Monday, July 19, 2010

AESTHETIC STALINIST TRAINING CAMP. I see the little Zhdanovites at National Review are tackling Mad Men. Say hello to the new kid, Charlotte Simmons Natasha Simons:
Mad Men has lost its way a bit; Weiner, wrapped up in adoring his main character and the intricacies of a period he wants to evaporate, has fallen into a quicksand trap, not wanting to move on, despite his obvious political loyalties to the ’60s generation.
When all you have is a dogma, etc. Unable to leave well enough alone, Daniel Foster offers a response, in which he says people watch the show to indulge in the "the gray flannel and sharkskin tones we've been trained to find so stultifying" -- trained by whom I can't imagine; art directors, who as we know are all communists, have been crazy for this shit for years -- and that the conservative mindset was beautifully expressed by Tony Soprano.

When he realizes all the exits are blocked, Foster engages in a more sophisticated form of Goldbergism, aka Le Phart:
But since I have no interest in re-adjudicating the battles of the 60s, I prefer to embrace this schizophrenia rather than posit it as the horns of an existential dilemma.
That kid seems built to miss the point, but he will never miss a meal.
SHORTER ROSS DOUTHAT: It's time for white reparations.

UPDATE. Aw Jeez, Holy Rod Dreher:
One workplace of mine was proud of its diversity, but it had, as far as I could tell, not a single Pentecostal working as a reporter or editor.
That's because it's hard to take notes when you're snake-handling.
NEW VOICE COLUMN UP. This one's about the increasing similarity between rightbloggers and fringe figures like Alex Jones. The operatives are actually beginning to indulge the idea that the Democrats and the Republicans conspire to keep the sheeple down -- except, in their telling, it's actually mostly Democrats with a few RINOs collaborating, and the solution is not real revolution but a GOP Congressional sweep.

I'm not sure who's supposed to be conned by this. Maybe it's not meant to sway any voters; maybe it's seeded in by the high command and targeted at the blogbrethren themselves. Think about those people -- the Sissy Willises, the Mark Noonans, and other such like. Can you imagine being daft enough to pump so much creativity and personal energy into anything so tawdry as a partisan political campaign -- and for free? Their engines must run very hot indeed, and it occurs to me that keeping such crackpots on board may be worth at least a line item in the Republican budget. They're annoying, but they're energetic, and God are they loyal.

UPDATE. The schtick seems to be taking hold. At National Review Daniel Foster grabs a poll that shows "Washington elites" feel differently about the recession than us ordinary Joes. Soon he'll be dressing up like Tom Joad and soliloquizing, "Maybe a fellow ain't got things of his own, just a little piece of the Permanent Things," and "Wherever there’s legislation so's corporations can evade responsibility for their crimes, I’ll be there," etc.

Others speak of the impending demise of the elites in grand promo copy: "What you’re sensing is the leading edge of a transformation more far reaching than the discovery of the usefulness of fire," raves Daily Pundit, "or the transition into agriculture, or the advent of industrialization." Or sliced bread! "Whether you call it the Singularity, or the technological revolution, or simply magic, the fact is that we are in a virtuous spiral upwards as regards to what we know, what we can learn, and what we can do." Sounds like someone just saw his first 3-D Pixar cartoon! He should go build castles in the clouds with Bill Whittle till it wears off.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

STORY OF MY LIFE. The Voice blog on which I used to labor, Runnin' Scared, has won the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies' AltWeekly Award for Best Staff Blog. I feel like Moses at Pisgah, or Gloria Grahame at the end of In a Lonely Place. Congrats to my erstwhile colleagues.

Friday, July 16, 2010

THE FEAST OF UNREASON, PART II. Oh Jesus, Jonah Goldberg on Mel Gibson, today:
But I'm much less inclined to buy this conventional wisdom that he's a mainstream conservative of some kind.
Jonah Goldberg on Mel Gibson, 2004:
It's funny, we can go on for weeks in the Corner judging what various liberals and/or celebrities do and say without anyone saying "Why is that your business?" But, every now and then, if someone turns their attention on what a conservative icon does, we get the "who's buisness is it?" complaints...
I know he's stupefyingly lazy, but couldn't Goldberg at least look himself up?
THE FEAST OF UNREASON. Mel Gibson was beloved of wingnuts back when he was expressing his drama-queendom by torturing Jesus onscreen rather than by demanding that his girlfriend blow him before he burns the house down. Now that Gibson is a laughingstock, how do they react?
OK, [David] Brooks is working his way around to discussing Mel Gibson, but, by golly, it sounds like… well, Obama.
Earlier I gave Moe Lane credit for having "some sense of shame, or at least awareness of what others find shameful." I can't say that for Commentary's Jennifer Rubin, or for an increasing number of these people.
SHORTER CRAZY JESUS LADY: Mr. English Prime Minister, heed the advice of this drunken Irishwoman: Everyone in America hates Obama, because he's too much like a schoolteacher and not enough like a Rotary Club speaker. Also he doesn't love America! But you do! I know you do! Show us, and you can be our new daddy! I won't even say anything about your damn liberal policies until your polls start to slip, if only you will let me sit at your feet awhile. Why, from this angle you look like Reagan! [vomits]
PROJECTING IN WIDE-SCREEN AND 3-D. It's increasingly clear that minority rights remain a sore subject for conservatives, and that their present strategy is to insist that blacks, gays, and liberals are the real oppressors.

Yesterday I showed you an American Thinker genius who explained how liberals were using homosexuals to steal straight people's self-respect ("The primary pathway the Left currently uses to decouple childhood sexual development from self-individuation is the gay rights agenda"). But AT's kind of a clearing house for crazy, so let's turn our attention to the opinion of highly respectable libertarian Ilya Somin, expressed during yet another tedious discussion of the "liberaltarian" schtick:
Most liberals do not in fact agree with libertarians on civil liberties, the war on drugs, and gay rights... On gay rights, libertarians favor laissez-faire, while liberals tend to favor antidiscrimination laws that restrict the freedom of private organizations.
See, it looks like liberals advocate more for gay folks' rights than conservatives, but they favor getting those rights through legislation, which is anti-freedom by definition, rather than by the magic of the marketplace. Why, if liberals had their way, we might wind up with another abomination like the Civil Rights Act! Forbid it, Almighty Paul!

Meanwhile the Washington Times tells us celebrity black people Barack Obama and Eric Holder are the real racists --and they have proof! Dictionary proof!
By now, the default judgment about the Barack Obama-Eric H. Holder Jr. Justice Department is that it discriminates intentionally on the basis of race. By the precise definition used in the American Heritage dictionary, the department is racialist.
Plus they have tiles on the triple word score! The WashTimes also says that the DOJ allocates its resources differently now than it did under Bush, therefore the black people who took it over are favoring their own over Whitey. Basically it's the Reconstruction section of Birth of a Nation written in code.

I may have to come up with a new name for this increasingly popular sort of hallucinogenically bad pseudo-argument based on race panic. "Honkydelic," perhaps.

UPDATE. To be clear, reverse-discrimination complaints by privileged white people have been with us for a long, long time. But these are normally dull, unimaginative "how come they can say nigger and we can't" pro-formalisms. Conservatives are really riled about it now and, as the cited posts show, escalating to a new level of hilarity. A golden age, friends!

UPDATE 3. Right on time: Moe Lane of RedState says Sheila Jackson-Lee is the real racist; also, that she's stupid, and that having a majority-black district will reliably produce a stupid Representative. In Lane's defense he tried to disguise his point with lots of extra words, so he does have some sense of shame, or at least awareness of what others find shameful.

UPDATE 3. Also in comments, zuzu reminds us that under Bush the DOJ Civil Rights Division became a living tribute to Alan Bakke. And thanks Hunger Tallest Palin for the proofreading!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

WE HAVE COME FOR YOUR CHILDISH ARGUMENT. While some conservatives are explaining how the NAACP are the real racists, others just carry on beating up gay people.

