Monday, June 30, 2008

I'VE SEEN THAT MOVIE TOO. Wesley Clark suggests that life as a POW is not necessarily relevant training for the Presidency. McCain fan Andrew Sullivan, among others, angrily accuses Clark of "swift-boating" McCain.

To protect himself, McCain engages a "truth squad" starring one of the original Swift Boat guys, who still insists that "The Swift Boat 'attacks' were simply revelation of the truth."

This reminds me painfully of a scene from Costa-Gavras' Z, in which an indicted Greek fascist general is asked by a reporter, "Are you a martyr, like Dreyfus?" The General angrily replies, "Dreyfus was guilty."
NEW VOICE COLUMN UP -- rightwing blogwatch redux, with a Gay Pride teaser, post-Heller recoil, and the threat to America that is Wall-E.
SEVEN WAYS TO DRIVE YOUR TRAFFIC WILD IN WEB. Dr. Mrs. Ole Perfesser is really trawling here, but I am powerless to resist -- much like this fellow:
Can a Man Be Raped by a Woman?

Here is one man's story -- let's call him Mike -- (other identifying data has also been changed) about a rape that happened to him over 17 years ago that he still can't forget...
In the narrative that follows, "Mike" (a Marine!) goes to a motel to sleep off a drunk with his buddy's pregnant girlfriend, and
I woke up about 2 hours later -- still destroyed by the alcohol -- to find my clothes removed from the waist down and the girl on top of me wailing like a banshee and quite roughly enjoying herself. She had apparently brought me to erection -- not hard as I'm one of those men who can hold one for hours, awake or asleep, sober or drunk.
One would expect a Marine (particularly one who reads DMOP) to immediately extricate his entrenching tool with extreme prejudice, but what chance has the pride of the USMC against a pregnant chick who "sternly warned me to 'be quiet' and 'not be forceful' [! -ed.] and made it clear that she would cry rape if I tried to stop it." So he was forced to submit to the whole horrifying ordeal...

If you're wondering why I'm not yelling "Letters to Penthouse!" it's because Dr. Mrs.' readers beat me to it. Yes, the story is such bullshit that, even when plied with the sort of misogyny and invitations to self-pity that normally excites them, her usually docile fanboys rebel. Some, of course, keep their perfect faith in DMOP, and denounce the female man-rapist ("She could have masturbated; instead, she chose to play a power trip on that poor guy knowing he wouldn't do a thing against her"). Others believe the Marine, though they smack him for a "metrosexual" and tell him to "get over it." But a couple actually recognize that this absurd story is absurd.

For this bunch, that constitutes progress. But they're still a long way from the final breakthough: the acknowledgement that they are really being played for chumps, not by women, big media, society, or even the Marine, but by Dr. Mrs. Ole Perfesser. When that day comes, they are invited (after they stop crying) to join me in a class-action suit. For hasn't DMOP's irresistible scam injured us both -- by wounding their male pride, and wasting time I could have better devoted to Shorter Lilekses? This could be the mother of all men's rights cases! Hell, maybe we can get her old man to sign an amicus brief!

UPDATE. Someone claiming to be the Marine contributes to DMOP's comments. He tries to make the important point that real men seek therapy, and those who don't are pussies ("A real man [not an immature little wimp of a man-child like some of these posters] knows when he needs help rather than bottling it up until it explodes onto some innocent bystander..."). I wonder if this is how they do it in basic training now: "YOU HAD BEST UNLEASH YOUR FUCKING INNER CHILD, PRIVATE, OR I WILL UNSCREW YOUR HEAD AND SHIT DOWN YOUR NECK, AND THAT'S JUST FIGURATIVELY SPEAKING, THIS BARRACKS IS YOUR SAFE SPACE." "SIR, I HEAR WHAT YOU'RE SAYING, SIR!"

Using belligerent language to scare people into believing a weak story has long been a winner for these people, but when you can't convince punters on their own sites, the game may be up.
UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES. The New York Sun clues me as to my new rights:
Regarding gun carrying, Heller might, arguably, mean that New York City would have to follow a similar policy to Connecticut (and 39 other states): issue permits to carry a concealed handgun for lawful defense if the applicant is over 21, and passes a fingerprint-based background check and a safety class.
It pains me to admit this, but I've never been arrested. As far as anyone can tell, I'm a good citizen. I can't wait until this shit gets sorted out. I meet all manner of idiots in my wanderings, and a shoulder-holster full of firepower can only add to my advantage. Especially when I've been drinking!

I've been praying for anarchy to restore my City to its former glory, but it now occurs to me that I need not only dream of such a restoration; I can also be its agent. Rudy Giuliani isn't around to disarm me. In the name of Tony Scalia, let's get it on!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

NEW FRONTIERS IN THE CULTURE WAR. John J. Miller, the genius behind "The 50 Greatest Conservative Rock Songs," is digging harder than ever to extract political messages from popular music. His latest find comes from Sigur Rós album credits:
Anyway, I was distressed to see that parts of With a buzz... were recorded in Havana (along with New York, London, and Reykjavik). The band isn't especially political, at least not to my knowledge. I suspect they didn't know any better. When it comes to Cuba, Europeans tend not to. That's too bad.
Clearly he's a man on a mission, and it won't be long before he discovers a new band using a wah-wah pedal and connects it to the failed policies of the Carter Administration.

UPDATE. Fixed spelling, diacritical. Oh, missing word too! Also there was a nail sticking out of a floorboard so I pulled it out so no one would get hurt.

Friday, June 27, 2008

I'D LIKE TO KNOCK OFF EARLY TODAY... NEED SOMETHING EASY... LET'S TRY REDSTATE. One of the right's most serious advocacy blogs has identified the most pressing issue facing America today: Bill Delahunt's lame joke.
If you do not call your Congressman today and demand the House of Representatives, at the very *least*, censure Congressman Delahunt, well damn us all. We have no right to carry on our fight...

When you call your Congressman, you should make sure he knows an apology from Mr. Delahunt will not suffice. Delahunt clearly is lying about and denying his statement. "I'm sorry" would just be more of the same.
Commenters take the hint, suggesting resignation and execution ("There is a tree down the road from me mbeck where Major Andre met his end. Just thought you may like to know that").

Please please pleeeeeease go the Republican National Convention in great numbers and stand in front of the cameras in 18th Century costumes and scream about treason please please pleeeeeease.

I ought to devise some sort of Low Hanging Fruit Award for service to alicublog, and put these guys on permanent shortlist. See ya!
JUST AS LONG AS THEY SPELL THE NAME RIGHT. The tiresome work of heaping blame for everything on the media never ends. Today's weary shovelman is Patrick Ruffini. He claims that the "3-to-1 ratio" of Obama-only to McCain-only stories on Google News proves Routine 12, aka media bias in favor of Democrats ("the media made an in-kind contribution of tens of millions of dollars in 'free' media to Obama"), with an online-media-spend angle to add both a modish sheen to the old gambit and a hint of quid-pro-quo corruption.

Stories easily found at Ruffini's Obama-Google link include "Obama's policy pirouettes lead him toward the center," "Michelle Obama Receives Lukewarm Reception for Lukewarm Position on Gay Marriage," "Obama-Clinton joint appearance faces skeptics," "Muslim Americans Feel Shunned by Obama," articles that call Obama "opportunistic," and editorials by such devoted Obama supporters as Charles Krauthammer (who, hilariously, talks about how the press is giving Obama a free pass).

We should also consider that many seemingly neutral Obama stories, such as the ones about Obama's support for gay rights, may be perceived negatively in some jurisdictions (cue "Dueling Banjos").

If Obama is paying money for this treatment, I hope he also gets a heavy damaged-merchandise discount.

I don't begrudge Ruffini the Google journalism per se -- in fact, I've used it myself, when I pointed out that the top rightwing bloggers much prefer to talk about Obama than McCain. Clearly Obama is more interesting to everyone, including his mortal enemies, than the old fart he's running against. If that's media bias, Ruffini's next job should be to rip the mask off the press' corrupt bargain with Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt.
THESE ARE THE JOKES, FOLKS! Peggy Noonan seems to want another campaign job. In today's Wall Street Journal she pleads for the Republicans to release the real McCain, highlighting "the antic part of his nature, his natural wit... That's why the boys on the bus loved him in 2000. That's why the Republican base rejected him in 2000."

