Tuesday, November 03, 2009

NOTES ON THE CULTURE WAR. Big Hollywood:
Add one more soldier to the Left’s war on Fox News: Oscar the Grouch.
Oh, wait, it gets better:
Last week, in a re-broadcast of an episode that originally aired two years ago...
Aw, c'mon guy -- it only took Fox eight months to catch up with the Obama children's song.
Oscar starts his own news network, GNN (Grouchy News Network). An irate viewer calls in to berate him that the news is not grouchy enough:
“I am changing the channel. From now on I am watching ‘Pox’ News. Now there is a trashy news show.”
Later in the episode, Anderson Cooper from 4th place CNN, guest stars as a reporter for GNN. He interacts with “Walter Cranky” and “Dan Rather-Not” — Muppets representing real-life liberal news personalities — and they talk about “Meredith Beware-a” and “Diane Spoiler.” But no affectionate nicknames for Fox News personalities; no Spill O’Reilly or Brittle Hume...
Now they're complaining that the liberal conspiracy won't make up funny names for their heroes. Next week: Media fails to give Hannity a high-five.

The post is over 900 words long, by the way. But that's nothing -- Jonah Goldberg cracks 2,500 words with "How Politics Destroyed a Great TV Show" at Commentary (!). Warming up with a mixing bowl of warm cake-batter and a lament that one line in the last Star Wars movie "unraveled the entire moral superstructure of the Star Wars franchise," Goldberg goes on to bitch about a bunch of TV shows that offended him ideologically before deciding that "denouncing the ideological intrusion into the dialogue of Grey’s Anatomy as a corruption of artistic integrity offers such televised junk more respect than it deserves." So he jumps on his trampoline and heads for the loftier reaches of Battlestar Galactica.

Goldberg, who thinks Norman Mailer was overrated, explains that the show was boss when he was able to read its plot threads as against abortion and communism but sucked when he could no longer find a way to make it conform to his views on the Iraq War. In a final insult to all that's Goldberg, "for having the 'bravery' to tackle the occupation of Iraq, the producers and lead actors were invited to a panel at the United Nations to dilate on the war on terror." It's worse than when Joanie married Chachi.

Money quote:
It’s been said that the difference between the truth and fiction is that fiction has to make sense. After its third season, Battlestar Galactica steadily failed on both counts.
Well, I say the difference between a Magic 8-Ball and Jonah Goldberg is that a Magic 8-Ball has to be right sometimes, and Goldberg fails on both counts.

Monday, November 02, 2009

THE KING'S SHILLING. Yeah, I know a Bloomberg ad keeps popping up on the sidebar. (They must have heard we get a lot of Democrats, among which group Bloomberg may be trying to shore up his 43 percent take.) We've had Sarah Palin and others up there, too. I expect you guys are impervious, though if any of you are motivated to flip by a website ad, I can honestly say I won't feel personally responsible. The tiny amount they pay me suggests Google Ads doesn't expect much either.
NEW VOICE COLUMN UP. This is an especially long one, tracing the rightwing purge in New York' 23rd Congressional District race from early days to its operatic final act. Full as it is, I was obliged to cut some sections, one of which I'll share with you as bonus material:
The roots of the insurgency reach back to Scozzafava's nomination on the third ballot by local Republican chiefs in July, on which occasion an NRCC spokesman praised her as "proven vote-getter who shares John McHugh’s willingness to work across the aisle on issues that matter most to central and northern New Yorkers."

At that time Lemon Lyman of Monroe Rising ("Political Information — Without The Liberal Bias") added, "Scozzafava has been called a RINO (Republican In Name Only) but she’s really a Republican with cross party appeal that can connect with constituents of all political belief. This is a terrific asset for a representative of the people." Nonetheless Lyman suggested she "should speak of her belief in keeping taxes lowered."

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee sensed this vulnerability, and sought to exploit it with a September anti-Scozzafava ad claiming that while in the Assembly Scozzafava "voted for more taxes and fees for you 190 times." In upstate New York, Democrats can get away with that sort of thing...
Those were the days, huh? Now it's all Cavaliers vs. Roundheads. Things look good for Hoffman in NY-23, but nationally I expect we are going to get, to paraphrase Ninotchka, fewer but better Republicans.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

NOTES FROM THE COMPASSIONATE CONSERVATIVE FRONT. Yesterday President Obama signed the Ryan White Act, allowing HIV-positive people to travel to the United States. By and large rightbloggers have kept away from it -- oh, wait, here are a few who've weighed in:
Obama loves homos with HIV

IMPORTING THE INFERIOR CULTURE

It seems that everything Obama does is to destroy America. And it's just so blatant an open.

Is it inhuman of me to say that America shouldn’t welcome immigrants who have costly health issues unless they have the means to personally pay for their treatment?

Harsh as this may sound, would you wish to be seated on a plane for 12 hours next to someone with contagious leprosy?

... overturning a 22 year ban ignorantly suggesting that he is smarter than the Department of Health and Human Services.

Thank you, President Obama. Are you out of your mind?

The feminist praise of President Obama's decision to overturn Bush's ban on HIV infected people coming to America proves how dangerous feminism is.
Etc. On the bright side, Gay Patriot hasn't denounced it yet. So that Tea Party-"Gay Left" rapprochement is still totally on.
SOMEBODY HERE KNOWS HOW TO PLAY THIS GAME. As you may have heard, the presentation of White House visitor logs for January-July led to some humorous gun-jumping by the usual gang of idiots.

The White House release is incomplete at this time, which I can't approve. (More names are expected later this year.) But I'm heartened that its content suggests the Administration knows how to drive its opposition nuts on purpose.