I told you last week about a new crop at American Thinker of alleged and amateur psychologists who sought to prove President Obama is nuts. This shrink squad is apparently a regular feature at that site.

For instance, now there's one "Andrew Foy, M.D." explaining "The Left's Psychological Assault on Independence." Doc Foy explains with charts and quotes from Hayek and Goldwater that liberals weaken their victims' wills with welfare, which "results in dependence (counterclockwise circle) and leads to the fiscal condition America now finds herself in." Foy prescribes voting Republican. No word whether this paper has been peer-reviewed, but I'm sure somewhere in the time-space continuum there's a gulag where it would go down a treat.

Astonishingly, Foy's is not the cream of the crop. That honor goes to "Bookworm," author of a monograph on how leftists are trying to faggot up your children.

At the outset Bookworm apologizes -- you can almost hear her professorial chuckle -- that her sex story will not have "voluptuous women in slinky, abbreviated clothes, or scantily clad men with rippling pecs and washboard abs." But if you're a culture warrior you might ejaculate anyway, as "this article focuses on the sordid, depressing, government-controlled side of human sexuality... from the viewpoint of a state intent upon gaining maximum control over that same individual." Insert your own Dominique Francon rape fantasy!

Back "before the 1980s, when the Judeo-Christian, Western tradition, though battered, was still ascendant," Bookworm tells us, patriots had the freedom to be straight. But then came the day of the government sex-slavers! Here the professor, perhaps hoping to soften up the crowd, denounces Islamic misogyny for several paragraphs before getting down to the real enemy:
What's interesting is that, because the Left expresses itself in terms of "freeing" people's sexuality, many people miss the fact that it is every bit as sexually controlling in its own way as Islam is.
Doesn't say why we would want to do this -- just plain evil, I suppose.
The practical problem for the Left when it tries to attack individuality as expressed through sexuality is the fact that a person's sense of an inviolate physical self develops quite early, during childhood...

The Left, therefore, needs to decouple self and body as early as possible in a person's development -- and it does this by bringing its own peculiar notions of sexuality into the realms of child-rearing and education.
Bookworm brings in as an example the 60s German pedophile ring on which Rod Dreher -- a kindred soul if ever there was one -- recently tried to blame the Catholic boy-fucking epidemic. Those guys were leftists, so they are connected by cords of wingnut ectoplasm to Obama's youthful acquaintance with Frank Marshall Davis, who wrote erotica and thus was also a child-rapist. And to what does this pervert magically connect?
The primary pathway the Left currently uses to decouple childhood sexual development from self-individuation is the gay rights agenda.
Can't get much plainer, can she? Which may be why she goes straight for the bigot disclaimer:
Many of us who believe that gays and lesbians should be free to pursue their personal lives free from discrimination...
Here I direct you to Bookworm's other writings on the topic, a quick skim of which will show that her primary feeling toward gay people, at least as publicly expressed, is hostility. (Here's a particularly fat slice of her loathing. Keywords: Gay Pride, "Piss Christ," "naked ugly boobs," "leather and chains." She might as well have written it under hypnosis.) And she especially wants them kept away from children:
Robin of Berkeley describes a group called "Gender Spectrum," which has the ostensible goal of allowing "transgender, gender bending, [and] gender nonconforming" children and teens to hang with each other and share their experiences. She rightly sees this not as an effort to promote tolerance, but as a way to make it "cool to dabble in polyamory and gender nonconformism," thereby "destroy[ing] the West by degrading traditional values."
We can laugh at this obvious lunatic, whose bubblin' crude is largely hidden from public view at a rightwing funny farm. I mean, it's not like she writes for the New York Post -- where Andrea Peyser today has a column about how a movie featuring a lesbian couple with children disgusts her and should, she is sure, disgust all decent people. Not that she's prejudiced, either. "Folks are happy with gays living together," she assures us. "But bringing children into the equation is a deal-breaker." Even if the equation is a movie.

Wow, glad this came after Pride Week -- it would have been a downer.

UPDATE. Edited for clarity, spelling.

UPDATE. Must commend D. Aristophanes' gloss in comments: "First we learned that lefties are the 'real' racists ... now it turns out that we're the 'real' sexists and sexual oppressors. I will not be surprised to learn soon that we're the real robber barons, evangelicals and Dick Cheney."

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

WHAT'S THE DEAL WITH AIRLINE PEANUTS THESE BLACK PEOPLE? The NAACP was mean to the Tea Party, so Tunku Varadarajan leaps to counter-attack. Perhaps he had already seen Sarah Palin's Facebook post explaining how the legacy of Ronald Reagan protects America from the racism of the NAACP, and figured he couldn't top that for gravitas. So he starts with a few jokes!
NAACP: Can we all agree that it stands for the National Association for the Advancement of Cynical Politics?
"Amirite?" was invented for material like this.
...can anyone deny that the “colored” part of the organization’s name is no longer preservative of anything that is at all meaningful?

Colored: Who the heck says that in the America of today, unless you’re a very, very old friend of the late highwayman (as in dedicated asphalt, not armed robbery) Robert C. Byrd? Which is why no member of this once-courageous black organization will spell out its full name. Everyone says, instead, “N-double A-CP”: To elongate the abbreviation is to expose oneself to derisive—or, worse, baffled—inquisition. (“Dad, Mom, what’s with the ‘colored’ thing?”)
Gotta admit, that's a novel approach. But he's obviously new to stand-up. He should have suggested alternatives, like the Funky Fresh Forum, or the National Association of Black People Who Admit Reagan Was Funky Fresh. Or maybe the Hitler Negroes. Depends on the crowd.

But anyway, what are they bitching about? As countless white rightwing panels on race have said time and again, these people are their own worst enemy:
If black Americans are suffering due to our current economic woes, Obama’s own policies are hardly helping them. The NAACP can’t bitch about “the Man” anymore because the Man is Obama.
See, Obama's like the crack peddler they reflexively defend out of sullen disrespect for Whitey. Yet they refuse to see it! Maybe more comedy gold will turn them around:
In fact, the Tea Party is a greater friend of black Americans, one might say, than the administration, and is much more representative of America than the NAACP. (There are many more black members of the Tea Party—however you define that movement—than there are, by definition, non-black members of the NAACP.)
The Tea Party has admittedly been a windfall to black conservatives, dozens of whom have found employment at their events. And now that they're fighting the NAACP, expect even more such job opportunities to open up! Just try to look cheerful at the auditions.

And that's about it as far as the carrot goes. Thereafter Varadarajan explains that the resolution will backfire on the NAACP and their precious Obama. Now, lest you think this is because America, as imagined by Varadarajan, will punish the head black guy for the statements of some other black guys, you couldn't be more wrong!

No, Varadarajan expects this result because Obama's complicity in the resolution is proven -- first, because Varadarajan feels it ("Let there be no doubt that nothing would have been tabled at this NAACP meeting without President Obama’s imprimatur"). Also, because Michelle Obama appeared before the group earlier, and though she talked about obesity, you know that somewhere in her jive was coded Kill Whitey language. Also, "Many in America already believe that she is a black militant in mufti, and her headlining of a gathering which cast the Tea Party as racist will have been noted by a good many ordinary, non-radical, middle-of-the-road Americans..."

OK, I take it back -- the guy actually is saying white America will punish Obama because some other black folks said somewhere else that a bunch of white people are racist, and that he approves of it.

I'm beginning to think that, having drummed Teddy Roosevelt out of the GOP, these guys will next go after Lincoln.

UPDATE. Thx proofreader for proofreading.
HOW BULLSHIT WORKS, PART 52,822. I see an anti-Obama billboard is in the news again. This one, in keeping with the state of our national discourse, compares Obama with Hitler and Lenin, generally drawing a funny-cuz-it's-true response from the conservative belligerati.

