Saturday, March 10, 2007

PAYDIRT. This idiot mine contains nothing but fool's gold, but it glitters and sometimes you just have to swing a pick. I saw this Perfesser squib --
DAVE KOPEL ON THE ART OF "INSULTING UPWARD," as practiced by Ann Coulter and her disciples.
--and wondered what the angle might be. I knew by "disciples" he had to mean liberals, as the Perfesser only mentions wingers who've worn out their welcome among his own, more upscale Republican faction as a means to attack the left. But the Perfesser is not usually so terse -- he tends to telegraph the punchlines with snide gags.

Also, he is seconded by Ann Althouse, albeit at greater and dottier length. So, old miner that I am, I got a tingle in my diggin' hand.

Sure enough, in the linked article Coulter is judged a terrible person -- not because of the many outrages that have brought her fame, but because she insults upward -- that is, makes fun of folks more famous that she is, thereby feeding off their fame. What cheek!

And by that logic, when someone less famous than Coulter attacks her for her universally-acknowledged viciousness, why, it's just the same as what Coulter does. It's worse, in fact, if the Coulter critic -- in this case, Paul Campos -- a.) uses swears ("which this newspaper won't print") and "lawyerly formulations," and b.) attacks other more-famous people upon whose jocks Kopel is strongly positioned.

Guess who they are?
[Campos'] column also insulted upward at University of Wisconsin law professor Ann Althouse (bizarrely claiming that she is part of a conspiracy to protect Coulter). Althouse is far more famous than Campos on the Web and in academia; her record of scholarly publications in law journals is significantly larger than his. She responded to Campos on her blog, thus giving him more publicity.

A couple of weeks ago, Campos also successfully insulted upward when he accused University of Tennessee law professor Glenn Reynolds of advocating murder, and urged that the school censor Reynolds. Reynolds too has a vastly larger record of scholarly publication than Campos, and Reynolds' Web log, InstaPundit, is the most influential in the world (based on incoming links statistics at truthlaidbear.com).
As the Perfesser's blog is "the most influential in the world," I guess Campos is guilty of Grand Insulting Upward in the First Degree, or Reputation Genocide, or some damn thing.

Althouse and the Perfesser, of course, built their empires by attacking Democrats and American Idol contestants, who might be considered more famous than they. But Althouse and the Perfesser never (well, hardly ever) use swears, and as for "lawyerly formulations," well, if these folks can actually win lawsuits with their style of argument, the homeless guy loudly denouncing black women who wear wigs on the A train the other night definitely missed his calling.

Spinning for rightwing asshole buddies with a Coulter and a fake moral equivalence! Best of all, by criticizing them I'm just like Coulter! This is as much fun as playing checkers with a badly-brought-up child who cheats.

BTW, here's some sober analysis from Glenn Greenwald -- he's pretty famous, so feel free to take him seriously.

Friday, March 09, 2007

WELL, THEY'RE HALF RIGHT. A few weeks back I said this:
Right-wingers of all kinds seem to love Rudolph Giuliani because he's a total fucking prick, which seems to be the personality trait that most excites such people.
I was sort of kidding, but the kids at National Review prove once again that satire is, if not dead, then living in hiding under the alias "Alternative Reality," with several posts to this effect:
Have been talking to some smart people today about Giuliani. Two of them said independently that the appeal of Giuliani is he'd be “a tough SOB—for you,” and that he'd be “a d—head—for you.” Another said (and he hadn't seen Kate's e-mail post yesterday) that a Giuliani supporter he knows considers the nasty divorce a kind of asset because it speaks to his toughness.
I hope that, if some of us who actually lived under Giuliani can get heard on the subject, people will find out that, while Rudy is indeed a d---head, it is never for you, nor for anyone other than himself.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

ART DON'T LIVE HERE NO MORE. I saw most of the first "1/2 Hour News Show" -- that allegedly conservative, allegedy comedy show on Fox -- and thought it blew. National Review's David Frum has seen two episodes of the thing, and thinks they both blew.

Here you might think the fascist frostback and I have found common ground. But no, no, no, no. Robespierre and an ordinary citoyen might agree that today is a fine day, but simple Jacques might simply mean that the sun feels good on his cheek, while the Incorruptible would probably mean that it is a fine day to purge the Assembly or slaughter some royals. See what lesson Frum draws from the "News Show" debacle:
[The show's creator] Joel Surnow told NRO on Friday that he wanted to produce a program that would set Michael Moore's hair on fire. He has not done it. More seriously, he has failed to do something much more important: create a conservative institution with cultural power. The Daily Show and now Steven Colbert have taught a generation of college students that Republicans are ridiculous, absurd, hopelessly past it. And their work has had an effect: today's 20-somethings are more Democratic than any equivalent cohort since World War II.

"The 1/2 Hour News Show" does not counteract Comedy Central's clever cultural sabotage. On the contrary: it contributes to it. If there is anyone under 72 still watching it, they are not thinking, "Gee - conservatives can tell a joke." They are thinking, "Conservatives are a joke."
Longtime readers of alicublog will see the problem, but for the rest of you and for the record I will spell it out.

There is a difference between artists and propagandists -- and a similar difference between admirers of art and admirers of propaganda.

The root of the difference is intention. Artists do what they do because they can hardly help themselves. If one can be said to decide to be an artist, it is only in the same sense that one could be said to decide to scratch an itch. Despite the impression you get from those monsters of ambition on American Idol, artistry is seldom a smart career decision. Poverty and rejection are the artist's fringe benefits. No one gets into the business to become rich -- no one sane, anyway.

In a sense the artist is not even trying to do anything like what most of us are trying to do in our work. Most of us are looking to achieve a concrete goal: move the sales curve, sell a car, build a better mousetrap. If artists wanted to do something similarly normal and "productive," they would turn instead to the professions near to art -- copywriting, industrial design, etc. These jobs have goals, metrics, benchmarks. The arts don't -- not unless you think awards ceremonies are meaningful, or that Wild Hogs is superior to Citizen Kane because it had higher opening-weekend grosses.

While it is true that most artists are not immune to the necessity of making a living -- even if they were, they would still want audiences, readerships, people who will understand and appreciate what they've done -- at their core, they are just trying to scratch that itch; being obliged to somehow make the scratching pay doesn't change that, it just complicates it.

Propagandists are more like the bootblack and the marketing manager and the nail technician: if they can find a way to increase their yield, they are wholly fulfilled. Now, we can say this for them -- mere lucre is not their aim. You can even get them to work for free, or very little, just as you can get an artist to do. But what they must have is yield, a result. In their world, this means souls turned in their direction.