The White House went out of its way to alert readers that some names recorded in the logs were not those of the people you might think they are -- the visitors Jeremiah Wright and William Ayers, for example, were not the famous preacher and radical, respectively.

Some nonetheless scream the news about Ayers and Wright without the explanation, Atlas Shrugs and Don Surber ("A vote for Obama was a vote for Ayers") prominent among them.

"Michael Moore should be waterboarded," roars Right Wing Fanatic. "Bill Ayers should hang from some basketball net." He is also exercised that "General Petreus" was not included on the incomplete list. (One wants to suggest he try a different spelling, just to make him madder. Oh, wait, he got it from TownHall. Never a good idea, RWF!) "Even Good ole Rev. Jeremiah 'God DAMN America' Wright got a visit," says Flopping Aces. "If you ever wondered why Obama appointed so many raving radicals to important positions in the White House, this list makes it clear..."

"What else is there to do when you aren't selling access that comes with influence," says Riehl World View, "entertaining Bill Ayers or doing the SEIU's business but shoot basketball with Mikey [Jordan, another imaginary celebrity visitor]!" RWV later discovers his mistake, and knows where to place the blame: "White House Plays Games, Sets Trap With Web Site." He says the disclaimer "was nowhere to be seen when I clicked in before I did my post," which left him the choice of checking his information or immediately posting an outraged screed; surely he cannot be blamed for taking the more patriotic course.

Meredith Jessup of Town Hall gets the Bad Bill Award for assuming -- despite the White House caveat, to which she does not refer and may or may not have bothered to read -- that the Malik Shabazz listed is the famous Black Panther, and details his crimes over 1,100+ words. "Stay tuned for the next installment of 'Barack Obama's Guest List,'" she concludes, "where I'll delve into the history of another one of Obama's questionable connections." Maybe it'll be Hitler!

A few at this writing have updated, to similarly hilarious effect. Melissa Clouthier adds, more in anger than sorrow, "David Petraus is notably absent." Petraeus ought to change his name to Smith or something else more American and easy to spell. "I previously posted pictures of Chicago Boss Bill Daley with the president on the White House lawn (but not a word about it in the press at the time)," complains American Power. Holy shit -- the Mayor of Chicago (under a previously unknown nickname*) visited Obama? Draw up the articles of impeachment! "The press is totally in the tank, so the truth is relative to power and access," he adds. "Never believe what these people say." Well, that's one way of getting out of it.

Others actually suggest that the White House accurately reported the names but lied about them not being the betes noires they wanted to think they were. "So, there’s more than one Malik Shabazz?" queries Global Observatory. A look at some of GO's other work may explain their confusion. The confusion of Macsmind ("how many William A. Ayers are there anyway?") is harder to figure.

By now the big boys have given them the new talking points: ACORN! Also, the list is incomplete, which is Nixonian. With the latter they are on surer ground, and the Administration's attempt to insulate itself from some of the non-fantasy names may remind even sympathetic readers of the spin practices of previous Presidents.

I'm not saying Axelrod is lying, nor that any of the names so far revealed are really a big deal -- only that the Obama people, who are constantly portrayed as inept handlers of the press, seem to know more than their opponents have been willing to recognize.

* UPDATE. Donald Douglas has corrected Daley's name at American Power, notifies me of such via comments. The rest of the post he apparently stands by.

Friday, October 30, 2009

CRAZY JESUS LADY NOW JUST CRAZY. Peggy Noonan says our leaders are too stupid to know that nothing they try will work, while her nameless friends in the pharmaceutical and insurance industries realize that the reanimation of her former boss Ronald Reagan will.

As she is a nut, they're all nut graphs, but I'll represent this one here:
When I see those in government, both locally and in Washington, spend and tax and come up each day with new ways to spend and tax -- health care, cap and trade, etc. -- I think: Why aren't they worried about the impact of what they're doing? Why do they think America is so strong it can take endless abuse
She professes to believe that a national health care system is a form of abuse; also, that her anonymous buddies will stop working if their tax rate approaches something 25-30 percent less than what they had under Eisenhower. And she thinks the government is filled with "Callous Children."

Her loss of faith is remarkable. Once upon a time, when she was the Crazy Jesus Lady, Noonan directed our attention heavenward, confident that this would get our minds right. Now that the Republicans are no longer in power, she is less inclined toward spiritual remedies. I guess she has sensed -- as even dullards like George Pataki have -- that the tide in rightwing fashion has turned toward Tea Party rage, and decided to grab a pitchfork.

I saw the Crazy Jesus Lady losing Jesus about a year ago, when she was trying to maneuver the GOP faithful out of the hands of gooberish preachers and toward the healing embrace of Mitt Romney. Now it appears she has found a new animating force. There will be no murmured prayers or other pretenses of divine grace to soften her spiels now. She has become the Crazy Lady of the God of Wrath.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

CALL FOR ENTRIES. Technorati no longer does anything for me (I mean that literally) and JS-Kit has dropped the hobnails on my last nerve. Suggestions for replacements please?
CUTTING OUT THE MIDDLEMAN. Megan McArdle:
I really don't want this post to come out as "See--black people don't understand how hard white people have it!"
I am overworked, and thus grateful to her for writing her own Shorter Megan McArdle.