Well, that seems a mixed outcome at best, but maybe even the base will be won over by such sure-fire material as this:
[He] volunteered that Brooke Buchanan, his spokeswoman who was seated nearby and rolling her eyes, 'has a lot of her money hidden in the Cayman Islands' and that she earned it by 'dealing drugs.' Previously, Mr. McCain had identified Ms. Buchanan as 'Pat Buchanan's illegitimate daughter,' 'bipolar,' 'a drunk,' 'someone with a lot of boyfriends,' and 'just out of Betty Ford.'"
Ha... huh? "That's the McCain his friends love," Noonan confidently tells us, "McCain unplugged."

I have to ask, will these Friars' Club Roast routines be used only on friends, or are they also meant for the press pool ("Helen, you brain-damaged old whore! Remember when you sucked me off behind the statue of William Borah? I felt like the Lion of the Senate all day") and the debates ("Let's be honest, homes, if I may call you homes. Puffy Combs is still mad about J-Lo, and if he finds out you were tappin' that back in '99, you can stop worrying about white people for the rest of the campaign and perhaps your life. In fact, maybe you should just grab a Bronco right now and do an OJ, while you still have your balls")? That would be a bold move, certainly.

Or maybe McCain unplugged should direct his schtick toward the voters: "Yeah, you had a nice time drinkin' beers and clearin' brush with George Bush, didn't you? I notice Prozac consumption is up. Maybe if you pillheads could come down long enough to see what a mess this country's in, I wouldn't have to worry about you voting for the other guy because you thought he did a good job in Men In Black. See these medals? I didn't win them in a debate competition. You want a tongue job, we'll get the missus out here. That ain't my bag. You people are fucked and it's gonna take a crazy, half-senile old sailor to get you unfucked. Now, somebody tell that cunt to come up here for the grip-and-grin, or as we call it in my house, the money shot. Thanks, morons, and try the veal."

Thursday, June 26, 2008

THE MOSQUITO COAST. Erin Manning continues to fill in for Rod Dreher at the Crunchy Con blog. Today she considers the Benedict Option -- Dreher's notion of Christians going off the grid and starting their own autonomous communities, far from evil Western culture -- and finds a sticking point: lack of easy ways for neo-Benedictines to "[sustain] themselves and their families apart from the reality of 24/7 corporate employment, which in most cases is only located in or near major urban areas."
One possibility involves the presence of a university which would be a source of jobs and income for many in the community. Some small Catholic colleges in relatively rural areas have seen this kind of thing flourish spontaneously. But I think the key is that the community should arise on its own; the planned community of Ave Maria in Florida seems like something that could easily be a disappointment to those who choose to settle there, for reasons that are beyond the scope of a single blog entry.
If you follow the link you can see a few obvious drawbacks at Ave Maria: they've already contracted with the Publix supermarket chain and BP. Since these businesses market goods from the godless outside world, there's always a possibility that residents may find the near occasion of sin in a sexy magazine or tomato can label. And isn't consumerism part of the problem? Won't the bounty of big-time supermarket shelves corrupt the souls of the anointed?

For centuries "autonomous" communities sustained themselves -- and some monks, zealots, and survivalists still do. Why can't the Crunchies till the land, bake bread, fetch water, and read the Bible by candlelight, if this is what the Lord has called them to do?

The obvious answer is they don't really want to. From comments on this post, and the blog generally, there seem to be an awful lot of Crunchies who expect to keep a desk job in the New Jerusalem.

I look forward to the day when some fundamentalist billionaire gifts Dreher and his crew with some arable land. Within weeks there'll be big fights around the Talking Stick, as public relations executives and journalists explain why someone else should hammer nails. Eventually Dreher will have to announce that an angel has told him the location of some magic tablets or something. And the great thing is, there'll be plenty of knowledge workers on hand to document the collapse.

UPDATE. Commenter FMguru reminds us that "the traditional conservative Christian way to deal with this problem is to import menial labor from far away, transported in the packed, sweltering cargo holds of specially-built sailing ships."
I AM ONE OF YOU NOW! I AM SANE! I'm pretty happy with the Heller decision. As I have said many times, I long to return to the old, dirty, dangerous, and inexpensive New York of my youth, and this seems like a good first step. (Yeah, I know Mike Bloomberg is acting like it's no big deal. He's whistling in the dark.)

Also, I should like a gun to liven up my drinking binges and mood swings. I would give you good people a schedule so that you might avoid me during these episodes, but really, there's just no predicting when they'll occur.
DARK DAYS AHEAD! Gateway Pundit is unnerved by the BET Awards, at which Sean Combs converted his "Vote or Die" chant to "Obama or Die," and Alicia Keys shouted "Obama, y'all!" Gateway Pundit helpfully bolds these quotes, and includes this picture to help readers grasp the size of the threat:


"It does make you wonder what the inaugural ball will be like come January," says GP.

He probably imagines something like this:


I hate to tell him: Bootsy's already got his invite.


UDPATE. You gotta love that the Gateway Pundit post's first trackback is from Stormfront.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

SCARLETT LETTER. Oh brother:
...according to Obama, Johansson is lying about trading lengthy e-mail exchanges. "She sent one email to Reggie, who forwarded it to me," Obama said, referring to his 26-year-old personal assistant, Reggie Love. "I write saying, 'thank you Scarlett for doing what you do,' and suddenly we have this email relationship."

UPDATE: Groan. A reader suggests, "I did not... have... textual relations with that woman, Miss Johansson."
I think McCain should press his advantage and announce he's been having a 10-year affair with Bo Derek.
A LACK OF INSPIRATION. Someone questioned me the other day about my recent lack of attention to some traditional alicublog bĂȘtes noires. I understand that longtime followers of this site like to see their favorite characters on a regular basis. But sometimes it's just out of my hands.

For instance: We've had some good fun here at Megan McArdle's expense, and someday, God willing, we'll have more. But lately, McArdle's site is like an endless series of climactic scenes from "I Love Lucy" episodes: after a while, her buffoonish 'splainin' that she didn't really mean the U.S. Army breeds rightwing terrorists, or that Rhodesia should never have gained independence, is more wearying than funny. And the station breaks are, as always, insufferable.

And I regret to say that Jonah Goldberg has also become a disappointment. Since his book came out -- perhaps because he considers himself above it all now, wears a beret, and has his Cheetos brought to him by interns -- Goldberg mostly amuses himself at The Corner with recycled internet gags, or such content-free musings as this:
The death penalty used to be constitutional for barn-burning, horse stealing, fairly minor thefts etc. I completely agree that our evolving standards of decency make that seem like overkill, pardon the pun. But is it really a sign of our evolving standards of decency that brutally raping a child is also on that list? Are we more decent because we don't consider that a capital offense? I don't really see it.
This sounds like something the average person might write if he had neither an opinion on nor an idea of what he was talking about. In fact, Goldberg sounds like someone who is being forced to write -- someone, that is, who isn't a professional writer and expected to come up to snuff regardless -- rather than the rubber-doll wrestler we have come to know and love.

This is one of the things we all hate about journalism: despite our best efforts to make it come out the right way, sometimes events fuck it up. Think of it like "ER," and try to develop relationships with some of the up-and-comers.
SOMETIMES IT'S JUST TOO EASY. Adar Kielczewski at the American Thinker:
Society is promoting an entirely new type of leader: the wimp.
Sigh, OK, what is it this time? Arugula? Knickers? The dolorous effect of Dear Abby?
Today's television hero doesn't have big muscles, wear a cowboy hat or fly. He smirks. NBC's popular series The Office reflects this trend quintessentially: promotion of the beta male. Jim Halpert, unofficial "hero" of the program, does little more than raise an eyebrow at the camera as he lives a day-in, day-out life of quiet passivity. His most aggressive action is the occasional practical joke. At last year's season finale, he turned down a managerial position. A man of action he's not.
I don't watch that much TV, but I know somewhere on prime time there must be a PI who doesn't play by the rules. Wouldn't he cancel out Jim Halpert? Also, cops. There's always lots of cops on TV. And Charlie Sheen! He loves 'em and leaves 'em. That's got to count, right?