This brings to mind the previous political billboard cause celebre, a Bush "Miss Me Yet?" one in Wyoming, Minnesota (no, not in two states, in a town in Minnesota called Wyoming), which was alleged to have caused "lib fury," and was the occasion of many claims like this one that people across America "miss Bush, not because Bush was a great president but because he was better than Obama," though the billboard was financed by a group of businessmen rather than by a nationwide groundswell of children sending in their pennies to overthrow the tyrant via outdoor advertising.

It also reminds me of those Obama Joker posters that were also supposed to be a big deal, though they went up in very few actual physical locations -- they mostly manifested on the sidebars of wingnut websites, yet were also alleged to represent widespread popular hatred for the President.

I wonder if, during the 2006-2008 Democratic ascendancy, anyone thought to make billboards, placards, broadsides, flyers, palmcards, or anything like that suggesting that the Clinton years were preferable to the Bush era of national financial ruin. Probably not, because no one in their right mind would think such a puny stunt would get national press coverage.

Though if you even considered comparing Bush to Hitler, that merited a nice blast of Fox News outrage.

UPDATE. I knew this story could use some Jonah Goldberg and, bless him, he delivers.
Some folks are asking me what I think of the latest billboard controversy. At first I was under the impression from readers that it was Obama with a Hitler mustache. I think that sort of thing is awful and indefensible. But I misunderstood...

I don’t like this billboard either, and I don’t think the Iowa tea-party chapter behind it should have put it up. That said, it’s not as bad as Obama in a Hitler mustache...
Why doesn't Goldberg just claim he's made a Godwin densitometer out of a stapler, and post numbers that defend his otherwise incomprehensible assessments?

Extra points for Goldberg lauding the St. Louis Tea Party "for taking a higher road than the NAACP" by trying to sic the IRS on them.
VEGAS, ONE NIGHT ONLY! Forgive my not keeping up better. In the words of Toulain Vantrecs, I've been... ill. Since I've just disappointed you all so terribly, this is a good time to announce that I will appearing at this year's Netroots Nations in Vegas -- not, as I had hoped, performing my Tribute to Morty Gunty, Come On, Lady... I Laughed When You Came In, but on a panel that will include Sady Doyle of Tiger Beatdown and the Sadlynauts, Damon Poeter and Brad Reed.

This is a disaster waiting to happen. First of all, the topic of discussion, near as I can figure it, has to do with comedy and political blogging, a combination as propitious as bourbon and frogurt. Second, I know Reed and Poerter, or whatever they're calling themselves these days, and while they can be very funny in private conversation, you give them a soapbox and they'll start bellyaching about the "working man" like W.J. Bryan in a Chautauqua tent till even the union delegates have to retire in disgust. Also, and I believe this is no surprise to my regular readers, Reed is in the advanced stages of tertiary syphilis, and frequently not in his right mind.

I'm still not sure why they invited me -- it is well known among the shut-ins support group we call the blogosphere that I am both pathologically shy and a hardcore alcoholic, and when pushed into the spotlight have been known to self-medicate till both my personality and speech are so distorted that members of my own family fail to recognize me (though they may have just been pretending, out of embarrassment). So, though I would like to please, and have rehearsed several passages from the Toastmasters' Guide which my friends at Daisy Dukes say are sure-fire, I fear we're going to end up with something like this:

The panel was assembled by someone named Amanda Marcotte, who is originally from Texas. Women from there, I have learned, usually marry at age 15; yet Marcotte, 20 if she's a day, remains unwed and childless. (She recently moved to New York, where her condition is common and therefore less shameful.) She will be on the dais, and if I can form words I will make a point of asking her if she hasn't tried putting more effort into her makeup and acting less bossy.

Monday, July 12, 2010

HARVEY PEKAR. He was a professional curmudgeon who bragged, often aggressively, on his working-class roots ("One day I had to fight five guys") and "fucked up a great thing" with Letterman mainly because he couldn't stomach even the appearance of kissing ass. But make no mistake, Harvey Pekar was a poet. The American Splendor comics with which the recently deceased Pekar made his name are full of incidents and conversations that the rest of us might have found dull, or merely diverting, if we had viewed them without Pekar's illumination. As it was, he made even the mumbled how's-it-going talk from street corners and cafeterias sing.

I don't have any of them on hand, but I remember several American Splendor stories with pleasure. I'm thinking now of one episode in which Harvey runs into a bearded day-laborer buddy (I think Gary Dumm drew this) who tells him how he got a job by making it clear in the interview that "I don't give a shit." Even in real life the story would tickle you -- the laborer puts his feet on the interviewer's desk, looks him straight in the eye, and throws a match in the wastebasket, setting it on fire -- but Pekar and Dumm highlight many small unnecessary beauties in it that give it more than anecdotal life. For instance, the worker explains that he immediately quit the job -- "They wanted me to be a human screwdriver. Fuck that!" -- and makes a sharp chopping gesture which is emphasized in the comic by a motion line. The gesture pops for us probably like it did for Pekar when he was listening and watching, and tells us something about the character. (I still wonder about that guy. He wore old-fashioned glasses, and smoked a pipe.)

And so on, through fights at work, bad dates, cancer, talking to this guy he knows. The stories are pretty good, but it's the privileged moments that stick: The way Harvey plops Joyce's bag in the trunk and slams the hatch, the way his body twists when he yells at a co-worker (and how she calls him "sweetie" though she's totally pissed, which just makes him madder), or the way two girls look at each other when a co-worker tries to sell them pickled okra as a cure for lady problems. Sometimes it looks very proletarian -- after all, his was a working life, and even his artist subjects tended to live in squalor -- and we may be grateful that someone was making art out of the sort of world most of us live in, full of bills and bosses and disorder, rather than the upper-class fantasies most pop crap revolves around. But the joy is not only that he noticed them, but also that his ear and eye exalted them.

The Robert Crumb collaborations usually led, as one might imagine, to more Zen results (like the hospital vignettes: "Bitch, you bettah help me!" "Mister, you keep talking to people like that, you're gonna have a haa-aard way to go!"), which just point up Pekar's gift for detail. Crumb, who can be very astute about these things, said Pekar's work could be "so staggeringly mundane it verges on the exotic," which is only almost right, because the mundane is exotic, always, if you know how to look at it. Pekar knew.
NEW VOICE COLUMN UP. It's a post-mortem of the wacky conservative World Cup coverage -- from the imputations of anti-Americanism against soccer itself, to the pathetic insistences by rightwing nerdlings like John J. Miller that it was okay to watch the World Cup so long as you had your magic red-white-and-blue glasses on.

It's all good, or wretched, depending on how you look at it, but do spare a moment for the horrifying Matt Labash article I used as a framing device, "Living Like A Liberal." Labash strenuously imitates the style of P.J. O'Rourke, which should offend the sensibilities of anyone who has not been on cocaine and Reaganism continuously since 1980, and which I thought even conservatives had given up. Does anyone still think this "I shit in your rainforest! Hey, I was just 'letting it all hang out!'" crap is satire? O'Rourke always struck me as a transparently fake young fogey in the manner of R. Emmett Tyrell, buying the affection of older investors with spats, cravats, and unapologetic reactionary cant which at its most cruel probably looked to them like jokes, especially considering all the cocaine.

While I also find more recent rightwing schtick such as The Mildly Concerned Ivy League Grad annoying, it has at least the saving grace of novelty. I had assumed that O'Rourke impersonators would be as rare as Gonzos manques by now. Alas, there's at least one of 'em left to be stamped out.

Also, Labash thinks Bowling Alone is a liberal bible, and that people who prefer actual maple syrup to Aunt Jemima are just being contrary. I don't know if you can even sell that one in the cowtowns anymore.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

NOBODY KNOWS THE TROUBLE SHE'S SEEN. Yeah, we have been a little content-light here, haven't we? OK, let's do a Sunday post. Culture war? Why not, it's a popular favorite.

