is just as important: The U.S. cannot impose peace on terms that aren’t accepted by the parties, and we shouldn’t behave in a manner that encourages Palestinians’ ongoing refusal to make peace.
"It's clear"! But first ya have to buy these special Trump-listening earphones! For you, six bits and the future of the Republic!

Anyway, that's what we can expect on this one, and henceforth. Trump-friendly, quasi-legit outlets will produce some less-crazy-sunding snippets and headlines telling the rubes that Trump was attacking that liberal media again, a la "Trump goes on marathon rant against the media," New York Post, and "Trump unloads on media's 'hatred' in singular press conference" -- Washington Examiner. The true rightbloggers will say the liberal media is the real story, as just dropped at Townhall:
Chuck Todd's Scorn: Calls President Trump's Press Conference "Un-American"

NBC News anchor Chuck Todd was not happy with President Donald Trump's fiery press conference on Thursday. After speaking to various media outlets for over an hour, President Trump answered varying questions which included anything from the 2016 election to recent actions by the Russian military.

He answered each question to the best of his ability and gave each reporter ample time to ask any questions they had.

Because of his actions, NBC's Todd deemed him un-American.

It is now apparent that people in the mainstream media believe the First Amendment is something that remains exclusively to them alone and no one else.
Their purposes is no longer only to reverse the New Deal -- it's also to reverse the relative positions of shit and Shinola.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

WORST NEO-CONFEDERATE EXPLANATION YET.

Today at National Review it was Ben Shapiro's turn (perhaps he lost a bet) to bitch about the removal of Confederate icons from campuses and town squares (in this case, Yale's removal of the name of John C. Calhoun from a college), and simultaneous explain why it wasn't because he was racist but because blah blah blah. We've seen some sad entries in this line, particularly after the Dylann Roof massacre -- see here for David French's insistence that the flags and statues must stay because in addition to slavery and treason they commemorate "Confederate valor." But Shapiro doesn't have the balls to be that bald-faced, and takes up an educational angle, which makes him sound like a 60s nudie movie producer telling prosecutors he was just trying to be Frank About Sex:
Calhoun’s name on buildings reminds us that Calhoun was once honored for his perspective rather than derided for it. It is a reminder that evil once held sway in our world, and that we cherished it. It also reminds us that brilliance and patriotism and good and evil can all exist in the same human being: Calhoun’s slavery advocacy existed alongside his desire to build up a strong, robust American military; he created the Bureau of Indian Affairs at the same time that he stumped for the expansion of slavery into the Western states.
So I guess all those gomers waving the Stars and Bars (or getting it tattooed on their bodies) are just trying to show us how bad slavery was! Or how evil and goodness can co-exist in the same person, e.g. themselves ("But wait a minute! Hot dog, love's a-winning!").

If only we needed to be reminded but, alas, these guys refuse to disappear.

WITH THEIR COURT DOG-TRICKS, THAT CAN FAWN AND FLEER.

I remember massively enjoying Rev. Al Sharpton's response, at a debate among Democratic Presidential contenders in 2004, to a question about the Federal Reserve. Reverend Al clearly had no idea of what the Federal Reserve even was, let alone what he thought about it, but yet with terror in his eyes he fronted madly all the way through. Ah, those young and innocent days! Now we have an actual president with, let us say, an even more limited intellectual palette, but without even the self-awareness to be embarrassed by his own ignorant vamping, as was evident in his bizarre ramblings about his electoral college margin and one- or two- or whatever-state solutions at the Netanyahu press conference.

Good thing for him he's got lickspittles: Here's John Hinderaker at Power Line, who doesn't even bother with his usual subterfuges and actual lets readers see what Trump babbled --
So, I’m looking at two-state and one-state and I like the one that both parties like. I’m very happy with the one that both parties like. I can live with either one. I thought for a while the two-state looked like it may be the easier of the two but honestly, if Bibi and if the Palestinians — if Israel and the Palestinians are happy, I’m happy with the one they like the best.
-- and then adds this commentary:
This is smart, I think. The Palestinians need to understand that if they don’t shape up, they don’t get a state.
That's some deep reading. Takes a lawyerly mind to dig that out of Trump's gibberish, or one's own asshole. Hinderaker is like Rip Torn representing Albert Brooks in Defending Your Life ("Dignified, I call it!"), except of course neither kind nor charismatic. But maybe he was just being sloppy there; later on, he wisely refrains from reproducing Trump's doozy of a response to a question about anti-Semitism in America, taken here from the transcript --
Well, I just want to say that we are, you know, very honored by the victory that we had -- 306 electoral college votes. We were not supposed to crack 220. You know that, right? There was no way to 221, but then they said there's no way to 270. And there's tremendous enthusiasm out there. 
I will say that we are going to have peace in this country. We are going to stop crime in this country. We are going to do everything within our power to stop long simmering racism and every other thing that's going on. There's a lot of bad things that have been taking place over a long period of time. 
I think one of the reasons I won the election is we have a very, very divided nation, very divided. And hopefully, I'll be able to do something about that. And I, you know, it was something that was very important to me. 
As far as people, Jewish people, so many friends; a daughter who happens to be here right now; a son-in-law, and three beautiful grandchildren. I think that you're going to see a lot different United States of America over the next three, four or eight years. I think a lot of good things are happening. 
And you're going to see a lot of love. You're going to see a lot of love.
-- which in my view boils down to a combination of "Cabbages knickers it's not got a beak!" and "Vote Quimby!" but which Hinderaker interprets thus:
A journalist effectively accused Trump of being responsible for a rise in anti-Semitic incidents... Trump responded vaguely and with great restraint.
Vaguely and with great restraint! Hey, wait a minute, Torn mentions "restraint" in that scene. Could it be... nah, I doubt Hinderaker ever watches anything except Red Dawn and tapes made at Gitmo sent to him by Andrew C. McCarthy.