UPDATE. You may also enjoy Rod Dreher's contribution, which contains another fatuous misuse of the Robert Putnam diversity study, and suggests that having to work with black people puts white people at unfair risk of persecution by the Human Resources Department ("stakes for white people in making a single slip -- or what is interpreted as a racially hostile slip"). Someone should tell him that terrified and terrorized are not synonyms.
REALLY BURYING THE LEDE. Rod Dreher talks about the drop in newspaper circulation. Here are the examples he chooses to cite:
But look: the newspaper with the worst circulation falloff in the country, the San Francisco Chronicle (which lost 25 percent of its readers since the last reporting period), is a liberal newspaper in a liberal city. The ailing Boston Globe, ditto. This doesn't mean newspapers aren't biased to the left, but it does mean that there's something else going on here.
Yuh don't say. Among the other losers in the latest ABC tally, which Dreher declines to mention: his own paper, the Dallas Morning News, has seen its circulation drop 22 percent in a year -- slightly less than the Chronicle, but more than the Globe (18.5 percent) and much more than the New York Times (7 percent).

Advertisers are bailing, but the Morning News' circ revenue is growing -- because they're charging more for the paper. "We've listened to what our readers and advertisers tell us they value most," says publisher Jim Maroney, "and we are responding to it by maintaining a robust newsroom focused on original, local reporting."

What this "original, local reporting" approach means for the hot gas Dreher blows there -- yelling about Hollywood and his inability to hear U2 properly at the local stadium, for example -- is anyone's guess. "I've tried to do something with the Dallas Morning News online op-ed page, to run it like a blog/aggregator site," says Dreher, "but that hasn't really caught on like I'd hoped it would." Seems to me if Dreher paid less attention to the influx of sooties over t'England, and more on the gol'-durned Mescans in Dallas, he'd have hisself a winner for shore! Yee-haw!
BEAUTIFUL EXILES. The New York Post does a Goin' Galt story (with reliably rightwing sourcing and a thumbs-up from the Ole Perfesser) about "tax refugees" who seek to "escape from New York."
Overall, the ex-New Yorkers earn about 13 percent more than those who moved into the state, the study found...

While New York City and the state were the losers, the Sunshine and Garden States were winners. more than 250,000 New Yorkers who lived in and around the city fled to Florida. Another 172,000 city taxpayers ended up in New Jersey.
Rich chunkheads have been moving to Joisey since time immemorial, and well-fixed New Yorkers moving to Florida is equally a stereotype. But let's see how things are doing in those tax Valhallas to which they're moving (in both of which conservatives have of late been calling for new management):
"Florida's unemployment rate jumps to 11 percent; Tampa Bay area hits 11.7." -- St. Petersburg Times.

"The most recent banks to fail were Partners Bank, Hillcrest Bank Florida, and Flagship National Bank, all of Florida..." -- AllGov.

"Overall, the [University of Florida] survey found [state] consumer confidence flat at 72 in October... With decreasing revenues and increasing costs, the state could see a $2.6 billion budget deficit, [survey director Chris] McCarty projected..." -- St. Petersburg Times.

"Property taxes will increase about $300 for the typical homeowner in northeastern New Jersey over the coming year, despite a recession that has crimped the ability of taxpayers to foot the bill... tax increases are down from prior years, when levies were rising 5 percent to 8 percent per year. But they come amid a recession that has stalled economic growth, cost New Jersey 173,000 jobs and produced regional inflation in the first half of 2009 of less than 1 percent." -- NorthJersey.com.
These well-off citizens aren't heading to these places because they're economic powerhouses, but to take advantage of suburban sprawl, southern sunshine, and perhaps lower personal and business tax rates, and the prospect of paying lower wages, as may be common in the depressed economies of their new homes (though I note with interest that the National Right to Work Committee considers Jersey a "forced-unionism" state). In other words they're looking for pleasanter environs after a stint in the Big City, and to keep more of what they've got.

God go with them. But I doubt they'll bring much entrepreneural energy to their adopted homelands. New York's tax burden has been onerous for decades, and outflow has kept pace with it, as the study finds -- the exodus was no worse in 2004. Yet those refugees don't seem to have done much for Jersey and Florida so far, though I'm sure they've done pretty well for themselves.

The Go Galt idea is that disaffected "producers" take their magical power to create wealth with them. But more often than not, what they take is their money, and then they sit on it (and, of course, demand more breaks) -- else their long-favored destinations would now be paradises rather than recession-wracked sinkholes.

New York's not doing so hot itself, but at least we've got people coming here who are willing to do some goddamned work.

Monday, October 26, 2009

NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, about the fake Obama "thesis." You'd think days after its revelation as a fake, the follow-ups would stop rolling in, but in the minutes since I posted, Israpundit has come up with one: "Read it all and grab your smelling salts." Thence comes the more-or-less obligatory follow-up: " I am looking for the link for the ten pages ……….can’t find it. But listen to this interview with Obama where he embellsihes upon this anti-capitalist thinking..." Thence to the go-to 2001 Obama quotes, which have nothing to do with anything.

We also have On The Right's consideration, entitled "The dishonest left-wing media." He says the thesis story "I knew to be a satire when I posted it," by which he apparently means he posted it uncritically, and updated, "While the documents are false, I stand by what has been posted. Obama is a radical and I believe that the evidence supports that." In the follow-up he details the crimes of Rachel Maddow, Dan Rather, etc. 20/20 Radio, admitting "We Just Got Punked!!!" adds, "it does not surprise me that an Obama thesis that Rush and some others on the right got a hold of was a fake! You see the first problem is that no one will be able to get a hold of Obama ANYTHING! All that stuff is SEAL!"

Fair-minded people who wish to give their opponents the benefit of the doubt should remember that these people are never so insistent on their own credibility than when they've been proven incredible.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

NOTES FROM AROUND HERE. New Geography tells us all those "progressive cities" you liberals love so much are very white. Of course you have to grade on the curve to get this result:
If you take away the dominant Tier One cities like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles...
Also, apparently, Philadelphia and D.C. That's like saying that if you got George Will and Laura Ingraham off This Week with George Stephanopoulos, the roundtables would be pretty reasonable.