Darleen Click gets mad at Joel Stein for some mild jokes about Indians (the subcontinental kind, not the Native-American kind):
Imagine if this appeared in National Review written by Jonah Goldberg... Of course, this is Joel Stein in Time so any attention by the MSM to this rather bizarre “humor piece” is even less than Clinton’s defense of Kleagle Byrd.
Goddamn librul racists! Stein is called out by Kal Penn, whom Click says "strikes the appropriate sacastic response" before remembering that Penn is the former Associate Director of the Obama White House Office of Public Engagement, and thus a racist, too, by definition. Rewriting being against the rules at Protein Wisdom, Click just forges ahead:
Penn doesn’t quite get it. Leftists get a pass when it comes to engaging in racist stereotypes because their motivations are always pure. Non-leftists are never motivated by anything but the most base of hatreds.
If only Penn had said that -- or even Ramesh Ponurru! But they didn't, so the job of explaining liberal racism falls to Click. Sigh. Why don't minorities appreciate how hard conservatives are working for them?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

THE CONSERVATIVE REVIVAL, PART 43,899. At The Corner, Mike Potemra thinks he's seen another sign of American revival:
I had no idea, until seeing this commercial, that there was a roller-derby league centered in Manhattan. I went online to see when the next match was; turns out it’s Saturday night at the Hunter College gym. Tickets, unfortunately, are sold out. You read that correctly: The Saturday-night roller-derby match is sold out, in 2010, on the Upper East Side. The limits of the possible are changing in this country, continually, and not just in politics. If you stop and think about it, every day should be the Fourth of July.
No one warned this poor dork that the Gotham Girls roller derby shows, which I had the pleasure of watching last year, are more modern, punk rock, and girl-powerish than your average conservative culture cop could countenance. "This probably isn't a family-friendly entertainment," warns comrade Daniel Foster. "... the girls of the league have handles like 'Surly Temple' and 'Angela Slamsbury.'" (This is where Mom drops the meatloaf and Dad angrily rustles his newspaper.)

Foster also quotes from his own coverage of Gotham Girls as "a cub reporter writing arts & culture for a New York weekly," in which role he observed,
At what point did Gen-X’s fervent commitment to irony become indistinguishable from Gen-Y’s earnest enjoyment of kitsch?
You can see why National Review snapped this guy up.

Comrade Potemra is on the spot: Admit doubleplusungoodness, or attempt to defend the aggressively-named warrior princesses? He takes the coward's way out:
You mentioned both irony and kitsch; maybe roller derby succeeds in working at different levels simultaneously? And, come to think of it, maybe it always did? Quite coincidentally, I was reading yesterday a Franciscan religious tract from 1951...
Go ahead and read it all if you dare, but I warn you: it's the sort of thing at which even Ross Douthat might throw up his hands and cry, "Oh barf."

I wonder which of these boy geniuses will be the first to write about how hypocritical it is that he was refused admittance to a lesbian bar.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Whether it is their residence, a second home or a house bought as an investment, the rich have stopped paying the mortgage at a rate that greatly exceeds the rest of the population.

More than one in seven homeowners with loans in excess of a million dollars are seriously delinquent, according to data compiled for The New York Times by the real estate analytics firm CoreLogic.

By contrast, homeowners with less lavish housing are much more likely to keep writing checks to their lender. About one in 12 mortgages below the million-dollar mark is delinquent.
But I thought ACORN was to blame. You mean the biggest culprits are actually rich white people?

Somebody tell the Tea Party guys -- I'm sure they'll readjust their outrage accordingly.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

SHOOT-OUT AT THE FANTASY FACTORY. You may have been wondering what that crazy bastard Bill Whittle's been up to lately. Around the time we first heard of him, Whittle was trying to build a city in the sky. That didn't pan out, and he retreated to making lunatic videos for PJM.

But now -- with trumpets from The Ole Perfesser! -- comes Whittle's big play: Declaration Entertainment.

In a promo reel, Whittle explains that the hippies ruined Hollywood. "Everything I learned about the Vietnam War, I learned from Francis Ford Coppola and Oliver Stone," says Whittle. "From them I learned Vietnam was an unwinnable quagmire fought by drug-addled psychopaths, serially murdering innocent villagers just for fun."

That may not be what you got out of Apocalypse Now and Platoon, but you don't have the advanced mind Whittle has. Look, he's already moved on to another Hollywood target: "You know who the reliable standby enemy is in Hollywood films today?" he asks. "You are. "

At last! I thought when I heard this. The doctors told me the voices weren't real, but I knew they were after me and I was right!

Alas, Whittle's fantasy turns out to be more reliably Republican: "If you're pro-business, pro-military, pro-Christian, and for limited government and individual rights and responsibilities, then you and everything you believe are the enemy of Hollywood films today."

He turns the show over to a montagist who explains that Hollywood became godless, not because of hippies so much (Whittle must have been out for a smoke break when they made this), but because U.S. films are now using "capital from all over the world." Much like the rest of American business, we'd say, but it's worse in films because it means that, "instead of making American movies and then selling them to the world," these rootless cosmopolitans "make the world's movies and sells them to Americans."

And "it should be no surprise that the values that make it to the screen are very different than the ones Americans are used to seeing." This is punctuated by a little cartoon movie-going child blushing, and cartoon Mom and Dad covering his eyes, to underline the point: Not only Coppola and Stone, but also makers of sexed-up movies from Porky's to The Hangover are part of the anti-American flicker-bombing campaign!

And that's where Declaration comes in: They promise films without "anti-heroes standing up against tradition" or "greedy businessmen or CIA bad guys." (They don't promise not to show tits, though. Maybe they plan to take that up after the launch.)

How do you get these retro films? Just become a member! You'll go "behind the scenes" to see "your movies" being made. You can even "win chances to appear in the movies themselves" and tell moviemakers what you want them to film...

If this begins to sound more speculative than actual to you, your momma didn't raise no fool: Declaration says it will fund its movies with membership fees. As soon as enough of these come in, they'll get straight to work on The Joe McCarthy Nobody Knew. "Declaration Entertainment is not another production company," says Whittle, "it's a movement, it's a revolution..."

And unlike in other revolutions, you don't have to man the barricades -- you don't even have to attend a Tea Party. You just send in your money and Declaration's propagandists will do the heavy lifting for you. You can get in on the revolution for as little as $9.99 -- but there are also "executive membership packages" for $10,000, $50,000, and $100,000 which include perks like autographed scripts and on-screen credits. (Throw in a few more bucks and maybe they'll cast your niece!)

Based on this, Declaration promises to do for filmmaking what Pajamas Media has done for blogging -- that is, burn through its seed money and piss everybody off.

I see a way forward, though: DE should offer films with a high-weirdness factor which can be enjoyed by both serious patriots and giggling, stoned unbelievers -- like Michael Moriarty's Hitler Meets Christ. Plus there are old movies they can get cheap, like the recently revived If Footmen Tire, What Will Horses Do? , or even remake -- how does a new version with Bo Derek grab you?

These are economical work-arounds that can, with a little creativity in the bookkeeping department, keep Declaration afloat until the Republicans get back in and resume dishing out patronage.
GRADUATING CLASS WAR. I think I have discovered (via Josh Treviño) a new watershed in the internet's slow strangulation of journalism:
The daily routine seldom varied. Mr. Nicholson, 24, a graduate of Colgate University, winner of a dean’s award for academic excellence, spent his mornings searching corporate Web sites for suitable job openings. When he found one, he mailed off a résumé and cover letter — four or five a week, week after week.

Over the last five months, only one job materialized. After several interviews, the Hanover Insurance Group in nearby Worcester offered to hire him as an associate claims adjuster, at $40,000 a year. But even before the formal offer, Mr. Nicholson had decided not to take the job.
Having been in the business I can spot the signs, and the story of apparent layabout Scott Nicholson in the New York Times seems like obvious link-bait. Though it appears sympathetic to Nicholson, the coddling by his upscale parents is right out of old Al Capp parodies of befuddled permissiveness.

