Monday, April 15, 2019

I SHOUTED OUT, WHO BURNED DOWN NOTRE DAME/WHEN AFTER ALL IT WAS YOU HEATHENS' LACK OF SHAME!

The fire at Notre Dame in Paris is terrible and it's touching to read the tributes and outpourings of sorrow it has occasioned.  Of course there have been some absurd reactions too -- and some that go way beyond that:
Like James Poulos above, I cannot see this as anything other than a sign. The only church in all of Western civilization more important than Notre Dame de Paris is St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The consuming fire is likely to have been started from a construction accident. I hope that is the case; if this was terrorism, then France is in for unimaginable spasms of violence. Nevertheless, if this was an accident, it still symbolizes what we in the West have allowed to happen to our religious and cultural patrimony. What happened in Paris today has been happening across our civilization. 
It happens whenever we fail to live out our baptism, and fail to baptize our children. It happens by omission, by indifference, and it happens by commission, from spite. It happens in classrooms, in newsrooms, in shopping malls, in poisoned seminaries and defiled sacristies, and everywhere the truths that Notre Dame de Paris embodied are ridiculed, flayed, and destroyed in the hearts and minds of modern men. The fire that destroyed Paris’s iconic cathedral made manifest what we in the West have been doing to ourselves for over 200 years.
This may be the nuttiest thing Rod Dreher has ever written, and that, my friends, is saying something. At one point he compares the fire, as yet not proven to be anything but an accident, to 9/11. (He also keeps saying he hopes it's not terrorism, which, ha, we've all caught your act, guy.) Also:
For you in the West who are not religious, I hope you will reflect on what this cathedral meant in artistic, architectural, and cultural terms, and that you will think hard about what we are losing as we collectively repudiate our patrimony.
Me, I'm thinking about what we're losing when we collectively repudiate basic fire safety. It's like the inside of Dreher's head is a bad editorial cartoon where the spark that set the blaze is labeled "secular humanism." And I'm waiting for Peggy Noonan to tell us she saw "the face of the Evil One" rising in the smoke. Who knows, maybe even Trump will get with it and say something like, "Many people are saying that the devil actually set this fire, like it was Halloween. I don't know if they're right or not. Personally I think it was whatshisname, the guy in Venezuela we're supposed to go to war with."

Friday, April 12, 2019

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


Of course John's my favorite Beatle,
but George is close behind.

•  I'm unlocking another edition of my newsletter Roy Edroso Breaks It Down (Subscribe! Cheap!), this one a transcipt of Stephen Miller's unheralded appearance before the House Judiciary Committee's White Nationalism hearing. Part of the inspiration was Candace Owens' appearance, which as Stephen A. Crockett Jr. reports was sort of a parody of the conservative attitude toward white nationalism (which is by far the biggest terror threat in the U.S. now) -- let's just get a black lady up there to say that it doesn't exist and you're the Real Racist! If they can get away with this, I see no reason why Miller can't get away with his own Jew-channeling-Goebbels innovation.

•  One good thing we may be able to salvage from this administration, if we survive it, is permanent damage to the whole stupid idea that evangelicals have anything serious or beneficial to add to the national debate. Remember when Michael Gerson, George W. Bush's evangel whisperer, was the model for such people -- temporizing, pencil-necked, only gently pushing the authority of Our Lord & Savior for conservatism (and then only for the goody-goody parts)? Well, now it's the age of the Savage Messiah, baby, with goons like Franklin Graham excusing Trump's sins and getting Republicans to promote their popcorn propaganda for them in hearings. (I'm not going to see Unplanned, but look forward to the sequel Unplanned 3-D, in which the actors thrust bloody, dismembered fetus parts at the audience. Move over Paul Morrissey!)