Here you might ask: isn't that what artists do? They want to turn souls in their direction, too. They want to put bums in seats. They want a crowd around their canvas.

Yes, but while the artist desires attention, he does not want (except for the merchandising part of himself, born of poverty and necessity) to draw anything from the audience but attention. Oh, he probably wants love, approval, admiration, and all that -- but only because his gig is so psychologically damaging that he cannot get enough of these primary emotional needs met in the normal way. (That is part of the reason why artists are such problematic friends, lovers, and credit risks.)

If he has made a political work of art, the artist may think he wants a political result, but his observers know better. Do you really think Oliver Stone made JFK because he wanted the assassination files opened? No, obviously he made it because he felt a deep soul-ache that could only be healed by mass viewing rituals in cineplexes across America.

But the propagandist wants souls turned his way because he wants them to do something for him. He wants results. In his black, rubber heart, he does not get the appeal of Madame Bovary or Lolita or The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly. What action plan follows upon these? What agenda is advanced? What polling results will be affected? Whereas a well-crafted Swift Boat ad, or blog, or National Review column will make people do things -- vote, or fail to vote, or stay mad at the people you want them mad at, or stay worshipful of the people you want to remain unquestioned.

That is why David Frum -- whose soul, if he ever had one, must be fatally wearied by the lifelong application of his verbal talents to propaganda -- looks at this failed comedy show and thinks -- says! -- that the great failure there was not a failure to clear a grateful public's minds and lungs with laughter, nor a failure to provide them with a fresh angle from which to view their world, but a failure to "create a conservative institution with cultural power."

To him culture is not a spring that refreshes the spirit, but a storehouse of destructive power to be used against his enemies.

What a thin, choked, stunted way of life and of thinking that is! Yet these people get big pay and loud megaphones, while great poets, as Charles Bukowski used to say, die in steaming pots of shit. Is this any more or less the way of the world than once it was? I will only say, by way of a hint, that there were fewer cable stations, PR firms, and Republicans 20 years ago than there are now.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

FURTHER THOUGHTS ON BAD WORDS. Ilyka at Pandagon notes that I generally criticize rightwing women without stooping to make fun of their womanly attributes. I appreciate the implied compliment, but I won't congratulate myself for it.

For one thing, I consider such behavior elementary good manners. I do not make fun of Glenn Reynolds for his hideous facial rictus, for example, because he cannot help it, but I do take him to task for his smugness, fraudulence, pin-headedness, and other such avoidable failings.

Also, I am of the opinion that all women are beautiful, even the ugly ones. If you don't understand that, I'm afraid I can't explain it to you. It has something to do with upbringing.

Also, I still say "cunt" and "pussy" a lot. Now, when used in reference to the female pudend, these terms should be unobjectionable to any thinking person. But sometimes I use them in unflattering reference to human behaviors, and that can raise -- and has raised, in my comments -- objections that I am saying something bad about women by using female genital referents as negatives.

My only answer is this: language is my metier, and I try to use it to my best advantage. One of the best tools toward that end is the unexpected choice. Sometimes I put academic, literary, or other elevated types of language into situations that do not seem to call for them. (George Plimpton was a pro at this schtick. I remember him writing about Amateur Night at the Apollo Theatre, and saying of an act that was about to emphatically get the hook, "The crowd desired that he would be silent.")

Sometimes I go another way and use crude language as a crotch-kick against pretension -- as when I called this thick-necked Men's Rights blowhard a pussy. As for "cunt," well, it's just a fun word.

This response also plays to Ilyka's wider theme: the myth of Political Correctness. No normal person gives a rat's ass what any professor, committee, or City Council thinks of the use of any given signifier. At the same time, normal people know what offends and doesn't offend them -- and in many cases, it is not the specific words so much that make the difference as the way they are used. Consequently, most ordinary folks of all races would be able to understand and accept Lenny Bruce's "I want to introduce you to the niggers in my cabinet" routine, or Blazing Saddles ("Don't move or the nigger gets it!"), but would consider this white jackass, who thinks it's cool to say "I hate niggers" because Chris Rock said it, to be, well, a white jackass.

In general, it goes a long way toward overcoming any language sensitivity issues people might have if you endeavor to talk to them instead to trying to put something over on them. As long as I stick to that program, though I do consider all criticisms seriously, I feel I cannot go too far wrong.

Monday, March 05, 2007

AND THEN YOU WILL BE IN A WORLD OF SHIT. You may recall that, when the press first started sniffing out the substandard medical treatment our Government has been giving American servicemen and ex-servicemen at Walter Reed, some conservatives sprang to the defense of substandard medical treatment. Blackfive, for example, greeted these reports with anger toward John Murtha and Dana Priest, and warned wounded vets that they "have become a pawn in the political game between the media/left and this administration" and should Embrace The Suck -- that is, keep their traps shut -- lest they give aid and comfort to the enemy.

As the whole thing ramped into a major scandal, conservatives got even more creative, declaring that the Walter Reed case was really an indictment of socialized medicine, hehindeed.

This defies both common sense and expert testimony. Normal people can easily imagine what a for-profit medical corporation would do with uninsured veterans -- shove their gurneys in the general direction of a county hospital, probably, or secretly grind them down into pet food. And a little reading reveals that the privatization of many functions at Walter Reed is actually part of the problem with that once-proud institution. And I can personally testify to the magnificent care offered by the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center just down the road from Walter Reed -- the NIH is also a bastion of "socialized medicine," but one the point-shavers have not yet despoiled, perhaps out of fear that non-military citizens, unaffected by any Embrace The Suck hectoring by rightwing operatives, would raise hell.

Christ Jesus. I always knew in the abstract that they'd lie about anything, but the actual sound of their claws scraping those barrel-bottoms can still send a chill up my spine.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

THEY SURE DON'T MAKE ANCHORESSES LIKE THEY USED TO. The popular right-wing web scold calling herself The Anchoress is fond of declaring that global warming is a Big Lie in which only dirty hippies like Algore believe. Today she leapt forward with this news:
In light of the growing intimidation of skeptics by financially conflicted globaloney globalarmists…it seems quite timely — indeed, important — to post this quaint little reminder:

….. over 17,000 scientists declare that global warming is a lie with no scientific basis whatsoever. [ridiculously long ellipsis, hysterical tone & formatting in original]
One would not know from her stop-the-presses tone that the petition to which she refers -- widely known as the Oregon Petition -- dates back to 2001 (it was meant to defeat the possibility of American endorsement of the Kyoto Protocol), and that its organizer, Frederick Seitz, is kind of problematic:
Shortly before his retirement from Rockefeller University in 1979, Seitz began working as a paid permanent consultant for the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, advising their research program.
For fun on a rainy day, you can open up the Petition's signatory lists and check some names. I picked Mike Ibarguen. He might be this longtime oil company engineer, or he might be the 1970 Detroit Tigers #2 draft pick. Or both.