When we are told Nicholson "gradually realized that his career will not roll out in the Greater Boston area — or anywhere in America — with the easy inevitability that his father and grandfather recall," those of us who have long toiled at unexalted jobs may be forgiven the impulse to punch him in the nose; ditto when those of us who are not of his generation, and already imagine it to be weak and gutless, learn that such as Nicholson "were raised by baby boomers who lavished a lot of attention on their children."

I was surprised, though, when I came to reconsider the story, how my prejudices, thus inflamed, had caused me to overlook some pieces of information. Young Scott's of a particular class; his Grandpaw was a stockbroker, and the family seems in no way hurting for money. When I was told, “'Going it alone,' 'earning enough to be self-supporting' — these are awkward concepts for Scott Nicholson and his friends," I forgot immediately that both Nicholson and his friends were sufficiently privileged that this variation from the family tradition of smooth career transitions is mostly an emotional problem, rather than the dire economic one it is for millions of less-well-fixed kids and post-kids. (Three of them are entering law school as a fallback. Yeah, why didn't I do that instead of waiting tables?)

That is, I was roused to contempt for Nicholson's whole generation based on the example of some rich kid.

Were I a more paranoid sort, I might think that by using Nicholson as an avatar of disenfranchised youth, the Times was trying to minimize the situation of all jobless young people by making me think of them as slackers. But having been inside the sausage factories I know better. The story is more likely to have had its genesis in a specific access opportunity than in a memo from the Committee for Manufacturing Consent. But a clever editor who heard of it may have foreseen how it would come out, and looked forward to a wave of outraged and dismissive linkage from across the internet. So far I've only seen this, from an apparatchik who can read but still wants to believe ("On the other hand, this story shows that even the privileged, spoiled, affluent youth are hurt by the ObamaEconomy"). But give it time.

UPDATE. Some commenters think, no, this is just the Times typically looking at the nation's problems through the lens of the upper class -- as Linda puts it, "stories about the recession where people struggle along without their nanny, and find that the recession reconnected them with their soul, instead of making them live in a refrigerator box."

That's an understandable analysis but, being profoundly conservative in my outlook, I still tend toward a market solution, and believe that not even Times editors would fail to anticipate the reaction such a story might provoke among normal people. Back at the Voice I used to notice Times howlers about yuppie communes, how successful career women couldn't find husbands, etc. Those I put down to patrician cluelessness. But the Nicholson saga really seems to be asking for it. It's like their version of those hipster stories on which the internet has been fattening for a couple of years.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

AND WE'RE JUST THE GUYS TO DO IT! Obama has failed them, so they're bringing their own "team of respected energy, environment, homeland security and response experts" to the Gulf to ask hard questions about the BP oil spill.

This A-Team comes from.... the Heritage Foundation, whose primary response to the crisis so far has been to defend BP, calling the Congressional hearings to which its executives were summoned a "public lynching," and remarking of the $20 billion escrow account to which BP freely agreed, "making 'offers you can’t refuse' may be a great way to run the mob, but it is no way to run a country."

Their first job will probably be spectrographic analysis of the tar balls to reveal their Democratic content.

You will not be surprised to learn that even before leaving the dock, Team Heritage has already come up with some damning evidence:
The President still has never visited Tennessee which was ravaged by deadly floods this spring. Tennessee shares a commonality with Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi beyond geography: a right leaning electorate.
Maybe they'll return with sad film footage of oil executives begging for help from the rooftops of investment banks.

Does this kind of thing con anyone? Besides the Perfesser, I mean.

Monday, July 05, 2010

A LITTLE BAD TOUCH OF DREHER IN THE NIGHT. It's a quasi-holiday, not much doing -- let's go see what Rod Dreher's up to.
How the cultural Left paved way for pedophilia
Ah, the crazy never sleeps at Dreher's.

He quotes a German article about a 60s pedophilia ring run by hippies and professors. Sounds awful, but really, "the cultural Left"? You'd be on much surer ground saying the Catholic Church is directly responsible for all those little boys its priests raped. After all, "the cultural Left" didn't prevent their pedophiles' punishment by sending them to other parishes. (Maybe if we had a stronger central administration...)

Wondering if this crossed Dreher's mind? You must be new here.
I would also like to know to what extent this Leftist anti-bourgeois pedophilia culture penetrated radical circles elsewhere in Europe. Anybody here know? One wonders if the leadership of the national Catholic churches -- I'm thinking right now of the Belgian church, and retired Cardinal Danneels, one of the Roman Church's most progressive top churchmen for decades -- assimilated any of this so-called progressivism in the way they thought about sexuality...
Yes, Dreher's actually trying to build a case that the global Catholic child abuse scandal was actually caused by hippies. To demonstrate his seriousness, he's doing it with a bleg!

Naturally he later denies it: "If you think I'm trying to 'blame' pedophilia on the cultural left (in Germany, or anywhere), you're deliberately misreading what I'm saying here..." a post called "How the cultural Left paved way for pedophilia." Well, if Jonah Goldberg can claim Liberal Fascism isn't about how liberals are fascists, why not?

And I thought I trawled for hits!

UPDATE. Oh my, DocAmazing in comments: "And notice that [Ratzinger's] second-most-famous organizational affiliation was with a group of boys in shorts. Pimpfin' ain't easy." Pimpfin'! V. advanced.
FOR THE LOVE OF GALT, GO, ALREADY! It's always fun when the Galtniks declare that their rich entrepreneurial friends are outraged at this Obama and will rebel in an America of their own devising. Who can forget TigerHawk's on-camera Randroid meltdown about superior producers and inferior littlebrains? Or the unnamed "owner of several companies" who sported Galt cufflinks and pledged to starve his dry cleaners till Obama was brought down?

Now Wayne Allyn Root tells us about his friends, the backbone of America and all Republicans, apparently:
My friends are all part of the economic engine of America: Small business...

I've polled all my friends who own small businesses -- many of them in the Internet and high-tech fields. They all agree that in this new Obama world of high business taxes, income taxes, payroll taxes, capital gains taxes, and workers compensation taxes, the key to success is to avoid employees.
Getting rid of employees -- it's a wonder no one ever thought of that as a way to maximize profits! I was just talking about this to an automated voice at my bank the other day. But how?
My small business-owning friends aren't creating one job. Not one. They are shedding jobs. They are learning to do more with fewer employees. They are creating high-tech businesses that don't need employees.
Creating high-tech businesses that don't need employees! You'd think they're be praising Obama for stimulating their creativity.
And many business owners are making plans to leave the country.
Another innovation! When other people hear of this new "off-shoring" idea, Obama will be in serious trouble.

Root, you will be unsurprised to learn, is a big libertarian, as well as the author of the 2005 classic, Millionaire Republican: Why Rich Republicans Get Rich--and How You Can Too! Among his wealth secrets: "Own Real Estate in International Tax Havens." I smell sequel! Also, bullshit.
THE LEVEL OF DEBATE THE INTERNET DESERVES. Jonah Goldberg declares victory!
That sort of language clearly rankles my friend Will Wilkinson. I discussed the merits and shortcomings of patriotism with him for a special Independence Day edition of Bloggingheads. I found it to be a largely un-worthwhile discussion. Knowing in advance that Will is utterly immune to any romantic or sentimental arguments (as he might characterize them) for love of country, we were forced to restrict our conversation to sociological and other strategic rationalizations for patriotism. It was kind of like debating love of country with a Vulcan. Except, ironically enough, at the end of the day, I think it's pretty clear that Will is the one letting his emotions get the better of him.
Being your best friend, I briefly scanned the Bloggingheads in question to see whether Goldberg actually made Wilkinson flip out.

My data is incomplete. I could only stand a few minutes. I've heard there are people who have watched entire episodes of Bloggingheads, but I find it hard to believe such supermen exist. What human being could withstand such a punishing assault on their eyes and ears without willfully puncturing them with whatever sharp object was at hand in defense of their own sanity?