Most of Kielczewski's essay is about that one show but, perhaps sensing the absurdity of denouncing society based on a single TV program (though I might have gone for it if he'd picked "The Two Coreys"), Kielczewski makes the big reach further down:
Who wants to promote hard work, leadership or taking a stand? Men are just as content to follow as to lead. We like the message of Napoleon Dynamite, Spiderman, Shrek and "The Office," because it tells us softly, "It's okay to be mediocre."
First of all, real men don't use italics and quote marks; it's like wearing a belt and suspenders. Second, WTF? Napoleon Dynamite totally kicked that chick's ass at dancing! And Spider-Man and Shrek totally kicked those guys' asses at kicking ass.
History provides role models such as Rough Rider leader Theodore Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill and honest President Abraham Lincoln: men with ambition, guts, drive and notable character.
Even during the Second World War, if you attempted to fill an entire movie matinee with newsreels and patriotic biographies, I'm sure the fine young people in the audience would have gotten up and yelled, "We want Abbott and Costello!"
If history had put Jim Halpert up to commanding the men and the love of the Continental Army, or if the Declaration of Independence/British death warrant was waiting for the signature of one "Peter Parker," I think we would find ourselves in a much different nation.
Sure we would: with Spider-Man fighting for us, the Revolutionary War would have been over in about two hours. Because he has super-powers. Because he's a comic book character. And --

Wait a minute. For a moment I felt as if these people could be reached with common sense. In fact, I got so excited I swelled up, turned green, yelled "ROY SMASH!" and crushed a couple of beer cans. Yes, it's that important to have proper role models.

UPDATE. Commenter Halloween Jack suggests that Adar is not male but female, based on this evidence. Till I have better sourcing -- can we really trust an unaccredited Jesus school/compound to get a caption right? -- I'm going to stick with my original gender assumption. For one thing it's funnier, especially since "Adar" reminds me of the way Adore's mother pronounced his name ("Yuh wanna cry, Adah? Yuh wanna cry?") in The Day of the Locust. (You may recall Adore -- played by a young Jackie Earle Haley! -- was the belligerent, peroxided child-monster who got stomped to death by Donald Sutherland.)

Also, it's depressing to see the right is still finding new harpies and termagants who bitch out the menfolk for their lack of alpha. I suspect it's part of a COINTELPRO plan to discredit feminism by hiring shills to embody tiresome gender stereotypes in public.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

OILFIELD IN A COMA. I've often wondered how it could be explained that Iraq has been for months (and figures to remain forever) poised perfectly between surge-is-working-great and if-we-leave-they're-doomed. How can our Mission be on the verge of Accomplished, and Iraq such a basket case at the same time?

At National Review, Peter Wehner explains with a piquant metaphor:
Assume that a patient suffering from severe influenza is improving, thanks in part to antiviral agents. But the fact that the patient is getting better doesn’t mean the patient is completely well, nor does it mean it would be wise to prematurely stop medication and medical care.
By "piquant" I mean obscene, as Iraq's post-invasion hospitals are so horribly underequipped, a real case of the flu would probably not be treated with vanishingly scarce antibiotics or antivirals, but with prayers and imprecations against the Great Satan.

My suggestion to Wehner: try comparing Iraq to Terry Schiavo instead. It's a more appropriate metaphor (or would be, if Schiavo had been beaten into a coma during a home invasion). And it'll energize the base!
JOKE OF THE DAY. James Lileks faults George Carlin for... wait for it -- timing is everything... lack of self-awareness:
I never heard Carlin be as hard on himself as he was on his favorite strawmen. That wasn’t his job, of course, and you can’t fault him for the routines he didn’t do. But the more you confront and accept your own human faults the less outrage you find in the small mishaps of others, and I never got the feeling Carlin spent a lot of time interrogating his own character with the same confident derision he brought to things much greater than himself.
Next week at the Bleat: three Target clerks who didn't get Lileks' BSG references.
RACE PIMP. Normally the National Review's Victor Davis Hanson goes on about political correctness like a parrot who's been living in Hilton Kramer's apartment. Yet today he's complaining that there will be no shitstorm over Don Imus' latest race-related remarks.

One would think so stalwart a fan of untramelled speech would be pleased to learn the heat's off. But Hanson is more interested in blaming the media's unwillingness to make Imus a big story for the second year in a row on history's greatest monster, Barack Obama:
This time there will be no calls for resignation or furor. Why? Obama in his treatment of the far worse racial slurs of Rev. Wright already lowered the bar when defending Wright last spring by not calling for him to apologize or separate from Trinity, and thereby lost any high ground to voice concern about others.
If this is so, we owe Obama a debt of gratitude for sparing us another ridiculous media circus like the last Imus affair -- or, for that matter, the Reverend Wright blowout. And the current reaction, or lack thereof, seems consonant with the reason-over-rage message of the Obama race speech.

Wow, I like the Obama Presidency already! Certainly much more than I like PC, race-baiting crybabies like Hanson.

Monday, June 23, 2008

HOW HOMOSEXUALS RUINED THE "KISS OF PEACE." Erin Manning, standing in for Rod Dreher (who is presumably scouting deep caves where he and his brood might sustain life after the End Times), says just because she doesn't want to let 'em get married doesn't mean that she doesn't like --

Well wait. Let's be precise. Manning doesn't say she likes gay people, or anything like it, so let's not put words in her mouth (at least not till the costumes and sound effects are ready). What she says is:
In fact, I've had comment box discussions with gay marriage supporters who tell me that if I'd just get to know some gay people...
But as I've said on those occasions, I have known, and do know, gay people. I even have gay relatives, and my self-imposed rule not to talk about family members without their permission and consent ties my hands more than I can say. Suffice it to say that on my side of things, invitations have been extended and communication lines left open.
Invitations have been extended... communication lines left open. Sounds like she's addressing a Senate sub-committee, doesn't she? Do you know, or have you ever known, a member of the Homosexual Party?

The whole blinked-in-code thing suggests some interesting scenarios. Maybe in Manning's life gay folk are more felt than seen, like the Blair Witch. Or maybe it's more like a Baby Jane bonhomie thing:

"Hey, Aunt Faggot, care if I tell the whole world you suck cock?"

"Fuck off, bitch!"

(shrugs) "OK, I left the lines of communication open. See ya in camp -- from the other side of the barbed wire! (dancing) Oh I so bad, I so bad!"

Oh, right, I keep forgetting: "San Francisco Democrat" => crackers vote right way => wingnut welfare keeps flowing. I knew there was a simpler explanation.
NEW VOICE COLUMN UP. This one's about wingnut reactions to those 17 pregnant Gloucester teens. You can just imagine.

One I didn't find in time, but which cannot go unmentioned, is Ace O'Spades's odd, harrumphy attempt to get his drooling troupe to Please Think About The Children:
If whore-spawn seems harsh, well, I'm having trouble imagining what other sorts of jobs these girls will end up moonlighting in when they need a bit of extra spending cash. Whoredom is a popular career-path among the young, female, self-destructive, and otherwise-unemployable.
Accompanying porn link not up yet, but you know it's coming. I wonder if O'Spades hasn't considered marketing under the AoS brand a personal lubricant that just admits it's for beating off.
DEAR READERS, OR LACK THEREOF. I am writing to tell you that the next angry message I scrawl in crayola on damp cardboard will definitely not go to the New York Times. Bad enough that the paper studiously, leftishly ignores my vitally important messages -- on the rare occasions when its factota do respond, it is invariably in a communistically uncomplimentary way (e.g. "Do not attempt to enter the building again -- security has been notified").