None of this means that the matter is settled. Furthermore, it is certainly, observably untrue that critics of the global warming consensus are censored and go unheard -- on the contrary, if you Google "global warming" you will find many, many links right up front to GW skeptic sites, starting with the EPA's. In fact, the news hook of The Anchoress' effusion is the imminent showing on Britain's Channel 4 of a documentary called "The Great Global Warming Swindle."

Also, some of you may know that the United States never ratified the Kyoto Protocol, and shows no sign of doing jack-shit about carbon emissions. Acceptance of human responsibility for global warming is not the official U.S. government position. Its currency is based on the judgment of climate scientists -- an impressive preponderance of them.

Yet The Anchoress talks about their findings as if they were mere slanders sent by Satan to confuse mankind. This befits the perpetually enraged tone of her blog, which is mainly about the hellish perfidy of liberals.

She is the sort of Catholic who, when talking about the need to repent hypocrisy for Lent -- which one would imagine to be a very personal and self-directed kind of activity -- feels it necessary to spend most of her contemplation on the hypocrisy of others. Take this criticism, for example, written in the first-person style of the old Jerry Lewis Telethon "I am Muscular Dystrophy*, and I hate people, especially little children" monologue:
I’m an environmentalist and I’ve done so much to raise awareness that I don’t really have to worry about the mines on my property, or flying my private jets because - thanks to me and my advocacy - a million little people will do their part to make up for that pollution...

I’m a journalist who went into the craft because I wanted tell true stories…but these are complex times with relative truths, and so I can completely bury stories of progress in Iraq while sobbing about a lack of progress in Kosovo because it’s for a greater good, as informed by my worldview...
To be fair, she does add some talk about the hypothetical possibility that she might be hypocritical sometimes -- though, to be sure, not as hypocritical as her enemies. I'm sure Jesus loves prayers like this.

I should inform you folks -- or those few of you to whom it has not been long obvious -- that I was raised Catholic, and one large source of my disaffection with that creed, and all creeds, was the awareness that Catholicism's strongest advocates were those who had learned how best to game its system.

If the dizzying scope of the child abuse scandals of the American Church was never a surprise to me, it was not because I had seen the pedophilia, but because I had smelled the bullshit: if a Church that professed to follow the teachings of a lowly carpenter and outcast could possibly get over among lower-class families (like mine) while dripping with Vatican bling, it stood to reason that its "celibate" priesthood, with its all-access passes to little boys, would include many sprat-fuckers whose activities would be excused as part of the cost of doing business.

So the online Anchoress is no surprise to me, though she is a bit of an outrage to the small part of myself that wishes to think well of my old religion. The great joke of her site is that she portrays herself as the online equivalent of those mystic Anchoresses of old: shut-ins, contemplatives who willingly sought the sort of enlightenment through isolation that was granted to such as Boethius. Yet from the evidence of her writings, the online Anchoress is in no way isloated: she has a husband, kids, a house, a wide network of friends and acquaintances, and several paid ads on her website. And I would bet my hope of eternal salvation that she has most, if not all, of the creature comforts available to other middle-class Americans. In other words, Julia of Norwich she ain't.

Yet from her comfy web space she throws down jeremiad after jeremiad, claiming the authority and pulpit of saintly deprivation when in reality she is a typical, middle-class, enraged Republican blowhard.

It kind of puts things in perspective when you realize that they are so fraudulent that they aren't even aware of committing fraud.

*UPDATE. How could I forget that Jerry Lewis telethon'd for MD, not MS? Apologies.

Friday, March 02, 2007

ARMY OF ME. Where have we heard this line of reasoning before? Ross Douthat defends David "Bobo" Brooks against the perfectly reasonable charge that Brooks uses his bullshit sociology (e.g., Park Slope moms are ridiculous because they don't dress their kids in potato sacks and feed them lard) as a stick to beat liberals. Douthat tries a couple of common tricks -- the "only kidding" dodge (implying, bizarrely, that Brooks' critics don't understand that Brooks' "Stepford Moms" reference "did not literally mean that most of the mothers in Brooklyn are stay-at-home Connecticut WASPs" -- as if cringing at an inapt analogy were the same thing as not getting a joke), accusations of librul shrillness (followed, as is the custom, by various slurs -- "mind-bogglingly idiotic" etc. -- against liberals). But his defense mainly rests on the idea that Brooks is really a centrist:
The theory that Brooks' cultural writings are intended as subtle political attacks on liberalism tells us more, I think, about the need to pigeonhole writers by their political allegiances than it does about Brooks himself... Difficult as it may be to believe, when Brooks "plays up his Bobo-ness," it's because he really is a Bobo, and when he "hints at progressivism" (by, say, writing columns praising Barack Obama) it's because he really is a centrist, not a hard-right pundit cloaking his "political attacks" in culture writing.

None of this means that he isn't a Republican...
I love that last bit. So you see, Osama Bin Laden is himself a Semite! Not to say that he doesn't hate Jews... Anyone who has read, oh, four or five David Brooks columns knows what he is. He's constantly beating up on liberals, constantly applauded by conservatives. But he and his claque wish him to be known as a centrist, and tell us that if we don't treat his attacks as well-meant, more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger constructive criticisms by a member of the family, we're thought policemen trying to define "liberalism" narrowly (i.e., as something that is not conservatism).

You see this all the time with other "centrist" or "moderate" or "Whig" characters, such as Ann Althouse, whose blog is about 90 percent rightwing guff parfaited with treacle -- and the rest is complaints that liberals, whom she beats up regularly, accuse her of having a political agenda.

It's a means toward having it both ways, which is increasingly the only way these guys can stand to have it. As they wanted to bomb the hell out of Iraq and be hailed as liberators, they also want to be praised by their domestic opposition as well as by themselves, and so come up with "sensible," "true" or "classical" liberals to tell them how awful liberals are, a transaction that puts me in mind of Jack Nicholson and Rita Moreno at the end of Carnal Knowledge.

It figures that, at the same time, many conservatives have devoted themselves to figuring out how they can make "wet" Republican Presidential contenders into believable social conservatives:
...the nominee will likely be Giuliani or McCain or Romney. Instead of tearing them down and ruling them out, there's something to be said about making them be Right. And watching them as they are in the hot seat — with reporters following their every move — to see if they have their stories straight and know what they're talking. You'd have to be a damn good fake to fake it for the length of this process...
...and if you think these guys aren't "damn good" fakers, you haven't been paying attention.