I did see Wilkinson ask Goldberg if the War for Independence was justified, and a flummoxed Goldberg reply, "The ends justify the means." Wilkinson gets into the why-not-secession theme, and Goldberg talks about a "Whiggish danger in going over these grievances," perhaps meaning "Wiggish," meaning he was thinking of the powdered wigs the Founders wore in paintings before returning to his customary reverie of a ham sandwich. His closer, characteristically: "This is something I've not spent a lot of time on, but I think it's an interesting distinction and I've always wanted to sort of learn more about it."

Despite retinal bleeding, I skimmed the rest and could not find the Wilkinson meltdown to which Goldberg refers, though before everything went black I did hear Wilkinson theorize that "wars are almost always bad," and Goldberg tell Wilkinson that you can't blame patriotism for war any more than you can blame oil for it. But I may have just hallucinated that.

Perhaps a Corner "reader" will "write in" to request proof, spurring Goldberg to point to 49:01, where Wilkinson blinks rapidly, proving his discombobulation before the mighty reasoning skills of his opponent. Till then I will have to assume Goldberg means that Wilkinson generally seemed to care about what he was saying and whether his argument made any sense, whereas Goldberg was digesting an entire pork butt and couldn't rouse himself to anything like full attention. Now, back to the decompression chamber!
NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, about the Robert Byrd obsequies and how rightbloggers tried to make it about the endemic racist of Democrats. This "the real racists" bit never fails to remind me of Wile E. Coyote, hurtling into the canyon with a detached rock ledge in pursuit.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

HAPPY FOURTH. Maybe you were wondering what the anti-abortion movement was up to lately. Here's the latest outrage from Jill Stanek:
The youth pro-life activist group Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust is picketing comedian Jimmy Kimmel's Los Angeles home as I type (read to end) and will be picketing his studio on Hollywood Blvd later today.

The group is demanding an apology, and here's why...

At some point the crew became aggravated by the pro-life activists because they refused to move along and turned one of the hot spotlights on Survivor Ryan Bueler...
Yes: A spotlight. The Hollyweird bastards attacked the fetus-defenders with star power!
Bueler refused to move and for 15 minutes there was a stand-off, during which time a bracelet he was wearing and his sign were partially melted, although he escaped uncooked.
Plus his Gummi Bears were totally ruined. Later Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust (great name for a band, BTW) infiltrated the audience at a Jimmy Kimmel taping and disrupted the show ("Apologize for burning teenagers with high-powered lamps!").

We celebrate our nation's birthday, not just because freedom is precious, but also because it is hilarious.

UPDATE. Not everyone loves America like I do: Here's The Anchoress lamenting the decline of public education from back in the days when she walked ten miles to school and had to live at the bottom of the lake, and proving her point with... an episode of "Jaywalking." Oh, hell, it's a holiday -- let even the developmentally challenged have fireworks! In fact, give them the M-80s and a blowtorch.

Friday, July 02, 2010

NEW CONSERVATIVE WISDOM: RACISM TAKES GUTS. Jonah Goldberg's latest mouth-fart is about reformed Klansman Robert Byrd:
Robert Byrd was a complicated man, but the explanation for the outsized celebration of his career strikes me as far more simple. He was a powerful man who abandoned his bigoted principles in order to keep power. And his party loved him for it.
Of course, if a Democrat of Byrd's era wanted to retain his bigoted principles, he could always become a Republican.

Given the hot new conservative trend toward neo-Confederacy, this may become a talking point: "All you liberals just like black people cuz it's popular. Only conservatives are tuff enuff to be bigots! That's why we keep Derbyshire."

SHORTER JOHN J. MILLER. I previously praised the work of new Poet Laureate W.S. Merwin, but since I learned that Merwin said bad things about George W. Bush, I realize that he is actually wrongthink and doubleplusungood.

UPDATE. In comments, Doghouse Riley does the longer shorter: "In conclusion, Paul McCartney, the Dixie Chicks, and Ward Churchill. Thank you."

Thursday, July 01, 2010

HOW COME THEY CAN CALL EACH OTHER FAGGOT AND WE CAN'T? PART 56,232. Now isn't that nice? To make up for civil-unioned gay employees' shortfall in tax benefits versus married straight employees, Google is giving them a pay raise to cover the discrepancy. Conservatives should approve: No public funds expended and, after all, the new conservatism is enlightened and tolerant, not like those liberals have been trying to --
How many straight Google employees will go all “Chuck & Larry” just to make Google pay them a little extra money?

Google’s straight workers last seen practicing their lisps and learning show tunes…

What would happen if a company decided to pay heterosexuals employees more money based on their sexuality? I guess in this upside down progressive liberal world I shouldn’t even bother wondering anymore.


This discriminates against the straights for their "lifestyle" choice and they can sue for it. They can also claim that marriage has been devalued by the continued attempts to allow people who insist on labeling themselves with terms that differentiate themselves from the rest of society, yet demand to share the word that has always represented a union between a man and a woman.

What if a Muslim declared that his religion required him to have 3 wives and skree skree skreeeeee...
Never mind. I was right the first time -- they're just a bunch of deranged asshole bigots who haven't felt a pang for the underprivileged since Allan Bakke and who are flipping the fuck out because a few gay people are finally getting an even break.

UPDATE. Thanks, in comments, to Doc Amazing: "If they had any sense, they'd come out as bisexual and double-bill."
THE PARTY OF JOHN WILKES BOOTH. I noticed back in October of 2008 when Regnery unleashed The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Civil War, a "joyful myth-busting rebel yell" full of fun speculation for conservatives and their kin-folk like "If there had been no Civil War, the South would have abolished slavery peaceably." This sort of reasoning has spread like wild-fahr, as we saw from Rand Paul's argument that without the Civil Rights Act, folks would have jes' naturally started serving the white and the colored at the same lunch counter, and George Wallace would have stepped out of the schoolhouse door and cried, "Come and be learned, my African-American friends."

Now I see from Wonkette and TPM that Human Events is using the thing as a subscribers' premium.

If that doesn't work, they can always try The Turner Diaries, or perhaps a new Politically Incorrect Guide to Thurgood Marshall.

Will these rebs never be Reconstructed?

UPDATE. Today in "Conservative Will Tell You Who the Real Racist Is": Michelle Malkin*, who claims a New York Times "whitewash" of Robert Byrd's Klan past based on a headline, because that's as far as most of her readers ever get before realizing there's no cartoon or sudoku. (The Times article is explicit on Byrd's past.)

Back when Paul the Younger was thought-experimenting with the Civil Rights Act, BTW, Malkin got LaShawn Barber to pen a "Segregation: not cool, but still better than statism!" article. That woman will never miss a meal.

* That post is actually written by Doug Powers. (Thanx Q.) Does Malkin always use ringers for this loathsome duty?

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

QUACKS. American Thinker, heretofore better known as the freak show engaging the world's youngest rightwing pundit, is apparently working on its credentials as a long-distance psychotherapy practice specializing in Barack Obama.

First up, alleged shrink Robin of Berkeley:
Did Obama ever have a head injury? His stepfather in Indonesia was purportedly an alcoholic abuser. Was Obama subject to any physical abuse?...

Obama admits to a history of drug use in his youth. Did his usage cause some damage? Does Obama still use?
Also: Asperger's Syndrome, Schizotypal Disorder, and pedophiliac butt-fucking. If you think she's kidding, you don't know Robin of Berkeley! She also thinks everyone who voted for Obama is nuts, too, which could explain the urgency of her prose, as she might imagine that, with so many against her, she may be seized at any moment and put in a nuthouse. I for one wouldn't be surprised.