Meanwhile it seems the NYC tea party movement has scaled back with a modest display at news org buildings. Jamie Wearing Fool complains that the MSM didn't cover them and their comrades elsewhere. I'm sorry I didn't get the memo, or I would have happily covered; but it seems to me the mainstream outlets were doing the patriots a favor. "We want our country back," says one of minions, "and we're gonna take it if you don't give it to us." Seldom has such a revolutionary threat seemed less credible.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A SERIOUS MAN. I see that my Voice colleagueElla Taylor* finds in this movie "an avalanche of Ugly Jew iconography." As a goy semitophile raised on Mad magazine, I see it as an overdeveloped Dave Berg cartoon.

I assume the Coens, whom I have always suspected of being heavy stoners and ultracosmopolitan Jews, made a conscious decision to people their latest morality play with 60s-vintage intraJewish stereotypes -- like the hero of Frank Gallop's "Irving" parody of "Ringo", like characters in late Molly Picon vehicles such as Paris Is Out, and on the trailing edge of early Woody Allen routines, like Russo ("they wanted all his cash, and Russo like a jerk tried to sign for it for tax purposes").

In other words, the Coens picked 60s suburban American Jews because they are easy and harmless figures of fun that automatically provide some comic distance to the general audience -- like the Minnesotans of Fargo (Joel Coen called Minnesota, recall, "Siberia with family restaurants"), the white trash of Raising Arizona, the sorta-50s, sorta-40s city slickers of The Hudsucker Proxy, etc.

We may have been un-reminded by the serious cred afforded to No Country for Old Men that this has always been their schtick: to pick a stereotype and, while staying conscious of the reality behind it, fuck around with it. No one bitches about The Big Lebowski (still my favorite Coen joint) because no one feels the need to defend Cali stoner culture, but in A Serious Man the Coens have done no more to, or with, American Jews than they did with Lebowksi to a different, Anti-Defamation League-deprived constituency.

Setting the self-hating Jew nonsense aside, what do we have? In a way, a twist on Barton Fink. The humorously Semitic caricature-hero Michael Stuhlbarg in this case -- bespectacled, hair only slightly less unruly than Fink's, academic, and passive -- is more schlimazel than schlemiel; that is, the one on whom the hapless schlemiel spills his soup.

Where Fink in his Hollywood quest ran a gauntlet mostly of equally-alienated strangers, Stuhlbarg is persecuted by local fellow Semites -- the nightmarishly insensitive family, the paranoiac and physically challenged brother, his wife's vaguely bohemian and thoroughly ruthless lover, and a variety of Jewish professionals (lawyers, rabbis) who defend their own position against his interest. While Fink found himself in a foreign, sun-drenched goyische paradise/hell, Stuhlbarg is comfortable and happy in his 60s-suburban development until everything and everyone he's been accustomed to trust turns against him.

Big difference there: Fink went looking for the promised land, whereas Stuhlbarg merely wants to stay on the tenure track. Fink finds his new environment disastrously unaccommodating; stay-at-home Stuhlbarg is genuinely betrayed. In short, Fink went looking for trouble, and trouble went looking for Stuhlbarg.

This might promote the notion that the Coens' lead Jew here is a total victim, but for the complementary story arc of his son, a weed-smoking rock-loving Yeshiva boy who not only enlists the support of the top rabbi -- with whom his hapless father can't even get an appointment -- but manages, despite seemingly incapacitating stonage, to read the Torah aloud at his Bar Mitzvah.

Stuhlbarg fils is the counterweight to Stuhlbarg pere's agony. Confronted by his own, junior-grade authority figures (teachers, dealer, sister), he is perfectly and by brute instinct able to handle them. His self-preserving instinct -- untroubled by the moral querulousness that has his dad running among authority figures, seeking existential answers -- lifts him above all the conventions that make his dad a schlimazel. He's nowhere near as smart or conscientious as his father, but is clearly destined to work through the maze of life more successfully. And for his father he shows nothing but contempt.

This -- as does much of A Serious Man -- seems a first merely a cruel Oedipal joke. Dad's search for truth leads only to suffering; Son's search for good dope and better reception of F Troop leads to comfort and a promising future.

The punchline, though, is a little more interesting. Without spoiling too much, I'll say that the father finally agonizes out of the weeds only to find an unexpected new obstacle; the son, meanwhile, appears to have his ducks very comfortably in a row when a natural disaster -- looming over the shoulder of one of his former antagonists -- seems to threaten his future.

I'm not sure that this isn't just a Dave Berg punchline: the smartass kid getting his comeuppance in the final frame. It might be my own lack of depth is assessing it, but I think the Coens rolled too much on instinct here. They clearly wanted the morally-concerned nebbish-patriarch to fail -- and heaped externalities on him to make sure of it -- while they wanted the morally-neutral son to succeed. That reflects a sour home-truth that fits with most of their movies. (Fargo is a big, and popular, exception.) But it seems they wanted a cop-out, too, in the form of a climactic tornado, and in the post-9/11 era that's about as cheap a dodge as you can get. What if the boy simply outstripped his dad?

Maybe the Coens felt the stereotypes they were playing with hit too close to home, and summoned a disaster to rescue them. It wouldn't be the first time that's happened in the movies. But it's a shame to see a few of our best filmmakers fudging like that.

(* Fixed attribution)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

JUST IN CASE YOU HADN'T NOTICED. Moe Lane in July:
To put it bluntly: there was no point to this editorial, which uses Governor Palin and former Senator/current SecState Clinton as examples of how badly the media treats inconvenient women in politics. It was pointless because conservatives already knew and liberals don’t particularly care, which means that the people who would most take this editorial to heart are the least likely to have needed it, and vice versa.