I'm sure some Jesus freak has defended Trump's cage-and-boot immigration policy before, but Matthew Schmitz's offering at the godly First Things, "IMMIGRATION IDEALISM: A CASE FOR CHRISTIAN REALISM," strains itself to make it look like the Lord's will. Schmitz starts out lamenting how naive he was as a young man, and how he thought the manly men he worked with who "complained about 'illegals' taking American jobs" were bigots when really they were just expressing common-sense Christianity in earthier terms. Later Schmitz learned that, by applauding hard-working immigrants, "elites" like Barack Obama and Lin-Manuel Miranda "portray working-class Americans as violent, hateful, and incompetent. They revel in their suffering." Gotta choose who to feel sorry for: The whites or the browns. Guess which side Jesus is on? Thus people who want the kids caged and booted are The Real Christians.

Also the liberal elites are like the guys who didn't want to fight Hitler: "Sooner or later, even the most idealistic calls to welcome migrants must contend with hard reality," warns Schmitz. "In the run-up to World War II, men inside and outside the Church invoked the gospel to justify appeasement and pacifism..." We had to fight Hitler's SS, and now we must fight the army of cleaning ladies and day laborers who similarly threaten our country!

The whole thing's nuts, but this may be the keeper:
While advocating realistic and Christian migration policies, the Church must not forget that the most important migration is that of souls into heaven. In Exsul Familia Nazarethana, Pope Pius XII speaks of the need to “provide all possible spiritual care for pilgrims, aliens, exiles and migrants of every kind.” He praises the Church’s long history of care for migrants, including the Catholic colonizers of the New World. (Pius’s view is not easily reconciled with liberal pieties.) According to the Pew Forum, 19 percent of the foreign-born, Hispanic adults living in the United States have given up their Catholic faith—half before they arrived, half after. These are souls lost at sea, spiritual migrants stopped at the border between earth and heaven.
Apparently by letting immigrants into our fallen nation, soft-hearted liberals are causing them to lose their faith, thus condemning them to an eternity in Hell. Who's mean to immigrants now? So when Trump's immigration control people kick over water bottles so immigrants may die of thirst in the desert, they're really just sending them quicker to heaven!

We must never forget what monsters these people are.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

THE UGLIEST AMERICAN.

This is in some ways the Trumpiest thing that ever was:
During a guided tour of Mount Vernon last April with French president Emmanuel Macron, Trump learned that Washington was one of the major real-estate speculators of his era. So, he couldn’t understand why America’s first president didn’t name his historic Virginia compound or any of the other property he acquired after himself. 
“If he was smart, he would’ve put his name on it,” Trump said, according to three sources briefed on the exchange. "You’ve got to put your name on stuff or no one remembers you"... 
If Trump was impressed with Washington’s real estate instincts, he was less taken by Mount Vernon itself, which the first president personally expanded from a modest one-and-a-half story home into an 11,000 square foot mansion. The rooms, Trump said, were too small, the staircases too narrow, and he even spotted some unevenness in the floorboards, according to four sources briefed on his comments. He could have built the place better, he said, and for less money.
This put me immediately in mind of an anecdote about Booth Tarkington's and Harry Leon Wilson's play, The Man From Home, in Louis Scheaffer's first Eugene O'Neill biography Son and Playwright:
In [young O'Neill's] view the good things were not the home-grown products that played to packed houses but the serious importations that pleased only the few. What audience tastes of the day were like can be gathered from something Booth Tarkington once said about The Man from Home, a smash hit of the 1908-1909 season he had coauthored. A story of American tourists abroad, it was intended to satirize those who ran down Europe’s historic splendors in favor of the sights back home. “So when we built up the Hoosier in our play,” Tarkington recalled, “we gave him a lot of this kind of jingo patter. We thought our audiences would be amused with us and at him, and yet like him as we did. Instead, they cheered all his boastings…. They burst with loud patriotic applause when he said, ‘I wouldn’t trade our State Insane Asylum for the worst ruined ruin in Europe.’ The popular success of the play might be called accidental.”
It's hard to know whether Trump is genuinely this stupid, or whether he's merely playing the monied rube here for the benefit of his idiot fans. In either case his act as seen at Mount Vernon is more or less the same as he's been doing for years: As a self-help huckster, snake-oil salesman, game show host, presidential candidate, and president, Trump's success is based on putting over the notion that the smart people are putting one over on you, but he will put you wise -- he'll teach you the secrets the smart people won't share, sell you the "quality" items the smart people hoard for themselves, elevate with an apprenticeship some humble young Horatio Alger who'd never get a break from the smart people; and finally, when given the ultimate prize, he will lock up the Queen of the Smart People, drain the swamp and fix America.