So henceforth the Times shall do without my custom. I never really needed them; I was only sending them rocks smeared with my feces out of concern for their feelings. My fame will rise via the internets, and by the efforts of my fellow mole-people, who will push messages of support up through the sidewalk vents to a waiting world. Good day to you, sir! I say good day!
THE TELLING DETAIL. I don't usually dig up comments on other people's blogs, but there's something very instructive in this one. As you may have heard, the great George Carlin has died. In comments to a nice valedictory post by Ann Althouse, somebody writes this:
Carlin grew misanthropic in the last 20 years or so, and made a conscious decision to chuck the conservative part of his audience, openly ridiculing conservative politicians and cultural leaders. Thus I have less regard for his passing than I would otherwise. He was brilliant at manipulating the English language, but I think he coarsened American culture with his most famous work.
Try to even imagine being like this. Try to imagine keeping score on how one of the artists you admire, or one of the entertainers you enjoy, is dishing out props to your political causes. Try to imagine writing a sentence as puffed-up as "Thus I have less regard for his passing than I would otherwise," as if your mourning were something a bunch of hungry peasants with bowls were desperately hoping would be ample. Finally -- and you may really have to rev up your sense of tragic pity for this one -- try to imagine being so utterly blind to your surroundings that you think George Carlin's "most famous work," which is decades old, "coarsened American culture," rather than, "is American culture."

For extra credit, imagine thinking all this shit while considering anyone else Politically Correct.

UPDATE. Radio blowhard Macranger says:
He made me laugh at times, mostly before he went renegade in the early 70s.
What, so he only liked Carlin on the Ed Sullivan Show? That's sort of like saying "I liked Picasso until he started getting abstract."

Macranger goes on to say that he "felt sorry for [Carlin] for he had no belief except in what was bad and evil." That Carlin "looked forward to an afterlife where he could watch the decline of civilization on a 'heavenly CNN'" Macranger finds "sad." Like Voltaire, Mencken, et alia, Carlin died out of the good graces of the bullshit merchants. I guess they knew he was driving away some of their customers.

UPDATE II. Having read a lot today about Carlin's barrier-breaking use of obscenity and misanthropy, I want to point out that it would be too bad if Carlin were misfiled as simply a pioneer of dirty talk. That happened to Lenny Bruce, and it's a great shame, because the guy had a way with words that's most apparent in his maddest flights. Carlin's bits were observably and very carefully written, with an tremendous feel for rhythm (which was especially apparent when his voice became less flexible and he couldn't work the dynamics as much). Most good standup is labored over and part of the trick is to make it look spontaneous; Carlin had that down, too, but often, especially toward the end, he seemed less like a traditional comic and more like a barnstorming comic author who was excited enough by his material to get up and move around. His words, dirty and clean, were strong enough to bear that treatment. Carlin was an especially appropriate choice for the Twain Prize, and I'm glad to learn they're still going to give it to him.
THE HORMONAL SURGE IS WORKING. I was worried for a while that I would have to bust Gazillion-Star General Ralph "Blood 'n' Guts" Peters back down to Lt. Colonel. His recent columns have been normally ridiculous, but lacking in that special madness that has made him an alicublog favorite. But in Saturday's New York Post the General uncorked a classic. It sings from the very beginning:
WORKING out last Monday, I heard a campaign flunky on TV insist that progress in Iraq is an illusion. "The war isn't over until all of the troops come home!" she grumped.

Guess we're still at war with Germany. And Japan. Even Italy. Oh, and let's not forget all of our military bases occupying the Confederacy.
Maybe the General's workout stimulated an epinephrine cascade that inspired this column. I imagine him banging it out on the Selectric with one hand and pumping a gazillion-kilo handweight with the other, high off the idea that an operating base in Iraq is a direct equivalent to Fort Bragg.
And one look told you she didn't even know any "troops."
You can smell it on 'em, even through the TV. Probably drives a Prius and eats pussy, too.
But after my initial shrug (back to the bench for more crunches)...
The General is a man of action.
...Since that woman on TV "explained" victory last Monday, I've thought about the different kinds of people who refuse either to accept that the situation in Iraq has improved remarkably or that quitting now would have serious consequences.
Even in the grip of raging catecholamines, the General holds the game together: Iraq is always in a delicate balance between total conquest and all hell breaking loose. And pay attention, because he redeploys this strategy in his big finale.

The General identifies three enemy battalions: First, "Protesting university students," an easy target: "Once they graduate and get a dose of reality, most of the kids will do fine. The need for liberal-arts undergrads to prance to the left is virtually hormonal." (Certainly the reality of the post-graduation job market will put an end to all hormonal prancing. Try prancing in a tiny apartment with three roommates!) Next, "Hollywood stars and other celebrities." Their only ordnance is "self-righteous anti-war (anti-military) films" and Susan Sarandon. The General orders you to laugh!

But he can't so easily shake off that most formidable of foes: "My generation. Those of us from our mid-50s into early 60s. The florid youth of yesteryear... the high point of whose lives came in a protest march down University Boulevard, chanting, 'Ho-ho-ho Chi Minh! NLF is gonna win!'"

You'd think that, now that Dennis Hopper is selling them retirement plans, reality long ago put an end to the Boomers' hormonal prancing. But the General's got that thousand-mile stare: he doesn't see a bunch of greyhaired time-servers -- he sees the Mongol hordes, animated by "bitterness toward the military," looking in the last ditch to "rise above their disappointing lives and to recapture, for one Viagra-assisted moment, their glory days of raised little fists and bell-bottoms."

As the General describes them, his generation is a pathetic bunch, with only "tenure at an obscure college, serial divorces and a failed book or two," while "the nerds in the comp-science classes, the geeks with punch cards in their shirt pockets... became billionaires."

So it's the General and internet billionaires versus a "soured minority" of former commune dwellers. He seems to have this thing sewn up. Can't we just have the McCain victory party now? The General wearily shakes his head: "I'd pity them," he whispers, "if the stakes weren't so high."

So the homefront is really just like Iraq: the enemy is merely a pathetic rump, but the General must fight on, sparing neither troops nor firepower. The enemy is just as weak as he needs for morale-building purposes, and just as strong as needs to justify continued involvement. Most likely he imagines himself, and us, at it for another 100 years.

Friday, June 20, 2008

OOGA BOOGA. Spike Lee quotes Parliament:
"The money's going to other things," he said. "That's going to change though." As applause escalated, he added, in a clear reference to Barack Obama, "We'll have a real chocolate city."
Cute, right? Not if you're from the vanilla suburbs! The Perfesser blows the dog-whistle, and barking commences. Daily Pundit:
Does this mean I can start referring to black people as "chocolates?" Or does it mean that Spike Lee is a racist dumbass?
Uh...
Has anybody asked Obama yet whether he's going to turn Washington, D.C. into a "chocolate city?" That would make for an interesting press conference.

And how would that work, exactly? Line up all the honkeys at gunpoint and march them across the city line?
Don't ever show this guy Blazing Saddles; he'll shit his pants.

Some go for passive-aggression -- they're not complaining, they're complaining that somebody is going to complain! American Pundit says, "I'm sure the MSM will begin blaming conservatives for the remark any minute now." Macsmind says, "With this radical's rantings I wonder how long before someone throws his skinny ass under the bus." Gateway Pundit echoes many in the cracker-American community when he asks, "Could you imagine if a Republican would say something like this?... A 'vanilla city?'" Yeah, and what if we made our own version of "Roots" where we showed how black people oppressed white people? I bet they'd be really mad then.

Michelle Malkin notes ominously that Lee "will be an honored guest at the Democrat National Convention." Keep this under your hat, but I hear a lot of other black people will be there, too. They'll be waving machetes and singing "Right Time."

Jesus Christ. They scare easy, don't they?
MORE NAGS & SCOLDS. The panic recently exhibited at National Review's The Corner over the possibility that women might be learning sex tricks from gay TV gagwriters has spread to one of the Review's other stupid blogs. An unnamed author at Phi Beta Cons, a NR blog devoted to denouncing schools as PC indoctination centers, says Sex and the City ain't the only liberal porn-squad turning our daughters into tramps:
PBC's Candace de Russy, along with others, fought a mighty battle to ban sex fairs at an upstate New York state college that featured various toys and manuals for every manner imaginable of the polymorphous perverse.
The author refers to de Russy's ravings over a 1997 SUNY New Paltz exhibition, which made de Russy a heroine among conservatives and a laughing-stock among everyone else, but did nothing to stem the tide of collegiate sex. Which just goes to show that, among the cognoscenti, no culture war skirmish is considered a failure if it wins another job for another otherwise worthless wingnut.