Fake liberals, fake conservatives: That's really what it's about, I guess -- convincing others, and maybe themselves, that shit is ice cream. (Oops, I said a bad word. Disregard everything I just wrote.) Sometimes I think that whole "reality-based" thing is the only meaningful comment on American politics made in the past decade.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

NOT TO PUT TOO FINE A POINT ON IT BUT... Instapunk says it doesn't matter how many accusations of treason Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, The Ole Perfesser et alia level against their fellow citizens -- liberals are worse because they swear. He calls upon his co-religionists to catalogue our obscenities ("to be perfomed by those who have the software and expertise to carry it out") to prove the moral superiority of conservatism.

To this douchebag I say: what the fucking hell is wrong with you? If some stupid cunt says we're "not anti-war, just on the other side," why the fuck shouldn't we call the motherfucker out? Ditto stanky-ass cum-buckets who parlay their libels into rightwing sinecures. Fuck those twats and fuck you, too. Tony fucking Hendra built the fucking Lampoon, you twinky-ass bitch. You couldn't raise a piss-on at the Playboy Mansion. Ann Coulter couldn't find her own aching asshole with a digital shit-detector and the Ole Perfesser couldn't find his dick with Michelle Malkin's cunt. If brains were dynamite none of you fucks could blow a fart.

So go take a flying fuck at a rolling donut, asshole. Go take a flying fuck at the moon.

Shit piss fuck.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

MAYBE IT'S JUST ME, but a Perfesserverse in which the commentary is focused on...
  1. All the evil liberals who were insufficiently respectful of Dick Cheney's non-assassination;
  2. Non-stop assaults on Oscar-winning non-candidate-for-anything Al Gore and the comical idea that we should do anything about global warming except build a few more Three Mile Islands;
  3. "Lefty bloggers seem especially anxious to go after righty bloggers these days";
  4. Whistling past the stock market crash;
...sort of reminds me of the last forty minutes of L'Eclisse mixed with the TV studio scenes from Dawn of the Dead. And maybe some Junior Samples bits from "Hee Haw."

Yeah, I'm pretty sure it's just me.

UPDATE. Fixed link, switched out George Romero film.

Monday, February 26, 2007

SHORTER TOM MAGUIRE: Michael Moore Al Gore is Fat.

I understand nearly 40 million people in the U.S. watched the Oscars last night. And from what I see on the blogs, 20 million of them were right-wing dorks looking for something to bitch about.

My favorite of these so far is an anonymous "actress and mother" who rages against Little Miss Sunshine because it reflects "modern Hollywood’s glorification of the miserable":
If you are miserable, then Little Miss Sunshine is the film for you. You can wallow in your misery, while enjoying the misery of others. But if you are a happy soul, resist the hype. The chances are good you will leave this film feeling worse than ever before. Then, perhaps, you will be more apt to join them in their quest to tear down everything that is good and decent, and create a damaged society in your own image.
It's too bad this review came out too late for the producers of Little Miss Sunshine to mine it for pull-quotes.
NOT SUITABLE FOR TREATMENT. Ace of Spades devotes a long post to yelling at women who have more sex partners than he approves of ("It's pathetic that this is what is now deemed 'progress' among the feminists... the reason they can't have what they actually want is that they're fucking guys so quickly guys hardly have a chance to catch their names...").

Then the proprietor of the site quoted by Mr. Spades explains some of his errors to him, which provides him with another opportunity to yell at excruciating length about... well, by this point it's not easy to tell what:
And what should I make of this?
"In any event, most college students are over 18. If they want to hook up, they’re grown people."
Well, they are "grown people," but only barely so, and furthermore Strepp's book addresses this phenomenon among high school girls as well.

One thing I don't get from the sexual left. They are for sexual liberation, I know that. But they sometimes seem to also be in favor of the sexual liberation of children.
Which prompts two questions:
  1. "Sexy left?" What's wrong with being sexy?
  2. When you talk about the "sexy liberation of children," exactly how young are these children, and, more importantly, how sexy?
Then Mr. Spades returns to one of his less objectionable hobbies, surfing the web for porn and obsessively analyzing it.

"Denial" and "projection" are no longer sufficiently comprehensive terms to use for their mental gymnastics, which is why alicublog long ago moved on to terms like "dork," "wank," and "asshole."

Sunday, February 25, 2007

PRE-EMPTIVE SELF-HUMILIATION. In the past I have made Oscar predictions online -- predictions that have been, without fail, spectacularly wrong, so much so that I have been told that professionals count on them each year as a negative example.

This year I will keep it simple and just tell you my guesses at the top winners: The Departed, Scorsese, Helen Mirren, Will Smith, Alan Arkin, and whatshername that kid. There is an impeccable logic to picking Smith -- everyone in Hollywood loves him and, since he is destined to spend the next 20 years playing action heroes, this is their only chance to give a pre-menopausal Big Willie a statue. Impeccable logic, and almost certainly wrong.

That's how it goes with me and the Oscars, which is why I devote most of my writing to insignificant topics like politics.
ADVENTURES IN JOURNALISM. Patrick Ruffini, promoted by the Perfesser:
When things don't go well in Iraq, we see the endless B-roll of chaos and carnage. When things are on the upswing, we tend to hear more about Anna Nicole Smith.
As a paranoiac, I am sympathetic to crackpot conspiracy theories, but this idea that the Anna Nicole Smith coverage is motivated by treason, rather than by a desire to profit from the public's well-established thirst for celebrity crap, strains even my childlike faith.

I mean, it's not like the days when the press was covering up the Clinton scandals. Now there was message discipline! I bet most Americans never even heard of "Whitewater."

Tip to Ruffini: haven't you wondered why Hollyweird has scheduled its Oscar show right in the middle of our great victory in Iraq? Get digging, citizen!
LIE, RUDY, LIE! Right-wingers of all kinds seem to love Rudolph Giuliani because he's a total fucking prick, which seems to be the personality trait that most excites such people.

Yet, as we have heard repeatedly, the former Mayor's customary pro-choice position on abortion is expected to give him trouble with the Cletus wing of the Republican Party.

This presents special problems for the makebelieve moderates and bullshit libertarians who are Giuliani's strongest spokespeople online. Like their man, they prefer an authoritarianism that is secular and stress-free -- one that preserves their upper-middle-class privileges without requiring anything of them, spiritually or civically -- and so would love to see the Manhattan Mussolini smack down the nation's squeegee men without any assistance from, or favors owed to, the style-cramping Christers.