With the Mount Vernon tour Trump is letting everyone around him know that the things smart people like, or rather are pretending to like in order to bamboozle the common people -- historical artifacts, indeed history itself, and the homey values of the Founding Fathers -- are actually stupid; this supposed "attraction" is just a dump (as Trump called the White House when he got there) and this Washington schmuck didn't have the savvy and pizzazz that Trump brings to the Big Show. Why waste your time at some rickety old house when you could go to Trump Tower? And if some loser bitches that Trump's leadership betrays the values of people like George Washington, well, who was Washington anyway except some soldier who, though admirable because he didn't get captured, didn't know half of what Trump knows about building a fortune and making a name for oneself? Because the only real values are Trump's values, and anything else is a trap to steal your money.

Mencken called it, but he didn't know the half of how it would end up.

Sunday, April 07, 2019

HOW BULLSHIT WORKS, PART INFINITY-MILLION.

Fox News:


Sounds like quite a groundswell! Exactly how many "calls" were there?
“The people campaigning against the Amazon campus are financially illiterate,” said Tracy Maitland, president and chief investment officer of Advent Capital Management during a panel discussion the Black Economic Agenda, according to the New York Post.

He later told the newspaper that he blames the 29-year-old Democratic Socialist for spreading misinformation and helping to kill the agreement with Amazon that would have benefited people in her home state.

“This was a disgrace. I partially blame AOC for the loss of Amazon. She doesn’t know what she doesn’t know. That’s scary. We have to make sure she’s better educated or vote her out of office,” he said...
So literally one rich guy in the story -- and no one else in the story -- says he and his fellow rich guys might vote AOC out of office ("Vote Hedley Throckmorton III, get to pee in a bottle on an Amazon shop floor and this free tote bag!").

This bullshit story is covered by other wingnut websites to their hatewank readers, who mutter "even her own people" as they grab the Kleenex. And Lord how the money rolls in!

Friday, April 05, 2019

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


End it someday what's that sound

•   This is the 25th anniversary of Kurt Cobain's suicide. On Twitter people are talking about where they were when they found out. I certainly remember; I was getting into a van to do some road dates with a band. Someone said they couldn't understand why he did it; I thought I did understand, and was even more of a drunken asshole on the trip than usual. A few years later I quit the limelight, as it were, and performed only as a humble bass player until I knew I had lost the calling and laid down the tools for good. Part of me thought and still thinks I did so because I was weak, but part of me -- the part that won -- thinks I did it to save myself, and Cobain's suicide was part of the fact pattern that convinced me.

With the benefit of a quarter-century's perspective I realize that everyone's damage is different, and one data point for that is I haven't blown my brains out -- not dispositive, but I'm willing to take it as a sign that either my problems weren't as bad as his or my resources were better, or both. But in 1995 I was vibrating sympathetically with Cobain's music, and the finale made sense to me, not because it rejected life but because dredging up those painful feelings and amplifying them to that scale seemed like very dangerous work -- like sculpting an avalanche. It isn't how it has to be; a lot of artists have plumbed those feelings without even getting dirt under their nails. But some guys can't do it any other way.

Anyway it seems pop music doesn't seem to have any place for that sort of work anymore, and maybe we're better off, just as maybe we're better off with the tiny speakers digital tech has made possible instead of the large, cumbersome, and chest-rattling subwoofers of the past. We're here and he's not, that's for sure. Still, I miss the comfort in being sad.