I had a few paragraphs more, but it can be summed up as such: the larger problem will persist until feminists get sick of being the aphids in the Democrats’ anthill.
Moe Lane today, on a Dede Scozzafava campaign appearance:
From our super-secret hidden peanut gallery (names left in because they said to):
streiff: I was an evaluator on a live fire exercise back in 84 when a herd of free range cattle moped into the impact area and about 200 troops decided they were much more fun to shoot at than 55-gal drums filled with dirt. I wish I had pictures of the outcome of that because that is what her photo op is like

Neil Stevens: Streiff: You aren’t comparing Dede with a cow are you? Because that wouldn’t be right.

streiff: actually, I was thinking of one particular cow that had a rear leg chopped off by an M-60 machinegun
…no, that image wasn’t pretty: then again, neither was this
Most people realize that everything these guys say about feminism is bullshit, but it never hurts to be reminded.

Monday, October 19, 2009

THE FUTURE OF CONSERVATISM. While the joy-poppers are boycotting the NFL, Victor Davis Hanson is boycotting everything:
...I think some of you are in the same boat: Have you stopped reading, listening, watching, and paying attention to most of what now passes for establishment public or popular culture?...

Take Hollywood protocol -- make a big movie, hype it, show it at the mall multiplex. But I went to one movie the last year. Maybe three in the last four years. There is not much choice here -- car crashes, evil white men killing the innocent, some gay or feminist heroes fending off club-bearing white homophobic Mississippians in pick-ups...
I think he's talking about Transporter 2.
Ditto music. I don’t know the name of a single rapper. Don’t follow rock anymore. Don’t want to. I like a Mark Knopfler or Coldplay...

Add in television. I haven’t watched a network newscast in 10 years...

I used to be a big fan of PBS and PR, but no more. The laudable shows are far outweighed by the race/class/gender agendas...

Next confession: I have not watched a single NFL game–including the Super bowl–for more than 10 minutes during the last decade... Ditto the NBA. I have not watched a complete game in 15 years... I watched 2 baseball games on television the last 3 years... Just a dozen selfless players, who keep quiet when they score, give credit to others when they pitch a shut-out, or pass rather than shoot could help things...
Baseball, ruined by hotshot pitchers! Vanitas! Christy Mathewson used to insist the scorers add a run for the opposing team, so people wouldn't think he'd gotten a swelled head.

Being a bit of a crank myself, I generally applaud non-joiners, holdouts, and antiquarians. But to go on for over 2,200 words about all the things he hasn't seen and won't see suggests, despite his insistence to the contrary, that Hanson is proud of it. He's proud as an observantly religious man might be that he scrupulously avoids the near occasion of sin, and has done so long and faithfully enough that he can truly say he's untempted.

The religious guy has a God to which his abstinence brings him closer. What has Hanson? The old things, which are lovely, and this:
...I have tried to remain more engaged than ever in the country’s political and military crises, which are acute and growing. One’s distancing from the popular culture of movies, TV, newspapers, and establishment culture makes one perhaps wish to overcompensate in other directions, from the trivial to the important.
Bear in mind that Hanson also eschews major news media, so we may assume he gets such political information for his "engagement" as he has from his colleagues at Pajamas Media and like-minded souls. Now it's clearer that he's not just avoiding things in which he has no interest, but also things in which he professes a keen interest but finds unaccommodating. He's bragging on the selectivity of the sources from which he draws his conclusions and writes his columns.

And why shouldn't he? When you know, ahead of time and for a fact, what's crap and what isn't, why waste time with the former? All new movies are PC, all new music is noise, all the athletes are thugs, all the prizes go to undeserving minorities, and the MSM lies. Go with what you know: Suetonius and Fox News.

Homer nods but the Ole Perfesser links, and commenters rush to assure Hanson that they, too, have taken leave of the hurly-burly:
When I read reviews of movies, I have no desire to see them. They sound so superficial, politically correct, and narcissistic...

My psychological withdrawal is being matched now by a material need to go Galt...

Just last night I was watching “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” with my grandson, a movie advertised as a “family-friendly laffer (sic).” And even in this moronic 90 minute bore the Hollywood liberal bias was evident...

The American who loves his country is, must be, alienated from American popular culture in the Obama era...

My sentiments exactly. The only exception was the TV show Battlestar Galactica until its third season began when it went off the rails....

I also used to love listening to “Prairie Home Companion”, but not in the last two years, ever since Garrison Keillor became so bitter and deranged...

With my Study of Sparta and the real meaning of a republic, I have since gotten rid of anything dealing with America since it is all a Masonic Kabbalistic lie...
Bonus: A comment by Frank Miller, for those of you so steeped in loathsome pop culture that you know who he is.

This suggests an interesting vision of a future for conservatism. I wonder if David Frum has looked into it?
NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, about the Rush/Rams deal and the hilarious conservative boycott of that notorious left-wing activist organization, the National Football League. The column hasn't been up long, but already one of the patriots quoted therein has emerged in comments to accuse the NFL of "a DOUBLE standard." Another citizen gobsmacked by capitalism! You'd think one of them would have learned something by now.

The brighter bulbs among them certainly have. "I'm not talking about trying to boycott the NFL," says Deacon Paul of Power Line, " I'm talking about directing our efforts at more vulnerable enterprises. In a sense, this is already happening. Many conservatives have deserted the mainstream media..."

Smartly done -- sensing the planned takedown of America's Sunday-Monday beer-and-wings ritual may not be the great success its promoters have promised, they can always retreat to past glories, specifically the lingering death of the MSM, which they may again attribute to real Americans who couldn't be bothered to show up at the last election but are sufficiently motivated to not buy newspapers. Actual football fans are indeed calling for boycotts -- of their lousy home teams. Surely this can be summoned as proof of a groundswell for Rush and the new American Revolution.