Yet they have to deal with the fact that their fanbase includes many mouth-breathers who could be easily persuaded by a preacher to reject the marketable Rudy for some less electable Friend of Jesus in a chartreuse micro-constituency. (10-4!)

Giuliani has, naturally, shown himself agreeable to anything that might benefit Rudolph Giuliani by announcing that as President he would appoint only "constructionist" judges (meaning, in the language of our current politics, anti-Roe hitmen). While normal people would judge that a wise if cynical bargain, Giuliani's seconds find it necessary to explain that this flipflop is meaningless, that Mr. Nineeleven is still the same "anti-idiotarian" hero he was back when such glib neologisms appeared important.

Take Ann Althouse at the New York Times. Professor Althouse, who portrays herself as pro-choice, starts by minimizing Giuliani's opponents as sufferers from Your-Favorite-Republican-Name-Here Derangement Syndrome who will "hoot with derision," "smirking" with "ridicule" at Giuliani for his abortion prevarications. Then she explains why Giuliani's hedging is actually more honest than the plain-spoken anti-abortion statements of less electable Republicans -- because plain speaking is something liars do:
But it is the candidate who sets out to deceive us who has the most reason to keep it simple. By contrast, complexity may signal that the candidate is actually trying to tell us something about how he thinks. He may have a sophisticated grasp of the role of the executive in relation to the courts and the legislatures. We might do well to tolerate some complexity.
Some of us might think that "complexity" is a ridiculously inappropriate word for anything that comes out of the mouth of a Presidential candidate, but we must remember that Professor Althouse -- who hedge-rows her political posts with bleary-eyed, munchie-fueled appreciations of "American Idol" and "Project Runway" -- is accustomed to bestow many layers of meaning onto phenomena that are as shallow as the candy coating of an M&M. Case in point: her next paragraph --
What should a candidate say about abortion? To represent what the country as a whole thinks, the president ought to take account of the deep beliefs Americans have about both reproductive freedom and the value of unborn life. To deserve the trust embodied in appointment power, the president should have a sound understanding of the judges as independent decision makers who follow an interpretive methodology that operates differently from political choice.
If you do not recognize this as bullshit, I have a formless brown mass that you can use to frost your birthday cake.

Terrestrial Musings takes a more traditional but no less hilarious approach:
I know that this will be hard to comprehend, but it is quite possible to believe that abortion is wonderful, that every woman should have at least one, and still believe that Roe v. Wade was a judicial travesty.
Commonly, right-wingers in search of consensus posit liberals who are troubled by abortion and unconvinced by Roe v. Wade. This is the first I've heard of a fantasy lefty who finds baby-killing a real turn-on but still wants Roe overturned. Next I expect to hear of a gun nut who thinks the National Guard fulfills the Second Amendment's idea of a militia.

My very favorite citation is Eric from Classical Values:
...Giuliani is a Catholic, and is personally opposed to abortion. At least one Catholic bishop has said this is a "legitimate distinction."

I've never been able to understand why it isn't a distinction. Saying that a woman shouldn't be imprisoned for aborting her fetus is not the same thing as approving of her act, much less saying it is a good thing. I think drugs should be legal, but that does not mean I approve of or advocate heroin. If God disapproved of heroin, does that mean it would be immoral to oppose imprisoning people for it?
Wander the Classical Values site, and you will see much fist-shaking and finger-wagging at the moral relativism of Goddamn liberals. What then explains this who-are-we-to-judge dismissal of billions of unbaptized dead fetuses? I am not boor enough to suggest that Mr. CV's homosexuality (with which Giuliani is more cool than 99.9% of Republican Presidential candidates) has anything to do with it, so I will just credit it to his stupidity opportunism.

In general, I would say the Rudy revivalists are on, if not the right track, at least a possible one. Having lived in the City during Giuliani's crackdowns, I despise the guy, but I can still see how Americans, who hate New Yorkers almost as much as he does, would approve of him.

But I do think -- odd as it seems -- that most Americans would be more sympathetic to Giuliani's very few (and now apparently defunct) matters of conscience -- i.e., support from abortion, gay rights, etc. -- than they would be to the perceived necessity of his conversion to the Jesus position. That is to say: were Giuliani to break form and stand up for a position that could not possibly get him any closer to ther Republican nomination, they might think more of him for it.

Fortunately or unfortunately, there is no chance whatsoever of that happening.

UPDATE. Did a wash-and-rinse on some language and length, and revised judgment on CV. He certainly isn't stupid.

Friday, February 23, 2007

THESE ARE THE GOOD OLD DAYS. As my ex-girlfriends know, there comes a time when my apologies don't mean anything anymore, so I will not offer as an excuse for my absence that, at The Flea, "previews" means "extra long rehearsals with audience leading to notes and more rehearsals." You have your own problems.

I will use my feeble claim on your attention to acknowledge Conservapedia (thanks Patrick and Woodeye [Hairlip!]) and applaud its contribution to American humor, as seen in this recent (and probably re-edited by now) entry on Bill Clinton:
Bill Clinton managed to serve two terms without botching the prosecution of two wars, manipulating intelligence, engaging in a systematic program of torture, or mishandling the federal response to flooding of a major American city. Obviously, he is the devil incarnate.
Enjoy it while it lasts. This egregious experiment will fade away, to be replaced by something less obvious and hilarious. Till then note well and store in your memory banks this wonderful telling detail from the era in which (you will one day tell your fur children) conservative amateurs, unaware that Culture War was just a vote-grubbing scam by the Big Boys, tried to get up on their hind legs and make some arty-farty of their own. Good times, you will sigh as you lay back in your cot at the re-education center; good times.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A BIT OF THE OLD ULTRAVIOLENCE. The New York Post leads with the “dramatic finding” of a “new poll” that shows Americans do not like to think of themselves as quitters. Well, when you put it that way (the poll asked whether or not respondents “support finishing the job in Iraq”), who can disagree? (Forty-one percent of respondents, surprisingly.)

The agenda of the polling outfit, the sinisterly named Public Opinion Strategies, is apparent not just from secondary sources but also from the makeup of POS’ management and the content of its website (“Public Opinion Strategies mourns Republican losses”). Even Right Wing News finds their poll a little confusing (“I’m not quite sure what to make of these numbers, to be honest").

Still, I would not be too surprised if this really catches the thinking of many Americans.

First, we are a notoriously optimistic people, and when Republican operatives lay thickly upon us their customary patriotic hectoring, it reliably stirs in us a touching, Charlie-Brown-like faith that, this time, the football will be held steady for us to kick.

This betrays a rather charming naivete on our part, as I'm sure all but the charred and bombed victims of our naivete would agree. What is less charming is the added ingredient of to-hell-with-them brutality which the operatives are using as a sort of retro-rocket to help this load of crap achieve escape velocity.