The author also complains about the Columbia University student health services website, which two or three years ago "advised on such questions as how to manage a threesome and how to clean a bloody cat-o'nine-tails between sadomasochism sessions." This raises two questions. First, why do conservative sex critics always sound like their most recent contact with BDSM was Tom Lehrer's "Masochism Tango"? "Bloody cat-o'nine-tails between sadomasochism sessions," yeesh. Again I plead for field work: someone take these noobs to a munch.

Secondly, noting the subject-appropriate shift in the hook, will this sex madness go 'round the horn, so to speak, among NatRev blogs, with similarly subtle changes of emphasis? Perhaps the Liberal Fascism blog's Jonah Goldberg will claim that the Nazis liked sex (not that conservatives don't like sex but it's different because boy I sure hate Nazis don't you? which I believe is central to my point); Planet Gore will claim environmentalists just want to turn down our thermostats so we'll all have to huddle for warmth, leading to orgies; and Larry Kudlow will talk about how great sex is when you're coked out of your mind.

Meanwhile Crunchy Rod Dreher's summer replacement host does her best to get with the Puritan program. She starts with Seventeen magazine, an easy lay-up (gasp! sex tips! children read this! etc), but then gets greedy and tries to blame modern sexual mores for some girls in Massachusetts who purposefully got knocked up, when it's clear the precocious breeders were merely emulating their sisters in the trailer parks and planned communities of the red states.

Next she'll blame liberals for teaching the young'uns to dip snuff, because we're all about the sex and drugs. In fact, if things stay uncomfy for conservatives in general this summer, as they retreat into madness and fantasy they'll probably come up with all kinds of crackpot equivalences. The alleged liberal fondness for group sex, for example, will be linked to our collectivist ideals. And libertarians will be presumed to masturbate compulsively.
HOUSE NUDNIK. Do you wonder what distinguishes A-list, mainstream media wingnuts from the mob that howls beneath them? It's the little things. Message discipline requires that they all refer to people or causes abandoned (or imagined to be abandoned) by Obama as "under the bus." Indeed, it has become a verbal signifier by which conservatives identify one another, like "stuck on stupid" and "My wife thinks I'm at a Bible conference, let me suck your balls."

But David Brooks of the New York Times uses "under the truck" instead. See the difference? It shows style, and what an independent thinker he is. And his theme -- that Obama isn't the airy-fairy idealist McGovernite his rabid enemies daily portray him as, he's the ruthless hypocrite his enemies also daily portray him as -- is likewise stylish and contrarian. Next week he may tell us that he likes snail darters, personally, though he isn't sure he should let his own sentimentality destroy the livelihoods of ordinary Americans who eat at nonexistent salad bars and have the same kind of respect for their quaint little name brands that Brooks has for Chanel and Peugeot.

You're all smart folks, readers, but I fear most of you lack the certain something that might vault you into Brooks' league. But they're doing wonderful things with neurosurgery these days, and soon may be able to paralyze the parts of the brain that govern moral judgment.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

EUREKA! It's like a magic formula: Sex And The City + gay marriage = rightwing meltdown.

Inspired by the recent Maggie Gallagher essay about how gay-married guys are all into orgies, National Review's Fred Schwartz performs Talmudic analysis on... Glamour magazine. "Judging from our popular press," murmurs Schwartz, "the idea of threesomes is no longer all that outré in the straight community either." Attend Schwartz as he peers through his magnifying glass at the tiny, smut-rich type; the receptionist at his dentist's office calls his name again, louder, but Schwartz is transfixed:
In the June issue of Glamour, under the heading "5 things to say no to," item 1 is: "Any threesome in which you're committed to one of the other two." If you're not committed to one of the other two, presumably, Glamour would say: "You go, girl!"
It's like the hormonally-induced, lurid storytimes of my extreme youth (The National Enquirer says she's a nymphomaniac! That means she'll fuck anyone! She'll fuck, like, two guys at once!) reenacted by a guy wearing a tweed jacket and chewing on a briar pipe.

But there's still an ingredient missing from our mind-poison, and Lisa Schiffren brings it: "The people responsible for making threesomes seem ubiquitous among young women," declares Schiffren, "are, among others, the writers and producers of Sex in the City."

Sooooo it's just a perceptual problem, then, of the sort from which Professor Schwartz suffers? Not quite: in similarly weaselly, insecure language, Schiffren explains:
The original HBO series was frequently, and I always thought correctly, said to be written by gay men, who projected a lot of the norms and behavior of gay culture onto the female characters.
And the homos, through the bridging device of cable television, introduced our dewy-fresh maidens to "particular, often distasteful sexual practices that may or may not have come into fashion" and "gay norms posing as practices heterosexual females might enjoy."

Oh, Lisa, honey, I was sucking assholes when you were still sucking your thumb, and neither my ladyfriends nor I learned it from any TV show. As for the general role of same-sexers in the development of our sexual menu, it's strictly a chicken-or-the-egg thing to me, but as it is Pride Month, I'd be happy to give the gay guys some credit. It would certainly liven up the P-Month middle-school educational pageants. Maybe they can even ID some specific gay guys to put on the poster: JACK WRANGLER: FIRST TO SPLOSH or something like that.

I think the Review should raise the bar for Schiffren and insist she do a little field research the next time she tries something like this. They could start her out slow -- with a butt-plug, perhaps. Or the removal of one.

UPDATE. Tbogg's alternative take is essential reading for fans of the genre.
THIS GIG DOES HAVE ITS LITTLE COMPENSATIONS. Obama figures: I'll just opt out of public financing, rely on the huge sacks of cash ordinary people keep sending me, and leave the Republicans to "game this broken system." Much screaming no fair! from people who never liked public financing (or public anything, except hangings) in the first place.

This ripe example at RedState is headlined Obama Breaks His Word, Again (Bumped.) It starts out slow, but the Citizen Journalist soon loses his composure:
I'm just not sure what to say about this. I shouldn't be shocked, but somehow it does shock me to see how a candidate for POTUS can be so vapid, and yet still lead in every major poll currently.

Does Barack think we are stupid, or are we just stupid? Time will tell, I guess.

I am very depressed about the future and am perilously close to full blown anxiety here. It just seems so simple. How can we even be considering letting this man have the keys to the WH? How? How? How? Why? Why? Why?
Now this is --

Wait. You know what? Let's forget the analysis and just enjoy the moment. Eat it, whitey!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

AMERICA'S SECRET SHAME. Practically every fucking cracker asshole and the Indian guy at National Review are insisting that they've never heard anyone make fun of black people. But they all report widespread, indeed seemingly epidemic, anti-Semitism. You know, when people in the United States talked about ghettoes, I had no idea that's the kind they meant.

I used to think these guys and I lived in different worlds, but now I'm thinking in terms of universes.

Added flava: Obama campaign leaves a few Muslim folks out of a photo op, for reasons any sensible person could understand: winger honkies are outraged. "This incident once again shows he is part of anything other than a post-racial campaign," says Confederate [!] Yankee.

If Obama gets shot, I expect the Roberts Commission will rule that he was resisting arrest.

UPDATE. This excursion through the fever swamps has been clarifying for me. Before, I didn't understand why The Anchoress kept calling Obama's perfectly unremarkable behaviors "presumptuous." Now I realize she was just looking for a new way to say "uppity."

UPDATE II. erlking in comments: "Can we start talking about 'Obama Derangement Syndrome' now?"

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

KNEE JERK. At National Review, Maggie Gallagher pleads against gay marriage because she believes it will lead to government prosecutions of religious groups. Also because gay married people have orgies. She quotes "David Benkof, a gay columnist who gave up sex with men when he adopted a Torah-observant lifestyle":
I have never been at a soiree with multiple straight “committed” couples in which someone suggests we take off our clothes and see what happens, but I’m sad to say it’s happened with gay friends in long-term relationships. Of course, I know, many men cheat on their wives. But they almost never define their marriage as something that accommodates adultery.
I have to admit the whole Catholic Charities schtick is pretty brilliant, allowing conservatives who can't admit to themselves or others that they hate homosexuals to displace their anxieties upon a poor, defenseless major religion. But it might work a little better if they could write more than a few paragraphs without reflexively babbling about cartoon meathook buttseks.