•   Oh, here's another newsletter edition opened to the general public (Susbcribe It's Cheap™), about how conservative anti-LGBTQ efforts are still happening very much though on the downlow as far as the media's concerned. One of their tools, as usual, is reverse victimhood -- it's actually the minorities who are oppressing them, and they have to exclude them from certain civil rights in order to protect themselves. Today in the Wall Street Journal:
We Were Smeared by the SPLC
Our work for religious liberty got us branded a ‘hate group.’ Such lies have real consequences 
...[The Southern Poverty Law Center] falsely maligns ideological opponents in an effort to crush them rather than debate their ideas honestly. I know, because in 2016 the SPLC branded my organization, the religious-liberty nonprofit Alliance Defending Freedom, a “hate group.”
Hang on, some of you are thinking -- Alliance Defending Freedom? The group that in its early form, the Alliance Defense Fund, field an amicus brief in Lawrence v. Texas for guess which side on the grounds that "same-sex sodomy" is "clearly" a "distinct public health problem"? The group that wants to bring back conversion therapy where it's been made illegal? Whose executive director praised an Indian court for ruling to "protect society at large rather than give in to a vocal minority of homosexual advocates"? SPLC has these fuckers dead to rights, but op-ed author and ADF SVP Kristen Waggoner cries she's been "smeared as a bigot" by them merely because she is moved to "disagree with its far-left worldview." She ends, "Let’s aspire to be a country characterized by tolerance, freedom of conscience and love of neighbor," which must be some sort of inside joke. Remember: These guys have to disguise what they're doing because if normal people knew they would laugh them out of existence.

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

PRESIDENT NICE YOUNG MAN.

Well, Mayor Pete Boot Edge Edge just got the kiss of death: A glowing review from David Brooks.
In a recent Iowa poll he surged to third place. His campaign just announced that it’s raised an impressive $7 million since January. And I can’t tell you how many Democrats in places as diverse as Nebraska, Indiana, New York and Washington have come up to me over the last few weeks raving about the guy. I met a superfan in Frederick, Md., who says that every few hours she calls the campaign to give another $10.
Sorry but this makes me think: How does Brooks meet these Democrats, or anyone? When he dumped his wife he quickly married his research assistant, so he doesn't seem like a guy who gets around.
This is the biggest star-is-born moment since Lady Gaga started singing “Shallow.”
What'd I tell you? Don't start climbing the walls yet, though, because Brooks is about to tell us what's so dreamy about Buttigieg:
The Trump erahas been all about dissolving moral norms and waging vicious attacks. This has been an era of culture war, class warfare and identity politics. It’s been an era in which call-out culture, reality TV melodrama and tribal grandstanding have overshadowed policymaking and the challenges of actually governing.
I bet you've already seen the bothsides card peeking out of Brooks' jacket pocket:
The Buttigieg surge suggests that there are a lot of Democrats who want to say goodbye to all that. They don’t want to fight fire and divisiveness with more fire and divisiveness. They don’t want to fight white identity politics with another kind of identity politics.
They are sick of the moral melodrama altogether. They just want a person who is more about governing than virtue-signaling, more about friendliness and basic decency than media circus and rhetorical war.
Joe Biden feelz ladies up, and Amy Klobuchar hits people, so in the absence of Michael Bloomberg or a Care Bear stuffed with vouchers, that leaves all the Monsters of Identity Politics, Virtues That Are Not in Bill Bennett's Book, and Socialized Medicine, who are unacceptable, and Mayor Pete.
Buttigieg’s secret is that he transcends many of the tensions that run through our society in a way that makes people on all sides feel comfortable.
And of course there's one group that's most important to make comfortable and that's David Brooks and milky boomers like him.
First, he is young and represents the rising generation, but he is also an older person’s idea of what a young person should be.
Mrrowr hot.
He’d be the first millennial president, but Buttigieg doesn’t fit any of the stereotypes that have been affixed to America’s young people.
He doesn't talk with a smart mouth!
Young people are supposed to be woke social justice warriors who are disgusted by their elders. Buttigieg is the model young man who made his way impressing his elders — Harvard, Rhodes scholar, McKinsey, the Navy.
Cut of his jib etc.
Young hipsters are supposed to flock to coastal places like Brooklyn and Portland; after college, Buttigieg returned to Indiana.
He's like J.D. Vance except not yet an obvious fraud.
...Second, he is gay and personifies the progress made by the L.G.B.T.Q. movement, but he doesn't do so in a way that feels threatening or transgressive to social conservatives. He has conservative family values; it’s just that his spouse is a husband, not a wife. He speaks comfortably about his faith and says that when he goes to church he prefers a conservative liturgy to anything experimental.
He's the kind of gay person you'd like if you didn't hate gay people!
Finally, he’s a progressive on policy issues, but he doesn’t sound like an angry revolutionary. Buttigieg’s policy positions are not all that different from the more identifiable leftist candidates. But he eschews grand ideological conflict.
In other words, Brooks is sure that, as one of those geezers Mayor Pete looks up to, he can talk him out of the leftist stuff, it's not like anyone would notice. Well, let Brooks have his fun before he inevitably informs us more in sorrow than in anger that he has to support Trump because Democratic Nominee Fill In The Blank thinks he's racist.