As our friends at Sadly No have noticed, the warbloggers have long since abandoned their solicitude toward the poor, purple-fingered Iraqi citizens and, to chase the war-weariness of ordinary citizens, are pushing the Surge as an almost-final solution that will, with just a leetle more patience, both dispose of the bothersome body bags and preserve a "W" for the U. S. of A. (reigning champs, Western Division). They started by complaining that we haven't been slaughtering ruthlessly enough, and now, as Sadly shows, they're citing the glory days of British imperialism and cold steel in the bellies of the fuzzy-wuzzies as a positive model.

This is unsurprising. From the earliest times, their kind has understood that the best way to keep us on board a war machine is to excite our savage natures -- or, if we don't have such natures, to instill them. Which is why we now get bizarre assertions by prominent right-wingers that the great thing about the TV show "24" is not that it makes time pass quickly for shut-ins, but that it inures us against our own moral qualms about torture.

If you are astonished that folks who bray continually about government interference with their cold, dead hands, and about the coarsening effects of tits and ass, should approve of a reverse Ludovico Technique that (they hope) will turn us into sociopaths, then you haven't been paying attention.

Monday, February 19, 2007

INCLUDING "AND" AND "THE." The Ole Perfesser has a laugh -- as does his advance man, Don Surber -- over a Democratic member of the Arizona House who was "trying to ban obsene mudflaps" of the buxom-babe-reclining sort. Lookit them prudish P.C. Dems, is the general idea.

Of course neither the Perfesser nor Surber tells the whole story:
It's still going to be legal in Arizona for trucks to have splash guards with racist terms and silhouettes of naked women...

Tempe Democrat Ed Ableser sponsored the amendment. He said he'd seen a splash guard that used a derogatory term for black children and said he wanted to make sure that people with hateful motives didn't inflict them on others.
I disagree with Ableser, believing that assholes who want to put "pickaninny" and other such verbal vomit on their trucks should be allowed to embarrass themselves that way. (Also, I approve of naked cartoon chicks, though I prefer Phoebe Zeitgeist to the mudflap model.) I just wanted to present you good people with yet more evidence that the Perfesser is a Hudson Sprayer of bullshit. Please spread the word. It is genuinely disturbing to me that so few people have caught on to him yet.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

A LINGUISTIC TRIUMPH. One thing most of us have in common with sitcom characters is a catchphrase -- something we say reflexively under even slight pressure, or to fill space. As Robert Barone said, "Raymond, Raymond, Raymond," and Archie Bunker said, "Stifle yourself, Edith," for example, I invariably find myself saying things like "You can't fire me, I quit," and "Fuck you." Among the cognoscenti these have become my signatures.

The Ole Perfesser, heretofore known for "heh" and "indeed" (for which, please God, may he be remembered in Bartlett's Quotations, that future archeologists may have a ready-made thumbnail sketch of our intellectual disintegration), has been working up to a more substantive catchphrase that reflects his darker nature. For a few years, "Not anti-war, just on the other side" was the best he could do -- all that law-perfessin' and bloggin' left him little time for personal growth -- but I think he's onto something here:
To some people, Vietnam wasn't a defeat, but a victory. To them, the right side won. And lost. Naturally, they're happy to repeat the experience.
That is brilliant, and not just because the inspiration is -- are you sitting down? -- Charles fucking Schumer.

No, it dazzles because it packs so much stupid into such a small package. True, it's longer than "Raymond, Raymond, Raymond," but it is amazingly brief for all that it conveys: not only a rat-brained misreading of history, but also of the present, and of human nature as well. And it is not much longer than "I'm goin' back to the wagon, boys, these shoes are killin' me," the catchphrase of another great Tennesseean.

It is a great improvement on the Perfesser's former slurs. While "Not anti-war...," for example, did clearly impute treason to the millions of Americans against whom the Professor used it, it was too quick, too slashing to completely override the impression that the speaker was unserious -- that this was not an earnest accusation of grave crimes, but mere name-calling. The new catchphrase lingers enough to change the tone completely, as a long, fixed stare can add to a street bum's rambling obscenities an air of menace.

And it perfectly suits the interesting phase we seem to have entered. "Treason," cried the New York Post headline over which this classic Ralph Peters disgorgement appeared, and the right-wing bloggers all echo the cry. Suddenly treason is the new black. And all because Congressional Democrats made a (typically feeble) show of acknowledging the anti-war sentiment of the voters -- which, you may remember, put them in the majority in the first place.

I expect the Perfesser will be working this one hard. He may try to condense it -- being essentially conservative, he may not want to tamper much with classical forms -- but I like it at the present length. With proper training, one can get it all out in a single breath, which would accentuate its incantatory quality, always a good thing for a piece of nonsense.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

WHAT THEY BELIEVE AND HOW THEY BEHAVE. By following a long (maybe it just seemed long) stream of posts by Professor Bainbridge -- originating in a discussion of Aflac's decision to let shareholders vote on executive compensation -- I learn that Bainbridge believes that
[a]nalysis must begin with the basic principle that shareholders do not own the corporation. Instead, they are merely one of many corporate constituencies bound together by a complex web of explicit and implicit contracts. As such, the normative claims associated with ownership and private property are inapt in the corporate context. (This is known as the nexus of contracts model of the corporation.)

...shareholder voting is not an integral part of the corporate decision-making apparatus.
It struck me as I read this that, while Bainbridge's conclusion may be perfectly supportable in contract law, it suggests that the people who put down their nickels, figuratively speaking, shouldn't have much say in what is done with the fruits of their investment. This would seem counterintuitive for a conservative author -- aren't they always complaining that Big Gummint is squandering our investments (that is, our tax money), and calling for greater accountability to the People?

But things became clearer as I read further:
The board's primacy has a compelling economic justification. The separation of ownership and control mandated by corporate law is a highly efficient solution to the decision-making problems faced by large corporations. Because collective decision-making is impracticable in such firms, they are characterized by authority-based decision-making structures in which a central agency (the board) is empowered to make decisions binding on the firm as a whole.
And then it hit me: for conservatives, to paraphrase Vince Lombardi, money isn't everything, it's the only thing. They strongly identify with corporations, and therefore endorse whatever hauls in the most money for them and their leaders -- populism be damned. Government isn't nearly so important to them -- not a lot of profit to be seen there -- except as the object of a hostile takeover, after which it can be plundered and sold off for parts, toward which end a little pretense at populism is acceptable (See Revolution, Republican).