Or, you know, maybe not. Maybe they just ought to go straight to the id, and march (or allow themselves to be pushed in giant vaudeville baby carriages) in their local Fourth of July parades wearing soiled pajamas, flapping their hands disgustedly and screaming PEE PEE! PEE PEE! It's not as if their argument would lose anything in dignity, and it would get us to the punchline faster.
THE WAY FORWARD. Well, that's it for Willie Randolph. I thank him for three seasons of joy and bitter disappointment, and a better mix thereof than we got with Art Howe. I wish Jerry Manuel luck, but the long-term course for the Mets is clear: Wally Backman. And, of course, drugs.
IN THE IMMORTAL WORDS OF MAX BIALYSTOCK: "DON'T HELP ME!" Earlier we mentioned conservatives who disingenuously complained they hadn't been given proper credit for debunking the Michelle Obama tape rumor. I didn't think they could top themselves, so hats off to National Review's Jim Geraghty:
The behavior of the mainstream media is sending a clear message to those of us on the right: do not ever help out the Obama campaign, even if you think the world would be well-served by debunking a ridiculous accusation, because no one will ever remember your efforts to get to the truth. Instead, you'll get blamed for spreading the malicious rumors.
One imagines Geraghty in a Boy Scout uniform, trying to muscle an old lady across a four-lane highway. A token of his sincerity may be seen a few posts later, where Geraghty brings up the unfortunate comments of Democrat Fred Hobbs (later referred to as "the Tennessee Democrats"), and admits "Obama has no ties to terrorists... of the al-Qaeda variety." Then, Bill Ayers, the Woods Fund, Rashid Khalidi, etc.

They often try to be courteous like that, only to find their helping hands rudely batted away. Maybe it's time they did some work on their people skills.
TERMINATOR 3. We are often cautioned not to "misunderestimate" the President, and his recent suggestion that brother Jeb may try for the job ("We've got another one out there") may be some kind of ploy to energize McCain's base. Certainly Republicans now have a compelling reason to establish a new party leader (that is, McCain's Vice Presidential candidate).

Of course, like most such Rovian plots, it will probably just further demoralize the country.

Monday, June 16, 2008

MORE VOICE STUFF. This one's a grab-bag of rightwing plaints: Father's Day, gun to a knife-fight, and the loneliness of the long-suffering commuter.

If you missed the one on Michelle Obama, now might be a good time to have a look, as conservatives are complaining that the "Whitey" Tape story is being pinned on them unfairly. Of course Larry Johnson got that ball rolling, and the smarter conservatives refused to fall for it. So instead of telling us that the story was true, they told us it was believable, given the towering evil of Mrs. Obama. It's an old blogosphere trick, but not so well known that it doesn't bear pointing out.

UPDATE. It's the fake/debunked/we-never-believed-it story that won't die! Today at neo-neocon:
If there had been such a tape on which Michelle Obama (or her husband, for that matter) had raged at "whitey"... Such a tape would have indicated a victim mentality and an anger that has persisted despite all her advantages and successes in life -- and, far more importantly, an attitude that would have belied her (or her husband's, had he been the source of the quote) [!] claim to be beyond race... The reason the fake story had such legs is that Michelle Obama is on record as having said a number of things that indicate she may in fact harbor just those feelings...
When you can work it like that, who needs slander?
TOUCH NOT THE CORNER-OFFICE-DWELLER. Tigerhawk concurs with a colleague: when attacking Obama, let us carefully avoid collateral damage to Republican interest groups:
At a moment of ascendant leftism and rising contempt for productivity, Republicans really ought to avoid bashing people who produce wealth, even when they play for the other team. Yes, it is tempting -- Obama's deeply offensive anti-business rhetoric and his sanctimonious promises for change make it very tempting to attack him when he involves people from the world of business in his campaign, but it is a temptation conservatives really ought to resist. Instead, they should applaud him for noticing that effective executives make a disproportionate contribution to the national well-being regardless of their political views.
Please review the talking points, comrades: Che Guevara, Hussein, Muslim, elitist, bitch wife, hates Whitey, etc. Stick to the material and there'll be no need to offend our heroic paper-pushers.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

SHE HAS A DREAM. Last issue, the Weekly Standard gave us Andrew Ferguson's attack on Obama's insufficiently red-blooded American neighborhood. This week Noemie Emery joins the Culture-War Club with "It's Not Race, It's Arugula," basically an easy-reading edition of Michael Barone's essay describing Obama's and Hillary Clinton's supporters as "Academicians" and "Jacksonians," respectively, to which Emery mainly adds some laughs, e.g.:
The academicians' theme songs are "Kumbaya" and "Imagine," while Jacksonians prefer Toby Keith...
She also says Obama is "running to be the first Academician elected as president," which would seem to make Bill Clinton a Jacksonian, though Emery also says that "The interesting counterexample of course would be to see a black Jacksonian run against a white Academician, and if Colin Powell had chosen to challenge Bill Clinton in 1996, we might have seen this take place." When you're writing alternative history, loose ends can be a real bitch.

Emery's main point is that Obama's race isn't the problem that has him running so poorly against John McCain, it's his unJacksonian persona -- "nuance," "fairness," arugula, and so forth. In defense of this proposition, she posits a different version of Obama that her Jacksonians would go for -- still black, but more butch, and not in a Fred Williamson way either:
Now let us imagine a different candidate, one who looks like Barack Obama, with the same mixed-race, international background, even the same middle name. But this time, he is Colonel Obama, a veteran of the war in Iraq, a kick-ass Marine with a "take no prisoners" attitude, who vows to follow Osama bin Laden to the outskirts of Hell. He comes from the culture of the military (the most color blind and merit-based in the country), and not the rarefied air of Hyde Park. He goes to a church with a mixed-race congregation and a rational preacher. He has never met Bill Ayers, and if he did he would flatten him. He thinks arugula is a town near Bogota and has Toby Keith on his favorites list.
I don't know why she didn't give him a green lantern while she was at it. Or draw up an alternate (Bizarro?) McCain who can reinvigorate the Republican Party with his stirring rhetoric. As long as we're fantasizing, why not?

Friday, June 13, 2008

SHOT BY BOTH SIDES. I am a citizen of two Americas. No, not John Edwards' -- Peggy Noonan's. And to hear Noonan tell it in the Wall Street Journal, these Americas are not separated by anything so tiresome as income or class, but by the lingua franca of the commentariat, attitude and political affiliation ("Mr. McCain is the Old America, of course; Mr. Obama the New").

Noonan implies we must cleave to one America or the other, but I am torn:
In the Old America, love of country was natural. You breathed it in. You either loved it or knew you should.

In the New America, love of country is a decision. It's one you make after weighing the pros and cons. What you breathe in is skepticism and a heightened appreciation of the global view.
Like all citizens who have sung the National Anthem, attended a 4th of July picnic, taken an American History class in America, or just noticed what an amazing place this is -- that is to say, nearly everyone who lives here -- I grew up an America-lover. But eventually I also learned skepticism, which is apparently the opposite of patriotism, and awareness that there are other countries on the planet with their own interests, which forbidden knowledge, Noonan seems to think, makes it impossible for me to place my own country's interests first.
Old America: Tradition is a guide in human affairs. New America: Tradition is a challenge, a barrier, or a lovely antique.
The guidance of tradition, even as interpreted by such presumably patriotic persons as Supreme Court Justices, may take us in directions unexpected by Wall Street Journal writers. But by Noonan's lights, New Americans consider such generous readings of civil rights to be a refutation of the Old America. Where might they have gotten that idea?
The Old America had big families. You married and had children. Life happened to you. You didn't decide, it decided. Now it's all on you. Old America, when life didn't work out: "Luck of the draw!" New America when life doesn't work: "I made bad choices!" Old America: "I had faith, and trust." New America: "You had limited autonomy!"
After decades of sunny Reaganism -- promulgated in large part by Noonan herself -- that told us bad choices led to poverty and that each atomized citizen was the master of his entrepreneurial fate, this is rich to the point of vomitousness.

She goes on, and on, and on ("The Old: Smoke 'em if you got 'em. The New: I'll sue"), even dropping in the ridiculous but not unprecedented notion that Obama followed community organizing as a path to riches. What it all comes down to is something I've noticed before: that the old leftist slogan "the personal is the political" has been appropriated wholesale by conservatives. And in the last ditch, where they have reason to believe they currently reside, they will lean on the personal as never before. Because, really, it's all they have left.