Friday, March 29, 2019

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


Been on an early Waylon kick lately; here's one I got off my mama's old radio.

I'm unlocking yet another issue of the newsletter (Subscribe! Cheap!) that's just for funsies, albeit the grim modern political kind, in which the White House gets a couple of special dinner guests. Enjoy!

• I get after Rod Dreher a lot, but he's such a perfect amalgam of nearly every terrible conservative trait that he's sort of irresistible. Take this one in which he riffs on a Michigan Live story, "Teen who traded tennis for video games says more pressure playing virtual sports." The kid, Ben Stoeber, is interested in robotics and says he was drawn to tennis "because of the social aspect of it" and expresses no other feeling for it, so I guess it makes sense he'd switch and who cares, but Brother Rod howls "Decline and fall... So this kid left his body, and now lives inside his head. What a tragedy this is!" and goes on about how "doing work with your body (or playing games with your body)" is imporant because "When we remove ourselves from the physical world and retreat into our heads — as these young people are doing — we habituate ourselves to a false narrative about who we are, and what we are. We also become weaker, more subject to authoritarian rule."

That seems weird coming from a guy who doesn't look like he's done much heavy lifting himself, and is so exquisitely sensitive that he can't clean up after his dog without puking. Maybe he figured other readers would make this connection, too, and so rambles about how when he was growing up his old man was always trying to push him to do sports, but young Rod wasn't into it:
I honestly can’t say to what extent my resisting his attempts to get me into the world beyond my head was about a character flaw within me, or it was about him pushing too hard for me to do something that went against my nature. Had my dad not been so pushy about it, or if he had tried more gently to introduce me into nature, or if he had ever shown interest in the books and ideas that captivated me as a child, maybe I would have been different.
This reminds me so much of one of Albert Brooks' narration bits in Real Life: "I’m an entertainer but, quite frankly, if I’d studied harder -- or been graded more fairly -- I would have been a doctor or a scientist."

Anyway, just because Rod Dreher can't snap an emery board doesn't mean anyone else can get away with ignoring the physical world. (Plus, he reveals, his own son has taken up bicycling -- see, Dad, maybe if you weren't such a hothead we'd be a sports dynasty now!) "Please, Ben Stoeber, pick your tennis racket back up!" Dreher cries. "You don’t have to quit playing video games, but make them secondary to your life. Watch Wall-E and think about the choice you’re making..."

At no point does Dreher seem aware that Stoeber's leisure-activity choice may be reasonable and in any case need not be made with any consideration for the False Narrative of Modern Man; nor that his own lack of athleticism is something he might, after years of adulthood, take responsibility for himself instead of laying it on his now-dead father.