If, as I expect, one day at a public function Trump just starts blowing drool bubbles like an infant, Hinderaker will tell his people it was a "subtle meditation."

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

THE PLOT SICKENS.

You know, I find these mangoes (as we have been calling the wackier wingnut expostulations since earliest alicublog days) in a variety of places. Sometimes I'm tipped off on Twitter. I rarely give credit for that because I consider these links raw material, and flatter myself (he said, eyes demurely lowered, palm pressed piously to chest) that I add enough cream to the jest to make them my own.

But I found the following thing via @BGreuskin, which I freely admit because I can't possibly improve on the source material from Breitbart, in which future U.S. Ambassador to South Africa Joel B. Pollak speculates on what led to the fall of former NatSec Advisor Michael Flynn:
The remaining possibilities are more worrying. The third explanation is that President Obama deliberately, and cleverly, used the bogus sanctions as a “blue dye” test to expose which strings Russia might try to pull to relieve them. Flynn, with a prior relationship with the Russian government, may have been a natural, innocuous point of contact — or perhaps something more.
That Obama -- like The Left, he's got his fingers in everything!

Though the best, that's not all: Pollak naturally disdains the "Democratic Party’s sore-loser conspiracy theory" that Trump is mobbed up with Putin and the Russians; instead, he suggests Trump is more sinned against than sinning, Russkie-wise:
The fourth and most worrying explanation is that the government was not merely monitoring the communications of Russian diplomats, but of the Trump transition team itself. The fact that the contents of Flynn’s phone conversation — highly sensitive intelligence — were leaked to the media suggests that someone with access to that information also has a political axe to grind.

Democrats are clamoring for a deeper investigation of Russian ties to Trump. But the more serious question is whether our nation’s intelligence services were involved in what amounts to political espionage against the newly-elected government.

We know that there are hundreds and perhaps thousands of federal bureaucrats already using shadow communications systems. How far does that “shadow government” go?

The FBI, CIA and other agencies ought to reassure Congress, or come clean.
I imagine when the smoke clears Chaffetz's committee will reveal that it was really Hillary Clinton who said "grab 'em by the pussy."

Friday, February 10, 2017

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.




Former colleague Rob Harvilla made a great case for Twenty One Pilots;
They make a great case for themselves here.

• Here's your new talking point, wingnuts: The San Francisco Court of Appeals! Reliable propagander Jim Geraghty at National Review:
For Trump Foes, San Francisco’s Court of Appeals Is Cloud Nine
The Trump administration’s loss in the Court of Appeals of the Ninth Circuit — it might as well just be called “the San Francisco court” — isn’t surprising, and the tone of the decision isn’t really a surprise, either...
Cuz they's Sanfrancisgy sissy-men! Jeanne Kirkpatrick, greybeards may recall, got a lot of mileage out of "San Francisco Democrats" in 1984. A few things have changed since then -- notably, Russia's the Republicans' buddy, and the number of people you can set off with Cisco as a perjorative has declined drastically -- in fact, that population may overlap substantially with the readership of National Review.

• So much of my humor is of necessity grim these days, so how about a genuine ray of sunshine? St. Louis Treasurer Tishaura O. Jones is running for mayor, and as is customary was offered an interview with the editorial board of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which she declined, sending instead a letter which she shared with the St. Louis American, and oh boy:
Two weeks ago, you used some of your ink to outline what questions you would be asking of mayoral candidates. You complained that “decades of sustained, abject neglect by city leaders have allowed a bombed-out graffiti-covered, war-zone image to prevail.” You said you were afraid to walk your dog at night and you called for a plan to “address blight and abate the graffiti that’s killing our city.”

You just moved here. It isn’t your city, yet. And graffiti is not what’s killing it.

What is killing our city is poverty. Since you’re new and you live in a great neighborhood, you probably don’t know that the poverty rate doubled during Mayor Francis G. Slay’s 16-year tenure.

What is killing our region is a systemic racism that pervades almost every public and private institution, including your newspaper, and makes it nearly impossible for either North St. Louis or the parts of South St. Louis where African Americans live to get better or safer or healthier or better-educated...
The whole thing is good and may just bolster your faith in the future of this country.