UPDATE. There is some discussion in comments as to whether patriotism, even the wiseguy-leaks-furtive-tear kind cynically practiced here, is invariably toxic. Well, any kind of loyalty can be dangerous, but it's pretty hard to imagine life without it. Even personal loyalties can lead to ruin, and we can see that loyalty to something as large as a nation leaves that much more room for untoward consequences. But it also grants (in the ideal case, to which America-love is closer than most) room for dissent. That I can sometimes assert, as I have, that I hate this fucking country and wish to see it defeated by militant Islam (which totally rocks) without being torn to pieces by an angry mob shows that membership in America isn't quite the same thing as allegiance to a death cult.

Of course, membership has its privileges, and we can argue that it is what the United States does to other people, in all our names, that is the real moral problem. I hope we can address that in the election, but I don't deceive myself that the Democrats will wipe all traces of blood from our honor.

So what's my alternative? Japan stubbornly refuses to appoint me as a Living Treasure, though they may just be having trouble reading my application. I guess I'm stuck with the land in which I was born and the culture in which I am steeped, and will have to make the most of it.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

PLUS, THEY SMELL. Katherine Mangu-Ward, the Reason author most likely to obsessively check her email for an offer from National Review, bravely takes on those socialist bastards at PETA for running a stunt that caused their interns some discomfort.

Rothbardian colloquy ensues:
I want to practice vagitarianism on the chick standing and holding the sign.

She may look hot from a distance, Guy, but I doubt she has a Brazilian down there.
More likely you're going to get a patchouli hair sandwich.

Plus, she'll probably claim you're trying to oppress her... somehow.

No, she'd be all for oral, just as long as she was on her period.
I've said before that libertarianism is conservatism for guys who are trying to get laid, but what is its appeal for guys who have obviously stopped trying?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

MORAL FAILING. Ross Douthat:
Here's another way of looking at the issue of how social conservatives ought to view McCain's 1970s marital misconduct in the year 2008. Last July, I argued that Louisiana's David Vitter ought to resign his office after he more or less admitted to having frequented prostitutes. I stand by that position. However, if David Vitter - having conspicuously failed to resign - were to face off in a Presidential race against Barack Obama, I would be inclined to hold my nose and vote for Vitter...
Douthat is a Christian, so we can't be surprised by the moral relativism. And he's an Atlantic Monthly writer, so we can't be surprised that he wandered so clumsily into this rhetorical thicket (to follow Douthat's progress from "an America in which politicians had a more difficult time recovering from flagrant private misbehavior would be a better place to live and vote and marry in" to "The point is to deter misbehavior, not to protect the country from the perils of being governed by a rake" to "Regretting the passing of a particular moral standard does not require one to always vote as if that standard were still in place," see his two priors).

What we may wonder is: why does he bother? I guess half-baked theology is Douthat's hook. And it's a good one. In the rarefied high-end opinion market, wingers will approve any reliably rightish lad with a major media gig, and the God stuff is always welcome, even if it is not explicitly connected to the persecution of homosexuals. And gullible liberals will regard Douthat's tedious paradoxes and think, oh, this reminds me of that religious studies class I didn't like, I'm unqualified to judge, he must go around in a thick, uncomfortable brown robe muttering profundities; touch not the cloud-dweller.

The joke's on them, but not many of them will ever get it. Though they may spare a snort for the rubes attending Big Daddy in the megachurch -- while chastising themselves for their elitism in thinking so -- the Chestertonian ruse still confuses them. Some of us, of course, long ago learned to look quick whenever we hear morality mentioned, even in plummy tones, for the marketing angle. But that takes years of training, and requires the loss of that nagging yet oddly hopeful suspicion that one of the godly men who keep raiding one's pantry is really just so Christian that he's taking the fall for the others.
TOUCH OF WHITE. It's been a while since I gave Roger L. Simon much attention. My interest was rekindled by Tbogg, who noted that the Bo Derek of the War on Terror had been reminiscing passive-aggressively about the 60s, telling a whippersnapper that nothing comes close to the pot of '69 and "I can attest that 1968 and 2008 aren't remotely similar. And the enemy we are facing isn't remotely the same."

That's an odd thing for him to say, as in his fist-shaking mode Simon often makes nostalgic comparisons. For example, Spike Lee reminds him of Jesse Jackson, because Lee, who "for more than a decade... has barely made a film any of us can remember" (unlike ahem), now "plays the old identity/race card" with Clint Eastwood in order to summon back the limelight. And this makes him like Jackson, because Jackson also angles for a race-card comeback, for example... well, Simon gives no example, but we all know... why, just the other day he... well, neither one of these guys is white, okay? And that goes for O.J. Simpson and noisy Mexicans and other darker types with whom Simon traditionally associates historical calamity.

Speaking of which, Simon manages to drag Obama into it, too:
We don’t know which way we are going - toward a post-racial future or back to a racist past.

I have been rooting very hard for the former so it was with some wistfulness I read that Barack and Michelle Obama’s first date was to see Lee’s Do the Right Thing. I very much liked the film at the time (1989), but somehow I wish the Obamas had gotten together over, say, a college production of Aeschylus or perhaps a reading of Pushkin. I don’t want to think of their marriage emanating from the stew pot of American racial despair.
Of course if the Obamas' first date had in any way involved Pushkin or the Ancient Greeks, Simon would be using that as evidence for his previous claim that Obama's an elitist. That avenue blocked, Simon goes where his heart leads him: imputations of racism against black people.

Fans of rightwing Zdhanovism will enjoy the "liked the film at the time, but..." which suggests a new opinion adopted to suit new realities. Maybe that's the real difference between 1968 and 2008 to which Simon referred: back when Simon was wearing love-beads, only Birchers and hardhats talked like this.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

SERVICE ADVISORY. Blogging will be infrequent through the weekend as I recover from a vitrectomy. Here's what a vitrectomy is. I'm not looking forward to it, or to the three or four post-operative days of keeping my head down. It will probably be like The Diving Bell and the Butterfly but with more screaming and beer.

UPDATE. Thanks to all concerned neighbors and friends. The operation appears to have gone well, and though I was at first disturbed to learn that I would experience it under "conscious sedation," I can't say as I remember much more than some weird tugging and prodding about the left orbital. The face-down thing is no picnic, particularly when I am trying to write, but writing is always some kind of agony, so I'm already sort of broken-in there.

Monday, June 09, 2008

THE SIN OF MAUDLIN CLODHOPPER. In case you're wondering how shitty a film critic Crunchy Rod Dreher was at the New York Post, get a load of his aesthetics:
I remember riding back to midtown in a cab from the Manhattan screening of some movie, can't remember which, and listening to the two well-known film critics sharing the cab with me talk about what we had seen. It was a very violent film of some sort, as I recall, and the thought occurred to me as we rounded Columbus Circle -- I do remember that part vividly -- these people don't have children. They could analyze the film more coolly than I -- who was not a father yet, but who would be in a few months -- in part because they didn't imagine, or didn't seem to imagine, what it would be like to raise kids in a society where lots of people had their moral imaginations informed by eviscerations and the like.
I think Dreher is only pretending not to remember the name of that film. And that's because he suffers from a guilty conscience. If he told it, we'd know when the incident took place, and we'd know how much longer Dreher took Uncle Rupert's money for a job he was clearly incompetent to perform.

Maybe, on or about this date, he went to his editor and admitted that he couldn't review movies as art, but only as moral medicine for the masses, or as things that did or did not hurt babies. But either the editor entered into a corrupt pact with Dreher to mask this revelation from the public, or he told Dreher to stop being such a fucking dink and do the job he was paid to do.

(Of course, it was the Post, so maybe the editor was too drunk to comprehend him.)

Either way, assuming the cab ride did not take place on his last day on the job, by commission or omission Dreher practiced prevarication. Being a stickler for moral perfection and shame for others, he should make a great public show of contrition for this, perhaps a barefoot march to the tomb of Manny Farber.