But it's not all bad news, for though the madman Obama has concealed his multiple illnesses from his slavish supporters, soon enough he will crack. Fellow "Thinker" Bruce Walker amplifies:
As Robin of Berkeley observed in her truly scary article, Barack Hussein Obama may well be have been a traumatized victim in his youth, perhaps of sexual abuse. If he is, then Obama will have personality disorders which simply cannot be cured (read Robin's article for the details). If Robin is right, then at some point, the true, hopelessly sick Obama will show himself before a horrified nation. Average Americans will no longer like the president. They will, instead, be saddened and repelled -- and they will emphatically expel Obama and his supporters from power or influence in our lives.
It'll be like Deke O'Malley's comeuppance at the Apollo in Cotton Comes to Harlem -- only this time, the white people will clean up!

Today Selwyn Duke tells us Obama has ADD. Again, the uninitiated may at first think this is just a rhetorical trope. But then one reads the thing and encounters Duke's diagnostic questions ("Can he grasp that if an oil gusher was spewing oil into the ocean yesterday, and the hole hasn't been plugged, that it will spew oil into the ocean today?") and the collapse of his argument halfway through into inchoate yelling about Marxism and such like, and realizes that Duke may in fact be an expert in ADD, at least from the patient side.

Still, maybe they'd better leave this sort of thing to the professionals.

UPDATE. Commenter Amok92 does me the favor of asking after Dr. Sanity, another of the Right's long-distance diagnosticians with whom we've had some fun in the past. She was going along pretty hot and heavy for a while, and a few months ago was raging at "the left's vivid (and psychotic) imagination, feverishly working overtime to reverse all those unwelcome facts and painful truths so they can remain in an endless childhood," etc. On April 8, alas, she reported she was "taking a break from blogging for a few months to take care of some personal issues and complete some projects." Get well soon, Doc!
NO GOOD DEED GOES UNPUNISHED. The Fed rounded up an alleged Russian spy ring that had been in operation for about a decade! Surely this is good news? National Review:
President Obama apparently knew that the FBI was about to arrest the members of the spy ring but did not raise the subject with Medvedev. This was a serious mistake. It reflects an unwillingness to face the truth about Russian actions and allows the Russians to perpetuate the notion that despite human-rights abuses, cooperation with Iran, and anti-American propaganda, there is harmony in its relationship with the U.S.
I'm not sure how failing to tip off Medvedev maintains the dastardly fiction of U.S.-Russian comity -- particularly in the face of a widely-publicized arrest of several alleged Russian spies. I am sure that if the Federal Government under Obama invented a perpetual motion machine, National Review would soon tell us it was a plot to destroy America's work ethic.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Let me instead say this: I think many of my conservative colleagues are far too gingerly when it comes to liberal media bias. Far too timid, delicate, and forgiving. For a long time, complaining about media bias has been seen as uncouth. It’s something we all need to learn to live with, like death, taxes, and mosquitoes. Don’t be uncool by bitching about it, man.
The only thing that could make the idiocy more self-evident is if it were cross-posted at Sarah Palin's Facebook, Big Journalism, TimesWatch, Media Research Center, NewsBusters, or any other of the hundreds of other sites devoted to exposing the Lamestream Liberal Media. Even by the regular standards of conservative eternal-victimhood, this is rich.

I haven't been keeping up with the Nordlinger Senility Watch, BTW, because even when he lays out a beauty like this "Sigh, I Wish the IDF Could Walk Through Walls Like Back When I Was 60" post, I know he'll come up with something just as dotarded later, and it makes me lazy.

Monday, June 28, 2010

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF GREAT AMERICAN MAGAZINES. Michael Kinsley does somebody a favor, I guess, revisiting the debate over Originalism, but the point he fails to address about Kagan critic Robert Bork is that he is a miserable old bigot who should never have been let out of the dustbin.

But I couldn't help but notice this bit:
[Bork] is an embittered man who will be even more disconcerted than I was to learn that the very bright and well-educated, but young, editors of The Atlantic Wire had never heard of him.
I thought The Kids from McArdle was a fluke, but apparently they're all about 12 over there and get their American history from flash cards. Maybe The Atlantic should rebrand itself as the new CosmoGirl.
SHORTER OLE PERFESSER. Megadittos to Camille Paglia, who agrees with me that liberals suffer sexually from their devotion to sterile corporate life, while we conservatives thrive in the me-Tarzan-you-Jane world of academia! Which reminds me of a paid advertising link...
THE LOST CAUSE. At first I wondered why Dave Weigel even bothered going on Andrew Breitbart's Big Government to explain himself to the rightwing hoi polloi. I hear they don't pay that well. And he gets the kind of reaction anyone could have predicted ahead of time:
This guys career can go south with the rest of the Main stream media.........he got what he deserved........he is just trying to save his own @ss

Man, I am happy that I never had to share a foxhole with you!

Dude, if you are pro G A Y Marriage, Open Borders, and Voted for ObaMao the ONE thing you are NOT is conservative. You may not even qualify as a RINO.

What I learned from this: You're ugly. You're an idiot. Lots of "libertarians" are really just leftists.

Meet a real journalist David [link to Lew Rockwell]
And those are the kind ones! But upon reflection, I guess the whole crazy conservative reaction to his case must be galling to Weigel. His career makes (or used to make) conservatism look classy. He worked hard and quoted accurately -- hell, he went out and talked to people worth quoting, which is unusual in itself. He was genuinely even-handed, as opposed to a difference-splitting Borderbot. He made the sometimes obscure tropes of wingerdom comprehensible to general readers.

Any sane conservative would see that the Democratic electoral strategy going forward will be to remind America about the birthers, the Joe Bartons, and the Rand Pauls of the world and make them the face of the conservative movement. It might have seemed useful to have one or two conservatives in the public eye who didn't seem totally insane or malignant. Well, that's all over now. It'll be Obama Iz Hitler and Debbie Schlussel-Cassy Fiano catfights all the way to the Convention. We'll see how it works.
A LITTLE RESPECT. Senator Byrd has died, and the usual assholes remind us that he used to be a Klansman, but neglect to mention that he changed his mind about it and apologized, representing a progress exactly the opposite of that made by the Republican Party, which is really why they hated at him. (UPDATE: Also this. The man had balls.)

Among Byrd's last acts was to hold the feet of the coal industry to the fire in the wake of disaster, rather than apologizing to that industry for such actions, which is the Republican way to do things.

Though there are drawbacks to the reflexive grubbing for bacon that was the hallmark of Byrd's generation of politicians, he at least brought some home to his constituents, rather than transferring it all directly to corporations. Some old ways were indeed the best ways.

UPDATE. You're going to see a lot of this sort of thing today: "Meanwhile, let’s try to refrain from trashing Senator Byrd too much and stay respectful. This isn’t the Democratic Underground, after all. We’re above that. I will, however... [torrent of abuse]." Mourning doesn't become them.
NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, about rightblogger Gay Pride coverage. It offers some rare good news: The wingnuts appear to be keeping quieter during Pride. They're still wrong, and the smarter ones are disingenuous -- this weekend we had Kyle Smith suggesting an "end of the culture wars," which in his world means the rise of "Chris Christie and Scott Brown, libertarian-ish Republicans who are socially liberal but fiscally conservative." (Brown's against gay marriage, and Christie promised to veto gay marriage if it were passed in Jersey. Maybe that's what Smith means by libertarian-ish.) But at least we get fewer of their noxious gases this time of year.

The thing ran long, and one of my saddest cuts was Esther Green's "To My Liberal Relative." Green apparently likes to bug her relatives with rightwing bullshit, and one of them, a gay man, finally sent her a short note asking, "Seriously, can we please just agree to disagree?" Some people would have switched topics to the weather or something, but Green sent back an 858-word harangue, explaining that
It is precisely because you and ____ are gay that Obama scares me. He surrounds himself with people who are true believers in sharia law (Rashid Khalidi, Dalia Mogahed, and Rashad Hussain). Sharia law clearly states that gays are to be stoned.
Later, perhaps hoping that this will have softened her gay relative up, Green tells him that Obama is a Muslim. Bet the Green family is going to be very careful about its Christmas invitations this year.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

MINOR OFFENSE. Wingnuts love their child prodigies. (Easy to program, and they have no trouble internalizing the philosophy, having learned all about it in their anal stage of development.)