Can't wait to hear Megan McArdle on the subject.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

THE CHURCH MILITANT. Self-contradictions are always rife at The Anchoress, but I was struck by this, in a post about how we're too nice to children or some other Catholic topic:
I don’t watch any “reality” TV shows. Buster has tried to get me to watch American Idol because “sometimes there are talented people auditioning,” and that may be -– while I sat with him last week, I did see a few kids who seemed talented –- but for the most part, I felt very uncomfortable with it.
Which seemed odd to me, as for a while The Anchoress was basically a Susan Boyle fan site. She has elsewhere shown a keen interest in the show ("A bit of a travesty, Gina being voted off while Haley remains. I think if the judges had done their jobs, the outcome would be different," "Melinda Doolittle made me cry," etc). She had previously declared American Idol "dead to me" after a 2006 episode, not on moral grounds but because she didn't like the episode and couldn't "wait for this silly show to end." But then came Boyle, Melinda Doolittle, etc.

The obvious rejoinder would be that she doesn't watch it anymore, but she doesn't mention her past fixation and repent. I doubt she sees the need; in the next season she'll probably be swooning over some other Idol, and reading portents into it. What's sufficient is that she's free of the sin of American Idolatry for the moment.

This is followed by an Anchoress post of a familiar sort, about how she sometimes struggles with hating her enemies, but Buster and the Bible pull her clear. A great victory, to be sure, but one that apparently never lasts. She was given to call Obama names like "a fraud on legs" during the campaign. Of late she has said that "President Obama himself has no clue who he is, not as an American man, and not as The American President," and that he's "more than a little cowardly" -- in the latter instance, also attacking others who are filled with "hate," presumably because they used riper language than she to describe opponents as un-American cowards. And in and among these always come the lengthy posts about how Democrats are the real haters.

In the whirlwind of criticism that comprises the non-Jesus portion of her blog, The Anchoress has her hits and her misses, just like any other gunslinger out there. But in the intervals she's always insisting that she serves another, higher authority that prevents her from being the sort of political operative she appears to be in her political postings. To those not similarly dazzled by her faith, it suggests a strong conflict between what she does for a living, even when it involves fun with TV tripe, and the way she likes to see herself, or be seen. It makes her more interesting than the sharks out there, but also, to those of us who were acquainted with the magic acts performed in confessional booths long before they went online, very annoying.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER CONSERVATIVE BITCHING ABOUT ANOTHER AWARD SOMEONE ELSE WON. You thought the Nobel was the end of it? Crunchy Rod Dreher howls about the injustice of... Bill Maher winning the Richard Dawkins Award.

That's right: Jesus freak Dreher and his fellow Jesus freak Mark Shea are saying that the atheists picked the wrong atheist to honor. That's like a vegan telling me I didn't tenderize my pork chops well enough to suit his palate. (One of Dreher's commenters even says -- I shit you not -- "he's not even an atheist, he's an agnostic.")

This helps put the Nobel thing into perspective. Conservatives have as little standing to talk about peace as Dreher has to talk about atheism -- all they know is that they don't like it. Engaging them on these subjects is pretty much the definition of wrestling a pig.
CRITICAL METHOD. Michelle Obama allegedly eschewed a recent trip to South Carolina, the land of Joe Wilson and a number of other prominent rightwing buffoons, allegedly citing security concerns. South Carolina is also where her ancestors were kept as slaves. Michelle Malkin says this is an example of Obama "criminalizing dissent."

I'm sometimes asked why I don't talk more about Malkin here. I prefer nuts with interesting personality quirks -- the Goldbergs, McArdles, Noonans, and such like. Malkin is like some dead-eyed shark looking only for the shortest distance between her mouth and her meal. Her absurdities are no less rank than theirs, but if a personality intervenes in her construction of them, I've yet to detect it.

UPDATE. Now she's saying Barack Obama is afraid to go to San Francisco -- having previously written that San Francisco's "Billionaire's Row" is "where [Obama] feels most at home." Make that a mechanical shark, like the one they used in Jaws, except not as well programed.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

MONGO ONLY PAWN IN GAME OF LIFE. Jonah Goldberg:
A few months ago, this White House trotted out a tired attack on Rush Limbaugh just to stir the pot and distract media attention. I can't quite figure out what the White House's thinking is in both attacking lefty blogs and giving them anti-Fox red meat, though, I haven't had my coffee yet...

Perhaps it's as simple as the fact that this White House makes more progress selling health-care reform when it's not actually selling health-care reform. Getting everyone to go look at those shiny things over there while they push through a bill may be all this is about.
Way back in the thing Goldberg uses for a brain may stir the thought that by promoting bullshit stories, he and his colleagues have done more to distract attention from actual governmental news than any White House Communications Office has the power to achieve, and that this may not be working out for them as planned. But no amount of coffee, or coffee ice cream, can edge it far enough forward to reach his pontificating apparatus. Maybe if there were an old movie scene to which he could relate it...

CONVERSATION STARTER. The Ole Perfesser:
And the Gay Left and Tea Party Right might even want to talk to each other; they may find they’ve got more in common than they realize...
Let's see what the "Gay Left" will find if they talk to the Augusta, Maine Tea Party Right:
Attendees of the Independence Day Tea Party rally came for many reasons -- to speak out against what they called the "socialistic liberal agenda," to petition against gay marriage and to speak up for individual rights and the Constitution among them.
As Major Strasser might say, they would find the conversation a trifle one-sided. Let's try Texas:
Eric Aguirre, who attended an assembly in College Station, Texas, described how one of the guest speakers, a World War II veteran, spoke about gay marriage.