But he doesn't even seem to think he did something wrong. That's the problem with Christians. They can commit any kind of sin without blanching, so long as they can think up a moral-sounding excuse for it.
NEW VOICE POST UP. In this one, I complain of media bias: Obama is getting far more coverage than John McCain -- on rightwing blogs.

One obvious reason is that McCain's a hard sell and, unlike Fox News commentators, most bloggers aren't getting paid for this shit. But there's more to it than that, and if you'll help sustain my illusion of popularity by clicking through to the Voice, I'll tell you about it.
BOOK YOUR OWN FUCKING LIFE. At National Review, Mary Eberstadt does a riff on the Screwtape Letters, in which the atheist-demonic correspondent A.F. Christian (get it?) admits that godly "Dulls" made all the great art, no matter what Christopher Hitchens says:
Again with all due respect, it doesn’t help with this aesthetic problem to have Mr. Hitchens diss it by saying that “we [atheists] have music and art and literature, and find that the serious ethical dilemmas are better handled by Shakespeare and Tolstoy and Schiller and Dostoyevsky and George Eliot than in the mythical morality tales of the holy books.” Never mind the first problem here, i.e. how many of those names on his greatest-hits list were Dulls themselves. And never mind, or try to anyway, the question of what explicitly atheist music and art and literature actually look like — I mean, it’s not as if Futurism and Constructivism and Abstract Expressionism and Performance Art never existed!! BTW, we’d be much better off if they hadn’t.
It's very cute, unless you consider that Eberstadt is the author of Home-Alone America: Why Today's Kids Are Overmedicated, Overweight, and More Troubled Than Ever Before and editor of Why I Turned Right: Leading Baby Boom Conservatives Chronicle Their Political Journeys. I haven't read them, but on the evidence of this piece, I'm guessing they're no Middlemarch or Henry V.

I love the old books and cathedrals too, but I'd give more credence to Eberstadt and scolds like her if they were producing something like those. Or could even point to anyone else who was. Good Charlotte doesn't count.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

MORE LIFESTYLE CONSERVATISM. To better prepare us for the nightmare of Obamaism, Andrew Ferguson of The Weekly Standard warns that Hyde Park, Obama's Chicago neighborhood, is "different from anywhere in America."

First, William Ayers lives there.
"He's a guy who lives in my neighborhood," Obama said with a shrug... Obama's casual dismissal led people all across America, people who live in all kinds of communities without bombers, to look at each other and say: "Wow, what kind of neighborhood does Barack live in?"
Clearly the world has been waiting for this article. (Next week: an expose on Albuquerque, New Mexico, where Mark Rudd lives.) After beating up Brookline, Massachusetts as a warm-up, Ferguson tells us more:
[Hyde Park] is the most racially integrated neighborhood in the nation's most racially segregated city.
Now we're getting to the real dirt.
On three sides it is closed in by some of the most hellish slums in the country, miles of littered streets, acres of abandoned lots, block after block of shuttered storefronts and empty apartment buildings left over from the 19th century. These terminate abruptly at the edge of Hyde Park and give way to shade trees and lawns and stately brick mansions and huge, tidied-up apartment houses.
Ferguson tells us that long ago the University of Chicago effected the isolation of the neighborhood, building a "moat" to separate it from the downcast South Side. As a result, "Hyde Park lacks the freewheeling energy of a college town, and it lacks the surprises and variety of a healthy city neighborhood." It has no theatres, and not many good restaurants.

It sounds, in short, like a typical American suburb. I'm at least as suspicious of gentrification as Ferguson seems to be, but one would think this would endear Obama to millions of Americans who live in similar circumstances, even if their separation from the feared Other was the result of white flight, not a university real estate scam.

But, as with much else in this election season, the hook is really that Obama is black. Ferguson informs us that the black people who live in Hyde Park are rich, and that Hyde Parker Obama is viewed by some locals as "the white man in blackface in our community." After services at Trinity, which is in a much less palmy neighborhood than his own, Obama "would get the family in the car and go home" rather than hang out on a stoop for some ribs and a Mickey's Big Mouth.

As for Obama's neighbors, they too suffer from an authenticity shortfall. There is an "alarmingly high number of men wandering about looking like NPR announcers--the wispy beards and wire rims, the pressed jeans and unscuffed sneakers, the backpacks and the bikes." I guess if they weren't living in this hothouse environment, they'd be wearing Confederate flag t-shirts and driving pick-ups.

The idea that Obama, unlike Chris Rock in Head of State, has done alright for himself and lives accordingly is old news to most of us. But for the highly specific readership of The Weekly Standard, his nice house in a nice neighborhood summons ancient enmities: If black people and white people live together harmoniously, it is only because "paternalism" has shifted the natural order, and the strange clothing and high education level of such people are just further proof of their unnaturalness.
WHAT, ME WEIMAR? Rod Dreher picks up the W-word in response to what sounds like a fairly ordinary "transgressive" novel:
For some reason, this reminds me of an exhibition of Weimar-era paintings and drawings that I visited a few years ago at a New York museum with a friend. When we'd gone through the last gallery, she turned to me and said, "You can hear the trains to Auschwitz coming, can't you?" Yes, you could. I don't know what we can hear coming in "Wetlands" and its popularity, but from what I can tell by the press account, it's nothing good.
This sort of displacement is common among a certain kind of culture scold. Let's go back to 1995 and attend the words of Michael D. Weiss of the hyperlibertarian The Freeman, as he patroled the streets of neo-Weimar New York:
Women sport black hair and nose rings, wear men's "Doc Marten's" shoes or cowboy boots, ripped jeans, and t-shirts sporting bizarre, horrifying, or obscene logos. According to Lola, a pink-haired, nose-ringed student at New York's Parsons School of Art, "Postmodernism is the rage in art schools. Everybody dresses in black. It's fashion"...

The war on civilization has certainly begun on the streets of New York. On Broadway, near Broome Street, vendors sell disembodied mannequin parts for $5 apiece (3 for $12)...

St. Mark's Books at 9th and 3rd advances the war on civilization. The store is full of urban primitives (the vanguard of the terror culture movement), all in black, perusing magazine racks of obscure, photocopied magazines on anarchism, obscenity, terror, and, of course, every conceivable brand of rock and roll...

Another front of terror culture's "war on everything" involves body mutilations—disfiguring, scarring, and piercing...

Much of the experience of modern-day New York echoes another metropolis, another time...
Cue "Tomorrow Belongs to Me" and flash forward to the inevitable fruits of decadence: the Resistible Rise of Michael Bloomberg. Wachet Auf!

In the present day, Dreher expresses concern that some unnamed party will step forward to sweep away the Entartete Kunst that bothers him so. I used to think this sort of talk reflected wishful thinking. Now I just think they should refrain from watching Cabaret when they're really stoned.
PULL QUOTE OF THE SUMMER! "But if you want to laugh, can handle some cringing, and don’t want to completely leave behind the reality of war in the holiest of lands, Zohan is fresh, fearless, and fun." -- Kathryn J. Lopez, National Review.

She's no David Manning, but K-Lo might fill some seats in Georgetown. In the Gene Siskel chair, Debbie Schlussel finds Don't Mess With the Zohan "yet another peacenik, moral equivalency movie... with anti-Israel, anti-Semitic stereotypes, and bad, vulgar, disgusting jokes." If you find it strange that the author of "The Hannukah Song" would make such a thing, you should understand that Schlussel doesn't seem to grasp the Adam Sandler working method:
Instead of being funny and exploring the contradictions of Islamic terrorists who won't make peace and would rather send their own children to their deaths, we're given a steady supply of very graphic penis jokes...
Actually that would make a more effective pull quote than Lopez'. And some others we could pull...
You know the depraved, slutty life that Bin Laden likes to say America is living? That's this movie...

... no less nudity and frank talk than the deservedly R-rated "Sex and the City"...

Our real enemy is not each other, goes the Sandler didactic. It's Whitey and corporate America...

...this movie does to Israel and the Jews what Bin Laden, Hezbollah, and HAMAS could not...

This movie is high quality Bin Laden Cinema.
...might help with the crucial global market. In fact, they have already increased my desire to see Zohan by a factor of .01. And I thought that was impossible.

Next week: The self-loathing Judaism of Vicky Cristina Barcelona.