Richard Brookhiser was 15 when he started at the National Review; Kyle Williams was 13 when he was enlisted by World Net Daily. And anyone recall the name of that little kid who wrote a book about virtue or something six or seven years ago, and was briefly their teen heartthrob?

Their most recent child star, 13-year-old Jonathan Krohn, was a hit at the last CPAC, but he hasn't been getting much ink lately -- at least, not the right kind -- so apparently someone at American Thinker thought it was time to roll out a new conservakid.

My name is Sam Besserman, I'm eleven years old, I live in Beverly Hills, California, and ever since I can remember I have been subjected to political bias in school.
It's a dream come true -- only 11, and already he's learned his Conservative Victimization Tables!
The first time I noticed the bias was actually in preschool [italics his - ed.] where the teacher was reading a book about the importance of mothers and the inferiority of fathers. I tried to tell the teacher that dads might be just as important. The teacher responded in a sing-song, "No, listen to me, I'm the teacher."
Goddamn liberal bitches, always infantilizing our pre-schoolers!

The whole thing's like that, all commie thought police and suspiciously big words:
At Beverly Vista, my first teacher was a full-time misandrist and global warming wacko.
Some of you may suspect a hoax -- either because the kid's too young (especially for the Feminazi stuff, which usually doesn't hit conservatives until their first prostatitis episode), or because it sounds like a parody. Don't underestimate these people. I thought Mytheos Holt, who proposed at Big Hollywood that the brethren bring down Obama with parody websites and 4chan, was some kind of joke, but commenters proved him a true specimen.

If Besserman's a fake, the American Thinker commenters certainly haven't caught on. Remember: Just because they're increasingly ridiculous doesn't mean they're not serious.

(Thanks to Nancy Nall for the tip.)

UPDATE. Holy shit, R. Porrofatto found a video! Young Besserman appears on camera, but he doesn't use any big words. (Who'd like to see the outtakes video?) He does report that the bullies all yelled "Global warming is real" at him. Bullies sure have changed since I was a kid; maybe in Bev Hills they all get subscriptions to The Nation for their tenth birthday.
HAPPY PRIDE. It's small, but it's progress:
The adventurous Stanley Cup will make its first appearance in a gay-themed event this weekend.

The Chicago Gay Hockey Association invited the Blackhawks to join Sunday's Gay Pride Parade -- and the team said yes. So did the Chicago Cubs, who will have their own float for the first time.
I don't usually post feel-good items, but I wanted to do what I could to increase the possibility that this news would be seen by some bigot asshole wingnuts.

Like this one:

If Chicago's professional sports teams will be represented, I don't think Ernie Banks and the Blackhawks' Brent Sopel should be the only participants. I think in the spirit of having one's backfield in motion, the Chicago Bears should send a tight end and a wide receiver....

Who says pro athletes aren't role models for our children? If more big name athletes get involved in peddling "Gay Pride" more 10 year old might be inspired to become "Gay Pride" grand marshals. This is critical because some young people think it is alright or even cool to be straight.
I think this is supposed to be funny, despite the rhetorical hoarseness. Remember that line by The Replacements? "Kewpie dolls and urine stalls/Will be laughed at/The way you're laughed at now."

Yeah, this day gets better and better.

UPDATE. In comments, montag: "I think Moses would have gotten a double hernia carrying down all the commandments these guys want."

Saturday, June 26, 2010

BATTING 1.000. Matt Lewis gets a statement on Dave Weigel from the American Spectator's R. Emmett Tyrrell:
"I thought he was a liberal. He had no sense of humor. Yet he did his job diligently."
No sense of humor! Good to see that Tyrrell -- a buffoon of long standing who for years invited comparison of himself to H. L. Mencken via an imitative byline photo and a constipated emulation of HLM's prose style, then declared, "I know thee not, old man" -- has not lost his gift of being wrong 100 percent of the time

Friday, June 25, 2010


Whiny ass titty babies.

The problem with covering conservatives is: There's no way to do it without being offensive -- at least in the bar after work, or its email equivalent. Which is apparently a resignation-accepting offense at the Post.

They've run this country for most of the past thirty years. I don't see why we should continue to treat wingnuts like special needs children who have to be shielded from criticism.
FUTURE SCHLOCK. For years most of my own work has been online, and the subject by which most of my readers know me has been the blogosphere. I know as well as the rest of you that online is not only the present, but also The Future, because it is tirelessly presented as such by people like Jeff Jarvis on websites and in well-compensated speeches.

I've always been annoyed by that kind of talk, and most of the time if you ask me why I'll say it's because I'm a miserable old curmudgeon who likes newsprint and daguerreotypes and LPs, and for whom everything has to be old and in black and white. But that isn't wholly true, as this Reason article by up-and-coming libertarian Katherine Mangu-Ward and some interns reminds me.

The article is a kind of guide to online stuff, a popular favorite -- why, I've done that sort of thing myself, pimping mostly small local blogs of diverse agenda.

But the premise here is that these Randian super-genii will instruct you in "kicking your dead tree habit." No, there's no Kindle promo tie-in -- the object of ridicule here is not longform dead tree, but newspapers. The intro is all ha-ha-stupid-foolscap-people:
Newspaper. Personally, I never touch the stuff. But rumor has it there is a certain amount of distress about the impending doom of the news-on-dead-tree industry...

We assumed for the sake of the experiment that The New York Times would be the last to go. Since I refuse to sully my delicate hands with filthy newsprint, Jesse and Robby paged through Wednesday’s edition in search of facts and insights that would need replacing in the event that print news goes kaput.
Though I don't know much about mockery myself, the tone seems a little forced to me -- as if KMW were not trying to summon a new audience of strangers not yet educated to the superiority of the internet, but instead trying to stroke and signal the usual true believers, who are always up for a round of ragging on paper-pushers.

It reminds me of the preemptive gloating of folks like Roger L. Simon, who tells his readers all the time that the MSM is a dinosaur, dying, on the ropes, in extremis, etc. (We're still waiting for the body to fall, but never mind.) For years this has been one of the key tropes of the rightwing online community -- which came out of the rightwing offline community's contempt for the offline equivalent, the impudent snobs of the lying liberal media, usually short-handed as the New York Times.

The Times, it just so happens, is mentioned several times in Mangu-Ward's article, mostly derisively ("New York real estate obsessives have long since left the Times behind... the Times tech reviewer, appropriately enough, senses his own irrelevance...").

Mangu-Ward does give the online edition a left-handed head-pat at the end, though. Clearly the Times and whatever it represents will be part of The Future -- just not so big a part. If years of yap have yet to completely displace the Times, they have opened up some space for an alterna-press which, like alt and indie vendors since time immemorial, not only hopes but asserts that it's The Future, your future. And they mean it, man!

In reality, when the smoke clears you are likely to find that the main effect of such a revolution has been to transfer some power -- not so much to you, though, as to those who have positioned themselves to profit from revolutionary sentiment. Here's who Mangu-Ward recommends for opinion journalism:
As for the Opinion pages, Reason should meet your needs there. But if you must, it could be supplemented with the columns aggregated at RealClearPolitics, or you could enjoy a firehose of opinion at Huffington Post or Daily Kos. Want to come back over and over to a name you trust? Hit up brand name bloggers like Glenn Reynolds, Matt Yglesias, Megan McArdle, and more.
Glenn Reynolds, Matt Yglesias, Megan McArdle! That's some groovy revolution right there.

That's the real reason this stuff bugs me. It's not that I like the Times and newsprint so much. I don't, really. And I like the internet fine. But I've also seen some come-ons in my time, and The Future is one that never gets old.