He said that while he believed that God made you the way you were, he felt there were limits to how marriage is defined. He said God made men, and God made women, and marriage is between each of those sexes. The crowd erupted in applause.
Maybe we can expect some more tolerant-like in the Northeast, from TEA New York:
(Why we oppose) Support of the homosexual agenda

I’ll refer to these two bodies of intelligent created beings as “my gay friends” and “the Agenda.” My gay friends have freely opted for the marvelous divine gift of free will, whereas the Agenda seeks to force its will upon others – not unlike the Grand Inquisitors, or those that would force the Infidel to convert or die...

...we should be objecting very strongly to the gay Agenda, militantly mainstreaming dangerous and unhealthy behavior into our laws and schools.
On the bright side, the author adds, "We appreciate the creative talents of gay artists, stylists and designers." And let's see Mark Noonan on GOP outreach to the Tea Party People:
Our first task is to restore the Constitutional order… after that, the rest will fall our way of its own accord. If we can’t do this, then all our arguments against abortion, against gay marriage, in favor of family and faith are pointless...
To be fair, the Boston Tea Party came out for gay marriage in 2008. And some of the brethren counsel soft-pedaling social issues in the interests of coalition building. But good luck getting any gathering of conservative activists to stay off the "gay agenda" for any length of time.
SHORTER E.J. DIONNE: The attacks on Obama's Nobel Prize are perfectly understandable. It's white male backlash, which is also understandable. What's crazy is attributing any of this to racism.

Monday, October 12, 2009

NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, in which I attend the follow-through on the story of Obama's disastrous Nobel Prize victory. Apparently the new angle is that the Committee contrived by means of the award to get Obama to abandon Afghanistan, hand the U.S. over to global-warming internationalists, and Lord knows what else. Thus, if henceforth Obama does anything the Right doesn't like, it will be in appeasement of our Oslo overlords. Soon the Scandinavians will replace France, Russia, etc. as right-wing hate-objects, and Jonah Goldberg will be writing about lutefisk-eating surrender nudists.

Tom Maguire stocks up for future outrage should Obama treasonously pick up his Prize: "Should Obama be taking time out of his schedule to deliver a pretty speech just because some Norwegians want a semi-private showing?" Well, the bastard did have the temerity to show up for his own Inauguration, when he could have been yelling at black kids who were wearing their pants too low.

I see Matt Welch is back in the saddle, raging against the Nobel in the New York Post: "Even Kofi Annan's 2001 award could be seen as a thumb in the eye of a Republican foreign policy that has used the United Nations as a pinata." In the reign of President Palin, he can always say he's sorry again.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

GETTING THE PRIORITIES STRAIGHT. Robert Stacy McCain on a story about some redneck who put up a sign saying "Obama's plan for health-care: Nigger rig it":
First of all, Patrick Lanzo isn't originally from Paulding County, Ga., and...

...second, his tasteless sign is not a valid commentary on ObamaCare. But among the several other things wrong with this CBS News story, let's start with the dateline.
Thus a story about a self-evident racist -- not a crypto-racist, not an impression-of-racist, but an honest-to-God specimen -- becomes one about poor fact-checking. And how McCain suffers from the unfortunate and inexplicable "presumption that all white people from the South are uniquely racist."

The story to which McCain links notes that "Black and white people who live in the area say the sign is offensive and they want it down," and makes no judgments on or allegations of racism among resident of Carroll County or Paulding County of wherever this is. (It does quote a source from the NAACP, which for him may amount to the same thing.)

Confedrate Yankee on the same subject:
Democrats in the media and in politics have so over-used cries to racism in an attempt to marginalize legitimate opposition that the word has rapidly lost the stigma attached to it...

It's a shame the left has decided to make such reckless use of the word in an attempt to stifle opposition, because when real racism occurs, calling it out with the level of derision it deserves becomes that much more difficult.
Really? I don't find it difficult at all. But in the spirit of the First Amendment I say, let the sign-erector trumpet his ignorance to the world. And let the rightbloggers who think calling Obama a nigger is an indictment of liberalism do the same. Sane men and women will know what to make of it.
MORE NOBELONEY. In comments to the previous post about the Peace Prize, chuckling makes an excellent point:
While I don’t think Obama deserved to win the Nobel Peace Prize... Since the announcement of the prize, just about every comment I've read from the left expresses some variant of that opinion. Within minutes, literally minutes, the phrase became the required disavowel of liberal accomplishment of the day..."
For normal people, jawing over who shoulda or shouldn'ta got awards is a pleasant intellectual exercise. But for the rightbloggers it's a tactic in their ceaseless war to discredit everything except their own prejudices and hare-brained schemes.

Recall what happened when Pinter won the Literature Prize. (Also see the updates here.) Conservative buffoons, most of whom could not demonstrate familiarity with a single Pinter play, howled at the injustice of it. They only knew that Pinter was left-wing, and that his works did not resemble their preferred reading materials (i.e., Joel Osteen and Gor novels), and that was good enough for outrage. They don't discuss literature or politics or prizes or anything else: they purr when they're stroked and spit when they're threatened.