They're pretty obvious when they're propagandizing, but their true nature is never more clear than when they talk about the thing(s) they love.

UPDATE. In comments Kia is inspired to expound on a language native to the Ivory Tower called Weaselese: "[Bainbridge is] talking about corporate law, but he's using the legal terminology with surprising vagueness considering that he's talking radically about these very technical matters. That is, his legal phrasings are more like jargon; they don't actually bring any evidence or persuasive argument with them, just reassuring noise." And I thought I didn't speak a second language! You can enjoy more of Kia's brilliance at Gall and Gumption -- if you lose the address, you can always find it on my blogroll.

Friday, February 16, 2007

TRAMP THE DIRT DOWN. Sometimes people go too far. Your idea of "too far" and mine are probably very different: if, for example, David Broder were photographed working his own asshole with a Kewpie doll while eating Japanese schoolgirl shit, that would only favorably revise my opinion of him.

If there were a formula for what constitutes "too far" for me, I guess part of it would read "insanity + tedium." Many of my favorite subjects here are plain nuts, but their spirochettes, like Shelley's, drive them to poetic arias of insanity. But sometimes they get stuck in ruts, and their previously entertaining madness devolves into depressing monomania of the sort suffered by the madhouse gibberers in old horror movies.

Rod Dreher has reached the end of my patience. Having already declared common cause with the Islamic nuts who want us all to live under sharia law, Dreher today says that when Falwell said God blew up the World Trade Center because of fags, he may have been onto something:
...In fact, as uncomfortable as it is to contemplate, no Christian or Jew can rule out the possibility that God will judge America, and judge it harshly. And perhaps is judging America. The Bible, particularly the books of the prophets, are full of examples of God calling Israel to repentance, and bringing her to ruin when she refused. That God used the Babylonians as an instrument of chastisement does not imply that He endorsed the Babylonian Way of Life...

...When Bush 41 said "The American way of life is not up for negotiation," he was expressing what I think many conservatives (and liberals too) believe: that we Americans are not under anyone's judgment. From a Christian point of view, that's dangerous and wrong. We are under judgment. Humanity is.
Dreher has been a fun toy for a while, but I fear he has entered the realm of smokehouse-dwelling end-of-days psychos. He only perceives culture outside his smokehouse -- that is, the place the rest of us call "the real world" -- as a chimera woven by the Devil to confuse or (in the case of chesty dead blondes) titillate him. If you could wave a hand in front of Dreher's face, the eerie fixity of his gaze would not waver.

He is lost to us, or at least to me. I am reminded of Harry Truman's judgment, in Plain Speaking, of the unfortunate President John Tyler, which if I remember correctly ends, "He wound up in the Confederate Congress, and that was the end of him."

Thursday, February 15, 2007

ACE'S HIGH! I've been pretty lame about posting lately. The play takes a lot out of me: though I have only a supporting role, my incompetence requires me to work extra long hours just to achieve mediocrity. (The rest of the cast is phenomenal, though, as are the direction and the play itself. So go! You can do a crossword puzzle or turn on your iPod while I'm stinking up the joint.)

But I'm never too busy to notice when some fellow scribe is absolutely on fire, and I have to give it up for Ace of Spades, who is having a great run.

First, he notices what even the dullest rightwing hacks cannot ignore: that Fox's new funny-conservative show looks a little shakey. Now, here Mr. Spades does something that, so far as my memory reaches, he has never done before: he gives the appearance, however briefly, of heading toward a defensible point -- that the show's writers ought to focus on being funny rather than on hitting the approved political targets. But apparently Mr. Spades' ignorance has a defense mechanism of its own, and it pushes him out of this territory and into all kinds of huh-what. There's a rant about Tina Fey ("liberals went ga-ga over her for her relentless didacticism"), an allegation that Greg Gutfield's show is actually funny (having seen some clips of that thing, I can assure you, it looks like someone just left a camera running in the break room at Dorks R Us), and finally an allegation that the failed funny of the Fox show is a liberal plot:
Material so weak, in fact, that one suspects the writers are all liberals deliberately sabotaging the show, or so horribly out of touch with conservative opinion as to have no real idea what a conservative might find funny, or -- likeliest of all -- convinced conservatives are abject morons who will not get a joke unless it's seltzer-down-the-pants woca-woca-woca sledgehammer obvious.
But wait, there's more! In an update, Mr. Spades, maybe after a visit from The Boys, says the show isn't really that bad. Then he starts pitching ideas: "The one good joke in the segement -- Barack Obama's 'A Life In Politics: My 18 Month Journey' -- could be expanded into a Ken Burns style documentary on his eventful life, with letters back and forth to his wife about just making it to the Senate floor in time for a bill to increase public awareness of the American cod fishing industry, for example. Playing into the Obama Messiah thing." I'm laughin' already! Does the wingnut welfare department have a branch office in Television City? We'll soon find out!

This post is reason enough to stand up and cheer, but thereafter Mr. Spades outdoes himself with a veritable Tourette's seizure of commentary:
  • On how no one likes Valentine's Day except "the frigging feminists" (by which I guess he means "women," or perhaps "women who won't fuck me even if I buy them dinner").
  • On how the real lesson of Tim Hardaway's anti-gay remarks is that "Blacks have been given a pass" from liberal political correctness because no one in the Librul Media is reporting those remarks except, oh, more than a thousand news outlets at this writing. And also, "there was an incident in the NBA about ten years ago when some New York Knicks said..." Way to run down a source, Mr. Spades.
  • On how Mr. Spades is really funny if he does say so himself. "What I realized in writing this was that there were a couple of parts to a sketch. The premise -- obviously, you need that..." Aristotle can rest easy.
  • On how when a black guy rapes a white girl, liberals don't care.
  • On how Christians make liberals cry ("... jaw hanging in disbelief, eyes welling up with angry tears...") with their Christianity because liberals are little girly girl types. (Of course, if you're an actual girl and you just laugh at Christers, you're a man-faced bitch). This one goes on for hundreds of words. Then Mr. Spades says he wrote it in defense of what sounds like an extremely tight-assed Muslim guy. Whoa, psych! Looks like Dinesh D'Souza isn't the only one who just has to give Islamic fundamentalists credit at least for hating the same people he does.
I could go on, but really, Mr. Spades shows no sign of slowing down -- or maybe of coming down... but let's not cheapen a historic run of asininity by suggesting it has been pharmaceutically enhanced: we all need our heroes, and somewhere a little boy who can't stop talking and thinks all the grownups around him are really stupid and has learned to like playing with army mens all by himself is only a mouse-click away from validation.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