As to Obama, commenters have plenty of other good points. cleter notes that "Obama is responsible for saving the world from the horror of a McCain/Palin administration." They should have put that on the citation. And Doghouse Riley brings it all back home: "Take it up with the fucking Committee. I don't remember them clearing Milton's Friedman's award with me first." This is a medal we're talking about here, not a public office. They can always make one of their own and give it whomever they want. Then they can complain that it isn't as well-known as the Nobel for the same reason Pajamas TV isn't as popular as piano-playing cat videos: Liberal media bias.
NOBELONEY. The lamentations of the wingnuts have been delicious, and this weekend I will sift through many more of them, but I couldn't let this day go by without noting a prize specimen offered at National Review by one James V. Schall, S.J., "a professor of government at Georgetown University":
War is caused by those who fight against those who cause it, we are now taught. I understand the Taliban are angry at this selection because they think it fosters “violence,” against which they naturally fight bravely on, as they tell us. We are overturning all the shibboleths of the past. The new age has arrived. Neville Chamberlain’s “peace in our time” was ahead of its time.
Cabbages... knickers.. it's not got a beak! Back when I studied with them, the Jebbies demanded coherence at a minimum; I see those days are gone, at least among those who froth for wingnut mags. JPII really did a number on them. Ah well, at least I got some benefit from their method before it went from Socratic to surreal.

I question the decision myself, but anything that raises such froth among the gomers must be applauded.

UPDATE. Megan McMegan:
I guess I must hate America, but I actually think it's kind of ludicrous that anyone is even trying to argue that Barack Obama truly deserves this Nobel Peace Prize. Could he have deserved it, after he'd had more than nine months in office? Easily. But he hasn't had time to, y'know, accomplish anything.
Maybe they should have given him a gig at The Atlantic instead.

UPDATE 2. Der Ace of Spades is moved to take his masturbation to an international level:
So... I think there's a damn good shot that a right-leaning party in Norway introduces a bill to reform the Nobel Prize Committee and insure the prize is given for the purposes originally intended, rather than be debased further as some grotesque leftist beauty pageant.

Not predicting it will be adopted -- but predicting it will be proposed.

And that will be pretty embarrassing for President Prissypants -- to be so obviously inappropriate and unacceptable a choice so as to provoke legislative corrective.
And if Princess Leia got to know you, she would really, really like you.

UPDATE. Will address some comments in a separate post.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

TOUGH CROWD. Ladies and germs, says the MC, please welcome to the Pajamas Media stage Mr. Dan Miller:
The Obama administration is destroying many things intrinsic to the United States.
[Crowd mills restlessly as Miller details the crimes of Obama. Simpsons reference fails to relieve tension. Is he pulling an Andy Kaufman?]
The loss of national pride and national direction are bad enough, but we are also losing our sense of humor.
[Ah, he's doing Kaufman. Crowd waits for it.]
I can’t seem to recall any time during the past sixty or so years when bitterness and seriousness were so deeply rooted and laughter so restrained. Even the “gallows humor” which prevailed during our wars seems to have been lost.
[Crowd leans expectantly, hoping for examples of "gallows humor"; gets more Obama crimes instead. ]
I’m waiting for some congresscritter, a member of the vast right-wing conspiracy, to offer legislation replacing the eagle with the dodo bird as the country’s national emblem.
[Delayed reaction: was that a joke? A few barks. At least he's trying.]
In his later years, [Bertrand] Russell came to be regarded by many as “a very intelligent old silly.” Still, he has much to offer; he had a grand sense of humor and was able to laugh not only at those with different views but at himself.
["Tell one of his jokes!" someone yells. Laughter in the back.]
True, comedians still exist and some make lots of money. The jokes about Governor Palin during the recent presidential campaign produced laughter, and those about former President Bush and Vice President Cheney did as well. However, they and the laughter they produced were largely grounded in — and promoted — bitterness and the associated hatred. The few jokes directed at President Obama were much the same; there were then and there are now very few, because of the racism charges almost certain to be thrown at those making and laughing at them. Those accused, even wrongly, of racism are generally punished severely. “Code words” are found, and even unspoken and unintended words are heard subliminally and apologies must be forthcoming, even though they are not generally accepted.
[Even Kaufman couldn't have gotten away with this. Is he going to take us out for ice cream?]
Political correctness, from which all suffer to some extent in the United States and in Europe, has played a major role in this. It teaches us not only to avoid giving, but to take offense. More of us are easily offended than at any time I can remember.
At this point Miller is drowned out by hecklers and removed by the hook, but Pajamas Media provides a full transcript of his routine. You will not be surprised to learn that Miller mentions a former law associate who "was nearly always able to break the tension in a negotiation" with jokes, but declines to repeat any of them.

You can't blame Miller much; most of his crowd were out heckling Letterman. Only their complaint was that Letterman is funny, which is not their primary qualification for a comic.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

FILM THREAT. I haven't been able to find a Michael Moore statement on Roman Polanski, but apparently he is implicated in the case nonetheless.
Tough times for leftie Hollywood. Nothing’s gone right this week. None of this is their fault, of course. In order to understand that it might not be a good idea to rally around a child rapist, bash religion in a religious country or trash capitalism in a capitalist country you have to live in the real world...
Rightwing bloggers have far better message discipline than this consortium of filmmakers known as "Hollywood." You can get 138 film people to petition on Polanksi's behalf, but the backlash both in Tinseltown and on liberal blogs doesn't seem to register.

Oops, I see Janeane Garofalo has been implicated as well:
I wonder what her position is on raping 13-year-old girls or having threesomes with 15-year-olds is.
Silence is consent! But even if she denounced Polanski through a bullhorn, what good would it do? David Steinberg:
Sorry, Leftism: You Don’t Get to Disown the Polanski List...

You drew a line on Polanski’s case, yes, but which word narrows your pupils: Guevara? Or Malkin?
You can't be on the right side of this issue unless Steinberg's light pen detects more movement in your pupils over a long-dead commie than over Michelle Malkin. These new standards of political correctness are getting awfully stringent, and apparently require an opthamologist's certification.

Rightbloggers would have long ago supplanted the movies as America's largest entertainment industry, were they better able to monetize their efforts. They might try putting AlfonZo Rachel in a buddy comedy with Jackie Chan.