KULTURKAMPFERS GONE WILD! Behold the latest ravings of Victor Davis Hanson:
Reading the self-righteous remarks of the Dixie Chicks reminded me of the Nobel Prize announcements, to the effect from one judge that Jimmy Carter had been likewise rewarded for his vocal opposition to the war in Iraq.
When do we get a live broadcast of the Nobel Prizes with Joan Rivers on the Commie-Red Carpet?
All this comes in the wake of the photo-shopped Reuters photos, the AP stringers misinformation, the Dan Rather memos, the Newsweek flushed Koran story, etc. So in an age where our national elites scream about Joe Wilson ad nauseam, most of us instead worry that major institutions-in entertainment, arts, news-not merely lean to the politically-correct, but do so in such a fashion to outweigh all else.
Hanson's sweaty head thrashes on the pillow. So many enemies! And they all have gala award ceremonies!
The result is that we can no longer be sure whether merit and truth are the primary criteria in bestowing awards or reporting news.
Not that, Victor! Please tell us the People's Choice Awards are still legit!
This is not partisan criticism, but rather evident from remarks of a judge on the Nobel Prize committee, Jimmy Carter himself, the Dixie Chicks, etc., all apparently unafraid to make explicit the connection between politics and recognition.
I'm not the Kulturkampfer, you're the Kulturkampfers!
In the short-term, all this posturing brings advantage, but in the long-term, Samson-like it is bringing down the temple of our basic institutions-hence the rise of grass-roots talk radio, cable news, the blogs that either offer partisan correctives or critique the bias of mainstream institutions.
Kulturkampfers never tire of finding ways to miss -- well, everything, including the simple perspective possessed by millions of Americans who would never dream of comparing Jimmy Carter with some stupid pop group just because they both possessed shiny objects.

Monday, February 12, 2007

CRUNCHY ROD DREHER DOUBLE PLAY! The guy just gets worse. In one of his last spasms of infatuation with Amanda Marcotte, he complains that the MSM isn't as enraged by her Virgin Mary jokes as he is, and approvingly quotes the Catholic League madman Bill Donohue:
Newsweek reeks of a double standard. In its December 11, 2006 edition, it said that Michael Richards had gotten himself in trouble for his ‘racist rant,’ and in the same article it recalled Mel Gibson’s ‘anti-Semitic remarks.’ On February 5, 2007, it said that Isaiah Washington got himself into hot water for making a ‘homophobic comment.’ In other words, when someone makes a racist, anti-Semitic or anti-gay remark, Newsweek labels it as such. But when obscene comments are made about the Mother of God or religious conservatives, it counts as mere criticism.
So in Donohue's and Dreher's mind(s), making fun of their imaginary friend is the equivalent of calling someone a nigger or a faggot.

But the cream of the jest comes later:
Many on the left can't see what the big deal is, and say that Christians who are offended by this wouldn't have voted for Edwards anyway. Really? My "Kingfish" gibes aside, I was interested in what he had to say about the economy, and populism. But now, forget it.
This is the same guy who suddenly decided last year that the Iraq War was a terrible mistake and that the Republicans were thoroughly corrupt, but concluded, "I don't think the country deserves the Democrats" -- largely because the Democrats might slow down the criminalization of abortion for which Dreher prays his knees off every night.

The Republicans could be running drunk and naked through the country setting fire to barns, and Dreher wouldn't vote for Edwards or anyone remotely like him. Jesus, don't these people have a whole commandment about lying?
REACTION FORMATION. In certain slants of light, the blogosphere looks to me like a series of specimen tanks. Very little in it is really original -- though most days I do find writing there that is so incredibly bad that it shatters all known precedents for incompetence, which I guess is a kind of originality. But crap can be instructive if not elevating, and there are plenty of good examples of bad reasoning to be found.

Here's a classic by Crunchy Rod Dreher having to do with critics of Christianity and how hypocritical and "suicidal" they are not to be critics of Islam:
This is how the left works: yell "bigotry" to silence critics who confront them with arguments they don't wish to have. In Holland, Pim Fortuyn -- an openly gay hedonistic libertarian with a wicked sense of humor -- ran for prime minister on a platform that in large part warned the Dutch that they were going to lose their liberal democracy if they didn't confront the growing forces of Islamic extremism within their country's immigrant population. The hysterical left -- which is to say, the media and academic establishments in Holland -- called him a fascist, and left it at that. Fortuyn was so far to the left he made Barney Frank look like the Queen Mother, but none of that mattered to the left-wing Dutch establishment.

I honestly don't get this. Shouldn't liberals be the most concerned about Islamic fundamentalism, given that the things they profess to value are the first things they would lose under Islamist pressure? It's hard to avoid the conclusion that this sort of liberal hates political conservatives and orthodox Christians more than he loves his own liberty. And he wishes to cling desperately to his own self-image as a defender of the poor, oppressed minorities, even when some of those poor, oppressed minorities would just as soon see him and his kind swinging from the gallows.
Well, y'all know I roll: Jesus, Allah, Moses -- they're all comic-book characters to me. Having courted fatwa in the past, I can claim consistency -- as can Dreher, in his own, very different way: he has actually made common cause with Islam against decadent Western ways --
I probably have, re: fundamental morals, more in common with the first 500 people I'd meet in Cairo, Damascus or Tehran than the first 500 people I'd meet in Park City, UT, during festival time.
-- and, further, agrees with the mullahs that homosexuality is an abomination --
...a gay Republican male -- very successful guy, well-dressed, in the public limelight, not at all a desperate troll -- told me that this was a pretty normal part of gay male culture. He told me that he used to cruise public toilets looking for sex, in part because the stench of those locales smelled like "nectar"...

...what are the rest of us supposed to think about gay male culture, and the degree to which it self-defines according to behavior that most people rightly find repulsive?
So Dreher is mad at liberals for failing to defend gay people, whom he condemns, against Muslims, with whom he sides against gay people.

If this seems a bit muddled, you have to remember that Ole Rod sure is mad at liberals. It's a Southern thing. The last part of his post -- in which the liberal "wishes to cling desperately to his own self-image as a defender of the poor, oppressed minorities, even when some of those poor, oppressed minorities would just as soon see him and his kind swinging from the gallows" -- reminds me of some of Dreher's other postings on "minorities," including this one, in which he decides that black folk who don't wish to sweat in the fields must be selling crack, and this other one, in which a black crime incident in New Orleans means that town is now "Mogadishu on the Bayou." Liberals must have done something to Dreher, or to his pappy, once upon a time, and he hasn't forgotten it.
SO SORRY. I had written a nice, long, time-intensive post to make up for my lost time here, and the new improved Blogger fucking destroyed it.

Death to Blogger.

Sorry.